Sunday Links

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

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26 Responses to “Sunday Links”

  1. #1 |  Miko | 

    This opposition to the Twitter backlash clearly shows the intellectual failings of right-wing libertarianism (as opposed to left-wing libertarianism, which of course provides the theoretical justification for why the Twitter backlash is appropriate). If a government were doing this instead of a corporation, right-wing libertarians would be appropriately up in arms about the slippery slope, etc. And of course a government is doing this–but doing so through the means of a corporation as intermediary. But since RWL’s have trouble seeing that governments, corporations, and government-controlled corporations are all fundamentally the same, they become paralyzed the moment someone uses the word “corporation” instead of “government.”

  2. #2 |  Nancy Lebovitz |

    A gung ho “don’t talk to the police” video. Even though I’m a habitual reader here, I had no idea things were this bad.

  3. #3 |  Bob | 

    I thought that guy was going to shoot himself up right there on the stage. Gotta give him props for being enthusiastic about his work, though!

  4. #4 |  Highway | 

    Miko, on what level are ‘corporations’ and ‘governments’ “fundamentally the same”? When do corporations have police powers over other people on other people’s property? When do citizens have the option of not patronizing a government?

    This ‘corporations and governments are the same’ stuff is, to borrow your own phrase, one of the intellectual failings of the political left. Because they insist that governments and corporations are ‘fundamentally the same’, it’s impossible to point out the distinctions between the two, and difficult to remember that *all* of the ‘power’ that corporations have is granted to them *by government*. Do corporations have more clout, more privilege than ordinary guy? Yes. Why? Because the government gives it to them!

    Some people seem to get this kooky idea that ‘corporations’ are the ‘bad’ side of a coin that has ‘government’ on the ‘good’ side. Those folks need to get it through their skulls that if that coin is in play, you’re screwed whichever way it falls.

  5. #5 |  DoubleU | 

    Bob he was just hard up for attention.

  6. #6 |  DoubleU | 

    The “Dr Death” Wouter Basson story should revive the conspiracy theory that the government created AIDS to kill black people.

  7. #7 |  DoubleU | 

    “Peacemaker:” “People who are abiding by the law should have no problems with this,” said Mandell. “People may feel that their privacy is being infringed on, but when you think about it, every day you walk down the street you are being watched by 20 to 30 cameras from private businesses and homes.”

    Except for the police. The police don’t want you to video tape them… mostly because they don’t abide the law.

  8. #8 |  C. S. O. Schofield | 

    I’m torn of the Dr. Death story. On the one hand, yes, the Apartheid government(s) of South Africa included more than their fare share of despicable racist swine. On the other hand an examination of the (sloppy) reporting done by both News agencies and activist groups on South Africa from the Apartheid era shows that the ‘facts’ so reported were as reliable as the coverage of an Orange candidate by the Dublin press.

    So, he may be as guilty as sin. Or this may be yet another clumsy hatchet job.

    To Nelson Mandela’s credit, South Africa has not yet descended into a maelstrom of race hatred, genocide, and hysteria. Frankly, the man should get credit – heroic credit – for each month after the first.

    Nevertheless, reporting about South Africa reminds me of a Mr. Boffo Cartoon in which the titular characters is reading a Variety story headlined “Dopes dupe dummies, as dingbats doze”, and saying “frankly, nobody came off looking good.”

  9. #9 |  Fascist Nation | 

    That is old news, but it reminded me that South Africa’s dream of killing off all of the blacks through a genetically targeted plague was hardly the only government genocide. Israel has studied the feasibility of creating a targeted infection that would wipe out the Arabs (a dangerous thing to do considering Israelis and Arabs are pretty much the same tribe genetically). I’m sure there are idiots in our CIA hard at work on a disease that will kill off a family…as if diseases ever stop there.

  10. #10 |  Dave Krueger | 

    As I was reading this, I kept thinking, “There’s no way this is going where it seems to be going.” But that’s exactly where it goes. And then beyond.

