Archive for Dyssynergy

No endorsements for you

Enes Kanter, despite being a New York Knick, is still staggeringly popular here in deepest Thunderland, but having two fan bases gets him nowhere with the makers of athletic shoes:

In the summer of 2016, around the same time as [Colin] Kaepernick began his protests, an attempted coup against the Turkish government sparked a crackdown on dissenting voices by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Kanter is a longtime critic of the regime and a supporter of US-based Fetullah Gulen, who Erdoğan blamed for the coup. And so he became a target.

The New York Knicks player had his Turkish passport revoked, and Erdoğan issued a warrant for his arrest. Kanter’s father even had to disown him in a bid to safeguard their family.

Despite playing for a popular NBA team, the 26-year-old cannot find a sponsor. This is because, he says, sportswear companies are wary of damaging their commercial prospects in Turkey. And in an interview with Vice Sports last month, he singled out (you guessed it) Nike as one of those companies.

“Strike a pose, there’s nothing to it,” says Ed Driscoll of Nike’s perfidy.

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Some year this was

The rule for Time’s Person of the Year:

Every year, TIME selects the most influential person of the year, noting, for better or for worse, the person or group of people who have had the greatest impact on the news and the world over the past 12 months. TIME’s final Person of the Year will ultimately be chosen by editors, the poll provides insight into who readers believe believe had the greatest influence on the events of the past year.

I was suspicious of this honor even before I won in 2006, and the current-year poll does not make me feel any better:

Korean boy band BTS has won the online reader’s poll for TIME’s Person of the Year, beating out other artists, world leaders and politicians among those who voted.

The seven-member K-Pop band — which includes members RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jung Kook — held on to their long lead in the poll.

Planet Earth narrowly trailed BTS in the poll. With millions of votes cast, BTS outpaced Planet Earth by 0.12%.

The Thai cave divers finished third. Other top finishers: South Korean president Moon Jae-in; undocumented children; former First Lady Michelle Obama; Mohammed Bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia embroiled in controversy over past few months for his alleged involvement in the brutal murder of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi; Brazil’s new president Jair Bolsonaro; Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

The more I see of what passes for democracy these days, the more ardently I embrace monarchism.

(Via Fark.)

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Clean on the inside

“This isn’t apple juice!” [Warning: autostart video]

Students were mistakenly served Pine-Sol instead of apple juice, according to a report released by the [Hawaii] state Department of Health.

It happened Tuesday at Kilohana United Methodist Church Preschool.

In the report, the school’s director said morning snacks were being prepared by a classroom assistant in the kitchen. The snacks consisted of dry crackers and juice.

The assistant saw the yellow/brown-colored liquid container on a clean-up cart in the kitchen, and returned to the classroom with the crackers and container with liquid. The assistant poured the liquid into cups as the classroom teacher tended to students. The classroom teacher realized it was not apple juice based on its smell, and stopped the students from drinking it.

The assistant has since left her job at the preschool, which makes me wonder if this was a last act of revenge.

Oh, and be careful around Old English furniture polish, which appears to be apple, lemon-lime, or strawberry. It is, of course, none of those things.

(Via @TheBeardWhisperer.)

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The antithesis of Meow Mix

Fresh-ish (perhaps frozen) fish, though this poor cat is on the wrong side of the ice:

And you can bet he won’t hang around waiting for the spring thaw.

(Via Bayou Renaissance Man.)


Assad and the asshats

US policy toward Syria is essentially “Assad must go.” Not a great idea, says Sen. Richard Black (R-VA):

“Had Western powers, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey overthrown Syria, an al-Qaeda-style government would have seized power. It would have combined with ISIS-held territories to form a massive and violent caliphate with all of the arms presently held by the Syrian Arab Army. Surrounding nations would have collapsed as a result, and been integrated into the savage caliphate. This terroristic government would have annihilated millions of moderate Muslims and religious minorities.”

Colonel Bunny finds himself in agreement with Dick Black:

But Dubya, Theophrastus van Obongo, Donald “el Cid” Trump, Her Nickiness, and Mike “Energizer Bunny” Pompeo love that there “regime change” garbage and if hundreds of thousands have to be shot, raped, blinded, crippled, eviscerated, burned, tortured, beheaded, kidnapped, rendered homeless, or vaporized then it’s just an unavoidable (but acceptable) cost of doing business in “our” pursuit of “freedom” and graciously instructing a backward world on “our democracy” and the benefits of enlightened American ways.

