Wednesday Night #2164

Written by  //  September 6, 2023  //  Wednesday Nights  //  Comments Off on Wednesday Night #2164

Andrew Caddell‘s weekly column starts: “Labour Day weekend is the unofficial end of summer in Canada, as well as being the beginning of what many consider the real “New Year.” While January starts the calendar year, there is no question the end of summer offers enormous changes for most Canadians. The shorter days, the colder nights, the changing leaves, the change of clothes. There is a new school or university year, the end of summer jobs, a new football and hockey season.
The beginning of a new year is thus effectively a time for renewal and reconciliation.”

Along with consideration of the multiple multilateral gatherings (ASEAN, 2023 Delhi G20), a few recurring topics, led by AI; Bill C-18 -Online news Act; disinformation;  EVs; climate extremes; and a follow-up on last week’s discussion of the Ontario Greenbelt mess -with the replacement of former housing minister Steve Clark by Paul Calandra.

PM Justin Trudeau at ASEAN summit (video)
In Jakarta, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau discusses the launch of Canada’s strategic partnership with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Canada continues to hold negotiations for a free trade agreement with the organization of 10 member states. The prime minister is attending the ASEAN Summit in Indonesia and meeting with other world leaders before travelling to Singapore for a bilateral visit. His trip focuses on strengthening Canada’s economic ties with the Indo-Pacific region. He then heads to New Delhi for the G20 leaders’ summit.

India-China ties and the G20 summit
New Delhi event set to witness meetings between top leaders, barring Xi and Putin
C Uday Bhaskar, Director, Society for Policy Studies
(The Tribune India) … With the UN Security Council having been rendered ineffective after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, multilateral summit-level meetings have acquired their own significance; the flurry of high-level political activity is testimony to that.

Ian Bremmer: Can we govern AI before it’s too late?
First, a disclaimer: I’m an AI enthusiast. I believe AI will drive nothing less than a new globalization that will give billions of people access to world-leading intelligence, facilitate impossible-to-imagine scientific advances, and unleash extraordinary innovation, opportunity, and growth. … At the same time, artificial intelligence has the potential to cause unprecedented social, economic, political, and geopolitical disruption that upends our lives in lasting and irreversible ways.
Can we trust AI to tell the truth?
Is it possible to create artificial intelligence that doesn’t lie?
On GZERO World with Ian Bremmer, cognitive scientist, psychologist, and author Gary Marcus sat down to unpack some of the major recent advances–and limitations–in the field of generative AI. Despite large language model tools like ChatGPT doing impressive things like writing movie scripts or college essays in a matter of seconds, there’s still a lot that artificial intelligence can’t do: namely, it has a pretty hard time telling the truth.
Interesting development: Google to require disclosure of AI use in political ads
Election and campaign ads will have to clearly state whether they use synthetic or AI-generated content in November.

Canada Media Matters and Bill C-18
Mitch Joel Six Pixels of Separation
When it comes to the digital economy, the law and the media, everyone should be following Dr. Michael Geist. Now, more than ever, his voice may be the only “truth” we are seeing in the media as Canada deals with the massive fallout that is Bill C-18 (Canada’s Online News Act). My primer on this ridiculous law is here: Big Tech, Big Media, Big Trouble And Big Lies. With that, the issues (and opportunity) bleed well beyond the borders of Canada and should strike fear into anyone interested in our global digital economy.
The government’s online news bill can’t overcome its own flawed assumptions
The new law manages to be an even worse outcome than direct government intervention

How to wage war on conspiracy theories
Adam Berinsky, the director of the MIT Political Experiments Research Lab, has found that false beliefs can be successfully debunked — up to a point — and that we should be paying much more attention to a group of people often overlooked by politicians and pollsters: people who answer that they’re “not sure” about a topic in surveys. In his new book, Political Rumors: Why We Accept Misinformation and How to Fight It, he examines attitudes toward both politics and health, both of which are undermined by distrust and misinformation in ways that cause harm to both individuals and society.

With every new technology come unanticipated problems. For electric vehicles the most recently identified:
EV broken? Finding a technician to fix it may take a while
(Reuters) – A global shortage of technicians and independent repair shops qualified to fix electric vehicles (EV) threatens to increase repair and warranty costs for drivers, potentially undermining upcoming deadlines to cut vehicle carbon emissions.

Climate change continues to wreak havoc
World on Fire: 2023 is Canada’s worst wildfire season on record — and it’s not over yet
On Wednesday, the Washington Post featured a map of the varying intensity of heat around the country under the headline 49 million people in the U.S. may be exposed to dangerous heat today
Extreme heat kills more people in the United States than any other weather hazard, and the risk of longer and more frequent heat waves is only expected to increase as climate change worsens.
UN announces ‘climate breakdown’ after record summer heat
Scientists blame ever warming human-caused climate change from the burning of coal, oil and natural gas.
“Climate breakdown has begun”, the United Nations chief has warned as the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reported that the world went through its hottest Northern Hemisphere summer on record.
Residents of Yellowknife are returning to their homes as the Evacuation order lifted after three weeks of wildfire danger
Canada wildfires: what are the causes and when will it end?

