Saturday, January 31, 2015

Reading, Jan 2015 - "It is a cardinal error to theorise in advance of the facts."

Golden Son (The Red Rising Trilogy, Book 2) by Pierce Brown

Die Trying by Lee Child

The Seven-Per-Cent Solution: Being a Reprint from the Reminiscences of John H. Watson, M.D. edited by Nicholas Meyer

Sorcery at Caesars: Sugar Ray's Marvelous Fight by Steve Marantz

Dinosaur Training: Lost Secrets of Strength and Development by Brooks Kubik

Convict Conditioning 2: Advanced Prison Training Tactics for Muscle Gain, Fat Loss and Bulletproof Joints by Paul Wade

THE OFFICIAL TESLADYNE ACTION SCIENTISTS FIELD GUIDE: Essential Subjects for Survival, Evasion, Maintenance & Combatives by Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener

Aquaman Vol. 3: Throne of Atlantis by Geoff Johns, Paul Pelletier & Ivan Reis
Aquaman Vol. 4: Death of a King by Geoff Johns, Paul Pelletier & Sean Parsons

Captain Carrot and the Final Ark by Bill Morrison, Roy Thomas and E. Nelson Bridwell.  Art by Scott Shaw, Ross Andru, Rick Hoberg, Al Gordon and others

Golden Son
This is so far from the future I imagined for myself as a boy. So far from the future I wanted to make... I thought I would change the worlds. What young fool doesn’t? Instead, I have been swallowed by the machine of this vast empire as it rumbles inexorably on.

We’re all just wounded souls stumbling about in the dark, desperately trying to stitch ourselves together...

There is no greater plague to an introvert than the extroverted.

‘Home isn’t where you’re from, it’s where you find light when all grows dark.’

We are not our station in life. We are us—the sum of what we’ve done, what we want to do, and the people who we keep close.

“I will die. You will die. We will all die and the universe will carry on without care. All that we have is that shout into the wind—how we live. How we go. And how we stand before we fall.” He leans forward. “So you see, pride is the only thing.”

I would not have raised you to be a great man. There is no peace for great men. I would have had you be a decent one.

Sad to see how weak and petty the demons of my youth really were. As though I come from some hollow fantasy past.

The Seven-Per-Cent Solution
I never guess. It is a shocking habit, destructive to the logical faculty.

It is a cardinal error to theorise in advance of the facts.  Inevitably it biases the judgement.

Tell them I was murdered by my mathematics tutor, if you like.  They'll never believe you in any case.

Convict Conditioning 2
The mind controls the body. No matter how physically fit we may be, or how much we should be gaining from consistent training, if our minds are not in the right place training falls by the wayside. Who cares if your muscles are strong? If your mind is weak, corrupted by destructive self-talk, you won’t be breaking any personal records.

Our “demons” are largely the result of wrong ideas. We acquire many of these ideas tacitly, almost by accident. It’s certainly not deliberate. But once a bad idea gets lodged in your brain—maybe from something you’ve been told by somebody who should have known better—it’s virtually impossible to shift. Good thoughts practically fly out of the mind, but bad thoughts dig their heels in. They want to stay forever. Don’t let them. Confront your demons and challenge them—every day, every night if you have to. If you let your negative ideas and destructive self-talk have free reign, the darker sections of your mind will grow larger and larger until they take control of your spirit and destroy you entirely. The only way to battle the negative ideas that attack your training life is to become conscious of them, and challenge them.

DEMON # 4: …AGING “I’m getting too old for all this.” Ah, this is a biggie—although you may not realize it. Yet. If you are in your teens, you probably don’t think about aging at all. Training is new, and so are you. In your twenties, you have a dim awareness that aging exists, but you don’t truly believe it’ll happen to you the way it happens to others; almost all the great athletes are in their twenties anyway. Suddenly you are thirty and your attitude changes. The pros are looking younger. Hey—where are all the champs in their mid-thirties? Guys you played football with in high school with are fat and bald. A few years pass and that big milestone—forty—is around the corner. You become aware that less and less of the people you see in fitness magazines, or working in the gym are your age. Then you are fifty. Old. Before long you will be sixty, and by then it’s positively foolish to be seen training seriously. The big 7-0 comes next. By now—if you have been paying attention—you understand just how quickly time slips through your fingers. This is how the average person thinks. You know what? It’s all total bulls***!

