No, this is NOT a review of the TV show.
(I am not a regular viewer, nor a fan.)
It’s basically a send-up of the STAR TREK universe, with funny jokes and social commentary.
But the last episode (Majority Rule) was a cutting indictment of social media (Facebook, Democracy, anyone?)
The explorers visit a society wherein everyone at age eighteen they get a mandatory badge, containing a green up arrow and a red down one.
Any passers-by may choose to press one – or not.
Too many RED (usually do to some social faux paux) eventually gets one ‘reprogrammed’ (essentially lobatomized) . Escapees are killed.
Think Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery .
I unfortunately have friends who think The Electoral College should be eliminated in favor of Majority Vote. Resulting in a Ca./Ny national policy and leadership, undoubtedly.
Not only so they not understand history or The Constitution.
I would like them to watch this episode.
(Okay, you may now press my button.)
(from Tamara, via FB)
(AND, the comment posted below which takes the Internets!)
Sooo…exercising one right negates another???
(from Peter – Bayou Renaissance Man)
If Facebook were actively trying to define itself as ‘creepy’, it couldn’t do much better than this. Two reports over the past few weeks have caused me to wonder at the sanity of anyone who still uses the service.First, it seems Facebook actively marketed to advertisers its ability to ‘target 6.4 million younger users, some only 14 years old, during moments of psychological vulnerability’. Wired reports:
Data mining is such a prosaic part of our online lives that it’s hard to sustain consumer interest in it, much less outrage. The modern condition means constantly clicking against our better judgement. We go to bed anxious about the surveillance apparatus lurking just beneath our social media feeds, then wake up to mindlessly scroll, Like, Heart, Wow, and Fave another day.
But earlier this month, The Australian uncovered something that felt like a breach in the social contract: a leaked confidential document prepared by Facebook that revealed the company had offered advertisers the opportunity to target 6.4 million younger users, some only 14 years old, during moments of psychological vulnerability, such as when they felt “worthless,” “insecure,” “stressed,” “defeated,” “anxious,” and like a “failure.”
The 23-page document had been prepared for a potential advertiser and highlighted Facebook’s ability to micro-target ads down to “moments when young people need a confidence boost.” According to The Australian’s report, Facebook had been monitoring posts, photos, interactions, and internet activity in real time to track these emotional lows. (Facebook confirmed the existence of the report, but declined to respond to questions from WIRED about which types of posts were used to discern emotion.)
There’s more at the link.
Not content with that, it seems Facebook is trying to patent ‘creepy technology which spies on people and automatically analyses their facial expressions’. The Sun reports:
The social network applied for a patent to capture pictures of a user through their smartphone.
The creepy designs, which date back to 2015, were discovered by software company CBI Insight, which has been analysing Mark Zuckerberg’s “emotion technology”.
. . .
Researchers at CBI Insights warned that the plans could put a lot of people off using the service.
“On the one hand, they want to identify which content is most engaging and respond to audience’s reactions, on the other emotion-detection is technically difficult, not to mention a PR and ethical minefield,” it wrote in a blogpost.
Again, more at the link.
So Facebook now wants to use the camera on your smartphone to watch you while you use the device. Why would anyone in their right mind allow a social media network this kind of intimate access to their thoughts, feelings and emotions? Is there no value attached to privacy any more?
From my moral perspective (which is admittedly that of an older generation), this seems not only an invasion of privacy, but actively evil – trying to use your own emotions to manipulate you, and/or sell data about you to advertisers and others (for example, political parties analyzing voter emotions and behavior) who will use it to manipulate you.
News reports like this make me devoutly grateful that I have no Facebook presence at all! If you do, in heaven’s name, why do you want to expose yourself to this???
I joined FB long before I began blogging, or even reading other’s blogs. I liked the Internet, and it just seemed to be the social thing to do. (I was doing the IRC and bulletin boards before THAT!)
Yeah, I’m old. 😛
But, considering Pandora’s Box has already been opened, do I want to make it even easier for the alphabet soup of government, or private corporations or citizens? Is it even worth the effort, now that the cat’s escaped the bag?
Maybe. I am considering leaving FB. Most folks who care I blog know Guffaw is my nom-de-Internet, and can do research to determine my FB moniker and extrapolate real info and data from there.
As if that’s worth anything…
(So much for the magical ‘this won’t hurt management or the owners’ argument regarding State Socialism – Guffaw)
A ‘shocking’ discovery was made when a pair of researchers at Harvard Business School decided to analyze the impact of higher minimum wages in San Francisco on restaurant failures…hint: they went up.
Entitled “Survival of the Fittest: The Impact of the Minimum Wage on Firm Exit“, this latest study on the devastating consequences of minimum wage was conducted by Dara Lee Luca and Michael Luca and concluded that each $1 increase in the minimum wage results in a roughly 4-10% increase in the likelihood of a restaurant going out of business.
