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Principles of Applied Epistemology (APPLIED EPISTEMOLOGY)
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Mick Harper
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I rebuked Alphysema for running different things together for castigation purposes so here's a good example from today's Guardian Review

50 years after the Stonewall Riots, achievements in LBGT liberation cannot be taken for granted. With rising homophobia and rapid developments in online surveillance, a new era of persecution is all too possible. It is time to unite and act

It's not so much that online surveillance wasn't around fifty years ago, nor whether there is any link between homophobia and online surveillance, but the casual linking of incidence of homophobia (maybe rising, maybe not) with incidence of online surveillance (definitely rising like a rocket). But it always works if you know your audience is agin' it.
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Mick Harper
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Another fabulously inappropriate linkage, this time with a twist. From a greenie report about the NHS on Channel 4

Newcastle NHS hospitals produce over five thousand tons of waste, more than the weight of a British nuclear submarine

Dig those images! You probably thought a nuclear submarine was one that carried nuclear missiles. Not so, they weigh in at fifteen thousand tons. But the nuclear-powered hunter-killer subs weigh seven thousand tons submerged and fully operational so with a bit of a squeeze the statement is factually correct. John Snow, change those socks!
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Mick Harper
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Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Stephen Hawking have all come through the doors of the Royal Institution.... [Intro to news bulletin on a new exhibition]

Has anyone the slightest idea of the complete insignificance of Stephen Hawking in the history of science? In the history of anything other than the history of coffee table books?
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Grant



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In fifty thousand billion years when we are desperately trying to conjure up some energy from a dissipating black hole, he will come into his own.
Cleverest thing he ever did was to refuse to upgrade the voice in his speaking machine. If he had spoken like Alexa people would have ignored him
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Mick Harper
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The 'Tyranny of Large Numbers' doctrine has two aspects. The first is that whenever a range of numbers is possible, the largest one is accepted and becomes the norm. The second aspect is that once the norm is established it becomes a 'political' act to dissent from it. Hence, when it comes to The Holocaust, you are unlikely to hear, "Well, I think it was nearer five million."

The principle, or its near equivalent that has no name, is being played out in the Jeffrey Epstein case. At first he was described neutrally as, 'the convicted sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein' -- which he legally and literally is, being on the Sex Offenders' Register. Then various increments were added and became the norm -- multiple, serial, hundreds of and so forth. Again true enough. He was then branded 'a paedophile' which since he was convicted of sex with young but not prepubescent girls is not true, but close enough for the purpose.

Then someone came forward with an accusation of rape and for a short while it was 'the rapist Jeffrey Epstein'. But clearly the lawyers had a word and this was dropped. Even 'the statutory rapist, Jeffrey Epstein' is not possible because while consensual can be waived, penetration cannot. However, ratcheting down is not permitted so he is now 'the sex trafficker, Jeffrey Epstein' -- presumably because he put them on his plane rather than in the back of a lorry from Moldova. Anyway, watch out for indignation to be given full expression. And then some.

One thing's for sure, the judge will be obliged to give full expression to our accumulated outrage with a 999 year-to-life sentence. One thing that's not so sure will be whether there will be very many victim-statements read out in court. His weren't victim-less crimes, and society is entitled to protect young women from their own inclinations, but there did seem to be some quite orderly queues forming among the victims when he was committing them.
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Grant



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According to my Twitter feed ( which is unreliable as it's mostly written by people to the right of Himmler) the most interesting recent event involving Epstein was that when asked if he knew Bill Clinton, he took the fifth! Rumours have abounded for years that Bill regularly went to Epstein's parties.
Two things will happen now. Either Bill will end up mired in this, or Epstein will unexpectedly not make it to his day in court.
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Mick Harper
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You've gotta feel sorry for Bill and Hill. Cannibalism wasn't even considered a crime in their day, now everyone's going mental about it. The age of dubious consent is also going up. Having sex with anybody that isn't approximately your own age will soon be getting you banged up. Still, that does mean you will only be anally raped in the showers by your contemporaries. Like a British public school but without the Latin.
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Mick Harper
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The Tyranny of Large Names was back on Channel 4 under the banner Campus allegations. It began with the reiterated phrase 'rapes and sexual assaults'. The significance? Well, the normal phrase is 'rape or serious sexual assault' because it is difficult to define rape precisely but 'serious' takes in near-rape situations. In English law assault on its own does not require physicality. Then the phrase changed to 'charges of sexual assault or rape allegations'. The significance? Well, a charge means the police have taken action, allegation suggests they have not. Then it changed to allegations of sexual misconduct. Finally some actual figures:

165 reports from Cambridge students alleging sexual misconduct by other students in the last three years

That is an astonishingly low figure.
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Grant



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All crime figures are massaged apart from one- the murder rate. The rest should be ignored
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Mick Harper
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Unfortunately, murder rates are not very useful. For instance the current murder rate in London is 'astonishingly' high leading to widespread -- and unchallenged -- demands for more spending on police. This would indeed bring the rate down marginally but since the rise is accounted for by young, black* gang members, the question is why? It is taken as axiomatic that reducing the rate is 'good' (which it is) but the real question is, should large sums be spent to achieve relatively small gains in, as it were, self-inflicted wounds that are to some extent self-policing?

You'd never get on Channel 4 News making such arguments but every pound spent on such an objective is a pound less spent on pre-school meals for the undernourished (or whatever).

* This may be racist but it is significant since taxpayers are entitled to think, "Well, it ain't my little lad." If they were young, white gang members then taxpayers might think, "Well, I don't want it to be my little lad" and stump up quite willingly. Taxation has to be by consent.
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Mick Harper
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I suppose I'd better explain the doctrine of Free Will before getting down to some real work. Human beings are social animals and therefore in order to survive they all have to believe roughly the same things. One of which is that it's always best to live in trees. But of course this has the corollary that human beings will always live in trees. Eventually, by a chance agglomeration of genes and circumstance, someone finds himself temporarily in possession of Free Will and suggests this may not necessarily be true. "Blimey," he or she says, "it's not written in stone."

It turns out it was so he (or she) is thrown off the tree and is eaten by a passing carnivore. But human beings are social animals and eventually some of them feel guilty about this. "He (or she) was only saying," they say to one another. To avoid feelings of guilt they send someone down to check out just how ludicrous coming down from the trees actually is. He (or she) gets eaten by a passing carnivore so it was a ludicrous idea after all but to avoid feelings of guilt about this they have to send some others down to fetch the body for a decent disposal ceremony and there are enough of them not to be eaten by passing carnivores and so forth. It's been a surprisingly effective strategy.
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Grant



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I wrote:

Epstein will unexpectedly not make it to his day in court

This second-sight thing is getting scary
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Mick Harper
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Hardly scary yet, though entitling you to cautious congratulation. Outline your thought process insofar as you can recollect it so we can all learn and prosper. I assume, given your fondness for conspiracy theories, that the 'unexpectedly' refers to being murdered rather than the expected agencies viz committing suicide (idle prison guards), fleeing the jurisdiction (political prosecutors), case collapse (got at witnesses) or having no case to answer (over-scrupulous judges). But it still counts!
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Grant



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Epstein must have been the prison's no 1 suicide risk. But his jailers left him unwatched for three hours.

Remember that Romans in political disgrace were given the choice of killing themselves in return for their families retaining the estate.
Watch as the FBI quietly dismantle the investigation
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Mick Harper
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You're not answering the question. Hatty, find us a conspiracy theorist with balls. Three if he's a Lombard.
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