Fractal Radio | Episode 22 – The Sketch of Sam Monroe Update and Ancient Civilizations Ramble

 


Just some updates about a new posting schedule for The Sketch of Sam Monroe (a novel in progress you can find on my website). Also, I go into a bit of a super informal ramble about one of the themes in that story: ancient civilizations.

Topic Links

9.7 million year old tooth – https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2017/10/21/9-7-million-year-old-teeth-discovery-germany-could-re-write-human-history/787140001/

Graham Hancock – http://grahamhancock.com/

Randall Carlson – https://sacredgeometryinternational.com/

Carlson and Hancock on JRE (featuring Skeptic Magazine’s Michael Shermer) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFlAFo78xoQ


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Fractal Radio| Episode 21 – Linux CoC – The Dangers of Corporate Culture


Beware the Hufflepuffs.

For More Info

The Adam Morgan Show | https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKeCCfeBlTc

Theodore T’so | https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodore_Ts’o

Linus Opinion on CoC | https://linux.slashdot.org/story/18/09/27/1529236/linus-torvalds-on-linuxs-code-of-conduct

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Of Mice and Pontiffs

Image result for mouse pope

 

It’ll be as a slow eternal drip of ‘you’re a piece of shit’ until you too die among your own waste in a hospital bed attended by bored and surly interns.

 

So I found a sick mouse. It appeared to be an infant. It emitted adorable squeaks and had little tiny people hands. Some have called me a chauvinist asshole. I submit this story as proof that I’m at least 25 percent chic.

Instead of stomping it with my doc martins (which to be honest may have been more merciful) I tried to nurse it back to health. Unsuccessfully mind you because when I returned home from work the little pestilence had expired.

Besides the fact that it was barely walking I think it was dehydration that had truly done it in. If you are a dirty hippy like me and can’t stand to let nature slay the weak here are some pointers that may help if you come across a sick or injured rodent/squirrel/bogwraith.

Image result for bog wraith
I can haz cheezeburger?

First and foremost find out if there’s a wildlife rescue center. The one near me advises not to give the buggers food or water and just take them straight there. By the time I found the damned thing the place was closing. They have a Dropbox so all that would have happened was it would have died in a dropbox. Unless there’s somebody there behind closed doors afterhours which I sort of doubt.

If you can’t take it to a rescue center Qtips with water or goatsmilk might be the right decision. Even better if you happen to have a syringe. Mice eat broccoli etc. Do a websearch.

Annoyingly enough when I got home there was yet another sick mouse in the middle of my living room. Ugh…just as I’d sat down with my coffee to listen to my favorite E-pundits the damned thing squeaked. I’m surprised my giant hound dog didn’t try to off it. Could be the spots on the poor things back. Looked like wee tumors. Tragic, I put him in a box with the dead one and tried giving it water. It just sat there and as far as I know was buried or let go by a family member while I napped.

So, that and general fatigue are why I failed to post anything of substance yesterday. This little tragedy gives me some fodder for pontificating. Let’s have a philosophical wank shall we?

If I had come across these mice as a brood or as an adult I may have slain them on sight. They are after all disease carrying little vectors. Sure if it was a mom with nursing pups I may have released them in a field far from home. But getting gassed at animal control is probably more merciful than being dismembered by owls. Holy shit owls are awesome.

25+ Majestic Owls Caught On Camera | Bored Panda
I can see the damned.

Yet, because it was an infant and alone and sick (which means it might have been carrying an infection mice have very similar immunological systems so I’m kind of a retard) I felt the need to try to help it. Which may have something to do with me being a chic and wired to respond to an infants cry but I’m going to use this to say it had to do with numbers and health.

It’s easier to kill a platoon with a machine gun then it is to shoot a guy on a bagel run. Mice are quick little blurs of grey lightning that appear when you turn on the kitchen light. I don’t have much mercy for grey lightning. Definitely not the same amount as I do for a little squeaking thing that takes pathetic sips of water and stares at you with a pleading half lidded gaze.

So I suppose the conclusion from all of that is the banality of evil. Or rather how it unfolds. War is a shitty thing, that is just as destructive if not more destructive than murder, yet war is a hell of a lot easier than murder. Too easy in my opinion which is why we should be cautious about entering conflicts. There’s a primordial itch in all of us to secure our futures by any means necessary and its easy to excuse scratching it if the perceived enemy is numerous, healthy, and strong.

