Sunday, October 30, 2022

A self-inflicted CF ...

Musk is a great engineer, at the level of a Kelly Johnson  but unlike Kelly, he knows not his limitations, especially in light of buying Twitter, a company having no real profit potential outside of trying to package gossip, innuendos and lies along the lines of an unfiltered Facebook, something Musk is promising to do at an even higher level as he believes in absolute freedom of speech even if it means falsely shouting Fire! in a Theater when testing the limits to free speech and individual rights in real time. Trump anyone?

To whit ...

In 1919, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes introduced the specter of a man falsely

 A self-inflicted CF ...

You fucked up real good, kiddo.

Twitter is a disaster clown car company that is successful despite itself, and there is no possible way to grow users and revenue without making a series of enormous compromises that will ultimately destroy your reputation and possibly cause grievous damage to your other companies.

Why? ...

I say this with utter confidence because the problems with Twitter are not engineering problems. They are political problems. Twitter, the company, makes very little interesting technology; the tech stack is not the valuable asset. The asset is the user base: hopelessly addicted politicians, reporters, celebrities, and other people who should know better but keep posting anyway. You! You, Elon Musk, are addicted to Twitter. You’re the asset. You just bought yourself for $44 billion dollars.

In essence ...

What I mean is that you are now the King of Twitter, and people think that you, personally, are responsible for everything that happens on Twitter now. It also turns out that absolute monarchs usually get murdered when shit goes sideways.

Read the rest of The Verge's blurb if you dare. :)

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Reading between the lines ...

History Buffs rules as facts about, in this case, Mozart, are truly astounding as vulgarity and social awkwardness to the max seamlessly connect to art of the sublime, something also seen with Michelangelo, DiVinci and Miles Davis, among significant others, as all three are flawed examples of humanity just as this rube is without question.

The art of cursive ...

A favorite movie of mine, Hugo, channels not only the visionary-genius of french filmmaker Georges Méliès but also delves into the mystery and wonder of the automaton, a relatively self-operating machine, or control mechanism designed to automatically follow a sequence of operations, or respond to predetermined instructions.[1], able to do things like write like an angel, an essential skill sadly going away due to the rise of the computer.

It’s hard to imagine that before the United States of America even became a country, a Swiss watchmaker had already created a machine with the capabilities of a modern programmable computer– in the form of a small boy. The 70cm-tall automaton known as “The Writer”, is an extraordinary but often forgotten anomaly of its age. So impossibly ahead of its time, even the creator, Pierre Jaquet-Droz, was fearful he might be arrested for sorcery when he presented his masterpieces of engineering to the royal courts of Europe. The most complex of his self-moving androids is now nearly 250 years-old; a machine that simulates human actions without electricity, controlled by a complex programming system disk fitted inside the carved wooden body of an extraordinary little child. 

See Hugo and be enchanted. :)

Friday, October 28, 2022

Open the Aperture of Your Mind ...

Researcher Toy Reid sits before a timeline chronicling the lead-up to the pandemic at the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington. Credit: Mark Peterson/Redux for Vanity Fair

Every once in a while, a conspiracy theory becomes credible like the one stating Covid19, in fact, escaped from a bio lab located in Wuhan, China, a dark possibility endlessly trumpeted by Agent Orange but dismissed by those "who" know, may be valid if a story detailing the problems besetting said lab are true.

To whit ...

Toy Reid has always had a gift for languages — one that would carry him far from what he calls his “very blue-collar” roots in Greenville, South Carolina. In high school, Spanish came easily. At nearby Furman University, where he became the first person in his family to attend college, he studied Japanese. Then, “clueless but curious,” as he puts it, he channeled his fascination with the Dalai Lama into a master’s degree in East Asian philosophy and religion at Harvard. Along the way, he picked up Khmer, the national language of Cambodia, and achieved fluency in Chinese.

But it was his career as a China specialist for the Rand Corporation and as a political officer in East Asia for the U.S. State Department that taught him how to interpret a notoriously opaque language: the “party speak” practiced by Chinese Communist officials.

Channeling Orwell ...

For 15 months, Reid loaned this unusual skill to a nine-person team dedicated to investigating the mystery of COVID-19’s origins. Commissioned by Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., the team examined voluminous evidence, most of it open source but some classified, and weighed the major credible theories for how the novel coronavirus first made the leap to humans. An interim report, released on Thursday by the minority oversight staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP), concludes that the COVID-19 pandemic was “more likely than not, the result of a research-related incident.”

Channeling Agatha Christie ...

Opacity rules or in the end ...

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Deja vu all over again ...

An image most telling indirectly shows the intimate relationship of Ukraine to the US in Ukraine's conflict with Russia, a possible start point to WWIII as the west is using Ukraine as proxy in its defacto war with Russia. Combine this specter of destruction with accelerating climate change and one sees a new dark age coming unless civilization withdraws from the abyss before it's too late. The only existential event compared to this conflict is the Missiles of October, when the world was also on the brink before pulling back in avoiding Armageddon. 

