in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
from May 13, 2019
This is a
Nederlog of Monday,
I bought a computer on May 9 with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS MATE and am for the
coming months (at least) "between two computers". I shall
continue - for the time being - to write and upload my files from
LTS (that is: from the old computer, that I bought in 2012)
that is easier right now and the old computer still works (and may
continue to work for another two years or more, although I do not know
Also, and in any case, I decided to write less on the crisis (I did review over 10,000 files since 2013),
in part because it makes no difference and in part because I am 69.
But I'll continue Nederlog. At present this is in a midway position
between the old style (five reviews each day) and some new style, that
I do not know yet, and that for the time being I fix on three reviews
each day (but that may change).
This is a crisis
log but it is a bit different from how it was until 2013:
I have been
writing about the crisis since September
1, 2008 (in Dutch, but
since 2010 in English) and about
the enormous dangers of
surveillance (by secret services and
by many rich commercial entities) since June 10, 2013, and I will
continue with it.
moment and since more than three years
problems with the company that is
supposed to take care that my site is visible 
and with my health, but I am still writing a Nederlog every day and
I shall continue.
2. Crisis Files
A. Selections from May 13, 2019:
The indented text
link is quoted from the
link that starts the item. Unindented text is by me:
1. Swarms of Drones May Soon Patrol
2. We Finally Know When Humans Started
Changing the Climate
3. What's behind Donald Trump's bewildering avalanche of
of Drones May Soon Patrol Europe’s Borders
This article is by
Zach Campbell on The Intercept. I abbreviated the title. This is from
near its beginning:
The European Union is
financing a project to develop drones piloted by artificial
intelligence and designed to autonomously patrol Europe’s borders. The
drones will operate in swarms, coordinating and corroborating
information among fleets of quadcopters, small fixed-wing airplanes,
ground vehicles, submarines, and boats. Developers of the project,
known as Roborder, say the robots will be able to identify humans and
independently decide whether they represent a threat. If they determine
that you may have committed a crime, they will notify border police.
I say, which I do
because while I did not know the above, I have been expecting
of news. So here it is. I suppose I agree with what I've just quoted,
but there are immediately several additional consequences, of which
I note four:
(1) the robots will themselves
identify whether a human may (!) have committed a crime;
(2) what they will consider "a crime" will not depend on the
law but on the programmers; and
(3) it is extremely easy to extend the robots, once they are flying,
with all kinds of weapons;
(4) this is private research, which means that the rules of the drones
will be mostly secret.
More on this below.
Here is some background:
In Europe, two years
height of the migration crisis that brought more than a million people
to the continent, mostly from the Middle East and Africa, immigration
remains a hot-button issue, even as the number of new arrivals has
dropped. Political parties across the European Union are winning
elections on anti-immigrant
platforms and enacting increasingly restrictive border
policies. Tech ethicists and privacy advocates worry that Roborder
and projects like it outsource too much law enforcement work to
nonhuman actors and could easily be weaponized against people in border
Yes, quite so. Also, I have
to admit that I agree there is an immigration problem in the
sense: In any case, whatever you think about immigrating into
Europe for non-Europeans, it is quite clear that there are many
more would-be immigrants into Europe than there are places for would-be
I think that is true
(although I disagree with the European politicians about more).
here is something about developing and relying on drones:
“The development of these
systems is a dark step into morally dangerous territory,” said Noel
Sharkey, emeritus professor of robotics and artificial intelligence at
Sheffield University in the U.K. and one of the founders of the
International Committee for Robot Arms Control, a nonprofit that
advocates against the military use of robotics. Sharkey lists examples
of weaponized drones currently on the market: flying robots equipped
with Tasers, pepper spray, rubber bullets, and other weapons. He warns
of the implications of combining that technology with AI-based
decision-making and using it in politically-charged border zones. “It’s
only a matter of time before a drone will be able to take action to
stop people,” Sharkey told The Intercept.