Scientists are only now coming to understand what Victorian strongmen knew only too well; that much of the decline seen in elderly people isn’t down to aging—it’s down to disuse.

Far from being dangerous, strength training is positively essential to health as you get older (past seventy-five). Osteoporosis, arthritis and immobility can’t be cured by chemical drugs—the best way to combat them is by resistance training. You gotta move that bodyweight. Keep training as long as you live. You never really appreciate how quick the years pass until you are standing at the end of them. Please don’t waste any more precious time.

Sorcery at Caesars: Sugar Ray's Marvelous Fight
On the night of April 6, 1987, Sugar Ray Leonard stole a fight. A couple of million witnesses saw him get away with it. Leonard's theft was so slick that the victim, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, didn't know until it was too late. His middleweight title was picked clean and gone, forever.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

It's all these problematic, triggering microaggresions, really.

Just to the right of Nelson Mandela.  I'll take it.

Cory Doctorow: The Monster: the fraud and depraved indifference...: "The Monster starts with the S&L crisis, and the fraudsters who destroyed the finances of the ordinary people who’d trusted them, and shows how the worst of the S&L conmen moved on to subprime, founding companies like Ameriquest and FAMCO. People like Richard Arnall, who became a billionaire, was the prime financier behind George W Bush’s 2004 presidential bid, and actually served as the US ambassador to the Netherlands, even as he built an empire built on outright, deliberate swindling. And swindling it was. Hudson leaves no room for doubt here. You may have heard that the subprime collapse was caused by greedy homeowners fudging the facts about their income in order to secure easy credit, but Hudson shows that in the vast majority of cases, the “liar” in the “liar loan” was usually a banker, a mortgage broker, an underwriter, a bond-rater, an appraiser. These are the people who went into poor neighborhoods where vulnerable, poorly educated people had scrimped and saved all their lives to buy their homes and conned them into taking out brutal, lopsided second mortgages, lying to them, bilking them out of 20% (or more!) in upfront fees, lying some more, forging documents, and then handing off the mortgages to Wall Street to launder out as toxic bonds....

The subprime outfits literally used the movie Boiler Room as a training film, requiring new hires to watch it in order to learn how to conduct their working lives. But lest you think that the problem was just the con-artists at the bottom, Hudson shows you how regulators (all the way up to Alan Greenspan), Lehman and the other big Street firms, and politicians all the way up to the President of the United States were all in on it, that there was no way they couldn’t have known that they were participating in a once-in-a-century scam that was destroyed millions of good peoples’ lives as well as the planet’s economy, and how they all sat idly by and collected their share of the wealth rather than speak up. From lobbyists to campaign contributions, dirty tricks and massive media campaigns, bribery and intimidation, the men behind the subprime crisis were not merely expressing some historical abstraction, playing a part in a nebulous “business cycle.” They were deliberately, personally participating in something that they had to know would result in terrible consequences for innocents all around them."

What's wrong with political correctness? A few observations from a mansplainer.: "Conservatives can get in on the identity-politics game, too. The reprobate may be damned, but we’re not stupid. If statistical underrepresentation is likely evidence of subtle institutional bias, or of cultures that exclude some as a "bad fit," or of networks that discourage the "other" from even seeking entry, then academia must have a “statistically impossible” bias problem against Republicans and Evangelicals. Conservatives pretending to want in on an identity-spoils system is partly a way of calling the P.C. bluff. It asks the left to admit that there are some identities that don’t deserve a safe space...

Political correctness can hurt or distract from broad left-wing goals. I apologize in advance for conservative-splaining liberalism to you, but the left succeeds when it creates solidarity among broad groups. For all its protestations about good allies, the demands of political correctness seem to act like an acid on solidarity. This may be why leftists who are concerned primarily with redistributing economic power get tired of the kind of infighting, back-biting, and jockeying that is inherent to this style of politics. Political correctness talks about solidarity, but performs itself as expressive individualism. Everyone is micro-aggressed and silenced in their own special way. Solidarity-liberalism helps people communicate across divides, and trains leaders to speak for mass groups. Political correctness tells us that no, your communication is problematic...

