Tag: 40yrs

Tweet of the Day

While I am generally opposed to bitcoin, I make an exception for South Florida. Miami is the rightful home of everything fraudulent, weird, and sleazy. And I say this with love. https://t.co/7erEwDjSDK

— Matt Stoller (@matthewstoller) February 12, 2021

This succinctly sums up both the current cryptocurrency craze and south Florida.

As Zathras would say, “But at least there is symmetry.”

What’s In the Mail Today?

You will not believe what we got in the mail on Wednesday. 

Yes, we got a notice from the US Postal Service to make sure to vote early if we plan to vote by mail.


I know that the Post Office performs many essential services, try getting a your medications through email, for one, and I am loath to make all the standard jokes, but seriously ……… What is up with this?

I guess I should feel grateful about this, because how often do I get to look for and then watch a video of guy in a bear suit rocking out about mail delivery.

This is Batsh%$ Insane

As you may, or may not, be aware, there is a segment of fan-fiction called “The Omegaverse”, which is one part Supernatural fandom, and two (or maybe three) parts bad wolf science.

What you may not be aware of, unless you read the rather incomplete New York Times story, which tended to focus on a genre of literature that features, estrus, involuntary impregnation, involuntary sex, male pregnancy, and a lot of other stuff that makes Furries look like Mike Pence.

I understand why the Times focused on this, it’s salacious, and salacious sells.

It’s also kind of dull, unless it’s your thing, at least to me.

I am a cat person, thank you very much.*

What I find interesting is the use, and in this case abuse, of the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) take-down provisions for a clearly unlawful purpose.

Well, that, and one the principals in the dispute committing perjury and lying to her fans, but again that is simply salacious, and does not address the larger issues here.

As many of you (OK, both of you) are are aware, the DMCA contains a safe harbor provision which says that so long as a platform responds promptly in response to a take down notice to material posted by a user, they cannot be held liable, much in the same way that you cannot sue a bookstore for a book that is defamatory, just the author and publisher.

What the process means is that there is very little upside for platforms to investigate whether or not an actual copyright violation occurs.  They will simply take the material down when a DMCA complaint, and if the complaint is in error, or maliciously wrong, it is no skin off of their nose.

What this has resulted in is DMCA take down notices being issued to coverup evidence of anti-union activity, corrupt politicians covering up their behavior, to extort YouTube channels, for profit academic journals moving against professors who posting their own research, and, of course, Dr. Who fan Ood Knitters.

What happened in this case was that the author, whose innovation appears to be bringing heterosexual relationships into the Omgaverse, and her publisher, went after another author for literary features of the genre, rather than any actual plagiarism, and sent out dozens of DMCA take-down notices to attack a rival in the genre.

It’s a classic case of misusing the DMCA for non-IP purposes.

Well, Lindsay Ellis gives a hysterically funny description of what went down here, and why what happened was wrong, and why the DMCA needs to be fixed.

It’s an hour long, but it’s well worth the watch.

*No, not THAT sort of cat person, NOT THAT THERE’S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT, at least not from a literary perspective.

Arizona, It’s the New Florida, Man!

In Tucson, Arizona, a “Christian” group has organized protests at a McDonalds against a statue of a dinosaur, because ……… Ummmm ……… It’s not in Genesis, I guess?

This is not The Onion:

A Tucson landmark won’t be going extinct anytime soon. Attempts to remove a fiberglass dinosaur statue outside of a McDonald’s have been thwarted.

A group called Christians Against Dinosaurs denounced the T. rex statue on its Facebook page and called for its followers to rally in an effort to remove the statue.

“Please help! This McDonald’s has this dinosaur and refuse to remove it!” according to the Arizona Daily Star. “This is in Tucson, Arizona. Call the manager and demand the removal of this blasphemy!”


When reached via Facebook, Christians Against Dinosaurs told Patch that the group’s mission is no joke.

“We’re fed up with everybody acting like the people of Tucson are imbeciles and we want to help,” a spokesperson for the group said. “Having a big dinosaur outside a cultural hub like McDonald’s makes Tucsonians look like they’re mentally deficient and that isn’t right.”

No, YOU are making, “Tucsonians look like they’re mentally deficient.”

