*Attempts to optimize some code*
*Build time has now increased by >150%*
*Attempts to optimize some code*
*Build time has now increased by >150%*
This last week in astronomy and physics seems really wild.
We still don’t know what’s causing the light fluctuation from Tabby’s star and the leading theory is a megastructure built by extraterrestrials
Have we detected an alien megastructure in space? Keep an open mind • 2016 Aug 12 • Seth Shostak • The Guardian
There’s a weird trans-Neptunian object that orbits the sun in a totally different orbital plane than every other known object in the solar system, suggesting that our theories on how the solar system came to be might be off
Scientists Just Discovered a Mysterious Object Beyond Neptune • 2016 Aug 12 • Kelly Dickerson • Mic
Physicists put a muon in orbit around a deuterium nucleus and there’s nothing in existing quantum theory that explains why the proton charge radius would vary
Researchers orbit a muon around an atom, confirm physics is broken • 2016 Aug 11 • John Timmer • Ars Technica
There might be a fifth force.
Physicists confirm possible discovery of fifth force of nature • 2016 Aug 15 • Phys.org
Twice now, Donald Trump and his campaign staff have accused Obama of using a time machine. Once to kill Capt. Humayun Khan in Iraq in 2004, and once to found ISIS in 1999. (To be fair, it was called Jama’at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad then, morphing into Al Qaeda in Iraq in 2004, then finally becoming the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in 2013.)
What if Obama really has a time machine?1
And it’s not just accusations of time travel, but accusations of creating alternate timelines!
This means Katrina Pierson lived in a version of the U.S. where 9/11 didn’t happen up until Obama created a temporal point of divergence!2
I have always been skeptical that the Tea Party was ever really primarily a grassroots movement. Much like Trump, it always looked like an astroturfing corporate-funded money-making scheme meant to capitalize on populist anger (which manifests mainly as virulent anti-government sentiment, xenophobia, and misogyny).
But Trump is far more popular and recognizable than the Kochs, so it was inevitable that they’d get kicked to the curb.
How We Killed the Tea Party • 2016 Aug 14 • Paul H. Jossey • Politico
It’s basically proof that—much like Communism—all practical implementations of Libertarianism devolve into crony capitalism and kleptocracy.
After Trump declared the Philippines a terrorist nation, Philippine Congressman Joey Salceda has proposed banning Trump from the Philippines.
Meanwhile, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is threatening to declare martial law:
As much as I hate Trump, Trump hasn’t had people summarily executed without any charged or threatened to declare martial law… yet. But I think Trump is just a kleptocrat scam artist who will skip the country after he’s bankrupted us while Duterte has all the makings of a ruthless bloodyhanded dictator.1
I wonder how this is going to play out with the many reliably GOP faction of Filipino Americans?
Pope Francis understands that the root cause of terrorism are the inequalities caused by the history of imperialism and colonialism and perpetuated by global capitalism.
Aside from the overhyped and clickbaity headlines, one of the basic problems of popular medical journalism is that they generally elevate meta-analyses over randomized controlled trials.1
It isn’t that meta-analyses aren’t as useful, but they can certainly be more unreliable due to having to summarize possibly quite disparate studies with widely varying sample populations with significant differences in experimental design and in expected end-points and measurements. Sure, you can account for a lot of this with statistical analysis, but this tends to introduce additional assumptions that may or may not be warranted, and is another step that’s susceptible to bias.2
“My order is shoot to kill you. I don’t care about human rights, you better believe me.” — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte
400 dead in a month in Philippines’ ‘shoot-to-kill’ war on drugs • 2016 Aug 5 • Los Angeles Times
Most of Trump’s economic advisers run hedge funds or are major figures in the real estate industry. Oh, and he has a couple of actual economists, one of whom advised both Reagan and GHWB. Trump basically wants a group of foxes to watch the henhouse. So maybe I’m wrong. Trump isn’t a fascist. It looks like he’s just a straight-up wannabe kleptocrat.
Trump Names Wall Street And Real Estate Titans As Economic Advisers • 2016 Aug 5 • Jim Zarroli • NPR
Honestly, it seems like he’s totally telegraphing the fact that if gets elected, he’s simply going to plunder the country and flee to somewhere where he can’t get extradited.
