… an aristocrat straight out of The Aristocrats is inaugurated President of the United States. Sad! 🇺🇸🔥
“We’re as good as dead.”
This is hella depressing, but you really need to take ~10 minutes to page through this whole thing: “Vanishing: The Extinction Crisis is Far Worse Than You Think”
Tech Companies: “How Dare You Suggest We’d Help Build the Muslim Registry We Already Built!”
So, when I saw this item the other day, I immediately thought of this blog post I penned in January 2015. tl;dr on all this:
Trump transition team has been publicly mulling over creating/reviving a “Muslim Registry.” The Intercept started calling social media/tech companies and only one—Twitter—said “We’d never help with this!” (FYI, IBM has been down this road before, and yet still somehow doesn’t know the right answer to this question). Yesterday, Facebook finally clearly said “No way! We won’t do it! We’d never build a Muslim Regsitry!”
But here’s the thing:
- As I pointed out back in Jan 2015, these companies have already built these databases. They know when you are sleeping, they know when you’re awake, they know if you’ve been bad or good or if you even give two shits about Santa Claus.
- More to the point, the abstract threat I wrote about back in Jan 2015, when it freaked me out a little that Amazon had clearly flagged me as a Jew, became real in the Spring of 2016 when a bomb threat was called in to the Jewish Community Center housing my daughter’s daycare. Because I sit on the Board of our congregation (which uses that building regularly for our religious services), I ended up touching base with the local police and FBI agents investigating the incident. As it turned out six JCCs across the U.S. (in locales as far-flung as St. Louis, New York, and Louisiana) received the same threats at the same time—and all had very similar names. When I did some googling, I found that all of us were listed together alphabetically in online Jewish education directories, with our phone numbers and addresses. I.e., someone was just working their way down a list. This time around, it was just to make phone calls and fuck with us and our kids. Next time? Who knows; here’s what said in 2015, and it’s still about the same:
[I]n Amazon’s datacenter, I’m a row in a table. The index on that row is something like “CUSTOMER #2045674” and the cells include “kindle-owner” and “SF reader” and “owl pellet buyer” and “Jew” and my mailing address. Just another row, among millions–until that table gets resorted by the “Jew” column, and then I’m a box waiting to be ticked off by God-knows-who for God-knows-what-reason. Maybe they want to send me free Xanukah candles! Maybe they want to send me a bomb disguised as a printer cartridge! I guess I’ll have to wait for the mail man to come and find out then!
So I guess it’s swell that Facebook and IBM and Amazon and whoever else would never-ever-ever build the Muslim Registry they already built, but what if they maybe entirely accidentally do build a registry (which they already built, which is already being used to facilitate hate crimes and international terror)? What then?
FYI, in business jargon, this is an externality.
My Dog is Full of “Masses”
This lil mutherfucker is Lunchbox:
The vet’s records say Lunchbox is 13-years-old, but that’s not true. We’ve had him for 13 years, but he was full grown when we got him from the rescue. We thought he was a puppy—and he was marketed as such—but as he failed to grow any bigger, or loose any “baby” teeth, or need to be housebroken, it slowly dawned on us that he wasn’t a puppy, he was just a small dog some dipshit didn’t want.
Anyway, on Friday he really wasn’t feeling well.
It’s hot out. We have no AC. Our ancient poodle is sleeping on a cold pack from the freezer. #pureMichigan pic.twitter.com/RijlkMeZ9H
— David Erik Nelson (@SquiDaveo) August 12, 2016
We figured it was the heat; we live in Michigan, it had been 90 for a week, we have no AC—it was miserable. He mostly just moped around that week, looking at us with utter disgust at our inability to make the house work properly. By the weekend, he was lying on the hardwood floor in front of a fan, only going outside to potty when coaxed (or, on several occasions, carried).
Then the heat broke, but he felt no better. He was very listless, and seemed confused. He was having trouble standing up, and trouble navigating the steps, not that he couldn’t—he could be coaxed up with treats—but more like he couldn’t quite understand how steps worked.
