Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Fox Hounds

President Obama could have been a contender, if it hadn't been for those meddling Fox News kids:
I think that nothing is determined, but that the number of people who have a strong belief in a fair, just, equal, inclusive America is the majority and is growing.

And part of the challenge, though, that we do have, and this is something that I’ve been chewing on for a while now, is that there is a cohort of working-class white voters that voted for me in sizable numbers, but that we’ve had trouble getting to vote for Democrats in midterm elections. In this election, [they] turned out in huge numbers for Trump. And I think that part of it has to do with our inability, our failure, to reach those voters effectively. Part of it is Fox News in every bar and restaurant in big chunks of the country, but part of it is also Democrats not working at a grassroots level, being in there, showing up, making arguments.
Never let an opportunity to whine on your way out go to waste...

Trumponomics

How the Trump Effect is already making America work again:
Trump and his team have signaled that the U.S. is going to become a friendlier host to businesses big and small. They are promising to lower taxes on companies, encourage the repatriation of foreign-held cash and roll back regulations that have stifled innovation and entrepreneurship. Instead of driving companies offshore, the Trump White House will do everything in its power to keep businesses in the U.S. Business investment has been the weak link during the Obama years – a major reason the economy has sputtered along in near-stall mode. Managers rattled by a bewildering flood of rules and regulations have been reluctant to spend, which in turn has dampened productivity and wage growth.

The Carrier decision, and the resulting 1,000 jobs, is a drop in the bucket, but it is a powerful symbol at a time when working people in our country are just regaining their optimism. Carrier had long broadcast its intention to shift the manufacturing of its gas furnaces and fan coils from Indiana to Monterrey. The move was expected to save Carrier some $65 million per year, but became a rallying cry on the campaign trail. The planned move became the poster child for the seeming indifference of U.S. companies to its workers, as well as the negligence of the Obama White House, which did nothing to prevent the devastating seepage of manufacturing jobs from our land.
Losers never prosper. Hopefully that era is now over.

Her Grand Delusion

What is Jill Stein trying to prove, anyway?
Legally, any candidate has standing to request a recount — as long as they pay the costs. Politically and morally, however, Stein utterly lacks any standing to claim she has been harmed by ballot irregularities and counting errors. Proper standing — at least in political and commonsense contexts — would go to the person who might have otherwise won an election without such alleged irregularities.

That means the one candidate who might have a decent argument for recounts in places like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan is Hillary Clinton. (And indeed, Stein's recount demands are surely intended to help Clinton.) So why hasn't the Democrat who sustained a shocking loss in the party's famed "Blue Wall" states pushed for recounts herself? For one thing, Clinton has already conceded the race to Donald Trump, reportedly urged by President Barack Obama to do so.

The optics would also be terrible. Clinton spent the last weeks of the election hyperventilating, along with the media, about Trump's refusal to commit to accepting Election Night results. She called it "horrifying" and repeatedly hit Trump's lack of respect for the electoral system. To suddenly demand recounts after those attacks would be a hypocrisy that might be beyond the reach of any politician.

Beyond that, though, there are many thousands of reasons not to demand a recount. Specifically, there are 10,700 reasons in Michigan, 22,000 in Wisconsin, and 68,000 in Pennsylvania. Those are the votes that Clinton would have to make up in a recount to change the outcome in each state, and she'd need to succeed in all three of those states to change the Electoral College outcome. No recount has ever produced a vote change of that magnitude; no recount has even come close to it.
Wishing won't make it so, no matter how much money she raises on her own behalf...

How Now, Smelly Cow

First they came for the cows:
Despite strong opposition from farmers, Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation in September that for the first time regulates heat-trapping gases from livestock operations and landfills.

Cattle and other farm animals are major sources of methane, a greenhouse gas many times more potent than carbon dioxide as a heat-trapping gas. Methane is released when they belch, pass gas and make manure.

"If we can reduce emissions of methane, we can really help to slow global warming," said Ryan McCarthy, a science adviser for the California Air Resources Board, which is drawing up rules to implement the new law.

Livestock are responsible for 14.5 percent of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions, with beef and dairy production accounting for the bulk of it, according to a 2013 United Nations report.
What about the brain farts from politicians?

Death By Drinking?

In the Netherlands, alcohol drinks you:
“I was particularly angry at Mark,” he said. “At first we did what most people do; help. My parents especially have done everything humanly possible to save Mark.”

His parents continued to believe in a “happy ending” despite eight years of help and 21 stints in rehab.

Eventually, Mr Langedijk told his family he wanted to die, but the family originally took the news with “a grain of salt”.

But his brother had no second thoughts. His application for euthanasia was approved by a doctor from the Support and Consultation on Euthanasia in the Netherlands.
Being unhappy can literally get you killed, if you want it...

She's Back

Nancy Pelosi gets to keep her phony-baloney job:
Pelosi said afterward that she was “exhilarated” by the strong support and reminded reporters that she had accurately predicted winning two-thirds of the vote.

She has winning brought “a special spring in my step” because it gives her the opportunity to “differentiate between us and the administration coming in January."

Ryan, after a disappointing 2016 election cycle for Democrats, argued that newer lawmakers in the party need a bigger, fresher voice to represent them, instead of the same slate of leaders and committee chairmen.

She has winning brought “a special spring in my step” because it gives her the opportunity to “differentiate between us and the administration coming in January."
House Democrats will still be just as nutty as ever...

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Old School Uncle Sam

Government agencies aren't exactly known for being up to date:
In some cases, the government uses technology that’s 50 years old, Oklahoma Republican Rep. James Lankford said in his second annual “Federal Fumbles” report.

The Department of Defense, for instance, still uses 8-inch floppy disks — not the small kind that fits in a pocket, the bigger, older version — to manage the nuclear weapons system. The Department of the Treasury catalogs taxpayers using software originally created in the 1960s. The Department of Veterans Affairs tracks benefits claims, employee time cards and payroll on code that was first created in the 1950s.

The Government Accountability Office found that in 2015, federal agencies spent more than $55 billion of the government’s $80 billion technology budget on “services that do not use solutions often viewed as more efficient.”
Wait until they find out about modems...

Who Killed Obamacare?

It could well be this man:
Price — a former orthopedic surgeon — has been one of the strongest opponents to the Affordable Care Act and currently serves as chairman of the House Budget Committee.

In a statement, Trump said Price has “earned a reputation for being a tireless problem solver and the go-to expert on healthcare policy, making him the ideal choice to serve in this capacity.”

“He is exceptionally qualified to shepherd our commitment to repeal and replace Obamacare and bring affordable and accessible healthcare to every American,” the president-elect continued. “I am proud to nominate him as Secretary of Health and Human Services.”
The Doctor is in...

The New German Order

Who says Germany didn't win the war?
“The resolutions of the Greek crisis was not a Brussels-Athens decision, it was a Berlin-Athens decision”, Romano Prodi, who led the European Commission between 1999 and 2004, told Politico.

The left-wing politician and former Italian president, who oversaw the EU nearly doubling in size, claimed the bloc had changed from a “union of minorities” to a “coalition of states”.

He said: “During my time at the Berlaymont (the headquarters of the European Commission), one just had to turn on a news channel of a European country and it was all about the Commission. Today, it’s all about the Council.”
Now all they need is a wehrmacht...

The Solitary Set

Do you want to be alone?
People of the highest intelligence tended to become less happy when socializing. (Paradoxically, it was also reported that they spent quite a bit of time with others, something that would have been enviable to all other groups, but not to them.)
Two theories have been put forward to explain this tendency. One is that the most intelligent people are the most aspirational. On some level, they view time spent “hanging out” as time that could have been better utilized elsewhere. The other: Evolution has led smart people to assume they don’t need anyone else. As a result, they don’t see the point in enjoying the company of others. (Of course, networking has always been a key to success, suggesting that smart people may not be as clever as they believe.)
Or maybe they just want real quality time...

Fish Freeze

Who wants frozen fish?
The park showed pictures of some fish half-submerged into the ice with their mouths open and other fish arranged into arrows and other shapes.

The photos had captions such as, “I am d… d… drowning, s … s… suffocating.”

Online commenters flooded the site with negative reviews.

“What were you people thinking, to use dead fish to decorate a playground?” said one commenter, who added the rink was “disrespectful of life.”

“This really makes me upset. Do you think children are happy to see this fish in skate rink?” Miura Tsubasa commented.

Space World manager Toshimi Takeda said he has received a deluge of negative reactions after the attraction was broadcast on national television, and he apologized for the project.

“We were shocked to hear the reaction as the ice skate rink was very popular since it opened two weeks ago, we had an unprecedented number of visitors,” he said to CNN.
On the positive side-extra fish fry?

