Saturday, October 22, 2016

"Decolonizing" Mathematics

   Or: education major throws around buzzwords about a field she doesn't understand at all.
   Look, if you think this stuff is just going to go away, you're wrong. Reasonable people need to start pushing back, else 20 years from now you're going to discover that your state universities are wasting faculty lines on "ethnomathematicians."

Caesar Vargas: What I really Told Project Veritas

   I'm chagrined that I thought there was any chance that O'Keefe's Project Falsitas was telling the truth in that heavily-edited video. But so much of what Foval said was straight-up awful even without edits, that my head went all whirly...I...I got so confused...
   Anyway, here's the tl:dr of Vargas: O'Keefe is, indeed, a big fat liar / propagandist of Pravdaian proportions.
   Is Vargas giving us the straight dope? Well, we know that O'Keefe is a liar. We don't know anything about Vargas. Winner: Vargas. That is: in the absence of any other information, we have reason to dismiss the voice-over charges by PF against Vargas.
   Of course there's an easy way for O'Keefe to prove his as-yet unsupported accusations: he can release the raw footage. That would be pretty much an end on it. That would, presumably (and ignoring any other shenanigans) tell us everything we need to know.
   However: O'Keefe says he will not release said footage. So not only does presumption stay with Vargas, the refusal itself is further evidence that O'Keefe is a lying sack of shit.
   Ad hominems about funding are normally weak and commonly misleading, ergo I avoid them...but given the evidence we already have on the table, I think the lying sack of shit conclusion is further supported by the fact that Trump gave money to Project Falsitas.
   So that's basically an end on that.
   Unless/until PF releases the uncut footage, of course.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Pinson Out Indefinitely

   Whelp, that's the season.

Alex Jones: If Trump Loses, A World War Will Kill 1/3 Of The World Population

   Eh...honestly that's probably not enough to make me vote for Trump.

STAT: Against Keeping Politics Out Of Science


   Wow. I have had a rough week, and I'm about to relax with some rye and beer and L4D2. I'm not going to waste 20 minutes pointing out what's wrong with that article. Maybe I will later... But it's pretty damn obvious. Nobody around here needs me to. Though...RPR doesn't exactly take potshots--it merely posts abstracts. If you don't want people making fun of some nonsense that you wrote, then my suggestion would be to stop writing nonsense. But that's just me.
   Oh, and then there's this paragraph, a critical thinking class in microcosm:
Another problem with faulting research for its political content is that knowing where to stop is impossible. The lines are completely arbitrary and subjective — which is the antithesis of science. Accepting that a field like gender studies is hopelessly politicized and worthy of scorn admits the possibility that astronomy and hydrodynamics are, too.
Come to think of it...I am going to use that in my CT class. Many of my students will be able to clearly explain what's wrong with that paragraph. Kinda funny that Oransky and Marcus couldn't see it...

The Vacuum-Decay Apocalypse Explained In A Cute Cartoon

I really hate vacuum decay.

Rasmussen: Trump Up By 2

It's a data point.
I'm not going to freak out.

Donald Trump Broke The Conservative Media

   This is really good. A short history of the conservative media takeover of American conservatism and the GOP, the radicalization of all three of them, and some thoughts about what must happen after Trump.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Proof That Non-Citizens Vote In Florida?

Well, so much for the insistence that there is no in-person voter fraud in the U.S.

[Here's another story, apparently from the same local NBC affiliate. That seems like the relevant source, not "Top Right News," which seems to have just posted it to YouTube. But it seems pretty weird that this story would not have legs if it's for real. Anyway, caveat lector for the time being.]

[See also this.
(h/t S. rex)]

Trump Is Rape Culture!!!!111

  God this is dumb.
  We'll be rid of Trump in two weeks.
   PC may very well be here to stay.
   (Also, didn't Slate used to be a cut above, say, Salon / Huffington Post? Or am I imagining that?)

[One commenter on Slate describes that piece as "Marcottian." Man, that hits the nail on the head alright. It does boost my spirits that the commenters on Slate frequently call bullshit on stuff like that.]

