Tuesday, May 24, 2016

More gender retardation.

This shit here is simply classic. From the WisCon 40 official blog, official pronoun stickers for convention attendees.

Hihi!  I want to take a minute to talk to you about an exciting option we're offering at Registration this year: pronoun stickers!
We offered them last year and got a lot of reaction, so here's the explanation:
Pronoun stickers are totally optional to wear. You don't have to declare anything to anyone. You don't have to wear the same sticker all weekend. These exist to make it easier for all of us to treat each other respectfully.
If someone IS wearing a pronoun sticker, we expect you will use that pronoun for them. Part of our social contract is kind and respectful treatment of each other, and there are few things that feel as terrible as being misgendered ON PURPOSE. If you make a mistake, just correct yourself and move on.
If someone is NOT wearing a pronoun sticker, the default polite behavior is to ask them what pronoun they prefer and then use that. If you don't know and can't ask, use the singular "they".
We also have stickers that say "The singular they is grammatical." Because we're nerds like that.
No one is the pronoun police, and you're not going to get shunned for an honest mistake, but if you persistently and deliberately misgender someone, it's not pleasant and is sometimes a conduct violation.
If your pronoun is not represented in our pre-printed stickers, we'll be happy to print a sticker for you custom. You can email registration now at registration@wiscon.net and we'll try to have it for you when you check in, or it may take up to a day if you ask as you check in. We'll do our best!
We're all looking forward to seeing you in less than a week. We hope these stickers make it easier for you to feel safe and respected. As always, if you do not feel safe and respected, please feel free to ask Safety for their help and advice.

You didn't say "zir", citizen!

This thing sounds like a veritable barrel of laughs, with grim faced Safety Officers ejecting paying customers because they didn't say "she" to the giant fat bearded man.

And remember friends, posting stuff like this to the internet could well be illegal in Canada very soon.

The Phantom


The Liberals have introduced a bill banning any speech against trans-gender people.

Canada's Liberal Party government led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has introduced a bill that would ban transgender discrimination, including both gender identity and gender expression, with up to two years in prison for violators.

The bill seeks to amend the Canadian Criminal Code to expand existing "hate speech" prohibitions to include any public speech or communication that "promotes hatred" on the basis of "gender identity" or "gender expression," and also the Canadian Human Rights Act, to cover transgender people.

"As a society, we have taken many important steps toward recognizing and protecting the legal rights for the LGBTQ2 community – from enshrining equality rights in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to the passage of the Civil Marriage Act," Trudeau said in a speech, announcing the bill on International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia on May 17. "There remains much to be done, though. Far too many people still face harassment, discrimination, and violence for being who they are. This is unacceptable."

He added: "To do its part, the Government of Canada today will introduce legislation that will help ensure transgender and other gender-diverse people can live according to their gender identity, free from discrimination, and protected from hate propaganda and hate crimes."

In July, Prime Minister Trudeau plans to march in the Toronto Gay Pride parade.

"This enactment amends the Canadian Human Rights Act to add gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination," the bill's summary reads. "The enactment also amends the Criminal Code to extend the protection against hate propaganda set out in that Act to any section of the public that is distinguished by gender identity or expression and to clearly set out that evidence that an offence was motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on gender identity or expression constitutes an aggravating circumstance that a court must take into consideration when it imposes a sentence."

In other words, "Shut up you disgusting peons, and get back to work."

No word on whether or not the suggestion that trans-gender might be a mental illness is "hate speech", but I rather expect it will be. If you see this blog suddenly vanish from the internet, this will be the reason why.

Elections have consequences.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Panopticon surveillance now possible.

This camera thing just keeps getting better every day.

Computer scientists have created a way of letting law enforcement tap any camera that isn't password protected so they can determine where to send help or how to respond to a crime. "It's a way to help people take advantage of information that's out there," says David Ebert, an electrical and computer engineer at Purdue University.

