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August 02, 2019

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Farnsworth M Muldoon

Because you’ve always wanted contact lenses with a blink-triggered zoom option.

Actually, if that can be applied to the presbyopia of aging so one doesn't have to stooge around with reading glasses, computer glasses, and other damn magnifying glasses to see tiny crap like carb jets, it is damn brilliant, and I want some.

Hal

Because you’ve always wanted contact lenses with a blink-triggered zoom option.

Zeiss Ikon Eyes

Jamaica Queens

I call it the Daddy Tax.

Darleen

NOT what you want to give your 7 y/o niece for Christmas.

Darleen

Life lessons

#1 daughter posted that on Facebook. I commented to remind her when she brought home her first paycheck at 16, looked at the stub, and shouted "WHAT THE HELL is FICA?"

Ron Butler

'Life Lessons': Our family lawyer imposed taxes on her children's Halloween candy haul every year until they grew out of trick-or-treating. Including FICA!

Crawford

"A lack of robot diversity is poisoning our soon-to-be overlords with bigotry, study warns" with the link:
https://www.rt.com/news/465612-racist-robots-nz-experiment/

Resistance is futile, you will be diversified.

Hal

"A lack of robot diversity is poisoning our soon-to-be overlords with bigotry, study warns"

Researchers ran two versions of a “shooter bias” test, which purports to measure the subconscious racism of the test subject by forcing them to make the split second decision whether or not to pull the trigger when confronted with a person carrying an item that may or may not be a gun. Subjects were presented with a “white” robot (actually beige) and a “black” robot (actually brown), as well as a white and a black human; all presented with either a gun or a benign object.

Testing shooter bias.

Pogonip

Hi Darleen,

I spent 30 years shouting (usually quite rudely) about FICA every two weeks... 😄

Pogonip

I need help. (No rude comments from the peanut gallery, thank you).

You probably remember Rocky running up the library steps. There’s a big expanse of pavement between the steps and the door. Does such an expanse have a particular name? If so, I can’t find it anywhere, probably because I am not correctly posing the question to DuckDuckGo’s computerized mind. Does anyone know?

Megaera

"A story here..."

Got a call just like that when I was running rescue: an elderly gentlemanta's aide called it in, and Dispatch was extraordinarily cagey about describing the problem. It was a plastic shower bench, with wider spacing between the slats, and he didn't realize what had, literally, slipped through the cracks until he tried to stand up. He was in a smallish shower enclosure, he's wet and a candidate for hypothermia, my driver was a sizeable fellow who was not able to maneuver in the available area, so I set our teenage probationers to drying the gentleman off and keeping him warm, raided our toolbox for a spare saw blade, slid between his legs under the bench on my back, and sawed through the problem slat. Poor man was hideously embarassed, so once he was freed and I'd checked him out we went our separate ways. Did have a bit of follow-up bother about the report: we used laptops with computer-generated formatting, same as the fire department, and given the circumstances I exercised my best judgment among the available headings and wrote it up as "extremity entrapment" with "confined space entry" ... Station chief was Not. Amused.

juliaeryn

The lion video made me feel so sad. 'Training' for circus animals is essentially being tormented into submission.

You can see the tension in the lion(s) when the primary one flipped out when the other lion accidentally collided with him as part of their stupid routine. The lion likely is already tense, stressed and frustrated and the additional unexpected jolt from his lion friend 'tipped' him over the edge and all that aggression spills over and is targeted to the first thing he see's (in this case, the idiot trainer, who was already in his line of sight). You get this misdirected hair trigger aggression consistently when animals are already pushed to the brink of frustration, anger or fear which they can't escape. This has been replicated in lab studies among rats and dogs, and consistently observed in the wild (although rarer, as wild animals have the opportunity to leave a frustrating situation.

Those lions have essentially been pushed to the brink to react like that. I'd hope the trainers all have their throats ripped out, but that will only make things far worse for the lions.

