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Weekend link dump for June 17

How to create an AI psychopath seems like the sort of thing we might be better off never learning how to do.

“A band of brigands eventually collapses in on itself, to paraphrase St Augustine. So the Irish referendum cannot simply be dismissed as a symptom of collective moral disintegration. On the contrary, it can be seen as the assertion of the common good over and against a corrupted and dysfunctional institutional church. But the most effective way of accommodating this decision might be to recognise that a modern shift in church teaching might now be unsustainable, unless one is willing to demonise and condemn countless millions of women and girls around the world who have abortions.”

“For a week in late April and early May 1969, Babe Ruth actually had 715 home runs. It was a sports scandal. This is the remarkable thing about Ruth’s magic number of 714. Even the most minor adjustment will cause a scandal.”

“Could it be, some Canadian scientists wondered, that all the big fish are found in deeper water because we fished them out of shallower water? Apparently (and somewhat astonishingly) this possibility had never been evaluated. And the scientists found that not only could this be the case—it in fact was.”

“Trumpism is non-falsifiable. Whatever Trump does is right. There are no principled arguments to be had, because if Trump changes his mind or tweets something off the wall, Trumpers change their position immediately.”

“But it’s past time to take seriously the only explanation for all of Trump’s behavior: He wants to destroy the Western alliance. Maybe it’s ideological, and he prefers Putin-style authoritarianism to democracy. Or maybe he has no grand strategy and Putin really does have some compromising information. Or maybe Trump just likes being against what every other modern American president was for.”

Get thee to Twitter if you want to try to save a program that may be or has been canceled.

“Web site names ending in new top-level domains (TLDs) like .men, .work and .click are some of the riskiest and spammy-est on the Internet, according to experts who track such concentrations of badness online.”

“Warner Bros. Animation is announcing its most ambitious Looney Tunes content initiative to date with Looney Tunes Cartoons, a series of new short form cartoons starring the iconic and beloved Looney Tunes characters.”

“Most U.S. efforts to strip immigrants of their citizenship focused largely on suspected war criminals who lied on their immigration paperwork, most notably former Nazis.” That was then, this is now.

“Roughly speaking, the question is whether the campaign got involved with Russian agents who committed computer crimes to help Trump win the 2016 presidential election. The verdict on this is unclear. But there is certainly plenty of evidence pointing toward collusion; what you would call “probable cause” in a legal context, or what a journalist might simply consider reason to continue investigating the story. And the investigating thus far, both by special counsel Mueller and by journalists working on the story, has been fruitful. The efforts have continued to turn up contacts between Trumpworld and Putinland, cover-ups, and dishonesty.”

“Still, there has never been a disaster like the G7 meeting that just took place. It could herald the beginning of a trade war, maybe even the collapse of the Western alliance. At the very least it will damage America’s reputation as a reliable ally for decades to come; even if Trump eventually departs the scene in disgrace, the fact that someone like him could come to power in the first place will always be in the back of everyone’s mind.” This is something I’ve worried about a lot lately.

Pro tip: Don’t plug USB drives given to you by a representative of a foreign (or even domestic) government into your computer. You’re welcome.

“This was an argument fought — and won — by the Confessing Church that rose in opposition to the rise of fascism in Europe. An argument relitigated and reaffirmed after World War II by a world and a church that struggled to grasp the full horrors of what unjust, evil leaders enforcing unjust, evil laws were capable of accomplishing with the compliance of complicit Christians citing this verse as their rationalization.”

RIP, Houston Police Officer Norberto “Bert” Ramon, who helped rescue nearly 1,500 people from floodwater during Harvey.

RIP, Matt “Guitar” Murphy, longtime blues guitarist and Blues Brothers band member.

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