Thursday, July 28, 2022


Gratitude & love 101. :)

It is also worth devoting three minutes to a video by another author, also available on YouTube, and treating the story of a more than 20-year “friendship” between a certain diver and a shark (a female Emma, to be precise). During subsequent encounters, the fish recognized “its” man and probably felt “gratitude” towards him, in its own way, for, among other things, removing the fishermen’s hooks from its mouth.

Time we change not only our view of sharks but also about life in general as man has to change how business is done on planet earth before it's too late.

Undoing Reagan

Undoing Reagan applies as the offshoring of manufacturing in order to gin profits for stockholders thanks to Reagan's push to deregulate is now being reversed thanks to a policy bill to counter China, the prime recipient of our manufacturing largess back when Ronnie was president.

WASHINGTON — The Senate on Wednesday passed an expansive $280 billion bill aimed at building up America’s manufacturing and technological edge to counter China, embracing in an overwhelming bipartisan vote the most significant government intervention in industrial policy in decades.

The legislation reflected a remarkable and rare consensus in a polarized Congress in favor of forging a long-term strategy to address the nation’s intensifying geopolitical rivalry with Beijing. The plan is centered around investing federal money into cutting-edge technologies and innovations to bolster the nation’s industrial, technological and military strength.

The measure passed 64 to 33, with 17 Republicans voting in favor. The bipartisan support illustrated how commercial and military competition with Beijing — as well as the promise of thousands of new American jobs — has dramatically shifted longstanding party orthodoxies, generating agreement among Republicans who once had eschewed government intervention in the markets and Democrats who had resisted showering big companies with federal largess.

Albeit not perfect but it's about time without question.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022


Baseball is filled with traditions and heroes like Satchel Page and the Babe, where defense has the ball and no time limit applies as baseball resembles life with intermittent moments of intense activity interspersed with longer periods of stillness. With this in mind, the notion of only one place on earth, located in NJ in a small river known as the Deleware, is the one essential ingredient able to transform baseballs of shiny entities unable to be grasped into objects ready to be put into play without exception.

Jim Bintliff and his family have been selling Delaware River mud to Major League Baseball for decades. Here, he fills a bucket in New Jersey.

Read the entire NYTime piece to learn more about an arcane craft unknown to this writer until today. :)

Influencers "R" us

This illustration resembles the bubble gum art of the early 60s, flat, superficial and almost always smiling, characteristics one and all of 21st century emojis, cartoon images enabling one to communicate without using words, not necessitating the need to write with any degree of skill but ... in today's world, that's all you need, in part, to become an influencer, a person to be followed as this provides a possible gateway to become a lobbyist internet style. 

The "Grinning Face" emoji, from the Twemoji set

AT FIRST GLANCE, the posts appeared to have nothing in common. A Philadelphia-area attorney who proffers financial advice urged her 1,700 Twitter followers to sign up for a credit union. A 23-year-old climate activist in Texas rallied her 49,000 fans on TikTok and Instagram to join a mailing list promoting Democrats in statewide offices. A physical therapist for the elderly in Florida prodded her 3,900 Instagram followers to sign a petition demanding that Congress pass paid medical leave, sharing the story of her grandmother’s battle with dementia. Each of these posts was funded by a well-heeled advocacy organization: the Credit Union National Association, the Democratic Association of Secretaries of State, and UsAgainstAlzheimer’s Action.

Even though none of the people reading these posts knew it, however, they were all made possible by the same company: Urban Legend, a small ad-tech startup operating out of a loft in Alexandria, 

Staffed by a plucky 14-person team, Urban Legend keeps its largest asset carefully hidden away inside its servers: an army of 700 social media influencers who command varying degrees of allegiance from audiences that collectively number in the tens of millions. The company has painstakingly cultivated this roster to reflect every conceivable niche of society reflected on the internet: makeup artists, Nascar drivers, home improvement gurus, teachers, doulas, Real Housewives stars, mommy bloggers, NFL quarterbacks, Olympians, and the occasional Fox News pundit.

