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So the most optimistic estimation I've seen of all the marches everywhere is 7.5 million people.

66 million people voted for Clinton.

I know you're pissed, and I know why. But make no mistake: the people marching are pissed, too.

Mobilization shouldn't give you a crisis of faith. There's a whole bunch of people - myself included - that trusted in the system. That trust is gone now.

This march? That's a bunch of distrustful people coming together. This is how revolutions happen. Turn that frown upside down and recognize that when three times as many people come out to protest trump as came out to inaugurate him, you can pretty much guess which side has the fair-weather activists.

Okay, so...

    Bell Labs still exists—sort of. AT&T sold the labs to a French communications company that closed the labs’ physics research department in favor of more applied communications and networking research.

Bell Labs was spun off into Lucent Technologies which merged with Alcatel to form Alcatel-Lucent which was purchased by Nokia. And... this is not a physics applicaiton. This is 100%, genuine, bona-fide applied communications.

    1954 was the year the American public was introduced to the transistor, the small (in the ‘50s, a few inches long; now, as small as 1nm)

Bitch please.

    Dave Morton, who wrote Off the Record: The Technology and Culture of Sound Recording in America, took a look at this ad and said, “It’s kind of funny, because Bell Telephone Labs had given this [answering machine technology] up 20 years before this,” when they decided not to pursue Clarence Hickman’s answering machine service that was in internal use at Bell Labs.

I wonder why.

By the way, it's not like wire recorders hadn't existed for 30 years. It also isn't like they weren't portable.

Here's the one you see all the time in movies pretending to be vintage, because even though it was made post-war it sure don't look like it:

    There are several things going on here: first, what is the “talking rubber” technology? After talking to several historians of science and technology, I’m pretty sure it’s not a term that ever caught on. But it turns out that’s because this actual technology never caught on; although on first glance, this ad seems to describe magnetic tape—the technology behind cassette and VHS tapes—“talking rubber” describes actual rubber, not tape!

And it describes '50s vintage rubber, too, which wasn't the sort of thing you'd want to keep around very long. Also, the tension would have to be spot-on perfect because if you stretch it you'd pitch-shift your recording.

    According to that Bell System Journal article, this “talking rubber” could be around 1/16 or 1/8 of an inch think, whereas magnetic tape was (even in the '50s) already much thinner at 1/1000 of an inch thick.

    Even though AT&T decided not to pursue Clarence Hickman’s version of magnetic tape from the '30s, by the '50s the company was looking for a way to record very short messages that could be played over and over again and then re-recorded at various intervals.

...and they didn't have the patents on wire recorders, and they didn't have the patents on tape recorders, and clearly, they were looking for a way to make you buy media and wire? Wire's virtually impossible to fuck up. Tape? Also pretty tricky. Magnetized rubber?

...yeah, that would require some engineering to dupe.

    Except the technology never caught on; magnetic tape, not rubber, reigned. Part of this may have been due to the short nature of rubber recordings, because the rubber was so much thicker than tape.

Part of it may be because it's a stupid idea by inspection. The fact that it shows up in Popular Mechanics says a lot.

    To add to this idea, Wisnioski emphasized that, in 1954, running an ad in Scientific American or Popular Mechanics meant addressing an audience of scientists and engineers.

Bitch please. I've got a stockpile of vintage '50s and '60s Popular Mechanics and Popular Science magazines at my grampa's old house. That shit was never serious. Pick a year and I'll show you antigravity research, get-rich-quick schemes and plans to run your car on water if you just send a SASE and $1.95 to a PO box in El Paso.

    You have to remember, in 1954 the only way to record sound was to press a phonograph or record sound on film for a movie.


Sound was NEVER recorded on film. It was PRINTED on film but the actual recording...

Okay. You wanna know how fucking scary the internet is? When you shoot film without sound, you call it "MOS." There's a legend that this means "mitt out sound" because everyone thought there were all these german directors running around during the golden age of talkies and it's a fun story. But what it actually stands for is "missing optical sync" because the thing being recorded on film was 2nd system OPTICAL burn-in, which was SYNCED with the big dumb magnetic recording truck a short distance away. So the way it used to work was the AD would say "ready" and sound would say "sound speeds" which means "my recorder is at operating speed" and then camera would say "camera speeds" which means the camera is at operating speed and then the director would say "action." Now we say "camera speeds" and then "sound speeds" because audio has cost less than film for a long time (even when it was film) but the terms still exist.

Yet if you type "missing optical sync" into the Internet...

