Against Signal-Boosting As Doxxing | Slate Star Codex

Source: Against Signal-Boosting As Doxxing | Slate Star Codex

the goal of being pro-free-speech isn’t to make a really liberal-sounding law code. It’s to create a society where it’s actually possible to hold dissenting opinions, where ideas really do get judged by merit rather than by who’s powerful enough to shut down whom.

A quick philosophical digression: what are we even doing here? My thought is: we’re trying to hash out a social norm. We expect this social norm to be sometimes in our favor and sometimes against us, so we want it to be universalizable and desirable under a veil of ignorance.

On that note: let him who is without sin throw the first stone. Have any of you ever said or done anything which, if signal-boosted [and taken out of context], would be very embarrassing and might prevent you from getting a job?

In a world where an average of 250 resumes are received for each corporate position, how convincing does an effort have to be to ruin somebody’s life? Do you think your dream company is going to spend a long time sorting through each claim and counterclaim to determine that the highly-Google-ranked page about you claiming you’re unfit to work in your industry is mostly unfair? No. They’re just going to cut their risks and move on to the other 249 candidates.

But don’t let the fact that it’s bizarre make you think it isn’t important. How many of us can say, honestly, that we could bear the Panopticon? If every valley were raised up and every mountain pulled down, so there was nowhere to hide, and we were rendered naked to any eye anywhere in the world, how long could we endure? Wouldn’t we retreat into ourselves, turtle-like, afraid to ever speak at all?

it’s a package deal, people. Either promote good social norms, or be destroyed by the bad ones when the tide turns against you.

How Scared Should You Be of Macaroni and Cheese? – The Atlantic

Source: How Scared Should You Be of Macaroni and Cheese? – The Atlantic

A reason to minimize highly processed foods, but not to panic

this was an act of fact-based advocacy, as opposed to science, a distinction worth considering

An analysis conducted with the express purpose of justifying a cause means bias, which is evident in the reporting of the results, which omit practical analysis of the levels of phthalates in the cheeses. And yet the choice was made to analyze and warn against macaroni and cheese—a product that would resonate with pregnant people and parents with young children. This was a scare-based publicity move undertaken with apparently noble intentions, to raise awareness for what the advocacy group deems to be a dire cause. It worked. It also caused undue concern and regret.

If I could end this answer with a question to you, it would be, do you think this sort of approach is justifiable? Is this kind of stunt a necessary means to call attention to an issue that has gone largely ignored for decades? Or does it do more harm by undermining the idea of science and the public’s trust in the process, if readers start to assume that studies are simply means of gathering data to justify a pre-existing agenda?

Most US tap water has unhealthy levels of cancer-causing pollutants and other contaminants — Quartz

Source: Most US tap water has unhealthy levels of cancer-causing pollutants and other contaminants — Quartz

A new database compiled by the Environmental Working Group shows that the tap water of millions of Americans is unhealthy.

An analysis of 28 million water records from nearly 50,000 American water utilities published as a searchable database Wednesday (July 26) found dozens of contaminants in tap water at levels that get a passing grade from the government, but that toxicology research says pose a risk to human health.