I really despise air travel.

I really despise air travel. Everything about it is unpleasant. And in my 50th year on the earth I now know why. Getting to the airport, checking in, going through security, sitting at the gate, flying in the sardine can, baggage claim, and renting a car all have to do with other people’s control over my movements. Life wasn’t supposed to be like this. I was promised my own flying car by the year 2000. It’s freaking 2017 let’s get this future stuff moving! 

The liberty of the road trip is all-American.

The liberty of the road trip is all-American.

Not much on Earth can beat the American road trip in travel for a sense of freedom—no pat-down, no passport, no airport muddle, just revving an engine and leaving at will. Though the driverless cars that await us might have their uses in dense city traffic or on tedious L.A. freeways, they will certainly diminish the exuberance of a driver gripping the wheel, flooring it and rejoicing, “Eat my dust.”

DITTO!

From the Wall Street Journal

Finally there’s an “organic” food product I can get behind.

Finally there’s an “organic food product I can get behind. On my next trip to Whole Foods or if they have them at Heinen’s expect me to grab a bag so I can be organic like the rest of the pretentious people.

From Bloomberg.com

 

Google forced to admit that fake web traffic is costing advertisers real money.

Google forced to admit that fake web traffic is costing advertisers real money. I’ve always thought that the ad revenue generated by Facebook, Google, and most other big Internet companies are mostly fake. Unless they publish the code for how they calculate clicks it’s all just secret sauce.

Google is issuing refunds for ads that ran on websites with fake traffic, people familiar with the situation said, as the web giant develops a tool to give marketers more transparency about the ads they buy through its platform.

In the past few weeks, the Alphabet Inc. unit has informed hundreds of marketers and ad agency partners about the issue with invalid traffic, known in the industry as “ad fraud.” The ads were bought using the company’s DoubleClick Bid Manager over the course of a few months this year, primarily in the second quarter.

Google’s refunds amount to only a fraction of the cost of the ads served to invalid traffic, which has left some advertising executives unsatisfied, the people familiar with the situation said. Google has offered to reimburse its “platform fee,” which ad buyers said typically ranges from about 7% to 10% of their total purchase.

From the Wall Street Journal

ISS transiting the Sun during the eclipse is way cooler than the eclipse itself

ISS (International Space Station) transiting the Sun during the eclipse is way cooler than the eclipse itself.  Seeing how fast it shoots across the sky is kind of mind boggling. To know there are people in there is one thing but seeing it whiz by is way cooler and knowing where to go to view it is way geekier than just viewing the eclipse.

Reaction to the total eclipse of the Sun shows how far we haven’t come

This country’s, and the entire world’s, reaction to the total eclipse of the Sun that occurred on Monday shows how far we haven’t come as a species. It’s not that a total eclipse isn’t cool but it’s our over reaction and gushing over what is essentially a shadow that has me disturbed.

We know what causes an eclipse. In 2017 there is no mystery to it. Also, a total eclipse occur around every 18 months but because the Earth is mostly water no one is standing there to see it. There is no reason to gush, cry, or other crazy hysterics when viewing a total eclipse.

How about next time we just view it and say, “Hmmmm. That was cool.” Then move on with our lives.

Everything you need to know to view tomorrow’s solar eclipse.

Everything you need to know to view tomorrow’s solar eclipse… if you happen to be in that type of thing.

 

Defending the Indefensible

We are living in dangerous times. It’s been brewing for about three decades now and, to me, it started with the “self esteem” movement. This was followed by the anti-bullying movement. Which was followed by the “safe space” movement. Culminating in the current push to white wash (pun intended) the history of The Confederacy in this country.

When my kids started school in the early 1990’s I was struck by what one of the teachers told me as the reasoning why they were changing from letter grades to some amorphous language that took its place. She told me that it was an effort to not cause sadness. I think I physically recoiled when she said it because the look on her face showed she was shocked by my reaction. The following year I pulled both my kids out of public school and moved them to a private school where they were more concerned about making sure my kids were learning something than concerned about causing them sadness.