These influencers are paired with clients on Urban Legend’s private platform, the Exchange, where buyers spell out the parameters of the message they want to push to the public and set a budget. Influencers snatch the best available offers from a menu and are then free to craft the campaign’s message, molding it to the rhythms and vernacular of their followers. Clients only pay for each “conversion” an influencer nets—$1.25, say, for every follower who joins a newsletter. In two years, Urban Legend’s influencers have run more than 400 campaigns, connecting people to its clients millions of times. Henri Makembe, a veteran Democratic campaign strategist in Washington who has worked with Urban Legend several times, compared the concept to “unboxing” videos—when an influencer unwraps and showcases a product sent to them by a brand. Such product influencers are a $15 billion marketing industry. “Now we’re realizing, ‘Oh: We can do that with an idea,’” Makembe says.

Image may contain Text Label Graphics and Art

 Illustration: Maria Frade

Remember ... Like baseball, selling influence is a pastime that rarely gets reinvented.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Possum :)

I've always liked these guys, especially after gently consigning a big one to the great outdoors after discovering his quiet invasion of the dog's food bag, happily scarfing down the chow with nary a care in the world. :) Gnarly, as per the Atlantic article, is apt but also is the benign impact possums have on the environment as they are intense insectivores with a predilection for ticks, vicious little vampires carrying Lyme and other such diseases, ready to be injected into your blood stream after finishing up it's meal.

When she makes her nighttime appearance—in a leafy corner of the yard, maybe, or along a power line slung across an alley—you’ll see her eyes first, two bright-greenish orbs, floating side by side in the gloom. Your own eyes will adjust to size up her lurking silhouette: two ratty ears, candy-corn teeth, a loaf of a body, and a spindly tail behind her. She might gape or hiss like she craves human flesh, sending shivers up your spine. At first glance, this lumbering night creature might seem more foe than friend. But look closer and take her in: a harmless opossum, in all her scruffy glory.

Today, the Virginia opossum can be found basically all over North America: in cities and suburbs, fields and forests. One interloping opossum was recently tossed out of a Brooklyn bar. She thrives alongside humans, and she thrives without them, too. In his 2016 essay titled “Everything What’s Wrong of Possums,” the writer Daniel M. Lavery wondered what, exactly, an opossum eats: “IS IT FRUIT? IS IT … NIGHT DIRT? IS IT OTHER RATS?” The answer is yes. The opossum shovels up all of those things like the Dyson of the natural world. She savors carrion, cockroaches, earthworms, and insect exoskeletons. She feasts on small mice, and ticks that attach themselves to her hide. In cities she gobbles down rotten vegetables, bones, and greasy paper from your garbage. She scavenges—she cleans the streets! Opossums “have their own job,” Donna Holmes Parks, a biology professor at the University of Idaho, told me. And for all that hard work, she added, “they deserve to be admired.”

Exactly. :)

Saturday, July 23, 2022


cartoon of a red-headed woman holding a flashlight that illuminates certain numbers against a dark blue background

Yours truly loves physics and math from the lay perspective. Being math challenged, I am constantly amazed as to how math is the short hand needed to describe reality. At the same time, the divine obsession of mathematicians to solve arcane problems seemingly disconnected from quotidian activities of society endlessly fascinates as seen by a recent piece in Quanta Magazine, a true garden of earthly delights from this writer's perspective. :)

To whit ...

Something's afoot. :)

Sorta like This sentence is false or ...

Stranded assets ...

It's all about the money yet again because while the world burns, the so called stranded assets of fossil fuels continues to be worth over a trillion dollars thanks. in part, to bribes given to pols in order to enable investors to keep making money without regard to the impact said assets are having on planet earth.

It gets better ...

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

The word assume yet again ...


Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Back in the day, yours truly designed logos, work fraught with psychological implications for the companies in question as it's their identity stupid, something rather important as the logo and name is the face of the organization it presents to the world.  In the many years of corporate work I did, never was there an issue of copying another company's mark as I was a pretty damn good designer who made sure the mark in question was truly original and well researched, not like the fiasco created by Facebook in 2022 and in 1976,  the NBC disaster, a self-inflicted wound aided and abetted by the word assume. 

In 2022 ...

When Facebook changed its name to Meta in October, there were a few concerns that the company was planning to dominate the nascent metaverse — but there’s one aggrieved party that’s only now going public.

An installation-art company called META (or announced Tuesday that it will be suing Meta (or Facebook) for trademark violation, alleging that Zuckerberg’s name change violated the smaller company’s established brand.

“On October 28, 2021, Facebook seized our META mark and name, which we put our blood, sweat, and tears into building for over twelve years,” reads a post on the smaller company’s site. “Today, after eight months of trying to negotiate with Facebook in good faith to no avail, we were left with no choice but to file a lawsuit against them.”