The system, which is just a proof of concept, alarms privacy advocates who worry that prudent surveillance could easily lead to government overreach, or worse, unauthorized use. It relies upon two tools developed independently at Purdue. The Visual Analytics Law Enforcement Toolkit superimposes the rate and location of crimes and the location of police surveillance cameras. CAM2 reveals the location and orientation of public network cameras, like the one outside your apartment. You could do the same thing with a search engine like Shodan, but CAM2 makes the job far easier, which is the scary part. Aggregating all these individual feeds makes it potentially much more invasive.

Access means 24/7/365 access by the way. They can keep the data and run backward through it to see exactly who was on that street corner at 2pm on the second Tuesday of September 2015. They can also, given sufficient horsepower, do a facial recognition pass on accessible cameras and see if Person Of Onterest X has -ever- been in front of that camera.

But why worry about government? The Mob could do it too!

Beyond the specter of universal government surveillance lies the risk of someone hacking the system. To Maass, it brings to mind the TV show Person of Interest and its band of vigilantes who tap government cameras to predict and prevent crimes. This is not so far-fetched. Last year, the EFF discovered that anyone could access more than 100 "secure" automated license plate readers. "I think it becomes a very tempting target," says Gautam Hans, policy counsel at the Center for Democracy & Technology. "Thinking about security issues is going to be a major concern."

The potential for blackmail alone simply boggles the mind.

The Phantom

Harassment 2016: any casual comment.

Here's what it takes to get branded a "harasser" and get banned from a sci-fi con for five years these days.

From the Victim's blog, the evidence:

A guy carrying some chainmail noticed our sad little faces and asked if we were lost. Grateful, we admitted that we were looking for the con's sign-in desk. He pointed us in the right direction.

And then shit got real.
He lifted his arms to better display his chainmail and we realized he was an artist looking to sell his wares.

I said, "That's cool."

And it really was pretty.

Worthless in battle, obviously made for a thin, scantily-clad woman, and clearly something for cosplay.

But very pretty nonetheless.

"I'd wear that," I added.

That balding, pony-tailed dude didn't miss a beat as he pointed at Rachel and said,

"Yeah, but it would look better on her."

Ouch, man.

Just because it's true didn't mean you had to say it.

Rachel and I were both so flabbergasted at the man's cluelessness that we just fumbled goodbyes and moved along down the hallway.

In one smooth move, he had insulted me and objectified Rachel.

Sometimes, you just have to laugh.

Except she didn't laugh, she went and complained to the con management. Who then found that the above interaction violated their "harassment policy" and in due course named, shamed and banned the individual. His name is now being bandied about the interwebz as a "serial harasser", apparently other women have complained he did things similar to what is stated above.

 I do not know these people, any of them. I did not attend the con in question. I was privy to no other information than what is stated above. Maybe some other interactions than this were involved, maybe there's history, I don't know. There were allegations to that effect on other sites but, surprise, nothing was really said.
Based on this information, that's bullshit. You pique a woman's vanity, you get banned for five years? That my friends is a bridge too far.

It makes me really want to go to such a convention, for the warm, safe and welcoming atmosphere... not.

In other news, men wearing dresses will be allowed to use the women's bathroom. Anyone who objects will be charged with a hate crime and go to jail.

The Phantom

Bathroom battleground!

A female security guard has been charged with assault after ejecting a man from the women's bathroom at a store she was guarding.

D.C. police have charged a security guard at a Giant grocery store with simple assault after a transgender woman said the guard forced her out of the women's restroom.

It would seem from the story, which appears to have been written by a five year old incidentally, that the security guard was fed up to the teeth with "transgender women" using the women's bathroom, and pushed this one out of the store.

The lack of detail in the story is interesting, as is the fairly aggressive use of pronouns. This issue is getting Big Push from high offices.

Bottom line, those of you of the female persuasion are having your comfort (and safety!) thrown under the Trans Agenda bus. Pretty soon, there will be some guy in a dress one stall over from you. Be sure to use the loo at home before going out, eh?

