The Trouble With Google Defining “Truth”

Frederic Legrand - COMEO / Shutterstock.com

With its $385 billion share value, Google, Inc. has bumped ExxonMobil to become America’s No. 2 ranked company in market capitalization.

That may not be a good thing. A February article in New Scientist announced that Google wants to rank websites based on facts, not links; and writer Hal Hodson said, “The internet is stuffed with garbage. Google has devised a fix – rank websites according to their truthfulness.”

Not surprisingly, the idea of changing page rank from popularity to “truthfulness,” based on a Google-made “knowledge vault,” did not go down well.

Fox News reported: “Google’s plan to rank websites is raising censorship concerns.” Douglass Kennedy opened with: “They say you’re entitled to your own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts. It’s a concept not everyone is comfortable with.”

They’re saying we’re only entitled to Google’s “facts,” which completely short-circuits how slippery “facts” can be and naively equates facts with truth. Ask any lawyer about truth.

Today’s climate wars consist of arguments between highly qualified scientists about facts that some sincerely believe are true, and some sincerely believe are false, each for solid reasons. It should be an honest debate among equals, but it’s degenerated into a power play by alarmists to kill debate to drive favored public policies that are pushed by certain politicians and their social and political base.

Google’s truth plan is not so simple. Facts are statements about existence. Statements about existence can be true or false. Existence itself – your kitchen sink or the climate or whatever – can’t be true or false; it just exists. Say anything you want about existence, and it won’t change a thing. It still just exists. Existence doesn’t give a darn what you think about it. Facts are statements about existence, and statements are always arguable.

But get everyone to believe Google Facts, and you can enforce political policies worth trillions of dollars to climate profiteers – and impose punitive, economy-strangling, job-killing regulations on millions of families.

You can see where this is going.

Imagine: Big Google the Universal Truthsayer. That’s as scary as “Mr. Dark” in Ray Bradbury’s 1962 novel Something Wicked This Way Comes, only worse. It’s the perfect machine to kill all dissent and wither the Internet into a wasteland of groupthink, susceptible to disinformation campaigns from any power center from the CIA to the rich bosses of Google, Inc. to Google’s political friends and allies.

What about those rich bosses? Google’s two co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, created a corporate foundation in 2005. The Google Foundation has 2013 assets of $72,412,693, gave grants of $7.9 million, and added $29.4 million from corporate profits.

Three of Google’s top-ten recipients are key climate alarmists: the World Wildlife Fund ($5 million); Energy Foundation ($2.6 million); and the rabidly anti-fracking Natural Resources Defense Council ($2.5 million).

NRDC is particularly influential because it also has received $3.01 million in taxpayer-financed Environmental Protection Agency grants since 2009 and has 50 employees on 40 federal advisory committees. NRDC has 33 employees on 21 EPA committees, and more in six other agencies.

The big gun in Google philanthropy is Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, whose Schmidt Family Foundation ($312 million, 2013 assets) is a major armory for groups that attack skeptics of dangerous manmade climate change. The Schmidt Foundation has given $67,147,849 in 295 grants to 180 recipients since it was endowed in 2007.     

Top Schmidt money went to Climate Central ($8.15 million), a group of activist climate scientists bolstered by $1,387,372 in EPA grants made since 2009.

Schmidt also gave $3.25 million to the Energy Foundation, which was almost superfluous since EF is practically the Mother Ship of green grants, with $1,157,046,016 given via 28,705 grants to 11,866 recipients since 1999.

Among the shadier grants in the Schmidt portfolio are anti-fracking, anti-fossil-fuel grants totaling $1.19 million to the Sustainable Markets Foundation, a shell corporation that gives no recorded grants but funnels money to climate and anti-fracking organizations such as Bill McKibben’s 350.org–so that the donors are not traceable.

