Author Archives: Denyse O'Leary

Why you don’t care about the Oscars

Because they don’t care about you. From Derek Hunter at Townhall:

As the ratings have shown, fewer and fewer people each year watch them. This is due, in part, to the fact that the Oscars hold so many of us in contempt – political lectures and condescension are more common in acceptance speeches than thanking a manager.

They also nominate movies based on their left-wing messaging more than their audience appeal. No one wants to sit through a 4-hour lecture celebrating movies about how oppressive, racist, unfair, unjust, nasty, etc., the country is only to be subjected to a 30 second speech reinforcing the same from someone paid more for 3 weeks’ worth of playing make-believe than the average American earns in a year. More.

Reality check: The fascinating part is that showbiz people, who might actually want their industry to survive, and thrive seem locked into a treadmill. They can’t stop. It’s like SJW is stuck on only one setting.

See also: Murphy Brown remake fails, of course. Media simply aren’t what they were when Murphy Brown was big.


When the SJWs come for scientists, it gets ugly fast


New York Magazine article claims Uber is failing

Well, at least listen. From Yves Smith:

By steamrolling local taxi operations in cities all over the world and cultivating cheerleaders in the business press and among Silicon Valley libertarians, Uber has managed to create an image of inevitability and invincibility. But the company just posted another quarter of jaw-dropping losses — this time over $1 billion, after $4.5 billion of losses in 2017. How much is hype and how much is real?

The notion that Uber, the most highly valued private company in the world, is a textbook “bezzle” — John Kenneth Galbraith’s coinage for an investment swindle where the losses have yet to be recognized — is likely to come as a surprise to its many satisfied customers. But as we’ll explain, relying on the extensive work of transportation expert Hubert Horan, Uber’s investors have been buying your satisfaction in the form of massive subsidies of services. More.

Reality check: Uber, he says, is subsidized by the fact that drivers really make only about $10/hr and have not factored in the cost of the use of their cars. Also, it’s all a physical business, not a digital business, which means dealing with down time, etc. We’ll see. But not everything can be digitized.

See also: Is a bad “AI Winter” looming? Artificial intelligence crashes and busts are historically common.


Who does the concept of “intellectual property” really benefit? Was traditional copyright law meant to protect algorithms that decide people’s financial fate?


When the SJWs come for scientists, it gets ugly fast

Here’s what’s been happening: The social justice mob has gone all non-binary. That would be no more significant than shocking pink hair except for two things:

1. The SJWs want to impose on biologists the idea that male and female are just social constructs.

2. The biologists believe that humans are animals.

Now, if you didn’t believe that humans are animals, you could always just say: “Well, among cattle, there are bulls and there are cows – and it pays to know the difference. Among gorillas, there are great big silverbacks (males) and then there are she-gorillas. But humans, of course, can be non-binary because we aren’t animals.”

Having decided a long time ago that humans are animals, the biologists are kind of stuck. The social justice warriors are closing in, as one evolutionary biologist, Colin Wright, riskily relates:

Recently, this fear has been realized as social justice activists attempt to jump the epistemological shark by claiming that the very notion of biological sex, too, is a social construct.

Yes. And they are forcing science journals to publish articles implying that the idea has merit.

Even more recently, the most prestigious scientific journal in the world, Nature, published an editorial claiming that classifying people’s sex “on the basis of anatomy or genetics should be abandoned” and “has no basis in science” and that “the research and medical community now sees sex as more complex than male and female.” In the Nature article, the motive is stated clearly enough: acknowledging the reality of biological sex will “undermine efforts to reduce discrimination against transgender people and those who do not fall into the binary categories of male or female.” But while there is evidence for the fluidity of sex in many organisms, this is simply not the case in humans. We can acknowledge the existence of very rare cases in humans where sex is ambiguous, but this does not negate the reality that sex in humans is functionally binary. These editorials are nothing more than a form of politically motivated, scientific sophistry.

Actually, these editorials are warnings for people like Wright to conform to the nonsense or get buried:

What these articles leave out is the fact that the final result of sex development in humans are unambiguously male or female over 99.98 percent of the time. Thus, the claim that “2 sexes is overly simplistic” is misleading, because intersex conditions correspond to less than 0.02 percent of all births, and intersex people are not a third sex. Intersex is simply a catch-all category for sex ambiguity and/or a mismatch between sex genotype and phenotype, regardless of its etiology. Furthermore, the claim that “sex is a spectrum” is also misleading, as a spectrum implies a continuous distribution, and maybe even an amodal one (one in which no specific outcome is more likely than others). Biological sex in humans, however, is clear-cut over 99.98 percent of the time. More.

Reality check. At least Wright knows he is living dangerously. And in a world where there is a war on correct answers in general, we ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Here are some of the stories I’ve been covering from the SJW war on biology:

Larry Krauss? Francisco Ayala? And now Neil deGrasse Tyson? (All are pop science bigs, accused of sexual harassment.)

The perfect storm: Darwinists meet the progressive “evolution deniers” — and cringe… Double down cringe…

The Darwinians’ cowardice before SJW mobs explained in detail: They thought the mob was coming for someone else.

Is Darwinist Jerry Coyne starting to get it about SJW “science”? Ah, not a moment too soon.; Here is a perfect specimen of sp. SJW, Trollus inyerfaceus. We have certainly dealt with them. Coyne may find some in his own backyard.

Rob Sheldon: Have a little pity for scientists scared of SJWs I thought the Areo article was the most honest I have met in a long while. It is one thing to boast about courage in the faculty lounge, it is quite another in the provost’s office. I have been cursed with both experiences.


Mark Regnerus: How to research controversial subjects and stay employed

If not popular: From sociologist at Mark Regnerus, who found that gay parents were more likely to have problems that might impact children:

Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas’ Department of Sociology gave a talk about the challenges of conducting research on controversial topics at the 2017 Scherer Lecture and Conference. More.

Reality check: It was fascinating watching the Correct get together to try to destroy his research.

See also: How did Texas sociologist Mark Regnerus get to be so hated?

It was hard to find children of same-sex parents who had been together for long. Ironically, that fact—instead of pointing clearly to a problem for children in same-sex households—provided an opportunity to attack Regnerus’s findings.

A “re-analysis” of the data published over two years later in the same journal, Social Science Research, dropped from consideration the same-sex households that did not last long, keeping only the few that did. The result was a greatly reduced difference, loudly proclaimed.

That practice is called “data laundering.” The resulting sample of same-sex households was not only small but unrepresentative, whereas the other groups remained large and representative.

Media, however, had found what they needed in the newly cooked statistics. They jumped in to declare Regnerus debunked. Some of the takedowns were unusually dishonest. At the New York Times, Jesse Wegman dismissed Regnerus’s careful but deeply unpopular work alongside a study whose data turned out not to exist. More.


Compassion director dumped at prominent science institute

No, see, “compassion” means you DON’T just tell them to jump in front of a truck. You need reprogramming.

No, we don’t sit around here, making stuff up:

Tania Singer, 48 , had achieved prominence outside the scientific world in recent years. She caused a sensation with her interdisciplinary studies on the foundations of social emotions such as empathy, envy, fairness or revenge. Since 2013 , she has headed the ReSource project at the MPI in Leipzig, one of the largest research projects ever on the effects of meditation on the brain. At events such as the World Economic Forum in Davos, she regularly called for more compassion in business and society.

This was missing but apparently in their own laboratory. The science journal Science and the online portal BuzzFeed reported in the summer of this year that Singer had bullied and intimidated employees and PhD students for years. Christian Weber, “Max Planck Director Tania Singer leaves the institute” at Sudddeutsche Zeitung

You could have predicted trouble when they hired a “compassion director” anyway. That’s about as useful as commanding people to be funny.

Note: If you don’t read German, you’ll need to hit the Translate button.

See also: Robot priests: And you thought “robotic religion” was just a pointed criticism… ?

How do robots “care”? From Sapiens: Emotional robots’ cameras and sensors respond to your facial expressions, tone of voice, and movements


The new, politically correct chatbot was worse?


Black pro-life student reflects on evangelical SJWs who denounced him

Remember Ryan Bomberger, the black pro-life student activist who made Wheaton evangelical college uncomfortable? In his own words, at Townhall:

Only one of those five people involved in this letter of denouncement even attended the event (Sammie Shields). The presentation was 50 minutes, followed by nearly an hour of Q&A and discussion. How was anyone “unheard” or “underrepresented”?