Given that his campaign manager is Paul Manafort, it totally strikes me that this is basically what Ferdinand Marcos tried to do, except he was too close to death to actually enjoy his ill-gotten wealth. (And to this day, no one really know where all the money that Marcos plundered from the Philippines went.)
Also, I am reminded of the lyrics to the Radiohead song “Idioteque”
I’ve wasted lots of time arguing with climate change deniers, but maybe they’ll go swim in a lake someday.
Don’t go swimming at Silverwood Lake right now because of toxic algae bloom, officials say • 2016 Aug 4 • Stephanie K. Baer • San Bernardino County Sun
Climate Change and Harmful Algal Blooms • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
I don’t know what I did to deserve getting an Iggy Azalea earworm stuck in my head.
Assuming we avert the Trumpocalypse and manage to remain a democratic republic (at least for the rest of my life), I imagine Democrats of the future will talk about Obama the same way we talk about FDR and the same way that Republicans talk about Reagan.
Prior to Medicare and Medicaid and before employee-provided health insurance, health care was a luxury only the wealthy could afford, and most diseases and all cases of severe trauma were completely untreatable. I’m not sure why people think the era before the advent of antibiotics, modern emergency rooms, and positive-pressure ventilation was all that great.
A big reason why health care has become so highly regulated both by the government and by the private sector (the Joint Commission is a private non-profit) was because there were a lot of unscrupulous health care professionals back in the day robbing patients blind with “cures” that were useless or even actively harmful, at the while effectively threatening them with death if they didn’t pay. To me, they sound more like the bad old days.
Voting Libertarian? I hope you or your kids never get sick • 2016 Aug 3 • Jen Gunter, M.D.
If you don’t like comparing Trump to Hitler, maybe you can just compare Trump to Ferdinand Marcos?
Paul Manafort’s Wild and Lucrative Philippine Adventure • As Ferdinand Marcos used his fortune to cling to power, he found an ally in Trump’s campaign chairman. • 2016 Jun 10 • Kenneth P. Vogel • Politico
Also, if there was any doubt, the Reagan administration was kind of evil….
Paul Manafort has made a career of keeping dictators in power.
The Quiet American • Paul Manafort made a career out of stealthily reinventing the world’s nastiest tyrants as noble defenders of freedom. Getting Donald Trump elected will be a cinch. • 2016 Apr 28 • Franklin Foer • Slate
Manafort is also still getting paid by a Ukrainian politician who is pro-Putin.
Is Donald Trump’s Campaign Manager Still on the Payroll of a Ukrainian Political Leader? • Paul Manafort has long advised Ukrainian politicians—and he may not have stopped. • 2016 Aug 1 • Pema Levy • Mother Jones
Bernie-or-busters have been posting this quote from HST lately:
Before you go off on how BoBs are utterly ridiculous and coming from a position of privilege, I would argue that there’s a kernel of truth in this.
HRC cannot run on a purely anti-Trump platform. She has to stand for something. Negative campaigning is useless at best and many times it backfires.
The narrative that we need politicians to create progress is somewhat toxic. Most of the major improvements in the last century with regards to social and economic issues were fought for on the ground at the grassroots level—worker’s rights, women’s suffrage, the Civil Rights Movement, abortion rights, LGBT rights, the rights of the undocumented, Black Lives Matter, etc., etc. The politicians are always Johnny-come-lately and generally serve more as an impediment rather than an assurance to progress, no matter what political party they’re from.
Consider also that the coalition that McGovern assembled—black people, feminists, the LGBT community, student activists, and economic populists—are critical components of the modern day Democratic Party.
It’s likely that the Obama presidency would’ve been impossible without McGovern, and just sticking with the establishment would’ve delayed progress significantly.
With regards to the Nixon’s re-election in 1972, in retrospect, the McGovern total fail and the disintegration of the New Deal coalition was inevitable.
If not McGovern, the candidate would’ve been Hubert Humphrey—who was arguing for putting Communists in camps—and George Wallace who, while no longer calling for segregation forever, thought that desegregation was going way too fast.
Ed Muskie—whom HST pillories as the “compromise candidate”—was 4th place in the Democratic primaries with 11% of the vote (no thanks to active sabotage directly from Nixon.) The only thing he had going for him was that the polls said he was the only candidate capable of defeating Nixon. The top three each got a little less than a quarter of all votes.
And McGovern might have still lost even if the Democratic establishment hadn’t abandoned him (and even actively sabotaged him.) It’s difficult to unseat an incumbent president in time of war, as we’d learn again in the 2004 general election. But it might not have been as crushing of a defeat if the Democratic establishment had supported him.
Nixon only won in 1968 because LBJ bailed out, RFK got assassinated, and Humphrey was too closely identified with LBJ’s pro-war stance when 80% of the Democratic constituency voted for anti-war candidates.
If you’re a fan of neoliberalism, McGovern’s utter failure was the best thing to happen to the Democrats and paved the road to Third Way centrism and Clintonism. If you’re not, then it’s clear that running with compromise candidates like Carter and Bill Clinton might have lost more progressive ground than they preserved.
What Democrats Still Don’t Get About George McGovern • 2016 Feb 29 • Joshua Mound • New Republic
Democrats have their history wrong — and are about to make a grievous mistake • 2016 Mar 6 • Kathy Donohue • Salon
I really like the idea of Private Joker getting twisted by Nam, Watergate, and Reagan and becoming a government scientist working for the CIA involved with MKUltra.
ﾐA彡 and I finished “Stranger Things” last night, and one of the things that arrested me in the last episode was a song by Moby:
And it totally took me way back to all those times when I felt lost at sea and impossibly far away from shore, and imagining swimming the ocean forever until I grew too weary and too cold and finally drowned.
I never got into D&D enough to know about the Demogorgon appearing in an expansion to the first release of basic D&D, but apparently there are even references in Orlando Furioso, The Faerie Queen, and Paradise Lost. I only know about the Demogorgon because of the Commodore 64 game “The Forbidden Forest”
My brother is going to be a father!
In light of all the people voting for Trump and all the people refusing to vote for Clinton, this seems apt.
It is interesting that there seems to be more venom reserved for Bernie-or-busters compared to moderate Republicans who think Trump is a disaster but can’t stand the idea of voting for Clinton. Both these demographics’ interests can at least be partially served by voting for Clinton, but for some reason, holding out because you’re a Republican is more virtuous than holding out because you’re a progressive.
Do classical moderate Republicans have significant issues with Cinton’s foreign policy? (I’m definitely not talking about the insane people who keep yelling about e-mails and Benghazi.) Because in my mind, there seems to be a lot of overlap. Maybe even more so than with Obama.
And for the moderates who are truly small government minarchist/libertarian, Clinton’s positions on trade and civil liberties seem far more favorable to their causes than Trump’s.
Now that Donald Trump is officially the Republican nominee, the Democratic Party is the only major political party in this country that actually puts America first.
Any approach to convincing people to vote for your candidate of choice that does not include listening and empathy is doomed to failure and likely to strengthen their opposition (see also: argumentative theory of reasoning and the backfire effect.) Proceed with caution.1
It’s human nature. If people are truly as pragmatic as they say they are and not merely ideological in the guise of pragmatism, I think it would be important to keep this in mind.2
Hooray, we’re finally catching up with the rest of the Western world as well as a lot of developing countries!
Hillary Clinton Becomes First Female Nominee of Major U.S. Political Party • 2016 Jul 26 • Carrie Dann • NBC News
Pet peeve: Whenever someone commits an act that is ethically/morally problematic and the first thing people say is “Well, it’s not like it was illegal….”
Honestly, the ousting of DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz was long overdue, well before Sanders started his campaign. It would’ve been only a matter of time before she ran the Democratic Party into the ground with her inept ground game and her active alienation of significant portions of the party membership. I can’t help feel that if someone else more inspiring and diplomatic were at the helm, we might not have done as badly in 2012 and 2014.1
There is definitely a contingent of Sanderistas who were never Democrats and who will never vote for Clinton, very similar to the PUMAs who refused to vote for Obama. Clinton will never win them over.
But there is also a contingent of Sanders supporters who have been Democrats all their (mostly young) lives and who see returning to the New Deal/Great Society roots of the party as the only path for the future of the party. They’re not going to vote for Trump, but the concern is that they might go Green or not vote at all.
