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Comment count is 29
15th - 2015-07-01

Look at her eyes 1:07-1:07.5. Nice try.

John Holmes Motherfucker - 2015-07-01

Are you suggesting that she's really a lizard person?

Robin Kestrel - 2015-07-01

She's blinking something in code about a Government gunman being right off-camera.

infinite zest - 2015-07-01

I could stare into those eyes for 3:32 :)

That guy - 2015-07-01

She's secretly dosing ME with boner pills.

infinite zest - 2015-07-01

Well, it says she got divorced a few years ago.. So did I! I'm on okcupid under the name potswimming :D

John Holmes Motherfucker - 2015-07-02

Yep. Nothing sexier than an intellectual connection.

TeenerTot - 2015-07-02

I know it's "OK Cupid" but when I see it written I think OC-u-pid.

That guy - 2015-07-02

I'm on okstupid under the name bitchWrangler.

takewithfood - 2015-07-01

She has a Keepon on the shelf back there.

memedumpster - 2015-07-01

If you want to look straight into the forward beam cannon of Space Battleship Insanity, go to phys.org, click the "astronomy & space" tab, and read the comments of any article with more than 8 comments. Holy shit do schizophrenics hate astronomers.

Old_Zircon - 2015-07-01

I used to know someone who got a grant to spend a year riding and photographic roller coasters in India, so I've got no trouble believing someone got a grant for this.

infinite zest - 2015-07-01

That's interesting. But the one I looked up was just like any other rollercoaster, right down to a sort of RIDE THE DEVASTATOR trailer. It seems like shopping malls across the world would have more differences than roller coasters would.. but you couldn't pay me enough to do it. I get sick on the swingy spinny ride so I'd be interested to know what it's like.

Old_Zircon - 2015-07-02

It was fascinating, actually, apparently there is a really rich tradition of roller coasters there. There are a LOT of them, and they have some of the most advanced designs and some of the most antiquated designs still operating in the world. I wish I had a copy of her research, but I didn't really know her that well, she was a friend of a friend who lived halfway across the country so we hung out in NYC a bit but that's all.

EvilHomer - 2015-07-01

Isn't she a little old for you, John?

EvilHomer - 2015-07-01

(just kidding! I'm glad you're back. I was worried about you.)

EvilHomer - 2015-07-01

Seriously, though, your standards in women are slipping. :(

infinite zest - 2015-07-02

Really? She's almost exactly my type, and not just personality wise. No offense to Boxxy but I would swipe left even though she's very attractive in her own way.

EvilHomer - 2015-07-02

That may well be, IZ, but I'm talking specifically Mr Holmes here. Mr Holmes has been my friend for years, and pretty much all of his crushes - Boxxy and Anita, for example - have conformed to mainstream beauty standards. Rebecca Watson just doesn't look like the sort John would go for. Socially and psychologically I suspect she fits the type (my guess is that she's "come under attack" by anti-feminists and/or conspiracy theorists over this video or others), but where are the high cheekbones? The doe eyes? The warm, inviting smiles?

As for me, I dunno, I think she's OK. The purple hair and the Female Penn Gillette shtick are both pretty hot, granted, but she looks a bit too much like my mom for my comfort. She definitely seems like the kind of person I'd befriend (anyone who rants about echo chambers is a-OK in my books!), but rescuing her from a dragon, no thank you.

EvilHomer - 2015-07-02

Best of luck to you, though. If you can make her the second Mrs Zest, then by all means!

Perhaps as a wedding present from poeTV to you, we could arrange to fly a Viagra-chemtrail plane over your honeymoon hotel?

John Holmes Motherfucker - 2015-07-02

>>(just kidding! I'm glad you're back. I was worried about you.)

My mother died. I've been okay, considering.

>>and pretty much all of his crushes - Boxxy and Anita, for example - have conformed to mainstream beauty standards.

My ACTUAL crushes aren't on the internet. In real life, I seem have a thing for short stout women who look you straight in the eye. And artists! Most of the women in my life were painters and sculptors, and whatnot.

Anita Sarkeesian is cute, and I admire her courage, but her videos make her seem pretty dull. Catie Wayne, let me repeat, is actually the daughter of someone I would like to go out with. For what's it's worth, and it ain't worth much, Rebecca Watson is sort of in another category. The intellectual connection is sexy as hell. It isn't just that she's smart, it's that she conveys her smart thoughts with real clarity. Am I too old for her? Sure. But still, another category.

EvilHomer - 2015-07-02

Oh shit, I'm sorry, Mr Holmes. That's harsh.

I thought it might have been something like that... I'm glad you're doing alright, and if there's anything I can do to help, just let me know. I know I tease you sometimes, but I really do like you, and I know how hard it can be to lose loved ones.

