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?

The smallest spot of anything

From the very large to the extremely small starts with milling of a different kind when applied to 17 tons of pure aluminum, the start point for the making of one of the most sophisticated pieces of equipment known to man.

It gets better ...

ASML uses this orange robot, built by KUKA Robotics, to move heavy pieces of EUV machines around the cleanroom floor. Christopher Payne

Read the entire piece to see just how complex it truly is when one needs to "settling at pretty much the smallest spot of anything.” 

Pump & Dumps

You can't fix stupid as we all know but there's a significant minority of people ignoring this truism at their own peril as seen by numerous Qanon followers getting scammed by crypto traders ensconced in the Qanon system.

Combining conspiracizing with bad investment advice, the WhipLash347 and Quantum Stellar Initiative (which has no relationship with the Stellar network) Telegram channels coordinated to produce a weekly curated list of cryptocurrency assets, claiming that they had access to secret military intelligence and knew which assets were going to succeed. The leaders, WhipLash347 and PatriotQakes (also active in the community under her real name, Emily Tang), capitalized on distrust in both financial institutions and mainstream media to lend credence to the assets they promoted, and bombarded their tens of thousands of followers with misinformation about crypto ventures.

“I am without doubt that WhipLash347, Emily, and QSI are scam artists,” Rocky Morningside, a former admin of the QSI chats, told Logically. “[They] were promoting pump and dumps, and this appeared to be a very large and well organized Ponzi Scheme.”

Pump and dump - Wikipedia

"Night wind hawkers" sold stock on the streets during the South Sea Bubble. (The Great Picture of Folly, 1720)

Any questions?

Friday, June 17, 2022

Peecycle 101 :)

Urine and poop do wonders for plants in a much more beneficial way than fertilizers, something yours truly saw in Korea back in 1971 when "honey wagons" were used to deliver human waste to fertilize crops back in the day. Seems this environmentally intelligent way to increase crop yields is gathering steam and it's about time. :)

BRATTLEBORO, Vt. — When Kate Lucy saw a poster in town inviting people to learn about something known as peecycling, she was mystified. “Why would someone pee in a jug and save it?” she wondered. “It sounds like such a wacky idea.”

She had to work the evening of the information session, so she sent her husband, Jon Sellers, to assuage her curiosity. He came home with a jug and funnel.

Human urine, Mr. Sellers learned that night seven years ago, is full of the same nutrients that plants need to flourish. It has a lot more, in fact, than Number Two, with almost none of the pathogens. Farmers typically apply those nutrients — nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium — to crops in the form of chemical fertilizers. But that comes with a high environmental cost from fossil fuels and mining

The local nonprofit group that ran the session, the Rich Earth Institute, was working on a more sustainable approach: Plants feed us, we feed them.

Sounds like a plan to me. :) 

Type - X

War porn rev XXX ... automatous weapon XX, combined with AI, what could possibly go wrong?

A new video shared by Estonian robotics and autonomous systems developer Milrem Robotics shows an AI-powered tank blowing up cars and other targets, in a terrifying glimpse of the future of warfare.

The tank, dubbed Type-X, is designed to allow troops to "breach enemy defensive positions with minimal risk," according to a 2021 statement from Milrem Robotics, by providing them with "equal or overmatching firepower and tactical usage to a unit equipped with Infantry Fighting vehicles."

Its navigation and obstacle detection systems are powered by AI, according to the company, giving it a rather terrifying edge over any human adversaries.

Warms the cockles of one's heart, right?

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Of light & Strawberry Moon madness :)

Island of light

Reflection 2Step

Tee Off @ 11:00

Cloud Layer

Highway 101

Parking Lot

Off the rails & crazed ...

In the country of the blind, the one eyed man is king - Erasmus

Off the rails & crazed, the land of the free and home of the brave embraces the crazies thanks to the repugs, where connects to reality no longer apply.