In the end, Clinton’s biggest enemy is probably apathy and lack of enthusiasm. The number of people who might stay home will massively dwarf any defectors to the Green party or even the Sanders concern trolls who will vote for Trump. The key is to inspire the apathetic and unenthusiastic. And I’m not sure how she’s going to do that.1
The margin between Obama and McCain was large enough that the PUMAs made no significant difference in 2008, but they definitely did exist and probably had an effect. And there are probably more hard core Sanderistas and the projected margin between Clinton and Trump is far slimmer.2
Pre-election polls from 2008 suggest that Obama might have done slightly worse (-1%) with Democrats than Kerry did in 2004 which might be the full extent of the PUMA effect.
We’ve been influencing other democracies’ elections for a long time now (Yay, Monroe Doctrine!) through propaganda, espionage, material support to our preferred regimes, and even overt military intervention. I suppose it was only a matter of time until what went around came around.1
I am surprised that trying to influence an election using black-hat tactics isn’t a crime.
Positive thinking has a downside.
Correlation does not necessarily imply causation and all that, but in a country where the idea of positive thinking is such a huge part of our culture and our myths and drives so much of our economy, and people’s misfortunes get frequently blamed on their own lack of positive thinking, it’s probably not a terrible idea to examine the dark side of positive thinking.1
It’s ridiculous to argue that people in this country don’t get killed for political reasons.
Gun violence in America, explained in 17 maps and charts • 2016 Jul 25 • German Lopez • Vox
The radio has been playing the shit out of “Too Good” by Drake featuring Rihanna.
(This is a cover since I don’t think the official video is on YouTube)
For the longest time, I had been mishearing the lyric “high as the expectations” as “hi-azy expectations”, like a portmanteau of “high” and “crazy”, which actually makes a lot of sense in context.
Also, I learned that “cock up your bumper” is a common idiom for anal penetration. #CaptainObvious
see also: - ““Love Yuh Bad”” by “Popcaan” • “Genius” - ““Cock Up Your Bumper”” by “Elephant Man ft. Big Tigger” • “AZLyrics”
The first time I heard “Don’t Let Me Down” by the Chainsmokers featuring Daya was a couple of days before my and ﾐA彡’s wedding and it immediately made me think of “Angels” by the XX.
Which brings me to this mashup of TLC with the XX:
It really cracks me up that while the Star Trek reboot totally altered the Prime Universe from TOS and beyond, “Star Trek: Enterprise” is still necessarily canon.
“Star Trek Beyond” even makes overt references to ST:E. The Xindi Wars. The MACOs.
The U.S.S. Franklin is even an NX class vessel (although it’s weird that despite being able to only go Warp 4, it has a higher registry number (NX-326) than the Enterprise NX-01, which is capable of Warp 5.) The original crew of the U.S.S. Franklin wears the blue uniform of pre-Federation Starfleet.
It troubles met that on the same day that Hillary Clinton picked a centrist Democrat as her running mate, Wikileaks released documentation of the DNC actively trying to suppress Bernie Sanders’ campaign.
In isolation, the Tim Kaine pick is neutral at worst, but in conjunction with the DNC’s obvious distaste for progressive politics, it brings back into question whether or not Clinton will actually pursue the Democratic Party agenda that was inspired mostly by Sanders.
Backlash from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party is probably to be expected and the neoliberal wing of the Democratic Party is likely to end up on the defensive.
Instead of fighting conservatives and fascists, they’ll end up having to shore up their leftward flank instead, and the outcome in November might be terrible.
There’s the analogy of choosing between getting your head cut off and getting your limbs cut off. The “rational” and “objective” people think it’s obvious that getting your head cut off is the worse decision.
I don’t want Trump to win but I fear he will because the people who want Clinton to win do not seem to care at all about the people who feel like they have no political voice.
If the System has worked out for you, the choice is easy, but if you have no stake in the System or if the System is actually actively harming or even killing you, getting your head chopped off might not even be your worst option.
And I will admit, on the net balance, the System has worked for me. But I work regularly with people who are younger than I am who have more people depending on them than I do who haven’t been anywhere nearly as fortunate as I’ve been.
And while I’ve never talked about politics directly with them because it’s not my place and it has no bearing on how I serve them, I try my best to empathize with their situations.
And if you’re on fire and someone tells you that you have to decide right now whether to get your head chopped off or your limbs choped off, that decision might not really seem like the most urgent thing.
The only way to reach them is to put out the fire first. And 108 days isn’t a lot of time to do that.
I suspect that demonizing people for not wanting to vote for Clinton is not going to be a very successful strategy for convincing them to vote for Clinton.
If you’re demanding that people with fewer resources than you just suck it up and do things your way with the threat of utter catastrophe looming over their heads and you’re not helping them get what they need—what they’re asking for—to survive, and you’re not helping remove the barriers that keep them from doing things your way, then you’re just punching down.
While this is the actual dialog between Charles Kelsey and the cop who shot him despite Kelsey being on the floor with his hands up (and the cop was allegedly trying to shoot an autistic man with a toy truck instead), I can’t help but feel like this can apply to a lot of things that are done in or by this country.
It looks like Stephen Hawking, Bill Nye, and Neil deGrasse Tyson are about to drop an album.
…although, yeah, you can measure very cold things in Kelvin, too. So I guess they should’ve said “…so hot they have to express the temperature in terakelvin….”
Jesus fucking Christ. At least Charles Kinsey isn’t dead. And it is Florida. But what the fuck?
Florida police shoot black man lying down with arms in air • 2016 Jul 21 • Amanda Holpuch • The Guardian
There is a 50/50 chance that Finland does not exist.
Which reminds me of a passage from The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams:
Do people even have access to thesauruses (thesauri?) anymore?1
Honestly, it wouldn’t have been such a massive deal if they hadn’t gone on the offensive in the aftermath. The thing that I find offensive and contemptible is how stupid they think we all are.2
Trump camp admits Melania speech passages came from Michelle Obama’s speech • 2016 Jul 20 • Timothy B. Lee • Vox
I’m sure “non-standard numbers” has a different meaning in the context of finance(?), but now I can’t help but imagine that the Windows implementations of integers and floats is somehow bizarrely awry.
Under pressure from SEC, Microsoft refines use of non-standard numbers • 2016 Jul 20 • Francine McKenna • MarketWatch
Does anybody remember the 8-bit C64/Atari 800 version of Ghostbusters released by Activision where you wander around the streets of NYC trying to make money and keep the PKE meter low? Pokemon Go makes me think they should release an AR version of this.
crossposted on Facebook
I can’t explain it, but I never really liked the word “amazing”. It’s even worse now that I can’t tell when people are using it to denote something wonderful vs. something bewilderingly awful.
(h/t Jed H-K)
In Trump’s America™, it’s Hillary Clinton’s fault that Melania Trump’s speechwriters plagiarized Michelle Obama’s speech.
You do have to hand it to them, though. An entire day dedicated to anti-immigrant sentiment and white supremacy, and this is all we can talk about.
Is it strange that this song with a tropical beat reminds me of my honeymoon with ﾐA彡 in Iceland, which is the first place I ever heard it.
There shouldn’t be such great shame with being stupid, but it’s harder to be magnanimous to someone being willfully stupid who sincerely thinks they’re smarter than you are.
If you’ve decided to totally conflate people killing cops with people standing up for their right of due process and right to equal protection, that’s really on you. You’re the one committing a grave category error that will only ensure things will get far worse.
On the way to Santa Barbara, ﾐA彡 and I listened to an episode of Invisibilia about non-complementary behavior.
The idea is that the usual way we interact with each other is complementarity: if you are nice and friendly, then I am apt to be nice and friendly to you, but if you are angry and belligerent, then I am likely to be angry and belligerent in return.
Practicing non-complementarity is trying to break out of this pattern.
Non-complementarity is a powerful tactic that can help change behavior. It’s probably no accident that it is a prominent tenet of many major religions.
It’s also probably no accident that it features prominently in successful social change.
Yes, weight loss is dependent on thermodynamic factors (energy expended must be greater than energy consumed) but any approach that ignores psychological factors and the neurohormonal profiles that impact these psychological factors is doomed to failure.
How Artificial Sweeteners May Cause Us to Eat More • 2016 Jul 12 • Bret Stetka • Scientific American
Standard disclaimer: I am not anti-science by any means and I do not believe that GMOs are intrinsically toxic but I am wary of those who push GMOs without question and who are quick to label those who are wary of GMOs and Big Ag in general as anti-science, especially if they are (1) worried about a Malthusian catastrophe, (2) think that increasing yields is the only way to prevent starvation, and (3) think that laissez-faire capitalism is the only way to efficiently distribute food.
Half of all US food produce is thrown away, new research suggests • 2016 Jul 13 • Suzanne Goldenberg
Despite the fact that mass industrialized agriculture is highly productive, it’s a sad fact that the U.S. has disproportionately high rates of hunger, malnutrition, and starvation.
This has everything to do with the way food is distributed and unless this is ameliorated, merely increasing yields is likeyl to simply increase waste.
So maybe mom was right and going out in the cold is exactly how you catch colds.
Cold Viruses Attack When Your Immune System Is Cold • 2016 Jul 11 • Alex Berezow • American Council on Science and Health
It’s a slow rolling back of the tide, but at some point it will become difficult if not impossible to perform certain surgical procedures and to keep people with certain disease and conditions alive.
I’d been contemplating death lately. Between the great tragedies of the world and the smaller tragedies of my friends and family, it’s the only thing we know for sure.
The one death that I think about a lot—because for the longest time I felt like my reaction was grossly disproportionate—was of my dog Angel.
Vox • 2016 Jul 11 • Alvin Chang
For a while now, I’ve been trying to figure out a way to decrease the amount of time it takes [Jekyll] to render my blog. It now takes up to 6-8 minutes, which seems rather excessive.
So I tried pre-rendering a ton of pages instead of using Liquid to iterate through all date-based and tag-based archives, not to mention the custom taxonomies I implemented. But the place where Jekyll really gets stuck are the date-based and tag-based archives. I only recently found out that
jekyll-archive actually disables incremental regeneration, which means I have to re-render the whole damn thing no matter what.
jekyll-archive needed to go. And I started writing some code. And I think I might be on the verge of writing my own code engine, if I can figure out how to implement Liquid templates.
While on this long journey trying to rewrite the bulk of Jekyll functionality, being as how I’m just an amateur coder, I contemplated some crazy techniques. The Internet did successfully convince me that trying to subclass
Hash would be a horrific idea.
The Internet has not yet successfully convinced me of the madness of monkeypatching
It feels wrong, but I’m not sure writing my own
Time-like class is the right thing to do either.
Time will tell, I suppose.
I don’t know if this is really true, but it struck me that in that many cases, people describe the country that they’re from as the “motherland” when they’re immigrants or the children of immigrants. (And it’s generally no accident that the country they currently live probably colonized the country that they or their parents came from.)
Which makes me wonder if people who live in the country of their birth are more apt to use the term “fatherland”.
Which also reminds me that while we have “patriotism” we don’t have “matriotism”.
OK, actually, we do have matriotism, but its coinage definitely seems historically/politically revisionist.
Automation has already happened. The robots have already taken over most of the jobs that robots can perform. And it’s already had major effects.
crossposted on Facebook
The Best Jobs Now Require You To Be A People Person • 2015 Aug 25 • Andrew Flowers • FiveThirtyEight
…“[C]omputers aren’t good at simulating human interaction….” …That means a job as a manager or consultant is harder to automate, and the skills those jobs require become more valuable.
Has there been a slowdown in growth of high-wage, technical jobs, or is there simply a shift in growth toward jobs that also require high social skills? It seems to be the latter.
…most of the employment growth in jobs requiring cognitive skills occurred in those that also required interpersonal skills. Think of doctors, lawyers and management consultants. Purely technical occupations — those requiring knowledge of math but fewer social skills, such as actuaries, machinists, electricians, billing clerks — have fared badly since 2000 in both pay and job growth. Even jobs with low math but high social skills have grown — lawyers and physical therapists, for example.
If not revolution, then at least incrementalism.
Sanders scores platform victory, calls for $15 minimum wage • 2016 Jul 9 • Catherine Lucey and Ken Thomas • PBS Newshour
Democrats’ new platform adopts many Sanders demands • 2016 Jul 10 • Chris Megerian • Los Angeles Times
The Democratic Party has moved left after Bernie Sanders’s run. The platform is proof. • 2016 Jul 11 • Jeff Stein • Vox
Disclaimer: I unequivocally condemn the actions of Michael Xavier Johnson and I can’t help but wonder if his actual aim was not just to terrorize law enforcement officials but also to discredit the Black Lives Matter movement.
I’m not sure how many people are really tripping about the fact that they used a “robot bomb” to kill a heavily armed suspect after the failure of negotiations instead of snipers or something, but it seems clear that the real controversy among law enforcement officers is whether a tactic that has formerly been reserved for active warfare has a place in day-to-day law enforcement.
Similar to the controversy of using UAVs to kill suspects remotely, I imagine the real concern among civil libertarians especially in the wake of the killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile is the likelihood that this tactic will be abused and the likelihood that the right to due process will be further abridged.1
When a reporter asked the POTUS about “living in a perpetual state of war” I wasn’t sure if he was asking about fighting terrorists abroad or asking about life in the U.S. with militarized police and a heavily armed populace.2
see also: - ‘Bomb Robot’ Takes Down Dallas Gunman, but Raises Enforcement Questions • 2016 Jul 8 • Henry Fountain and Michael S. Schmidt • New York Times - Use of Dallas ‘bomb robot’ to kill revives police militarization issue • 2016 Jul 8 • Dustin Volz and Isma’il Kushkush • Reuters - Why the Dallas police had explosives, and how those explosives were fatal • 2016 Jul 8 • Philip Bump • Washington Post
Yes, it’s possible that blowing up Michael Xavier Johnson with a robot-delivered bomb saved lives, but at the same time, this is basically one more step down the road of relying on extrajudicial killing to maintain law and order instead of allowing the criminal justice system to work as intended. In addition to robotic bombers, it’s not difficult to imagine LE relying on heavily armed drones to take out suspects. And if it’s a human rights violation for the POTUS to take out suspected terrorists with drones without due process, surely it’s also a violation of civil rights if local and federal LE do the same thing.
crossposted on Facebook
Using a Bomb Robot to Kill a Suspect Is an Unprecedented Shift in Policing • 2016 Jul 8 • Jason Koebler and Brian Anderson • Motherboard
That the suspect is heavily armed does not necessarily mean deadly force is necessary to subdue the suspect, considering that both the Charleston church shooter and the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooter were taken alive.1
Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s dissent on Utah v. Strieff, a Fourth Amendment case about police searches:
See also: - “No One Can Breathe in This Atmosphere” • Everyone should read Justice Sonia Sotomayor on how police stops are life-and-death experiences for people of color • 2016 Jul 7 • Dahlia Lithwick • Slate - Justice Sotomayor’s Ringing Dissent • 2016 Jun 20 • Matt Ford • The Atlantic - You need to read Sonia Sotomayor’s devastating, Ta-Nehisi Coates-citing Supreme Court dissent • 2016 Jun 20 • Victoria M. Massie • Vox
Whitewash all the things.
crossposted on Facebook
One of my regrets in life is when I once went to the Midnight Special Bookstore in Santa Monica when Octavia Butler was signing books. I wanted her to sign my used copy of the Xenogenesis trilogy but I could only find my beat-up paperback copy of Adulthood Rites and I got shy and didn’t ask her for an inscription.1
I also find it ironic that the only reason I started reading Octavia Butler was because Orson Scott Card used her writing in multiple examples in his book How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy2
In some tangential synchronicity to this post about Don Quixote I learned from digging through some Ruby documentation that Cervantes and Shakespeare did not in fact die on the same day, since Spain had already adopted the Gregorian calendar at that point while England was still on the Julian calendar.
When should you use DateTime and when should you use Time? • DateTime • Ruby Std-lib 2.3.1
I’ve been binge-watching “The Expanse” and all the Don Quixote references have made me ponder how Cervantes basically anticipated a lot of the themes in “The Matrix” and in “Inception” and it’s making my perception of “The Expanse” feel way more Philip K. Dick-ian than it might deserve.
With the mention of the grueling physical violence that the protagonist is subjected to, it also makes me realize that Cervantes anticipated a lot of the tropes in “Fight Club” (and by extension, “Mr. Robot”)
There’s a Reddit post about how “Fight Club” is really just Don Quixote from the viewpoint of Sancho Panza, but I think that’s off the mark. “Fight Club” is Don Quixote from the viewpoint of Alfonso Quixano, and I wonder if someone has already written an actual version of Don Quixote in this manner….
