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jimmy m
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27 Oct 2020, 7:04 pm

The_Walrus wrote:
Censoring people who spread dangerous information is probably the best possible use of censorship.


Censoring doctors, scientists and researchers for perspectives that do not align with the official narrative is contrary to democracy and it is fundamentally contrary to science. It isn't the job of social media tech companies to pick winners and losers.

Dr. Knut Wittkowski was head of The Rockefeller University’s Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Research Design for 20 years. Back sometime before 8 April 2020 when the pandemic was starting to take hold in the U.S. he stated “For all respiratory epidemics, if you leave it alone, it comes for two weeks, it peaks, and it goes for two weeks, and it’s gone. There are no indications that anything is different from the regular flu, maybe a bit worse….” “With all respiratory diseases, the only thing that stops the disease is herd immunity. About 80 percent of the people need to have had contact with the virus, and the majority of them won’t even know they were infected, or they had very, very mild symptoms, especially if they are children.”

On March 16, a 20-page report from Neil Ferguson's team at Imperial College London quickly gathered enormous attention by producing enormous death estimates. The report warned that an uncontrolled spread of the disease could cause as many as 510,000 deaths in Britain, and projected up to 2.2 million deaths in the United States. And they predicted a peak in mortality to occur after approximately 3 months.

Both these early estimates turned out to be wrong. Hindsight is always 20/20.
The truth lies somewhere in between.

To call one opinion dangerous and the other acceptable is a judgement call. And even 9 months into this pandemic, governments around the world are still grappling trying to find the right solution.


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28 Oct 2020, 12:26 pm

I'm not a fan of conspiracy theories. I tend to avoid that kind of thing. But I do happen to agree with you when it comes to recent censorship. I know a doctor who has seen COVID-19 patients who made a short post on FB about early detection and treatment, saying that by addressing the various symptoms the duration and risk of severe illness and death could almost completely be avoided. He cited reputable sources along with actual clinical experience and got warnings from FB along with the deleted post. Some of his friends and patients capped his post and reposted it on their own accounts, and a local magazine even picked up the story. I agree that it is wrong to spread misinformation. But I also think it is important, maybe even more important, that individuals have the ability to make judgment calls on ALL the information and decide for themselves what they find credible and why.



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28 Oct 2020, 1:16 pm

Over 150 years ago Sir (Joseph) Norman Lockyer, a brilliant astrophysicist, found it very difficult to gain a voice and expand science. He created a new tool; he founded a great scientific journal called Nature and was its editor for a half century from 1869-1919. Nature encouraged controversy and vigorous debate within its pages. This was a tool he developed in gaining a voice.

But now the editors of many of these fine scientific journals have become corrupt and no longer encourage controversy and vigorous debate. They have made themselves the ultimate arbitrators. They have picked sides by deciding what is true and what is false, what to publish and what to censor. And many times they select the wrong side. They have lost their way.

An article by the National Association of Scholars titled The Irreproducibility Crisis of Modern Science of April 2018 confirms that the crisis of reproducibility exists and compromises entire disciplines of science. In 2012 the biotechnology firm Amgen tried to reproduce 53 “landmark” studies in hematology and oncology, but could only replicate six. In that same year the director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at the Food and Drug Administration estimated that up to three-quarters of published biomarker associations could not be replicated. A 2015 article in Science that presented the results of 100 replication studies of articles published in prominent psychological journals found that only 36% of the replication studies produced statistically significant results, compared with 97% of the original studies. If scientific findings are not reproducible then modern science is being built on a foundation of quicksand.

Governments run by biased politicians tend to down-select slices of funding to confirmational research at the exclusions of all others approaches. They arbitrarily pick winners and losers. As a result, many times the winners of government grants are actually to defective approaches and the funding is totally wasted.

You might even wonder if the Theory of Special Relativity might not have even survived the selection process used by the scientific journal publishers of today. After all Einstein was an obscure government employee working as a clerk at the Swiss patent office.

So in the present world, scientific journals, politicians, newspapers, media and now even social media tech companies feel compelled to pick winners and losers. They have turned themselves into the Ministry of Truth. They censor and browbeat the opposing side into submission, rather than let scientific discovery rule the decision process.

We should encourage opposing viewpoints and let logic arguments and debate determine the path forward.


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jimmy m
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28 Oct 2020, 9:05 pm

An important Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee meeting occurred in the Senate today.

