Monday, July 30, 2018

Kewl mathematics may explain Standard Model. Maybe.

https://www.wired.com/story/the-peculiar-math-that-could-underlie-the-laws-of-nature/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvsmxUuD5ZdOGittaeosXMA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BR8tK-LuB0

The suspicion, harbored by many physicists and mathematicians over the decades but rarely actively pursued, is that the peculiar panoply of forces and particles that comprise reality spring logically from the properties of eight-dimensional numbers called "octonions."

This is so cool.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

"Amsterdam 'lawless jungle' at night"

Amsterdam, the super Progressive Dutch center of Do Your Own Thing, with legal prostitution and legal drugs, has a problem. The problem is that people from all over Europe are coming to Amsterdam to get wasted, visit prostitutes, and do their own thing.

Tourist hotspot Amsterdam turns into a "lawless jungle" after dark with the police powerless to intervene against crime and violence, the city's ombudsman warned in an interview Saturday.
"The city centre becomes an urban jungle at night," Amsterdam's official ombudsman Arre Zuurmond told Dutch daily Trouw, warning of illegal car and bike races zooming through the streets, open drugs sales and general mayhem.

It seems that just as in Toronto Canada and London England, the cops have stopped arresting people for committing crimes in the street in broad daylight.

Zuurmond paints a painful picture of the city centre's nightlife after previously setting up three cameras in the busy Leidseplein square ringed by bars and clubs.
"One night we counted 900 offences, mainly between the hours of 2:00am and 4:00am. The atmosphere is grim, and there is an air of lawlessness," he said.
"Scooters race through the pedestrian areas. There is a lot of shouting. Drugs are being bought. There is stealing. People pee and even poop on the streets," he said.
"There is violence but no action. You can even pee on the van of a mobile (police) unit and the driver won't say anything."

Yep. When cops stop arresting people for doing crime, the people do more crime. And they keep doing more and more and more. Crime pays, unless you arrest the people doing it.

Its funny that Leftists and community organizers never seem to be able to grasp this basic reality of human behavior. Then they are all shocked and surprised when their city gets over run by drunken assholes and panderers.

The Phantom.

Update: Here's a contrary opinion.

Sorry, but this is all the purest of nonsense. I'm in Amsterdam quite frequently – most recently in June, when, as it happened, on several days in a row, I walked a great deal around parts of the city center, including Leidseplein and the fringes of the Red Light District. I did much if not most of my walking during the hours between midnight and six A.M. I like walking, and after forty years in New York City I know how to keep my eyes open – and I know Amsterdam well enough to know where I'm likely to be safe.
In downtown Amsterdam, with a few exceptions, you're safe. That's not the dangerous part of the city.
...
Why, then, did Arre Zuurmond give such a dishonest interview? I don't know the man, but when I read AFP's story (before I saw Moran's), my first thought was that this silliness was part of a desperate attempt at deflection – an effort to draw attention away from Amsterdam's real problem. And that problem has nothing whatsoever to do with young guys from Britain, let alone from the Dutch provinces, roaming the inner city at night. No, it's about the Islamic communities on the fringes of downtown and in the city suburbs. Hand me a map of Amsterdam and I'll show you just how far you can go in any direction from the center of the city before you start risking real trouble. It's not that far – heading west, it's only a matter of four or five tram stops.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Canadian Media pushing gun control this week. Hard.

The National Post, which is the -least- socialist newspaper in Canada, printed this today:

Actually, guns do kill people, according to a new study

A new study published in the journal JAMA Network Open underscores an often overlooked factor in gun-policy debates: When it comes to lethality, not all guns are created equal.

Analyzing data on hundreds of shootings in Boston from 2010 to 2014, Anthony Braga of Northeastern University and Philip Cook of Duke University found that on a bullet-per-bullet basis, shootings committed with a large-caliber firearm are much more likely to result in a fatality than those with a smaller-caliber gun. Caliber is a measure of the diameter of the bullets fired by a particular gun.

The study analyzed data on 221 gun homicides and 1,012 nonfatal shootings that happened in Boston between 2010 and 2014. On first glance, the numbers provided a confirmation of the depressing demographics of shooting cases: "Most gunshot victims and survivors were young minority men with prior court arraignments," Braga and Cook found. "Most attacks occurred in circumstances where gangs or drugs played an important role." Most occurred outdoors in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

I like that, "on first glance" thing, because now they're going to tell you how its the gun that is at fault.

