Thursday, November 27, 2014

The LP record makes a comeback.

Remember these? They're baaaaaack!

Here's an interesting datum. The long assumed dead vinyl record from the Ancient Times when TV was in black and white and dinosaurs roamed the Earth sold one million albums in England this year.

In 2014 you'd be forgiven for thinking the music industry is all about online charts and digital downloads, but the latest figures released by the Official Charts Company reveal a corresponding boom in vinyl record sales which have reached an 18-year high.
More than one million records have been sold in the UK so far this year – a number which is expected to rise even further by the end of Christmas. We haven't bought that many since 1996, back when cassette tapes were still considered technologically advanced...
Sales have been driven primarily by the Arctic Monkeys (whose LP AM is the biggest selling vinyl of 2014), Jack White and Pink Floyd, with Oasis, Status Quo and David Bowie also contributing to the impressive figures.
The Ancient Vinyl  is still only 2% of the total UK music biz, but this is an unexpected major increase in the sales of a presumed dead technology. Vinyl is (slowly) gaining sales as regular popular music is losing sales.

Once upon a time I used to work with high fidelity speakers, and I learned then that CDs and other digital recording mediums can't come even close to the sound fidelity available on vinyl. Only two channels, but the frequency response and more importantly the dynamic range and signal to noise ratio possible with top end record players and diamond stylus phonograph cartridges is much higher than you get with even BluRay audio. MP3s sound like crap next to a vinly record played through a decent stereo, there's no comparison at all.

Add to this the habit of sound engineers to record things "loud", and you get sound like singers yelling into a pillow on your iPod. Its all kind of mushy and fuzzy, like it was being played through a sock.

Positive signs that people may be starting to give a rip how their music sounds.

The Phantom

Thursday, November 20, 2014

#Shirtstorm continues: Malcolm Winter "explains" why Dr. Matt Taylor had to grovel.

As posted yesterday, the nice lady who made That Shirt defended herself and Dr. Matt Talor of Comet Landing fame on her blog.  Most of the comments on that blog were positive, but there were a few from the troll I smashed yesterday, assorted other SJW apologists and other random idiots.  Consensus of opinion seems to be we'd all like to buy one of Those Shirts please, so we can get on with annoying the SJWs. If Elly gets busy, she can make a tidy sum of money off this Shirtstorm farce.

But then there was this one, by Mr. "Malcolm Winter", hopefully not his real name but one never knows. Quote:
Pavel Bansky - I'm honestly curious. Would you protect a KKK member's right to don KKK regalia?
OBVIOUSLY in a free country we do protect the right of the KKK to play dress-up. The United States has always done this. Canada's record is a bit more checkered, but the general rule is yes, we protect people and groups we find disgusting in the name of Free Speech."Mr. Winter" made several comments which I will cherry pick some snippets of to reproduce his "argument", such as it is.

Surely I can't make judgements on Matt based solely on his wearing of a shirt that many found offensive (myself included) or on Elly for making it. It seems obvious that Matt and Elly (like most people who make mistakes) are good people with good intentions. However, my issue is not with those actions but with how they and others have responded to how others have *experienced* those actions, regardless of intention.

This is EXACTLY why there aren't more women in STEM. Because when women raise legitimate concerns about the way they're being treated, instead of taking some time to think about how one's actions affect others who have very different histories and life experiences, one instead attempts to justify those actions by saying that any other perception of the action is illegitimate.

"STEM" is Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine careers. The stalking horse here is that women are fewer than men in these careers.

Mr. Winter says that's because White Men that run everything in STEM are mean, and they just won't LISTEN, and the women just don't get an even break. And that's why Dr. MAtt Taylor was asking for a full court international internet pillory for wearing Elly Prizeman's shirt. He didn't think about how his actions would "affect others who have very different histories and life experiences".

Other commenters were having none of that, and pointed out the obvious holes:

Winter, there are men being offended because women are not covering their faces in public. Does it make it alright, then?
If you are prescribing Dr. Taylor's dress code you are inevitably agreeing with men prescribing dress codes for women. Is that your intent?

Winter replies:

Pavel Bansky, I think that prescribing dress codes based on double standards that reinforce the oppression of (and violence toward) women is very different (and actually the opposite) of prescribing dress codes that send the message that reinforcing the oppression of women is NOT acceptable.

Yes, he really did say that HIS dress codes are proper and correct because they reduce oppression, where as Mooselimb dress codes are bad and wrong because they increase oppression. Zero awareness, zero thought that maybe -any- prescribed dress code is an oppression and an abridgement of basic freedom.

Also this:

I think maybe you are all making the same assumptions about my argument. However, my argument is about structural oppression, not individual oppression, although the two are certainly related.
I left [STEM] because of the lack of critical thought in STEM. I found that the rigid definition of critical thought as only whether something has scientific validity, accuracy, and/or precision as a deficient one.

