Lightning Round

I often see articles that I would like to talk about, but that I do not feel warrant a whole post here. Twitter is the obvious choice for quips like these, but I have little love for the service, prefer to keep all my work on my own platform, and feel that nuanced opinions should not come in 280 character bursts. Occasional “lightning rounds” will fill that gap. Together, a handful of these micro posts will make a full one, giving me somewhere to share things that used to just slip through the cracks.

  • Only 9% of 15-year-olds can tell the difference between fact and opinion. Does the responsibility for differentiating between fact and opinion fall on the reader, or the one presenting the information? In the era of fake news, amidst a resurgence of propaganda, you may feel tempted to say it falls on the reader. Consider this, though: if I present false information as fact to you here, you cannot know it’s falsehood without doing your own, independent research. The responsibility for differentiating between fact and opinion, then, falls on the presenter — and the reader, who has no way of knowing truth from fiction by default, has a responsibility to verify the presenter’s claims. This is a nuanced distinction, but an important one.
  • Zuckerberg doubles down on ad policy. From Seeking Alpha, quoting Mark Zuckerberg: “‘What I believe is that in a democracy, it’s really important that people can see for themselves what politicians are saying, so they can make their own judgments,’ he said. ‘And, you know, I don’t think that a private company should be censoring politicians or news.’” Facebook commands an unprecedented majority of the world’s time and attention. As a result, it may very well lead to the Second Estate’s overthrow. The idea that it should also become the arbiter of truth boggles my mind. See above.
  • En-ROADS Interactive Climate Simulator. I would have more interest in a simulator that modeled temperature change based on the behavior of individual countries. See related: U.S. Emissions Have Almost No Effect on Global Temperatures.
  • Kill Sticky Headers. I dislike anything that gets in the way of content. So does Alisdair McDiarmid, and so he did something about it.