Schmidt supported the far-left Tides Foundation empire with $975,000 for an anti-consumer film, “The Story of Stuff.” It gave the Sierra Club $500,000 for anti-natural gas activism, the Center for Investigative Reporting $985,000 for an anti-coal film, and so forth. Schmidt’s list goes on for pages.

With all the massive resources of wealth and power alarmists have, we must ask: Why do they give so much to destroy the climate debate and the debaters? What are they afraid of?

Perhaps they have staked so much money and reputation on manmade climate catastrophe claims that they are terrified by the prospect that inconvenient evidence, data, debate. and scientists could destroy their carefully constructed climate house of cards.

Or perhaps it’s what Eric Schmidt said at January’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, when he was asked for his prediction on the future of the web. “I will answer very simply that the Internet will disappear.”

How? The mature technology will be wearable, give us interactive homes and cars, and simply fade into the background – to become something that we all have, that most of us don’t really know (or care) very much about, as long as it can do whatever we want.

That’s the view from the pinnacle of wealth and power. On the ground, the joke is on Google.

Michael Humphrey, Forbes contributor and instructor at Colorado State University, sees younger people abandoning the public forum in favor of one-to-one connectivity. He says they don’t trust the Internet.

Why? Millennials say the Internet is cheapening language, it is stunting curiosity (because answers come so easily), we are never bored so we lose creativity, it steals innocence too quickly, it makes us impulsive with our buying and talking, it is creating narcissists, it creates filter bubbles that limit discovery, it hurts local businesses, it is filled with false evidence, it desensitizes us to tragedy, and it makes us lonely.

They want the real world.

Google that.

Ron Arnold is executive vice president of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise and coauthor of “Cracking Big Green: Saving the world from the Save-the-Earth money machine.”

Photo credit: Frederic Legrand – COMEO / Shutterstock.com

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Google Employee’s Daughter Writes a Touching Letter To His Boss; The Company’s Response Will Blow You Away

A Google employee was just gifted an entire week off from work by his employers. Their generosity was motivated by a precious letter written to them by a little girl who missed her daddy.

“Dear google worker,” she wrote. “Can you please make sure when daddy goes to work, he gets one day off. Like can he get a day off on wednesday. Because daddy ONLY gets a day off on saturday.”

She added, “P. S. It is daddy’s BIRTHDAY! P.P.S. It is summer, you know.”

Of course, Google granted her wish. Who could say no to her sweet request? In fact, they decided to go above and beyond it.

“Thank you for your thoughtful note and request,” the company replied. “Your father has been hard at work designing many beautiful and delightful things for Google and millions of people across the globe.”

Google Letter Response

“On occasion of his Birthday, and recognizing the importance of taking some Wednesdays off during the summer, we are giving him the whole first week of July as vacation time. Enjoy!”

It is encouraging to witness such generosity and kindness in today’s society. This story is one with a happy ending, with a father who owes his daughter much thanks for this pleasantly unexpected summer vacation with his family.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Google’s New “Account Activity” Service Raises Privacy Concerns

Google Sign SC 300x199 Google’s New Account Activity Service Raises Privacy Concerns

A new service offered by Google is raising some eyebrows, as users now have access to monthly reports that reveal all their online activities using Google products (Gmail, YouTube, Google+ social network, online search, etc.). Called “Account Activity,” the new feature will allow users to “step back and take stock of what you’re doing online,” Google product manager Andreas Tuerk noted in a blog post. “Knowing more about your account activity also can help you take steps to protect your Google Account.”

According to Tuerk, signing up for the service will provide Account Activity subscribers with a monthly report that delivers a variety of benefits, including “transparency and control; summarized data associated with each product you use when signed in to your account; and links to change your personal settings.”

The service supplies users with information such as their website history, what sites they frequent, the number of e-mails they’ve sent and received in the past month, and other tidbits relating to accounts that are associated with their e-mail address. Further, as more reports are pulled, activity summaries will show changes in use over time.

