No Illusions Podcast #41

News updates from around the globe. Includes the following stories:

Former Tasmanian MP found guilty of having sex with a 12 year old girl, but gets no jail time. 

Time Magazine Doesn’t Want To Show U.S. Citizens Pictures Of Revolution. 

U.S. Senate Are Voting On Legislation That Allows Their Military To Arrest Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime, and in Any Country. Including the U.S.A.

More US Soldiers Committed Suicide Than Died in Combat

US Military Manipulates the Social Media

U.S. Army and Psychology Largest Experiment Ever

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Time Magazine WTF?

Revolution? In the U.S.A.? It’s not happening.  It’s not happening.  It’s not happening.  It’s not happening.  It’s not happening.

 

 

 

No Illusions Podcast #40 – Doug La Follette, Wisconsin Secretary of State

Doug La Follette (born June 6, 1940) is an American academic, environmental activist, and politician from the state of Wisconsin. A Democrat, he is the current Secretary of State of Wisconsin and has served in that role since 1983. He is also a Fulbright Distinguished American Scholar and the author of the 1991 book The Survival Handbook: A Strategy for Saving Planet Earth.

I had the chance to chat with Secretary La Follette this morning for an hour about the attempts to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, President Obama’s track record in his first term and the trend of U.S. politics since Reagan.

 

3D Printer Project Overshoots Fundraising by 600%

3D printing is an amazing phenomenon. So is Kickstarter.

Brook Drumm from printrbot.com designed a new, easy to build, inexpensive 3D printer for the home. To get it into production, he needed to raise $25,000. So he created a project on Kickstarter.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/printrbot/printrbot-your-first-3d-printer/widget/video.html

 

Instead of raising $25,000, he’s already raised $171,000! I can’t wait to have one of these machines!

Imagine – the next time a plastic doohickey on one of your kitchen devices breaks, instead of throwing the entire unit out because you can’t get a replacement doohickey, you just download or create a blueprint for the piece and make it yourself at home!

Truth Goggles

According to Neiman Journalism Lab:

“Dan Schultz, a graduate student at the MIT Media Lab (and newly named Knight-Mozilla fellow for 2012), is devoting his thesis to automatic bullshit detection. Schultz is building what he calls truth goggles — not actual magical eyewear, alas, but software that flags suspicious claims in news articles and helps readers determine their truthiness. It’s possible because of a novel arrangement: Schultz struck a deal with fact-checker PolitiFact for access to its private APIs.”

(via Bull beware: Truth goggles sniff out suspicious sentences in news » Nieman Journalism Lab.)

It’s a fascinating idea. Imagine browsers having a plug-in that is able to fact check all sorts of data using sources such as Wikipedia. It could have a huge impact on the future of news media. Imagine reading an article on, say, climate change in The Australian, and this “truth goggles” plug-in pointing out all of the inconsistencies in their reporting.

Or imagine reading Hilary Clinton ramping up the case for invading Iran because they are weaponising uranium, but have “truth goggles” pointing out that there is no evidence to support this claim.

Of course, this process doesn’t *need* to be automated with an algorithm. Chrome extensions like “Glass” allow people to comment on websites. For example, see this screenshot of a comment I left using Glass on a story in the Brisbane Times today about News Ltd corruption allegations from former QLD senator Bill O’Chee.

Could we all use tools like Glass to subvert the ability of the mainstream media and certain blogs to spin bullshit to their readers? Of course there is always the comments section of most sites these days, but perhaps they tend to get moderated and news sites promote comments by their faithful believers. Would Glass-like tools also get corrupted by flame wars? How do we keep them clean and useful? User moderation ala Wikipedia?

 

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