Monday, July 31, 2023

The heat index ...

Every mass extinction on planet earth, since the beginning of time, began with the injection of excessive amounts of CO2 and methane into the atmosphere, thus creating the greenhouse effect with the end result of killing off multitudes of species too numerous to count, something now happening in the year of our lord 2023. With this being said, GW's impact on productivity is becoming problematic as excess heat, caused by the aforementioned greenhouse gases, can kill, a reality finally being recognized as an emerging problem when questioning on whether civilization can survive because GW's just beginning to ramp up in terms of showing just how hot the world will become as man moves further into the 21st century.

As much of the United States swelters under record heat, Amazon drivers and warehouse workers have gone on strike in part to protest working conditions that can exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

On triple-digit days in Orlando, utility crews are postponing checks for gas leaks, since digging outdoors dressed in heavy safety gear could endanger their lives. Even in Michigan, on the nation’s northern border, construction crews are working shortened days because of heat.

Now that climate change has raised the Earth’s temperatures to the highest levels in recorded history, with projections showing that they will only climb further, new research shows the impact of heat on workers is spreading across the economy and lowering productivity.

A rather obvious fact ...

“We’ve known for a very long time that human beings are very sensitive to temperature, and that their performance declines dramatically when exposed to heat, but what we haven’t known until very recently is whether and how those lab responses meaningfully extrapolate to the real-world economy,” said R. Jisung Park, an environmental and labor economist at the University of Pennsylvania. “And what we are learning is that hotter temperatures appear to muck up the gears of the economy in many more ways than we would have expected.”

Dividing line - 2019

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Sucking oxygen out of the room ...

 Republican presidential candidate former president Donald Trump gestures before speaking at the Republican Party of Iowa's 2023 Lincoln Dinner in Des Moines, Iowa, Friday, July 28, 2023. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Republican presidential candidate former president Donald Trump gestures before speaking at the Republican Party of Iowa's 2023 Lincoln Dinner in Des Moines, Iowa, Friday, July 28, 2023. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) | AP

The Teflon don moves on. The more indictments, the greater the lead as facts don't matter, pr does in the case of Agent Orange, the only repug able to suck out all of the oxygen in the room. No other GOP candidate comes close to the malignant charisma of The Donald and his 30 pt lead in the polls shows just how true that fact truly is. It matters not the number of indictments as the 30-40 million MAGAS he has in his back pocket will not abandon their guy no matter just how reprehensible and craven Trump may be.

DES MOINES — It didn’t matter to the Republicans gathered in the convention center ballroom Friday that he’d hurled insults at their wildly popular governor, or that he is facing a cascade of federal charges.

When Donald Trump strode on stage here for a major gathering of GOP presidential candidates in the first-in-the-nation caucus state, the entire room of party faithful rose to their feet and roared. In an apparently accidental twist, even the walkout music that played hinted at his situation — “One could end up going to prison; one just might be president,” went the Brooks & Dunn song, bits of which played for every candidate that spoke here.

But once again, the former president demonstrated he was still the most dominant force in the room — a hall that had just featured a dozen Republicans also running for the nomination.

As forks and knives clanked over plates of chicken and mashed potatoes at the state GOP’s annual Lincoln Dinner, Trump’s reception was a demonstration of the reality that continues to dog the rest of the Republican presidential field: seemingly no conventional rules of politics apply to him.

“There’s only one candidate — and you know who that candidate is — to get the job done,” Trump said to applause. And the room laughed when he cited a poll that showed Ron DeSantis losing in a matchup with Joe Biden, cautioning that he “wouldn’t take a chance on that one.”

And this ...

Former Vice President Mike Pence stands behind a lectern on which is mounted a circular plaque reading “Republican Party of Iowa” around a Republican elephant logo. A large American flag and stage lights are behind him.

Former Vice President Mike Pence, whose campaign has struggled, was among the candidates who avoided criticizing Mr. Trump at the Lincoln Dinner in Des Moines on Friday.
Credit...Jordan Gale for The New York Times

Candidate after candidate at an Iowa Republican dinner on Friday avoided so much as mentioning the dominant front-runner in the race, former President Donald J. Trump.

But when Mr. Trump took the stage after more than two hours of speeches by his lower-polling rivals, it took him less than three minutes to unleash his first direct attack of the night on his leading challenger, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida.

Mr. Trump not only suggested that Mr. DeSantis was an “establishment globalist” but called him “DeSanctis,” which in Mr. Trump’s argot is short for the demeaning nickname DeSanctimonious and is so well-known that most attendees clearly got the reference. “I wouldn’t take a chance on that one,” Mr. Trump joked.

The crowd of more than 1,200, which had warmly welcomed Mr. DeSantis when he spoke earlier, laughed and applauded throughout Mr. Trump’s riffs.