Black most recently visited Syria in September.

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Let’s make a deal, dopes

Warren Zevon’s “Lawyers, Guns and Money” begins this way:

I went home with a waitress the way I always do
How was I to know she was with the Russians, too?

These things happen. Really, they do:

An internal investigation has been launched at the Detroit Police Department after two different precincts got into a turf war as they converged on an east side neighborhood.

Neighbors who live on Andover on Detroit’s east side will be the first to tell you this area is known for constant drug activity. “Definitely a drug problem in our neighbor for years,” said one resident, ” but I don’t think anyone can stop it.”

On Thursday Detroit police certainly tried -— but maybe too hard.

Sources say it started when two special ops officers from the 12th Precinct were operating a “push off” on Andover near Seven Mile. That is when two undercover officers pretend to be dope dealers, waiting for eager customers to approach, and then arrest potential buyers and seize their vehicles.

But this time, instead of customers, special ops officers from the 11th Precinct showed up. Not realizing they were fellow officers, they ordered the other undercover officers to the ground.

And unsurprisingly, things escalated in a hurry:

FOX 2 is told the rest of the special ops team from the 12th Precinct showed up, and officers began raiding a house in the 19300 block of Andover. But instead of fighting crime, officers from both precincts began fighting with each other.

Sources say guns were drawn and punches were thrown while the homeowner stood and watched.

I’m not embarrassed. You’re embarrassed.”

(Via Graham Northrup.)


But she’s just a girl

Roberta X has spent nearly four decades doing what she does; you’d think by now people would actually accept her recommendations. Not everyone seems to have figured this out, though:

Time and again, I diagnose a problem and propose a solution, only to have to explain and justify the entirely predictable and understandable behavior of that specialized equipment at great length, unless I can get a man to tell management exactly the same diagnosis and propose the same solution, at which point it is accepted without question.

The impression I get — from several different managers over the years — is that at some barely-conscious level, they just can’t convince themselves that some woman could possibly know what I know. And yet many of them have resented my attempting to explain in detail so they can follow the observed symptoms and my reasoning as to the cause and remedy. There’s no way around it. When I can, I’ll use factory support engineers or consultants as cut-outs to short-circuit the cycle of skepticism and cautious explanation, which wastes time and effort. It works.

By now, this must be wearying:

I reach a point where it’s all I can do to keep myself from saying, “I told you so, I’ve been telling you so and how I can fix it, but you won’t believe me,” clearing out my desk and going home.

A perfectly understandable response, but it has one significant drawback besides the obvious ones: once you’re gone, you’re no longer in a position to watch the good ol’ boys shake their heads and wonder “What do we do now?”

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Not all that drafty, really

Mass conscription, argues Severian, is a thing of the past:

A main-force clash between, say, the US and China would end with the loser shooting off tactical nukes as it retreats, which would either end the war right there, or escalate it into a full-on ICBM exchange … either that, or any attempt at mass conscription would reveal what we all instinctively know to be true — we can’t draft a functional army, because our draft pool is made up of noodle-armed soybois, grunting savages, lardass neckbeards, and girls. What if they held a war and nobody came? Try drafting Millennials and you’ll find out, Moonbeam.

Delta Company, as I remember from boot camp, had a slight plurality of lardass neckbeards, and the girls were kept at the other end of the post, lest the boys be distracted. (One day when I was granted the privilege of visiting the PX and its bounty of non-mess-hall rations, I overheard a company of women in full march, and they sounded a lot scarier than I thought we did.) Nonetheless, we shaped up before being shipped out.


Slicker than mere owl snot

This is snail snot:

(Via Amy Alkon, who assures us: “I wear French sunblock so I don’t have to slather my face in snail boogers.”)

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The Information Highwaymen

The nature of the American economy, circa 2018? Nothing natural about it, the Z Man might tell you:

Sure, there are still people coming up with ideas to solve old problems, but most of what is called economic activity is just organized theft. Some clever guy figures out how to monetize the social capital of a part of society and then proceeds to sell it off. Amazon is an obvious example of this. There will be no little league teams sponsored by Amazon. There were always little league teams sponsored by the local store owners. That’s all gone because Amazon cannibalized it.