When you can’t prove the content wrong, the tactic is to make things up. I can’t rebut every lie I’ve heard and seen posted on social media since my November 14th presentation. Some have claimed that I said, “no one cares what the KKK believes”, “racism doesn’t exist anymore”, and “women should think twice about reporting sexual assault.” Of course, I never said any of those things. One of the student leaders… made the bizarre claim, in order to bolster his false narrative about what I said about the KKK, that “there was a lynching in Mississippi last week”. Really? Wouldn’t there be at least one news article on that? But it doesn’t matter. “Diversity”!

Victimhood is potent.

The story has now become the “hurt” and “grieving” students.More.

Reality check: Don’t be surprised if later,  pro-lifers aren’t allowed to speak because pro-live baby dismemberment types are “uncomfortable.” Still later, there will be more witches in Wheaton than evangelicals. At least the evangelicals brought it on themselves.

See also: Black prolifer made Wheaton students feel unsafe


More witches than Presbyterians in the United States?


Touch screen ordering: McPathogens at McDonald’s?

From computer engineer Robert J. Marks at Mind Matters:

The Blaze reports on the outcome of an analysis of swab wipes from touch screens, taken from eight McDonald’s locations in England. Dr. Paul Matawele of London Metropolitan University’s Microbiology department reported:

“We were all surprised how much gut and fecal bacteria there was on the touch-screen machines. These cause the kind of infections that people pick up in hospitals.” Sarah Taylor, “Disturbing investigation reveals McDonald’s customers may endanger their health using touch screens” at The Blaze

The pathogens included potentially fatal Staphylococcus (the dreaded “Staph” infection that closes hospital wards). Staph is also becoming antibiotic resistant.

I now have another reason to not to use McDonald’s kiosks. More.

Reality check: The basic problem here is that the drive to automate everything eventually meets the Law of Unintended Consequences (there are unintended consequences to every choice made in a complex world). If, for example, the corporation tries to get employees to do things that used to be done by staff, it is delegating the job to people whom they can’t force to wash their hands. The rest follows.

See also: Artificial intelligence, it turns out, can solve any problem. As long as we are not too persnickety about what we consider a solution


Black prolifer made Wheaton students feel unsafe

From Tyler O’Neil at PJ Media:

On Thursday, black pro-life activist Ryan Bomberger shot back after the leadership of the Wheaton College student body condemned a speech he gave as threatening to people of color. In the speech, he decried the “black genocide” of abortion and criticized Black Lives Matter for teaming up with Planned Parenthood. About a week after the event, the student leaders sent an email to the entire student body, denouncing it.

“The speaker of this event, Ryan Bomberger, made several comments at the event that deeply troubled members of our community,” the students wrote. “His comments, surrounding the topic of race, made many students, staff, and faculty of color feel unheard, underrepresented, and unsafe on our campus.” More.

Reality check: Of course he made Wheaton students feel unsafe. Abortion beats black. Wheaton, by the way, used to be an evangelical college. It was okay to be pro-life there. Now possibly just another holding tank for the unemployable woke who are not yet broke – but already resentful. The comments are interesting. People are “getting it” but what to do? Apart from starving them out, I mean?

See also: More witches than Presbyterians in the United States?


Is it still murder if your mind gets uploaded to the internet?

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. PosterA computer engineer turned philosopher, Jonathan Bartlett, asks, If I kill you but upload your mind into an android, did I murder you or just modify you?

Is it even possible to upload your consciousness to a computer and, if so, is it still really you?

The sci-fi TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013– ) tackled this question in an episode titled “Self Control”.  Scientist Holden Radcliffe has an android assistant appropriately named Aida (Artificial Intelligence Digital Assistant). Together, they build a virtual world that people could be plugged into and uploaded into, called The Framework. More.” at Mind Matters

Also re mind uploading claims: 😉 Read this stuff before you forward cash: 😉

Claim: Yes, you can upload your brain Fine print: They might have to kill you first

Attend your own funeral! It’s easy if you upload your consciousness to the cloud, says futurist. Ummm…


Can we cheat death by uploading ourselves as virtual AI entities?


Why the Brit pubs are closing down

The pubs are closing down in some areas of Britain and many are quick to cite growing Muslim influence there.

