Watching the “Subversives”

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The statists of MLK’s day would have loved using secret spy tech to identify any and everyone associated with the man and his movement.

Until now, technology that readily identifies everyone based on his or her face has been taboo because of its radical erosion of privacy. Tech companies capable of releasing such a tool have refrained from doing so; in 2011, Google’s chairman at the time said it was the one technology the company had held back because it could be used “in a very bad way.” Some large cities, including San Francisco, have barred police from using facial recognition technology.

But without public scrutiny, more than 600 law enforcement agencies have started using Clearview in the past year, according to the company, which declined to provide a list. The computer code underlying its app, analyzed by The New York Times, includes programming language to pair it with augmented-reality glasses; users would potentially be able to identify every person they saw. The tool could identify activists at a protest or an attractive stranger on the subway, revealing not just their names but where they lived, what they did and whom they knew.

And it’s not just law enforcement: Clearview has also licensed the app to at least a handful of companies for security purposes.

“The weaponization possibilities of this are endless,” said Eric Goldman, co-director of the High Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University. “Imagine a rogue law enforcement officer who wants to stalk potential romantic partners, or a foreign government using this to dig up secrets about people to blackmail them or throw them in jail.”

Now, imagine that the rogue officer is the entire state. Dr. King could not have dreamed this in a nightmare.

“C” as in Cannibalism

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CONTAINS GRAPHIC DETAILS OF THE DEEP DECLINE OF SOCIETY: READER BEWARE.

Move over Cookie Monster’s song. There’s a new C in town. I noted this bear-future trend a while back, here or at TPC. They’ve been subtly making allowances for it and now it’s starting to materialize. The next step, perhaps the final frontier for the deranged is people eating.

Police said in court that Kevin Bacon’s accused killer, Mark Latunski, admitted to cutting off the 25-year-old’s testicles, and later eating them, after the murder, reports MLive, which obtained copies of the transcripts.

Bacon was reported missing on Dec. 25 after his family became concerned when he didn’t come home for a family holiday breakfast. The hairstylist, who was a student at the University of Michigan-Flint, allegedly went to meet with a man he met through the popular dating app, Grindr, on Christmas Eve, according to his roommate.

If we have five or ten years left, then it will be interesting in five or ten years to hear conservatives timidly embrace and defend this practice: “Well, it’s not for me obviously. But our Judeo-Christian values™ compel us to tolerate what two consenting adults eat in the privacy of their own homes. That, and I’m afraid of being called names.”

 

Public School is NOT O-K

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At least they don’t want the hand sign on a hat.

High School Student Threatened with Hate Crime Charge Over Infowars “OK” Baseball

A student at a high school in Missouri was accused of promoting white supremacy due to a baseball cap sold by Infowars, which features the OK hand gesture.

Parents of the Lebanon High School student say their son had his hat confiscated after administrators claimed it displayed a hate symbol.

“So yesterday I got a text from my son saying that his hat was confiscated due to the fact that it means white supremacy,” the boy’s mother wrote on Facebook, alongside an image of the hat sold at Infowarsstore.com for $14.95.

The student’s mother claimed she was unable to obtain documentation of the offense due to a delay in an update to the school server, but upon visiting the school to retrieve the hat, the boy’s father says a principal there referred to his son as a white supremacist.

“The principal even told my son that he was in fact a ‘White supremacist,’” the boy’s father described in a separate Facebook post, claiming the school was “Thus slandering and defaming the boy further! All this because my son chose to wear this baseball hat!”

According to the father, the boy thought the gesture meant that something was good.

Furthermore, the father claims school officials threatened to have his son “arrested for disturbing the peace” if he brought the hat back to school.

When asked whether his son’s rights were protected under the First Amendment, he says he was told “the constitution has no place in schools.”

Threats with no documentation? Shocking! No, the cornsternation, just like God, has no place in the “schools.” Neither do the children. Get them out!

This may be the same Lebanon High(only seems to be the one) with the 2019 Test Score Average of 31.21%. Not even a third. The same school performing better than 26.5% of high schools in MO. Wow! With the 31.4% end of course Algebra average. Very impressive. With no real problems to worry about, they have plenty of time to hate on hats. Good on ya, “school!” In their defense, they probably have plenty of hate built up – their “transformation” has been a little slow and weak.