Because clearly, the number of actual, serious about it, trans gender individuals is extremely small. The number of creepers cosplaying as women to get a peep or cop a feel will be much. much larger. In fact, I expect a veritable explosion of faux-trans creepers in the next couple of years, as this idiotic campaign continues and gains bureaucratic regulatory support.

I predict a surge in new plumbing sales, as stores and other public spaces switch from multi-stall bathrooms to single unit bathrooms with locking doors and no male/female sign on the front.

I also predict casualties, as women start getting picked off in bathrooms by mental cases, creepers and other assorted lowlife.

I'd be more sympathetic if women did not continually vote for this kind of shit. We have the Liberals and the Shiny Pony ruling in Canada right now thanks to you girls, so the fact that you're reaping what you sowed is sad but appropriate. (My apologies to those of you ladies who voted Conservative.)

The Phantom

Theranos Inc. tech doesn't work.

This is a story of simply amazing failure by the American journalistic community, both the general news side and particularly the business news side.

Just when you thought that the biggest ever "multi-billion" private company that also happens to be an utter fraud, would quietly disappear before it risked attracting even more unwarranted attention from regulators, enforcers, and criminal investigators which could potentially lead to prison time for "billionaire" Elizabeth Holmes, here she comes again reminding everyone of her fallen from grace presence, in this case with what should be the terminal news for this company, namely that as the WSJ reports (and as the company confirms) Theranos has told federal health regulators that the company voided and revised two years of results from its Edison blood-testing devices and has issued tens of thousands of corrected reports to doctors and patients.

As a reminder, the basis for Theranos ludicrous $9 billion valuation which it appears was achieved without anyone doing any actual due diligence, were the "Edison" machines which were touted as revolutionary - not just by Holmes but by the fawning media and even the Clintons. Theranos has now told regulators that it threw out all Edison test results from 2014 and 2015, effectively confirming it has no proprietary technology, and also validating that its valuation should be zero.

Cutting to the chase, Therano is a company which claimed to have developed a blood testing system that could do multiple tests on a single drop of blood. It was lab-on-a-chip technology. But sadly, it seems they lied.

What's of note is the very large list of news articles singing the praises of the company and it's founder. The Zerohedge story has many, many articles listed at the bottom, all glowing reports of awesomeness.

That's a $9 billion dollar valuation built of lies, spread by the media. How can anyone defend themselves against something like that?

The Phantom

Monday, May 16, 2016

Tuberculosis is up. Shockah!

Whenever anybody complains about open borders, Lefties are very quick to scream RAAAAACIST!!!

I believe this is because Lefties don't really interact with the real world very much. Because in the Real World, border crossings are not about keeping out people of other races. Maybe they were once upon a time, but it has been over 100 years since that was true.

These days, border crossings are to keep out fatal diseases and criminals. So when you let people cross indiscriminantly, unofficially, bad things happen.

Hall's was one of seven active cases in Vermont last year, up from two the year before. Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia also reported more active TB cases last year than in 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in March.

After two decades of steady decline, the number of active tuberculosis cases in the U.S. inched up last year. Hall's was one of 9,563 TB cases reported last year, up from 9,406 cases the year before. The CDC is still trying to determine the reason for the uptick.

The goal set by the CDC, in 1989, of eliminating TB by 2010 — defined as less than one case in a million people — remains elusive. Even if the trend of declining cases had continued, the United States would not have eliminated TB by the end of this century, the CDC said.

"We are not yet certain why TB incidence has leveled off, but we do know it indicates the need for a new, expanded approach to TB elimination," said Dr. Philip LoBue, director of the CDC's Division of Tuberculosis Elimination, in an email.

A dual approach is needed: continue to find and treat cases of disease and evaluate their contacts, as well as identify and evaluate other high-risk persons for latent TB infection, he said.

I guarantee you the CDC knows damn well why tuberculosis is rising so rapidly all over the USA. The reason is simple: they stopped checking immigrants for TB. Now, thousands of people every year with active TB are coming into the USA in airplanes and ships and walking through the desert, and then spreading the disease.

I hate it when doctors lie.

The Phantom

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Why elections matter.

Normally I ignore Twitter, but this one is too over-the-top to let pass.

