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Posts Tagged ‘robots’

I think that certain foods produce better-smelling farts.  –  Stephanie Matto

This week’s video isn’t a new one, but I was recently reminded of ts existence by Lenore Skenazy.  The first and last links above it were provided by David Ley, and the others by Desiree Alliance; Mistress Matisse & Jesse Walker; Emma Evans; and Phoenix Calida, in that order.

From the Archives

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It’s coming…it’s coming soon.  –  Rodolfo

This seasonal video is kinda brilliant on several levels.  It was provided by Walter Olson, and the links above it by Tim Cushing, Missy Mariposa, Mike Siegel, Clarissa, David Ley, The Onion, and Mike Peters, in that order.

From the Archives

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Who would have thought drinking dirt would make me feel so so good?

Since Mike Nesmith passed away this week, I’d like to share “The Monkees’ Christmas Episode” from 1967.  If you don’t have time for the whole thing, at least listen to their very lovely a capella performance of the 16th century Spanish Christmas carol “Riu Chiu”, starting at 20:47.  The links above the video are from Rick Horowitz, Stephen Lemons, Jesse Walker, Kevin WilsonWalter Olson, Mike Siegel, and Cop Crisis, in that order.

From the Archives

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The lady in front of you sucks.  –  “Officer” Brandon Roy

I’m combining two of my favorite types of videos this week: novelty songs and spooky stuff, in this oldie from The Dr. Demento Show.  The links above it were provided by Nun Ya, Missy Mariposa, Jacob Sullum, Mistress Matisse, and Dave Krueger (x2), in that order.

From the Archives

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Contact[ing] Facebook…[i]s useless.  –  Elizabeth Licata

Rough Trade

Gee, I wonder why she “stopped cooperating”?

Florida [cops] have arrested a man seemingly living a “normal life”…for allegedly being the “Woodline rapist” nearly 20 years after the brutal attacks…Dwight Arthur Harris…was…link[ed]…to the rapes…us[ing] genetic genealogy…the…rap[es occured]…on February 1, 2002…and…July 10, 2002…[but in]…another 2011 case…a known sex worker…was able to provide authorities with the tag number…and…description of the vehicle that helped them identify Harris as a possible suspect in the case before she stopped cooperating…

See No Evil (#798)

This is absurd even by the low standards of bluenoses:

Pornhub…is reportedly facing [a nuisance lawsuit] from the Louvre museum in Paris and the Uffizi in Florence after debuting a new interactive website and app, “Show Me the Nudes,” that features porn actors re-envisioning classic works of art as jumping off points for sexually explicit content…the…museums are [apparently convinced they can win damages for “]infringement[” of rights they do not possess] and [somehow force] the website to take down the content…

Apparently nobody has explained to these would-be censors that they don’t own the images in question, which are all in the public domain in every country, merely because they own the original works; furthermore, even if the works were still under copyright, satire is fair use in most places, and I’m unaware of any special weirdness in the laws of Luxembourg, where Porhub is domiciled, which would make this lawsuit anything other than 100% spurious.

Opting Out (#803)

When will people learn that “artificial intelligence” isn’t?

Facebook’s censors[hip algorithms] are…flagging the word “hoe” in a western New York gardening group because they apparently confused the tool for a disparaging term for women.  A group called WNY Gardeners has been repeatedly flagged…for “violating community standards,” when its more than 7,500 members discussed the long-handled bladed implement, which is spelled with[out] a…[“w” or “r”] unlike the [slur]…Facebook representative[s claim]…an actual person will…supposedly [check] posts [flagged by algorithms] in the future before the group is sanctioned or deleted…[other] post[s] in the group [have] be[en] automatically [censored] because of “possible violence…or hate”…[against aphids] and…Japanese beetles…

Quiet Genocide (#1050)

An analysis of what China absurdly claims are “schools”:

