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

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Linkee-poo whatever this world can give to me, it's you, you're all I see

The Good Omens trailer. One, excellent choice of music (which is an in-joke if you've read the book), and two I really hope this will be on Amazon Prime everywhere, and not Starz. American Gods was/is on Starz in the US, Amazon Prime in the rest of the world. Oh, and if you've never read the book, your really oughta. (Grokked from Neil Gaiman)

"The 2019 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees were announced earlier this month. The prestigious list included Radiohead, Rage Against The Machine, Janet Jackson, Roxy Music, Stevie Nicks, The Cure, and Def Leppard. For the 19th year in a row, however, Ted Nugent did not make the cut, and the right wing gun-lover is royally pissed out of his mind about it." I guess it doesn't play well being a dick trying to make the most out of one song.

"Robert Plant is the voice of Led Zeppelin, the band people often compare Greta Van Fleet to — and not always favorably. In fact, many consider the Michigan band a total rip-off. Jake and Josh grew up listening to folk and blues music from their Dad's extensive record collection, and didn't discover Led Zeppelin until they were in high school." Funny, that's how Robert Plant and Jimmy Page also started (studying blues and folk). Also, no need to fix what ain't broken. I mean, why not also compare them to the Black Crows and a few hundred others. Although I think it's interesting that while knocking them for sounding like a throwback to 70's Zeppelin they also don't mention the throw back to family bands (3 of the 4 are brothers).

"BepiColombo’s lengthy journey will take it on a trajectory including 'a fly-by of Earth, two of Venus and six of Mercury itself so it can slow down before arriving at its destination in December 2025,' the Associated Press reported on Saturday." Orbital mechanics, man, it's mess you up.

"Technology continues to get closer and closer to our bodies, from the phones in our pockets to the smartwatches on our wrists. Now, for some people, it's getting under their skin… In Sweden, a country rich with technological advancement, thousands have had microchips inserted into their hands." I'm not one of the "Sign of the Beast" people, but I still don't think this is a good idea. Implanting the chip is harmless. It's the security risks entailed. There's this action movie meme where you place a dead person's hand on a biometrics scanner to unlock doors - now imagine that chip as your payment method. Also note while RFID is supposedly short range, it can be scanned at a distance. There's also the problem on the back-end. That is the way this works for a lot of systems involve interconnected databases. Europe has stronger privacy protections than the US, but we live in a global information economy.

I'mma just going to drop this here. "A study of nearly 70,000 French adults who were tracked for an average of 4.5 years found that those who ate the most organic foods were less likely to develop certain kinds of cancer than the people who ate the least… Because of the way the study was conducted, it is impossible to say that the organic foods people ate were the reason why they had fewer cases of cancer. But the results are significant enough to warrant follow-up studies, the researchers wrote." The data could have been cherry picked (as this wasn't the results the actual study was designed for) and the people who ate more organic foods also had several other habits that have been shown to lower cancer risks. And the reporting is mostly focusing in on "residual pesticide exposure" over some of the other differenced in "organic" foods.

"The Museum of the Bible says five of its Dead Sea Scrolls are fraudulent and will no longer be on display. The Washington, D.C., museum said an independent analysis found characteristics of the five scrolls were 'inconsistent with ancient origin and therefore will no longer be displayed at the museum.'" That's the risk you take when you buy your artifacts from smugglers.

There is this running gag in The Big Bang Theory where Howard "borrows" items from NASA and other research organizations. Yeah, about that… "NASA's Office of Inspector General has released a new report detailing shortcomings in how the agency manages its historical items, The Verge reports. Over the years, NASA has apparently lost a number of assets, including a lunar soil collection bag, Apollo 11 command module hand controllers and even a lunar rover vehicle prototype."

"Twitter has removed some accounts thought to be used to circumvent a ban on conspiracy-monger Alex Jones and Infowars, the company said Tuesday."

"Collectively, the DNA differences explained only 8 to 12 percent of the heritability of having same-sex partners. 'There is no gay gene,' (Andrea Ganna, a geneticist at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard) said, 'but rather non-heterosexuality is influenced by many tiny-effect genetic factors.'" Non-heterosexuality? Really? I would also tie this in with the administration's attempt to define gender by genitalia and genetics.

"The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has shut down a self-driving school bus project in Florida, calling it 'unlawful.' It’s one of the most forceful interventions by the Department of Transportation in the early days of autonomous vehicles. The news was first reported by Jalopnik." (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"Over the past couple of decades, booming cities have forced people to move to smaller cities nearby. Think San Francisco and Oakland, Calif., or New York and Hoboken, N.J. That kind of boom is happening now in Boston. An hour away, New England's second-largest city, Worcester, is booming." Luck favors the prepared.

