November 12, 2010


ME + me: About the US, Wikipedia and Leibniz


I continue being not well, and otherwise also as before, so I cannot do much.

I do not feel up to much either, but will explain part of this below. In fact, today I only give some links, but with some comments

1. TYT
2. Wikipedia
3. Leibniz

1. TYT

"TYT" = "The Young Turks". I wrote about them before  Old and Young Turks, Some videos showing what things are like (TYT) and I like them. It is an American cablenews program - and here I quote myself and them from the last link:

Here they speak for themselves, on The Young Turks site:

Young Turk (n), 1. Young progressive or insurgent member of an institution, movement, or political party. 2. Young person who rebels against authority or societal expectations. (American Heritage Dictionary)

The Young Turks (Winner - Best Political Podcast & Best Political News Site of 2009) were the first original talk show on Sirius satellite radio and the first live, daily webcast on the internet. But that is not the revolution.

We are a rare show that combines all of the news that people care about in one place. We are not afraid to talk about politics and entertainment and sports and pop culture. But that is not the revolution either.

The real revolution is in daring to be honest with people. We don't patronize our viewers or lie to them. We have real conversations and deliver the news honestly.

This is true and no exaggeration either, and together with their obvious intelligence and verbal excellence the main reasons for me to like them: Even if one disagrees with them, at least they are not bullshitting you AND give their reasons for holding their opinions, which is another thing that rarely is seen or heard on TV, or skimped on if done at all.

The above clips give a fair overview and some should give you reasons to think. The Young Turks gives a lot more.

2. Wikipedia

I often use Wikipedia for four reasons mainly

  • it's good to consult an encylopedia if you want to know or verify things, and Wikipedia is one - of a kind, for which see below

  • the Wikipedia is large and contains may entries, some quite long, usually with external links

  • most of what I read on Wikipedia suited my purposes, in that it gave me some information and gave some relevant links

  • as it happens, the browsers and search machines I use often come up with some Wikipedia-article first or second.

Of course, for me the third point is most important: If what I was offered had suited my purposes less (generally: get some background information; occassionally: check something I believe I remember), I would have used it less.

Also, not everything on Wikipedia I read was good, and generally, for the things that really interest me, I am most helped by ther external links (links to urls not part of Wikipedia), whereas it stands to reason to expect that an internet encyclopedia operated on the principles on which Wikipedia is said to be using - basically: it is a wiki, and everybody can edit everything, in principle at least - will be easily biased or partial, and indeed it regularly is.

However, there seem to be a few things rather seriously wrong there, which essentially have to do with power and anonymity:

This is by Carl Hewitt, who I only knew a little about from programming, and that only by reputation.

The article is interesting, and seems mostly right, though I am afraid that what is proposed will not happen.

Also, it interested me for another reason: The parallels I saw between Wikipedia and the two internet-forums about ME I have been part of the last year, in such ways as this

I've been dismayed to observe a very powerful dynamic: the pushy loudmouths always win. They scramble to the top of the hill, start shouting, and relentlessly push back down the hill all non-like-minded comers. And here's the big problem: the comers are rarely as relentless as the pushers. They tend to cede the turf. So the pushiest and most intolerant loudmouths always win, because they are inherently less accommodating than their opposition. We've seen this dynamic in reality TV shows, online communities, kindergarten, American politics, and, for sure, on Wikipedia, which is like cyberchocolate to this sort of person.

    Two bedrock policies at Wikipedia make it so: first, everyone's effectively anonymous (and many are completely so), and as we all know from driving, people act their very worst in an anonymous public flow. And, second, the Wikipedia credo involves a very low degree of moderation (though it's gradually ratcheted up a bit over the years), and, as any Somali (or Usenet discussion participant) will tell you, anarchy is not a felicitous condition for human communities - though, like Communism, it sounds great on paper.
    (Jim Leff, quoted in note (i) of 
Corruption of Wikipedia)

This parallels what I have seen on the ME-forums, and indeed seems to be typical for the vast majority of all manner of "social forums" - unless they are exceptionally well moderated, and not anonymous - that tend to soon become the tool of a small group for self-promotion or their own special interest - except that publicly will always be presented as "for Our Community".

