And they come with no warning,
nature loves her little surprises.
Continual crisis!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Linkee-poo, of all trees that are in the wood the holly bears the crown

"Sheryl Connelly has a crazy job. She's in charge of looking into the future for Ford Motor Co. The automaker is trying to predict how people my age — from Generation Z — will use cars." Dear Millennials, sound familiar? For you Zers, the past 2 generations have been there. Sorry about the shit you're all about to get hit with. Also sorry that Babyboomers and The Greatest Generation could never find (or be bothered to find) an interesting name for us Xers and so you all get the Y and Z designations.

"Earth is 'humming.' You can't hear it, but it's ongoing. And now scientists have measured that persistent hum from the ocean floor, for the first time." I guess the Earth forgot the words.

"Maude Julien's childhood was so horrible, it's difficult to read about. Her father wanted to turn her into some kind of superhuman, able to withstand any torment without flinching. So he treated her in a subhuman way: He forced her to stay in a dark cellar at night, to meditate on death. He made her hold on to an electric fence, to strengthen her will. She had to wait on him hand and foot. And he kept her from most contact with the outside world for years." If this weren't the fodder for hundreds of Cold War pastiche stories I probably wouldn't point to it. Hint, this kind of training doesn't create superhumans or moldable psychopaths, it creates broken psychologies and people who have to work hard to just appear normal. It is abuse plain and simple.

"According to Bloomberg, tech giants are quietly shelling out up to $200 an hour for attractive women and men known as 'ambiance and atmosphere models,' or minglers, to chat up attendees." This is so 80's stereotypes it's unbearable. So when I was working for management consultants I used to do partner-level presentations. At one we had a dinner/event afterward where a partner introduced me to his date. After he waltzed on I made some comment to his executive assistant who replied, "Yes, the agency always sends him the nicest women." (Grokked from Katheryn Cramer, I think)

"A Reddit post over the weekend has drawn a flurry of interest after an iPhone 6s owner reported that a battery replacement significantly increased the device's performance running iOS 11. The ensuing discussion thread, also picked up by readers in the MacRumors forum, has led to speculation that Apple intentionally slows down older phones to retain a full day's charge if the battery has degraded over time."

"North Atlantic right whales are facing a severe threat of extinction after this year saw the death of 17 of the species, leaving their numbers dwindling at around 450 individuals in the wild… 2017 marked a year of high mortality and it also coincided with a year of poor reproduction, which left only about 100 breeding female North Atlantic right whales." Note the website has an autoplay video of the Japanese whaling fleet harvesting whales (I don't know why it's there since the video has nothing to do with the story except about being tangentially tied to overall whale populations).

Yes, the tax bills are Christmas trees, but only if you're a conservative. "A small provision in the House version of the bill would let big donors secretly give unlimited amounts to independent political groups — and write off the contributions as charitable gifts." It's a big triple win for the Kochs and their ilk, and a big fucking lose for democracy.

"That's because the tax bill is front-loaded; the goodies come first. The regressive, non-populist part of the bill, where taxes for the middle class actually go up — kicks in later, well after the next election cycle." Or, the first one is free. It's a shell game, one that people aren't prepared to see (when your major concern is how you're going to pay the bills next month, you don't worry about how much you have to pay 5 years down the road).

"The U.S. economy added 228,000 jobs in November, according to the monthly jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate remained steady at 4.1 percent, unchanged from October… 'Employment growth has averaged 174,000 per month thus far this year, compared with an average monthly gain of 187,000 in 2016,'the agency's acting Commissioner William J. Wiatrowski said of the report." Well that's one way to torpedo the presidential tweeting.

"The delivery of federal food benefits for millions of low-income people is likely to change after the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday it'll allow states more flexibility in how they dole out the money." Or how they won't dole out the money. Many people who receive snap are elderly, children, or the disabled. I don't know how they think job training an encouragement to get back "into lives of independence" is really going to help them.

"That's the conundrum facing the state's conservative, deeply religious electorate: Embrace Democrat Doug Jones despite his liberal stance on abortion and other social issues or vote for Moore anyway even if they believe there is some truth to the sexual assault allegations against him." No, it's not a hard choice. It's a damn easy choice. Choose someone with whom you disagree with on policy or choose someone who is morally and criminally reprehensible. It's only when you believe you have the right to tell others how to live that it becomes difficult. Most normal people in this situation would re-examine their beliefs, but not those who have been driven to a frenzy by unscrupulous actors who have been grooming them for decades to be their unwavering political base.

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