"The middle class in America has been declining for decades… According to the Social Security Administration, the median yearly wage in the United States is just $30,533 at this point. That means 50 percent of all American workers make at least that much per year, but that also means that 50 percent of all American workers make that much or less per year… (that means) a median monthly wage of just over $2,500. But of course nobody can provide a middle class standard of living for a family of four for just $2,500 a month… So in most households at least two people are working, and in many cases multiple jobs are being taken on by a single individual in a desperate attempt to make ends meet." And the slide began in the late 60s and early 70s. Since then the GOP has controlled the White House for 30 years to Democrats 16 years. The GOP has controlled both houses of congress for 16 out of the last 22 years (and the House with a Democratic Senate for 4 more of those years). (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"Women in strenuous jobs lost their pregnancies after employers denied their requests for light duty, even ignoring doctors’ notes, an investigation by The New York Times has found." Good thing our laws don't allow sweatshops in the US. Oh, wait… (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

It's "earnings season" for the stock market. "U.S. stock futures pointed to a deeply negative open Tuesday morning as corporate results from 3M and Caterpillar disappointed investors." The article also points out an interesting mind set in the investment world that because of the pain of the trade wars we're near the point where someone shouts "Uncle" and it all ends. That's a nice thought. I'm reminded that most Wall Street traders and analyst are younger than 40 and they've never exhibited much cognizance of historical trends greater than 4 quarters.

"An Arkansas county temporarily closed most of its early voting sites after the Democratic nominee for secretary of state was left off the ballot, a glitch the candidate said left her in 'sheer disbelief.'… Inman said that voters who go to the polls and find candidates missing from their ballots should not cast those ballots, but should instead take them back to election officials for correction, verification, or to determine the problem." Uh, yeah. I'm sure it's just a typo. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"President Donald Trump has warned that the US will bolster its nuclear arsenal to put pressure on Russia and China." Let's review this. The US alone has the nuclear firepower to destroy the world several times over. We can target and launch our weapons within 5 minutes (10 if we need to program new coordinates). There is no place on Earth we can hit. Burying command posts under reinforced mountains does not guarantee their survival. There is no such thing as a limited nuclear exchange. You think you need a deterrent? There isn't any more strong of a deterrent than saying "if you detonate a nuclear weapon on us or any of our allies we will burn the world down." It's called "mutual assured destruction" (or MAD, because you had to be fucking insane to start it). There is no good outcome to that arms race. Zero. Everybody loses and you spend a shit-ton of your GDP on things you hope you will never use. Let's say that we're able to field enough interceptors to stop any ballistic attack on the US (not fucking likely), the resultant fallout from the rest of the world will kill us all in 180 days even if no bombs drop here. This is an unwinnable war.

"The Supreme Court blocked a deposition of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Monday in a case challenging the decision to reinstate a citizenship question on the 2020 census… Justices Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas wrote to say they would have also blocked the deposition of Gore as well as related discovery." Apparently we can't have our government officials answer questions as to intent and purpose because… I got nothing. They should. The should be demanding to do so.

"President Trump on Monday sharply intensified a Republican campaign to frame the midterm elections as a battle over immigration and race, issuing a dark and factually baseless warning that 'unknown Middle Easterners' were marching toward the American border with Mexico." It goes without saying that the president is lying his ass off. But here you have conservative politics laid bare, it's all about the fear of brown people. "But Mr. Trump has not been alone in seeking to divide the electorate along racial lines this fall: As the congressional elections have approached, a number of Republican candidates and political committees have delivered messages plainly aimed at stoking cultural anxiety among white voters and even appealing to overt racism." That and "teh Gayz" (but updated for transgender) is all they've got.

So what does it really matter if that's all they've got? "A white woman confronted a Spanish-speaking family last week at a Virginia restaurant and demanded that they 'show me your passports' in video that has since gone viral." That's just one of a long line of happenings around the country. Also, not for nothing, many US citizens, born in the US, speak languages other than American English. Here in Cleveland you can hear radio shows in Spanish, German, Polish, Lithuanian, and French (that last one is only if atmospheric conditions are good and we can pick up the CBC). (Grokked from Jim Wright)

Words do matter. Calling people "enemies" matters. "New York police say they have safely destroyed a suspected letter bomb found at the home of billionaire businessman George Soros in New York state."

There's that saying that when someone tells you who they are you should believe them. "'You know what I am? I’m a nationalist, OK,' (Trump) said to 'USA!' chants. 'I’m a nationalist. Use that word.'" Okay, Nazi, we'll use that word then.

"Is the hair standing up on the back of your neck yet? Because it should be." Goddamnit, Jim Wright. And yes, the warning signals from 2016 have become klaxons and flashing lights in my head.

I think I've said it many times before, in the late 70s conservatives realized they were up against a demographic nightmare. So Reagan reached out to social conservatives (who typically weren't involved in politics), and offered them the sop of excusing Liberty University its transgressions and call the IRS off in exchange for their votes. Since then the social conservatives have wrestled control of the party away from the moderates and driven it's politics to the extreme right as the GOP continues to lose it's base. The 80s also saw the rise of talk-show conservatism which has helped keep the rubes in line. "Research from Emory University political scientists… found that when Sinclair buys a local station, its local news program begin to cover more national and less local politics, the coverage becomes more conservative, and viewership actually falls… A separate study… estimates that watching Fox News translates into a significantly greater willingness to vote for Republican candidates… Specifically, by exploiting semi-random variation in Fox viewership driven by changes in the assignment of channel numbers, they find that if Fox News hadn’t existed, the Republican presidential candidate’s share of the two-party vote would have been 3.59 points lower in 2004 and 6.34 points lower in 2008. Without Fox, in other words, the GOP’s only popular vote win since the 1980s would have been reversed and the 2008 election would have been an extinction-level landslide." (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

No comments: