Jan. 31st, 2017

purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
Once again it would appear to be a while since I posted one of these!

Dorothea Lange’s Censored Photographs of FDR’s Japanese Concentration Camps — Anchor Editions

Some stunning photos, together with quotes from many of those involved.

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News: The Opening of Lascaux IV, Dordogne, France. – Darkness Below UK

[personal profile] fredbassett attends the opening of Lascaux IV in France. Lovely photos.

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IEEE puts out a first draft guide for how tech can achieve ethical AI design | TechCrunch

I played a small part in the development of this guide, as a late addition to one of the sub-committees.

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There’s such a thing as collective narcissism (and it might explain a lot that’s going on at the moment) – Research Digest

An interesting article which focuses primarily on collective narcissism as a facet of national identity. However it seems like there should be other applications - e.g., to political identity which might be illuminating in other ways.

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Britain's productivity has fallen. That's a good thing - CapX

An interesting alternative perspective, both on productivity and on wage stagnation.

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Should we have intervened in Syria? I don’t know – and neither do most armchair generals

This is almost exactly how I feel about this. I watch the events in Syria with horror, but am far from convinced things would be any better if the UK had been more involved. Maybe they would, maybe they wouldn't, but I'm very, very aware that almost everything I know about Syria I learned from Facebook (that which I didn't learn from Facebook I probably learned from the Guardian or the Telegraph, neither of which I think are necessarily deeply insightful when it comes to the complex politics of this part of the Middle East) which doesn't exactly give me a great deal of confidence in any judgement I might make about this. This is liberal inaction and wringing of hands, of course, and one of my vague aspirations is to do less of this, but I'm not sure an issue as complex as Syria is the place to start.

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It may have seemed like the world fell apart in 2016. Steven Pinker is here to tell you it didn’t. - Vox

"Look at history and data, not headlines." - a useful counter-point to the widespread panic and doom-mongering that is occurring in my particular filter bubble. Via elisi

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'Fake news' – why people believe it and what can be done to counter it

No answers here, but at least a nuanced analysis of the problem that refrains from simply blaming Facebook.

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Everything you know about British train fares is wrong | CityMetric

An old article served up again. However it confirms my vague unease, when I hear people complain about profiteering on the part of railway franchise holders, that all is not as simple as it seems.

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The obstacles to making the Northern Powerhouse work are huge – and the data proves it | CityMetric

Interesting (if superficial) analysis of the North's problems via pretty maps.

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Doctor Who | Everything Ends - YouTube

I'm not much of a one for fanvids as a general rule, but I do like the work of TheGaroStudios and this is a good one, riffing on the Doctor's line about everything ending from the Christmas special.

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We can't afford a bitter Euro-divorce - CapX

One of the less hysterical articles about the likely implications of Teresa May's commitment to "hard" Brexit.

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The trouble with 'microaggressions'

Just quoting the conclusion: "... “microaggression” is not the best way to think about subtle prejudice. Its definition is amorphous and elastic. It fails to appreciate the ambiguity of social interaction, relies too exclusively on subjective perceptions, and too readily ascribes hostile intent. By doing so, the idea of microaggression contributes to a punitive and accusatory environment that is more likely to create backlash than social progress."

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Who will keep predatory science journals at bay now that Jeffrey Beall's blog is gone?

For those of us in academia this is sad and troubling news. Jeffrey Beall performed an important service in a world where the pressure to publish is exceedingly high.

EDIT: [personal profile] londonkds (in the comments on DreamWidth) has several criticisms of Beall's approach.

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How dangerous is burnt toast? - Full Fact

We discussed this when it came up on the Today programme. B. was skeptical, based on the information there, that there was any serious cause for concern about burnt toast. This article from Full Fact would seem to confirm that. It is difficult to disagree with its final couple of paragraphs which question whether a public campaign launched on such flimsy evidence might not have the entirely negative effect of causing people to ignore warnings about things we do have good evidence are harmful.

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We should be kind to America's First Victim — Melania Trump

As [profile] miss_sb says, Laurie Penny is better at polemic than rational argument. But I've been uncomfortable about much of what the left is saying at Melania Trump and, to be honest (though that's not an argument that exists even as a glimmer in this piece) about assumptions the left is making about the Trump marriage based on a few snippets of video taken under highly stressful conditions.

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I've excised a number of Trump articles I'd saved because, to be honest, I'm finding it very difficult to pick apart what is precisely business as normal for a Republican President (the Mexico City Gag Rule, for instance) and what is not. I find myself more concerned about the attacks on the Press, scientists, the Judiciary, and the gutting and/or sidelining of government departments than I do some of the more concrete issues since without the former I don't see that a lot can be done about the latter (and many of the latter were campaign promises which does make a difference). But even here it is difficult to figure out what may be business as usual (no press releases to be put out while the new administration gets its act together kind of thing), what is exceptional but may not be a bad thing in the long run (forcing the Press to be less reliant on access journalism, for instance) and what is exceptional and straightforwardly a bad sign.

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