Monday, March 27, 2023

50 years ago today ...

Xerox PARC's world-changing Alto

A wonderful piece from The Register detailing Xerox PARC's Alto, the precursor of all PCs, was networked, had a GUI (Graphical User Interface) and used a mouse to run the interface.

Modern computers get many influences from many sources, but one of them far outshines all the others. Its signficance, though, is "more honoured in the breach than in the observance", as Shakespeare put it. More retellings distort the history than do it justice.

The Alto was an experimental machine built by boffins in Xerox's Palo Alto Research Centre (PARC) in the early 1970s to explore new thinking in user interface design, and while never made available commercially – Xerox would sell the Star, a version of the Alto, in 1981 – a couple of thousand were made for use by Xerox staff and some were donated to universities and research facilities. Arguably the first personal computer – though some historians consider it a minicomputer – it was also the first to feature a graphical interface controlled by a mouse and to incorporate networking.

He mentions two of the three defining features of the machine: it was the first single-user GUI-driven machine, but also, it was the first networked workstation. Before even the concept of the "personal computer" had been dreamed up, and at around the same time as Intel was building the first microprocessors, the giant brains at PARC were not only designing the personal GUI workstation, they were also building a local-area network to link them up. The Alto's network became Ethernet, co-designed by 3Com founder Bob Metcalfe, along with the late David Boggs and the late Alto hardware designer Chuck Thacker.

The third significant thing about the Alto was that it was the machine that made object-oriented programming mainstream. These were the three significant aspects of the machine: the first GUI PC, the first networked PC, and the machine that drove OOPS into the mainstream. That is according to Steve Jobs, anyway:

The musical naming of the system rules as great alto sax players like Lee Konitz, Paul Desmond, Charlie Parker & Cannonball Adderley, among significant others, come to mind without question. 

Some of the greats/partial list. :)

Lest we forget, alto also relates to singers as well. :)

A state in chaos ...

Israel has a Bibi problem, Israel's equivalent to Trump, as his move to turn his country into a fascist state, seems to have stalled thanks to his attempt to "reform" the courts in order to accrue more power and avoid corruption charges, a blunder sending his country into chaos as seen by the video above.

Hundreds of thousands of people have rallied in cities across Israel for a 10th week in a row against plans by the far-right government to curb the Supreme Court’s powers. Organisers said a record 500,000 people attended Saturday’s rallies.

And this.

Israel in chaos as workers strike, ports close and officials protest over Netanyahu's judicial overhaul plan

Sunday night saw new scenes of unrest, after Netanyahu fired Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, who became the first member of the ruling Likud Party to speak out against the proposed changes.

Time for this sorry excuse of a human being to go as without question, Bibi's the worst PM in his country's history.

To whit ... Past as prologue.

2019 ... Netanyahu is charged with fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes after three years of investigation.

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has charged Netanyahu after investigating reports of him accepting gifts from millionaire friends and allegedly seeking regulatory favors for media tycoons in return for favorable coverage.

Netanyahu denies the allegations and pleads not guilty as the trial continues.

If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas, or in Latin, qui cum canibus concumbunt cum pulicibus surgent. "He that lieth down with dogs shall rise up with fleas" 

Sunday, March 26, 2023

They're coming for you ...

Agent Orange speaks yet again. 

Any questions?

Ineptness as art form ...

US foreign policy has been an ongoing disaster for over 60+ years beginning with the CIA placing Iran's democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh under house arrest in 1953 in order to enable England to get Iran's oil.

It gets better ...

So ... we made an enemy of a former ally that remains an enemy in 2023 while China triumphs in negotiating a reopening of diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran along with the fact SA will now sell it's oil using the Yuan as the means to make it happen. 

This kind of blunder has been repeated ad nauseam as the MIC runs America because endless war is good for business for the very few while the nation as a whole suffers. Think Nam, Iraq, Afghanistan and Lybya, along with Syria for exquisite US military initiatives while spending a cool 8 trillion to complete the task at hand. Question, what's the P&L on that deal besides broken countries, civilians killed and the real possibility of the death of the dollar due to ineptness as art form, performed by the US for over 70+ years.

In closing ... 

Only two weeks after Saudi Arabia announced an effort to establish diplomatic ties to Iran in a deal mediated by China, more news surfaced that Saudi Arabia was also planning to reopen its embassy in Syria for the first time in over a decade.  Rumors are swirling that Iran, Saudi Arabia and Syria are on the verge of geopolitical and economic agreements that sidestep the US.  It is perhaps not surprising that just as these deals are being announced, there has been a sudden resurgence of fighting between US forces in Syria and Iran supported insurgent groups in the eastern region of the country.