Yes, I completely agree
Sharkey, and indeed I also have an additional reason why those who
disagree with Sharkey would want to develop drones and rely on them. It
is as follows, and while I admit it is cynical,
that is no argument against its possible truth:
In general (apart from
certain individuals, who are always in minority) the valuations of ordinary people
of people who in some sense oppose them, if only by being different
from them, tend to be that those who oppose them have a far lesser
human value than themselves, which means that one major problem
ordinary people is how to deal with their opponents without
getting dirty hands themselves. Well: drones with artificial
intelligence - especially with artiticial intelligence that can also
kill - are an answer to the problem of getting dirty hands. For you
can blame whatever happens on the artificial intelligence (which also
will be largely secret anyway).
I think the above is probably
true, but you may disagree. Here is some more on the drones that are
currently being developed:
be violating the terms of their funding, according to documents about
the project obtained via European Union transparency regulations. The
initiative is mostly financed by an €8 million EU research and
innovation grant designed for projects that are exclusively
nonmilitary, but Roborder’s developers acknowledge that parts of their
proposed system involve military technology or could easily be
converted for military use.
As I have been pointing out
above. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
But Sharkey, the U.K.
robotics professor, argues that there is a thin line between using
robots to monitor a border and using them to enforce one. Weaponizing a
drone is relatively easy, he said, citing the 2015 case of the
Connecticut teenager who equipped
a drone with
a handgun and a flamethrower.
Sharkey worries about the implications of developing autonomous systems
to patrol borders, including how the system could be used by a country
coping with a large influx of people.
“The question is, where is
this going?” Sharkey asked. “The current project does not propose to
weaponize them, but it would just be too tempting for countries if a
tipping point were to happen with mass migration.”
Yes, I agree with
this is a strongly recommended article, in which there also is
more than I reported in this review.
Finally Know When Humans Started Changing the Climate
This article is by Tim
Radford on Truthdig and originally on the Climate News Network. It
starts as follows:
I say, for I did not
about the above reported research, but I think it may well be correct.
Our influence on the
Earth’s environment has lasted for a century: the human impact on
droughts and moisture patterns began
at least 100 years ago, researchers now say.
US scientists used new
analytic techniques and almost a thousand years of tree-ring data to
build up a picture of drought and rainfall worldwide for the last
century. And they report in the journal Nature
that they have identified the human fingerprint upon climate variation
as far back as the first days of the motor car and the infant aircraft
The pattern of change, in
which regions prone to drought such as the western US became more arid,
grew visible between 1900 and 1949. The researchers saw the same
pattern of drying in those decades in Australia, Europe, the
Mediterranean, western Russia and southeast Asia.
At the same time more rain
and snow fell in western China, much of central Asia, the Indian
subcontinent, Indonesia and central Canada.
Here is some more:
I say again, with the same
remark as above. Here is the ending of this article:
Kate Marvel of the Nasa Goddard
Institute for Space Studies, who led the research, said: “It’s
mind-boggling. There really is a clear signal of the effects of
greenhouse gases on the hydroclimate.”
And Benjamin Cook
of both the Nasa Institute and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at
Columbia University, said: “We asked, does the real world look like
what the models tell us to expect? The answer is yes.
“The big thing we learned
is that climate change started affecting global patterns of drought in
the early 20th century. We expect this pattern to keep emerging as
climate change continues.”
Yes, I quite agree
this is a recommended
If the researchers have got
it right, the pattern of increasing drought, matched elsewhere by
increasing precipitation, will continue to become stronger.
“If we don’t see it coming
in stronger in, say, the next 10 years, we might have to wonder whether
we are right,” Dr Marvel said. “But all the models are projecting that
you should see unprecedented drying soon, in a lot of places.”
And the researchers warn
that the consequences for humankind, especially in North America and
Eurasia, could be severe.
behind Donald Trump's bewildering avalanche of lies?
article is by Paul Rosenberg on Salon. I abbreviated the title. It
starts as follows:
I agree with the first
quoted paragraph, but do not quite know whether I agree with
second, because I do think that the only way to learn about
extra-ordinarily many lies is to count them and to publish
lies, and it is not quite clear whether Rosenberg agrees.
Trump has told 10,000-plus lies, or “misstatements,” since taking office as
president. So what? All those lies, and what sense have we made of
them? That’s the first question that really matters: What sense can we
make of an avalanche of lies designed to overwhelm our capacity to make
sense of anything? The second question is also important: What can we
do about them?
