Thursday, December 24, 2020

Desert Chistmas in Arizona.

Christmas Ocotillo. It's red and green, close enough.


Merry Christmas!

Cops innocent, of course. Storm Trooper Guilty!

In a decision that should surprise no one, the -idiots- who took down a kid in a Star Wars costume at gunpoint in Lethbridge will not be charged, or even disciplined if I'm reading this right.

The restaurant was holding a May the Fourth promotion — that's a pun on the movie franchise's expression, "May the force be with you."

After police arrived, the young woman dropped the toy weapon, but police said she didn't initially comply with their direction to get on the ground.

With weapons drawn, police forced the woman to the ground and removed her helmet. That caused the woman to suffer a bloody nose, bruising and scratching, the woman's boss previously told CBC News.

The woman was handcuffed and later released. No charges were laid. 

A witness on scene captured the interaction, including the woman sobbing. The video went viral and prompted outrage, including from William Shatner, famed as Captain Kirk on Star Trek, who called for an investigation.

"Rifles drawn for a plastic toy Cosplayer? Didn't comply right away? Are you blind Chief? Watch the video to see how quickly she complied," the actor said on Twitter. "This cannot be covered up."

Sadly, Captain Kirk is missing the boat here.  The cops performed the arrest AS THEY HAVE BEEN TRAINED. That was Standard Operating Procedure there, as I said previously on the day of the incident.

And now another police force has confirmed that yes, this is how it is supposed to be done. SOP, no charges, tough shit Canadians.

Because the real issue is not stupid cops. They -are- stupid, don't get me wrong, but more to the point their training and the orders they get from their leadership are Soviet in nature. They act like the Stazi in East Germany because that's how they are trained and those are their orders. Okay?

Wake up and smell the coffee, Canada. Merry friggin Chistmas, better not go visit your Mom or they'll taser your non-compliant ass.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Ivermectin for Covid-19 treatment.

Back on April 4th I posted a piece from Small Dead Animals about Ivermectin being shown to fight Covid-19 in the petri dish.

Well, time has moved on. December, eight months later, and there is mounting evidence that Ivermectin is the Corona-killer drug we've been looking for. And by mounting I mean they've been using it all over the friggin' world and it works awesome. Check out the video, it will make your frigging hair curl. Kind of like how hydroxychloroquin works really well, and it's banned too.

That makes two (2) old, safe and cheap medications that work according to people I'd normally trust, but we're being told by government that no, those medications don't work and no, I shouldn't trust those scientists who say they do. And not just one government either, we're talking Canada, the USA, Britain and Australia.

Unfortunately I've personally seen HCQ work with my own two eyes, so I'm forced to assume they're also lying about Ivermectin.

So if you're deathly afraid of catching the Kung Flu, tell your doctor you have head lice. He will give you Ivermectin, and you'll probably be okay.

But then you'll probably be okay anyway, as most people NEED A TEST to find out if they've had the Kung Flu. Likely if you have a kid in school you've had it already and didn't even notice.

The Phantom

Friday, November 13, 2020

Your Mac does not belong to you.

I've been on this warpath for a long time. But it bears repeating that if you own an Apple product, that device PHONES HOME.

It turns out that in the current version of the macOS, the OS sends to Apple a hash (unique identifier) of each and every program you run, when you run it. Lots of people didn't realize this, because it's silent and invisible and it fails instantly and gracefully when you're offline, but today the server got really slow and it didn't hit the fail-fast code path, and everyone's apps failed to open if they were connected to the internet.

Because it does this using the internet, the server sees your IP, of course, and knows what time the request came in. An IP address allows for coarse, city-level and ISP-level geolocation, and allows for a table that has the following headings:

Date, Time, Computer, ISP, City, State, Application Hash

Apple (or anyone else) can, of course, calculate these hashes for common programs: everything in the App Store, the Creative Cloud, Tor Browser, cracking or reverse engineering tools, whatever.

Yeah. Long story short, anybody with the right kit can track exactly what you're doing with your Apple product, be it a Macbook, an iPhone, iPad, whatever. And they know where you logged on, for how long, what programs you used, etc. And the right kit? It's cheap. Under a thousand bucks kind of cheap.

Similarly, we've known for a long time that your Android devices also phone home. And your PC if you're running Windows. That's just the obvious stuff that we know about. I don't think it is too tinfoil hat in this day and age to wonder if that's just the tip of the iceberg.

But that is all old news. 2014ish news. What's new?

Now, it's been possible up until today to block this sort of stuff on your Mac using a program called Little Snitch (really, the only thing keeping me using macOS at this point). In the default configuration, it blanket allows all of this computer-to-Apple communication, but you can disable those default rules and go on to approve or deny each of these connections, and your computer will continue to work fine without snitching on you to Apple.

The version of macOS that was released today, 11.0, also known as Big Sur, has new APIs that prevent Little Snitch from working the same way. The new APIs don't permit Little Snitch to inspect or block any OS level processes. Additionally, the new rules in macOS 11 even hobble VPNs so that Apple apps will simply bypass them.

Yeah. They're really quite interested in making -sure- to get all that data. They're going to get it whether you like it or not. The only thing you can do to stop this now, on a Mac, is run a network packet filter and stop all the packets headed for certain addresses. That's a whole computer stuck between yours and the Great Outdoors running a package like Smoothwall or similar. I don't know how to do that, but I may have to learn, or so it seems.

Given the raw political partisanship on display these days from Apple, Google and Microsoft, at both the corporate level and at the individual employee level, this is no longer a minor matter. Just sayin'.

The Phantom

Update! It develops that Google Android phones use your cellular data to call home if there's no wifi. 16 times an hour. 130MB per month. Doesn't sound like much, until you compare that to the complete works of William Shakespeare: five (5) megabytes of uncompressed text. 

Best part, they don't tell you that they're doing it, and you can't shut it off.

Some enterprising lad is suing them. I wish him good fortune.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

American election day, I'm taking the day off from yelling.

My comment today on the Trump VS Biden hoorah is that y'all Americans have never got this wound up about an election before, and I think it's a sign you have far too much government. I mean, if there's this much riding on an election (and there is my friends, there really is) then government has become much too big a deal.

As a Canadian, I don't get to have an opinion on what you should do. Of course I do have an opinion, and pretty obvious what it is, but just for today I'm going to shut up and not scream like everybody else is.

It's a free country. Go do what you think is right. I'll still be here tomorrow (knock on wood) with my damn opinion, and I'll certainly let you know if I think you made a stupid decision. ~:D

The Phantom

Update!: Well here we are, it is Wednesday morning at 9:40am, and there's "no decision" yet. Trump seems to be leading in 277 electoral districts, but I guess we'll have to wait for the Democrats to "find" all those fake votes they've got stashed away. 
News on the necromancy circuit is they've got every dead human and dead dog since 1776 voting Dem. Dead cats are undecided but leaning Left.

Dear Americans, you people have allowed a political faction to fuck over your elections process to the point where a legitimate decision can't be made on the day of the election. You've gone back to a time before the telephone was invented. You should probably fix that, in my opinion.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Communist China Runs Your Bookstore and WorldCon too.