Leave Hippie Leave

No more hippies:
“They are coming in, taking food, clothing etc and occupying space without any desire to participate in camp maintenance and without respect of tribal protocols,” she said. “These people are treating it like it is Burning Man or The Rainbow Gathering and I even witnessed several wandering in and out of camps comparing it to those festivals.”

Her Nov. 14 post, now making the rounds on social media, said outsiders are “literally subsisting entirely off the generosity of native people (AND YOUR DONATIONS if you have been donating) who are fighting to protect their water just because they can.”

A local deputy who asked to remain anonymous told WDAY-AM’s Rob Port that most of the protesters are white, and that some have used racial slurs against black, Hispanic and Native American officers.
Get the Slayer music ready...

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Damned

Who will save punk's soul?
“Punk has become another marketing tool to sell you something you don’t need,” Mr. Corré said to a crowd of dozens gathered on the shore in London’s Chelsea district, as flames licked at a trunk of punk paraphernalia and fireworks shot from the boat into the late afternoon sky. “If you want to understand the potent values of punk, confront taboos. Do not tolerate hypocrisy. Investigate the truth for yourself.”

Mr. Corré, a household name in Britain, is known as the son of McLaren and the fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, and as a founder of the racy lingerie brand Agent Provocateur. He announced this spring that he would burn his personal punk collection to protest Punk London, a celebration of the genre, timed to the 40th anniversary of a 1976 Ramones concert in the city that is said to mark punk’s arrival in Britain.

Saturday’s bonfire coincided with the anniversary of the release of the Sex Pistols’ single “Anarchy in the U.K.,” which put England’s seminal punk band on the map.
Old punks never die, they just burn away...

The Recount Queen

Every little bit helps:
Stein started the push for a recount last week. Since then, she has raised more than $6 million toward an effort neither she nor her party can guarantee will actually happen. A closer look at the fine print on her website says “we can only pledge we will demand recounts in WI and MI and support the voter-initiated effort in PA.”

She adds, “If we raise more than what’s needed, the surplus will also go toward election integrity efforts and to promote voting system reform. This is what we did with our surplus in 2004.”

She does not go into specifics about what those “election integrity efforts” might be.

Stein’s initial $2.5 million fundraising goal was surpassed in less than 48 hours. Since then, she’s upped her target to $4.5 million, but language on her donation page said the cost could go even higher. With attorneys' fees factored in, the total cost is likely to be $6 million to $7 million.

That’s a lot of money for the Green Party, especially considering Stein’s entire 2016 presidential campaign brought in $3,509,477 from donors.
Fools and their money are always parted...

Never Let A Stabbing Go To Waste

They really can't help themselves:
First reports and reports throughout the duration of the attack described it as a shooting. Authorities later clarified it was a knife attack. Minutes after news broke that there was an alleged active shooter, Twitter users called for stronger gun control and blamed the attack on lackluster laws.
Out: Gun free zones. In: Car free zones?

The Lost Ping

Where's it coming from?
The area where the sound, also referred to as a “ping,” has been occurring is the Fury and Hecla Strait, some 75 miles northwest of Igloolik, an Inuit hamlet. According to CBC News, locals from Igloolik noted that “there was less marine wildlife in the area than usual.” That’s putting it lightly. Paul Quassa, a member of the area’s legislative assembly, was quoted as saying, “That’s one of the major hunting areas in the summer and winter because it’s a polynya,” or an area where open waters are surrounded by ice abundant with sea mammals. This past summer, however, “there were hardly any. And this became a suspicious thing.”
Something is calling, but should we answer?

No Relationships For Us, Please, We're Japanese

What's the matter with Japanese kids these days?
New figures show that more than 70% of unmarried Japanese men and 75% of women have never had any sexual experience by the time they reach 20, though that drops to almost 50% for each gender by the time they reach 25.
According to Professor Masahiro Yamada, a sociologist at Chuo University in Tokyo, who has coined the phrase “stranded singles” for the phenomenon, the rise in virginity rates is matched by a rise in the lack of interest in having any kind of “real” relationship.

Recent research by the Japanese government showed that about 30% of single women and 15% of single men aged between 20 and 29 admitted to having fallen in love with a meme or character in a game – higher than the 24% of those women and 11% of men who admitted to falling in love with a pop star or actor.
If you can't have real love, make it up?

Laying Down The Law

None for us, please, we're lawyers:
Supporters of an all-out ban say the relationship between a lawyer and client is inherently unequal, so any sexual relationship is potentially coercive. But some attorneys say it's an unjustified invasion of privacy.

The proposal is part of a long-awaited shake-up of the state bar association's ethics rules for attorneys, which were last fully revised in 1987. Lawyers who violate the regulations are subject to discipline ranging from private censure to loss of their legal license.

A state bar commission has spent months crafting and amending 70 rules under goals set by the California Supreme Court. Other changes under consideration would allow the state bar to discipline attorneys for discrimination and harassment even without a separate finding of wrongdoing. The current rule requires a final determination of wrongful discrimination in a lawsuit or other proceeding before the state bar can take action.
Either way, their clients will still get...well, you know...

Le Fillon Revolution?

France will soon get a new President, but what kind?
His programme for national revival is fundamentally based on his economic policy proposals, which by French standards are some of the strongest medicine ever prescribed.

They involve €100bn in government spending cuts over five years, with the loss of 500,000 public sector jobs. Mr Fillon would also raise VAT by two percentage points, scrap the 35-hour working week in the public sector and gradually increase the retirement age to 65. Coupled with all this would be €50bn in tax breaks for companies.

These are detailed proposals which are already drawing savage attacks from the National Front.

Although the far right’s economic ideas are more extreme, relying on a heavy dose of economic nationalism, protectionism and leaving the EU, Ms Le Pen could attract votes by promising to defend jobs and by denouncing Mr Fillon as the French incarnation of bloodsucking Anglo-American capitalism.
Either way, it looks like another era in the EU is coming to an end...

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Other Side Of Utopia

Something else that died with Castro:
On April 15, 1959, 15 weeks after capturing Havana, Castro, then 32, landed in Washington at what is now Reagan National Airport. He had been in America in 1948, when he studied English and bought a Lincoln. This time, on April 16, in a concession to bourgeois expectations, he dispatched an aide to buy a comb and toothbrush. His connections to Communism? “None,” he said. He endorsed a free press as “the first enemy of dictatorship,” and said free elections were coming soon. Then he was off to a Princeton seminar and a lecture in the chapel at Lawrenceville prep school, well received at both places. By July red stars were being painted on Cuban military vehicles. Three years later, Soviet ballistic missiles were arriving. A year after that, a Castro admirer murdered the U.S. president whose administration had been interested in, indeed almost obsessed with, removing Castro. MORE FIDEL CASTRO THE TRUTH ABOUT FIDEL AND RAUL CUBA BEFORE CASTRO CASTRO: A LETTER FROM KHRUSHCHEV U.S. flings at “regime change” in distant lands have had, to say no more, uneven results, but the most spectacular futility has been 90 miles from Florida. Castro was the object of various and sometimes unhinged U.S. attempts to remove him. After the Bay of Pigs debacle, the Kennedy administration doubled down with Operation Mongoose, which included harebrained assassination plots and a plan skeptics called “elimination by illumination” — having a U.S. submarine surface in Havana harbor and fire star shells into the night sky to convince Catholic Cubans that the Second Coming had come, causing them to rebel against Castro the anti-Christ. Nevertheless, Castro ruled Cuba during eleven U.S. presidencies and longer than the Soviet Union ruled Eastern Europe. Socialism is bountiful only of slogans, and a Castro favorite was “socialism or death.” The latter came to him decades after the former had made Cuba into a gray museum for a dead utopianism.
Or, how to run your country into the ground in the name of the people...

Cash And Carry

How much can you carry in Caracas?
The currency has dropped dramatically in value as Venezuela’s oil-based economy has cratered and the government has frantically printed more money. Prices, meanwhile, are soaring. So Venezuelans must handle huge volumes of cash — so much that the bills don’t always fit in a standard wallet — with many people packing wads of currency in handbags, money belts or backpacks.

The owner of a tiny kiosk selling newspapers, cigarettes and snacks in one of Caracas’s nicer neighborhoods said that each evening he quietly stuffs a plastic bag full of the day’s earnings, around 100,000 bolivars (about $52) in notes of 10, 20, 50 and 100 bolivars. This is a country with one of the highest crime rates in the world, and carrying that much cash is dangerous. He said he doesn’t feel safe, despite having his own scooter rather than using public transport.

“All of Caracas is unsafe,” said the 42-year-old kiosk owner, who declined to give his name. Three years ago, the volume of cash he carried home after a long day of work was smaller, he said, “and so were the risks.” He said that his clients usually count out their notes before stepping out onto the street, since they are too scared to be seen holding money in public.
Socialists love to share the wealth, to the point where it becomes worthless...

