Some part of me objects to this armed robot dog because it doesn’t seem “sporting” … 🤖

[ARTICLE: Robot Dogs Now Have Assault Rifles Mounted On Their Backs]

… and then I reflect on this SNL skit about the evil scientist contest, and realize I’m being a little twee. Folks don’t build IEDs because they are fair. They don’t fire mortar’s from the alley next to a hospital, or operate out of apartment blocks full of civilians because they “have no other choice.”

War is killing, not “defense” or “peacekeeping.” It is about the maximization of dead humans who aren’t you while minimizing the dead ones who are you. A robot dog with a gun obviously leads to the best dead not-yous per dead-you ratio.

If that is shitty, it’s because war and violence are shitty, not because technology is shitty or imperialist aggressors aren’t playing fair or whatever.

All war is low-key genocide. If you don’t like that, then you better start agitating against war, not just bitching about new robots. The robots are not the problem.

May We Be Brought Back from the Mouth of Annihilation

After the Pittsburgh Synagogue shooting my coworker at the Hebrew school admits she wishes we had less windows” by Joshua Elbaum

​​I bet birds wish the same thing.
That anyone would take the sky, crack it,
put its pieces where they don’t belong,
astonishes them. The birds fear our foolishness.
We who dare to choose between gifts
the sky offers: light without rain, heat
without hail, stars without the space between—   
I remember the stained glass of Sundays,
how it stained the light too, shape of Jacob,
Joseph, Miriam. Shape of a dove,
of an ox. Shape of a story our faith arrives
through, refracted. My mouth forming
the shape of someone else’s mother
tongue, the prayers too a window,
through which a song might pass
but not the meaning. We are to be ready
for what the children ask in the morning.
We are to be ready to barricade the doors.
Windows are most dangerous when they are so clean
you could mistake them for air.
When I tell my family about this job they laugh
because all I ever used to ask about at holidays
were the plot holes. These children ask nothing,
as if knowing they could slip away into American
suburbia if they had to. It is said Jews fear transcendent
relationship with G-d because it reminds us
of assimilation. There is a reason for every law,
like skin they keep the self inside the self.
A person should pray only in a house
with windows, as it is written.

The Orthodox draw a circle in the sand
saying everything to one side of this is holy.
The Mystics draw a circle around a circle
and erase little holes into the smaller one.
My grandparents kept glass cases
filled with children and birds,
a tiny fiddler, a goose with golden eggs.
Each case a window into a childhood
that might be bought back retroactively
from the mouth of annihilation,
from the night of too many stars,
the streets covered in little pieces of sky.
The body perishes because it is permeable.
To weather and disease and bullets.
If you want to be king of the world
make your world very small. Plug every plot hole.
Take the lightless box and pray in it.
The killer too sat at a dark window others
at other dark windows whispered through.
Windows are most dangerous when they are so clean
you could mistake them for a mirror.
There is a teaching that Moses at Mount Sinai
received no tablets, no commandments
not even a word, just one soundless letter
the noise of the larynx clicking into gear,
glottal seed to spool story around like pearl to grit,
plot hole that vacuums creation in around it.
On another stained Sunday I wonder why
any sound needs my mouth to make it at all.
When I open to ask, a pigeon flies down my throat.
I close my eyes and everything I can’t see is spared.
God whispers through the window of the sky at night
saying, the body perishes unless it is permeable.
A kid at work tells me my eyes look like the universe.
I thank him, and he corrects me: the universe is dead.
My eyes look like the dead universe. He is my favorite.
The sky is running out of birds to throw at us.
Soon there will be no wings to carry our prayers up.
I am trying to keep breathing. I am trying not to look away.
A miracle, that no matter how much we see,
there never seems to be any less light.

for Joyce Fienberg, Richard Gottfried, Rose Mallinger, Jerry Rabinowitz, Cecil Rosenthal, David Rosenthal, Bernice Simon, Sylvan Simon, Daniel Stein, Melvin Wax, and Irving Younger

…for all of my slaughtered brothers and sisters…

May their memories be for a blessing. May HaShem avenge their blood.

