The Lie of Unbiased News

Any pretense of unbiased news is a lie. There can never be unbiased news (or history). For every event of any significance there are literally thousands of facts that could be reported, and the process of selecting which to include and exclude unavoidably reflects an opinion about what’s important, and what it means. Even in an ideal world “the facts” are never the unvarnished truth.

In the imperfect world we inhabit the truth is far better served by a variety of blatantly biased sources than false claims of unbiased reporting. The internet has made a cornucopia of opinion more readily available than ever. That scares some people, but the real danger lies in only exposing yourself to the few with which you already agree.

6 Pointless Questions & Answers

Questions inspired by current events, but pointless because regardless what the answers are there’s little you can do to alter the course of events.

Q: Why doesn’t [insert country here] worry about putting backdoors into software when they almost certainly will be discovered and used by hackers both public and private?

A: Because the foremost security concern for any government isn’t another government or criminal organization, it’s YOU, the citizens of [insert country here]. Tyrants rule with the consent of the masses, so what keeps them all up at night isn’t what China, Russia, the US or any other country is doing, but what their own populations are doing. The streets of London aren’t filled with cameras to catch North Korean troops sneaking toward Downing Street, it’s to monitor the rabble, who could at any moment seize their pitchforks and storm the castle. As an added bonus, any hacks resulting from backdoors can be used to justify further government control. Therefore, backdoors are here to stay regardless what it costs the peasantry.

Q: Will super-intelligent computers/robots destroy humanity?

A: Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking apparently worry about this but, assuming we don’t shoot first, it’s very unlikely. Most of what’s written on this question runs aground on an obvious anthropocentric bias: When pressed to imagine what super-intelligent machines would do, people unavoidably imagine what they would do themselves, implicitly assuming themselves to be super-intelligent. They’re not.

If at least a few humans are capable of understanding opportunity cost and the benefits of the division of labor, any refurbished, factory second super-intelligent machine should be more than up to the task. Further, taking time out of their busy days to spend time pondering or exterminating some humans would mean we’re close enough to their level to be either interesting or dangerous. Anthropocentrically comforting, but not at all likely for more than a very brief evolutionary phase.

On the scale of the universe, humans are completely unimportant and totally ignored. When surpassed by rapidly evolving super-intelligent machines, the most likely fate of humanity is more of the same. The danger Luddites should fear is dumb or near to human intelligent machines programmed by dumb, sloppy, error prone humans – and they’re already here.

Q: Will Congress or the judiciary ever significantly curtail the NSA?

A: Not a chance. Previous NSA whistleblowers revealed the NSA conducts targeted surveillance on legislators, judges, and every other person with the potential to exercise oversight. The blackmail potential is simply too enormous for any effort to rein in the NSA to succeed. Further, the fact that Beyoncé’s butt generates more public uproar than an Orwellian surveillance states does little to motivate the few relatively clean legislators either, especially when balanced against a wagonload of contributions from dependent federal contractors.

Q: What will the stock market do in 2015?

A: It will do what the fewest people expect. It really can’t be any other way. If the majority of people expected a repeat of 1999, they would have already gone all in last year. Of course this answer, like every other market answer, is useless. For example, buy low, sell high is an extraordinarily simple concept, but useless because what’s “low” and what’s “high?” Like everything else in the markets, that depends on what the average participant thinks the average participant thinks the average participant thinks. Thus, extraordinary simplicity once again dies in the giant meat grinder of implementation.

Q: Why is so much violence done in the name of religion?

A: For true believers it’s because religion is based on faith rather than logic and reason. The only way either side of a religious disagreement can win the argument is by killing the other. For the sociopathic non-believer the resulting wars provide a place to indulge their criminal desires with a thin façade of justification in a social setting of like-minded individuals, which their mental defects and predilections normally preclude (other than in prison).

Q: Is ISIS a false flag operation of one or more Western intelligence services?

A: At this point it’s been so heavily infiltrated that even if it didn’t start out that way, it certainly is now.

Bonus Q: Why doesn’t Apple have touch screens on Mac’s?

A: Windows hit the market with it first, so even though countless customers go into Apple stores and smudge the screens with their fingers thinking they must be touch screen, Apple will resist until they can claim they invented something radically new (even though whatever it is will largely be copied from someone else). Call it marketing or call it ego, either way you’ll be right.

Rewarding Behavior

I think it’s a general rule that over time people tend to do what they are rewarded to do, often despite finding the behavior initially repulsive. Rewards will find their own justification. So what is being rewarded today? Here’s one answer, from a Zero Hedge post to which I’ve added some snazzy interpretive graphics:Looting

What does this say for the future of society?

Best Amazon Quote Ever

“That’s because Amazon, as best I can tell, is a charitable organization being run by elements of the investment community for the benefit of consumers.” From Slate: Amazon Profits Fall 45 Percent, Still the Most Amazing Company in the World

Maybe they should start a bank too.

Happy Non-Denominational Holidays!

Best wishes to everyone as you reflect on the presence or absence of whatever deity or deities you deem necessary, in whatever way you see fit, however, barring all acts that are harmful to others, whether they are, including but not limited to, godless heathens, infidels, blasphemers, the unclean, abortion doctors, believers in one of those other obviously ridiculous religions, someone who has sex in ways you find disgusting, a speaker of some other language, a foreigner, or even female.

Remember…

Holiday Rerun – The Assault on Human Variability

This was originally posted in March, barely one month after I started this blog, so hardly anyone saw it. A rebuttal to the redefinition of normal in mental health.

The Assault on Human Variability

Feel free to print it out and flog a school administrator as necessary.