The Ethical Knob: Ethically-Customizable Automated Vehicles

found online by Raymond

From The Journal of Improbable Research:

Vehicles could be fitted with what they call an ‘Ethical Knob’, under a proposal by Giuseppe Contissa, Francesca Lagioia, and Giovanni Sartor of CIRSFID, at the University of Bologna, Italy. The device might help clarify ethical/legal issues with Autonomous Vehicles (AVs). What for example, should a self-driving car do when it ‘realizes’ (in an impending crash situation) that it could swerve to avoid a large group of pedestrians but in the process kill the driver and passengers?

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David Brooks Says Trump’s Sabotage Might Turn Out Great For Everybody

found online by Raymond

From driftglass:

Every now and then a nondescript little man from Wingnut Central Command shows up at Mr. David Brooks’ door to remind him that it is time once again to renew his Conservative credentials. It is a brief but critical ritual upon which Mr. Brooks’ entire professional life literally depends. After all, it isn’t the word “American” or “author” or “political and cultural commentator” in his CV that The New York Times shells out crazy money to slap on it’s op-ed page every week:

David Brooks is a conservative American author as well as political and cultural commentator who writes for The New York Times.

It’s the word “conservative” they’re renting. It is the word “conservative” which has given Mr. Brooks entree to the corridors of power, gigs on NPR, PBS and NBC, book contracts and a job-for-life at the NYT which pays for Mr. Brooks’ various hearths and homes and travels and book tours.

So every now and then he needs to get his “conservative” card punched again. And of course, given the nature of Conservatism, this means he needs to say something horrible and blatantly untrue in some public forum somewhere. This time around, the forum was The News Hour, and the horrible and blatantly untrue thing was this:

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Saturday Rate of Exchange:
Should Gun Manufacturers be Liable?

from Raymond


Last week’s discussion of Gun Safety produced followup dialogue that ended with some unity of opinion.

Ryan begins with what we thought might become a provocative defense of firearms manufacturers.

From Ryan:

I occasionally hear talk of wanting to hold gun manufacturers liable for the harm that others cause with their products. I don’t know how widespread this desire is, but it’s troubling for the same reason that it would be troubling to hold knife manufacturers responsible for what people do with their knives, car manufacturers responsible for what people do with their cars, drill manufacturers responsible for what people do with their drills, farmers responsible for what people do with their food (one could feed peanuts to someone fatally allergic to them, after all), etc. This sort of policy goes against basic moral principles regarding responsibility. It even comes across as a dishonest attempt to ban guns indirectly by putting gun manufacturers out of business.

Dave Dubya can often be counted on to vigorously advance the progressive side of debate.

Dave Dubya:

Heroin dealers should be held accountable for selling heroin, not for what junkies do.

Gun manufacturers shouldn’t be held accountable for what people do with the guns. They should be accountable for manufacturing and selling weapons of war to civilians. As long as these weapons are legal and pumped into the population more deaths will result. It has become a clear and present danger to the public.

This is why law makers need to be held accountable for the deaths resulting from effectively legalizing weapons of war for civilians.

I won’t hold my breath for accountability on that front.

The propaganda of the NRA and GOP has been more effective than the message of the opposition. While opponents of such weapons proliferation employ facts, reason, and compassion, the NRA and GOP simply wrap the issue in fear, the flag, and freedom.

We know who always wins with this strategy.

We may always be free to salute the flag and invoke freedom, but we will never be free from the threat of mass killings by enraged Militia Amendment enthusiasts. Even the gun-totin’ Good Guys were terrorized and helpless in Vegas.

We will always live under the gun in the “land of the free”.

Ryan reacts, as he often does, with a reasonable exploration of an apparently opposing opinion.

From Ryan:

You clearly don’t support the position I described, so I don’t have much to say in response. But I am curious about how you define “weapons of war” and thereby distinguish them from other guns. What factors come into play besides rate of fire?

But disagreement fades.

Dave Dubya:

I’m not sure where we disagree. I thought I was expanding on your position that gun manufacturers shouldn’t be held accountable for what people do with the guns.

They are operating within the law, therefor I say lawmakers are ultimately accountable.

Both rate of fire and volume of fire are the factors. Bayonets used to be a factor but are antiquated and not relevant in mass killings.

Machine guns are weapons of war. Automatic rifles, essentially machine guns, are weapons of war. They are intended to be effective human-killing machines. The M16 was developed as a weapon of war. An AR15 is essentially the same rifle, and is easily converted into an automatic rifle, thus a weapon of war.

Magazines holding 30 or more rounds are also features of weapons of war.

These weapons are not used for hunting or needed for self defense.

It is not a society’s duty to keep gun manufacturers in business. Their duty is to public safety and public health. Proliferation of weapons and their destruction of life is very much a public safety/public health issue.

Humans are far too often not emotionally stable or morally grounded enough to have such weapons of war.

Confiscation is out of the question, but opening the floodgates wider is not the solution.

And there is peace in the valley.

