05.15.13

OMG! Google! Music Service!

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:21 am by George Smith

Holy shit! Google has just started a music service that won’t have to pay musicians much of anything, just like iTunes, Rhapsody, Spotify, and a bunch of other services you can’t remember the names of:

“All Access will cost $9.99 a month in the U.S., or try a 30-day free trial. It’s available now.A search field will appear at the top of All Access. Users can search for an artist. There’s also Listen Now, a mix of favorite artists, radio stations automatically created and recently played tracks …Users can break down by music genre, too. Users can play a track, and choose to turn it into a radio station related to that song. Users can reorder tracks in their queue or easily remove songs by swipes!”

Half of the “music curating” will be done by software robots, the other half by free-lance human beings being paid 50 cents/piece, formatted to fit Twitter broadcast.

The world just got more hyperconnectified. And now artists will have even more ways to reach an audience! In addition to all the pirated music on Google YouTube, that is.

04.27.13

Industry of fear

Posted in Ricin Kooks, Uncategorized at 1:33 pm by George Smith

Art, from the Chicago Tribune.

Castor plant, not quite a mile from me, in Pasadena.

Still another.

And another.

More.

It’s not hard finding castor plants in Pasadena. What’s hard is dealing with the consequences of the industry of fear.

Why should there be a vaccine? The castor powder in the recent incident, described as the result of throwing seeds in a blender, was of no consequence in terms of capability as a weapon.

01.28.13

The Glib Sociopath

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:33 pm by George Smith

Bigger here.

12.03.12

Housekeeping

Posted in Phlogiston, Uncategorized at 10:45 am by George Smith

Long time readers will be familiar with the code “decoration” found at the footer of the main page and individual posts. It was the result of an error in the page designer’s template files, one of the WordPress default choices for style and look. And the only one I could stand.

After two years, I finally took the time to correct the error, which was trivial, yesterday. And now the virtual lint and dust bunnies are gone. Thanks to Frank at Pine View Farm for taking note and just putting enough of a bug into me to get to it.

11.25.12

From the Love Blog of John McAfee: Beachfront property

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Cyberterrorism, Imminent Catastrophe, Phlogiston, Uncategorized at 11:02 am by George Smith


John McAfee’s coastal retreat?

Lads, you can do this at home! Take a Google satellite-view beach tour stroll along the northern part of Ambergris Caye in Belize and see if you can spy John McAfee’s center of adventure and intrigue.

The above snapshot may not be McAfee’s home north of San Pedro. But judging by a photo posted on his blog here, it is something of a match.

If you care to waste the time, try it yourself and see if you agree or find a better candidate. At max magnification, it take some time to scan the coast north of San Pedro for about six miles to approximately where John McAfee’s neighbor is said to have been murdered in news reports.

McAfee’s blog entries provide some additional information on the beach locations nearby, although he is quite possibly fudging it a bit (and has admitted to being interchangeable with fact and fictions).

“Sam and I began our ungerground oddessey [sic], not on the day after Mr. Faul’s death, but on Monday, the 15th of October, early in the morning,” reads a recent entry.

As far as being on the lam and intriguing goes, it’s not a bad place to be.

The McAfee blog has been hit or miss. It could use some better copy-editing and style. And McAfee has informed readers all the stuff about drugs posted on another Internet site was a practical joke, so descriptions of what’s real and what’s not are of an undetermined elasticity. For example, McAfee exhibits his enthusiasm for forged press identifications in a photograph. His display of, one presumes, a forged laminate attributed to “The Molokai Island Times” of Hawaii, an inactive newspaper which apparently exists only as a Facebook website with 189 “likes” is here.

Readers will note the curious nature of a Colorado address on the “Hawaiian” document.

More recently McAfee has announced the arrival of a Financial Times of London reporter who will, presumably, investigate and report the truth of the events now surrounding the life of the ex-anti-virus king in Belize.

The sometimes keenly interesting love blog of John McAfee is here.


Readers may note I do not refer to the blog of John McAfee as what he calls it, The Hinterland. This is because it is so obviously not.