CEOs Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Sundar Pichai of Google and Jack Dorsey of Twitter coming under fire by both Democrats and Republicans. The CEOs were attacked for a range of practices, including censoring tweets and other posts from conservatives while not blocking content from liberals and foreign dictators, and for contributing to the decline of local newspapers and broadcasters.

A key issue before the committee and Congress is Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which provides enormously valuable protection to social media companies from lawsuits. Section 230 says that the social media companies cannot be held legally liable for material posted on their sites — unlike publishers of newspapers, magazines and books, who can be sued for libel for publishing certain types of false information.

The idea behind Section 230 is that sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google are akin to bulletin boards, where anyone can post any material, with limited exceptions such as pornography. However, when the sites censor or edit posts they become more like traditional publishers, who select and edit what they publish and are liable for the content.

Source: Big Tech Senate hearing winners and losers


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30 Oct 2020, 1:07 am

jimmy m wrote:
Over 150 years ago Sir (Joseph) Norman Lockyer, a brilliant astrophysicist, found it very difficult to gain a voice and expand science. He created a new tool; he founded a great scientific journal called Nature and was its editor for a half century from 1869-1919. Nature encouraged controversy and vigorous debate within its pages. This was a tool he developed in gaining a voice.

But now the editors of many of these fine scientific journals have become corrupt and no longer encourage controversy and vigorous debate. They have made themselves the ultimate arbitrators. They have picked sides by deciding what is true and what is false, what to publish and what to censor. And many times they select the wrong side. They have lost their way.

An article by the National Association of Scholars titled The Irreproducibility Crisis of Modern Science of April 2018 confirms that the crisis of reproducibility exists and compromises entire disciplines of science. In 2012 the biotechnology firm Amgen tried to reproduce 53 “landmark” studies in hematology and oncology, but could only replicate six. In that same year the director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at the Food and Drug Administration estimated that up to three-quarters of published biomarker associations could not be replicated. A 2015 article in Science that presented the results of 100 replication studies of articles published in prominent psychological journals found that only 36% of the replication studies produced statistically significant results, compared with 97% of the original studies. If scientific findings are not reproducible then modern science is being built on a foundation of quicksand.

Governments run by biased politicians tend to down-select slices of funding to confirmational research at the exclusions of all others approaches. They arbitrarily pick winners and losers. As a result, many times the winners of government grants are actually to defective approaches and the funding is totally wasted.

You might even wonder if the Theory of Special Relativity might not have even survived the selection process used by the scientific journal publishers of today. After all Einstein was an obscure government employee working as a clerk at the Swiss patent office.

So in the present world, scientific journals, politicians, newspapers, media and now even social media tech companies feel compelled to pick winners and losers. They have turned themselves into the Ministry of Truth. They censor and browbeat the opposing side into submission, rather than let scientific discovery rule the decision process.

We should encourage opposing viewpoints and let logic arguments and debate determine the path forward.


This, along with the rise of "pop" science makes me wonder if we are not careful could we go into a second dark age? I hope not, but the societal decay is worrying. I don't like the idea of getting information from thisrandomsiteonwhatevertopic.com , but it seems like many experts are on a tier with stupid sites, so it is hard to decipher what is BS from what is real, especially when standards are that low.



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30 Oct 2020, 9:07 am

zacb wrote:
This, along with the rise of "pop" science makes me wonder if we are not careful could we go into a second dark age? I hope not, but the societal decay is worrying. I don't like the idea of getting information from thisrandomsiteonwhatevertopic.com , but it seems like many experts are on a tier with stupid sites, so it is hard to decipher what is BS from what is real, especially when standards are that low.


It reminds me of the video game Lemmings. Whoever is leading the string of lemmings can lead them to their doom.

Image


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30 Oct 2020, 10:00 pm

jimmy m wrote:
zacb wrote:
This, along with the rise of "pop" science makes me wonder if we are not careful could we go into a second dark age? I hope not, but the societal decay is worrying. I don't like the idea of getting information from thisrandomsiteonwhatevertopic.com , but it seems like many experts are on a tier with stupid sites, so it is hard to decipher what is BS from what is real, especially when standards are that low.


It reminds me of the video game Lemmings. Whoever is leading the string of lemmings can lead them to their doom.

Image


What is sad is the web had great potential. I will say the internet (ie the backbone) still has potential, but the overall http scene is sadly scrambled. I don't see how we went from the likes of Dennis Kucinich, Howard Dean, and Ron Paul to what we have today (I get the following populists are not always popular, more that they inspired a generation). From being skeptical of power (like Alex Jones) to being a lapdog for power. While part of it is letting more people online and being less Americanized (which can be both good and bad), it still seems so weird to go from a broad brush of liberalism to one of authoritarianism. Sorry started writing and went on a rant.

As for science, I am really worried that even objective fields like math and engineering will fully fall to stupidity soon.



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31 Oct 2020, 3:11 am

jimmy m wrote:
Over 150 years ago Sir (Joseph) Norman Lockyer, a brilliant astrophysicist, found it very difficult to gain a voice and expand science. He created a new tool; he founded a great scientific journal called Nature and was its editor for a half century from 1869-1919. Nature encouraged controversy and vigorous debate within its pages. This was a tool he developed in gaining a voice.

But now the editors of many of these fine scientific journals have become corrupt and no longer encourage controversy and vigorous debate. They have made themselves the ultimate arbitrators. They have picked sides by deciding what is true and what is false, what to publish and what to censor. And many times they select the wrong side. They have lost their way.

An article by the National Association of Scholars titled The Irreproducibility Crisis of Modern Science of April 2018 confirms that the crisis of reproducibility exists and compromises entire disciplines of science. In 2012 the biotechnology firm Amgen tried to reproduce 53 “landmark” studies in hematology and oncology, but could only replicate six. In that same year the director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at the Food and Drug Administration estimated that up to three-quarters of published biomarker associations could not be replicated. A 2015 article in Science that presented the results of 100 replication studies of articles published in prominent psychological journals found that only 36% of the replication studies produced statistically significant results, compared with 97% of the original studies. If scientific findings are not reproducible then modern science is being built on a foundation of quicksand.

Governments run by biased politicians tend to down-select slices of funding to confirmational research at the exclusions of all others approaches. They arbitrarily pick winners and losers. As a result, many times the winners of government grants are actually to defective approaches and the funding is totally wasted.

You might even wonder if the Theory of Special Relativity might not have even survived the selection process used by the scientific journal publishers of today. After all Einstein was an obscure government employee working as a clerk at the Swiss patent office.

So in the present world, scientific journals, politicians, newspapers, media and now even social media tech companies feel compelled to pick winners and losers. They have turned themselves into the Ministry of Truth. They censor and browbeat the opposing side into submission, rather than let scientific discovery rule the decision process.

We should encourage opposing viewpoints and let logic arguments and debate determine the path forward.

There’s quite a lot packed into this.

- The Replication Crisis. Yes, this is a big issue. No denying it. I think you’ve slightly misunderstood the causes and ramifications of the crisis though.

- Editors not publishing controversial material in scientific journals: this is not a problem. In fact, the problem we have is precisely the opposite: editors seek to publish interesting and surprising material, particularly studies with positive results, rather than publishing mundane studies that confirm existing ideas or fail to find a relationship. See: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Publication_bias

- Government funding of science/politicians meddling in science: I happen to know an awful lot about this because I spent a year examining the UK’s innovation system and comparing it to other countries. While there is a lot to unpack, broadly speaking politicians are kept out of the decision about what basic research to fund in the UK. Research funding is awarded based on excellence, as determined by peers, not political judgements of worth. While few countries apply this standard as strictly as the UK, most countries do establish some bureaucracy between ministers and researchers to secure a degree of academic freedom.

- The government funds research that doesn’t go anywhere: counter-intuitive as this may seem, this is actually a good thing! It is impossible to predict ahead of time what research is going to show. If the government funds a good share of “losers” then that proves that it is taking appropriate risks and publication bias is being minimised. There is an issue when this comes to expensive development of novel technologies, where pursuit of one technology is mutually exclusive with pursuit of another. Governments have been burned in the past from picking “losers” and being stuck with an inefficient technology. But as a result of that, modern governments in North America and Western Europe are institutionally conservative, with decision paralysis and refusal to back any mutually-exclusive technology at all lest they end up on the losing side. This leads to decision paralysis, which is an issue when a decision would benefit from being made quickly. Emerging nations are thankfully a bit better at this as they do not have the same bitter experience of the 80s.

- Einstein: it’s slightly misleading to say Einstein was a mere patent clerk when he published his theory of special relativity. He was supporting himself through a PhD, rather than being shunned by academia. By the time he published on special relativity, he had already published the work on the photoelectric effect that would later win him a Nobel Prize. Certainly his startling work would still be published today, although other factors would make it harder for a modern equivalent to provide such novel insight today.

- Comparing any of this to the Ministry of Truth: seems kind of ignorant of the plot of Nineteen Eighty-Four, where propaganda is used much more insidiously.



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31 Oct 2020, 3:23 am

jimmy m wrote:
An important Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee meeting occurred in the Senate today.

CEOs Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Sundar Pichai of Google and Jack Dorsey of Twitter coming under fire by both Democrats and Republicans. The CEOs were attacked for a range of practices, including censoring tweets and other posts from conservatives while not blocking content from liberals and foreign dictators, and for contributing to the decline of local newspapers and broadcasters.

A key issue before the committee and Congress is Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which provides enormously valuable protection to social media companies from lawsuits. Section 230 says that the social media companies cannot be held legally liable for material posted on their sites — unlike publishers of newspapers, magazines and books, who can be sued for libel for publishing certain types of false information.

The idea behind Section 230 is that sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google are akin to bulletin boards, where anyone can post any material, with limited exceptions such as pornography. However, when the sites censor or edit posts they become more like traditional publishers, who select and edit what they publish and are liable for the content.

Source: Big Tech Senate hearing winners and losers

I’m sure you’ll appreciate the irony, but this is factually incorrect. (Although your selective quoting makes Huffman’s legal claims seem worse than they are).

Section 230 protections are in no way endangered by good-faith attempts at post-moderation. As private organisations, these tech companies have a right to set their own content policies and remove content that they find objectionable. All three make efforts to stay out of the political fray, which is naturally very difficult- certainly there is a strong case to be made that their attempts to stay politically neutral has compromised their platforms, leading them to tolerate conduct from politicians and political parties that they would never tolerate from the general public.

But then, when you go around quoting the single most widely derided source in the free media, you’re not going to get a rounded picture. If you’re interested in the truth then... well, to be honest even reputable organisations sometimes struggle with this issue, but staying away from Fox News is always advisable.



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25 Nov 2020, 7:03 pm

Citing people familiar with CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s decision, the report alleged he changed the platform’s algorithm following the 2020 election to highlight outlets like CNN, NPR and The New York Times, which “resulted in a spike in visibility” for the “big, mainstream publishers.” The change reportedly caused “posts from highly engaged hyperpartisan pages, such as Breitbart and Occupy Democrats” to become “less visible” in news feeds.

“Parler believes that people should make the determination for themselves what they think is hyperpartisan or they believe in and what they’d like to follow and they can choose on their own on Parler what they’d like to get engaged with,” Matze said in response.

“So for me, this kind of Facebook secret internal algorithm thing is kind of Orwellian,” alluding to the dystopian reality depicted in George Orwell's novel "1984."

He noted Parler believes “in having a simple chronological algorithm that allows people to filter out and determine what they want to view and I think that’s the best way.”

“I don’t think any of us likes hyperpartisan content,” Matze said. “And so when people can decide on their own what they believe is within the norms of society and what they want to talk about, we should let them choose on their own.”

Source: Parler CEO: Facebook’s reported ‘secret internal algorithm’ is ‘Orwellian’


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25 Nov 2020, 7:10 pm

Don't have kids.
Problems solved. 8)


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26 Nov 2020, 10:55 am

jimmy m wrote:
Citing people familiar with CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s decision, the report alleged he changed the platform’s algorithm following the 2020 election to highlight outlets like CNN, NPR and The New York Times, which “resulted in a spike in visibility” for the “big, mainstream publishers.” The change reportedly caused “posts from highly engaged hyperpartisan pages, such as Breitbart and Occupy Democrats” to become “less visible” in news feeds.

“Parler believes that people should make the determination for themselves what they think is hyperpartisan or they believe in and what they’d like to follow and they can choose on their own on Parler what they’d like to get engaged with,” Matze said in response.

“So for me, this kind of Facebook secret internal algorithm thing is kind of Orwellian,” alluding to the dystopian reality depicted in George Orwell's novel "1984."

He noted Parler believes “in having a simple chronological algorithm that allows people to filter out and determine what they want to view and I think that’s the best way.”

“I don’t think any of us likes hyperpartisan content,” Matze said. “And so when people can decide on their own what they believe is within the norms of society and what they want to talk about, we should let them choose on their own.”

Source: Parler CEO: Facebook’s reported ‘secret internal algorithm’ is ‘Orwellian’

The idea of free speech of choosing the messaging you want is always good. There is a downside, though. I don’t actually champion truly free speech, only REASONABLY free speech. I dislike the idea of enabling actually dangerous people. I signed up for gab.ai soon after it started because censorship on Twitter wasn’t exactly a huge secret. But then all the white supremacists flocked to gab. Censorship is one problem; enabling violence is another. The best way to go is to get rid of both. If we can get this with Parler, I’ll be thrilled.



