Here's another view of exuberant nature on the Bayon at Angkor. This croc with a 'tude couldn't be more different from the graceful figure in my last post, but Khmer temples portray full visions of the universe. They're sometimes graceful and sometimes brutal, but Khmers loved dramatic expressions of nature's power in all of its manifestations. Their temples are some of the most engaging buildings in the world.
"On August 15, Trump signed an executive order, repealing an Obama-era executive order that updated the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard for the first time in 37 years to require consideration of future flood risk when building or rebuilding with federal funds. With ample evidence that climate change puts federal (and other) infrastructure at risk, it is ultimately American taxpayers who will pay the price for building without regard to sea level rise and the impacts of increasing extreme weather." READ MORE;
IMO, ANYONE WHO BELIEVES THAT VIOLENT SELF EXPRESSION IS A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT IS A TERRORIST. (PS: IF YOU DON'T KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN "VIOLENT SELF EXPRESSION" AND "SELF DEFENSE", *Y*O*U* ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM.
HOW WE LOOK TO OTHERS
From A Friend:
"I have a suggestion. How about embracing fascism for what it is in reality, i.e. the outcome of cultural decline and the failure of a society? So many people are talking about the history of the United States. It doesn't matter. There is no more United States. It's only the United States in name only. What you have is a mess, it's chaos, it's disorder, it's a free for all a state of confusion and lawlessness. Where is your rule of law? Where is your justice system? Where is the truth of who you are collectively as a nation? Where is the power of your US Constitution? From what I can see you have none of these things. The only rule which seems to apply is that he who has the most money wins. Nothing else matters. So what are you going to do now dear Americans, are you going to continue the chaos and mess by fighting amongst yourselves, or are you going to take stock of the failure, accept it for what it is, and start the process of working together and rebuilding that mess which you call a home into a functioning nation based on law and justice?"
I follow Dave Pell closely because I consider him to be one of the entertaining while astute commentators on the Internet. Here's quote from this article:
Putin didn’t pull America out of the climate treaty. Putin didn’t cede America’s leadership role in Europe. And that fake news and hacking? Yeah, he did all that. But none of it would have had any chance of working if we didn’t have millions of silly, hateful voters that were susceptible to believing all the nonsensical bullshit.
I've been so busy, I haven't had a chance to add to your roster of nightmare material recently. To make up for that oversight, I give you:
Hagfish are caught along the West Coast, including Oregon, and shipped to Korea, where they are a delicacy.
They have unique qualities. The slime -- a type of mucus – from a hagfish can expand to more than five gallons when combined with water. Sorry, ODOT.
Also, according to smithsonianmag.com, to prevent choking on its own slime, a hagfish can "sneeze" out its slime-filled nostril, and tie its body into a knot to keep the slime from dripping onto its face.
And, just to enhance the nightmare, this last fact from smithsonianmag.com: The eel-shaped creatures use four pairs of thin sensory tentacles surrounding their mouths to find food—including carcasses of much larger animals. Once they find their meal, they bury into it face-first to bore a tunnel deep into its flesh.
Junior certainly appears to have agreed to accept political help from a close connection of the Russian government. Is there any possible explanation that doesn’t involve collusion?
Well, the Trump family apparently had a deal with the Agalarov family to bring a Trump Tower to Moscow. It was put on hold when Donald ran for president. But it’s possible that Junior was trying to keep Emin happy because he was hoping to eventually get the plan back on track.
So you could certainly argue that the president’s son was only pretending he was working with a foreign power trying to manipulate the results of the American election. When his real motives were just making a profit off the presidency. Be fair.
It's crap like this that should make ANY human being with ANY sort of moral integrity a firm Black Lives Matter supporter:
A black teenager was confronted by police, punched by an officer and bitten by an officer’s K-9 dog after the officers mistakenly identified her for a larger bald, black man suspected of threatening people nearby with a machete.
Ever since President Trump’s inauguration there has been a tremendous amount of palace intrigue with factions loyal to Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon fighting for influence alongside whichever policy advisers and cabinet officials happen to be relevant that particular week. The Russia scandal has implicated Kushner in ways that make him especially vulnerable, however, and Bannon appears to be filling the vacuum.