Difficult to know what to say about this. I'll just drop it here and y'all can make up your own minds.

As China tries to expand its influence abroad, it's going beyond politics and business to target literature and publishing. German publishers are among those that have been targeted by censors, as DW has learned.

The books were hot off the press when the request for changes came. Nora Frisch, owner of a small publishing house in the southwestern German city of Esslingen, was asked to stop the publication of a novel.

Dragonfly Eyes was written by Cao Wenxuan, a well-known Chinese author of children's and young adult books. Shortly after the German translation was completed, the Chinese publisher, who had licensed the translation, contacted Frisch and told her to take the book off the market.

The publisher told Frisch she would have to make some corrections. Otherwise, she was warned, a planned reading tour with the author would be canceled. "She was really verbally aggressive," recalled Frisch, whose Drachenhaus Publishing Company specializes in Chinese culture and literature.

Nora Frisch told them to cram it, apparently, and released the translation as it was. Good on her. But finding Chinese  government stooges getting involved in something that fine-grained is alarming.

Here's something else that's alarming:

As Chinese authorities have begun paying more attention to how China is perceived abroad in recent years, censorship has increased. President Xi Jinping has repeatedly stressed that he expects Chinese media and publishers to contribute to the country's soft power by "telling China's story well."

The impact of this policy recently became apparent in Germany, when Thalia, a large chain of bookstores, suddenly designated an unusual amount of shelf space to Chinese literature in some of its stores. Clients quickly noticed that the shelves lacked any literature critical of the Communist Party. Instead, speeches by Xi Jinping were front and center. 

Thalia later admitted that the display had been curated by China Book Trading, a German subsidiary of China International Publishing Group, which is owned by the ruling Communist Party. Thalia didn't disclose whether China Book Trading had paid for the prominent shelf space.

"Curated" is a euphemism for "bought-and-paid-for." Thalia may not have disclosed the information, but you can safely assume it was a display paid for by the publisher. What's alarming here is not that a publisher paid for a display, they all do that. What's alarming is that the Chinese Communist Party is making this kind of deep propaganda incursion into the West's culture. Obscure bookstores in dorky little towns in Germany have not escaped their efforts. Imagine what they do at Barnes & Noble.

In other news no one seems very bothered that the Chinese city of Chengdu is making a very well organized and handsomely funded bid to host the World Science Fiction Convention. Aka WorldCon, owner of the Hugo Awards. Puppy kicker extrordinaire and all-round asshole Steve Davidson at the link there is about the only person making a fuss. Everyone else in the SMOF universe seems perfectly fine with it. These are the same people who made an international media uproar over people like myself buying memberships to WorldCon and voting for books that we liked. You know, by the rules? They went so far as to label us all fascists and racists, and changed the rules of the convention to keep us out.

But the city of Chengdu is right in the middle of the Chinese Communist Party's effort to enslave the Uighur Muslims. The US consulate in Chengdu was closed by order of the Chinese government. (Interesting fact, if you Google "Chengdu Muslim" there's two pages of happy-slappy propaganda articles before you see the word Uighur in the results. Tell me that's not an arrangement.) Millions of people are incarcerated and made to work in prison factories. The correct word for that is slavery.

And nobody cares except Steve Davidson, apparently. (Sorry Steve, you're still an asshole. One good call doesn't make up for decades of assholery.) Plenty of comments over at the wretched hive of scum and villainy that is Vile 666 about how Chengdu is a nice city, and wouldn't it be nice, and can't we all just get along? In fact, Cat Rambo, another puppy kicker extraordinaire says Chengdu is a beautiful city that she remembers with great fondness, and hopes that things will work out in such a way that people feel comfortable going there.(No link, the Vile Ones do not get a free click from me.)

So far, there is no official or indeed unofficial objection from the publishing industry in Europe, Canada and the USA about Chinese interference, Chinese influence on their freedoms or indeed Chinese slavery. A vast cloud of quiet and "good manners" has descended on them all, the same people who still can't shut up about those eeeevile Sad Puppies and their racism.

Given all of the above, I speculate that a considerable amount of money has changed hands. Hunter Biden isn't the only one with "friends" I guess, there's suitcases full of Chinese cash showing up all over the place. If they can throw money at obscure German publishers they can buy Liu Cixin a couple of Hugos.

Update: Welcome Instapundit! Thanks for the linkage Sarah Hoyt! ~:D

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Streisand Effect: Glen Reynolds column refused by USA Today, printed by The Phantom instead.

(This was meant to be today's column in USA Today, by Glen Reynolds. They told him they weren't going to print it. That was a #mistake. The Phantom)


Glenn Harlan Reynolds

In my 2019 book, The Social Media Upheaval, I warned that the Big Tech companies — especially social media giants like Facebook and Twitter — had grown into powerful monopolists, who were using their power over the national conversation to not only sell ads, but also to promote a political agenda. That was pretty obvious last year, but it was even more obvious last week, when Facebook and Twitter tried to black out the New York Post's blockbuster report about emails found on a laptop abandoned by Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden's son Hunter.

The emails, some of which have been confirmed as genuine with their recipients, show substantial evidence that Hunter Biden used his position as Vice President Joe Biden's son to extract substantial payments from "clients" in other countries. There are also photos of Hunter with a crack pipe, and engaging in various other unsavory activities. And they demolished the elder Biden's claim that he never discussed business with his son.

That's a big election-year news story. Some people doubted its genuineness, and of course it's always fair to question a big election-year news story, especially one that comes out shortly before the election. (Remember CBS newsman Dan Rather's promotion of what turned out to be forged memos about George W. Bush's Air National Guard service?)

But the way you debate whether a story is accurate or not is by debating. (In the case of the Rather memos, it turned out the font was from Microsoft Word, which of course didn't exist back during the Vietnam War era.) Big Tech could have tried an approach that fostered such a debate. But instead of debate, they went for a blackout: Both services actually blocked links to the New York Post story. That's right: They blocked readers from discussing a major news story by a major paper, one so old that it was founded by none other than Alexander Hamilton.

I wasn't advising them — they tend not to ask me for my opinion — but I would have advised against such a blackout. There's a longstanding Internet term called "the Streisand effect," going back to when Barbara Streisand demanded that people stop sharing pictures of her beach house. Unsurprisingly, the result was a massive increase in the number of people posting pictures of her beach house. The Big Tech Blackout produced the same result: Now even people who didn't care so much about Hunter Biden's racket nonetheless became angry, and started talking about the story.

As lefty journalist Glenn Greenwald wrote in The Intercept, Twitter and Facebook crossed a line far more dangerous than what they censored. Greenwald writes: "Just two hours after the story was online, Facebook intervened. The company dispatched a life-long Democratic Party operative who now works for Facebook — Andy Stone, previously a communications operative for Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, among other D.C. Democratic jobs — to announce that Facebook was 'reducing [the article's] distribution on our platform': in other words, tinkering with its own algorithms to suppress the ability of users to discuss or share the news article. The long-time Democratic Party official did not try to hide his contempt for the article, beginning his censorship announcement by snidely noting: 'I will intentionally not link to the New York Post.'"

