Author Archive | TunaGhost

THE BAYESIAN CONSPIRACY: Not World Domination, Just Optimization, or: How to be right almost all of the time, or at least not wrong most of the time

225px-Thomas_BayesOne of my favorite H.L. Mencken quotes is the following: “The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.” I find this as accurate now as it was when Mencken first wrote it, and I imagine it won’t only be the cynics in the audience agreeing with me. But is the reverse also true?  Is the urge to rule humanity ever a false front for the urge to save it? The Bayesian Conspiracy would like to think so, but then that’s exactly what a group dedicated to ruling humanity would say.

But first: Thomas Bayes is behind all this. Thomas Bayes, born in 1702 to a reverend Joshua Bayes, was a fellow of the Royal Society and was “one of the first non-conformist ministers to be publicly ordained in England.” His Philosophical Transactions became the basis of a statistical technique, now called Bayesian Estimation, for calculating the probability of the validity of a proposition on the basis of a prior estimate of its probability and new relevant evidence.Read the rest

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Japanese Man Self-Immolates In Protest of PM Abe’s Plans for Military Expansion, Japanese Media Ignores It Completely

man-shinjuku-self-immolate-burn-death-suicide-protest-collective-self-defense-3“Free media” my entire ass.  I walked into work here in Tokyo and neither the Danish fella I work with nor his Japanese wife had heard anything about a man self-immolating in downtown Tokyo,  despite it happening in the middle of the day at Shinjuku Station, possibly the busiest train station in the world.  This is likely because not a single major Japanese news service covered it at all.

Prime Minister Abe’s plan to revise Article 9 of the Japanese constitution, which limits their military actions to a non-aggressive, purely defensive philosophy, is not really a new thing.  In the past, both the UN and the US have requested that Japan get themselves a “real” army (apparently the highest military budget in Asia doesn’t give you a “real” army), but massive protests from the populace have killed any efforts to do so.

There also hasn’t been any mention of the massive protests currently happening in the city yet.… Read the rest

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Butterfly On The Wheel

nypd_watchingMost recently, we have seen this excessive punitive force aimed, with a deliberate intent that only the most willfully blind apologists could deny, at those who have defied the system’s authority. — Joe Macacre

In a recent op-ed piece at Truthout on Cecily McMillan being found guilty of assaulting NYPD officer and general shitheel Grantly Bovell, Joe Macare provides a powerful, poignant, and enraging account of some of the latest injustices committed by the state against the least protected citizens it could find.  Cecily McMillan’s case is simply the most recent example of police, judges, and district attorneys blatantly abusing the justice system to protect its own officers and to criminalize those who dared to fight back.

Via Truthout: 

Just shy of half a century later, we cannot count the butterflies who have been put upon the wheel of “justice” in supposedly civilized, democratic, “free” countries like the United Kingdom and United States.

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On Wittgenstein’s Skepticism of Sacred Geometry

PIC: PD

Pic: PD

“What are the odds?” I said upon discovering an old classmate in the lobby of the very same hotel in St. Thomas where I had just checked in.  “And look, you’re reading Leibniz too!”  My old classmate was carrying a transcript of Leibniz’s letters to Clarke, and I had a copy of his letters to Arnauld in my bag at that very minute.  Just as we were marveling at the incredible coincidence, in walked the professor under whom we had both studied Continental Rationalism — including a good deal of Leibniz — at university!  In his bag was a biography of Wilhelm Gottfried Leibniz.

“This is too much,” I said.  “The odds of the three of us arriving here, in the US Virgin Islands, on St. Thomas, in this hotel lobby, on April 4th at 3:00 pm, all carrying books on Leibniz…the odds are astronomical!  This can’t be a coincidence.  The probability of this event happening is nearly zero.  There is some meaning, some purpose, in this.  Of that we can be sure.”

The other two slapped me on the mouth for being an idiot, because the odds of the three of us all arriving in the US Virgin Islands, specifically St.… Read the rest

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Should the US get involved in Nigeria?

PIC: Martin Kudr (CC)

PIC: Martin Kudr (CC)

The Nigerian government’s response to Boko Haram militants raiding a school and abducting 276 girls has been criticized as slow and unproductive both by locals and the international community.  Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau has said he plans to sell the girls into slavery, which would be only the latest of his many atrocities committed in Nigeria, whose own army has been drawing criticism for its unfocused, heavy-handed, and most of all ineffective efforts to combat the militant Islamic organization.