The internet economy is pretty much just the monetization of existing ideas, along with the artificial creation of bottlenecks. Apple and Google control the mobile space, so they now operate as toll takers. Neither company does anything interesting, in terms of technology or innovation. They just rob helpless travelers on the internet. PayPal is another example of a firm that adds zero value, but gets to operate as a gatekeeper. None of this would be possible without the massive taxpayer subsidies to build and maintain the internet.

And the number of potential victims is staggering. If Something Dot-Com can pry a single American dollar out of every resident with a ZIP code, that’s a third of a billion dollars. Information may want to be free, as the slogan says, but there’s always someone looking to turn a buck, or several bucks, from it.

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All those pads look alike

From the One of These Things Is Not Like the Others archives:

Pad sale!

(From Bad Newspaper via Miss Cellania.)

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But we taught that

“How is it that they didn’t learn it?” Oh, they learned it, all right. At the very least, they learned something. It’s just that you failed to consider all the possibilities:

Physicist Sabine Hossenfelder reflects a little on a list she found of the way some machines that “learn” don’t necessarily do so in a way that we might appreciate.

Among the unforeseen consequences: When hooking a type of learning processor called a “neural net” to a Roomba automatic vacuum in order to increase its speed by limiting bumper contacts (those are when the Roomba bumps into something, backs up, and starts off again in a new direction). So the Roomba learned to drive backwards, since it doesn’t have bumpers on the back. Not really any faster and perhaps a little wearing on the device’s housing, since it will still bump into things.

This might make you very leery of self-driving cars, as well it should:

Another person set up a neural net that will “reward” a self-driving car that it is able to drive faster. So the net began driving the car around in small but speedy circles.

Clearly what is needed for these contraptions is not a means of instruction, but a means of indoctrination. Hey, it works in your neighborhood school, doesn’t it?

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Other than that, there ain’t no news

Said I about a year two years ago:

“Hitherto-unimagined” references an old prediction of mine to the effect that the [Consumer Reports] Buying Guide would be Web-only after 2015. Said prediction was, um, wrong.

The following has not changed:

Still “2,000+” rated products, and still 224 pages. The magazine’s new Colored Dots, however, don’t work so well in black and white.

I’m just grateful I get to use this verbiage one more time.


Meanwhile in Snyder County

“Just because I don’t have a vote,” says Orange Street News publisher Hilde Lysiak, 10, “doesn’t mean I don’t have a voice.”

And she’s using that voice to make life as miserable as possible for Snyder County District Attorney Mike Piecuch:

And it continues:

One week after removing all of his social media after allegedly violating a court order (SEE ABOVE VIDEO) the OSN has obtained documents from Snyder County Republican District Attorney Michael Piecuch explaining why Selinsgrove can’t turn over government emails.

The letter is to Pittsburgh based Attorney Zachary N Gordon. Gordon is attempting to get Selinsgrove to hand over government emails. Scroll down to read Piecuch’s reasons why he won’t turn over the emails.

Two minutes of listening to Lysiak, and you wonder why you ever even noticed nimrods like Jim Acosta.


And no one won Brownie points

I suppose I should have seen this coming:

The Girl Scouts of the United States of America have filed a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America for dropping “boy” from the scout group’s name.

The Boy Scouts of America announced in May they would rename the Boy Scouts programme Scouts BSA as they prepare to allow girls as members.

But the Girl Scouts say the change could erode their brand, calling the move “uniquely damaging” to them. Their lawsuit seeks damages and an injunction against trademark breaches.

At least this is consistent with prior GSUSA practice:

The Cub Scouts, for ages seven to 10, opened its local clubs to all children in 2018. Boy Scouts, for ages 11 to 17, will follow its footsteps next year when the programme name change becomes official.

But the Girl Scouts protested the decision at the time, with the group’s president Kathy Hopinkah Hannan accusing them of a “covert campaign” to recruit girls to tackle a “well-documented” declining membership.

The Boy Scouts reportedly have close to 2.3m members in the US, down about a third since 2000, compared with around 2 million members for the Girl Scouts.

Now if the boys start selling cookies, there’s going to be litigation like you wouldn’t believe.

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Witness to the horrible

You knew the job was dangerous when you took it, John:

A former cameraman for an Oklahoma City television station is not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for post traumatic stress related to his work covering tragic events, the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals ruled Friday.

Former KOKH Channel 25 videographer John Christopher Biebrich’s job required him to “record tragic scenes, many of them too disturbing to be shown on television,” the court said.

The court ruled Biebrich’s mental injury was not compensable because it did not arise “directly as a result of a compensable physical injury” as required by law.

