This censorship must end

Received a note from a friend, but not a Facebook friend but a real friend since I am not on Facebook. He wrote, in part:

If you are my friend on Facebook, you won’t be seeing me for a month. I have been sin binned – again.

My reply:

Didn’t know you had been “sin binned” at all not to mention that this is well past the first time. Quite a mark of honour in its own way, although part of an extremely dangerous trend. The leaders of industries in the old days ran railroads and steel mills so their personal opinions about anything mattered not at all. Now these morons are at the centre of the information economy and their prejudices and ignorance affects everything. We are definitely in need of some means to fix this up.

Having seen the chap who runs twitter before Congress the other day and then the video of Google’s post-election mass meeting, and knowing what I know about Zuckerberg, it is depressing to see how utterly out of their depth they are on any political or philosophical issue. They really are ignorant to a fantastic extent. They have immense power over the messages that are able to reach us all, and act as gatekeepers to prevent the ones they don’t like from being received.

This should not be tolerated. If anyone any longer really does care about free speech, the ability of “social media” to censor what we say to each other should be stopped dead in its tracks. Google, Twitter, Facebook and others of their kind are supposedly designed to provide a platform for each of us to talk to each other or to learn from each other. The right to stop us from communicating among ourselves is intolerable and must end.

THE CREEPY LINE: It is all coming out as a movie. A big issue with growing momentum.

More at The Creepy Line | Film News. You can also google it here.

There’s also a resistance at Google

Everything below is from Powerline: an extraordinary scandal. Someone has leaked this and it is a lot more damning than anything ever said about PDT. But do remember this, as a commenter at Instapundit has said: “This is what every Government Dept looks like, what every University looks like, what every news room looks like, what every faculty lounge at your kids grade school looks like, etc. This is the result of 5 decades of the Progressive snake slithering into our culture.” And if you watch the video, you will have to get at least as far as the group hug and then go to the one hour point and listen to the last two questions from the horde. What a pathetic lot they are.

IT’S OFFICIAL: GOOGLE IS A DEMOCRATIC PARTY FRONT

Someone leaked to Breitbart an hour-long video of an “all hands” Google meeting that was held just after the 2016 election. The video features Google’s co-founder, Sergei Brin, its CEO, Sundar Pichai, and numerous other high-ranking “Googlers” speaking in turn about the election’s tragic outcome. It is stunning.

All of the speakers express grief over Donald Trump’s election. All of the speakers assume that every Google employee is a Democrat and is stunned and horrified that Hillary Clinton–the worst and most corrupt presidential candidate in modern history–lost. There is much discussion about what Google can do to reverse the benighted world-wide tide exemplified by Brexit and Trump’s election. The insane doctrine of “white privilege” rears its head.

You really have to see it to believe it. Having suffered through the hour-long cri de cœur–OK, to be fair, there is a huge element of schadenfreude, too, and you will relish much of it–you probably will have several reactions: 1) These people may have certain valuable technical skills, but they aren’t very bright and are unusually lacking in self-awareness. 2) It is remarkable that they can achieve such an extraordinary monoculture in an organization with thousands of employees. It must require vigorous enforcement of right-think. 3) It is easy to see how these uniformly left-wing robots/people seamlessly transitioned into Resisting the duly elected Trump administration.

Here is the video, then a final comment:

The question is what to do about the left-wing tech monopolies of Silicon Valley. Start conservative companies and platforms to compete with them? Break them up under the Sherman Act? Turn them into regulated public utilities, with public employee-level salaries and no stock options? Those are all possibilities. After watching the video, you no doubt will be ready to take action.

Economic theory and junk science

You may have heard me mention once or twice before that Keynesian economics is junk science, but just in case you missed it I am going to mention it again. What has brought all this to mind is reading the front page story in The Oz in the context of the booming economy in the US. In The Oz we have this: Bill shock as standard of living slumps. In the United States we have this: US private sector added 250,000 jobs in Dec, vs estimate of 190,000: ADP. It also mentions that “the report helped send the Dow to break the 25,000 mark for the first time”. Of course, here in Australia we have something else instead:

Australians have endured their longest period of falling living standards in more than a quarter of a century as growth in costs outstripped earnings for the fifth consecutive quarter, leaving households worse off than they were six years ago.