Contrast this tyrannical idiocy with, say, homeschooling or Classical Christian Education.

Then Don’t go to War with Them

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The Trump railed against the professional military that hasn’t won a war (without massive Soviet assistance) in over 100 years – despite constant chances.

Trump is then said to have complained about President Barack Obama’s Iranian nuclear deal, and the length of the war in Afghanistan. Each time, his generals reportedly tried to gently explain why his view of these complex geopolitical issues might not be entirely accurate. It was reportedly during a conversation about Afghanistan that Trump blew his top.

The president reportedly called Afghanistan a “loser war,” and told his military leaders: “You’re all losers… You don’t know how to win anymore… I want to win… We don’t win any wars anymore… We spend $7 trillion, everybody else got the oil and we’re not winning anymore.” It’s reported that Trump was so angry at this point that he wasn’t breathing properly.

In his most incendiary comment, Trump—a man who, remember, managed to get out of military duty in Vietnam due to a supposed bone-spur problem—is said to have told the assembled forces, “I wouldn’t go to war with you people… You’re a bunch of dopes and babies.”

Don’t let them make you do things like instigating a war with Iran, Mr. Trump. I recommend what I call Operation O-6. Fire the admirals and generals and promote the junior officers. Task them with dismantling the empire. If they turn into dopes, then fire them too. Fire more brass, fewer missiles.

Traumatic Brain Injury: Believe Nothing from DC

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Putting aside the semantics of “American” v. “US” troops, we have yet another lie alteration to the ever-shifting narrative out of Iraq, in re the Iranian missile strike.

Nearly a dozen American troops were injured in the Iranian missile attack on two bases in Iraq last week, Defense Department officials said, after initially stating that there were no casualties in the strikes.

Eleven individuals are being screened for traumatic brain injuries following the attacks on two bases in Iraq that house American troops. Iran fired a dozen rockets total at Erbil in northern Iraq and the sprawling Al Asad air base in the west in retaliation for the American killing of Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani days before. Pentagon officials at the time said there were no casualties.

How should the U.S. respond, if at all, to American soldiers being injured after an Iranian attack? Join the conversation below.

But late Thursday, U.S. Central Command acknowledged that there were injuries and the 11 service members suffered concussions during the attack.

“While no U.S. service members were killed in the Jan. 8 Iranian attack on Al Asad Air base, several were treated for concussion symptoms from the blast and are still being assessed,” according to Capt. Bill Urban, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Fla. “As a standard procedure, all personnel in the vicinity of a blast are screened for traumatic brain injury, and if deemed appropriate, are transported to a higher level of care.”

They have a lot of traumatic brain injuries in DC. A LOT. This had to be expected. So why hide it for a week? The Fateh-110’s carry 1,400-pound high explosive warheads. That means a hefty concussive blast, especially when multiple rounds hit in close proximity (and with much greater precision than the rated 3 meters).

Any bets on what the next change shall be?

Pronouns in Other Languages

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Our friends at Babble celebrate the great linguistic changes of the past decade.

We mentioned above how gendered languages can make the inclusivity problem more complex, but that hasn’t stopped other countries and their linguists from introducing new gender-neutral pronouns.

Some languages, including Turkish and certain indigenous languages of the Americas, already have these terms built into them. But for those that don’t, people have to innovate. While languages like Italian and Portuguese are struggling to figure out a way to make gender-neutral pronouns work, other languages have introduced them and they’re starting to catch on.

One relatively successful case study is the Swedish hen. Like English, Swedish has gendered pronouns: han (he) or hon (she), but there wasn’t a non-binary option. Hen was thought to be coined by a linguist in the 1960s who saw this gap in the Swedish language. It was popularized by a children’s book in 2012. Though the debate over whether it’s necessary or “right” rages on, the use of hen has become pretty mainstream across the country.

Other gender-neutral pronouns that are starting to gain traction are the German sie or sier, the French ille/iel, the Russian oni and the Spanish elle. This type of inclusive language has a long way to go before it’s widely accepted, but the 2010s certainly saw a surge of progress in this area.

A surge of progress. The Swedes already had den for “it,” and galen for “crazy.” But, whatever. LOL. #Demise. Some of the progress cited, by this language magazine, would suggest the nicety of not communicating with people in any language. Daz woke!

