May 18th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Cancel Culture Club, Montana bans TikTok, and Tweeting is Healthy

The first rule of Whine Club is that you can talk about Whine Club all you want (no matter how off-putting it is to others.) “Some people … are notorious: élite professors who have deviated from campus consensus or who have broken university rules, and journalists who have made a name for themselves amid public backlash (or who have weathered it quietly). Others are relative nobodies, people who for one reason or another have become exasperated with what they see as rampant censorious thinking in our culture.” This is the guest list for a unique gathering in NYC. Well, it’s a unique offline gathering. It’s seems to be a very common online grouping on social networks. The New Yorker’s Emma Green takes you inside a monthly New York City hangout, where fired university professors and controversial TikTokers get together to have discussions they feel they can’t have anywhere else (except, apparently, in The New Yorker): The Party Is Cancelled. (This entire era of human discourse should be cancelled.)


Gianforte Knox

Yellowstone has become more realistic than real Montana. “Montana became the first state in the U.S. to enact a complete ban on TikTok on Wednesday when Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte signed a measure that’s more sweeping than any other state’s attempts to curtail the social media app, which is owned by a Chinese tech company. The measure, scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 2024, is expected to be challenged legally and will serve as a testing ground for the TikTok-free America that many national lawmakers have envisioned. Cybersecurity experts say it could be difficult to enforce the ban.” It’s silly and borderline dangerous for individual states to start banning individual apps. What’s next, state and local communities banning books?


College Station Identification

“Experts say the tensions erupting at Texas A&M lay bare a troubling reality: protocols on how and when to use chatbots in classwork are vague and unenforceable, with any effort to regulate use risking false accusations.” WaPo (Gift Article): A prof falsely accused his class of using ChatGPT. Their diplomas are in jeopardy. “In response to concerns in the classroom, a fleet of companies have released products claiming they can flag AI generated text. Plagiarism detection company Turnitin unveiled an AI-writing detector in April to subscribers. A Post examination showed it can wrongly flag human generated text as written by AI. In January, ChatGPT-maker OpenAI said it created a tool that can distinguish between human and AI-generated text, but noted that it ‘is not fully reliable’ and incorrectly labels such text 9 percent of the time.”


Tweeting is Healthy

“Research has consistently shown that more contact and interaction with nature are associated with better body and brain health. Birds appear to be a specific source of these healing benefits. They are almost everywhere and provide a way to connect us to nature. And even if they are hidden in trees or in the underbrush, we can still revel in their songs.” WaPo (Gift Article): Why birds and their songs are good for our mental health. (These days, this is the only kind of tweeting I can tolerate.)

+ Peter Kaestner must be the healthiest dude alive. He’s inching closer to becoming the first birder to see 10,000 birds.

+ If you can’t listen to the birds, do the next best thing and listen to The Byrds.


Extra, Extra

Platform Function: “The Supreme Court sided with Twitter and Google on Thursday, saying the tech giants aren’t liable for terrorists using their platforms. But, the decisions — penned by conservative justices on the court — stayed out of the ongoing battle over Section 230, handing Big Tech a win and leaving intact the legal protections that Donald Trump and other lawmakers have raged against.” In another case, Supreme Court ruled Andy Warhol violated a photographer’s copyright on image of Prince. (Does that mean he violated a campbell’s soup can, too?)

+ Mouseketeer Jerk(er): “Disney has abandoned plans to open up a new employee campus in Lake Nona, Florida, amid rising tensions with the state’s governor … the company will not move forward with construction of the campus and will no longer be asking more than 2,000 California-based employees to relocate to Florida.” Shrewd move, Ron.

+ Chicken Catch a Story: Undercover audio of a Tyson employee reveals “free-range” chicken is meaningless.

+ Bullet Point: “In the wake of the shootings, President Aleksandar Vucic swiftly announced what he called a ‘general disarmament’ of the country. He declared a month-long amnesty for illegally-held weapons, with a warning of harsh consequences for anyone who held on to guns without a permit. The president also has legally-held weapons in his sights. Mr Vucic has announced a moratorium on new weapons permits and a review of current gun licenses.” Serbians hand in guns and question culture of violence after two shootings. Meanwhile, in America, “this year, mass shootings are on the rise. So are laws expanding gun rights.”

+ Unwise Counsel: “Specialists in the law and practice of counter-intelligence can argue whether Durham has correctly interpreted the appropriate modalities of FBI procedure. Very possibly, Durham is correct. Yet even if he is, isn’t this all kind of underwhelming? Durham’s sponsors hoped to reveal a globe-spanning conspiracy to vilify an innocent Donald Trump. What he delivered for them instead was a list of arguable procedural infractions by the FBI … Post-Durham, we are exactly where we were pre-Durham.” David Frum in The Atlantic (Free Article) on special counsel John Durham’s long and fruitless attempt to reverse reality. A Sinister Flop.

+ Jungle Crash: Search teams have found four children alive 17 days after their plane crashed in a Colombian jungle.

+ Clay Achin’: Perhaps no single major sporting event has been more dominated by a single athlete than the way Rafa Nadal has owned the French Open. Injuries will keep him out of this year’s tournament and he expects 2024 to be his last year on the tour.


Bottom of the News

“A man has been indicted by a grand jury on charges of stealing a pair of ruby red slippers worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz.”

+ Kraft Heinz unveils customizable sauce dispenser with more than 200 condiment combos.

+ A Turkey storm sent a couch flying.

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