"Twitter's suppression efforts went far beyond Facebook's. They banned entirely all users' ability to share the Post article — not just on their public timeline but even using the platform's private Direct Messaging feature."

"Early in the day, users who attempted to link to the New York Post story either publicly or privately received a cryptic message rejecting the attempt as an 'error.' Later in the afternoon, Twitter changed the message, advising users that they could not post that link because the company judged its contents to be 'potentially harmful.' Even more astonishing still, Twitter locked the account of the New York Post, banning the paper from posting any content all day and, evidently, into Thursday morning."

This went badly. The heads Facebook and of Twitter, Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey, are now facing Senate subpoenas,the RNC has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, arguing that Twitter's action in blacking out a damaging story constituted an illegal in-kind donation to the Biden Campaign, and most significantly, everyone is talking about the story now, with many understandably assuming that if the story were false, it would have been debunked rather than blacked out.

CNN's Jake Tapper tweeted:  "Congrats to Twitter on its Streisand Effect award!!!" Big Tech shot itself in the foot, and it didn't stop the signal.

Regardless of who wins in November, it's likely that there will be substantial efforts to rein in Big Tech. As Greenwald writes, "State censorship is not the only kind of censorship. Private-sector repression of speech and thought, particularly in the internet era, can be as dangerous and consequential. Imagine, for instance, if these two Silicon Valley giants united with Google to declare: henceforth we will ban all content that is critical of President Trump and/or the Republican Party, but will actively promote criticisms of Joe Biden and the Democrats. 

"Would anyone encounter difficulty understanding why such a decree would constitute dangerous corporate censorship? Would Democrats respond to such a policy by simply shrugging it off on the radical libertarian ground that private corporations have the right to do whatever they want? To ask that question is to answer it."

"To begin with, Twitter and particularly Facebook are no ordinary companies. Facebook, as the owner not just of its massive social media platform but also other key communication services it has gobbled up such as Instagram and WhatsApp, is one of the most powerful companies ever to exist, if not the most powerful."

He's right. And while this heavyhanded censorship effort failed, there's no reason to assume that other such efforts won't work in the future. Not many stories are as hard to squash as a major newspaper's front page expose during an presidential election.

As I wrote in The Social Media Upheaval, the best solution is probably to apply antitrust law to break up these monopolies: Competing companies would police each other, and if they colluded could be prosecuted under antitrust law. There are also moves to strip them of their immunity under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects them from being sued for things posted or linked on their sites on the theory that they are platforms, not publishers who make publication decisions. And Justice Clarence Thomas has recently called for the Supreme Court to revisit the lower courts' interpretation of Section 230, which he argues has been overbroad. A decade ago there would have been much more resistance to such proposals, but Big Tech has tarnished its own image since then.

Had Facebook and Twitter approached this story neutrally, as they would have a decade ago, it would probably already be old news to a degree — as Greenwald notes, Hunter's pay-for-play efforts were already well known, if not in such detail — but instead the story is still hot. More importantly, their heavy handed action has brought home just how much power they wield, and how crudely they're willing to wield it. They shouldn't be surprised at the consequences.

There you go, ladies and gentlemen. The internet treats censorship as damage and routes around it. The Phantom

Friday, October 02, 2020

Trump tests + for 'Rona, Washington Post cheers.

 Every time you think the media have sunk as low as a human being can go, they dig even deeper.

Cernovitch: "Less than an hour after news broke of Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis, the Washington Post tweeted, “Imagine what it will be like to never have to think about Trump again.”"


Not to be outdone, Canada's National Post takes a swing:

National Post: "Trump COVID-19 infection puts large group of people at risk — including Joe Biden"


Melania Trump also tested positive for the WuFlu, what's the headline on Drudge today? "Melania swears like a sailor!"

Yeah, no kidding. She's got a lot to swear about these days.

Hydroxychloroquine, now a major scientific scandal.

"Just keep going, it'll be okay!"

You will recall that several highly promoted studies in big medical journals were recently retracted. That story has not gone away, despite being ignored by the media.

It sounds absurd that an obscure US company with a hastily constructed website could have driven international health policy and brought major clinical trials to a halt within the span of a few weeks. Yet that's what happened earlier this year, when Illinois-based Surgisphere Corporation began a publishing spree that would trigger one of the largest scientific scandals of the COVID-19 pandemic to date.

At the heart of the deception was a paper published in The Lancet on May 22 that suggested hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug promoted by US President Donald Trump and others as a therapy for COVID-19, was associated with an increased risk of death in patients hospitalized with the disease. The study wasn't a randomized controlled trial—the gold standard for determining a drug's safety and efficacy—but it did purportedly draw from an enormous registry of observational data that Surgisphere claimed to have collected from the electronic medical records of nearly 100,000 COVID-19 patients across 671 hospitals on six continents.

The article is long, and goes on to expose the fraud and stupidity of the medical literature establishment in considerable detail. Certainly worth a read just to get the straight goods on what happened.

But even here the Trump Derangement Syndrome is coming in. " antimalarial drug promoted by US President Donald Trump and others as a therapy for COVID-19..." Well, I saw that news conference. Mr. Trump was not promoting the drug. He mentioned it as being a possibility. He said it "looked good" as a potential treatment. As soon as he mentioned it in an approving manner, reporters were up in his face demanding "How do you know? You're not a doctor!"

Following that the news media made killing that treatment a holy crusade. The medical journals gleefully signed on. Because Trump liked it. No other reason.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Ammunition sales up 139%

That means 139% more reasons for rioters to stay home this year.
Go big or go home?

National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) indicates that ammunition sales were up 139 percent in the first six months 2020 as compared to sales during the first six months of 2019.

NSSF president and CEO Joe Bartozzi spoke at the 2020 Gun Rights Policy Conference over the weekend where he delivered the news on the surge in ammunition sales. He also noted that gun sales were 95 percent higher in the first six months of 2020 than they were during the same time period in 2019.

I would surmise that continued rioting might well be a health hazard for the participants. Just sayin'.

The Phantom

Friday, September 18, 2020

Yoga is too White. No, really. We need a government program!

Headline: "Chances are the wellness spaces in your city are owned, and patronized, by white people. That's a problem."

Last year, when Alison Hill realized she was burned out, she tried to turn to yoga. "The narrative is to take care of yourself," she says. "So, I would go into different wellness spaces to take care of myself, and I would be overlooked and ignored. I didn't necessarily fit what a 'fit' person would look like – I'm not a skinny person. I'm a beginner in most of these spaces. I would usually leave feeling almost like I was in high school and I was trying to get into a club, but I just didn't have what it took to be there."

Hill's experience as a Black woman is not surprising. As Self magazine argued in 2018, the wellness industry – worth US$4.5-trillion in 2018, according to Global Wellness Institute – has a race problem. "From racial disparities in health outcomes to a booming wellness industry that caters almost exclusively to white, wealthy people, wellness should be accessible to everyone but too often isn't," the magazine's editor-in-chief, Carolyn Kylstra, wrote at the time. The industry's stars – including Goop's Gwyneth Paltrow and Fabletics' Kate Hudson – are overwhelmingly white, and mainstream wellness companies rarely target BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of colour), likely due to the perception that they can't, or won't, spend money in these spaces.

