buffoons

We salute Trump for crush COVID given to him by Democrats

Sacha Baron Cohen has responded to Donald Trump’s remarks about Borat 2

Donald—I appreciate the free publicity for Borat! I admit, I don’t find you funny either. But yet the whole world laughs at you.

I’m always looking for people to play racist buffoons, and you’ll need a job after Jan. 20. Let’s talk!

{ Sacha Baron Cohen | Quote: Borat }

‘One silver lining to this shit show is that Bill Barr destroyed his reputation.’ –Scott Shapiro

updated with The Lincoln Project’s legal response

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Only 4 more spray tans before we vote him out

This paper presents a model in which politicians can increase the probability of election by making exaggerated claims about the benefits of their own platform — referred to as positive campaigning — and by exaggerating the undesirable characteristics of their rival — i.e., negative campaigning. Such lies may be detected at some point in the future and thus result in a costly loss in reputation. Thus the politician must tradeoff immediate benefits against potential future costs.

{ Public Choice (1996) | Continue reading }

‘Smoking doesn’t kill.’ –Mike Pence

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Let’s honor National Substance Use Prevention Day

California is gonna have to ration water. You wanna know why? Because they send millions of gallons of water out to sea, out to the Pacific. Because they want to take care of certain little tiny fish, that aren’t doing very well without water.

{ Donald J. Trump | Continue reading }

S.O.S.

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{ Newsweek | White House Gift Shop }

the dick pics you’ve been waiting for

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{ Huntington Beach, California, May 13, 2020 | more gloomy photos }

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{Huntington Beach, California }

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{ amazon.com | Related: Mrs. Trump had chosen some furniture for the White House residence […] in her absence, President Trump — whose tastes veer toward the gilded, triumphal style of Louis XIV — replaced her choices with several pieces he liked better. One of two people familiar with the episode cited it as an example of Mr. Trump’s tendency not to relent on even the smallest requests from his wife. | NY Times }

And the dneepers of wet and the gangres of sin in it!

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Across four studies participants (N = 818) rated the profoundness of abstract art images accompanied with varying categories of titles, including: pseudo-profound bullshit titles (e.g., The Deaf Echo), mundane titles (e.g., Canvas 8), and no titles.

Randomly generated pseudo-profound bullshit titles increased the perceived profoundness of computer-generated abstract art, compared to when no titles were present (Study 1).

Mundane titles did not enhance the perception of profoundness, indicating that pseudo-profound bullshit titles specifically (as opposed to titles in general) enhance the perceived profoundness of abstract art (Study 2).

Furthermore, these effects generalize to artist-created abstract art (Study 3).

Finally, we report a large correlation between profoundness ratings for pseudo-profound bullshit and “International Art English” statements (Study 4), a mode and style of communication commonly employed by artists to discuss their work.

{ Judgment and Decision Making | Continue reading }

Are we someone else when we lie?

[Google CEO] Eric Schmidt continued: “Our business is highly measurable. We know that if you spend X dollars on ads, you’ll get Y dollars in revenues.” At Google, Schmidt maintained, you pay only for what works.

Karmazin was horrified. He was an old fashioned advertising man, and where he came from, a Super Bowl ad cost three million dollars. Why? Because that’s how much it cost. What does it yield? Who knows. […]

In 2018, more than $273bn dollars was spent on digital ads globally, according to research firm eMarketer. Most of those ads were purchased from two companies: Google ($116bn in 2018) and Facebook ($54.5bn in 2018). […]

Picture this. Luigi’s Pizzeria hires three teenagers to hand out coupons to passersby. After a few weeks of flyering, one of the three turns out to be a marketing genius. Customers keep showing up with coupons distributed by this particular kid. The other two can’t make any sense of it: how does he do it? When they ask him, he explains: “I stand in the waiting area of the pizzeria.” […] Economists refer to this as a “selection effect.” It is crucial for advertisers to distinguish such a selection effect (people see your ad, but were already going to click, buy, register, or download) from the advertising effect (people see your ad, and that’s why they start clicking, buying, registering, downloading). […]

The online marketing world has the same strategy as Luigi’s Pizzeria and the flyer-handling teens. The benchmarks that advertising companies use – intended to measure the number of clicks, sales and downloads that occur after an ad is viewed – are fundamentally misleading. None of these benchmarks distinguish between the selection effect (clicks, purchases and downloads that are happening anyway) and the advertising effect (clicks, purchases and downloads that would not have happened without ads).

It gets worse: the brightest minds of this generation are creating algorithms which only increase the effects of selection. Consider the following: if Amazon buys clicks from Facebook and Google, the advertising platforms’ algorithms will seek out Amazon clickers. And who is most likely to click on Amazon? Presumably Amazon’s regular customers. In that case the algorithms are generating clicks, but not necessarily extra clicks.

{ The Correspondent | Continue reading }

How do we make use of this life that we still have?

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Several weeks ago, I met up with a friend in New York who suggested we grab a bite at a Scottish bar in the West Village. He had booked the table through something called Seated, a restaurant app that pays users who make reservations on the platform. We ordered two cocktails each, along with some food. And in exchange for the hard labor of drinking whiskey, the app awarded us $30 in credits redeemable at a variety of retailers. […]

To throw cash at people every time they walk into a restaurant does not sound like a business. It sounds like a plot to lose money as fast as possible. […]

If you wake up on a Casper mattress, work out with a Peloton before breakfast, Uber to your desk at a WeWork, order DoorDash for lunch, take a Lyft home, and get dinner through Postmates, you’ve interacted with seven companies that will collectively lose nearly $14 billion this year. […]

The meal-kit company Blue Apron revealed before its public offering that the company was spending about $460 to recruit each new member, despite making less than $400 per customer. […] since Blue Apron went public, the firm’s valuation has crashed by more than 95 percent. […]

{ The Atlantic | Continue reading }

photo { Detroit Science Center, 1979 }

unrelated { Apple announces $2.5 billion plan to ease California housing crisis }

More Americans are saying they need a variety of animals — dogs, ducks, even insects — for their mental health. But critics say many are really just pets that do not merit special status.

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{ Trump’s ties }

Max Headroom was portrayed as “The World’s first computer-generated TV host,” although the computer-generated appearance was achieved with prosthetic make-up and hand-drawn backgrounds

In Siege, Wolff quotes Bannon saying investigations into Trump’s finances will cut adrift even his most ardent supporters: “This is where it isn’t a witch hunt – even for the hard core, this is where he turns into just a crooked business guy, and one worth $50m instead of $10bn. Not the billionaire he said he was, just another scumbag.”

{ The Guardian | Continue reading }

update 6/3 { Italy is revoking a lease granted to Steve Bannon after reports of fraud in the competitive tender process. A letter used to guarantee the lease was forged. }