Why I dislike the New York Times

My liberal friends are always shocked when they discover that I treat the New York Times with contempt. How could I dislike that vanguard of liberal thought? I then have to go through the tedious exercise of showing how, by being seen as the gatekeeper of ‘acceptable’ liberal thought, it manages to advance the interests of the neoliberal, neoconservative, corporate, pro-Israel lobby, and anti-Palestinian agendas, not to mention being a cheerleader and apologist for the worst excesses of militarism in US history.
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Google is evil

UPDATE: Email exchanges between Slaughter and Lynn have been released.

Google long ago effectively abandoned its original motto of “Don’t be evil” that was part of its code of conduct. They still paid lip service to it for a while but then quietly abandoned even that pretense in 2015. It has become as dangerous a monopoly as Facebook, Amazon, and the old-style mega-corporations like ExxonMobil. While it likes to portray itself as a mere platform for the free exchange of ideas, in reality it is a marketing behemoth.
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Film review: The Dinner (2017)

The film takes place during a dinner at an extremely fancy restaurant. It is hosted by Stan (Richard Gere), a powerful member of Congress running for governor of his state, and the others present are his trophy second wife Kate (Rebecca Hall), his former history teacher brother Paul (Steve Coogan with whom he has a tense relationship and who is the voiceover narrator), and Paul’s wife Claire (Laura Linney). As the dinner progresses through the various courses, we learn from the conversation and flashbacks that the occasion for the dinner is for the four of them to determine what to do about an appalling crime that their respective sons have committed that the police have not as yet been able to trace to them, and may never will because the victim of the crime is a black homeless woman and thus of no importance.
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The peddler of sensational but false news

We are nowadays awash with news stories based on dubious and/or anonymous sourcing. The goal of such stories seem to be to fire up those who want to believe the stories because it supports their preconceptions. While I understand the power of confirmation bias, I am surprised that some people are so willing to believe things that are so obviously outrageous.
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Become a ‘Citizen Sleuth’ and investigate Trump administration corruption

The administration of Donald Trump probably has the most wealth of any administration in US history. It is also the administration that has the most open contempt for ethics and thus one can expect that many of them will have no compunction about using their offices to enrich themselves by making decisions that are advantageous to their private interests. This was also likely true for many members of previous administrations but the Trump cohort will be different in that they think they are entitled to do so. After all, the head of this corrupt organization, Trump himself, clearly sees being president as a way to advance his business interests.
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The algebra conundrum: Why is it seen as so difficult?

Over at Pharyngula, PZ Myers has commented on one of the periodic issues that occurs in mathematics education and that is what mathematics should form part of the general education of everyone. This time the discussion is over whether algebra should be a requirement for a basic general education. Those who argue for its removal say that it is not a skill that most people need in everyday life and that in addition, students seem to find it very hard and fail in large numbers.
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Swearing in sign language

Swearing can be quite cathartic. I myself do not casually swear (though I do use the word ‘hell’ a lot) and never swear in anger at other people. But I cannot prevent the occasional “Oh, shit!” escaping from my lips when I do something stupid or careless or when some unfortunate event occurs. In the video below, we see how swearing is done in sign language for those who cannot verbalize it. It may also come in useful when the recipient can see you but cannot hear you. (Language advisory, obviously.)

Trump’s worst nightmare coming true

Forget his difficulties with getting funding for his beloved wall. Forget his failure to repeal Obamacare. Forget the fact that he has had to reverse himself and commit to an indefinite war in Afghanistan. What Donald Trump really, really cares about is that he be able to command large crowds of adoring fans at will to stoke his ego that people love him, they really, really love him. This is the main reason that he is having campaign rallies almost from the time he took office where he can regale his followers with an imaginary reality. He even bragged about the size of the crowd that came when he visited the areas stricken by Hurricane Harvey.
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