One expects to see this type of thing in NOW magazine, that's the advertising rag they have in boxes all over the city. It has that just-starting-out-in-journalism feel to it. But in the Globe & Mail? Apparently yes, this is what they've decided is important.

Cutting to the chase, what is this article -really- about? Well, hidden in the bottom of a paragraph is this little gem here:

But making existing wellness spaces more diverse is the wrong goal, according to a new cohort of wellness practitioners. The right one is creating opportunities for BIPOC to build wellness spaces of their own.

This article is about the Liberal Party of Canada's Black Businesses push. That's what is really going on here. But the author does not mention the Black Entrepreneurship Program by name, or the $220 million bucks earmarked for it. No, what she does is focus on why the federal government needs to have a  Black Entrepreneurship Program to fight the evile racism of all those White people.

White-owned and -run companies are also starting to face consequences for being exclusionary. Take this summer's controversy at Toronto's Misfit Studio, a 10-year-old Pilates studio in the city's west end that closed its doors after students and teachers detailed their negative experiences with the studio's mostly white management team.

Yeah, "consequences for being exclusionary" sounds bad, right? Sounds like they were kicking black people out of the club for being black. 

According to Renelyn Quinicot, a former teacher at Misfit, this wasn't a new problem; the studio had received critical feedback about race and other aspects of inclusivity before – from her, and other BIPOC teachers at the studio.

"I tried to make them understand the extra weight every person of colour carried as they walked into Misfit Studio," she says. "And that you can't just invite BIPOC folks in; you have to create a structure that supports them and acknowledges that they experience your space differently than white folks."

The real deal is that Misfit Studio specifically marketed to "BIPOC folks" but a couple of people didn't like the flavor they were serving, so they went on Twitter and Facebook to complain. The complaints basically sum to: "That White woman looked at me funny." That's the "extra weight every person of colour carried as they walked into Misfit Studio" that she's talking about. 

Essentially what we have here is a Liberal propaganda piece pushing a new Liberal program and using racial hatred to do it. The Globe wants us to know we need a whole special government program to give out free money so that black women can go to yoga class and not have to see those skinny white bitches doing it better than them.

That sounds really horrible and racist when I say it like that, doesn't it? Maybe so, but what do you call a government program that hands out business loans based on skin colour?

Friday, September 11, 2020

Monday, August 31, 2020

Tesla vehicles 100% hacked.

It develops that in 2017 an enterprising hacker managed to hack his way so far into Tesla's server system that he gained control over -all- Teslas everywhere.

A new Electrek story details the saga of Jason Hughes, a whitehat hacker who says he managed to gain a flabbergasting level of access to Tesla's internal servers — managing to seize control of the company's entire fleet of electric vehicles.
The alleged hack took place back in March 2017, and Hughes immediately alerted Tesla's security team, which quickly patched the security hole. Still, it's a fascinating glimpse at the perils of connected vehicles.

The Jewel in the Crown hack. Mr. Hughes managed to activate the "Summon" command of individual Tesla cars. When used the car comes to your location from where it is parked, by itself. Meaning he could steal any Tesla in the world without even being there.

Let us consider a few things.

1. This is proof that the Tesla company has remote control over your Tesla vehicle. And by remote control I mean they can make it start up and drive away from where you left it. Not a conjecture anymore. Proof.

2. Possibly the Tesla company could make your Tesla vehicle go where they want, with you in it. It depends how they wrote the software. There might be a "police" function that ignores input from the steering, brakes and accelerator. I would not be amazed to find such a thing was written and downloaded to every car, but not implemented. That's how Silicon Valley thinks.

3. Tesla's security is about average. If random hacker Jason Hughes can get in, guys with ulterior motives can get in. Also, people who work for the company are potentially corruptible. You wave some money (or other things) in front of people, one of them may take it.

Now, the cherry on top. This situation applies to ANY VEHICLE that can accept wireless computer updates. Any Ford, GM, Chrysler, Audi, BMW, Mercedes can be hacked in this manner. If it has a self-driving feature like some electric cars do, it can be instructed to drive away. Not just Tesla. All of them.

Just thought you ought to know.

Friday, August 21, 2020

SFF Fandom: Let's erase the past!

More pointless SFF fandom bullshit, notable only in that we called this one ages ago. Even the regular voters think WorldCon is getting hijacked by the Woke. And they don't like it.

When in doubt, rub it out.

From the WorldCon, home of the idiots who decided they needed to erase John W. Campbell's name from the eponymous award and substitute "Amazing!" Instead, we find the 2023 bid from Memphis to host the Worldcon wants to drop the Retro-Hugo awards.

The easiest question to answer is whether or not we intend to run Retro Hugo Awards: No, we do not. While we understand that some family members very much appreciate getting Hugos for the work their parents (or grandparents) did, the reaction to the Retros has been increasingly mixed. On balance, we therefore believe it is time to move on from these, at least for the time being.

Why, one asks, would they want to drop the "looking back ~50 years award" that reminds people of what has gone before them?

Because -this- year, the first year since Campbell's name was purged from the Campbell Award and replaced with an adjective, Mr. Campbell won the award for best editor. As well, HP Lovecraft won the "best series" award. Lovecraft is famous lately for having his likeness removed from the World Fantasy Award in 2015.

On the one hand, we saw the Wokesters flip out because the WorldCon voters had DARED to vote Campbell and Lovecraft a Hugo this year, 2020, in the midst of #BLM and Antifa in their ascendancy.

On the other hand, there was nobody to blame this time. No Sad Puppies to point at and scream "RAAAAACISTS!!!!11!" Just those oh-so-purehearted WorldCon voters who went to such great lengths to make sure that evil people like... me, I guess, couldn't pollute the Holy Award with our dire and horrible prolish Conservatism.

Last year the Inner Party voted to erase Mr. Campbell. This year the Outer Party told them to shove it in no uncertain terms. What to do? Double down, of course! " On balance, we therefore believe it is time to move on from these, at least for the time being."

Translation: if you voters can't do what you're told, we'll just cancel the fucking thing.

Ugh, we're talking about the "canon" of science fiction literature, again, for reasons (most imminently the recent Hugo award ceremony and its fallout), and whether, basically, newer writers and readers should and must slog through a bunch of books in the genre that are now half a century old at least, from a bunch of mostly male, mostly white, mostly straight writers who are, shall we say, not necessarily speaking to the moment.

Scalzi is many things, most of them unpleasant, but no one can say he doesn't have his finger on the pulse and his eye on the main chance. He's quite in favor of cancelling those " mostly male, mostly white, mostly straight writers" who are so 1947, y'know? Real oldsville, man. Antique! Not hip and with it, like Scalzi.

Yes, Mr. Scalzi is down with the cool kidz's, for shore. He's old, male, white, and straight and knows his position in SF mainstream publishing is precarious. One wrong move and ZIP, that's all she wrote brother. He's outta there.

