Metadata and Freedom

Metadata is Important

The NSA uses communications metadata for intelligence, but big tech also records it for “Business Intelligence”, imagine how this information being sold in an open market can affect you.

When it comes to telephone calls, nobody is listening to your telephone calls.” Instead, the government was just “sifting through this so-called metadata.

Barack Obama

The Director of National Intelligence made a similar declaration.

The program does not allow the Government to listen in on anyone’s phone calls. The information acquired does not include the content of any communications or the identity of any subscriber.

James Clapper

In the opinion of Kurt Opsahl
Electronic Frontier Foundation.

What they are trying to say is that disclosure of metadata—the details about phone calls, without the actual voice—isn’t a big deal, not something for Americans to get upset about if the government knows. Let’s take a closer look at what they are saying:

They know you rang a phone sex service at 2:24 am and spoke for 18 minutes. But they don't know what you talked about.

They know you called the suicide prevention hotline from the Golden Gate Bridge. But the topic of the call remains a secret.

They know you spoke with an HIV testing service, then your doctor, then your health insurance company in the same hour. But they don't know what was discussed.

They know you received a call from the local NRA office while it was having a campaign against gun legislation, and then called your senators and congressional representatives immediately after. But the content of those calls remains safe from government intrusion.

They know you called a gynecologist, spoke for a half hour, and then called the local Planned Parenthood's number later that day. But nobody knows what you spoke about.

Sorry, your phone records—oops, “so-called metadata”—can reveal a lot more about the content of your calls than the government is implying. Metadata provides enough context to know some of the most intimate details of your lives.

Government and Big Tech give no assurances that this data will never be correlated with other easily obtained data.,_by_John_Trumbull

Wikipedia’s Bias and the Murray Gell-Mann Effect

Michael Crichton, author of Jurassic Park, coined the term after meeting the famous MIT physicist Murray Gell-Mann to describe the act of feeling skeptical as you read a magazine or newspaper article about an area in which you have expertise and then completely forgetting that skepticism as you turn the page and read about something you know less about.

Murray Gell-Mann was an American physicist who received the 1969 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the theory of elementary particles, discovering and naming “Quarks” he developed the “Strangeness theory” and the “Eightfold way theory”.

The story is that at a dinner party Michael Crichton overheard Murray Gell-Mann ponting out this skepticism, and discussed it with him, after that he decided to use the famous scientist’s name to imply greater importance to himself and to the effect, that it would otherwise have.

Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward — reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.

In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.

Michael Crichton

Media carries with it credibility that is totally undeserved.

In ordinary life, if somebody consistently exaggerates or lies to you, you soon discount everything they say.
In court, there is the legal doctrine of falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus, which means untruthful in one part, untruthful in all.
But when it comes to the media, we believe against evidence that it is probably worth our time to read other parts of the paper. When, in fact, it almost certainly isn’t. The only possible explanation for our behavior is amnesia.

Michael Crichton

Michael Crichton, the full talk.

Wikipedia is the largest and most influential encyclopaedia in the world,

But unfortunately it does not have an effective neutrality policy.
Articles written about political and religious controversial points of view are blocked for open editing, and are highly manipulated by an elite of journalists who are in charge of determining the “Consensus” they see fit independently of the actual consensus of editors and users.

Wikipedia’s algorithm ponders more weight to people who write and edit more articles: journalists; and their followers, generally more journalists who represent a very specific point of view.

Even when the editors of this controversies try to keep a neutral tone to convince all readers that the articles are fair, examples of the contrary are embarrassingly easy to find. (See the link to Larry Sangers article below).
The control of the narrative of this issues by this groups severely damages the possibility inclusion of points of view different from the opinion of this elite. In many cases the contributions and expert wording of scholars who directly research issues and carefully argument their conclusions need to pass through this journalists/activists censorship and opinion, manipulating and in many cases re-wording them before being incorporated.

You would think that scientific issues would not have this problem, for every issue you can list all the peer reviewed studies, the studies that were successfully replicated and what are their conclusions, but politicised science articles (climate, race, sex) suffer from the same activism as other political and religious issues.

A huge flaw in Wikipedia is the policy to have a single article for each issue whose consensus is determined by a biased referee, making it impossible to be neutral. Competing articles for the same issues and pondering their importance by the number of contiubutors, editors and users will genuinely reflect consensus and would be.

Maybe you have not noticed it, and these are two possible explanations:,
1.- Because the Murray Gell-Mann effect.
2.- You are a part of the echo chamber that this activists are trying to reach.

Larry Sanger, Wikipedia’s Co-Founder, wrote a very good article with examples of this problem.

Judo, the mental equalizer

Judo is a modern martial art, (it means “gentle way”) it was created as a physical, mental and moral pedagogy in Japan, in 1882, by Jigoro Kano and later evolved into a combat and Olympic sport
Judo techniques enable a weak and small man to overcome a large and strong man because they are based on scientific principles such as leverage and balance.

The first thing to learn is never to oppose strength to strength. If you do that the stronger man will inevitably win.
Remember that when he is on balance he is strong, but off balance he is weak, providing you have retained your own balance to take advantage of his weakness.
The second principle you should understand and think about is the action of levers. You know how much easier it is to lift a heavy object by putting a crowbar under it.

Judo teaches us to use the opponent’s forces against him, such as gravity and momentum. The understanding of this concepts have proved to be very effective not only in combat, but in negotiation techniques as well as many other aspects of life.

Cartesian Skepticism

René Descartes 1596–1650 was a French scientist, mathematician, and philosopher, and he was one of the key figures in the scientific revolution.

The Cartesian coordinate system was named after him, and he is credited as the father of analytical geometry, used in the discovery of infinitesimal calculus and analysis.

René Descartes is the originator of Cartesian skepticism (a form of methodological skepticism), that puts all beliefs, ideas, thoughts, and matter in doubt.

He offers the following analogy:

A person had a basket full of apples and, being worried that some of the apples were rotten, wanted to take out the rotten ones to prevent the rot spreading. How would he proceed? Would he not begin by tipping the whole lot out of the basket? And would not the next step be to cast his eye over each apple in turn, and pick up and put back in the basket only those he saw to be sound, leaving the others?

Those who have never philosophized correctly have various opinions in their minds which they have begun to store up since childhood, and which they therefore have reason to believe may in many cases be false. Now the best way they can accomplish this is to reject all their beliefs together in one go, as if they were all uncertain and false. They can then go over each belief in turn and re-adopt only those which they recognize to be true and indubitable.

Cartesian skepticism is also known as Cartesian doubt, methodic doubt, methodological skepticism, Universal Doubt, or hyperbolic doubt.

Many elements of his philosophy have precedents in late Aristotelianism, Descartes laid the foundation for 17th-century continental rationalism, later advocated by Baruch Spinoza and Gottfried Leibniz, and opposed by the empiricist school of thought consisting of Hobbes, Locke, Berkeley, and Hume.

The “Discourse on The Method” is a philosophical and autobiographical treatise published by René Descartes in 1637 and is best known as the source of the famous quotation:

“Cogito ergo sum”

“Je pense, donc je suis”

“I think, therefore I am”

Pope Alexander VII added Descartes’ works to the Index of Prohibited Books in 1663.