December 15, 2018

Well, My First Post After Coming Back Was a Bummer....

Here's something that's both seasonal and more pleasant.


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December 14, 2018

While I Was Out the Situation Deteriorated

Carl Benjamin, a YouTuber who goes by the ever-so-modest online handle of Sargon of Akkad got banned by Patreon earlier this week. 



"'Who?"

Sargon is a Vlogger from the U.K. who opines on everything from video games to human rights. He's a bit of a troll, OK he's a lot of a troll, albeit a particularly erudite one. He's definitely a mixed bag, occasionally doing absolutely spot on commentary like this take of the ethics and politics of STARSHIP TROOPERS of all things, and sometimes being an utter, douche, like here where he says mindnumbingly stupid stuff in defense of the Incel asshattery that is the asinine THOT audit. Sargon's a leftie and an atheist and so I disagree with him about a lot of things, but one of the things that I do agree with him about is his uncompromising stance on free speech. 

Here he is on his best behavior...


It seems that almost a year ago, for some inexplicable reason, Sargon used the "N word" while mocking and berating some white supremacists who's loathsome antics he has been reporting on; and who in turn have been getting all stalky and doxxy with his family. 

Now, using the "N-word" is always an inadviseable thing for us honky crackers. Indeed, this rule applies even when talking down to literal nazis...as is evidenced by the fact that the literal nazis he was responding to reported his unwoke language to Patreon's reassuringly named Trust and Safety Council,* which promptly banned him....for something he'd said on a livestream that was not in any way associated with Patreon.


"And we should care because...?"

Here's why this bit of internet drama is a concern...

A solid argument can, of course, be made that Patreon should be allowed disallow any behavior on their platform that gives them hives. 

That's freedom.

However, if they are going to do that then that needs to be in the TOS, you can't just nuke someone who has not violated any of your terms of service. Which is exactly what Patreon did.  Worse, the offending behavior was not even on their platform. 

This is unethical. Highly unethical and means that Patreon at this point cannot be trusted to honor contracts. 

Thus Patreon sucks and will screw you over as soon as you're on the outs with the "cool kids".  The fact that the deplatforming seems to have been initiated by neo-nazis it not technically relevant but adds another layer of dreadfulness to the affair.


"'kaaay...So patronize someone besides Patreon."

INDEED! There ought to be no need for concern here. 
Sargon should take his money to a competitor who wants it. Everybody wins.
That's FREEDOM...enabled by capitalism.

Lo and behold, it turns out there is at least one Patreon-esque outfit struggling to get out of Patreon's shadow and find some killer ap to differentiate themselves from Patreon

Well, that killer ap is freedom of speech.

So, Mr. Benjamin went to Subscribe Star.
He was followed there by other creators** who were also de-platformed by Patreon. More significantly, he was also followed by a surprising number who feared that they might be banned due to their views and Patreon's demonstrated perfidy and lots of others who migrated in solidarity with some outre' concept called "freedom of speech".


"See. Competition works."
"Why are we talking about this again?"

Umm....About that.

Pay-Pal , the ubiquitous online payment service has now just cut off Subscribe Star's payment system. Subscribe Star, to their considerable credit, is not buckling.

 
15 Dec 06:57

Dear friends.
We are here now not to tell you that "we are sorry but they made us to shut our shop down and now we are going to cry ourselves to sleep goodbye”.
Just the opposite - we are fighting back and integrating new unbiased and predictable processors that will allow us to grow with you. This takes time, we estimate anywhere between 2 and 3 weeks from start to finish. This may require us to extensively travel across the globe for the best possible solution.
Stars, you have to know - all your money were successfully rescued from the PayPal and will be paid out to you in a timely manner. We had less luck with Stripe, but it all manageable.
Subscribers - we temporarily paused accepting new subscribers, as well as new donations and tips. All previously contributions are safe and will be distributed to corresponding Stars properly. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Our team is working tirelessly for all of us being able to secure our future without fear of being bullied by the crooks in corporate suits and their subservient weasels.
We are online and will stay so. We wish you the same.
Talk to you soon!
Truly yours, 
SubscribeStar.com Team


"What. The. Hell?"

