Author Topic: Episode #711  (Read 3675 times)

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Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Episode #711
« Reply #15 on: February 25, 2019, 01:44:30 AM »
They would not be able to answer any of those questions due to security concerns.
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Online 2397

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Re: Episode #711
« Reply #16 on: February 25, 2019, 02:52:57 AM »
"Would you commit or aid in committing torture?"

If it's not a hard no, they should be fired. If they're not fired, the organization needs to be dismantled and rebuilt, or replaced.

Offline BlackGriffen

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Re: Episode #711
« Reply #17 on: February 25, 2019, 07:13:26 AM »
I don't think I buy that "Jupiter=liquid" science or fiction. The critical point of H2 is at 33.18 K and 13 bar (source: https://webbook.nist.gov/cgi/cbook.cgi?ID=C1333740&Mask=4). In order to make a meaningful gas/liquid distinction, the temperature/pressure profile for the atmosphere has to cross the phase transition line, which goes (roughly) left and down. If the Wikipedia atmosphere trace is correct, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmosphere_of_Jupiter#/media/File:Structure_of_Jovian_atmosphere.png, then it never gets anywhere near the critical point for H2. The fact is, the distinction between liquid and gas is not as clear cut as solid and others, and is primarily seen as a sudden jump in density when either temperature is below the critical temperature and pressure is changing or pressure is below the critical pressure and temperature is changing.

tl;dr: most of Jupiter is probably a super-critical fluid of H2, and calling that a liquid is just plain wrong.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2019, 07:16:09 AM by BlackGriffen »

Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #711
« Reply #18 on: February 25, 2019, 09:37:48 AM »
So all we're talking about here is whether the intelligence community is applying skeptical and scientific principles the best it can, in how they go about analyzing their data. We can like or dislike the CIA as much as we want, but in the end they are one of those organizations where critical thinking is life or death. ...

"Intelligence community" is a euphemism that makes it seem as though all they do is gather information. It makes them seem like just a bunch of nerds. But in fact the CIA is not just an "intelligence" agency. The CIA is also the agency the administration uses when it wants to commit cold-blooded murder, or destabilize a democratically elected government, or commit other henious crimes without having to answer to the other two branches of government or to the American public.

Yes, critical data analysis is life-or-death for assassins and other crinimals. Would you hold a class to teach mafia hit men how to more effectively plan their killings? Such knowledge is life-or-death for them too. And the CIA is no different.

If the rogues were merely accepting a private invitation to visit the CIA and get a VIP tour, I'd call it creepy, but I wouldn't have a problem with it. If they actually start assisting the CIA by teaching them how to do their job better, I'd probably have to withdraw my support.

I can only think of two possible rationales for them to do this: 1. They do not believe the CIA still does the things that they have always done in the past, right up to the most recent information available to the public; or, 2. They buy into the idea that the U.S. is the good guys and, as the good guys, our country is justified in committing cold-blooded murder (or what Amnesty Internaional politey calls "extra-judicial excecution.") But the rogues are not stupid, so neither of those seems plausible.

Daniel
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Offline DevoutCatalyst

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Re: Episode #711
« Reply #19 on: February 25, 2019, 10:38:20 AM »
So all we're talking about here is whether the intelligence community is applying skeptical and scientific principles the best it can, in how they go about analyzing their data. We can like or dislike the CIA as much as we want, but in the end they are one of those organizations where critical thinking is life or death. ...

"Intelligence community" is a euphemism that makes it seem as though all they do is gather information. It makes them seem like just a bunch of nerds. But in fact the CIA is not just an "intelligence" agency. The CIA is also the agency the administration uses when it wants to commit cold-blooded murder, or destabilize a democratically elected government, or commit other henious crimes without having to answer to the other two branches of government or to the American public.

Yes, critical data analysis is life-or-death for assassins and other crinimals. Would you hold a class to teach mafia hit men how to more effectively plan their killings? Such knowledge is life-or-death for them too. And the CIA is no different.

If the rogues were merely accepting a private invitation to visit the CIA and get a VIP tour, I'd call it creepy, but I wouldn't have a problem with it. If they actually start assisting the CIA by teaching them how to do their job better, I'd probably have to withdraw my support.

I can only think of two possible rationales for them to do this: 1. They do not believe the CIA still does the things that they have always done in the past, right up to the most recent information available to the public; or, 2. They buy into the idea that the U.S. is the good guys and, as the good guys, our country is justified in committing cold-blooded murder (or what Amnesty Internaional politey calls "extra-judicial excecution.") But the rogues are not stupid, so neither of those seems plausible.

Has there been any push back on Discord regarding this matter? I don't as of yet do Discord, am curious.

Offline Zerowantuthri

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Re: Episode #711
« Reply #20 on: February 25, 2019, 01:07:06 PM »
To be fair the CIA implements the government's will (mainly the president and his cabinet).  So, while the CIA has certainly done some very evil things in the past (and probably still does) it is the various administrations you should be pissed at.  The CIA is a tool the president wields.

