Another Wild Sunday Morning!

And a joke, from Ace’s

Two engineering students were biking across a university campus when one said, “Where did you get such a great bike?”

The second engineer replied, “Well, I was walking along yesterday, minding my own business, when a beautiful woman rode up on this bike, threw it to the ground, took off all her clothes and said, “Take what you want.

The first engineer nodded approvingly and said, “Good choice: The clothes probably wouldn’t have fit you anyway.”

From the Speccie:

On Tuesday Captain Shults contacted air traffic control shortly after 11AM and, after identifying her Boeing 737 as Southwest 1380 and noting that it was carrying “149 souls,” she calmly advised them that she had a serious in-flight emergency that required her to put the plane on the ground immediately. ATC then asked, “Where would you like to go? Which airport?”

The following is a condensed version of Captain Shults’ response:

The closest one, Philadelphia. We’re single-engine descending… We have a part of the aircraft missing… If you would have them roll the emergency trucks. It’s on engine number 1, captain’s side… could you have the medical meet us there on the runway, as well? We’ve got injured passengers.

Shults conveyed all of this in the same unemotional tones most people would use to order a ham sandwich. She then landed the plane as smoothly as if she were putting it down after a routine flight. Her next act, after graciously thanking the ATC guys for their help, was to go back and speak with each of the passengers as she and the rest of the crew helped them off the aircraft.

If I read correctly, she is also the first woman pilot of the Navy’s F-18. I’d fly with her anytime, anywhere. BZ Captain.

 

Of course!

Mostly from Bookworm and PowerLine as always.

And you know, for the last 53 weeks (about) we have managed at least one post per day, and I’m tired. So, I’ve lined up some of my best posts (in my opinion, anyway) for you, and I’m gonna take a few days mostly off, although I’ll look in some, so comments are welcome. Enjoy.

Ah, here’s my ride, I’m outta here!

 

 

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Zuckerberg Talks, Facebook’s Problems Even Worse

From Investor’s Business Daily.

Public Relations: After days of silence in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been talking up a storm. Given the kinds of things he’s been saying, it might be better if he went back to his Silent Zuck routine.

Case in point is his interview with Vox.com, in which Zuckerberg managed to generate a new round of bad press over Facebook’s privacy scandal, talked about having some sort of Supreme Court decide what constitutes “acceptable speech” and how Facebook (FB) hampers independent media outlets. Oh, and he apparently thinks patriotism is arcane.

The latest privacy flap came when Zuckerberg suggested that Facebook scans private messages sent over its Messenger app and blocks those it deems inappropriate.

During the interview, he talked about blocking “sensational messages” that Facebook believed were meant to incite harm. “Our systems detect that that’s going on,” he said. “We stop those messages from going through.”

On Wednesday, Facebook officials confirmed the practice to Bloomberg.

The public response has not been favorable. One Twitter user commented “Facebook is the new NSA.” Another tweeted “Facebook: The world’s youngest surveillance state.”

Completely unacceptable, in my opinion. Either Facebook is a common carrier of information, rather like the phone company, or it is not. If it is not, then it is a private message service, and needs to be transparent in its advertising and public relations that it only carries messages for its favored people and groups, even if that undercuts its model of making (lots of) money by selling its clients information to all and sundry.

“You can imagine,” he said, “some sort of structure, almost like a Supreme Court, that is made up of independent folks who don’t work for Facebook, who ultimately make the final judgment call on what should be acceptable speech in a community that reflects the social norms and values of people all around the world.”

It’s a good thing Zuckerberg wasn’t around when the founders were drafting the First Amendment.

But what exactly does he think would constitute global “social norms and values” in a world that includes countries where gays are executed, infidels killed, political opponents jailed, and free press suppressed?

Zuckerberg also talked about how his company “worked directly” with the German government to monitor content before elections there, saying that “if you work with the government in a country, they’ll actually have a fuller understanding of what is going on.”

That prompted the Wall Street Journal’s James Freeman to write: “The idea of Facebook working with governments around the world to filter news is more frightening than almost any commercial use of user data one can imagine.”

We could not agree more.

I couldn’t agree more either. Worst of all worlds really, being exploited for your personal data, by who knows whom, not to mention various repressive governments, and yes, I include Germany in that category. I wonder when we will start seeing Europeans going to jail for Facebook posts? Shan’t be long, I imagine, the British police are already monitoring Twitter.

At another point, Zuckerberg appears to dismiss pride of country as old fashioned.

“One of the things I found heartening is if you ask millennials what they identify the most with, it’s not their nationality,” he said. “The plurality identifies as a citizen of the world. And that, I think, reflects the values of where we need to go.”

Well, what really is there to add to that. He has his opinion. I and millions of others have a directly opposite opinion, mostly because we are intelligent enough to recognize that some countries are better than others, and some are clearly evil.

He really ought to stop digging, the hole is plenty deep to bury him in, but he won’t, not least because he thinks he’s the smartest guy in the room well world maybe. Watching people blow things up is strangely fascinating though, isn’t it?

