In among a post on Internet dirty tricks, governmental and otherwise, Patterico reminds us of some of Glenn Greenwald's past flakiness.
And, at first glance, Edward Snowden is the very epitome of an Unreliable Source.
Which should serve as a reminder. If these guys were peddling a bunch of easily-forged, word-processed purportedly-secret documents? No one would take them seriously, apart from a few tinfoil-behatted cranks.
Except that our government reacted in a way that confirmed the authenticity of the leaked documents.
If the government had ignored the whole thing, apart from blowing raspberries and making cuckoo gestures? They'd have had a hard time peddling their papers.
There could be some waterspouts or weak tornadoes over coastal areas on Friday into Saturday.
is amplified into:
Yep, full-out tornadoes in Los Angeles (minus the sharks, of course). They aren’t unprecedented: On March 1, 1983, one hit the convention center, injuring about 30 people.
Yeah, "weak tornadoes" = "full-out tornadoes." Little whirlywinds that break a few trees are just the same as the monsters that tear up entire towns. Because name.
And SoCal doesn't deal with them well. That outbreak in '83? The timing is about right... while I was at UCSD, there was a tornado alert. The school was closed, and evacuated... so, instead of sitting around in a big sturdy concrete building, I had to go stand around in the open and wait for a bus. In a torrential downpour. With a tornado warning. Brilliant!
The Adaptive Curmudgeon describes one form of it: the fluff that dominates "news" reporting. May or may not be factually correct, but it's of no consequence, and it crowds out the important stuff.
You get the same thing in your local big-syndicate-owned newspaper, on network TV, or on, e.g., Yahoo! Finance!
Now here's Bill Maher, complaining about Facebook's new news-feed thingy:
‘Paper’ tracks the news you’re interested in and gives you more of that and less of everything else, never burdening you with contradictory information or telling you anything new. That’s what makes it ‘news.’ But only seeing the stuff that already confirms the opinions you already have isn’t news — it’s Fox News.
Always with the complaints about Fox News! Just because it doesn't exactly match the lockstep biases of NBABCNNBS.
And, if you rely on Respected News Sources? You're getting real negative information, in multiple forms.
First off, today's real professional journalists professionally know nothing. About everything. So they have no way of applying reality filters to reports.
Seriously: take any news story about a subject of which you have personal knowledge, and do a reality check. Completely wrong from beginning to end, no?
Secondly, there's a large institutional bias, with a truly massive echo-chamber effect. So, in additional to not being filtered by knowledge of reality, stories are filtered by strongly shared political bias.
Thirdly*, the reader or viewer is not the customer, and meaningful information is not the product. Mainstream "news" exists to sell eyeballs to advertisers, with a secondary purpose of advancing the political views of the writers and publishers. Ergo, sensationalism reigns. Stories about the sky not falling are of no interest.
If you follow the mainstream coverage of any substantive subject of which you had no knowledge to begin with... you'll actually finish knowing less than nothing about what's really going on. And with negative perspective, too.
There were 1027 abductions of children under age 26 in this state last year! One victim was a cute middle-class blonde snatched by a stranger! Here's her story, 1027 times! Ignore the fact that 1019 of the abductions were custody disputes, and three were probably runaways! Your cute middle-class children are in danger!
CBS notices that, while official inflation is near zero and overall average pay is up...
Wages have long since stagnated for most workers (those outside the upper echelons of the government, finance, and entertainment sectors), while the cost of necessities (food, fuel, health care) has been increasing dramatically.
For those of us who pay attention, and live in the real world, the problems have been glaringly apparent for a long time. Like, many years. Decades even.
For the rich, there is no problem. And, if your cost of living is dominated by purchases of new shiny things from China, it's actually been decreasing. Hooray!
But if your cost of living is dominated by, oh, food and suchlike... well, life's tough.
You'll just have to tighten your belt, and buy domestic "Wagyu" beef instead of the real thing.
On a somewhat related note: maldistribution of employment has been a Silicon Valley problem since forever. It's usually the case that everyone is either unemployed or overemployed. As government policies drive headcount costs up, so that squeezing more work out of fewer employees makes ever more sense*? The problem is spreading, and will only get worse.
* To the bean-counters, anyway. With modern accounting practices, short-term financial considerations dominate business planning, which is why, for example, responsible businesses no longer do R&D.
Which sounds kinda like Single Payer for education: a great way to get votes, but, as with demand-side economics in general, an even better way to create perverse incentives.
Look, decoupling costs from consumption doesn't bring down costs! It just hides them, so that no one has a visible incentive (nor meaningful ability) to control them.
Sure, it'd be fun to spend years and years hanging out at the university, studying interesting subjects of no economic value... and maybe never actually graduating, so the graduate tax never applies. You can take classes part time while working at some non-degree job, right? Endless consumption, at no cost to the consumer: what could possibly go wrong?
It seems 9/11 trutherism is alive and well, and newly respectable or something.
Tales are cropping up, again, of how even a bloody huge fire couldn't have brought down a modern skyscraper, what with its huge safety margins, so the towers must have been intentionally weakened in the months leading up to the attacks.
And the work of weakening the structures, placing demolition charges, and so on, effectively concealed from the thousands of people who worked there every freaking day.
Try this on for size. Look at the remains of the #1-#4 reactor buildings at Fukushima Daiichi, e.g., here. Note that two of these things are not like the others. And, were you to dig around, you'd find that the #1 building (and, apparently, #2) was built according to the standard design. #3 and #4 were built very differently, and without the ability to vent overpressure from a hydrogen explosion.
So, big safety issue with the basic construction of the later buildings. And no one squawked at the time. At a freaking nuclear power plant. Presumably concrete castings all the way up was cheaper and easier than having the special panels-over-framework structure for the top story, but it's not the way it's supposed to be built, and there's a reason for that.
Back to the World Trade Center. Which is more plausible: that the buildings were intentionally weakened in great secrecy from all the people working there in 2001... or that they were built weak in the first place?
Suppose you're a skyscraper builder. Which is more profitable: to build exactly according to spec, with the very finest materials and an absurd safety margin, or to build more cheaply, with a good-enough safety margin, and bribe every building inspector in the city?
And, were it true that the Twin Towers were of substandard construction... ya think the whole thing would be hushed up? Because it would involve epic corruption, and maybe a lot of other skyscrapers weren't built to spec?
No, I don't have any insight as to the plausibility of the Standard Model (i.e., the impacts and fires weakened the built-as-designed structures until they collapsed as seen) vs. the notion that there had to be something else involved.
But, if you're going to insist that the buildings must have been tampered with, I think this is a more plausible explanation.