Thursday, November 29, 2018

Bob Mueller Family Circus

Inspiration: Bil Keane

Psychology Experts Analyze First Lady Melania Trump's Red Christmas Trees

Well, this didn't long. From The Guardian:
Dr Toby Israel, a pioneer of design psychology, said the heavily red set-up detaches viewers from nature, thus the psychological comfort associated with the natural world.
“By going against that tradition, the red trees ‘disrupt’ what we think of as the meaning of Christmas; the familiarity, the comfort, the easing of stress and uncertainty, the respite from the rush of events,” [said Dr Susan Painter, a founder of design psychology].
Dr Marc Berman, a psychologist at the University of Chicago, [said], “there’s nothing really natural” about these red trees. “The low-level fractal structure in things is still there, but the color is completely artificial – so everybody knows it’s artificial.”
Thanks for pointing out we don't have to ask ourselves if these red trees are "real", Doc. WTF?

I like the red trees.

Image: Leah Millis/Reuters

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Gmail stops Smart Compose due to gender bias

Gender Gmail Smart Compose. No one saw this coming. Mashable:
[A] researcher noticed that Smart Compose was assigning gendered pronouns in a way that mirrored some real-world gender bias: It automatically ascribed a "him" pronoun to a person only previously described as an "investor." In other words, it assumed that the investor — a role in a largely male-dominated field — was a man.

Studies show that in language, gender bias — or assuming someone's [sic] gender based on stereotypes or tendencies associated with men or women — has the power to both "perpetuate and reproduce" bias in the way people treat each other, and the way we think of ourselves.

"Gender-biased language is harmful because it limits all of us," Toni Van Pelt, the president of the National Organization for Women (NOW) said. "If a woman is using AI, and it refers to an engineer as a 'him,' it may get in her brain that only men make good engineers. ("Math class is tough," - Barbie).  It limits our scope of dreaming. That’s why it sets us back so far."  (I can't be the only one thinking Toni has way too much time on her its hands? - Drake)
    ❌mankind ✔️humankind
    ❌businessmen ✔️representatives
    ❌congressman ✔️legislator
    Use your language to fight gender bias with gender-neutral expressions! Find out about #GenderTerm:

    — UN Women (@UN_ Women) May 26, 2018

Gmail reportedly attempted several fixes for its own subtle gender bias, but none of them were perfect. So the Smart Compose architects decided the best solution was to remove pronoun suggestions altogether.
We can presume NOW will change the last word of their organization to something gender-neutral, right? Not doing that would be kinda hypocritical, wouldn't it? And they wouldn't be hypocrites, would they?

❌ Women ✔️ ??????

Image: Ali Express

What's that?

Vibrant colors! Any idea?

Something from the deep sea?

Give up? Leave a comment taking a guess before viewing the answer. I would've guessed something from the sea or ocean. And I would have been wrong.

World News

Car bomb explodes in Kabul - Al Jazeera:
A car bomb exploded near a security contractors' compound in the Afghan capital Kabul on Wednesday, sending a thick plume of smoke into the night sky and officials reported gunfire in the wake of the blast.
- - -
The Jakarta PostLion Air JT610 was "unfit to fly":
Apart from the stick shaker, the pilot of the Denpasar flight noted several other warning signs that appeared on the flight display, including one concerning the difference in the indicated airspeed.
- - -
NHK World - Japan drafting gene-editing guidelines:
The draft guidelines approved by the panel on Wednesday allows only basic research aimed at upgrading reproductive medicine.

Researchers are banned from putting gene-edited eggs back into a mother, or from creating gene-edited babies. But the guidelines do not prescribe how violations would be punished.
- - -
Poland powering up using 60% of coal by 2030  - Warsaw Business Journal:
Coal should account for 60 percent of the energy mix in Poland by 2030, according to the draft of Poland’s energy policy until 2040. The decrease of coal share to below 30 percent is expected by 2040.
- - -
Conor McGregor didn't know he was "going that fast." The Independent:
“I didn’t know I was going that fast” [said McGregor], before Judge Desmond Zaidan handed down the disqualification and fine.

McGregor was caught driving at 154kph in a 100kph zone on the N7 in Co Kildare in the incident last year, and failed to pay the fixed penalty fine due to an administrative error, Naas District Court heard.
- - -
Casablanca bans busking.  The Moroccan Times:
...the city of Casablanca have banned loud or amplified busking, generally popular with residents, workers and visitors, along various important streets of the city, after complaints were filed about excessive noise.
Busking = Street Performance.

