Sunday, March 31, 2019

Saudis going after Jeff Besos? WTF?

This is just so weird.

"The security chief for Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos said on Saturday that the Saudi government had access to Bezos' phone and gained private information from it," Reuters reports.
But in addition, the National Enquirer's lawyer "tried to get me to say there was no hacking," writes security specialist Gavin de Becker.

Rest of the story is at the Daily Beast.

It seems the Saudis were not happy with Bezos' owned Washington Post coverage of the Kashogi murder, and that there are wheels within wheels. Naturally since its the Daily Beast the whole thing winds up being cause by Trump, somehow. That guy gets around, eh?

But the take-home is that the Saudis hacked Jeff Bezos' phone and peeled it like a banana, then tried to blackmail him with the contents.

So the moral of the story is, don't have compromising pictures on your phone.

Long term, I forsee a resurgence of Polaroid and 35mm film cameras. Because you can't remote hack a piece of film.

The Phantom

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Europe will Big Brother your car by 2022.

This is really quite amazing. New European Union proposal, on track to become law, aims to have full control over cars produced in 2022 and after.

EU leaders on Monday agreed that every car, van, truck, and bus should be fitted with a feature called "Intelligent Speed Assistance" designed to slow them down if they go too fast.
The software uses a combination of GPS, sign-recognition cameras, and advanced map software to pinpoint a vehicle's location and the local speed limit. The software is designed to automatically slow down vehicles found to break the limit.
Drivers would be able to override the software by pushing hard on the accelerator.
The plans, set out by the European Commission in May, were signed off on by politicians from EU countries in the European Parliament and European Commission on Monday night.
Vehicles under the proposal would also be required to have "Automated Emergency Braking" – designed to detect pedestrians and cyclists and brake accordingly.
The proposal also includes a rule meant to make it harder to drink and drive.
The proposal would make it easier to retroactively add a built-in alcohol breathalyzer, called an alcohol interlock device, which won't let a car start until the driver has blown into it.
The proposed changes also include the addition of onboard "Electronic Data Recorders" meant to track data in the moments before a crash. The EU hopes this would make it easier to work out why crashes occur.

For the math challenged, 2022 is not the remote future. It is THREE FREAKING YEARS from now.

So, to recap: The EU will make all new cars have all the drawbacks of a self-driving car with none of the benefits, they are setting up for pay-by-the-mile taxation, they are setting up for breathalizer inside your car, remote-served traffic tickets, and on-command disabling of all the vehicles in Europe.

All this at a time when Frenchmen in yellow vests are burning shops in Paris over a fuel tax, and have been for six months.

You add gun control and all the other crazy shit they've been pushing since the 1960s, and it begins to look like they have something really unpleasant planned.

The Phantom

Update: Yes, this technology does already exist and it is already deployed. Tesla. Like I said.

Tesla vehicles sent to the junk yard after a crash carry much more data than you'd think. According to CNBC, citing two security researchers, "Computers on Tesla vehicles keep everything that drivers have voluntarily stored on their cars, plus tons of other information generated by the vehicles including video, location and navigational data showing exactly what happened leading up to a crash."
The European Union proposes to make this mandatory for ALL cars. Plus the speed control thing, which I'm sure will lead to a ton of car crashes.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Automation does not stop with burgers and Walmart.

Hey all you snooty musical creative types, guess what? It is no longer just Juan Valdez and his donkey getting fired because the farm bought a coffee-picking machine.  Your artistic ass is getting REPLACED by a machine.

Endel is an app that generates reactive, personalized "soundscapes" to promote things like focus or relaxation. It takes in data like your location, time, and the weather to create these soundscapes, and the result is not quite "musical" in the traditional sense. It's ambient, layering in things like washed-out white noise and long string notes. It's the type of stuff that's exploded on streaming platforms in recent years under newly invented genre names like "sleep."