BuzzFeed News calculated the floor areas of 347 compounds bearing the hallmarks of prisons and internment camps in [Xinjiang] and compared them to China’s own prison and detention construction standards, which lay out how much space is needed for each…prisone[r].  Earlier estimates…have suggested that a total of more than a million Muslims have been detained or imprisoned over the last five years…Our…analysis…show[s] that China has built space to lock up at least 1.01 million people in Xinjiang at the same time.  That’s enough space to detain or incarcerate more than 1 in every 25 residents of Xinjiang simultaneously — a figure seven times higher than the criminal detention capacity of the United States, the country with the highest official incarceration rate in the world.   Even this extraordinary capacity is very likely an underestimate, for a simple reason:  It does not take into account the suffocating overcrowding that many former Xinjiang [prisoners] have described in interviews…

You Were Warned (#1112)

The bipartisan war on the internet is past even trying to look reasonable:

Two Democratic U.S. senators…will add to the stack of bills [attacking] Section 230 – [the] law that [makes the open internet possible]…by [trying to] mak[e] such platforms responsible for health-related misinformation…and [giving government bureaucrats the power to define]…what constitutes health misinformation…

Giving the government the power to define what information is “correct” and then making “incorrect” information punishable?  What could possibly go wrong?

A Moral Cancer (#1115)

The increase in absolute risk is so small that it is unlikely to be relevant for the individual“:

Eating beef, lamb, pork and processed meats will increase your risk of coronary heart disease later in life, according to a new meta-analysis of studies on over 1.4 million people who were followed for 30 years…The risk…increased as the amount of meat increased…This is in line with what has been found for bowel cancer

To Molest and Rape (#1156)

Notice how often predatory cops’ victims are underage?

[A Texas cop] was arrested…on charges of sex assault of a minor…Miguel Velasco-Hererra…was [rewarded for the rape with a paid vacation, but decided to resign instead]…

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Once men turned their thinking over to machines in the hope that this would set them free.  But that only permitted other men with machines to enslave them.  –  Frank Herbert, Dune

On Saturday, my Twitter account was locked for twelve hours because a mindless censorship algorithm could not tell the difference between mocking an idea and professing that idea; said algorithm was given power to judge human thought for “acceptability” because Twitter (at the insistence of legions of nitwits) has decided that it’s a good idea to silence wrongthink in the first place.  I’ve already pointed out the deep foolishness and simian stupidity of censorship in many other essays, and I’ll be doing so again this year on the last Monday in September, as usual; today I’d like you to think about just how incredibly dumb it is to give machines that kind of power without human supervision or functional appeals process.  Now, I’m not a Luddite; I certainly recognize that there are certain circumstances in which computers can be trusted with limited power (such as controlling an aircraft in flight) provided there is a human around to supervise.  Computers are, as Isaac Asimov once expressed it, high-speed morons; they do whatever they’re told to do, exactly as they’re told to do it and for as long as they’re told to do it, very very quickly.  The problem, of course, is that they are completely incapable of anything even approximating actual thought, which means that they will follow the most mind-bogglingly stupid (or even self-destructive) orders with the same degree of speed and efficiency as they would obey more sensible directives.  Anyone who has ever had the misfortune to have their computer infected with a virus should know this, yet people keep happily entrusting more and more of their lives to hopped-up pocket calculators they insist on pretending are “smart”; many of them even think it’s a good idea to let these overcomplicated abaci drive their cars at highway speed or tell them how to write.  Computers are useful tools and (usually) dependable servants, but apparently generations of science-fiction writers have failed to pound into the heads of the intellectually lazy what a colossally bad idea it is to accept them in positions of authority.

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I will not be intimidated [by a flying dildo].  –  Manuel Gonzales

I must admit I like the ooga-chaka version better, but it was B.J. Thomas who passed away recently, not anyone from Blue Swede.  The links above the video were provided by Jesse Walker (x2), Billy Binion, Cop Crisis (x2), Scott Greenfield, and Tim Cushing, in that order.

From the Archives

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All I could do was bend over and duck.  –  Lecresha Murray

Here’s another 1960s novelty song recorded by the stars of a hit TV show, in this case Patrick Macnee and Honor Blackman of The Avengers.  They’re not really in character, though of course Blackman’s character Cathy Gale was definitely an afficionado of “kinky boots”.  The links above the video were provided by Jesse Walker, Tim Cushing, Brooke Magnanti, Thaddeus Russell, Emma Evans, Cop Crisis, and Mike Siegel, in that order.

From the Archives

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When will we begin viewing women as human beings capable of making decisions for themselves?  –  Neha Choudhary

All-Purpose Excuse

In the West, “trafficking” rhetoric is used to block immigration. But in the East

…the government [of Nepal] has introduced a new rule, [requiring] women under 40…to produce consent from the family and permission from the ward office to travel abroad…Tek Narayan Paudel, a spokesperson with the Department of Immigration, [said]…“Women under 40 are at a higher risk of trafficking and other abuses. Therefore, the new rule is proposed for their protection”…Nepalis on social media were quick to slam the move, calling it a regressive rule that deprives women of their agency and curtails their constitutionally guaranteed right to move freely…

What the Hell Were You Thinking? (#603)

In the US, this is now illegal thanks to FOSTA:

Thanks to a $1-million…donation from the Law Foundation of BC and an anonymous donor…sex workers and provincial organisations are building a province-wide “bad date” reporting system….[so] sex workers will be able to report their experiences…in an online database in order to warn others…Going to the police…isn’t an option, given the ongoing stigma and criminalisation of sex workers in Canada…sex workers across British Columbia have typically relied on more localised methods of reporting bad dates.  In Victoria, PEERS…relies on…re[ports]…to staff, who then…share the information with other sex workers in the area.  At SWAN Vancouver…warnings are passed along via text.  But, these methods have their limitations…which is why the launch of the database is so crucial…

A Woman’s Point of View

As with cannabis legalization, if enough of these are thrown at the wall one may eventually stick:

Mariah Grant…[of] the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center…[is] hoping Oregon will become the first state to decriminalize sex work statewide…state Rep. Rob Nosse…filed a bill at the request of the Sex Workers Project…[which] would invalidate the state’s prostitution statutes, decriminalizing those engaged in selling sex, their customers, and third parties…Similar bills have been filed in New York and a handful of other Northeastern states in the past few years.  None has passed…[but] the legal sex industry already operates more freely in Oregon that anywhere else, thanks to the state’s…relative lack of an organized religious…lobby…HB 3088 would implement what advocates call “full decriminalization”…not…legalization…or…the “Nordic model”…

An Avalanche of Bullshit (#926)

The way an individual or agency treats sex workers is a good indication of how they feel about people in general:

[Information] about a [pogrom] against a small chain of massage parlors in [Alabama] has [been suppressed by the police]…The owners, Yuping Tang and her daughter Jiao Liu, had their assets frozen and their string of businesses shut down in April 2019.  But the Alabama Supreme Court [has] ruled…the state failed to carry its burden of proof on [any] part…of its case…the testimony gathered from witnesses and [cops’] victims…conflicted with…the claims [made]…by [cops]…who went into the parlors [to rape the staff.  Woman infantilized by cops and prosecutors as]…human trafficking victims actually testified on behalf of the owners saying they were not kept against their will, and they always had access to their money, passports, and freedom of movement…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1039)

Remember when Clearview claimed it would no longer sell to entities that do not claim the “right” to a monopoly on violence?

Clearview AI…has proposed applying its technology to everything from policing to retail to dating, according to a[n August] 2020 patent application…[which] describes ways to apply…facial recognition…to…identify [homeless] people…drug…[users or] “a sex offender”…CEO Hoan Ton-That…has [a habit of publicly sharing his fantasies]…of child sex trafficking…

Devil’s Advocate (#1073) 

The absurdity becomes more obvious when we substitute “toaster” for “sex doll”:

