July 31, 2021

We Seem to Be Up and Running

Earlier in the week, Mee.Nu suffered several catastrophic failures due to a series of server collapses.

Actual footage of Mee.Nu servers achieving equilibrium.  

Pixy is on the job and actually has a brand new server available. 

Note though that while migrating the data to the new servers, Pixy, (a resident of Sydney) has been having to work around issues associated with Australia reconnecting with its roots as a prison colony

There don't seem to have been any issues in a few days, at least no more while I have been writing a post.

"Knocks wood"

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The Evolution of Policy

Well, that was short lived. 

Clown world asserts itself.


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July 20, 2021


Jeff Bezos is scheduled to launch about in about 40 minutes as I type this. Blue Origin is planning to launch their New Shepherd rocket into space. This is intended to be a sub-orbital tourist vehicle in competition with Virgin Galactic Among the passengers are  (assuming the flight is successful) Jef Bezos, his brother and the youngest and oldest people to go into space.  The latter is Wally Funk, one of two surviving members of the Mercury 13 group of women that were sent through astronaut evaluation (and passed) in the late '50s and early '60s. This was not a sanctioned set of tests however, and the women did not go into space, which caused some understandable consternation as they had met or exceeded the requirements and had been told they were in the official program. This story has been somewhat embellished over the years, but Mrs. Funk is an exceptionally talented and experienced aviator and it is good to see her finally get to follow the ballistic trajectory she was told she would those many years ago. 

One of the less appreciated aspects of this story is that it appears that, having heard snarky criticisms of rockets as Freudian symbols, Jeff Bezos decided to just roll with it and make it as dildoriffic rocket in the history of mankind. 

UPDATE: They did it!

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July 19, 2021

A Few Questions About the Freedom Phone

There was a big stink last week about a new phone being marketed. 

The Freedom Phone is advertised as prioritizing privacy and security. It comes loaded with several free-speech-oriented applications (and Gab) and has several privacy features including something called 'Trusty' which is advertised as a secure phone operating system.

Now there have been numerous criticisms of this endeavor...rather an awful lot, see here, here, here, here, here, here, and, here. That's a small fraction of the stories.
The phone itself appears to be a cheap Chinese model (Umidigi's A9-Pro) purchased in bulk from Ali-Baba  for about $119 U.S.. Given the 500 dollar price of the Freedom Phone, this seems to approach the iPhone in mark up.

However, while it is noted that the same result could be had by jailbreaking, stripping out and reprograming an A9-Pro with Trusty and all the other free speech apps (and Gab) that skillset is beyond those who are not tech hobbyists. 

For my part, I am a....I am a Mac user. Thus, the only thing I know about computers is that they require good industrial design to keep the magic smoke in the machines, enabling the sorcery to activate the magic mirror that sees through the tubes that interface with the ley lines. 

That is, perhaps, an extreme example, but jaibreaking phones and selecting apps that enable privacy is beyond the ken of those for whom smartphones are essentially black box technology. An excellent argument can be made that people should have a basic understanding of the kit we use, but that is not the reality of the present for a great many people, which leads to my first question for the tech literate amongst my readership: Is 300 dollars reasonable to charge for jailbreaking a phone, stripping it of its data and OS and installing a secure OS and apps (as well as Gab) ?

Perhaps more importantly, are Trusty and the other apps really able to be considered in any way secure? I thought that passage through the ley lines was managed by the mighty warlocks, like AT&T or Verizon, meaning that one's data is passing through those that will sift through it.

I'm also curious how much HARDWARE vulnerability is inherent in a phone designed and built in China, as I understand it, for the domestic market. I understand that there is no capacity for domestic production of smartphones in the U.S. but the PRC is not the only place with that capacity, finland, India and Taiwan come to mind. 

The notion that someone associated with 'Conservative Inc.' might be a squalid grifter is not beyond the scope of believability. 

At all. 

The idea that this might be a grift is a very believable one...and yet....

There is an AWFUL lot of what appears to be concern trolling on this matter. Tim Pool suggested that the people doing Freedom Phone are taking fire because they are over target, and the media fusillade against the project is reactionary. However, he has not examined one of these things. 

I don't know enough to make a decision, so I ask you gentle readers, (well the tech savvy amongst you) what do you think of this thing are there any prticular red flags not mentioned in the numerous reports on it or can a Chinese phone (or any phone) be made so it will protect the user's data via software modifications. 

And if that is the case, are there any horses left in that barn?

