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Comment: Re:The danger of commonality (Score 1) 273

by asylum_street_blues (#46482843) Attached to: Is the New "Common Core SAT" Bill Gates' Doing?

Fair enough. The language was intemperate, and I did check afterwards and saw that you've contributed real information to Slashdot (as well as some politics that I disagree with but am willing to take as sincere). More useful posting history than my own, certainly.

I usually don't bother to post responses to things that seem dumb to me, because who has the time? However, a pet peeve of mine is willful presentation of lies crafted to seem like "evidence" to back up a position. It makes it so much harder to find out what's really going on, and I'm enough of a positivist to think that we can make good fact-based decisions if we don't pollute our information sources. Occasionally something jumps out at me. It seemed virtually certain to me that the examples you gave were bogus, precisely because they seemed too dumb to be examples of real propaganda. What they look like is crafted material designed to convince an unsophisticated reader that propaganda was afoot, because they look like what such a person would do if they wanted to create propaganda. I find that whenever I actually bother to check out things like that -- and I read a range of sources, from Infowars to Newsmax to Fox News to the NYTimes to Daily Kos (and some fringier left-anarchist stuff as I find it) -- they are inevitably bullshit of one sort or another. This has been so universally true in my experience that I assume things that look like that are false. Unfortunately, at the time I responded, it seemed like the examples you gave were being taken seriously, so I took the unusual step of actually checking them out and responding. If I'd shown up a little later after there was other feedback (and the moderation of your post had gone back down) I probably wouldn't have bothered.

The Radical Math example, while probably a real thing (and hilarious, from my point of view), showed no signs that it had ever been incorporated in any curriculum outside of avowedly leftist private settings, and had nothing to do with Common Core, other than an allegation that some people driving Radical Math were associated with some people involved with Common Core. This allegation included talking about how Obama is operating under Bill Ayers' agenda, which is a tired right-wing meme that I wish were truer than it is, leading me to discount the veracity of the entire account.

The second example seemed likely on its face to be an urban myth at best, and indeed I found no evidence that it's even real, far less associated with Common Core. It had the characteristics of an astroturfed internet meme (appeared verbatim across a swath of right wing blogs, referenced verbatim in comment sections of news articles).

To me, believing anything so obviously incredible indicates poor reasoning, regardless of whether you agree with the underlying criticism of the Core.

It seems likely to me that these kinds of stories are spread both by people who honestly if mistakenly believe them and by people who either willfully or professionally spread things they know aren't true for the purpose of promoting their viewpoint. Thus, idiots and shills.

I don't have a strong opinion on the Core. I don't have a knee-jerk reaction to the idea of national standards (if they're high). I'm a strong proponent of public education, I think that an educated citizenry is a vital national interest. I haven't studied the Core at any length, but what I've seen seems well enough thought out. I have no doubt that it will be implemented poorly in many places and outright stupidly in many places. Since the control is very local, I suspect that those places are probably making similarly poor or stupid decisions now. Fixing that is complicated and I certainly don't have answers.

Anyway, that's where I was coming from. I apologize for the personal attack. I usually avoid that, and should've in this case. The post pushed several buttons (bad evidence, organized propaganda/marketing, education) and I responded rashly.

Comment: Re:The danger of commonality (Score 2) 273

by asylum_street_blues (#46475697) Attached to: Is the New "Common Core SAT" Bill Gates' Doing?
I wouldn't even bet on it being proposed content with no hope of being actually used. The second example seems to be a complete fabrication, created for the likes of tpnn.com (which may be patient zero, though the copy has spread like a virus to various other blogs and comment threads) and believed only by the most hapless of their readers. I don't know if amxcoder is a shill or an idiot, but it irks me that the post still sits there at informative, instead of "troll" where it belongs.

+ - Target-Related Malware Was This Man's Side Job->

Submitted by itwbennett
itwbennett (1594911) writes "In an interview with Russian TV station Lifenews.ru, 23 year old Rinat Shabayev said he helped code the program that security experts think was eventually modified and used against Target. Shabayev told Lifenews.ru that the program has a defensive purpose of finding software problems but could have been abused by criminals. The news outlet characterized his work on the program as a side job, quoting him as saying, 'I am trying to find work. I want to find a normal and stable job and time to start my own business.'"
Link to Original Source