They controlled for a number of other factors, such as circumstances of shootings and the number of times victims were shot. They then found that all else being equal, a person shot with a medium-caliber weapon, such as a common 9mm handgun, were roughly 2.3 times as likely to die of their wounds than someone shot with a small-caliber gun. Large-caliber gunshots were even more deadly, resulting in odds of death 4.5 times that of small-caliber gunshots.

This is fricking Earth-shaking science here, right? Note that there's no mention of them controlling for the type of bullet, as in hardball vs. hollow point. Because its the GUN that did it.

 "The implication," they write, "is that if the medium- and large-caliber guns had been replaced with small caliber (assuming everything else unchanged) the result would have been a 39.5% reduction in gun homicides" in Boston during the study period.

You know what galls me here? Those assholes got PAID to write that paper. National Post goes on to say:

The results undercut the idea that "guns don't kill people, people kill people." That catchy turn of phrase is often used by gun rights supporters to emphasize the human role in gun violence rather than the gun itself. The idea is that the gun matters a lot less than the murderous intent of the person pulling the trigger. If the person matters more than the gun, in other words, it's better to focus policy on people than to regulate guns.

This view is widespread among experts who take a permissive attitude toward gun regulation. A Rand Corp. study published earlier this year, for instance, surveyed a group of gun experts who generally favored fewer gun restrictions, asking what would happen if a given gun policy was successful at reducing gun homicides. On average, those experts believed that about 90 percent of the prevented gun homicides would simply end up as homicides by other means. That reflects a belief that homicidal intent is the key factor driving the lethality of gun violence.

But National Post knows better! Some guns are MOAR LEEEETHAL!!!!

Yeah. They are. Rifles are much more powerful than handguns. You get shot with a .308 hunting rifle, or a shotgun slug, chances are you are going to die no matter where you get hit. You get shot with a 9mm pistol, unless they get you in the brain or the heart, you'll probably live. It'll suck, but you'll live.

What guns are going to be banned by the Federal Liberals if they have their way?

Pistols. You know, the smallest and least powerful guns you can get.

This is what passes for journalism in Canada. For fuck sakes.

The Phantom
 

Ottawa floats handgun ban.

Well now, that didn't take long, did it?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will decide in mid-August whether to pursue a ban on handguns as part of a new legislative agenda he would outline in a fall Throne Speech, a senior official says.
Mr. Trudeau has asked a team of advisers to examine the pros and cons of proroguing Parliament and starting over with a fresh policies and priorities for the period leading to the election in October, 2019. The official said the Prime Minister wants them to report in time for the Liberal cabinet retreat on Aug. 22 in Nanaimo, B.C.

Y'all wanted to know why the government is so determined to make us think this shooting isn't terrorism? This is why. This is what they want. They want a blanket pistol ban. Then they want a blanket semi-auto ban after the next shooting. Then they'll want a blanket, all encompassing gun ban the shooting after that.

That's the plan.

Of course, after that comes the knife ban, which I wish I was joking about, but I'm not. They really will go there. Britain is, right now.

The Phantom

Update: Oh, and while Toronto is still wondering what the hell happened on Sunday night, Justin Trudeau has been paddle-boarding all week in BC. Nice!



Thursday, July 26, 2018

Gun control a topic in Canada again. Inevitably.

I posted this comment at Small Dead Animals, and include it here for y'all's edification and enjoyment.

