Wednesday Night #2155

Written by  //  July 5, 2023  //  Wednesday Nights  //  Comments Off on Wednesday Night #2155

Revisiting BlackBerry’s extraordinary rise and spectacular fall
We expected to welcome Sean Silcoff back to WN after a long absence, however, his appearance is now postponed to August.
For those who may have been experimenting with cryonics for the past few months, Sean is the co-author of Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of BlackBerry, on which the highly successful, newly released, film Blackberry is based.
See also: Revisiting BlackBerry’s extraordinary rise and spectacular fall.
Marie Cormier advises that you can now watch the movie on Apple TV, Google Play and Prime Video — as long as you’re willing to buy it (it’s apparently not yet available to rent from these platforms in Canada, but is available from Cineplex).

Tuesday set an unofficial record for the hottest day on Earth. Wednesday may break it.

A hot and gloomy Fourth as the pundits we follow reflect on the state of democracy in the U.S.
including in the Supreme Court, where “This term will likely be remembered as the year the Supreme Court, led by its chief justice, ended race-conscious admissions at the nation’s colleges and universities. But the larger story of this term has been one of ethical rot and official indifference”
Heather Cox Richardson also sounds a pessimistic note “just as in the 1850s, we are now, once again, facing a rebellion against our founding principle, as a few people seek to reshape America into a nation in which certain people are better than others.”
In the City of Brotherly Love, the ‘Glorious Fourth’ was marked by a gunman who opened fire in a Philadelphia neighborhood, killing five and injuring two other people. July has already seen 11 mass shootings. There have been 346 mass shootings in the U.S. since the beginning of the year; the public health impact of gun violence extends far beyond those who are killed or injured. A far larger number of people are left grieving, traumatized, and at a risk of long-term struggles with a range of mental health issues. And this is not limited to the U.S.

For the pure joy of listening to the magnificent voice of James Earl Jones even if you do not care much about the speech.
“What to the Slave Is the 4th of July?”: James Earl Jones Reads Frederick Douglass’s Historic Speech

Last week’s session with Paule Robitaille was a delight and a continuing incentive to follow the news of Ukraine, Putin’s War and the NATO allies with unmitigated attention. It seems we still don’t know for sure where Prigozhin is -or under what conditions-, nor have we information about his erstwhile friend Gen. Sergei Surovikin.
What we should be worrying about is Wednesday’s news that Kremlin warns of ‘sabotage’ at Ukraine nuclear plant under Russian control

On Monday, Israel launched a two-day military assault on the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank carrying out a series of drone strikes and sending hundreds of troops on an open-ended mission into the militant stronghold. Israel said the incursion, the largest in two decades and the first in that time to involve airstrikes, resulted in the seizure of hundreds of weapons and hundreds of thousands of dollars in “terror funds.” The operation was necessary, Israel said, because the PA had abandoned the camp to the militants involved in armed attacks against Israel.

Media matters
As the tit-for-tat game between the Canadian governments and Google, Facebook, Instagram et al continues with Wednesday’s announcement that Ottawa freezes advertising on Facebook, Instagram over Bill C-18 standoff, we admit to being increasingly bewildered – who is right and who is wrong? Can this end well?
Meantime, in an Opinion piece, Toronto-based journalist and editor John Lorinc asks Does Canada need a new Kent Commission on newspapers?
Paul Wells is sharing his thoughts -and dismay- in The End of Media a series of connected essays in his newsletter that will stretch across the next several days:
Went down to the crossroads
The End of Media, Chapter 1: How it used to be and
Every phone a printing press
The End of Media, Chapter 2: Everything Everywhere

The lesson 10 years later: Lac-Mégantic ‘will happen again’
A decade after the disaster, Canada’s rail safety record remains problematic, with a troubling increase in potentially catastrophic incidents.

AI/Chatbot – threats that will not go away
AI-generated text is hard to spot. It could play a big role in the 2024 campaign
(NPR) Generative AI apps are more accessible than ever. While AI-generated images are still relatively easy to detect, spotting text written by AI is much harder. Experts are concerned about what this means for the 2024 election.
➡️ Stanford and Georgetown researchers found AI-generated articles affected reader opinion more than the foreign propaganda used to generate them. The researchers have submitted their findings for review.
➡️ Software for detecting machine-generated text often fails.
➡️ AI technology has also gotten less expensive, breaking down the cost barrier for bad actors.
➡️ The content doesn’t have to be good. Machine-generated text can flood social media, making it hard for people to have a real conversation.

For Montrealers who do not have enough to be upset about. And, bravo to Linda Gyulai and The Gazette
Sale of Montreal Children’s Hospital site shrouded in secrets and falsehoods
Much of what the public has been told about the government’s $25-million sale of the former Montreal Children’s Hospital site in 2016 is false.

In what was described as an “open and transparent” process, there was no public call for tenders and details remain undisclosed seven years later.
Long reads
After Failed Mutiny in Russia, U.S. Sanctions Wagner Funders as Fighters Remain in Africa & Syria
The Supreme Court Killed the College-Admissions Essay
The end of affirmative action will pressure high schoolers to write about their race through formulaic and belittling narrative tropes.
The Tragedy of John Roberts
…the tragedy of John Roberts is that he does have the power to restore some measure of the court’s reputation — he just hasn’t used it.
Sue Gardner: Bill C-18 is Bad for Journalism and Bad for Canada
We need journalism, and if the market isn’t going to provide it, we need to find some way to keep it going. … To intervene to support good journalism makes perfect sense, but to intervene to try to revive a now-long-dead business model does not.

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