It also doesn't hurt him if nobody reads all those old white guys whose work Scalzi mines for gold. If you've never read "Starship Troopers", then "Old Man's War" looks really fresh and new. There's also the -really- subversive shit that they never mention in case somebody might read it. Like The Weapons Shops of Isher.

That's a general problem in SFF these days. People who read older work come to the recently published stuff with fresh eyes. Eyes which see things like SJW themes crammed into stories to the point where the Wokeness takes the place of plot, characterization and world building.

I read all of it back in the day. Most of that stuff from the 1940s on is pretty fun. Adventure stories, light on the bullshit politics. Just what SJWs hate the most.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

SFF fandom in a nutshell.

Normally I don't write about this stuff, because normally I don't care anymore. Science Fiction and Fantasy awards have been rewarding objectionable, unreadable socialistic crap for a very long time. Twenty years at least, by my count, the Hugos and Nebulas etc. have been 100% political. Nothing that doesn't hit the Red Underwear socialist political checklist will be nominated by WorldCon.

Once upon a time Larry Correia got angry about that, and organized the Campaign to Reduce Puppy Related Sadness. It was fabulously effective in its clearly stated goal: reveal the political nature of the Hugo nominations. Rub their noses in it. The WorldCon weenies went the extra mile and changed the way votes are collected to preserve their status quo in 2016.

In Canada we have the Aurora Award given by the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association. Here's more of the same WorldCon attitude in a column by Robert J. Sawyer.

Yesterday, I attended the annual general meeting of the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association, which was held by Zoom, due to the COVID pandemic.

The first issue the chair raised was what he considered to be a precipitous drop in the number of voters over the years. Years ago, he said, the number was in the mid-two-hundreds and he cited year-by-year figures showing a steady decline down to the current tally of 140 or so. Much discussion ensued about how to beef up the number.

My feeling is two-fold. First, it's NOT an Aurora-specific issue, and, second, it's NOT even a problem.

Okay, so the "national" award given for SFF in Canada is down to 140 voters, and Mr. Sawyer is good with that.  It isn't a problem, according to him.

How is that not a problem in a country with 30 million people? Your genre award has 140 voters! Nobody cares what you're doing! That's bad, isn't it?

Well, apparently not:

When people talk about bringing in vast new swaths of fans to beef up Aurora voting numbers, they usually mean finding a way to get young fans involved. But young fans, by and large, AREN'T SF&F readers, and have their own fandom traditions -- they expect, for instance, their events to be high-cost and run to professional standards (even if mostly staffed by volunteers).

These are the fine folk who enjoy the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo; Fan Expo in Toronto; Anime North, also in Toronto; OtakuThon in Montreal; and so-called "comic-cons" across the country. They want to see actors and comic-book artists. Politely, they don't need us -- AND WE DON'T NEED THEM.

There's a reason those kids have turned to Anime and comics, Mr. Sawyer, but I'll let him finish his thought first.

In the past, we've seen huge numbers of votes of dubious pedigree: people who have no known connection to fandom but a personal connection to one of the nominees nominating and voting en masse, propelling questionable works onto the ballot and sometimes shamefully even winning the award.

Thankfully, those days of hustling seem to have fallen by the wayside.

Yes, because nobody cares about the Aurora award, or more likely has ever heard of it. To Sawyer that's a good thing.

What we have now is a committed, intelligent, and honest pool of nominators and voters who receive a comprehensive "voter's packet" of nominated works so that they can make informed decisions. The result? The awards are doing precisely what they were meant to do when founded forty years ago: honour the best.

Where "the best" is decided by Mr. Sawyer and his 139 friends. Same as the Hugos really, just with an order of magnitude fewer people. They probably have on the loose order of 1,500 voters, now that the rest of us proved our point in 2016.

Now, I wouldn't really care a damn about what Sawyer and his 139 friends have to say about what the "best" science fiction of the year is, except that A) they're very wrong and B) all the publishers listen to them.

Which gets us back to why Fan Expo, Comic Con and OtakuThon etc. are huge events and "regular" fan events are ten old fat guys like Sawyer drinking in a hotel bar wearing Star Trek uniforms.

Kids and young adults aren't skipping "traditional" SFF because they don't read.. They're skipping modern SF because it sucks. It has sucked for years. It sucks so bad that life-long SF reader The Phantom stopped reading it in 2014 and started writing instead.

I'm not going to pretend my book should win an award. I can say for sure that you won't feel like you need a shower after you read it. 

Looking at the list of Aurora 2020 nominees, a shower and a quart of brain bleach might be indicated in some cases. Or it's just stupid, and you can't be bothered with it. I'll stack my first book "Unfair Advantage" against "This is How You Lose the Time War" in a contest judged by those Fan Expo kids any time.

As an author, who do I want to appeal to? The BIG CROWD. Do I care what 140 people think? Generally no. But those 140 people who pick "This is How You Lose the Time War"for an award are calling the shots for an entire industry.

Full disclosure:
I used to be a big Marvel Comics and DC Comics fan. I used to buy -all- the comics every week. I stopped buying in 1993 when Marvel and DC went hard Woke.
I used to read four or five SF/F books a week. I stopped around 2010 when all the publishers went hard Woke.
I used to go to the movies pretty much every week. Any adventure flick or SF I'd go to see. I stopped about 2005 when the movies went hard Woke. About the only things I've seen since were the Marvel Comics movies, not-coincidentally the ONLY franchise out there that didn't go hard Woke.
I used to watch TV. Series like Buffy the Vampire Slayer were my faves. But now there's really nothing like that on TV. (Don't give me all the recommendations, please. I know quite well what's out there, I just don't watch it.)

I don't read SF. I write instead. I don't watch Hollywood or TV at all. I watch Korean soaps, anime and Chinese kung fu movies/soaps. I'm a bit crusty about the whole thing, but I'm only an outlier of a general trend.

That's the reason why anime and manga are so popular in North America with kids, and why their conventions are so big. Those kids, like me, are tired of the Same Old Shit wrapped up in fresh newspaper and sold by the pound.

Yale illegally discriminates against... Whites and Asians

The US Department of Justice can see lightning and hear thunder, apparently.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Justice Department investigation has found Yale University is illegally discriminating against Asian American and white applicants, in violation of federal civil rights law, officials said Thursday.

Yale denied the allegation, calling it "meritless" and "hasty."

The findings detailed in a letter to the college's attorneys Thursday mark the latest action by the Trump administration aimed at rooting out discrimination in the college application process, following complaints from students about the application process at some Ivy League colleges. The Justice Department had previously filed court papers siding with Asian American groups who had levied similar allegations against Harvard University.

The two-year investigation concluded that Yale "rejects scores of Asian American and white applicants each year based on their race, whom it otherwise would admit," the Justice Department said. The investigation stemmed from a 2016 complaint against Yale, Brown and Dartmouth.

 Gee, somebody finally admitted that reverse racism is still racist.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Farming now punishable by police.

Previously we saw how cosplay has become a life-threatening pursuit in Canada. You show up on the street, you gonna feel the heat.

Now farming is a life threatening pursuit.

