Note: The following originally appeared in Vent #14, from this week in 1996.
According to the packet of information dispatched to me by the Reform Party, about half the Democrats (about 15 percent of the electorate) and about half the Republicans (about 15 percent of the electorate) would prefer a third party if one existed. Of course, there have been third parties since the days of powdered Whigs; the Perot crowd believes that in 1996 a third party could actually elect a President.
Well, it could happen. Ross Perot himself, despite the swiftest descent into self-parody since Joe Piscopo, drew nearly one-fifth of the popular vote in 1992 against two fairly blah major-party candidates. This year, “fairly blah” is far too kind for either Bill Clinton or Bob Dole; you’d almost think the party faithful had decided that going through the motions wasn’t worth it anymore, and that we might as well replace Executive, Legislative and Judiciary with Time Warner, Philip Morris and Wal-Mart and get it over with.
From the vantage point of today, that might have been an improvement.
Between 1943 and 1946, 3,888 B-29 Superfortress aircraft were built. Two are now considered airworthy, including this big fellow:
At approximately 8:30 AM CDT on Sunday morning, the worldwide fleet of flyable B-29s doubled when Doc lifted off from McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kansas culminating a restoration project that began sixteen years ago at the factory where the airplane was built initially in 1944. Piloted by the Commemorative Air Force’s (CAF) Charlie Tillman and co-pilot David Oliver, Doc joined the CAF’s Fifi as the only two Superfortresses of the 3,888 produced between 1943 and 1946 which are airworthy. Doc returned to the air 60 years after its last flight in 1956 when it was ferried to China Lake in California, decommissioned and hauled into the desert where it was used as a target for Naval bomber training until 1987 when Cleveland, Ohio printing executive Tony Mazzolini discovered it, largely intact, acquired it and moved it to Wichita.
It was a short flight — about 15 minutes before the first warning light — but it’s nice to know that the old stuff still has the right stuff.
Melania Trump, wife of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, made headlines on the first night of the 2016 Republican National Convention when she delivered a speech that included portions plagiarized from a speech given by Michelle Obama in 2008.
But she might have also rickrolled everyone:
In which case, all is presumably forgiven.
Addendum: I think this says it well:
Christie says Melania’s speech not plagiarism b/c “93% of the speech is completely different from Michelle Obama’s”https://t.co/VMI6kS8JEP
Soon anybody with a high-resolution camera and the right software will be able to determine your identity. That’s because several technologies are converging to make this accessible. Recognition algorithms have become far more accurate, the devices we carry can process huge amounts of data, and there’s massive databases of faces now available on social media that are tied to our real names. As facial recognition enters the mainstream, it will have serious implications for your privacy.
A new app called FindFace, recently released in Russia, gives us a glimpse into what this future might look like. Made by two 20-something entrepreneurs, FindFace allows anybody to snap a photo of a passerby and discover their real name — already with 70% reliability. The app allows people to upload photos and compare faces to user profiles from the popular social network Vkontakte, returning a result in a matter of seconds. According to an interview in the Guardian, the founders claim to already have 500,000 users and have processed over 3 million searches in the two months since they’ve launched.
As one might expect, benign uses can be easily outnumbered:
FindFace is already being deployed in questionable ways. Some users have tried to identify fellow riders on the subway, while others are using the app to reveal the real names of porn actresses against their will. Powerful facial recognition technology is now in the hands of consumers to use how they please.
Still, it’s (almost) here, and we’re probably stuck with it.
Qandeel Baloch, a Pakistani social media star, was strangled to death by her brother in Multan, Pakistan, on Friday. The fashion model garnered fame and notoriety with her unconventional and scandalous — by Pakistani standards — public persona, and she had recently caused a stir by posting selfies with a prominent Muslim cleric, Mufti Qawi, during Ramadan. Baloch, whose real name was Fauzia Azeem, had a huge social media fanbase, with 40,000 Twitter followers and more than 700,000 on her official Facebook page.
As a women we must stand up for ourselves..As a women we must stand up for each other… As a women we must stand up for justice
I believe I am a modern day feminist. I believe in equality. I need not to choose what type of women should be. I don’t think there is any need to label ourselves just for sake of society. I am just a women with free thoughts free mindset and I LOVE THE WAY I AM. :)
On 15 July 2016, Baloch was asphyxiated by her brother Waseem while she was asleep in her parents’ house in Multan. Her death was reported by her father Azeem. It was first reported as a shooting, but an autopsy report confirmed that Baloch was murdered by asphyxiation while she was asleep, on the night of 15–16 July around 11:15p.m. to 11:30p.m.; by the time her body was found she had already been dead for fifteen to thirty-six hours. Marks on Baloch’s body revealed that her mouth and nose were pinned shut to asphyxiate her. Police called the murder an honor killing.
Researchers recently made the surprising discovery that a special class of materials called “hyperuniform materials” can be both dense and transparent. This work demonstrates a new way to control light and could lead to novel materials for many light-based applications including solar photovoltaics. These so-called “hyperuniform materials” can be made of plastic or glass that contains light-scattering particles spaced in a disordered, but not completely random, pattern.
In The Optical Society’s journal for high impact research, Optica, researchers led by Rémi Carminati, Institut Langevin, ESPCI Paris and CNRS, France, detail the transparency properties they discovered using computer simulations and outline a theory to explain the wavelengths of light for which hyperuniform materials appear transparent.
Through a dogged campaign to build toilets and educate Bangladeshis about the dangers of open defecation, the densely populated South Asian nation has managed to reduce the number of people who defecate in the open to just 1 percent of the 166 million population, according to the government — down from 42 percent in 2003.
“Once it was our habit to go to the fields or jungles. Now, it is shameful to us,” [Rashida] Begum said in Bormi, a cluster of poor farming villages just outside Dhaka, the capital. “Even our children do not defecate openly anymore. We do not need to ask them; they do it on their own.”
Bangladesh’s success in sanitation — something so far unattained by its wealthier neighbor to the south, India — came from a dogged campaign supported by 25 percent of the country’s overall development budget.
In their first few decades all cars were SUV’s, meaning high ground clearance, body on frame and tractor-like gearing. The reason was simple enough, intercity highways and roads were largely paved by the end of the ‘twenties, but dirt roads lingered elsewhere. Power meant getting up hills and schlepping over rough, rutted roads. In 1926 this was understood.
Advertising of the time duly reflected these priorities: