Posts tagged onfocus

Underunderstood
Great podcast episode about those mystery Chinese seeds that people were getting in the mail a while back. It's a good story that touches on our collective paranoid psychology, Amazon scams, government agencies, international shipping, and the weight of seeds.
Washington Post
"Each lawyer has a responsibility to evaluate the merits of a case or an argument before bringing it before a judge. No one, in fact, has a right to file frivolous lawsuits, and lawyers are supposed to either talk their clients out of filing frivolous claims or withdraw from the representation. Telling a client they have no case, when that’s what the facts and law indicate, is an essential part of the job. If lawyers fail to do so, court-imposed sanctions or bar discipline can follow."
I hope there are some consequences for these frivolous lawsuits.
New York Times
"In response, the employees proposed an emergency change to the site’s news feed algorithm, which helps determine what more than two billion people see every day. It involved emphasizing the importance of what Facebook calls “news ecosystem quality” scores, or N.E.Q., a secret internal ranking it assigns to news publishers based on signals about the quality of their journalism...Typically, N.E.Q. scores play a minor role in determining what appears on users’ feeds."
Facebook has developed an internal metric for determining the quality of a news source but they choose not to use that knowledge in how they distribute information.
buildbackbetter.gov
First message on Biden's .gov transition site:
"We are building an administration that looks like America."
Very relieved and happy about this: The presidential transition begins as the GSA formally recognizes Biden’s victory. Also, this: Biden Names First Cabinet Picks, None of Whom Want to Destroy World Order.
The Markup
“We will prioritize pages with great page experience, whether implemented using AMP or any other web technology, as we rank the results,” Google said in a blog post.
This is amazing. The AMP experience in Safari on an iPhone is terrible. AMP doesn’t even do well the thing it set out to do. Add in the way Google HOSTS those pages causing domain confusion and you get a total mess that has only been adopted because Google has monopoly power. Making efficient pages is a good goal but AMP in its current form can’t die soon enough.
The Atlantic
"It’s time to buckle up and lock ourselves down again, and to do so with fresh vigilance. Remember: We are barely nine or 10 months into this pandemic, and we have not experienced a full-blown fall or winter season. Everything that we may have done somewhat cautiously—and gotten away with—in summer may carry a higher risk now, because the conditions are different and the case baseline is much higher."
This article has a good summary of positive news that is on the horizon for ending the pandemic. But we need to buy more time to get there and that means getting through winter. Oregon just ordered a two week freeze to try to get a handle on climbing cases and hospitalizations.
New York Times
"The New York Times contacted the offices of the top election officials in every state on Monday and Tuesday to ask whether they suspected or had evidence of illegal voting. Officials in 45 states responded directly to The Times. For four of the remaining states, The Times spoke to other statewide officials or found public comments from secretaries of state; none reported any major voting issues."
Good to see confirmation.
The Nation
"None of these lawsuits provide evidence of massive voter fraud. None of the lawsuits provide evidence of voter fraud at all. Some of the lawsuits allege some accidents, but the remedy for those accidents is counting more votes, not fewer. Trump’s claims that his poll watchers were not allowed to watch the counting of mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania is flatly untrue, and his lawyers have had to admit in court that they were allowed in the room. They’ve been reduced to arguing that their poll watchers were not close enough, which, whatever. The remedy for that is to move them closer, not throw out tens of thousands of votes."
This article is helpful for my government transition anxiety.
washingtonpost.com
"Even if recounts and/or continued vote tallies somehow managed to overturn Biden’s lead in these states and give them to Trump, the president would still be below 270 electoral votes needed to win the election. Biden would still be the winner. That’s why all major news organizations declared him so Saturday."
Our current authoritarian dumpster fire is a systemic Republican party problem, not a problem with particular individual Republicans. If it wasn't clear already the entire party is currently working hard to cement baseless election conspiracy theories in their followers. Calling it curious is a curious word choice.
New York Times
"There’s a reason Barack Obama built an entire national campaign apparatus outside of the Democratic National Committee. And there’s a reason that when he didn’t activate or continue that, we lost House majorities. Because the party — in and of itself — does not have the core competencies, and no amount of money is going to fix that."
AOC on the road ahead within the Democratic party.
Vox
"Democrats fretted almost continuously that Biden wasn’t doing enough to enthuse voters, to dominate the conversation, to turn out the base. But in the end, he won in the highest-turnout election since perhaps 1900, mobilizing more voters than any candidate in history."
Joe Biden, President. Things are looking up.
New York Times
"If there’s no way for the trailing candidate to catch up, no legal way, no mathematical way, then the race is decided, essentially,” Sally Buzbee, The A.P.’s executive editor, said in an interview. “And if there is any uncertainty, or if there are enough votes out to change the result, then we don’t call the race."
The AP has done this before.
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