Thursday, February 26, 2015

Does 1 In 2 Republicans Think That "Deep Down" Obama Is A Muslim?

Uh...seems like...maybe yes...?
Jesus. The fever swamps may be getting progressively more fetid
(via /r/politics)

Weed Now Sorta Legal In DC

Kootenai County, ID GOP Debates Declaring Idaho a Christian State

An A-To-Z Guide To The New PC

Dial 'M' for microaggression:


Are Anti-Vaxxers Stupid?

Talking Philosophy makes a decent case for a negative answer.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Some Introductory Stuff On Category Theory

At Logic Matters, via /r/philosophy

Playing with "Privilege"

Pete Mac points us to this in comments.
   I'm not a huge fan, for reasons I sketch in comments. But I thought I'd post it anyway, since I'm often wrong.
   For the record (and times being what they are), I should say that I don't disagree that people are treated badly for all sorts of reasons, and one big reason people get treated badly by some is that they're female. But I think that this list milks a few points past the point that would be reasonable. For one thing, I think the repeated use of the "because of their gender" qualifier illicitly conceals the fact that dudes get harassed, too, just not for the same kinds of reasons girls do. I also think that (and this is a general problem with the whole BS "privilege" conception--which, tbf, PM asks us to ignore) there's a presupposition here that I gain if you are abused. Which is nonsense. Women being harassed has little real effect on me personally. It barely effects me negatively, and probably has basically no positive effect on me at all. It outrages me, and makes my life worse in a more abstract and indirect sense by making the world a worse place and pissing me off... But it's extremely implausible to say that it's somehow a net, non-trivial benefit to me and/or most other guys. I bend over backwards not to gain any illicit advantage from being male. Consequently, I get few benefits, and I pay the cost of having to repeatedly hear false accusations that I gain illicitly. I don't think that matters much, but if we got seriously about adding up all these ephemeral costs and benefits, we'd have to think about all that stuff more carefully. In short: life is not a zero-sum game. A disadvantage to women is not automatically an advantage to men. (And that's part of my objection to the "privilege" crap. Instead of focusing on the harm to the harmed groups, the SJWs/neo-PCs are way more interested in trying to score points against the group they really hate--the evil and reviled straightwhitemales. Screw that crap. I think it's stupid. I'm more interested in mitigating harm against harmed groups than making moves in some ridiculous game of victimhood chess.)
   As always, I could be wrong, and almost certainly am on at least some points.)

[This wasn't supposed to turn into a criticism, much less such a shoot-from-the-hip one...]

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Carolina 46 - State 58

   Congratulations to State, and congrats in particular to coach Gottfried, who's [Jesus Christ...whose] three quick TOs really took the wind out of Carolina's sails. A smart move, and it worked well, unfortunately.
   Carolina is in big trouble. We've dropped 5 of the last 7, and just look lost. Of course the Duke game has an asterisk by it given the nature of the last play in regulation...but the Heels did choke themselves into a position such that one call could make the I don't think that's much reason for decreased concern. 46 points is the fewest ever scored by a Carolina team in the Dean Dome. In the last 7 games, the only good thing they can point to is a 30-point stomping  of a not-very-good Georgia Tech team...and that in Chapel Hill...
   Bunch of really great kids--I really, really like 'em... But things just don't seem to be coming together for them...
   I'd really, really like to see them hit their stride a couple more times before their season ends

GamerGate In 60 Seconds

   GamerGate (in 60 seconds!) is rather an amorphous mess, but I tend to be on the pro-GG side of things. That's not to say that harassment of people online isn't a problem--it apparently is, and apparently for women in particular. However, the core of the GG crowd, so far as I can tell, is not where the harassment is coming from. The web is filled with pathetic losers (many of them just little kids, apparently) who not only can't stand up for themselves in real life, but can't even bring themselves to bully people in real life...not that I think that would be better...but at least it might be less cowardly... Safe from getting punched in the head, they flip their shit online and become the psychos they wish they had the guts to be IRL...  Sad, sick, embarrassing...but real... And mostly a male phenomenon. But not the fault of GG.
   Most GGers are concerned about the allegedly corrupt, dishonest, incestuous state of gaming journalism. I don't care all that much about that, actually. I'm more interested in the SJW/neo-PC component of the thing. It's bad that people get harassed online. But it's bullshit that this gets used as cover for the SJW/neo-PC agenda. Their favorite argument seems to be Anita Sarkeesian was harassed, therefore x...for any value of x you choose... I'm sorry that Sarkeesian was harassed. But that doesn't make her arguments good. Her arguments are, in fact, largely bad. And the fact that some people are mean to her--reprehensible though it is--will not change that. But, of course, that's the core argument of the neo-PCs: I'm a victim, therefore x...for any value of x you choose...
   SJW/neo-PC nuttiness is ascendant in gaming journalism--I don't even read much of it and I see it. And that's the bullshit that bothers me. An illiberal coterie of not-very-good journalists is pushing a political agenda on places like Kotaku, and it's appalling, and there needs to be a concerted backlash.
   We live in crazy times, and, so, I suppose I should say again: I wish I had the power to stop online harassment. I wish I could magically teleport around the world and personally punch every offender in the dick. But that isn't going to happen, and I don't have any clue what to do about the problem. So I tend to focus on what I can do--urging people not to take us from having one problem to having two. Pushing an extremist, irrationalist, illiberal social and political view isn't the answer to online harassment. Totalitarianism is not the right response to anarchy...especially when the anarchy is merely virtual. That is to say: there's no evidence that any of the threats in question are at all credible. For all the personal physical threats spewed out into the inter-aether every day, do we know of even one of them that's ever been carried out? I still don't think that the shit is permissible...but I have to say it does bother me that people like Sarkeesian act as if they're being actually threatened by actual psychos actually intent on doing them harm. It's not like al Qaeda has put a fatwa on them or something... In fact, it's fairly likely to be a 75-pound 12-year-old with glasses...  
  Anyway, there's that. As usual, I could be wrong, but that's the way it seems to me.