From Ryan:

There’s no disagreement.

Dave Dubya can often be found at Freedom Rants. Ryan often joins with Dave and other friends of the blog to provide insight – occasionally combined with a bit of heat.

Have a safe weekend.

Everywhere and Nobody Sees It

found online by Raymond

From Vixen Strangely at Strangely Blogged:

I don’t really follow Hollywood stuff, other than watching movies based on comic books or that have other genre appeal to me. I guess I knew/didn’t know there were rumors about Harvey Weinstein because I read Defamer, but that kind of gossipy know/didn’t know state isn’t the same as thinking a person is a predator, because know/didn’t know is the Schrodinger’s Cat of pervert. I might not, based on this information, be alone with a person or would tell a friend not to be alone with that one in a “thing in your teeth” or “toilet paper on your shoe” kind of way, but I wouldn’t necessarily say “This is a guy who needs to straight up be locked up”. I’m not the world’s biggest carceral state backer in the first place, but also, there’s a benefit of the doubt we give men with that reputation, after all. That lady-killer shit. That pimp player. You just don’t exactly know. Do they force themselves, or just have the kind of charm money definitely might/could buy?

The Ronan Farrow investigation about Harvey Weinstein, on the other hand, is the confirmation of rumors that basically doesn’t happen with situational abusers like this often enough. It’s like what happened with Bill Cosby, where there were just too many stories–eventually, after a kind of floodgate opened. Or Roger Ailes. Or Donald Trump, if he didn’t somehow get elected president.

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Rex Tillerson Says He Is Fully Committed to Moron’s Agenda

found online by Raymond

From The Borowitz Report:

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Attempting to pour cold water on reports of a rift between him and Donald Trump, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters on Wednesday that he remains “fully committed to this moron’s agenda.”

“There will always be people in Washington eager to stir controversy when there is none,” Tillerson said, at a hastily called press conference at the State Department. “I am standing here today to tell you that I am on the same page as this idiot.”

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An Exceptional Voice of Common Sense and Economic Fairness!

found online by Raymond

From Jack Jodell at The Saturday Afternoon Post:

I wish to devote this post to someone I believe to be more than worthy of praise.

The noted economist, professor, and author Richard D. Wolff comes to mind as one who is truly on-the-ball when it comes to correct analyses of our economy.

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The U.S. Supreme Court On Not Standing for the National Anthem

found online by Raymond

From The Life and Times of Bruce Gerencser:

But we know there’s always going to be a trickle-down effect [from his tweets about NFL players refusing to stand for the National Anthem] with Trump – and indeed, now students are paying the price. Within the last two weeks, a high school football coach in Tennessee told his players they have to stand for the national anthem, a Louisiana principal threatened to remove student athletes from their teams if they didn’t stand during the national anthem and the superintendent of the entire parish, who supervises almost three dozen schools, then said he supported this policy and suggested it would apply to all of his schools.

Before more students’ rights are threatened, this needs to stop. Not only does it go against basic American principles to threaten students about speaking up – it’s also blatantly unconstitutional for a public school to do this. The Supreme Court made this clear in 1943 when it decided the landmark case of West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette. In that case, school children who were Jehovah’s Witnesses refused to salute the flag because it was against their religion to do so, and as a result they were expelled or threatened with expulsion.

The Supreme Court very forcefully declared that punishing students for not participating in the Pledge of Allegiance was unconstitutional. The decision had nothing to do with the students’ religion and everything to do with their constitutional right to freedom of speech.

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Trump to Executive Branch: Don’t Worry About Puerto Rico

found online by Raymond

From Jonathan Bernstein:

Almost three weeks since Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, the island is in terrible shape. Most people do not have electricity. Almost half do not have access to safe water. Dozens of Americans have perished. By any measure, this is an extraordinary tragedy for the nation. And yet, Trump instead has constantly signaled business-as-usual.

Is it clear that the federal government is making a serious commitment to the relief effort? Absolutely. Do we know all of what Trump is doing behind the scenes? No, although early reports were not promising. But what the president says in public is important as well.

The executive branch bureaucracy is large and unwieldy, and will not automatically shift to do anything a president might want it to do — there are thousands of routine tasks to be completed, and all sorts of competing priorities to attend to. If presidents want the government to turn to a single purpose, they need to send clear, consistent signals that what they want to happen is now the highest immediate priority. That is simply not happening:

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Congressman Sputters When Asked About Trump

found online by Raymond

From Frances Langum:

RUHLE: Well, freedom of speech is part of our country.

ROONEY: Oh, sure. But these are employees. If they’re my employees, they’d be gone by now.

So the obvious first question is, does Francis Rooney hang out with his “close friend Jerry Jones” in hotel rooms with hookers?

(Yes, the Trump cabal of rich old white men is clearly a bunch of society-excused perverts.) But I digress…

Stephanie Ruhle doesn’t bring up the hookers.

She brings up the so-called president. And it’s delicious. Watch Rooney sputter and pivot:

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