- - -
Sky News: Bank of England says 'no deal' Brexit could lead to economic collapse.
In an 88-page document, the bank also claims that a disorderly Brexit could lead to house prices falling by 30%, unemployment nearly doubling and inflation spiralling to 6.5%. The Bank says that, under those circumstances, the interest rate could rocket to 5.5%.
- - -
From The Department of 'Purely Speculative Inexact Science of The Future'...What earth might look like in 200 million years. New Zealand Herald:
The last supercontinent, Pangea, formed around 310 million years ago, and started breaking up around 180 million years ago. It has been suggested that the next supercontinent will form in 200-250 million years, so we are currently about halfway through the scattered phase of the current supercontinent cycle.
- - -
Xinhua NetImages of the Poyang Bridge No. 2:

The images are amazing.
- - -
Portugal Online: Bullfighting VAT Tax reduced:
The VAT (IVA) tax on bullfights is to be lowered to six percent. The motion was approved on Tuesday in Parliament as part of the state budget for 2019.
- - -
A five-minute cancer detection test?  - Bangladesh News 24
A research team of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) claimed they have developed a technology that can detect cancer by analyzing blood samples just within five minutes.
- - -
INewsWhy are there two dates for the start of winter?

"Because winter arrives either today or tomorrow?"
- - -
Xinhua Net: Images of villagers drying noodles.

Interesting pictures of the above at the link.
- - -
One News: 'Aquaman' movie early reviews are in.
According to Rotten Tomatoes, early screenings of the movie have already landed, and with it, first impressions are being made thick and fast on social media and elsewhere on the web.

California Fires: Torched by Globalists?

Check it out. Just saying, nothing would surprise me.

And here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Cindy Hyde-Smith Wins. Mississippi's new Senator.

Hyde-Smith Wins. The Guardian:
Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith won Mississippi’s special election runoff for the US Senate late Tuesday.

By a margin of 55% to 45% with 77% of precincts reporting[.]
This win brings the U.S. Senate party breakdown as 53 Republicans and 47 Democrats.

Mississippi Runoff Senate Race: Hyde-Smith declared the winner.

Live-Stream concluded.

UPDATE: Now - Hyde-Smith's speech - at Golden State Times live-stream.

UPDATE 10:33 PM Eastern Time: Hyde-Smith to speak. Live at live-stream, Golden State Times.

Found a live-stream  reporting real-time election results in the Mississippi Senate race.  So far, Hyde-Smith (R) is ahead of Espy (D). (I'm guessing here, but likely for the live-stream to go dead after the results are all in. I'll yank this post when that happens). And fast-forward to the end of the live-stream for the most current results. The time won't run out, even though it says "0.00" time.

UPDATE:  The live-stream has Hyde-Smith leading 238,771 and Espy at 193,446. Probably will be different by the time this posts.

Any other race would be called with one party having this leading margin. But not in this race. Over 57% of precincts reporting.

And one other clear message. Those candidates for U.S. House and Senate who hitched their candidacy to President Trump, won. Most of those who didn't, didn't fare as well.

UPDATE: Hyde-Smith declared the winner. Same live-stream as above.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Solves Vexing Puzzle

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, (D - New York's newly-elected U.S House of Representatives), proudly displays her success in accomplishing a 9-piece children's puzzle.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez holds puzzle she completed.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Tech News