Herd Politics

And you thought our elections were nasty:
“Dostum came there and he walked around the stadium, then he called Ahmad Ishchi over to him,” said Gulab Khan, a relative of Mr. Ishchi who was present at the game along with about 5,000 other spectators. “After talking with him for a couple of minutes, he punched him and his bodyguards started beating him with AK-47s. They beat Ahmad very badly and in a barbaric way.”

General Dostum’s act, while not unexpected for a former warlord with a history of accusations of human rights violations and abuse (including physical acts of retaliation against allies and rivals), confirms the worst fears about someone a heartbeat from the presidency.

With President Ashraf Ghani traveling abroad on an official visit to Central Asia, General Dostum is technically the acting president of the country. For more than two days, he has held a political rival hostage in one of his properties, with family members increasingly concerned about Mr. Ishchi’s health.
If you can't beat 'em, kidnap 'em...

Dirty Neo-Reds

Those Russkies seem to be everywhere:
PropOrNot claims to have monitored the internet to find purveyors of Russian propaganda. They identified more than 200 of these sites whose stories have been viewed more than 213 million times on Facebook and have a combined audience of at least 15 million Americans.

The list of alleged spreaders of Russian propaganda is on PropOrNot’s site and includes some questionable names. Alongside Pravda’s website is popular news-aggregation site The Drudge Report, as is anti-immigration site VDare. Max Blumenthal, a prominent liberal and son of Hillary Clinton ally Sidney Blumenthal, tweeted Thursday that there are “major progressive outlets” on the list. These outlets are ThruthOut and Black Agenda Report.

PropOrNot wrote in their presentation of the list: “Please note that our criteria are behavioral. That means the characteristics of the propaganda outlets we identify are motivation-agnostic. For purposes of this definition it does not matter whether the sites listed here are being knowingly directed and paid by Russian intelligence officers, or whether they even knew they were echoing Russian propaganda at any particular point: If they meet these criteria, they are at the very least acting as bona-fide ‘useful idiots’ of the Russian intelligence services, and are worthy of further scrutiny.”
The New McCarthyism has its own share of "useful idiots..."

Running Out The Clock

They know they don't have a lot of time left:
Despite the likelihood that US President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress would kill any controversial late-in-the-game moves by Mr. Obama, federal agencies under the Democratic president are pushing for a flurry of so-called "midnight" regulations on everything from the environment to transportation and financial marketplaces.

The White House was reviewing as many as 98 final regulations , as of Nov. 15, that could be implemented before Mr. Trump takes office, including 17 with an estimated annual economic impact of $100 million or more, Politico reported. But lawmakers have warned agency heads to avoid rushing to finalize rules or regulations before Obama leaves office.
All those regulations, so little time...

Hillary Strikes Again

Team Hillary pulls an Al Gore:
In a Medium post, Clinton campaign lawyer Marc Elias said that the campaign had received “hundreds of messages, emails, and calls urging us to do something, anything, to investigate claims that the election results were hacked and altered in a way to disadvantage Secretary Clinton,” especially in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, where the “combined margin of victory for Donald Trump was merely 107,000 votes.”

Elias said the campaign had “not uncovered any actionable evidence of hacking or outside attempts to alter the voting technology.” But because of the margin of victory — and because of the degree of apparent foreign interference during the campaign — Elias said that Clinton officials had “quietly taken a number of steps in the last two weeks to rule in or out any possibility of outside interference in the vote tally in these critical battleground states.”
Never let a recount go to waste...

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Not Dead Yet

Here she comes:
If Green Party candidate Jill Stein initiates recounts in all of those states as she intends, the Clinton campaign “will participate in order to ensure the process proceeds in a manner that is fair to all sides,” lawyer Marc Elias said Saturday in a post on the blogging website Medium.com.
The announcement prompted a sharp response from Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, now a senior adviser to the president-elect.
“What a pack of sore losers,” Conway said in a statement to Bloomberg. “After asking Mr. Trump and his team a million times on the trail, ‘Will HE accept the election results?’ it turns out Team Hillary and their new BFF Jill Stein can’t accept reality.”
That never stopped Democrats before...

Fake For The Future

In other words, they're the perfect audience for the mainstream media:
The Wall Street Journal reports that the Stanford study is the largest one to date that focuses on how young people consume and evaluate online media. The study questioned approximately 7,084 students ranging in age from middle school to college students.

According to the WSJ, the study claims that when asked to distinguish between sponsored content and actual news article on the same website, 82 percent of students were unable to tell the difference, and nearly 70 percent of students felt no reason to distrust a financial article written by the CEO of a major bank. Visual stimulus ranked as extremely important to students, with many defining the trustworthiness of a tweet based on the size of attached photos and the tweet’s level of detail.

The WSJ also reports that the study suggests that students find it hard in the digital age to evaluate the credibility of online news sources, and that although many schools now offer media literacy courses, the dwindling number of librarians has left many students with an inability to research properly.
Ignorance is bliss-for the content providers...

Green For The Green

How much for just the recount?
Stein’s campaign said that amount would be needed to meet Wisconsin’s Nov. 25 deadline and $1.1 million filing fee. But it was soon clear that goal would easily be met.

The campaign had raised $4.5 million goal by 11 p.m. on Thursday, according to The Huffington Post.

By Friday morning, the fundraising effort was nearing $5 million, a figure that exceeded the $3,509,477 reported on Stein’s final October 19 campaign finance report.

Stein has enough to cover the $1.1 million fee to file before the Friday afternoon deadline to file recount in Wisconsin. Under Wisconsin law, Stein must also show cause for a recount to take place.
Just some money for a rainy day...

What Do You Do With A Dead Commie?

Fidel Castro is taking a dirt nap:
Castro’s reign over the island-nation 90 miles from Florida was marked by the U.S.-backed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 and the Cuban Missile Crisis a year later that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. The bearded revolutionary, who survived a crippling U.S. trade embargo as well as dozens, possibly hundreds, of assassination plots, died eight years after ill health forced him to formally hand power over to his younger brother Raul, who announced his death late Friday on state television.

Castro overcame imprisonment at the hands of dictator Fulgencio Batista, exile in Mexico and a disastrous start to his rebellion before triumphantly riding into Havana in January 1959 to become, at age 32, the youngest leader in Latin America. For decades, he served as an inspiration and source of support to revolutionaries from Latin America to Africa.

His commitment to socialism was unwavering, though his power finally began to fade in mid-2006 when a gastrointestinal ailment forced him to hand over the presidency to Raul in 2008, provisionally at first and then permanently. His defiant image lingered long after he gave up his trademark Cohiba cigars for health reasons and his tall frame grew stooped.

“Socialism or death” remained Castro’s rallying cry even as Western-style democracy swept the globe and other communist regimes in China and Vietnam embraced capitalism, leaving this island of 11 million people an economically crippled Marxist curiosity.
This makes Kim Jong Un the world's last remaining Communist dictator. Him really ronery now...

Friday, November 25, 2016

Day Of The Incomprehensible

When gibberish got accepted as science:
Christoph Bartneck is an associate professor at the Human Interface Technology Laboratory at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. He was emailed an invitation to submit a paper to the International Conference on Atomic and Nuclear Physics. By his own admission, Bartneck has “practically no knowledge of nuclear physics.” Yet he still wanted to send something.
Enter iOS autocomplete. “I started a sentence with ‘atomic’ or ‘nuclear’ and then randomly hit the autocomplete suggestions,” he later blogged.
It was accepted to the conference three hours after he sent it.
Had he inadvertently created something profound? (Much as an unlimited number of monkeys hitting keyboards might create the great works of literature.) Not by any means. The first sign was the autocomplete generated title, “Atomic Energy will have been made available to a single source” and the general absurdity continued through to its final sentence: “Power is not a great place for a good time.”
The good news is, it wasn't that much different from the real thing...

Jurassic Hatchery

Where they keep dinosaur eggs in China:
Painstakingly avoiding major excavation, large rocks from local rivers and creeks were used to support the foundation of the museum. “It is a building that is modest to the site, honest to the history and respectful to the archaeological excavation,” the architects said in a press release. “The unaltered natural field and 800-year-old ancient trees are the main landscape features, which echoes the natural and minimalistic design principles of the architecture.”
For the Wuhan HUST team, environmental considerations were the priority for the project given its scientific value, so only locally-sourced materials were used in construction. The exterior features bamboo-textured walls, made by molding cast-in-place over repurposed scaffolding. Incorporating the traditional materials is an innovative way to create the geometric space while still paying homage to curving roof tiles used on old buildings in China.
On the care and keeping of ancient eggs...

You Can't Do That In Children's Books

Apparently some "experts" are concerned:
Some biologists are apparently very concerned that, in books geared toward children, animals do things like talk, wear clothes, and live in homes made for people. That would never happen in real life. So why is it happening in a book? Um . . . well . . . because . . . it’s a book!