As Zathras Would Say, “At Least There is Symmetry.”

There was a court hearing for the Florida teen who allegedly hacked dozens of celerity Twitter accounts today, and someone posted porn clips to the Zoom meeting.

Needless to say, this is now in my list as a perfect moment in the history of hacking:

Clearly, Mr. Clark has no F%$#s left to give

Perhaps fittingly, a Web-streamed court hearing for the 17-year-old alleged mastermind of the July 15 mass hack against Twitter was cut short this morning after mischief makers injected a pornographic video clip into the proceeding.

The incident occurred at a bond hearing held via the videoconferencing service Zoom by the Hillsborough County, Fla. criminal court in the case of Graham Clark. The 17-year-old from Tampa was arrested earlier this month on suspicion of social engineering his way into Twitter’s internal computer systems and tweeting out a bitcoin scam through the accounts of high-profile Twitter users.


Notice of the hearing was available via public records filed with the Florida state attorney’s office. The notice specified the Zoom meeting time and ID number, essentially allowing anyone to participate in the proceeding.

All worth it for Florida DA Andrew Warren’s reaction

Even before the hearing officially began it was clear that the event would likely be “zoom bombed.” That’s because while participants were muted by default, they were free to unmute their microphones and transmit their own video streams to the channel.


What transpired a minute later was almost inevitable given the permissive settings of this particular Zoom conference call: Someone streamed a graphic video clip from Pornhub for approximately 15 seconds before Judge Nash abruptly terminated the broadcast.

I am very amused by this.

So say we all.

Once Again Da Vinci Amazes

Subscale Reconstruction

Some wonks at MIT just did a recreation of a bridge proposal from Leonardo Da Vince, and, if their reconstruction from his notes is correct,* his bridge was centuries ahead of the state of the art:

Some 500 years after his death, researchers are still discovering just how talented and brilliant Leonardo da Vinci was. Architects and civil engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology used a 3D printer to create a replica of a bridge da Vinci designed, but never built. To their surprise, not only did it work, but it would have also revolutionized bridge design five centuries ago.

As the story goes, in 1502 A.D. the Sultan Bayezid II wanted to build a bridge to connect the city of Istanbul to its neighbor, Galata. One of the proposed designs came from Leonardo da Vinci, who had already made a name for himself in the arts and sciences at the time. In a letter he sent to the sultan, accompanied by a notebook full of sketches, da Vinci described a bridge that would span the proposed distance using a single, flattened arch design, supported by bases on either shore. Bridges at the time were typically made using a series of semicircular arches, and to span the distance between the two cities would have required at least 10 evenly spaced piers in between to support the entire structure. Da Vinci’s design, which would have easily allowed sailboats to pass beneath it, was radically different (and centuries ahead of its time), which is probably why the sultan decided not to take the risk. Half a millennium later, researchers were curious if it would have succeeded.


Not only did the bridge work, remaining strong and stable without the use of any mortars or fasteners, but the team at MIT also realized that da Vinci had even engineered a way to minimize unwanted lateral movements in the structure, which would have quickly led to its collapse. The footings on either side of the arched bridge featured designs that splayed outwards to add a considerable amount of stability. The bridge would have even survived most earthquakes, which were common at the time in that area, as the MIT researchers discovered by putting their replica on two movable platforms. It wasn’t indestructible, but it would have been an ancient architectural marvel.

There are a number of “Ifs” here:

  • Did the technology of the day allow for the construction of abutments to handle the not-inconsiderable thrust loads.
  • Does the material handling technology of the day allow for the handling of the stone blocks.
  • could the barge and scaffolding technology of the day effectively provide for the support of the structure when under construction?

My guess is that Da Vinci never looked at the nitty-gritty details involved in actually putting up such a bridge, because he was never really a details kind of guy.

*That is a VERY big if.

Seriously, Reality Outstrips My Wildest Hallucinations

At the confirmation hearing for David Bernhardt, Trump’s nominee to replace the fabulously corrupt Ryan Zinke as Secretary of the Interior, a protester donned a “Creature from the Black Lagoon” mask:

A protester dressed as a “swamp creature” was escorted out of a confirmation hearing for Interior Secretary nominee David Bernhardt Thursday morning.