Rape Is About Sex, Not Power

   One of the bizarre things feminism convinced me of when I was young was that rape is about power, not sex. I didn't believe it for any very good reason. I just thought I should be a feminist, and my feminist gf and her loony feminist mentor told me it was so, and I accepted it. I usually wasn't that epistemically compliant...but I was pretty young at the time. Anyway, despite seeing my way clear of the superstitious and inegalitarian parts of feminism pretty quickly, that belief stuck in my head. Perhaps I assumed that there must be evidence for it or something. But only fairly recently I came across someone pointing out that it was false, and it dawned on me that of course it was.
   Anyway, yeah, it's false. Here's a thing.

The Daily Caller: Drudge Poll Shows Trump Won Debate 3

But only 76-24, down from the 92-8 of the St. Louis debate.

Trump's Appeal to The Election of 2000 to Justify His Refusal to Commit Himself To Honor The Outcome Of The Election

   It's not a sound response, right?
   Gore did honor the outcome. There was never any doubt that he would honor the outcome. He got royally screwed over and he honored the outcome. The decision in Bush v. Gore is laughably/cryably absurdly terribly awfully not even close to being minimally plausible--and he honored the outcome. The scene of him in the Senate repeatedly bringing the gavel down on Congressmen trying to stop certification of the votes is one of the most goddamn inspiring things I've ever seen. Gore's the polar goddamn opposite of Trump on this score.
   I think this got started because of one infelicitous way that Wallace asked the question; he asked at one point something like: on the night of the election, if you lose, will you call your opponent and concede? This left Trumpo minimally plausible wiggle room to cite Gore. But, of course, all that's just because of one unfortunate way of asking the question. Gore was always committed to honoring the outcome, and did so even though it was kind of bullshit. Trump is basically saying that if he wins he should win and if he loses he should win. He's in effect saying: fuck America, fuck your democracy, fuck your democratic principles.
   Is there any doubt that he would seize power if he could?
   Anyway, no. Nobody's actually asking you, Trumpo, to say that you'll concede on election night no matter what. We're asking whether you will honor the democratic process. Anything other than an enthusiastic yes means that you are a psycho fascist. So now we know what he is. As if we didn't already.

Three Wins For Clinton

[There is absolutely no reason to read this crap. It was just mindless venting while 3/4 asleep]

   Not being a moron with obvious mental problems was enough to win, and HRC pulled that off with flying colors. Two questions in, I was kinda sad that I'd donated to her campaign,  but I soon remembered that I'm really donating to the generic anti-Trump, and was at peace. Her answer to the Supreme Court question was less embarrassingly ignorant, but possibly even scarier, than Trump's, since it basically came down to: I'll appoint justices that will advance the political ends I prefer. I was hoping for something more along the lines of: I'll appoint someone smart who will interpret the law objectively...but I suppose that was an irrational hope.
   Of course Trump once again showed that he is entirely unqualified for the office by refusing to say that he'll accept the outcome of the election. If he hadn't already proven himself to be entirely unqualified, that might have been a much more important moment than it was. The "bad hombres" line is already generating PC pearl-clutching. I'm willing to listen to explanations of why that's supposedly a horrific thing to say, but thus far, no good ones. The "vicious woman" line, frequent childish interruptions and the rest of his deranged shenanigans were just icing on the cake.
   Also, something he said made me think that he thinks he's intelligent...something I never considered before. I suppose I just figured that he knew, at some level, that he's an idiot...but now I think he might not actually be hip to that scene.
   Anyway, my $0.02.

[This was written when I was three-quarters asleep. Whatever. Who cares. It's really just venting. HRC did great given the circumstances, and I think she could be a really good President. She could be even more moderate than Obama. ]

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Great Southeast Shakeout

Get ready, it's on its way.
Tomorrow, 10/20 at 10:20.
Remember kids: preparedness is cool. Chicks dig preparedness.