...well, go ahead. I'll wait.

Yesterday notwithstanding, I am starting to get the feeling that by the time I'm in my dotage, me watching the internet will be like y'all watching this:

Yeah. Three times I've tried Nietszche. Three times I've grabbed the overhead handles like two chapters in. He is probably the philosopher I would least like to have a beer with. It's like you can see the flecks of spittle starting to fly as you get past the intro and then when you flip to the back it's the stone cold ravings of a madman.

if Andy Kaufman were a blogger

Google images are useful if you want to see what has a high search priority.


Getty is useful if you want to see what people who have been there want you to pay to see.


Flickr is useful if you want to see what others find beautiful.

This isn't AdrenaClick.

The critique I'm most familiar with is Richard Pipes, a Reagan-era Cold War hawk suggested to me by b_b. Pipes' academic career was made arguing that communism is a failure in the middle of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan so to call him biased is like calling Duterte corrupt. That said:

Pipes argues that the writing style is incoherent, not old-fashioned. Das Kapital isn't that old a book - Wealth of Nations is a hundred years older economists can quote that one like it was Richard Lewis. Pipes goes further and argues that the work is so incoherent that people took what they wanted from it and ignored the rest on the assumption that since Lenin and Stalin got something out of it, it must be good. But Pipes doesn't even refer to Soviet-style communism as communism - he calls it Marxism/Leninism.

That probably doesn't help the translation. It'd be one thing if you could follow a narrative thread and pick translation words that buttress that thread. What I've read of Das Kapital whipsaws back and forth worse than the Unibomber Manifesto. Compare and contrast:

    The wealth of those societies in which the capitalist mode of production prevails, presents itself as “an immense accumulation of commodities,”[1] its unit being a single commodity. Our investigation must therefore begin with the analysis of a commodity. A commodity is, in the first place, an object outside us, a thing that by its properties satisfies human wants of some sort or another. The nature of such wants, whether, for instance, they spring from the stomach or from fancy, makes no difference. Neither are we here concerned to know how the object satisfies these wants, whether directly as means of subsistence, or indirectly as means of production.


    The Industrial Revolution and its consequences have been a disaster

       for the human race. They have greatly increased the life-expectancy of

    those of us who live in "advanced" countries, but they have

    destabilized society, have made life unfulfilling, have subjected

    human beings to indignities, have led to widespread psychological

    suffering (in the Third World to physical suffering as well) and have

    inflicted severe damage on the natural world. The continued

    development of technology will worsen the situation. It will certainly

    subject human beings to greater indignities and inflict greater damage

    on the natural world, it will probably lead to greater social

    disruption and psychological suffering, and it may lead to increased

    physical suffering even in "advanced" countries.

There are books that are famous because they are good. And there are books that are famous because of what they did. Das Kapital and Mein Kampff (and, I would argue, Nietzsche's ouvre) are the latter.

    My tone comes off angry, but I'm not actually. Apologies.

"If you're not outraged at the massive proliferation of the military-industrial complex and the end of a 70-year-old bilateral mutual defense pact, you're not paying attention."

- me

Let's be clear: the Iraq War was a human rights catastrophe and a geopolitical clusterfuck. And let's be even clearer: arguing that NATO needed to get its hands bloody over some whackadoo "self-defense" clause is batshit. BUT. The argument is not being judged, the argument is being made.

Personally, I don't feel that the dissolution of NATO pencils out from a costs-benefits analysis. My crude take on the whole policeman/strongman thing is that the United States pays a couple different ways for the privilege of pretty much always getting what it wants, which has benefitted me (and others in our global allies) rather nicely. We're the house and the house always wins but that means you need to buy a casino (said the zinfandel). That's a globalist's argument through and through, though. And we're assed out at the moment.

Thus, the argument against runaway defense spending; the most cogent argument I've seen about how Reagan won the Cold War (which he did) was by coercing the Soviet Union into a downward spiral of defense spending that they couldn't possibly keep up with. It's not the most convincing argument I've seen, but it's the most convincing economic argument I've seen. It makes a cautious, pragmatic geopolitician hew towards isolationism.

It's not the size of our army, but the way. It's our sophistication. We launch Hellfires like they're hand grenades. When you can freely and cheerfully cook off a couple $100k missiles to take out portable solar panels in Pakistan somewhere? Some see wastage. Others see power. That 3% of GDP gives you a lot of leeway as to how you deal with problems: think there's a sniper on a roof? Bring by a $130m Global Hawk to take a peek then launch a sortie of $35m AH-64s to take a peek then fire a couple $100k Hellfires at it... because. You're dealing with a guy who might have an Enfield, might have a Dragunov or some shit and you're literally rolling a Hollywood blockbuster on his ass because you have it at your disposal. From back in my archives I can tell you that the cost to put an AH-64 in the air is $45k an hour... before you start shooting at stuff.