(Disclosure: The Verge partnered with for a number of art installations at the Panorama Festival in 2016. In order to make this post comprehensible, we’re going to refer to the billion-dollar social media company as Facebook and the smaller augmented-reality company as; this is not an endorsement of either side’s legal claims.)

Much of the case hinges on Facebook’s many privacy scandals, which argues has made it impossible to share the name. “Meta can no longer provide goods and services under the META mark,” the complaint argues, “because consumers are likely to mistakenly believe that Meta’s goods and services emanate from Facebook and that Meta is associated with the toxicity that is inextricably linked with Facebook.”

  1. short for meta key.
  1. (of a creative work) referring to itself or to the conventions of its genre; self-referential.
    "the enterprise is inherently “meta,” since it doesn't review movies, for example, it reviews the reviewers who review movies"

In 1976 ...

Great logos are rare, one of the greats was the NBC Peacock.

Well, some marketing genius decided this was not good enough so the redo was this ...

Said design cost a cool mil back in 1976 but there was a problem because ...

From a design perspective, the N is a generic nothing so NBC returned to the mark that worked ...

Hope the genius that created the disaster was fired.

I sincerely hope the real Meta wins this case as FB is toxic to the nth degree. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

It will get hotter ... without question

 A man refreshes his face at a fountain in Trafalgar Square in central London, Tuesday, July 19, 2022. Britain shattered its record for highest temperature ever registered Tuesday, with a provisional reading of 39.1 degrees Celsius (102.4 degrees Fahrenheit), according to the country's weather office — and the heat was only expected to rise. (Aaron Chown/PA Wire/PA via AP)

Remember when summer was dedicated to fun. You know, burgers, hot dogs, a walk in the park, a day at the beach, pleasantries we all enjoyed just a few years ago. Now, it's become the season of dread, where temps go into the stratosphere and wildfires bloom just like wildflowers, showing us an unpleasant prelude as to what's coming as we move further into the 21st century.

LONDON (AP) — Britain shattered its record for highest temperature ever registered Tuesday amid a heat wave that has seized swaths of Europe — and the national weather forecaster predicted it would get hotter still in a country ill prepared for such extremes.

The typically temperate nation was just the latest to be walloped by unusually hot, dry weather that has gripped the continent since last week, triggering wildfires from Portugal to the Balkans and leading to hundreds of heat-related deaths. Images of flames racing toward a French beach and Britons sweltering — even at the seaside — have driven home concerns about climate change.

The U.K. Met Office registered a provisional reading of 40.2 degrees Celsius (104.4 degrees Fahrenheit) at Heathrow Airport — breaking the record set just an hour earlier. Before Tuesday, the highest temperature recorded in Britain was 38.7 C (101.7 F), a record set in 2019.

Update ...

The Meteorological Office, U.K.'s weather office, announced a temperature of 40.2 Celsius (104.4 Fahrenheit) was provisionally recorded Tuesday in London. A temperature of 39.1 C (102.4 F) was provisionally recorded earlier in the day in the English village of Charlwood in Surrey.

While in Europe ...

TOPSHOT - Firefighters operate at the site of a wildfire in Pumarejo de Tera near Zamora, northern Spain, on June 18, 2022. - Firefighters continued to fight against multiple fires in Spain, one of which ravaged nearly 20,000 hectares of land, on the last day of an extreme heat wave which crushed the country, with peaks at 43 degrees. The largest of these forest fires was still out of control this afternoon in the Sierra de la Culebra, a mountain range in the region of Castile and Leon (northwest), near the

Firefighters operate at the site of a wildfire in Pumarejo de Tera near Zamora, northern Spain, on June 18, 2022. Cesar Manso | AFP | Getty Images

Dubbed a “heat apocalypse” by one French meteorologist, many nations in Europe are sweltering under record temperatures, causing devastating wildfires in some parts of the continent.

Spain and Portugal have seen over 1,000 deaths in the last week attributed to the weather, according to Reuters. Firefighters in France and Greece have also been out in force to try to combat huge wildfires in rural areas.

Heat records have been broken in many parts of Western Europe, with Britain recording its hottest-ever day Tuesday, with temperatures hitting a high of 39.1 degrees Celsius (102.4 degrees Fahrenheit).

Remember, this is just the beginning ...