Did Miguel de Cervantes Invent Fiction With ‘Don Quixote’? • 2016 Feb 17 • Jonathon Sturgeon • Flavorwire (h/t S.L.)
crossposted on Facebook
I think one of the ways our culture contributes to ongoing violence is the way it consecrates and sanctifies Darwinian competition. So ultimately all our relationships are adversarial. You’re either for us or against us. You have to pick a side. It’s a zero-sum game. There’s no room for more complex paradigms involving sincere cooperation and altruism. The idea that we’re not just all selfish assholes looking out for #1 is looked upon with utter disdain and contempt.
crossposted on Facebook
White privilege is being able to say that someone who owned people and likely de facto raped them wasn’t a monster.
crossposted on Facebook
Thomas Jefferson Was Not a Monster • 2012 Oct 19 • Annette Gordon-Reed • Slate
It’s obvious that there’s a racist component to Islamophobia. It’s mostly just another excuse to hate brown and black people, especially when you consider that so many victims of Islamophobia in the U.S. aren’t even Muslim.
crossposted on Facebook
Bosnian Muslims in Southern California may not fit the stereotype but they feel the prejudice • 2016 Jul 4 • Sarah Parvini • Los Angeles Times
It’s hard to imagine a real Muslim bombing and killing people during the second holiest Islamic city during an Islamic holy month right after he’d been offered breakfast by fellow Muslims.
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Medina explosion: Suicide bombing near Saudi holy site • 2016 Jul 4 • BBC News
There’s a fine line where saying “it’s because of their religion” stops being at all logically explanatory and starts becoming victim-blaming xenophobia, but, hey, that’s what’s popular these days.
crossposted on Facebook
The U.S. has never needed religious reasons for murdering indigenous people and killing people in other countries. So I kind of suspect it’s not necessarily religion that promotes mass murder and I don’t think anyone in the U.S. has the moral high ground here.1
This One Tweet Perfectly Sums Up What Everyone Is Missing About The Istanbul Terrorist Attacks • 2016 Jun 29 • Isaac Saul • A Plus (via George Takei)
It’s also clear that you needn’t be religious to be dogmatic and self-righteous and judgemental and to propagate hate that leads to violence.2
To me, the smell of a Bovie searing tissue is more disturbing intellectually than it is viscerally. It’s the bacterial odors that incite involuntary disgust in me. Opening up abscesses—many of which I’ve done in a totally outpatient setting—have made me instantaneously nauseated. The stench of Pseudomonas and of Staph are instantly recognizable to me. I’m gagging just thinking about it.
Surgery’s Open Secret: It Smells • 2016 Apr 29 • Sarah Laskow • Atlas Obscura
crossposted on Facebook
So I woke up this morning for some reason with “I Want A New Duck” stuck in my head.
It’s a Weird Al Yankovic parody of a song by Huey Lewis and the News, and the reason why I was even exposed to it is because Disney once had this cartoon docudrama about Donald Duck’s life.
I think it’s bizarre that Disney would use a song that was originally about recreational drug use.
But the other weird thing that my brain did was mash it up with the bass line from “Poison” by Bell Biv Devoe.
ﾐA彡 and I have been married for two months now!
Life, the universe, and everything can be pretty amazing sometimes!
From what I understand, no matter how you spin it, a lot of voters in the Leave camp are anti-immigrant.
While most sane people realize that even if the U.K. leaves the E.U. and builds a wall like Trump wants for the U.S. that the immigration situation would remain unchanged, I can still imagine this ultimatum making it explicit will make all the xenophobes foam at the mouth.
EU to Britain: No access to single market without migration • 2016 Jun 29 • Angela Charlton and Lorne Cook • Yahoo! Finance
Between Donald Trump and the Brexit (not to mention all the other ultranationalist populist movements in Europe) sometimes I feel like Western Civilization is in terminal decline.
The post-apocalypse will be a fight between the people who believe neoliberalism and global capitalism have failed vs. the people who believe liberal democracy has failed.
Brexit was a rejection of Britain’s governing elite. Too bad the elites were right. • 2016 Jun 25 • Jeremy Shapiro • Vox
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Ultimately, the Brexit was a populist reaction towards the political and economic system of neoliberalism and global capitalism that a majority of people believe has failed them.
It’s clear that this discontent is fermenting worldwide. The popularity of Sanders and of Trump is clear evidence that this discontent is significantly present in the U.S.
Sanders and democratic socialism would’ve been a progressive way to address the failings of neoliberalism and global capitalism. In contrast, Trumpism is an anti-democratic reactionary answer to those failings.
But it’s clear that ignoring those failings is a great way to lose elections.