Sunday School

Sunday School November 27th 2022

This topic contains 44 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Autumn 2 months ago.

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  • #45863

    Better News: The Satanic Temple is setting up another After School Satan Club to teach children critical thinking and reasoning skills.

    The Hobby Lobby leak looks bad for Justice Alito. But that’s not the worst part!

    Italy church report into sexual abuses a ‘joke’ say victims’ groups.

    How ‘very online atheists’ differ from other atheists (long read).

    World of Woo: Another meta-analysis shows that acupuncture is nothing but an elaborate placebo.

    Environment: Not all plant-based diets are equal . . . for health or the environment.

    NASA scientists suggest why we are alone – and what fate awaits the human race.

    My homesick heart ached as I watched the election results roll in.

    When it comes to AI, we now have fewer reasons to trust META.

    How to test if we’re living in a computer simulation.

    Brain experiment suggests that consciousness relies on quantum entanglement.

    Ancient genomes reveal hidden history of human adaptation.

    Long Reads: The A to Z of Climate Change. Even Sen. Barry Goldwater knew that the last thing the U.S. needed was to become a Theocracy based on the ideas of Christian Nationalists. Time for an Islamophobia self-awareness month. Child sexual abuse and the seal of confession. What’s the best way to deal with a flood of misinformation? The Demon River.

    Podcast: Nicholas Dirks with Michael Shermer on Science Denial, Distrust, and Skepticism.

    Sunday Book Club: Imperfection: A natural history.

    Some photographs taken last week.  Some photos of nature taken this year.

    While you are waiting for the kettle to boil……

    Coffee Break Video: Is the question ‘Why is there something instead of nothing?’ even worth asking? The biggest ideas in the Universe – with Sean Carroll.

    #45865

    Have a great week everyone!

    #45866

    Strega
    Moderator

    Thanks, Reg!!

    #45867

    _Robert_
    Participant

    re:When it comes to AI, we now have fewer reasons to trust META.

    Zuck and company are striking out left and right. Seems the Chinese government’s Tiktok piece o’shit is a much better tool to misinform than anything new that Meta is trying to do so far.

    #45874

    Autumn
    Participant

    Environment: Not all plant-based diets are equal . . . for health or the environment.

    The piss off here is that changing agriculture to reduce some of these impacts can’t happen easily because of a certain degree of rigidity in our economic system. If we were talking about parts of the planet where food scarcity is a real concern, then I’d say go with whatever produces the most food. But in countries like America, food is both over-produced and overeaten. Agriculture isn’t defined by need, but rather the cheapest means for greatest amount of consumption.

    Some practices such as over-reliance on monoculture make sense from an economic perspective, especially in a paradigm where farmers have huge overhead costs in very specialized equipment and very specialized land usage for greater yields. Switching away from monoculture would potentially increase costs to farmers without considerable cooperation and coordination, and these costs would either have to be eaten by farmers, passed on to consumers, or be subsidized in all likelihood. I mean, grocery chains sure as fuck are reluctant to budge on profit margin.

    To some degree, our consumption habits may have to change as well. Certain foods may not be readily grown sustainably in such huge quantities for shipment all over the world.

    Obviously I’m being overly broad here. Food production in its entirety is complex well beyond my understanding. Supply chain alone is a nightmare let alone all of the issues with actually growing the food. My point is just that we lock ourselves down somewhat arbitrarily with an economic system that may no longer be fit-for-purpose (I feel like ‘fit-for-purpose is becoming my catch phrase of late).

    #45875

    Autumn
    Participant

    re:When it comes to AI, we now have fewer reasons to trust META. Zuck and company are striking out left and right.

    To me it feels like the internet of the 90s and 00s was both a means of connecting with others and escaping the ‘real world’. I mean, part of what made the original TA work was that a decent chunk of members lived in areas where they couldn’t connect with other atheists and may have been shunned or abused if people in their local communities knew they’d rejected religion.

    But at some point, the relationship seemed to flip. Your internet footprint became who you are in the world, especially as a much smaller number of social networks started eating up a much larger chunk of market share. Fuck up in meatspace and a relatively small number of people may ever know. Fuck up online, and it’s potentially a retweet or a screenshot away from sticking to you for far too long. Or, if you fucked up hard enough, then it’s a surveillance agency or digital forensics expert away from coming to light. And yet for all of this increased visibility, we’re paradoxically swallowed up whole by the noise of it all, our individuality and personhood mashed up and regurgitated in clunky algorithms that make hot dogs of us all.

