February 9, 2018

DicKtionary – C is for Car – Henry Ford

Filed under: Business, History, USA — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 06:00

Published on 8 Feb 2018

C is for car – the automobiles
And nothing is cooler than a boss set of wheels,
From selling some cars, this man made a horde,
Mechanic and boss man, here’s Henry Ford.

Hosted and Written by: Indy Neidell
Based on a concept by Astrid Deinhard and Indy Neidell
Produced by: Spartacus Olsson
Executive Producers: Bodo Rittenauer, Astrid Deinhard, Indy Neidell, Spartacus Olsson
Camera by: Ryan
Edited by: Bastian Beißwenger

A TimeGhost documentary format produced by OnLion Entertainment GmbH

John Perry Barlow, RIP

Filed under: Liberty, Media, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

Gareth Corfield on the death of John Perry Barlow, author of the Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace:

John Perry Barlow, a co-founder of the US Electronic Frontier Foundation, and also a lyricist for the Grateful Dead, has died aged 70.

Barlow passed away “quietly in his sleep” yesterday, according to the EFF, which he helped set up in 1990.

“It is no exaggeration to say that major parts of the Internet we all know and love today exist and thrive because of Barlow’s vision and leadership. He always saw the Internet as a fundamental place of freedom, where voices long silenced can find an audience and people can connect with others regardless of physical distance,” said the foundation’s executive director, Cindy Cohn.

The BBC reported that Barlow had been ill for several years but “few details were given about his medical problems”.

In the history of the Internet, Barlow will be forever remembered for his 1996 Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace.

“I declare the global social space we are building to be naturally independent of the tyrannies you seek to impose on us. You have no moral right to rule us nor do you possess any methods of enforcement we have true reason to fear,” wrote Barlow, a bold vision of the future that, sadly, did not come to pass.

The EFF defended Barlow against the inevitable criticisms of the Declaration, with Cohn acknowledging that he was “sometimes held up as a straw man for a kind of naive techno-utopianism” but insisting that he understood “new technology could create and empower evil as much as it could create and empower good”.

I wasn’t a fan of the Grateful Dead, but I read his Declaration soon after it was released and found it inspiring (if not particularly realistic, even then). Few people can have a significant role in a single endeavour, but Barlow was undeniably prominent in the music scene and the early internet community. We’re all poorer for his passing.

Austro-Hungarian House of Cards I THE GREAT WAR Week 185

Filed under: Europe, History, Military, WW1 — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

The Great War
Published on 8 Feb 2018

The situation for Austria-Hungary is dire, even after the success in Italy and the peace negotiations at Brest-Litovsk. Strikes and mutinies break out across the Empire and the emerging drive for ethnic self determination by the subjects of the Empire are worrying to the leaders of the Habsburg Empire.

Defining bias

Filed under: Media, Politics — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

In Quillette, Bo Winegard explains how to define bias:

Bias is an important concept both inside and outside of academia. Despite this, it is remarkably difficult to define or to measure. And many, perhaps all, studies of it are susceptible to reasonable objections from some framework of normative reasoning or another. Nevertheless, in common discourse the term is easy enough to understand. Bias is a preference or commitment that impels a person away from impartiality. If Sally is a fervid fan of the New York Knicks and uses different criteria for assessing fouls against them than against their opponents, then we would say that she is biased.

There are many kinds of biases, and bias can penetrate the cognitive process from start to finish and anywhere between. It can lead to selective exposure, whereby people preferentially seek material that favors their preferred position, and avoid material that contradicts it; it can lead to motivated skepticism, whereby people are more critical of material that opposes their preferred position than of material that supports it; and it can lead to motivated credulity, whereby people assimilate information that supports their preferred position more easily and rapidly than information that contradicts it. Often, these biases all work together.

So, imagine Sally the average ardent progressive. She probably exposes herself chiefly to progressive magazines, news outlets, and friends; and, quite possibly, she inhabits a workplace surrounded by other progressives (selective exposure). Furthermore, when she is exposed to conservative arguments or articles, she is probably extremely critical of them. That National Review article she read this morning about abortion, for example, was insultingly obtuse and only confirmed her opinion that conservatives are cognitively challenged (motivated skepticism). Compounding this, she is equally ready to praise and absorb arguments and articles in progressive magazines (motivated credulity). Just this afternoon, for example, she read a compelling takedown of the Republican tax cuts in Mother Jones which strengthened her intuition that conservatism is an intellectual and moral dead end. (This example would work equally well with an average ardent conservative). The result is an inevitably blinkered world view.

