Archive for ‘Politics’

November 18, 2019

Plausible Deniability

Iran Contra by Martin Kozlowski

Plausible deniability is the ability of people (typically senior officials in a chain of command) to deny knowledge of or responsibility for any damnable actions committed by others in an organizational hierarchy because of a lack of evidence that can confirm their participation, even if they were personally involved in or at least willfully ignorant of the actions.

In the case that illegal or otherwise disreputable and unpopular activities become public, high-ranking officials may deny any awareness of such acts to insulate themselves and shift blame onto the agents who carried out the acts, as they are confident that their doubters will be unable to prove otherwise.

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November 12, 2019

Homo Economicus

Neuroeconomics

The term homo economicus, or economic man, is the sometimes satirical portrayal of humans as agents who are consistently rational, narrowly self-interested, and who pursue their subjectively-defined ends optimally.

In game theory, homo economicus is often modeled through the assumption of perfect rationality. It assumes that agents always act in a way that maximize utility as a consumer and profit as a producer, and are capable of arbitrarily complex deductions towards that end. They will always be capable of thinking through all possible outcomes and choosing that course of action which will result in the best possible result.

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November 7, 2019

Rationality

Homo economicus

Rationality is the quality or state of being rational, i.e. agreeable to reason. Rationality implies the conformity of a person’s beliefs with their reasons to believe and of their actions with their reasons for action. When a goal or problem requires making a decision, rationality factors in all information that is available (e.g. complete or incomplete knowledge).

It is meaningless to assert rationality without also specifying the background model assumptions describing how the problem is framed and formulated. Rationality is relative: in models that optimize for personal benefit, self-interested or even selfish behavior is rational; in models that favor benefiting the group over the individual, purely selfish behavior is deemed irrational.

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October 16, 2019

False Equivalence

False balance

False equivalence is a logical fallacy in which two completely opposing arguments appear to be logically equivalent when in fact they are not. This fallacy is categorized as a fallacy of inconsistency.

False equivalence is a common result when an anecdotal similarity is pointed out as equal, but the claim of equivalence doesn’t bear because the similarity is based on oversimplification or ignorance of additional factors. False equivalence arguments are often used in journalism and in politics, where the minor flaws of one candidate may be compared to major flaws of another.

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September 24, 2019

Firehose of Falsehood

Russian web brigades

The firehose of falsehood is a propaganda technique in which a large number of messages are broadcast rapidly, repetitively, and continuously over multiple channels (such as news and social media) without regard for truth or consistency.

Since 2014, when it was successfully used by Russia during its annexation of Crimea, this model has been adopted by other governments and political movements around the world.

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August 29, 2019

QAnon

Anonymous

QAnon is a far-right conspiracy theory detailing a supposed secret plot by an alleged ‘deep state’ against U.S. President Donald Trump and his supporters. The theory began with an October 2017 post on the anonymous imageboard 4chan by someone using the name Q, a presumably American individual that may have later grown to include multiple people, claiming to have access to classified information involving the Trump administration and its opponents in the United States.

Q has falsely accused numerous liberal Hollywood actors, Democratic politicians, and high-ranking officials of engaging in an international child sex trafficking ring, and has claimed that Donald Trump feigned collusion with Russians in order to enlist Robert Mueller to join him in exposing the ring and preventing a coup d’état by Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and George Soros.

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August 2, 2019

Diamond and Silk

Dummycrats

Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, popularly known as Diamond and Silk, are American live-stream video bloggers, social media personalities, political activists and Fox Nation hosts.

They are known for their commentary in support of United States President Donald Trump. Since 2018, Diamond and Silk have traveled the country on their Chit Chat Tour. Hardaway is notably more talkative, while Richardson often just expresses agreement.

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July 21, 2019

Fearless Girl

Kristen Visbal

Fearless Girl is a bronze sculpture by American sculptor Kristen Visbal, commissioned by State Street Global Advisors (SSGA), a large asset management company. The statue was installed on March 7, 2017, in anticipation of International Women’s Day the following day.

The statue was originally installed in Bowling Green, a park in lower Manhattan, facing down the ‘Charging Bull’ (also known as ‘Wall Street Bull,’ a large bronze statue illegally placed there in 1989 by Sicilian artist Arturo Di Modica), but following complaints from Di Modica, ‘Fearless Girl’ was removed in November 2018 and relocated to a nearby spot across from the New York Stock Exchange. A plaque with footprints was placed on the original site.

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June 29, 2019

Public Art

Lipstick (Ascending) on Caterpillar Tracks

Public art is art in any media that has been planned and executed with the intention of being staged in the physical public domain, usually outside and accessible to all. Public signifies a working practice of site specificity, community involvement and collaboration.

Public art may include any art which is exhibited in a public space including publicly accessible buildings, but the relationship between the content and audience, what the art is saying and to whom, is just as important if not more important than its physical location.

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June 26, 2019

Pussyhat

2017 Women's March

A pussyhat is a pink, crafted hat, created in large numbers by thousands of participants involved with the United States 2017 Women’s March. They are the result of the Pussyhat Project, a nationwide effort initiated by Krista Suh and Jayna Zweiman, a screenwriter and architect located in Los Angeles, to create pink hats to be worn at the march for visual impact.

In response to this call, crafters all over the United States began making these hats using patterns provided on the project Web site for use with either a knitting method, crocheting and even sewing with fabrics.

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June 11, 2019

Rio PMP300

PMP

The Rio PMP300 is one of the first portable consumer MP3 digital audio players, and the first commercially successful one. Produced by Diamond Multimedia, it was introduced in 1998 as the first in the ‘Rio’ series of digital audio players, and it shipped later that year. The Rio retailed for US $200 with the ability to hold around 30 minutes of music at a bitrate of 128 kbit/s.

It shipped with 32 MB of internal memory and has a SmartMedia slot, allowing users to add additional memory. It is powered by a single AA battery, which provides between 8 and 12 hours of playback time. Connection to a personal computer is through the computer’s parallel port, with a proprietary connector on the Rio’s edge.

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June 4, 2019

Zero Rupee Note

Zero Rupee

zero-rupee note is a banknote imitation issued in India as a means of helping to fight systemic political corruption. The notes are ‘paid’ in protest by angry citizens to government functionaries who solicit bribes in return for services which are supposed to be free.

Zero rupee notes, which are made to resemble the regular 50 rupee banknote of India, are the creation of a non-governmental organization known as 5th Pillar which has, since their inception in 2007, distributed over 2.5 million notes as of 2014. The notes remain in current use and thousands of notes are distributed every month.

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