In contrast, Mr. DeSantis hadn’t mentioned the former president at all. The one speaker who did criticize Mr. Trump at length, former Representative Will Hurd of Texas — who is so far from contention that he’s not even attempting to qualify for the first Republican debate next monthwas booed off the stage.

Malignant charisma indeed.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Narcissistic collapse

Thom Hartmann writes well. Passionate, insightful and spot on, he explains things in ways this writer appreciates. With this being said, Agent Orange is the topic du jour, a toxic entity who's willing to sacrifice America in order to avoid the fact he's a failure in every sense of the word. IMHO, Hartmann's take is correct without question.

When I was young, I dated a girl who, on reflection, was a classic malignant narcissist. She went from loving me to, when I ended the relationship, stalking and threatening me with both social and physical violence.

This may well be what America has in store as Trump descends into a legal hell of his own criminal creation, particularly when he’s facing real jail time; if he’s rejected by the GOP primary voters; or if he’s the nominee and loses the election while still facing jail time.

It’s called “narcissistic collapse.”

He’s already using the language of narcissistic collapse, priming his cult followers to experience rage and act out revenge fantasies on his behalf in a clear call to stochastic terrorism.

When he spoke at Waco on the March 25th anniversary of another hard-right martyrdom, the Branch Davidian siege, he said:

“[Our] enemies are desperate to stop us,” and “our opponents have done everything they can to crush our spirit and to break our will. But,” he added, “they failed. They’ve only made us stronger. And 2024 is the final battle, it’s going to be the big one.”

Niece Mary Trump agrees.

Mary Trump, who has spoken out against Trump's political leadership, explained why she believes he is touting himself as the "retribution" of conservatives during an appearance on MSNBC. She also explained that she believes his messaging is centered around himself—not necessarily his supporters.

"He means he is his retribution. As has been well-established, and as you well know, he doesn't care about anybody else. This is all his grievance, his pain, his need to fight back," Mary Trump said. "With all of the cards in his back pocket, by the way, with all of the help he needs, it is his desire to undo whatever damage he believes has been done to him."

"We continue to remain mired in this loop, where I think a significant minority of people and the entirety of the Republican Party, either think something's going to shift or that they're somehow going to escape unscathed. And neither of those things is true. The darkness has always been there. But again, the more he gets away with, the darker it gets, the more he's enabled, the darker it gets," she said.

Any questions?

The 1st Amendment/rev XX

It's delicious when a site as smart as Above the Law truly is, decides to do a number on hypocrites like Leonard Leo, the far right Federalist Society Mastermind who has issues with aspects of the 1st Amendment he doesn't like, particularly when someone calls him a 'fucking fascist', a moniker acurately describing this guy to a "T". 

The individual who has had the largest impact on the federal judiciary is probably Leonard Leo, the man behind the Federalist Society. FedSoc has a goddamned chokehold on conservative judicial candidates. All of the GOP-nominated Supreme Court justices are current or former members of the organization, and the organization has been actively curating lists of judicial nominees that specifically align with a host of right-wing political goals.

Leo’s been busy cultivating dark money for some time now, and most recently was revealed to control over $1.6 billion designed to (continue) his redesign of American politics in the furthest right-wing image. Oh, and he’s made himself a buttload of money in the process.

In the New Yorker, Jane Mayer details a new lawsuit that alleges Leo directed the police in Mount Desert Island, Maine, to arrest a man that called Leo a “fucking fascist.”

According to reports, since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, fundamentally masterminded by Leo, there have been protests at Leo’s estate in Northeast Harbor, Maine. On the way to a protest, Anna Durand and her son, Eli Durand-McDonnell, ran across Leo, and they couldn’t help but make their feelings known.

Truth hurts doesn't it?

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

X marks the spot ...

Back in the day, yours truly designed logos and honestly, there was never an issue as to whether I ripped off another logo in order to meet the needs of my clients as pride is a big issue with me along with the logical desire to avoid copyright issues in designing any given mark for said client. Regarding Musk, who seems to being having a nervous breakdown regarding Twitter, is also is having a brain freeze regarding rebranding with his ill advised design of X, suspiciously resembling the 1984 Microsoft X Window's logo depicted above. This is a no no, somewhat akin to the NBC disaster done back in 1976 whereby NBC paid a cool million for a geometric N, seen below, while an NBC subsidiary paid $100 for the same mark in 1975. Needless to say, the subsidiary made out big time. :)

Methinks Musk should stick with rockets and cars because his handling of Twitter has been an utter disaster.

The bird and name was much better IMHO.

And so it goes. - K. Vonnegut

Addendum: It's even worse than that. Seems Facebook has an X logo as well. 

FB's effort is sorta lame but it does exist. :)

Any questions as to why Elon screwed the pooch on this one? :)

The Big Apple is downsizing ...