Belgium ain't doing that shit.

And no. There will never again be a large-scale ground war. Tanks are thoroughly obsolete. Massed troops are thoroughly obsolete. I mean, really, if you want to win a war these days, do it Putin-style and stick to Facebook.

Which pretty much makes NATO the Shriners or the Elks or the Eagles or whatever. A great club to be a member of but when you've got an isolationist demagogue running things, these are the discussions we have.

Friedman didn't title his article "NATO is obsolete." However, that's definitely the question he wanted you to examine. I'd much rather roll the world back to yesterday but it ain't up to me. And these are the arguments we'll be hearing, 140 characters at a time.

I don't disagree with a word you say. I will point out, however, that you're taking an awful lot at face value.

    This argument, and the accompanying graph, are fucking horsehit. How about this graph?

I would argue that 'horseshit" is something that is patently untrue. Both of those graphs are accurate. What they portray (accurately) is the disproportionate spending of the United States on the military.

But graphs don't tell the whole story.

After the defeat of the Spanish Armada, the British established a navy that, by design, could defeat any three other countries at once. The idea was simple: there was a keen unlikelihood that anyone could form a 4-country alliance and, as a sea-faring nation, the British could protect the homeland and their interests by ensuring that they could clobber the shit out of any group likely to come together.

What you're seeing is an illustration that the United States wants a military strong enough to defeat literally everyone else.

"Policeman"/"strongman" whatever. Whenever anyone talks about the United States and war, there is never any thought given to the idea that the United States might lose. I mean, sure - we "lost" Vietnam but that's because it was a police action with the goal of propping up a Catholic despot in the face of Communist insurrection. Had the goal been conquering Vietnam we would have had it under the jackboot in a month.

This is the budget history of a country that wants to control any corner of the world immediately and unopposed. I don't know if you missed it, but the argument of the article is not that Europe owes the US support, but that the US doesn't owe Europe. Assume that the US becomes a Wilson-grade isolationist nation. Do we need enough military to conquer all other nations on earth simultaneously? Or just enough to take on Mexico and Canada?

    Is NATO obsolete? I don't know, does the US still have proxy wars with Russia, and do the former Soviet states still fear being subsumed back into Russia?

And the argument is that those proxy wars are irrelevant to Europe, and that the problems of the Near Abroad do not belong to the US. The argument put forth by Mr. Friedman is that no, we probably shouldn't be spending 3% of GDP in order to support a military that is grossly oversized for any future conflict. This is the core argument of antiglobalism, of which Trump is a key proponent.

You're clearly angry. You're clearly justified in your anger. But you don't actually disagree with the article.

    THEN it has the audacity to say that NATO didn't pull its weight after 9/11 because we all knew that the WMD's were bullshit and that the US was just going in after oil and to get rid of a leader that had worn out his usefulness.

WWI started because the British Empire and the Belgian Empire had a mutual defense pact. That the Germans were only interested in Belgium as a flanking action to bypass the lions' share of French defenses didn't matter; a "scrap of paper" is a "scrap of paper."

Things went worse than expected.

Thus the argument: treaties are things you have to abide by even when they're stupid. There is nothing in the NATO charter that says "mutual assistance if we feel like it." Which calls the whole treaty into question.

Much as you're doing.

kleinbl00  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: January 18, 2017

It is so nice that I have fewer extensions than fingers.

Whoof. Where to start.

    Milkman’s doctoral dissertation concluded that people would choose either heroin or amphetamines depending on how they liked to deal with stress.

Yes. Those are clearly the only two choices.

    After this work was published, he was among a group of researchers drafted by the US National Institute on Drug Abuse to answer questions such as: why do people start using drugs? Why do they continue? When do they reach a threshold to abuse? When do they stop? And when do they relapse?

Thus, the era that introduced paraquat into mexican marijuana (thereby creating the entire Humboldt County Superweed y'all grew up with) and eliminated quaaludes, singlehandedly creating the rise of crystal meth. This era of thinking also took the coke spoons advertised in the back of Playboy and replaced them with the "crack epidemic" and left us with the thoroughly practical "just say no" campaign.

