March 30, 2017

"That picture of Hillary is so freaky. Is that real? Where'd you get it?"

I said, and Meade texted me the link.

It's like she's immersed in a boiling cauldron... but it's just the Professional Business Women of California Conference.

At the Strait Gate Café...


... squeeze in whatever you can.

Photograph, like the 2 shown last night in the Narrow Gate Café, is from Arches National Park, March 10th. No little person in this one to show the scale. Post title confirms jaed's suspicion that I intended to refer to the Bible verse. Here's a more explicit depiction of the verse:

Click to enlarge.

And this sounds a tad inappropriate now, but remember The Althouse Amazon Portal when you're doing your shopping. 

I'm about to end my morning session of blogging, but I see Drudge has his old revolving siren going right now.

It's the EU President Jean-Claude Juncke saying:
"Brexit isn’t the end. A lot of people would like it that way, even people on another continent where the newly elected US President was happy that the Brexit was taking place and has asked other countries to do the same. If he goes on like that I am going to promote the independence of Ohio and Austin, Texas in the US."
I'll resist alarm mode and continue on my path on planet earth.

You might also what to talk about this, which Drudge colorfully links with the phrase "HONONONO: JUDGE IN HAWAII EXTENDS ORDER BLOCKING TRAVEL BAN..."

As I'm writing this, Drudge auto-reloads and the siren is gone. I guess we all can relax now.

"The Missing Richard Simmons Creator Left a Boom Box on Simmons’s Stoop..."

"... a Gesture That Did Not Move Simmons to Talk to Him."
Dan Taberski spent six episodes of his morally suspect podcast Missing Richard Simmons slowly coming to terms with [the conclusion that Simmons didn't want to talk to anyone outside of his close circle of intimates]...  Taberski decided to make Missing Richard Simmons readily available to the potential Luddite with an instance of door-to-door delivery. “Sometimes I think of Richard Simmons like my grandmother, like I’m not quite sure if he knows how the internet works… So it was literally just putting what we had done into a boom box and putting it on his stoop, and to get his reaction so that we would know that he had heard it,” he explained.
You can listen — without the assistance of a boombox — to the whole 6-episode show here. The first 2 episodes are great. It goes interestingly to hell in episode 3, and after that it never redeems itself. Taberski's continued groping for attention — with this boombox business — squicks me out.

I'm listening to the new podcast "S-Town."

All 7 episodes of "S-Town" (AKA "Shit Town") became available at once — here —  and that makes it difficult to have a discussion. It's not like "Serial," where you'd get one episode a week and could bandy about all your theories and opinions while waiting for the next episode to come out.

I'm in the middle of episode 4 right now, so I'm not sure who I can talk to. I don't want spoilers. I had a good discussion yesterday with someone who was ahead of me in the episodes but being very careful not to say anything revealing, even to react one way or another to my ideas about what I thought would happen. He stressed that I shouldn't read anything about it, and I was all I know, I won't.

But it does make me feel that I need to rush through, so the experience is not spoiled, so I get the artful roll-out of the story as it was intended. I think I'd prefer to get it week by week and to have an opportunity to discuss one episode at a time — as I mostly did with "Serial."

Now, part of what I find myself thinking about is why they chose to dump the whole thing at once, and that's coloring my experience of it. Perhaps they wanted to control the storytelling, and if they restricted the flow, key information would come out in news and social media anyway. The story would be told in any crude, blunt way that anybody who could scoop them chose.

But I'm also thinking that the whole enterprise is exploitative of real people, and episode-by-episode discussion in social media might have questioned the ethics and got some serious antagonism going against the show. Dropping the whole thing at once gets ahead of that phenomenon.

I'll have more to say about exploitation and ethics when I'm finished with the whole show. It's quite interesting and elegantly crafted. The aural art is equal to the visual art which you can see at the link. You might want to get going listening to this thing so you'll be in a position to talk about it with me when I'm ready, which will be soon. Until then, I'm not reading any articles, and I won't be reading the comments to this thread — so go ahead and say anything you like.

UPDATE: Since finishing the post, I've made it to the end, beyond spoiling. Quite an amazing work of art.

"A New York law prohibiting merchants from charging extra for credit card transactions might violate the constitutional protection for free speech..."

... the Supreme Court ruled yesterday, in Expressions Hair Design v. Schneiderman, writes Daniel Fisher at Forbes.