Jeremia's sister, Maria Leussink, posted a long version of Jeremia's side of the story on a GoFundMe page to help pay for the legal fees he and brother Dominic now face after being charged with several criminal offences, including resisting arrest and failing to providing a breath sample. More than $35,000 has already been raised toward the brothers' legal fees.
They have hired hotshot criminal defence lawyer Tonii Roulston, who successfully defended Eddie Maurice — the Okotoks farmer and father of two young children who was criminally charged after firing a warning shot into the ground to scare away two thieves on his rural property in the middle of the night.

They dragged him out of the tractor and beat him, is what they did, then charged him with a bunch of bullshit to cover their sorry asses. And this is being supported by the local police department because this is what they train their people to do. Anyone who does not instantly obey their commands, no matter how conflicting or stupid, gets dragged out and beat. That's the standard.

Luckily there is plenty of video of the dragging, the beating and the rest of it, so the kid may actually have a chance in court.

But for every case like this where the video speaks for itself, there are 100 cases where we never hear about it. The kid gets dragged, beat and charged, convicted, and it doesn't make the news.

So, an important safety tip for Canadians, the hot setup when pulled over is to fall out of the car, lie in the road with your hands over your head, and hope for the best. And don't for fuck sakes call them yourself if there's a problem.

Friday, August 07, 2020

Self defense now illegal in Canada? Almost...

This is not Sparta. In Canada, you better let them take it.

The Supreme Court of Canada will hear an appeal in the case of Peter Khill, a Hamilton-area homeowner who was acquitted after shooting and killing an Indigenous man in his driveway.
Khill's lawyers filed an application to appeal an Ontario Court of Appeal ruling that overturned their client's not-guilty verdict in the death of Jon Styres based on self-defence and ordered a new trial.

So first of all, we have the Ontario Court of Appeal overturning a jury verdict. The point of having a jury is that the citizens decide what is murder and what is self defense. This man was found innocent of murder by a jury. That's supposed to be the end of it.

Dirty little secret about Canada for all you foreigners out there, if this truck thief who got killed had been a white guy, this verdict would have stood. But because he was an Indian truck thief, aka "an Indigenous man" per the CBC, a jury is not smart enough for this case. No, we need the super-powerful minds of Appeals Court judges on this job.

Michael Lacy and Jeff Manishen argued that the Appeal Court's decision "fundamentally" changed self-defence in Canada and leaves homeowners with little option but to call police and cower until they arrive.

Which is absolutely true. If you injure or kill a home invader, rapist, car thief, or so much as point a weapon at a guy who is trying to burn your fucking house down with a molotov coctail, you are screwed. The cops will arrest you, throw your ass in jail, confiscate all your property, and you will be very fortunate to regain your freedom after spending about half a million dollars on lawyers.

If your house and contents are worth less than a million bucks, it will be cheaper and more survivable for you to run away barefoot in your underwear and let them burn it. Some guy is stealing your truck? Let him take it.

Okay? I've been saying this for quite a while now as an assumption based on my observation of police behavior here in Canada, but now the Ontario Court of Appeal has made it official. You BETTER NOT defend yourself or your property, slaves.

Update: Welcome all you Small Dead Animals and flying monkeys from Kate's zoo.

Saturday, August 01, 2020

Oh look, Hydroxychloroquine is working.

Another day, another study showing that the federal government is composed of liars willing to see you die if they can get even a tiny push out of it.

In late June, the group filed its motion for a preliminary injunction with court to compel release to the public of hydroxychloroquine by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), in AAPS v. HHS, No. 1:20-cv-00493-RJJ-SJB (W.D. Mich.).

As part of the filing with the court, AAPS also includes a chart showing how countries that encourage HCQ use, such as South Korea, India, Turkey, Russia, and Israel, have been far more successful in combatting COVID-19 than countries that have banned or discouraged early HCQ use, as the FDA has.

And how funny, the social media companies are run by... liars willing to see you die if they can get even a tiny push out of it.

Dr. Simone Gold, a board certified emergency physician who appeared in the hydroxychloroquine viral video, has now lost her job. She said she was fired from her job because of the media slander. Dr. Simone Gold, the founder of  the newly created group called America's Frontline Doctors, lost her job after her employer found out about the viral video where she promoted hydroxychloroquine.

The hydroxychloroquine viral video, which features members of America's Frontline Doctors at a press conference outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., was taken down on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. The video got more than 14 million views on Facebook alone, according to CNN, which cited CrowdTangle data, has since been taken down from Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter — including removing tweets that the president shared.

Yep. #OrangeManBad, so life saving medicine bad. You boys just keep right on with that shit, and we shall see where it gets you. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Saudi Arabia Worldcon bid... Bwahaha!!!

After watching the Worldconners bash Sad Puppies since 2014, actual fascists make a bid to host Worldcon.

Cut from the pages of the vile bog of scum and villainy which shall not be named here:

"Anna Smith Spark, a grimdark author from London, has organized an open "letter of concern" with several dozen co-signers, including Charles Stross, about the bid to bring the Worldcon to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in 2022, which will be voted on this week. The competition is a bid for Chicago in 2022.   Anna Smith Spark sent [ vile bog of scum and villainy] the letter, and "Also (and I will be dead in the eyes of the WSFS for this) the email they sent me washing their hands of this and having a quick pop at those involved in the anti-Puppies work as well for good measure," which is a reply received from WSFS webmaster Kevin Standlee."

The resulting screams of outrage are hilarious. As is the response from Mr. Standlee, Worldcon webmaster and puppy kicker of yore, who basically answered as if he were a lawyer.

So to be clear, the Worldcon as an organization will go so far as to change their entire voting structure and bylaws to keep out Conservatives, but a regime run by real-life fascists gets a straight up-or-down vote.

I'm going to laugh pretty hard if this bid wins.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Another resignation: Gary Garrels because RAAAAcist!

This is no longer amazing. It still seems completely whack to me, but this is happening so much now I can only look and munch my popcorn. Another artsy Leftist in San Francisco gets hounded out of his sinecure for being insufficiently Woke(TM). Because the crocodile will eventually get around to eating you.

Until last week, Gary Garrels was senior curator of painting and sculpture at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). He resigned his position after museum employees circulated a petition that accused him of racism and demanded his immediate ouster.

"Gary's removal from SFMOMA is non-negotiable," read the petition. "Considering his lengthy tenure at this institution, we ask just how long have his toxic white supremacist beliefs regarding race and equity directed his position curating the content of the museum?"

This accusation—that Garrels' choices as an art curator are guided by white supremacist beliefs—is a very serious one. Unsurprisingly, it does not stand up to even minimal scrutiny.

The petitioners cite few examples of anything even approaching bad behavior from Garrels. Their sole complaint is that he allegedly concluded a presentation on how to diversify the museum's holdings by saying, "don't worry, we will definitely still continue to collect white artists."

Well, that was it for him. Saying that the museum would still countenance the inclusion of work from White male artists (Not actually doing it, mind you, just saying it) is equivalent to a lynching in front of a burning cross in 2020.

