Eye Candy Rev III
Friday, September 30, 2016
BRT has talked often about the art of stupid, where government and corporate entities do mind numbingly dumb things that truly boggle the mind. Toons like Dilbert illustrate this all too human trait with absurdist humor of the highest order as does Douglas Adams and his notion that the number 42 truly is the answer to the multiverse and beyond but I digress as the gist of this blurb is a clever piece written by Andre Spicer titled Stupefied, which proves that the art of stupid is universally practiced & enncouraged by nearly every company and government agency in the good ole USA. :)
Each summer, thousands of the best and brightest graduates join the workforce. Their well-above-average raw intelligence will have been carefully crafted through years at the world’s best universities. After emerging from their selective undergraduate programmes and competitive graduate schools, these new recruits hope that their jobs will give them ample opportunity to put their intellectual gifts to work. But they are in for an unpleasant surprise.
Smart young things joining the workforce soon discover that, although they have been selected for their intelligence, they are not expected to use it. They will be assigned routine tasks that they will consider stupid. If they happen to make the mistake of actually using their intelligence, they will be met with pained groans from colleagues and polite warnings from their bosses. After a few years of experience, they will find that the people who get ahead are the stellar practitioners of corporate mindlessness.
It gets better.
We found many ways that all kinds of organisations positively encouraged intelligent people not to fully use their intelligence. There were rules and routines that prompted them to focus energies on complying with bureaucracy instead of doing their jobs. There were doctors who spent more time ‘playing the tick-box game’ than actually caring for patients; teachers who spent more time negotiating new bureaucratic procedures than teaching children. We met Hans, a manager in a local government agency: after a visit from a regulator, his office received a list of 25 issues in need of improvement. So Hans’s agency developed 25 new policies and procedures. The result: the regulator was happy, but there was no change in actual practice.
Another significant source of stupidity in firms we came across was a deep faith in leadership. In most organisations today, senior executives are not content with just being managers. They want to be leaders. They see their role as not just running their business but also transforming their followers. They talk about ‘vision’, ‘belief’ and ‘authenticity’ with great verve. All this sounds like our office buildings are brimming with would-be Nelson Mandelas. However, when you take a closer look at what these self-declared leaders spend their days doing, the story is quite different.
The march of the lemmings continues. :)
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Monday, September 26, 2016
Sunday, September 25, 2016
Surveillance as art form, abetted by Obama, the most secretive administration in history, has created the most pervasive surveillance program in history, able to tap into every aspect of one's life whether it be analogue or digital, courtesy the NSA, CIA, FBI and significant others, like the largely unknown NRO - The National Reconnaissance Office, the outfit that builds and launches the top secret satellites that spy on us 24/7.
This summer, at 1:51 p.m. on Saturday, June 11, an unearthly roar shattered the afternoon quiet along the Florida coast. On Cape Canaveral, liquid fuel surged through the thick aluminum veins of a Delta IV Heavy rocket nearly as tall as the U.S. Capitol. Two million pounds of thrust in three symmetrical boosters fired the engines, sending the craft hurtling over the Atlantic Ocean into the heavens. Eighty seconds after takeoff, it hit Mach 1, the speed of sound.
The Delta IV Heavy, introduced in 2004, is America’s most powerful rocket, and this was only the ninth time it had launched. Even more exclusive, however, was its top-secret cargo: Inside its nearly seven-story-high nose cone was an Advanced Orion, the world’s largest satellite. About eight hours after launch, when the most advanced spy craft ever built went into geosynchronous orbit, it unfurled its gigantic mesh antenna, larger than a football field, and began eavesdropping on the Earth below.
The mission’s patch, dubbed “epic/terrifying” by the Verge, depicted a masked, armored knight standing defensively before an American flag. A sword strapped to his back bore a cross-guard resembling a set of claws. According to the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), the intelligence agency responsible for the satellite, the image delivered “a message of tenacious, fierce focus … representing extreme reach with global coverage.”