The US has long thought of Africa, especially north Africa, as the next frontier in the war on Islamic terrorist groups, which would explain its recent increased presence on the continent.  While the international community is demanding that the Nigerian government do something about the horror unfolding under its nose, the US decided to provide military, law enforcement, and intelligence advisors to the “beleaguered government”.  This does not mean US military forces will get involved, though.… Read the rest

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Men’s Rights Activist Billy Chubbs: ‘Inherent Selfishness of Women Is Responsible For Claire Davis’s Death’

reddit mens rights

reddit

In what is likely the first of many examples in the new year of the Men’s Rights Movement’s complete and utter lack of taste, understanding, or logic, blogger Billy Chubbs — who describes himself as a “bipolar, optimistic Alpha male who truly believes that Beta chumps like himself are doomed in today’s politically correct utopia” — has come up with an alternative theory as to why Karl Halverson came to his high school on Dec. 13, 2013 and shot and mortally wounded fellow teen Claire Esther Davis before killing himself: because pretty girls only sleep with pretty boys.

Since the “cowardly and narrow minded mainstream media refuses to even consider positing such a theory”, no doubt in a conspiracy to keep men down, it was up to him to tell us how “women’s selfishness makes men kill.”  In his own mind-bogglingly stupid words:

What do I mean by women’s selfishness?

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SCIENTOLOGY’S WORST YEAR EVER

cn_image.size.cover_vanityfair_500This story made me look back on the halcyon days of 2012, which for a number of reasons–which I will shortly go into–can be called “Scientology’s Worst Year Ever”.  I know Scientology is sort of an easy target, but since I’m posting feel-good topics these days, I felt it ought to be presented.

Friends, 2012 was a rough year for the Church of Scientology.  It took so many hits it started telling people it ran into a door.  It started falling apart so fast Syria is worried about it.  Really, trying to find the worst moment for Scientology in 2012 is like trying to find the worst case of herpes: they’re all pretty terrible, they taint whoever they touch, and a lot of people in Hollywood go to great lengths to hide the sores they cause.  Luckily, the treatment for both is the same (pointing and laughing).

WHERE TO BEGIN?

Attempting to find the best place to delve into the weirdness is next to impossible.  The story is too long, too detailed.  It is a mosaic, not a tale told in a linear fashion.  I suppose, though, that January 1st, 2012, is as good a place to start as any.… Read the rest

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A Response To The Question “Why Do People Believe in Conspiracy Theories?”

Pic: Steve Lee (CC)

Lately there have been a slew of “Why Do People Believe In Conspiracy Theories” articles, no doubt a reaction to the slew of conspiracy theories offered after recent tragedies such as the Aurora shooting, the Sandy Hook shooting, and the Boston Marathon bomb attack. The reasons given in these articles mirror many of the thoughts I have expressed when speaking to those with their own conspiracy theories. I frequently argue with conspiracy theorists here on Disinfo, but not for the reasons they typically give (“government shill” is the most common). I certainly believe there are and have been conspiracies within the US government to break the law at the expense of other people’s lives for the sake of greed and lust for power. What annoys me about the articles I mentioned is that they have all left out, or at the least severely underestimated, a very important reason people believe conspiracy theories.… Read the rest

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Everyone Wants to Know: Where Does the Occupy Movement Go From Here?

Regarding the Occupy movement, the question on everybody’s mind seems to be: well, what the fuck now?

Or, more appropriately, “Where Does the Occupy Movement Go From Here?” I began writing an article on precisely this topic, working myself to the bone and pausing only to get dead stinking drunk for a couple weeks. Upon sobering up I started researching again and realized, to my embarrassment, that I had been beaten to the punch by practically every writer in the US (and some abroad) that follows the movement.

No, really! Type that question into a search engine and you’ll see this.

Well, it is an important question — this isn’t Tunisia or Egypt, one cannot count on the amount of popular support combined with near-suicidal rage necessary for a protest to topple a government. The US is a different animal and this is a different struggle. So what to do?… Read the rest

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Cleaning up the Religion Debate

Lately there have been a few articles on Disinfo that eventually, either immediately or after a few days, spurred an argument that rears its head fairly often here. The debate between atheism and religion is one in which I usually enjoy taking part, and I like that it pops up on Disinfo with a certain regularity.  What I don’t like, what I suspect many of us don’t like, is that they often devolve into, if not begin as, something along the lines of:

Poster A:  religion is stupid

Poster B:  YOU’RE stupid

Sometimes it’s a little more eloquent, but this is the bare bones of it. Not very useful, nor very informative. This I think we can agree on.  So how does one go about creating a better, more informative dialogue? Can it even be done? One side believes the other to be irrational, delusional, utilizing a sort of maladaptive coping mechanism to either protect oneself from the harsh realities of life or as an easy way to answer the hard questions with which life presents us.Read the rest

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