That is the sort of thing that can lead to lead to idiot conspiracy theories, but this is where it gets scary. Here, is Jack Conte, founder and CEO of Patreon  on Dave Rubin's show a few months back discussing the culture of Silicon Valley.

If the embed doesn't cue right, the money quote is from 30:17 to 32:30

So these tech CEO's are all sitting down together or via conference call and deciding (amongst other matters of import) what their workers salaries are going to be. 


"Oh God. That's his COVER STORY!?" 

Conte is describing the smoke filled rooms of Gilded Age trusts. These guys are also talking to each other about the issues of the day and who should and should not have a platform. This is a syndicate.

It get's worse..

You see, there was another Patreon-like outfit until very recently. Thunderclap was very much the same thing as Patreon although worked largely through Facebook

In August of this year, Thunderclap was shut down when Facebook disallowed it from using their services.

Being a Russian company Subscribe Star is somewhat outside of Silicon Valley's more direct sphere of influence,  certainly they are more immune to the social pressures of acceptance in the virtual Versailles of the San Jose' virtue signaling clique. However, like all online businesses, Subscribe Star is still dependent on online payment services, which, as we are seeing, do feel those pressures. And of course, it's run out of...Russia...so it has all sorts of other potential issues, particularly regarding freedom of speech, election meddling and dangerous ursine bicyclists.

We're in a situation where the current bolt hole for free expression is a sketchy site run out of Russia, a situation that is so transcendentally wrong that it has left even the foul mouthed Razorfist temporarily unable to cuss...

Razorfist embed atypically SFW              

I understand if one doesn't want to click on a Razorfist link, but he's right. When speech is disallowed, violence becomes the medium of discourse. This is a bad highway to be on. 

It's not the worst though.

to wit: I'll let you peruse the Google search for news of this incident.  

Actual picture of the memory hole viewed in Safari on iMacOS Sierra 10.12.6 
at 11:40AM 12/15/18

We often joke that Animal Farm, 1984, and Brave New World are not a three volume how to manual. For some people though, they are, we've got we've got fricking "Trust and Safety Councils" that turn anyone with the correct politics who hate the right people this minute into members of their little Stassi. With the power to control the information and to deny people financial services if they hold unpopular views, comes incredible power for mischief.

We've covered the Chinese Sesame Credit System before and that, I am convinced, is where many of the individuals behind this policing of speech want to be.

All it takes to bring about this dream of the anointed is for each of us to say "That guy's an asshole! He deserves what he gets. That bitch over there had it coming too, serves her right." and be silent, or smug, or report the asshole to the Trust and Safety Council. Then, because every one of us is an asshole to someone, we'll be kept in our place by the very crab bucket culture we are nurturing. Meanwhile, the archdukes and marquesses of Palo Alto maintain their status by cutting off any poppies that grow too high

With that coming to pass, like the Greek City States before it, the 300 year aberration that is the enlightenment will disappear into the 300,000 year+ history of humanity as a short lived deviation from the mean. Things relating to freedom will go back to much as they were for the majority of that time, albeit with rather less ability to express heretical thoughts.

We're not there yet though.

There are people who will hold there noses and stand up for the rights of shitlords to opine on the matters of the day and who understand that words are not violence but rather the way violence is avoided. There are still search engines like Duck Duck Go and Epic that offer the ability for a Z-list blogger in Virginia to look up a news story that some seem to want to want to bury and we still have access to books written by great minds who saw where the path we are on leads and warn us from the grave*** to avoid the mistakes their societies made and take a different exit.  

Despair not, the fact that this post and every link in it exists is proof that all is not lost. 

But be aware. Be vigilant, and  keep your eyes open for the inevitable rough patches on the unlit road ahead.