When a market for a industry matures, a slowdown in said industry always occurs, something happening in the tech sector, not only in NYC but also in the US.

To whit ...

Monday, July 24, 2023

Signals to the brain ...

It's just a matter of time.

Any questions?

A poster child of corruption

Our political system, like just about every political system in the world, is corrupt because if one needs to get elected, compromises in terms of ethics will always be made as it's all about the money. With the US system, the lack of term limits bites because if you had term limits, the amount of corruption would be limited to the term. Without term limits, we have guys like Schumer and McConnell forever, along with Joe Manchin, a poster child showing just how persuasive corruption truly is.

The first time I went to the State Capitol, I was on a fifth-grade field trip. “You were so excited to learn about how a bill becomes a law,” my mother recalled. “But the tour guide spent nearly the entire time talking about the gold-plated dome and chandeliers.”

Even to a child, the contrast between the lavishness of the government and the trailers that some of my classmates lived in was obvious and uncomfortable. In 2018, this incongruity became a political crisis when the Legislature took the extraordinary step of impeaching the entire State Supreme Court over their office renovations. By all measures, the renovations were grotesque: A blue suede sofa priced at $32,000 does not belong in any public office, especially not in a state where, according to the Census Bureau, the per capita income was about $29,000. 

Last December, the reporter Amelia Knisely was dismissed from a partly state-run radio station after reporting on alleged abuses at government facilities. That same year, the State Senate banned photography during the debate over abortion. A year before that, in 2021, the Legislature outlawed a major source of union funding — retaliation, the West Virginia University law professor Bob Bastress believes, for a 2018 teachers’ strike. When Mr. Bastress filed a pro bono suit on behalf of the unions, W.V.U. informed him that going forward, professors would need permission to represent interests that may be “adverse to the state.” But whose state? Adverse to whom?

If utility companies want to switch from coal — which as of 2021 supplied 91 percent of the state’s electricity — to cheaper energy sources, they must now seek permission from the Public Energy Authority, a long inactive agency that Gov. Jim Justice resuscitated at the West Virginia Coal Association’s annual conference. As that rule was signed into law, last March, the governor, who owns mines throughout the southeastern part of the country, held a lump of coal aloft. “I owe my life to this right here,” he said.

It doesn't have to be this way does it. George Carlin was right, Critical thinking is key to democracy, a notion Tom Payne knew without question. Read Cassidy Rosenblum's piece in it's entirety. You learn a lot, I know I did. 

Friday, July 21, 2023

ChatGPT can be inaccurate ...

Look closely at this pix. Notice something? The part stating ChatGPT can be inaccurate. Now, expand this potential inaccuracy to AI generated news, able to replace human reporters working at news publishers like the NYTimes or Washington Post as needs warrant because, you guessed it, it's cheaper, never mind the issue of who can you trust when the entity writing the news is digital, not human.

The executives’ reportedly queasy response to Google’s pitch, though, speaks to the media's growing anxiety about artificial intelligence, and the role it may come to play in newsrooms. For months, the explosion of ChatGPT has fueled widespread concerns about the chatbot mimicking journalists' writing, replacing jobs dedicated to listicle/aggregate/summary coverage, and threatening journalistic standards. Newsrooms that have experimented with AI-generated stories, such as BuzzFeed, have already confronted the shortcomings of the technology—but it hasn’t been enough to steer everyone away. As Vox’s Peter Kafka notes, executives at G/O media—which publishes sites like Gizmodo, the Onion, and Jezebel—plan to create more AI-generated stories, despite the errors and scrutiny it recently wrought on the company. “G/O’s continued embrace of AI-written stories puts the company at odds with most conventional publishers, who generally say they’re interested in using AI to help them produce content but aren’t—for now—interested in making stuff that is almost 100 percent machine-made,” Kafka writes. (Google’s pitch, for what it's worth, seems to be in sync with the media's concerns: Jenn Crider, a Google spokeswoman, told the Times that AI is "not intended to, and cannot, replace the essential role journalists have in reporting, creating and fact-checking their articles,” saying that they could instead provide options for headlines and other writing styles. But it’s easy to see how the technology could be used otherwise.)

Channeling Faust applies ...

Addendum - For What it's Worth applies, does it not?

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Hellscape ...

Not even close to the peak in Phoenix on Wednesday.

Not even close to the peak in Phoenix on Wednesday.Photographer: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Nice to see Bloomberg agreeing with yours truly regarding GW as it's just the beginning, something BRT has been talking about for years.

