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Climate change is real and thank goodness man caused it.

When I was growing up in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s we were concerned about climate change. Temperature changes, arctic ice sheets, over population, and the concern of whether or not the human race would survive. The story then was that we were already past the tipping point. We were doomed.

But, thanks to human ingenuity and our continued ability to flood the Earth with new humans somehow we were able to hold back the advance of nature and change the climate more to our advantage. We are now flourishing more than ever. Thank goodness for fossil fuels and the over production of carbon dioxide.

Yes. The above is a poor attempt at satire. Below is the propaganda we were fed as kids. The only difference is that we were being told that the scientific “consensus” was that the Earth was cooling instead of warming.

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When will idea of Socialism finally die?

Younger generations in the US keep favoring “Socialism” even though they have no real idea what it is or what it does to a society. The history of Socialism and Communism are not properly taught in schools today and instead children are being softly propagandized of the benefits of a utopian socialist society. It doesn’t exist and never has. Every place this ideology has been tried it has failed and failed miserably. It has killed more people than all the world wars combined.

Here is a personal perspective from a former Venezuelan who watched his country and his father die due to this invalid ideology.

Since the election of Chávez in 1998, the government has removed eight zeros from the constantly inflating currency and twice changed its name. It is expected that in 2020 there will be still another currency with even more zeros lopped off—with one new currency unit equaling hundreds of billions of old bolívars since Chavism started. The International Monetary Fund has indicated that inflation could be anywhere between 1 million and 10 million percent by the end of 2019, but it’s hard to know for sure since the government has stopped bothering to publish many basic economic indicators.

Venezuela now has the lowest average minimum salary in the world: just $2 a month, one-tenth the figure for impoverished Cuba. There are general shortages of almost everything, including gasoline, despite the fact that Venezuela has the largest petroleum reserves in the world. The water and electric systems are collapsing: Major national blackouts started in early 2019, with some parts of the country going dark for weeks. Telephone and internet services fail constantly, due to the electrical disruptions and a lack of system updates. Most patients who require cancer treatments or dialysis are just dying. Our former “capital of Heaven” now has no gas, no light, no food, no water, no jobs, no money, no medicine, and no hope.

It’s no wonder people are leaving. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that more than 4.3 million people, or around 14 percent of the population, have fled Venezuela, and the total could pass 5 million by 2020. This kind of massive refugee crisis is a first in the Americas, and it’s creating serious regional problems. The number of murders has grown from 5,000 a year before Chávez to around 25,000 today, though the government has stopped publishing those figures, too. That’s about a half-million murders—a whole city dead—since the advent of Chavism.

Reason.com
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Random Thoughts Technology

The Internet is 50 years old today

Who knew? It’s already been half a century since the first message was sent across the Arpanet. That moment lead to me being able to post the following diatribe that no one will read. Oh the wonders of modern technology!

Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web (which is different from the Internet itself), over the last year has spearheaded a movement to try to somehow reconfigure the Web to make it more open and free. He didn’t like how the Web was used to create things like Twitter and Facebook (these are walled gardens) and I don’t think he likes how all traffic around the world is basically controlled by Google through search (leveraging a superior search product to sell advertising).

The solution? A “Contract for the Web“. Just by the naming of this you can tell it will never work. The Contract has a set of principles. They are:

Governments will

  • Ensure everyone can connect to the internet
    • So that anyone, no matter who they are or where they live, can participate actively online.
  • Keep all of the internet available, all of the time
    • So that no one is denied their right to full internet access.
  • Respect people’s fundamental right to privacy
    • So everyone can use the internet freely, safely and without fear.

Companies will

  • Make the internet affordable and accessible to everyone
    • So that no one is excluded from using and shaping the web.
  • Respect consumers’ privacy and personal data
    • So people are in control of their lives online.
  • Develop technologies that support the best in humanity and challenge the worst
    • So the web really is a public good that puts people first

Citizens will

  • Be creators and collaborators on the web
    • So the web has rich and relevant content for everyone.
  • Build strong communities that respect civil discourse and human dignity
    • So that everyone feels safe and welcome online.
  • Fight for the web
    • So the web remains open and a global public resource for people everywhere, now and in the future.

