Journal 09/23/2017 (p.m.)

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Journal 09/23/2017 (a.m.)

    • “The reality is that if you’re at the helm of a machine that has two billion screaming, whiny humans, it’s basically impossible to predict each and every possible nefarious use case,”
    • When Mark Zuckerberg built Facebook in his Harvard dorm room in 2004, nobody could have imagined its becoming a censorship tool for repressive regimes, an arbiter of global speech standards or a vehicle for foreign propagandists.

      But as Facebook has grown into the global town square, it has had to adapt to its own influence. Many of its users view the social network as an essential utility, and the company’s decisions — which posts to take down, which ads to allow, which videos to show — can have real life-or-death consequences around the world. The company has outsourced some decisions to complex algorithms, which carries its own risks, but many of the toughest choices Facebook faces are still made by humans.

    • “They still see themselves as a technology middleman,” said Mr. García Martínez. “Facebook is not supposed to be an element of a propaganda war. They’re completely not equipped to deal with that.”
    • Even if Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Sandberg don’t have personal political aspirations, as has been rumored, they are already leaders of an organization that influences politics all over the world. And there are signs that Facebook is starting to understand its responsibilities.
    • Several current and former employees described Facebook to me as a place where engineers and executives generally assume the best of users, rather than preparing for the worst. Even the company’s mission statement — “Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together” — implies that people who are given powerful tools will use those tools for socially constructive purposes. Clearly, that is not always the case.

      Hiring people with darker views of the world could help Facebook anticipate conflicts and misuse. But pessimism alone won’t fix all of Facebook’s issues. It will need to keep investing heavily in defensive tools, including artificial intelligence and teams of human moderators, to shut down bad actors. It would also be wise to deepen its knowledge of the countries where it operates, hiring more regional experts who understand the nuances of the local political and cultural environment.

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Journal 09/22/2017 (p.m.)

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Journal 09/21/2017 (p.m.)

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Journal 09/20/2017 (p.m.)

  • tags: manspreading Hillary Clinton reverse sexism feminism ridiculousness

  • tags: civil war New England 2017

  • tags: wikipedia gender reverse sexism nonsense etiquette feminism

    • Americans are angry about everything.

      That’s what Rep. Steve Israel thought just months before the 2014 midterm elections. During that cycle, Israel poured over reams of data and watched hours of focus groups with voters across the country. The New York Democrat, who had been tasked with coordinating his party’s messaging strategy, saw voters deeply antipathetic about more than just the partisan political process.


      “We saw an historic breakdown of faith in institutions across the board, not just government,” said Israel, who has since left Congress.

      People were angry about religious institutions riven by scandal and a financial system that led to the worst recession in modern history. They saw disruption taking place across the economy in deeply personal terms, like the local bookstore that had closed because of online competition or the taxi cab that had been replaced by ride-hailing services. And they saw a political system entirely unable — or unwilling — to offer a response that addressed their growing anxieties.

    • There’s an existential fear for their economic survival
    • “Even when our politics and government failed us in the past, people have had safe havens to go to, whether it was sports or the church. Without a safe place to go to, that amplifies anxiety.”
    • “Our system is set up for cooperation, negotiation, those sorts of things,” said Rob Griffin, a demographer at the Center for American Progress and George Washington University. “Our system is uniquely unsuited to deal with polarization.”
    • “The things that we’re fighting about are fundamentally different visions of what America is,” said Lee Drutman, a political scientist at New America. “There’s never been a democracy as diverse or unequal as the United States.”
    • Politicians, like anyone, are driven by incentives, and in a moment of hyperpartisanship the overwhelming incentive is to demonize the other side — as Trump has with immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally, or to a lesser extent as Clinton did with her “basket of deplorables” remark.
    • Race relations between whites, blacks and Hispanic-Americans are degrading: About 60 percent of minorities say race relations are generally bad, according to a Pew Research Center poll released last year, and another Pew poll showed 43 percent of whites and an incredible 74 percent of blacks fear race relations will get worse.
    • Today, the rise of partisan media outlets has supplemented conservative talk radio and in turn has been supplemented by the internet’s ability to spread dubious news. 

      “You have basically the information network that stitched America together now cracking apart,” said Laura Quinn, a Democratic data analytics expert.

    • In a political system with a bias toward slowing progress, most observers see three potential paths ahead, two of which are unlikely and a third that is unpalatable: a radical change to existing rules, the rise of a third party or a continuation of the intractable morass of the status quo.
    • The significant decline in the number of truly competitive House and state legislative districts, the result of aggressive gerrymandering enacted by both parties, has made members of Congress more accountable to the small number of party activists who decide primary elections — rather than the broader middle that might demand more bipartisan cooperation.
    • “The anger that comes with being presented with those two extreme choices has led to the gridlock and paralysis and political failure,” Quinn said. “Donald Trump’s narrative is simply: America is in a zero-sum game. Pick your tribe and arm yourself. And if his narrative wins, that’s the future that we all have to look forward to.”
  • tags: movies

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Journal 09/20/2017 (a.m.)

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Journal 09/19/2017 (p.m.)

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