This is a fun little film…

… but just a reminder to my American readers: We already live in this reality. This country isn’t just full of guns; it’s full of ammunition. If you have access to even a single bullet, you are $10 and a trip to the hardware store from making a wonderfully lethal weapon: unserialized, untraceable, highly concealable, nearly foolproof.  You won’t be doing any civil massacres with a hardware-store slam gun, but you can mostly definitely kill the guy standing in front of you with little effort.

The reason no one will shoot you today is because no one feels like shooting you today.

Why Bulletproof Hoodies and Backpacks are Bullshit

This video isn’t about “bulletproof backpacks” and “bulletproof hoodies” and all the other misery-profiteering school products out there—but it illustrates an important point, which is that this shit isn’t a +4 magic shield; you have to stop the projectile, and you have to do something with the force it’s exerted, and you have to be able to get up and get moving to avoid getting shot in the face or the crotch or anywhere else that’s exposed because you’re on the ground and gasping.  Life isn’t a video game:

Heck, just jump to ~3:34, and see the wreckage caused by an extremely common, extremely legal gun—even when the bullet is stopped.

Incidentally, here’s the testing documentation for the bullet-resistant hoodies featured in that BoingBoing article linked above. 

Do those hoodies stop a .44 Mag?  Yup!  Zero penetration.  That is indeed impressive.  But look closer at these results: the witness panel was deformed by 1.25 inches on average. That’s how far that bullet would go into your body—even though it hasn’t torn the fabric. It’s called “soft body armor” for a reason, folks.  The manufacturer implies that the hood will protect you, but that’s a load of shit:  If your skull suffers a blunt penetration of 1.25 inches, you are dead. Your brain is only about .5 inches from the outside world.

This is Not a Peaceful Transfer of Power; It’s a Frog Boil 🇺🇸🔥🐸

This whole article is sorta astounding. I mean, nothing is really surprising, but it’s sorta shocking to have all of your assumptions confirmed:

20 days of fantasy and failure: Inside Trump’s quest to overturn the election

I can’t help but imagine all of what’s happened over the past month from the PotUS’s perspective: 

art by DonkeyHotey https://www.flickr.com/photos/donkeyhotey/
(art by DonkeyHotey)

He’s never had a real job—not one that he could actually lose. And now a bunch of losers—people with no wealth, no audience, no “pull,” folks with meager incomes and dumb names, with little (if any) power, many of them women and people of color—they took away his toy.

And they didn’t do it by force: They didn’t pull a gun on him, they didn’t have to “see him in court!!!” They didn’t have to look at him or talk to him or even acknowledge him. They just ticked a box and mailed a stupid scrap of paper.

And all of those “they”s in the previous graff: those are “you” and “me”; we did this. We, who are weak-ass little pussies and cry babies and retarded faggot snowflakes, we hurt him, deeply. And we did it while hiding in our little shithole houses in shithole towns and bullshit states.

I imagine that, in his heart of hearts, he simply never believed such a thing was possible, so insulated from reality was his 70+ years on this earth. 

The most petulant 46 minutes in American history

It is all so astoundingly pathetic. If he hadn’t done so much to hurt so many, you’d weep for his loss of innocence.

Just to be clear: Although no shots have been fired (yet), this is not a “peaceful transfer of power.” At best, it’s a tremendous waste of the most precious resource in a time of crisis (like this one): Attention

At worst, it’s an incitement to violence. 

His blood is boiling, and we are the frogs.

I was having trouble wrapping my brain around a quarter million Americans dead from COVID since March…

… so I made this:

250000dead/zl.pl 😷

Building this didn’t make me feel better, per se, but it’s giving my mourning a proper place to latch onto things. z”l

May your memory be for a blessing, Leviticus Erlewine (z”l); he was a commercial pilot from Wolf Lake, MN. He hated go-karts and loved his wife.

Well, I guess President Trump was right: Illegal immigrants *do* come here to hurt Americans…

… he was just 100% wrong about which border they crossed illegally, and what they looked like:

“Derail some fucking trains, kill some people, and poison some water supplies. You better be fucking ready to do those things.”

Patrik Jordan Mathews, December 1, 2019
Patrik Jordan Mathews: AWOL Canadian Demolitions Expert and neo-Nazi

Accused Neo-Nazis Arrested Ahead of Virginia Gun Rally

This is the age of war. This is the age of entire this is the age of strife, this is the century upon which this current civilizations rotting Jew infested country comes to a collapse. You were born in the wrong century for complacency. That’s all for now.