In a sense, this was a fitting tribute to President Barack Obama as his administration entered its last six months in the White House. Over his two terms, Obama has created the most powerful surveillance state the world has ever seen. Although other leaders may have created more oppressive spying regimes, none has come close to constructing one of equivalent size, breadth, cost, and intrusiveness. From 22,300 miles in space, where seven Advanced Orion crafts now orbit; to a 1-million-square-foot building in the Utah desert that stores data intercepted from personal phones, emails, and social media accounts; to taps along the millions of miles of undersea cables that encircle the Earth like yarn, U.S. surveillance has expanded exponentially since Obama’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2009.
Read The Verge's article, creepy says it all.
Friday, September 23, 2016
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Yours truly does not believe the economy has recovered in spite of the rosy picture bandied about by the various news and government entities who want the good times to "continue", something this writer thinks is bogus, a notion shared by Jim Clifton, CEO of Gallup titled The Invisible American.
I've been reading a lot about a "recovering" economy. It was even trumpeted on Page 1 of The New York Times and Financial Times last week.
I don't think it's true.
The percentage of Americans who say they are in the middle or upper-middle class has fallen 10 percentage points, from a 61% average between 2000 and 2008 to 51% today.
Ten percent of 250 million adults in the U.S. is 25 million people whose economic lives have crashed.
What the media is missing is that these 25 million people are invisible in the widely reported 4.9% official U.S. unemployment rate.
Let's say someone has a good middle-class job that pays $65,000 a year. That job goes away in a changing, disrupted world, and his new full-time job pays $14 per hour -- or about $28,000 per year. That devastated American remains counted as "full-time employed" because he still has full-time work -- although with drastically reduced pay and benefits. He has fallen out of the middle class and is invisible in current reporting.
Read the entire piece, you'll learn a lot. I know I did.
Monday, September 19, 2016
Gotta love it when pin head legislators legalize prejudice and get penalized big time by passing this kind of crap. To whit, NC, $$ and the HB2 CF.
Adding all that up, the total cost to North Carolinians so far from HB2 protests is slightly more than $395 million. That’s more than the GDP of Micronesia. And the bulk of it is from sporting organizations, who even five years ago would likely not have waded into political territory like this. But experts aren’t that surprised that the NBA, NCAA, and ACC have taken this step now. “They’re not out on a limb here,” Durso says. “They’re in line with their base.” The near unanimous outcry against HB2 and in support of the NCAA and ACC confirms that. Legislating discrimination has become an expensive bad habit.
Sunday, September 18, 2016
On a last note, this is Piece No. 2000. Never thought this number would ever be reached, ever.
Many think that the Harvest Moon remains in the night sky longer than any of the other full moons seen during the year, but that is not so. What sets the Harvest Moon apart from other full moons is that it occurs at the climax of the harvest season, so farmers can work late into the night by the moon's light. This moon rises at about the time the sun sets, and — more importantly — at this time of year, instead of rising its normal average of 50 minutes later each day, the moon seems to rise at somewhat the same time each night.
Friday, September 16, 2016
Thursday, September 15, 2016
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Yours truly was a sugar junky. Still am but no longer does this rube pig out on sweets as this was and is the right thing to do. Said diet change started 5 months ago and the impact has been pretty amazing but this blurb is not about how "virtuous" this writer is but rather about yet another pay to play scheme, this time with Harvard and the sugar industry.
NEW YORK (AP) — The sugar industry began funding research that cast doubt on sugar's role in heart disease — in part by pointing the finger at fat — as early as the 1960s, according to an analysis of newly uncovered documents.
The analysis published Monday is based on correspondence between a sugar trade group and researchers at Harvard University, and is the latest example showing how food and beverage makers attempt to shape public understanding of nutrition.
In 1964, the group now known as the Sugar Association internally discussed a campaign to address "negative attitudes toward sugar" after studies began emerging linking sugar with heart disease, according to documents dug up from public archives. The following year the group approved "Project 226," which entailed paying Harvard researchers today's equivalent of $48,900 for an article reviewing the scientific literature, supplying materials they wanted reviewed, and receiving drafts of the article.
The resulting article published in 1967 concluded there was "no doubt" that reducing cholesterol and saturated fat was the only dietary intervention needed to prevent heart disease. The researchers overstated the consistency of the literature on fat and cholesterol, while downplaying studies on sugar, according to the analysis.
"Let me assure you this is quite what we had in mind and we look forward to its appearance in print," wrote an employee of the sugar industry group to one of the authors.