Mm, boy, this is good popcorn. ~:D

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Best resignation letter ever: Bari Weiss quits the NY Times

Of all the jobs I've quit in disgust over the years, and there have been many, I've never written a letter as awesome as this. It is the Queen of all "I Quit!" letters.

But the lessons that ought to have followed the election—lessons about the importance of understanding other Americans, the necessity of resisting tribalism, and the centrality of the free exchange of ideas to a democratic society—have not been learned. Instead, a new consensus has emerged in the press, but perhaps especially at this [NY Times] paper: that truth isn't a process of collective discovery, but an orthodoxy already known to an enlightened few whose job is to inform everyone else.

Oh yas your Majesty! Testify!

It's a thing of beauty, I just had to share. ~:D

Friday, July 10, 2020

Shockwave absorption by fractal microcubes.

No really, 3D printed fractal microcubes.

Tiny, 3-D printed cubes of plastic, with intricate fractal voids built into them, have proven to be effective at dissipating shockwaves, potentially leading to new types of lightweight armor and structural materials effective against explosions and impacts.

"The goal of the work is to manipulate the wave interactions resulting from a ," said Dana Dattelbaum, a scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory and lead author on a paper to appear in the journal AIP Advances. "The for how to do so have not been well defined, certainly less so compared to mechanical deformation of additively manufactured materials. We're defining those principles, due to advanced, mesoscale manufacturing and design."

Shockwave dispersing materials that take advantage of voids have been developed in the past, but they typically involved random distributions discovered through trial and error. Others have used layers to reverberate shock and release waves. Precisely controlling the location of holes in a material allows the researchers to design, model and test structures that perform as designed, in a reproducible way.

One of the biggest problems in body armor and particularly helmets for both sports and soldiers is dissipating impacts. Older helmets concentrated on the hard unbreakable shell, which withstood impacts well but mostly transmitted the impact energy to a different part of the body, like the neck. So you don't die of a skull fracture, you die of a spinal fracture instead. Or a brain injury, that happens too.

This is an interesting approach where they're using the shape and location of the holes in the material to maximize the dissipation of shockwaves. Very cool. If they make it work, sporting protection like football helmets could improve a great deal.

1st monolithic silicon speaker announced.

A company in California has announced the first all-silicon monolithic speaker ever devised. It is a micro-electrical-mechanical system (MEMS) device made on a chip fabrication process.

The manufacturing of xMEMS' pure silicon speaker is very different to that of a conventional speaker. As the speaker is essentially just one monolithic piece manufactured via your typical lithography manufacturing process, much like how other silicon chips are designed. Due to this monolithic design aspect, the manufacturing line has significantly less complexity versus voice coil designs which have a plethora of components that need to be precision assembled – a task that is quoted to require thousands of factory workers.

Translation: it is tiny enough for ear buds, it is made on a chip fab and when ramped up it will be dirt cheap. No word on how it sounds, but would it be worse than existing earbuds? Doubtful.

Sunday, July 05, 2020

CNN admits Hydroxychloroquine works.

Well well, look at this.

A team at Henry Ford Health System in Southeast Michigan said Thursday its study of 2,541 hospitalized patients found that those given hydroxychloroquine were much less likely to die.
Dr. Marcus Zervos, division head of infectious disease for Henry Ford Health System, said 26% of those not given hydroxychloroquine died, compared to 13% of those who got the drug. The team looked back at everyone treated in the hospital system since the first patient in March.
"Overall crude mortality rates were 18.1% in the entire cohort, 13.5% in the hydroxychloroquine alone group, 20.1% among those receiving hydroxychloroquine plus azithromycin, 22.4% among the azithromycin alone group, and 26.4% for neither drug," the team wrote in a report published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases.

The article I'm quoting is less than amused by CNN's "discovery".

May their shame be eternal.
To the hack journalists of the left who sold the lie, to the paid-off scientists who ran misleading studies, to the larger medical community that didn’t stand up for the genuine studies, to the fund-grubbing worms at the NIH, CDC, and WHO, specifically Tedros Ghebreyesus, PhD, and of course, to the biggest swindler of them all, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the ratface bastard who whored his considerable expertise to make money for his Big Pharma friends and grow his budget: may the world look upon you for what you are: scum.
Tell us how you really feel, bro. 😈

Your humble Phantom has been talking about this since March. Yes, Hydroxychloroquine works -amazingly- well on COVID-19 when taken early on. Yes, it is cheap and available. Yes, the Orange Man was correct when he said it looked promising.

This is not because I am so super smart, I hasten to add. It had to be extremely obvious for me to get the message. And it was. Extremely obvious. Patient takes drug, patent's breathing RETURNS TO NORMAL within about 5 hours. It does not get more obvious than that. Does that happen every single time? No, only more than half the time. Often it can take up to ten hours for the patient's breathing to return to normal.



And yes, all the great flurry of studies that came out "proving" that Hydroxychloroquine didn't work, was in fact dangerous and #OrangeManBad!!! were 100% bullshit and have been retracted.

I said they were bullshit when they were published, based on the abstract alone. Because the study design was bullshit. They might just as well have written [THIS IS BULLSHIT] in the abstract.

Peace be upon The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine, but if a retired physical therapist who's been out of school since the 1990's can read an abstract and know the study is bullshit, but you published it anyway, I have to question your commitment to science.

However I was wrong in assuming the study design was the only thing wrong, it develops that all the data was fabricated as well. Not just bullshit, but a crime.

Be it noted, CNN said nothing when the Lancet and NEJM studies were withdrawn. No one in media has said much of anything about it. They're all pulled into their shells hoping video of rioters setting random statues on fire will draw attention away from their unforgivable behavior.

People died from this, my friends. Real people who would have lived if given this cheap and available medicine are dead now. Deliberately withholding a lifesaving medicine from vulnerable patients during a pandemic, over politics, I can't think of anything lower than that.

I'm of the opinion that some people desperately need to be sent to jail for this. We cannot accept this level of sheer uncaring evil in our society. Shaming is not sufficient.

Friday, July 03, 2020

Racist Fish.

Copenhagen's Little Mermaid, 2020 style.

Offered without further comment.

Thursday, July 02, 2020

"Defund Superheros!" Time Magazine, real article.

Comic book nerds will recall that in the original Incredibles, all the superheros had to go into witness protection because the public turned against them.

Time Magazine has felt the need to pursue that notion in the Real World

We're Re-examining How We Portray Cops Onscreen. Now It's Time to Talk About Superheroes

In the past several weeks, as calls to defund the police have gone mainstream, pop culture critics and fans have been reconsidering how Hollywood heroizes cops. Legal procedurals and shoot-em-up action movies have long presented a skewed perception of the justice system in America, in which the police are almost always positioned as the good guys. These "good cop" narratives are rarely balanced out with stories of systemic racism in the criminal justice system. The "bad guys" they pursue are often people of color, their characters undeveloped beyond their criminality.
In this period of reckoning, the long-running show Cops and the widely-watched Live PD have been canceled. Actors and writers who contributed to police procedurals are criticizing their own work and donating money to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Parents are protesting benevolent portrayals of canine cops in the children's television show Paw Patrol. And Ava DuVernay's film collective ARRAY is launching the Law Enforcement Accountability Project (LEAP) to highlight stories of police brutality and counteract a biased narrative.
But as we engage in this long overdue conversation about law enforcement, it's high time we also talk about the most popular characters in film, the ones who decide the parameters of justice and often enact them with violence: superheroes.