On the Sand, A Whale of Tales, To Hide and Hide Not, all would be more descriptive. Think up your own!

10.04.12

Independent voter = Stupid voter

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:34 pm by George Smith

From the wire:

If current voter registration trends continue, both the Republican and Democratic parties may have a serious numbers problem.

Since President Barack Obama was elected in November 2008, the number of voters registered as independents or with a third party has surged in several key states, while those registered with both major parties have dropped off significantly. Among the six battleground states that provide monthly voter registration data (Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, North Carolina and Pennsylvania), all but the Buckeye State report more independent voters than four years ago.

Being an independent would make sense — and only theoretically — in the US if there was a way to mount a third party and candidate.

The new “independent voter” craze is fueled by people who don’t seem to realize things have actually gone downhill since the days of Ross Perot and John Anderson.

DD’s thesis advisor at Lehigh, in the elevator after lunch, in 1980: “John Anderson’s my man.”

That went well.

So when I am informed a vague acquaintance is going independent, or the linked trope — “both parties suck, being just two sides to the same coin, so I’m for neither,” it’s someone who’s a numbnuts.

There’s a clear choice now. Don’t be evil, as Pine View Farm recommends.

“[The] hemorrhaging of party affiliates in key states suggests that voters there are unsatisfied with the traditional Democratic and Republican operations,” reads the piece.

Or just a large group of people who are more stupid but who wish to stamp their feet in petty symbolic group annoyance.


As for Ross Perot, he is …. still whacked:

[Perot] talks about his fear of the United States being taken over [in excerpts on C-SPAN].

“If we are that weak, just think of who wants to come here first and take us over, and the last thing I ever want to see is to see this country, our country taken over because we’re so financially weak we can’t do anything and we’re moving in that direct. … We could even lose our country ….

To fluoridated water, the UN’s Agenda 21, newfangled light bulbs, the homosexual agenda? There are so many things…


08.17.12

Thank God for Customs!

Posted in Made in China, Uncategorized at 11:58 am by George Smith

Not satire:

It’s a crime of fashion even worse than wearing a white bra under a white T-shirt: The U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized a shipment of more than 20,000 pairs of fake Christian Louboutin shoes yesterday!

As ABC News reports, “U.S. Customs and Border Protection confiscated 20,457 pairs of counterfeit Christian Louboutin shoes at the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport. According to the CBP, the knock-off shoes that were transported in five different shipments on a cargo ship in large boxes from China had a domestic value of more than $57,000, meaning it cost just less than $3 per pair to make them. Officials said there were enough of those red soles to add up to a suggested retail value of $18 million, an unbelievable profit.”

So, what tipped authorities off that the stems were phonies? “The original [Christian Louboutin] shoe is made in Italy,” said chief CBP officer Guillermina Escobar. “Once we saw it was coming in from China, we knew there was a problem with the shipment.” The fakes are also pretty awful, if you ask us–check out the photo above, where they’re clearly labeled “made in China” of “all man made materials.”

Thankfully, all 20,000+ pairs will be destroyed, likely by burning.

06.13.12

America fucks up beef, too

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:55 pm by George Smith

It had to happen. Hamburger and steak are moving toward being only for swells. And why not?

If the cattleman can lift prices, capitalize on shortage, and sell to countries like China where the government will help pay a higher price for it, it’s the free hand of the market, right?

From the wire:

The U.S. cattle herd has shrunk to the smallest since three years before Ray Kroc opened his first McDonald’s Corp. (MCD) hamburger stand, reducing supply and raising prices even as domestic demand sinks to a two-decade low.

Beef output in the U.S., the biggest producer, will drop for a third year in 2013 after drought destroyed pastures, forcing farmers to cull herds to the smallest since 1952, government data show …

Record beef prices predicted for this year by the Livestock Marketing Information Center, a 57-year-old research group based in Denver, may mean higher costs for retailers and restaurants …

Smaller breeding herds mean that calf production in the U.S. has declined for 16 straight years to the lowest since 1950, the University of Missouri’s Plain said. That could mean the highest prices ever, said Plain, who has studied the industry for three decades …

U.S. beef consumption is forecast by the USDA at 11.359 million tons, the lowest since 1993, partly as people eat more pork …

And why am I, and we, eating more pork? Because it’s cheaper and the 99 percent took a 40 percent hit on its capitalization, starting in 2007.