The strength of one’s bias is influenced by many factors, but, for simplicity, we can break these factors into three broad categories: clarity, accuracy concerns, and extraneous concerns. Clarity refers to how ambiguous a topic is. The more ambiguous, the lower the clarity and the higher the bias. So, the score of a basketball game has very high clarity, whereas an individual foul call may have very low clarity. Accuracy concerns refer to how desirous an individual is to know the truth. The higher the concern, on average, the lower the bias. If a fervid New York Knicks fan were also a referee in training who really wanted to get foul calls right, then she would probably have lower bias than the average impassioned fan. Last, extraneous concerns refer to any concerns (save accuracy concerns) that motivate a person toward a certain answer. Probably the most powerful of these are group affiliation and status, but there are many others (self-esteem et cetera).

At risk of simplification, we might say that bias can be represented by an equation such that extraneous concerns (E) minus (accuracy concerns (A) plus clarity (C)) equals bias: (E – (A + C) = B).

Horsepower vs Torque – A Simple Explanation

Filed under: Technology — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Engineering Explained
Published on Jan 17, 2018

What’s The Difference Between Horsepower & Torque?
Why Is Peak Acceleration At Peak Power? https://youtu.be/cb6rIZfCuHI

Which is better, horsepower or torque? Two words that are often stated in the car community, but often misunderstood. This video seeks to clarify the difference between the two, without silly analogies like “horsepower is how fast you hit the wall, torque is how far you take it with you” (which, by the way, is highly inaccurate).

Torque is a force acting at a radius, while horsepower simply incorporates time into the equation. This video will discuss the differences, how each applies to internal combustion engines, how they relate, what peak torque and peak horsepower actually mean, and how to analyze torque and horsepower curves. Finally, what’s more important for acceleration, a car with lots of power, or lots of torque?

Let’s get technical. With the context of an engine: Power = Torque x Angular Velocity. In imperial units, this translates to Horsepower = Torque x RPM / 5252.

Engineering Explained is a participant in the Amazon Influencer Program.

QotD: Canadian versus American forms of government

Filed under: Cancon, Government, Quotations, USA — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

Canada does not bother with palaces; the closest thing we have is Rideau Hall, whose history, appearance, and location all serve to confirm the point. In Canada we pay relatively little heed to social class — a legacy of having been a colony, with its ultimate rulers (and, until 1949, its literal court of last resort) conveniently offshore. We have left formal titles mostly in the dust while Americans resurrect them frantically: the newspapers bow and scrape to “Sen. Clinton” and “Gov. Palin” long after their brief periods in office.

We manage not to admire displays of wealth in the whimpering, craving way that Americans do; our old money avoids ostentation, and our bankers are practically Spartan. (We have a few literal lords, but I suspect even my colleague Conrad Black would resist being addressed as anything but “Mr. Black” by a fellow Canadian in Canada.) We accept higher taxes in exchange for state provision of medical care, but when it comes to welfare we honour the Protestant work ethic more earnestly than the republic to the south does, with its food stamps and its endless disability rolls.

This all emerges partly from having an expatriate monarchy that we can drag onto the scene as needed, and can worship and scrutinize from afar. We get the best of both worlds. If we adopted a real republic, the long-term path to union with the U.S. would be that much shorter; how long could a squeal of “But we’re so much nicer than they are,” a bare assertion of mystical innate superiority, provide a moral basis for independence?

The Romans and the Tudors would perceive the Canadian genius quickly: they would discern more clearly than ourselves that we have pioneered a truly novel political system — an ultra-practical, constitutionally successful version of the old Jewish temple, with its invisible god secreted in a hidden sanctum. Our domestic political leaders can never be glory-hunting priest-emperor types, as long as there is someone above them, far away, who is called “Majesty” and possesses the regalia of state. This is why, when someone refers to the prime minister’s wife as “first lady,” they are really threatening the basis of our political existence, and should be chastised — even if, I hasten to add, they are writers or editors for other Postmedia newspapers.

Colby Cosh, “Why Canadians are better republicans”, National Post, 2016-05-30.

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