This is a loooong article, but the gist of the conversation is police = bad, therefore superheroes are bad and must be destroyed. So let's talk about that a little bit.

Let's start with these "protests" and the "demonstrators" currently in the news. I observe that everything was fun and games in Seattle CHAZ until the "demonstrators" vandalized the mayor's house. Guys were getting beat up, shot, killed, and nobody cared. Millions of dollars in damage to the businesses and buildings, all okay. But then some mutant (a white kid, if I remember correctly) spraypainted #BLM next to the mayor's front door on her nice wood siding, and that was it. Game over. Cops kicked all the "demonstrators" out, moved the barricades, and today the poor bastards who own all those stores are out there trying to fix everything that got broken and clean up.

That's what cops are actually for. Not to hand out speeding tickets or reduce crime. Their job is to protect the apparatus of government and put down insurrections. That's why uniformed police exist. Tickets and trouble calls are what they fill their time with between episodes of insurrection.

And let's be very clear, the only reason downtown Seattle got turned into The CHAZ by a bunch of insurrectionists in the first place is because the mayor told the cops to let them do it. A political ploy by a not-very-smart politician to use the situation to her advantage.

The same farce is being enacted in Toronto right now. Nathan Phillips Square is being "occupied" by "protesters" who have a bunch of political demands. The mayor is using the police force to PROTECT the demonstrators from the news media. In due time, when the politicians are ready to stop pretending Corona is a reason not to go do their jobs, the cops will round up all the "demonstrators" and everything will go back to normal.

It's theater.

It's a show put on by one political faction to make it look like they really care about all the things that we are supposed to care about these days. The cops are part of the theater, they are letting the fires get set and the stores get burned to the ground because they were ordered to do so. And everybody with half a brain knows it.

Example of anti-racism 2020 style. You can thank the mayor.
Oh and by the way, the cops put their knees on people's necks during arrests because they were ordered to do that too. Just so we're all clear why people do things, okay? The knee-on-the-neck thing is part of the show.

This article in Time Magazine is part of the theater. The author is Eliana Dockterman, some basic white woman who lives in New York City. Her complaint in this piece is that superheros as a concept don't forward her political narrative.

Superheroes have dominated popular culture for the last decade—they are fixtures of the highest-grossing movies and icons to more than just our children. They are beacons of inspiration: protesters dressed as Spider-Man and Batman have turned up at recent Black Lives Matter demonstrations. And yet what are superheroes except cops with capes who enact justice with their powers?

Nice try with the strawman. The defining trait of classic superheroes is that they are INCORRUPTIBLE. The police, the politicians, the courts, the Army, all these things can be bought. Captain America, he's the guy you can't buy. Superman, he's the guy that will do the right thing no matter what.

The defining nature of a superhero's use of violence is that they interrupt crimes -in progress-. Spiderman finds the super villain in the middle of trying to nuke NYC and punches him in the face to make him stop. Batman fights the Joker to stop him murdering a theater full of people.

What Dockterman wants to pretend is that this idea of incorruptibility and use of violence in pursuit of justice is Whiteness, and therefore bad. Sorry, white kids, no Captain America for you. There is no Justice, capital J, only racism and hate.

For Dockterman, The Watchmen is the best kind of superhero story, because it's all about corrupt people doing corrupt things to each other and fighting racism because that's the most terrible thing ever.

But the superhero property that most directly engages with corruption in policing is Watchmen. In Alan Moore's 1986 graphic novel, vigilantes who believe they have the right to fight and live by their own moral codes often prove themselves despicable bigots or megalomaniacs. One particular image of so-called heroes confronting a riot looks an awful lot like the recent videos we've seen of police officers shooting rubber bullets and tear gas at protesters.

All the SJWs love The Watchmen because it's the Anti-superhero superhero story. "Nobody is incorruptible, you stupid kids! EVERYBODY DOES IT!!! Get with the program! Run outside and burn something!"

All part of the theater.

I'm against it, myself. To my mind burning down stores and homes as part of a political theater, that's the kind of thing that superheroes are a reaction to. If Ms. Dockterman wants to know why superhero movies are the only thing consistently making money at the movies the last 10 years, she should go look in the mirror.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Distributed, peer-to-peer Internet company.

I've been talking about mesh-networks for some time. Lately almost everybody has a smartphone with as much compute-power and storage as a desktop PC from 2008, that's a lot of horsepower sitting around idle. Also, lately the Big Tech companies are getting kinda fascist in their rules and regulations. Twitter and Farcebook have gone so far as to censor the President of the United States. Who knows what they're already doing to you and me, right?

So here's a notion. I'm not recommending this company, because I don't know anything about it. Nobody does. But the idea is excellent. A de-centralized Internet that skips all the big companies and does the transactions on a block-chain, peer-to-peer level.

It requires a lot of different technology for backups and storage, for which ThreeFold is building a variety of related technologies: peer-to-peer technology to create the grid in the first place; storage, compute, and network technologies to enable distributed applications; and a self-healing layer bridging people and applications.

Oh, and yes. There is a blockchain component: smart contracts for utilizing the grid and keeping a record of activities.

"Farmers" (read: all of us) provide capacity and get micropayments for usage.

I'd say it will require a lot of work, because the first thing that will happen is some asshole will try to turn the whole thing into his personal bot-net. But this mesh-network structure is the answer to Google, Apple and Microsoft. Peer-to-peer, created at the individual level instead of the corporate Big Iron approach. Personal computers instead of mainframes with dumb terminals, which is the model that we currently operate under. You -think- that because they call it a Personal Computer or a Smart Phone that the thing is doing the work and that you own it. But that is not true. All the work is done by a server farm with cloud storage. It is situated somewhere probably far away and under somebody else's control. Your smart phone is basically a dumb terminal. It barely does anything except play games.

That's the thing. Games are mostly local processing with a bit of network connection to a server, mostly for authentication. So the phone is certainly a capable machine. It can do things. But applications like Siri are mostly server-side processing with a bit of local hardware for the microphone management etc. It doesn't have to be that way of course, the phone is fast enough to do most of what Siri does, and it has more than enough storage to hold the Siri ap and its database. But Apple runs it server side because that gives them DATA on you, which they then sell to advertisers.

Which is why I never use Siri or the Android equivalent. Because that level of intrusion into my private life is not something I feel like cooperating with. They get enough free data from me already, I should actively help them? No way.

So the local-storage, local-processing model is how you beat Big Brother. If the data never touches their server, they can't copy it and sell it. A mesh-network doesn't use Big Iron cloud storage and huge servers to route the packets.

And really, there's no reason not to have both models going. Big Iron has its place, its just a bad idea to have a small number of companies (or governments) control everything. There needs to be an alternative, to keep them honest. This could be an alternative.