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I so pulled 'em down. Sitting as happy little MP4s on my desktop.
The argument has been made that never before has there been so much information - the tasty tidbit is the average American sees more information in a day than the average Reformation-era peasant saw in a lifetime. So quantitatively speaking, it's safe to say that there's more misinformation available now than ever before. At the same time, i've seen enough newspapers minimizing the damage at Pearl Harbor and similar bits of propaganda to know that you should never assume your era is special simply because you're living through it.
On a related note, Jon Ronson decided to accompany a 26-year-old Alex Jones as he "infiltrated" Bohemian Grove back in 2000 for the BBC miniseries "Secret Rulers of the World." I haven't watched much of it but I love the book that came from it.
Suffice it to say that Ronson is as open-minded as a rational human being can be but Jones finds the limits.
Cryptocurrency is for digital goldbugs. That said, the goldbugs are often right, and often remunerated for their paranoia.
Kraken will not tell you if your location is one of its "restricted locations" but as of 2015, New York State is restricted. As of next week, Washington state is restricted. At least they learned a few things; the New York post is unprofessional as all hell.
The fact that you cannot find out if your location is restricted without trying to open something and failing, and the fact that should they restrict your location in the future you get one email and two weeks notice, should give everyone pause about using Kraken.
Theoretically, they could stay up there forever. There's a watering system that runs from under the sink, through the wall and to the top row and then water tickles down to the bottom into the crawl space. I've got a couple estonian watering sensors in there right now that chirp at us when the top row is dry; eventually I'd like to hook them up via Arduino to a solenoid under the sink so that it auto-waters when conditions are right. All that aside, because of the replaceable nature of the wall we can do obnoxious shit like
- a swath of lilies at easter
- a cluster of poinsettias at christmas
- red and pink cyclamen at valentine's
etc etc etc
The question is how crazy we feel like getting with it and so far, "make it work" has been the goal.
The orchids flower in winter, which is nice. On the downside, they won't flower unless they get the proper day/night cycle, which is one reason I replaced three of the MR16 LEDs with 300W halogens; it allows me to get the cumulative light into a space more closely approximating the actual day (rather than cheating the way I was by bombing it with 16 hours of light.
On the plus side, however, they were all grown by my father-in-law, who used to sell orchids on the side. So he cultivates them in his greenhouse and then pulls them out when he feels they aren't properly representing his craft. And, as an orchid grower frustrated by his inability to spend a lot of time growing orchids (he splits time between Seattle, where his greenhouse is, and Minneapolis, where his job is), he's gotten in the habit of grabbing phaleonopsis from the hardware store and replacing the jewel orchids with them. So even though the jewel orchids finished blooming about two weeks ago, we've got four Phals in bloom right now:
Here's the question: Where does Putin's power come from? He is not an inherently charismatic man. He had to ask his wife to marry him twice because his proposal was so anticlimactic she missed it the first time. He was turned down for the KGB the first time and when he did make it in, he was exiled to a minor post in boring, no-path-to-advancement East Germany. He is not a leader who has risen to his position through cult of personality and force of will.
Others have benefitted all along from Putin's rise to power, and others currently benefit from the way the country is run. The KGB failed to depose Gorbachev in the August Coup, yet the levers of power in Russia are currently controlled by former KGB and current FSB apparatchiks. If you were nomenklatura under the Soviets, you are with the Oligarchs under Putin... unless you oppose Putin.
Stalin, Khrushchev, Brezhnev, Gorbachev, Yeltsin... these were flamboyant men whose cults of personality was internal, leaders who swayed and inspired friends and colleagues all their lives. Andropov, Chernenko, Putin - these are gray men whose role within government has been to shore up the power of the structures that raised them. The cult of personality built around Putin is formidable indeed... but it's external. He's not the kind of guy who will slam his shoe on the table at the UN. He's the guy that will have his enemies poisoned a thousand miles away and then say I didn't do it... but he deserved it.
The opposition is removed. The voices of protest are silenced. The money is kept under the mattress. And the image is crafted. But all of these things are done for him as much as by him and in the power structure of autocratic Russia, if you aren't seeing a demagogue you're seeing a puppet. Putin would be nothing without the infrastructure that put him where he is and keeps him there for their own benefit.
- This got me curious: what do you see Russia and its people as? How is this image different from the one you were growing up with?
I grew up at a nuclear weapons lab. We saw far more Soviets than the average American encountered outside of TV and movies for the simple reason that we had exchange programs. We were also far more finely attuned to the comings and goings of Soviet politics; Sakharov was a town hero not just because of what he did and what he stood for, but because he was a personal friend of many of the scientists where I grew up. You've never been a monolithic "other" for me; Russians have always been good people under a bad system.
If anything, my study of geopolitics has left me questioning the fundamental American maxim that all peoples everywhere want democracy above all else. The stable point of greater Asia does not seem to support this notion.