This all seemed Really Bad, so I took him to the vet Monday. It turns out that he’s full of “masses” that are almost certainly tumors. One (are several) inside the membrane that surrounds his heart, and another maybe on his liver or spleen—which is in line with some elevated something-something levels in his blood (he had a lot of tests, and I was having trouble following, because the vet—who was a very nice, small young woman—was so obviously absolutely miserable to have to be telling me any of this). As a consequence of the tumors (and possibly the heat, and likely a variety of lingering infections permitted to slowly simmer in his failing, mass-ridden system), his pancreas had swollen enormously, and was smooshing his organs and distending his belly and generally making him miserable as fuck. Also, it was making it really hard to tell in the x-rays what masses in his guts were attached to what, and how severe they may be.
I just had to give my ID to the pharmacist to get dope for my dog. #sighs #America
— David Erik Nelson (@SquiDaveo) August 16, 2016
The upshot is that Lunchbox probably has 6 months to live, maybe a year, maybe less. The vet sold me anti-emetics and antibiotics, and instructed me to shift him to a very low-fat diet—which, absolutely no joke, is my diet: Cheap-ass, low-fat beef/chicken over steamed brown rice. I also had to pick him up a ‘scrip for controlled narcotics.
At the human pharmacy.
For my dog.
My dog is on dope. His name is on the bottle and everything: “
This is the face of the Midwestern opioid epidemic #America:
It’s now two days later, and he’s absolutely and 100% back to being his old self—mostly due to the anti-emetics (which killed his nausea, restoring his appetite) and antibiotics (which are bringing down the most obvious belly-distention), but infinitely bolstered by the fact that he’s absolutely elated to be on my diet.
From his perspective, this has all turned out terrific—because he doesn’t know what the future is, and therefore doesn’t know that he’s mostly dead.
I don’t know if that means he’s an idiot or a fucking zen master. I guess, all things being equal, I hope that I can begin to emulate his comportment in the face of death.
When I first started trying to find a way to talk about all this, I’d imagined I’d follow that bold-italics bit above with something like “I guess that means God is not a total dick sometimes.”
But then I realized: Lunchbox is a dog. God didn’t make dogs; we did. They are our first, grandest experiment in Genetically Modified Organisms, now in it’s 15,000-ish year. We are their God, and we made them in our image—or at least the best parts of it: We took wolves and foxes and selectively bred them until they became beasts mostly composed of love and loyalty, forever content, forever in the Now, perhaps somewhat easily Scared, but not cursed with Fear, because they aren’t cursed with thinking they have any fucking clue What Comes Next.
The Rabbi Jesus might have urged all-y’all to consider the lilies of the field and how they grow, neither toiling nor spinning, but I couldn’t tell a fucking lily from a mayapple or crocus or onion plant. Fuck lilies. As far as I’m concerned, consider the dog, how he loves, how he trusts that things will sort out OK, and food will come, and rest will come, and warmth will come, and affection will come. He doesn’t toil, he doesn’t fret, and yet he does OK, all things considered.
Three Thoughts on Nukes: The Parable of the Six Fishes, the Demon Core, and the 10,000 Dead Americans We Don’t Care About
Roger Fisher’s idea for making the decision to use nuclear weapons less abstract (from March 1981 @BulletinAtomic): pic.twitter.com/h7arl36sKE
— Stephen Schwartz (@AtomicAnalyst) December 2, 2015
Which reminds me of a story Penn Jillette used to tell. He and Teller were scheduled to appear on TV (maybe Letterman?), and so they prepared a new twist on a classic trick: You take a volunteer’s watch, put it in a bag, smash it, dump out the tattered remains, do some patter, and then make the watch reappear whole and ticking. In their version for Letterman (or whoever), they were going to take the host’s watch, smash it, then wheel out a big aquarium, and sprinkle the parts in the water, where they’d dissolve and the fish would eat them. The host would freely select one of the fish, Teller would scoop it out with a net, they’d gut and and ta-da!, there would be the whole, ticking watch in the fish’s guts!
