Tuesday, December 06, 2022

Doing the unthinkable ...

On October 3rd, yours truly wrote a piece in BRT titled The Big One describing Moore vs. Harper,  the case legal scholars are viewing as an entity able to bring down democracy if the SC rules that courts can be sidelined when state legislatures have the power to determine how elections will be conducted even if such politically driven decisions conflict with state constitution statutes. In an surperb opinion piece in the NYTimes, Ray Cooper, the governor of North Carolina eloquently explains why Moore is indeed the big one as our democracy is at stake if this mis guided court decides to do the unthinkable. 

To whit ...

Over the past six months, the United States Supreme Court has handed down one misguided ruling after another, stripping Americans of the constitutional right to an abortion, curtailing the regulation of guns and industrial emissions, and muddying the divide between church and state. The people have protested. They’ve organized. And in 2022, they voted.

In Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the June decision on abortion, the majority wrote that “women are not without electoral or political power.” That’s one thing they got right, and Republicans found that out the hard way in the November midterm elections that they expected to win big. Now, however, the very ability to exercise electoral and political power at the ballot box is hanging in the balance in a case the court is scheduled to hear on Wednesday.

Moore v. Harper is a case from North Carolina that state and national Republicans are using to push an extreme legal premise known as the independent state legislature theory. While the United States Constitution delegates the authority to administer federal elections to the states, with Congress able to supersede those state decisions, proponents of this theory argue that state legislatures are vested with the exclusive power to run those elections. This view would leave no room for oversight by state courts and put the ability of governors to veto election-related legislation in doubt.

The court’s decision on this alarming argument could fundamentally reshape American democracy. Four justices have suggested that they are sympathetic to the theory. If the court endorses this doctrine, it would give state legislatures sole power over voting laws, congressional redistricting and potentially even the selection of presidential electors and the proper certification of election winners.

Indeed, the North Carolina Supreme Court, in a decision this year, said the theory that state courts are barred from reviewing a congressional redistricting plan was “repugnant to the sovereignty of states, the authority of state constitutions and the independence of state courts, and would produce absurd and dangerous consequences.”

As BRT has often stated, this is the worst SC in history. 

Sunday, December 04, 2022

An icy death awaits ... :)

Either or or either & or either ... the choice may be up to you. :)

1700+ years before 1690 ...

Porn's been around forever as seen by this woodcut circa 1690. In honor of that year, Aeon's excellent piece titled, The honesty of pornography tells much about society if one has the curiosity to find out why this ignored fact regarding porn rings true.

1700+ years before 1690, Pompeii rises to the occasion ...

Silence is golden ...

Tim Cook and Elon Musk. 

Tim Cook and Elon Musk. Photos: Getty Images

Silence is golden ... in this case, Cook not responding to a troll remark by Musk. As stated before in BRT, respect for Musk's prowess as an engineer goes unquestioned but his inability to control himself regarding tweets is marginal at best. He made a huge mistake in buying Twitter as his knowledge space in tech outside his sphere of competency is most telling as he lurches from crisis to crisis in trying to wring profit out of a gossip machine lacking in any real significant tech of any consequence.

This week, Elon Musk turned his attention away from reviewing code just long enough to pick a fight with, of all companies, Apple. Musk, it appears, recently discovered that his plans to turn Twitter into a subscription business is at the mercy of both Apple's App Store commission and its app review process.

Not only that, but Musk says Apple is threatening to boot Twitter from the iOS App Store, without giving him a reason. It's not clear whether that's true--Musk wouldn't answer follow-up questions on Twitter. But if it is true, it seems likely that Apple has flagged the Twitter app during app review because it is worried that Twitter's content moderation policies are lacking.

My colleague Bill Murphy Jr. has a great rundown of the tweets (and the problem with the way Musk is picking this particular fight). The part I want to focus on is what Tim Cook did in response, because it's a valuable lesson in dealing with a troll.

What did Cook do? Nothing. He didn't respond at all. He didn't tweet anything. He didn't quote tweet Musk or reply--even when Musk specifically tagged Cook in a tweet. At least, not in the 36 hours since Musk mentioned Cook. I mean, 36 hours was a long time in Twitter time even before Musk took over. Now, it's almost an eternity. 

As Dirty Harry once said, One must know one's limitations.

Saturday, December 03, 2022

“History never repeats itself, but it does often rhyme.”

 Yours truly served in Korea, no, not in the Korean War, but rather during Nam as I was lucky, I avoided Nam by serving as a 1st Lt in charge of the STRACOM facility in Seoul managing communications between South Korea and the US as needs warrant. Excellent assignment as the Koreans are an amazing people without question. With that in mind, the DMZ is an intense reality, something experienced first hand when visiting the Truce Village in '71 as the animosity, at the time, was primal to a fault.

Now, the notion of Putin imposing the same kind of endgame with Ukraine becomes a real possible if educated takes by people knowing far more about this situation than me becomes true.

To whit.