The anti-bullying crowd came about shortly after that. Almost suddenly any kind of teasing or slight by one kid got characterized as an assault. The old teaching of, “sticks and stones may break my bones but names can never hurt me”, went right out the window., Parents looking to shield their children from any kind of criticism, right or wrong, malicious or not, was the cause du jour. No longer was it proper to just stand up to some asshole, and dare I say maybe even punch him in the mouth, but instead to seek counseling and go to conflict resolution meetings with your peers. Bullying is part of life and American parents were looking to excise it from existence.

More recently the “safe space” movement that swept across the nation’s college campi had to be the crowning achievement of the anti-bullying movement. But this was the moment when the anti-bullyers became the bullies. So-called “safe spaces” weren’t safe for all thought and speech. They were only safe for certain types of speech. God help you if you were a heterosexual white man. Your opinions weren’t wanted or needed because of your “white privilege”. These safe spaces were only safe for the so-called oppressed minorities. If you didn’t tow that line you were immediately shouted down. No speech for you.

This brings me to Charlottsville and the protest by white supremacists, neo-nazis, and other racist organizations. Google, Facebook, Twitter, GoDaddy, Cloud Flare, Airbnb, and other tech giants started campaigns to remove these groups from their services. The reasoning given is that these groups violated the tech companies’ terms of service and so they had the right to remove them. Before this controversy I’ve never heard of any of the names of these white supremacist organizations. I don’t know what they put on their web sites. But, as far as I’m concerned, as long as they’re not promoting murder or genocide or any other act that is blatantly illegal they have the right to say what ever the hell they want to say. If they want to believe that they are superior beings to the rest of the population that is their right.

How the hell did things get so bad where someone has to defend neo-nazis and white supremacists? I’m not part of this group. I don’t want to defend them. In fact, I’m in all likelihood someone they would hate. I’m half Asian so I’m about as impure as it gets. But the point of all of this is to say what is next? Who’s thoughts are incorrect next? It’s easy to be against neo-nazis and those that think the “white race” is superior. But what happens when public opinion turns on your beliefs? What then?

What if you believe in God but those in power decide that God is a figment of your imagination and that religion has caused the death of millions of people over the last couple thousand years. You can’t believe in God because it’s oppressive to those who don’t. Who are you to tell me that I’m going to Hell? What if Google, Facebook, Twitter, GoDaddy, and Airbnb moved to prevent you from using their services because you’re openly preaching the gospel? You don’t have the right to a domain name or a web site because you’re trying to evangelize people into your religious cult.

Don’t think that can’t happen? This is the path we’re on and until someone in power stands up to this anti-American squelching of speech we’re doomed. Unpopular and even incorrect beliefs are natural rights. These are thoughts and ideas that exist in the brain. No matter what anyone does they can’t be legislated or otherwise removed from existence. They exist and they always will exist. The power we have as a nation founded on individual liberty is to argue and debate these ideas and thoughts openly. Don’t shout down the one you don’t agree with instead argue with them and debate the merits, or lack thereof, of their ideas. That’s how you defeat racism and bigotry. The alternative only takes us to another civil war and armed conflict.

Did anyone actually hear what President Trump said? Or, are they only getting their information from media reports?

Did anyone actually hear what President Trump said? Or, are they only getting their information from media reports? I ask these questions because after all the sensationalist headlines I expected to see President Trump wearing a Nazi emblazoned jacket with his hand extended at a 60 degree angle pointed towards the sky. So, I went back and looked at President Trump’s speeches on Charlottesville and I’m having difficulty seeing the same thing that’s being reported.

Here are the speeches, in order from his first statement to his statement yesterday.

August 12, 2017

August 14, 2017

August 15, 2017

His remarks weren’t that long so anyone can invest a small amount of time to get it from the source. At the risk of sounding like a Trump supporter, I honestly don’t see anything wrong with anything President Trump said. I just don’t see it.

If you want to take the perspective that his first speech wasn’t strong enough that’s fine. But after the second speech it should have put the issue to bed. The third speech Trump was just plainly pissed off at what he perceived as a mischaracterization of what he said.

I think what’s happening here is that since the invention of TV a President hasn’t talked back to the press with such force as does President Trump. The media is used to shouting the questions and making the public figure cower. Trump doesn’t cower he talks back.

It’s hard to watch or read the news because virtually all news media hates Trump. He could help an old lady across the road and they would scream that he’s ageist and should have let her go across on her own.

We live in interesting times.