Why will this Contract fail? Because only the United States has a Constitution that protects natural rights and natural rights are directly tied to the Internet and the Web. The European Union, Russia, China, and other nations have already taken steps to ensure the current Web or its progeny will never be open and unencumbered.

Is Internet access a natural right? No. By the fact of your birth are you entitled to access to a computer network? It’s ridiculous to argue that it is. Being human does not require a computer at all. How will countries that don’t respect natural rights “ensure” that everyone can connect? Does that mean a government subsidized system? I will get taxed so someone else can get online? That’s just stupid.

All the world is moving to limit speech and therefore will not keep all of the Internet available all of the time. In the EU, there is the “right to be forgotten”. It doesn’t matter if it’s on the public record or not but an individual can petition to have things removed online (or at least blocked from view in the EU) to protect people from humiliation. In the United States, the Congress continually grills social media companies for things their users post. The US already passed a law years ago that protects so-called “platforms” such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube from lawsuits from content posted by users. However, the more these social media companies get into censoring posts and takedowns of content the more they are looking like traditional publishers and less like platforms. If they continue to move down that road I can’t see a difference between them and television networks or newspapers. Either leave the speech alone or become responsible for what gets posted. You can’t have it both ways. Congress is largely full of people that aren’t interested in upholding their oath of office and more interested in control of the public. It’s not like they care about social media companies being publishers or platforms. As long as the content is content they agree with they are happy otherwise the posts are fake and illegal.

On the right to privacy, if you are receiving a product for no cash compensation how do you expect the company providing the product to make money? Broadcast TV, at least in the US, is free. How do they make money? Through advertising. They using rating systems to figure out the people who are watching and try to push ads to those demographics. It’s the same for Google, Facebook, and Twitter. They do nothing more than what magazines (when print was big) used to do. I remember when subscribing to PC Magazine, back in the 1980’s, that they would have a little survey of your interests to gauge who their readers are. After completing the survey you would start receiving all kinds of offers in the mail for things surrounding that survey. Was that wrong of them to do? They obviously sold my name, address, and personal preferences and they did this while I paid for a subscription. That’s how print media stayed afloat. How is that different from Google seeing keywords in my e-mail and pushing ads or Facebook seeing posts about food and pushing me ads for restaurants?

The Contract calls for companies to make the Internet affordable and accessible to everyone. It is impossible to define affordable. What is affordable to me may not be affordable to you. And what will define accessible? Say I pay $50 for a connection that gives me 100 mbps down and 12 mbps up. Is that affordable? Does that speed level give me access to everything? I don’t think you can stream 4k at those speeds but I can surely watch streaming video and download any kind of audio and text. Who will decide these things? Some blue ribbon committee?

What is the best in humanity and what is the worst? Are non-profits good and for-profits bad? I think modern non-profits are actually profit generating entities and exist largely to employ people and shape public policy towards some political agenda. Sure there are the non-profit organizations that actually exist to perform altruistic functions and do good for their communities but what about the big boys like the Red Cross, American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association, and the American Cancer Society? I don’t trust that, at the top of the organizations, they are interested in solutions for the purposes for which they were formed. I believe they exist to make money for the executives and the top management layers and nothing else. The people at the middle and bottom, and especially unpaid volunteers, are actually trying to help people but in my mind are mere slaves that prop up corrupt organizations. With for-profit organizations at least you know explicitly what they are about. Profit. Pure and simple. They are there to sell you something in order to make money. In my mind, that helps people more than any non-profit. What has produced more to benefit the world? Microsoft or the American Diabetes Association? How many wealthy people did Microsoft help create? How has that wealth created more wealth through other companies? How has that wealth created more philanthropy? The American Diabetes Association on the other hand doesn’t even acknowledge that a low carbohydrate diet reduces the risk of Type 2 Diabetes. This while people are literally getting off of their insulin by adopting a low or very low carbohydrate diet, essentially curing themselves through diet.

