It’s complicated….


    • Overton window – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia – “The Overton window, also known as the window of discourse, is the range of ideas the public will accept. It is used by media pundits. The term is derived from its originator, Joseph P. Overton (1960–2003), a former vice president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, who in his description of his window claimed that an idea’s political viability depends mainly on whether it falls within the window, rather than on politicians’ individual preferences. According to Overton’s description, his window includes a range of policies considered politically acceptable in the current climate of public opinion, which a politician can recommend without being considered too extreme to gain or keep public office.”



The Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia effect

by Limbic on February 7, 2016

can a giant eraser remove the past?

“Can a giant raser remove the past?” Typewriter Eraser. Scale X, 1999, by Claes Oldenburg (American, born 1929, Sweden) and Coosje van Bruggen (American, born 1942, The Netherlands). Photo by Woodleywonders via Flicker (cc)

Came across this whilst reading Felix Salmon’s superb “Why you can’t trust journalism“. He links to Seekerblog’s 2006 post on “The Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia effect“, who in turn quotes Michael Criton’s 2002 speech “Why Speculate?“:

Media carries with it a credibility that is totally undeserved. You have all experienced this, in what I call the Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia effect. (I call it by this name because I once discussed it with Murray Gell-Mann, and by dropping a famous name I imply greater importance to myself, and to the effect, than it would otherwise have.)

Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect works as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward-reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.

In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story-and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read with renewed interest as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about far-off Palestine than it was about the story you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.

That is the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect. I’d point out it does not operate in other arenas of life. In ordinary life, if somebody consistently exaggerates or lies to you, you soon discount everything they say. In court, there is the legal doctrine of falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus, which means untruthful in one part, untruthful in all.

But when it comes to the media, we believe against evidence that it is probably worth our time to read other parts of the paper. When, in fact, it almost certainly isn’t. The only possible explanation for our behavior is amnesia.

I have noticed this time and time again. People who lambaste the media for supporting something they oppose will uncritically quote the same media when they suddenly find themselves in agreement.

Another area I notice this is with Serbs commenting on other countries. Serbs have been demonized in the media for over 20 years. They have suffered the most appalling slanders, yet it has not equipped many of them at all to spot the same treatment of others.

When Denmark recently came under fire for extending its social welfare laws of asset confiscation to migrants, I had Serbian friends in all my timelines writing “F*ck Denmark!”, not wondering at all if the story was being portrayed accurately (which it was not).


Camille Paglia: A Feminist Defense of Masculine Virtues

by LimbicNutrition Shorts on February 7, 2016

Camille Paglia: A Feminist Defense of Masculine Virtues:

Magnificent women. My all time favourite feminist.


Perp walk politics

by Limbic on January 24, 2016

I know I have lost

Photo by Sarah Galasko (cc)

When the most hated man in America – Martin Shkreli – was arrested on securities fraud charges, I thought to myself that I bet there is a politico-performance element to it.

What are the chances that this hate figure just happens to come to the attention of the federal authorities shortly after making himself widely “hated” for increasing the price of a drug he owns by 700%?

What are the chances that Reuters just happened to be there when he was arrested?!

Turns out I am not alone in wondering this, from Popehat:

Based on my experience with perp-walked clients1, I think the more likely scenario is that a government agent responsible for investigating and prosecuting Mr. Shkreli tipped Reuters off about the arrest — that someone told Reuters to be there to catch the perp walk.

If Reuters was there through independent investigation, then good for them. But if Reuters was there because of a tip from law enforcement, then I’d like to ask a couple of questions.

There are two subjects on which Reuters could have informed its audience, two sets of questions it could have answered:

Subject One: Who leaked the time and place of the arrest? Was it an FBI agent, a prosecutor, staff, a coordinating local cop? How high up in the government did the decision to leak the arrest go? Did the leak violate the law? Did it violate the defendant’s rights? What was the government’s purpose in leaking the time and place of the arrest? How does this instance fit into the pattern of which arrests get leaked and which don’t? Which nonviolent defendants without records get arrested, and which get summonsed in (or self-surrender through arrangement with their lawyers), and why? What impact does a front-page picture of a defendant in handcuffs have on the jury pool? Is that impact a feature, or a bug, of leaking it? Was the leak intended to inflict extra-judicial humiliation and punishment on the defendant? If the government lies about whether or not it leaked, would you still keep it secret?

Subject Two: What would Martin Shkreli look like being led away in handcuffs?

It seems Reuters chose to address the second subject.

The authorities are want to look good by going after this hate figure. I believe there probably is a case to answer, but I also think there are large dollops of “extra-judicial humiliation and punishment” being dropped on the defendant.




Periodic Table of DevOps tools

by Limbic on January 23, 2016


Swale by Pavel Proskurin

by Limbic on January 3, 2016

I like Pavel’s gloomy post-apocalyptic style.

Swale by Pavel Proskurin

Source: Swale on Behance


Natsumi Hayashi – Tokyo’s Levitating Girl

by Limbic on January 3, 2016

“Natsumi Hayashi is a Japanese artist known for her fixation with levitating.”

Source: The Surreal And Beautiful Photography Of Tokyo’s Levitating Girl


Know Where You Stand

by Limbic on January 3, 2016

Seth Taras, an award-winning, self-taught American artist/photographer…create[ed] Know Where You Stand, a stunning mash up of historical photograph negatives overlaid into modern times.”

Source: ‘Know Where You Stand’: Photographer Fuses 4 Historical Events With Present-Day Images via steves-digicams . 


Alexey Kondakov

3 January 2016

Alexey Kondakov beautifully overlays classical paintings onto contemporary scenes. Source: I need a guide: Alexey Kondakov

Read the full article →