Slightly less ridiculously (but only slightly), the article says that some of these scientists are concerned that many fictional books for kids contain incorrect biological information. One entomologist, for example, is having a hissy fit about The Very Hungry Caterpillar because butterflies emerge from chrysalises, not cocoons. Jeez, Eric Carle. Get your act together. (Caterpillars also don’t eat lollipops, but maybe we can let that slide since the title specified that he was very hungry, not just a little bit hungry, and all kinds of weird things happen when you’re starving. Even to caterpillars.)

Similarly, there is concern over things like animals from different regions inhabiting the same story, and landscape illustrations that include “inaccuracies.” Not to mention featuring only well-known animals and leaving out animals specific to the regions where the readers live. Or, as the article puts it: “Kids who grow up reading only about tigers don’t know to teach their own kids about the colocolo.” Coming soon: The Colocolo in the Hat. A cautionary tale reminding youngsters never to put headwear on wild animals.
Remember, kids-killjoys come in all ages...

Like, What?

Like, it's changed:
Like has become a piece of grammar: It is the source of the suffix -ly. To the extent that slowly means “in a slow fashion,” as in “with the quality of slowness,” it is easy (and correct) to imagine that slowly began as “slow-like,” with like gradually wearing away into a -ly suffix. That historical process is especially clear in that there are still people who, colloquially, say slow-like, angry-like. Technically, like yielded two suffixes, because -ly is also used with adjectives, as in portly and saintly. Again, the pathway from saint-like to saint- ly is not hard to perceive.

Like has become a part of compounds. Likewise began as like plus a word, wise, which was different from the one meaning “smart when either a child or getting old.” This other wise meant “manner”: Likewise meant “similar in manner.” This wise disappeared as a word on its own, and so now we think of it as a suffix, as in clockwise and stepwise. But we still have likeminded, where we can easily perceive minded as having independent meaning. Dictionaries tell us it’s pronounced “like-MINE-did,” but I, for one, say “LIKE- minded” and have heard many others do so.
Like, that's what it's all about...

The Republican Wave

How will they ride it?
The election of Trump grants Republicans agency to truly legislate. Many Republicans in Congress have never served under a GOP President. Eight years of a Democratic administration wore them down. Some grew tired of always working “against” something rather than striving “for” something.

Some Congressional Republicans grew disheartened. Uninspired. Exasperated. More years of investigations and inquiries awaited them in what many anticipated was the incoming Clinton Administration. So some Republicans turned on themselves. They went after former House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. Chatter began that maybe House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., wasn’t good enough, either. Maybe Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.,was the problem – so say nothing of all of those weird Senate rules.

And now, Republicans hit the jackpot. Or at least think they have. They’re anxious to get started. Energized. Confident. And expectations from the public are off the chart.
They've got the keys now. Don't wreck it, kids...

The Losing Left

The dying of the left:
In Germany and Britain, once-mighty center-left parties have been badly diminished, locked out of their nations’ top jobs for the foreseeable future. In Spain and Greece, they have been usurped by newer, more radical alternatives. And in France and Italy, they’re still governing — but their days in power may be numbered. The rout of the center-left has even extended deep into Scandinavia, perhaps the world’s premier bastion of social democracy.

Overall, the total vote share for the continent’s traditional center-left parties is now at its lowest level since at least World War II. Like the Democrats, these parties have been marginalized, with little influence over policy as the right prepares to place its stamp on the Western world in a way that could endure for decades.

“If the left and the center-left don’t get their act together, then we’re looking at a period of very unstable right-wing hegemony,” said Alex Callinicos, a European studies professor at King’s College London.
I thought European lefties liked hegemony...

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Ethanol's Last Stand

The EPA just won't quit:
Environmental Protection Agency officials announced final biofuel blending requirements for 2017 Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving. EPA increased blending mandates for cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel and conventional ethanol. The agency also increased biomass-based diesel levels for 2018.

“Renewable fuel volumes continue to increase across the board compared to 2016 levels,” said Janet McCabe, the head of EPA’s ir and radiation office, said in a statement.

“These final standards will boost production, providing for ambitious yet achievable growth of biofuels in the transportation sector,” she said. “By implementing the program enacted by Congress, we are expanding the nation’s renewable fuels sector while reducing our reliance on imported oil.”

While the ethanol industry celebrated the announcement, refiners, environmentalists and other businesses were less than enthused.

“Refiners should not have the responsibility to force consumers to use products they either don’t want or that are incompatible with their cars, boats, and motor equipment,” Chet Thompson, president of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, said in a statement.
But it's what the nanny state demands, so...

Less Than Nothing

Ben Carson has his work cut out for him:
It’s not clear whether HUD officials understand what they’re doing is wrong because, their spokesman, Brian Sullivan, told The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group that “HUD does apply generally accepted accounting standards.”

Not so, said the IG, whose most recent audit found 11 “material weaknesses,” seven “significant deficiencies” in internal controls, and five instances of “noncompliance with applicable laws and regulations.”

The laundry list of accounting failures, “were due to an inability to establish a compliant control environment, implement adequate financial accounting systems, retain key financial management staff, and identify appropriate accounting principles and policies,” the IG said.

The same conclusions have now been reported by the IG for three straight years.
Even incompetent crooks should at least try to explain themselves...

The Lost Beckett

Taking a second look at Samuel Beckett:
His play Waiting for Godot premiered in 1953, and is arguably the most influential work of theater of the last 100 years. He won the 1969 Nobel Prize in Literature and is revered as one of the world’s great playwrights.
Beckett wrote more than just plays, however, as he also produced novels and short stories. Chris Power tracks Beckett’s eclectic life for The Guardian. Born in Ireland in 1906, Beckett roamed much of Europe, became a close confidant of James Joyce, joined the resistance during World War II, and experienced a great deal of failure before his theatrical success. Even now, Power argues Beckett’s non-dramatic writing is deeply underrated and, indeed, often plain forgotten.
The other side of Beckett...

Get A Real Job

No more government gravy train?
The idea, as Trump has reportedly expressed, is that within the first 100 days in office he will freeze hiring in various sectors of government, and not replace employees who leave. This can be done without Congress’s approval through an executive order. A few areas will be exempt, however, such as military personnel and public health and safety. He has also said he will grow the size of the immigration enforcement agency by thousands.

Democrats, such as Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), and Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D) are already readying themselves to fight these measures.

“What study are they citing saying there are too many federal employees?” asked Connolly. “Are you going to make a bunch of exceptions, in which case your plan looks like Swiss cheese?”

Despite objections from the left, it would appear that this overhaul is long overdue, as noted by the Washington Post.
When you get paid for doing nothing, it's called welfare-if you're poor...

It Begins

So apparently this could be happening:
Apparently a “group of prominent computer scientists and election lawyers” met with Podesta to express their belief that they “found persuasive evidence that results in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania may have been manipulated or hacked,” according to New York magazine.

The academics presented findings showing that in Wisconsin, Clinton received 7 percent fewer votes in counties that relied on electronic-voting machines compared with counties that used optical scanners and paper ballots. Based on this statistical analysis, Clinton may have been denied as many as 30,000 votes; she lost Wisconsin by 27,000.

In order to overturn the election, these challenges would have to succeed in multiple counties and multiple states all at the same time to swing the Electoral College to Clinton, so it certainly seems like a desperate long shot.

It is such a long shot that even the left’s favorite numbers guru, Nate Silver, essentially dismissed the effort.
Somewhere, even Al Gore is shaking his head...

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Swamp Rats

Because calling DC a swamp is racist, or something:
“Drain the swam was a meme, a Twitter hashtag that grew, exploded, really, after Donald Trump came forward with allegations it was a rigged election,” Lenz told “At This Hour” host John Berman. “It was spread specifically — or among the people that were spreading the drain the swamp hashtag were avowed racists, white supremacists who exist on Twitter to harass and demean various ethnic groups.”

“So we have a little bit of a two-sided message here,” Lenz added, oblivious to the audacity of the point he was trying to make. “Yeah, he’s saying stop it, but he’s also, you know, giving a wink-wink, nod-nod to the very people he’s asking to step away from their violence.”
I prefer the term "cesspool" myself...

Trumping The Media

They're not happy about their meeting with The Donald:
“I have to tell you, I am emotionally f*cking pissed,” one person said.

Another person said Trump was “totally inappropriate” and “f*cking outrageous.”

“After the meeting today, though—and I am being human with you here—I think, F*ck him!” the person said. “I know I am being emotional about it. And I know I will get over it in a couple of days after Thanksgiving. But I really am offended. This was unprecedented. Outrageous!”

The meeting was off the record, however, news of its contentious nature quickly spread in the media.
Maybe if they actually did their jobs, they wouldn't have been called into the principal's office...

