Zeynep Tufekci: Here’s Why the Science Is Clear That Masks Work

Mask 5 custom 5f7d4fdef3c4f0acab1b8148196a79c8e0b36bd6 s1600 c85

‘You may have seen the online kerfuffle a few weeks ago about a study that was released recently that indicated that there was no evidence that masks work against respiratory illnesses (see Bret Stephen’s awful ideologically driven piece in the NY Times for instance). As many experts said at the time, that’s not what the review of the studies actually meant and the organization responsible recently apologized and clarified the review’s assertions.

In a typically well-argued and well-researched piece for the NY Times, Zeynep Tufekci explains what the review actually shows and why the science is clear that masks do work….’

— via Kottke

The Limits of Lived Experience


24paul mediumSquareAt3X‘Ideas often become popular long after their philosophical heyday. This seems to be the case for a cluster of ideas centring on the notion of ‘lived experience’, something I first came across when studying existentialism and phenomenology many years ago. The popular versions of these ideas are seen in expressions such as ‘my truth’ and ‘your truth’, and the tendency to give priority to feelings over dispassionate factual information or even rationality. The BBC is running a radio series entitled ‘I feel therefore I am’ which gives a sense of the influence this movement is having on our culture, and an NHS trust has apparently advertised for a ‘director of lived experience’.

But what exactly is ‘lived experience’ and how does it differ from simple ‘experience’?…’

— via 3 Quarks Daily


‘What happens when an entire generation loses itself in a world of abstractions?…’

— via City Journal

Why are we so scared of clowns? Here’s what we’ve discovered

File 20230213 30 yhnme1 jpg

‘…there might be something more fundamental about the way clowns look that unsettles people.

In fact the strongest factor we identified was hidden emotional signals, suggesting that for many people, a fear of clowns stems from not being able to see their facial expressions due to their make-up. We cannot see their “true” faces and therefore cannot understand their emotional intent. So, for example, we don’t know whether they have a frown or a furrowed brow, which would indicate anger. Not being able to detect what a clown is thinking or what they might do next makes some of us on edge when we are around them….’

— via The Conversation

Lauren Boebert will be a grandmother at 36. This is what conservatives want for us

6000 jpg

‘This shouldn’t need to be said in 2023, but forcing teenagers to become parents isn’t good for the teenagers, the baby or society in general…’

— via  The Guardian

Related? Watch as Marjorie Taylor Greene runs congress for Speaker McCarthy

Marjorie taylor greene e1658927064673 jpg‘Guess Kevin McCarthy had someplace to be today and had Greene sworn in to replace him. Hey, look! Everything is normal. Happens all the time, except not usually with people so busy fighting the gazpacho and Jewish Space Laser conspiracies….’

— via Boing Boing

AI Is Ushering in a Textpocalypse

Original jpg

‘Our relationship to the written word is fundamentally changing. So-called generative artificial intelligence has gone mainstream through programs like ChatGPT, which use large language models, or LLMs, to statistically predict the next letter or word in a sequence, yielding sentences and paragraphs that mimic the content of whatever documents they are trained on. They have brought something like autocomplete to the entirety of the internet. For now, people are still typing the actual prompts for these programs and, likewise, the models are still (mostly) trained on human prose instead of their own machine-made opuses.

But circumstances could change—as evidenced by the release last week of an API for ChatGPT, which will allow the technology to be integrated directly into web applications such as social media and online shopping. It is easy now to imagine a setup wherein machines could prompt other machines to put out text ad infinitum, flooding the internet with synthetic text devoid of human agency or intent: gray goo, but for the written word….’

— via The Atlantic