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July 18, 2021

There Be Heroes in Fiction Still

Season five of My Hero Academia starts off really strong for two episodes....then slips in to a tournament arc that last for no less than10 episodes. For those of you unfamiliar with the tropes of Japanese young men's comics, tournament arcs are a carryover from Japanese sports comics where the protagonists  find themselves in some gladiatorial style duel that last multiple episodes during which the heroes tend to wax poetically about fighting, deliver snappy one liners and generally provide the audience with writing and character development akin to watching paint dry. This seems to be demanded by tradition and marketing and is particularly a signature of the IPs at Shounen Jump, which produces the MHA manga and anime. For example, Tite Kubo's quirky and enjoyable series Bleach went to hell in a handbasket after editors demanded he pad out the story with tournament arcs and marketable side characters after season/volume one.

However, this show has avoided a full fledged tournament arc since season two, and Kōhei Horikoshi used that one to develop the lore and establish characters and their limitations, so it was not just padding. This season's tournament at first blush seem drawn out with 10 episodes dedicated to three training matches in superhero school, but those 10 stories advanced the plot and characters a surprising bit....and at no point in the process did anyone ever say "And now the fight TRULY begins." so it was not a complete waste of time.

More importantly, this is not a 12 episode season, but appears to be full length...

....and with the de rigueur gladiatorial shenanigans out of the way, My Hero Academia is proving to be exceptionally good this season, with a story that  delivers surprises, both horrifying and heartwarming in rapid succession. It does this without subverting expectations for their own sake with cheap gotchas. This is a solid superhero story done straight and done right. 

One of the questions Horikoshi is asking in this series is "What does it mean to BE a hero?" and, well, heroism is a tough thing. This series is kind of deconstructing a very Japanese trope of boys comics where the motivation is to be the very best because..."BEST!" Being a hero really requires motivations beyond min-maxing one's stats and achievements. There are successful heroes in the typical Shounen mold, and there are lessons to be learned from them, but this series explores the role superheroes play in this society in surprising depth and it's clear that more is needed than just badassery. Nietzsche's admonition to not become the monster one fights, while not directly referenced, looms large here. While this story is VERY Japanese in tone (superheroes, are not vigilante's but licensed, bonded professionals) the story explores the implications and definition of heroism we haven't seen in the genre since Ditko was looking at the subject in earnest. 

For instance, there's a whole redemption arc going on now with one of the background heroes, who has achieved his life's goal, and find's it tastes like ashes. I was actually enjoying the season during the tournament cour, but the last three episodes have taken it to a whole new level.

American superhero books seem to be in a bit of a nadir at the moment, with a number of today's writer's mocking the whole concept via seemingly endless deconstructions. There are suggestions that the genre is played out , and this suggestion is not without merit as U.S. comics have been recycling storylines since at least the '80s. However, with My Hero Academia, Kōhei Horikoshi has shown that the genre can still be fresh and surprising, without sacrificing the idealism of the old works or descending into cynicism. 

The standard the show sets for superheroes, All Might, is a sort of combination Captain America and  Superman, idealistic, conscientious, and both morally and physically brave. The show's protagonist (Dekku) is striving hard to meet that goal and be worthy of the mantle he's been entrusted with. Moreover, this show's protagonists, even the very idealistic ones,  aren't a bunch of Dudley Do-Rights, they're smart, usually punching above their weight, and get by on their wits. 

My Hero Academia continues to opine on the importance of not loosing one's idealism, or courage, a reminder that has special significance today. 

Plus Ultra! 

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July 15, 2021

Meanwhile: At Work

Art by Hiromu 

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July 13, 2021

Perhaps the Comment-Spammers can Translate

Ninaninin has been celebrating several streaming milestones and technical upgrades with a re-debut, amendments to her character design, additions to her lore, and, today, an AMA....where this profound thought showed up in chat.

You've got to be kidding me. I've been further even more decided to use even go need to do look more as anyone can. Can you really be far even as decided half as much to use go wish for that? My guess is that when one really been far even as decided once to use even go want, it is then that he has really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like. It's just common sense.

I am now truly old enough that I really don't understand these kids today. 

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July 12, 2021

Meanwhile: In Space


He was assisted in his endeavor by taking off from the U.S.A (which, being awesome, is 12.14 miles closer to space than the rest of the world).


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July 10, 2021

Apropos of Nothing, I'm Sure

One of the sad epiphanies of my life is that if I'd not bought so many gun mags in the '80s and 90s I'd be much richer, and know much less that is wrong about guns. However, one individual, widely quoted in those magazines was their broken clock moment.

Massad Ayoob is an expert on both the tactical and the legal aspects of armed self defense. He is a national treasure who should be listened to. 

Here (for no reason whatsoever, I'm sure) he is discussing the tactical and legal ramifications of having to deal with attacks by mobs in the U.S.A. 

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July 08, 2021

It's Little! It's Red! It Celebrates 80 Million Dead!