One thing should be clear:
The media shouldn’t be repeating them, giving Trump’s lies more life.
Unfortunately, that’s exactly what they’re doing, according to a recent
Matters study, which
found that major media outlets routinely amplified Trump’s false claims on their
Twitter accounts — 19
times a day, on average.
I suppose he does, and here is some more from the article:
The study period ran from Jan. 26 to Feb. 15
of this year, and its "key takeaways" included:
one-third of the tweets from major
media outlets about Trump's remarks (30%) referenced a false or
- Nearly two-thirds of the time, the outlets did not dispute that
- That means the outlets amplified false or
misleading Trump claims without disputing them 407
times over the three weeks of the
study, an average of 19 times a day.
So, that’s what we shouldn’t be doing. But what to do instead? That
should be informed by knowledge and understanding — first about the
nature of Trump’s lies themselves, and then, more broadly about how
they function and what they’re intended to do.
I agree with the above. Here is some more
(and "bottomless Pinocchios" are big lies):
I take it this is correct
as well. Here is some more on Trump's lies, which differ
from the lies of most others, not only in frequency but in kind:
A better sense can be gained by grouping the
bottomless Pinocchios by subject matter, which give us the following
set of totals:
- 505 lies about immigration
- 402 lies about Trump's economic
- 143 lies about exaggerated military spending
- 127 lies about Trump himself being persecuted
It’s hardly an accident, or a surprise, that
the top two subjects of Trump’s lies revolve around the so-called
issues that made him president — his racist appeals to fears and hatred
of immigration and his bogus claims of brilliant business success —
exposed as never before in the recent New
York Times tax record exposé.
I think that is probably
correct. Here is more on Trump's lies:
In her earlier work, [ Santa
Bella DePaulo] had found
that most lies are either self-serving, or meant to flatter others —
with the former about twice as common. Only around 1 to 2% of lies were
defined as cruel. Trump, in contrast told 6.6 times as many
self-serving lies as kind lies, and fully 50% of his lies were cruel.
In addition DePaulo wrote,
Trump's lies "often served several purposes simultaneously (for
example, sometimes they were both self-serving and cruel).”
important to realize
that lies are marketing for Trump,” Mercieca said. “He isn't concerned
about whether or not a statement is true or false. Veracity isn't
important at all. He is concerned with shaping our understanding, with
Yes, I agree. Here is the last bit
quote from this article:
Trump doesn't even care that
it's a lie. It's just a means to an end. Trump is a very strategic and
Well... I think both paragraphs contain
Trump proclaims his truth as the one and
only truth and asks his audiences to deny their own perception of
reality. It's a pre-Cartesian view of truth — ‘truth’ is no longer what
we perceive (I think, therefore I am), but what Trump says is true.
“Folks who call it a form of ‘gaslighting’
are correct,” Mercieca went on. “Trump's constant blizzard of lies
denies us the possibility of knowing. It's its own epistemology. And if
that doesn't frighten you, the constant barrage of lies are
authoritarian — they are used to prevent him from being held
accountable for his words and actions.”
The "pre-Cartesian view of truth" is bullshit, for
the simple reason that
you can still think that you are because you think, while also
insisting that you think Trump speaks the truth about politics. (That
also means that you are very probably stupid, but that is as may be.)
As to the second paragraph: It may be correct that one of
intentions with his lies is gaslighting
people, but I also think that "Trump's constant blizzard of
lies denies us the possibility of knowing. It's its own epistemology" is basically bullshit for
anybody who is
fairly intelligent. Also - and I am a philosopher - in what
are "its own epistemology" is a total riddle to me.
Then again, for the most part this is a decent and recommended article.
end of 2015 that
xs4all.nl is systematically
ruining my site by NOT updating it within a few seconds,
as it did between 1996 and 2015, but by updating it between
two to seven days later, that is, if I am lucky.
claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie.
They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.
just don't care for my site, my interests, my values or my
ideas. They have behaved now for 3 years
as if they are the
eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I
from now on suppose they are (for truth is dead in Holland).
two reasons I remain with xs4all is that my site has been
there since 1996, and I have no reasons whatsoever to suppose that any
other Dutch provider is any better (!!).