Political correctness conflates normal slights, sincere disagreements, thoughtless cracks, and the verbal miscues of the uninitiated with actual oppression. In extremely crude terms, political correctness engenders (or really, embodies) extreme sensitivity to status. The victims of historic oppression were accorded a low status by their oppressors. Imposing a low status on a group is a way of granting yourself permission to abuse its members. And so some of the normal rough and tumble of human interaction can be mistaken (or willfully misconstrued) as an attempt to replicate the very hierarchies that cause oppression and genocide. A real “P.C.” blowup leaves one person crying and feeling misunderstood and “othered,” while it leaves another person feeling both defensive and offended that the crying person appears to be trivializing real oppression...

Political correctness looks like grasping aspirational privilege. Related to the above. The right not to be offended, or the ability to punish those who offend your finely tuned sensibilities, is a form of privilege...  “politically correct” styles of engagement are most popular among a class of people that is in a similar position to the old petite bourgeoisie: college students and strivers whose primary class consciousness is not their relative privilege over, say, Appalachian whites or people in the developing world, but their lack of power and status compared with the haute bourgeoisie, which is composed of everyone from crass GOP-affiliated lax-bros that want to go into finance to the polished and tamed “liberal” graduates of Sidwell to the real inheritors of privilege like the Bush twins...

It is joyless, unempowering, and unattractive. Political correctness instills a narrative of defeatism, doubt, and anxiety. Because it so zealously ferrets the political dimensions of everyday social life, it provides a sense that many or most social occasions are a confrontation with a pervasive tyranny. Do you want stories about people rising above their circumstances, or cowering in fear before a bizarre statue of a vulnerable man sleepwalking? As Freddie DeBoer pointed out, the social left’s new form of political correction informs young liberals that everything they like and enjoy is poisoned in some way. It is a left-wing version of Dana Carvey’s church lady. “Could it beeeee…… Patriarchy?”"

[Oh, so much this last one...] What's wrong with political correctness? A few observations from a mansplainer.: "I understand the instinct to not only listen to victims, but to venerate or sacralize them. And I wonder if this almost Christian reflex is kicking somewhere within the drive for political correctness. The victim’s bruised body and wounded dignity testifies to us of a broken social order, even a broken human nature. Transcendence is found in turning the event of their martyrdom into the locus of a new redeemed social order, where the hierarchies are reversed and the spotless Victim reigns."

Where Online Social Liberalism Lost The Script « The Dish: "I guess what it all comes down to, for me, is that social liberalism was once an alternative that enabled people to pursue whatever types of consensual personal behavior they wanted, and thus was a movement that increased individual freedom and happiness. It was the antidote to Jerry Fallwell telling you that you were going to hell, to Nancy Reagan saying “just say no,” to your conservative parents telling you not to be gay, to Pat Robertson saying don’t have sex, to Tipper Gore telling you that you couldn’t listen to the music you like, to don’t have sex, don’t do drugs, don’t wear those clothes, don’t walk that way, don’t have fun, don’t be yourself. So of course that movement won. It was a positive, joyful, human, freeing alternative to an exhausted, ugly, narrow vision of how human beings should behave. It seems to me now that the public face of social liberalism has ceased to seem positive, joyful, human, and freeing. I now mostly associate that public face with danger, with an endless list of things that you can’t do or say or think, and with the constant threat of being called an existentially bad person if you say the wrong thing, or if someone decides to misrepresent what you said as saying the wrong thing. There are so many ways to step on a landmine now, so many terms that have become forbidden, so many attitudes that will get you cast out if you even appear to hold them. I’m far from alone in feeling that it’s typically not worth it to engage, given the risks."

The Neighborhood That Policed Itself - The Daily Beast: " recent weeks, Broken Windows has come under fire. As the police ended their slowdown early in the month, New Yorkers—for the first time in thirty years—experienced what their lives would be like without Broken Windows. And contrary to Bratton’s predictions, crime did not appear to be skyrocket. If anything, it looked like crime went down. Still, the NYPD was back to issuing petty summonses last week—and they appear to have been trying to make up for lost time. Summonses tripled and arrests doubled in New York City in the week after, with Bratton allegedly threatening to take away vacation time to make up for the slowdown’s loss of revenue...

