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  • #61
    Re: Our Next President?

    Originally posted by Morgasbord View Post
    If you're not paying attention to DSA's platform and AOC, you're missing the zeitgeist. As someone of the LGBT persuasion and thus very connected to Leftist thinking and those gosh-darned "millennials", my read of the pulse is that a centrist Democrat is not electable anymore; a milquetoast democrat will just lose to Trump. A Democrat will win based on their ability synthesize enough of the DSA/AOC's Green New Deal and Stephanie Kealton explanations of "debt doesn't matter" MMT to fund it into a digestible platform that appeals to under 35's and enough red staters to flip the electoral college.
    Is taking the pulse of Leftist thinking a reliable way of predicting a general election? If push came to shove, would supporters of AOC really not pull the lever for Biden if he was running against Trump? Or maybe your point is that a centrist will never make it out of primaries?

    I definitely think that attitudes have changed a lot in 10 years. It's hard to use "socialist" as an insult against AOC if she is already calling herself one. Of course, she isn't personally able to run in 2020 anyway.

    I think it's still a bit too early to say what is likely to happen in 2020. If the economy is doing well and barring any other big events, I think it will be difficult for a Sanders or slightly older version of AOC to gain enough traction. If there's an economic crisis then that might present an opportunity to bring in a lot of angry people looking for a different direction.

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    • #62
      Re: Our Next President?

      Originally posted by DSpencer View Post
      Is taking the pulse of Leftist thinking a reliable way of predicting a general election? If push came to shove, would supporters of AOC really not pull the lever for Biden if he was running against Trump? Or maybe your point is that a centrist will never make it out of primaries?

      I definitely think that attitudes have changed a lot in 10 years. It's hard to use "socialist" as an insult against AOC if she is already calling herself one. Of course, she isn't personally able to run in 2020 anyway.

      I think it's still a bit too early to say what is likely to happen in 2020. If the economy is doing well and barring any other big events, I think it will be difficult for a Sanders or slightly older version of AOC to gain enough traction. If there's an economic crisis then that might present an opportunity to bring in a lot of angry people looking for a different direction.
      The truth of the matter is that AOC's "radical socialist" 70% top marginal tax rate is exactly the same as it was under Carter, Ford, Nixon, and Johnson & 24% lower than it was under Eisenhower, Hoover, and FDR. This places her to the right of people who've actually sat in the Oval Office. Also to the right of the 80% point folks like Picketty and Saez think the top rate should be.

      Reagan chopped it down from 70% to 24%. Just like FDR jacked it up from 24% to 94%. It only took one administration each time. In between, people played small ball. We're still living with the 1986 tax code. I've been saying in other threads how the House is totally different than 2008, because the Progressives are now the biggest caucus, and are poised to potentially be a majority of the Dems if they can continue gaining ground in 2020. This isn't Slick Willy's Citibank®-approved party anymore, for better or worse.

      I don't know what will happen in the Primary. But if you're not sort of in the thick of Democratic politics, I think you're missing out on the gravity of what Morgasbord is saying. I'm telling you, the Dems are about as conflicted and split a group as ever. And I am certain that if you waltz in with an Obama-Clinton-style platform, you're writing off a larger and growing chunk of the base now, including a lot of the youth. There's been a growing divide for years in the base between the left and the neoliberals. And in many ways Occupy and all that was a breaking point. But to think of it another way, the 2016 primaries left a big scar, and it has not healed. It's partly a generational thing too. Rightly or wrongly it's millennials looking up to their grandparents who fought fascism and looking down on their parents as a greedier, more self-indulgent generation that failed both them and the country.

      So anyways, Clintonworld and Bernieworld hate each other, some more than they hate Trump. Bernieworld sees Clinton as Reagan's shadow who sold out the party of the New Deal. Clintonworld sees Bernieworld as a bunch of traitors who would sink the whole damned party just to get free healthcare or college. Clintonworld is generally more urban, older, more Protestant, alliance between wealthy professionals and the poor. Bernieworld is generally more more working and middle class, younger, and more fed up with the status quo. I suspect that Morgasbord is right in that Biden and Beto and a few others are going to get tagged as part of Clintonworld (and prove it by the people they surround themselves with). And I suspect that more than just Sanders are going to get tagged as part of Bernieworld. There's a loud cadre of people, even if relatively small, who will never vote for Clintonworld or visa-versa. They'd rather see Trump burn it down.