EvilHomer - 2015-07-02

More to the point, I have a couple of problems with this video. While the research itself (which was not done by Ms Watson, I must point out!) is certainly important, the problem of echo chambers, and more broadly the question of the nature of collective intelligence itself, is a̲ ̲p̲r̲o̲b̲l̲e̲m̲ ̲t̲h̲a̲t̲ ̲d̲o̲e̲s̲ ̲n̲o̲t̲ ̲s̲o̲l̲e̲l̲y̲ ̲a̲f̲f̲e̲c̲t̲ "conspiracy theorists". Singling these people out for ridicule may be a good tactic for garnering pageviews, but I would argue it's being needlessly confrontational, not to mention ultimately *self-defeating*, on the grounds that, ironically enough, such divisive rhetorical strategies feed into one's OWN personal echo chamber, shoring up the boundaries of one's group and making it harder to approach new subjects with an open mind. The contextual usage of the word "Trolling" here, instead of preferring a more professional, neutral, and less-antagonistic phrase, further illustrates the underlying problem with this approach. Science is never about "trolling" or "making people feel stupid". If we - the supposedly "scientifically minded" individuals - begin to forget this, then we've already lost the war.

The second problem I have is, the trouble with echo chambers is nothing new. Philosophers and scientists have been wrestling with the epistemological consequences of echo chambers for centuries, millennia even (albeit using different terminology for the most part). Indeed, the trouble with echo chambers was one of the main reasons why liberals, up until very recently, embraced concepts like freedom of speech and the marketplace of ideas! Everyone should be exposed to new and challenging ideas. Everyone should know somebody whom they can barely tolerate, if that. In fact, I might even go so far as to say that everyone should be REQUIRED to spend at least one day out of every week, finding an idea they absolutely abhor, and then doing their best to publicly argue its case. Now this is not necessarily a point against Ms Watson, of course! While she shoulders a share of the guilt in Point One above, Point Two doesn't really have anything to do with her directly. But IT IS, I'd argue, a sad reflection on the times, that concepts like "the importance of the marketplace of ideas" can be presented as novel and radical mind-fucks.

Anyway, with that out of the way, I was wondering what the rest of you thought of collective intelligence? Just in general? The abstract for the study makes it clear that the researchers were keenly intent on throwing in their two cents about that topic, and while I'm not sure Drs. Bessi, Coletto, et al. are really adding much to the debate which we don't already know, it seems like it could be a good topic for discussion.

EvilHomer - 2015-07-02

Also, as with most things "sociology", whether what is being done in that study actually qualifies as "Science" at all is very much a matter of debate. Where is the control? What exactly is being tested for? The most interesting (and potentially informative) part of Ms Watson's cited study is the last bit, "Response to false information", yet there was apparently no effort made to collect what might well be the most critical piece of information: how polarized users of "scientific news" and their conspiracy counterparts respond to explicitly "scientific" troll posts! That is to say, information that looks legit from a mainstream or academic perspective, but can be quickly verified as false (e.g. "the Sokal Affair"). Furthermore, the Italian team's analysis of their data points is extremely shallow; what does "number of comments" tell us, really, other than that people like to talk about the things which interest them? Given the context of their hypothesis, how many of the comments from each group were explicitly *credulous* is what should matter, but of course we are not given this information.

The study here is a *verifiably* dubious one, and yet, most people watching this video on Youtube - polarized users of "scientific" news, or so I suspect they might fancy themselves to be - simply take the conclusions as a given, liking and commenting with mindless abandon. Irony?

EvilHomer - 2015-07-02

- Correction - in the last sentence, Post 2, Paragraph 1, I should rather say, "credulous AND either unaware of, or unwilling to rationally argue against, arguments and evidence to the contrary". It's entirely possible for people to dispute the legitimacy of a commonly-accepted position, even one which the rest of us assume is self-evidently true; indeed, that's really the whole point of having science in the first place! What matters is not so much whether you're "right" or "wrong", but whether you are willing to listen to counter-arguments and then *account for* those arguments in your own response.

I rather suspect, based on nothing more than anecdotal experience here, that most of the Internet's polarized conspiracy-minded users FAIL miserably to fulfill this basic epistemological obligation. But two facts remain: that this was not adequately demonstrated in Ms Watson's cited sturdy, and that little or no effort was made to examine whether this obligation was actually being fulfilled by rival groups.

memedumpster - 2015-07-02

Thank you for demonstrating in spectacular fashion that rhetoric is bullshit.

EvilHomer - 2015-07-02

Well, yes and no. It was not my intention to demonstrate that (all) rhetoric is bullshit, and I am sorry if I came off that way! -Some- rhetoric is bullshit. The set of things which are rhetoric and the set of things which are bullshit may be increasingly overlapping, however, and it's hard for many people to tell the difference - even, and this is the important distinction given the classist sociological assumptions underlying Ms Watson's argument, for those people who are "intelligent" or "educated".

Old_Zircon - 2015-07-02

Aristophanes is not amused.

EvilHomer - 2015-07-02

>> Aristophanes is not amused.

I don't know. I am not very well-versed in Aristophanes (I honestly don't remember much beyond his fart jokes), but wasn't he mainly critical about the sophists, at least in regards to rehetoric? As much as I disapprove of this video, I am not so sure that what Ms Watson is doing here sinks to that level

I'd like to imagine that, if Aristophanes were alive today, he'd despise contemporary sociology and be spending much of his time making fun of the discipline (the rest of his time would be spent writing episodes of "Black Mirror", drawing Mike Judge fanart, and drinking himself to death). But I think he'd give Ms Watson a pass, as she is not so much being a disingenuous bastard, as she is earnestly trying to formulate a pro-skeptical argument, based upon the shaky premises offered up by those career charlatans with their bullshit statistics.

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