While it’s too early to tell for certain how the slowdown will affect crime rates, many have begun to question the core tenets of Broken Windows—both for the way it disproportionately targets minorities and for the way it alienates communities from those in charge of protecting them."

The American Sniper Was No Hero - "This is neither a movie review nor a review of the late Chris Kyle's autobiographical book on which the movie is based. My interest is in the popular evaluation of Kyle, America's most prolific sniper, a title he earned through four tours in Iraq. Let's recall some facts, which perhaps Eastwood thought were too obvious to need mention: Kyle was part of an invasion force: Americans went to Iraq. Iraq did not invade America or attack Americans. Dictator Saddam Hussein never even threatened to attack Americans. Contrary to what the George W. Bush administration suggested, Iraq had nothing to do with the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Before Americans invaded Iraq, al-Qaeda was not there. Nor was it in Syria, Yemen, and Libya. The only reason Kyle went to Iraq was that Bush/Cheney & Co. launched a war of aggression against the Iraqi people. Wars of aggression, let's remember, are illegal under international law...

Eastwood's movie also features an Iraqi sniper. Why isn't he regarded as a hero for resisting an invasion of his homeland?  ... (Eastwood should make a movie about the invasion from the Iraqis' point of view, just as he made a movie about Iwo Jima from the Japanese point of view to go with his earlier movie from the American side.)"

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

"... the legitimacy of cable news sounds to me like an oxymoron."

Holy Shit, I Interviewed the President — Medium: "There is nothing actually legitimate about Fox News (or MSNBC for that matter) and young people know this. They don’t trust news organizations because news organizations have given them no reason to be trusting. These channels exist not to inform but to uphold the biases and values of particular ideologies. Ideologies and values, by the way, that very few young people embody. Even when they try to strike a balance, they do it by pitting different perspectives against each other in staged arguments. But neither perspective looks familiar to most people under the age of 40, so they just tune out..." 
Holy Shit, I Interviewed the President — Medium: "This complete lack of objectivity and representation in cable news has degraded the legitimacy of news media as a whole. Young people have absolutely no faith in people sitting at desks on television anymore. It’s gotten so bad that the most trusted news show among people under 40 is on Comedy Central...

Legacy media isn’t mocking us because we aren’t a legitimate source of information; they’re mocking us because they’re terrified. Their legitimacy came from the fact that they have access to distribution channels and that they get to be in the White House press pool because of some long-ago established procedures that assumed they would use that power in the public interest. In reality, those things are becoming less and less important and less and less true. Distribution is free to anyone with a cell phone and the legitimacy of cable news sounds to me like an oxymoron. The median-aged CNN viewer is 60. For Fox, it’s 68...

This is the real source of legacy media’s belittling and diminishing language around our interviews with Obama. They have degraded their own legitimacy so much that, to a lot of people, I (a 34-year-old former bio-chemist and current video blogger) appear to be a more legitimate source of unbiased thought and information than the fucking news...

I think sub-consciously they understand the really terrifying thing here. Glozell and Bethany and I weren’t put in a chair next to President Obama because we have cultivated an audience. We were put there because we have cultivated legitimacy. The source of our legitimacy is the very different from their coiffed, Armani institutions. It springs instead (and I’m aware that I’m abandoning any modicum of modesty here) from honesty. In new media this is often called “authenticity” because our culture is too jaded to use a big fat word like “honesty” without our gallbladders clogging up, but that’s really what it is...

The relationship between press and the politician was once good for everyone. It was good for the press, for the politician, for the Americans, and for the country. We’ve lost that. Certain press organizations have degraded their own legitimacy by forgetting that their responsibility is to more than the shareholder. That degradation has, for young people, spread throughout the entire news media either in fact or in perception. In the process the legitimacy not just of individual politicians but the entire political process has been whittled down."