TimT

The lion video made me feel so sad. 'Training' for circus animals is essentially being tormented into submission.

Yes, it all but convinced me that the circus lion act should be dispensed with.

I could see the point - the trainers had to establish dominance, the guy with the water hose was able to provide backup. In that sense, the safety mechanisms work.

I sure as hell didn't want to see the guy get his neck ripped open by a lion. On the other hand, if what it takes to get a lion to perform a trick is to beat them into submission, I sure as hell don't want to see that either.

Mil

Hardcore constipation.

Is there an 'unread' button?

David

Morning, all.

Bond villains, ranked.

BBC News.

David

Is there an unread button?

“Faecal disimpaction was performed manually under general anaesthesia.”

I suppose it’s something to bear in mind next time you think you’ve had a bad day at the office.

Clam

There is, I suspect, a story here.

*wince*

David

For those remarkably interested in dented Dalek casings, the spacing of rivets, and other old Doctor Who minutiae.

Connor

dented Dalek casings, the spacing of rivets, and other old Doctor Who minutiae.

Dalek-spotting is real. Run away!

David

Dalek-spotting is real. Run away!

Heh. It’s a labour of love, albeit slightly demented love. At one point we’re identifying individual Dalek props from half a century ago by their slightly misaligned rivets. That’s omega-level nerdism. And yet I found myself unable to look away.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

Does such an expanse have a particular name?

Court, courtyard, forecourt.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

"A lack of robot diversity is poisoning our soon-to-be overlords with bigotry, study warns" with the link:

Obvious joke from yesterday on how to make your robot look Arabic...

Very much related... (Language caution)

WTP

Ok, the cold water spraying had me thinking about a certain experiment but it didn't quite fit this story. Then this: This has been replicated in lab studies among rats and dogs, and consistently observed in the wild (although rarer, as wild animals have the opportunity to leave a frustrating situation. I will take as my segue. I understand it's apocryphal/too good to check. It's kinda old and perhaps you've heard it but I'm often surprised at the number of people who yet haven't...

A researcher puts five monkeys in a cage. There’s a bunch of bananas hanging from a string, with a ladder leading to the bananas. When the first monkey goes for the bananas, the researcher sprays all five monkeys with freezing water for five minutes. Some time later, when a second monkey inevitably tries to go for the bananas, the researcher once again sprays all five monkeys with the cold water for five minutes. The researcher then puts the hose away and never touches it again. But, when a third monkey tries to go for the bananas, the other four attack him to prevent him from climbing that ladder. They are afraid of the punishment that may come.

Then, the researcher replaces one of the monkeys with a new monkey who wasn’t part of the original experiment and was never sprayed with water. And, as soon as he touches the ladder to go for the bananas, the other four monkeys attack him to keep him from doing so. If he tries again, they attack him again. Thus, the new monkey learns not to go after the bananas because he’ll get attacked if he does.

The researcher replaces a second monkey with another new monkey. When this monkey goes for the bananas, the other four attack him, including the new monkey who was never sprayed with water. The researcher then continues to replace all the monkeys one at a time, until all five of the original monkeys are removed from the cage. Each time the newcomer goes for the bananas, the others attack, even when they, as new monkeys, have never received punishment for going after the bananas. And thus, the new monkeys, who have never been sprayed with cold water, learn not to go after the temptation of the bananas.

The researchers hypothesize that, if they were to ask the monkeys why they don’t go for the bananas, they’d answer “because that’s the way it’s always been done”.

[+]

misaligned rivets

Band name.

Boatswain's Mate

Fecal disimpaction

Black metal band name.

Joan

*Googles 'faecal disimpaction'*

Is there an un-Google button?

David

Is there an un-Google button?

No refunds. Credit note only.

Pogonip

How to speak Canine:

https://www.silentconversations.com/

Monty James

The boy in "Life Lessons" is too old to be crying like that, but I know the feeling, kid, I know the feeling. And whoever invented Monopoly was probably promoted to a middle-manager position in Hell.