    Personally, if I want to escape the world now that the world has shifted on line, I go back to physical reality where I can actually connect with people again and get away from society.

    #45876

    Autumn
    Participant

    When it comes to AI, we now have fewer reasons to trust META.

    I think it will be difficult for a computer to replicate the eccentricities of human cognition. The issue isn’t about machines doing the task for which they are assigned; it’s about connecting it sensibly with inputs and end users it can only understand as mathematical behavioural models (even if those models are adaptive). The level of generalization needed in summarizing human behaviour is possibly just too great, especially when we navigate reality in such imperfect and inaccurate ways. When the flow of information is human–>AI–>human, the potential for game of telephone that’s even more dysfunctional than normal. Perhaps if people were creating inputs specifically for AI, it would work.

    That said, I am glad AI took the time to document the history of bears living in space.

    The false attributions are especially brutal.

    #45877

    I watched this article on food waste in the USA last night.

     

     

     

    #45878

    Autumn
    Participant

    What’s interesting is from an industrialization perspective, there is insane efficiency, but that efficiency is largely geared toward monetary profit (or just economic sustainability in the current economic system). There are other industries as well where we see this pattern (e.g. clothing).

    #45880

    The emissions from waste food are a serious problem. As mentioned in the PBS video, when waste food is put into a landfill site it will decompose and emit methane as it rots. But when it is properly composted this is not a problem as it is exposed to oxygen. I am currently in the USA and then only option is to put the turkey carcass into the waste bin. In Ireland we have 3 bins; Green for recycling, Black for household waste that goes to landfill and Brown for organic waste – all food scraps and garden waste like clippings or leaves. The latter is fully composted and reused as fertilizer or compost.

    #45882

    _Robert_
    Participant

    When it comes to AI, we now have fewer reasons to trust META.

    I think it will be difficult for a computer to replicate the eccentricities of human cognition. The issue isn’t about machines doing the task for which they are assigned; it’s about connecting it sensibly with inputs and end users it can only understand as mathematical behavioural models (even if those models are adaptive). The level of generalization needed in summarizing human behaviour is possibly just too great, especially when we navigate reality in such imperfect and inaccurate ways. When the flow of information is human–>AI–>human, the potential for game of telephone that’s even more dysfunctional than normal. Perhaps if people were creating inputs specifically for AI, it would work. That said, I am glad AI took the time to document the history of bears living in space. The false attributions are especially brutal.

    So many people think “seeing (video) is believing” and it is only a matter of time when a bunch of people with mal intent get access to powerful video rendering AI. I shudder to think what will happen when deep fakes of political leaders and other celebrities permeate the web.

    Perhaps blockchain will finally have a valid use case.

    #45886

    Unseen
    Participant

    So many people think “seeing (video) is believing” and it is only a matter of time when a bunch of people with mal intent get access to powerful video rendering AI. I shudder to think what will happen when deep fakes of political leaders and other celebrities permeate the web.

    #45887

    Autumn
    Participant

    So many people think “seeing (video) is believing” and it is only a matter of time when a bunch of people with mal intent get access to powerful video rendering AI. I shudder to think what will happen when deep fakes of political leaders and other celebrities permeate the web. Perhaps blockchain will finally have a valid use case.

    Or perhaps notary publics need to branch out their service offerings for a new era. Though the deep fake thing cuts both ways to some degree. One can eventually claim certain things are illegitimate as long it wasn’t authenticated in some foolproof way. It may not stand up to forensic analysis, but generally one only needs cast doubt in their follower’s minds.

    That said, every era has had potential for fraud. Some have been worse than others. The real issue going forward will be determining if we should burn the new witches digitally, or in analog, old school style.

    #45888

    Autumn
    Participant

    In Ireland we have 3 bins; Green for recycling, Black for household waste that goes to landfill and Brown for organic waste – all food scraps and garden waste like clippings or leaves. The latter is fully composted and reused as fertilizer or compost.

    It varies by municipality here. In Vancouver most things could be recycled, and there was curb side compost pick-up. That said, you couldn’t compost meat waste.

    Where I live now, my apartment building isn’t mandated to have recycling and compost. I’d like to set up a little vermiculture bin on the balcony, but I just haven’t had the money of late. Plus I’d rather start it when it’s a warming up rather than approaching winter.

    #45889

    Belle Rose
    Participant

    “The Sprout Book” by Doug Adams is a “must have.” You can’t eat any more climate change friendly or healthy than that! <3 😉

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