Federal environment Minister of Canada Catherine McKenna, on Twitter yesterday.

Catherine McKenna@cathmckenna 18h18 hours ago
DYK: The threat of #climatechange is not gender neutral? Women are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change than men.

The Shiny Pony is not the only New Age muffin in cabinet, it seems.
The Phantom

Update! Deniers are misogynists now! 

Enjoy a good debate but the hateful, mysoginist tweets are brutal. Would you say these things to this your daughter, sister, mother, friend?

Facial recognition software is now.

British  music festivals are running facial recognition scans on attendees.

Last year, Leicestershire police scanned the faces of 90,000 festival-goers at Download Festival, checking them against a list of wanted criminals across the country. It was the first time anywhere in the UK that facial recognition technology — NeoFace — was used at a public outdoor event.

Privacy campaigners — and Muse frontman Matt Bellamy — expressed their fury at authorities after they casually mentioned the use of the surveillance project on Police Oracle, a police news and information website. Police didn't use any other method to warn festival-goers about the controversial initiative.

So yeah, you're getting scanned and tagged like a stray at the dog pound every time you go out, would be my guess. Because this technology is -cheap-.

Oh, and they keep the data.

"The concept of facial recognition is moving towards a Blade Runner-type future. The question is: did I really give informed and explicit consent to this? Where's the transparency?" Raj Samani, CTO at Intel Security, told Mashable.

"In the case of festivals, it raises a lot of questions around what is done with our data once the event is over," he says.

In order for facial recognition to be of use, the data has to be stored. But it's unclear how the data is stored and protected or for how long it remains and when it's deleted. 

It's nearly impossible to find out who the dataset is shared with or cross-referenced against, Christopher Weatherhead, technology officer at Privacy International, told Mashable.

"For example is the imagery being compared to law enforcement databases, medical databases, or social media profiles?" he said.

If it isn't yet, it will be by and by. Because there's always some new Bright Young Thing trying to work their way up the greased pole to the corner office.

Meanwhile, certain idiots are all happy that conventions are instituting all kinds of every tighter "weapons policies". I'd link it, but Vile 666 and Glyer don't need any more traffic.

The Phantom

Saturday, May 14, 2016

FBI surveils public places in San Francisco.

I often get accused of paranoia. I post some pretty tinfoil hat stuff here from time to time.

But every once in a while, something comes along to prove, again, that I am a trusting little lamb.

Hidden microphones that are part of a clandestine government surveillance program that has been operating around the Bay Area has been exposed.

Imagine standing at a bus stop, talking to your friend and having your conversation recorded without you knowing.  It happens all the time, and the FBI doesn't even need a warrant to do it.

Federal agents are planting microphones to secretly record conversations.

Jeff Harp, a KPIX 5 security analyst and former FBI special agent said, "They put microphones under rocks, they put microphones in trees, they plant microphones in equipment. I mean, there's microphones that are planted in places that people don't think about, because that's the intent!"

FBI agents hid microphones inside light fixtures and at a bus stop outside the Oakland Courthouse without a warrant to record conversations, between March 2010 and January 2011.

If they're doing that kind of thing now, you can expect it's going to get a lot worse. Network-connected devices are so cheap now as to be throw-away for a government agency. Ten bucks for a self-powered, wifi-enabled camera and microphone combination. Add solar power, maybe fifty bucks and it can go pretty much forever. It is possible and affordable to connect every streetlight, sign and traffic signal with a surveilance device so small you'd have to take the thing apart to find it.

Previously, I'd have said that yes it's possible, but no way anyone would bother. Looks like I am WRONG about that.

The Phantom

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Captain America: The tears of SJWs are sweet nectar.

SJWs -hate- the new Captain America movie.

So while Marvel was likely never going to make the homoerotic subtext of Cap and Bucky into text, would it really have hurt to keep their relationship more ambiguous? As if to put the nail in the coffin of speculation, Bucky and Cap paused for a moment in the middle of snowy Siberia to reminisce about their days chasing skirts in pre-War Brooklyn. It's a sweet, human bonding moment but one that also bristles with heterosexual virility.