C|NetThe Rivian: an all-electric, luxury, 400-mile pick-up truck.
Its design is as futuristic as anything from a sci-fi film, with a full-width bar on the nose that serves as the daytime running light, while oval "stadium lights" house the actual LED headlights. With no need for a traditional grille, the truck's face is unusually flat and plain.
The Rivian
- - -
THE NORTHERN CALIFORNIA city of Paradise is gone—the Camp Fire, by far the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in state history, has reduced home after home to ashes.
Curiously, though, trees still stand between burned-out homes.
“If they're still there and they didn't burn and they're even green, then clearly those trees didn't contribute to the ignition of the houses,” says fire expert Jack Cohen, formerly of the US Forest Service.
- - -
U.S. Postal system exposes data of 60 million users. TechCrunch
[The] US Postal Service API exposed from over 60 million users and allowed a researcher to pull millions of rows of data by sending wildcard requests to the server.
- - -
"After you install this update, you may experience crashes in Microsoft Access or other applications. To resolve this issue, uninstall the update by following the instructions in the "More information" section.
This update is no longer available. "
Patch, patch, patch. Spackle, spackle, spackle. Crash, crash, crash.
- - -
Something "hot" is under Antarctica.  Live Science:  
This melt isn't related to climate change, which causes intense melting at the fringes of the continent; it's an old, and separate, warm spot in the ice, insulated and kept far away from the atmosphere. Scientists were able to detect it thanks to a survey using specialized, ice-penetrating radar.
- - -
Coming soon to the U.S.? Behavioral monitoring of every Chinese resident.  Technocracy:
Beijing announced an “action plan” this week for monitoring residents’ behavior, adding that the city expects to have its social credit system fully implemented by the end of 2020.
- - -
ExtremeTechWheeled VR Shoes, from Google!
[W]hat you really want is the sensation of walking without actually going anyplace. 
Sure, why not?
- - -
GeekA piano. Made entirely of LEGOS.
The only thing it can’t do is actually make music; you just have to imagine the sounds.
If the sounds have to be imagined, why do we need the piano?
- - -
GizmodoWhen time-capsules outlast the Apocalypse.
Conventional time capsules are rubbish, as they can end up becoming decidedly soggy and ruined within decades. Any that do survive over the longer term are liable to get destroyed by the inexorable march of plate tectonics.
- - -
Aren't you glad you didn't RSVP? 15 year ago - Invitations sent to beta test Win XP. BetaNews:
Microsoft is gearing up to release a beta version of Windows XP Service Pack 2. An e-mail sent out Thursday invited testers to install and evaluate the pre-release code when it becomes available within the next several weeks.
Patches already in the works.
- - -
Because original ideas and screenplays are hardDisney remakes "The Lion King". Ubergizmo:
[Disney] released the first teaser for the remake of this classic which came out back in 1994. 
- - -
MIT Tech Review:  Autonomous trucks will haul stone in a Norway mine.
Volvo has also been involved in autonomous-truck projects involving mining, sugarcane harvesting, and refuse collection.
- - -
Only in France...for now - Tax officials to scour social media for tax-cheaters. TechDirt:
France’s tax administrators will start searching through social media accounts in early 2019, a pilot project in the fight against tax avoidance, Budget Minister Gerald Darmanin told weekly business TV show Capital. 

World News

New Zealand Herald: Long-distance standoff between Indian authorities and the Sentinelese tribe in recovering body of killed American missionary.
- - -
HindustanTimes: 6.3 earthquake hits western Iran.
- - -
Ukraine to declare martial law? The Mirror:
Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko ... will propose Parliament declare martial law, [stating Russia's actions are a "act of war" when Russian warships fired on Ukrainian Navy boats, seizing three vessels.]
- - -
Uber driver guilty over passenger death. SMH:
...magistrate Mary Ryan found the driver "did not keep a proper lookout" when [passenger] Mr Thomas opened the door before accelerating.

She said both of the victim's "intoxicated" friends were awoken by the sound of the door and - as captured on CCTV on the bus - Islam's car's internal light also came on.
- - -
An election chairman resigns due to public outcry of slow polling and voting delays. ( wasn't in Florida or Georgia). Taipei Times:
Apologizing to voters, former Central Election Commission chairman Chen In-chin said, “As the senior official, I must accept all responsibility."
- - -
Shanghai News Net: US court dismisses lawsuit over MH370 flight disappearance.
[The judge] dismissed the lawsuit saying that the "case is about the unexplained disappearance of a passenger plane operated by Malaysia Airlines as part of its national air carrier fleet following its departure from a Malaysian airport."
- - -
Elon Musk, moving to Mars.  The Telegraph:
...within seven years for a few hundred thousand dollars per ticket, saying: "I'm thinking about moving there."
- - -

Brexit and...

BBC"researchers say," Brexit deal 'will cost UK £100bn' by 2030.

BBC: Welsh ports.

Bloomberg: Italy's budget concerns.

MSN: Jeremy Corbyn relishes Bexit debate with May.

The Daily Mail: Boris Johnson shreds Mays' Brexit.

Political Betting: Total Brexit analysis. 

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Give Thanks this Thanksgiving

From Thanksgiving,com:
Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.

Serve the LORD with gladness:
come before his presence with singing.

Know ye that the LORD he is God:
it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving,
and into his courts with praise:
be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

For the LORD is good;
his mercy is everlasting;
and his truth endureth to all generations.