For instance, the CIA's report to the president in the lead up to the Iraq War was pretty cautious on saying if Hussein had any WMD.  The president ignored that and told everyone that Hussein was building WMDs and took us to war.

Is the CIA supposed to tell the president "no"?  How is that supposed to work?

As such I am not sure it is "wrong" for the SGU to collaborate with the CIA.

Offline Zerowantuthri

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Re: Episode #711
« Reply #21 on: February 25, 2019, 01:09:15 PM »
Steve mentions that magic is "easy" is the podcast.  By that I can only assume he means the underlying principle of a trick is easy to understand.  It should be noted, however, that pulling off a magic trick can be exceptionally difficult and require many years of practice to perfect (there are, of course, easy tricks out there too).

Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #711
« Reply #22 on: February 25, 2019, 02:19:38 PM »
@DevoutCatalyst: I don't do the Discord thing either. So I don't know the answer to your question. Real-time "chat" isn't my thing. I like to take the time to digest a post and consider my response. Can't do this amid a constant flow of chatter.

@Zerowantuthri: Yes, the president gives the orders and bears ultimate responsibility. But the point of my post was not about who's the ultimate decision-maker. The point was that the CIA is the administration's hit squad, and as such the rogues should not be making that hit squad more effective. A mafia hit man takes his orders from the mafia bosses, but you still don't want to help him become a better hit man.

The president is a baboon and a pustule and a filthy stinking piece of shit. I expect him to be a murderer and an asshole. But I expect better of the rogues and don't want to see them supporting the baboon's hit squad. I support causes and organizations that work to oppose the pustule. I don't want to be supporting people who give help and advice to the pustule's black-ops agency. If the rogues believe that assisting the CIA is in any way justifiable, then they are not the people I thought they were and I'd have to stop supporting them.
Daniel
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Online 2397

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Re: Episode #711
« Reply #23 on: February 25, 2019, 03:01:38 PM »
To be fair the CIA implements the government's will (mainly the president and his cabinet).  So, while the CIA has certainly done some very evil things in the past (and probably still does) it is the various administrations you should be pissed at.  The CIA is a tool the president wields.

For instance, the CIA's report to the president in the lead up to the Iraq War was pretty cautious on saying if Hussein had any WMD.  The president ignored that and told everyone that Hussein was building WMDs and took us to war.

Is the CIA supposed to tell the president "no"?  How is that supposed to work?

As such I am not sure it is "wrong" for the SGU to collaborate with the CIA.

"Just following orders" is not an excuse when you are the one willfully committing heinous acts.

If the government wants to violate human rights, you either want to violate human rights too, and you are fully complicit in the crime, or you resist. The easy thing to do is to quit your job. Unless the government has turned even more fascist, in which case it's that much more important for people to resist, if not revolt.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2019, 03:08:55 PM by 2397 »

Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: Episode #711
« Reply #24 on: February 25, 2019, 03:22:58 PM »
It will be interesting to see if the SGU will respond to this and if so what that response will be, or if they consider the original disclaimer when the CIA visit was first announced, to be enough.
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Offline Harry Black

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Re: Episode #711
« Reply #25 on: February 25, 2019, 04:49:04 PM »
Working with the CIA in any capacity IS a political move and statement. It shows a huge naivete and bias blindness to think otherwise.
They have been staffed for the past 15 years or more by torturers and have never been held to account.
They have, as an organisation, done and supported horrific things over the years and inspite of the usual excuses, barely any if any of it at all was done to ensure the safety of American people. Its always about furthering US financial interests and has brought the world to the brink of destruction.
The US being in the world. FYI.

Yep, lots of people do freak out at the possibility of being connected to and flattered by people who have cultivated such an aura of mystery and adventure, but guess what a good skeptic is supposed to do in that situation?

I have no doubt that this is in keeping with the personal values of the rogues who seem to get blinkers on when it comes to things like this. Suffice to say this is yet another place where we part ways on values.

Also- The idea that critical thinking is life or death for them is such utter bullshit. Their history is full of embarrassing and fortunate (for the world) failures.
If there was a shred of critical thinking in the organisationat any meaningful level, the torture program would not have happened, because torture is fucking stupid, ineffective and unprofessional.

Making them better at being bad...is not good. (But hey, maybe they will convince them torture doesnt work/s)

Offline werecow

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Re: Episode #711
« Reply #26 on: February 25, 2019, 04:55:19 PM »
Quote
"Intelligence community" is a euphemism that makes it seem as though all they do is gather information. It makes them seem like just a bunch of nerds. But in fact the CIA is not just an "intelligence" agency. The CIA is also the agency the administration uses when it wants to commit cold-blooded murder, or destabilize a democratically elected government, or commit other henious crimes without having to answer to the other two branches of government or to the American public.

Yes, critical data analysis is life-or-death for assassins and other crinimals. Would you hold a class to teach mafia hit men how to more effectively plan their killings?

Yes, because that's exactly what Steve and the rogues are doing.