      These aren't just surface divisions either. It goes right down to the local bits of the party. "Progressives" have been ousting "corporate dems" with greater or lesser success across the board. The DSA is one vector. But there are a hundred others. They have their own think tanks and party apparatus and are winning over some of the unions and forming their own PACs and organizations that explicitly will not allow former Clinton and Obama staffers on them, and their running their own candidates for everything from dog catcher to state rep. Maybe it's hotter and heavier in Mass and New York and the like at the moment. But it's happening. Did you know that DSA members pay dues? Imagine the Republicans or Democrats trying to pay dues. Working Families Party too. The whole apparatus is no longer interested in running third party candidates. And they're no longer interested in wealthy or corporate donors. They've aligned. They're interested in 'taking back' the Democratic Party. And Clintonworld is not interested in sharing power. But they've ousted several long-term local incumbents--and lost badly against several others.

      Long story short, if they really want a knock-out blow against Trump, somebody's gonna have to bridge the gap. Some folks straddle the divide. Reverend Barber comes to mind, for one example. Liz Warren might be another. A couple governors could probably pull it off too. But everyone has a history and everyone has friends and the two camps will judge each other by the company they keep.

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      • #63
        Re: Our Next President?

        Maybe I'm underestimating the willingness of the far left to let Trump "burn it down". As always the Supreme Court might force people to hold their nose and vote their party. If RBG makes it to the end of Trump's first term (which seems increasingly unlikely), it seems inevitable she won't make it through a second. She's 85 years old and in questionable health. Breyer is 80 right now. Will he make it to 86 in adequate health to keep serving on the court?

        I don't expect the Bernie crowd to vote for a Clinton Dem in the primaries just out of the perception that they will do better in the general election. So if they get their way in the primary then it could be an interesting election. I just don't see that many Democrats refusing to vote for Beto or Biden or whoever if they know the alternative is four more years of Trump and possibly a couple more SCOTUS picks.

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        • #64
          Re: Our Next President?

          Originally posted by DSpencer View Post
          Maybe I'm underestimating the willingness of the far left to let Trump "burn it down". As always the Supreme Court might force people to hold their nose and vote their party. If RBG makes it to the end of Trump's first term (which seems increasingly unlikely), it seems inevitable she won't make it through a second. She's 85 years old and in questionable health. Breyer is 80 right now. Will he make it to 86 in adequate health to keep serving on the court?

          I don't expect the Bernie crowd to vote for a Clinton Dem in the primaries just out of the perception that they will do better in the general election. So if they get their way in the primary then it could be an interesting election. I just don't see that many Democrats refusing to vote for Beto or Biden or whoever if they know the alternative is four more years of Trump and possibly a couple more SCOTUS picks.
          I think you're right, in that I don't think it is many. But I don't think it has to be many either. All it takes is for marginal numbers in a few states to stay home. It's a part of how Clinton lost. Beto married a billionaire's daughter. He's part of the New Democrat caucus. There are lots on the left who will never trust him. Biden's history also is problematic for that group.

          To be totally clear, I wasn't talking about the general before. But if I am going to talk about it, below is the one graph that I think everyone needs to really let sink in. 2020 will be nothing like 2008. The base of the electorate is now at the tails. If you're not playing to and motivating the base accordingly, you're losing. The center cannot hold because centrists are going the way of the dodo (outside of press outlets and think tanks at least).



          Another important thing to realize: That little mound in the center is older than the growing zeniths on either side. So it's going to continue to shrink. If anything, I think the proof in the pudding there was how effortlessly Trump and Sanders could draw stadium crowds in 2016 while more centrist candidates cried, "Please clap."

          It can be tough to think like a young leftist, but here's the intuition from what I gather: The Trumps, The Saudis, The Clintons, The Bloombergs, The Kochs, The Adelsons, even the Bin Ladens, all of them are part of a corrupt and criminal ruling class whose power must be diminished. The 'class war' stuff Obama ran away from is more or less the emerging worldview. If the Democrats run billionaires or families of billionaires or anyone who doesn't know and can't or won't credibly talk about life as a virtuous laborer vs. the criminality of the billionaire class, it's going to disappoint a ton of people. And young people are the most likely to stay home anyways and the hardest to motivate to vote.

          You see what I'm saying? Trump is not an anomaly when you think like this. He's emblematic. Behind every great fortune is a great crime. They're all corrupt swindlers and crooks.

          The mission isn't to replace one corrupt billionaire with another, or worse, a pawn of another. It's to take power away from corrupt billionaires. Ulysses O'Rourke and and Barron Trump will just go to the same parties and schools anyways, just like Chelsea Clinton and Ivanka Trump did. Voting for Beto vs. voting for Trump is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titantic.

          To be clear, this isn't my personal view. But it is, I think, a more common emerging way of looking at things, especially for younger folk. Bernie's credibility wasn't just in his policies. It was in not sending his kids to Sidwell Friends like Chelsea Clinton or Malia Obama or Julie Nixon Eisenhower or RFK Jr., or in not hanging out with Jeffrey Epstein's or taking rides on his Lolita Express like Bill Clinton and Donald Trump and everyone else. He didn't get invited to those kind of parties. And that was a feature for people, not a bug.
          Last edited by dcarrigg; 01-18-19, 02:06 PM.

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          • #65
            Re: Our Next President?

            Do you know how to find the 10 questions they ask for that poll? I'm curious to see what they are.

            I'm not a big fan of the concept that political views exist on a line where depending whether you answer yes or no to a question you get pushed one direction or the other. I think the real world is much more complex than that. It's frustrating to have everything turned into some issue where there's only two points of view and everyone has to take a side. Do you want to ban all fossil fuels or do you hate the environment?

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            • #66
              Re: Our Next President?

              Yeah. They've been asking the same thing for decades. No doubt the real world is more complex. But the responses are correlating increasingly with Party ID over time. More than that, the 10 questions just establish a category scheme. Those who fall within the categories answer 100 other questions more consistently than before. Meaning the 10 questions are only used to establish baseline categories. But the percentage of random respondents who fall in each category change over time. And the correlation between categories and many other policy positions changes over time too. Put another way, people are much more likely to answer all 10 questions in a consistently conservative or consistently liberal way than they were a decade ago, and to follow up with other unrelated questions with similar consistency as one might expect. Hopefully I'm making sense there. Can explain better later if it's useful. Questions and weighting below:






              Anyways, even if you don't buy this, you can look at something less arbitrary like Nominate scores and see a similar polarization effect. Or look at counties that went 20 points or more for one candidate or another. That's striking.







              What it all adds up to in my estimation is that turning out the base will be a relatively more valuable strategy than swaying the middle, which has become relatively less valuable.
              Last edited by dcarrigg; 01-18-19, 05:07 PM.

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              • #67
                Re: Our Next President?

                Yeah, those are the kind of questions I hate. Maybe they still serve the intended purpose, but it seems to only reinforce the idea that you have to pick a side and there are only two options. You either hate the government or love the government, there's no in between. I'm curious how much of the drift apart has to do with the digital echo chamber that serves to reinforce everyone's pre-existing beliefs.

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                • #68
                  Re: Our Next President?

                  Originally posted by DSpencer View Post
                  Yeah, those are the kind of questions I hate. Maybe they still serve the intended purpose, but it seems to only reinforce the idea that you have to pick a side and there are only two options. You either hate the government or love the government, there's no in between. I'm curious how much of the drift apart has to do with the digital echo chamber that serves to reinforce everyone's pre-existing beliefs.
                  I think the echo chamber's a huge part of it. So's the search bar and predictive content. So's the way online & mobile content works: caters to the extreme and unreasonable for the clicks.

                  But on a secondary level, I do think another part of it is baked into real institutions and culture and physical space too. I can, about down to the county, predict something about how Ohio will vote based off the old borders of the Connecticut Western Reserve.

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                  • #69
                    Re: Our Next President?

                    The Overton window has been shifted significantly since about 1980. An Eisenhower Republican set of policies is now considered radical leftist by many.

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                    • #70
                      Re: Our Next President?

