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Eating Walmart for lunch

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The Facebook Elections

Some years back, I wrote a post called, Walmart for Senator.  Well, turns out that Walmart never ran for senator.  Do you know why?  Because Walmart was replaced by Facebook.

Four years ago, Facebook had no thoughts of politics.  But the world has changed for them in three important ways:
First, the US Government, through various agencies, investigated and revealed that the Russians interfered in the US Elections.  The tool the Russians used was Facebook.Then Trump was elected president.  He started attacking Facebook about how they blocked all the good news about himself and promoted all the bad news about himself.  Trump called it, Fake News.Lastly, Facebook was called to testify before Congress.  Facebook went to school on politics. Facebook hired lawyers and lobbyists (former congressional aides) to teach them. There is one more item but it has just gotten started so I cannot yet tell how much influence it …

China goes to the movies

The other evening, I was rummaging in Netflix for something interesting to watch and I stumbled on Marshall, a biopic of Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.
I watched the first fifteen minutes or so of it. The film is very well done and featured notable black actors other than Denzel Washington. I got to wondering, who paid for this? Wikipedia tells me Marshall was financed by Superhero Films Ltd., a Chinese company. 

Why does a Chinese company pay for a film on a historical black person?
My first though was, capitalism, invest some money, make some money, a great American ideal. Wikipedia tells me the budget was twelve million dollars but the film took in ten million. It lost money. Not good.
My second thought was, this is a Chinese company and maybe capitalism (profit) is not the reason. In China, the government controls everything. Profit is not the main goal but political control is. So the Chinese government goes to the management of Superhero Films Ltd. and tells them to put u…

Friend or Foe

The world seems to be in a bad place right now. Everywhere, folks are intolerant of each other and are getting on each other's nerves. I think it is intentionally done by some people, who think they can enhance themselves by making other folks hate each other. 

I have the same sort of thing going on in my family. Believe it or not, some of my family members do not like each other. Some of us would not have ever chosen some relatives as friends. Yet, when we get together at family gatherings, we manage to tolerate each other and somehow get along, at least for the day. We are family and we are stuck with each other. There is no escape. In short, we make it work despite our true feelings.

If we can do this at family gatherings, why can't we do this with folks who are not family, with strangers?

I have heard excuses like tribalism - I belong here and you do not, so that gives me permission to treat you badly. Just crap. 

Tribalism is what we say it is:
If we say it's only my fami…

Just Too Much Fun

Huge parts of New York City suffered a blackout Saturday night and not for the first time.  Here is the true story of one incident.

"Wheeeeee," Crock screamed as he raced his spaceship out of Saturn's orbit headed towards Jupiter.

"Awwwwesome," screamed Pot, Crock's best friend. "One more around Jupiter and we will double our speed."

The two green Martian friends were in the midst a of a boys' rite of passage, that of borrowing Dad's spaceship and speeding well beyond the inter-planetary speed limit. Of course, a critical component of the ritual was to avoid the Venusian space cops and to indulge in copious amount of Hydro 3, an intoxicating heavy water beverage imported from Earth, simply called H3.

"We need more speed," said Pot. "Come in closer to Jupiter's boundary layer."

"On it." said Crock as he altered the ship trajectory by two degrees.

This was the trickiest part of Dynamic Soaring - using the pull o…

They know what you did

Facebook, Amazon, Google, and Apple (FAGA?) know everything about you and you don't know that they do. Worse, they are telling everybody all about you, for a price.

Internet privacy used to be an issue of what you searched for, what sites you visited, or what you bought on line. Now it's anything you do in your life.

An example - it's reported in the News that Alexa is listening in on, and recording, the sounds in your home. Amazon claims that Alexa is listening for your commands and to hear your commands, Alexa listens to every sound in your home. These sounds are: you taking to your family, the TV show you watch, your bedroom sweet talk, the lies you tell your boss calling in sick, and so on.

Let's say one night you use Alexa to order fried pickles at 3 am. Alexa rats you out to Amazon's people-tracking algorithm. If you are male, the algorithm may decide to classify you as an unstable person. If you are female, the algorithm may decide to classify you as pregnant.


Breaking and Entering

It's the Stonewall Inn fiftieth anniversary. How the world has changed! LGBT folks now show up all over the place. That means LGBT folks showing up as criminals too, very very bad criminals.

The two burglars hid in the shadows bordering the driveway that led into to the backyard. There, Charlie tapped John on the shoulder and pointed to an open window. John slipped off his backpack and stepped into Charlie's cupped hands. Grabbing the window sill, John pulled himself up until his eyes cleared the sill. He scrutinized the room, observing a bed, a side table with an empty vase on it, and a chest of drawers. Stepping down, he whispered, "looks like a guest bedroom. It's empty."

Reaching back, he pulled Charlie up into the room.

Charlie inspected the bedroom, noting that there were no personal belongings and confirming that the room was empty. The two men peered into the hallway. Another door.

Peeping in, they watched a woman sleep. John tapped his chest and pointed to t…