– Psalm 100
May everyone enjoy a Blessed and safe Thanksgiving holiday.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Tech News

Data breach at Amazon - ITPro Portal:
Amazon may have suffered a data breach that saw customer names and email addresses leaked.
...users confirmed on Twitter that they had gotten an email from Amazon, which the retailer later confirmed to be genuine, notifying them that the data has been shared, accidentally.

We don't know how it happened, exactly when it happened, or who the information was shared with / to. 
Who knew? No one saw this coming.
- - -
No one saw this coming either: Is your CPAP machine spying on you? ArsTechnia:
Tony Schmidt discovered something unsettling about the machine that helps him breathe at night. Without his knowledge, it was spying on him.
- - -
A multimillionaire businessman from South Sudan’s capital city reportedly won the auction after offering a record “price” — of 530 cows, three Land Cruiser V8 cars and $10,000 — to marry the child, Nyalong Ngong Deng Jalang.
Disgusting. FB needs to be held accountable.
- - -
C|NetLeather clad, luxury laptop:
Instead of taking a slim laptop and sticking it in a leather sleeve, as one might do with any other similar system, the leather case here is built right in. No, it's not Corinthian leather, but it's still pretty nice.

- - -
ZD Net - Everything you need to know about the cannabis industry:
...marijuana is one of the most exciting growth industries in the US as it becomes legal in some states, attracts investment, and becomes a vertical that can utilize multiple technologies ranging from the internet of things to cloud to analytics.
- - -
When to hire a cyber security expert? Tech News World:
[Cyber security] itself is increasing in importance, it remains a truism that many smaller organizations (and in fact, some mid-sized ones) don't have specialized security expertise on staff.
Is is too late for Amazon?
- - -
Time-travel into the past. 13 years ago, Microsoft trashes Linux. BetaNews:
Linux bashing is nothing new for Microsoft, which has set up a dedicated Web site to detail why customers should choose Windows Server over the open source operating system. This week at the IT Forum, Microsoft announced the results of a new study that shows Windows as more reliable and easier to manage than Linux.
What a joke. Keep releasing "patches", MS, for your wonderful OS.
- - -

'Smart Watch' tracker of children easy to hack. TechDirt
A location-tracking smartwatch worn by thousands of children has proven... you guessed it... rather trivial to hack. The MiSafes Kid's Watcher Plus is a "smart watch for kids" that embeds a 2G cellular radio and GPS technology, purportedly to let concerned helicopter parents track their kids' location at all times. But security researchers at UK's Pen Test Partners have issued a report calling the devices comically unsecure.
- - - 
Technology.Org64 SpaceX satellites ready to launch:
...the U.S. kicked around the idea of putting large reflectors in orbit during the Vietnam war, effectively abolishing night over southeast Asia. There have also been ideas to put advertising in space… though for now, you won’t have to worry about Pepsi or McDonald’s logos drifting through your astrophotos.
- - -
Five songs that could make you a dangerous driver. The Drive:
British car loan financier Moneybarn recently released a study outlining how our choice in music can affect our driving. It found that songs with tempos that exceed 120 beats per minute (bpm) can make people subconsciously drive faster, which makes them more liable to draw negative attention from law enforcement.
...the 12th most common song on driving (or riding) playlists, AC/DC's "Back In Black" has the misfortune of being the cliche soundtrack for Baby Boomers on Harley Davidsons. Again, it doesn't tip the scales for high-energy lyrical content, but its tempo of 188 bpm is eclipsed by just one song on the chart.
Make it so loud that my ears bleed! 
- - -
Bleeping Computer - Firefox 65 improvements in Content Blocking settings:
Firefox 65, Mozilla is overhauling how users can configure the Content Blocking settings. With this version, the previously confusing configuration is replaced by three different modes that a user can select that offer varying degrees of blocking and customization.
 - - -
Technocracy - Are Smart-Meters spying on you?
“What limits have been placed on data collection and permissions for data collection beyond monthly billing cycle totals?” [asks Smithfield Township supervisors in a] letter dated Nov. 14, to FirstEnergy’s president, regional president, state president, the state Office of Consumer Advocates and the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. “The notice sent to our residents makes no mention of this, yet is it is of prime concern to us in order to protect and secure data of our residential households.”
- - -
UbergizmoFuture Apple watches may monitor UV exposure.
Apple has filed for a patent that describes how future Apple Watches could come with a built-in UV sensors that are embedded around the frame of the Apple Watch. These sensors will alert the wearer when they’ve been exposed for too long.
Because...everything is dangerous and we need Apple to save us.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Judith Jumps The Shark. Memo to Shark: "Eat Judith !"

