Wednesday Night #2144

Written by  //  April 19, 2023  //  Wednesday Nights  //  Comments Off on Wednesday Night #2144

In light of the enthusiastic embrace of assorted levels of government, we had hoped to feature the pros and cons of electric vehicles (EVs) this Wednesday, however have agreed to postpone the discussion to ensure that Peter Frise can be with us. This week, he is attending the Re$earch Money conference on innovation policy and funding, so we look forward to brilliant insights next week. Meantime, any and all EV-relevant articles are welcome!

Anna Gainey, Trudeau confidante, seeking nomination in safe Quebec Liberal riding of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce-Westmount
Fred Headon, vice president and general counsel of Air Canada, also considering to run for Liberal nomination in Marc Garneau’s former riding.

Despite important international and domestic events, our news feeds continue to be dominated by debates of the good, the bad and the ugly of AI/Chatbots, the topic which has exploded over the past month or so as it reaches in to every corner of our lives from autobiography to creative writing, education to fact checking … Under long read0sInside the secret list of websites that make AI like ChatGPT sound smart the highly informative analysis by the Washington Post of a data set of proprietary, personal, and often offensive websites that go into an AI’s training data.
At another level another ethical dilemma: Artist rejects photo prize after AI-generated image wins award

Throughout the past week, details of the intelligence leak, leaker Jack Teixeira and the online chatroom platform Discord have continued to surface. What to trust? What may be planted disinformation? What strategies have been or are now being rethought, revised? Do we take this Leaked Pentagon documents suggest Russian government infighting over Ukraine at face value?
A Quick Guide to What the Leaked U.S. Intelligence Documents Say
…many questions remain about the classified documents that have been appearing online.See long reads below Of Course This Is How the Intelligence Leak Happened for a summary of this strange event.
Bizarre, yes, but the cause of much distrust among allies and increasing concerns over possible developments in Ukraine.

It took a few days, but eventually a Canadian-related story trickled out Trudeau told NATO that Canada will never meet spending goal, Discord leak shows and landed on the front page of the Washington Post. Yet another poor reflection on the Trudeau government’s lack of commitment to foreign policy (not to mention appearances) and all the while, questions galore about the Chinese donation to the Trudeau Foundation.
Do we want to get into Trudeau’s unfortunate commitment to foreign travel – oh yes, vacation at the home of another donor to the Trudeau Foundation.

No complacency about the global economy
1 big thing: The global economy’s fractured new normal
European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde came to New York yesterday with a warning: A more fragmented world economy is here to stay.

The situation in Sudan continues to worsen. Ceasefires not effective.
Sudan conflict: why is there fighting and what is at stake in the region?
A central cause of tension since the uprising is the civilian demand for oversight of the military and integration of the RSF into the regular armed forces.
Civilians have also called for the handover of lucrative military holdings in agriculture, trade and other industries, a crucial source of power for an army that has often outsourced military action to regional militias.
Another point of contention is the pursuit of justice over allegations of war crimes by the military and its allies in the conflict in Darfur from 2003.
Africa: Conflict and governance July 2021-

UN ready for ‘heartbreaking’ decision to pull out of Afghanistan
Officials say it will leave in May if Taliban cannot be persuaded to let local women work for organisation
The warning comes after UN officials spent months negotiating with the group’s leaders in the hope of persuading them to make exceptions to a hardline edict this month barring local women from working for it, according to the head of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), Achim Steiner.

Fox News Lost the Lawsuit but Won the War
The network will pay $787.5 million to Dominion Voting Systems as the price of retaining its audience.
For Fox, the result is costly but bearable. Documents produced in discovery in the case show that Fox saw the aftermath of the election as an existential threat, as members of its audience defected to competitors. Today, Fox’s primacy within right-wing media has been restored and those competitors have faded.
Dominion’s choice to settle comes as a great disappointment to many critics of Fox, and is also probably a smart financial decision. For the critics, this case was about democracy and disinformation and provided an opportunity to hold Fox accountable for years of broadcasting hogwash.