UPDATE 12/16: Fixed links/syntax and made small caption edits,


*and totally not Orwellian at all.
**at least one of whom seems to have actually been a genuine racist degenerate
***So perhaps a Russian site being the guardian of liberty is not so incongruous as we might suppose.

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December 08, 2018

In the Terminal Phase of Late Stage Education

The content drought will continue until both final drafts are polished and I get sleep.


However, this looks to be potentially consequential and needs to be shared.


Note that if the video begins to smoke you should back up to a safe distance and if you are pregnant, elderly or have eaten in the last two hours you might not want to watch it repeatedly. Also, it appears that there are copyright issues, so it may be good to not talk about it too much...especially at work.

Other than that it looks quite promising.

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December 07, 2018

77 Years Have Passed

It's not often appreciated that after the initial surprise, Fuchida's planes did find themselves on the receiving end of quite a bit of flak.



Today, for the first time, no one from U.S.S. Arizona is present at the memorial ceremony. Those who remember it firsthand will soon all be gone, and then people will learn of this event and the events that it precipitated from...the historians, who will surely provide our children with an approved, diverse and politically expedient account of the events of the day.

If present trends continue, we may be among the last people to learn anything approaching what happened during those desperate, crucial years. Yet even what we, (the grandchildren and great grandchildren of those who were there) know is itself distorted by time, wartime secrecy, human fallibility and the fog of war.

If you can, buy some books, (not E-books...BOOKS) on history, buy more than one on the same topic ('cause there are different perspectives).  Put them someplace safe...where they'll never reach 451 degrees.

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December 04, 2018

Finally! Someone Who Captures the Spirit of the Season.


Art by @iri_itigo

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December 01, 2018

On Bush



There are lots of memorials being written today of the late George H. W. Bush who was the last of the old-school presidents, being a patrician gentleman of considerable skill competence and civic mindedness. He was a bomber pilot, oilman, Civil servant, diplomat, intel specialist, the guy who convinced his boss (Nixon) to resign, and arguably the most successful one term president in U.S. History. 

And in that latter capacity, he saved the world. 

Regan's defense buildup and hardball diplomacy had pushed the U.S.S.R. to the brink, without firing a shot outside of a few Proxy fought spoiling actions in Central America. However, after the Berlin Wall fell, with the Soviet Union on the verge of collapse, there was the real danger that the Commissars might lash out due to spite or fear. Russia had at that time, a tad over 40,000 nuclear warheads aimed at the West

Bush did not back them into a corner, and reassured the Russians that we were not going to drive them into the dirt. There was no war. Bush (and Gorbachev and Thatcher) kept the whole thing from going to worms as it very well could have.

He also won the Gulf War, brought the country out of recession, started a big push to launch manned expeditions through the solar system (later cancelled by his successor, aside from the space station) and tried, with some success to re-invigorate the American tradition of voluntary associations (see his thousand points of light speech).

Certainly there were mistakes, and policies of his that can be debated, but now is not the time, for George H. W. Bush was a man who dedicated his life to the service of his nation and through his steady hand and calm demeanor saved the world when it when it was on the brink.

Fair winds and following seas sir.
Thank you.

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November 30, 2018

Status

November 73rd, 1653: 


At work the interminable hoards of boxes overrun our positions with merciless abandon as they clamor for asylum looking innocent and pretending to flee persecution, but they are liars, for the labels tell a different story. Many of these boxes are not innocent at all. They are from Amazon and were sent by Jeff Bezos to steal the Saturdays of every person in the shipping industry; Saturdays which Bezos will hoard to grant himself immortality. This pitiless demigod and his brethren continue to torment us with their cardboard myrmidons, today catching me unawares by putting 67.2 in the parcel's weight field, and despite the clearly printed "lbs." on said lable having the number represent the quantity of kilograms. Our foes, it seems, are Jacobins who have buried my muse beneath a ton of cardboard, which leaves my papers still unfinished with 7 days to go. I have been through worse though.

I think.

