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eric peacock
Resisting the Shapers, one galaxy at a time.
Resisting the Shapers, one galaxy at a time.

eric's posts

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There's not too much music coming out in "modern" times that a) I can't get enough of and b) my stereo system just isn't loud enough for.
This song fits that bill, both for musical sound and lyrical content.
Get up off your knees boy
Stand face to face with your gods
And find out what you are
Hello my name is Human
Hello, my name is Human
And I came down from the stars

+Brian DeVille+Chris Fink+Zeke Cao+Randy DuCharme​

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Icon pack request:
Tha Trek

Icons in the shape of a TNG Combadge , but with the correct colors of the normal icon.
Kinda like the heart icon pack that showed up in Tha Random this morning.

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8TB, HGST disks show top reliability, racking up 45 years without failure

The standout finding: three 45-disk pods using 4TB Toshiba disks, and one 45-disk pod using 8TB HGST disks, went a full year without a single spindle failing. These are, respectively, more than 145 and 45 years of aggregate usage without a fault.

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I'll just leave this here... 
Try not to be upset. 

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The homopolar motor is the simplest electric motor that uses direct current to power rotational movement. It was first built and demonstrated by Michael Faraday in 1821 at the Royal Institute in London. The name "homopolar" is used because the polarity of the magnetic field emitted by the conductor and the permanent magnets does not change (unlike conventional DC motors).
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Get it while it's hot! 
Google Play is seriously selling, in HD, the Ip Man Trilogy for $3. Bought without hesitation or regret.

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448 million distracting social media posts per year

No, I'm not talking about Facebook!  I'm talking about posts put out by the Chinese government. 

They're often called 50c posts, since rumors say people are paid 50 cents for each post.  There's a huge army of people writing these posts!   I learned about them from this new paper, which did a lot of experiments to study them:

How the Chinese Government Fabricates Social Media Posts for Strategic Distraction, not Engaged Argument

The Chinese government has long been suspected of hiring as many as 2,000,000 people to surreptitiously insert huge numbers of pseudonymous and other deceptive writings into the stream of real social media posts, as if they were the genuine opinions of ordinary people. Many academics, and most journalists and activists, claim that these so-called “50c party” posts vociferously argue for the government’s side in political and policy debates. As we show, this is also true of the vast majority of posts openly accused on social media of being 50c. Yet, almost no systematic empirical evidence exists for this claim, or, more importantly, for the Chinese regime’s strategic objective in pursuing this activity.

In the first large scale empirical analysis of this operation, we show how to identify the secretive authors of these posts, the posts written by them, and their content. We estimate that the government fabricates and posts about 448 million social media comments a year. In contrast to prior claims, we show that the Chinese regime’s strategy is to avoid arguing with skeptics of the party and the government, and to not even discuss controversial issues. We infer that the goal of this massive secretive operation is instead to distract the public and change the subject, as most of the these posts involve cheerleading for China, the revolutionary history of the Communist Party, or other symbols of the regime.  We discuss how these results fit with what is known about the Chinese censorship program, and suggest how they may change our broader theoretical understanding of “common knowledge” and information control in authoritarian regimes.

The conclusion is spelled out in more detail near the end:

Distraction is a clever and useful strategy in information control in that an argument in almost any human discussion is rarely an effective way to put an end to an opposing argument. Letting an argument die, or changing the subject, usually works much better than picking an argument and getting someone’s back up (as new parents recognize fast).

It may even be the case that the function of reasoning in human beings is fundamentally about winning arguments rather than resolving them by seeking truth. Distraction even has the advantage of reducing anger compared to ruminating on the same issue. Finally, since censorship alone seems to anger people, the 50c astroturfing program has the additional advantage of enabling the government to actively control opinion without having to censor as much as they might otherwise.

The paper is here:

• Gary King, Jennifer Pan, and Margaret E. Roberts, How the Chinese government fabricates social media posts for strategic distraction, not engaged argument, American Political Science Review, 2017. Copy at

The people who write these social media posts are often called the 50c army - but I doubt most of them wear uniforms as in this picture!

Thanks to +Lauren Weinstein for pointing this out!
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