The protester remained seated for two hours before being escorted out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing.

A protester dressed as a “swamp creature” was escorted out of a confirmation hearing for Interior Secretary nominee David Bernhardt Thursday morning. The protester remained seated for two hours before being escorted out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing.

Bernhardt, a former oil and gas industry lobbyist, reportedly helped block the release of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service study outlining the effects of pesticides on endangered species while working as a deputy Interior secretary under Ryan Zinke, according to The New York Times.

An Interior Department spokesman told the Times that Bernhardt’s actions had been “governed solely by legitimate concerns regarding the legal sufficiency and policy.”

Seriously weird:


Not My Happy Face

Everyone left work early today, so I decided to get Chinese at my favorite Chinese buffet in the area, as it is on the way home.

I really shouldn’t, because I tend to eat too much, and most of that stuff is really not particularly healthy, particularly if, as I do, you do lots of dumplings, kabobs, and ribs.

Well, it appears that the universe conspired to punish me for this act, because when I went in and paid for my meal, you pay upon entry, they gave me the senior citizen discount WITHOUT MY ASKING.

Hell, I didn’t even know that they HAD a senior citizen discount.

I am not amused.  Not ……… One ……… Bit.

Find Me a Producer, I’ve Got one F%$# of a Treatment

It is, as the saying goes, ripped from the headlines.

It’s the best heist movie concept, and in this case, the headline is that, in response to Brexit concerns, Cadbury creating a massive stockpile of chocolate:

Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union next year, but it still hasn’t reached a deal on how exactly this could happen. If it leaves Europe without a deal, some experts have warned that there may be chaos at the borders and a shortage of key goods.

On Tuesday, the owner of the beloved confectionary brand Cadbury announced that the company has a plan to deal with the threat of this dreaded “no-deal” Brexit: a chocolate stockpile.

Think about the action, think about the adventure, think about the tension, and think about the merch that you could sell.

Before you ask, I am aware that an actual sweet food stockpile has been stolen, the so-called great Canadian maple syrup heist, but that just adds verisimilitude.

And just think about the obligatory love making scene between the mastermind and the cop who has been pursuing them.

Chocolate ……… And Strawberries ……… And Gentle Heat.

I smell razzie!

You have Got to be F%$#ing Kidding

There is a company out there that is marketing a cryptocurrency miner as a home heater.

Reality has completely outdone the human capacity for satire:

French startup Qarnot unveiled a new computing heater specifically made for cryptocurrency mining. You’ve read that right, the QC1 is a heater for your home that features a passive computer inside. And this computer is optimized for mining.

While most people use laptops, back in the golden days of computer towers, you could heat a room with a couple of desktop computers. And heat is still one of the biggest challenges when you’re building a data center. You have to cool thousands of computers that run 24/7.

Qarnot started thinking about edge computing for data centers back in 2010. The company has built three generations of computing heaters with multiple CPUs and sold them to construction companies looking for heaters for their new buildings.


And now, the company is selling its first devices to end users directly. The company thinks it’s the perfect use case for cryptocurrency mining. The QC1 features two AMD GPUs (Sapphire Nitro+ Radeon RX580 with 8GB of VRAM) and is designed to mine Ethers by default.

You can set it up in a few minutes by plugging an Ethernet cable and putting your Ethereum wallet address in the mobile app. You’ll then gradually receive ethers on this address — Qarnot doesn’t receive any coin, you keep 100 percent of your cryptocurrencies.


But that’s where the Qarnot QC1 stands out and could be the crypto miner we’ve all been waiting for. Mining has become increasingly harder if you have to pay the electricity bill. But you still need to heat your home during those cold days of winter. So why not mine at the same time. 

Seriously?  This is the most insane consumer heating technology since Ford Motor Company marketed the Pinto as a 4 passenger portable stove.

Parody is Dead.

Not the Onion

Reality has so far outstripped parody that the latter has become irrelevant.