South Dakota [politicians]…are considering criminalizing the selling, making or owning of a [toaster shaped] like a child…[by] a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison…[the psychologically illiterate] bill [declares such toasters]…a “gateway” into [eating] real children…The bill’s proponent, Sen. Jessica Castleberry…said the [toasters] create a market and demand for [cannibalism].  The [devices], which have [a plastic shell and a spring to pop up toast when ready]…make [burning people alive] easier…”It normalizes and desensitizes [cannibalism],” she said…[prohibitionist] Carrie Sanderson…said the [toasters] that look like children allow for inappropriate [cooking and eating] behaviors to fester…Justin Bell, lobbyist for the South Dakota Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, said…the bill’s language was too broad and doesn’t have a victim…

Winding Down

Your “leaders” know what’s best, so shut up and obey:

After turning to the courts to stop voters from legalizing recreational marijuana in South Dakota, Gov. Kristi Noem says she’ll also veto attempts by [legislators] to give voters what they’ve demanded.  Noem said…at a news conference that she would “not be inclined” to sign a bill legalizing marijuana…just days after a judge, as part of a legal challenge Noem supported and helped fund, ruled that a ballot initiative approved by 54 percent of voters was unconstitutional and subsequently voided it.  So, to be clear, Noem will listen to neither the lawmakers…nor the actual citizens of South Dakota…she’s even trying to force delays in the implementation of a medical marijuana program, which was approved in a separate November vote and has not been struck down.  Medical marijuana is supposed to launch in July, but she’s trying to…delay it until next year…

Quiet Genocide (#1100)

Fascist corporations are happy to assist in a genocide:

Amazon…faces questions from [politicians] over a reported contract with Dahua, a Chinese security camera company…[whose] facial recognition software [alerts the cops when it] identifies members of the Uighur ethnic group…Dahua product support documents [state]…that suggest the company’s technology can sort passersby by race…[to] track “Uighurs with hidden terrorist inclinations”…Dahua is among the Chinese companies included on the Commerce Department‘s entity list for its ties to “human rights violations and abuses”…The U.S. doesn’t restrict American companies such as Amazon from buying from businesses on the entity list, though it urges caution…Dahua sold 1,500 thermal imaging cameras to Amazon in a deal estimated to be worth close to $10 million…

Morality Lessons (#1112) 

This unconstitutional bill has already failed in over a dozen states:

The Iowa House of Representatives’ Commerce subcommittee declined to advance a bill that proposed blocking adult content on electronic devices by default, as well as creating a special $5 tax on adult entertainment to fund initiatives against “human trafficking”…The bill is a version of one recently re-introduced in Utah, part of a “Project Blitz”  campaign by evangelicals to pass “copycat legislation” restricting adult content on a state-by-state basis….representatives of ATT, T-Mobile and CenturyLink pointed out that several content-blocking apps are already available and “the use of those apps is at the discretion of parents…rather than the internet provider”…

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[US police] violence appears so widespread and consistent that you could…think…it’s coordinated at a national level.  –  T.C. Sottek

The Widening Gyre (#864)

It’s been a while since we’ve seen the “scrap paper” variant of the “sex traffickers marking cars” scary tale:

A spokesperson for the Texas Department of Public Safety said…post-it notes left on various cars throughout Lubbock were…not sex trafficking ploys…Lubbock Police…looked into the matter and found that the numbers were, in fact, from a legitimate hail damage repair company…three Facebook posts claiming the notes were sex trafficking ploys…had been shared over 3,000 times…

Hail causes sex trafficking!

You Were Warned (#926)

Australian politicians are just as invested in demolishing the internet as US ones:

…The Court of Appeal for New South Wales has just dismissed an attempt by several Australian media outlets to overturn a 2019 ruling that they could be held liable for Facebook comments about [the state torture of a young man named] Dylan Voller…Voller…sued some of the media outlets that covered him—not because the news reports defamed him, but because other people writing on the outlets’ Facebook pages were accusing him of having committed various crimes.  Australian courts have not yet ruled on whether these comments defamed Voller.  This fight is about whether media outlets could even be sued for Facebook comments.  The outlets argue that…Facebook does not let them preemptively stop individual readers from posting comments on their page.  They do have the option to delete, hide, or report individual comments, but only after they’ve been posted…But the fact that these outlets have the ability to delete comments after the fact was enough for Judge John Basten to declare them publishers…Another judge suggested that a potential solution would be…censor[ing] content…If this ruling stands, it’s going to force Australian media outlets to monitor all comments and beef up their social media teams at a time when they’re having to lay off staff and even shut down newspapers

