Friday, July 19, 2019

Using AI to encourage self-censorship of abusive comments

Instagram is using AI to stop people from posting abusive comments
Rather than rely solely on its algorithms to censor offensive material, it will draw on users' self-censorship as well. As a comment is posting, if the platform's AI model flags it as harmful, the poster will see a pop-up asking, "Are you sure you want to post this?" In early tests, Instagram found the feature encouraged many people to rescind their comments. It's a clever tactic to try to alleviate some of the burden on human content moderation without being too restrictive.
Here's another source of motivation:
How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment (Matthew 12:34-36).

Thursday, July 18, 2019

History is no judge

If one wants to fundamentally transform America, one must also find a way of describing that transformed America as morally acceptable.

Around the time the Supreme Court handing down its latest gay marriage decision, a phrase prominently entered the American political lexicon: “the right side of History.” It's as if to say, “We had it wrong before, but now we're getting it right, and future generations will see it our way now.”

The problem here is “History” is not a thing of its own. History has no agency. History is the story as written by whoever won and gained power. That doesn't necessarily make it right.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The Future of Value, Generalist Edition

As previously noted, there are two characteristics of people who will be especially valuable economically in the future: they have specialized in a unique combination of areas. The more exclusively one is able to do certain things of value, the higher one's income potential.

There are times when the opposite of exclusivity is valuable. In these the generalist thrives.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

A Civic Biology

Missed in the Scopes Trial was an opportunity to show the social implications of evolution for what they are. In what author Michael Kazin called “the most dramatic confrontation of the trial to date,” William Jennings Bryan “defended the rights of parents to control what their children learned in school” though not the full implications of what that learning would mean for them.

“Scopes had violated the statute unintentionally one day while substituting for the regular biology instructor.” The textbook used in class was A Civic Biology by George William Hunter. Of Bryan's arguments in court, Kazin noted the following about Bryan's approach to the book.
Strangely, he neglected to say anything about Hunter's use of social Darwinism. Almost seventy pages after the “tree”—which the author urged students to copy in their notebooks—appeared a vigorous endorsement of eugenics.

Clearly, the “civic” in the title of the text was no accident.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Maximize your unique contribution

Terry Monaghan has written a book called 101 Things to do (or stop doing) to give yourself more time RIGHT NOW!

5. Focus on what you do brilliantly, delegate the rest

6. See what can be automated, and automate it
Are there things you do over and over?

7. Stop doing everyone else's job
Would you pay someone your salary to do the things you're doing? “The more you can turn over tasks to a team, the more time you will have to leverage your own unique contribution.”
Read more »

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Making it home

There is a great difference between my building a house and my going to reside in that house and make it my home.

And there is a great difference between the Holy Spirit's work in regenerating a soul—the building of a house, and His coming to reside, abide and control in our innermost spirit and our whole life and being.
SourceSimpson, A. B. (Albert B.). Days of Heaven Upon Earth (June 29). Kindle Edition.

Friday, July 12, 2019

The Billy Graham Rule

Robert Foster, a married man, is taking a lot of unfair flack for not agreeing to meet with a woman for an entire day which would often include time alone with her in his truck. He sticks to the Billy Graham rule, and said no.

Foster is a candidate for governor in Mississippi, and a reporter, Larrison Campbell, asked to tag along with him for a day. After finding out the reporter was female, and having no campaign staff who could join them, he asked her if she could provide someone to tag along. She balked, and the interview/day-long tag-along was called off.

One mistake Foster may have made in this is stipulating that the colleague the female reporter bring along be male. I agree having someone else present is a good idea, but I don't see why the third person would need to be a man. That actually complicates things, because presumably she would need to travel alone with that man in order to meet. Foster was possibly requiring her to violate the same rule he was trying to keep.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Evangelical Support for President Trump

Jesus told a story of a man who had two sons:
“But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard.’

“He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went.

“Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, ‘I go, sir,’ but he did not go.

