Thursday, March 3, 2016

SAR #16063

We may become the first species to die out from simple inattention.
At Last: The FBI has acknowledged that the reason they so badly want Apple to unlock a certain cell phone for them is that they tried and messed it up rather badly.
Cause And Effect: The Republican-dominated Utah state senate has passed a bill requiring that the poor complete a “self-reliance” course in order to receive government assistance. They'll teach 'em how to handle their money. Okay, but the problem is the don't have any money; by and large the poor are far more careful about budgeting than their betters in the statehouse, who could use a few semesters of basic economics themselves.
Just So Story: Trump’s supporters want the same things that Bernie Sanders’ do. But Trump's tramps only want them for themselves.
Eavesdropping: Baltimore MTA buses are equipped with microphones which record passengers' conversations. Because no one has an expectation of privacy when sitting on a bus, do they? Maybe they could put up some bus-stop shelters where hidden cameras could monitor people before they got on. And they could track their cell-phones, too. Maybe...
Simplefication: Exxon is cutting its capital investment budget by 25% for 2016. Quick, how much GDP will disappear just from capital expenditures not expended?
Waiting For Godot: If you are waiting for the November elections to produce a leader who will deal with abortion, college tuition, healthcare, taxes or anything else We The People are concerned about, get over it. Better to be disillusioned now rather than get all hoped up only to discover that nothing has changed. The rulers will rule and we'll watch TV and discuss cats and wine on Facebook. This election is no more important than any other, and no less. Elections are harmless – they wouldn't let us have them if they would actually change anything. Make some popcorn, enjoy the games.
Noted In Passing: Aubrey McClendon, founder and former CEO of big-deal fracker Chesapeake Energy (which has tumbled from darling to damned along with the price of oil) died when he drove his car into a wall “at a high rate of speed,” one day after being indicted for conspiring to rig bids for oil and natural gas leases.
Fractions: Do you have any idea how much advertising affects your behavior? How about one particular ad, say on a billboard? Clear Channel does. Working with ATT, it records how many times you (well, your cell phone) passes a particular billboard with an ad for XYZ. Then they couple that with your buying history and can tell the advertiser – by age, gender, income, family size, etc. etc. who is seeing their ads and how effective they are at getting you into the checkout line of a store, clutching their product. Now, about those computerised adds on the endcaps at the local mega-mart...
Ah, Texas! It appears that Mary Lou Bruner will face Keven Ellis in a run-off election for a seat on the Texas Board of Education. Ms. Bruner thinks that the UN has a plan to exterminate two-thirds of the world's population, that sex education “stimulates” children to experiment with sex, the Obama has promoted a gay agenda because he was a gay prostitute in his 20's to raise money for his drug addiction, and – as required – she is a creationist and wants to ban all Muslims from entering the US. She is expected to win. Texas' children are expected to lose.
Porn O'Graph: Safe at home.
A Parting Shot:


McMike said...

When I saw the headline about McLendon, I immediately wondered if we had our first major car-computer-hacking assassination.... it's certainly likely that an investigation of his deals could lead a slime trail straight to Washington.

This raises an update to the stay-out-of-small-planes advice: drive a pre-bluetooth car.

On the other hand, it is also quite conceivable that he got hugely drunk, considered three years of trials followed by two decades in prison, and said EFF-IT.

Now his family will be taken care of by grateful co-conspirators, 'cause that's the way things are done in Chinatown.

Funny though, it's my understanding that crashed cars rarely catch fire, (except Pintos) and on TV.

So, you know, check the dental records, and look for a fuse, is all I'm sayin' Nothing's ruled out until it's ruled out.

McMike said...

Re Godot doesn't come here anymore.

But but but, how else can we create that long-term tribal identification and sense-of-siege energy? Belongingness, celebrity, exclusion, high stakes, a way of life in the balance... all wrapped up in one long high school popularity contest, that simmers and bubbles for months then culminates in one final build-up of excitement to the precipice of either joyful validation or despair and banishment.

The GWOT can't do that. American Idol or the Apprentice can't do that. Even the Super Bowl (tm) can't do that.

It sure beats gathering in the street to watch evictions.

Not to fear, within a fear years, Google and Facebook will simply predict how we are going to vote, and then pull the lever for us. We can watch it all unfold on our phones.

McMike said...

Re extinction by inattention. I wonder if Darwin figured that into his theories. If not, the biblical scientists did, under sloth.

In any case, it's more that most of us didn't bother to pay attention, while a subset of us threw us all over the edge, themselves included. Is that murder, suicide or neglect?

kwark said...

re "Eavesdropping": Upon hearing this sort of "revelation" I always wonder how much said agency is spending simply to collect this sort of dreck and how much more is wasted "analyzing" the collected sound bites? Is there ANY evidence that collecting said "data" is useful for any purpose, even commercial exploitation? I ride a bus fairly frequently and the conversations I overhear are usually things like complaints about boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse, complaints about work, the merits/demerits of movie X, the Kardashian's latest shenanigans, or the latest entertainment "event" on the tube. I'm definitely in the wrong business - I need to start my own "security" firm to help spend the money we collectively waste on this sort of scam, oops, I mean threat.

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

The value, kwark, comes not from from listening to the drivel - they most likely do not -0 but from letting you know that they could.

kwark said...

CKM - They could . . . but in all probability never be able to discern anything "valuable". So the value to our government of this sort of waste is the highly dubious deterrent value of the "threat" of listening-in on every word? I'd opine that even people contemplating evil aren't too threatened by this sort of "threat". Why is it that I get feeling this is just yet more crony capitalism shoveling money into the hands of the appropriate corporate "provider" under the guise of "security".

McMike said...

re why. Yes CKM maybe just to remind us who's boss. But I suspect also just because they want to. Law enforcement types are to a man never satisfied that they have enough gear, enough intel, enough etc etc etc. Like the military that way.

They become like prosecutors, the honest ones, who soon come to decide that they know who is guilty and who is not, and that they are good people who wont abuse their power, and so all those pesky rules like the Constitution are really only serving as an impediment that gets in the way of catching bad guys, and may even get cops killed.

Why shouldn't we crack that phone? Why should a stoopid abstraction get in the way of doing God's work?

rjs said...

McMike, the backstory that all the media is missing on McClendon is that just a few hours before he slammed into that wall, his sugar daddy, John Raymond of EMG, cut him off...Raymond's private equity group was the partner put up a cool $3 billion to launch American Energy Partners for McClendon after he was drummed out of Chesapeake..