The company’s Public Policy blog provides an example of how the program works:

For example, my most recent Account Activity report told me that I sent 5 percent more email than the previous month and received 3 percent more. An Italian hotel was my top Gmail contact for the month. I conducted 12 percent more Google searches than in the previous month, and my top queries reflected the vacation I was planning: [rome] and [hotel].

The blog post goes on to say that the feature will arm users with powerul tools to protect their accounts, as they can review their account history to identify “sign-ins from countries where you haven’t been or devices you’ve never owned.” Moreover, users can change their password immediately and, if need be, sign up for a more beefed-up level of security. “We wanted to make it easier for signed-in users to understand, manage and protect their information on Google,” said one Google spokesperson.

Read More at The New American. By Brian Koenig.

Photo Credit: Robert Scoble Creative Commons

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Who’s Buying Barry? Obama’s Swimming in Dubious Campaign Contributions

Susan Stamper Brown, FloydReports.com

President Obama had a busy week. After helping to eliminate the world’s number one terrorist, Obama switched gears to focus on raising a record $1 billion in campaign contributions. Rather than capitalizing on bin Laden’s demise by using an event to rally allies in a focused campaign to finish the job to root out bin Laden’s more notorious associates, Obama is rallying supporters to donate their capital so he can build up his campaign war chest. First things first.

Apparently the whole campaign finance issue is so complicated that only someone like Obama can fully understand it. He’s been all over the map when it comes to finance reform; you might say he was for it before he was against it. In June 2008, Obama announced he had reversed his original stance and would forgo public campaign financing because, “The broken system we have now, a system where special interests drown out the voices of the American people will continue to erode our politics and prevent the possibility of real change.”

Soon after making that statement, unprecedented amounts of cash poured into Obama’s campaign coffers from special interest groups showing us that the only “real change” he offered was a new spirit of corporatism, when powerful Silicon Valley Green energy leaders like Steve Westly seemingly purchased a seat at the government’s table.

The more than $500,000 in campaign contributions Westly raised is a gift that keeps on giving. Now appointed to Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s advisory panel, Westly is granted regular access to Chu. Companies backed by Westly’s venture capital firm received over a half-billion dollars and Tesla Motors, a company Westly has ties to, saw its stock rise six percent after the Obama administration announced a federal rebate plan for electric cars….

Read more.

Is Your Internet Connection Funding Liberals?

Michael Reagan, FloydReports.com

We keep hearing claims that a lot of money goes into the pockets of so-called right-wing groups, but we hear nary a word from the media of where the really big bucks originate and where they end up.

That’s too bad, because if the truth were known Americans would discover that those huge political contributions we keep hearing about really help finance far-left candidates and their generally wacko political causes.

Liberals already control many aspects of American life, and they have undue influence on the Internet. Let’s get the Internet back and stop supporting the Democrats with our dollars.

What do I mean? As I reported last summer, people who use e-mail or other services from companies such as Google, AOL, Yahoo, Microsoft and Apple are unwittingly helping the liberals. These companies are, and will continue to be, huge supporters of those who are damaging our country.

The influence of these companies also extends internationally, where the liberal grip on the Internet has been demonstrated anew in the turmoil in Egypt. There, according to media reports, it is playing a key role in stirring up the mass protests that are clogging the streets of Cairo and other Egyptian cities such as Alexandria, and fueling demands for the immediate ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.

While I support the Egyptians who truly yearn for greater freedom on the American model, I am concerned that the movement is being manipulated by those who favor a hard-line, Iranian-style, Islamic theocracy.

According to The Jerusalem Post, Google executive Wael Ghonim, just released from 12 days of Egyptian detention, confirmed that he was responsible for the Facebook page that ignited “the revolution of the youth of the Internet.”

This is the same Google where CEO Eric Schmidt is a personal friend of President Barack Obama, and a member of Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page contributed a whopping $140,000 to the liberal side of the same-sex-marriage campaign in California, a favorite cause of liberals.

Read more.