Case in point, following an EPA proposal to re-legalize asbestos, a Russian asbestos manufacturer has put Donald Trump’s on their packaging:

On 25 June 2018, a Russian mining company named Uralasbest, which is one of the world’s largest producers of asbestos, posted a message of support for President Trump on their official Facebook and VK (a Russian version of Facebook) pages. The post included photographs of packed asbestos material adorned with the face of Trump and the text “Approved by Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States.”

Asbestos is a mineral that was once widely used in construction projects for its fire resistant properties, but research has since linked it to a variety of cancers, most notably lung cancer and mesothelioma.


In June, when Uralasbest posted their message of support, then-Administrator of the EPA Scott Pruitt had recently announced new interpretations of the Toxic Substances Control Act that could allow for “new uses” of asbestos to be approved in the United States. While this move would not allow for previously banned uses to be considered, it was a reversal of Obama-era rules that barred the EPA from considering any new uses for asbestos.

While I’ve always thought that the Donald Trump was toxic, I had no idea that they were taking this concept so literally.

The Jihad Against Plastic Bags (Literally)

Al Shabab, the Islamist terrorist group, has banned plastic bags:

Over the years, the Shabab, a terrorist group in East Africa that has pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda, have banned music, cinemas, satellite dishes and humanitarian organizations.

This week, they added a new item to the prohibited list: plastic bags.

Residents of areas controlled by the terrorist group, which operates out of Somalia, will no longer be able to use plastic bags, out of respect for the environment.

The announcement — by a group better known for suicide attacks that have killed and maimed thousands — prompted a flurry of mocking memes on the internet, some calling the Shabab the first eco-friendly terrorist organization.

The statement banning the use of plastic bags was published on Somalimemo.net, a pro-Shabab website that is believed to be run by the terrorist group’s media office. The website aired an audio recording from Mohammed Abu Abdullah, the Shabab’s governor in the Jubaland region, who said that plastic bags “pose a serious threat to the well-being of humans and animals alike,” a statement that was repeated in a Twitter message posted on a Shabab-associated account.

This real.

This is the New York Times, not the Onion.

Truth be told though, the difference is increasingly hard to discern.

Someone is SO Getting Fired

The New York Times published a rather ordinary article about how various space launcher firms are trying to appeal to the hyper-rich.

What you may not notice if you click to go to the story is what the original URL is: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/09/style/pigs-in-spaaaaaace.html though it now redirects to https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/09/style/axiom-space-travel.html.

I prefer the first url, since this is clearly a “Rich Pig” story, even if the author played is straight.

Kudos to whoever got this on the Times web site, if only for a few hours.

H/t Naked Capitalism for finding this bit of IT mischief.

This Is Throwing Some Serious Shade

If you have been following politics at all, you know that Bernie Sanders has been doing a lot of campaigning for a lot of progressive candidates.

One that he hasn’t campaigned for is his son, Levi, who is running for Congress in New Hampshire.

Admittedly, it’s a remarkably lackluster campaign, but when asked about this, Bernie said the following:

Levi has spent his life in service to low income and working families, and I am very proud of all that he has done,” he said. “In our family, however, We Do Not Believe In Dynastic Politics.”

(emphasis mine)

Hmm ………I wonder who THAT comment referred to?

Tweet of the Day

People of all races, religions and nationalities work at Sanofi every day to improve the lives of people around the world. While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.

— Sanofi US (@SanofiUS) May 30, 2018

This is, of course, in response to Rosanne Barr claiming that Ambien made her tweet racist bullsh%$.

In less than 24 hours, Rosanne has had me compliment the ethics of a TV executive, and express admiration for the public relations activities of a large pharmaceutical firm.

Reality has exceeded my capability for satire: It’s like a hideous inverse function of a miracle.

It’s Time for Metaphor Mania

There is a sinkhole on the White House north lawn.

There is some sort of metaphor here, but it’s just out of my reach:

For all the concern over leaks at the White House, a more pressing problem might be the sinkhole on the North Lawn that appears to be growing by the day.

The pit in the ground, which was first reported by White House correspondents on site this week, appears to have opened just outside the press briefing room and deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley’s office.

Steve Herman, a reporter with Voice of America, tweeted that he first spotted the sinkhole last week. It has since grown, and another sinkhole has opened next to it.

It appears that Twitter machine is going crazy over this.