In this paper, we investigate the impact of the minimum wage on restaurant closures using data from the San Francisco Bay Area. We find suggestive evidence that an increase in the minimum wage leads to an overall increase in the rate of exit.
This paper presents several new findings. First, we provide suggestive evidence that higher minimum wage increases overall exit rates among restaurants, where a $1 increase in the minimum wage leads to approximately a 4 to 10 percent increase in the likelihood of exit, although statistical significance falls with the inclusion of time-varying county-level characteristics and city-specific time trends. This is qualitatively consistent but smaller than what Aaronson et al. (forthcoming) find; they show that a 10 percent raise in the minimum wage increases firm exit by approximately 24 percent from a base of 5.7 percent. Differences in sample and specifications may account for the differences between our study and theirs. (from ZeroHedge, in part)
link to the whole article and graphs
…And while we enjoy the affirmation of a conclusion that we’ve presented multiple times from such a reputable organization as Harvard, one which pretty much anyone could deduce with the application of just a moderate amount of common sense, for some reason the following scene from “Good Will Hunting’ comes to mind.
“You dropped $150,000 on a fucking education you could’ve got for a $1.50 of late charges at the public library.”
Berlin (CNSNews.com) – The Czech Republic has resisted calls by the European Union’s executive Commission to tighten gun controls in response to terror attacks, forcing the E.C. to alter its proposals, allowing for the private ownership of semi-automatic weapons.
The Czech interior ministry now wants to loosen its own laws a step further, proposing a constitutional amendment on Monday that would allow its citizens to bear legally-held firearms against the perpetrators of terrorist attacks, such as those in Nice or Berlin, the Czech news agency ctk reported.
The government says that putting weapons into the hands of citizens is the best defense against terror.
The move comes despite the European Commission’s ongoing advocacy for stricter gun control laws in Europe.
The Czech parliament blocked the E.C.’s earlier attempt to introduce tighter European gun laws, after the attack in Nice.
While the E.U. Firearms Directive and Czech laws already prohibited private ownership of fully automatic weapons, the commission’s initial campaign aimed to further narrow the E.U. regulations to rule out semi-automatic and self-loading weapons – which make up about half of firearm ownership in the Czech Republic – and limit magazine sizes to ten rounds.
The Czech parliament rejected the proposal, arguing that such tougher gun laws would not be the solution as terror attackers only use illegally-held weapons. The government derided the E.C.’s plans as “legally ambiguous and in some cases excessive.”
The E.C. was last month finally able to reach agreement by all member states, including the Czechs, after allowing exceptions for hunters and gun collectors and only banning a select few semi-automatic weapons.
“Mass shootings and terrorist attacks in Europe have highlighted the dangers posed by certain firearms circulating across the E.U.,” it said in a statement, but also expressed regret at the concessions it had to make, such as not banning all semi-automatic weapons or limiting magazines to ten rounds.
Despite the E.U.’s concerns, the latest Czech proposal argues that armed citizens would be the best defense against terror attacks.
In a statement on Monday, Interior Minister Milan Chovanec said that amending the constitution would reduce the chances of attacks by enabling “active and rapid defense.”
Citizens should be given the right to use firearms to defend their “life, health and property” and contribute to “ensuring the internal order, security and territorial integrity” of the country, he said.
As December’s truck attack in Berlin demonstrated, security forces have not been able to guarantee the full prevention of attacks. In light of the threat, the Czech ministry argued that the proposed amendment would help to prevent the loss of lives by allowing civilians to contribute to “internal order and security.”
The proposal is scheduled to be considered in March. To pass, it must be agreed upon by at least three-fifths of all deputies and three-fifths of all senators present.
The exact details of the interior ministry’s proposal are still to be worked out, and for now simply indicates that it is subject to “terms and details prescribed by law.”
However, it appears likely to expand the range of “genuine reasons” for possession of a firearm to include those of “national security” – and thus, theoretically, allow anyone to own a gun.
Gun ownership is currently legal in the Czech Republic. As per E.U. regulations, firearms are required to be registered, and Czech law also requires a license and a genuine reason to possess a firearm, such as for hunting or personal protection.
Gun holders are also required to pass a background check which considers factors such as mental health and criminal history.
Unlike gun ownership, there are no laws explicitly covering civilian use of a firearm in self-defense, nor in regards to terror attacks specifically. Such an incident would fall under general criminal provisions regarding self-defense, which may allow the use of a gun, but only in cases of absolute necessity (including the threat of “imminent” attack).
Self-defense case law in the Czech Republic has applied only to violent assaults such as rape and robberies, and not to terrorism. It is not clear yet how the constitutional amendment would, if at all, build on or deviate from this established law.