Let Her Go?

So apparently President Trump won't investigate:
Giuliani said,”Look, there’s tradition in American politics that after you win an election, you sort of put things behind you. If that’s the decision he reached, that’s perfectly consistent with sort of the historical pattern of things come up, you say a lot of things, even some bad things might happen, and then you sort of put it behind you in order to unite the nation. So if he made that decision, I would be supportive. I’d also be supportive of continuing the investigation. I think the president-elect had a tough choice there. He made the choice to unite the nation. I think all those people who did vote against him maybe can take another look at him.”
Let her stew in her own misery?

Monday, November 21, 2016

French Twist

Is this the new face of French conservatism?
Fillon, 62, vaulted from third position in most polls to win the first round of the Republican primary by 15 percentage points from the veteran Alain Juppe on Sunday with the most free-market platform among the seven candidates. They’ll face each other again in next Sunday’s runoff and the winner will be favorite to become president in May 2017.
Lifelong politician Fillon is pledging to lengthen the work week to 39 hours from 35, to increase the retirement age to 65 and add immigration quotas. He’s vowed to eliminate half a million public-sector jobs and cut spending by 100 billion euros ($106 billion) over his five years in office. And he proposes a 40 billion-euro tax-cut for companies and a constitutional ban on planned budget deficits.
“Who is Fillon? The classic conservative, right-wing candidate,” Bruno Cautres, a political scientist at the Sciences Po Institute in Paris, said in an interview. “He wants a deep reform of the French model: shrinking the role of the state and cutting the welfare system.”
Viva La Fillon Revolution?

Losing The Game

It's always different when you're on the losing side:
During a press conference in Peru, Obama grumbled that Republicans took advantage of “political gerrymandering” after winning wide majorities in that helped them lock in a majority in Congress.

“More votes have been cast for Democratic congressional candidates than Republican,” Obama said. “And yet you end up having large Republican majorities.”

He cited “bad luck” as the reason Republicans swept back into power in 2010, blaming the economic downturn he inherited from former president Bush and not having enough time for his policies to take root.

Obama appeared to realize that he was complaining about the rules, admitting that the electoral system has “structural problems” that the Democratic party has to accept.
Well, he did say he'd complain...

No Gummi Bears, No Peace

It's the new migrant privilege:
Ordinary lunchtime meals in the asylum centre were cancelled during Ramadan, to the dismay of non-Muslims, with hot food served only early morning and late evening. A spread of cold food was put out during the day for migrants who weren’t fasting.

Olaf Lehne, district head of the German Red Cross, revealed migrants set fire to the hall in anger that chocolate spread and confectionery was available at the buffet in daylight hours. “There isn’t enough Nutella, Gummibears, and chocolate,” they shouted.

German Red Cross Kitchen Master Stefan Gross said: “Most [migrants] were satisfied. There are always very few who complain.”
They came for the candies...

Behind Closed Doors

A formal surrender?
NBC’s Lester Holt, Chuck Todd and president Debora Turness were spotted as well as CNN’s Jeff Zucker, Erin Burnett, and Wolf Blitzer, Fox News executives Bill Shine, Jack Abernethy, Jay Wallace and Suzanne Scott, CBS’s John Dickerson Norah O’Donnell, Gayle King and Charlie Rose. ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Martha Raddatz and David Muir were also spotted entering the building. MSNBC’s president Phil Griffin was also reportedly in attendance.

The meeting was reportedly “Off the Record” as some of the reporters and executives completely ignored their press colleagues, stationed outside the elevators or waved awkwardly. Very little was said about the meeting.

When one reporter asked Chuck Todd what he was doing there, he shrugged his shoulders and said, “I wish I knew!”
You have been summoned...

Blogging In The Years: 1980

Who shot J.R.? Who knows? But everyone seems to care:

Blogging In The Years: 1902

It's called Vaught's Practical Character Reader, but is it?
The purpose of this book is to acquaint all with the elements of human nature and enable them to read these elements in all men, women and children in all countries. At least fifty thousand careful examinations have been made to prove the truthfulness of the nature and location of these elements. More than a million observations have been made to confirm the examinations. Therefore, it is given the world to be depended upon. Taken in its entirety it is absolutely reliable. Its facts can be completely demonstrated by all who will take the unprejudiced pains to do so. It is ready for use. It is practical. Use it.
Or not, depending on your idea of "practicality..."

Cooked Books

Book burning as art:
Nearly 20 years into her craft, Lee, who is originally from Northern Ireland and has degrees in ceramics and studio art, stumbled upon her subject-matter largely by accident. Firing a book in her kiln, she found this “… otherworldly, deconstructed book form, with its own story to tell.”
From there, it spiraled into a number of different projects, using books and magazines, in what she calls “controlled kiln environments,” transforming the paperbound objects into “fossils.” All of this takes place at temperatures as high as 2,444 degrees. Of the books, Lee notes that “… some were fragile, bloom-like forms or skeletal remains, while others were coral-like in parts, with covers that were shell-like in feel with text, cover titles, and even book cover colors present in their new, warped state.”
The fire of literature?

The Fakers Among Us

Are we all fakers?
The problem is that it's all about humans -- they are the ones, at least until AI takes over, making the determinations. And I haven't met a human yet who isn't biased. That includes Zuckerberg, the New York Times, National Review, PJ Media or anybody I know or have known.

Have you?

Ergo, on a certain level, all news is fake. Reading or watching the news is the ultimate version of caveat emptor.

One of the great positives of election 2016 was that the media was almost totally distrusted. They told the electorate repeatedly that Donald Trump was horrible and that Hillary Clinton was the infinitely better choice and we all know what happened.

Power to the people. That's the point. Trust yourself. All news is fake, I repeat, at some point.
One man's lie is another's news?

The Unquiet Man

Obama, the eternal critic?
“I want to be respectful of the office and give the president-elect an opportunity to put forward his platform and his arguments without somebody popping off in every instance,” Obama said.

“As an American citizen who cares deeply about our country, if there are issues that have less to do with the specifics of some legislative proposal but go to core questions about our values and our ideals, and if I think that it is necessary or helpful for me to defend those ideals, I’ll examine it when it comes.”
Which will most likely be quite often if he has his way...

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Foundation Crumbles

Well darn:
Foundation officials delayed release of the quarterly report of its latest donors on its website until the after the Nov. 8 presidential election, which former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lost to Republican rival Donald Trump.

The low number of new donors may indicate potential contributors were frightened away by repeated news reports that the Clinton charity is under FBI investigation regarding multiple allegations of “pay-to-play” influence-peddling schemes involving both Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton, as well as their key political aides.

“A lot of questions have been raised, and I think donors are understandably cautious about getting involved with this deeply troubled charity,” Charles Ortel, a Wall Street analyst and philanthropy expert, told TheDCNF.
No more gravy train for them...

Welcome To The Bubble

Can't stand reality? Come to The Bubble!

Attack Of The Foam

It's the blob that ate the Internet:
Its origins were initially unclear, but the Santa Clara Fire Department eventually said the fluffy white substance was released by a malfunctioning fire suppression system at a nearby airport.
“It’s essentially like bubbles in your bathtub,” San Jose Fire Capt. Mitch Matlow told the Mercury News.
The foam filled an entire building before eventually oozing out into the street and filling the 300 block of Martin Avenue.
It's just hungry, but stay out of its way:

The Restaurant At The Top Of The World

What it's like to eat on Mount Everest:
The Nepal dinner party is one of 20 stops on chef James Sharman’s One Star House Party tour, which kicked off in Beijing this fall.
It’s an ambitious two-year adventure that will take Sharman to major cities around the world, where he and four friends will host pop-up events catered to local flavors and cuisines.
For the fourth stop, guests will have to earn their dinner.
After setting off from Kathmandu, Nepal, a group of 15 guests will embark on a two-week trek to the base of Mount Everest, where they will then sit down to a dinner party prepared by a chef who has worked in the kitchen at Copenhagen’s Noma, ranked the best restaurant in the world four times by Restaurant magazine.
If you're going to climb the mountain, why not get catering while doing it?

Metropolis Lost

The forgotten plans for New York City:
New York City currently boasts the tallest tower in the country, but the unbuilt designs in the book show that architects had plans to take it to greater heights—and even lower depths. Never Built New York includes almost 200 proposals for infrastructure, skyscrapers, public transport, entertainment venues, and vast areas of redevelopment throughout the five boroughs. The book features alternative designs for landmarks like the United Nations, Lincoln Center, Grand Central Terminal, Columbus Circle, and many more. Covering the city’s existence, the proposals stretch from its nascent growth to today, including rejected plans for projects just getting underway like the new Penn Station.
What could have been...

