A quick reminder

Please take the fast survey about the meaning of self-defense. I have 50 responses so far. I can’t publish the results until I get to 100. Readers are finding it fascinating so far. And I’d love to hear from you.

The murder quiz: what is self-defense?

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A jury found Kyle Rittenhouse, the young man who shot three people and killed two of them in Kenosha, Wisconsin, not guilty of murder. Regardless of the circumstances and the behavior of the judge and prosecutors, at some fundamental level, this is not surprising: Rittenhouse felt his life was threatened, and said he acted in … Continued

Facebook is purging face recognition. Here’s why I don’t trust it.

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For a decade, Facebook (now known as Meta) used facial recognition to tag millions of photos with the identities of the people in them. Now the company says it’s ceasing the algorithm and deleting a billion face prints. Here’s why I don’t trust them. This is a fraught moment for Meta/Facebook, given the leaked documents … Continued

Alec Baldwin’s gun and the problem of causality

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“Why” questions never have a satisfying answer, because everything is connected. We know that Alec Baldwin picked up a period-appropriate gun that was supposed to be a prop on the set of the western “Rust” and accidentally shot and killed his cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded his director Joel Souza. Why? It’s natural to ask … Continued

A tax on the stupid

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Donald Trump thinks you’re very dim. When I was a graduate student in the mathematics department at MIT, I heard this saying: Gambling is a tax on the stupid. Unless you have an actual edge (like a card counter), the house always wins. There is no system that will beat the house. You might win, … Continued

When it comes to moderation, Facebook’s fairness and PR goals are in conflict

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Facebook claims to have a consistent set of standards for what appears on its platform. But based on the reporting in a recent Wall Street Journal article, it fails. It attempts and fails to apply fair standards to ordinary people. It attempts and fails to treat prominent people who post offensive material more personally and … Continued

Stupid democracy

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Democracy is flawed, but self-correcting with an educated electorate. However, here in the United States, we have the stupidest possible form of democracy. A candidate wins the popular vote for president by 2.8 million votes, but loses the election, as happened in 2016? That’s just stupid. A Senate where senators elected by 43% of the … Continued

Judge minces no words when sanctioning Trump lawyers Sidney Powell et al.

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Federal judge Linda V. Parker had the task of determining if Trump election lawyers including Sidney Powell and Lin Wood should receive sanctions for misuse of the judiciary system in Michigan. Her opinion isn’t just clear, it’s outspoken, bold, and unequivocal — a rarity in legal works. Judge Parker’s 110-page opinion states, in meticulous detail, … Continued