"Why are they blaming legal shooters and not the obvious?"
That is a legit question. I've wondered about that for a long time. Here's your answer.
The Rebel has a video up of a Toronto teacher going off on one of their reporters at the memorial for the slain on Danforth. You watch the video, and the teacher ranting wildly (at what is essentially a funeral, to be sure) is the reason for Ottawa blaming shooters. There's a huge number of her clones out there, all doing the same thing. You've all seen the type, you know a bunch yourselves.
Politicians go where the votes are. There's a BIG constituency of people in Canadian cities who HATE and FEAR other people. Politicians are pandering to that hate and fear.
What's easier for John Tory, really? To start jailing all the gang pukes selling drugs in Toronto? To run stings on murderous @$$h0le$ like Mr. Hussein the Danforth shooter? To shut down all the illegal stuff being done by immigrants, that leads to them knifing and shooting each other? (White people are not getting knifed and shot. Same as the USA, the victims and the shooters are pretty much all black. Nobody gives a !@#% about black people at City Hall, for realz.)
There's no political will out there for him to do that. He'll get called a racist/bigot/homophobe. So Tory blathers about guns instead. It doesn't impact his budget, his poll numbers go up, and after the speech he doesn't have to -do- anything. The mayor of Toronto cannot institute a gun ban, he has no power to do so. But he can SAY he's going to, and all the moronic school teachers will scream approval, and then… nothing happens. Just saying it is sufficient. That's why the crime keeps getting worse.
The people who will be affected negatively by the new law, if there is one, all live OUTSIDE TORONTO. They don't vote for John Tory, or the Liberals generally. Liberals lose nothing by angering the entire rest of Canada outside the three big cities, and they know it.
There you go. That's why. So, either we all get together and change that equation to one where John Tory is terrified to mention guns or gun control in public because he'll lose his next election, or it just keeps getting worse.
You don't have to look far to see how its going to go, either. Just consider Buffalo and Detroit, those two places are the model for where this is all headed.

The Phantom

Update: Instalanche!!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Toronto Danforth shooter, Wednesday update.

Ezra Levant at The Rebel has been busy this week, asking questions that the Metro Toronto Police and the CBC have been very slow to answer. This video encapsulates his efforts, and their results. Thanks to Kathy Shaidle from Five Feet of Fury for the video.

Ezra Levant: Canadian media hides Toronto shooter's links to Islamic terror

Mr. Levant observes that it is interesting the CBC released the letter alegedly from the shooter's parents, at exactly the same time that Metro Police released his name. Meaning, among other things, that CBC certainly had a heads-up on the name before the release, and also meaning that somebody had time to draft the letter CBC reported. CBC to date has not provided any information on the provenance of the letter, or said how they got it, or when. He noticed, as I did, that the shooter seemed very well trained for a depressed mental health patient, and wondered where the gun came from..
Mr. Levant also mentions he's being chastised on Twitter by establishment media people for daring to raise questions about the shooter, and the letter. Nobody appears to care much that two girls died, or that this may have been a terror attack, or that there may be more people planning terror attacks. What they really want is for Ezra Levant and The Rebel to shut the hell up.
My question here is, why the focus on getting people to shut up and stop asking questions? Why the obvious media stick handling to obscure the facts of the case? Two kids are dead here, we need to know what the hell happened, and as soon as possible. The only concrete news is on blog sites like The Rebel and Small Dead Animals.  (Surprising no one, the gun was illegal and Canadian legal gun owners are to blame. The answer is more gun control, and that will be coming down the pipe from Ottawa with unseemly speed.)
The answer is, Liberals as a group are much, much more afraid of Canadians than they are of criminals and terrorists.
Here's the proof, another Rebel video courtesy of Kathy Shaidle in my inbox.
Apparently, bringing up the fact that media outside of Canada are reporting that the killer, Faisal Hussain, may have had an ISIS connection is "racist".
WATCH as a teacher attending the memorial with her children, berates The Rebel for doing journalism by asking uncomfortable questions about the murderer's motivation.
Now, I've never met the woman in the video. Let's be clear about that, I don't know her from Adam.

But I've met clones of her a thousand times in Canadian schools, hospitals, government institutions, Toronto street corners and businesses. She's a Liberal voter, or maybe NDP, and she's representative of the reason our media and our government are the way they are. They are trying to get her vote and her readership. She's the target demographic. So watch the video, if you can, and get a load of what's running our institutions.

At this point, I've come to my own conclusions and they're different than what the woman in the video and obviously my government want me to think. Clearly, the shooter was a trained man. Clearly, he didn't get his training in Canada. This was a straight-up terrorist attack, his goal was to kill as many people as he could. I don't really care what his political or religious affiliation was beyond that, but given reports from American news it seems obvious this was an Islamic State deal, that explains the training, the gun etc.