Alien Art

The artist behind Alien:
Giger had been a successful as a surrealist painter before he worked in the film industry. The Swiss artist would keep a sketchbook next to his bed, drawing the night terrors that afflicted him. Though his mediums varied widely, his aesthetic was steadfast: a blend of industrial and the quasi-demonic, which Giger referred to as “biomechanic.”
Director Scott was in the process of designing the horrifying aliens for his film when he came across Giger’s Necronom IV. It was this creature—with the skeletal frame and protracted back skull—that would become his “Xenomorph.” Artists frequently influence each other within the same genre, but when art influences another medium altogether, you know it’s transcendent. Giger would go on to work on the next two Alien sequels, as well as the cult classic Dune.
You have to be scary and surreal. It's the only way to be sure...

And Fire In The Sky

Where "Smoke on the Water" came from:
The song came to the English rock band after attending a wild Frank Zappa concert in Montreaux, Switzerland, which resulted in a giant fire that burned down the entire concert hall.
Later, when the band found themselves one song short of an album (Machine Head) that they were recording in Montreaux, Glover and the other band members recalled the fire they had witnessed. Glover combined this memory with a phrase that he had literally dreamed up—”smoke on the water”—and voila, a classic ’70s rock song was born.
The whole songwriting process took about 15 minutes. For Glover, the experience taught him a great lesson. “You’re at your best when you’re not trying too hard,” he said. “I think you have more fun when you don’t know that anything’s going to come of it.”
Experience the classic as intended:

The Loser's Page

The campaign is over...or is it?
The website “hillaryclinton.com” still looks very similar to what it looked like before President-elect Donald Trump bested Clinton and won the presidency. Upon accessing the page, users are greeted with a promotional montage showing the long road of her campaign.

Visitors can “chip in today” by donating to the campaign. “We’re counting on our best supporters like you to help us stand up to Trump and the GOP,” the contribution form reads.

The “Shop” page still seems to be providing a “last chance to get your piece of history.”

Certain virtual links like “Volunteer” and “Help from Home” either redirect users back to the homepage or are now unavailable.

One perceptible difference in the website is a black and white image captioned “Thank you” that directs visitors to a personal article written by Clinton.
The ghosts of a campaign can be hard to lay to rest...

Samurai Star

The legacy of Japan's biggest movie star:
Mifune’s opening twenty minutes provide background on the 1900 to 1920s popularity of Japanese lone-samurai movies (dubbed “chanbara,” because that was the sound made by ronin’s clashing swords), and the way in which Mifune arrived on a cultural scene that—following the nation’s WWII defeat—was eager for a fresh, vibrant, non-conformist take on traditional material. That came courtesy of Mifune and Kurosawa’s work together, and in particular, from both Rashomon and, shortly thereafter, 1954’s Seven Samurai, whose bold, realistic action upended genre conventions. Okazaki’s clips from that epic lend credence to his claim that Mifune’s performance style was borderline revolutionary, vacillating between coiled calmness and rampaging ferocity to spellbinding effect. When his frequent co-star Kyoko Kagawara (herself a participant in greats like Tokyo Story, The Crucified Lovers and Sansho the Bailiff) states, “There was no one like Mifune. How do I say this? He had a big presence didn’t he?,” it comes across as a vast understatement. And moreover, it doesn’t even take into account the fact that, as confirmed by myriad archival photos, he was also a strikingly handsome man who married the debonair style of Clark Gable with the sexualized cool of Steve McQueen.
The last samurai, or the first Japanese action hero?

Toxic, James Toxic

Because 007 is too manly, or something:
Film’s idealization of stoic heroes can have devastating real-world consequences, Caroline Dinenage said, specifically mentioning James Bond, Gordon Gekko, and Steven Seagal’s action heroes.

“I think there are risks, particularly for those who are vulnerable or isolated and these messages can be particularly toxic for men suffering from mental health issues,” said Dinenage, who is also the parliamentary undersecretary of state for women, equalities, and early years. “We live in a culture where men are expected to be strong, tough and macho, which is why men sometimes bottle up their feelings, and possibly why there is such a high suicide risk with men,” she added.
Men are being shaken, not stirred...

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Robot Versus Cube

Robot 1, cube 0.0:
The robot’s build incorporated Infineon microchips and an Aurix micro-controller, the latter of which is a key element of autonomous driving systems. In fact, the stunt was a planned exhibition of Infineon’s self-driving-car technology at this year’s Electronica trade show in Munich, Germany. By completing the puzzle so quickly, the robot also showed off the minimal reaction times and high data–processing rate required to safely pilot a moving car.
Sub1 Reloaded’s incredible time beats the fastest human cube-solving time (4.9 seconds), and is the fastest completion time since the invention of the Rubik’s Cube.
Past champions can retire now:

Who Are The Real Fakers?

"Real" media versus "fakers":
Do fake news stories appear in Facebook news feeds at times? Yes. But should Facebook take action to get rid of the pages posting them? Absolutely not.

Trying to define a “fake” story is a slippery a slope — and allowing Facebook, another institution, or worse – the government — to define it for us is dangerous because it could shut down debate.

For example, is an outlet that makes posts on Facebook denying climate change promoting “fake” stories? The answer isn’t always clear. The market ought to determine what is worthy of being in our newsfeeds and what is not.
Don't let them tell you what's real when much of what they say isn't...

The Price Of Eating

Make way for the food tax?
The study, conducted by a team of researchers from the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food at the University of Oxford and the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington DC, is the first global analysis to estimate the impacts that levying emissions prices on food could have on greenhouse gas emissions and human health.

The findings show that about one billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions could be avoided in the year 2020 if emissions pricing of foods were to be implemented, more than the total current emissions from global aviation. However, the authors stress that due consideration would need to be given to ensuring such policies did not impact negatively on low income populations.
Which is precisely what it would do...

The Graduate

Kanye West discovers the perils of speaking his mind to an audience not used to it:
The 40-minute speech happened in the middle of a concert, bad news for the "shut up and sing" contingent of West fans. Turns out West didn't bother voting on Election Day. But if he did, he knows who he'd want for president.

If I would have voted, I would have voted for Trump. I wanted to say that before the election, but they told me, "Whatever you do, don't say that aloud."
That sounds about right, no?

Not only did I not vote, but there were a lot of things I actually liked about Trump's campaign. His approach was f***ing genius - because it worked.
The pro-Trump comments earned him some boos from the crowd. A few fled the arena in disgust. Some allege a fight broke out among his fans. Other crowd members threw shoes and more up toward the rapper. That didn't stop him.
Never underestimate the ignorance of your own audience...

That's The Way The Tablet Crumbles

Ancient tablets, remade as cookies:
Ms. Blanchard, whose passions are archaeology and baking, used chopsticks, a fish knife and a gingerbread recipe that came packaged with a Coliseum-shaped cookie-cutter she once bought. Not only did her cuneiform cookies beguile her colleagues at the office party, they also gained some measure of internet renown after a Penn Museum publicist posted an article about how she made them. (Sample comment from the public: “Mine will probably taste more like the Dead Sea Scrolls.”)

From there, cuneiform cookies started to become — as the newspaper The Forward put it — “a thing.” Bloggers were enthralled, including one who said she was taking a class in Hittite and opted to practice on shortbread. (“The writing took a surprisingly long time,” she observed.)

The archaeo-culinary trend also exposed an odd subculture of people who are consumed with ancient languages, like the guy who uses the Twitter handle @DumbCuneiform and runs a business that will translate your tweets and texts into cuneiform characters and etch them in a hand-held tablet. (No, you cannot make this stuff up.)
The wisdom of the ancient pastries?

No Ellison, No Way?

Keith Ellison isn't their guy:
Opponents cite Ellison’s effort to insert anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian planks into the Democrat Party platform at this summer’s Democrat Convention. They also worry about his history of support for extreme anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam.

“[H]is vile beliefs… ought to disqualify him outright,” consultant Joel Mowbray said. “If Chuck Schumer actually did his due diligence and is supporting Ellison anyway, that’s shameful.”

Several prominent Democratic leaders told New York City’s CBS affiliate that “they are upset with Schumer for backing Ellison, who has been highly critical of Israel.”

So far few moderates have come to the side of Ellison.
Very few, it seems...

If You Keep It, They Will Come

The Trump Effect keeps them:
Ford currently employs 4,705 at its massive 3,154,173-square-foot assembly facility, which sits on 180 acres located in the Northeast side of town. The facility has operated since 1955 and currently produces the mid-size Lincoln MKC small sport-utility, along with the very popular Ford Escape small-size SUV.

Ford created a fire-storm on September 17 when it told employees itintended to move all small car assembly in the U.S to a modern Mexico facility employing 2,800 workers. Ford currently builds the Focus and C-Max compacts in the U.S., the Fiesta subcompact in Mexico, and the high-performance Ford Focus RS in Germany.

