Thursday, March 23, 2017

Dinosaur Family Tree Poised For A Colossal Shake-Up

This is huge if true.


Obviously this isn't a news site, but, as you know, I more-or-less randomly post news items I happen to be reading and think are interesting. But just for the record: there's just too much happening on the Trump/Russia front...I'm overwhelmed...I can't even keep up with reading it. It's not that I don't think it's important.
   Also, I've gotta give a talk tomorrow and give a paper at a conference next weekend, so I've got too much to do to worry about little things like the fate of our democracy.
   (Jebus...I try to keep telling myself that there's a nonzero probability that the Dems and the media are jumping the gun on all this...but sure does look like an awful lot like...well...something very, very bad.)

Trump Robot Sophists Defeated Clinton Robot Sophists In Lead-Up To Election

If it weren't for AI, they'd have no I at all.
The chatbots — basic software programs with a bit of artificial intelligence and rudimentary communication skills — would send messages on Twitter based on a topic, usually defined on the social network by a word preceded by a hashtag symbol, like #Clinton.
Their purpose: to rant, confuse people on facts, or simply muddy discussions, said Philip N. Howard, a sociologist at the Oxford Internet Institute and one of the authors of the report. If you were looking for a real debate of the issues, you weren’t going to find it with a chatbot.
“They’re yelling fools,” Dr. Howard said. “And a lot of what they pass around is false news.”
   So Trump was allied with Wikileaks, the Rooskies, and baby Skynet.
   Maybe we ought to start checking for links to the Illuminati.
   I'll just note that it sounds like Clinton's chatbot army was meant to do the same nefarious things as Trump's chatbot army...

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

AP: Manafort Had A Plan To Benefit The Putin Government

...basically by undermining democracy in former Soviet Republics.
   I'm not going to flip out. But there is no doubt about it whatsoever: an investigation must be initiated immediately. If the GOP drags its feet, I'm willing to start aiding and abetting the (shudder) Democrats again. If Republicans resist this, they need to be crushed politically. Or maybe a specifically anti-GOP / punish-the-Republicans-for-Trump-etc. organization needs to arise.
   I have no interest in presupposing guilt. But there is no justification whatsoever under the prevailing conditions for fighting a goddamn investigation. Resisting an investigation at this point is tantamount to a cover-up. So far as I'm concerned, blocking an investigation when there is prima facie evidence of a crime is not appreciably less-bad than blocking an investigation when you know that there was, in fact, a crime.
   I keep talking myself out of fully appreciating how  truly godawful the GOP is.

Decolonizing The Meal

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Swiss Gun Groups Oppose New EU Gun Restrictions

   I guess I count as kind of a Neanderthal for being somewhat pro-Brexit...not that I have a right to an opinion... But damn, I would not want the EU (nor any other such organization) making laws for the States.

Prager "University": If There Is No God, Then Murder Isn't Wrong

What a stinker that video is.
I've said some good things--to my own surprise, actually--about a couple of the Prager "University" videos of late (here, here). But man, this one's just a train wreck from beginning to end. This is the worst attempted philosophy video I've seen since that crapfest from Vox on race nominalism. If I had to pick a loser from between those two, I'd be hard pressed.
Read more »

Greg Sargent: Trump's Non-Stop Lies Are Failing Him

At the Chicago Tribune:
"People close to the president say Mr. Trump's Twitter torrent had less to do with fact, strategy or tactic than a sense of persecution bordering on faith: He simply believes that he was bugged in some way, by someone, and that evidence will soon appear to back him up. ...
"The president, people close to him have said over the last several weeks, has become increasingly frustrated at his inability to control the narrative of his action-packed presidency, after being able to dominate the political discourse or divert criticism by launching one of his signature Twitter attacks."
Let's pause to consider how remarkable it is that those paragraphs appeared in a major newspaper. Trump continues to vaguely believe that what he tweeted will somehow be validated later, at least in some form. But at the same time, Trump himself is growing aware that his nonstop lies — or delusions, or self-deception, or whatever you want to call all of it — are failing him. And he's frustrated by it. This is coming to us according to people close to Trump.

Elizabeth Warren Questions Hiring Of For-Profit-College Officials At Dept. of Education

I'm not the biggest Warren fan, but I'm behind her on this one.

Trump's Weary Defenders Face Fresh Worries

You take a job defending a batty President who's not qualified to hold the office, you're going to have a tough, unpleasant, despicable job. You've earned your weariness and then some.

"Hate Crime" Hoax: Jewish Man Paints Swastika On His Own House

Comey: Trump Is Lying About Wiretaps; Investigation Of Collusion With Russia Continues

There's no reason for me to rail about this.
   I can't even write about this stuff in civil terms at the moment.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Trump Approval Rating 37%

Obligatory: what's wrong with 37% of the American population?