It’s also odd how it’s easier to care for a sick animal than a sick person. I think this too has to do with agency and capacity. People can hurt your feelings, and if they’re not making efforts to heal, it can get really frustrating. It can get downright hellish if you lose your temper with a sick person because sick people understand what you’re saying while yelling at a mouse freaks it out momentarily at worst.

There’s no finer torture than losing your temper with a terminal human. It’ll be as a slow eternal drip of ‘you’re a piece of shit’ until you too die among your own waste in a hospital bed attended by bored and surly interns. We still have a long way to come in end of life care, especially for the elderly, not only institutionally but personally on an individual level. It’s too often a thing that’s pushed out of mind until it’s too late to adequately prepare for.

Finally, let’s talk a bit about death itself and how to handle it. I don’t consider myself particularly wise or learned but I have paid attention to the thing for some time now. I think the healthiest thing is to view it as a passage as part of the same process that gave you life. Why should you want to live forever? Isn’t deterioration or one of the myriad accidents that can occur a sort of blossoming of its own that’s part of the rich garden of experience. I’m not Catholic I promise. I don’t get off on suffering and I don’t encourage it. I’m just saying it happens and suffering about suffering doesn’t make much sense especially for the sufferer. This is not by the way something you should say bluntly to a suffering person because that would make you a right cunt.

I think it is important to follow the instinct for life, to try to maintain your health, while being aware that your quinoa and yogurt diet won’t make you immortal and that you don’t want to be immortal anyway. Try to stay fit and capable of having a full range of experience without turning life into Lent.

That’s my mouse inspired pontificating. Hope you enjoyed. Since this was a bit of sermonizing please add to the collection plate in the patreon link if you can. A thousand mice will be freed from purgatory I promise.

Image result for benny hinn


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Fractal Radio|Episode 20 – Fred Reed’s Cop Columns, Hurricane Florence, and Updates

 


A catchup vlog where I review topics like policing, surveillance, technology, chat a bit about the storm affecting (effecting? lol always hated this) the southeast and give some updates on upcoming content.


Mr. Reed’s Cop Columns – https://fredoneverything.org/category/cop-colums/


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Fractal Radio | Episode 19 – Pundits Disease


Public discourse is vital to a free and open society. Effective public discourse faces many challenges. One such challenge is Pundits Diseasemoralizing about pet issues from a high tower.

Pundits and commentators whether mainstream or independent tend to be removed from direct involvement in what they are discussing. A position that leads them to cover vague notions more than they do the practical application of those notions.

A huge problem with this trend is that it dwarves huge issues behind a cloud of hot air and trendy topics.


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Fractal Radio| Episode 18 – Legacy Pollutants Ramble


I ramble about odds and ends and the ongoing importance of raising environmental awareness. I cringe a tad writing that due to the baggage attached to ‘environmental awareness.’ It’s an unfair stigma that really detracts from a pretty sound idea. Taking care of our resources is taking care of ourselves.

I am aware the sound sucks. But re-rendering is another 2+ hours due to hardware limitations. I think its tolerable enough if you turn it up. I don’t ever yell so don’t worry about an ear blow out.


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Fractal Radio | Episode 17 – Should Taser/Axon be a public utility?


Should Axon a SaaS company that emerged from Taser the LTL manufacturer of tasers be regulated? How so? Should it be considered a public utility? I frame such questions in this brief vlog.


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‘Don’t Datamine Me Bro’ – Taser, Axon, Skynet? (Part III)

Image result for monopoly guy


Axon the company that was once Taser is just that a company – a corporate entity. Yet, its cloud holds police data which as far as I understand is subject to public interest and access. Whether or not the data is actually ‘public’ is a question that I do not have the time to research.

Fortunately, that’s a variable that isn’t indispensable to the problem domain currently under discussion. The outsourcing of data to a corporate entity by public servants is one that should cause concern. While it maybe an inevitability this practice must be subject to intense scrutiny and the construction of legal structures.