It gets better
As nutrition debates raged in the 1960s, prominent Harvard nutritionists published two reviews in a top medical journal downplaying the role of sugar in coronary heart disease. Newly unearthed documents reveal what they didn’t say: A sugar industry trade group initiated and paid for the studies, examined drafts, and laid out a clear objective to protect sugar’s reputation in the public eye.
That revelation, published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine, comes from Dr. Cristin Kearns at the University of California, San Francisco, a dentist-turned-researcher who found the sugar industry’s fingerprints while digging through boxes of letters in the basement of a Harvard library.
Her paper recounts how two famous Harvard nutritionists, Dr. Fredrick Stare and Mark Hegsted, who are now deceased, worked closely with a trade group called the Sugar Research Foundation, which was trying to influence public understanding of sugar’s role in disease.
Just think about the results of this skewed finding regarding not only cardiac but also obesity, diabetes and cancer in terms of the numbers of people adversely affected by the intake of refined sugar that was blessed by Harvard back in the 60s. This fubar goes in concert with Exxon gaming the system back in the 70's regarding climate change and the use of fossil fuels.
As often stated in BRT, It's all about the money.
Source: NASA Wallops Flight Facility/Chris Perry
Published: 11 September 2013
A still camera on a sound trigger captured this intriguing photo of an airborne frog as NASA's LADEE spacecraft lifts off from Pad 0B at Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The photo team confirms the frog is real and was captured in a single frame by one of the remote cameras used to photograph the launch. The condition of the frog, however, is uncertain.
Dry science talk rules. :)
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Mr. Fidencio Sanchez
Sometimes kindness sneaks up on us reminding us that people can be kind and helpful, something all together different from what we usually see in nightly news and the never ending barbs tossed in abandon in the election from hell as we move toward making a "choice" between two people unable to speak the truth.
"Mr. Fidencio Sanchez and his wife recently lost their only daughter and are still heartbroken about the situation. His elderly wife was selling paletas also to help pay bills, but she fell ill and can't work anymore. We're trying to raise money to help him with whatever we can. Anything helps. Let's all pitch in and help make life a little easier and brighten both of their day."
By Sunday, they'd blown past their $3,000 goal and had $100,000 for Sanchez. Some people gave $5. Others gave as much as $2,000. The campaign has been shared 80,000 times.
It gets better.
The photograph that inspired this outpouring is iconic. To the man who made the picture, the image speaks to "poverty, struggle, and pride." In an election year that has seen immigrants denigrated and threatened, criticized as a drain on our society, the sympathy for this old man and his plight speaks to a quiet generosity and compassion. Maybe even a silent majority, given how the fundraising effort ballooned so rapidly.
Thus far, folks have contributed over $250,000. Stellar without question.
Monday, September 12, 2016
There was a burst of righteous populist anger anger last week, when it emerged that Wells Fargo had engaged in pervasive, "massive" fraud since at least 2011, including opening credit cards secretly without a customer’s consent, creating fake email accounts to sign up customers for online banking services, and forcing customers to accumulate late fees on accounts they never even knew they had. For this criminal conduct, Wells was fined $185 million (including a $100 million penalty from the CFPB, the largest penalty the agency has ever issued). In all, Wells opened 1.5 million bank accounts and "applied" for 565,000 credit cards that were not authorized by their customers.
As "punishment" Wells Fargo told CNN that it had fired 5,300 employees related to the shady behavior over the last few years. The firings represent about 1% of its workforce and took place over several years. The fired workers went to far as to create phony PIN numbers and fake email addresses to enroll customers in online banking services, the CFPB said. What was hushed away is that not a single employee will go to prison, and that ultimately it will be Wells Fargo's shareholders - such as Warren Buffett - who will end up footing the bill.
What Wells did not disclose publicly to anyone is that the head of the group responsible for Wells' biggest consumer fraud scandal in years, Carrie Tolstedt is quietly leaving the bank with a $125 million bonus, a bonus which as Fortune's Stephen Gandel writes today will not see even one cent clawed back as part of the dramatic revelations.
Ami I missing something here?
