Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Today's Internets - "...he’s six hours behind the moment and urgently needs to catch up. Do you ever feel like that upon waking? Six hours behind the moment. Sleeping took you off the road to the future."

Finally [mostly/kinda] caught up from a couple weeks offline + trying to stay up with current events.  That's a lot of internettery, people.

"'...his glasses remind him that he’s six hours behind the moment and urgently needs to catch up.'

Do you ever feel like that upon waking?  Six hours behind the moment.  Sleeping took you off the road to the future...

'He speed reads a new pop-philosophy tome while he brushes his teeth, then blogs his web throughput to a public annotation server; he’s still too enervated to finish his pre-breakfast routine by posting a morning rant on his storyboard site.' 

Kick that one around.  It contains the point that he’s not just taking in information, but processing it and excreting more information.  Also, extruding it out on to a public space where people can fiddle with it...  The point is crucial.  If we’re not doing something with the information we’re taking in, then we’re just pigs at the media trough.

'"What’s life coming to when I can’t cope with the pace of change?" he asks the ceiling plaintively.'"

"Some observers have debated whether Western-style democracy will work in Africa, especially given that its borders were largely drawn by colonizers. Is that something you've thought about during your extensive travels in Africa? 

I think about it a lot. I do think that the system in place ought to produce a reasonable person to govern, or it should produce reasonable people. It hasn't. It's produced a lot of tyrants."

"If national security journalists are neutered, secrets will flow to transparency activists and the government will have even less control."

The future looks awkward.

"Star Trek fans (in Canada) will be able to drink like a Vulcan in this May. CBS Studios has licensed a new Star Trek brew, a first of a few in a new lineup. Alberta, Canada is home to a town called “Vulcan” where there a Star Trek Festival dubbed “Spock Days” is is held each year. The beer will be featured at the fest."

"This is the essence of Transformational Vocabulary: the words that we attach to our experience become our experience, regardless of whether it’s objectively accurate or not."

"Richard Satran at US News has a scary little piece out about how The Internal Revenue Service collects more than your taxes: "It's also acquiring a huge volume of personal information on taxpayers' digital activities, from eBay auctions to Facebook posts and, for the first time ever, credit card and e-payment transaction records, as it expands its search for tax cheats to places it's never gone before."

"...somehow tracking and holding banking and corporate entities even vaguely responsible for the 2008 circus and regulating their propensity to park squillions of dollars in offshore tax havens is beyond a government's ability, but tracking hundreds of millions of individual tax payers or consumers to make sure they pay every last dime in taxes is a-o.k.  Frankly, I'm not the least bit surprised.  Saddened...yes.  Surprised?  No."

"Oh, if only we'd listened to Shia LaBeouf. CBC News reports that back in 2008, while the actor was promoting his film Eagle Eye, (about a mysterious stranger who spies on other people's phone calls), he told Tonight Show host Jay Leno the movie's FBI consultant warned him the government was doing just that, on a grand scale, with innocent Americans. "He told me that one in five phone calls that you make are recorded and logged, and I laughed at him and then he played back a phone conversation I'd had two years prior," said LaBeouf. And we ignored him."

"43 years ago...  Pittsburgh Pirates' pitcher Dock Ellis accomplished what I consider to be the greatest achievement in recreational psychedelic drug history: Throwing a no-hitter against San Diego Padres with a head full of acid. In case you're not familiar with the story, just watch this video:

"Fiction is dangerous, Gaiman explained, because “it lets you into others’ heads, it gives you empathy, and it shows you that the world doesn’t have to be like the one you live in.” That imaginative leap into other minds and other worlds is surely the reason many of us read fiction."

