January 10, 2014

Amazon's Ministry of Truth & RWBY

A minor kerfuffle involving the RWBY soundtrack  has resulted in the somewhat surprising revelation that ALL OF EXISTENCE IS A LIE!



OK, perhaps that is ever so slightly hyperbolic, but this is interesting and potentially worrisome.

First, some background:
The soundtrack for the superhero webtoon RWBY is actually excellent. its release was  at least as highly anticipated as the DVD. Now, this odd little adventure show has been remarkably family friendly on numerous levels* so it was quite a shock when one of the songs on the soundtrack had a segment that was profanity laced rap. There was no EXPLICIT ADVISORY or anything, it just sat in the MP3 album waiting to broadcast unexpected NSFW lyrics at the worst possible moment.
 
There was a spot of griping.



...some of it overwrought.

This was indeed a branding goof, but it was minor. Far larger, better funded outfits have released tie-ins they regret and this was nowhere NEAR as bad a misstep as The Star Wars Holiday Special.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago and the CD release reportedly contains an edited version of the song which somewhat amusingly cleaned up the rap portion of the song (which now includes the bewildering line "melt their britches down to ash")



I...dunno....

Anyway, this elicited concern from those who like hearing about women being immolated as well as those disturbed that the RWBY people had CENSORED the song.  This has in turn, inspired the sort of thoughtful, high-brow discussions one would expect from adult fans of cartoons engaging in a disquisition on the internet.



...which is silly, because, actually, this was a very nice display of responsiveness from a show on a shoestring budget, that has a cast and crew of around a dozen. If they'd simply made the profane version of the song an MP3 single with an explicit lyrics advisory and it'd be a win win. But that's not what happened. The song was changed on the MP3 version too and the original deleted.

 OK, that could cause some consternation but, again, no big deal. They discontinued that product as damaging to the brand. While the dance edit of I Burn is, IMHO, the weakest song on the album, I went ahead and repurchased it...only to discover that Amazon had 'helpfully' edited the song in my cloud player.

The original no longer exists in my cloud player.

It exists on my Blackberry and just because I'm silly, I copied a version of it to a separate folder on my iMac...but it is as if it never existed on the cloud player... the version that I originally purchased was changed.

On one hand this is the most minor of first world concerns....a tiny company fixed an editorial goof that could potentially have damaged their brand. On the other hand the implications are actually worrisome.

Hell, given the proper payments from and too the right people, instead of Pumkin Pete's Marshmellow Flakes, Pyrrha could one day find herself retroactively having been the spokes-model for  Kaboom.


"That...would be most disheartening."

Of course this far more sinister real world implications...of the Ministry of Truth variety. Literally...as  this story from 2009 demonstrates.

On Friday, it was "1984” and another Orwell book, "Animal Farm,” that were dropped down the memory hole — by Amazon.com.

In a move that angered customers and generated waves of online pique, Amazon remotely deleted some digital editions of the books from the Kindle devices of readers who had bought them.



So if a book you buy on Kindle is declared Double-Plus-Ungood it can be double-plus-unbought.

This has the potential for much mischief, especially given the recent revelations about the NSA and IRS as well as the fact that Amazon (and most other tech companies) are enthusiastic supporters of the politicians most  responsible for those missteps (even as they express their shock...nay SHOCK that such things can happen).

I'm not knocking the creators of RWBY here..despite the wailing and gnashing of teeth, this particular incident is no big thing, but the long term implications with so much being in "the cloud" are troubling to me, especially given the advent of "bookless libraries" (why aren't they called cyber cafe's?). We have people in places of responsibility and power who even today make claims like this fellow, who insists that Stalin killed no-one...



This wicked asininity has been going on for a long time, but without the ability to edit out uncongenial histories.

 I'm not tech-savvy enough to be able to guess at what, if any, safeguards are possible or even desirable. Every safety feature has a trade-off in both freedom and useability. This is especially true on IT systems. However, this ability to rewrite history is a totalitarian's dream and as we find ourselves moving forward towards an increasingly paperless society we should take care to guard our history carefully.



The future is an unlit road...the past should be less so lest we loose all ability to learn from its warnings.


more...

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October 30, 2013

They KNOW!

After looking up the head gasket sealant for the head gasket post.
This is what the Amazon window on Drudge looks like...



Now keep in mind that I did not purchase the sealant, I merely looked it up to get the link for the post. This means that everything I click on...even inadvertently... is going in my "permanent record".

THEY KNOW!


A lengthy search eventually revealed that the cute n' astute naga is by Karbo...who you probably don't want on your permanent record (yikes!)

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September 25, 2013

Bismark as a Pole

This does not seem realistic at first glance. However, if  these two were to get  together and didn't kill each other it would be a formidable economic and military power.


Lech Walesa has called for Poland to unite with Germany to form one European state, despite the bloody history between the two countries





Holy Hanseatic League!

Slavs and Germans have not historically gotten along. (the Hapsburg Empire being something of a qualified exception) but good lord, this would be an economic powerhouse right off the bat and could be a major military power in a few years.