Seriously, though, this is an obvious straw man. As soon as the SGU starts teaching the CIA to more efficiently kill people, rather than giving them tips on podcasting, or if the CIA manages to use podcasting for some seriously nefarious purpose in a way that they could not have done (or would've had a hard time with) without the aid of the SGU, you'll get to ask me this question again in earnest and give me whatever equivalent of "told you so" applies here. For now, though, to answer the part of the question that I can take seriously, yes, I would find it interesting to hear from a mobster, or maybe a scammer, spammer, or hacker (EDIT: or maybe a cult leader, that would be very interesting), on how they do what they do. Wouldn't you? If it were possible I wouldn't mind hearing about covert agencies in other parts of the world as well. I don't have to like the guests on the SGU to want to be interested in what they have to say.

I feel like a very one sided picture is being painted on these boards... I think it's probably safe to say that we're all aware of the dubious history of the CIA at least to some extent, but can we maybe acknowledge that they do serve a pretty important purpose as well at times, and that, as such, maybe it's not such a bad thing to have skeptics check out their data analysis processes? The U.S. government and military are no strangers to pseudoscience after all (e.g. read The Men who Stare at Goats). They're probably not going anywhere any time soon (and if they would, an equivalent agency would be erected in their stead anyway). Would you prefer less information than you're getting? Do we not want to know whether they are being scientifically rigorous or not?

That said, while I totally get the geeking out, in the future, I'd prefer more focus and detail on those processes rather than just the geeking out in the future, because there's not that much real information there thus far.

The way I see it, there is very little cost to this an there is a potential gain. As long as the SGU keeps applying proper skepticism and stays away from endorsing the CIA politically, it sounds like a perfectly reasonably exchange to me.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2019, 06:12:08 PM by werecow »
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Offline werecow

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Re: Episode #711
« Reply #27 on: February 25, 2019, 05:14:50 PM »
Also- The idea that critical thinking is life or death for them is such utter bullshit. Their history is full of embarrassing and fortunate (for the world) failures.

I don't think I said there have not been any failures. Hell, there have been documented failures in basic skepticism in the intelligence community. All the more reason to keep an eye on their processes.

However, even disregarding that, this is a complete non-sequitur. I'm not even sure what you're suggesting here because the implication that critical thinking and proper data analysis is not of the utmost importance to intelligence agencies sounds too absurd to me to even take seriously.

Sure, spies and spy agencies operate in a world of uncertainty, in which people are actively trying to mislead or hide information from them (and vice versa), and they are run by humans. Obviously, there will be many mistakes and faulty guess work, some of them very embarrassing and public (if things go well, you don't hear about them, after all, so the toupée fallacy applies strongly here too). This does not do anything to counter the fact that having the best information and modes of analysis available to you as a spy or spy agency can obviously be a matter of life and death. Note that some of the failures that we're aware of (sometimes involving preventable deaths) occurred because people failed to properly vet their intelligence. That's not a counterexample to "critical thinking is life or death for them".

EDIT:

Quote
If there was a shred of critical thinking in the organisationat any meaningful level, the torture program would not have happened, because torture is fucking stupid, ineffective and unprofessional.

I don't think I disagree with the principle of what you're saying. Still, while I've often heard that it is ineffective (and so that is my current leaning), I find it hard to really judge how effective torture may or may not be given the problems associated with gathering data on this subject (not only can you obviously not do controlled experiments for ethical reasons, but the data we can get may be biased in the extreme due to the nature of the subject). Political views aside, I think it would actually make an interesting topic for the podcast. And yes, I would want to hear what the CIA has to say for themselves, as long as any factual claims on their part are scrutinized appropriately. Just to be clear, I'd be strongly opposed to torture regardless, but that's a judgment call on my part, and I'd be interested in learning what the data looks like and how the analyses are performed, etc. regardless.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2019, 06:15:07 PM by werecow »
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Offline Skepmic

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Re: Episode #711
« Reply #28 on: February 25, 2019, 05:38:44 PM »
Back in the day, I never imagined that the SGU becoming useful idiots for the CIA (of all things!) would be the first instance of a major disagreement I have with the show. And that they even double down on it. I was picturing one of the rogues maybe picking up a pseudo-science and sticking with it, or something along those lines.

Offline Zerowantuthri

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Re: Episode #711
« Reply #29 on: February 25, 2019, 06:01:20 PM »
"Just following orders" is not an excuse when you are the one willfully committing heinous acts.

If the government wants to violate human rights, you either want to violate human rights too, and you are fully complicit in the crime, or you resist. The easy thing to do is to quit your job. Unless the government has turned even more fascist, in which case it's that much more important for people to resist, if not revolt.

I'm curious what world it is that you think you live in?  Is it one where everyone is nice and plays by the rules?

Imagine your world, with no CIA (or at least a CIA which is nice and ethical) that has an FSB (formerly the KGB) or the Ministry of State Security (China) who have absolutely no compunction about playing dirty.

It is difficult, to be sure, but I am willing to bet if you had to be the US president your view on this might change.  Realpolitik is a thing, like it or not.

Don't get me wrong, the CIA has done some hideous things in the past, some of which I think are absolutely indefensible, but make no mistake that the rest of the world is not playing by your kid glove rules.

 

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