But even if he really was a lone nutcase, as a practical matter it doesn't really make any difference. There's shooters running around Toronto, and the government's main thrust of effort is to make sure I don't get out of line. The propaganda, the official speeches, the existing policy, the police protocols and tactics, all pointed at keeping people in line and quiet.
People are literally dying in the street, and the government is afraid of me. I'm their biggest problem.

It is the official policy of Canadian governance, and it has been for a very long time indeed if you look at how the laws are written, that the general citizenry is largely composed of unreasoning brutes. Peasants who must be corralled, fenced, directed and occasionally culled for the good of the herd. People who are too stupid to be trusted with their own money or their own freedom.

The reason Liberals love tax increases is that they view ever dollar in private hands as WASTED. If only that dollar was the propery of government at some level, then it could be more surely directed to the betterment of all men, instead of the mere enrichment of a few greedy scum. The reason Liberals love gun control is because while they, Liberals might be trustworthy enough to have a gun (maybe), surely all those OTHER people out there, those [shudder] Doug Ford voters, those Trump and Brexit voters, they're crazy! They're NAZIS!!! They'll kill everyone!

Too much? You think I overstate the case? Go back and watch that video again. That woman fears the danger of "demented Doug Ford voters" soooo much more than an actual killer really killing people in her neighborhood. Hey, only two kids died, her kids were okay, its all good, right? Gotta make sure those white supremacist racists don't start death marching brown people into Lake Ontario, that's the real danger here.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is where we are right now.

The Phantom

Update: Welcome Instapundit tribe! Thanks to Sarah Hoyt for the linkage!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Nanoscale images of the entire fruit-fly brain!

This is huge.

Researchers can now trace the path of any one neuron to any other neuron throughout the whole brain, says neuroscientist Davi Bock, a group leader at Janelia who reported the work along with his colleagues on July 19 in the journal Cell.
"The entire fly brain has never been imaged before at this resolution that lets you see connections between neurons," he says. That detail is key for mapping out the brain's circuitry — the precise webs of neuronal connections that underpin specific fly behaviors.
They took over 7,000 slices of the brain, and made 21 million electron microscope images of the slices, allowing them to trace each neuron and synapse in the brain. This is nothing less than a nanoscale 3D model of the fruit fly brain, made slice by slice.

Suck it, David Suzuki. ~:D

The Phantom

Update: Welcome Instapunditeers! This brain did not belong to Ms. Ocassio-Cortez, but if it had, it might have been the right size to fit in her solid bone cranium.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Toronto shooter named.

Toronto Danforth shooter was named today.

A 29-year-old man opened fire with a handgun in Toronto's busy Greektown neighbourhood Sunday night, according to Ontario's police watchdog, leaving at least two dead, and injuring 13 others.
On Monday afternoon, Ontario's police watchdog named the suspect as Faisal Hussain, of Toronto.
The Special Investigations Unit said the shooting began around 10 p.m., when the gunman began firing at groups of several people as he made his way down Danforth Avenue in the city's east end.

Apparently the man had unspecified mental health issues, according to his parents.

Just like the last guy who killed a bunch of random people on a Toronto sidewalk. That guy is amazingly absent from the news lately.

This one is another "incel", no doubt. (That sound is my eyes rolling.)
I'm not going to say anything more about that, except to note that this guy was moving and shooting pretty good for a depressed psychotic. Somebody taught him how to do it, given the video.

On a completely unrelated note, did y'all Americans know that it is massively illegal for a person diagnosed with a serious mental illness to buy or own any gun in this country? Did you know that there is a special pistol permit and course that you have to go through to get a pistol here? Did you know that there is ANOTHER permit you have to get to allow you to transport your pistol to the shooting range to practice? Did you know you can't get any of those permits or take any of the required courses if you have a diagnosis of mental illness?

I'm just wondering, where did this murderer learn to shoot? Inquiring minds want to know.

Update: Welcome, unruly Instapundit horde!

Update 2: 

Canadian authorities said Wednesday they have no evidence to substantiate a claim by the Islamic State group that the gunman who killed two people in a Toronto rampage was an IS soldier.
The group's Amaq news agency said the gunman, identified by police as 29-year-old Faisal Hussain, was an IS "soldier" responding to its calls for attacks on nationals from countries fighting the group in Iraq and Syria.
"At this stage, we have no evidence to support these claims," Toronto police said in a statement.
They do though. Video of him moving like a trained guy. People with no training do not move like that.