The country was shaken by a mass shooting in 2015, when 63-year-old Zdenk Ková fired on a group of 20 people, killing 8. Ková, had a gun holder’s license despite a history of misdemeanors and concerns over his mental state.
The incident prompted calls for a re-examination of Czech gun laws, but they are still considered among the most lax in the E.U., partly due to the fact semi-automatic weapon possession is allowed.
According to data collated by Gunpolicy.org, a firearm injury prevention NGO, an estimated 7.6 percent of Czech’s 10 million residents legally hold weapons, with 810,046 registered privately owned firearms in the country.
Perhaps the Czechs have a longer memory than most Europeans?. Nazis? Communists? Other forms of terror?
Of course, the French and most of the E.U. just doubled-down on restrictions for their
citizenry subjects. Wanna bet the next European attack will be in another ‘gun-free’ zone?
I’m disabled. For a number of reasons, including lymphoma. I don’t make much money on disability. I’ve an old, beater car, without working A/C. I rent a room in which to live. I’ve no romantic relationship in my life. I have chronic pain issues. They will never get better.
Sometimes, as above, I whine about these things. The holidays do not help.
But, The Universe usually doesn’t let me sit on the pity pot too long…
Some time back, I reached out to a friend-of-long-ago on Facebook. And, he never responded. Oh, well. He was a college classmate, who became my boss (for a time) then a good friend. And we lost track of each other because of Life.
I was always a little envious of him. In college, he was in good shape, having just left The Marines. He
was handsome. Sparkling blue eyes, a shock of black hair, chiseled jaw and a permanent five-o’clock shadow with a blue/black beard undertone. He kinda resembled the adult cartoon character Archer. And his wife was gor-geous! (Maybe that was the most envious part?)
Well, I finally heard back from him on Facebook!
We all have our ‘stuff’. He is no different.
He’s divorced, and NOT friendly with his ex. (I am with mine.) He, too is on disability, brought about by his military service. He has a type of chronic leukemia. Not necessarily lethal, but in need of regular treatment. (Which he now receives).
And he told me he had been homeless for ELEVEN YEARS!!!
He is now working with other homeless veterans to help them get back on their feet and find places to live.
And to think I was whining earlier…
I suppose that all depends on how it’s imposed…
(from Brock Townsend)
This essay was first published in Southern Partisan in the Winter, 1985.
Southerners rarely while away their leisure hours by contemplating Yankees, for there is no point in thinking of unpleasant things if one is not obliged to do so. Yet the practice does have value; to some extent, at least, we are defined by those attributes which set us apart from others, and sometimes we can be made aware of such attributes only by observing people who do not share them. Another virtue of thinking about Yankees, in the long run perhaps a more important one, is that it serves to remind us that they have repeatedly tried to make us over in their own image. Indeed, though it may seem that they have been off our backs since the demise of the civil rights movement, their latest campaign to reform us is actually well under way.
What is there about us that has made us so offensive to them? Or, conversely, what is there about them that has compelled them to meddle in our affairs? The late great Richard M. Weaver, in The Southern Tradition at Bay, addressed himself to analyzing the qualities that distinguish the South from North, and for the nineteenth century he was perfectly on target. “The North had Tom Paine and his postulates assuming the virtuous inclinations of man,” Weaver wrote; “the South had Burke and his doctrine of human fallibility and of the organic nature of society.” The North embraced rationalism and egalitarianism; the South had a “deep suspicion of all theory, perhaps of intellect,” and clung to a hierarchical and deferential social order. The North bowed down before science and material progress; the South “persisted in regarding science as a false messiah,” and remained into “our own time” (the 1940s) “the last non-materialist civilization in the Western World.”
Growing up in public schools in the Southwest, we were taught it was The Civil War (in lieu of The War Between the States, or that recent unpleasantness). And that Lincoln was a hero by preserving the Union.
Simplistic, I know.
Now the Republic seems more divided than ever, and there have been rumblings (on the Internet) of secessionist movements in Idaho, Texas, Montana, California and Alaska.
Even if President-elect Trump had quoted Gerald Ford and said ‘our long national nightmare is over’, that wouldn’t necessarily make it so.
And it does appear as though Southerners DO think differently than Yankees. (A Southerner now not being necessarily geographically defined.)
And the Federal government by it’s very nature seems to want more power and control.
Between land take-overs, false imprisonments, warrantless searches, courts of Star Chamber, and not taking a firm hand to persons who break the law, and illegal alien and drug smuggling, there is potential for this not to end well.
Just look at the diverse mindsets of progressives, conservatives and libertarians on Facebook!
We are as divergent as the South and the North 151 years ag0 – coupled with Internet technology and communication. And statist millionaires fueling the fire with billions!
I fear for the Republic.
(Originally, I was going to say The National Enquirer, but that periodical appears to have achieved more gravitas of late than The New York Times and Time magazine, combined!) 🙂
Let’s see. In the past week…
- Hillary WILL DEFINITELY be indicted
- Hillary WILL DEFINITELY NOT be indicted
- Global Warming is real (as determined by bribed/blackmailed scientists)
- Oklahoma Fracking is causing the increased earthquake activity there (as determined by the same ‘team’ of scientists)
- Assange states Wikileaks will release astounding information damning to Hillary in the next couple of days. – from Saturday last (We’re still waiting, Julian!)
- GMO foods are killing us.
- Vaccinating is bad
- Vaccinating is good.
- More BEE species are facing extinction (due to Monsanto pesticide and GMO development)
- Big corporations (like Monsanto) are bad. Just because they are big, and make money.
- Hillary will win (because the fix is in, ballot box stuffing, voter fraud, Soros, Illuminati, etc.)
- Hillary will win (based on some Quija board predictions in the past – see Groundhog Day)
- Trump will win (see above Hillary win stuff for reasons)
One thing I have noticed. Many of the same scientists are aligned with the same forces who believe in global warming, are anti-GMO and ANTI-vaxxer types, and have the ‘humans are bad for the Earth’ (and obtaining oil is bad, and think we need a global government to solve everything) way of thinking.
IF YOU HAVE NOT VOTED, PLEASE DO SO. IF NOT, YOU WILL HAVE NO RIGHT TO COMPLAIN.
Thank GOD today is Election Day, and it will all be over soon!
One way or another…
God save The United States of America, from herself!
In Greek mythology Sisyphus (;Greek: Σίσυφος, Sísuphos) was the king of Ephyra (now known as Corinth). He was punished for his self-aggrandizing craftiness and deceitfulness by being forced to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it come back to hit him, repeating this action for eternity. Through the classical influence on modern culture, tasks that are both laborious and futile are therefore described as Sisyphean (). (Wikipedia)
I’m on Facebook less (under my real name) since I’ve been producing a daily blog. Not to mention, the idiocy encountered on FB (especially in the realm of politics) is astounding.
STILL, I do sometimes visit there, and less often participate in political commentary. Because, sadly, there are some folks schooled in courtesy and debate, but many are not.
One of my FB friends is a guy I’ve known since grade school. We also went to the same junior high and graduated in the same class in high school. And attended the same Sunday school.
He claims to be an NRA member and a hunter, but sometimes repeats the time-worn arguments used by the anti-gun-rights community about controls over semiautomatic firearms and magazine capacity.
Not understanding the whole nose-under-the-tent thing, or, for that matter, The Second Amendment.
Regardless, he has a right to his opinion, and to post the same on Facebook.
I mostly just read others postings, occasionally adding my two cents worth. Or just clicking ‘like’.
Unless I am directly attacked!
So this guy mentioned me by name and strongly suggested I knew nothing about the issue, law or history, and should understand HIS interpretation of The Second Amendment! (the whole militia meme).
I took a deep breath (to slow my roll) and responded politely that he read The Federalist Papers and Madison and Tench Coxe to obtain a better perspective! I also recommended reading about how the first efforts on gun control were to stop freed slaves from firearms ownership (in 1809) and continued to the Sullivan Law in NYC (1911) to prevent undesirables (read immigrants) from having guns.
Then, I took another breath.
No response was posted.
BUT, in about a week, I saw another friend’s pro-gun Facebook posting generating a response from this same guy. THE SAME RESPONSE, ALMOST VERBATIM!
Obviously, he had not taken my suggestion to do further research.
I will continue to ‘like’ his comments regarding his new retirement home in Prescott, or his new prosthesis (he is an amputee), but I won’t bother responding any more to his screeds on restricting all our rights.
‘Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.’ – George Carlin
(my Dad’s general exclamation when an opinion – usually unsolicited or wanted – made itself known)
I’m participating in my usual morning routine. Shower, dress, readings, meditation, email, blog etc. When I see a notification on my cellular telephone that there was an attempt to log into my Facebook account. Last night, about 0030. From Mainland China!
I was long asleep at the time, and no where near the PRC. Apparently, they used Windows XP, Internet Explorer 9, and something resembling my FB password!
WHAT! Everyone knows I haven’t used XP in years, and loathe IE!
It IS a little disconcerting they could approximate my password, though. AND, would even care about accessing MY FB account. After all, I’m not a registered Democrat! 🙂
SO, per FB instructions, I changed my password to something completely different.
It IS good to know someone on the other side of the World thinks I’m important enough to hack, though…
(I am on FB, but under my real name. Perhaps I need to change that?)