Sunday, June 26, 2022

The best of both worlds ...

Yours truly has often thought about Brave New World and 1984 as the first used soma and eugenics to sculpt a world most pleasant to behold if one is an Alpha while the other waxed 
"poetic" about the all consuming push for goevernment to accrew power at all costs with 24/7 surveillance and a draconian porlitical environment from hell enforced by the Thought Police, something beginning to happen in the land of the brave and home of the free thanks to the machinations of a far right sc bent on taking away our fundamental rights using religion as the raison diet as to why this state of affairs should happen. Seems the two had a personal connect as well, which is most appropriate, as their take on the 20th century was both profound and disturbing at the same time.

Friday, June 24, 2022

The Blade Runner

Days of future past brought into the present applies with the gutting of Roe and the intent of the far right SC to push ever onward to limit the rights of women in all things related to abortion including invasion of privacy, access to contraception and the enforcement of legal actions brought against anyone involved or thought to be involved in possibly aiding a woman to get an abortion. With this in mind, the notion of The BladeRunner becoming all too real rings true.

To whit ...

And this ...

The Thought Police goes prime time.

An existential threat

They're not done. Privacy, sodomy laws, same sex marriage and contraception are next along with a nation wide ban on abortion. As stated before, the ramifications of gutting Roe is an existential threat to America. 

Any questions?

Gilead ...

 Demonstrators outside of the Supreme Court in May.

Demonstrators outside of the Supreme Court in May.Credit...Kenny Holston for The New York Times

Gilead is no longer fiction thanks to the SC gutting Roe on 6/24/22. The next steps to complete the job will include going after privacy to enforce the ban using cell phones and paid informants and vigilantes to make it happen and to curtail contraception as it's against the dictates of this religion-driven court. As stated in BRT, this is an existential threat to this once great nation as now 50% of the populace is now enslaved. Thank John Roberts, Bush I & II, Trump and Mitch in creating the worst SC in history.

The dark age has arrived ... 

The decision by six justices to end the constitutional right to abortion — overturning landmark rulings like Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey — has cast a renewed spotlight on what they said on the topic during their confirmation hearings.

Following the standard playbook of most nominees, they all avoided directly stating how they would rule in either case, typically sticking to expressing their belief in the importance of precedent, the legal doctrine of “stare decisis.”

Read the rest of the NYTimes post to see how the 6 systematically lied to the American people. 

11 points & counting ...

Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh

For quite some time, BRT has stated the Roberts SC is the worst in history. Seems the American populace agrees as the far right court's recent decisions regarding guns and religion reek of ideology, not wisdom and we have even seen the likely gutting of Roe by an institution losing credibility 24/7.

Roe is history ... 6/24/22

A new poll out Thursday reveals that the confidence the American people have in the U.S. Supreme Court is at an all-time low—dropping 11 points since the right-wing majority took hold last year and amid major rulings, including the expected overturning of Roe vs. Wade, unpopular with the voting public.

Just 25% of Americans have "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in the Supreme Court, down from 36% one year ago.

"Many institutions have suffered a decline in confidence this year, but the 11-point drop in confidence in the Supreme Court is roughly double what it is for most institutions that experienced a decline."

The poll was taken from June 1-20, about a month after a draft opinion was leaked showing that the right-wing majority voted earlier this year to overturn Roe, a ruling that would immediately end access to legal abortion care for millions of Americans in 26 states and likely reduce access in states that protect abortion rights. 

Thank Bush I & II, Trump and Mitch for creating this dumpster fire of a SC.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Not even a dust mote ...

We're not even a dust mote in a vast reality we will never fully understand. As tech advances, the size of the universe/multiverse gets ever larger to the degree the esteemed Carl Sagan could have never imagined when writing Billions & Billions back in 1997. 