Although Endel signed a deal with Warner, the deal is crucially not for "an algorithm," and Warner is not in control of Endel's product. The label approached Endel with a distribution deal and Endel used its algorithm to create 600 short tracks on 20 albums that were then put on streaming services, returning a 50 / 50 royalty split to Endel. Unlike a typical major label record deal, Endel didn't get any advance money paid upfront, and it retained ownership of the master recordings.

Stripping away all the bullshit and cutting right to the end of the article, here's what happened:

Ultimately, the Endel / Warner deal is an inflection point. A major label made the decision to distribute and monetize automated audio, and it got 20 hours' worth of material for relatively little labor and expense that will now live alongside traditional music on playlists that are only viable because of streaming. Other labels will soon follow.

Thus, where filler music and ambient elevator noise used to be created and recorded by humans, now there's a computer program to do it that Warner Studios considers to be "close enough." If the production cost is low enough, it is worthwhile to make music and play it to cows.

So yeah, musician dudes. You can be replaced just like burger flippers and authors. Learn to code, boi.
The Phantom

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Vegans now attacking farms.

This is from Australia. A farmer had his place swarmed by 150 vegan protesters.

A distressed farmer has fought back tears after 150 vegan protesters stormed his family's Southern Queensland property, chanting "meat is murder".
Dressed in white overalls and black t-shirts that read "meat the victims", representatives from the Animal Activists Collective stormed the feedlot and dairy farm in Lemontree at Millmerran, shortly before midday Saturday.

In both cases, both Australia and Canada, the "protesters," otherwise known as trespassers and a few more things, were not arrested. Not for trespass, not for being a common nuisance, not for health-and-safety violations, not for assault nor any other similar offense they should have been charged with.

Does anyone think that 150 farmers invading PETA headquarters, trampling around the place with placards and chanting, would not be charged with common trespass? They would. For sure. Because an office is private property, and 150 farmers are not allowed to go traipsing through whenever they like.

This is yet another example of our Western governments behaving very oddly. Favoring fringe nut groups over the people who grow our FOOD, for fuck sakes. Why would you do that?

I'm growing increasingly convinced there's some kind of back-room money deal going on here between the people funding nut-groups like PETA and the Left side of the political spectrum. No one actually supports radical vegans, they're clearly crazy. So where's the political protection for them coming from? There's got to be money involved, and lots of it.

Follow the money, my friends.

The Phantom

Update: From Small Dead Animals.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Neuroscience breakthrough: men different than women!

New study finds male brains differ from female brains in second trimester of pregnancy.

In a scientific first, researchers claim to have found that differences between men's and women's brains start in the womb.

The conclusion is likely to be controversial, with some experts claiming social influences are more important.

But scientists who did brain scans of 118 foetuses in the second half of pregnancy to analyse the links between gender and the connectivity of a developing brain believe the differences are biological.

This is "controversial" because of the number of Gender Studies idiots out there claiming biology is irrelevant, and gender is all how you feeeeelz about it.

Funny how biology keeps showing up as a defining issue. The structural brain differences between men and women are many and well-documented, with new ones being discovered all the time. For example, I recall Oculus Rift having problems working with female gamers because the way their brains process visual information is different from males.

Friday, March 22, 2019

When you are trying to -injure- the audience.

Lately, particularly in book awards nominations but also very much in films and television, I have noticed a "race to the bottom". Authors and film makers contesting with each other to come up with THE most heinous, most injurious thing that's ever been produced. As if they want the people who read or watch to finish the thing and be catatonic at the end.

Well, apparently it isn't just me. Others have noticed.

"I'm concerned about the trajectory we're on," said Glenn Sparks, a professor at Purdue University who has studied the effects of media violence, and is one of a number of critics who come not from the more traditional ranks of conservative family groups but are instead academics, journalists and mental-health experts.

"If I worked at Netflix I might say, 'Well, this is what people want.' But that doesn't mean it should be provided," he said. "The research shows that escalating violence on-screen can make us more tolerant of it in real life; it can leave 'lingering fear' that can cause sleep disturbances and other problems."

"There is," he added, "an issue of social responsibility here."

There's a reason why comic-book movies are the biggest sellers out there right now, and this is it. They're the only movies you can watch to escape the horror.

