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  • Mar 24, 2017 @ 11:05pm

    Unable to download the paper unless I weaken my browser's security... a tad ironic.

  • Nov 03, 2016 @ 08:51am

    King Bhumibol Adulyade

    King Bhumibol, who died on Oct 13th, was actually born in Cambridge Massachusetts, so technically he was an American citizen. He held degrees from Harvard and the Sorbonne in Paris and was revered in Thailand. Thai society is built on Buddhist principles, one of which is Right Speech, and the western habit of badmouthing everyone and everything is considered very crude and vulgar. Anyone who insults the King insults each and every Thai, and yes, if you try that while visiting Thailand you'll find yourself in prison.

  • Sep 13, 2016 @ 07:13am


    A pardon would free Snowden to move to Sweden or any other country he might choose without fear of extradition or rendition. Also, returning to the US on any terms would raise a real risk of assassination at the hands of a "patriot".

  • Jul 20, 2016 @ 06:07pm

    Town Square

    Comment sections have been the digital town square of western democracies where ideas can compete. Banning comments silences opposing voices and undermines democracy. I often see errors or outright lies pass unchallenged these days. Talking with the citizens is a conversation. Talking at them is propaganda.

  • Jun 21, 2016 @ 07:54am

    Facial recognition

    Facial recognition systems are interesting because they are still so inefficient despite all the money and effort thrown into them. Which is more dangerous, a surveillance system that is highly inaccurate, or one that doesn't make mistakes? Crows have been demonstrated to be able to reliably recognise a human even if he/she is disguised.

  • Jun 05, 2016 @ 11:40pm


    Comments in media are useful but pretty low level stuff for propagandists. Big stuff is more fun. During the Afghan war there was wide reporting of polling done by a company that was touted to be a world leader in this. They claimed they had sent canvassers through the Afghan outback and the results showed strong support amongst Afghans for allied efforts against the Taliban. Turned out the polling company had a single office in Langley and only three employees who had sketchy CVs, and even those references disappeared within hours of their being outed.

  • Jun 04, 2016 @ 09:12am

    ...the US military is deeply involved in this practice

    I remember a gushing article a few years into the Afghan war about a US army warehouse full of soldiers busy all day long posting in media comments sections. Public support is crucial to a war effort so it would be a serious lapse for the military not to do this. There's also the propagation of fake news stories to pump support.

  • Jun 03, 2016 @ 09:05pm


    Well of course Russia has people doing this. The use of fake comments has been around since the early 1900s, when it was done via letters to the editor in newspapers. This and many other techniques were invented by american Edward Bernays, (whose 1928 book Propaganda was much admired by Goebbels). The well worn in joke here is having one group of propagandists condemn their rivals as propagandists.

  • Apr 27, 2016 @ 09:44am

    The article uses an extremely narrow definition of "creative". Creativity in the brain is an extremely complex dance involving multiple specialized brain parts, most of which are in the right hemisphere where very fuzzy logic rules. Cognitive science has been learning enormous amounts about the workings of this system in the last dozen or so years thanks to fMRI machines. Its very clear that creativity needs the rational side of the brain to be idle to have a good outcome. Computers only have rational to work with. Those finding creativity in the output of computers are reading creativity into it, as children do seeing giants and horses in clouds.

  • Mar 01, 2016 @ 03:36pm


    The chip idea is absurd, of course. But this is about more than technology and is certainly aimed at the Native bands that live in the area. Natives there as elsewhere in Canada have been targetted for violence and abuse by both citizens and the criminal justice system for over a hundred years. Their situation mirrors that of Blacks in various parts of the US.

  • Jan 30, 2016 @ 12:20pm


    Taking the video down conveniently prevents anyone from assessing whether anything in it really is copyrighted. Presumably, a video of someone singing the US National Anthem would be actionable if the supporting band's performance was copyrighted... Copyright has become a destructive parasitic infection. As long as their lobbyists can buy politicians nothing is going to change.

  • Nov 19, 2015 @ 08:32am


    "the importance of protecting our privacy on the internet" Ghostery finds 11 trackers on the PureVPN homepage.

  • Sep 24, 2015 @ 07:46pm


    Much depends on how you define Art. Computers can make intricate designs, combine colours according to instructions and mimic particular styles. But Art is far more than that, subtley touching chords in various parts of the brain that are beyond the reach of reason, (best example being the amygdala). There are more connections in the brain than there are stars in the universe. Its a computer that since the earliest members of our genus has taken 88,000 generations to develop. Having a computer create art is in the same range as having a bear ride a bicycle in a circus ring.

  • Jul 20, 2015 @ 04:31pm


    Charlie Hebdo was not attacked by Muslims, it was attacked by extremists who happened to be Muslims. Timothy McVeigh was an American, but his terror attack didn't render all americans guilty.

    In some western countries it is illegal to deny the Holocaust. In Germany it is illegal to give the Nazi salute. Beyond the rule of law, there are examples such as the reaction to the feeble joke about women made by Professor Tim Hunt, who had to resign due to mobbing. So where is this free speech?

    There's also the issue of seeking to forcefully impose a mono culture on the world, where all other cultures must conform to western standards. Hard to think of a better way to make enemies.

  • Jun 25, 2015 @ 12:23pm


    Of course Russia uses propaganda, as does just about every other country. Writing fake letters to editors has been around since the 1920s and is a tool in the kit of every PR company, country and political party. That and various other techniques were pioneered by american Edward Bernays, nephew of Sigmund Freud, and moved the american public to join in both the first and second world wars and everything else since... The real question for all democracies is when does propaganda stop being persuasion and become subversion.

  • Jun 09, 2015 @ 10:11am


    It's an odd argument to make that innocent people should suffer more to achieve the public policy goal of improving police behavior. Public shaming through a mugshot could easily be more damaging than the arrest and follow the individual throughout their life. The negative effects will only multiply as the use of face recognition software increases.

  • May 06, 2015 @ 11:23am


    Canada has just spent 1 billion dollars on a new facility for our spies, while announcing that there will be no more home delivery of mail. Harper and his party owe half their allegiance to the US and the other half to lobbyist companies representing the energy and copyright industries. The Conservatives know they're going to lose the coming election and are very busy selling us out before their chance to profit is gone.

  • Mar 05, 2015 @ 09:43am

    In the current political climate I don't expect much improvement. An individual can make a formal request to their ISP for their individual records of such requests, of course, but we need to see the aggregate. In a related story, a Canadian arriving at the Halifax airport from the Dominican Republic has been arrested for refusing to provide his cellphone password to Border Services. He faces a possible year in prison if convicted. http://tinyurl.com/pq8xqfz (CBC)

    Border Services are the guys who were revealed to have made 700,000 requests to ISPs for the web surfing records of Canadians at the border and casually provided them to the americans.

  • Jan 24, 2015 @ 09:39am


    Or... you could eat foods that aren't loaded with fructose and other corn syrup derivitives. Pretty much all processed foods have lots of fructose added, which your body has no way to metabolise and stores as fat. Fructose is also implicated as a major cause of Type 3 diabetes, which is suspected to be the root of Alzheimers.

    Don't eat processed foods and instead eat fresh fruit and vegetables. You'll lose weight and keep your mind from wandering away.

  • Jan 05, 2015 @ 09:32am


    The US government hasn't made a mistake, it is deliberately lying. Since the Snowden revelations it's been churning external threats both as distractions and as justifications for its domestic spying programs. When the Sony hack starts to fade another grave threat will magically appear.

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