Power’s back but questions remain. What can we learn from the Quebec ice storm for next time?
Quebec’s auditor general raised some concerns about the state of Hydro-Québec’s network in a report in December.
The report flagged that outages were becoming more frequent in Quebec and were lasting longer in part because of the utility’s aging equipment, but also because Hydro-Québec had fallen behind on trimming back vegetation near wires.
At the time, Hydro-Québec acknowledged that as infrastructure ages, it becomes more likely to fail and becomes more vulnerable to high winds and other inclement weather such as freezing rain — events that are expected to become more common due to climate change.

Bill C-11
There has been little discussion at WN of this legislation – we look forward to informed comments
‘Finish line is in sight’: Liberals’ controversial online streaming bill back before Senate
“For many in the industry, an important source of their income is inextricably linked to the passage of this bill.”
If passed, Bill C-11 would update broadcasting rules to include online streaming and require tech giants such as YouTube, Netflix and Spotify to make Canadian content available to users in Canada — or face steep penalties.

While “Saying Yes To Christmas” didn’t win the Canadian Screen Awards for best TV Movie, being nominated was pretty good all the same according to Graeme Campbell. And indeed, congratulations, Graeme!

More Congratulations! Anita Nowak, whose book Purposeful Empathy: Tapping Our Hidden Superpower for Personal, Organizational, and Social Change was launched online on Wednesday.

27-30 April
For its 25th anniversary, Blue Metropolis has an astonishing program in store, with surprises at every turn. Over 200 guests and authors, 140 events in-person and online, in no fewer than nine languages.

3 May
Presented by the Canadian International Council (Montreal Branch)
Organized by John Buchanan
Global Energy Security and Net Zero,
A talk by Professor Ross McKitrick

Why is it so difficult to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions?
Professor McKittrick will explain why reducing CO2 emissions is proving so difficult, why mainstream economists in the 1990s predicted the current impasse, and what it means for Canada’s energy and climate strategy going forward.
Information & registration

The ongoing dispute between Florida’s Governor DeSantis, Republican state lawmakers, and Disney World may have been background noise for many, but has become increasingly ugly, and a significant indicator of how the prospective presidential candidate resolves matters.

The saga continues Clarence Thomas has for years claimed income from a defunct real estate firm Heather Cox Richardson sums up the gravity of the situation The cascade of stories about Thomas threatens to continue to undermine the legitimacy of this Supreme Court.

As the climate warms, New Zealand winemakers grapple with a changing landscape
While the warming climate poses a risk to some of New Zealand’s world-renowned wine varieties – such as sauvignon blanc and pinot noir – it also creates an opportunity to grow in new areas and develop new flavours.

8 hilarious but true wildlife tips from the National Park Service
The park service’s social media is usually absurd but it’s not wrong

Long reads
Doug Sweet recommends Tom Friedman’s America, China and a Crisis of Trust, noting that ” I know a lot of people aren’t always crazy about his stuff, but this provides lots of food for thought.”

Inside the secret list of websites that make AI like ChatGPT sound smart
Chatbots cannot think like humans: They do not actually understand what they say. They can mimic human speech because the artificial intelligence that powers them has ingested a gargantuan amount of text, mostly scraped from the internet.
This text is the AI’s main source of information about the world as it is being built, and it influences how it responds to users. If it aces the bar exam, for example, it’s probably because its training data included thousands of LSAT practice sites.
Tech companies have grown secretive about what they feed the AI. So The Washington Post set out to analyze one of these data sets to fully reveal the types of proprietary, personal, and often offensive websites that go into an AI’s training data.

Of Course This Is How the Intelligence Leak Happened
High-profile intelligence leaks are a feature of the 21st century, but this geopolitical incident has little in common with WikiLeaks or the Snowden NSA revelations. In keeping with the dark absurdity of the internet era, the leaks do not seem motivated by righteous or even misguided whistleblowing but by an extremely online man, barely old enough to drink, who was trying to impress his teenage friends in a racistly named group chat. Less John le Carré, more 4chan.
National-security leaks. Insurrections. Bank runs. Group chats are now the most powerful force on the internet.

Background for CIC event of 3 May
Ross McKitrick: The important climate study you won’t hear aboutChallenges trends in climate simulations

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