Friday, September 09, 2016
For those rubes not believing in evolution, don't view this short clip as deeply held beliefs dependent on rather shaky ground from the scientific perspective is a non starter for the ages, kinda like Flat -Earthers not accepting the rather obvious fact earth is a sphere revolving around the sun but we won't go there, for now. :)
The cast members are bacteria. Their set is a large acrylic dish, four feet wide and two across. It is filled with a nutritious agar jelly that contains varying amounts of an antibiotic. The outermost sections are free of the drug—a safe zone in which microbes can easily grow. But as they move towards the dish’s centre, the concentration of antibiotic goes up in 10-fold increments, and conditions become increasingly deadly. To survive in these toxic zones, they need to evolve resistance.
And that’s what they do. At the start of the video, bacteria are dropped into the edges of the dish and soon colonise the outer safe zones. Then they hit their first antibiotic wall, which halts their progress. After a few moments, bright spots appear at this frontier and start spreading outwards. These are resistant bacteria that have picked up mutations that allow them to shrug off the drug. They advance until they hit the next antibiotic zone. Another pause, until even more resistant strains evolve and invade further into the dish. By the end of the movie, even the centre-most stripe—the zone with the highest levels of killer chemicals—is colonized.
Superbugs, it's just the beginning as nature finds a way... always.
Tuesday, September 06, 2016
Monday, September 05, 2016
Sunday, September 04, 2016
Michelangelo was subversive to the nth degree. So was Leonardo. Awesome. :)
Michelangelo secretly painted symbols of the female anatomy on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, a team of researchers have said. In analysing the central fresco, The Creation of Eve, a team led by Deivis de Campos of the UFCSPA in Brazil claims there are several representations of female anatomy the artist likely concealed, potentially as a subversive act and to hide his knowledge of anatomy through dissection.
The Creation of Eve in the Sistine Chapel - Eve's arm positioning shows an upward V shape, representing the female anatomy
BRT has written ad nauseam about GW and how it's accelerating beyond any researcher's expectations due to esoterica like Albedo and the Antarctic Bottom Water combining to transform earth into a world possibly as warm as the Cretaceous due to the injection of Co2 into the atmosphere through the extensive use of fossil fuels for over 500 years.
NORFOLK, Va. — Huge vertical rulers are sprouting beside low spots in the streets here, so people can judge if the tidal floods that increasingly inundate their roads are too deep to drive through.
Five hundred miles down the Atlantic Coast, the only road to Tybee Island, Ga., is disappearing beneath the sea several times a year, cutting the town off from the mainland.
And another 500 miles on, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., increased tidal flooding is forcing the city to spend millions fixing battered roads and drains — and, at times, to send out giant vacuum trucks to suck saltwater off the streets.
For decades, as the global warming created by human emissions caused land ice to melt and ocean water to expand, scientists warned that the accelerating rise of the sea would eventually imperil the United States’ coastline.
Now, those warnings are no longer theoretical: The inundation of the coast has begun. The sea has crept up to the point that a high tide and a brisk wind are all it takes to send water pouring into streets and homes.
The NYTimes interactive graphic rules.
Saturday, September 03, 2016
Epicycles or the concept of circles within circles, the prime mechanism used to make the Ptolemaic earth centric system a viable enterprise. certainly applies when analyzing the "scientific" approach of how Silicon Valley escapes the taxman by turning dollars into bits in moving monies from one country to another to avoid paying their fair share 24/7 in the same fashion epicycles were used to explain a flawed scientific system lasting for over 1200 years.
For sheer ingenuity, you can’t beat Silicon Valley—especially at outsmarting the tax man. By selling intellectual property rights to sock-puppet subsidiaries, tech giants shift profits to low-tax nations like Ireland. But that’s just a start. Sublicense the IP to a second Irish unit that books global sales, have entity B pay onerous royalties back to A (wiping out its earnings), then show that A is headquartered in the Caribbean, making its royalty income untaxable in Ireland. Slick! Only problem: Until the IRS gets its cut, the companies can’t bring the cash back home to use it. Hmm … not so genius after all.
Bermuda, the Caymans and Singapore, the perfect places to stash cash shows just how easy it is to move bits instead of dollars to said locations when it comes to maximizing profit 24/7 while stiffing the US in the process. Hell of a way to do business, right?
