Wash Post and WSJ front page photos

Two Versions of One Truth: Sen. Flake at the Kavanaugh Hearing

A photograph is as objectively true as anything can be, isn’t it? Pictures record light, as it existed for an instant in material reality. Unlike two fallible people, each with a distinct recollection of what events in their lives did or did-not occur, directly contradicting one another, there’s no wiggle room in a picture about whether or not the light captured by the camera was telling the truth. It was what it was. Or was it? The phrase ‘post-truth’ has been a popular term of derision in this age of ‘alternative facts,’ but maybe the idea is more than the notion that those in power will lie at all costs to keep it. Perhaps truth really does not, or can not exist, independent of context. Today’s cover photos in the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal show an almost identical scene – a group of senators and staffers hovering around Sen. …

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What’s that got to do with the price of ads in Russia?

I’ve been reading comments on articles about the Russian intelligence effort to influence the US election by social media subterfuge. I know this is a dumb idea. It directly goes against Matt Groening’s advice: “No matter how good the video on YouTube is, don’t read the comments, just don’t, because it will make you hate all humans.” But, against my better judgment, I’ve come across an argument a few times that I want to discuss. It goes something like this: “Clinton and Trump spent $81M dollars on Facebook ads, but we’re supposed to believe that Russia spending just $46K made an impact? Yeah right, libtards, har har har.” Fair enough. The candidates spent a butt-load more money than the Russians did, as they should have. The basis of the argument is real: Facebook’s lawyers came right out and testified those exact numbers to Congress. It would be naive to argue …

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