Due to a lack of sleep, I became briefly worried about my mental state this morning, but Dunning-Kruger's thesis shows that this concern actually indicates that I'm a genius. My relief is boundless.  


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November 28, 2018

Research Papers & Boxes & Boxes & Papers & Research & Boxes & No Sleep For 37 Hours & A Kidney Stone & Boxes & Can't Lift My Arms & So Very Many Boxes

Everything hurts. 

No blogging now. 
Papers first.

But here is Weiss, with a more pleasant take on the season.

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November 24, 2018

Whelp....

I know what I'm doing on the 27th of next month...



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November 22, 2018

On Giving Thanks



Art by Garibo

I hope that those of you in the States and Territories of the United States have a Happy Thanksgiving holiday and that everyone else has a pleasant day.  Remember, that today is not just about the turkey, it's also about perspective. Whatever curve-balls life throws at us there is still much to be thankful for. 

We live in an age of wonders. Most of us can reach into our pockets and pull out a device the size of a cigarette pack that will allow us to watch films that haven't haven't been screened in over a century, answer important questions, and communicate with people on other continents via a network that allows us access to nearly the sum of human knowledge.. We have medical capabilities that would have seemed to be sorcery a century ago. Most of us have access to luxuries such as refrigeration and a variety of food that a Chinese or Roman emperor would have envied. We have have largely cast off the odious shackles of racism, at least to the point that we can benefit from the glorious virtues of hybrid vigor and we stand on the cusp of becoming an interplanetary species. Despite the best efforts of censorious jerks, most of us still have the ability to communicate and speak our minds. There are, to be sure threats to all of these wonders and those who would intentionally or not bring them all down. To be sure we are not in "The best of all possible worlds" and there are very real challanges that face us, but we have so very much it is important to take a moment and give thanks for the wonders that we have.

Even though it might sometimes be hard to remember that. 
 
...as it surely was for those who had the misfortune to be present at the Pinedale Shopping Mall 40 years ago.


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November 20, 2018

Mom in Hospital (UPDATED)

Last night, I got a call from my brother (who is visiting our folks) that Mom suffered chest pains and then got a case of the shakes, felt cold and her vision went blurry. None of these things are good.


This morning, the diagnosis was a clot in her lung, which is pretty terrible, however as of now that does not appear to be the case. She's being scheduled for "cathaterization" so it sounds like they are going to do an angioplasty or something. 

I'm getting slightly conflicting reports from relatives on-scene (250miles away), but prognosis seems much better, even good as of now.

Blogging will remain light to nonexistent. 

UPDATE:
They couldn't find a blockage, or a stroke or anything, which is troubling. More tests results are pending, but for now she is released and is staying in the guest room in their house (as she is forbidden to deal with stairs.) One theory is that she may have just been suffering from exhaustion. Perhaps now she'll listen when we tell her to calm down and not drive herself to hard about Thanksgiving. 

OK, that's not going to happen. 

Anyway, she seems better.

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November 18, 2018

Mary Shelly Should Sue.

Via Moe Lane, the Library of Congress has restored the 1910 Frankenstein, and, since it predates Steamboat Willie, they have made it available for free download. 


I note some subtle differences from the book.

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November 13, 2018

Hiatus (Bumped)

 Between my final (as in no more!) term papers and the holiday rush at work I'm going to be scarce for a bit. As compensation I'll leave you with something that ought to be completely non-controversial.


BEST four armed, one eyed, curvy, red headed, plague doctor! 


Quadriri, the indisputable best in her category is by Lansane. (Who you can support here)


more...

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November 12, 2018

Stan Lee 1922-2018 (UPDATED)

95 is a long life by any measure and Stan Lee led a full life to boot, but none of that lessens the sadness at his passing


His contributions to American comic books are being remembered in many places today but they are perhaps still not fully appreciated by many. 

The Comics Code derailed the development of the medium in America and probably knocked it back decades. Stan Lee's reinvention of the superhero genre almost certainly saved the medium in this country.