Epicycles writ large :)
When yours truly sees this pix, it reminds me of what is happening in America where illiteracy, stupidity and propaganda rule while the country continues to slide toward an abyss of our own making.
We live in two Americas. One America, now the minority, functions in a print-based, literate world. It can cope with complexity and has the intellectual tools to separate illusion from truth. The other America, which constitutes the majority, exists in a non-reality-based belief system. This America, dependent on skillfully manipulated images for information, has severed itself from the literate, print-based culture. It cannot differentiate between lies and truth. It is informed by simplistic, childish narratives and clichés. It is thrown into confusion by ambiguity, nuance and self-reflection. This divide, more than race, class or gender, more than rural or urban, believer or nonbeliever, red state or blue state, has split the country into radically distinct, unbridgeable and antagonistic entities.
There are over 42 million American adults, 20 percent of whom hold high school diplomas, who cannot read, as well as the 50 million who read at a fourth- or fifth-grade level. Nearly a third of the nation’s population is illiterate or barely literate. And their numbers are growing by an estimated 2 million a year. But even those who are supposedly literate retreat in huge numbers into this image-based existence. A third of high school graduates, along with 42 percent of college graduates, never read a book after they finish school. Eighty percent of the families in the United States last year did not buy a book.
Combine this with the incredible incompetency and deceitfulness of Hillary's interview with the FBI where any intelligent person with an ability to read anything of consequence, can see why this nation is so screwed in more ways then this writer can count.
According to the FBI’s notes, between March 25 and March 31 of 2015, someone mistakenly deleted Clinton’s archived mailbox from her server and exported files. The name of the person who deleted the emails was redacted.
“In a follow-up FBI interview on May 3, 2016, ------ Indicated he believed he had an 'oh s--t' moment and sometime between March 25-31, 2015 deleted the Clinton archive mailbox from PRN server and used BleachBit to delete the exported .PST files he had created on the server system containing Clinton’s emails,” the report stated.
Investigators also found that the State Department issued a guidance to employees not to use their personal emails for work during Clinton’s tenure. Clinton stated she did not recall this specific notice.
She also said she received no direction from State on preserving her records when she left the department in early 2013 — but claimed she could not recall every briefing she received at that time because of a concussion she suffered in late 2012.
Rinse & Repeat, Rinse & Repeat: Let's not talk about the number of unsecured devices she had (13?), that cannot be found or that she could not remember being trained by the State Department on handling or retaining classified information.
It gets better.
A laptop filled with Hillary Clinton’s emails is missing, the FBI just revealed. It makes the stink around Hillary’s private account even worse.
Rinse & Repeat, Rinse & Repeat or maybe it's true, it's turtles all the way on down, right?
Better yet, Keystone Cops antics apply in this never ending saga of gross incompetence and inept lying to the nth degree in mishandling sensitive and corrupt content to the nth degree.
K. Cops to the rescue.:)
Friday, September 02, 2016
“First glimpse of Jupiter’s north pole, and it looks like nothing we have seen or imagined before,” said Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. “It’s bluer in color up there than other parts of the planet, and there are a lot of storms. There is no sign of the latitudinal bands or zone and belts that we are used to -- this image is hardly recognizable as Jupiter. We’re seeing signs that the clouds have shadows, possibly indicating that the clouds are at a higher altitude than other features.”
This infrared image gives an unprecedented view of the southern aurora of Jupiter, as captured by NASA's Juno spacecraft on August 27, 2016.
The planet's southern aurora can hardly be seen from Earth due to our home planet's position in respect to Jupiter's south pole. Juno's unique polar orbit provides the first opportunity to observe this region of the gas-giant planet in detail.
Intensity plus. :)
Jove as seen head on.
What the king is made of.
The South Pole of the King.
Thursday, September 01, 2016
At 1,188 feet long and 226,000 tons, the Royal Carribean ocean liner (Harmony of the Seas) is only slightly larger than its predecessor, Oasis of the Seas. Guests and staff equal around 8,000 people, and tickets range from $1,000 to $7,000. The entire experience is guaranteed to whisk you away on what amounts to a floating Mall of America. “It gives you the sense of traveling without doing it,” says photographer Alberto Bernasconi.
Any questions? :)