But the network standards folks wouldn’t let them do that trick; it’d be too brutal to have an animal killed on screen. So Penn and Teller re-jiggered the trick: Instead of an aquarium full of live fish, they’d wheel out a fishmonger’s ice table with six dead fish on it. They’d take the host’s watch, smash it, sprinkle the bits in the ice, the bits would dissolve, the host would freely select a dead fish, and Teller’d fillet it to reveal the watch. Standards loved it, the host loved it, and that’s what went on live TV.
The point of the story—which is the sort of thing that belongs in an atheist’s Bible—is that everyone was more comfortable with six fish dying instead of one, provided they didn’t have to watch. Perhaps this is why, if we are to have a death penalty, we should televise it. Perhaps viewing should be mandatory. Perhaps the president should be forced to kill one patriot before he or she kills 10,000 abstract men, women, and children.
Consider The Demon Core and the sacrifices researchers make (occasionally heroic, but almost always mundane, and very often totally unforeseeable). I’m mostly putting this here because I’d first heard about this when I was a kid, and realized that many folks hadn’t–and further, that most folks don’t realize what a duct-tape-and-butterknives affair science really is. We imagine clean labs and specialized gear, but in real life it’s a lot of tupperware and dirty countertops. A few folks are celebrated for the “Eureka!”s, and even fewer die terrible (but instructive) deaths. The vast majority toil steadfastly day after day to further human progress one negative result at a time—so that we can go onto to totally disregard their hard-won findings because an actor or know-nothing shouted something demonstrably false at the top of their lungs just long enough to fool our just-half-a-step-from-monkey brains.
I hasten to add that, having protested the continuing operation of a damaged Fermi II back in the 1990s and edited a textbook about Chernobyl, I am now nonetheless firmly pro-nuclear energy. As a species, we need a lot of electricity, and we’re gonna need even more to dig ourselves out of the slow climate avalanche that’s going to kill us. The way we currently generate bulk electricity kills tens of thousands of people annually (for example, air pollution from burning coal kills more than 10,000 people each year just in the US)—and that’s when it’s working as intended. Even taking into account the inevitability of the occasional Fukushima or Chernobyl, we’re still better off with the Demon Core than the Devil We Know.
Gaaaaaah! #Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah #NSFW :( *UPDATED!!!*
Hey gents: Ever wanted to do sex stuff to a cannibal ghost’s face? Well, guess what? NOW YOU CAN!
I don’t wanna come off as a prude or anything, but I think that there’s maybe absolutely nothing not wrong with this, from it’s name—which starts with “sexbaby“(!!!), and then somehow manages to get worse—to the use of colors and shapes, to the reviews, distressingly low price, and the fact that this is in stock and “Fulfilled by Amazon” (thus conjuring the image of untold ranks of shelves in a Tennessee warehouse, holding uncountable numbers of cartons, each containing boxes upon boxes of individually packaged artificial ghostbaby sexmaws. With teeth.)
I present to you the “Sexbaby Silicone Realistic Mouth with Tongue and Teeth“
“Sexbaby Silicone Realistic Mouth with Tongue and Teeth“?!?
“Sexbaby silicone realistic mouth with tongue and teeth.”
silicone and realistic
tongue and teeth
Continue reading “Gaaaaaah! #Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah #NSFW 🙁 *UPDATED!!!*”
Meat vs. Machine
Nature can best a drone…
…and a dude with a rudimentary medieval weapon can best a drone…
..and then this super-genius has to fuck it all up:
(Doesn’t help that the fucking thing sounds like a billion mosquitos all crying out for vengeance.)
Thanks, buddy; our fate as biological batteries for a reality-bending one world robo-overlord is basically sealed.