Wait, what?
I've spent nearly three years of my life travelling and working in over 30 countries, most of which are "developing." I have seen a fair share of "real oppression" (whatever that means) and I find covert oppression just as insidious to society as overt oppression, perhaps even more so since it is so much harder to fix something most people can't see.

Dude must have been really hauling ass to live and work in over 30 countries in just three years. And he can see things that are invisible! Wow.

By "critical thought," I think perhaps Tracy Ore defines it best by including the identification and challenging of cultural assumptions, awareness of our place and time in our culture, searching for alternative ways of thinking, and developing a reflective analysis. All of this is something I never found in STEM and I know now that that's one of the many reasons I left.

Yes, engineers and programmers are not known for "including the identification and challenging of cultural assumptions" when trying to determine if the bridge will fall down or not. They're much more about validity, accuracy and precision. Because bridge falling down = bad.
I believe that gauging others' responses to my behavior as a result of my privilege and adjusting that behavior when I can is an important part of being a contributing member to society.

Yes, you are clearly a saint in your own mind. Except you and your little friends made super genius Matt Taylor grovel on international TV. So I'm thinking maybe you don't look so saintly from where I'm standing. You look more like the guys who throw acid on girls in Afghanistan.

See Malcolm, the point of a Free Country is that people are free to do what they want. Most particularly, people are free to do stuff that you don't like. Unless you can prove that their actions and expressions have harmed you personally. Which means they physically injured you or they cost you money.

Lucky for you, hurt feelings don't count. Because if they did, you and a lot of other Social Justice Warriors would owe Matt Taylor and Elly Prizeman a shitlocker full of money.

You, Mr. Malcolm Winter, are an enemy of freedom. Consider your sins, and repent.

The Phantom

Monday, November 17, 2014

The woman who made Mankind's first comet landing all about her.

Rose Eveleth, professional Offended Person.
Her name is Rose Eveleth, she works for The Atlantic magazine, apparently. This is her Twitter feed. She was offended, simply Offended I tell you, over The Shirt.

Dear Rose, fuck off.

Ladies shield your eyes!
This is the scientist wearing The Shirt. With video of him apologizing in tears. Which is just heart wrenching, to me anyway. On his biggest day of his career, he's saying sorry on international TV about a friggin' shirt.

Not what I would have worn to a press conference, but then I didn't land a space-robot on a freaking comet either. If I was that big a boss, I'd wear whatever the hell I liked.

This is the woman who made the shirt. Custom shirt for the scientist who's team got that robot down on that comet, because she's a friend of his. She's sticking up for herself and her friend in no uncertain terms. That makes her a Class Act in my book, and honorable.

Also she doesn't look like the kind of woman skinny ass Rose Eveleth should be pissing off. We're talking really short cat fight here.

This was suggested as the appropriate shirt to wear for Feminists to be happy.

Uhm, do they have legs? Or hair? And where's the ray guns?
'Nuff said.

The Phantom

Update: Welcome According To Hoyt readers and other Monster Hunters! 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Big Brother really is spying on your cellphone.

I keep posting these things because it seems hard to believe, but really, if you have a cell phone the cops know where you are down to TEN FEET if they want to. It doesn't have to be turned on, either.

The Justice Department is scooping up data from thousands of mobile phones through devices deployed on airplanes that mimic cellphone towers, a high-tech hunt for criminal suspects that is snagging a large number of innocent Americans, according to people familiar with the operations.

The U.S. Marshals Service program, which became fully functional around 2007, operates Cessna aircraft from at least five metropolitan-area airports, with a flying range covering most of the U.S. population, according to people familiar with the program.

Here's how it works.

Cellphones are programmed to connect automatically to the strongest cell tower signal. The device being used by the U.S. Marshals Service identifies itself as having the closest, strongest signal, even though it doesn't, and forces all the phones that can detect its signal to send in their unique registration information.

Even having encryption on a phone, such as the kind included on Apple Inc. 's iPhone 6, doesn't prevent this process.

The technology is aimed at locating cellphones linked to individuals under investigation by the government, including fugitives and drug dealers, but it collects information on cellphones belonging to people who aren't criminal suspects, these people said. They said the device determines which phones belong to suspects and "lets go" of the non-suspect phones.

They basically ping every phone in range as they fly over the city, and use triangulation to find the location of each phone. They say they "let go" of the info except on the phones they are actively searching for, but that's BS. The machine HAS TO KEEP A RECORD of every ping, because that's how it works. They may in fact flush the memory after every flight, but I have very little confidence that's what's being done. We'd have to be crazy to believe that, given the NSA and the license plate reading programs etc.

See, if all they do is fly this thing over the city every day for a few weeks, they build up a database that can track the movement of pretty much every phone. Where you work, where you live, which way you drive to and from, and all the other trips you make. And what other phones are at those locations. And so forth. So if they want to know where you were last Tuesday at 2pm, or where you will most likely be NEXT Tuesday at 2pm, they will.