I'm calling this "attacking the audience." The writer treats his audience as a group of criminals to be punished. This is very much on track with the general run of SJW journalism and "scholarship" (I use the term loosely) out there in universities these days. The Left side of the political spectrum considers Humanity to be a plague on the Earth, and seeks to chastise us all for the sin of being imperfect.

I'm not going to sit here and pretend I believe in the "escalating violence on-screen can make us more tolerant of it in real life" argument, it is 100% moral-panic horseshit. I've seen the odd bit of violence over the years, let me assure you that television does not make it more tolerable. I might go so far as to say that by watching violence on television one becomes inured to violence -on television- but beyond that, no.

However the "lingering fear", that's real. You can feel it, and it isn't a subtle thing. That's the whole point of a scary movie, to scare you.

Scary is a little different than what's going down lately though. These days they project horror, fear and hopelessness. They want you to lie down and die.

The cure for this sort of thing of course is to stop watching it. Stop reading it. I stopped years ago, and I feel WAY better.

The advanced course is to create uplifting and invigorating stories yourself. That's my present project.

The Phantom

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

New hate crime: Feminism!

Having abandoned women and chucked them under the bus, the Left has now decided to make Feminism a hate crime.

A second woman is being investigated by the police following allegations that she made transphobic comments on social media, the Telegraph can reveal.

Womans' rights campaigner, Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, has been interviewed by two separate police forces after being accused of committing a hate crime by Susie Green, who runs a charity helping transgender children.

The news comes after it emerged that devout Catholic, Caroline Farrow, had been asked to attend an interview by the Surrey force, for allegedly using the wrong pronoun to refer to Ms Green's transgender daughter.

That's right, all you super feminist GRRRL Power ladies, you are now required to SHUT UP just like us straight white boys. Sucks, don't it?

Amazing how fast feminists went from special pets to reviled haterz, eh?

The Phantom

Big Brother says SHUT UP!!!

New Zealand and Australia government response to Christchurch shooting: ban Zerohedge.

In the wake of last week's terror attacks at two New Zealand mosques which left 50 dead, several websites which either reported on the incident, hosted footage of the attacks, or have simply allowed people to engage in uncensored discussion such as Dissenter or Zero Hedge, have been partially or completely blocked in both New Zealand and Australia for the sake of "protecting consumers," according to the CEOs of three New Zealand telcos. 

Proving how pointless this is, here's the same article on Infowars.

Summing up, the New Zealand government vowed to ban guns, they took down a bunch of internet sites, and they made a bunch of brave "Never Again!" speeches.

I guess they figure if you don't know about terrorist attacks, you won't know you need a gun and you'll get on with paying your taxes like a good little citizen.

The Phantom

Monday, March 18, 2019

Terrorism: Big Brother will not save you.

Well, here we are. Last week a mass shooting atrocity in New Zealand, today another, smaller one in Holland.

I'm not going to bow to convention and put in the usual boilerplate. I believe, at this point, that the emotional response to terror attacks and the separate, moral attack from the media is getting in the way. People die and we feel bad. But we have to get past that and create a defense against it.

To that end, I have noticed some things.

1) We are the most surveilled, most planned, most regulated culture in history. The East German Stazi had nothing compared to the surveillance apparatus available to authorities at present. They can literally track people in real-time, read all their mail, and know their innermost thoughts by tracking internet use and purchase history. All of this is useless for catching mass murderers.

2) Mass murderers kill the most people when they are unopposed. As soon as anyone gets after them, they go down.

3) I'm seeing this statement a lot lately: "Nothing justifies the evil actions of [New Zealand shooter boy]." This shows that people are not thinking. The mass killers are getting exactly what they want. They want to kill people. Either over religion or politics, as a tactic in war or for an unknown reason due to a mental disorder, they are getting exactly what they want. They are successful, and as long as that continues, they will keep doing it. Mass shootings are now a successful tactic.

Therefore, we as a society are going to have to deal with it.