A large proportion of the world’s top tourist destinations are the remains of dead empires. A week of sightseeing with my younger children in Italy reminded me of this. The city of Rome was the capital of an empire that at its height stretched from Britannia to Babylonia. The city of Venice once ruled a realm that extended across what are now Albania, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Montenegro and Slovenia.

The world today is dominated by two empires: the US, which originated in the British colonization of North America, and the ethnic-Han-dominated Middle Kingdom we call the People’s Republic of China. But a number of former empires continue to play disproportionate roles in world politics: The Russian empire limps on in the guise of the Russian Federation; the Persian empire is now the Islamic Republic of Iran; one might say the Holy Roman Empire has been reincarnated in the form of the European Union, at once extensive, German-centered and weak.

It is not civilizations that clash, but empires. Indeed, it is often border clashes that define their extents. As a schoolboy, I was taught the world wars as if they had been contests between European nation states. Only later did I see that they were struggles between empires. That was why they were global and not just European conflicts.

Empires fall. Two weeks ago, I optimistically suggested that I would live to see the fall of the empires of the Chinese Communists, the Russian fascists and the Iranian theocrats. But we must not make the mistake of assuming that the US is an indestructible empire, for there is no such thing. The Biden administration would not be the first Democratic administration elected on a progressive domestic program that stumbled into a major war: Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman and Johnson — they all did it. The record is: won two, tied one, lost one.

When looking at war, only the very few profit. Read War is a Racket to see why this rings true. 

1935 cover from the first printing

Monday, October 24, 2022

Everyone hates Ted

Everyone hates Ted, I hate Ted, especially after his 2021 Cancun adventure while his fellow Texans were freezing their butts off but I digress. Let's listen to others who know Ted personally, which is all the reason more to detest this guy without reservation.

This is about the best thing Graham has ever said without question. 

A Faustian bargain ...

For years, the concept of how drones will change warfare has now become fact, something most disquieting as autonomous AI, the engine driving this increasingly deadly technology, remains a black box due to the necessity of real time code having to react to realtime issues, something requiring code to rewrite code and not us as AI is open ended, able to evolve at speeds incomprehensible to us rubes, discomferting issues BRT has talked about for years. 

The word assume yet again ...

Skynet looms ...

Saturday, October 22, 2022

The stuff of nightmares ...

 The stuff of nightmares.  Happy Halloween 2022. :)

The word assume applies ...

We all know who this is, right? Well, she'll probably get reelected again so us rubes can hear yet again what a Christian nationalist truly wants besides impeaching Biden and going after Hunter as doing governance is not part of the equation regarding this first term rep from GA. In talking to many of my friends, a question always comes up, 20 years ago, did we ever have politicians spout off the kind of crap this pol, and many other repugs, preach as gospel including the wisdom of QAnon and the big lie with conviction and ardor even though said concepts are bogus at best.

To whit ...

There’s going to be a lot of investigations,” Marjorie Taylor Greene said, describing what she anticipates if the Republicans regain the House majority this November. “I’ve talked with a lot of members about this.”

Though the 48-year-old self-described “Christian nationalist” possesses a flair for extreme bombast equal to that of her political role model Trump, Greene’s assessment of her current standing within the Republican Party — owing to the devotion accorded her by the party’s MAGA base — would seem to be entirely accurate.

Over the past two years, Greene has gone from the far-right fringe of the G.O.P. ever closer to its establishment center without changing any of her own beliefs; if anything, she has continued to find more extreme ways to express them. 

The word assume applies ...

“It was extremely lonely in there, watching, basically, the certification of the Electoral College votes for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, even though we know the election was stolen, and the Democrats were working so hard on it, but Republicans too, there were Republicans also.”

Hopkins listened attentively, her face knotted with anguish, and observed, It’s almost as if you’re one of them — you’re almost like one of those who could’ve been at the rally.”

“I am one of those people,” Greene said emphatically. “That’s exactly who I am.”

Ah, weasel words always apply as one has to get reelected, right?

Hastily, as if realizing the implication of what she had said, she added: “I’m not one of those people that attacked the Capitol yesterday. I completely condemn that. I completely condemn attacking law enforcement; I support our police officers. And I thank them for their courage yesterday in keeping us safe. I know there were bad actors involved and investigations are underway — and it’s Antifa.” (In subsequent months, Greene would blame the F.B.I. for possibly instigating the violence on Jan. 6. She also voted against awarding police officers who defended the Capitol that day the congressional gold medal, its highest honor.)

And so it goes. - Kurt Vonnegut

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Riding a tiger


Much ado will be made of revenge on the “century of humiliation” through the “rejuvenation of the Chinese nation” to achieve the “Chinese Dream” as enunciated in Xi Jinping Thought. (AP)

Riding a tiger is most apt regarding Xi and China as complex problems extending beyond the control of this driven politician who channels Mao 24/7, threaten to undo all the advances this country has accomplished over the past 50 years. From ongoing environmental collapse to a radically shrinking population, the question to ask now is, does Xi have the flexibility and vision to wisely guide China into a future fraught with uncertainties requiring a skill set this man may lack as his nation moves further into the 21 century.