Spoiler notice - if you're not current with The Walking Dead, Fear The Walking Dead or ZNation, you might wanna stop reading now.

Judith Grimes jumps the shark. Cheer for the shark!

The Rick Grimes family and crew is now under the leadership of his young daughter, Judith. How precious.

TWD used to be so good. Fans can debate, but the last time TWD seemed on course was Season 5. It went down hill after that, and quickly. Last season (#8) sucked. This season reaches new highs in disappointing viewers. 

Just stop watching it. That is the answer. Must be fans keep hoping it will get better. We should know better by now. 

Here's a show, with one of the greatest, all-time TV villains, Negan, and his on-screen time in season 8 is doled out like micro-droplets from a morphine drip until the last episode. Why bother at all? Yeah, Negan was in here and there, but no real screen time. We could have seen more of Negan and less of people walking or driving down a dirt road for several minutes. See, we might not know where they're going if we only see thirty seconds. Yes, we have to watch them go down the entire fucking road. The repetition of the same shit in episode after episode amounts to filler.

At the end of season 7, Maggie was pregnant with Glenn's child for around...3 weeks? In all of season 8, Maggie didn't even show a baby bump. Season 8, in real-time, represented how long? A month? Five weeks tops?

This season, within a span of six episodes, the show has moved 18 months ahead of where it left off in season 8? And Judith Grimes, a child, is telling the group what to do and making life and death decisions for others? I guess if viewers will buy that the defenseless child Newt Jordan  manages to survive being eaten by aliens running around everywhere, when every adult armed with kickass weapons are alien chow, they'll buy any plot. (My reason why Aliens is inferior to the original Alien - all due to the Newt character. Gimme a break.)

I gave TWD the benefit of the doubt since season 5. What a waste of time. Except for those few great moments of Negan. Oh, TWD viewers got plenty too much of The Governor,  but Negan? TWD wastes the talent of Jeffrey-Dean Morgan. 

TWD's new opening title sequence is garbage. All CGI Some think differently. I miss the actual images and the lone zombie in the pasture.  

The good thing is, I don't watch it in real time. I fast-forward through a full episode in ten minutes or less. Same for Fear The Walking Dead.

I loved seasons 1 - 3 of FTWD. The key is, you have to get past the middle of season two. The first season is great. The beginning to middle of season 2 is tough, but after getting past that, I think it sails along and keeps getting better.

Until season 4. Crash and burn. We never see how the survivors survived the bridge and dam explosion. The timeframe shifting with Nick being dead, then not dead ("before") to being dead is done for what reason? There isn't one.

The main character Madison is killed mid-season. Some story at the time noted the writers felt they had explored ALL the options possible with Madison. Three seasons and half of season four and the writers are out of options for Madison. But we get Rick Grimes for eight seasons and half of the ninth? Do we really know if Rick is dead? (Weary viewers can only hope).

Both shows go beyond excess in flashbacks and flash-forwards, showing viewers what's to come, what's happened before, what's current and what might or might not be. Is it a dream? A hallucination? A fantasy? It's not that I can't follow it. There's no reason for it. Thank you technology for fast-forwarding. What a time-saver. Who wants to watch two minutes of someone buttoning their shirt; each and every button?

If you like the zombie genre, and are looking for a very witty, well-written series, you might like ZNation.

The first thing you'll notice with ZNation is it flagrantly jumps the shark. Sometimes, several times within the same episode. And it jumps shamelessly and they know you know they're jumping shamelessly. You won't care. You'll want them to jump the shark. You'll expect them to jump and you'll want it to be more outrageous than the prior jump. And it will.

ZN's season 4 was much darker than the previous three. But the reason is solid, while all the other elements that make ZN so good are intact, including jumping the shark. ZN has its moments of excessive flashbacks, flash-forwards and unknown unknowns. Usually there's a pay-off (not always), unlike TWD and FTWD.

I don't fast-forward during ZN. I end up re-watching favorite parts over and over again. 

And yeah, haven't updated here much. Either working, sleeping or watching teh hockey. I heard we had an election. Is Hillary president now?

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Veterans Day

This history of Veterans Day.

IT IS THE SOLDIER by Charles M. Province, © 1970, 2005:

It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.

It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.

It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.
Veterans Day 2018 Freebies and Discounts.

A collection of Veterans Day images.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Additional reading on Veterans Day at: 

The Right Way 

Western Rifle Shooters Association 


90 Miles From Tyranny 

By Other Means 


This Ain't Hell