Ford announced in a formal statement, “Today, we confirmed with the President-elect that our small Lincoln utility vehicle made at the Louisville Assembly Plant will stay in Kentucky.” The company added, “We are encouraged that President-elect Trump and the new Congress will pursue policies that will improve U.S. competitiveness and make it possible to keep production of this vehicle here in the United States.”

Ford has claimed that the company needed to relocate small car production to Mexico, which has 80 percent lower wages, in order to be viable against competitors that have relocated south of the border.
Good employers make good neighbors...

Friday, November 18, 2016

Pre-Science Sci Fi

What was science fiction like before science?
A reading list of these early stories includes works of varying canonicity, such as Thomas More’s Utopia (1516), Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis (1627), Johannes Kepler’s Somnium (1634), Margaret Cavendish’s The Blazing World (1666), Henry Neville’s The Isle of Pines (1688), and Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726). These texts all share the driving curiosity that defines so much classic science fiction. “There is no man this day living that can tell you of so many strange and unknown peoples and countries,” writes More, describing the discoverer of the fictional island Utopia—a passage as evocative and stirring as “to boldly go where no man has gone before.”

Though obscure today, Godwin’s The Man in the Moone captivated 17th-century readers with its tale of a Spaniard who travels in a ship powered by geese. He flies through space, which, for the first time in literature is depicted as weightless, then spends time with the denizens of a lunar civilization, only to leave for an almost equally exotic and technologically marvelous land called China. The story’s blend of natural philosophy, travel narrative, and the utopian and picaresque genres delighted English and European audiences. It also influenced literary stars for centuries. The French author Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac poked fun at the book in his satirical 1657 novel, The Other World. Edgar Allen Poe referenced the novel in his 1835 story “The Unparalleled Adventures of One Hans Pfaall.” And H.G. Wells’ 1901 novel, The First Men in the Moon, was directly inspired by Godwin.
The roots of science fiction are long and deep...

Smart Cuss

More cursing means you're smarter?
Benjamin Bergen is the author of the book: “What the F: What Swearing Reveals About Our Language, Our Brains, and Ourselves.”

“It turns out that there are amazing things you can find out about how the mind works, how the brain works, people’s human sociality just by looking at profanity,” he explained.

The professor of Cognitive Science at UC San Diego said cursing could be linked to higher intelligence.

“It turns out that on average, the ones who swear the most also have the biggest vocabulary overall,” Bergen added.
If you have more to say, you need to get it out there...

Phoning Home

The Trump Effect continues:
The Nikkei Asian Review reported:

“Apple asked both Foxconn and Pegatron Corp., the two iPhone assemblers, in June to look into making iPhones in the U.S.,” a source said. “Foxconn complied, while Pegatron declined to formulate such a plan due to cost concerns.”

As Breitbart News reported, candidate Donald Trump, while speaking at Liberty University in January, said, “We’re going to get Apple Computer to build their damn computers and things in this country, instead of in other countries.” He added, “We gotta bring back the jobs from China, we gotta bring back the jobs from Japan, and all these countries that are ripping us off. And we’re gonna do that. And we are gonna do that.”

In March, Trump went after manufacturers who relocate production to China, where Apple’s assemblers churn out iPhones, iPads and MacBooks. “How does it help us when they make it in China?”
Apparently they got the message. America still works!

Community Double Standards

Jon Stewart is not impressed:
“Somebody was saying, ‘There might be an anti-Semite who’s working in the White House,'” he said in the interview that aired Thursday. “And I was like, ‘Have you listened to the Nixon tapes?’ Like, forget about advising the president — the president! Like, ‘Have you read L.B.J.? Do you know our history?'”

And despite his belief that Trump “disqualified himself at numerous points” during the 2016 campaign, Stewart took issue issue with “this idea that anyone who voted for him has to be defined by the worst of his rhetoric.”

Like, there are guys in my neighborhood that I love, that I respect, that I think have incredible qualities, who are not afraid of Mexicans and not afraid of Muslims and not afraid of blacks — they’re afraid of their insurance premiums. In the liberal community, you hate this idea of creating people as a monolith. “Don’t look as Muslims as a monolith. They are … individuals, and it would be ignorance. But everybody who voted for Trump is a monolith, is a racist.” That hypocrisy is also real in our country.
Whatever happened to that ideal, libs?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Blogging In The Years: 1968

Seriously, what the Heidi happened?

Blogging In The Years: 2003

California has a new Governator:

One Last Regulatory Blast

President Trump is going to have his work cut out for him:
According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the administration has just shattered the old record for pages of regulations and rules published by the in-house journal, the Federal Register.

At 81,640 total pages for 2016, it ranks first and 235 pages more than all of those published in 2010, the previous record.

What's more, there are still about 26 working days left in the year.

"No one knows what the future holds, but at a pace of well over 1,000 pages weekly, the Federal Register could easily top 90,000 pages this year. The simple algebra says that at the current pace we'll add 11,190 pages over the next 44 days, to end 2016 at around 92,830 pages," said CEI's Clyde Wayne Crews.

"This is astonishing and should be of great concern, and intolerable, to policymakers. It is remarkable enough that the all-time record has been passed before Thanksgiving," he added.
Obama's parting "gift..."

Keep Your Former Enemies Close

Secretary of State Mitt Romney?
In March, the former Massachusetts governor called Trump "a phony" and "a fraud" when discussing the then-candidate. Trump, who endorsed Romney in 2012, has called him a loser, adding that Romney begged for his endorsement and "would've dropped to his knees" for it. He has also said that he "choked like a dog" during his 2012 presidential campaign against President Barack Obama.

During the primaries, Romney campaigned with Ohio Gov. John Kasich in the Buckeye State. Last week after the election, however, Romney called Trump to congratulate him on his surprise win.
Others reportedly under consideration for the secretary of state position include former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. Another possibility is Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, who told CNBC on Wednesday he's "in the mix" for the job.
Throwing a bone to the former opposition? Or just trolling them?

The Not So Great Society

The government has not helped reduce income inequality:
“At the bottom and middle of the earnings distribution, structural changes to the labor market over the past several decades have overwhelmed these gains, causing both the racial working gap and median earnings gap to widen significantly since 1970,” said the report, titled “Divergent Paths: Structural Change, Economic Rank, and the Evolution of Black-White Earnings Differences, 1940-2014.”

Those damaging structural changes have shifted income away from lower-skilled white and black Americans towards toward whites and blacks with more sophisticated education. Some of these structural changes are caused by government — for example, increased immigration, federal tax and trade policies — and some are caused by technological changes that allow high-skilled people to earn a growing share of the national pie, the report said. “The sharp increase in the [income] gap since 1980 is explained completely by structural changes to the earnings distribution,” the report said.

The structural changes have had a huge impact on lower-skilled Africans-Americans — and on similar whites, says the report. “Our analysis points to the incredible lack of progress and, in many case, regress in closing the gaps in labor market outcomes for black and white men in the United States over the past seven-plus decades,” says the report.
And yet, many low-income whites and blacks keep voting for those who claim things will be otherwise...

Their World Order

Trump or no Trump, Obama and Merkel insist that the global world order is here to stay:
“Today we find ourselves at a crossroads — the future is upon us, and we will never return to a pre-globalization economy. As Germans and Americans we must seize the opportunity to shape globalization based on our values and our ideas,” Obama and Merkel wrote in the article published in the German newspaper Handelsblatt.

Merkel during her remarks at the press conference said something similar when speaking about “progress” with trade between the United States and Germany. “I think we share this conviction is that globalization needs to be shaped politically. It needs to be given a human face, but we cannot fall back into pre-globalization times.”

There has been a surge of populism in the West in 2016 fighting against globalization. Obama will be replaced by President-elect Donald Trump, who has campaigned against globalization, and Merkel is facing political challenges at home.
It would seem that the people disagree with their sentiments...

My Robot Writer

Robot writers, the next frontier?
An idea, put forth by an American author, is to use artificial intelligence to fill in parts of a story, an email or other document when a writer is searching for the best way to express him or herself. Programs that use neural networks (machines modeled after the brain) or so-called deep learning may be especially useful, Robin Sloan, the author of "Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore" (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012), said here at the Real Future Fair yesterday (Nov. 15). [Super-Intelligent Machines: 7 Robotic Futures]

"It turns out you can train a neural network on a big body of text," Sloan said. "It can be Wikipedia; it can be all the works of Charles Dickens; it could be all of the Internet."

Though these A.I. programs may not be able to craft a masterpiece like "A Tale of Two Cities" just yet, they could get a feel for how certain types of writing sound; "they can use grammar and put words together in interesting and convincing ways — and I think unexpected and beautiful ways," Sloan said.
Wait until they start demanding royalties...

