Daily Bread for 5.26.19

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of seventy-three.  Sunrise is 5:22 AM and sunset 8:21 PM, for 14h 59m 54s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 51.8% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the nine hundred twenty-ninth day.

On this day in 1864, the 2nd Wisconsin Cavalry participates in a skirmish at Lanes Prairie, Missouri.

Recommended for reading in full:

Sam Dean

Facebook and others are still not well equipped to manage complex targeted manipulation campaigns,  [researcher at UC Irvine Kat] Lo said, citing Russian efforts to spread disinformation ahead of the 2016 election and the way that members of Myanmar’s military used Facebook as a tool to instigate genocide, spreading propaganda that vilified the country’s mostly Muslim Rohingya minority group.

UC Berkeley computer science professor and digital forensics expert Hany Farid, who studies methods for detecting “deep fakes” — more advanced false videos that use sophisticated software to create realistic clips fabricated from whole cloth — noted that social media’s broad reach aids the spread of disinformation, no matter the format.

“The threat of manipulated video of any form remains significant because of the declining level of discourse, particularly on social media, the public’s seemingly inability or lack of interest in distinguishing between real and fake news, and our willingness — in fact eagerness — to believe the worst in people that we disagree with,” Farid said in an email.

While it’s always a challenge to correct the record when false information is widely distributed, the task has only become more difficult when prominent figures use their position of “extraordinary power” to amplify false information, Farid added.

Pema Levy writes Trump Has a Big Head Start on Facebook Messaging, and Democrats Are Worried:

Democrats have watched with alarm as the Trump campaign puts millions of dollars into digital advertising campaigns. In the past year, the campaign has spent more than $12 million on Facebook ads alone, compared to $9.4 million for the 16 top-spending Democratic candidates combined. Many of those ads are directed at building the campaign’s direct voter contacts—asking users to sign birthday cards for the president or fill out a survey in order to get their email addresses and phone numbers. Other ads are targeted at firing up the campaign’s base with red meat about border security, although a growing number are aimed at swing voters. As of last month, nearly a third of the campaign’s Facebook spending was going to five 2020 battleground states: Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Texas, and Ohio.


Democrats have taken note of the importance of digital ads since 2016, when the Trump campaign’s digital strategist, Brad Parscale—since elevated to 2020 campaign manager—attributed Trump’s win to his online operation, particularly on Facebook. Democratic digital experts say that narrative is likely overblown but that it was nonetheless a wake-up call that their party had lost its digital edge.

A Mad Inventor’s Surreal Fortress:

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