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May 31, 2017

Inspiring

A community comes together.


By fnord12 | May 31, 2017, 11:29 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link



May 18, 2017

Guess i'd better keep up with updates after all

I'm so terrified of Windows 10's Creators Update that i've taken some extraordinary steps to block it. I know that's a bad idea because it means that i'm also blocking any security patches that Microsoft releases, but it seemed like it was worth the risk at least until Microsoft gets its act together.

But reading about the history behind the WannaCry virus, which was in part possible due to people not keeping up with their patches, is making me rethink that.

(There's a lot more to the story than that, though, and we can blame the NSA for part of it.)

Update: Ten minutes after posting this, Min got the new Android update - which destroys its UI - and i am scrambling to block it on my phone.


By fnord12 | May 18, 2017, 1:18 PM | Liberal Outrage & My stupid life| Link



May 16, 2017

God forbid we let new people into the party

Politico has solicited a number of ankle biters to grouse about Sanders possibly running for president in 2020:

Former DNC chair Donna Brazile warned party leaders against relying on Sanders, unless they're willing to give in on opening the party to more independents like he wants.

By fnord12 | May 16, 2017, 1:07 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link



May 15, 2017

Security Question Fail

I have enough trouble remembering this shit.  I don't need trick questions.

By fnord12 | May 15, 2017, 10:40 AM | My stupid life| Link



May 12, 2017

He was almost president

I know we are busy watching the latest in Trump drama but Bernie has just introduced a pair of bills that would make it possible for workers to take ownership of a workplace if the owners offshored their business.


By fnord12 | May 12, 2017, 11:49 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link



May 10, 2017

Light 'Em Up

I had totally planned on smoking pot when my mind started to go from age because at that point, who cares? Plus, i loved Michael Caine's elderly hippie pothead character in Children of Men. But this is fantastic news.

Researchers led by Andreas Zimmer of the University of Bonn in Germany gave low doses of delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, marijuana's main active ingredient, to young, mature and aged mice. As expected, young mice treated with THC performed slightly worse on behavioral tests of memory and learning. For example, after THC young mice took longer to learn where a safe platform was hidden in a water maze, and they had a harder time recognizing another mouse to which they had previously been exposed. Without the drug, mature and aged mice performed worse on the tests than young ones did. But after receiving THC the elderly animals' performances improved to the point that they resembled those of young, untreated mice. "The effects were very robust, very profound," Zimmer says.

I might actually start remembering characters' names in movies again!

Other experts praised the study but cautioned against extrapolating the findings to humans. "This well-designed set of experiments shows that chronic THC pretreatment appears to restore a significant level of diminished cognitive performance in older mice, while corroborating the opposite effect among young mice," Susan Weiss, director of the Division of Extramural Research at the National Institute on Drug Abuse who was not involved in the study, wrote in an e-mail. Nevertheless, she added, "While it would be tempting to presume the relevance of these findings [extends] to aging humans...further research will be critically needed."

Pshaw...i've got all the info i need. By the time i start, my brain will already be going, so there's nothing to lose. Either it makes my brain better or i won't know to care.


By min | May 10, 2017, 1:32 PM | Science| Link



Thomas Friedman lectures you about the Hell he deserves

This is from a guy who can barely string a sentence together and has been writing the same article and books over and over again for decades.

The notion that we can go to college for four years and then spend that knowledge for the next 30 is over. If you want to be a lifelong employee anywhere today, you have to be a lifelong learner.

And that means: More is now on you. And that means self-motivation to learn and keep learning becomes the most important life skill.


By fnord12 | May 10, 2017, 11:47 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link



It's funny because it's sad

But true.


By fnord12 | May 10, 2017, 10:41 AM | Comics & Liberal Outrage| Link



Low turnout among black voters

One of the most important post-mortems that i linked to after the election was this one, which showed that a decline in the participation of black voters was a big part of Hillary's loss. It's a factor that has been mostly ignored because it doesn't fit the bullshit narrative that Bernie's solution is to "ditch identity politics" and focus on the "white" working class. The truth is that the decline of good paying union factory jobs has affected everybody, not just white people.

An analysis in the Washington Post has more data on the decline in the black vote:

Voter turnout among whites -- the racial/ethnic group most strongly in Trump's corner -- increased by 2.4 percentage points in 2016 compared to 2012. In stark contrast, turnout among African Americans -- the group most loyal to Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party -- fell by 4.7 percentage points nationally.