I’m guessing this is not the John Christopher Biebrich who was billed as “Red Suspender Guy” in the 2004 film Reconciled.


Mass hysteria

The International Committee for Weights and Measures (CIPM) is in charge of defining all those units of measurement, and not just the metric stuff either; an inch is defined as exactly 2.54 centimeters, and that’s that. Almost all the standards for all these measurements are based on constants found in the physical universe: for instance, one second equals 9,192,631,770 cycles of a cesium atomic clock, which was found to be more consistent than 1/86400 of a day.

But the operative word here is “almost.” The definition of the kilogram, originally the absolute weight of a volume of pure water equal to the cube of the hundredth part of the meter, and at the temperature of melting ice, times 1,000, made a lot of assumptions, and eventually there was an object whose mass was defined as 1 kg:

There’s one obvious problem with this: it’s impossible to make an exact duplicate of it. There are about 100 official copies, though each is ever-so-slightly off. Worse yet, the IPK itself, simply by being a physical artifact, is subject to change.

So soon there will be a new definition, presumably based on Planck’s constant, which will have the advantage of being, well, constant.

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Now shut up and download the update

Apple admitted last year that they deliberately slowed down some older iPhone models because their battery performance diminished over time, arguing the move would “prolong the life” of devices. Cynical Americans shrugged: Forget it, Jake, it’s iOS. The Italians, by comparison, deliver a hit to the pocketbook:

Apple and Samsung have been fined millions of euros each by Italian authorities over “planned obsolescence” in smartphones.

Apple was hit with a 10 million euro (£8.8m) fine while Samsung received a smaller bill of five million euros.

“Apple and Samsung implemented unfair commercial practices”, the Italian competition authority said in a statement.

Software updates were said to have slowed the performance of older phones. This “caused serious malfunctions and significantly reduced performance”, which provoked users into upgrading their devices, the authority said.

In other news, as of 1990 Italy has a competition authority (Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato).


Mega milieu

Very few lottery tickets win anything at all, while the vast majority end up like this:

Losing Powerball ticket

Then again, you knew all that when you bought it, right?

(Via Bayou Renaissance Man.)

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Planes to nowhere

Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel López Obrador is apparently keeping a campaign promise:

Construction of a partially built new airport for Mexico City is to be halted after it was rejected in a referendum.

Mr López Obrador, who takes office in December, said money would be used instead to improve existing facilities. He has been a strong critic of the project which he says is bad for the environment and tainted by corruption.

To say nothing of the price tag, which has climbed to $13 billion.

Inevitably, there have been warnings:

The government of outgoing President Enrique Pena Nieto says it would create up to 450,000 jobs and business leaders have insisted the new facility is needed to ease traffic at Mexico City’s aging main airport.

And not just among Mexican pols, either:

Peter Cerda, regional vice-president for the International Air Transport Association (IATA), said abandoning the project would cost Mexico’s economy $20bn annually.

“The decision puts Mexico at a disadvantage as a regional hub,” he said, adding that IATA would lobby the Mexican government to change its position.

López Obrador is a smidgen too far to the left — okay, several smidgens — to suit me, but I award bonus points to anyone who is suspicious of grandiose job claims.


I want my DVD

It’s the beginning of the end for the creature previously known as the Digital Video Disk, and Kim du Toit is not happy about it:

Look, I understand the March Of Progress and all that, and I know that technology becomes outdated after a while. I just wish that the “while” would last a little longer.

And no, I’m not going to “stream” movies — at least, not the movies that I love and want to watch over and over again — because as any fule kno, what the “Cloud” giveth, the Cloud can take away (often without warning) and I refuse to be held hostage by the fucking movie studios (e.g. the horrible Disney Corporation, or Netflix). The ordinary movies (i.e. most of them) I can watch once and never watch again without regret; but the gems? oh no, I wantssss them all, my Precioussss, so that I can enjoy them anytime I want and not when Global Entertainment MegaCorp says I can (or can’t, a pox on them).

I’m currently looking for a semi-obscure French two-reeler; it’s not out on DVD anywhere, but nobody’s streaming it either. Should someone slap it on a disk at some point, I will grab it.

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Point being missed

Moron fails to comprehend decimals, blames Google: How long is 482 hours?

Is it 20 days? I did the google search but I hate when it gives the answer in decimal. Google never says like, “482 hours is ____ days.” It says, 482 hours = 20.0833 day etc.