In a startling story that got overlooked this week amid all the Don Jr. email excitement, the New York Times reported that Bannon and Kushner have been dabbling in real war planning as well:
Erik D. Prince, a founder of the private security firm Blackwater Worldwide, and Stephen A. Feinberg, a billionaire financier who owns the giant military contractor DynCorp International, have developed proposals to rely on contractors instead of American troops in Afghanistan at the behest of Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, and Jared Kushner, his senior adviser and son-in-law, according to people briefed on the conversations. On Saturday morning, Mr. Bannon sought out Defense Secretary Jim Mattis at the Pentagon to try to get a hearing for their ideas, an American official said.
Prince wrote about his plan in the Wall Street Journal in May, suggesting that the president appoint a “viceroy” for Afghanistan, using the colonial model of the East India Company to illustrate his idea. Salon’s Matthew Pulver explained how Prince planned to bring this idea up to date:
The British East India Company was not simply a mercenary army like his Blackwater but an armed corporation that colonized like a state power. It was not merely a government contractor like Blackwater but an autonomous military and administrative entity sharing the worst aspects of both the corporation and the imperial state. So, Prince’s first innovation is to do away with civilian-military control administered by the Department of Defense and overseen by civilian, elected leadership, as is currently in place, and replace that apparatus with an armed corporation.
The second innovation will be to use cheap local labor paid for by resource extraction. Pulver wrote:
“There’s a trillion dollars in value in the ground: mining, minerals, and another trillion in oil and gas,” Prince says of Afghanistan. This would provide the revenue stream to replace government contracts. Prince’s firm would be self-funded, self-reliant, and thus autonomous to a degree more similar to a nation-state than a military contractor like Blackwater serving under a defense department.
So, P&G said, “Hey, black people have to deal with race stuff sometimes,” and that was enough replicate the response to the O.J. verdict?
Basically. Fortunately, I’ve grown to appreciate white tears as delicious.
They must be an acquired taste.
They are! They go really great with pancakes. And you don’t even need bacon because they already have all the salt.
Trump told The Wall Street Journal in an interview published Wednesday, “I got a call from the head of the Boy Scouts saying it was the greatest speech that was ever made to them.”
“We are unaware of any such call,” the Boy Scouts responded in a statement. It specified that neither Boy Scout President Randall Stephenson nor Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh placed such a call.
So while the public watches Trump churn through White House staff members, his Administration is humming along nicely in filling federal judgeships, with the enthusiastic assistance of the Republican majority in the Senate. The first and most important victory for the President came with the confirmation of Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, in a seat that Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, the Republican leader in the Senate, kept vacant for nearly the full final year of Barack Obama’s Presidency. But McConnell didn’t just protect a Supreme Court seat for the next President; he basically shut down the entire confirmation process for all of Obama’s federal-judgeship nominees for more than a year. It’s the vacancies that accumulated during this time—more than a hundred of them—that Trump’s team is now working efficiently to fill.
Quite a long article, but worth it. What happens when Evangelical Christian meets Evangelical Muslim? Here's a passage from the judge on the case:
“It’s unfortunately the society that we live in,” the judge said. “A little nothing turns into a case where I’m supposed to convict this guy and send him to prison for life. Because he shook a guy’s hand too hard? I don’t know. Since 9/11, every time there’s an incident involving a Muslim, everyone’s on red alert. But there’s incidents every day.” The judge sighed. “How do you deal with this stuff? Right? All kidding aside, to me, this is really just sort of a fascinating societal issue. Because I see it every day in here. So how do you deal with it? On the one hand, you have the government, saying ‘Hey, you see any Muslim do something, you should report it,’ because, you know?”
Remember the old gag where you open a can of something yummy and a spring loaded snake jumps out at you?
What if that snake were real and a king cobra?
So, it's story time.
Many moons ago, when I was a USAF Still Documentary Combat Photographer with Detachment 15 of the 601st Photo Squadron based out of U-Tapao Royal Thai Naval Air Force Station, Thailand (I just felt like saying that whole sentence), I had a most *unusual* assignment.
The base commander (who was later the target of a fragging attempt, but that's another story) stepped out of his hutch one morning and stepped on a snake, which wiggled a bit and crawled away, but didn't bite him. He inquired about and learned that he had just stepped on a Banded Krait. This snake was known as the "Two-Step", as in that's the number of steps you get after you've been bitten (it's not actually *that* bad). The base commander decided a Snake Safety Campaign was in order.
So he calls in this absolutely psycho Forward Air Combat Controller (another story there) to talk about it and told him (I can't remember his name) he needed lots of photos of snakes and Sgt Braithwaite was the one to take them. So I get called in and have the project explained to me.
I said that I knew exactly where to get photos of all of the different kinds of snakes: the Bangkok Zoo. Shouldn't take more than a week in Bangkok, sir.