The Second Circuit had viewed NY's law as only governing conduct, but the Supreme Court said that was wrong. There's a speech angle:
Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts said the New York law is “not like a typical price regulation,” because it doesn’t tell merchants what they can charge but rather how they choose to communicate their prices to consumers.

"They also want to make clear that they are not the bad guys—that the credit card companies, not the merchants, are responsible for the higher prices," Roberts wrote. "The merchants believe that surcharges for credit are more effective than discounts for cash in accomplishing these goals."

What George W. Bush said after sitting through Trump's inaugural address.

"That was some weird shit."

Possibly apocryphal, but New York Magazine claims to have 3 witnesses.

What do you think of "That was some weird shit" as an assessment of the Trump inaugural address? Multiple answers permitted. Check them all if you want! free polls

"Trump may have just signed a death warrant for our planet..."

Writes Van Jones, referring to Trump's executive order directed at ending Obama's Clean Power Plan which was aimed at slowing the changing of Earth's climate.

I love the intellectual honesty displayed in the qualification that completes Jones's dire statement — "at least, for a planet that is liveable for humans."

Perhaps Jones, like me remembers, George Carlin on the ridiculousness of the human notion Save the Earth (NSFW):

"The planet isn't going anywhere. We are!"

"Compromise requires give and take from all sides, and we are pleased this proposal fully protects bathroom safety and privacy."

Said Phil Berger, the leader of the North Carolina senate, and Roy Cooper, the new Governor, in a joint statement about the new bill, repealing House Bill 2.

The new bill would "create a moratorium on local nondiscrimination ordinances through 2020 and leave regulation of 'multi-occupancy facilities,' or bathrooms, to state lawmakers," the NYT reports.

Cooper, a Democrat, beat the incumbent Pat McCrory, a narrow victory that had to do with Bill 2 (and the boycotting of the state that it touched off). Bill 2 had required everyone using a public bathroom in North Carolina to use only the facility that corresponds to the sex designated on their birth certificate.

Cooper also said:
“I support the House Bill 2 repeal compromise that will be introduced tomorrow. It’s not a perfect deal, but it repeals House Bill 2 and begins to repair our reputation.”

March 29, 2017

"The pufferfish looks so pleased with itself as it works..."

"... as well it should be."

At the Narrow Gate Café...



... you can talk about anything you want.

These are pictures I took in Arches National Park on March 10th. To get a sense of the scale, notice the human being standing between the rocks in both pictures.

And — if you like this blog and want to support it — please think of using The Althouse Amazon Portal when you have shopping to do.

3 storm chasers die chasing a tornado. And not from the tornado.

"The cause of the crash remained under investigation. It was raining at the time of the collision, and there did not appear to be any tire skid marks, Sgt. John Gonzalez, a department spokesman, said...."
Today, apps on smartphones provide real-time data, making storm chasing a pursuit accessible to all — seasoned professionals and trained meteorologists, as well as homegrown enthusiasts with a thirst for thrills and the celebrity that comes with posting dramatic videos on YouTube.

“That information — available to everyone — says to a lot of people, ‘Let’s go chase this storm,’” [said Tim Marshall, a meteorologist and engineer at an engineering firm in Irving, Tex., who has been chasing severe storms since 1977.] “Back in the early days, I would have a storm to myself. Today, that would not happen.”

"If someone steps down or something changes, I’ll then ask and answer those questions at that time. But right now, no, I’m not running for public office."

Says Chelsea Clinton speaking — in her exquisitely annoying fashion — and purporting to find it "all rather hysterical" that people keep asking if she'll run for office, acting as if she's ending the inquiry, yet obviously keeping alive the hope/fear that she will — if some unstated condition clicks — run for office:

Robot news.

1. "Evidence That Robots Are Winning the Race for American Jobs." (NYT)
For every robot per thousand workers, up to six workers lost their jobs and wages fell by as much as three-fourths of a percent, according to a new paper by the economists, Daron Acemoglu of M.I.T. and Pascual Restrepo of Boston University. It appears to be the first study to quantify large, direct, negative effects of robots....
2. "Humans and robots are companion species on this planet. We need each other." (Slate)

3. Tiny girl seems to think a water heater is a robot, attempts to engage with it, is deemed cute by internet.

4. "Ingestible Snake Robot Could Slither Through Your Intestines." (Live Science)
"The external shape of the robot is a 2D projection of a rotating helix. The result is a continuously moving wave. We can simply reverse the direction by reversing the direction of rotation of the motor," said one of the robot's inventors, David Zarrouk, a mechanical engineer at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
5. "A robot designed simply to burn every single tweet sent by Mr Trump has amassed thousands of Twitter followers."