Saturday, March 25, 2023



extend the application of (a method or conclusion, especially one based on statistics) to an unknown situation by assuming that existing trends will continue or similar methods will be applicable. "the results cannot be extrapolated to other patient groups"
  • estimate or conclude (something) by extrapolating 
"attempts to extrapolate likely human cancers from laboratory studies"
extend (a graph, curve, or range of values) by inferring unknown values from trends in the known data. "a set of extrapolated values"

In essence, it's but a guess as to what's going to happen as one cannot predict the future, ever. 

An uneven take on the implications of GW in terms of the Extrapolations' script but one episode in the series reveals, in spades, the dire implications of geoengineering as once you do it, it cannot be undone, something contrary to the repeated experiment notion of sound science because, as Richard Feynman so famously said ... 

Watch the film as one gets a glimpse into the hellscape awaiting us as we move further into the 21st century.

As an aside, no investigation into AI is made while the earth heats up as said open-ended tech, without question, will influence how well man copes with this ongoing catastrophe of our own making. 

Thursday, March 23, 2023

10 to 1

A savanna elephant in Pilanesberg National Park, South Africa. The total biomass of savanna elephants was estimated in the study to be half that of the 2m tonnes cats collectively weigh. Photograph: Arterra Picture Library/Alamy

Being out of balance is not a good thing, particularly in terms of the 10 to 1 ratio of the weight of man versus the weight of wild animals as this shows just how effective we have been in plundering earth's resources 24/7.

To whit ...

‘A wake-up call’: total weight of wild mammals less than 10% of humanity’s

From elephants to tigers, study reveals scale of damage to wildlife caused by transformation of wildernesses and human activity

The total weight of Earth’s wild land mammals – from elephants to bisons and from deer to tigers – is now less than 10% of the combined tonnage of men, women and children living on the planet.

A study by scientists at Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science, published this month, concludes that wild land mammals alive today have a total mass of 22m tonnes. By comparison, humanity now weighs in at a total of around 390m tonnes.

At the same time, the species we have domesticated, such as sheep and cattle, in addition to other hangers-on such as urban rodents, add a further 630m tonnes to the total mass of creatures that are now competing with wild mammals for Earth’s resources. The biomass of pigs alone is nearly double that of all wild land mammals.

The grim figures for land mammals were matched by those found in the oceans. The total mass of marine mammals was calculated to be around 40m tonnes. Fin whales have the largest total biomass with sperm whales and humpbacks coming into the second and third slots, respectively.

Domesticated-to-wild mass ratios emphasise the active role humans play in shaping the abundance of mammals on Earth

Common pet species were also found to be major contributors to humanity’s planetary impact. Domestic dogs have a total mass of around 20m tonnes, a figure close to the combined biomass of all wild terrestrial mammals, while cats have a total biomass of around 2m tonnes, almost double that of the African savanna elephant. “These domesticated-to-wild mass ratios emphasise the active role humans play in shaping the abundance of mammals on Earth,” the researchers state in their paper.

The impact of GW, combined with continued looting of the planet, could potentially become worse than the PETM due, in large part, to not only population overload and temperature increase but also to habitat loss and environmental degradation caused by our endless pursuit of producing ever more stuff. 

10 to 1 indeed.

Misalignment ...

Black Eyed Susan

Yours truly takes pictures and videos when walking in woods and fields as my loyal readers know.  While walking, one readily sees the adverse impact of GW ranging from the early blooming of flowers to the dearth of insects needed to pollinate the flowers in question. Other slights include the slow dying of unhealthy trees along with the early arrival of birds, which often proves problematic when the food sources for said birds are not available due to the specter of climate change. The frightening aspect about this is the fact it's just the beginning in terms of what GW means for the continued existence of mankind as nature cannot adapt fast enough to this catastrophe of our own making.


It never ends, Trumpworld continues unabated, this time, IT"S INDICTMENTS! PR, no matter if it's bad or good, rules as it gives his devoted followers and the repugs even more grist in the mill in trying to vindicate this guy, whose malignant charisma never stops giving, in order to stick it to the dems no matter how crazed the ideas may be to transform Trump into an electable martyr for the ages.