Nope. Want photos of those snakes in the wild in the forest around the base. Shit.
So the next morning, I'm out there with my Nikon FTn and a 135mm lens, along with Psycho FAC, standing in water coming about half way up my pants legs, when I am photographing a king cobra and backing away a little bit (just to make sure I show him in the context of his surroundings, you understand).
Psycho FAC says, "Don't back up to far, there's another cobra behind you!" I was so startled, I dropped my Nikon into the swamp and we had to go back.
The next day I came down with a really bad cold and somebody else had to finish that project.
Remember Minority Report? Thanks to Peter Thiel (remember him?), we now have it fully operational in places like Los Angeles and it is spreading rapidly.
Remember to Only Think Good Thoughts!
Minority Report is set in 2054, but Palantir is putting pre-crime into operation now. The Los Angeles Police Department has used Palantir to predict who will commit a crime by swooping Minority Report-style on suspects. Palantir calls its work with the LAPD “improving situational awareness, and responding to crime in real time”.
Algorithms take in data on the location, time and date of previously committed crimes and this data is superimposed to create hotspots on a map for police officers to patrol. A 2013 video about “predictive policing” by the National Science Foundation features an officer explaining how they used one of these maps to prevent an assault “before it happened”.
Military-grade surveillance technology has now migrated from Fallujah to the suburban neighbourhoods of LA. Predictive policing is being used on illegal drivers and petty criminals through a redeployment of techniques and algorithms used by the US army dealing with insurgents in Iraq and with civilian casualty patterns.
When the US is described as a “war zone” between police and young black males, it is rarely mentioned that tactics developed by the US military in a real war zone are actually being deployed. Is predictive policing as a counter-insurgency tactic a contributing factor in the epidemic of police shootings of unarmed black men in the past four years?
The Atlantic has been around for a long time. Here's the first couple of paragraphs from February 1935 in an article about Hitler and the rise of Nazism before the outbreak of WW2:
WHEN one remembers how National Socialism appeared to be declining in 1932 and how Hitler was called to power as a last resort, it seems as though the movement might be only a belated convulsion of the war. In fact, the enemies of the movement, especially in Prague, Zurich, and Paris, expect Hitler's downfall quite shortly, and a restoration of the Weimar constitution or something like it, together with their own return. But I believe they are wrong. Hitler may fall, and his enemies may return, but it will probably be to a different Germany from the one they left. The forces at work in that country have only temporarily crystallized in Hitler, and will continue to work themselves out when he is gone.
National Socialism is not only a protest against the Treaty of Versailles, and not only an uprising of the middle class; and it cannot be disposed of by calling it barbarous, dictatorial, or militaristic. It is all these things and a great deal more. It is a revolt against the ideals of democracy; not merely its practices, but the very assumptions upon which the democratic state operates. The Nazis reject equality, and put hierarchy in its place; they reject the ideal of a society run by scientific methods for the ideal of an organic society in which personality will play a greater part than formulae; and, consistently with this, they war against the intellect in favor of 'the creative spirit.'
I'm sitting in the Public Domain coffeeshop in downtown Portland, waiting to head out to Hillsboro for my next appt. And this article caught my eye, since I seem to be fantasizing about programming at the moment (as opposed to coming downtown to turn on servers that somehow got turned off. Sigh. I wondered why it wouldn't respond). So here's the response I wrote to this article:
I both agree and disagree with your premise. First off, how I agree:
When I write code, I approach it as writing poetry. It should flow. There should be some sort of pattern or rhythm to it and when I am “on”, there is rhyme and meter. If my code is beautiful, it is more likely to be “right” than if I just did stream of consciousness.
Where I disagree with you is:
I’m an old time (almost 40 years) assembly language programmer, compiler writer, tool builder, that has grown into cherishing modern programming languages and techniques. I’m also a landscape photographer, trying to capture and communicate beauty. Over the last almost 40 years, the most valuable practice that I still follow is the concept of output oriented design: what sort of results do I want? Then I work backwards to determine what sorts of input I need to get those results. Then I hire a UX person to make it both useful and beautiful.
The fact is, I am NOT very good at user interface design, but my ego is strong enough to be able to admit that. I am willing to pay those who are good at user interface design and together we make things that users love and can intuitively figure out.
Just my two cents worth.
I believe the author's argument is weakened by his obvious dislike of Amazon. But his argument is pretty sound and should be considered as part of the fundamental changes that need to happen in the US and globally.