That's Joanna Robinson's complaint in Vanity Fair about the Captain America movie. Cap ain't light in his loafers. Oh, the humanity. He likes girls. Whatever is a good SJW to do?

Other people other places are hating on the movie hard, because Cap isn't a post-millenial feminist #BlackLivesMatter DemocRat liberal glittery hooha quiltbag fan.

Personally I view all this outrage as very good news. I'm looking forward to going and paying a buncha money to see it. Maybe more than once.

Cry, you bitches! Cry your little hearts out and fill my cup to the brim.

The Phantom

Monday, May 09, 2016

Facebook cooks the news. Shocking, right?

Well, it appears in a new revelation that surprises no one, Facebook trends are propaganda.

Facebook workers routinely suppressed news stories of interest to conservative readers from the social network's influential "trending" news section, according to a former journalist who worked on the project. This individual says that workers prevented stories about the right-wing CPAC gathering, Mitt Romney, Rand Paul, and other conservative topics from appearing in the highly-influential section, even though they were organically trending among the site's users.

Several former Facebook "news curators," as they were known internally, also told Gizmodo that they were instructed to artificially "inject" selected stories into the trending news module, even if they weren't popular enough to warrant inclusion—or in some cases weren't trending at all. The former curators, all of whom worked as contractors, also said they were directed not to include news about Facebook itself in the trending module.

In other words, Facebook's news section operates like a traditional newsroom, reflecting the biases of its workers and the institutional imperatives of the corporation. Imposing human editorial values onto the lists of topics an algorithm spits out is by no means a bad thing—but it is in stark contrast to the company's claims that the trending module simply lists "topics that have recently become popular on Facebook."

In other, completely unrelated news Mark Zuckerberg the CEO of Facebook spends half his time partying at the White House. Looks like the Conservative Movement should be sinking money into a reliable internet search engine and a Conservative themed social media set-up.

So yes, Kathy Shaidle is RIGHT. Again. Damn it!

The Phantom

Thursday, May 05, 2016

How to tell what's really going on.

If you want to know what's really going on in a country, you look at where people are spending their money. In the USA, they're breaking all records for gun sales and you can't get ammunition except at very high prices.

This April saw the most gun-related background checks of any April on record, making it the 12th month in a row to achieve a high water mark for gun sales.

The FBI ran 2,145,865 checks through the National Instant Background Check System last month, according to the agency's records. That represents more than a 400,000 increase over the previous record set in April 2014. Though the numbers represent the best April on record, the month also saw the fewest checks of any month thus far in 2016.

The trend of record-setting months began last May. In that period the background check system has seen records set for the most checks in a day, month, and year. Thus far 2016 is on pace to pass 2015 as the best year on record for gun-related background checks.

I don't know what the sales of camping equipment and dried food look like, but I would bet they're breaking records too.

Something else breaking records, pickup truck sales. Big-ass crew cab 4x4 rigs with V8s are flying off the dealer's lots.

Taken together, that looks to me like the population of the richest, most powerful country in the world getting ready for a war. They can get the hell out of Dodge, go anywhere in any weather, eat for weeks once they get there and shoot anybody who tells them "no." These are people who seem to think their cities and towns are going to become unsafe, and they'll have to leave. Or maybe fight.

That would be the smart ones. The dumb ones are week-to-week on their food stamp cards. Also record numbers. That's what the smart ones are worried about, when those cards all stop working the same day.

In the coming election, when Mr. Trump wins in a landslide over the Hildebeast (like that's a brave prediction, given the gun sales) we will be able to tell if people relax by how the gun sales move. If they keep making new records, that will not be a good sign.

The Phantom

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

PC is now simply good manners.

"Political correctness" has long been considered a pejorative, an accusation hurled at those of us who choose our words carefully so as not to insult others. "It is invoked as a justification for some of the coarsest expressions of hatred and intolerance," Daniel Letwin, an associate professor of history at Pennsylvania State University, told me. Over the past year, I've written a number of columns that have provoked such allegations, notably when writing about language or why words matter.