    In any “civilized” discussion of the word “fuck”, no one ever actually says the word. They call it “the F-word”.

    I’m surprised they let him get away with showing pictures. The guy was probably developmentally deficient in the common human attribute known as immaturity. I wonder if the audience would have been as horrified if it was a lecture on breast implants.

  11. #11 |  Wiregeek | 

    Peacemaker: You know, I would love to see Carlos Miller or one of the New Hampshire boys cruise over there with cameras rolling.. I wonder if the truck is manned 24/7.

    For that matter, is it parked legally?

  12. #12 |  Chris Mallory | 

    #8, The Boer farmers of South Africa might disagree about SA not falling into a maelstrom of blood. They are being murdered at a genocidal rate. Mandela was a terrorist who should have died in prison. South Africa transformed from being a civilized nation into a typical African hellhole in just a few years.

  13. #13 |  Seth Levy | 

    Jillian York is a hypocritical hack who shouldn’t have a job with EFF. Just last month she was celebrating the uncovering of a once anonymous blogger in the Middle East because she didn’t agree with the blogger’s viewpoint. A rival of the blogger paid for a service to uncover the identity of the blog owner (apparently he slipped up 6 or 7 years ago) and then published the data including the blogger’s private Facebook account and pictures. York celebrated in the comments and on Facebook. After criticism, she responded “Hey y’all, I oppose outing other bloggers, but when a blogger who has been an asshole outs himself? Not my problem.”

    My point? While she may make sense here, I oppose her being on the staff of EFF.

  14. #14 |  Cynical in New York | 

    RE: Dr. Death

    Reading that the SOB went from chief of chemical and bio warfare division to cardiologist makes me want to throw up.

  15. #15 |  the innominate one | 

    re: [class] size doesn’t matter:

    “…we show that an index of five policies suggested by over forty years of qualitative research — frequent teacher feedback, the use of data to guide instruction, high-dosage tutoring, increased instructional time, and high expectations — explains approximately 50 percent of the variation in school effectiveness.”

    Isn’t tutoring basically like having a class of one?

  16. #16 |  Frank Stein | 

    How can a virus just target black people, when liberals assure us that race doesn’t exist?

    And ditto #12 – anyone who thinks S. Africa is doing ok has not been paying attention to S. Africa. But that’s kind of like when Obama became president and the anti-war movement dissipated into the mist; atrocities are ok so long as the right people are in charge of committing them.

  17. #17 |  the innominate one | 

    The peacemaker should have been called the privacy-van for true Orwellianness.

    I don’t like businesses videotaping me, but businesses can’t arrest me and aren’t generally constrained by the constitution and any privacy rights one wishes to assert. Government is. Also, I’m not obliged to go in businesses whose practices I dislike. You can’t escape the government.

  18. #18 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    There’s also a MAJOR known negative factor: teaching to the test.


  19. #19 |  edmund dantes | 

    I love that class size one.

    Yep class size is not a correlation, but intensive tutoring and increased feedback is a key.

    Jeebus.. talk about not seeing the forest for the trees. It deserves the Orwellian headline of the day award too.

  20. #20 |  JOR | 

    “When do corporations have police powers over other people on other people’s property?”

    They don’t (often), but neither do governments (usually).

    “When do citizens have the option of not patronizing a government?”

    Whenever it is that they’re deciding whether or not to live on a government’s property (territory).

    “Some people seem to get this kooky idea that ‘corporations’ are the ‘bad’ side of a coin that has ‘government’ on the ‘good’ side.”

    Yes. Those people are very foolish and annoying. They’re also not the sort of people who tend to think that ‘governments and corporations are essentially the same thing’.

    A government is a corporation (or other kind of firm) that acts as a giant landowner (and maybe other things, depending on the government). Questions over the legitimacy of its property claims are perfectly fair but irrelevant to whether it’s essentially a corporation (and also completely irrelevant to all economic analysis or arguments). Any corporation can make unjust property claims, and could theoretically enforce them without ‘government’ backing – slavery, patriarchy, theft, warfare, and even taxation predate governments.