    This idea spawned another: “Why not orchestrate a social movement around natural highs: around people getting high on their own brain chemistry – because it seems obvious to me that people want to change their consciousness – without the deleterious effects of drugs?”

    By 1992, his team in Denver had won a $1.2 million government grant to form Project Self-Discovery, which offered teenagers natural-high alternatives to drugs and crime.

It took this guy until 1992 to discover D.A.R.E.?

    In 1991, Milkman was invited to Iceland to talk about this work, his findings and ideas. He became a consultant to the first residential drug treatment centre for adolescents in Iceland, in a town called Tindar.

Okay, this is a great place to take a side-step into demographics. Go look up Tindar, Iceland. I thought I would to see how big it is. Turns out, it doesn't exist. Which might be due to the fact that Icelandic is written in like runes and shit but might also be due to the fact that Iceland - all of it - has a smaller population than Tampa. Than Honolulu. Than Anaheim. According to Wolfram Alpha, half again as many people attended Woodstock as live in Iceland.

About 30,000 of them are teenagers, also according to Wolfram Alpha. Demographically speaking, Iceland's teens are a negligible school district. Compare and contrast: Portugal is also heralded as a bastion of progressive drug treatment and their population is thirty times that of Iceland. Their approach, by the way, is "all the drugs, all the time." But getting back to the demographics:

    In 1992, 14-, 15- and 16-year-olds in every school in Iceland filled in a questionnaire with these kinds of questions. This process was then repeated in 1995 and 1997.

Sounds fucking stunning until you realize that you're talking about like 5,000 kids. That's two good high schools in LA.

    The results of these surveys were alarming. Nationally, almost 25 per cent were smoking every day, over 40 per cent had got drunk in the past month. But when the team drilled right down into the data, they could identify precisely which schools had the worst problems – and which had the least.

Pretty easy when they fit on a Wikipedia page. Drill down into some of those - most of them serve towns with a population under 1000. At that statistical bleeding edge, a town with 600 people of which 10% are between the ages of 10 and 20 has like 20 kids between the ages of 14 and 16. That means if Bjorn had a drink last week but Bjork didn't, you get a 5% variation.

But do tell. What magic program accomplished all this wizardry?

    Laws were changed. It became illegal to buy tobacco under the age of 18 and alcohol under the age of 20, and tobacco and alcohol advertising was banned.

...like in the USA since the '70s.

    Links between parents and school were strengthened through parental organisations which by law had to be established in every school, along with school councils with parent representatives.

Like the PTA and PTO in every school district in the United States going back to the '30s.

    Parents were encouraged to attend talks on the importance of spending a quantity of time with their children rather than occasional “quality time”, on talking to their kids about their lives, on knowing who their kids were friends with, and on keeping their children home in the evenings.

Like every fucking PSA ever run on television in the United States since the invention of television.

    A law was also passed prohibiting children aged between 13 and 16 from being outside after 10pm in winter and midnight in summer. It’s still in effect today.

Like 70% of American cities.

    For kids aged 13 and up, parents can pledge to follow all the recommendations, and also, for example, not to allow their kids to have unsupervised parties, not to buy alcohol for minors, and to keep an eye on the wellbeing of other children.

That's it. It's the pledge. Hey, let's look at those statistics again.

    The percentage of 15- and 16-year-olds who had been drunk in the previous month plummeted from 42 per cent in 1998 to 5 per cent in 2016.

Fuckin' geniuses.

    The percentage who have ever used cannabis is down from 17 per cent to 7 per cent.

...okay well that speaks to a stunning lack of availability for weed more than anything else.

    Those smoking cigarettes every day fell from 23 per cent to just 3 per cent.

fuckin' A.

It's almost as if trends in Iceland are a microcosm for trends worldwide... regardless of the spin they want to put on it.

    No other country has made changes on the scale seen in Iceland.

That's because countries on the scale of Iceland include Barbados, Belize and Martinique. Malta is 25% bigger than Iceland.

I mean... yay. Let's keep kids off drugs. But "the rest of the world isn't listening" might be due to the fact that they aren't doing anything really different, and their sample size is so small that the whole damn country amounts to a tiny pilot project.

kleinbl00  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: January 18, 2017

Yes. Well, we're trying not to make our customers feel hated.

The worst part about most IP-based hold music is it fucking starts at the beginning every time you move in the queue. Apple was the worst for this, especially as their call centers were all wired together using coat hangers and baling wire. Crackle crackle fizz fizz distorted guitar fizz crackle "hi, I'm representing the world's largest tech company can you hear me sir?"

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