Currently our "leaders" are dealing with it by increasing regulation and surveillance, by disarming the public, and by using the atrocities to go after their political/religious opponents. That this isn't going to work is quite apparent to everyone, but the attraction of slagging your political opponents by saying they caused the slaughter is just too juicy.

Therefore, a new approach is needed. The nature of the problem is:
1) Attacks are random.
2) They occur against unarmed people.
3) They can't be predicted.

Israel already handled this. That's why the Palestinians switched from shooting attacks to suicide bombers, and now have settled on lobbing home-made rockets over a fence at the Jews.

I leave it as an exercise for the reader what we should do next. Maybe you can come up with something better than I did, or the Israelis did. However, may I suggest that as a first step that y'all should pull your heads out of your asses.

The Phantom

Update 1: Guy sets bus full of kids on fire in Italy, media silent because he's not white.

Update 2: While not-white guy is setting bus on fire and the other not-white guy was shooting up the streetcar, media weenies are blaming everything on Toxic Whiteness.

Kate McMillan did a nice juxtapose on these two.

Salutations from the frozen North.

I made it back! I am firmly re-ensconced at Phantom Northern Command, back in the bunker as they say. The compound at Chez Phantom survived in one piece. Yay!

Big news for the week, I squished a real scorpion. Also went to the Good Guys car show in Scottsdale on Friday, that was very cool indeed.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Greetings from Phantom Southern Command!

Salutations, friends, from sunny Arizona. The Phantom Redoubt has been opened and found all present and correct. Currently blogging from McDonalds wifi, so updates will be sporadic.

Currently sweatshirt and long pants weather, but the sun is out and we have hope for some swimming later in the day.

Phantom Northern Command is buried in snow and the temp is about 10F, or ~-12C for you poor metric people.

So basically, feel free to hate me as hard as you want. ~:D

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

The True Face of the Liberal Party of Canada

This pic is making the rounds on Twitter today. Its a picture of some old bastard attacking a woman at the Justin Trudeau event that was held at the Danforth Music Hall. There is video out there too. He shoved her down to the floor, looks like by her neck.

He didn't get kicked out of the event, according to the source article. So far, no word on who he is.

Here's a closer look. Check out the expressions on women's faces.

That's who is supporting Trudeau. That guy. Take a hard look.

Now think about this, and this, and this. Yes. The government contains a lot of people who are crazy, they know everywhere you go and everything you do, they have no problem lying and stealing, and they work for THAT GUY.

Oh yeah, and you didn't see this first on the CBC. You saw it here, on the Nobody Important Yelling At The TV blog.

Okay? Everybody caught up? All on the same page? Goody.

So given all that, don't you think it might be time for a tax cut, so that violent assholes like white-hair-crazy-man don't have so much of our money to push us around with?

The Phantom

Sunday, March 03, 2019

Left abandons women. Inevitably.

Dear ladies of women's professional sport. Your betters in the political Left would like to explain to you: SHUT UP BITCHEZ!!! First Martina Navratilova, now Sharron Davies.

"To protect women's sport those with a male sex advantage should not be able 2compete in women's sport."
The tweet was 'liked' more than 7,000 times in just 24 hours and she was met by support from former Olympic track winner Sally Gunnell, gold medallist boxer Nicola Adams OBE and gold middle distance athlete Dame Kelly Holmes, who commented: "Setting fair and safe markers in sport is a must."
But the comments faced fierce backlash online, with some even calling on Davies to be stripped of her MBE. Lucy Clark commented: "Well done Sharon, fuel the hate!
"No one chooses to be Transgender. You have no idea about what it is like to be TG. Shame on you! StriptheMBE."
That was the Sun UK, which reported it fairly straightforwardly. Ish.

The Independent article is interesting though. It starts with a TED talk video about trans and has numerous links and pictures promoting trans throughout the body of the text. Fanning the flames, one might say.

Davies is another liberal woman finally come to the point where she can't be dragged any further, because there is something she cares about more than politics. For her, that thing is women and women's sport. She knows, viscerally, that a third rate male can beat a first-rate female in almost any physical sport, every single time. About the only exceptions are things like car racing, shooting and certain gymnastics events where smaller size and weight are a greater advantage than muscle density.

