31 January 2019

Frostbitten Midwestern Internet Link Sausages

Rumors that these link sausages were left outside in Chicago this morning because it was both faster and cheaper than using a commercial freezer are just rumors.

  • It's not just US judges who are being subjected to overt political selection and pressure. (And that's leaving aside the dubious constitutionality of electing state-court judges; one must wonder how an elected judiciary is a "republican form of government" when their counterparts were not elected at the time the Constitution was adopted.) When the problem extends to the International Criminal Court, the rule of law is in jeopardy. Well, more jeopardy than it always is…
  • …from assholes like this guy, who apparently believe that whatever benefits them individually and can be somehow presented as a general benefit (even when that presentation is fundamentally bullshit) is not just allowable, but admirable. It's almost as if people aren't really robotsrational actors in reality — sort of like the difference between reality and the Ideal Gas Law.
  • Ignorance of that kind of difference is just one example of the critical need for greater scientific literacy among political leaders. Hard-core research scientists don't, themselves, tend to make great political decisionmakers (Exhibit #1408: Dixie Lee Ray), but that's still better than the kind of ignorance that makes calling the internet a series of tubes rather routine.
  • All of which reinforces the need for fact-checking in commercial publishing. The fundamental flaw in that article is that it treats commercial publishing as all of publishing, and neglects other publishing industries (like limited-circulation periodicals and academic of all sorts) as if they necessarily have the same standards, mechanisms — and flaws — as NYC-based commercial general-audience publishing (whether for books or periodicals). For all its flaws, peer review appears to do at least as good a job as keeping a cadre of in-house experts (who, if they're any good, know damned well that they don't know everything).

    It also, sub silencio, ignores the ethical standards of the authors, whether we're talking journalism, science, or something else. This is a problem, because the article presumes that only the editorial process in commercial publishing will ensure any allegiance to a defensible factual foundation… whereas that's true only in politics.

  • And then, there's for-all-practical-purposes permanent fallout from the temper-tantrum shutdown caused by the thing on Drumpf's head. Or, perhaps, his fundamental nature.