1/28 - deadlift, bridge, stretch

Squat. Press. Pull.: " weightliftingcanadian: 60 year old former coach of Mikhail Koklyaev with a 200kg/440lb deadlift"

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

"You all just clapped for a dead baby." - Louis CK.

Louis C.K. Is Totally Cool With The Patriots Deflating Balls And Cheating To Win: "“Sometimes you do stuff that’s not fair so that you can win. I have no problem with it. I think it’s hilarious. It’s a stupid football game; Deflate the balls, poke the guy in the eye or something…. It’s football.”

LAPD, Which Tracks Citizens Through Their Phones, Worries About You Doing the Same to Them - Hit & Run : "There are a million ways some violent, crazy person could track down or lure police with the intent of ambushing or killing them, including following their cars or, you know, simply calling the police and reporting a fake crime. In my neighborhood, they can apparently just walk right up to the local police station and shoot at them (as far as I can tell, they still haven’t caught that guy, assuming that shooting actually happened). Hey, would you like to listen to Los Angeles Police and Fire scanner traffic? It’s right here! This is not a request to be treated seriously, and we should all recognize it for what it is—an effort to keep citizenry from providing information to each other to help stay out of the clutches of law enforcement’s money-grubbing traffic enforcement adventures. Reminder: The LAPD uses technology to track people’s locations via their smartphones. Turnabout is fair play."

Boozey Intel Agent Crashes Drone at White House, Which Spurs Call for Regulations - Hit & Run : "And oh yeah, about the guy who was operating the drone (a quad-copter model that was about two feet across and weighed all of two pounds)? It turns out he's an employee of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, which itself uses drones for all sorts of stuff, but that's fine because you know, it's the government."

Kung Fu Monkey: LIBRARIANS #107 "Rule of Three" Answer Post: "(NOTE the third: I don't believe in the supernatural, so please rest assured I respect Wicca as much as I respect all other more traditionally accepted religious beliefs -- as one of many available cool personal operating systems one might use to comprehend a vast and nigh-infinite universe. I know that these operating systems are deeply emotionally resonant to most of you.  I'm not mocking, and the show will farm from various religious traditions for story points as cultural frameworks and legendary narratives, with as much respect as we can muster. We will sometimes fail. Sorry about that.)"

Kung Fu Monkey: LIBRARIANS #107 "Rule of Three" Answer Post: "...cute, fluffy otters are actually the monstrous rape-murderers of the sea."
The Other Side of Otters : Discovery News: "Sea otters – cute, furry, adorable, clams-wouldn’t-melt-in-their-mouths sea otters – have been observed forcibly copulating with, and in the process killing, juvenile harbor seals off California. Writing in a recent edition of the journal Aquatic Mammals, Heather Harris of the California Department of Fish and Game and colleagues document nineteen occurrences of this behavior in Monterey Bay between 2000 and 2002, leading to the deaths of at least 15 seals."

No, Mass Surveillance Won't Stop Terrorist Attacks - "...the mass surveillance programs initiated by the U.S. government after the 9/11 attacks—the legal ones and the constitutionally-dubious ones—were premised on the belief that bin Laden’s hijacker-terrorists were able to pull off the attacks because of a failure to collect enough data. Yet in their subsequent reports on the attacks, the Congressional Joint Inquiry (2002) and the 9/11 Commission found exactly the opposite. The data to detect (and thus foil) the plots was in the U.S. government’s hands prior to the attacks; the failures were ones of sharing, analysis, and dissemination. That malady perfectly describes every intelligence failure from Pearl Harbor to the present day. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (created by Congress in 2004) was supposed to be the answer to the "failure-to-connect-the-dots" problem. Ten years on, the problem remains, the IC bureaucracy is bigger than ever, and our government is continuing to rely on mass surveillance programs that have failed time and again to stop terrorists while simultaneously undermining the civil liberties and personal privacy of every American. The quest to "collect it all," to borrow a phrase from NSA Director Keith Alexander, only leads to the accumulation of masses of useless information, making it harder to find real threats and costing billions to store."

Morning links: Record number of exonerations in 2014 - The Washington Post: "Last year saw a record 125 exonerations, including six people on Death Row."