Is something rotten in the State of Denmark Canada? 

Shooting in Toronto, dead suspect still not named.

Last night there was a shooting attack on Danforth Avenue at Logan, out in front of Mr. Greek and The Big Carrot. Two victims died so far, twelve more were wounded. Wounded means shot, by the way. Wounded means they'll never be right again. One of them is a 9 year old girl.

Here's what the Mayor of Toronto, John Tory, has to say about it:

Toronto Mayor John Tory called the shooting "a despicable act" and expressed outrage that someone had "unleashed such a terrible attack on our city and people innocently enjoying a Sunday evening."

At a sombre gathering of Toronto council Monday morning, Toronto Mayor John Tory renewed his call for tougher gun laws, wondering aloud "why would anyone need a gun in this city at all?"

"There are far too many people carrying around guns in our city and our region who should not have them," Tory said as he addressed council in the wake of Sunday night's mass shooting before council was adjourned until later Monday out of respect for the shooting victims.

"You've heard me ask the question of why anyone would need to buy 10 or 20 guns, which they can lawfully do under the present laws," Tory said.

"And that leads to another question we need to discuss: why does anyone in this city need to have a gun at all?"

People in Toronto need guns because there are assholes walking down Danforth Avenue shooting random passers-by, John. Wake up and smell the fucking gunpowder.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

iCloud data in China stored by government servers

Everybody loves that little cloud backup thing. All your crap, backed up in one, supposedly really safe, place.

A state-owned telecommunications company in China now stores the iCloud data for Apple's China-based users. This is really bad news for dissidents and critics of the government.
In February, Apple caused an uproar when it announced it would be moving Chinese users' iCloud accounts — and their encryption keys — to a China-based server company Guizhou-Cloud Big Data. Human rights advocates warned this move would be dangerous, especially so for Chinese dissidents. Apple's response was that it simply had no choice but to comply if it wanted to continue providing its iCloud service to Chinese customers.

But then it got worse.

Fast forward to today: China Telecom, a government owned telco, is taking over the iCloud data from Guizhou-Cloud Big Data. This essentially means that  a state-owned firm now has access to all the iCloud data China-based users store, such as photos, notes, emails, and text messages.

Yeah. The Chinese Stazi has full control and access to all the shit your iPhone does if you live in China. What are the main differences between the present day Chinese Stazi and the old East German Stazi? The original was smaller and therefore less evil. On the other hand, the Chinese knock-off has much better press coverage from the American media.

Here's a question you should consider before pushing that cloud button: Who, exactly, has access to all your iPhone shit here in North America? The answer is:
YOU DON'T KNOW.
There's literally no way for us to know, for sure, who has access to all that stuff on those remote servers.

Hmmmm.....

The Phantom

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Another Lefty documents his fall from Grace.

Seen at Instapundit, another Soyboy takes the fall for being insufficiently soyfull.

I drive food delivery for an online app to make rent and support myself and my young family. This is my new life. I once had a well paid job in what might be described as the social justice industry. Then I upset the wrong person, and within a short window of time, I was considered too toxic for my employer's taste. I was publicly shamed, mobbed, and reduced to a symbol of male privilege. I was cast out of my career and my professional community. Writing anything under my own byline now would invite a renewal of this mobbing—which is why, with my editor's permission, I am writing this under a pseudonym. He knows who I am.
In my previous life, I was a self-righteous social justice crusader. I would use my mid-sized Twitter and Facebook platforms to signal my wokeness on topics such as LGBT rights, rape culture, and racial injustice. Many of the opinions I held then are still opinions that I hold today. But I now realize that my social-media hyperactivity was, in reality, doing more harm than good.
What happened? He got called out for some miniscule (or imaginary) deviation from the Straight And Narrow Path. (I use that bible allusion advisedly, it is always fun to see the SJWs behaving like a bunch of Puritan spinsters.)

Here's the money quote from this guy, its is an excellent observation:

Social justice is a surveillance culture, a snitch culture. The constant vigilance on the part of my colleagues and friends did me in. That's why I'm delivering sushi and pizza.

He means its the Stazi. And it totally is. Ask yourself, when the Stazi came knocking, would a grovelling apology have saved the one they came for? Nope. By then its too late.

When the Stazi comes, all there is left to choose is the manner of your death. You can die well, on your feet like a Man, or like a dog in a ditch. Metaphorically speaking of course. They can't -really- come for you.

Yet.

The Phantom

Update: Welcome tsunami of Instapunditeers coming in over the transom! Surf that wave, baby!


Saturday, July 14, 2018

Me too = #YouToo!

Professor at Canadian university.

Seen first at Small Dead Animals, this is the perfect example of Leftists and effete literary snobs behaving like a pack of rabid dogs.

In an exclusive account, author Steven Galloway reveals for the first time how shocking accusations of sexual assault devastated his career — and his life. In the fall of 2015, Galloway was suspended as chair of the Creative Writing Program at the University of British Columbia for unspecified "serious allegations." By the summer of 2016, he had been fired over what the university called an "irreparable breach of trust." But last month, an arbitrator awarded Galloway $167,000, ruling that UBC violated his privacy rights and damaged his reputation. Now, in his own words, the celebrated novelist says he will no longer be silent.

What follows is a big long tale of woe, about how all his Ivory Tower friends JUMPED at the chance to believe the accusations, piled on, and generally acted like insane weasels. He was shocked by this.

The hatred and gleeful malice I have seen directed at me, my family, and anyone with the temerity to suggest I am not a monster has shattered me. I have watched as individuals who have never met me spent the past few years relentlessly attacking me, treating it all like some sort of game, a way to carve out a name for themselves. They display their false virtue like the tail feathers of a peacock. One University of Alberta professor puts her hatred of me in her official bio, and when I wrote to her asking that she take into account that I am a human being with feelings, and that my children read what she says about me, she responded by hosting a live-tweeted "academic" conference in which I was called a rapist and compared to Robert Pickton.

Later on, we get this gem:

When my first novel was accepted for publication I was 23 years old and encountered nothing but supportive people in the world of Canadian writing. That changed overnight. Recently, "CanLit" has been described as a dumpster fire. Though juvenile, the description is apt. I've watched what I always imagined to be a kind, inclusive, supportive community turn against itself. The cruelty some people have displayed has been shocking. There have always been those who seek to build themselves up by tearing others down, but I'd never seen so much of it until recently. We have been taken over by a bloodlust in a search for targets of indignation.

Yeah. Shocking.

I wonder if Steven Galloway still thinks that Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper is a Nazi?

The Wondering Phantom

Update: Welcome huge flood of Instapundit readers!

Friday, July 13, 2018

Always-on listening devices, everywhere.

An interesting thing is happening in the tech world. Little tiny microphones have gotten -really- fricking cheap.


I believe that is a dime the microphone is sitting on.

Startups such as Boston-based Vesper Technologies, Inc.—which has received money from Baidu, Bose and Amazon's Alexa Fund—are meeting the challenge with even tinier, yet more capable designs built around minuscule flaps of silicon that generate electric current when bent by sound waves. Vesper claims this gives their microphone unique capabilities, like understanding your voice even in windy conditions, and drawing zero power when awaiting a "wake word," since sound itself generates the power the microphone needs.

The total cost to equip a gadget with an array of these tiny microphones and the electronics to interpret simple commands is approaching $10 or less, says Matt Crowley, Vesper's chief executive. Individual microphones now cost between 20 cents and 60 cents, says Mike Rosa, an analyst and marketing chief at Applied Materials Inc., which supplies manufacturing equipment to makers of microchips.

You know what else is cheap and small? WiFi and Bluetooth modules, cameras, system-on-chip computers, and batteries. That zero power draw in sleep mode is a very big deal, it makes possible all sorts of applications that would otherwise bee much too power hungry.

The little thing on the end is the whole camera.
Full wireless transmitter/receiver for a cell phone type application.


Essentially it will be possible to have wireless video and sound capability in pretty much anything you can imagine, cheaply. I'm sure if a clever lad sat down and designed a dedicated silicon package, he could get it under ten bucks a unit. That means toy drones with full video/audio AND wireless AND processing on board. That means video/audio enabled glasses/brooches/rings/watches etc. Car sun visors with video/audio. Literally anything that plugs into a wall socket can be a full-on Alexa-style device.

