Why bullshit is no laughing matter

Along with all the talk about fake news and the effect it may or may have not had on the election there usually comes a chuckle as if it didn’t really matter. But it does. We’re bombarded with untruths on a regular basis yet we consider ourselves experts at recognizing them. However, the fact that advertising works so well says we’re not even close to that. What to do?

Bullshit is much harder to detect when we want to agree with it. The first and most important step is to recognise the limits of our own cognition. We must be humble about our ability to justify our own beliefs. These are the keys to adopting a critical mindset – which is our only hope in a world so full of bullshit.

Union Street Construction

When the City of Rochester built the Inner Loop, it destroyed a number of neighborhoods and made dead end streets out of busy thoroughfares. Worse, it never actually accomplished its goal (assuming it wasn’t just displacing poor people) and was devoid of significant amounts of traffic for the most part.

Now the city has decided to fill in much of it and create space for commercial development. But it’s been slow going. Glacial is perhaps a better term. It’s been a year and this is what’s been done so far.

Mountain by Tom Maszerowski on 500px.com

Roots by Tom Maszerowski on 500px.com

Planetree by Tom Maszerowski on 500px.com

Concrete by Tom Maszerowski on 500px.com

How the Obama Coalition Crumbled, Leaving an Opening for Trump

There’s no question that Hillary Clinton was a weak candidate with too much baggage, but… Her campaign still could have succeeded had they not made some serious errors early on.

The Clinton team knew what was wrong from the start, according to a Clinton campaign staffer and other Democrats. Its models, based on survey data, indicated that they were underperforming Mr. Obama in less-educated white areas by a wide margin — perhaps 10 points or more — as early as the summer.

The Democrats can’t ignore any segment of the population because they’d rather not deal with them. If they don’t resign themselves to this we’re looking at single-party rule throughout the nation. And, as we can see in North Carolina, that would spell disaster for our democracy.

A little gift for you

It’s been a difficult and challenging year for most of us. As the year finally comes to an end and the holidays arrive I hope that you have a very Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah or whatever you choose to celebrate around the end of December.

For my annual holiday song I chose “Blue Christmas” for obvious reasons.

Company Bricks User’s Software After He Posts A Negative Review

In the ham radio world Ham Radio Deluxe (HRD) is probably the most frequently used piece of software. It has a ton of functionality for things like logging contacts and controlling radios. There’s really no single competing software package that does it all the way HRD does. It’s not free or open source and a paid license is required.

But it seems their dominant market position has given them the impression they can do anything they want. Like, for example, invalidate a user’s license for posting a negative review online. The review pointed out issues with Windows 10 and HRD’s unwillingness to fix them. They demanded that the review (which documented the problems the user had and continued to have) be taken down in order to re-enable the license and threw in a lawsuit threat as well.

When he went public with his dealings with HRD, the floodgates opened up. It appears this isn’t the first time HRD has invalidated licenses in revenge for negative reviews. They seem to truly hate their customers but until recently this wasn’t well known, even in the ham radio world. That’s no longer the case.

 

This Political Theorist Predicted the Rise of Trumpism

You might not think of him as a political theorist but Hunter S. Thompson certainly was (among a great number of other things). In the process of researching his infamous Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs Thompson came face to face with what he called their “ethic of total retaliation” against a technologically advanced and economically changing America in which they felt they’d been counted out and left behind.

For Thompson, the Angels weren’t important because they heralded a new movement of cultural hedonism, but because they were the advance guard for a new kind of right-wing politics. As Thompson presciently wrote in the Nation piece he later expanded on in Hell’s Angels, that kind of politics is “nearly impossible to deal with” using reason or empathy or awareness-raising or any of the other favorite tools of the left.

Sound familiar?

What happened to the anti-Trump conservatives?

What happened to the anti-Trump conservatives? It’s really simple. The Right has always been expert at getting everyone in line. Dissent is minimal and clearly not tolerated. All it took was some pandering in appointments and conservatives stopped complaining. The Left has never been able to do this and actually tolerates diversity of opinion. While that’s a laudable goal it makes organizing for a common objective difficult. That wasn’t their only problem this election it certainly didn’t help.

How The Bizarre Conspiracy Theory Behind “Pizzagate” Was Spread

Let’s be honest with ourselves, the United States is clinically insane. Proof: “Pizzagate” claims that Democratic operatives placing orders at Comet Ping Pong were actually using code to talk about underage prostitutes.

In the past something this bizarre would simply be comedic fodder, but now it’s taken as truth to the point that someone would show up at Comet Ping Pong with an assault rifle to “self-investigate”. This country needs counseling and possibly medication.