"“...in europe, anal sex is like fried mozzarella stick in US restaurants. it’s super common. and once you’ve had them, they really aren’t worth any hoop-lah. then i told her about a VERY awkward conversation i had with Sonia and my boy’s gf. i had to translate for sonia as she interogated the american lass as to why she’s so averse to anal. i realized i was in the girls locker room for a moment. i knew ordinarily i would NEVER have access to this talk. and sonia was brutal. 

s- “i don’t understand why you wouldn’t want to make your man happy.” 
aw- “it’s just not something i’m into.” 
s- “have you even tried it.” 
aw- “no.” 
s- “so how do you know you don’t like it.” 
aw- “i hear it’s painful.” 
s- it hurt the first time you have regular sex, right? then it feels good.” 
aw- “i’m not really comfortable talking about this anymore.” 
s- “why, because you can’t defend your position?”"

"As people age, their lifestyles suffer. They work more and longer hours. They sleep less. They accumulate more stress, and do more stress-eating. They stop moving as much, particularly if their new adult jobs force them to sit for eight hours a day. They live more poorly, and, in turn, suffer many of the health maladies we regard as “part of getting old.” I’m not suggesting that aging has zero effect on our physiological health. If nothing else, it makes us more vulnerable to our poor lifestyles and gives us more time to accumulate further damage (loud noises, stress-causing responsibilities, etc). I’m just saying that we give it a lot more power that it deserves. By doing that, we cede control over our own health to some abstract function of space-time. If aging is gonna get ya, it’s gonna get ya. Let’s do our best to hold it off at the pass, shall we?"

"...we give complete strangers an incredible amount of power over our lives.

Why do you care so much about the approval of complete strangers?

The only people whose opinions should matter are those who are there for you. I have a core group of friends. They are people I have been loyal to, and who have helped me in my own time of need. If they disapprove of something I’m doing, then I’ll listen. I may disagree and continue doing it. But I’ll feel something when they speak. Complete strangers? Who gives a fuck?"

"Lela Gwenn had a dream: cosplay as some of her favorite heroes, and then get tied up and photographed by Sandman Slim author Richard Kadrey. The model and writer raised over $4000 on Kickstarter to make it happen, and here's your first look at the results..."


"The comedian Trevor Moore, of Whitest Kids U Know fame, has a video out for Funny or Die styled as a “public service announcement” about NSA surveillance. Moore is a pessimist, explaining that “elections are of no use” because the people who run for president are assholes, and instead suggests “Operation Everyone Talk Like A Terrorist All the Time” to thwart any wiretapping efforts the NSA may be directing. Watch:

"The former host of 'Erotica Night' at a Baltimore bookstore will be the first-ever female number two official at the CIA." Perhaps the Daily Beast is trying to make us like Avril Haines less, but the more I read about her serving chicken tostadas to bookworm couples by candlelight on Anne Rice Night, the more she sounds like a Boing Boing reader who has since joined the dark side."

"i give not 2 fucks. while she wanted to give me her number, i wanted give her a treadmill. sometimes it takes a while to get your comeuppance, but when it comes…….it’s fucking sweet."

"The U.S. House of Representatives voted again Thursday to allow the indefinite military detention of Americans, blocking an amendment that would have barred the possibility."

Relationships 101.  And "Good Vibrations!"  Funny stuff.

"Seven cops in Knoxville participated in the beating of a drunk mentally ill homeless man after he was handcuffed that was caught on no less than four in-car cameras. Three of the officers have pled guilty to misdemeanor assault and felony official oppression and will be sentenced in August, and now the video, and an internal affairs report that also implicates the other officers involved as well as their supervisors, has been released."

"Ike was skewered as "a conspiracy theorist" for suggesting that the military-industrial complex might some day screw everythin up. But here we are, in an era where the public and private spheres mingle promiscuously and expensively..."

"Estimates of the current size of the body of federal criminal law vary. It has been reported that the Congressional Research Service cannot even count the current number of federal crimes. These laws are scattered in over 50 titles of the United States Code, encompassing roughly 27,000 pages. Worse yet, the statutory code sections often incorporate, by reference, the provisions and sanctions of administrative regulations promulgated by various regulatory agencies under congressional authorization. Estimates of how many such regulations exist are even less well settled, but the ABA thinks there are ”nearly 10,000.” If the federal government can’t even count how many laws there are, what chance does an individual have of being certain that they are not acting in violation of one of them?

