There's battle lines being drawn.
Nobody's right if everybody's wrong.
Young people speaking their minds
getting so much resistance from behind

Friday, July 5, 2024

Linkee-poo July 5

"After leaving a trail of destruction across the eastern Caribbean and at least nine people dead, Hurricane Beryl weakened as it chugged over open water toward Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula on Thursday, going from the earliest Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic to Category 2 by the afternoon."

"Beryl has already racked up multiple alarming superlatives. It is the most powerful hurricane ever recorded this early in the Atlantic hurricane season, and also the earliest storm to strengthen so rapidly as it formed. Beryl grew from a relatively weak tropical depression into a full-blown major hurricane in less than two days, sending residents in its path scrambling to evacuate or find suitable shelter... Climate change is playing a crucial and obvious role in Beryl’s development, scientists say."

"Flooding on the Blue Earth River breached the Rapidan Dam Monday morning and it's now in an "imminent failure condition," officials said... Le Sueur County residents in low-lying areas of the Minnesota River Valley are advised to closely monitor the situation and potentially evacuate, according to the county's emergency management office. The agency initially said the dam had failed, but later updated that the dam had been breached."

"Rushing waters from the Blue Earth River have already left a trail of debris and destruction on the edges of a southern Minnesota dam that partially failed last week, but officials acknowledged Tuesday the structure most in danger may be the bridge that looms nearby."

"The melting of Alaska’s Juneau icefield, home to more than 1,000 glaciers, is accelerating. The snow covered area is now shrinking 4.6 times faster than it was in the 1980s, according to a new study."

"As the demand for electricity has soared, the regional power grid has hummed along uneventfully, backed in part by a relatively new source of energy: thousands of solar panels on rooftops, over parking lots, and along highways. It’s not just helping make the grid more reliable, experts said, but proving that non-fossil fuel generated power is finally playing a significant role in the operation of the regional power grid, with even more due to come online from major wind farms and other large-scale resources under development." Why it's almost like solar is better.

"Researchers, including former CDC director Tom Frieden and Anthony Fauci, who led the nation’s response to COVID, cite testing failures as a key reason the U.S. fared so poorly with COVID. Had COVID tests been widely available in early 2020, they say, the U.S. could have detected many cases before they turned into outbreaks that prompted business shutdowns and cost lives." And now the same thing is happening with H5N1.

"Texas lawmakers touted their heartbeat law as an effort to save lives, but the state's near-total ban on abortion appears to have triggered an increase in infant deaths, according to a new study published Monday." Who could have seen that happening, other than everybody.

"Vice President Kamala Harris is using the second anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade to argue that Donald Trump is 'guilty' of rolling back women’s freedoms and setting off a nationwide health care crisis."

"The Supreme Court said Monday it will hear a major case on transgender rights and decide whether states may prohibit the use of puberty blockers and other hormones for teens who suffer from gender distress."

"'I would call the day it went on the market,' she says, 'and the real estate agent would tell me, "Yeah, I can show you that property. But just so you know, it's already got two cash offers on it."'"

"Investigations by nonprofit news outlet ProPublica have found links between Chinese diplomats, Chinese Communist Party-affiliated organizations, local Chinese criminal syndicates and some marijuana operations in the United States... In the operations reported on in this story, NPR found no signs of Chinese state or Asian organized crime involvement. The businesses did attract small-scale, individual investors from China who were eager to invest abroad."

"Amazon workers left unable to work by injuries on the job have resorted to online fundraising campaigns to pay their bills as they fight for compensation and disability benefits… During interviews with the Guardian, they alleged the company ignored workers’ concerns over the strains of warehouse work, denied requests for compensation or benefits after injuries, and put productivity above all else."

"McDonald’s is ditching its drive-through AI ordering system after too many customers wound up with hilarious, wonky orders from the artificial intelligence tech… The fast food giant, which had been testing voice-automated ordering systems at about 100 restaurant drive-throughs since 2021, is now booting it from the menu. It seems to be because AI, at least when it comes to taking orders as people shout them from their car windows, turns out not to be a very good listener." There are so many jokes here, crappy AI, crappy drive-through audio, and modern business'/computer science's inability to actually test something before it's rolled out. And then there is this… "Chains have high hopes about AI, but the ordering systems haven’t been as smooth or accurate as customers would hope." As "customers" would hope. It ain't the customers rolling out the AI, idiots. But rather than saying, "whelp, that didn't work," McDs "says it will wait until competitors bring in AI, too." So once everybody's drive throughs are crappy, ah, then they will match that crappiness and be the best crappy service in the market place. The current technology is a bunch of shit, folks. It ain't intelligent and it's barely artificial. But corporate America is in love, and so they will throw a metric shit-ton of the economy down the AI rabbit hole before they realize it (if they ever will). Most likely we will end up with implementation that mirrors the AI, in that AI is not artificial intelligence, it has no concept of what it is actually doing except that it's making statistically relevant predictions of "tokens" (words or images), but it doesn't have any concept of the human meaning of those tokens. But computer science has been telling us "AI is ALMOST HERE!" for so long they finally just drew the finish line behind where they were standing and declared victory.