Lies, damned lies, statistics.  Be careful with that viral statistic about the top 1% owning half the world’s wealth - Vox: "In recent days, there's been a startling statistic going around. The number comes from Oxfam, and warns that the combined wealth of the richest one percent will pass that of the other 99 percent next year, at least if current trends hold. The statistic has been reported in the Guardian, the New York Times, and FiveThirtyEight, among others. Even Hillary Clinton is using a version of it. But it doesn't mean quite what it looks like it means. To see the problem, here's another version of the same number: the combined wealth of my two nephews is already more than the bottom 30 percent of the world combined. And they don't have jobs, or inheritances. They just have a piggy bank and no debt. Oxfam presents the statistic, which is derived from data published in Credit Suisse's Global Wealth Databook (pdf), as a measure of wealth. But it's technically a measure of net worth: assets minus debts. As such, what it's picking up isn't just massive inequality in wealth, but also massive inequality in the ability to access credit. So for the purposes of Oxfam's calculation, a farmer in China's rural Sichuan province with no debt but also very little money is wealthier than an American who just graduated from medical school with substantial debt but also a hefty, six-figure income. By any sensible standard, the medical student is richer, but because her student debt still outweighs her financial assets, the net worth measure counts her as poorer than the Chinese peasant."


1/27 - chins, bw row, grip/holds & COCT, stretch

Monday, January 26, 2015

"It's not what happens that counts..."

U.S. Military Honors Saudi King with Essay Contest (Seriously) - Hit & Run : "The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff want to make sure everybody knows just how dearly the U.S. military treasured its friend, the recently departed king of Saudi Arabia. To that end, the Department of Defense has commissioned an essay contest to honor the late monarch, whose friendship with the U.S. was exceeded only by his sponsorship of terrorism, butchery, and oppression. King Abdullah "moderate beheadings" Bin Abdul-Aziz passed away last week at age 90. Here is how the U.S. government glowingly describes his reign...

“In my job to train and advise his military forces, and in our relationship since, I found the king to be a man of remarkable character and courage,” Dempsey said. Because it takes remarkable character and courage to preside over a country that routinely beheads enemies, tortures political dissidents, and jails religious dissenters. Credit where credit is due, however: An essay contest commemorating a Middle Eastern tyrant has to be one of the more creative ways for the federal government to waste our money I've seen lately."

Why the Pentagon Is Honoring the Late Saudi King | TIME: "The last time the Defense Department achieved notoriety as a platform for views on Saudi Arabia was in 2002, between the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. That’s when a Rand Corp. analyst told a high-level panel behind closed doors that the kingdom was “active at every level of the terror chain, from planners to financiers, from cadre to foot soldier, from ideologist to cheerleader.” Washington, he said, should declare the Saudis the enemy and threaten to take over the oil wells if they didn’t do more to combat Islamist terrorists (the briefing was 10 months after the 9/11 attacks, in which 15 of the 19 terrorists were Saudi). 

The Pentagon quickly distanced itself from Laurent Murawiec’s presentation to the Defense Policy Board. Secretary of State Colin Powell called the Saudi foreign minister to apologize. 

On Monday, the top U.S. military leader, Army General Martin Dempsey, announced the Pentagon would be conducting a “research and essay competition” to honor Saudi King Abdullah, who died Jan. 23 at 90, as “a man of remarkable character and courage.” Critics pounced."

And he's just crazy enough to do it, too.  Joss Whedon on ‘Age of Ultron’: “The Avengers Must Die”:


 If McConaughey comes at the king, he'd best not miss.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

"No chick-flick moments."

They don't give a fuck about you.  In fact, they probably fucking hate you.
Henry Kissinger: "'Military men are ‘dumb, stupid animals to be used’ as pawns for foreign policy.' As quoted in Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, The Final Days (Simon & Schuster, 2005)"

"From now on, you don't have to be that anymore."

Stealth Level: Ninja. 

TB... Monday?  Yeah, Throwback Monday.
"And all of a sudden
He brought in a cut 
And I dropped my microphone and said
"What the?  
Hold up.  
Wait a minute.  
Play it." 
He just smiled and said 
"Yeah def ain't it?""