I'm beginning to wonder not if she will be silenced by the law, but rather how long it will take them to get around to charging her.

There are at this point two or three possible end results of this farce.

First, and most likely, the top ten "female" athletes in the world will be men. That's where the gravy train is heading. People like Davies and Navratilova will be forced from public life by a barrage from the shite-flinging SJW apes, and women's sports will become men's sports. And then die, as women stop competing and men stop watching.

Second, and probably still fairly likely, the international sports committees will start feeling the quiet heat of every pissed off female on planet Earth, and create a special Trans-division where the men-in-dresses can compete with each other fairly. Which will be a cause celebre for 15 minutes of fame, and then fade away quietly because nobody actually cares. That's about the best outcome I can see, from a fairness and Humanity viewpoint. Everybody plays fair, everybody gets along, and the Market is allowed to speak.

Third, the most unlikely but probably the most fun, every female on every Olympic team in every sport refuses to compete against the men in dresses. They just down tools and walk out, leaving the IOC spluttering and shouting on the podium. That would be a thing of beauty, a blow struck for freedom and fair competition by every competitor.

The Phantom

Update: Welcome Instapundit! Thanks for the linkage, Sarah Hoyt!

Friday, March 01, 2019

MS13 targets NYPD at home.

Speaking of surveillance and corruption, here's an example of the shoe being on the other foot.

The NYPD is warning police officers about a possible threat from the MS-13 gang, particularly when they are off-duty.

CBS2's Dick Brennan reports that in a bulletin the NYPD put out this alert: "Members of MS-13 are looking to 'hit' NYPD police officers, specifically in the Brentwood/Central Islip area as well as possibly Patchogue."

The bulletin says that the gang members would carry out the attacks on off-duty officers "in order to gain street credibility."

This is the thing that gangs in Latin America commonly do. They attack the families of police and court personnel. They attack policemen when they are alone or at home without backup. They do this stuff in Mexico literally all the time, that's why the Mexican Army is performing police duties. The Army can bring guys from all over the country, so the local punks can't get at their families.

But now lets talk about civilian capabilities for a second. Drug gangs have a lot of money. They can buy top-grade weapons and kit if they want to. What if they bought a couple of $100,000 cell-phone trackers? They'd be able to track policemen by their cell phones. (Remember, in some countries like Mexico, Brazil, Columbia etc. the police are -part- of the gang. So gangs can buy police-only kit.)

Kinda puts a whole new complexion on the ubiquitous surveillance thing, eh?

The Phantom

Surveillance in Canada, yes they're doing it to everybody.

Something to consider for y'all Canadians today, the cops are hooked up with Ontario Ministry of Health records. Big time.

Documents obtained by Motherboard from Ontario's Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS) through an access to information request show that at least two provinces—Ontario and Saskatchewan—maintain a "Risk-driven Tracking Database" that is used to amass highly sensitive information about people's lives. Information in the database includes whether a person uses drugs, has been the victim of an assault, or lives in a "negative neighborhood."
The Risk-driven Tracking Database (RTD) is part of a collaborative approach to policing called the Hub model that partners cops, school staff, social workers, health care workers, and the provincial government.
Information about people believed to be "at risk" of becoming criminals or victims of harm is shared between civilian agencies and police and is added to the database when a person is being evaluated for a rapid intervention intended to lower their risk levels. Interventions can range from a door knock and a chat to forced hospitalization or arrest.

Sounds faintly Orwellian, the cops using healthcare records to decide who gets a knock on their door, based on an algorithm. What could go wrong, eh?

But there's more, as I've been saying for a long time. RCMP pretty much tracks whoever they want, whenever they want, by their cell phone.