Monday, July 18, 2022

35+ & counting

GW, the extinction event that keeps on giving, is accelerating at rates unforeseen by climatologists all over the world. Record temps are now the norm along with the specter of wet bulb where the fatal 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) wet-bulb threshold — the point at which the human body can’t cool itself down and even healthy people with unlimited shade and water will die of heatstroke — almost never occurred in the current climate. But as a 2020 study (and the map below) reveals, humid heat above 35 degrees C has already been happening  Imagine 2050 where WB is commongplace and the potential of millions dying in places like India or Pakistan becomes more probable as civilization moves further into the 21st century. We are entering a phase in humanity's history where angels fear to tread, a catastrophe of our own making, a future most dark and terrifying without doubt. 

The world must change how it does business or we're done. 

Think about it, I have.

Remember, it's just the beginning ...

Steady state ...


Photo illustration by Bráulio Amado

All we hear about from economists, politicos and above all else, big corporations, is the notion of GROWTH as this is the key to profit as man moves further into the future. You gotta keep growing the economy in order for civilization to prosper but there's a problem. In order to grow, you must use more resources, You know, raw materials as saif stuff is needed in order to make ever more stuff, a situation no longer tenable thanks to GW and ecological overshoot as we are running out of planet in vain hopes of continuing to grow no matter what the cost may be.

Growth is the be-all and end-all of mainstream economic and political thinking. Without a continually rising G.D.P., we’re told, we risk social instability, declining standards of living and pretty much any hope of progress. But what about the counterintuitive possibility that our current pursuit of growth, rabid as it is and causing such great ecological harm, might be incurring more costs than gains? That possibility — that prioritizing growth is ultimately a losing game — is one that the lauded economist Herman Daly has been exploring for more than 50 years. In so doing, he has developed arguments in favor of a steady-state economy, one that forgoes the insatiable and environmentally destructive hunger for growth, recognizes the physical limitations of our planet and instead seeks a sustainable economic and ecological equilibrium. “Growth is an idol of our present system,” says Daly, emeritus professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy, a former senior economist for the World Bank and, along with the likes of Greta Thunberg and Edward Snowden, a recipient of the prestigious Right Livelihood Award (often called the “alternative Nobel”). “Every politician is in favor of growth,” Daly, who is 84, continues, “and no one speaks against growth or in favor of steady state or leveling off. But I think it’s an elementary question to ask: Does growth ever become uneconomic?”

Makes sense to me.

This year, Earth Overshoot Day lands on July 28

Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity has used all the biological resources that Earth regenerates during the entire year.

What happens when we hit June 30th?

“a joke with no punchline.”

If you go to to a GWAR concert, wear crappy clothes as said band will shower you with an assorted concoction of bodily fluids just to make sure you remember who these guys truly are. Imagine Kiss on steroids and, in a very strange way, view the sly humor this group brings to the stage. Gonzo rock applies and ... they have lasted for nearly 40 years!

There has never been, nor will there ever be, anyone like GWAR, the metal outfit hailing from Richmond, Virginia, who dress up as space barbarians, act out all manner of onstage obscenity, and spew their audiences with fake blood, semen, and other sticky bodily fluids. For the past four decades, GWAR has carved out a wholly unique niche in the music industry, serving as a nexus point for those who love horror movies, science fiction, fantasy, comic books, superheroes, Dungeons & Dragons, punk, and headbanging. They’re the mutant manifestation of every geeky thing in modern American popular culture, and their legacy of gonzo anti-establishment satire, pornographic performance-art pyrotechnics, gory tongue-in-cheek violence, and absurdist mania are all lovingly celebrated by This is GWAR, a non-fiction introduction to a band that long-time member Danielle Stampe (aka Slymenstra Hymen) refers to as “a joke with no punchline.”

At this point, one should mention that GWAR is about as profane, disgusting, and outlandish as they come, headlined by Brockie as alter ego Oderus Urungus, a loudmouthed goliath with a huge goo-spewing cuttlefish hanging from his crotch (a goofy phallic creature designed to skirt domestic obscenity laws). They’re certainly not for everyone, and yet after emphasizing musicianship with 1990’s Scumdogs of the Universe LP (on Metal Blade Records), and with an enhanced live show full of latex monsters, decapitations and rowdily over-the-top fights, they attracted a loyal following. When Mike Judge made them Beavis and Butthead’s favorite band on the duo’s animated MTV series, GWAR found itself in the spotlight, embraced for both their gruesome craziness and the self-aware humor with which it was delivered.