It will ...

This is why he still has a real shot to be the GOP nominee in '24.

Any questions?

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

The Fab of Fabs ...

The most important tech in the world resides in Taiwan under the auspices of TSMC, the fab of fabs building the most sophisticated chips in the world for virtually all of the heavy-duty players in the digital universe including Apple, Nvidia and the US military, among significant others. The success of the company lies in the fact it tailors chips keyed to the specific needs of companies like Apple while keeping their design specifications sacrosanct to the company in question as building trust, along with supreme competency in doing business, are the primary reasons why TSMC rules in building the most valuable technology on earth.

A true contrarian in a good way. 

A Pyrrhic victory at best.

"They call Taiwan the porcupine, right? It’s like, just try to attack. You may just blow the whole island up, but it will be useless to you,” Keith Krach, a former US State Department undersecretary, told me a few weeks before I left for Taiwan. TSMC’s chairman and former CEO, Mark Liu, has put it more concretely: “Nobody can control TSMC by force. If you take by military force, or invasion, you will render TSMC inoperative.” If a totalitarian regime forcibly occupied TSMC, in other words, its kaiser would never get its partner democracies on the phone. The relevant material suppliers, chip designers, software engineers, 5G networks, augmented-reality services, artificial-intelligence operators, and product manufacturers would block their calls. The fabs themselves would be bricked.

The fab of fabs indeed.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Fleeting Winter

Winter's becoming but just a memory in CT thanks to global warming so, in order to commemorate the passing of a season yours truly loves is this short clip showing it actually snowed, something one can see along with a bit of ice if one takes the time to look for it. Enjoy.

No national divorce ...


Sunday, March 19, 2023

The decline of the trades ...

The shortage of tradespeople, you know, plumbers, mechanics, electricians, etc, etc., aka the folks that keep America running while the meritocracy, the rich and the entitled pontificate and make love to their cell phones in the act of doing mostly nothing for the large part of the day, has become a crisis because we don't make anything anymore, thanks to Ronnie offshoring the manufacturing prowess of the nation to China in order to gin profits for stockholders.

To whit.

Given where the economy is going, the notion of college grads making more money than tradespeople is becoming rather dubious, right?

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Fleeting Winter/rev XX

The Meander

Edge Line

One of a kind

Field of dreams

Grayscale ...

Shadow Moon

A Random Walk in New Canaan

A day and night tour of New Canaan including a stop at the updated library and a
stroll through the town at nite to check out the sights on a warm winter day. Enjoy.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

The wiring's different ...

Being an Aspie, I know one when I see one and Ron is one, further along the spectrum than yours truly, I suspect, after reading about how inept this very smart guy is in dealing with reality.

The repugs have a problem as the wiring's different in us. Not better or worse but different and this guy, IMHO, cannot change his behavior in public at this point in time while running for POTUS as it took me years to learn how to deal with people and reality in proper fashion.

To whit ...

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis hasn't officially entered the Republican presidential primary yet, but some of his supporters are taking steps to work around his lacking social skills.

Multiple sources told The Daily Beast the Florida governor struggles with basic social skills, and his allies are working in early primary states to structure events to prevent unexpected interactions between the public and a candidate who is off-putting at best and rude at worst.

“He would sit in meetings and eat in front of people, always like a starving animal who has never eaten before,” a former DeSantis staffer told The Daily Beast, “getting sh*t everywhere.”

Kinda explains his politics doesn't it?

The coolest guy in the world, right?

It's a facade :)

All films are fake, which is not a bad thing as virtually all art, like film, is fake, in one way or another as art is but a fabrication created by us rubes in an existence we will never fully understand. :)

Why Western sets? Well, they're the archetypical example of the fake as facades, as seen in the pix above, are needed to build out the "reality" of a western town in the most efficient way possible.

In writing this blurb, the notion of AI as fake comes to mind as its take on reality is like the Western set, all facade and no depth in its attempt to describe the vagaries of existence without the wealth of experience we all share as humans residing on a planet called Earth.

11 degrees, yet another fake by yours truly. :)

Betrayed yet again ...

A must-see film to show how W lied to us just as Johnson lied to us regarding Nam.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Job loss & the moral hazard ...

Moving along, it seems AI's going to do a number on jobs as
it's cheaper to have a bot do the deed than us rubes.

The moral hazard ... 

Dividing Line/rev II

1 point perspective/rev II

The Moral Hazard/rev II