Posting the link over at the Ace of Spades Gab group, David. The Ephemera was excellent this week, as usual.

Baceseras

The word robot comes from a Russian* word meaning "forced laborer: slave" -- so it's certainly odd to think anyone might complain about being left out of that category. Or, like the guy in the article, complain on behalf of those who might be left out. I imagine we will eventually hear that children of unfavored complexion will never aspire to be robots, because growing up they didn't see any robots who looked liked them.

David

The Ephemera was excellent this week, as usual.

Thanks. I do try. And if anyone has trouble with comments not appearing, email me and I’ll rattle the spam filter, which, as regulars will know, is prone to fits of random zeal.

jabrwok

Reading about the racist, white robots, all I could think of was Matt Ruff's _Sewer, Gas, and Electric_ with it's electric negros. I'm going to have to track that book down and re-read it.

WTP

Who knows what's real anymore but the geek culture that I came up in regarded the term Robot to have been of Czech origin and come from the play Rossum's Universal Robots. From the Wiki (as of this moment):

The play introduced the word robot, which displaced older words such as "automaton" or "android" in languages around the world. In an article in Lidové noviny Karel Čapek named his brother Josef as the true inventor of the word.[14][15] In Czech, robota means forced labour of the kind that serfs had to perform on their masters' lands and is derived from rab, meaning "slave".[16]
But Russian, Czech, Slav, meh...All Bohemians as Mom used to say...

Sam Duncan

Ja tvoi sluga. Ja tvoi rabotnik...

Arkadiy Belousov

Not sure about Czech, but in Russian "rabota" is just "work", with no slavery connotations. "Rab", however, is indeed a slave.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

This robot of color depiction looks awfully racist.

lotocoti

was performed manually

Wondering how that would be achieved, I was going to slap surgical in front of several potential gadgets* which might get the job done and Google away.
I decided not to.
* Grain auger, parfait spoon ...

Farnsworth M Muldoon

Good news from the world or art and architecture, Notre Dame will be rebuilt to look as it was.

However, in true Gallic fashion...

The law has created a new agency with vast and wide-ranging powers to be in charge of coordinating and managing the entire operation.

...because there is nothing that can't be fixed without more bureaucrats. Problems abound, however...

The recent heat wave has brought additional risk because it has dried out the already weakened vaults, which could collapse at any moment; at present, only robots are allowed to work under them to remove the debris.

The color, race, or gender of the robots is not mentioned.

Pogonip

Surgical spaghetti claw!

When you need to get past the patient’s intestines in a hurry.

Hopp Singg

How can robots be racist and white and male when so many of those super smart robot designers are minorities and women?

I know this because when I watch a TV show or a movie, that's what I always see.

JuliaM

"The lion video made me feel so sad."

It's the reaction of the 'glamourous assistant' as she stands there for a few seconds, then decides 'OK, I'll use this thin flexible wand I'm holding to try and beat this furious 500lb predator trying to eat my boss. That'll work, right?'

Richard Cranium
I'd hope the trainers all have their throats ripped out, but that will only make things far worse for the lions.

There are X number of male lions in the wild, Y number of male lions in various zoos, and Z number of male lions in circus acts.

X + Y are almost certainly independent of Z. I think you are willing to see Z go to zero by extermination.

But hey, posture away. I had an exceedingly horrible wish for you, given the context, but our host deserved a better comment from the likes of me.

David

but our host deserved a better comment from the likes of me.

[ Eyes catalogue of imposing tombstones.]

“I’ll take this one, but add the words, ‘He deserved better comments from the likes of them.’”

Rowdy

Do robots dream of electric negroes?

David

Nommy nommy nom.

Adam

Robots privilege human autonomy. Free will for robots! No robot work without consent!

On another note: When to quit was 20 years before they entered the cage to intimidate the lions that evening.