Carolina 72 - Arkansas 65

That was our toughest win all season.
Got a bit lucky with the Meeks tip / no call toward the end, but it wouldn't have mattered. They'd only have had one second left on the shot clock. And we'd had our share of bad luck on calls.
We didn't play all that well...but...survive and advance...

Friday, March 17, 2017

Carolina 103 - Texas Southern 64

Good game Tigers!
On to Arkansas

Go Tar Heels--Beat The Tigers

Carolina vs. Texas Southern comin' up.
Git 'em

When [Sex] Differences Are Ignored In Health Studies, It's Women Who Pay The Price


Iiiiis this a joke?
I say no...but...Poe's Law and whatnot.
I'm a wee bit Scots-Irish, for the does that mean I get, like, 1/16th of a vote on this sort of shite or what?

Brits Call Trump Admin On Its Wiretap Bullshit

Turn out that you can slander the former President of your own country with fantastical fabrications...but if you slander your closest ally with the exact same fantastical fabrications, they put their collective foot down about that shit right damn quick.
   Jesus Christ.
   This just gets crazier and crazier.
   They're lying. Everybody knows they're lying. They've got to know that everybody knows they're lying...but they just keep on digging.

Donald Trump / Andrew Jackson

I dunno whether Gerson is right that Trump has chosen a hero... But for no very interesting reason, I did find myself thinking the other day: well...he's better than Jackson...  (I continue to think that the Dems might maybe want to re-think the whole Jefferson-Jackson day thing...what with Jackson being a genocidal maniac and all... MO Dems now call it the Truman dinner instead of the J-J dinner, I think. Though, given that HST dropped The Big One on Japan, I expect that to be challenged in my lifetime.)'s not that Jackson didn't have certain admirable qualities. But overall, I'd say he's not exactly a guy you want to heroify really.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Next Generation F-15

A missile truck...but still a damn cool missile truck.

Duke: The Art Of The Foul

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

SM-27/28 Machete: Replacement For the A-10?

I'm psyched about the possibility of a propeller-driven attack plane...not that my opinion has any more authority here than that of a 10-year-old, since my only criterion is basically it would be so cool!!! 
   Also: it'd be super-cool to have both prop and jet variants.
   Actually, it does seem like you'd get lower air speeds and longer loiter times--and apparently it keeps the GAU-8! (Though I've wondered whether it might be more effective to use something lighter...we don't actually fight a lot of tanks anymore... What about going to two 20mms or...dare I say it?...a buttload of .50 cals??? You know you're all thinking it...
   Special shout-out in that article to the awesome OV-10 Bronco, too.

   Disclaimer: I rate weapons systems only on the basis of their coolness factor, which is all I'm competent to judge.
   Also: killing people is wrong.

"People Are Scared": Paranoia Seizes Trump's White House

A culture of paranoia is consuming the Trump administration, with staffers increasingly preoccupied with perceived enemies — inside their own government.
In interviews, nearly a dozen White House aides and federal agency staffers described a litany of suspicions: that rival factions in the administration are trying to embarrass them, that civil servants opposed to President Donald Trump are trying to undermine him, and even that a “deep state” of career military and intelligence officials is out to destroy them.
Aides are going to great lengths to protect themselves. They’re turning off work-issued smartphones and putting them in drawers when they arrive home from work out of fear that they could be used to eavesdrop. They’re staying mum in meetings out of concern that their comments could be leaked to the press by foes.
Many are using encrypted apps that automatically delete messages once they’ve been read, or are leaving their personal cellphones at home in case their bosses initiate phone checks of the sort that press secretary Sean Spicer deployed last month to try to identify leakers on his team.
   This is how a deranged autocratic regime operates--not a sane, respectable small-'d'-democratic / small-'r'-republican administration.
   Of course this may not be the straight dope...but if it ain't good.

GOP Head of House Intelligence Committee: Trump Wiretap Claims "Wrong"

“We don’t have any evidence that that took place,’’ Representative Devin Nunes, Republican of California and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said at a news conference on Capitol Hill. “In fact, I don’t believe — in the last week of time, people we’ve talked to, I don’t think there was an actual tap of Trump Tower.”
If Mr. Trump’s Twitter claim is to be taken literally, Mr. Nunes said, “then clearly the president is wrong.”
The President is full of shit is what the President is.

Cornel West, Robert P. George et al: Truth-Seeking, Democracy, and Freedom of Thought and Expression

This is great--and it could even turn out to be important.
That it's issued largely by Cornel West is, I'd say, particularly important.
Sign it!