Today’s updates on NM movie set shooting

A veteran prop master said he turned down a job on the Alec Baldwin film “Rust” over warning signs on a production where cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed last week by a prop gun fired by Baldwin.

“I turned the job opportunity down on ‘Rust’ because I felt it was completely unsafe,” Neal Zoromski told NBC News’ Miguel Almaguer…

Zoromski indicated that one potential issue that stood out to him was that producers combined the positions of assistant prop master and armorer into one job on the film.

“I impressed upon them that there were great concerns about that, and they didn’t really respond to my concerns about that,” Zoromski said.

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Detectives found loose and boxed ammunition, some of it in a fanny pack, at the New Mexico movie set of “Rust” after the fatal shooting of the Western’s cinematographer, according to a police search warrant inventory.

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Three black revolvers and nine spent shell casings also were collected, according to the list filed with the Santa Fe Magistrates Court and released Monday.

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Typically, ammunition would be kept in a single labeled box, veteran professional armorer Mike Tristano told The New York Times. “The fact that there is loose ammunition and casings raises questions about the organization of the armory department,” he said.

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And so it goes…

A Turning Point.  For the First Time, Autonomous Drones Attacked Humans


Kargu-2 drones under production at STM, Ankara, Turkey

The world’s first recorded case of an autonomous drone attacking humans took place in March 2020, according to a United Nations (UN) security report detailing the ongoing Second Libyan Civil War. Libyan forces used the Turkish-made drones to “hunt down” and jam retreating enemy forces, preventing them from using their own drones.

The field report…describes how the Haftar Affiliated Forces (HAF), loyal to Libyan Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, came under attack by drones from the rival Government of National Accord (GNA) forces. After a successful drive against HAF forces, the GNA launched drone attacks to press its advantage. From the report:

Logistics convoys and retreating HAF were subsequently hunted down and remotely engaged by the unmanned combat aerial vehicles or the lethal autonomous weapons systems such as the STM Kargu-2 (above) and other loitering munitions. The lethal autonomous weapons systems were programmed to attack targets without requiring data connectivity between the operator and the munition: in effect, a true “fire, forget and find” capability.

Drone experts have been dreading this moment while advocating for a ban on autonomous attack drones.

Once there is a ban on autonomous attack drones – after much breast beating and pledges of honesty – their use will continue. Of course.

This is, after all, a software question. The capacity for these drones to self-destruct after such a mission is often built-in. Once the command has been entered to hunt down and kill humans relying on the AI of the drone for decision-making, an additional command will be programmed-in instructing the drone to destroy itself afterwards. Starting with wiping the software.

“Stop the politics’ and get Covid vaccine!” – FOX News host


Neil Cavuto

The Fox News host Neil Cavuto has “begged” viewers to toss out political talking points about Covid-19 vaccinations and get the shot.

“My God, stop the politics,” he told the network’s Media Buzz show…“Life is too short to be an ass. Life is way too short to be ignorant of the promise of something that is helping people worldwide. Stop the deaths, stop the suffering, please get vaccinated, please.”…

Fox News requires staff to be vaccinated or to take daily tests. Some hosts have advocated vaccinations and other Covid precautions.

…The primetime star Tucker Carlson, has pushed vaccine misinformation as part of attacks on public health mandates from government agencies and businesses and the Biden administration’s attempts to contain the pandemic.

Cavuto is immunocompromised, with multiple sclerosis and after open heart surgery. He’s said he expects to be attacked for his appeal. Especially given his role at FOX. I would expect so.

All the more reason to credit him him for his stand.

A “bomb cyclone” is battering California

A “bomb cyclone” in the Pacific is dumping extreme rain and several feet of snow on California. The wild weather follows a summer of extreme drought and wildfires, and it could bring flooding, mudslides and debris flow to the parched and wildfire-scarred Golden State.

The term “bomb cyclone” refers to the rapid intensification process — “bombogenesis” — that forms it. Such storms occur when pressure in the central region of the storm descend by at least 24 millibars…in 24 hours, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)…

The National Weather Service in Sacramento issued numerous warnings on Sunday concerning extreme rainfall, flooding and debris flows. In some regions, rainfall may reach into the double digits in inches.

RTFA because you should add it to that database of info about climate change that’s beginning to form up there in your cerebral cortex. We’re all sort of weather freaks here at Lot 4…for one reason or another. So, this gave rise to discussion how and when this event references climate change.

The only point I raised in the discussion I need to offer here, too. Climate is governed by what is called flywheel effect. Look it up if you want to learn about the physics involved. What it means is that fixing all the problems needing to be fixed, answering all the questions asked, might stop the cause-and-effect relationships that bring about events like this…maybe, just maybe, in a couple decades. Even if you succeeded making those changes in a week or two.

Which ain’t happening, either.

Pope Francis spells out Christianity — Nutball “Christians” shit a brick!

Pope Francis tested the piety of the powerful recently, and the powerful failed. Judging by comments on social media accusing the Pope of being socialist scum, those who failed most miserably include the so-called “Christian Right” who proudly proclaim their Devotion to Christ in their bios, yet seem oddly unfamiliar with the actual teachings of Jesus.

“That governments and all politicians work for the common good. Let them beware of listening only to the economic elite; may they be servants of those people who ask for land, shelter and work and a good life in harmony with all humanity and creation.”

“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” Matthew 19:24

You get the idea.

Azeem Azhar – Exponential Views

By Om Malik

I quote Om, I link to his writing. Hopefully, I succeed in convincing others to stay in touch with his thoughts, endeavors, directly. And, now, I find I must read the weekly newsletter from Azeem Azhar.

A couple of quotes from Om’s latest…on Azeem Azhar’s EXPONENTIAL VIEW.

Excerpts from the beginning and end of a short interview conducted via email and Google Docs with Azeem.

Q: From a layman’s perspective, what is Exponential View?

A: Exponential View is a newsletter charting the impact of this major techno-economic-political transition that we are going through. It started life in 2015 as a simple newsletter to help me learn. We were (and still are) witnessing the collision of general-purpose technologies in the fields of computing, energy, biology, and manufacturing. Each of these was improving — on a price/performance basis — very quickly, more than 10% per annum. Silicon chips have improved at around 40-45% per annum for several decades. And startup should destabilize (and then help redefine) our ways of doing things.

EV investigated these trends from a technical, startup, and social perspective. Exponential View is the thesis that emerged from this activity: that technology and societal changes are intertwined and that now more than ever, we need to understand those interrelationships…

Q: What does the near future look like? What are some of the key trends that will shape that future?

A: I wrote my decade predictions in an essay at the end of 2018. Largely, they hold up. Climate change is the most important trend.

Equally, the technologies of the Exponential Age in computing, biology, energy, and manufacturing will continue to get cheaper and cheaper. This will make many areas of activity currently uneconomical, economical. Cheap solar electricity will create a market for hydrogen and synthetic fuels. Great computation will enable better ML methods to allow us to design sophisticated microorganisms in silico before deploying them in the world to fix nitrogen with a lower energy cost than the Haber-Bosch process.

And yet, these technologies will be destabilizing. They will upset the status quo and shift power away from certain actors and towards others. This destabilization process could increase national and civil conflicts, disadvantaging in some fundamental ways many groups or simply creating political unrest as others feel a lack of agency. This last trend may be the one that punishes us for any technical progress, so figuring out how to put humanity’s hand on the tiller that guides the direction of their technologies needs to be a priority.

October 24, 2021. San Francisco.