The state considered Livinia Blackburn Johnson another human being’s property when she was born into slavery, two years before the end of the Civil War. The Civil Rights Act of 1866 gave freed slaves like Johnson the ability to own property. In 1899, under the provisions of that law, Livinia Johnson purchased a plot of land along Carver Road in what eventually became the town of Haymarket, Virginia.
Now the Dominion of Virginia is seizing the land Johnson purchased, in order to build an Amazon data center. Her descendants have lived in Haymarket for the last 118 years. They are required by law to sell their land to Dominion Virginia Power, which will use it to build towers that will bring power to Amazon’s facility.
The well-to-do residents there managed to block any eminent domain efforts on their property. So Amazon’s agents turned their sights to Haymarket, where Livinia Blackburn Johnson’s descendants presumably have less political pull.
The way our country thinks about ownership is, in a word, strange. You do not own your own data, because you have given it away to corporations like Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google (sometimes known by the acronym FANG). The federal government doesn’t own the valuable drug patents it paid for, because it gave them away to corporations. Most of us don’t own our homes or cars, because we have mortgaged them to fundamentally dishonest financial institutions.
All of these property rights—FANG’s ownership of your data, Big Pharma’s exclusive rights to government-financed patents, Wall Street’s ownership of mortgages and pink slips—exist because we as a nation choose to enforce them.
The term eminent domain comes from the Latin dominium eminens, which means “supreme lordship.” Sometimes homes must be taken through eminent domain in order to serve the public interest, for dams to protect the land and provide electricity, or for new roadways to open a city. But eminent domain is also used to benefit corporations like Amazon. The rationale is that communities need economic development just as much as they need highways and waterways, because it brings jobs and economic growth.
But in times of extreme economic inequality like these, most of the wealth from development goes to the already wealthy.
Attorney General Jefferson B. Sessions III recently reinstated a much-abused policy that allows law enforcement officials to conduct civil asset forfeitures and take the property of individuals they suspect of breaking the law, even if those individuals are never charged with or convicted of any crime.
Civil asset forfeiture can be used against companies as well as individuals. What if civil asset forfeiture was used to seize the assets of corporations that have been proven to break the law, not once, but over and over? The list includes all the country’s biggest banks, as well as corporations like General Electric.
British elites were shocked and horrified when Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn proposed taking over unused luxury apartments in London to house some of the people made homeless by the Grenfell Tower fire. But the public understood. A national poll showed that 59 percent of British adults agreed with Corbyn. City officials, reading the public’s mood, quickly took Corbyn’s suggestion.
There is compelling evidence that pharmaceutical corporations knowingly and criminally encouraged the spread of opioid addiction in this country. Why shouldn’t their executives’ country homes be used to provide drug treatment to addicts? If there is unused investment property in this country (at, for example, One Central Park West), why shouldn’t it be used to help people recover from the ravages of opioids?
It's time to ask ourselves what kind of country takes property purchased by a freed slave to enrich a corporation ...
"There are so many pills about these days with so many different names and brands to attract punters," the source continued. "It’s getting to be a game of ‘who’s got the coolest pill?’ I know for a fact the Donald Trumps are very popular because of who he is. Who’d have thought you can get an E in the shape of the US president? Well you can. And they are here."
Is anyone out there using Apache Kafka? This is a very nontraditional way of dealing with massive data in realtime and I would love to talk about it with folks that have real world experience. The IoT (a dated term of art, but still valid) requires something like this and I'm wondering if Kafka is it. Here's a rough description from the article:
This trend is driving the adoption of technologies that can reliably and scalably deliver and process data as near real-time as possible. New frameworks dedicated to this architecture needed to exist. Hence, Apache Kafka was born.
What about Apache Spark? Well, as Gorman points out, Spark is capable of real-time processing, but isn’t optimally suited to it. The Spark streaming frameworks are still micro-batch by design.
This leaves Kafka, which “can offer a true exactly once, one-at-a-time processing solution for both the transport and the processing framework,” Gorman explains. Beyond that, additional components like Apache Flink, Beam, and others extend the functionality of these real-time pipelines to allow for easy mutation, aggregation, filtering, and more. All the things that make a mature, end-to-end, real-time data processing system.
This wouldn’t matter if Kafka were a beast to learn and implement, but it’s not (on either count). As Gorman highlights, “The beauty of Apache Kafka is it exposes a powerful API yet has very simple semantics. It is all very approachable.” Not only that, but its API has been implemented in many different programming languages, so the odds are good that your favorite language has a driver available.