Bookmarked Bullshit Ability as an Honest Signal of Intelligence: (SAGE Journals)

Navigating social systems efficiently is critical to our species. Humans appear endowed with a cognitive system that has formed to meet the unique challenges that emerge for highly social species. Bullshitting, communication characterised by an intent to be convincing or impressive without concern for truth, is ubiquitous within human societies. Across two studies (N = 1,017), we assess participants’ ability to produce satisfying and seemingly accurate bullshit as an honest signal of their intelligence. We find that bullshit ability is associated with an individual’s intelligence and individuals capable of producing more satisfying bullshit are judged by second-hand observers to be more intelligent. We interpret these results as adding evidence for intelligence being geared towards the navigation of social systems. The ability to produce satisfying bullshit may serve to assist individuals in negotiating their social world, both as an energetically efficient strategy for impressing others and as an honest signal of intelligence.

A team of Canadian researchers have presented some preliminary findings associated with ability to bullshit and its association with intelligence. Through their study, they found that the ability to bullshit was an honest signal of a persons ability to ‘successfully navigate social systems’:

Overall, we interpret these results as initial evidence that the ability to bullshit well provides an honest signal of a person’s ability to successfully navigate social systems, fitting the current work into existing frameworks whereby human intelligence is geared towards efficiently navigating such systems

The researchers were mindful to point out that the inability to bullshit was not a sign of a person being unintelligent.

By analogy to humor, a person who is funny is likely to be rather intelligent, however one can identify many brilliant people who are profoundly unfunny.

Interestingly, they found that you can indeed “bullshit a bullshitter.”

we find that those more willing to bullshit were also more likely to be receptive to pseudo-profound bullshit (i.e., rate pseudo-profound bullshit items higher on profoundness) … Thus, contrary to the common expression, it may indeed be possible to “bullshit a bullshitter.”

It is an intriguing idea, especially when you consider the fine balance of buying into the lie.

” wiobyrne” in Honest Signals of Intelligence – Digitally Literate ()

Liked What are the motives? (Daily-Ink by David Truss)

What I don’t understand is the motivation behind these otherwise intelligent people choosing to talk about science fiction and call it science? What’s the benefit? Who gains from this? Conspiracy theories depend on so many people acting in bad faith, people across the globe in different countries colluding and keeping secrets, all for the purpose of maintaining a narrative that makes no sense.

That is a fascinating question David. Here in Victoria, we have had people protesting in the middle of a lockdown to hammer the Delta breakout. The lockdown is meant to expire on Tuesday, yet with the hoards of people gathering, I doubt that will be the case. We live in strange times.
Replied to

Dale, glad I am not the only one experiencing this strange irony.
Bookmarked Education resources for schools teachers and students – ABC Education (Splash)

ABC Education has 5000+ educational games, videos and teaching resources for schools and students. Free Primary and Secondary resources covering history, science, English, maths and more

Collection of resources associated with Archie Roach, including a reading of the song-come-book, Took the Children Away.
RSVPed Interested in Attending Children, Young People & the Future

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Alannah & Madeline Foundation are seeking the perspectives of young people to help guide the future of the organisation:

In planning for the future, we’re commencing an exciting project that works alongside kids aged between 4 – 18 years of age to understand their perspectives, ideas and desires in order to better inform the way in which we represent and protect them today and into the future.

I remember wondering what the future of things like eSmart would be.

In planning for the future, we’re commencing an exciting project that works alongside kids aged between 4 – 18 years of age to understand their perspectives, ideas and desires in order to better inform the way in which we represent and protect them today and into the future.

I guess it starts with asking those it is designed for to help write the next chapter.

Bookmarked How streaming made hit songs more important than the pop stars who sing them by Charlie Harding (Vox)

Streaming services’ playlists make it easier for listeners to find music worth playing. But experts say they’re also breaking fans’ relationships with artists.

Charlie Harding discusses how the focus with music has moved from the album to the song.