Same guy asked last year: Could I download memories from my brain to a hard drive? I suspect he could get by with a couple of floppies.

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With a street value of $0

That’s some fine police work there, mates:

I wish someone would seize my lawn clippings.

(Via Bayou Renaissance Man.)


The Copyright of Spring

Yuja Wang sends her regrets:

Sacre causes scandal, AGAIN! Just like at the premiere in 1913, when catcalls and near-riot conditions erupted, Stravinsky’s iconic work is still causing tidal waves of controversy over a century later. My colleague Martin Grubinger and I have been notified that the Stravinsky estate will not allow our upcoming performance of Sacre in the adapted version in Europe, due to a potential infringement of copyright. We are very disappointed to learn this news, but have to respect their wishes. Unfortunately this means we have to cancel our upcoming performances in Dortmund and Luxembourg. The concerts in Ann Arbor and at Carnegie Hall in New York will go on as planned. We both deeply regret the position of the Estate and Publishers, but look forward to performing together in North America very soon.

For those keeping score:

Stravinsky continued to revise the work, and in 1943 rewrote the “Sacrificial Dance.” In 1948 Boosey & Hawkes issued a corrected version of the 1929 score (B&H 16333), although Stravinsky’s substantial 1943 amendment of the “Sacrificial Dance” was not incorporated into the new version and remained unperformed, to the composer’s disappointment. He considered it “much easier to play … and superior in balance and sonority” to the earlier versions. A less musical motive for the revisions and corrected editions was copyright law. The composer had left Galaxy Music Corporation (agents for Editions Russe de la Musique, the original publisher) for Associated Music Publishers at the time, and orchestras would be reluctant to pay a second rental charge from two publishers to match the full work and the revised “Sacrificial Dance”; moreover, the revised dance could only be published in America. The 1948 score provided copyright protection to the work in America, where it had lapsed, but Boosey (who acquired the Editions Russe catalogue) did not have the rights to the revised finale.

And presumably still doesn’t, seven decades later.

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Save the game

Fillyjonk contemplates the Experience Point:

Was thinking just now how so much of my life these days seems like “side quests” and honestly I might be happier if life had obvious “XPs” like video games do. (And I also wonder: has any sadistic soul composed a video game that is nothing BUT pointless side quests, so you grind endlessly for XPs, but never have a boss fight or anything like that? The game could be called “real life” or some such.)

It probably doesn’t scale. Although I have to admit, had I sketched out a scheme for such a game, the one and only player would be designated “Player 2.”

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Sizes vary

You wouldn’t want a whole lot of variety, I think. Then again, I could be wrong:

Fish assholes

According to The Local Malcontent, the contents are as follows: “60% Schumer Blowfish, 29% rancid Feinstein Codfish, and 11% Packaging.”

So apparently some of these are actually Pacific sphincters.


The smoker you drink

Or that makes you want to drink, anyway:

The wife bought me a new grill over the weekend. My old one has been unusable all summer. The bottom rusted away completely last winter and the burners were rusted away as well. This time we went to a better model that did not seem like it was constructed from Chinese aluminum foil deemed too crappy to sell at the Dollar Store.

You get what you pay for. The unwritten corollary is that sometimes in life you pay for what you can get. We bought that crappy grill because it was what we could afford at the time. Now I have a box of parts sitting in the garage waiting on me to turn them into a metal box for cooking steak, chicken, and burgers.

I’m still reeling from the notion that there are things too crappy to sell at the dollar store.

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When inventory becomes tricky

“But what if we’re completely out?”

Case of invisible tape, maybe

“Who’s gonna know?”

(With thanks to Ted “Rocket Jones” Phipps.)


We eat your butterflies

Now this is depressing: 13 Monarch Predators in the Butterfly Garden. This one I hadn’t anticipated:

If you raise monarch butterflies, make sure you don’t place monarch eggs too close together.

After a newborn caterpillar hatches, its first meal will be the nutrition-laced egg shell. If other eggs are in the vicinity, the hungry little caterpillar may wander over to an unhatched neighbor for seconds.

The same is true when placing newborn caterpillars with large ones. If they are competing for the same milkweed leaves, the large caterpillar could eat the competition for lunch … or dinner.

And you thought it was just a dog-eat-dog world.

(Via Van Dyke Parks.)

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This is not even slightly civil

And it should not be encouraged under any circumstances:

Wouldn’t matter if it was a Payless $19.99 special.

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