Interesting NYT piece on how the James Damore furore has put Google, Facebook, Airbnb et al firmly in the crosshairs of the alt-right crowd.
There is a certain poetic justice in the alt-right, largely an internet-based political movement, turning against the companies that enabled it in the first place. Like most modern political movements, the alt-right relies on tech platforms like YouTube and Twitter to rally supporters, collect donations and organize gatherings. In that sense, Silicon Valley progressivism isn’t just an ideological offense to the alt-right — it’s an operational threat.
The Silicon Valley crowd now face a pincer movement — from outraged feminists on one side and the Trump crowd on the other. Couldn’t happen to nicer people.
From How America Went Haywire by Kurt Andersen.
How many Americans now inhabit alternate realities? Any given survey of beliefs is only a sketch of what people in general really think. But reams of survey research from the past 20 years reveal a rough, useful census of American credulity and delusion. By my reckoning, the solidly reality-based are a minority, maybe a third of us but almost certainly fewer than half. Only a third of us, for instance, don’t believe that the tale of creation in Genesis is the word of God. Only a third strongly disbelieve in telepathy and ghosts. Two-thirds of Americans believe that “angels and demons are active in the world.” More than half say they’re absolutely certain heaven exists, and just as many are sure of the existence of a personal God — not a vague force or universal spirit or higher power, but some guy. A third of us believe not only that global warming is no big deal but that it’s a hoax perpetrated by scientists, the government, and journalists. A third believe that our earliest ancestors were humans just like us; that the government has, in league with the pharmaceutical industry, hidden evidence of natural cancer cures; that extraterrestrials have visited or are visiting Earth. Almost a quarter believe that vaccines cause autism, and that Donald Trump won the popular vote in 2016. A quarter believe that our previous president maybe or definitely was (or is?) the anti-Christ. According to a survey by Public Policy Polling, 15 percent believe that the “media or the government adds secret mind-controlling technology to television broadcast signals,” and another 15 percent think that’s possible. A quarter of Americans believe in witches. Remarkably, the same fraction, or maybe less, believes that the Bible consists mainly of legends and fables — the same proportion that believes U.S. officials were complicit in the 9/11 attacks.
Great initiative by Frank Stajano and his colleagues.
The caption: “While the effects of an exit from the European Union are beginning to be felt, the UK may be trying to turn around and ask for its readmission.”
Hmmm… Voeu pieux?
The Economist has a good leader (and an extended article) about the biggest possible catastrophe on the horizon. Sample:
The most serious danger is not that one side will suddenly try to devastate the other. It is that both sides will miscalculate, and that a spiral of escalation will lead to a catastrophe that no one wants. Our briefing this week lays out, step by step, one way that America and North Korea might blunder into a nuclear war (see article). It also lists some of the likely consequences. These include: for North Korea, the destruction of its regime and the death of hundreds of thousands of people. For South Korea, the destruction of Seoul, a city of 10m within easy range of 1,000 of the North’s conventional artillery pieces. For America, the possibility of a nuclear attack on one of its garrisons in East Asia, or even on an American city. And don’t forget the danger of an armed confrontation between America and China, the North’s neighbour and grudging ally. It seems distasteful to mention the economic effects of another Korean war, but they would of course be awful, too.
The linked article is an imaginative — and sobering — scenario on how the worst could happen.
Ah, at last something interesting:
In September, Apple will release new changes to Safari with iOS 11 called “Intelligent Tracking Prevention.” These changes will have large effects on the ad tech industry and create new winners and losers.
In short, the iOS 11 changes will really help the big guys, are neutral to the small guys and significantly hurt the mid-size guys.
Hmmm… Not sure that this will be a boon to the world (c.f. the stuff about helping the big guys). I’ll continue to use my own protective measures.
Lovely image in a Financial Times OpEd by David Rothkopf
“When I was a boy, my parents fixed a toy steering wheel on my car seat to allow me to pretend I was driving alongside my dad in our ageing Oldsmobile. It was a joy. I have always wondered where that seat went. Now I think I know. It has been given to John Kelly. It is the new seat from which he will try to bring order to the White House as Donald Trump’s Chief of Staff. Like me, he will spin that wheel. And like me, he may revel in the illusion of control. But in the he will discover, as I did, that someone else is really driving the car.”