Axon has a very cozy relationship with many departments. Which is not in and of itself necessarily a bad thing. But, it does raise the age-old problem of the merging of state and corporate power. A problem that in its purest manifestation is called fascism.

I do not use this term lightly. Nor do I wield it as some sort of moralist bludgeon. The merging of state and corporate power when fully realized is the definition of fascism.

I am not a purist. I do not think that simply because the police is and may to a greater degree in the future become reliant on Axon’s databases – that this necessarily implies fascism. Databasing and weapons manufacture are not the chief province of policing. It is entirely acceptable for some level of delegation to occur.

So what we have here is a question of degree. How completely is policing going to become reliant on cloud storage, AI, and the companies that provide such solutions? As it stands in this honeymoon period the relationship is symbiotic. Will it remain so?

The history of many a company is marked by monopolistic yearnings. While I have not seen evidence of any egregious steps by Axon in this direction, there are some examples of corporate zeal.

One such example is Axon’s insistence that its systems are adopted by the largest departments. An insistence that they have pursued to the best of their abilities.

VieVue, Axon’s competitor won the bid for New York Police Department in 2016. Axon took some rather aggressive steps to wrest control.

“According to Politico, Taser, in an effort to thwart the agreement, hired a lobbyist to spread anxiety among the black clergy in New York about the effectiveness of VieVue cameras and petitioned the public advocate, in what Mayor Bill de Blasio described as a smear campaign; it also offered to give New York a thousand free Axon cameras. (The department declined.)” – Dana Goodyear – Shock to the System – The New Yorker Magazine (August 27th 2018) – [Page 42]

The reason for these tactics goes beyond fattening Axon’s bottom line. NYPD records “represent a critical node in Axon’s nervous system.” This desire for data is understandable for a company whose business model depends on the acquisition and processing of information.

“With New York, Chicago, L.A., and a majority of the other largest cities in the country using Axon’s cameras and data storage, the company can design the ways that evidence is collected, held, and shared – in systems that the public can’t opt out of.” — Dana Goodyear – Shock to the System – The New Yorker Magazine (August 27th, 2018) – [Page 42]

I boldened the statement – in systems that the public can’t opt out of – because it is indicative of a monopolistic trend. Whether it is a defacto monopoly like Google and Facebook, one that emerged due to overwhelming adoption, or it is the result of a naked pursuit for hegemony – it remains troubling.

Facebook, Cambridge Analytica, and Google are notorious for profiting off of user data in rather unsavory, privacy thwarting, legally questionable ways. Whether or not Axon will follow suit is uncertain.

What is certain is that Axon acquired VieVue this past spring. Something that in my opinion gives it monopoly status. A company whose bread and butter is information that holds enormous influence over the fates of millions of American citizens becoming monopolistic borders on the Orwellian. It is why I chose to call this series Taser, Axon, Skynet in reference to the dystopian world portrayed in the Terminator movies.

Some may be confused by my earlier assertion that there have been no egregious steps by Axon towards hegemony. How can I say that and only a few paragraphs later call the company a monopoly?

The reason is that Axon is a defacto monopoly. In order to build efficient systems, it must make every possible stride to get its hands on the materials that would allow this. In this case, those materials are things like NYPD contracts and the data generated from such contracts. We all want to assure that the best, most efficient, most honest systems are implemented by departments. Thus a monopoly may be an inevitability.

Some have proposed that we regulate Facebook and Google in the same way we regulate public utilities. That discussion is beyond the scope of this article. The regulation of companies as utilities argument is here mentioned because a defacto monopoly like Axon that deals in highly sensitive criminal justice information is a prime candidate for such regulation.

I do not know whether or not I will continue this article but there are many, many more matters of interest, and importance surrounding these advances in policing solutions.

Feel free to share your thoughts below, stay tuned, and as always thanks for reading.


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Fractal Radio | Episode 16 – Why I Wear Ties – Indie Mindset

 

 


A brief vlog about how to take yourself seriously without the crutch of approval from large institutions and general society. And how this attitude of mindfulness and purpose will keep you creative and stay the creeping hand of boredom.


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‘Don’t Datamine Me Bro’ – Taser, Axon, Skynet? (Part II)

Image result for axon the bunker


 

I was born in 1989. A mere 29 years ago and despite my ‘youth’ I still feel odd about cloud storage.