IMSI catchers essentially act like fake cell phone towers. They force every phone within range—which may be up to two kilometres away—to connect and communicate information such as the handset's unique ID, the ID of the phone's SIM card, and its carrier and country of origin. Some IMSI catchers are capable of intercepting texts and phone calls.
IMSI catchers are indiscriminate. They act more like a dragnet than a targeted surveillance tool, and one can imagine how many innocents may be surveilled when an IMSI catcher is deployed in a bustling city centre.
Although the use of IMSI catchers by police in the US is well-known, the RCMP has been remarkably guarded about revealing its capabilities to the public.
"This technology is so privacy-invasive that it is essential we be given enough information to ensure that it is only being used lawfully and with respect for our Charter rights," said Brenda McPhail, director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association's surveillance project. "Only then can we have a real debate about whether the benefits to public safety are at all proportionate to the profound privacy risks presented by this technology."

The key thing to remember here is that not only does the RCMP track cell phones, they maintain a database of that tracking. According to the article, for ten years. Oh, and they're covering it up. That's also a thing. This is a secret capability.

Lets put these capabilities together, shall we? We have a randomized database of health records, a non-randomized database of police records, and a ten year long secret database of cell-phone movements and calls. Plus the usual telephone records the phone company keeps. Plus commercial databases from companies like Facebook, who track literally everything you say or do online.

That is one hell of a collection of data, my friends. Add in some license plate readers and the odd video camera mounted in a streetlight, you've got the All Seeing Eye of Sauron. If you walked past a hooker on Main Street in Hamilton in 2011 on October 2nd, that's potentially in the database. If we let these guys do what they want, in ten years it will for-sure be in a database.

But then there is obsolescence to consider. As we saw yesterday, police departments and governments keep old stuff around way past its expiry date. Some of the Canadian government still runs on VAX mainframes from the 1980s, with data stored on TK50 tape cassettes. I expect the court system both provincial and federal runs on some really scary antique shit.

The astute reader will notice a pattern forming. Anything in government where they provide a service, such as real estate registration, drivers licenses, court documents, computerized health care records, health insurance (OHIP) etc., all these government organs don't get technology upgrades in a reasonable, businesslike fashion. They stumble along with backlogs of several years. Anything where the government is controlling the citizens, that gets all the brand new fancy technology. Those guys are cutting edge.

Because the final piece of this puzzle is CORRUPTION. Our government is corrupt from the bottom to the top. At the bottom its looking the other way for a small fee. At the top it is AdScam, it is the Gun Registry Scam, it is this week's brand new SNC-Lavalin Scam. Provincially there's the windmill scam, the gas-plant in Oakville scam, ORNGE, and on and on it goes.

But the crowning glory is that you're not reading this today on the CBC website. The Globe and Mail didn't put this on their front page. The media is covering for them, actively and passively both. We see it literally every day, there's no denying it.

You have to come to some weird obscure blog, who got it from another weird obscure blog, who got it from some bunch of agitators who used the Freedom if Information Act and read 40,000 pages of redacted court documents. But at least you got it.

Up to y'all what is going to be done about it.

The Phantom

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

Brain Plasticity, fuel injected turbo+nitrous version.

I ramble on about brain plasticity a lot. Somebody comes up with some crap about "National IQ" etc., I talk about how the brain adjusts to its environment. Brains change, basically.

Collins was three months shy of seven years old when surgeons sliced open his skull and removed a third of his brain's right hemisphere. For two years prior, a benign tumor had been growing in the back of his brain, eventually reaching the size of a golf ball. The tumor caused a series of disruptive seizures that gave him migraines and kept him from school. Medications did little to treat the problem and made Collins drowsy. By the day of his surgery, Collins was experiencing daily seizures that were growing in severity. He would collapse and be incontinent and sometimes vomit, he says.

Fast-forward to the happy ending, they excised the tumor along with half of the temporal lobe and the entire right occipital lobe, pretty radical, but the kid is fine. He can see, walk, talk and chew gum the same as before. Long story short, the intact side of his brain took over and now does the work of the part that was removed.

So the next time some idiot starts raging on about how the Sudanese have a national IQ of 40, or that there's a "gay brain" etc. just think about the power of the human brain to entirely replace parts that are missing, and consider what that means for "racial characteristics" and IQ.

The Phantom