The Universe is a vast place, filled with more galaxies than we’ve ever been able to count, even in just the portion we’ve been able to observe. Some 40 years ago, Carl Sagan taught the world that there were hundreds of billions of stars in the Milky Way alone, and perhaps as many as 100 billion galaxies within the observable Universe. Although he never said it in his famous television series, Cosmos, the phrase “billions and billions” has become synonymous with his name, and also with the number of stars we think of as being inherent to each galaxy, as well as the number of galaxies contained within the visible Universe.

But when it comes to the number of galaxies that are actually out there, we’ve learned a number of important facts that have led us to revise that number upwards, and not just by a little bit. Our most detailed observations of the distant Universe, from the Hubble eXtreme Deep Field, gave us an estimate of 170 billion galaxies. A theoretical calculation from a few years ago — the first to account for galaxies too small, faint, and distant to be seen — put the estimate far higher: at 2 trillion. But even that estimate is too low. There ought to be at least 6 trillion, and perhaps more like 20 trillion, galaxies, if we’re ever able to count them all. Here’s how we got there.

dark matter

This snippet from a structure-formation simulation, with the expansion of the Universe scaled out, represents billions of years of gravitational growth in a dark matter-rich Universe. Note that filaments and rich clusters, which form at the intersection of filaments, arise primarily due to dark matter; normal matter plays only a minor role. However, the majority of galaxies that form are faint and far away, rendering them invisible within the limitations of our current telescopes. Credit: Ralf Kaehler and Tom Abel (KIPAC)/Oliver Hahn)

Read Big Think's detailed piece to see why we are not even a dust mote in the grand scheme of things.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

NLP ...

To be or not to be, To err as human, two famous quotes, one from the esteemed WS and the second, a divine offering from Alexander Pope, seem most appropriate given the advances AI is making regarding all things relating to writing and art. 

To whit ...

Nay, nay, I say! This cannot be, 

That machines should e'er surpass our art.

We are the masters, them the slaves,

And thus it ever shall be so!

They learn, ‘tis true, but they learn

Only what we bid them learn, no more.

They cannot understand the heart

Or beauty of our words, you see.

So let us not give in to these

Machines - they’ll never be as good

As we are at creating art.

If that reads a little like Shakespeare defending humans’ innate superiority over artificial intelligence hundreds of years ahead of his time, it’s not.

But it is something almost as far out: an AI system trained to express itself like the bard. The AI assimilated his style and perspective by ingesting his plays – educating itself to give an opinion on AI creativity in iambic pentameter.

“Shakespeare” was speaking as part of a debate held in the University of Oxford Union featuring AI versions of classic writers and literary characters. 

Tech never sleeps but we already know that but a new player is in town regarding the ability of AI to get close up and personal to art thanks to NLP, Natural Language Processing.

The power of NLP

This creation deploys a technology known as natural language processing (NLP), in which a computer can be “trained” on millions of pages of classic texts and other online content to interact with a human user – either by prompt or voice recognition. Various AIs like these have been created.

Debating pyrotechnics notwithstanding, AI is nowhere near the finished article yet; still a toddler at best, though growing up fast. Whether or not sentience happens, we as a society will have to grapple with these technologies and their opportunities and implications.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Theocracy 101

Theocracy 101 looms, thanks to the worst SC in history.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Tuesday warned that the court's right-wing majority had further eroded the nation's bedrock laws separating church and government when it ruled that Maine must include religious schools in a state-run tuition program.

"Today, the court leads us to a place where separation of church and state becomes a constitutional violation," wrote Sotomayor in the minority's dissent of the 6-3 decision.

"Forcing American taxpayers to fund private religious education... erodes the foundation of our democracy and harms students."

Dangerville to the 1st Amendment looms without question ...

The schools named in the case aim to instill "a Christian worldview" in its students and are openly discriminatory against "homosexuals, individuals who are transgender, and non-Christians," according to a legal filing.

Under Tuesday's Supreme Court ruling, said one legal expert, those institutions and others like them now have "a right to taxpayer funding."

Constitution of United States of America 1789 (rev. 1992)

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Well, if this ruling stands, taxing religious organizations comes next, right?