Here's the killer part: so can anybody else. It isn't hard to build a box that acts like a cell tower. Here's some guys who built one and stuck it in a model airplane. That was three years ago. How many of these things are wafting about lately? We don't know. There's no way to tell. They can be made -small-, like a shoebox or less, including a big-ass battery to run it for six months. They can be in cars or sitting still on a light pole, bridge, mailbox, etc.

How to defend yourself? Use unidentified burner phones. Or stick your phone in a metal box for when you want your privacy, or take the battery out. Notice that you can't take the battery out of an iPhone. Convenient design for somebody, hmm?

Long term, I'm sure there's a way to detect if a "cell tower" is moving, and to have software that will not reply to a ping from a moving source. That leaves the surveillance performed by legit cell towers, but there's no way to avoid that. Its how they work.

Plan accordingly, my friends.

The Phantom

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Let's compare art, shall we?

America: A "celebrated" Hollywood artist attempts to challenge to societal notions of gender.

No, this is not a chick. At all.

Consider me challenged, dude.

 Job done. But... ew. And... why? (I suspect mental illness.)

Asia: Artists attempt to make Art.

Yes, this is a foxy chick. Absolutely.
Hugely successful Korean TV show "monster". Definitely a foxy chick.

Fan art of foxy chick.
The foxy Fox in fox ears. Ok not Asian art, but still Fox-y.
You're feeling better now, aren't you? Job done! Because foxy chicks are always a good thing.

Asia is starting to look like the last holdout of Western Civilization in "art". That's what hipsters call "irony".

I have this urge to take some pictures of maggots clustering on roadkill and post that as "art". I'd probably be famous in five minutes, but only if I was a transgendered somethingorother with a low surface albedo and a snappy patter about White Male Imperialism. So not worth it.

The Phantom

Positive signs: Conservatives showing up to riot.

Town's tobacco ban hearing too rowdy, ends early.

WESTMINSTER, Mass. (AP) - Only a handful of people were able to speak on a proposal that could make the tiny Massachusetts town of Westminster the first in the nation to ban all sales of tobacco products when boos and shouts from the crowd shut down the public hearing Wednesday night.

Sixty or more residents in the packed Westminster Elementary school gymnasium were registered to share their opinions. Some among the audience of several hundred toted signs opposing the ban; some had participated in a rally earlier.

But amid shouts of "America!" and "Freedom Now," Board of Health chairwoman Andrea Crete gaveled the hearing to a close just 25 minutes into it instead of taking comments.

"The crowd's getting out of control and the room's filled to capacity," she said. "We don't want any riots."

Well Andrea, if you don't want any riots maybe you should consider not behaving like a mini-Hitler all the time. Because why?

The decision [on the sales ban] rests solely with the board, which says it is fed up with bubblegum-flavored cigars, electronic cigarettes and other new products that appeal to young people. Board members say the easiest course of action is to enact a total ban on all sales within town lines.

Way to go Massachusetts for showing up and making the sonsabitches afraid. They should be afraid, given what they're doing. I bet they're all sweating the next election right now.

Nanny monitors and other government paid lurkers please note, there was no violence or property damage involved here. Just shouting and possibly harsh language. Compare and contrast with what the Organized Left is doing in Ferguson Missouri today.
The Phantom

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Media and CDC finally catch up to The Phantom.

Took the sonsabenches long enough.

The deadly EV-D68 enterovirus epidemic, which struck thousands of kids this fall, was likely propelled through America by President Barack Obama's decision to allow tens of thousands of Central Americans across the Texas border, according to a growing body of genetic and statistical evidence.

The evidence includes admissions from top health officials that the epidemic included multiple strains of the virus, and that it appeared simultaneously in multiple independent locations.

Wow, amazing what happens when the government completely disregards every single public health law on the books and ships a hundred thousand illegal border jumpers all over the country without any screening for disease.

So far, that virus has been found in nine American kids who died from illness, has apparently inflicted unprecedented polio-like paralysis in roughly 50 kids, and has put hundreds of young American kids into hospital emergency wards and intensive care units throughout more than 40 states.

And if you think this is unforgivable, wait until you see how many people they kill with Ebola. They're bound and determined not to quarantine anybody over that.

But Canada is doing something different.

Canada is following in Australia's footsteps and has closed its doors, effectively immediately, to people from the West African countries battling Ebola.

In a move that puts Canada at odds with the World Health Organization, the federal government said Friday it is suspending the issuance of visas for residents and nationals of countries with "widespread and persistent-intense transmission" of Ebola virus disease. As well, work on permanent residence applications for people from the affected countries is also being suspended.

The Canadian and Australian governments just told the World Health Organization to go pound salt. That's what you do when a bunch of Eurotrash wankers want to inflict Hell on your country out of some insane political correctness.

What's Obama doing? The opposite. He's in fact bent on IMPORTING Ebola patients to the USA, not to mention moving some potentially infected soldiers to Italy for quarantine before bringing them back to the USA. Also TB and enterovirus and the Black Plague, for all of that.

What a guy, eh?

The Phantom