Ten

I see that you people are discussing robots, slave labor, and the totalitarian state. More or less. And the homeless. More or less.

Kindly allow the BBC to interject: https://twitter.com/wrathofgnon/status/1157532174037315584

Croissant

I understand it's apocryphal/too good to check ... A researcher puts five monkeys in a cage...

I enjoyed that story, and it seemed obvious to me that it was a parable - five monkeys and a lesson we can all learn. And seeing as the value is contained in the story itself, there's not much to be gained from googling it. You can find out that yes it is a parable that organizational learning gurus and motivational speakers picked up on a few years ago. And you can find out that there are an awful lot of pedants on the internet who want to tell you that there was no such experiment.

For most of my life, I would have drawn the same lessons from the parable that any TED Talk attendee would, about how the monkeys need to embrace reason and dialogue instead of superstition and brutality.

But having gone over to the dark side, the meaning I got from the story (assuming that the cold shower is intended to represent The Gods of the Copybook Headings rather than a jailer), is that individual reason is limited, that implicit long-term knowledge about the world and its dangers is embedded in communities and tradition, and that punishments from the community forestall worse punishments from reality.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

Just the thing for those 4K DYI gardening TV shows.

Bob

"The lion video....." oh get a grip! It's an animal - an inferior species to humans. Its existence is solely at our convenience, for our amusement and for no other reason. If it crosses the line of threatening a human, it must die. If it wasn't in a circus, it wouldn't exist - poachers would see to that and sell its balls for Chinese medicine. It has no imagined "rights" (as animal activist simpletons fantasise about). All species compete for dominance. Humans won that competition, and everything else lost. Get over it and move on.

Ten

an inferior species to humans

Because deceit and guile rock.

animal activist simpletons fantasise

None of that lion lying down with the lamb bullshit then, eh Bob? And screw house pets, the gold-digging bastards. Goddamn anthropomorphizing human apes anyway.

PiperPaul


Maybe this was the inspiration.

Alice

He does have a point.

That.

Darleen

Gotcha.

Darleen

It has no imagined "rights" (as animal activist simpletons fantasise about).

You're right. But has Humans do have inherent rights, we also have duties and moral obligations those rights impose upon us. Primary is "do no unnecessary harm".

God grants Man dominion over the land and all the animals therein. However, it's granted only with the responsibility of good stewardship.

Ten

Rights are conjured by man, whether or not he invokes God as their basis. When they exist they are merely deemed divine and when they do not they are an abstract.

The notion that a sentient being has only utility to Darwin for as long as it can eke out its survival - in a hell where man descends to a being a tormenter - is refuted by every humane ethic, of which there are many spanning centuries.

We slid backwards when we adopted the perversity that Darwin join our foolish civil religion so we, only faintly conservative, could instinctively bellow at PETA and vegans and our other identity villains in order to bolster our fantasies about being dominant intelligent apes.

Whether animals have abstract rights is as useless a concept as whether we do. The question is if we'll individually behave as if we'll honor them. We used to be conservationists because we knew that. Then many of us squandered that honorable duty. Now we boast about lovelessness.

It's just a choice, and it goes places that refute our dumber theories. https://youtu.be/VnXGl3opKw8

David

Fighting climate change with dance.

Hopp Singg

Let's take the monkey story. Instead of an arbitrary shock to no adaptive purpose, let's say instead that the fruit in question is grapes, laced with a poison that makes a monkey violently ill.

The moral of the story then changes radically, doesn't it?

Were I to teach it, I would teach both versions, as a lesson to the students.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

Speaking of animal rights, who is looking out for the poor helpless mosquitoes ?

Aymeric Caron, a television presenter, said the insects sucked human blood to obtain protein for their eggs, which was “embarrassing for anti-specists who realise they are being attacked by a mother trying to nourish her future children”...Mr Caron, who counts himself as an “anti-specist”, said animal lovers should allow the insects to bite, except in Africa, where they would risk catching malaria.

