File under "You Can't Make This Stuff Up." Somehow, it actually seems like a farcical April Fools…
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April Fools' Day Four Days Late? Google Objects to OpenAI Using YouTube to Train Its Own Generator

File under "You Can't Make This Stuff Up."

Somehow, it actually seems like a farcical April Fools' Day headline, in fact.  Google, with its deep history of scraping and scanning other sources' substantive content for its own uses, now objects to OpenAI using YouTube content to train its text-to-video generator:

The use of YouTube videos to train OpenAI’s text-to-video generator would be an infraction of the platform's terms of service, YouTube Chief Executive Officer Neal Mohan said."

Optimists might hope that Google is finally recognizing and preparing to correct its wayward course, while realists and cynics will roll their eyes at what they'll label naivete.  As the old adage goes, however, "every saint has a past, every sinner has a future," so we'll maintain hope.…[more]

April 05, 2024 • 05:09 PM

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Why Did “60 Minutes” Celebrate Discredited Climate Alarmist Paul Ehrlich? Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, January 05 2023
The fact that the endless litany of demonstrably false predictions hasn’t triggered self-examination and reassessment among climate alarmists confirms that none of this is about honest efforts to mitigate environmental harm or save humanity. It’s about trillions of dollars in spending, more government control of our lives and more crony capitalist handouts to favored recipients.

If the name Paul Ehrlich doesn’t ring a bell, it should. 

With the possible exception of Al Gore, Ehrlich is the most humiliatingly and repeatedly discredited environmental doomsayer in the world, with over five decades of predictions contradicted by actual events.  

The fact that climate extremists nevertheless consider Ehrlich a hero in good standing tells you all you need to know about the legitimacy of their movement and recycled alarms.  It’s not about “science” or addressing legitimate environmental concerns, it’s about maintaining political power, crony capitalism and perpetuating a state of public alarm despite decades of failed predictions.  

In 1968, Ehrlich authored The Population Bomb to influence that year’s presidential election and voice his apocalyptic views.  “The battle to feed all of humanity is over,” Ehrlich asserted in his opening page.  “In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now,” he continued.  “At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate.”  

According to Ehrlich, global cooling – yes, cooling – caused by human activity would lead to massive crop failures, resulting in worldwide starvation and depopulation.  

A year later, Ehrlich asserted in his essay Eco-Catastrophe! that, “Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born.”  A year after that, Ehrlich told CBS News that, “Sometime in the next fifteen years, the end will come.”  He added, “And by ‘the end,’ I mean an utter breakdown of the capacity of the planet to support humanity.”  

Fifty-five years later, even Smithsonian Magazine acknowledges that Ehrlich proved diametrically errant:    

[T]here was no “great increase in the death rate” around the world.  According to a widely accepted count by British economist Stephen Devereaux, starvation claimed four to five million lives during that decade – with most of the deaths due to warfare, rather than environmental exhaustion from overpopulation.  

In fact, famine has not been increasing but has become rarer.  When The Population Bomb appeared, according to the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization, something like one out of four people in the world was hungry.  Today the proportion of hungry is about one out of ten.  Meanwhile, the world’s population has more than doubled.  People are surviving because they learned how to do things differently.  They developed and adopted new agricultural techniques – improved seeds, high-intensity fertilizers, drip irrigation.  

Apparently lacking any sense of irony or history, however, CBS’s “60 Minutes” this week earnestly featured Ehrlich in its warning of a looming “sixth mass extinction”:  

In what year will the human population grow too large for the Earth to sustain?  The answer is about 1970, according to research by the World Wildlife Fund.  In 1970, the planet’s three-and-a-half billion people were sustainable.  But on this New Year’s Day, the population is 8 billion.  Today, wild plants and animals are running out of places to live.  The scientists you’re about to meet say the Earth is suffering a crisis of mass extinction on a scale unseen since the dinosaurs.   

“At the age of 90,” CBS reporter Scott Pelley continued, “biologist Paul Ehrlich may have lived long enough to see some of his dire prophecies come true.”  Pelley sounds almost hopeful.  

Moreover, Pelley apparently didn’t conduct the basic research to realize that a thirty-five-year-old Ehrlich considered the human population too large for the Earth to sustain even in 1970, contradicting his opening citation to the World Wildlife Fund as concurring authority.  

Ehrlich, “60 Minutes” and the World Wildlife Fund obviously have plenty of company in their wildly erroneous claims, of course.  Twenty years after Ehrlich predicted global catastrophe due to global cooling, the climate alarm movement continued predicting imminent doom, but now global warming offered the causal factor:  

A senior environmental official at the United Nations, Noel Brown, says entire nations could be wiped off the face of the earth by rising sea levels if global warming is not reversed by the year 2000.  Coastal flooding and crop failures would create an exodus of “eco-refugees,” threatening political chaos, said Brown, director of the New York office of the U.N. Environmental Program.  He said governments have a 10-year window of opportunity to solve the greenhouse effect.  

Don’t you dare question the “science,” though.  

The fact that the endless litany of demonstrably false predictions hasn’t triggered self-examination and reassessment among climate alarmists confirms that none of this is about honest efforts to mitigate environmental harm or save humanity.  It’s about trillions of dollars in spending, more government control of our lives and more crony capitalist handouts to favored recipients.  

“60 Minutes” may not get it, but the rest of us should.

Notable Quote   
 
"Progressives are using legal loopholes and the power of the federal government to maximize Democrat votes in the 2024 election at taxpayers' expense, RealClearInvestigations has found.The methods include voter registration and mobilization campaigns by ostensibly nonpartisan charities that target Democrats using demographic data as proxies, and the Biden administration's unprecedented demand that…[more]
 
 
— Ben Weingarten, Real Clear Investigations
 
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