Patrik Jordan Mathews, on or before December 13, 2019

Feds: White supremacists hoped rally would start civil war

While residing in Georgia, Mathews stated that he “only exists for the White Revolution now.” Mathews further stated that he wanted to remain a “ghost” and oversee safe houses for Base members who need to disappear. Mathews stated that once there are a few “ghosts,” they could begin doing “jobs,” by which Mathews meant targeted violence or attacks.

excerpt from the legal motion requesting Mathews’ detention pending trial

Based on other statements in the legal motion, these targets were likely to be Jewish- or African-Americans. I’ve mentioned Mathews’ had been hiding out in Michigan, yeah? And I live in Michigan? And my family and I, we’re the kinds of Americans he came here to kill?

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Solid Facts, Reasonable Fears, Sensible Measures 🦠🧟‍♀️☣️

(This is a version of something I drafted for my local faith community, where I’m active in safety/security. Faith communities offer lots of programs for the very young, very old, and very vulnerable—and we tend to crowd lots of folks into one room; disease transmission is more of a concern than it might be for a workplace full of healthy young adults who can afford and access health care services.)

Folks are worried about Coronavirus (i.e., “COVID-19”)—and this isn’t unfounded (see the “REASONABLE COVID-19 CONCERNS” sub-section for details).

While there are good reasons for concern, there are also very basic steps we can all take to reduce both the risk of infection and the severity of any disruption to our lives should an outbreak hit nearby.  Please feel free to share any portion (or all) of the following info with your people.  Thanks!

REASONABLE COVID-19 CONCERNS

As of this morning (March 2), there have been two reported Coronavirus (i.e., “COVID-19”) deaths in Washington state.  Given

  • what we know about the disease (e.g., https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ )
  • its gestation period (~2 weeks)
  • the currently understood mortality rate (~2%)
  • how it’s transmitted (airborne droplets from coughs and sneezes)
  • and our best guesses at it’s transmission rate (or “R0”; current estimate is that COVID-19 has an R0 of “2”, which means each infected person will infect ~2 others),

this all tends to imply that the disease has been spreading in WA for ~6-8 weeks, and there are hundreds of cases there now (I heard an estimate in the thousands on NPR this morning, but didn’t catch the source, and so take it with a grain of salt).

On the one hand, this is obviously concerning: COVID-19 is ~20x more deadly than the seasonal flu (which kills tens of thousands annually).  On the other hand, a 2% mortality rate implies a 98% (or higher) survival rate, and an R0 of 2 isn’t great, but it also isn’t a Stephen King story: COVID-19 is more contagious than seasonal flu (which has an R0 of ~1.3, I think) but much less so than measles (R0 ~15) or whooping cough (R0 ~5). (Incidentally, all of those are also primarily transmitted through airborne droplets). 

Usually, diseases like COVID-19 are most dangerous to the very young and very old.  Based on limited studies in China, it appears that even the very, very young have no trouble fending off COVID-19.  That’s great!  But that means the mortality rate for COVID-19 falls hardest on the elderly and those with existing health problems.

REASONABLE COVID-19 MEASURES

  • ENCOURAGE HAND WASHING! I know it seems silly to say, but that’s the Number One way we can protect ourselves and our community members (especially the infirm and our elders).  Make sure to review this with any kids you keep around; they chronically short-change hand washing. The young aren’t at very high risk of dying from COVID-19—but are excellent candidates for spreading it.  (Also, as someone who regularly uses public men’s room, I’ll level with you: Maybe also review this with adults you know.)
    1. Soap and water beats hand-sanitizer every time!  
    2. Wash hands with soap for at least 20 seconds (i.e., sing “Happy Birthday to Me” twice while washing hands).
    3. Make sure to scrub between fingers, down the backs of the hands, and focus on the finger tips.
    4. Dry vigorously with paper towel—the friction does a lot of the work of removing pathogens.
    5. Wash hands upon returning home from school/work, before and after meals, after you cough or sneeze, and any time you’ve been touching something folks likely coughed on (e.g., shared computers/tablets, ATMs, public handrails, etc.)
    6. Failing all else, hand sanitizer is better than nothing. Proper use us just like soap & water: Cover hands, scrub for 20 seconds, focus on getting between fingers/down backs/and rubbing fingertips.
  •  Cough into the elbow crook: At school my kids were taught that this was called the “vampire cough”; I love that!
  • Plan for school closures: It’s gonna happen, just like snow days. Be ready—and be ready for your day care to be closed, too.  Make advance plans with work to telecommute, have backup helpers in place, and so on.  Make sure your Netflix and Disney+ subscriptions are paid up. Invest in a game system.
  • Take care of yourself: Disease strikes the stressed, tired, and weary.  Drink plenty of water, get plenty of exercise (go on a walk before the ice returns!), and get plenty of sleep.