  21. #21 |  Nancy Lebovitz | 

    I read the comments to the class size article– the increased feedback is from administrators to teachers, not from teachers to students.

    If large classes and tutoring works at least as well as small classes, this is worth knowing, even if it’s not as dramatic as “class size doesn’t matter”.

  22. #22 |  UCrawford | 

    On the Dr. Death story…without excusing the abuses of the apartheid era, I’m sorry, but the accusations against the doctor sound completely asinine to me. “Creating viruses that kill only black people”? Is that supposed to be HIV? That’s been a conspiracy theory making its way around Africa forever, that HIV was actually a creation of Western governments. Corrupt rulers throughout that region have been using that myth as a rationale for embezzling aid money and whipping up popular sentiment against Western countries since it became a problem. If it isn’t HIV, what virus would they be referring to? Because I’m unaware of any recently (in our lifetime) emerging viruses that target only black people.

    Perhaps this guy really did do things that were horrible and wrong, but whenever the allegations begin with something about creating a vague super weapon that makes the guy sound like a super villain, my b.s. detector goes off immediately.

  23. #23 |  Cyto | 

    Dr Death may be super evil (or not), but he certainly didn’t “create viruses” in pre-apartheid South Africa, targeting blacks or otherwise. He could have worked on weaponizing strains of existing disease agents. He could even have worked to manipulate bacteria to create new agents (rumor has it that the Soviets had a bacterium with human myelin coding plasmids inserted – creating an immune response that causes rapidly developing severe multiple sclerosis. Yikes!). But engineering a virus to the point where you’d claim to have “created a virus” that is a disease agent? Nah, that’s pretty far beyond the scope of what was possible at the time.

    Maybe you could have made a few changes to a viral gene to see what happens to a viral coat protein, but that would have placed you at the cutting edge of viral research. Taking it to the point of creating a disease agent would be pretty difficult to believe at that point in time. It required a mini-computer and hours of computational time just to do a restriction enzyme map on a short sequence. Viral assembly was only beginning to be understood in any detail. You really are invoking “super villain” to claim that this guy was 20 years ahead of the rest of viral research.

    Even with today’s tools, a race-specific, death-dealing disease agent strains credulity. 20 years ago? If he claimed he could do it he was a scam artist looking to get funding.

  24. #24 |  Deoxy | 

    OK, calling it “peacemaker” is both weird (it has nothing to do it) and mildly creepy (that they seem to think it does).

    But otherwise, I actually kind of LIKE it – and here’s why:

    What do we complain about, especially SWAT? That they just bust in with little to no information, not bothering to do any actual police work.

    Now they are actually doing police work, and doing it openly and obviously, and we complain about that, too?

    Seriously, they deserve some credit, here: they are being open and honest, AND they are legitimately staking places out instead of just busting in with the SWAT team. The “creepy” factor is a mild annoyance in comparison.

    Or would you prefer they spend their money developing ways to perform surveillance in ways that are really hard to notice? Yeah, THAT wouldn’t be abused, no sir….

  25. #25 |  MATT | 

    No comments on the NOLA story? I think the ordinance is silly. If people want to spend their nights standing in the street with giant white crosses and leaflets then by all means. I rather enjoy a little verbal sparring with these folks! I once asked a young man who was holding up a 15′ tall white cross why he was so upset at the people who were out to have a fun time in the French Quarter. He replied that drinking alcohol is a sin and it did not matter if we were drinking responsibly & not to excess. So I asked him, “didn’t Jesus turn water into wine, and why would he do that if drinking any amount of alcohol is a sin?” The poor guy looked like I’d just asked him how to perform a heart transplant.

  26. #26 |  albatross | 


    Your question was meant as snark, I think, but there’s a real biology question in there.

    I can think of diseases that turn out to affect different races differently in practice (SARS, AIDS), but I don’ t know how much different levels of susceptibility to the disease drives those differences in effects. Anybody have a good reference?