These guys actually play pretty damn well and ... tongue in cheek applies :)

Gotta see the movie. :)

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Infrastructure 101

This amazing photograph shows, in a symbolic way, the fact America no longer has the wherewithal to build anything of consequence within budget or timeframe, a pernicious reality ironically started by Reagan and the inability of government to work intelligently with private enterprise in terms of how to do infrastructure right. As often state in BRT, There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. 

To whit ...

The goal of the 2009 Sepulveda Pass Freeway Expansion Project seemed simple. A carpool lane was to be added to reduce congestion on a 10-mile stretch of Los Angeles’s I-405 freeway, the second most congested road in the U.S. However, this brought exceptional technical and logistical challenges—the project required carving through a mountain, demolishing and replacing three overpasses, and moving a 60-year-old street, all alongside a freeway that saw 500,000 commuters daily. 

After four years of congestion and construction, and with the project a year behind schedule, Sepulveda was trying everyone’s patience. One of the people fed up with the project was Elon Musk. His daily commute to and from SpaceX’s headquarters was taking over an hour due to construction delays. He went to Twitter with his frustration and began openly speculating about buying tunnel boring machines (TBMs) to drill under Los Angeles, offering to pay for the cost of adding more workers to the project. When he investigated TBM technology he discovered that it hadn’t improved in decades—a snail moves 14 times faster than the best drill. A year after his initial tweet, Musk launched the Boring Company, a tunneling technology company devoted to building TBM that can “beat the snail.”

It gets better.

Sepulveda’s cost and schedule overrun aren’t even the worst of it. Just as unattainable as a shortened commute is the Californian dream of building a bullet train that could take you from Los Angeles to San Francisco in under three hours. In 2008, a year before the Sepulveda project began, the state tried to turn this dream into a reality after voters approved a 512-mile high-speed rail (HSR) project. Amid failing overseas wars and financial crises, at the time it could’ve become a symbol of renewal not just for California but the entire country. Instead, it came to exemplify a dysfunctional government that lacks the capacity to build.

At the time California began accelerating the development of its HSR system it only had 10 employees dedicated to overseeing what was the most expensive infrastructure project in U.S. history. It ended up 14 years (and counting) behind schedule and $44 billion over budget. Incredibly, the state has not laid a single mile of track and it still lacks 10 percent of the land parcels it needs to do so. Half of the project still hasn’t achieved the environmental clearance needed to begin construction. The dream of a Japanese-style bullet train crisscrossing the state is now all but dead due to political opposition, litigation, and a lack of funding.

In-house expertise anyone?

This lack of in-house institutional expertise leads to bad decision-making. Bent Flyvbjerg, a professor at Oxford University who has written extensively about megaprojects summarized the problem when asked about California’s HSR project: “If you depend on consultants to know what you are doing then you are in real trouble…a good balance is where the owners are not outsourcing all the knowledge. A bad balance guarantees a bad outcome.”

Overtime 101 - greed is good.

The principal-agent problem arises with union construction labor as well. Skilled union workers, such as electricians and carpenters, make solid hourly wages, but their pay really explodes with overtime. A 2011 study by the Real Estate Board of New York found that some union crane operators made up to $500,000 a year in pay. Union contracts mandate unnecessary positions as well, to the benefit of its members. The same study found 50 workers in unnecessary positions such as relief crane operators on the World Trade Center Project, including 14 unproductive employees making $400,000 a year at the project.

There is a better way ...

Should the U.S. ever commit to a developmentalist strategy, it will have plenty of examples to learn from. Between 1995 and 1999, the City of Madrid designed and built 39 new metro rail stations, laid 35 miles of rail—including 23.5 miles which required expensive tunneling—and completed all work at an average cost of $65 million per mile. It has subsequently completed multiple other phases of similar size with similar results.

How did Madrid accomplish this? It used simple modular designs for each station and did not use any new construction techniques, novel engineering designs, or train technology. When tunneling segments, instead of using one TBM as is typical, it deployed up to six at a time—a number previously unheard of. Most importantly, Madrid ran its construction crews 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and achieved consistent worker productivity gains. Reducing complexity and repeatedly building the same simplified design made iterative improvements possible.

Common sense rules and ... read the detailed  Palladium piece to see why America can't build.