For the buffer zone to achieve the demilitarization of the Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned in July that military factors, not politics, will decide. “I see no reason to question what President Vladimir Putin announced on February 24, 2022, and reaffirmed a few days ago,” Lavrov said. “Our goals remain the same. And they will be met. There is a solution to this problem. The military know this.”  

In case the distinction Lavrov was making between political negotiations and military operations, between soldiers and civilians, wasn’t clear enough, Maria Zakharova, the Foreign Ministry spokesman, made it the target of her irony last Thursday.  In her regular briefing  for reporters, Zakharova was asked to comment on US weapons supplies to the Ukraine.  “Something is wrong with this world if two women are discussing Stingers, MANPADS, SAMS, and HARM anti-radar missiles,” she answered the journalist. “As a reminder, scaling up its military supplies to Kiev and directly controlling Ukrainian forces, including the provision of real-time recon data, Washington has, in fact, become a party to the conflict in Ukraine…As far as their internal dealings regarding how much money they give to whom, what particular supplies are underway, or what items they are running out of or have more of, this is not our concern. Let them decide what kind of games they want to play among themselves.”

The Kherson manoeuvre, announced  by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and General Sergei Surovikin on November 9; the electric war campaign  which has followed*; and the cutoff of troops, arms and supplies by train from Kiev to the eastern front, first announced by the Russian Defense Ministry on November 24,  foreshadow how the military are preparing to establish the Ukrainian Demilitarized Zone (UDZ), its depth to the west of the Dnieper River, and the cities to be included in Russian-controlled territory.

This is a future to be established by the Russian General Staff, negotiated and signed by military officers of the NATO-controlled commands in Kiev and Lvov. The outcome is an end to  hostilities with an armistice that is not a peace treaty.

The model is the armistice of Panmunjom of July 27, 1953, which ended the Korean War. The terms of the armistice took two years to negotiate by US, Korean and Chinese officers. The Korean demilitarized zone (DMZ) which was the outcome was four kilometres in depth. The Ukrainian demilitarized zone (UDZ) will be up to one hundred kilometres in depth, depending on the range of the US and NATO missile and artillery weapons deployed on the Kiev side of the Dnieper.  On the ground inside the UDZ there may be no electricity, no people, nothing except for the means to monitor and enforce the terms of the armistice.

For avoidance of doubt, red on the map means Russia.

“History never repeats itself, but it does often rhyme.” - Mark Twain

Friday, December 02, 2022

The greatest film of all time is ...


Agreed ...

What is the Sight and Sound poll? It’s a survey that the British magazine Sight and Sound conducts every 10 years and is greatly respected in the film world, though as you can imagine any subjective list of the best films ever is bound to be controversial. In 2012, the poll made news when “Vertigo,” by Alfred Hitchcock, took over No. 1 from “Citizen Kane” (Orson Welles), which had held the spot for 50 years.

Just learned about this awesome film resource today. Awesome to a fault. :)

I like what they did this year. It's about time ...

Saw the trailer. Have to see this without question.

The Mandate of Heaven

The Mandate of Heaven, the guide to how to rule in China, centers on wisdom, vision and care. If a ruler does not abide by these essentials, chaos and removal of said ruler will follow. 

To whit

Seem Xi doesn't get it as he's losing his people as we speak.

Seems China, like Iran, wants a different future. One can only hope.

Thursday, December 01, 2022

It's all wormholes ...

It's all wormholes if the Quanta Magazine piece titled Physicists Create a Wormhole Using a Quantum Computer proves out to be true.

To whit. 

Physicists have purportedly created the first-ever wormhole, a kind of tunnel theorized in 1935 by Albert Einstein and Nathan Rosen that leads from one place to another by passing into an extra dimension of space.

The wormhole emerged like a hologram out of quantum bits of information, or “qubits,” stored in tiny superconducting circuits. By manipulating the qubits, the physicists then sent information through the wormhole, they reported today in the journal Nature.

The team, led by Maria Spiropulu of the California Institute of Technology, implemented the novel “wormhole teleportation protocol” using Google’s quantum computer, a device called Sycamore housed at Google Quantum AI in Santa Barbara, California. With this first-of-its-kind “quantum gravity experiment on a chip,” as Spiropulu described it, she and her team beat a competing group of physicists who aim to do wormhole teleportation with IBM and Quantinuum’s quantum computers.

Seth Lloyd is right ...

In his book, Programming the Universe, Lloyd contends that the universe itself is one big quantum computer producing what we see around us, and ourselves, as it runs a cosmic program. According to Lloyd, once we understand the laws of physics completely, we will be able to use small-scale quantum computing to understand the universe completely as well.

And so it goes ... K. Vonnegut

Wednesday, November 30, 2022


Channeling Brazilian rhythms using Garage Band as the weapon of choice was the start point for doing this video. :)

Sunday, November 27, 2022


Working with stills and effects, a little dash of music seemed apropos. Enjoy