...These national averages obscure important patterns. Here's what stands out: while the decline in black turnout was stark across the board, it was sharpest, on average, in the states that determined the outcome of the election.

...in Michigan and Wisconsin -- two key Midwestern states where, to analysts' surprise, Trump won -- black turnout fell by more than 12 points.

Hillary Clinton had nothing to offer people whose jobs were lost to NAFTA and other such factors, especially after eight years where Obama failed to do anything for them. You can go back to the previous post (linking again) to see some quotes from people saying exactly that. Sanders has a solution, but the Democratic party is still resisting it. I'm hoping that the Washington Post analysis will raise the topic again.


By fnord12 | May 10, 2017, 8:10 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link



May 5, 2017

Happy Friday

There are diseases hidden in the ice, and they are waking up.


By fnord12 | May 5, 2017, 1:22 PM | Liberal Outrage & Science| Link



May 1, 2017

Minor characters in Star Wars

Min's main complaint about Rogue One is that a lot of the characters didn't get developed, so i thought this from Tegan O'Neil was interesting (i'm quoting liberally from a much longer piece about various sub-topics, but click and read it all).

The toys weren't secondary to Star Wars, the toys weren't a spin-off - the toys may even be Star Wars at its most primal. The movies? They last a couple hours. But the toys carry a promise of something more. ...to really understand what I'm saying you need to find someone like Hammerhead. Hold him in your hand for a moment. Here's a character who appears onscreen in the original Star Wars for literally a second, says nothing, does nothing, just sits there and looks interesting for less time than it takes for the viewer to register what they're seeing. And yet he rates a 3 3/4" toy, a tiny plastic icon representing a character without even a name.

Now, of course, you can easily learn that Hammerhead's real name is Momaw Nadon, and he is a native of the planet Ithor. But that doesn't matter. Kids in 1978 didn't know that, they just knew that he was one of the coolest looking aliens in the film. Because he didn't do anything onscreen, that meant his story was yet to be told. But you could tell that story, you could tell any story you wanted, because that was Star Wars. You always want the camera to linger on details for a little longer than it does, but it's always gone, moving on to the next bit of the plot - everything else on the margins is left for you to figure out on your own.

After the Expanded Universe officially began in the early 90s, every secondary, tertiary, and quaternary character in the series got a backstory... Maybe it's still canon, maybe it isn't. It doesn't matter. What matters is that thousands of kids in 1978 bought that toy and built entire mythologies just around that one guy, and they were all a thousand times more engaging and interesting than anything a professional writer could ever come up with, because that's how being a kid works.

Rogue One gets that. Star Wars is a place where not only can any passing character in a movie have an interesting backstory, but you know they do. Maybe it hasn't been written yet. Maybe he'll get his own spin-off novel. Doesn't matter. Characters in Star Wars are always introduced as if they have just concluded the greatest adventure of their lives, and are just chilling in the downtime while waiting for their next adventure to start. You don't know what Han Solo was doing in Mos Eisley before being approached by Obi-Wan, but you're sure it was interesting...

A good Star Wars story, then, is one that expands on everything you've seen before while always implying the existence of even more awesome stuff just around the corner. Of course the spies and guerillas who stole the Death Star plans have their own backstory. The first time you see Baze and Chirrut onscreen, you want to know everything about those guys. Gay warrior monks in space? Sign me up. Of course, you learn nothing about them in the movie itself. Everything you need to know about them is right there on the screen. One day someone will write stories about Baze and Chirrut - hell, someone is probably doing so right now. And if they're any good - that is, if they're Proper Star Wars - it will only leave you wanting more.

I doubt this will appease Min. Baze and Chirrut occupy a space that is larger than Hammerhead if smaller than Han Solo, so i'm not sure if the "they're not supposed to be developed" explanation holds. But i was surprised to see someone addressing Min's complaint at all.




min: Ok, mebbe it's that i'm getting old and can't pay attention long enough to remember shit, but Baze and Chirrut were so not developed, i don't even know who the fuck Baze and Chirrut are! I don't know who any of the actual main Rogue One characters are. Zero recollection of their names. I just know "chick who was in Northanger Abbey", Donnie Yen, "Donnie Yen's friend", "pilot guy", and "Rebellion guy".

Evidence for the "i'm old" explanation - i couldn't for the life of me remember Kylo Ren's name from Force Awakens. I just started referring to him as "Ra's al Ghul" when talking to people because my brain couldn't be bothered to create a new subfolder for this character.


By fnord12 | May 1, 2017, 12:52 PM | Star Wars| Link



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