Xi Jinping is ready for self-anointment as the uncrowned king of China for life. His merry band of Communists will sound the fanfare during the forthcoming 20th Party Congress. Much ado will be made of revenge on the “century of humiliation” through the “rejuvenation of the Chinese nation” to achieve the “Chinese Dream” as enunciated in Xi Jinping Thought. Major achievements under his exalted leadership will be showcased. He will shout from the rooftop that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) will be a strong, democratic, civilised, harmonious and modern socialist country and the foremost global power which dominates great power relations by 2049. He will grandstand that despite major challenges and irrespective of the perils of the last mile, a Sino-centric order will be established under his helmsmanship. He and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will portray the delivery of the “Chinese dream” to the people through the greatest military on earth. A vision will be sold in which “Socialism with Chinese characteristics” and state control of institutions makes China a strong economic power along with Xi’s “anti-corruption campaigns”, “common prosperity”, “victory over Covid”, “a new model of win-win in international cooperation” and “dual circulation”.

“Xiconomics” will prevail over the current issues facing China. These will be painted as transitory problems which will be overcome as the middle kingdom emerges as the ordained superpower on earth.

However ... reality differs ...

As Xi Jinping ascends new political heights, the Chinese economy is wracked by his zero Covid policy, real estate crisis, cash-strapped local governments, big tech emasculation, supply chain relocation and global decoupling. Geopolitical and economic headwinds from the Ukraine war and deteriorating relations with the USA, EU nations, India, Japan, South Korea and Australia compound China’s woes. Military assertions against India, Taiwan, Xinjiang and Hong Kong and in the South China Sea induce global distrust of China. An unprecedented drought and the spectre of climate change casts a pall over China’s future. The days of heady investment-led economic growth crackling through debt-fuelled infrastructure, high-priced property, high-speed trains, gleaming highways, buzzing hi tech and smoothly purring manufacturing supply chains are over.

And we haven't even discussed the age-old conflict of the haves vs the have-nots as seen by the discrepancy of income and lifestyle between the people living on the coast vs people living in the interior.

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

Running in place ...

Kendrick Brinson for The New York Times

Every time one "listens" to Herschel Walker, Politics and the English Language by George Orwell, comes to mind as Walker's inability to put together coherent thoughts is sad testimony as to how low standards can go regarding anyone running for political office in the year of our lord 2022.

When challenged on reducing the cost of insulin, Walker responded: “I believe in reducing insulin, but at the same time, you got to eat right, because he may not know and I know many people that’s on insulin, and unless you have a eating right, insulin is doing you no good.”

Say what? English translation: “Healthy diets can help treat and prevent Type 2 diabetes.” The nearly two million people suffering from Type 1 diabetes, not caused by diet and for which whom insulin is needed to stay alive? Oh, well.

When Warnock accused Walker of pretending to be a police officer, Walker whipped out a badge and said, “You know what’s so funny? I am worked with many police officers.” A moderator then chastised him for bringing the “prop” to the event.

At another point, Walker said: “Well right now, people have coverage for health care. It’s according to what type of coverage do you want because if you have an able-bodied job, you’re going to have health care. But everyone else have health care, it’s the type of health care you’re going to get. And I think that is the problem. And what Senator Warnock wants you to do is to depend on the government. What I want you to do is get off the government health care and get on the health care he’s got.”

Huh? As a United States senator, Warnock’s health care is government health care.

In comparison ...

Now, it is clear that the decline of a language must ultimately have political and economic causes: it is not due simply to the bad influence of this or that individual writer. But an effect can become a cause, reinforcing the original cause and producing the same effect in an intensified form, and so on indefinitely. A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts. The point is that the process is reversible. Modern English, especially written English, is full of bad habits which spread by imitation and which can be avoided if one is willing to take the necessary trouble. If one gets rid of these habits one can think more clearly, and to think clearly is a necessary first step toward political regeneration: so that the fight against bad English is not frivolous and is not the exclusive concern of professional writers.

Any questions?


Yours truly, along with many others, were wrong about the competency of the Russian Army as we all assumed it was going to be a cakewalk for Putin to take over Ukraine in a matter of days. Needless to say, belief has a way of going sideways when reality makes its presence known regarding, in this case, the innumerable missteps Putin has made in terms of not understanding anything in terms of how to properly conduct a war in any way, shape or fashion.

I vividly remember the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, yes I'm that old, when Kennedy. on a flickering  B&W tv, told the world about the possibility of Armageddon so ... in a very small way, the notion of quiet dread comes to mind when faced with a cornered dictator equipped with nukes, able to end the world in 2022.

Time for someone to take out Putin now.