Modern humans, not well educated


This is what they’re worried about…

A viral video speculating that Joe Biden is either dead, multiple people, a deepfake, or some combination of all of those has been viewed more than a million times on Twitter.

The original post is from the Twitter account for the band Five Times August, led by Dallas-area musician Bradley James Skistimas. The account has 91,000 followers. He posted two pictures of Biden from two different occasions, giving two separate addresses—one about gas prices, and another from remarks given at a conference—next to each other. “Two videos posted within a couple of hours of each other. I mean… you tell me what’s going on here… 🧐,” the post said.

@FiveTimesAugust followed this up later with a video composite of the two videos that these images were taken from, that cuts back and forth between those appearances one sentence at a time…The video has been used as “evidence” of all sorts of things by various people: that Biden is now being played by various actors (“2 more new Joe Bidens have dropped, to go along with the previous 4?” one tweet says); that he is a deepfake (“my eye can detect the uncanny valley instantly. This is 100% deepfake technology. They pasted Biden’s face on an actor. I’d bet my career on it,” a right-wing political cartoonist tweeted); and that there is simply something off (you figure it out, the tweets suggest).

RTFA…we have a video and an accompanying conspiracy theory…part of the panoply of “modern” communications that excites a certain number of folks. And I find predictable, repetitive, unproductive of anything usefully changing society…eventually boring.

New species at the bottom of the ocean


Gummy Squirrel

Scientists have found more than 30 potentially new species living at the bottom of the sea.

Researchers from the UK’s Natural History Museum used a remotely operated vehicle to collect specimens from the abyssal plains of the Clarion-Clipperton Zone in the central Pacific. Previously, creatures from this area had been studied only from photographs…

The animals found include segmented worms, invertebrates from the same family as centipedes, marine animals from the same family as jellyfish, and different types of coral…

The findings have potentially important implications for deep-sea mining, as humans become more interested in exploiting minerals from the seabed, because it seems the activity has the potential to disturb many creatures…

While the authors are concerned with questions of diversity and size, I hope investigations broaden to elemental questions. Like, “are these species present in sufficient numbers, distribution, to negate concerns about extinction” from the mining ventures that prompted this research.

Republicans’ favorite Nazi warms up for Dallas CPAC

During a speech in Romania over the weekend, Hungary’s far-right leader Viktor Orbán said he doesn’t want Europeans mixing with people from outside the continent — comments one of his aides compared to Third Reich rhetoric before resigning.

“This is why we have always fought: We are willing to mix with one another, but we do not want to become peoples of mixed race,” said Orbán, who is scheduled to speak in Dallas next week at the Conservative Political Action Conference…

Orban also appeared to make light of the Holocaust while discussing plans to reduce natural-gas demand in Europe: “I do not see how it will be enforced — although, as I understand it, the past shows us German know-how on that,” he said. More than 6 million Jews, along with 6 million other minorities deemed by Nazi Germany as “undesirable,” were systemically murdered during the Holocaust.

There are historically apt terms still in common parlance to describe fascists like Orban. “Swine” first comes to mind. The anthropomorphic usage, of course. I have too much respect for farmland pigs to include them in.

Republicans block aid for veterans exposed to burn pit contamination

The Senate failed to pass a procedural vote Wednesday that would’ve cleared the way for a vote on legislation to expand benefits for the estimated 3.5 million veterans exposed to toxic burn pits during America’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The bill, known as the Honoring Our PACT Act, passed both the House and the Senate with bipartisan support in June, but due to a snag in the bill’s language, it needed to go back and pass the House and Senate again. On Wednesday evening, 25 Republican senators reversed their support from June and voted no on a procedural vote to advance the legislation.

Congressional Republicans are apparently convinced their fascist ideology is so widely accepted by American voters they aren’t in the least reluctant to crap on that segment of the American population who served in our military. That should comeback to bite them on their collective asses. The sooner the better.

Why Do American Conservatives Love Hungary’s Right Wing?

When the New Yorker staff writer Andrew Marantz first heard that the Conservative Political Action Conference, the flagship event of the American conservative movement, was being held in Hungary, he thought it might be a joke. “A lot of people have worried for a few years now that the Republican Party is becoming more ambivalent about certain bedrock norms of American democracy,” Marantz told David Remnick. “To openly state, ‘We’re going to this semi-authoritarian country’ . . . I thought it was maybe a troll.” But cpac Hungary was very real, and the event demonstrated an increasingly close relationship between American conservatives and authoritarians abroad

Viktor Orbán wins elections and claims a democratic mandate, but his legislative maneuvers and rewrites to the constitution have rendered political opposition increasingly powerless. Marantz finds the admiration for him from many on the American right unsettling. “I couldn’t really imagine a Putin-style takeover” of power in America, Marantz says, but “this kind of technical, legalistic Orbán model” seems all too plausible.

Birds of a feather, etc…

Hanging out beyond the moon, this weekend? Watch out!


A couple of these are wandering by, this weekend [credit ESA]

Two skyscraper-size asteroids are zooming toward Earth this weekend, with one making its closest approach on Friday (July 29) and the second whizzing by on Saturday (July 30).

The first asteroid, dubbed 2016 CZ31, will fly by around 7 p.m. ET (23:00 GMT) on Friday, whizzing at an estimated 34,560 mph (55,618 km/h, according to NASA.

Astronomers estimate that the asteroid measures about 400 feet (122 meters) across at its widest point, making it about as wide as a 40-story building is tall. The asteroid will safely miss our planet…According to NASA, this space rock makes close approaches to Earth every few years, with the next one scheduled for January 2028.

On Saturday, a second, ever larger asteroid will skim past our planet, albeit at a greater distance from Earth. That asteroid, named 2013 CU83, measures approximately 600 feet (183 m) across at its widest visible point, and will pass by about 4,320,000 miles (6,960,000 km) from Earth, or about 18 times the average distance between Earth and the moon…

…Space agencies take planetary defense very seriously. In November 2021, NASA launched an asteroid-deflecting spacecraft called the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), which will slam directly into the 525-foot-wide (160 m) asteroid Dimorphos in autumn 2022. The collision won’t destroy the asteroid, but it may change the space rock’s orbital path slightly, Live Science previously reported. The mission will help test the viability of asteroid deflection, should some future asteroid pose an imminent danger to our planet.

Just in case you were worried. Or needed something more than politics to worry about.