Last Duck Call

No more Duck Dynasty?
"Duck Dynasty," once one of reality TV's biggest hits, starred the successful Louisiana duck call-making family. The Robertsons told viewers it was a family decision to make this season the final chapter.

In 2013, the year after it debuted, "Duck Dynasty" ran into controversy. Phil Robertson, the family patriarch, was suspended by A&E after GQ magazine quoted him declaring that gay people are sinners and African-Americans were happy under Jim Crow laws.

Willie and Korie Robertson: We're proud to be the 'religious' people

His family supported him, saying in an online post at the time that although some of Phil Robertson's comments were coarse, "his beliefs are grounded" in the Bible and he is a "Godly man." Others defended his right to voice his opinions, and he was reinstated by A&E.

The last flight of "Duck Dynasty" will be broken into halves. The show will run through Jan. 18, take a break and then resume March 1. The series finale is set for April 12.
It's the end of an era, but the Beards will live on...

The Numbers Hustler

It's in the way that you analyze it:
David Alciatore, a professor of mechanical engineering at Colorado State University, has written extensively on the sport—zeroing in on the science of trick shots—and even incorporates pocket billiards into his lectures on energy, friction, and rotation. Speak with him about pool for five minutes and you’ll find yourself neck-deep in mathematical formulas. You’ll hear how a cue ball “throws” the ball it strikes, how it transfers spin, how equilibrium controls a jump ball, and how different forces are at play during a massé (curve) shot.

This analytical understanding, he says, comes intuitively to most trick-shot masters. They can instantly visualize complex shots that typical players would never dream of attempting—and then practice, practice, practice to perfect them. “Think about that massé shot, or the jump shot,” Alciatore says, referring to Kohler’s sexy curve and Segal’s quadruple jump. “Someone that hasn’t practiced these a lot can’t do them. If you don’t have the technique and the experience, it’s almost impossible. You can understand all the physics in the world and that’s still not going to help you.”
Rack 'em up...

Derangement Syndrome 101

They're literally becoming unhinged:
Kevin Allred is a women’s and gender studies professor and the creator of Politicizing Beyoncé, and given his specialty it was unsurprising that he wasn’t happy that Trump won. But Allred began to go off the rails on Twitter, tweeting his desire to kill white people.

“[W]ill the 2nd Amendment be as cool when i buy a gun and start shooting atrandom [sic] white people or no?,” he asked on Twitter Nov. 10.

On Tuesday night, police showed up at his house to check up on him, and then carted him off to Bellevue Hospital in New York City for a two-hour psychological evaluation.
Many of his students will probably end up there, as well...

The Outside Man

Lobbyists need not apply:
RNC spokesman Sean Spicer said on Wednesday night that Trump will make sure any new government official joining his team would terminate their role as either state or federal lobbyists before joining the administration. All of the appointees will be required to sign a document expressing that they do not currently have any lobbyist ties and they will not engage in state or federal lobbying within 5 years after leaving the Trump team.

Trump’s transition team has been marred with reports of internal conflict, most notably between former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Trump’s son-in-law and real estate businessman Jared Kushner. Vice President-elect Mike Pence recently took over leadership of the team, officially submitting paperwork late Tuesday certifying his position as head of the transition team.Once in charge of the team, reports surfaced that Pence rid the new team of any lobbyists.

Spicer said, “It goes back to Mr. Trump’s goal of making sure people aren’t using government to enrich themselves.” He added that anyone serving in the administration won’t be able to use the position to “enrich themselves.”
The gravy train stops here?

Fakers And Haters

Fake liberals (as in the "tolerant" kind) go after "fake" news:
A chorus of established mainstream media outlets has been demanding Facebook and Google change their algorithms so that populist candidates, like Donald Trump, cannot have a “cheap megaphone” to use “fake news” convert new people into followers.

BuzzFeed claimed its investigation of fake news found 38 percent of posts shared from three large right-wing politics pages on Facebook included “false or misleading information,” while three large left-wing pages did so less than 20 percent of the time. Buzzfeed added that it found 140 fake news sites from Macedonia that supported Trump.

According to a new report from Gizmodo, Facebook took “steps to suppress fake news earlier this year,” despite knowing it would have “disproportionately impacted right-wing news sites by downgrading or removing that content from people’s feeds.”
No funding for you, free-speech advocates...

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Art For Thrift's Sake

How to "improve" thrift store art:
Canadian artist David Irvine has been making art for 25 years, specializing in “found art” projects such as the “Re-Directed Art” series, where he injects junk art with new life by inserting iconic, popular culture images or concepts into original works. “These unwanted works were bought at thrift stores, yard sales, and even salvaged from the curb,” Irvine tells RealClearLife. “I’ve taken great care to touch up any scratches or marks and then added in my own visions,” he continues. “Ninety-percent are prints or lithographs, and the remainder are anonymous paint by numbers.”
Take heart, would-be Picassos-your work will live on...

Trump's Law

The power of Trump's pen:
The obscure law — called the Congressional Review Act — was passed 20 years ago at the behest of Newt Gingrich, then the House speaker and now a member of Mr. Trump’s transition team. It gives Congress 60 legislative days to review and override major regulations enacted by federal agencies. In the Senate, the vote would not be subject to filibuster.

The president can veto the rejection, which usually renders the law toothless. But when one party controls both the White House and Congress, it can be a powerful legislative weapon.

So far it has only been successfully used once: In 2001, a Republican Congress invoked it to eliminate workplace safety regulations adopted in the final months of President Clinton’s tenure. President George W. Bush signed the repeal two months after his inauguration, wiping out stricter ergonomics rules that had been 10 years in the making.
At least this way Trump would be undoing executive actions, not issuing them by decree...

The Court Of Social Justice

He's a crook, but he's a social justice warrior crook:
According to the Dallas Morning News, a 20-page questionnaire asks more than the standard civic and demographic information and inquires into how people feel on a variety of topics–the current state of U.S. race relations, what role they think race plays in the criminal justice system, if they believe blacks are more likely to commit crimes than whites, and if they have commented on anything related to Confederate heritage.

It also probes prospective jurors on Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter. The questionnaire asks people about their political views, activities, and attitudes on federal agencies, law enforcement, and the courts. It inquires on potential juror opinions of Price, as well as his two co-defendants, Kathy Nealy and Dapheny Fain, who, last year, pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against Price at the trial. The questionnaire inquires if potential jurors had contact with any of the accused.

The questionnaire also probes what people know about 40-plus current and former local politicians, business people, and Dallas County government workers, many of whom are expected to testify during the trial.
For or against the social justice defense?

Dance Of The Blades

It's windmill blades being taken up a mountain:
Normally, the turbine parts are delivered flat behind the truck, but the terrain didn’t allow for this. So CMIC got creative and delivered the blades strapped to specially outfitted high-performance trucks, with each one suspended at an angle in the air. Each truck had a versatile trailer with a built-in hydraulic system to adjust the blade’s height and angle as it passed through various environments, from towns and villages to rural mountaintops. In addition to the size, the trucks needed to compensate for the 12-ton individual payloads. So each tractor trailer came equipped with 480 hp; and a slew of engine, brake, and transmission upgrades. These tweaks made for greater pulling power and better traction in the wheels, along with more responsive braking.
Choreography isn't easy...

Your Life And Times

How to write your memoirs:



Who You Gonna Scan?

Why ghost hunting tech is unreliable:
There are devices that have been engineered specifically for ghost hunters, like a ghost box, which works by randomly scanning through FM and AM frequencies to pick up spirits’ words in the white noise. But mostly, ghost hunters use pre-existing technology: not just EMF meters, but also run-of-the-mill digital recorders, used to capture electronic voice phenomena, or EVP. An investigator records her or himself asking questions in an empty room, with the hope that upon playback ghostly voices will appear.

All of this technology—both the custom and the repurposed—works along more or less the same principle: generating a lot of static and random effects, hoping to capture random noise and other ephemera. The ghost hunter, in turn, looks for patterns, momentary convergences, serendipity, meaningful coincidence. For the believer, this is where ghosts live: in static, in glitches and in blurs.

Ghost hunting was born out of a love of technological failure. In 1861, William H. Mumler, a jeweler’s engraver, was studying the new trade of photography when the shadowy figure of a young girl appeared on a plate he was developing. As Crista Cloutier describes in The Perfect Medium: Photography and the Occult, Mumler knew it to be an error, a consequence of accidentally reusing a plate that hadn’t been sufficiently scrubbed of its previous exposure. But then he showed the curiosity to a Spiritualist friend of his. “Not at that time being inclined much to the spiritual belief myself, and being of a jovial disposition, always ready for a joke,” he later admitted, “I concluded to have a little fun, as I thought, at his expense.”
Sorry, Egon-they were just messing with you...

From Russia With Thanks

The Russians tried to bribe whom? Federal agents used a confidential U.S. witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather exte...