Trump and the *Insufficiently Attractive to Molest* Defense

   Trump's catching hell for this, and rightly so, I think.
   But is it because that defense is never any good, or because of contingent facts about Trump etc.?
   I mean, I agree that making fun of people's looks is a shitty thing to do in general. (Though I do worry that it's also bad to slip toward moral fanaticism about such things... ("Lookism," believe it or not, was the paleo-PC term for this sin.))
   I know this is probably a particularly pointless philosopher's puzzle, but aren't there some cases in which Smith might plausibly defend himself against accusations of sexual assault leveled by Jones against him by indicating that he is not attracted to Jones?
   I don't think that this defense is plausible in Trump's cases. He seems to be basically arguing "I am not attracted to these women now, therefore I would not have been attracted to them when they were in their 20's." The very fact that he's using such an implausible type of argument may be telling. Also--and I'm sure there are many people who would put me in the same category as Trump for even mentioning this--his accusers actually seem to be unusually attractive. So I'm not buying it.
   (Also incidentally: the very fact that I might be crucified if the wrong group of people--and here I mean: liberals and/or PCs, not Trump supporters--read that previous paragraph shows how irrational many on the left have become about such issues. Says me, anyway.)
   Also: even if we were to grant that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder"...
...which, incidentally, we shouldn't do...because it isn't... Not entirely, anyway. Beauty seems to be to some extent in the eye of the beholder, but that's different.
   Anyway, even if we did grant that, we could also point out that the following is a true empirical generalization: most men would find Trump's accusers attractive. Ergo it is unlikely that Trump did not. It's unlikely that his eyes behold things so atypically.
   (Another observation I'd probably get in trouble for: Trump's accusers mostly have the same "look". They are, for example, mostly blondes. Not much evidence...but perhaps some.)

   But back to the argument that would get me in trouble were anyone ever to read it other than the weird denizens of this place...
   Suppose that Smith is a celebrity with droves of attractive fans constantly clamoring to have sex with him. There is copious evidence that he avails himself of these opportunities, and that he has fairly normal standards of beauty. Suppose Smith is accused of sexual harassment by Jones. Suppose also that Jones is extremely unattractive by anyone's lights. It might be mean for Smith to point this out, but meanness can't be a consideration in the face of such a serious accusation--unless we're presupposing that Smith is guilty. If Smith is guilty, then pointing out Jones's unattractiveness is just another shitty thing about Smith. But if we don't presuppose Smith's guilt, then surely it's permissible for him to say--if it's true--that he is not attracted to Jones. Uh...right? I mean, imagine a case in which Jones is terribly deformed, has leprosy, whatever. This can't always be completely irrelevant, can it?
   Of course Trump's case is different. He's obviously lying, and he's obviously an unusually mean, vicious jackass. He revels in trying to harm anyone who runs afoul of him. And that's pretty clearly part of what he's doing in this case. But we can imagine that in Smith's case, he's not. It genuinely and obviously pains him to say it--but suppose he's actually repulsed by Jones (and actually innocent). Surely he's permitted to say so.
   What if Smith is heterosexual and Jones is male? Is Smith permitted to use that in his defense? Isn't that just an instance of Smith not finding Jones attractive?
   Perhaps feminists who still believe that such crimes are entirely crimes of violence with no sexual motive will object--but they're wrong, so that objection is unsound. So I wouldn't put any stock in that objection. Rape and sexual assault are primarily about, y'know, sex.
   So, anyway, Trump is lying and he's aiming to score emotional points against people who he's already assaulted... But I don't think that this general type of defense is always weightless, and I don't think that it is always reprehensible.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Armata T-14 vs. M-1 Abrams

Sounds like a close call, but the Abrams is proven.

Clinton Campaign and DNC Operatives Inciting Craziness and Violence At Trump Rallies and Colluding With Superpacs?

[Nah, forget it. I watched it again when I got home, and it basically all comes down to (a) typical O'Keefean bullshit editing and (b) one guy who sounds pretty much like a bullshitting asshole, i.e. Scott Foval. Without seeing the actual, uncut footage, there's usually no way to tell what most of these people are talking about. Given O'Keefe's well-established record of dishonesty, I guess I don't see any reason to fret too much about this BS.
   I knew I should have just dismissed this bullshit out of hand...but nooooo... I got all up on my I'm-not-partisan-see? high horse. Imma gonna take this seriously despite the source! Even if O'Keefe does turn up anything not-overtly-bullshitty, you've basically got to conclude by this point that it's merely currently-undetectable bullshit, and that the bullshit will be revealed soon enough.  Like the GOP, O'Keefe has cried wolf one too many times for any sensible person to fret about his allegations. If he ever says anything true, we'll eventually hear about it. But until such a time, there's no reason to treat anything he does seriously.
   That's my view, anyway.]

   Look...this is a James O'Keefe joint. So caveat auditor. There are places where typical O'Keefean editing is almost undoubtedly in play, and induction indicates that many of the edits will produce footage that's real, of course, but tantamount to lying.  As even RedState notes, we basically can't even pay attention to those points unless/until we see the unedited footage.
   However...there are other places where alleged Democratic operatives seem to clearly state that they are acting as intermediaries between the Clinton campaign and superpacs, and working to incite violence at Trump rallies. One claims to hire mentally ill people to do the latter, and claims that he loves working with unions--the AFL-CIO, he says, will find him someone to do anything. At one point someone claims credit for the riot in Chicago that shut down a Trump rally and injured two cops.
   Even if half or 3/4 of this is misleading editing, this video is still a devastating demonstration that the Democrats suck. I don't want to suggest that the GOP doesn't do such things--we saw that they did to great effect in Florida in 2000, to the great detriment of the country. But this video seems to show that the Dems are no better. We might also say, of course, that a lot of blame still falls on Trump supporters--they're the powder keg that the Dems are touching off. That may be true, but it doesn't mean that the Dems are not to blame for intentionally setting them off. There's enough blame to go around in this case.

[Forgot to add: one point where cheating edits seemed to be a clear possibility was the crucial point where someone alleges that the Clinton campaign knew about this stuff. Still bad though.]

Monday, October 17, 2016

What Is Wrong With Social Psychological Science?

(via the philosophymetametametablog)

Josh Barro: Why I Left The Republican Party To Become A Democrat

The most important thing we have learned this year is that when the Republican Party was hijacked by a dangerous fascist who threatens to destroy the institutions that make America great and free, most Republicans up and down the organizational chart stood behind him and insisted he ought to be president.
Some did this because they are fools who do not understand why Trump is dangerous.
Some did it because they were naïve enough to believe he could be controlled and manipulated into implementing a normal Republican agenda.
Of course, there were the minority of Republicans who did what was right and withheld their support from Trump: people like Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Hewlett-Packard CEO and megadonor Meg Whitman, with her calling Trump "a threat to the survival of the republic."
I want to focus on a fourth group: Republican politicians who understand exactly how dangerous Donald Trump is but who have chosen to support him anyway for reasons of strategy, careerism, or cowardice.
   Rubio, Cruz and Ryan in particular...

Trump: Ein Volk, ein Gott, eine Flagge

   Ein Esel

Iraqi Forces Inflict "Heavy Losses" On ISIL in Mosul?

CNN +  Iraqi army --> who knows?
But let's hope.


...a long road to a very small house...
   Hey, these armrests on this one model of 727 don't obviously look like they go up!   And then there's the butler who...didn't see  I mean, y'know...I didn't see it either, come to think of it...
   Thin gruel indeed.
   They even cite that lunatic Gilberthorpe against Leeds. Jeez, you'd think they'd have scrubbed that one at least.
   They also seem to be lying about Migillivray's account. She said that she felt a hand on her butt; they say she felt someone "bump" her. Not nearly the weightiest of the accusations, of course.
   Oh, and, as for Kristin Anderson's accusation, it seems that Mr. Trump does not sit alone at clubs.
   Anyway. It's a pathetic list of impotent responses. Honestly, though, I haven't been able to find the butler's actual account. Depending on the details, it could end up being stronger that it sounds.

