Wednesday, 25 May 2016

The Dumb Can Talk With Virtual Reality Gloves

Two college students invented a pair of gloves that change American Sign Language as it is being signed into written and spoken words.  Wonderful.  The gloves can be made for $100 and use the same motion capture techniques that virtual reality games use to introduce your body motion into the action.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Commonwealth 2.0

Pay attention to the June 23 BREXIT vote in the UK.  Conrad Black seeys a win for the "Leavers"  might revive the Commonwealth with Canada playing a notable role.  A Britain that breaks with the EU may ally with top tier Commonwealth states (Canada, Australia and New Zealand with Singapore, too) and strengthen the nexus with the U.S.A.  This grouping, even without the USA, would have the economic clout of a China and be second in military might to the USA.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Flint reportage more toxic than the water

Being innumerate and credulous will equip you for Flint lead-in-the-water outrage.
The outrage begins with a change in water sourcing a year ago.   That last little blip in the chart is, almost unbelievably, the source of the killer narrative.

Exhibit one:  Wikipedia summary
Exhibit two:  Chart of lead levels in Flint chldren's blood (micrograms per decalitre).
Exhibit three:  Corruption sideline as mayor's PAC siphons off the remediation money.
Exhibit four:  The earth's temperature for the last several hundred thousand years.  The pattern is ignored to focus outrage on misreporting the last few ticks on the chart where politics and money get traction.

Exhibit One:
The Flint water crisis is a drinking water contamination issue in Flint, Michigan, United States that started in April 2014. After Flint changed its water source from treated Detroit Water and Sewerage Department water (which was sourced from Lake Huron as well as the Detroit River) to the Flint River (to which officials had failed to apply corrosion inhibitors), its drinking water had a series of problems that culminated with lead contamination, creating a serious public health danger. The corrosive Flint River water caused lead from aging pipes to leach into the water supply, causing extremely elevated levels of the heavy metal. In Flint, between 6,000 and 12,000 children have been exposed to drinking water with high levels of lead and they may experience a range of serious health problems.[1] Due to the change in water source, the percentage of Flint children with elevated blood-lead levels may have risen from about 2.5% in 2013 to as much as 5% in 2015.

Exhibit Two:

Exhibit Four:


Hyopocrisy from the left, edtion 9534.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Jadges and babies are nicer after a feed. We deceive ourselves to think we are objective.

Ben Gurion researchers found Israeli judges gave almost all their kindly decisions right after a meal and most of their cranky ones when they were getting hungry.  "Whether or not a prisoner got a favorable ruling depended in part on how long it had been since the judge had something to eat."  The right side of the chart is the percentage of favourable rulings like parole or a move to a more convenient jail.  The bottom line is how many cases they had listened to so far that day.

Application:  Politicians and dates should be wined and dined before you bring up favours that must get to YES.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Romney's Dog On The Roof Should Have Won Him The Election.

Trump would have had a field day making you laugh.  Poor Mitt folded over Seamus, the Irish Setter, who got diarrhea while riding in the car top carrier.    That was Romney's most human moment in 2012.  His car is packed out with the kids and his wife and luggage for the holiday and their beloved dog got to ride on top instead of being left behind.
Seamus "Romney"
 A guy like this should have been president, seeing a simple friendly way to get things done when resources are short.  If Seamus hadn't stolen turkey off the counter before being loaded up, you'd never have heard the rest of it.  The righteous prigs who scolded him now have Donald J. Trump.    If I was an American, thanks to Seamus alone, I'd have voted for Mitt Romney.  Loved him for it but he wimped out and wiped out.
That's a lot of family to pack into the car.  Put a proper carrier on top with a windscreen and take away the mockery of Big Bird, and you see what I see.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Panama Papers blow the lid off secret money. Putin, FIFA, Iceland just for starters.

Snowden, Climategate and now the Panama Papers.   11 million files (not all illegal) cover decades of offshore paper facades designed to conceal what the powerful and rich are doing.  Stay tuned.  Several hundred reporters have been recruited to work with Suddeutsche Zeitung  The German newspaper received the 2.6 terabyte dump of secret files stolen from the Panama-based legal firm, Mossack Fonseca.

First contact and response at Suddeutsche Zeitung.
Guardian link.     $2 billion trail from Putin, FIFA, Iceland's PM. 
Sidney Morning Herald   mentions Xi Jinping too.
USA Today:  "Worldwide, Jaws Drop"  "Biggest data leak in history".

Stay tuned.
The death of privacy is the new normal.
The little guy loses it.  The big guy loses it.
Every dollar you spend, every GPS signal your phone emits, each page you view is tracked.
The same is happening to the market moguls and tyrants and the merely rich and influential.  Their secrets too are tempting targets.  They put up better walls than you and I but they attract bigger predators too.

Update: Illustrated lede at The Daily Mail.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Hope Wanted For Aging Optimist

I'm a glass-half-full guy.  My partner and my wife tell me I'm too trusting.   Life and love have never been better but I've an awfully hard time looking for the bright side of culture and politics.