At the tail end of last week, Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado took the stage at the Charis Christian Center's Family Camp Meeting. The event claims that, "you will hear God's Word shared through speakers who have proven God's Word," and follows the speakers' list with Acts 2:17-18: 

And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.

The apocalyptic context notwithstanding, Boebert's talk made quite a splash because of her invocation of Psalm 109:8 in the context of praying for President Biden — "May his days be few and another take his office" — before laughing at the cheers of the crowd. This is certainly not a new use of that text by the GOP — Sen. David Perdue of Georgia invoked it against Obama in 2016, and it became an anti-Obama slogan featured on bumper stickers. With the passage divorced from its full context, people can laugh — but Psalm 109 is a war psalm, calling for the death of the man in question, with 109:9 reading "Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow." And that's the point: As with so many aspects of contemporary Christian nationalism, give the line people can nod along to, and hold back the violent context. This is a prayer for the death of the president, and it is one we can honestly say has become normal for Republicans to use about Democratic presidents.

And this ...

From the Pilgrims to QAnon: Christian nationalism is the "asteroid coming for democracy"

Any questions?

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Rent for Life


Years ago, I read the Water Thief, a dark parable about the privatization of everything from water to air and all things in-between, a most frightening scenario without question as this take on 1984 is now turned into a profit driven entity with the great majority of the populace totally controlled by the power elite instead of Big Brother through the con of renting instead of buying all things needed to survive.

Rent for life ...

If you walk into the average mattress store or a furniture behemoth like IKEA, you can pick up a pretty standard queen-sized mattress for around $600.

But what will happen to the price of mattresses when they become investments?

Let’s pretend you run a $10 trillion multinational investment monopoly like Blackrock. You do the math and realize you can rent a mattress to poor suckers for $99 per month on a 36-month contract.

That $600 mattress is worth $3,600 in revenue to you, $3,000 of which is hard profit.

But the reality is that right now, most working people can afford to buy a $600 mattress, whether they save up for a few months or put it on a credit card.

If you’re a multinational money monopoly like Blackrock, you need to create market demand for mattress rentals by pushing mattress prices higher.

So you go to IKEA headquarters, or directly to their major mattress manufacturers and say, “Hey, retailing to consumers is for chumps. I’ll pay you $3,000 for all one million mattresses you were planning to make this year, and I’ll pay cash upfront.”

The manufacturer is happy because he has a guaranteed buyer for all his mattresses this year, he has zero headaches with returns, and he gets five times the revenues and profits.

(Or Blackrock just buys all the major mattress manufacturers outright.)

Either way, because of investor demand for a consumer good, retail prices start to soar. Because everyday consumers are now competing with multinational investment monopolies for mattresses.

How many people do you know who can afford to pay $3,600 for a mattress?

Pretty soon, no one can afford to own a mattress, and everyone has no choice but to rent one instead. Now, instead of paying $600 every decade to own a mattress, consumers have to pay $99 per month for the rest of their lives — $60,000 over 50 years — just to sleep in a bed.

If this sounds like the biggest scam in economic history, it’s because it is.

And it’s the reason you will own nothing by 2050.

If we let it ...

The great reset to feudalism

There is a name for an economic system in which the vast majority own nothing and have to slave their entire lives just to stay alive.

It’s called serfdom.

Banksters + investors + rent-seeking = Serfdom 2.0

Memorize and understand this formula. This is why your economic life is getting harder and why the working world is suffering economically:

Banks loan trillions to investment monopolies.

Investment monopolies devour corporations.

Corporations financialize industries and shift to the rent-for-life model.

This is the equation that will define our lives and our children’s futures.

This is the new economic model that will obliterate democracy, finish destroying the planet, and put an end to the human rights and freedoms so hard-won by World War II.

Because everything is just a commodified investment now.

It's all about the money - Robert E.

Addendum: The word assume is in play here as by 2050, thanks to GW and other such niceties, the scenario may be altogether different as one cannot predict the future thanks to the vagaries of reality.