The moronic focus on public spending to lift our economies is such dead stupidity, but even more dead stupidity is that economists continue with Y=C+I+G as the mantra of macroeconomic thought. I have just been sent my copyedited article that will be published in June: “Making Sense of Classical Theory”. It is an attempt to remind others that there was not only an economic theory before the publication of The General Theory in 1936, but that theory was vastly superior to the theory that disfigures our economic textbooks today.

As it happens, I have just been re-reading the third edition of my Free Market Economics. There is, unfortunately, nothing like it. Perfectly clear and as easy to read as a blog post but entirely framed around classical economic theory. The economics of John Stuart Mill, the greatest economist who has ever lived, recast for the 21st century. If you don’t want to buy it yourself, just get your library to buy a copy.

The reality remains that our living standards will continue to descend if those who make policy continue to believe that public expenditures like the Snowy Mountain Project Mark II will make the economy grow. It will, in exactly the same way as the NBN.

Google reads your emails and allows others to read them as well

Let me start with this news item from two days ago, Google admits it’s reading your emails:

GOOGLE HAS UPDATED its privacy terms and conditions, eroding a little more of its users’ privacy.

Google is so far unapologetic about its changes, despite having created some controversy. The bulk of the responses worry that Google is now able to read users’ emails and scan them for its various purposes.

In its terms and conditions the firm said that its users agree that information that they submit and share with its systems is all fair game. Its update, the first since last November, makes the changes very clear.

This I have known myself since last October. This is the report I sent to IT within the University:

I am doing a presentation on Tuesday next week and wrote the following note to the coordinator of the seminar:

This is the paper I will speak to which is an update on my previously published paper. I cannot believe how much things have evolved from then. I will also do a set of overheads which will help me keep track of where I am and might even be of use to those who come to listen.

Attached to it was my paper named nowhere other than in the paper itself:

The Use of Multiple Choice Questions with Explanations for Economic Assessment

This was the same title for a paper I had written in 2008 and put up on an academic website along with an abstract. But for the past five years the paper had simply been a paper that could be accessed but no one had. And then, a few hours after sending my note off to the coordinator of the seminar I received the following email:

Hi Professor Kates,

Hope you are doing well.

I would like to introduce myself as [redacted], one of the fastest growing research acceleration firm. We have been working with academicians from 35 of the top 100 universities across the globe including researchers from Harvard, Wharton, Stanford, MIT, NUS, and INSEAD.

We help researchers with Data Harvesting, Analytics, Visualization and Technology Implementation. As an organization, our primary focus is to increase research productivity, reduce research costs, and enable researchers focus on the most important facets of their research. You can read more about us here .

As we read through the abstract of research paper on The Use of Multiple Choice Questions with Explanations for Economic Assessment, we thought it would be a good idea to set up some time for a short call and explore how we can help you accelerate your research. Let me know a good time and we can schedule a call accordingly. I look foward to hearing from you.

Regards

I do not believe in coincidences, specially not one in a million shots like this would have been. This was, moreover, not just someone who had read my email but had been able to open my attachment, read its title and presumably anything else they chose to read within the contents, and then send me a follow-up email, all on the same day.

It’s not just the NSA and it’s not just our foreign enemies. My google account information is not just being shared but my attachments can be opened by total strangers. And the more I think about it, the more it burns me up.

I then had very helpful assistance from someone in our IT department who was as interested as I was in whether Google really was reading my emails and allowing others to read them as well. After quite a number of emails back and forth to each other, this was the final email sent to me.

Hi Steve,

Apologies for the delay in getting back to you.

I’ve had some ongoing discussions with Google Support and here is the summary. They say that a message that travels only within Google servers can’t be accessed in transit, so could only be seen by a third party if the sending or receiving account is compromised by eg. phishing.

However, they also say that their mailflow algorithms mean that an email sent from one Google account to another, even sent from a Google user to themselves, may leave Google’s mail servers and come back in again. In that case, messages travelling on the internet would be subject to the inherent insecurity of email.

I’ve done a quick search to find a good explanation of why/how email is insecure, and I think this one sums it up pretty well:

http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/can-email-ever-be-secure/

As I understand it, hacking of email in transit, by eg. packet sniffing etc, is thought to be pretty rare. But it’s possible. However, there’s no way we or Google can establish whether or not this has happened since it would have occurred out in the wild, on servers or connections to which we have no access.

Not only is it not “out in the wild” or “pretty rare”, it even turns out to be integral to the google mail (gmail) system and no doubt common. The fact of the matter is that you do not know who your emails are being diverted to or who is reading them or the attachments. And now that Google has said so in public, it burns me up even more.