Calling for citizens (of which country?) to be creators and collaborators, build strong communities that respect civil discourse, and fight for the Web. What nonsense is this? Content creation part is easy. I’m doing it now (regardless of whether or not this content is consumed). But what about building strong communities that respect civil discourse and human dignity? This cannot be defined. What if racists want to create their own social network that denounces all other races that are not their own in the belief that the other races are not human? To them those people are not human and don’t deserve dignity. In the United States, this type of community and speech used to be protected under the First Amendment and I would argue that it should be. The First Amendment is under assault by people that don’t want their feelings hurt or for ideas that they may find abhorrent to be spread. While I find the idea of Communism and Socialism abhorrent where others don’t I would not seek to silence those people. Whereas those that find Capitalism abhorrent seek to demonize those that believe in that system and shout them down. How will any Contract for the Web protect that when the U.S. Constitution is having a difficult time with it?

To me, what needs to be protected and spread across the world, is the U.S. Constitution. There is no other document that protects the natural rights of human beings the way it does. If governments across the world adopt this there will be no need for any Contract for the Web.

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The latest Trump controversy is another non-controversy

First, here’s the video all the media is talking about but won’t show you. At least until YouTube takes it down.

Now, here’s a link to an article from Reason.com that tells you the truth about where the video was shown and how it probably wasn’t seen by too many people. I’m sure more people have seen it now than if the media would have just ignored the nonsense. Here’s a tweet that shows the room where it was playing. pic.twitter.com/O87stQDfrc As you can see the room is empty. It was an “art” display.

The legacy media are having their Dr. Zaius moment, paternalistically shielding their infantile audience (read: you and me) from ugly images and realities. This is not simply a revolting development but a deeply troubling one that will only accelerate the ongoing loss of confidence and trust the public has in media. According to polling done for the Columbia Journalism Review, fewer than 20 percent of us have a “great deal of confidence” in the press. The only institution held in lower esteem is Congress.
Yet the media seem happy to keep digging their own grave. Yesterday, for instance, The New York Times reported on what it called a “macabre video of [a] fake Trump shooting media and critics” that was shown at a conference held at one of the president’s own properties (Trump had nothing to do with the conference or the video, which the White House has condemned). You’d assume the paper would link to or embed the video in support of its characterization. But it refused to, even as it’s safe to say that it was the Times’ coverage that helped bring the video to a large viewing audience (that’s how I learned about it). Instead, it described the video, which was included in an exhibition of videos associated with pro-Trump “memesmith” Carpe Donktum

Reason.com

I’m not defending President Trump. I’m just kind of disgusted with how the news is manipulating people. They talk about “the Russians” but they really need to look in the mirror.

Take Meet the Press and Chuck Todd for instance. I ran across this tweet from the show:

Listening to Chuck Todd talk about what the President said and refuse to actually show the clip to which he’s referring is journalistic malpractice. What right does he have to withhold the information from the public? Here’s a tweet that has a link to the video of President Trump’s comments on former Vice President Biden and his son Hunter.

Just when I think things can’t get more ridiculous they get more ridiculous.

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If MLB batters hit more home runs but no one is there to see it does the ball leave the park?

MLB batters, in 2019, set a home run record knocking 6,106 baseballs out of the park as of yesterday… and the season isn’t quite over. The game was changed over the years to facilitate more scoring and more home runs. The theory was that more scoring makes a more exciting game and a more exciting game will bring in more fans. Is it safe to say yet that the theory is absolutely wrong?

So far in 2019, teams are playing to 66% capacity.

But MLB’s attendance took a 4% hit in 2018 and is on pace for another dip this year.

USA Today

There are people that get paid a lot of money to try to figure out how to market MLB to keep and expand the fan base. Someone should get fired.