“Which of the two did the will of his father?”

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Enhancing his earthly joys

Of George Read, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, it was once written, “The same year he led to the hymeneal altar, an amiable, pious, and accomplished daughter of the Rev. George Ross, of Newcastle: thus adding largely to the stake he held in the welfare of his country, enhancing his earthly joys, and giving him an influence and rank in society never acquired by lonely bachelors. She fully supplied the vacuum abhorred by nature, and proved a valuable partner of his toils and perils, his pains and pleasures, through subsequent life.”

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

How human nature is constructed

Human nature is so constructed, we are so persistent, that when we know that we are born to a thing we do not care what the world thinks about it.

—Mark Twain
Source: Mark Twain's Speeches

Monday, July 8, 2019

A career of usefulness

Mr. Livingston was among the few, who, in those days, received a college education. After his preparatory studies, he entered Yale College, and graduated in 1737. In common with most of the descendants of that celebrated family, he was blessed with strong native talent, which he improved by an excellent education. With principles firmly based on religion and moral rectitude, he was eminently prepared to commence a career of usefulness.

In those days of republican simplicity, graduates from college, instead of riding rough shod over those whose literary advantages were less, believing themselves forever exonerated from the field, the shop, and the counting-house, thought it no disparagement to apply themselves to agricultural, mechanical, and commercial pursuits.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Only God has heart knowledge

There is a special Greek word for heart knowledge: kardiognostes. It comes from two other words:

Kardia = heart
Ginosko = knowledge

It's only used two times in the New Testament, and both times of God.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Internet access = later nights

This week I discovered something I already should have known. Now I have data to back it up.

I keep track of how well I keep a good schedule, and in recent weeks my numbers haven't been so great. I scrolled back through several fortnights and noticed that for 200 days my schedule was better during the winter and fall. The key difference of that time period was internet access.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Not Afraid of Poverty

Lives of the Signers to the Declaration of Independence by Charles Augustus Goodrich, circa 1834, opens with a thorough introduction summarizing events which led to the Declaration of Independence.

As the colonies began forming committees of correspondence, unifying their message was not confined to legislative bodies.
Numerous meetings were called in the various towns of the provinces, in relation, as well to this particular measure, as to other oppressive acts of the British parliament.

In these meetings, the town of Boston took the lead. A committee was appointed to address the several towns in the colony, and to urge upon them the importance of an unanimous expression of their feelings with regard to the conduct of the British ministry. “We have abundant reason to apprehend,” said this committee, in their address, “that a plan of despotism has been concerted, and is hastening to a completion; the late measures of the administration have a direct tendency to deprive us of every thing valuable as men, as Christians, and as subjects, entitled to the rights of native Britons.” — “We are not afraid of poverty,” said they, in conclusion, — “but we disdain slavery. Let us consider, we are struggling for our best birth rights and inheritance; which, being infringed, renders all our blessings precarious in their enjoyment, and trifling in their value.”

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Understanding Appreciation

Appreciating someone or something means more than saying thank you.

Appreciation means to understand the value of something or what someone brings to the table.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

The last and final and most precious reward

My own history includes an incident which will always connect me with England in a pathetic way, for when I arrived here seven years ago with my wife and my daughter—we had gone around the globe lecturing to raise money to clear off a debt—my wife and one of my daughters started across the ocean to bring to England our eldest daughter. She was twenty four years of age and in the bloom of young womanhood, and we were unsuspecting.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Totally destroy the Johnson Amendment

I can think of no better topic to start a new month—especially one in which we honor and express gratitude for our freedom and independence—than religious liberty.

One of the earliest very positive indicators me about then-candidate Trump was his particular emphasis on crushing the Johnson Amendment.

This is not some random pandering issue for him. If anything, if you listen to his nomination acceptance speech, one could have the impression he was advised against including this issue. From conversations I've had with a few connected people, I know that he talks about this in private, not just publicly.

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You don't launch a popular blog,
you build one.
Seth Godin