A radical shift happened in the new millennium. All my childhood and adolescent visions of precincts with tidy file cabinets of records attended to by harried cops and clerks no longer hold sway.

The question is…Is it a good thing?

Answering that question is difficult. At least in my estimation. This is because I don’ trust things that seem obvious.

Axon’s new SaaS database/analytics solutions for police records and evidence seems to be a game changer. I’m sure that departments have already been using cloud storage and other digital age solutions for at least a decade.

But this Axon partnership seems to be a step further. A step further in that it appears from my cursory research to be a form of outsourcing.

From a first assessment, this digitization and delegation is a lifesaver both metaphorically and literally. Better records, that are processed faster, and organized more efficiently give departments, citizens, and litigators more time to focus on problems rather than bookkeeping. This means that the overworked cops mentioned above may be a touch less burdened both in terms of paperwork and psychologically.

Real-time data capture and analysis will assure officers that their actions won’t be misconstrued and used against them. Which makes it easier to deploy policing solutions with confidence. Something that we all want since a cop who is less unsure of what to do due to the mercurial nature of social trends and court proceedings won’t get as much decision fatigue. Which means he’ll probably make fewer decisions that will lead to unnecessary injury or death.

Further, this high tech solution will give plaintiffs, defendants, and judges better and faster information. Information that is arguably less likely to be subject to human error. The time required to dig through ‘snail mail’ era police records and ascertain their validity will be lessened freeing up those famous court system bottlenecks.

This all seems rather rosy. Which is why I’m suspicious.

I am not suspicious of Axon, or the police, or technology. I’m suspicious of overconfidence.

There is ample precedent for people misinterpreting statistics and being swayed by the hard-nosed allure of data. ‘The numbers don’t lie.’

The latter statement may be true. But it’s truth is highly conditional. First, you have to have the right numbers, then you have to be able to understand what the numbers mean, and then taking that accurate data with your accurate interpretation and contextualize it.

“Well, it’s right there on camera!”

“The taser counter happened here.”

“This car was at this location at this hour.”

Etc…

All these things seem very certain. We do have a fairly robust system for weeding out overconfidence. But I fear it isn’t robust enough.

Goodyear’s article in The New Yorker gives one example that bolsters my concern.

Brendon Woods, an accomplished public defender in Alameda County, California gave a statement describing how “increased technology normally disadvantages the defense.” That seemingly infallible ‘scientific verification’ like DNA, fingerprinting, etc. biased courts towards the plaintiff. Despite this, he is uncertain that body cameras will follow this disturbing trend. “They’ve given us a fuller picture of the police interactions at the time. In the past, police have shaded evidence to comport with the narrative they want to portray. They can’t do it when it’s on video.”

As trite as it may be the phrase, “Where there’s a will there’s a way” holds true.

There are already examples that cameras like most other tools are controvertible evidence.

In 2014, Marion County, Florida, officers kicked and punched a man in the head in an effort to subdue him, yelling, “Stop resisting!” After this initial video where the officers performed lines for their Body Cameras that would justify their behavior another video from a fixed point camera on a building nearby surfaced. It showed the man run into a parking lot and lie down on the pavement, waiting to be arrested. The officers get there and begin the aforementioned assault.

My chief concern as I have said is overconfidence. Having supposedly hard evidence like video footage or DNA makes us just a touch too certain. Digitizing police records and the analysis of those records may have many pros. But I think the above episode does an excellent job of shedding light on some of the cons.

Cons that I think we should really thrust into the public conscious. Not so we can do away with these technological advances but so that we do not misuse them. Because it is not the technology that will most often cause the issue but misuse.

“The technology is the easy part. The human use of the technology really is making things very complex.” Says criminologist Michael White.

There is a variety of ways that the use of footage varies by region. Technology researcher for the ACLU, Jay Stanley says effective body camera use depends on such questions as. “When was it activated? Was it turned off? How vigorously are those rules enforced? What happens to the video footage, how long is it retained, is it released to the public? These are the questions that shape the nature of the technology and decide whether it just furthers the police state.”

I will discuss these questions and many others surrounding this issue in the next part of this series. (Like complications of outsourcing. I didn’t forget it I promise.) Thanks for reading.


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