October 2016: Der URLkönig

[This is the first of many link roundups.  I will do my best not to repeat any of Scott Alexander’s puns, but I promise nothing.]

Let the record show that I was onto the risks from voter registration system breaches before the Daily Beast.  In their defense, I am an election officer.

“Listen, your car’s temperature has changed before.”

It looks like my glorious nation will probably not elect a Hutt with hair after all, but that doesn’t mean we can let ourselves get complacent. Long-term trends are not looking so great for the world’s established liberal democracies.  Could the Hegelian optimism of the early post-Soviet years have been [gasp] naive?

“In Minneapolis, I littered my carry-on with many of my prohibited items, and also an OSAMA BIN LADEN, HERO OF ISLAM T-shirt, which often gets a rise out of people who see it. This day, however, would feature a different sort of experiment, designed to prove not only that the TSA often cannot find anything on you or in your carry-on, but that it has no actual idea who you are, despite the government’s effort to build a comprehensive “no-fly” list.”

Abu Hajar is now the epithet for all stupid jihadis.

The West Coast Straussians have been tripping over each other in a race to audition for the role of the Donald’s Giovanni Gentile.  Why is this happening?  How do we keep it from infecting the East Coast Straussians? (for anyone missing the Trumpist context, you can have it Voxplained to you here)

David Colquhoun at Aeon wants us all to stop using the phrase “statistically significant.”

I’m going to straight up Little-Mermaid-style steal Enkh Jargal’s voice in a seashell.

I wouldn’t necessarily dispute the notion that tech billionaires are fundamentally Gnostic, but to respond with a hysterical screed against Elon Musk’s alleged omnicidal ambitions does seem to imply that one ultimately shares his worldview.  The author neglects to mention that, if the simulation theory is right, whoever is simulating us is probably embroiled in controversy over whether or not Musk poses a serious AI risk as well as whether or not they are in their turn part of a higher-level simulation, which is honestly much more interesting.

“Nestled in the comforting sense of rightness that holds us tight within the snarxist echo chamber, we embrace purity not so much as an intellectual conviction as a social refuge.  Within the terms of this tacit social contract, everything pales in comparison to the ideal we’ve built up, which gives us the only uncompromisable position there is—a hermetic space from which we can always critique, always be right, or, at least, never be proven wrong. From this lofty remove, we can shine a light on how awful and stupid things on the ground are in comparison to the way they should be.”  This is particularly geared towards socialists, but the temptation Alvarez describes is present in a lot of political movements.  However, I suspect he may be overstating the importance of corporate culture compared to the higher-level effects of social media.  After all, he is a leftist.  (TW: unironic Lenin quotations, Slavoj Žižek)

Speaking of Slavoj Žižek, this remains the funniest thing I’ve read all year.

This is an excellent illustration of why US-based international coverage is overwhelmingly godawful, from Vox.  On the other hand, this is an excellent examination of why US-based US political coverage is also overwhelmingly godawful.

Jonathan Haidt lays out an intriguing argument that the furor about microaggressions on college campuses is intensified by the hyperequality of the setting.

The Economist speculates uneasily on an eventual fusion between Trumpism and what passes for mainstream conservatism these days. Senator Cotton’s vision of who coastal elites are is spot on, however.  I myself live in a compound, like UBL or a South American strongman, and commute every day in a tank to protect myself from the rioting plebs.

Next time I fly, I’m going to be needing one of these.

And finally, a cryptic, Halloween-appropriate anti-Stratfordian text.  At least I think that’s what it is.  I’m really not sure. (TW: possible anti-Stratfordianism)

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