FURTHER COVID-19 RESOURCES

You Can Help Reduce the Hidden Costs of Being a Minority in America

UPDATE 2019-10-11: Yom Kippur was Wednesday, and a guy with homemade guns and bombs tried to kill a few dozen praying Jews in Germany. He was thwarted by his own poor craftsmanship and decent locked doors. I’d really like to know that Jewish congregations throughout America have good doors, good locks, and good trauma kits. All of this is expensive; a small trauma kit—one with supplies to slow the death of one or two gunshot victims—runs ~$50. It would be nice not to have to chose which of my friends, neighbors, or family members dies and which might live. YOU CAN HELP US BUY THESE THINGS.  Heck, here’s the shopping list for a minimal trauma kit.  Buy the parts yourself, and send it to the congregation of your choosing. Concerned they won’t know what to do with it? Have them contact me and I’ll walk them through how to use this trauma kit in an emergency.

It’s expensive to be in the minority: You need to take days off that aren’t excepted in the “secular” work calendar; you need to buy things (garments, food, etc.) for which there is lower demand (and thus are correspondingly more expensive to acquire); you need to spend time (often on a daily basis) explaining very simple things over and over and over again to often very well meaning people; you have to swallow your gall over a very large number of very small insults; you have to search around for food or facilities or services that are suitable for you, and don’t oblige you to debase yourself or become an unwilling spectacle (although both are frequently part of your life).

Muslims face this.  Immigrants face this.  Folks whose genders don’t match their sexes in the predominant fashion face this.

Right now, all over America, very small groups of Jews are scratching together very large sums of money in order to buy thicker doors, better locks, security cameras, and bullet-resistant glass.

I know that you don’t wish any of us harm.  And I know how awful it feels to not be able to do anything.

If you’re in the majority, then you never have to sit down in your pew and say “OK: The shooter will almost certainly come through those doors, so I need to clear people this direction.  We’ll designate Person X to sprint down to the childcare room and get the kids out through the fire exit…”

If you never attend religious services, then you aren’t shopping for trauma kits—and so maybe have some shekels to spare.

If you don’t need to be dedicated brain cycles to having a plan for keeping your friends and neighbors alive for the 5 to 7 minutes it takes the police to arrive, then you have bandwidth to spare for some other thoughts—and likely some of those are “How did we get here?  How the hell can we get back?

Me, I’ve got the High Holidays next week; I’m waiting for the supplies for my trauma kit to come in the mail.  I’m reviewing building schematics and Google satellite views and walking perimeters to figure how long it takes to get from a fire door to the tree line.

If you’re bummed about the surge in American anti-Semitism (and the corresponding new fad of shooting Jews in our houses of worship while we pray), there’s something concrete you can do:

Send money

This flyer is for my community, but you don’t have to send us money.  I absolutely guarantee that every Jewish Federation in every part of this country is running a similar drive.  We all are operating congregations and community centers in of old buildings with shoe-string budgets. Google the nearest major city to you and the word “JCC” (for “Jewish Community Center”).  You’ll either get the Jewish Federation for that region, the nearest Jewish Community Center in that town, or that town’s lone lil synagogue (example: I googled “jcc billings, MT” and found these cats Congregation Beth Aaron—who almost certainly need better doors).

Give them a call and say “I’d like to donate to help you increase safety and security in your community.”  Give an amount of money that’s a multiple of 18 (it’s sort of a lucky number; Jewish superstition associates 18 with life and longevity).

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