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26 Nov 2020, 11:41 am

I think one needs to consider the history of human society to put things in perspective.

Without going as far back as the Stone Age, consider that until fairly recently most people lived either in small towns or urban neighborhoods and that both environments offered very little privacy. They may have lived under governments that constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech but in their day-to-day life they were careful what they were overheard to say. I guess there was also some sort of consensus that filtered out harebrained notions via common sense. If you started telling people the government was controlling your brain via microwave transmissions, they generally concluded you were crazy (as you most likely were, schizophrenia you know).

More recently, individuals in our society have become more isolated but at the same time we've evolved a virtual world in which just about anyone can enter our lives and homes and influence us. A future historian like Hari Seldon could probably have predicted everything that has recently happened.

I think we should ignore the agonized voices screaming that their personal freedoms are under attack by organizations such as Facebook. It's all part of the process. Who knows where we'll be in another 10 years?

As for China, first we must acknowledge fundamental ways in which their society is different from the West and also acknowledge how smaller Asian countries function similarly. It's reasonable to conclude that policies we find abhorrent in the West are simply less so in Asia. Which is not to say those countries are above criticism just that these fundamental differences should be understood. Regarding China in particular, I can't help thinking that a lot of what we hear about them is propaganda (hell most of what I hear concerning issues with public order in Portland OR is propaganda). Admittedly, it's not easy to know from direct observation everything that goes on in China, but that doesn't mean we should unquestioningly believe every horror story we hear. And if you consider what Australia and the English-speaking countries of North America have done to their aboriginal populations, even not so very long ago, and it can become a case of asking whose right it is to cast the first stone.


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26 Dec 2020, 5:31 pm

Fresh evidence published jointly by The New York Times and ProPublica confirms that Beijing has been trying to keep COVID-19 information from the rest of the world since the very start of the pandemic.

On Feb. 7, Li Wenliang, the doctor who blew the whistle on COVID-19, died of the disease he’d warned the world about. While working at Wuhan Central Hospital in China’s Hubei Province, he saw a new version of the severe acute respiratory syndrome known as SARS, which also originated in China in 2002. As news of the 34-year-old doctor’s untimely death spread and grief went viral on social media such as Weibo and WeChat — Beijing set out to bury the truth.

"They ordered news websites not to issue push notifications alerting readers to [Li’s] death. They told social platforms to gradually remove his name from trending topics pages. And they activated legions of fake online commenters to flood social sites with distracting chatter," the Times-ProPublica team reports.

In all, the Hangzhou offices of Beijing’s Internet regulator, the Cyberspace Administration of China, issued more than 3,200 directives and 1,800 memos in its COVID-censorship drive — all leaked by the hacker group C.C.P. [Chinese Communist Party] Unmasked.

In January, before the coronavirus had even been definitively identified, the CCP began working overtime to mislead the world about the truth to protect the party’s image as infections began soaring — even making the disease look less severe. As a result, the world lost its best chance of preventing the global pandemic.

Source: China’s deadly COVID cover-up was worse than we thought


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26 Dec 2020, 6:41 pm

TheRobotLives wrote:
My favorite aspect of 1984 was how Winston's friend would think of new ways of reducing the number of words in the government dictionary.

The government believed ...

Less words = less robust thoughts = people are more easy to control

Words like "bad" can be eliminated, and replaced with "un-good".

So, at breakfast, Winston's friend would share in his delight in recalling the word reductions he made.


It sounds like modern day political correctness. 8O


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And one more thing,


"A stranger is a friend gang-stalker you haven't met yet."

Truth may be inconvenient but it is never politically incorrect...The Oracle of Truth has spoken...8)


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26 Dec 2020, 6:54 pm

jimmy m wrote:
The Chinese people are already living in 1984.


Ya think? 8O

Humanity is so adaptable, and selfish.
Why on earth would a rational human being want to being life into such a corrupt dystopian system?
It boggles the mind. 8O

My best theory is that evolution favours stupidity. 8)


_________________
Laughter is the best medicine. Age-appropriate behaviour is an arbitrary NT social construct.
Don't tell me white lies. Gaslight me at your peril. Don't give me your bad attitude.
If I'm so bad, pass me by. ;)


And one more thing,


"A stranger is a friend gang-stalker you haven't met yet."

Truth may be inconvenient but it is never politically incorrect...The Oracle of Truth has spoken...8)


THERE WILL BE NO COUP IN AMERICA!