Ydnew writes: I am going to be in London October 15-21 for work. I threw an offhand comment in a thread with some of the Brits commenting, but probably too late to be seen. Would you be willing to put up a front page post so it's more visible? I'd love to have a meetup if folks are around. It would be nice to have non work conversations. I'll be staying near Hammersmith Hospital. (Doesn't that sound charmingly British?)
Heebie's take: plan away!
Update: They'll be at Queen's Arms at 6ish.
What actually happened in Niger sounds so fucking bad, for real. The actual events are awful; the juxtaposition with Benghazi is just there to fuck with your mind when this fails to capture the public attention. (Maybe it will! I certainly hope so.)
Nazis are descending on my hometown. Punch the fuckers.
Facebook is very bad. I still haven't listened to Mossy's pre-election podcast, but that's the place to confirm the outer edges of what was understood at the end of last October. It's incontrovertible that it wasn't widely understood, though.
As Sifu Tweety said elsewhere, on some mysterious other website you probably haven't heard of:
Facebook is terrible for democracy. Twitter is also, so is YouTube, but specifically Facebook is extremely bad. It offers a user-friendly platform for anonymously and deniably sharing misattributed, malicious information in so tightly targeted a way that it is impossible for anybody outside facebook to understand the scale or nature of it. It is a de facto end run around any attempts to subject political communications to either common-sense standards for source attribution or the plain light of day. It allows a diligent (foreign nation-state) actor with ill intent to say something divisive to person A, something completely opposite and divisive to person B, and to never be exposed in that duplicity. It allows this at scale and with a target population that is not necessarily technically sophisticated, and certainly not sophisticated about sourcing and verification of online information. It is a platform for lying, and it has been deployed to devastating effect by a bunch of jackass Russian trolls working with the explicit goal of electing the current US president, most likely in explicit collusion with that president's senior campaign officials, and almost certainly with the larger goal of weakening the United States and creating domestic chaos. Increasingly, I'm ashamed to use it.
Facebook must be regulated. It's clearly not safe to have a giant organization with this much power over our news exposure. Also they're super fucking annoying the way they keep dicking around with their algorithms, but the price of leaving Facebook means losing contact with a lot of people in my life, and so I don't.
Last night artillery duels broke out between Iraqi army forces and Kurdish Peshmerga paramilitary personnel to the south of the city of Kirkuk. The report is sourced to Peshmerga officers who declined to have their names used. For their part, Iraqi officers loyal to Baghdad spoke of the exchange of katyusha rocket fire in the south of Kirkuk.
Both sides agree that Iraqi troops have begun an advance on the city of Kirkuk, which was seized by Kurdistan Peshmerga forces in 2014 during a time when ISIL had occupied the neighboring Sunni Arab areas of Iraq.
Baghdad is signalling that now that ISIL is largely defeated, it will not any longer accept Kurdish dominance of Kirkuk.
accusations launched by PM Abadi that the Kurdistan Regional Government [...] had brought guerillas of the PKK (Turkey's Kurdistan Workers Party) to Kirkuk to help defend it. The KRG denied the charge. (If it were true, or if Ankara thought it were true, it would enrage the Turkish government and make it more likely to support Baghdad in taking back Kirkuk).
(Heebie's take: ...)
CharleyCarp writes: How do you explain these maps?
Heebie's take: dadgum! Holy shitballs, aren't you just the cutest little cunt. Bloody piss. (Ow.)
(AIHMHB, every once in a blue moon, you get a 20-something young Texan who says dadgum unironically, as their go-to polite swear word when they're in class.)
J, Robot sends in Meet The "Young Saints" Of Bethel Who Go To College To Perform Miracles. It is a weird, weird read!
The students are waiting for today's lecturer, Kris Vallotton, one of the school's founders and a prophet so prolific he literally wrote the book on it -- Basic Training for the Prophetic Ministry, a combined textbook and workbook used by Bethel students to learn how to hear, and speak, God's words. ("Name the five things that distinguish a false prophet from a true prophet." "What is the difference between a vision and a trance?")
The basic theological premise of the School of Supernatural Ministry is this: that the miracles of biblical times -- the parted seas and burning bushes and water into wine -- did not end in biblical times, and the miracle workers did not die out with Jesus's earliest disciples. In the modern day, prophets and healers don't just walk among us, they are us.
To Bethel students, learning, seeing, and performing these "signs and wonders" -- be it prophesying about things to come or healing the incurable -- aren't just quirks or side projects of Christianity. They are, in fact, its very center.
So far, Bethel's first-years have been learning the stories of their predecessors, ancient Old Testament prophets like Daniel and Jeremiah and Ezekiel, in preparation for today -- the day they begin to become prophets themselves.
The author makes the Hogwarts joke up front, so don't bother, except that it's eerily accurate.
However, as a wise yggles once said, "23. Almost all "longform" journalism is boring and too long." This isn't boring, but holy moly is it long. (I scrolled down to the very last paragraph and was annoyed by how it ended.)
What would be the most satisfying way for the Trump presidency to unravel? I think, for me personally, it would involve something that made Trump voters feel liked they were dumb-asses who fell for a con. Possibly if he started rambling about Lizard People from a galaxy far away, during actual rallies in red states or interviews on Fox News? And then Pence (also on Fox News), explained in great detail how the Russians purged the voter rolls and so on and so forth, in an attempt to salvage (somehow) his own tail. Something where the rightwing media was right in the middle of events that clarified both Trump's raving unfitness and the Russian tampering.
On Yggles, "Clinton would have been a great president" claim: I agree that she would have been a highly competent president. But I think she would have been unraveled by the headwinds - basically, the Russian propaganda machine, in conjunction with Breitbart and so on, would have given us nine months of stories about how she's murdering little boys in pizza palaces. Last fall, we had no clue what kind of propaganda infiltration was taking root, and it flourishes much better in a stance of persecution than it does when Trump is actually trumpeying it out in policy.
Upetgi (9) writes: Matthew Yglesias has finally found his true calling and achieved his full potential.
Heebie's take: This is so much fun. I can't tell if he's exactly claiming ownership of them, or just commenting on their popularity.
Say "me too" if you find it a very uncomfortable form of solidarity!
My most egregious examples occurred so long ago that it's hard to relate to the individuals involved, including myself. That version of Heebie was pretty sold on the patriarchy - not to blame her, just to help explain why it's hard to put a woke framework on what feels like ancient history. And then at some point, I developed a hard bitch face, and then later on, aged into invisibility. With a hearty dose of luck, because neither or those are perfectly protective, of course.
But anyway, I participated strictly because solidarity is important, but god is it uncomfortable to dutifully perform vulnerability for the sake of spreading awareness about how fragile our safety is.
I know nothing about AI. From a position of complete ignorance, this Seven Deadly Sins of AI Predictions seems smart.