That's a green wall.
We had our open house Saturday. $1500 worth of catering. Prolly 75 people showed up over the course of three hours. Resounding success. All we had left over was four bottles of champagne and some honeydew and grapes. I finally got to talk about it.
It started out as an idea and a demo. That's eight plants lit by LED off-road lights, deliberately in the darkest part of the apartment, to see what I could do with lighting and how the plants would respond. Proof-of-concept was a go so on we went.
It's like pixel art - figure each pixel is going to cost you between $20 and $30. How many pixels can you afford? How many pixels do you have room for? And what do you have to work with besides different shades of green? Green that may have extremely varied lighting and watering requirements, by the way. Pantone as agriculture. And you're buying enough pixels that you need to pre-order them so the nursery can get your starts going. We had to cancel three times because our city delayed our construction over and over and over again.
Eventually you go with what you can get, because they aren't going to grow anything for you anymore. If you're lucky, your construction coincides with their spring sale so that you can get them for $1.29 instead of $2.99 (or the $7.99 ea the retail nursery wants).
And then it's done, and the heat delta between the top row and the bottom row is enough that the top row will die before the bottom row dries out. So you stack carved up triangles of plastiboard so that the plants are sitting in less water. And you realize that the orchids are in bark, which retains water like a mutherfucker, while the baby tears are semi-aquatic so really, they'd be happy underwater yet here they are, baking under three 300W torchiere bulbs. And your watering regime better accommodate that.
But nobody notices this. Nobody knows this. Nobody cares how stoked you are that you went with the 4" pot system rather than the burlap-on-plywood system because you had to replace six baby tears before they got your HVAC worked out (measured 94 degrees in there on weekends). Nobody gives a rat's ass as to the spectrum of tungsten vs LED. They just say "oh my god, they're real?" as if you'd cover a wall in fake plants and you remind yourself they're paying you a compliment, not denigrating your commitment to a project.
Success is pruning your will-it-work indoor gardening project ahead of its public debut because the pothos are growing too well.
ALL movies are aimed at 15-year-olds with disposable income.
All of them. 15-25. That's the bracket. That's the sum total of the movie audience.
15-25 year old Americans, Chinese kids, and Germans. Not or. And. So it better be universal enough that someone in Xiamen gets the same thing out of it as a kid in Chillicothe.
Bonus points if you can get him to drag a girl along with.
In my opinion, this is the sort of infotainment that's most dangerous - you see a bunch of facts and think you learn something but it never actually explains the rise of Vladimir Putin. If you watch this, you will think that Russia is this hunky-dory democracy being hoodwinked by a sneaky spy and that it's all the work of this pesky Putin character. It's deeply offensive to the fundamental intelligence and sensibilities of the Russian people and dismissive of the complex web of personality and tradition that makes up the modern Russian state. If you interview journalists and scholars, rather than summarizing Wikipedia, you get something more like this:
The perspective put forth by Vox is that Russia was a mess after the fall the Soviet Union and then suddenly a minor apparatchik from the KGB becomes deputy mayor of St. Petersberg and does a whole bunch of stuff (that a deputy mayor can't do), rallies support in ways a deputy mayor can't, is suddenly thrust to premiership after Yeltsin resigns for some reason, and then proceeds to send troops everywhere. It even uses footage from RT to talk about Pussy Riot because you've heard of it, Youtuber, not because Pussy Riot are somehow important.
The perspective put forth by serious scholars of Russia (my personal favorite) is that Vladimir Putin is an intelligent, self-interested man who wanted to be KGB from the time he was little, remained KGB during the coup, was assigned by the (then underground) KGB to mind Yeltsin, coordinated KGB cointelpro against Yeltsin for the KGB, was selected by the KGB as the KGB's mouthpiece once Yeltsin was no longer useful and now runs Russia for the KGB.
Obviously this sort of thing makes it look like we didn't quite win the Cold War and that all that stuff we didn't do for Russia when we had the chance had consequences but that requires a lot more attention span than you can really throw at a 9 minute Youtube video.
Nobody knows how to use audio gear. It requires skill. So instead they record using the shitty mic on the front of the camera and then they go back, listen to it, watch their lips and record themselves lip-synching to themselves. It's legitimately fucking amazing.
You know the way to improve Youtube? Give advertisers a demographic breakdown of who watches what videos, how long they watch it for and what Google knows about their purchasing habits and then let advertisers bid on ads that run alongside.
The same way advertising with video content has been run since the dawn of fucking cathode ray tubes.
You know why advertisers are bailing like a mutherfucker on Youtube? Because Youtube refuses to do this because then everyone would discover that the Emperor truly has no clothes.
Youtube gets a billion views a month and isn't profitable. Let that sink in for a minute.