Faced with a photo of Justin Trudeau, that handsome young fellow with the selfie camera, I turn my eyes away.  Seeing Barack Obama palling around with Raoul Castro, makes me cringe.  When ex-Rubio people post GQ shots of Trump's wife to help Cruz' campaign and Trump brags his wife is prettier that Cruz' wife, I'm brought to despair.  Reading in-your-face false reporting from both Republican and Democrat leaders to make Donald Trump look like a crazed idiot and force him out at the convention  gives me heartache.   University students get the vapours when they see a campaign sign, "Trump 2016" chalked by the sidewalk.   What it reveals about mainstream culture gives  me a heavier heart than any of The Donald's antics.  The twilight of the Chretien era was easier to stomach.

As noted by Milo Yiannopoulos:  "The weak, ineffectual conservative establishment, with their utter inability to defeat the left on cultural issues, has made Donald Trump a necessary, even vital force in American politics."

I'm cheering for Donald because he gives me hope that American and Canadian politics can be refreshed, like root-bound plants getting re-potted.  There will be an "after" after Trump.

The More Multiculturalism Prevails, The Less Community We Have. Breaking Racial Barriers Not Worth The Full Price.

Some is excellent.  A lot is ruin.

"Putnam found that diversity promotes alienation, disengagement, and social isolation. This all runs counter to a host of prevailing clich├ęs and pieties.  ..  As a community becomes more ethnically and socially varied, social trust plummets. People tend to “hunker down,” ... banding together with a shrunken and shrinking group of friends or alone ... Trust in political leaders, the political process, and even voting decline precipitously. Volunteerism, from charitable giving to carpooling, deteriorates. Political activism increases as people look to government to solve problems that once might have been solved by a simple conversation across a coffee table or a shared fence between neighbors.

h/t Ed Driscoll from his tale of moving to Texas from California.

Hype Tool For Political Journalists

From mathwithbaddrawings comes this pointed cartoon.
"Read Me. Be surprised" is the message.
Reporting less so.

Enjoy a browse at the mother page
before you leave the topic.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

You And I Are Easy To Deceive: DIY Videos Of Public Figures Made To Say Fake Things With Faked emotion.

This is better than a horror show.  An actor's expressions and lip movements are overlaid on a target actor (in this case, George W Bush).  George seems to feel and say whatever the actor wants and all this in real time.  We aren't smart enough not to be deceived.  Prepare to be outraged like a puppet as activists pull your string.

The software: Face2Face.
See more with a search for facial reenactment.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Ochlocracy Bumps Oligarchy: Democracy 3.0 arrives with Sanders and Trump. We're next.

Democracy, like True Christianity, has never been tried.  You may not like it.  Everybody gets a say, including the unwashed and, the low information voters who heretofore saw no reason to take part in politics but now find social media and the internet and the comment pages give them a front seat.   I think democracy was promoted by those next to power but lacking the wealth, force and connections to prevail on their own terms.   Extending the vote brought crowd backing to this lot who wanted to drink at the governing teat.     Events have overtaken them.  Now Trump phones it in and tweets it in and gets a billion dollars free publicity.  Sanders appeals to some of the same people whose opinions lack that certain je ne sais quoi.   This isn't the end game, just the end of politics as we had come to know it.

Something similar happened in music.
You could make a living working for the king or the bishop. Then in Mozart's day, you could make a living working for various lords and even the occasional rich merchant.  In our lifetime, you could make it by contracting with a secular record label and getting air time lined up on the radio.  Now you can take your talent to the masses and get money selling downloads by the millions.  The middle men are disappearing.   Trump has few middlemen, almost no one he owes favour to except to the crowd. He is crowd-funding his run for the presidency.  Political operatives are being downsized.

My new favourite word: Ochlocracy: rule by the masses

Canada's Economy In One Cartoon From The Fraser Institute. NGO's Cost You Billions

Simple but useful., from the Fraser Institute.
Aboriginal manipulation of government and turning pipeline protests into government policy shrink our wealth just as effectively as taxes, undisciplined spending and debt. Interesting that NGO players control a big chunk of the GO budget.

"American men drop to their knees
begging Trudeau to run for president
We've a likable guy on the tiller.  I don't hate Trudeau fils, but am embarrassed by him.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Putin joins Trump's campaign to defeat Hillary Clinton.

Laugh with Trump in this first ad targeting Hillary.  Expect more ballsy clips though not all featuring Vladimir chuckling.  Hillary won't be wiping the floor with Trump. She won't even be making a peep about "Trump admires Putin" because it will draw more laughter upon herself.  She will never live down the barking episode at her rally.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Mass murder: Big government is a force multiplier for evil.

Governments with guns are the top killers. Rogue individuals slay dozens, sometimes hundreds, and with 9-11, the tollran into the low thousands.    But the millions and tens of millions are caused by governments with guns.  Governments are the force multiplier of evil.   These are not the deaths in defense of Motherland and Fatherland.  They are the internal butcheries and starvations of Pol Pot and Mao, of the Armenian genocide and the millions who perished in the Ukraine under Stalin.

The article by BOOKWORM is provocative.  "Because government is a force multiplier for evil, a vote for the small government candidate is a vote for good."  Everyone wants the government to do something about something and that includes conservatives who want values protected and activists who want pipelines stopped.  These "somethings" should be tested at the smallest local level possible and viewed as experiments.  A vote for small government is a vote for good government.