An article floating around my social media groups… "I started working as a data scientist in 2019, and by 2021 I had realized that while the field was large, it was also largely fraudulent. Most of the leaders that I was working with clearly had not gotten as far as reading about it for thirty minutes despite insisting that things like, I dunno, the next five years of a ten thousand person non-tech organization should be entirely AI focused. The number of companies launching AI initiatives far outstripped the number of actual use cases. Most of the market was simply grifters and incompetents (sometimes both!) leveraging the hype to inflate their headcount so they could get promoted, or be seen as thought leaders." The first one to figure out how to make it actually work will be remembered in the same way Jack Welch is remembered for Six Sigma and making GE Financial into a powerhouse (but it's overlooked how he took the largest, most technically savvy corporation in the world and drove it into a smoking crater where it no longer makes its signature product, the consumer light bulb).

"General Motors will pay nearly $146 million in penalties to the federal government because 5.9 million of its older vehicles do not comply with emissions and fuel economy standards... The penalty comes after the Environmental Protection Agency said its testing showed the GM pickup trucks and SUVs emit over 10% more carbon dioxide on average than GM’s initial compliance testing claimed."

"The National Black Farmers Association called on Tractor Supply’s president and CEO Tuesday to step down after the rural retailer announced that it would drop most of its corporate diversity and climate advocacy efforts."

"Rishi Sunak has become mired in a row over alleged betting on the general election date after it emerged that a second Conservative candidate and the party’s campaigns director were being looked into by the Gambling Commission… The watchdog is examining bets allegedly placed by Laura Saunders, the Tory candidate in Bristol North West, and her husband, Tony Lee, who is now on leave of absence from his job at party headquarters." Since this article was published I believe a few more have been caught up in the net. This is just so piss poor competence that it has almost come around the bend back into genius. And the kicker is that it's all for such low stakes (like 100 pounds). If not for totally screwing over the UK, the Tories should lose the election just on this.

"The exit poll suggests that the opposition Labour Party is on course to win 410 of the House of Commons’ 650 seats... The Conservatives are set for 131 seats — the lowest number of Conservative lawmakers on record.. The exit poll also forecasts the left-of-center Liberal Democrats will take 61 seats, and the right-wing, anti-immigration Reform UK is predicted to take 13. The Green Party is expected to take 2."

"WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will plead guilty to a felony charge in a deal with the U.S. Justice Department that will resolve a long-running legal saga that spanned multiple continents and centered on the publication of a trove of classified documents, according to court papers filed late Monday."

"The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office on Friday declined to charge Edan On, the 18-year-old accused of attacking pro-Palestinian protesters at UCLA in April, citing insufficient evidence and referring the case to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office for misdemeanor filing consideration… On was identified by his mother to CNN as the man in a white hoodie attacking protesters with a long pole in videos distributed across social media. He was arrested on suspicion of felony assault in May." They say they didn't have enough evidence to tie him to the crime. Yet… "CNN was the first to identify On, along with other counterprotesters, through a review of hundreds of hours of video, social media posts and interviews. Video shows the 18-year-old striking a pro-Palestinian protester with a pole and continuing to strike him even when he was down, as fellow counterprotesters piled on." Yeah, I guess all the physical evidence, statements, video, and other physical evidence that places him at the scene of the crime just wasn't enough. What a load of bullshit.

"A federal appeals court Thursday night rejected Steve Bannon’s bid to delay the July 1 start of his criminal contempt-of-Congress prison sentence… Following the ruling from the US DC Circuit Court of Appeals, it is likely the former adviser to former President Donald Trump will seek the intervention of the Supreme Court."

"The scenarios may sound part of an apocalyptic future. But the plain reality of the 6-3 opinion is that it ensures presidents have a wide berth to carry out official acts without fear of being criminally charged and it could embolden Trump, who was impeached twice and faced four separate prosecutions over the last year and a half, as he eyes a return to the White House."

"With a $100,000 grant from the Heritage Foundation, the goal is to post 100 names of government workers to a website this summer to show a potential new administration who might be standing in the way of a second-term Trump agenda — and ripe for scrutiny, reclassifications, reassignments or firings." You know, like totally normal people do. Because creating lists for Stasi purges never goes wrong.

"The leader of a conservative think tank orchestrating plans for a massive overhaul of the federal government in the event of a Republican presidential win said that the country is in the midst of a 'second American Revolution' that will be bloodless 'if the left allows it to be.'" The only appropriate response to this is a hearty, "Fuck you, Kevin Roberts."

"A U.S. bankruptcy court trustee is planning to shut down conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ Infowars media platform and liquidate its assets to help pay the $1.5 billion in lawsuit judgments Jones owes for repeatedly calling the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting a hoax."

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