                      Originally posted by dcarrigg View Post
                      I think the echo chamber's a huge part of it. So's the search bar and predictive content. So's the way online & mobile content works: caters to the extreme and unreasonable for the clicks.

                      But on a secondary level, I do think another part of it is baked into real institutions and culture and physical space too. I can, about down to the county, predict something about how Ohio will vote based off the old borders of the Connecticut Western Reserve.
                      Right. I am basically referring to the whole system as an echo chamber. Some of it is from "the bubble" where your searches return results that are catered to you which means they steer you to sites you'll agree with. And news sources themselves have decided it's best to just pick a side/audience and cater exclusively to them. Then the comment sections create an effect that "everyone thinks/knows/agrees with this" and people with extreme views feel the most need to shout them on the internet. All of it preys on the human tendency to seek out confirmation in the first place and it's become trivially easy to just shut out views you don't like by closing the window, pressing mute, etc.

                      What's scary, but interesting, is how much of it isn't necessarily malicious in purpose. I don't think search engines purposefully tried to create information bubbles for nefarious purposes. They just tried to make money and they (their algorithms) learned that's what people want, even if they didn't realize it themselves.

                      We've basically hijacked our own brains. Maybe I'm too dramatic, but I find the whole situation pretty disturbing and dystopian. I have young kids and I guess teaching them how to have a healthy relationship with technology is now just part of life. Don't take candy from strangers, don't smoke crack, don't become obsessed with social media likes, don't send nude selfies, don't get tricked by fake news, etc. Only they can't "just say no". They have to learn to use all this stuff without getting hooked.

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                      • #71
                        Re: Our Next President?

                        Originally posted by DSpencer View Post
                        Right. I am basically referring to the whole system as an echo chamber. Some of it is from "the bubble" where your searches return results that are catered to you which means they steer you to sites you'll agree with. And news sources themselves have decided it's best to just pick a side/audience and cater exclusively to them. Then the comment sections create an effect that "everyone thinks/knows/agrees with this" and people with extreme views feel the most need to shout them on the internet. All of it preys on the human tendency to seek out confirmation in the first place and it's become trivially easy to just shut out views you don't like by closing the window, pressing mute, etc.

                        What's scary, but interesting, is how much of it isn't necessarily malicious in purpose. I don't think search engines purposefully tried to create information bubbles for nefarious purposes. They just tried to make money and they (their algorithms) learned that's what people want, even if they didn't realize it themselves.

                        We've basically hijacked our own brains. Maybe I'm too dramatic, but I find the whole situation pretty disturbing and dystopian. I have young kids and I guess teaching them how to have a healthy relationship with technology is now just part of life. Don't take candy from strangers, don't smoke crack, don't become obsessed with social media likes, don't send nude selfies, don't get tricked by fake news, etc. Only they can't "just say no". They have to learn to use all this stuff without getting hooked.
                        I agree that the search engines are just trying to make money. I disagree that they're giving people what they want. But that's a deep bone I pick with rational actor assumptions and the idea that people buy what they want or click on what they want. They don't. People buy and click on what you put in front of them, not what they want. You can control how much people eat by just shifting plate sizes so the corresponding portion looks more or less reasonable. You can make people buy more with loss leaders and other retail marketing and positioning tricks. We've known this forever.

                        But the computer world is taking it to new heights. They hire psychologists to run big datasets and figure out what to put in front of people to maximize their ad revenue. So people who might never have typed in "anti-semetic conspiracy" because they weren't interested in that might be curious about famous Americans who were Jewish, and BAM! They get the anti-semetic conspiracy anyways. Even though they didn't ask for it. And morbid curiosity, like rubberneckers at a car accident, forces the click. It's not what people want. The best thing I can think to tell kids is to show them how bad it is and drive home the idea that 1) internet companies are not your friend helping you learn, they're grifters just out to make money, and 2) so they lie to you, and lots of information you see is lies or junk.

                        Go to a public library and ask for information about Democracy, and you're not going to get Laura Ingram followed by alien Nazi conspiracies. Or whatever visa-versa weird stuff happens in other search bars for other political persuasions. I really think in an age where this much of life is required to be online that the primary platforms should be better regulated so that they have at least to show they put minimal effort into actually providing relevant information and not just poisoning the information stream with the nonsense that generates the most clicks. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. They know much more much more dangerous information about all of us. I'm not even saying they shouldn't be able to advertise or anything. But they probably shouldn't be able to use the chokehold gateway monopoly of search to dictate what everyone sees with impunity like this. There is almost no competition anymore. So we're not getting a sense of how much worse google has gotten over time. And everyone else just licenses the old Yahoo or Bing or whatever.

                        The results are absurd now. Not even always in an obviously political way. I mean, in what universe do reasonable educated people think the search results should look like this? It's more like a tabloid than a bona-fide information retrieval service. Lowest. Common. Denominator.

                        Notice that if there's anything relevant at all, it's usually in the right bar, and usually just an excerpt from the first paragraph of the Wikipedia article. You're literally better off just using Wikipedia's search bar. You won't get so much trash. Google search just keeps presenting you with menu after menu of junk food. People don't realize how bad it really is because on one hand, at one time, it was actually better and they've been slow boiled. But on the other hand, look at the crap it throws at you, it's designed to be full of celebrities and aliens and other garbage that people will just mindlessly click on the same way they'll mindlessly eat french fries or potato chips. And I don't really think it's an accident. But I think it can and does have shitty consequences.

                        I really mean it. Google search was far better 10 years ago. Reader was far better than the news aggregators too. You could set the content you want on your homepage where you want, include RSS feeds from relevant non-news sources, and have an informationally-useful home page. Like a home cooked meal. All that is gone now. You just get junk food. Prepackaged, processed, junk food. I mean, literally, the results for the simplest things you type into google look like they'd fit better in the pages of the Weekly World News at the end of a supermarket checkout lane than in the library. It's all Batboy and You'll Never Guess Which Celebrity Lost 30lbs now.









                        Last edited by dcarrigg; 01-22-19, 10:41 AM.

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                        • #72
                          Re: Our Next President?

                          Originally posted by dcarrigg View Post
                          I agree that the search engines are just trying to make money. I disagree that they're giving people what they want. But that's a deep bone I pick with rational actor assumptions and the idea that people buy what they want or click on what they want. They don't. People buy and click on what you put in front of them, not what they want. You can control how much people eat by just shifting plate sizes so the corresponding portion looks more or less reasonable. You can make people buy more with loss leaders and other retail marketing and positioning tricks. We've known this forever.
                          When I said "want", I really just meant "want to click on" or maybe even more precisely "click on the most".

                          I really mean it. Google search was far better 10 years ago. Reader was far better than the news aggregators too. You could set the content you want on your homepage where you want, include RSS feeds from relevant non-news sources, and have an informationally-useful home page. Like a home cooked meal. All that is gone now. You just get junk food. Prepackaged, processed, junk food. I mean, literally, the results for the simplest things you type into google look like they'd fit better in the pages of the Weekly World News at the end of a supermarket checkout lane than in the library. It's all Batboy and You'll Never Guess Which Celebrity Lost 30lbs now.
                          I agree that it's getting worse. I started using the Apple News app because, hey it's there and reading the news is good, right? At first it was just a few stories from sources I selected. Next thing you know it starts filling up with celebrity gossip from People or whatever. Even if I kept saying I didn't like them, it didn't stop more from being fed to me. But the worst thing was that I sometimes clicked them. Not all at the time and usually just to read the first couple lines, but still. I was mindlessly consuming content that I wouldn't take home from a grocery store checkout even if it was free. I recently just deleted the whole app because of crap like that.

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                          • #73
                            Re: Our Next President?

                            Originally posted by DSpencer View Post
                            When I said "want", I really just meant "want to click on" or maybe even more precisely "click on the most".



                            I agree that it's getting worse. I started using the Apple News app because, hey it's there and reading the news is good, right? At first it was just a few stories from sources I selected. Next thing you know it starts filling up with celebrity gossip from People or whatever. Even if I kept saying I didn't like them, it didn't stop more from being fed to me. But the worst thing was that I sometimes clicked them. Not all at the time and usually just to read the first couple lines, but still. I was mindlessly consuming content that I wouldn't take home from a grocery store checkout even if it was free. I recently just deleted the whole app because of crap like that.
                            I hear you. I've caught myself doing it too. And I've done everything from delete apps to add URLs to the old 127.0.0.1 host database just to prevent myself from sliding down the rabbit hole when linked to them. That's something I'd never done in my life. Either I'm getting weaker in my older age, or they're getting better at suckering me into nonsense content. But I think probably that it speaks a ton to how good they're getting at getting me to click on things I wouldn't otherwise seek out. It happens with all sorts of content too. Used to be Pandora was about the only thing that did that--suggested or autoplayed what's next. Now everything does. It's all carefully geared-up for mindless (over)consumption.

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                            • #74
                              Re: Our Next President?

                              Originally posted by dcarrigg View Post
                              I disagree that they're giving people what they want. But that's a deep bone I pick with rational actor assumptions and the idea that people buy what they want or click on what they want. They don't. People buy and click on what you put in front of them, not what they want. You can control how much people eat by just shifting plate sizes so the corresponding portion looks more or less reasonable. You can make people buy more with loss leaders and other retail marketing and positioning tricks. We've known this forever.

                              But the computer world is taking it to new heights. They hire psychologists to run big datasets and figure out what to put in front of people to maximize their ad revenue.
                              casinos have been hiring psychologists for many years to design reinforcement schedules for slot machines. players have favorite machines- presumably those with a reinforcement schedule better attuned to their individual learning/reward system. a slot machine is just a skinner box, really.

                              so what do we TRULY "want" if we're so manipulable. what you "wanted" before being hit with the clickbait was presumably a product of earlier, less definable but more pervasive conditioning as processed by your individual nervous system.

                              learning about this kind of stuff should be a standard part of the high school curriculum. come to think of it, given when kids get on the social networks, learning this stuff should start in middle school. still earlier?
                              Last edited by jk; 01-22-19, 11:50 AM.

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                              • #75
                                Re: Our Next President?

                                Originally posted by dcarrigg View Post
                                I hear you. I've caught myself doing it too. And I've done everything from delete apps to add URLs to the old 127.0.0.1 host database just to prevent myself from sliding down the rabbit hole when linked to them. That's something I'd never done in my life. Either I'm getting weaker in my older age, or they're getting better at suckering me into nonsense content. But I think probably that it speaks a ton to how good they're getting at getting me to click on things I wouldn't otherwise seek out. It happens with all sorts of content too. Used to be Pandora was about the only thing that did that--suggested or autoplayed what's next. Now everything does. It's all carefully geared-up for mindless (over)consumption.
                                There’s a great book called the Master Algorithm that I recommend for gaining a broad macro understanding of an increasingly important aspect of our lives.

                                Looking at the success of foreign Advanced Persistent Threats involved in shaping US domestic political/partisan behaviour it would appear some were quite successful in terms of scientific method, iterative lean startup like bang for the buck.

                                But at the same time, it’s also clear that algorithmic recommendations and suggestions are far from perfect.

                                ‘One the continuum from pathetic to perfect, we are still far closer to pathetic in most cases.

                                One only needs to look at their own Netflix habits, where many anecdotally spend more time selecting from their “recommended for you” than actually watching anything.

                                Same with my old employer Amazon, recommendations are still quite weak, even after 21+ years of data on me. Although they “have my number” when it comes to Kindle deals.

                                What I find fascinating is a recent study showing older people far more likely to share fake news articles.

                                Coincidentally, I was just talking to my kids yesterday about the importance of trying to adjust for bias, particularly comformity, confirmation, sunk Cost Fallacy, and Halo Effect.

                                If I could change two things in education, I would add an education module on detecting and mitigating for what I can the big 4 biases and I would add an education module on the 5 most common algorithms used today.

                                I recall a Silicon Valley StartUp that was producing a tech industry version of a Presidential Daily Briefing, by someone who used to curate it.

                                I remember thinking I would really appreciate a paid Presidential Daily Briefing type source for news. And just largely ignore the rest.

                                I used to watch CNBC in the 90’s, then began to recognise the big picture.

                                Now I view it from the lens of it being a means to shape the sheep and what NOT to do.

                                Which may have some limited value.

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