Posted on  UTC 2020-10-01 02:01

29.10.2020 – Social media filtering

The social media really do not want to filter content – there's no money in that. They really only want to let the users rip, just as they did in the early days, and sit back and pocket the advertising revenue generated by their hive of seething users.

In all the current fuss about social media bias and manipulation, let's not forget who started this: governments.

It was governments in the western world, for example, who introduced 'hate speech' legislation and forced social media platforms to fillet such expressions out of their content under threat of immediate, immense fines, which were quite out of proportion to the hurt caused – that overused word 'draconian' comes to mind.

Although they grumbled at first, the companies got a taste for such filtering. Then US politics invented 'fake news' and forced the platforms to filter that, too, by setting up independent(!) fact checkers to assist with the filtering. Governments had moved the platforms from staying within the law on 'hate speech' to assaying the 'validity' of their content. What is 'truth'? what is 'validity'. But quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Then in the new totalitarianism of the COVID-19 world, some governments insisted that only the official line on COVID-19 could be allowed to be propagated, everything else was 'fake news' and should be suppressed. Doubters, grumblers, malcontents and other dissentients were silenced. Oh, and while we are at it, lets put 'climate change denial' on that pile of faggots, too.

Social media users are beginning to realise that all their content now has to pass by signal boxes with many levers that can send it off to the sidings for all sorts of reasons; the authors of such content themselves may also get a spell in the sidings for a while. In contrast, the bloggers and vloggers of beauty tips, knitting patterns and vegan lifestyles trundle safely over the points en route to their lucrative appearances unhindered. This is the social media world our political masters want and it is they who have bent the social media platforms to their will.

By the early years of this century there was a flourishing and growing community of small independent websites. In the course of the following decade many of the pioneers moved their activities over to social media, lured by the greater reach they would have in such large, networked and tagged communities. They might now be considering jumping back into independence, were it not for the fact that their websites, too, can ultimately be fined and shut down for bad behaviour. Summing up: the political world has got the social media it wanted and deserved.

24.10.2020 – Swiss healthcare

A real diagnostic timeline, October 2020:

Date Time Wait Journey Notes
14 08:30 Phone for GP appointment
15 11:30 15 min 10 min GP consultation
17-18 [weekend]
20 16:00 10 min 10 min GP ultrasound scan
21 09:30 0 min 10 min CT scan, local hospital
22 14:10 10 min 10 min GP consultation
  17:30 20 min 20 min MRI scan, radiology institute
23 13:30 5 min 10 min GP consultation, diagnosis reached
24-25 [weekend]
26 TBD TBD 10 min Specialist consultation

This timeline is for the attention of all those unfortunates in the UK who are currently bobbing around helplessly on the sea of misery that is the National Health Service, a.k.a The Envy-of-the-World™. Switzerland also has its COVID issues, but no one here has suggested that diagnostic and treatment procedures – for which the waiting times in the NHS are already awful – should simply be put off until … whenever.

In the UK the tumbrils will be a long time coming, but at least the citizens have stopped clapping their Stalinist leftover.

24.10.2020 – Website changes

There have been a few small changes to the website:

  • Some extra information
    Date created | Date updated — Reading time — Page views
    has been added to the Contents list.
  • The 'Latest comments' panel is now only shown on the contents page for the current year, no longer on all years.
  • Stylesheet updates are now handled correctly.
  • Some errors in the handling of interword spacing have been corrected.
  • The scrapbook for September was unused and has been removed.

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