Forty six million people also know food stamps go farther when beef’s not on the menu.

The logic of stomping on the poor and the one-paycheck-away-from-being-broke class until they have even less money is inescapable.

You get to sell less and less stuff to people who can’t afford it, shrink your resources, hire less help, push up your prices for the 1 percent, sell less and less stuff to people who can’t afford it, shrink your resources, hire less help, push up your prices for a smaller number …

I hear there’s real market potential in ketchup and molasses over shredded recycled cellulose.

05.09.12

Cyberwar: The high-button rent-seekers

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Cyberterrorism, Uncategorized at 5:28 pm by George Smith

National Public Radio has a long record of producing garbage on cyberwar. And I’ll skip most of a recent piece except for the end — which pretty much fulfills the definition of the adjective, “reptilian:”

Some national security leaders argue, in turn, that there have been times in U.S. history when the country has to make security investments whether they make business sense or not. The need to prepare for a massive cyberattack, they say, is such an occasion.

Larry Clinton’s response: Then the government should pick up the check.

“If the government was interested in paying the private sector to do all these things, probably we would go a long way toward doing it,” he says. “But the government so far, [with] the Lieberman-Collins bill, wants it all done for free. They want the businesses to simply plow that into their profit and loss statement, and the numbers are staggering. You simply can’t do it.”

First, it’s necessary to understand Larry Clinton is a spokesman for a trade group of big weapons manufacturers and Pentagon contracting businesses (Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Science Applications International Corporation) with cyber-defense arms called the Internet Security Alliance.

The Internet Security Alliance knows that if American corporate business which holds the telecommunications, energy, banking and transportation infrastructure is asked to pay for strengthening cyber-defenses they’ll simply decline to spend at the level US arms manufacturers would like to see. If they spend any more than usual, at all.

Therefore, the ISA is very interested in having the government pay for everything, as it more strongly guarantees revenue streams.

Think of it like the business model adopted by the banksters. Risk is shoved off. The government picks up the entire tab and the defense industry profits.

It’s very easy to be supercilious with the Internet Security Alliance.

It’s website is plain, showing a trade group of no-confidence inspiring circle-jerkmen and rent-seekers from arms manufacturing.

But wait. Maybe I’m being unfair. Let’s take a look at what the ISA website claims are its primary goals:

ISA advocates a modernized social contract between industry and government …


Developing a 21 century policy platform for government to work productively with industry through a “Social Contract …

To understand what the ISA means, substitute the phrase “rent-seeking” for “Social Contract,” which the business group misuses horribly.

Generally, the “social contract” has been used to mean humans ought to live in a civil society, one in which government imposed order and protected the weak and the average from the predatory, who if allowed to prevail would, as Thomas Hobbes described famously, make life “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”

The “social contract” doesn’t say anything about the government guaranteeing the business of corporate computer security and arms manufacturers because without them, our life might be “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short” because of cyberwar.

What the Internet Security Alliance wants, like much of what big corporate America advocates for, is “rent.”

Rent-seeking, as defined by a Glossary of Political Economy Terms:

The expenditure of resources in order to bring about an uncompensated transfer of goods or services from another person or persons to one’s self as the result of a “favorable” decision on some public policy. The term seems to have been coined (or at least popularized in contemporary political economy) by the economist Gordon Tullock. Examples of rent-seeking behavior would include all of the various ways by which individuals or groups lobby government for taxing, spending and regulatory policies that confer financial benefits or other special advantages upon them at the expense of the taxpayers or of consumers or of other groups or individuals with which the beneficiaries may be in economic competition.

That the ISA would actually pay corporate mouthpieces to write such self-serving shite about a so-called non-existent “Social Contact” tells you everything you need to know about the group.

09.17.11

Very bad luck

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:30 am by George Smith

A close friend has received some very bad health news. Weekend posting will slow for obvious reasons.

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