But not in the future. I mean right now. They can do it right now. In the future it will only get smaller, cheaper and easier.

Just so you know.

The Phantom

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

California University Racism

A major California -technical- university is choosing students based on skin colour.

In keeping with the diversity and inclusion movement sweeping campuses across the country, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo recently released a 30-page report outlining plans to "improve diversity" via a series of initiatives.

One goal is to increase the number of people of color on campus beyond the increases that have already occurred over the past few years, as "applications from underrepresented minority students doubled between 2008 and 2018."

"In 2011, the campus was 63 percent Caucasian," the May 2 report informs readers, "in fall of 2017, it was less than 55 percent … but there is still much work to do."


That this is precisely the reverse of "diversity and inclusion" seems to have escaped the administrators. One wonders what the hell is in their heads besides sand.

The end point of this will be the same situation that used to apply before WWII, when "people of colour" had their own universities and major institutions were Whites Only. I would not view that as progress.

The Phantom

Monday, July 02, 2018

Dinosaur media finally notices cities are being hollowed out.

Here we have a liberal bemoaning "The Death of a Once Great City".  He's whining about gentrification in NYC, and naturally blaming it all on Trump. A sample:

We have been almost a parody of multiculturalism on our little street. Black and white, Hispanic and Asian; straight, gay, and transgender; families of all kinds—extended, adopted, arranged by convenience or design. Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist. I would come home and see the daughters of our Sikh mailman, before they grew up, playing baseball in the halls. In the evening, I sat at my desk in a little space, in this building cubbyholed with other little spaces and held together by what was once described as "a hundred years of spit and dust," and felt as though I were poised over the center of the world. Beneath me I could hear a hive of dinnertime conversations carried on in half a dozen languages, smell cooking that came from all over the world, hear someone ringing a gong and repeating a Buddhist chant.


To me, that sounds like my worst nightmare. The sound of "a hive of dinnertime conversations carried on in half a dozen languages" means the building is an ancient firetrap with no insulation and no privacy. What I hear at my house at dinner time is frogs chirping in the pond. At noon it is so quiet here, you can literally hear a hawk glide by overhead. Shhhwsh. So I can already tell this person has zero conception of what life is like outside his teensy experience. He'd probably lose his little liberal mind here in Hooterville.

It is through all these interactions, multiplied a million times, that a truly great city is made.


No, don't think so. A truly great city is a place you can find food, shelter and a job, live peacefully and raise your family safely. NYC hasn't been that since the 1960s. Toronto stopped being that in the 1980s.

The street life—the warrens of little shops and businesses that once sustained our neighborhood in the sort of "exuberant diversity" that Jane Jacobs considered a prerequisite for a successful city—is being eradicated as well: the botanica on 96th Street that Susan, my sister-in-law, always visited to buy her healing herbs when she was in town; the Indian spice shop next to it, with the protective elephant-headed idol of Ganesh mounted outside.


This is the actual meat of the conversation, that retail stores are fleeing downtown and semi-downtown areas of large American cities, driven out by rent hikes.

These stores, like so many others in my neighborhood, have not been replaced. They are simply . . . gone. In an informal survey of Broadway, from 93rd Street to 103rd, I recently counted twenty-four vacant storefronts—many of them very large spaces, enough to account for roughly one third of the street frontage. Nearly all of them have been empty now for months or even years.


The truth is that most of the buildings in NYC are so expensive that no retail operation in existence can afford to rent them. Retail of anything doesn't produce enough income to pay for the space.  In Toronto the price of a detached house, even a falling down one, is north of a million bucks. Stores are sitting empty all over Toronto, the only ones still going are big chains who can afford the obscene rents. Which means it is a bubble. In-city prices all over North America for retail space and for housing are in a bubble.

Of course the liberal author, Mr. Kevin Baker, blames racism and the Republicans. Racists are everywhere for Mr. Baker it seems, hiding in ever closet and sewer grating, waiting to jump out. He also, hilariously, blames foreigners for buying $20 million dollar apartments downtown and not living in them most of the year. Which somehow isn't racist, because... well never mind, it just isn't.

Worth a read.