I used to be a Chicago White Sox season ticket holder. I used to watch the games even when I gave up my season tickets. The operative phrase in those last two sentences is “used to”. I no longer watch and I barely read about the team that took me and my kids to the World Series. Why? Because the game is boring.

Pitchers that take forever on the mound, batters that step in and out of the batters box after every pitch to adjust their batting gloves, excessive home runs, excessive strike outs, and situational pitching have made the game slow and boring. The things that made the game exciting like the hit-and-run, the bunt, and hitting behind a runner have gone the way of the Dodo. Who wants to sit through 3 hours of pitching changes, strike outs, with a sprinkling of home runs?

Some of the most exciting games I ever saw, in person or on TV, where games pitched by Mark Buehrle of the Chicago White Sox. The games were sometimes less that 2 1/2 hours long and the ball was usually put in play. Most of the time he didn’t over power hitters and he didn’t strike too many out. He got the ball from the catcher and pitched. If the batter hit the ball it was assumed the men in the field would do their job. And they did. The drama during his no-hitter and perfect game were incredible because the ball was put into play.

If MLB is to bring fans back they need to bring the action and strategy back to the game. Home runs, strikeouts, and exploding scoreboards won’t do it.

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Words apparently hurt as much as Sticks and Stones

By now, if you’ve been paying, you may have heard the controversy over Dave Chappelle’s Netflix comedy show, “Sticks and Stones”. If you haven’t you should first watch the show and then look up all the commentary.

From the title to the content and from beginning to end that one comedy show exposes the sad state of the American psyche and American culture today. Take the title for instance. If you’re old enough you’ll remember the old saying of, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but names can never hurt me.” This saying was a parent’s response to teach a kid that words are just what they are… words. Just because someone calls you names doesn’t mean you are the names that they call you. Maybe it was a lame retort but it did teach children that there will always be people that try to define you and it’s up to you to ignore that crap and define yourself.

It was also a way to teach kids that using violence in the face of criticism of any kind is not a proper response. So many kids would lash out violently when called certain names (Could I be talking about myself here? Hmmm.) that they needed to be taught to have a tougher skin. Words might hurt your feelings but they do not actually cause you physical harm. It’s appropriate to defend yourself with other words and not your fist.

This brings me back to Dave Chappelle’s comedy show on Netflix. He finds the humor in everything. Nothing is safe. If you’ve grown up being protected from “offensive” thoughts and you watch this you may want to curl up into the fetal position or lash out at Chappelle. But you need to watch it to toughen up your skin. These are just words. Dave Chappelle has no power to do anything to you other than make you laugh. Sometimes at others and sometimes at our own hypocrisy.

One of the best bits of social commentary came when he was talking about guns. In a nutshell he said that nothing will happen with the laws in the United States over guns until every African American signs up and obtains a legal firearm. Then and only then will the government rise up to make laws to restrict ownership or take them away outright. The joke being that everyone is afraid of a black person with a gun, legal or otherwise. Regardless of what you think of guns the way this message is delivered is genius and hilarious. When he delivers the line you both laugh and go, “Hmmmm, crap he’s probably right!”

Chappelle’s “Sticks and Stones” was not right or left leaning comedy show. It was squarely down the middle and eviscerating everything we think of ourselves. Watch it!

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Random Thoughts Technology

Google continues down the path to shitty search

I stopped using Google for my everyday search a long time ago. As the years rolled on I started to find that their search engine was trying to be too smart. I use Gmail and an Android phone and increasingly my search results were either what Google’s algorithm thought I wanted versus what I was actually looking for.

I’m not the type of person that seeks out only what I already believe. I like to find opinions that are not my own in order to broaden my knowledge of a topic. But, Google has been fine tuning their search to feed me information that I don’t want or that I already have.

I’ve been looking more and more into the science behind the low-carb ketogenic diet. I’ve been living my life this way for quite some time and I was interested in finding out why I am the way I am. As such there are a bunch of people I follow in Twitter and Instagram that provide information on the topic.

Today I ran across a tweet that purported to show that a simple search on Google for “humans are omnivores” provided misinformation by PETA. So, naturally, the first thing I did was head over to google.com and typed in the search. Sure enough the information box at the top contained the misinformation by PETA. Many people don’t look beyond that box for their answers and if you’re querying the Google Assistant this is also the answer you’ll receive. This search result is not anywhere near relevant to the query. The actual PETA link is #4 down the list. It’s not even the top actual search result. How did it become the de facto answer to this query?

Here is the identical search on Duck Duck Go. A stupid name for a search engine but it seems to give me far superior results. Note that the PETA link is nowhere to be found. It’s not even on the first page of the search results.

This result lead me down the rabbit hole and I ran into this article on fee.org that highlights how Google has changed it’s search results to bury alternate medical opinion sites. Why would they do this? Google purports to not be a publisher. But yet they are indeed acting like one by editing search results by what they think is relevant. This cannot be a result of “machine learning” or of the algorithm automatically bubbling up more popular results. If this were the case the sites getting buried would not have had the traffic they had to begin with.

Google search is broken. It’s been broken for a long time. Google itself seems to be broken. I’ve moved off of as many Google services as is convenient. Duck Duck Go is my search engine of choice and I switched to Firefox for my web browser (Chrome is still necessary for a few things. Not many but some). Gmail is still superior to other e-mail clients at filtering spam. My Pixel 3 is still a superior phone (for me at least) to other phones out there. I know there are alternatives but none of them work for me.

All the services you use that are “free” need to be looked at with a critical eye. You can’t automatically trust the information they’re feeding you. Thinking for yourself and being skeptical is more important today than ever before.

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What’s happening in Hong Kong is simply amazing

This could never happen in the United States. Hong Kong had an estimated 1.7 million people out marching in the streets… PEACEFULLY. If this took place anywhere in the states I doubt that it could go off in such a manner. There are too many trouble makers here, on both sides of every issue, and some will pose as a protester just to have a license to riot.

Sunday’s action, billed as a return to the peaceful origins of the leaderless protest movement, drew more than 1.7 million people, making it one of the largest rallies since the protests began about three months ago, according to organisers the Civil Human Rights Front.
It ended a weekend of protests that, as of early Monday, saw no major confrontations with police for the first time in weeks.

Yahoo! News

Again, this amazes me and I have a new respect for the people of Hong Kong.

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Mythological Woodstock never existed

Mythological Marker

I grew up hearing about Woodstock and always thought it to be a crock of crap. Knowing the Baby Boomers as I do I knew there was no way in hell it was anywhere near the event they believed it to be. It was all myth or in the lexicon of today, “Fake News.”

This Thursday through Sunday marks the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock festival, famously billed as “Three Days of Peace and Music.” It might be more accurately described as four days of mud and myth-making, although the latter has stretched on for decades.
For an event described as an Aquarian exposition, its origins were remarkably mercenary. Two men, one a pharmaceutical heir, placed an ad in The New York Times: “Young men with unlimited capital looking for interesting, legitimate investment opportunities and business propositions.” They eventually partnered with a record company executive and the promoter of the relatively small Miami Pop Festival. When plans for a music studio in Woodstock, New York, went awry, the quartet settled on the idea of an art and music festival.

The Federalist
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Moral Superiorists are the new master race

Reason.com

This moral superiorist movement continues on their path towards the eradication of the impure. Sarah Silverman, whose comedy has always been built on the far edge of being offensive, finally suffered the attack of the moral superiorists and was fired from a movie just prior to its production. Her sin? She once did a skit where she donned blackface.

Sarah Silverman, a staunch supporter of liberal causes and of presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, is one of the biggest liberals in entertainment. She supports all the things today’s moral superiorists support. But the one thing you can’t have in this new world of the moral superiorist is have a past.

You can never make a mistake. You must be pure. You can’t slight anyone at any time unless they disagree with the moral superiorist ideology. Then not only is it okay to slight them but it’s okay to destroy them. Because in this new world of the moral superiorist purity in thought is paramount. They are the new master race.