Go Tar Heels
Beat the Pack

My guts are all twisty about this one...

Monday, February 23, 2015

Today's Worst Post Of All Time: Dawn Eyestone: Wikipedia, Controversy, And The Myth of Neutrality

   This is what happens when people in English and Communications try to do epistemology...
   It ain't pretty.
   Hell, philosophers aren't all that good at epistemology. Even epistemologists are usually pretty crappy at it... And by the time you get to the communications department, it's invariably an unmitigated disaster.
   [However: the author rightly calls bullshit on anti-Gamergate bias in the media. She's absolutely right that the stories she cites say false things in an effort to make it sound as if GGers have some kid of grip on Wikipedia. Good on her for that. She gives an objective account of what the stories say, then an objective account of the facts...then goes on to give a bunch of bad arguments for why objectivity is impossible... Which is, of course, weird...]
   (That's the Archive.Today link, incidentally, so that they don't get the hits...but just in case the link decays, here's the original: (note: do not click on it!): link)
   No time to say much about this now...and I probably won't waste minutes of my life on it later even...but this is just crap [almost] from beginning to end.
   It's a common ploy on the intellectual left: when you're losing the argument, start asserting that there's no such thing as proof, no such thing as knowledge, no such thing as truth, no such thing as objectivity...or, in this case, not even any such thing as neutrality... (The right has its own ploys and sicknesses, of course...but this isn't one of them...)
   In this crappy article, the author cites some of the worst epistemology and philosophy of science of the last quarter-century (by, e.g., Donna Haraway, Evelyn Fox Keller) and asserts it as if it were obviously true. It's the philosophical equivalent of simply asserting, snidely, dogmatically, and without batting an eye, that ancient aliens populated the Earth with battle leprechauns, and it is they who wiped out the dinosaurs. (In fact, the leprechaun thing is way more plausible than the  Haraway and Keller stuff...)
   I'm too tired and insufficiently interested to say anything much about this now, but: basically everything in that post is wrong. First, consider her inconsistent, ad hoc appeals to skepticism. Skepticism for thee but not for me is a common strategy in this sector of the web. The other thing I'll just gesture at is what is, roughly, a kind of confusion of skepticism and views like relativism and "social constructionism." After gesturing vaguely at skepticism--I mean har har objective truth amirite?--such folk will often proceed as if they've said something in support of the view that mumble mumble mumble is "socially constructed." But this is never so. First, "social construction" is approximately the most confused concept (if, indeed, it even rises to the level of a concept...) in the vicinity of philosophy. The term is so confused that it virtually means nothing at all. However, and more importantly: however much skepticism is appropriate with respect to the claim that (e.g.) trees are objective, physical, mind-independent things, about 100 times more skepticism is appropriate with respect to the claim that we make trees up with the magical power of social agreement. Physical, mind-independent objects are puzzling in certain ways. Objects created by human agreement are...well...entirely fictional...  So do not--ever--fall for this argument: Nobody's refuted skepticism...therefore everything is relative...or reality is socially constructed...or battle leprechauns extinctified the dinosaurs...  Whatever the ultimate fate of skepticism, the following argument is a non-sequitur of Biblical proportions:
We cannot be absolutely certain that trees are objectively real....therefore the craziest theory you can think of must be true.
   Don't fall for that shit. It's stupid.
   Also, don't fall for the "perfect" ploy, which Eyestone deploys in that trainwreck: perfect objectivity is not possible, therefore objectivity is not possible. The premise could be true (though I doubt it), but the conclusion doesn't even come close to following. Compare:
The perfect crime is not possible, therefore crime is not possible.
   And as for Eyestone's claim that neutrality is not possible: utter nonsense. I'm completely neutral about all sorts of things, and so are you. I'm neutral as to, say, whether Toyota or Honda makes better cars. I simply don't care. Not in the least. I'm also neutral with respect to the question of whether gyrfalcons or peregrine falcons are faster. It's not that I don't care--I do kinda care, and I might just look it up when I'm done here. But I don't care care. I don't have a dog in the fight. I'm not biased with respect to the question because I don't have the kinds of beliefs and desires that undermine neutrality.
   I probably should be so cranky and condescending about all this stuff....but, ya know...that post on the other end of the link is just irresponsibly bad. It's the intellectual equivalent of being an anti-vaxxer or something. Or a Scientologist.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Carolina 89 - Tech 60

