Showing posts with label cynicism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cynicism. Show all posts

Sunday, April 24, 2022

If you've ever handled a penny, the government's got your DNA.

File this under: Wanted: new conspiracy theories—all ours came true.

When DNA testing and genomic profiling was first rolling out as a mass-market product, I remember hearing people objecting to it saying things like, "I don’t want them to have my DNA". 

These worries were summarily dismissed by science-supporting elites as paranoia on the part of anti-science or antisocial bumpkins. 

It turns out an ounce of caution here was warranted

And then COVID happened . . .


And now 23andMe has come full circle:

Wojcicki says that’s just not going to happen. “We’re not evil,” she says. “Our brand is being direct-to-consumer and affordable.” For the time being she’s focused on the long, painful process of drug development. She’d like to think she’s earned some trust, but she hasn’t come this far on faith.
Caution continues to be warranted by at least some elites (Macron refuses Russian COVID test), and I don't blame them--be sure to click through to the Atlantic story about the lengths to which the White House goes to protect the president's DNA. 

I understand Macron and the White House taking extreme precautions in this area. I also do not think it is highly likely that anything bad would come of genetic data gathering in general. In fact I tend to be supportive of the secondary (or ulterior) uses that genetic data could provide--provided there are adequate disclosures on the front end and transparency throughout the process. Trust but verify is the right approach.

The level of trust is inversely proportional to the extent to which people's fears get realized even if they are only partially realized. In other words the level of trust is directly proportional to the degree of proven trustworthiness.



Thursday, November 4, 2021

You're Allowed Cynical Beliefs But Not Cynical Reactions

Society rewards cynical beliefs and optimistic reactions while at the same time it punishes optimistic beliefs and cynical reactions. 

Consider that a politician is given wide latitude to sow distrust in the system and the powers that be but would be viewed as na├»ve for believing things work by and large pretty well and our default position should be charitable benefit of the doubt. Similarly a politician would be expected to embrace a development as beneficial to his side while being seen as a sour puss or exhibiting sour grapes to downplay a successful event.

This is not just a political phenomenon. CEOs must be grounded realists who only crack a smile when championing an outcome. Otherwise, they should be on the lookout for the next problem. Yet if a problem arises, they get no credit for being dismissive.

Perhaps the biggest exemplification can be found in everyday life where nobody wants to hear about the downside after a positive moment and at the same time nobody wants to hear how it will probably all be okay in the face of fear. Rather one should doubt the future and champion any moment of progress while rejecting hope and brushing aside any consideration that ulterior motives may be at play.

Social media amplifies these truths orders of magnitude due to the network and feedback-amplification effects. 

I am a bit ambivalent on this in general. I both fight and embrace my personal tendency toward cynicism. It can negatively bias one's thought process like a disease, but it can also provide healthy critical analysis. A good journalist has a proper balance in regard to cynicism. They are not a cheerleader for their beat nor a pure curmudgeon. 

We are all and always have been journalists in one way or another to greatly varying degrees of quality. Today's technology makes this more apparent, but it has always been the case. We gather facts, analyze data, and relate stories. Some are better than others and some do it for pay while others do it for pleasure (or shear necessity of living in a society). 

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2021-11-11 Addendum: As a personal example of this, I offer how as a fan of OU football any optimistic outlook I hold is seen as being a “homer”, a derisive label. At the same time a cynical take on the team’s prospects is seen as wise and level-headed. Further, if the team does well, it is widely viewed as uncouth to not give them credit for their success. Even more so, if they do poorly, one is not allowed to point out ways the opponent got lucky, etc.

I do not find these social norms to be desirable, tbs.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Reading Between the MSM Lines - Partial List

Follow the money. If you want to know something about the credibility of a source, look into what they are actually getting paid to do. For example:
  • Fox News gets paid to shout scary ideas at old people.
  • MSNBC gets paid to say snarky comments that make their friends giggle.
  • CNN gets paid to pretentiously spout conjectures that sound important.
  • CNBC gets paid to use buzzwords and pretend noise is signal to make viewers feel smart.
  • ABC, CBS, & NBC news all get paid by trying to resemble what their viewers remember traditional network news looked like.
Turn off the news. It makes you dumber.