+ - As Target breach unfolds, security companies scrub data from the Web ->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Technical details about the Target data breach have been hastily removed or redacted by at least three security companies. The information may have been removed so as to not tip off hackers or jeopardize the criminal investigation, but it has left many scratching their heads."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:I stopped reading the responses after... (Score 1) 920

by asylum_street_blues (#37896664) Attached to: The White House Responds To We the People Petition
Actually, I believe that in the thousands of years humans have been using cannabis recreationally, SEVEN people have died: 2 got the munchies and ate themselves to death, 1 got the giggles and laughed himself to death, and 4 got horny and f*cked themselves to death... (At least, that's what Timothy Leary said when I heard him speak, back in the late 80s.)
Earth

+ - IPCC backpedals on Himalayan glaciers->

Submitted by asylum_street_blues
asylum_street_blues (1122751) writes "The IPCC has admitted that the data supporting one of their most dire climate change predictions — the potential disappearance of the Himalayan glaciers as early as 2035 — was neither peer-reviewed, well reviewed by the IPCC itself, or in fact data at all. After being challenged by glaciologists on the claims, the IPCC has admitted that the source was a story in New Scientist. As much as I distrust AGW skeptics (and for that matter, like New Scientist), this is inexcusably sloppy, and seems likely to be another rallying cry for those who doubt the so-called "scientific consensus" on climate change."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:RealClimate has a big reply on this (Score 1) 882

by asylum_street_blues (#30208008) Attached to: Climatic Research Unit Hacked, Files Leaked

Nice job on the selective quotations -- did you do that yourself or did you snip it out of some paranoid pamphlet?

Not that I'd recommend actually reading that whole Club of Rome document -- the style is tedious -- but those playing along with the home game should know that the second quoted sentence above occurs five dense pages of prose before the first quote, and that the meaning of the whole is very different indeed from the parent's portrayal.

The "need for enemies seems to be a common historical factor" line falls in the middle of a lengthy discussion of how the political landscape of the world has become much more complex and multi-focal since the demise of the Soviet Union, and how (unlike those bad old days) there aren't any easy black-and-white geopolitical conflict lines to dominate decision making on problems of international scope. The whole chapter is called "The Vacuum", and this is the opening of an explanatory paragraph -- "see, we've always had obvious conflicts and enemies, real or imagined, to tell us what ought to be done", not a statement of strategy. A few paragraphs prior they're bemoaning the fact that "It is not easy to stimulate a universal debate on ideas", and this line explains part of why that is.

They go on to say that nations are so used to thinking in terms of enemies that the downfall of the traditional ones has left a void in politics and public opinion which makes any concerted action difficult. They identify a set of problems of international scope which require concerted action to address (pollution, water shortage, famine, malnutrition, illiteracy, and unemployment -- surely uncontroversially identified as 'bad things' -- are noted in the next paragraph; global warming is conspicuously absent from this list). Only after pages further elaboration on the nature of government and politics as they see it do we find the closing paragraph which contains the first quote from the parent post... sort of. Here's the full quote, including [in bold] what was elided (elipt? Anyway, omitted through the use of ellipsis) from the parent:

In searching for a common enemy against whom we can unite, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine, and the like, would fit the bill. In their totality and their interactions these phenomena do constitute a common threat which must be confronted by everyone together. But in designating these as enemies we fall into the trap, which we have already warned readers about, namely mistaking symptoms for causes. All these dangers are caused by human intervention in natural processes, and it is only through changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome. The real enemy then is humanity itself.

Boy, those Club of Rome guys sure are sneaky, listing their agenda in once sentence and immediately saying "but if you treat these as an enemy you're falling into a trap" to distract us from their devious plot! Or maybe I just lost my Illuminati decoder ring, so now I can't understand the machinations of secret global conspiracies anymore...

Comment: Re:Torn (Score 1) 272

by asylum_street_blues (#30204548) Attached to: Opera Closes China Loophole; Reinstates Censorship
This:

Talk to your Congressman or the President. The president is charged with the power to set foreign policy. Currently, US policy is to increase freedom in China via economic growth. Like it or not, that's the policy, and it hasn't changed in 30 years.

...meshes quite tidily with this, a couple posts further up:

It's a dangerous world you wish for, where corporations pressure governments into taking certain actions or making certain policies.

It wasn't clear to me whether the earlier post was intended to be ironic, but the irony is made explicit here. Of course corporations "pressure governments", and nothing could make this clearer than the hypocricy of US policy, foreign and domestic, endlessly talking about human rights while acting largely or solely in the interests of corporate wealth. Cf. the embarrassing inclusion of verbatim text from lobbyists in the Congressional Record (from NY Times http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/15/us/politics/15health.html). The distinction between corporate "influence" and simple corruption is very hard to see sometimes.

A method of solution is perfect if we can forsee from the start, and even prove, that following that method we shall attain our aim. -- Leibnitz

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