So a few minutes ago I saw this and thought "Oh, Mr. Lowther's been fooled by a parody site."

But no.

The brief history lesson given is not however.

The 100th anniversary of the Communist Party is a great celebration for the entire Chinese nation. The power of the state is largely based on the success of its politicians. China's ruling leaders are wise politicians, experienced military leaders, and talented diplomats.

Since 1921, the Chinese Communist Party has successfully ruled the state. Under her leadership, the country has become one of the leaders in the international arena. China is feared, respected and admired. This is a country which many are eager to surpass.

Caviar iPhone 12 Pro Centenary - smartphone design in honor of the great anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party. Restrained and laconic, at the same time bright and full of strength - the appearance of the accessory successfully conveys the character of the party. The case is made of a lightweight composite material with shockproof properties in red and decorated with relief engraving, echoing the national geometric ornaments of China. Contrasting element - decorative frame, gold-plated of the highest standard, engraved with the emblem of the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party of China.

The design is presented in a limited edition of 68 pieces. The numbers 6 and 8 are sacred for China: 6 means luck and career success, and 8 means wealth and prosperity. The limited edition of the collection is engraved with a laser on the side of the smartphone: the name and serial number of the model are indicated.

No the CCP has NOT run China since 1921. 

If you've got $25,370.00 and want to impress your progressive friends this ought to work better than an iPhone.

But beware, the bit about 6 and 8 is a superstition, something that the CCP will send you to a reeducation camp for perpetuating, but if you've got 25 grand to spend on a phone that indicates sufficient personal liquidity that one can afford the necessary bribes....at least until conditions change.

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July 07, 2021

IronMouse Sees it

Probably why she's been going through so many new models this month. 

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July 04, 2021

On This Independence Day

While it's true that Dearest Columbia does seem to be on a bit of a bender at the moment.

Art by Mefomefo, who is also on Sketch.

Its's good to remember that not only are things getting better, as people remember the founding principles of this nation is the following document, ratified 245 years ago  today.

 IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.


In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The Signatures.....

   Button Gwinnett
   Lyman Hall
   George Walton


North Carolina:
   William Hooper
   Joseph Hewes
   John Penn


South Carolina:
   Edward Rutledge
   Thomas Heyward, Jr.
   Thomas Lynch, Jr.
   Arthur Middleton


John Hancock


Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton


George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton


   Robert Morris
   Benjamin Rush
   Benjamin Franklin
   John Morton
   George Clymer
   James Smith
   George Taylor
   James Wilson
   George Ross


   Caesar Rodney
   George Read
   Thomas McKean


New York:
   William Floyd
   Philip Livingston
   Francis Lewis
   Lewis Morris


New Jersey:
   Richard Stockton
   John Witherspoon
   Francis Hopkinson
   John Hart
   Abraham Clark


New Hampshire:
   Josiah Bartlett
   William Whipple

   Samuel Adams
   John Adams
   Robert Treat Paine
   Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
   Stephen Hopkins
   William Ellery

   Roger Sherman
   Samuel Huntington
   William Williams
   Oliver Wolcott

New Hampshire:
   Matthew Thornton 

Make a special note of those signatures. When they signed they risked rather greater penalties than  ostracism by upper middle class mean girls or even severe platforming and banking difficulties. 

They did not give up on their quest for freedom, which took 8 years 4 months and 15 days, and involved more consequential deprivations than being excluded from parties. That long fight by our forefathers provided a different and better option for coping with those who seek to rule us, one that happily provides some small bit of security from even the minor torments that our malign ruling class provides for non-compliance. 

After all; Karen can't report what you do in the voting booth. 

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July 03, 2021

Don't cross the Streams!


I'm old enough for this to be on my list of 'Most unlikely mashups.'

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I Have a Question

Without naming any names, or pointing any fingers, or making any judgements, and just for my own edification.

I really must know.

How does one burn the potato salad? 

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Don't Go Off Half Cocked

Guys...be careful. 

This scoop is spreading like a prairie fire in the right-o-sphere now, but I think this story may well be bait. It's just too perfect for the sowing of discord. The black cop, with no trigger discipline, who  is now alleged to have shot Babbit is allegedly the same chucklehead who left his sidearm in a visitor bathroom two years ago...and still had his job despite that. This bit of racial napalm just HAPPENS to be dropped on the day before the 4th of July. 

As I said. It's just too perfect. 

I really think somebody WANTS a racial incident for the cameras that isn't just another Smolletism.

It might be completely legit, but the timing of the revelation and the checking off of every racial box in the right wing point-of-order list causes me some concern.

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July 01, 2021

An Amazing Display of Dexterity and Skill

Behold Rudyard dancing around and doing backflips over the elephant in the room. 

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