Some of us suspected it wasn’t that simple. If that was the main explanation, the Muslims would be much more resented. Pub life was iconic, after all. Mark Steyn, as so often, has the answer. He recalls his discussion with a taxi driver in Last Call:

A lot of the pubs are closing down,” he said. “Before GPS, the pubs was how we knew the route. Turn left at the King’s Head, right at the Plough & Harrow… Now they’re all shutting down.”

“Is that because there’s more Muslims?”

He laughed. “No. It’s because the drinkers prefer to get the cheap liquor from the supermarkets. They drink it at home all day. So they’re drunk before they leave the house. Then they just go to a nightclub and they don’t have to spend all their money on the expensive drinks because they’re already drunk. So they can just dance with a slag and not spend a lot of money.”

Reality check: Sodden at home, eh? Alcohol does that to people.

If the sober Muslims are smart enough not to cut off the supply to the doomed secular Brits, the demographic change will happen more quickly. One wants to feel sympathy but eventually turns attention to people who are at least trying to help themselves.

See also: Middle aged alcohol deaths rising, especially among women


If Maureen Dowd is saying this, the Clintons are finished

From New York Times progressive  stalwart Maureen Dowd at WRAL:

And Bill has given monologues to old friends about how Hillary knows how she’d have to run in 2020, that she couldn’t have a big staff and would just speak her mind and not focus-group everything. (That already sounds focus-grouped.)

After losing to an orange puffer clown fish who will go down as one of the most destructive forces in American history and flushing the Obama legacy down the drain, that’s delusional. Some Obama associates say the former president has some regrets about throwing his support solely behind Hillary and knows he misread the anger and frustration of voters.

Bill was radioactive in the midterms and Hillary was the Ghost of Christmas Past. Her approval rating is at a record low of 36 percent. The only American who seems truly interested in her these days is President Donald Trump, who can’t stop tweeting about her. She’s still money in his book. More.

Reality check: Trump is smarter, I think, than Dowd is giving him credit for. By talking about Hillary, he shines light on the Clintons for people who don’t read Dowd. And the picture looks pretty similar.

Is it possible Obama understands what really happened or is that just hype?

See also: Eureka! ESPN was already going broke when it got woke


Catholic sex abuse crisis: The curious silence of First Things’ Richard Neuhaus

Catholic readers may well remember Fr. Neuhaus (1936-2009), whose First Things magazine was refreshing reading from a thoughtful ecumenical Christian perspective. That said, from Rod Dreher at The American Conservative:

Ah, Neuhaus. He never could bring himself to see clearly what was right in front of his face.

It is also undeniably true that a lot of people back then simply could not imagine that the truth was as bad as all that. I hold the late Father Neuhaus more responsible than most, precisely because he was such an insider, and ought to have known better. His insider status, though, and his vanity, blinded him to the ugly reality of the scandal. Like Podles, I personally felt the lash of his tongue for the things I wrote about the Church and clerical sex abuse.

To be honest, I’m not sure how wide a readership Sacrilege would find today, simply because it is extremely dark. But it tells the truth. Catholics and others need to know these things — that these crimes happened, and that men of God covered them up for decades. It is very easy to treat these horrors as an abstraction, because it is extremely painful to come to terms with the barbarism and perversity within the Church. Leon Podles doesn’t flinch in describing exactly what these monsters did. Reading Sacrilege is like watching an exorcism up close and personal. I did not have the strength to get through it a decade ago. I don’t know if I have the strength today. But this book should be in print again, as a witness and a warning. More.

Reality check: You can still buy Sacrilege from a specialty bookseller.

In assessing the disaster, it’s helpful to note the role played by significant silence, as opposed to actual collusion.

See also: Catholic bishops abandon hope of reform, fall into abyss The abyss? The question of minors vs. adults is purely a matter of secular statute law. According to Christian teaching going back to the New Testament, all the listed behaviours are sin, period. What secular law says is irrelevant.


Longtime critic of Catholic Church over sex scandals is vindicated


Hi tech mogul tells campus autocrats to grow up or get lost

Well, PayPal’s Peter Thief put it more politely but… that’s the bottom line. We don’t usually hear tech moguls talking this way. More frequent news is stuff like Is it Google-com or or Digital dictatorship.

But Thiel thinks the riot is over:

“The reformation is going to happen,” Thiel added, noting it won’t come from within, but from the “outside.”