For instance, did you know that it is a federal crime to be in possession of a lobster under a certain size? It doesn’t matter if you bought it at a grocery store, if someone else gave it to you, if it’s dead or alive, if you found it after it died of natural causes, or even if you killed it while acting in self defense. You can go to jail because of a lobster.

...Over the past year, there have been a number of headline-grabbing legal changes in the U.S., such as the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington, as well as the legalization of same-sex marriage in a growing number of U.S. states. As a majority of people in these states apparently favor these changes, advocates for the U.S. democratic process cite these legal victories as examples of how the system can provide real freedoms to those who engage with it through lawful means. And it’s true, the bills did pass. What’s often overlooked, however, is that these legal victories would probably not have been possible without the ability to break the law. The state of Minnesota, for instance, legalized same-sex marriage this year, but sodomy laws had effectively made homosexuality itself completely illegal in that state until 2001. Likewise, before the recent changes making marijuana legal for personal use in Washington and Colorado, it was obviously not legal for personal use.

Imagine if there were an alternate dystopian reality where law enforcement was 100% effective, such that any potential law offenders knew they would be immediately identified, apprehended, and jailed. If perfect law enforcement had been a reality in Minnesota, Colorado, and Washington since their founding in the 1850s, it seems quite unlikely that these recent changes would have ever come to pass. How could people have decided that marijuana should be legal, if nobody had ever used it? How could states decide that same sex marriage should be permitted, if nobody had ever seen or participated in a same sex relationship?"

"...in the meantime, he was also going on business meetings with his dad, where he'd watch him gladhand with the businessmen responsible for making bids. "What I learned was, this whole American bidding-for-jobs thing is a con," Ruffalo says. "Whatever we want to think about American business – work hard, tell the truth, have morality – it's a myth. There's a lot of graft. They're paying off inspectors. Every day, you're asked to compromise your integrity in some way. And I didn't like it.""

"Today, I was at Starbucks getting my usual morning coffee. When the barista asked me what name I wanted on the cup, I said 'Primrose Everdeen' for a laugh. When they called out my order, a stranger yelled, "I volunteer as tribute", walked up to the counter, took my coffee, and left. FML"

“There are many things of which a wise man might wish to be ignorant.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

"I really don't get Memorial Day, and I don't think I ever did. It seems to me that... You're forced; i.e., drafted, conscripted. So that must render Memorial Day as some sort of Soviet-eque holiday that merely celebrates the idea of taking young men at the prime of their lives to go off and "die for their country" involuntarily. No honor in that, in my lighthouse. If voluntary, it's no more meaningful than is any other risk of life or limb, such as for your own family and friends if you voluntarily undertake such risks according to your own values. Or, any other job that involves real risks. No national holiday required. It's a job. That's what it was for me. I knew the risks but it paid off. I was better off for it in a number of ways (8 years living and travelling abroad) that are all practical and none flag waving. No national holiday required. It just strikes me as nothing more than a big hullabaloo over something that's either unimportant (when undertaking the risk is voluntary) or actually evil (conscription)."

"So John Barrowman is really, really awesome. Anne and I got to spend a bit of time with him in Phoenix at the comic con, and he was simply wonderful. At one point, Anne showed him the picture of her and me with Nathan Fillion, and told him the story from Ottawa Comic Con. “We should do that, only I’ll hold you and Anne will look sad,” John said. I made a noise like a tween meeting Bieber, and then this happened:

"President Obama returned, earlier today, to a favorite theme of his: insisting that Americans should trust the government. He did so even as that position becomes increasingly preposterous. While talking up his signature policy, the Affordable Care Act, which we'll just have to trust won't become the huge disaster it certainly looks to already be, the president was asked about revelations, this week, that the National Security Agency is scooping up information on Americans' telephoning habits and snooping on their Internet activity. But tradeoffs!, he said. You have to balance privacy and security. And we have top people on the job to make sure it's done right. You don't have to just trust us ... but trust us."