"Eleven people who slaughtered a sheep, stripped naked and chained themselves together outside the gates of Auschwitz last week were... not neo-Nazi extremists..."

They were pacifists.

According to prosecutors.

Why did John McCain choose to insult Kim Jong-un at the expense of the mentally ill, the overweight, and the very young?

Whatever loose talk a political official might want to use to talk about world leaders, shouldn't he take into account the collateral damage?

John McCain may properly think Kim Jong-un is terrible, but to call him a "fat crazy kid" is to drag in 3 categories of vulnerable people who shouldn't be used to symbolize worthlessness.

The focus in the press — if I may go by New York Magazine — is on how seriously North Korea takes the dignity of its leader. It issued a statement calling it "grave provocation little short of declaration of war" and threatened retaliation. If it's retaliation in kind, it will only be what we do to our President continually.

But what concerns me is how blithely McCain concocted his insult out of disdain for qualities possessed by millions of Americans who don't deserve the careless swipe. 

"Snappy Fishsuit; Acne Fountain; Sex Fruit; Loser; Fat Meat; Stud Duck; Ghoul Nipple; Number 16 Bus Shelter; Yeah Detroit; Tula Does The Hula In Hawaii; Captain Fantastic Faster Than Superman Spiderman Batman Wolverine The Hulk And The Flash Combined; and Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116."

Actual names cited by the lawyer for the Georgia Department of Health in a letter to the ACLU explaining that there is some power of the state to reject names that parents might want to impose on their babies. But the lawyer was also denying that the last name "Allah" was rejected because there was something substantively wrong with the name. The state says the problem is only that the last name on a birth certificate from the Office of Vital Records needs to be either the mother's last name, the father's last name, or some combination of the 2. If you want some other name, you should petition the court for a name change, and any problems with the name will be addressed at that point.

Here's the report in the NYT, which seems to be saying that the ACLU's argument is only based on a provision of the state statutory code that says birth certificates need a name "as designated by both parents." I'd like a link to the whole statutory provision. I guess the fight is over whether parents get to choose a last name as well as a first name at the birth certificate stage. An ACLU lawyer is quoted saying the parents "feel very strongly that they want all of their children to have the same last name." The parents — whose last names are Handy and Walk — already have 2 children with the last name Allah. (One of them is named Masterful Allah.)

Remember when Paul Kantner and Grace Slick named their baby God? False! Grace Slick just said the baby's name was "god" — "We spell it with a small g because we want her to be humble" — but that was just some fluffy blah blah of the time. The baby's name was China.

"The two antiabortion activists who mounted a hidden-camera investigation against Planned Parenthood officials have been charged with 15 felony counts..."

"... of violating the privacy of health-care providers by recording confidential information without their consent. In announcing the charges against David Robert Daleiden and Sandra Merritt on Tuesday, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said the duo used manufactured identities and a fictitious bioresearch company to meet medical officials and covertly record the private discussions they initiated.... The secretly recorded conversations dropped during the politically tumultuous summer of 2015, amid a crowded field of Republican presidential contenders, and turned Daleiden into the biggest star of the antiabortion movement.... Daleiden’s lawyer, Steve Cooley, a former district attorney of Los Angeles, blamed the charges on Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), a former attorney general of California whose office initiated the investigation that produced Tuesday’s charges. He claims Harris corrupted the current attorney general’s office to 'pander to her constituents and her supporters.'"

Reports The Washington Post, which embeds the privacy-invading video.

"The next generation would be justified in looking back at us and asking... 'Couldn't you hear what Mother NATURE! was screaming at you?'"

Lots of Trump in that trailer for "An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power." And, ironically, Al Gore seems to be trying to TALK! like Trump.

"A man has died after being savaged by his dog while being interviewed by a BBC documentary film crew in north London."

"The man, named locally as Mario Perivoitos, 41, was with the film crew at his home in Wood Green on 20 March when his Staffordshire bull terrier attacked, biting him in the neck."

The police say the documentary was "entirely unrelated" and BBC won't say what the documentary was about.