Personally (and as a journalist) I prefer the Economist's style guide for reporters, which advises: "Avoid, if you can, giving gratuitous offence . . . you risk losing your readers. . . . But pandering to every plea for politically correct terminology may make your prose unreadable, and therefore also unread. So strike a balance. If you judge that a group wishes to be known by a particular term, that the term is widely understood and that using any other would seem odd, old-fashioned or offensive, then use it."

Far from restricting debate, the language of political correctness has returned a new dignity to formerly marginalized groups. "People who argue that political correctness is hijacking candid, unabashed observations aren't considering how their words are being perceived by all rather than just some others," said Robert Connelly, an adjunct professor of women's, gender and sexuality studies at American University.

In other words, "Shut up!" So, nothing new then.

The Phantom

US militia is on the border.

Here's a story about a group of volunteers patrolling the border down by Nogales Mexico.

Nogales, Arizona is more than 1,600 miles from Birmingham, Ala. In many ways, the two cities are completely different. However, they share one very important problem: they've both been impacted by the trade of illicit drugs, most notably heroin. Last year, heroin-related deaths were up by about 150 percent in Jefferson County, according to law enforcement officials. Heroin has been called an "epidemic" across our state by drug prevention groups. While not all of that product comes from Mexico, a large portion of drugs that make their way to Birmingham have been trafficked from out of the country.
In this way, what happens on the border has had a big impact on Birmingham. The drug trade is part of the catalyst for the creation of the Border Keepers of Alabama. It's a group of a few dozen men and women with the stated goal of preventing drugs and people from passing illegally through the border with Mexico. The organization, which calls itself "BOA" for short, has been met with criticism and praise. Critics call them vigilantes and racists, bent on preventing immigration into the United States. Supporters call them patriots and heroes, intent on doing the job Border Patrol agents have trouble doing alone--enforcing the law.

To put this into a Canadian perspective: If I thought it would behoove me to head down to Niagara Falls and hunt for violent drug traffickers crossing over from New York State, because my town was filling up with dead junkies, I would have already long since come to the conclusion that my government was essentially -absent- from it's responsibilities of securing the border and keeping the general peace.

Here in my area we do have some occasionally violent gang members, who like to demonstrate, burn tires and make a bloody nuisance of themselves. For ther purposes of this discussion it doesn't matter who they are, but we all know who I'm talking about. This gang's money comes from cigarette smuggling, mostly. Their continued success is due to having made a Special Deal with the provincial government of Ontario. The Liberals find it convenient to look the other way, because it's good Multicultural politics not to stomp on criminals of a visible minority. Liberals these days feel that they live or die on multiculturalism, so they let the agitators agitate and they let the smugglers smuggle. It's not such a big deal, in the grand scheme of things.

For me as a resident of the area, it remains a minor inconvenience. I adjust my choice of routes to drive on when the idiots act up, it's all good. Because even though the cops aren't busting these clowns for the variety of regulations they're breaking, whereas I'd get busted in a hot second, it doesn't really matter. Regulations on smokes are taxes, these clowns are tax dodgers. No skin off my nose.

But if they start showing up armed on my front lawn, that's another thing entirely. If they start infiltrating the countryside from across the border and casing my place for possible robbery EVERY DAY, that's not something I'm going to be able to put up with.

Because that means the cops no longer are doing what they are paid to do, which is KEEP THE PEACE. If there's armed drug cartel assholes traipsing through my yard every night, the peace is not being kept.

That's where y'all are this year in the Southern USA. The Border Patrol isn't patrolling the border. A bunch of vets from Alabama is doing it.

And yet the chattering classes still wonder why Trump is cleaning up in the Republican primaries.

My worry about Trump is not that he's a racist. I'm concerned he's talking a bunch of shit about building that wall. Because if he is, there will be a real, live shooting war along that border in the next couple of years, fought by non-government forces. It'll be the drug dealers vs. the American Patriots. That's how revolutions get started.