Burning the Ship of State for Short-Term Political Gain: I Blame Rush Limbaugh

   So here's a common thought: one of our great strengths is that most of us basically trust the system, and mostly trust our countrymen. In my view, Rush Limbaugh played a pivotal role in fucking that up. He employs the method of derogatory free-association to wend his way from whatever news blurb or current event the uses as a springboard, through some subsidiary derogation of liberals (Limbaugh-ian lemmas) to the (preordained, of course) conclusion that liberals are evil and stupid and cowardly and dedicated to the destruction of the country. He hates liberals and loves to be thought intelligent, insightful and well-informed. And he's willing to destroy the country in order to pursue those preferences. It's not a particularly deft analogy, but I've long pictured this like so: we're on a sailing ship that's run as a democracy. Limbaugh is a guy who's willing to tear down the masts and tear up the decks to make a bonfire in order to host a party drumming up support for his side. He's willing to cannibalize the ship of state to fuel his campaign against liberalism. Once the ship is broken, we're all fucked. But that's fine with him. Limbaugh's delusional, rabid hatred of liberalism, and his love of fame, adulation and money...these are what motivate him. USA be damned...
   That's what we're seeing from Trump now. On exactly zero evidence, he's willing to destroy the faith in democracy that's necessary for the survival of the Republic--not in order to win. That isn't going to happen. He's already lost. He's a political dead man walking. But rather simply because he can't resist the urge to lash out in defeat. If scoring futile points against Clinton requires destruction of American democracy, then so be it. Of course he won't destroy it...but he's happy to weaken it as much as possible.
   He's probably not an actual agent of Putin...but he might as well be.
   I've defended that sonofabitch against unsound criticisms, and I've even tried hard to give him a run for his money against criticisms that seemed sound but unfairly-leveled. I've tried to keep my disgust for the guy from interfering with my thinking about him. But disgust me he does, and always has. Not, y'know, this bad... Not as bad as he does now that I know that he's a rapist-lite who wants to destroy the country with a tantrum... But you don't even have to know those things to be justly revolted by the guy. I think he may be the most disgusting American politician of my lifetime. Even Wallace at least saw the light and sought redemption. Even Nixon had some virtues...
   But anyway, the point is that Trump reminds me of a dumber, shittier Rush Limbaugh. At any rate, they're cut from the same cloth in many respects.

Trump Accuser Zervos: Currently Too Complicated To Count

   The Zervos case seems to me to be too complicated for her testimony to count against Trump in the clear and obvious ways that some of the other testimony does. She apparently continued to support Trump, and her cousin alleged other motives. She responds the he's angry over a family dispute, he's an enthusiastic Trump supporter, one of Zervos's friends testifies that she told her at the time... This might be untangleable by the pros, but probably not at the level of bloggy bullshit. The other, uncomplicated accusations give weight to Zervos's testimony, but I'd say that Zervos's testimony is an evidential wash without the testimony of others.

Orange County, NC, GOP HQ Firebombed

   Near Hillsborough.
   Some spray-painting: swastikas, "Nazi Republicans get out of town or else." If given the chance to bet on whether this was a genuinely anti-Republican act or a false flag operation by Republicans...I probably wouldn't bet. Pretending to have been victimized in order to further your political agenda is really more of a left thing. But it'd be really, really dumb (rhetorically/tactically speaking) for someone anti-Trump to do this, and not nearly so dumb (speaking in the same way) for someone sympathetic to Trump to do it. I'd guess that this helps the GOP more than it hurts it--which is not to say that it isn't a straight-up crime committed by some Dems or lefties against the GOP.
   Also: Dems roundly condemned the attack, and promptly raised $13k to help rebuild the HQ.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Comey: Alleged Epidemic Of Police Shooting Black Men Not Supported By Data

   We already knew this.
   But as Comey notes, better data-collection is needed.

The Discovery That Trump Is Basically A Rapist Raises Clinton's Lead To...Four Points

Goddamn, America.

   She had a two-point lead in the earlier WaPo-ABC poll, then we had a debate in which Trump acted basically crazy. Then we found out that he's somewhere in the vicinity of being a rapist. So what? The debate garnered her one point, and the sexual assault thing one more?
   Maybe the latter just hasn't had time to sink in? I suppose you could think that Clinton's policies would be so bad that even Trump would be less disastrous...but I just don't think she's liberal enough for that to be a plausible belief.