"The Department of Homeland Security’s civil rights watchdog has concluded that “intuition and hunch” are among the primary reasons why it is “inadvisable” to establish constitutional safeguards protecting travelers’ electronics from being searched for any reason along the U.S. border."

"Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old NSA contractor and ex-CIA employee, has revealed that he is behind the series of leaks that have appeared in the Guardian and Washington Post this weekend, which detailed top-secret, over-reaching, and arguably criminal surveillance programs run by America's spies with the cooperation of the Obama administration."
"Snowden says he always intended to come forward after the leaks, and to face down the consequences of his actions. He describes himself as a disillusioned Obama supporter who was disappointed after the 2008 election to see America double down on the overreaching spying programs that had worried him when he was with the CIA. He is giving up a comfortable life with a $200,000 salary, a girlfriend, and a home in Hawai'i to blow the whistle on what he views as immoral, out-of-control spy programs. He says he does not want to be at the center of this story; he wants the focus to be on the government's actions."
"Edward Snowden, who leaked the news that the NSA has monitored our emails in a program called PRISM, made over $200,000 a year. He worked in Oahu, Hawaii. He traveled extensively, and his girlfriend, a gorgeous ballerina named Lindsay Mills, often accompanied him. And despite living an enviable life many would work decades toward, Snowden never graduated from high school.  Now, Snowden is on the run in Hong Kong, reportedly running out of cash after weeks spent in a hotel. He faces an unclear future—numerous government officials have brought up the possibility of extradiction, and the feds are reportedly building a case that will bring serious charges against him. He's also (shockingly) been fired from his job at Booz Allen. He may go to Russia next, he's also considered Iceland, and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is telling him to take to Latin America."

"A Facebook reader assures me regarding the NSA program, "If you are doing the right thing and minding your own business you have nothing to hide."  I know I'm being naive, but I can't stop being amazed when Americans blithely spout statements like this one, which would be perfectly at home in the North Korean Politburo or in 1984.  As I said in response:

It's not a question of having something or nothing to hide.  If you were at a dinner party and someone took out a dictaphone and said he just wanted to record the conversation so he could listen to it later, what sort of impact do you think this would have on people's behavior?  Now, what sort of impact do you think there will be on the creativity, spontaneity, amount of dissent, and other aspects of the free flow of information that are critical to the healthy functioning of a free society if people have reason to believe the government is monitoring everything?

If the framers had wanted the government to have a free rein surveilling the populace because 'if you are doing the right thing and minding your own business you have nothing to hide,' we wouldn't have or need a Fourth Amendment.  But we do -- unless you would prefer to abolish it.""

“The moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune from criticism, satire, derision, or contempt, freedom of thought becomes impossible.” — Salman Rushdie

"Never saw this coming! Meet Valerie Dodds, a 19-Year-Old adult entertainer who allegedly masturbated with a crucifix at her former Catholic High School in Lincoln, Nebraska and took some nudie pics there as well. She caused what you would call a proverbial sh*tstorm."

"It's been interesting to read pundits like David Brooks of the New York Times and Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo prattling about how whistleblower Edward Snowden violated his "oath" of secrecy.  I was in the CIA, and I can tell you there was no secrecy "oath," just a contract.  The oath was to protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. I find the misnomer revealing.  I don't think Brooks, Marshall, and the many others like them are misusing the word "oath" in a deliberate attempt to mislead.  My guess instead is that their deference to government secrecy is so strong that they reflexively equate a contract to maintain secrecy -- a nondisclosure agreement, really -- with something as strong as, say, a sworn oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.  You know, like one the president takes."