Thiel made the comments in a keynote speech at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s Collegiate Network editors’ conference. The group funds independent and conservative-minded campus news outlets at universities across the nation, and Thiel is an alumnus of the 39-year-old nonprofit, founding the Stanford Review in the late 1980s.

In reality, higher education is in trouble, he said, citing the ballooning student debt crisis, the lack of instruction that translates into marketable skills, and the fact that even though universities have seemingly endless resources — “they’re not delivering in any way.” Jennifer Kabbany, “Peter Thiel predicts ‘reformation’ of higher education in speech to student journalists” at The College Fix

Who wants to fund a riot anyway?

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See also: Without free speech, science would be back in the Stone Age It makes as much sense to blame dead white guys for upending cozy sanctimonies about how the world works as to blame the person who tries to cross the bridge that collapsed for the fact that the bridge collapsed. True, some people are more likely to want to cross a bridge than others but the first foot is not the reason it collapsed.


Hollywood seeks revenge for Gary WHO?

You know, the one who ran for President once… From Brent Bozell and Tim Graham at Townhall:

Hollywood’s a bit inconsistent when the topic is the press. It was a righteous guardian of the truth against the Catholic Church in “Spotlight” and against Richard Nixon in “The Post.” But now, in the new movie “The Front Runner,” it is painted as the villain — when its target was Gary Hart.

The journalist villains in the movie are based on real people who caused Hart’s 1987 collapse, like Miami Herald reporter Tom Fiedler. But one is a fictional, composite Washington Post reporter, instead of the “true” villain of legend, Post reporter Paul Taylor, who was roundly condemned for asking Hart, “Have you ever committed adultery?”More.

Reality check: Hollywood actually doesn’t matter that much anymore, so it figures they’d be making a film about a has-been who got kayo’d on sex charges, somewhat like themselves. It’s interesting to hear a snippet of the tale, provided it’s short and one is not paying.

See also: Woke films to avoid during the holiday season That is, if someone is going to start preaching (or screeching) a moral about them.


Is a bad “AI Winter” looming?

View of Lake Michigan from the Memorial Museum in Milwaukee, Wi Artificial intelligence crashes and busts are historically common:

First, what caused previous AI winters? There was one straightforward reason: The technology did not work. Expert systems weren’t experts. Language translators failed to translate. Even Watson, after winning Jeopardy, failed to provide useful answers in the real-world context of medicine. When technology fails, winters come.

Nearly all of AI’s recent gains have been realized due to massive increases in data and computing power that enable old algorithms to suddenly become useful. For example, researchers first conceived neural networks—the core idea powering much machine learning and AI’s notable advances—in the late 1950s. The worries of an impending winter arise because we’re approaching the limits of what massive data combined with hordes of computers can do. Software engineer Brendan Dixon, “Is a bad “AI winter” looming?” at Mind Matters

See also: Also by Brendan Dixon: The “Superintelligent AI” Myth The problem that even the skeptical Deep Learning researcher left out

Also from Mind Matters:

Has Neuroscience Disproved Thinking? A philosopher argues that Nobel Prize-winning research shows that the theory of mind is just another illusion, useful for survival and success. Computer engineer Eric Holloway: We’ve all seen this sort of argument before in many other guises. It is commonly called “reductionism.” The reductionist claims that, because an object can be construed as made up of parts, the object is just the parts. It is like saying that because an article like this one is constructed from letters of the alphabet, the article is only rows of letters.

Computer engineering prof Robert J. Marks Talks Computers with Michael Medved Computers can magnify what we do, he says, and that’s the real threat.

Quantity vs quality: Can AI help scientists produce better papers? What happens when scientists simply can’t read all their peers’ papers and still find time for original research? Quantity is definitely a solved problem. STM, the “voice of scholarly publishing” estimated in 2015 that roughly 2.5 million science papers are published each year. Some are, admittedly, in predatory or fake journals. But over 2800 journals are assumed to be genuine.

Who does the concept of “intellectual property” really benefit? Was traditional copyright law meant to protect algorithms that decide people’s financial fate? The title question is more complicated than we might at first suppose. The short answer is, not necessarily the starving artist, says Samir Chopra, a Brooklyn College philosophy professor and co-author with Laurence F. White of A Legal Theory for Autonomous Artificial Agents. It’s becoming a corporate grab.