Preoccupied by the plethora of multilateral events, turmoil in Russia and in Africa, the Chinese economy and natural disasters … we have largely ignored events in Latin America and the 2024 Mexican presidential elections. Thus, some of you may be surprised to learn that Mexico will probably get its first female president next year
(The Economist) Barring any big surprises, two women will compete to be Mexico’s president in the election next year. On September 3rd Xóchitl Gálvez, a 60-year-old senator, was named the candidate for an alliance among three opposition parties: the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), National Action Party (PAN) and Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). On September 6th Morena, the party of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, will almost certainly select Claudia Sheinbaum, the 61-year-old former mayor of Mexico City, as its candidate.

Cleo Paskal‘s piece in The Diplomat looks at the effectiveness (or otherwise) of U.S. policies in Pacific Islands. “Both State and DoD realize the region is important but (in spite of warnings from people on the ground) only one seems to realize it is urgent”.
 US Pacific Policy in China’s ShadowWashington has indeed stepped up engagement, but missteps, half-steps, and mixed messaging are getting in the way.

Noteworthy 2-day event
11-12 October:
The in-person Montreal International Security Summit will focus on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its impact on global security and human rights. Check out the very impressive list of speakers and register as soon as possible as seating is limited.

Why Trudeau isn’t resigning
(First Reading MSN) It’s impossible to know what forces may be keeping Trudeau in the PMO, but one reason may be the simple fact that he doesn’t face a tremendously exciting political afterlife.
Trudeau is only 51, in contrast to other Liberal leaders such as Jean Chrétien or Paul Martin who were able to comfortably transition into retirement.
And while Trudeau enjoyed plenty of international and progressive cachet at the beginning of his premiership, much of that is now gone. The young audiences that gave Trudeau a career as a public speaker before his entry into politics have now abandoned him in droves for the Conservatives or the NDP.
NATO and the United Nations – the usual places that middle power progressives can spend a fulfilling political retirement – have had a mixed relationship with the Trudeau government, at best. One keeps lecturing him about military spending, while the other denied him a Security Council seat.
If Trudeau is indeed contemplating an end to political life, his most likely fate could well be what awaited most of Canada’s modern prime ministers, including his father: A special consultant for a Montreal law firm.

Canadian Space Agency awards $350K to Concordia team to construct and launch its second satellite
Khashayar Khorasani received the funding following his team’s first space-bound launch in June

The Supreme Court Justices Are Just Like Anyone Else – unfortunately.
(The Atlantic) Professionals like to believe themselves immune to the influence of gifts, but no one is.
What do some Supreme Court justices and physicians have in common? Both take gifts from those who stand to profit from their decisions, and both mistakenly think they can’t be swayed by those gifts.
Gifts are not only tokens of regard; they are the grease and the glue that help maintain a relationship.
Hot Dam
A radical, beaver-filled idea to improve city parks

(Slate) Imagine a New York City brimming with life. A city where bullfrogs sing in marshes, where otters and muskrats frolic along the waterfront, and where kingfishers perform aerial acrobatics into ponds thick with fish.
This may seem like a distant dream. But what if I told you that New York could take a meaningful step toward this urban paradise with a little help from a humble rodent?
I’m talking, of course, about beavers.
Tennis ball wasteland? Game grapples with a fuzzy yellow recycling problem
Tennis has a fuzzy yellow problem most players don’t think about when they open can after can of fresh balls, or when umpires at U.S. Open matches make their frequent requests for “new balls please.”
Because tennis balls are extremely hard to recycle and the industry has yet to develop a ball to make that easier, nearly all of the 330 million balls made worldwide each year eventually get chucked in the garbage, with most ending up in landfills, where they can take more than 400 years to decompose. It’s a situation highlighted by Grand Slam events like Flushing Meadows, which will go through nearly 100,000 balls over the course of the tournament.

LONG podcast and reads
Mitch Joel‘s The ThinkersOne Podcast – Episode #895
Michael Geist On Google And Meta Blocking News Links And The Future Of Media
When it comes to the digital economy, the law and the media, everyone should be following Dr. Michael Geist.
From Doug Sweet:
Ross Douthat: How America Made James Bond ‘Woke’
… In Canadian conversations, there were laments for what was lost when Trudeau defeated Stephen Harper in 2015 — how elections have consequences and how the consequences in Canada were a sharp left-wing turn that no Conservative government is likely to reverse. … These complaints encompass a lot of different realities. In Canada, they cover the rapid advance of social liberalism in drug and euthanasia policy, with nationwide marijuana decriminalization followed by British Columbia’s new experiment in decriminalizing some harder drugs while assisted suicide expands more rapidly than in even the most liberal U.S. state. In Britain, they cover the increasing enforcement of progressive speech codes against cultural conservatives, like the Tory councilor recently arrested by the police for retweeting a video criticizing how police officers dealt with a Christian street preacher.

The rule of law is in more trouble than democracy
Liberals fret too much about dictatorship and not enough about chaos
(FT) Because the emergence of Trump and other demagogues has been such a shock to liberals over the past decade, one consoling thought has got rather lost. As a technical feat, at least in the modern west, a coup d’état is unimaginably difficult to execute. Democratic norms are more entrenched now than in the interwar march-on-Rome era, communications technology more diffused, non-partisan bureaucrats more plentiful, foreign scrutiny more exacting.
A VERY long and scary read
How much damage has the Trump-Putin collusion inflicted on the US?
If Trump shared American secrets with Putin, our intelligence agencies are not going to call a press conference to let us all know. Similarly, short of a trial for treason, it’s extremely unlikely such an allegation — even if true — will show up in a court of law.

Goat vibrations: Animals teach surfers in California
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