Press "Enter" to skip to content

Midweek links

  • Is there a “second Snowden” at the NSA? James Bamford, who knows as much as anybody else outside the fedgov’s blackbox of spies, believes there is.
  • In any case, we’re all in the NSA’s big, happy social network, whether we want to be or not. Not to mention the increasing number of people being forced onto Microsoft’s anti-social social network.
  • In Louisiana, nimble, willing private help for flood victims went far beyond the Cajun Navy. (Interesting use of technology, too. Could make me rethink the evils of F*c*b**k. And this is a case where phone-based geolocation may have saved lives.)
  • Is addiction a disease or more of a learned behavior? Differing experts hold a dialog.
  • Is “Big Marijuana” inevitable? In the NorthWet, the new laws have taken pains to keep pot growing as a craft business. But when more states legalize and big money is being waved around … we shall see.
  • Okay. That’s it. Any thoughts about making a protest v*te for Gary Johnson are out the window. LP VP wannabe Weld already proved himself an anti-gun eejit. Now Johnson himself is working hard to demonstrate that he’s a compromising Republican wannabe and a pandering, tax-loving fool (but I repeat myself).
  • A story space buffs, black-history buffs, math geeks, and women’s-history buffs can all appreciate: Katherine Johnson, one of many women who served as “human computers” in the early days of NASA. (Oh please don’t let the movie be too damned heartwarming and inspirational. Please, please, please let it have some realism and grit and refrain from the standard lifeless h-word and i-word cliches.) Ahem. Well. Better yet, this lady is still alive and still urging us to go to space.

I just so very had to steal this from Never Yet Melted.



  1. Fred
    Fred August 23, 2016 8:23 pm

    Microsoft is using Watson to analyze it’s users telemetry data.
    SMART = Tracking you

  2. Shel
    Shel August 23, 2016 8:30 pm

    Agorist is correct that in the past, our own agencies didn’t spy on the American public in general. In the relatively recent past I read that the departments of NSA that were responsible for monitoring foreign sources and domestic sources were merged, with the claim that there would still be that distinction.

    It’s hard to tell who is leaking secrets now; there’s no reason to believe it’s only one person. We have become very lax in enforcing consequences for transgressions; Clinton’s email antics, if done in Russia or China, would cause her to disappear from the face of the earth. Certainly the Russians shouldn’t be discounted (although they normally wouldn’t publicize results); they’ve had their successes over the years. But I definitely wouldn’t put Snowden in that category; as best as I can figure it, his motives were honorable.

    I wonder if the police have been disarming people as they did with Katrina. The New Orleans police chief, after a law had been past prohibiting a recurrence, when asked what he would do the next time said, “exactly the same thing.” Perhaps since the government hasn’t been involved those transgressions haven’t occurred.

    Gary Johnson seems like a fairly despicable character even without the references linked above. The Federal Election Commission has scheduled the debates opposite the NFL games, thereby depriving Trump of much needed direct exposure to voters. There has also been consideration of adding Johnson to the debates; when Ross Perot was added to make a three-way debate, Bill Clinton was elected president with less than half the popular vote. Just more evidence that this election is rigged as much as possible.

  3. Brad R
    Brad R August 23, 2016 11:39 pm

    Thanks for the tip about the Katherine Johnson movie. Unless it turns out to be positively saccharine, I’ll want to see it.

  4. Mark Call
    Mark Call August 24, 2016 6:50 am

    And I agree, Claire – cute poster.

    But I know He’d say, “you cannot serve two masters.”

    If you register to participate in a system you already KNOW is Evil, you agree to abide by the outcome. Heads I win, tails you lose, says that same whispering liar.

    (I stick personally with Joshua 25:14, which is pretty much the general theme of the Book anyway…)

    PS> Can I steal it, too???

  5. LarryA
    LarryA August 24, 2016 10:07 am

    “I don’t want to get a license to carry because it will put me on the list.”
    “Dude! You’re already on the list. Everyone is.”

    What I miss in the otherwise-balanced addiction article is individual people, and the idea that “addiction” might not be the same for them.

    Sam gets drunk because when he takes his first drink, something inside NEEDS another, and another, and…
    Pete gets drunk because he lost his job, is about to lose his home, and might lose his family.
    Mike gets drunk only because he’s new at drinking and doesn’t have the experience to know when to quit.

    Drugs affect different people in different ways.

    Hidden Figures goes to the top of my movie list. Even if it’s gooey-sweet, I’m a sucker for such. Like A Brilliant Mind and The imitation Game.

  6. Pat
    Pat August 24, 2016 11:21 am

    “Sam gets drunk because when he takes his first drink, something inside NEEDS another, and another, and…
    Pete gets drunk because he lost his job, is about to lose his home, and might lose his family.
    Mike gets drunk only because he’s new at drinking and doesn’t have the experience to know when to quit.”

    (Was that a quote? I couldn’t find it in the article.) The first example is probably addiction. The second and third are results of choices made on the basis of external situations.

    “Drugs affect different people in different ways.”

    Definitely. And neither author mentions “physiology” – HOW the body works. While “biology” and “genes” are mentioned several times (in passing), the individual body, composed of several hormones interlinked together, act and react in innumerable ways which cannot be predicted – and should not be treated – on the basis of any social/psychological emphasis.

    Many, many years ago, I was smoking and decided to stop because I was acquiring a cough and phlegm which I knew to be from smoking. I tried (?) to stop three times w/o success. During winter I came down with a *severe* head cold and sore throat for three weeks, during which time I didn’t want to smoke. I stopped because it hurt my throat. When I felt better, I realized that the physical desire to smoke was gone, so concentrating on the mental desire alone became easier than fighting both “addictions”/desires at the same time. Result was I never re-started smoking, and I did quit permanently. It was a lot easier one step at a time, but I never realized before that it was a two-fold problem for me.

    Re Katherine Johnson: Realism and grit = heartwarming and inspirational. (At least, realism and grit warms my heart.) The trailer looks good. I’ll be waiting for it, too.

  7. LarryA
    LarryA August 24, 2016 4:02 pm

    Not a quote, just some examples.

    My point is that many programs/legislation see all three needing the same treatment. The first and second examples can look a lot alike. If someone keeps getting drunk and has lost everything, it’s hard to tell the difference. Particularly if the people trying to help don’t look for the possibility because they don’t believe in it.

    My parents smoked. When I was about 5 a doctor told my father it was bad for him. He came home, laid the pack he was smoking on the dining room table, and quit. Through the rest of his life I very occasionally saw him smoke one cigarette the handful of times he was offered one, but it never enticed him to start again.

    My mother, OTOH, couldn’t quit even after she developed emphysema and needed oxygen. I doubt it was a failure of will, as she never had any trouble exercising her whim of steel in other ways. (My brother and I gave her lots of opportunities.)

    Sure wish someone had invented vaping back then, as it might have given her a chance. Today, though, there are those prigs who would ban vaping because “it’s not really quitting.”

Leave a Reply