"The White House has announced it is now confident the Syrian government used chemical weapons in the civil war that’s engulfed that country for the last three years. A statement from the White House insists the determination is based on “multiple, independent streams of information.” The Bush Administration’s insistence about the case for a war in Iraq was similarly framed. Colin Powell backed his statements in his now infamous 2003 speech to the United Nations this way: “Ladies and gentlemen, these are not assertions. These are facts, corroborated by many sources, some of them sources of the intelligence services of other countries.” Despite the apparent confidence, behind the scenes Powell wasn’t so sure. Eventually he was upset about being fed fabricated evidence."

“We think we understand the rules when we become adults but what we really experience is a narrowing of the imagination.” — David Lynch

The second trailer looks way better than the first, and the first looked pretty good...

"We made covers for intravenous bags based on characters from the 'Justice League.' Creating, for the first time, a child-friendly version of the treatment. Co-developed with doctors, the covers are easy to sterilize and handle and meet all hospital hygiene standards. To give these covers a more powerful meaning, we started to produce a special series of cartoons and comic books in which the superheroes go through experiences similar to those of kids with cancer, and recover their strength, thanks to this "Superformula." An experience that went far beyond the covers by also providing a new look to the entire Children'sWard: the game room was turned into the Hall of Justice, corridors and doors were decorated in the same theme, and the exterior acquired an exclusive entrance for these little heroes. An idea which, since it has been up and running, is helping the children in their own struggle against one of the real world's greatest villains."

"God we fuck up teenagers' heads.  We tell them that biological conditions are moral punishments and then we get all shocked when they don't practice rational risk management of biological conditions.  We teach them "sex is super desirable and all the cool kids do it, and it's hideously shameful and will destroy your life" and we wonder why they act an eensy bit neurotic about it.  If you tried to design a system for making sexually active kids confused and unsafe, you couldn't do much better than the American media and school system.

And for once, the answer is relatively simple.  Just talk about sex like it's a part of life.  Some people have sex and some people don't, because people are different. STIs aren't bad because they're Dirty Crotch Rot; they're bad because they're contagious illnesses like strep throat or whooping cough, and you can ask a doctor to check for and treat them just like you would with strep throat.  Unwanted pregnancy isn't a scarlet A; it's a mostly-preventable accident that sometimes occurs when people are going about their normal business of having sex. You can ask the school counselor about a variety of topics, including career planning, problems at home, questions about sex, or conflicts with teachers.

If we could just get the goddamn stick out of our collective ass and accept that sex is a human activity and teenagers are humans, maybe there wouldn't be quite so many plaintive "I don't understand my body and I'm confused and scared and I don't know anyone I can ask in person" messages flying out into the world."

"The government, they don't want you to use your drugs, they want you to use their drugs." - Chris Rock
"Look around... This is the environment of post-industrial America...  The only factory that remains is the drug trade.  And they're hiring." - David Simon

"Redditor AugusttRush submitted a photo on Saturday of Jessica Lee's end-of-the-year message. At first glance, it appears as just a list of chemical elements -- "Fluorine uranium carbon potassium bismuth technetium helium sulfur germanium thulium oxygen neon yttrium." But, as Redditors discovered, those elements' periodic symbols actually read "F*** Bitches Get Money" -- lyrics from the song, "Get Money," by Biggie Smalls and Jr. M.A.F.I.A. This makes Lee possibly the coolest science nerd of all time."

"We need to cultivate radical openness as a way of participating and accelerating evolution."