And the Trumpets Sounded

Blogging is a funny thing, often you end up having friends, all over the world, who you are fairly sure you’ll never meet. I’ve met people from every continent (but Antartica) and quite a few have become friends, and a fair number of them have been featured here, over the years.

One of them is TonyfromOz, who told us this week about his ten years of blogging. His actual career (and the reason he started blogging) is a fairly close parallel to my own, and I was going to talk about it today. But Tony got superseded today. I hope he understands, actually I’m sure he will. Maybe some other day.

This summer will mark my seventh-anniversary blogging, and yes, I still enjoy it, although it is occasionally a strain, to find something to say, and to keep it suitable for work, as we say. Over that time many other bloggers have come into my life, and sadly a majority of them have gone, almost all are missed.

Sometime in the fall of 2011, I got a like from an unusual source, danmillerinpanama, the Gravatar showed a gentleman about my age, in a quite nice Panama hat. The likes continued to come as did mine on his blog, and so did occasional comments both ways, and something unusual here reblogs both ways. As I came to know Dan, I found that in some ways our outlooks were similar, and in some, they were quite different. We were both wise enough to understand that did not preclude our friendship.

Dan’s personal blog is here. One could profitably spend some time there.

One of the more interesting things is that we both greatly admired Robert E Lee, not least for his conception of duty. Our outlook on the world was quite similar.

So today I was very saddened to read on Warsclerotic, where he was the editor, in addition to making some posts on his own blog, that he had passed over. They were kind enough to share what Dan’s wife, Jeannie had written.

Dear Joe,
Dan asked me to communicate with you should he not make it through the latest of his health problems.
He felt a deep connection with Isreal, with Warsclerotic, and with you, Joe.
Please forgive my delay in communicating with you.  It, as you must know, has been a tremendously difficult time for me.  I needed some time to recover even the tinyest bit of perspective.
Please keep him in your prayers.
Best,  Jeanie
Here is what I wrote to our families:
*********

Dan and I started our adventures together almost 26 years ago. Over the years, we’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve won and we’ve lost. Always, our

​mutual ​

love and respect made it possible to overcome the inevitable obstacles that present themselves over a lifetime.

Dan died last Sunday afternoon. I will miss him forever. He has preceded me in this last and greatest adventure of all.

As was his wish, I will spread his ashes over the finca he loved so well.

​​

Rest in peace

​ and
Namaste, My​Darling

Curriculum Vitae and subsequent life:

Herbert Daniel Miller was graduated from Yale University, cum laude, and the University of Virginia Law School where he was notes editor of Law Review and a member of The Order of the Coif. After he graduated, he joined the United States Army JAG Corp where he was Special Courts Marshall Judge for the Country of Korea. Upon returning to civilian life, he joined the law firm of Koteen and Naftalin in Washington, D.C. until he retired as a partner in 1996.

Thereupon, he and his wife cruised in the Eastern Caribbean as well as Trinidad, Venezuela and Colombia in their sailboat, Namaste. They achieved their Dive Master certificates in Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles. In 2002, they reached Panama, spending a month in the Kuna Yala Islands on their sailboat before settling in Western Panama.

He leaves behind his wife, Jean Fiester Miller, his son, Nicolas Miller, his daughter, Elizabeth Korchnak and his sister, Margaret Zilm, his nephews Andrew and Gregory Zilm, as well as three grandchildren.

There are a certain number of us around, who have known each other (through our blogs) for years, and have become friends. Dan was a leading member of that group for me. After all, not that many American bloggers post YouTubes of Harlech Men or Scotland the Brave and connect them to our posts. He taught me much, while never denigrating anything I did.

One of our favorite quotes from General Lee was this:

Duty then is the sublimest word in the English language. You should do your duty in all things.

You can never do more, you should never wish to do less.

Dan epitomized that outlook, he’ll be mourned and missed for many a day here.

Rest in peace, dear friend. As our Navy friends say, “Fair winds and following seas”.

We’ll take the duty, amongst us.

And may God give comfort to Jeannie and his family.

The Late Week in Review

Well, Good Morning or Afternoon or whatever, somebody seems to have stolen an hour last night. What a joke DST has become.

Almost as big a joke as International Woman’s day, which seems to celebrate leftist, women with good jobs, and without the brains to hold them. Or something.

On March 5, 1982, Actor and singer John Belushi died from an overdose of cocaine and heroin.

On a Mission

A bit wordy, but…

Really, BBC? Even for you, that’s pretty bad.

Yesterday was Chuck Norris’ Birthday. Happy Birthday, Mr. Norris

Of course he’d approve.

As usual, most from PowerLine and Bookworm, and a couple from various posts at Ace.

Have a good week.

 

Quantifying Google’s Bias

Leo Goldstein wrote a guest article on What’s Up With That, and it is arguably important, to those of us that blog, but also to those of you who are looking for unbiased information. The short form is: Ya ain’t gonna get it from Google.