I'm sure the Jackets were not psyched to play the Heels after that Duke game...

Four Corners Tribute to Dean Smith

Choked a lot of people up.
Not me, of course...

Gottlieb: Winslow's Blatant Grab Against Tokoto As Bad As Officiating Gets, Officials Deserve Reprimand

   I'm not particularly a Gottleib fan...but I'll post it:
Not calling a blatant grab and hold on Winslow on Duke's game tying possession in regulation is as bad of officiating as it gets. Tyus Jones drove off a ball screen set by Winslow who wrapped up his own defender. It was awful. I don't need to get into a “Duke gets the calls” “Let 'em play” debate, that is a foul on any possession in any gym in the country. Those officials should be reprimanded, it was pathetic.
   One reason that this thing was so annoying was that it's such a paradigmatically dookie move. Along with the flopping, the kicking out on 3s, interfering with the ball on made baskets, the incessant handchecking and all the other crap that K apparently coaches. (Then, of course, in the last game there were the convenient clock issues when Duke was winded...and just in time to ice the Carolina free-throw shooters... )
   Again, officiating in sports is approximate. Bad calls are always made, and they typically go against both teams. And everybody wants to whine about the refs when they lose...  But daggummit, I actually don't even dislike this Duke team particularly--and I really do like Winslow. But this crap just gets old.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Let's Go Heels

Time to wreck the Wreck...

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Another Angle on Winslow's Bear Hug Against Tokoto

Daggumit I'm fit to be tied about this crapola.
JPT would have swatted the evil leprechaun's weak shit to the Outer Banks...

On a rather more uplifting note, here's a considerably more inspiring embrace by Winslow, just to keep things in perspective...

The Return of Air Pierre

One good thing from last night: Tokoto is back.
He's my favorite player on this team. Love his game, love his hops. He's seemed worn out since Pinson went on the DL...but he looked good last night.
(Video with bonus awesome Hicks slammage)

Carolina 90 - Duke 92; Duke Honors Dean At Cameron

   The real highlight of the game was this. Still more props to Duke for the way they've responded to Dean's death.
  As for the game...well...there were some good things, some good play by both teams, but the Heels still just can't seem to get it all together. Not all at once, anyway. We had like 6 points from our starting back court, and Paige was a non-factor. The prevailing theory is that his plantar fasciitis is really bothering him. I've had that stuff, and it's miserable. I couldn't run for like two years because of it. At any rate, as everyone knows, this year's Marcus Paige is a pale shadow of last year's Marcus Paige... All year the Heels have either started flat and built a big deficit or collapsed at the end. This game they did both, starting ten points down and then collapsing spectacularly in the final 2:30, up by 10. I expected it to happen, because that's just how we roll this year...but hoped that it wouldn't.
 The front court played well, but was hampered by the...well...somewhat puzzling officiating. Brice, Kennedy and Isaiah had 5, 4 and 3 fouls...Okafor had 1 for the game, including OT. Then there was the blatant Winslow foul at the end of regulation that allowed Jones to score...impossible to miss, it seemed...right out in front of God and call. When I saw the foul, I thought that was game us. If that foul is called, Heels win. (Doug Gottleib tweeted "the game goes to overtime because of the worst no-call of the season.") And I think that's a plausible assessment. On top of that Winslow clotheslined Paige on the rebound at the end of OT...if that one is called, we likely tie. But sadly, again, no call.
   Complaining about the refs is bad form. Reffing is hard, and it's an approximate business. You've got to understand that going in. But ever since that game in the DES in 2012 when four bad calls in two minutes set up a winning shot by Austin Rivers, the dookiest dookie of all time, I've been rubbed particularly the wrong way by this sort of thing, and I do wonder whether K's constant snarling at the officials works. Especially when the final foul count for the game was Heels 26, Duke 16--and that includes the stretch at the end of regulation when Duke was fouling intentionally. Bad calls go both ways...and one expects a certain amount of home cookin' in the ACC...but daggum it, it daggum really seemed to hit us daggum hard last night...
   But, again--the game's a game and it's an inconsequential thing sub specie aeternitatis. Good on Duke for getting the important stuff right last night.