It also presents a paradox of choice: What should you listen to when you can hear nearly any song that’s ever been recorded? With more and more songs released by more and more musicians on more and more platforms — and less emphasis on traditional media to tell listeners what to like — the sprawl of streaming has upended what it means to be a pop star. For an artist like Daniels, streaming both gave him the opportunity to break out from obscurity and made it exponentially more difficult to have a follow-up hit. That’s because like so many other viral hits, the song, not the artist, became the asset.

Where the focus in the past was on radio, nowadays it is on social media platforms and playlists.

Now songs develop on social media platforms, and grow on playlists, before making it to radio. Music marketers have repositioned themselves to build influence over TikTok feeds. PR firms market their ability to get their clients on playlists, though Spotify maintains a stance of editorial independence.

This reminds me of Matthew Ball’s piece on audio innovation. He explains how these days it is about algorithms and the measurement of attention. This has led to a focus on limiting the length of songs.

Bookmarked Cory Doctorow: Tech Monopolies and the Insufficient Necessity of Interoperability (Locus Online)

Tech is the logical place to start, not just because everyone is fed up with tech, but because tech is so central to everything else we do – it provides the communications and coordination that are at the heart of every mass movement. And tech’s flex­ibility – that protean, foundational ability to plug everything into everything else – means that tech trustbusters have a uniquely suitable tool for prying apart monopolies: interoperability.

Forcing interop back into tech won’t be the end of the anti-monopoly fight, but it’ll be the end of the beginning – the necessary but insufficient step we’ll take before moving on to far more ambitious projects.

Cory Doctorow continues his discussion of anti-trust and the break-up of monopolies. He argues that the place to start is with technology companies. Using the example of the challenge of Australian railways to demonstrate what interoperability would mean for technology companies.

Despite all the handwringing over the inaccessibility of old digital data, the reality is that new computers can emulate old computers and run the programs that were used to create and read that data in the deep past of computing (getting the data off of old storage media that is physically deteriorating is another story). If Austra­lia’s middle-gauge muddle were a matter of digital incompatibilities, some programmers could whip up a “translation layer” that mediated between different tracks and cars and unify the system. If we can connect billions of devices running millions of versions of scores of operating systems to each other via the internet, getting six Australian states’ railcars to connect to each others’ (digital) tracks is a piece of piss.

Although we need to do more than open platform capitalism up in regards to interoperability, it is the start that has the potential to get the ball rolling in regards to change.

One of the interesting points that Docotorw made was that in the end the companies are really all the same, just with different flavours.

Maybe large companies all have the same ideology (“profit”). Maybe the distinctions between their characters are as meaningful as the “flavors” of the different marshmallows in a box of Lucky Charms. Maybe the reason John Legere worked at AT&T and Sprint before going to T-Mobile is that they are interchangeable monopolies whose top ranks all came up together, know each other, take vacations together, and are godparents to one-another’s children. Maybe they aren’t really rivals.
Maybe monopolists have class solidarity, is what I’m saying.

Replied to What’s “interpolating”, and how did it force Olivia Rodrigo to share Deja Vu writing credits with Taylor Swift? (triple j)

A close cousin of sampling, interpolation is less of a direct copy-paste of a song and more the borrowing of melodies and lyrics to create a new tune that sounds… wow, just so familiar.

There seems to be a fine line between interpolation and inspiration. There are so many songs that are inspired, but go without recognition.
Liked The Internet of Things is a Complete Mess (and how to Fix it) (

This might seem painful right now (and frankly, it is), but it’s also a very exciting time in IoT. It feels like the very early days of the web where everything was a bit of a kludge we hacked together but we made things work and it turned into something amazing. That’s where I think we are now with IoT and as infuriating as it often is, it’s an exciting time to be a part of it and well and truly worth a few lighting problems here and there.