This would make an interesting if unlikely scenario for a speculative future history, especially if the Eurozone's continuing feckless meltdown caused Austria and Slovenia and just one or two of the Slavic countries to jump on the bandwagon, you'd have a huge industrial juggernaut from the Adriatic to the North Sea. Austria-Hungary reborn, but far more formidable.

Russia would likely be most annoyed.

 

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September 21, 2013

The All-Seeing i


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August 15, 2013

I Dream The Bannana Electric

 Those who can read these do not pine for them.


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August 14, 2013

Another View

The other day, Brickmuppet Blog commented upon  Elon Musk's Hyperloop concept. This article takes a 180 degree different view of his business model from ours.

UPDATE: Rand Simberg strongly disagrees with the characterization of Musk as a corporatist at least as far as Space-X is concerned. Space-X does seem to be rather different from Tesla in that it's paying it's own way and not getting vast piles of taxpayer money as loans and subsidies plus government mandated payments from his competition. I was probably wrong to not put that venture in the same category as Paypal.
Still...
The huge ammount of political shenanigans he's engaged in to get his Car and solar panel company to float should give one pause. Dr. Simberg's argument is that if the government offered him a dump-truck full of our money it would be a breach of fiduciary duty not to accept it. This is true to an extent, depending on the strings attached, but given that at least 2 of his ventures seem to be quite nonviable economically without the government subsidies one can rationally wonder about whether a mass transit system (a type of venture with a poor history of viability in this country) is not a boondoggle.

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August 06, 2013

Of All The Days

As Steven reminds us in the comments of a previous post, the Japanese, earlier today, launched the latest and largest of their 'Destroyers'. We've discussed this nomenclature issue recently. However, it's important to remember that a nations warships are not just tools to be used in desperate times, they are symbols that can send messages.



Because the international dateline can lead to some confusion on dates,  I just checked and yes indeed, when the vessel was launched it was Tuesday in Japan.

So. Japan launched its largest warship since WW2...on August 6.

China is not the only nation being sent messages.


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August 01, 2013

A Question For My Readers

Is this creepy?

Wait.

You'll need context....allow me to explain......

Last night Instapundit linked to an Amazon.com page for 'Zombie Apocalypse Supplies'. OK This was silly, so I sent the link to Wonderduck in part to let him know that Snowflake Village is overrun by zombjas...but that is not germane to the matter at hand.

Anyway, a bit later, he and I exchanged multiple IMs trying to figure out what a compression bag was and speculating about the 5 gallon tub 'o meals which advertised 300 odd servings but  gave not the slightest indication what they were servings of...or how over 300 'satisfying meals' would fit in a 5 gallon pail. Anyway after sending each other links to various amusing zombie survivalist inanities, we logged off shortly thereafter.

Which brings us to this screencap.....



...and this one....




All of a sudden the Amazon affiliated blogs I'm visiting are very interested in selling me tubs o' food and stuff.  So I ask my readers. Especially those who did not spend 20 minutes last night snarking on the zombie apocalypse page....Is this just the Amazon putsch of the moment or are they really tracking us that close? What are YOU seeing on Amazon affiliated sites?

If this turns out not to be creepy and you are feeling cheated by the lack of creepiness, then rest assured gentle reader there is still creepiness to be had....
more...

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April 23, 2013

The Great Twitter Hack Scam of 2013

So by now most people have heard that a fake tweet from the Associated Press said that there were explosions at the White House.


Aiee! President Biden!

Well, Zero Hedge has tracked activity in the stock Market during that brief moment of confusion....wow! Looks like someone just happened to be ready to pounce and made out like a bandit in those three minutes. All the people who'd set their accounts to dump in the event of a crash...well they got hosed.

 ZH has another short article on this here where they look at the implications for just how fragile the current rally is.

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April 19, 2013

Lessons

There are, no doubt, many lessons to be learned from recent events.
One immediate takeaway would seem to be don't name your kid Tamerlane.

Also: While this is in all likelihood not strictly related, it's probably not a good idea either:

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October 27, 2012

This Could Be a Sticky Situation

This is a couple of weeks old but it's kind of odd. It seems that up in Canada millions of gallons of Maple syrup went missing some time ago. Now the police have seized 600 barrels from a store in New Brunswick which has been implicated in the heist.

But that's not the odd part...

The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers reported large quantities of syrup missing last month during a routine inventory, finding empty barrels at a site of the province's global strategic reserve ...



Quebec has a global strategic reserve...of maple syrup?


Yuko is OK with this.

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October 24, 2012

Hmmmm....

It's a bit early in the game to loose sleep over one of these fickle beasts, but Brendan Loy thinks this might well be a big thing.  In any event it could be quite bad to be in NYC or New England next week.


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October 15, 2012

Softbank Buys Sprint

This MEANS something.

 I don't know what though.

It's possible, (but doubtful) that this will ultimately make wireless transitions between the two countries easier for Softbank customers. In any event it's a curious development.

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