Pure hell.Source: Mark Gongloff via Twitter

By 2050, 3.4 billion people could be living in areas facing ecological disaster. “Our civilization was built for a climate that’s vanishing,” David Fickling argues, noting that signs of self-destruction are all around us, from crumbling stormwater channels to inadequate building codes. “Modern society is a sort of collective insurance policy protecting us against the worst external shocks. But insurance policies have a price that rises with the cost of disasters — and we don’t know the point at which they will break altogether,” he writes. The world has grown exponentially more delicate in recent years, and although we’re not fully over the cliff of catastrophe just yet, we’re dangerously close to the tipping point, when stone fruits struggle to grow and skyscrapers slide into the ground.

I am not pessimistic, only realistic and ... a hellscape of our own making, looms.

But a sliver ...

A terrific video describing how our brains connect to existence is both fascinating and frustrating at the same time as we see but a sliver of reality thanks, in part, to the uncertainty principle and the incompleteness theorems articulated by Heisenberg and Godel back in the day. Actual reality will forever remain separate from our interpretation but the act of measurement, driven by existence, gives all life a consistent but incomplete view of reality as described by quantum mechanics, the science of the very tiny. Read Big Think's piece in it's entirety as it's worthwhile to the max. :)

Our perception of reality is not an exact representation of the objective truth but rather a combination of sensory inputs and the brain’s interpretation of these signals. This interpretation is influenced by past experiences and is often predictive, with the brain creating categories of similar instances to anticipate future events.

The brain’s categorization process extends beyond physical characteristics to include abstract, functional features. This ability allows humans to create “social reality,” where we collectively assign functions or meanings to objects or concepts that don’t inherently possess them, such as the value of money or the concept of borders and citizenship.

The brain’s capacity for imagination, drawing from past experiences to create something entirely new, is a double-edged sword. While it allows for creativity and innovation, it can also lead to difficulties in staying present.

Love the last sentence as this explains the essence of enlightenment ...the art of not assuming.

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

So, the question to ask is ...

As my loyal readers know, yours truly is a fan of Wikipedia as it's an open-source, self-correcting environment representing the best in what it means to be a free online encyclopedia for the world. With this said, the notion of AI getting in on the game is disquieting to say the least as who can you trust regarding all things relating to vetted information becomes the ultimate question in a world increasingly driven by AI. From this perspective, the notion of the matrix becomes possible, without the need for us to be a power supply, as machines, equipped with AI, are already beginning to supplant man in conducting business on planet Earth due to the fact we are so bad at doing the job. Bill Joy said it best in Why the Future Doesn't Need Us when stating ... Eventually a stage may be reached at which the decisions necessary to keep the system running will be so complex that human beings will be incapable of making them intelligently. At that stage the machines will be in effective control. People won't be able to just turn the machines off, because they will be so dependent on them that turning them off would amount to suicide.” 

It's already happening.

So, the question to ask is, will Wikipedia survive in the age of AI?

In early 2021, a Wikipedia editor peered into the future and saw what looked like a funnel cloud on the horizon: the rise of GPT-3, a precursor to the new chatbots from OpenAI. When this editor — a prolific Wikipedian who goes by the handle Barkeep49 on the site — gave the new technology a try, he could see that it was untrustworthy. The bot would readily mix fictional elements (a false name, a false academic citation) into otherwise factual and coherent answers. But he had no doubts about its potential. “I think A.I.’s day of writing a high-quality encyclopedia is coming sooner rather than later,” he wrote in “Death of Wikipedia,” an essay that he posted under his handle on Wikipedia itself. He speculated that a computerized model could, in time, displace his beloved website and its human editors, just as Wikipedia had supplanted the Encyclopaedia Britannica, which in 2012 announced it was discontinuing its print publication.

In closing, Richard Feynman said it best ...

Food for thought, eh?

Sunday, July 16, 2023

The horror-clown

This pix is more than apt as Putin showed incredible stupidity in going after Ukraine. Prior to the invasion, he had it all, close ties with Germany with a reliable source of income in supplying natural gas to Europe via Nord Stream I & II, perception as a viable superpower, complete with a strong military and an arsenal of nukes considered to be on par with the US and last but not least, a nation led by a competent leader able to play the great game of foreign policy at deep level. Now exposed to be an inept leader of a corrupt state for the ages, the status of Russia is uncertain at best thanks to actions taken by Putin to "restore" mother Russia, driven by religion and a misguided sense of self importance.

In the long term, Ukraine will be divided, with a DMZ equivalent to Korea's while at the same time, Russia becomes a vassal state to China. 

Good job Vlad, good job.

Yours truly disagrees with the first paragraph regarding NATO.

Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first NATO supreme veallied commander. Shortly after assuming that post, he wrote these words in February 1951:

“If in 10 years, all American troops stationed in Europe for national defense purposes have not been returned to the United States, then this whole project [NATO] will have failed.”

NATO Expansion Would Be an Epic ‘Fateful Error’

We failed.