"A lot has been said about the fat girl who posed with the slim built guy in protest of Abercrobie&Fitch. I’m going to keep this short. No one should be made to feel horrible or ashamed for how they look. No one. I don’t shame anyone for being fat in and of itself. I have a problem with hypocrites tho, those who pretend to take a stand of sorts, which is standing for inequality and doing the easy thing.. not the hard thing. No one can claim to deign what is and isn’t attractive to another human being. This is the lesson of the manosphere. Attraction just is. You being angry because a guy doesn’t find you sexually appealing because you are fat is no different than you not being attracted to the guy who lives in his moms basement at the age of 35 while playing WoW on Xbox and Dungeons and Dragons on the weekend.
Here’s my problem with the whole Militant Baker protest. She decided to do a photoshoot with a svelte, handsome and quite possibly gay (not that there’s anything wrong with that) model.. who was most likely paid for his services. While it may be possible he actually found her attractive, the chances are slim (pardon the pun) and if it were the case, we could attribute it to a fetish, not a suppression human nature or change in conscious thinking. Her choice to do the shoot with Mr. Hunky works against her whole body shaming argument, or that fat actually is beautiful. If that were the case, she should have done the shoot with an equally fat man to recognize body shaming equally is wrong. Instead, she made it only about body shaming women and accepting fat only if you are a fat woman…  If the roles were reversed and she had a Victoria Secret model in sexual poses with the equivalent of Fat Bastard, how many of her readers would you think would be throwing up in disgust, saying shit like ‘well.. there’s a guy with money’, or completely lampooning the shoot. See, this was never about body shaming. This was about accepting fat women as sexually desirable. This was about creating and fashioning a reality in which fat women are supposed to be encouraged that they are to be desired by the tall dark and handsomes of the world.. and not just about not shaming fat people.
...a delusion that those who are unwilling to put in the time and effort to maintain a healthy weight or lifestyle, those who do not want to be shamed or ridiculed for their lack of effort or work ethic, those who want to be accepted solely on the basis of who they are and not what they look like… CAN TURN AROUND and OBJECTIFY, AND FEEL ENTITLED TO ‘nailing’ guys ONE BILLION points out of their league.
Being fat IS NOT normal. In nature it is ABNORMAL. Does this make you a horrible person? No. Does this make you undeserving of respect, decency and human dignity? No. Does it make you a hot goddess deserving of nailing fit, hot guys who work hard to achieve their body type and show impulse control with what goes into their mouths? No. You are not entitled to dick. You are not entitled to a relationship...  I am NOT making fun of these people because they are fat. I am making fun of the delusion that they should expect so much when they invest so little, especially in themselves."

"Half-way through watching Mirage Men, a new documentary on how U.S. Intelligence agencies have deliberately sabotaged research into the UFO topic, I literally shook my head, saying to myself with a laugh "it's a hall of mirrors"."

"As with so many significant privacy violations of late by government agencies — from the NSA to the IRS — it’s become clear that technology has far outpaced law. Federal laws meant to protect our Fourth Amendment right “to be secure in [our] persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable search and seizure” do not adequately cover Americans’ property online. Especially email. Under current statute, government agencies such as the IRS, DHS, SEC and many others are allowed to access emails and other private communications older than 180 days without obtaining a search warrant or demonstrating probable cause that a crime has been committed.

How is it possible that government can claim this authority, accessing our most intimate “soft” communications — but not, say, a “hard” letter lying around our houses? The reason is the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). Originally intended to protect — not violate — the privacy of our digital communications, this act set standards for government access to private information (such as emails, private photos, documents) transmitted and stored on the internet with an online service provider. But ECPA was passed in 1986. Twenty-seven years ago, most Americans did not have a home computer or an email account. They did not all carry cell phones. “Facebook” described only the hardbound photo books of university freshmen and “Twitter” was an adjective used to describe the chattering of birds — such social networking sites did not even exist."

"Sugar. Highly addictive, horribly debilitating, unfortunately pervasive, and freaking delicious. If I had to point to ONE culprit to our country’s expanding waistlines and rapidly deteriorating health, it would be sugar.  The amount of havoc sugar and sugar substitutes have wreaked on our nation is horribly depressing.  Fear not, as I’ve come up with the perfect solution! Eat less sugar if you want to live longer.   The end. Just kidding, there’s so much more to this story than that.

This might be the most telling statistic relating to sugar, especially when that close to 70% of America is overweight with a THIRD of the nation  obese: 
1822: Americans consume 45 grams of sugar every five days, or the amount of sugar in a can of coke. 
2012: Americans consume 756 grams of sugar every five days, or 130 POUNDS of sugar a year.""

I want to see a DiCaprio movie?  Apparently.

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