His legacy is indeed profound, but he was also a gentleman. Back when I was in comics retail, everyone I talked to who knew him considered him to be a singularly fine man. 

Finally, there is a cool anecdote from his early years... He became the editor of what became Marvel in 1941(at 19!), but the next year, he took military leave to join the Army during WW2. He served in a Signal Corps unit repairing electronics and as a lineman...he also wrote manuals and training comics, serving alongside Frank Capra and Dr, Seuss.

So today, the last of the Howling Commandoes has left this mortal coil. 

Stan Lee gave us our childhoods and dreams to aspire too. He was a man of consequence, without whom the world would be a lesser place. He will be dearly missed.


EXCELSIOR!


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Learning New Things



Yeah, the Gatalympics are a real thing as is just about every business and landmark in Zombieland Saga.  


Yep. The Eycatches too.... 

I suspect the nefarious machinations of the Saga Chamber of Commerce are responsible. This show then is like a county newspaper ...right down to the PSAs...



...except that this bonecrushingly stupid show has an actual plot and is amusing me far more than it has any right to.

Next time I'm in Japan, I'll have to investigate this further. For now, I'm just going to keep watching.

 

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November 11, 2018

Thank You

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This Seems Consequential

There are reports that elements of the German Special Forces have been charged with plotting to kill a bunch of politicians, and take over the country. This would seem to be a very big and troubling deal.


From the Daily Mail:
Two-hundred elite soldiers who formed a covert neo-Nazi faction within Germany's equivalent of the SAS planned to butcher immigrants to the country.

They conspired to unleash chaos on what they code-named Day X when they planned to kill Green Party leader Claudia Roth, foreign minister Heiko Mass and ex-president Joachim Gauck.

English language sources are all U.K. tabloids at the moment and they seem to all be referencing this German Language article

Stay tuned.

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100 Years Ago Today...



...the the carnage that broke the soul of the west ended. There was peace.


Yay.
























All those who fought in that war are dead, as are most who remember as children seeing everywhere the maimed and blind the shells and gas had produced.

The second, more well known world war that this miserable, pointless conflict gave birth to has likewise seen most of those who remember it firsthand pass on. A dwindling minority know what a real war, against a peer nation is. For all of the courage of the armed forces of the U.S. and our allies, we've been fighting foes that are clever, tenacious, and murderous, but nowhere near our peers. 

The conflicts that threaten to visit us, whether our opponents be foreign, domestic or both are nothing like the War on Terror. 

If these conflicts come to pass, they will find us on equal terms or starting at a disadvantage. This is an experience that few today can conceive of...which makes the actual war more likely as there is neither the institutional nor cultural reference for what a conflict between equals entails. We encounter no large groups of people with their eyes boiled out by Lewisite...



...or their limbs blown off by explosions. Even a later generation, with Keloids inflicted by a flash brighter than the sun has passed on, with their most poingniant testimonials having faded over time. 

So there is, all around, much bravado born in the special courage that comes from ignorance. 

Today is the 100th anniversary of an armistice that ended a terrible war. We would do well to remember not the victory parades, but why people had them and what they were celebrating the end of.

War is a dreadful thing. 

Of course Auschwitz and Dachau stand in mute testimony to the fact that war is, sometimes, VERY necessary. But we should look honestly at how perfectly dreadful a war between peers is, lest we step into the breach unnecessarily as the west did 104 years ago. 

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November 10, 2018

Crunchyroll...What is UP With the Subtitles?



From Rascal Doesn't Dream of Bunnygirl Senpai which, despite this nonrepresentative frame is still gorgeously drawn and really, really well written.  

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November 09, 2018

A Spoiler Appears

The midterms aren't over!

It looks like all those missing ballots went to S.M.O.D. who will send his emissaries this weekend.



"Instead of tabloids and sketchyYouTube
sites, maybe check NASA?"

Well...
That wouldn't be click-baity at all would it?


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