I’ve lost track of the amount of times I have tried reading Catch 22, only to put it down again out of frustration. There is something about the disjointed narrative that leaves you as a reader feeling slightly disoriented, second guessing yourself about who exactly is doing what when. However, maybe in the end that is the point? Maybe something more linear would not do justice to the absurdity of war. After a while the book seems to settle into a rhythm where the chaos just feels like another character.

It is interesting to compare this with James A. Michener’s depiction of World War II in his novel Space. Michener uses the war as a foundation to build up Norman Grant as a hero. Captain John Yossarian on the other hand is an anti-hero whose main intent is to survive.

It doesn’t make a damned bit of difference who wins the war to someone who’s dead.

When you listen to Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History series on the ‘Supernova in the East‘, it feels like heroes were often few and far between.

Reading this book I was reminded of a quote from a Peter Goldsworthy novel Maestro, “Cartoon descriptions? How else to describe a cartoon world?.” I think something similar could be said about Keller’s creation. How does one capture such horrific tales of death, other than with humour and absurdity?


Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them. With Major Major it had been all three. Even among men lacking all distinction he inevitably stood out as a man lacking more distinction than all the rest, and people who met him were always impressed by how unimpressive he was.

“But I make a profit of three and a quarter cents an egg by selling them for four and a quarter cents an egg to the people in Malta I buy them from for seven cents an egg. Of course, I don’t make the profit. The syndicate makes the profit. And everybody has a share.”

Milo Minderbinder, p. 231

Replied to ‘At first I thought, this is crazy’: the real-life plan to use novels to predict the next war (

Three years ago, a small group of academics at a German university launched an unprecedented collaboration with the military – using novels to try to pinpoint the world’s next conflicts. Are they on to something?

The idea of literature being used as a means of predicting the future and war had me wondering about a few things:

  • What does this look like in the world of AI and invented texts?
  • Would this mean that a totalitarian regime might prevent change by silencing authors?
Bookmarked Ben Grosser: Planning the Exodus from Platform Realism by Institute of Network Cultures | Geert Lovink (

We need a turn away from the private and a return to the public. Without a private profit motive, many of the problems with big tech platforms would fall away. I say this knowing full-well that making such systems public is by no means a solution by itself. We’ve seen unprecedented corruption of and new justified distrust in public institutions over the last many years. But big tech’s platforms are decidedly anti-public, and this positioning is part of what makes them so damaging to privacy, agency, and democracy.

Ben Grosser discusses the need to turn away from private for-profit platforms to more public entities whose interest is not profit. Associated with this, Grosser outlines a set of shared values to support this move:

SLOW — We need media that actively and intentionally works against the platform capitalist idea that speed and efficiency is always desirable and productive.
LESS — We need alternatives that advance an anti-scale, anti-more agenda. Facebook’s answer to the negative effects of platform scale post-2016 was to foreground Groups to “give people the power to build community.” Four years later that platform-produced power propelled racism and authoritarianism to new heights, culminating (so far) in a violent insurrection at the US Capitol.
PUBLIC — Social media infrastructure for 3 billion+ users should never be driven by profit or controlled by single individuals. Ditto goods distribution (Amazon), information access (Google), etc.
DECOY — To help produce a culture of platform exodus we need new projects/works that get into the platforms and help users turn themselves away from them.

As a part of the Data Smart Schools project, Neil Selwyn reflects on what such a move might mean for education:

We might develop an LMS that does not continuously extract data and create profiles of students from their online activities, but occasionally invites students to divulge any information that they feel it is useful for their schools to know. We might have a system that only allows a student or teacher to access it for a finite number of times a week – meaning that people ration their use, and log-in only when really necessary or useful. We might have a system that only allows new messages or comments to be added during week-day mornings – thereby reducing the compulsion to check for new messages during the evenings or weekends …. other forms of technology are possible!

This reminds me of Jim Groom’s​ discusses the Next Generation Digital Learning Environments and the challenge of and managing our personal data online. I am also left thinking about the association with Eli Pariser’s idea of ‘public parks‘.