Tag Archives: violence

Errata: Horrible Greenlight Game, Creator Economy, AI shenanigans, etc

Moving ‘Errata’ posts to a once-a-week thing, I think.

From gaygamer comes news about an incredibly horrible game allowed to find its way on gaming platform Steam’s “Greenlight” system. (article)

Paul Saffo’s SALT talk on the Creator Economy. (Video and audio at link)

Stephen Colbert has partnered with Share Fair Nation and ScanSource to fund every single teacher grant request in South Carolina. (article)

Motherboard on a new thought experiment: could a superintelligent AI freely manipulate humans interacting with it to its own ends? (article)

Also from Motherboard, a researcher has put together what looks to be a fairly comprehensive record of all arrests related to dark web market activity. (article)

Master combination locks have seemed pretty shoddy security for a long time, but a new exploit allows you to crack many combinations in eight tries or less. (article)

A great episode of the Lawfare podcast in which editor Ben White delivers a talk on “The Future of Violence.” (audio at link)

–This feels like a low-tech companion to the points about technology-centric existential threats that Bill Joy worries about. Going to have to pick up White’s new book, written with Gabriela Blum, ASAP.

Social-Engineer.org podcast episode with Deviant Ollam on his physical security shenanigans.

And via twitter, a Macedonian protester using a riot shield as a mirror to reapply her lipstick:


Readings: Ebola Papers, Check Your Science, Zimbardo’s Ugly Problems

reddit: Understand the Dynamics of Ebola EpidemicsFor the bored, curious, and comorbidly morbid, a handful of open-access papers on Ebola (mostly epidemiological in nature) available in this reddit thread. Possibly made more relevant by an index patient in Sierra Leone disappearing from the hospital, and the top Sierra Leonan ebola virologist coming down with the virus.

Also reddit: A toxicology professor from McGill did an AMA (“Ask Me Anything”) on his research into electromagnetic radiation and health effects. Redditors ripped apart his shoddy science and he basically refused to answer a single hard question.

BPS Research Digest: What the textbooks don’t tell you – one of psychology’s most famous experiments was seriously flawed

The SPE was criticised back in the 70s, but that criticism has noticeably escalated and widened in recent years. New details to emerge show that Zimbardo played a key role in encouraging his “guards” to behave in tyrannical fashion. Critics have pointed out that only one third of guards behaved sadistically (this argues against the overwhelming power of the situation). Question marks have also been raised about the self-selection of particular personality types into the study. Moreover, in 2002, the social psychologists Steve Reicher and Alex Haslam conducted the BBC Prison Study to test the conventional interpretation of the SPE. The researchers deliberately avoided directing their participants as Zimbardo had his, and this time it was the prisoners who initially formed a strong group identity and overthrew the guards.

Article goes on to talk about how the Stanford Prison Experiment is covered in top US psychology textbooks, which is less than inspiring. While I was studying the SPE was certainly regarded as a staple in psych education, a bit of a monolith. I should’ve known better!

Readings: Democracy or Prom, Las Vegas Shooters, Turing Test

As always, quotes in quotation marks, comments by me in italics.

Boston Globe: Newton student penalized for democracy notes in China – “Newton North High School senior Henry DeGroot was visiting a school outside Beijing on a semester abroad this year when he decided to have some fun and also make a point by writing prodemocracy messages in the notebook of a Chinese student.” – So the choice is, adhere to democratic principles or go to prom. That’s a pretty screwed-up message to send.

TPM: Neighbors: Las Vegas Shooters Bragged About Taking Part In Bundy Standoff – ‘”They were handing out white-power propaganda and were talking about doing the next Columbine,” he said.’ – Bragged about it, but I’m guessing the pair weren’t functional enough to maintain membership in any well-defined organization. Details sketchy right now so worth watching, and as much as I want to paint typical militias with the same brush these two seem much more like the spurned radical/reactionary type.

Verge: Computer passes Turing Test for first time by convincing judges it is a 13-year-old boyMethodological issues aside, to conclude that computer passed the Turing Test you must first believe that thirteen-year-olds are humans.

Conveniently Missing from the Lexicon

It is amazing to see that, once again, white perpetrators with a history of political extremism commit an ideologically-charged shooting and are not labeled terrorists. Twice in recent weeks; first Elliott Rodger, and now Las Vegas shooters Jerad and Amanda Miller. The lengths that media goes to in order to refuse to apply that label to Caucasians stretches beyond the intellectual and into the realm of spiritual beliefs. Including white people as terrorists strikes some nerve at the most fundamental level of our civic religion. As the tenets of that religion stray increasingly far from reality we seem to react in the same way as any other faith: we refuse to talk about it.