Abstract

The percentage of domain traffic, referred by Google Search, net of brand searches (PGSTN), tends to be in or around the range 25%-30% for a broad class of web domains.  This hypothesis is tested by calculating the correlation between the popularity of news/opinions websites and their PGSTN, and finding it to be near zero.  Thus, PGSTN can be used rigorously to detect and even quantify Google Search intentional bias.  Intentional bias is the bias that has been introduced by internal Google decisions, and unrelated to external factors, such as the dominance of particular viewpoints on the web.  Here, the PGSTN method is applied for intentional bias detection about climate debate and in general political discourse.

Google Search is found to be extremely biased in favor of climate alarmism and against climate realism.  The PGSTN ranges for climate realism and climate alarmism do not even overlap!  Some of the most important climate realist domains, including low-controversial judithcurry.com, have such a low PGSTN that they can be considered blacklisted by Google.

Google Search is found to be biased in favor of left/liberal domains and against conservative domains with a confidence of 95%.  Further, certain hard-Left domains have such a high PGSTN that their standing raises suspicions that they have been hand-picked for prominent placement.  Certain respected conservative domains are blacklisted.


[…]  Google servers crawl the whole web, extracting text, links, and other data from trillions of pages.  Google constantly and successfully fights attempts to artificially promote websites through collusive linking, and other search engine optimization techniques.  In its undertaking, Google also uses an enormous amount of off-web information, which it collects through Chrome browser, other Google applications and services, analytics beacons, domains registrar status, and so on.  This information includes domains popularity and ownership.  Google also processes immediate feedback from the users in the form of frequency of clicks on the results, bounce rate, the frequency of repeated searches with modified terms, etc.

Google is very good at its job.  Sites and domains that are less popular with the visitors tend to be less likely to receive traffic from Google, and vice versa.  The effect is that percentage of net traffic that domains receive from Google Search tends to be similar across web domains!  […]

Given the robustness of PGSTN, I conclude that statistically significant difference in PGSTN between a priori defined sets of comparable domains is due to intentional bias by Google, unless there is another good explanation.

I’d say this is by no means a manual operation, like nearly everything Google does, it is an algorithm. But my anecdotal evidence confirms what Mr. Goldstein is saying here. Historically, our search referrals were in that range, until July 2016, when they dropped drastically, as they did at AATW where I also write. I  was very noticeable here since we are a small blog and our view stats dropped almost instantly about 50%, nor have we yet reached the level we were at in June of 2016.

Google Bias in General Political Discourse

To quantify Google general political bias, I selected top U.S. news and opinions sites by their ranking in Alexa, then added some lower ranking conservative sites based on my personal knowledge and/or Alexa suggestions.  There was an element of subjectivity in selection and classification, and I omitted some domains that I could not classify.  Nevertheless, the most popular domains in both left/liberal (including Left, Mainstream Liberal, and Mainstream Center) and conservative (including Conservative and Mainstream Conservative) categories have been selected and classified rigorously, and use of weighted statistics minimized the element of subjectivity in the results.

The results show that Google Search is heavily biased against conservative domains, and some respectable conservative domains seem to be blacklisted:

thegatewaypundit.com

pjmedia.com

americanthinker.com

redstate.com

powerlineblog.com

drudgereport.com

Those are some pretty serious political sites, and the part of this I didn’t highlight is that these (NEO too) are climate realist sites, I’m inclined to think it’s natural for those of a conservative outlook to be skeptical of such things. But I have yet to see anything that even came close to convincing me. And that is likely why this was published on Watts Up With That. They are much more involved with the climate debate and the Google bias looks even worse there as well.

Now mind Google is a private company entitled to treat its products as it wishes. But it pays to understand if one’s provider of information is providing slanted data, and just how it is slanted.

 

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Well, I have to get on a jet plane in a few hours. It was unplanned, which is always unpleasant, perhaps we’ll talk about it when I get back, we’ll see. In the meantime, I’ve selected several articles for you from the top twenty all time read articles here (from the several thousand we have written. I’ll only have my phone but will try to check in periodically. Uffda! In the meantime, from my friend, Oyia Brown…

An 85-year-old man was requested by his doctor for a sperm count as part of his physical exam. The doctor gave the man a jar and said, “Take this jar home and bring back a semen sample tomorrow.”The next day the 85-year-old man reappeared at the doctor’s office and gave him the jar, which was as clean and empty as on the previous day. The doctor asked, what happened and the man explained.

“Well, doc, it’s like this–first I tried with my right hand, but nothing. Then I tried with my left hand, but still nothing. Then I asked my wife for help. She tried with her right hand, then with her left, still nothing. She tried with her mouth, first with the teeth in, then with her teeth out, still nothing.

We even called up Arleen, the lady next door, and she tried too. First with both hands, then an armpit, and she even tried squeezin’ it between her knees, but still nothing.”

Continued at: If You Don’t At First Succeed…

See you soon.

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