Indeed, there are two more things involved than "the pushy loudmouths always win"; ", everyone's effectively anonymous "; and "a very low degree of moderation " (that seems mostly incompetent and/or biased, as it happens):

  • There is a positive verbal terrorism of anonymous, conformistic, totalitarian dumboes that protest anything that is "not normal", not according to their ignorant prejudices, who actively try to pull down everyone who excels to their own level, quite often for that very reason (minority of the better ones are accused of elitarian or inappropriate language or blamed for any criticism of any kind), that is also very dishonest

  • These majorities of average levellers "for Our Community" are played upon and used by the more clever pushy loudmouths, who try in fact try to take over "Our Community" for their own ends or fame or amusement, always in the name of "Our Community", and generally by manipulative, dishonest, very often grossly impolite aspersions, accusations, innuendo etc.

So that is one of the other things I learned over the last year, or indeed allowed myself to oversee, until it happened again, and again and again and again (etc.) : "people act their very worst in an anonymous public flow", and indeed the very worst get to the top, precisely because they are the very worst, and manage - as all through history - to manipulate the cognitively challenged majorities.

In politics, and wherever people gather and something - fame, status, an audience, money, power - is available. It's the cruel egoistic and stunningly stupid ape in most men and women that seeks to get out, and especially when functionally anonymous or otherwise without fear of any personal sanction: Then you really meet or at least see the beast in men, and indeed women too, and you can understand why there never can be a better world without a better human average: Fundamental problem for democracy.

3. Leibniz

To end on a somewhat happier note, for those who care about real philosophy and real philosophers: Here is

with which I have nothing to do, nor ever had, which opens with a very friendly link (I quote):

Indeed, they link in fact to my philosophy-pages, where there is a lot more, but just in case you can't wait to go there directly:

Have fun, if thus inclined!

(*) Am I a liberal?! Check out the link, and also this one: Supplementary Remarks (namely on 'On 'The Logic of Moral Discourse''). That is: Yes, roughly in Mill's and De Tocqueville's sense: Political Texts. But not in some others, and I am not a libertarian in the US sense.

P.S. And there it stands for today.

P.P.S. It may be I have to stop Nederlog for a while. The reason is that I am physically not well at all. I don't know yet, but if there is no Nederlog, now you know the reason.


As to ME/CFS (that I prefer to call ME):

1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS (pdf)

3. Hillary Johnson

The Why

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf)
5. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

6. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
7. Paul Lutus

Is Psychology a Science?

8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)

Short descriptions:

1. Ten reasons why ME/CFS is a real disease by a professor of medicine of Harvard.
2. Long essay by a professor emeritus of medical chemistry about maltreatment of ME.
3. Explanation of what's happening around ME by an investigative journalist.
4. Report to Canadian Government on ME, by many medical experts.
5. Advice to psychiatrist by a psychiatrist who understands ME is an organic disease
6. English mathematical genius on one's responsibilities in the matter of one's beliefs:
   "it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon
     insufficient evidence
7. A space- and computer-scientist takes a look at psychology.
8. Malcolm Hooper puts things together status 2010.

    "Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, forever!

No change, no pause, no hope! Yet I endure.
I ask the Earth, have not the mountains felt?
I ask yon Heaven, the all-beholding Sun,
Has it not seen? The Sea, in storm or calm,
Heaven's ever-changing Shadow, spread below,
Have its deaf waves not heard my agony?
Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, forever!
     - (Shelley, "Prometheus Unbound") 

    "It was from this time that I developed my way of judging the Chinese by dividing them into two kinds: one humane and one not. "
     - (Jung Chang)


See also: ME -Documentation and ME - Resources

Maarten Maartensz

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