Censor Chic (#948)

It’s so convenient to outsource tyranny to computers:

…certain combinations of Chinese characters have been immediately removed from [YouTube] within a few short seconds…[without] warning or reason…The Hanzi Which Shall Not Be Named were merely 共匪  (“communist bandit”) and 五毛 (“fifty cents”)…the term 共匪…was used by Nationalist partisans led by…Chiang Kai-shek against…Mao Zedong and the reds.  Today, it is considered a slur against the CCP…五毛 is a cleverer anti-CCP troll.  It’s basically calling a pro-CCP commenter a paid shill, albeit a cheap one.  The joke is that human CCP NPCs get paid fifty cents for each pro-CCP post; ergo, the “fifty-cent army” or 五毛党…those terms would not disappear from YouTube comments if you typed them out in English or in Pinyin…only…in the original Hanzi…YouTube is already banned in China and can be a pain to access without a good VPN and strong desire to do so…We are asked to believe that YouTube’s pesky algorithm just happened to accidentally disappear these very particular Chinese anti-government phrases since at least October of 2019…Perhaps the fifty-cent army flagged these phrases enough to become automatic triggers that the algorithm would automatically pull.  But it is also possible that someone at YouTube manually added these terms to a blocklist…Pressure from politicians of both parties contributed to Google winding down its proposed “Dragonfly” Chinese search engine that would have been compliant with CCP censorship demands…

Panopticon (#1007)

FWIW, the DEA mostly conducts old-fashioned Stasi-type surveillance:

The Drug Enforcement Administration has been granted sweeping new authority to “conduct covert surveillance” and collect intelligence on people participating in protests over the police killing of George Floyd…Attorney General William Barr issued a statement…blam[ing the protests on]…“anarchistic and far left extremists, using Antifa-like tactics”…He said the FBI, DEA, US Marshals, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives would be “deployed to support local efforts to enforce federal law.”  Barr did not say what those agencies would do, however…

Panopticon (#1030)

Pigs now routinely use spy drones for surveillance :

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is regularly flying Predator drones…above American cities for surveillance.  This includes cities farther than 100 miles from the border…In two instances last month, CBP…flew [a drone] either close to or directly above Minneapolis…[another] recently flew around half a dozen times above or near San Antonio, Texas, which is also outside the 100 mile border region.  In some cases the Predator drones circled above the cities for an extended period of time…

Social Distancing (#1041)

Australian sex workers are challenging crypto-moralism:

Sex workers in Australia could operate under a COVID-19-safe framework…according to the adults-only industry association.  The industry has been crippled by bans in all states and territories during the…pandemic.  As other industries are included in road maps for restarting, only the Northern Territory has given clear advice to sex workers on when they can return to work.  In a letter to Health Minister Greg Hunt…the Eros Association expressed concern that shutting down the sex industry was being “motivated by moral judgments…rather than any justified concerns regarding public health…strip clubs, escort agencies and brothels should be allowed to operate (with appropriate restrictions) at the same stage as other body work practitioners such as massage therapists…Attached to the letter were proposed guidelines for restarting the industry…

But for Video

Just a few choice selections of police brutality from the past week:

…A New York City [cop] tore a protective mask off of a young black man and assaulted him with pepper spray…New York City [cops]…rammed a crowd in a street…[cops] in Minneapolis marched down a quiet residential street and shot paint canisters at residents who were watching from their private porch…Police in Louisville raided a public square, [stealing] and destroying water and milk…used to counter irritants like pepper spray…Atlanta police [shot] two black people…with tasers and t[ore] them out of their car…A New York City [cop] used two hands to throw a woman to the ground…San Antonio Police used tear gas against people. So did Dallas policeSo did Los Angeles policeSo did DC police. The list goes on…A freelance photographer in Minneapolis…went permanently blind in her left eye after being [intentionally] shot [in the face with a rubber bullet at close range]…

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