Pelosi Right About Facebook

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One of those rare moments when I see eye-to-eye with Madame Speaker (see, here I described her kindly!). Farcebook is shameful.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) slammed tech giant Facebook on Thursday, accusing the social media company of abusing technology to mislead users and calling its behavior “shameful.”

“The Facebook business model is strictly to make money. They don’t care about the impact on children, they don’t care about truth, they don’t care about where this is all coming from, and they have said even if they know it’s not true they will print it,” Pelosi said at a press conference.

“I think they have been very abusive of the great opportunity that technology has given them,” she added.

So, Mrs. Pelosi, do something about it. That, or shift some of the blame to the fools (not the innocents, not the kids) who continue to behave as Zuck called them, “dumbf@#ks.”

Farewell to the Steward of Middle Earth

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We lost a literary titan.

It is with great sadness that we can confirm that Tolkien’s son and literary executor Christopher Tolkien has died aged 95.

Christopher was born in Leeds, United Kingdom, on 21 November 1924. After a childhood in Oxford, he joined the RAF during the Second World War and was stationed to South Africa. After the war, he finished his studies and became a lecturer in Old and Middle English as well as Old Icelandic at the University of Oxford. After his father’s death in 1973, he became the literary executor of the Tolkien Estate and went on to edit and publish his father’s unpublished material starting with The Silmarillion in 1977 and ending with The Fall of Gondolin in 2018.

Upon hearing the news, Tolkien Society Chair, Shaun Gunner, said:

All of us in the Tolkien Society will share in the sadness at the news of Christopher Tolkien’s death, and we send our condolences to Baillie, Simon, Adam, Rachel and the whole Tolkien family at this difficult time. Christopher’s commitment to his father’s works have seen dozens of publications released, and his own work as an academic in Oxford demonstrates his ability and skill as a scholar. Millions of people around the world will be forever grateful to Christopher for bringing us The Silmarillion, The Children of Húrin, The History of Middle-earth series and many others. We have lost a titan and he will be sorely missed.

Those of us who remain in and of The West owe this man and his legacy a debt that can’t even be calculated. My previous thoughts on Mr. Tolkien:

“Here, I pause to credit the masterful dedication of Christopher T. in revising, editing, and publishing so much we would otherwise miss. He says, and I believe him, that this is his finale. Then again, he hinted as much when Beren hit the shelves. If this is his end, the end of 70+ year tenure as vice-regent of Middle Earth, so to speak, he’s more than earned the retirement (and all the honor and gratitude we can heap on him). Thank you, Sir!” – TPC, Dec. 2018

“Some of you have read perhaps the short version of the story in the Silmarillion. From that work also came The Children of Hurin, which was released ten years prior to B&L. Christopher Tolkien’s editing and narration skills have increased dramatically since 1977 (and I never shared the contemporary criticism of his work, then). This book will be excellent.” – PL.me, June 2017

There was, in the seventies and early eighties, a narrow sentiment that Christopher had somehow “botched” the editing of the later works. Nothing was or could be further from the truth. But for his dedication we would still be ignorant of so much that lay behind the Hobbits.

Vox Day’s Tribute.

In happier news, the Inklings have reconvened, in full, once again in loftier accommodation.

Senda.

Evil Tech: Some You Know

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Some you don’t. READ THE LIST.

The tech industry doesn’t intoxicate us like it did just a few years ago. Keeping up with its problems—and its fixes, and its fixes that cause new problems—is dizzying. Separating out the meaningful threats from the noise is hard. Is Facebook really the danger to democracy it looks like? Is Uber really worse than the system it replaced? Isn’t Amazon’s same-day delivery worth it? Which harms are real and which are hypothetical? Has the techlash gotten it right? And which of these companies is really the worst? Which ones might be, well, evil?

We don’t mean evil in the mustache-twirling, burn-the-world-from-a-secret-lair sense—well, we mostly don’t mean that—but rather in the way Googlers once swore to avoid mission drift, respect their users, and spurn short-term profiteering, even though the company now regularly faces scandals in which it has violated its users’ or workers’ trust. We mean ills that outweigh conveniences. We mean temptations and poison pills and unanticipated outcomes.

Facebook only ranked number 2?!

Might the future not require those cool shades we were sold on in the 80s?