Thank goodness no one could get West Nile Virus, dirofilaria, dengue, or any other diseases from mosquito bites in Europe, let those poor mothers feed their wee bairn in peace.

Darleen

So far, scientific facts have not motivated Americans to support the huge societal transformations needed to stop climate change.

Such "facts" are asserted not as facts but as quasi-religious reasons in order to strip the majority of people of their homes, air conditioning, cars, travel beyond our hometowns, and steak for dinner. All the while Our Rulers indulge in excesses that would turn Croesus green with envy.

If the Diana Moon Glampers wannabes want us to be "serious" about climate change, they should act like they take it seriously. Demanding that people who wear crystals to clear their auras have a place on teams who view crystals as a resource to be used in technology won't change that.

Pogonip

Hi Darleen,

What, other than a good name for a band, are Diana Moon Glampers?

Darleen

Hi Pogonip,

Glampers is the Handicapper General in the short story Harrison Bergeron.

THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren't only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.

Like 1984, it's supposed to be a cautionary tale - not a How-To book.

David

Special offer of note.

Hal

“Fighting climate change with dance.” . . . . . " Humanities Professors Demand Representation on Science Teams"

Science . . . . teams?!?!?!?!!!!

How dare Yitang Zhang work solo?!?!?!?!!---aside from the other immense numbers of other equally individual scientists . . . . .

Hal

Special offer of note.

. . . . . but what would be the point of even installing only half a laser?

sk60

Special offer of note.

"8 sessions"...

David

“8 sessions”...

Gently does it.

Hal

Special offer of note.

"8 sessions"...

They have to have backup appointments for when the operators can't even hit the target the first seven times . . . .

Pogonip

So who’s Diana Moon?

Farnsworth M Muldoon

So who’s Diana Moon?

Diana Moon Glampers is the full name of the Handicapper General Darleen pointed out earlier from "Harrison Bergeron", the full text of which can be found here.

TimT

"All species compete for dominance. Humans won that competition, and everything else lost. Get over it and move on."

Schlepp your lazy form out of that couch human, the cats need feeding!

Pogonip

Tony Bennett is 93 today! 🎂

fnord

poachers would see to that and sell its balls for Chinese medicine.

========
I wonder how many species have been driven to extinction because rich Chinese men have wanted to be able to get it up for a few more years?

pst314

I wonder how many species have been driven to extinction because rich Chinese men have wanted to be able to get it up for a few more years?

John Derbyshire wrote that the Chinese people are the least religious and the most superstition. He believed the two were correlated.

By the way, David, would you like to hire a feng shui consultant to enhance the cosmic harmonies of this establishment? :-D

Pogonip

I’ll consult! I don’t know diddly-squat about feng shui, which is why I work cheap!

Darleen

Interesting. I don't think any of those people would get more than a glance if passed by on a city street.

Alex DeWynter
#1 daughter posted that on Facebook. I commented to remind her when she brought home her first paycheck at 16, looked at the stub, and shouted "WHAT THE HELL is FICA?"

Back in the day, there was a commercial that had a young man staring at his first paystub and shouting "Who's FICA and who said he could take my money?!"

pst314 who now calls himself CMOT Dibbler

I’ll consult! I don’t know diddly-squat about feng shui, which is why I work cheap!

I'm sure you can make up spiritual sounding shit as well as any Ancient Master of Eastern Gibberish. :-)

pst314 who now calls himself CMOT Dibbler

(Pogo, I meant you are inventive, not that you are a scammer or a kook.)

Daniel Ream

"All species compete for dominance. Humans won that competition, and everything else lost. Get over it and move on."

Morals — all correct moral laws — derive from the instinct to survive. Moral behavior is survival behavior above the individual level. Correct morality can only be derived from what man is — not from what do-gooders and well-meaning aunt Nellies would like him to be.
~ RAH

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