Brexit?

Thanks, gocomics.org

And you realize the predictable results from a nation committing a really stupid political act. Tom Toles offered up this cartoon the week after Brits voted for Brexit in 2016.

Taylor Swift used facial recognition software to detect stalkers at Rose Bowl concert

❝ The periphery of a Taylor Swift concert is as thought out as the show she presents on stage. Beyond the traditional merchandise stands, there are often dedicated selfie-staging points and staff distributing light-up bracelets. When Swift performed at the Los Angeles Rose Bowl venue on 18 May, fans could watch rehearsal clips at a special kiosk.

What they didn’t know was that a facial recognition camera inside the structure was taking their photographs and cross-referencing the images with a database held in Nashville of hundreds of Swift’s known stalkers, according to a Rolling Stone report…

❝ While some have raised privacy concerns over the ownership and storage of the images, concerts are technically private events, and Swift has no obligation to notify ticket holders that they may be surveilled. The Guardian has contacted Swift’s representatives for comment.

Swift has a number of known stalkers. In September, she got a restraining order against Eric Swarbrick, who had been harassing her with letters threatening rape and murder since September 2016. In April, 38-year-old Julius Sandrock was arrested outside her Beverly Hills home. He was wearing a mask and had a knife in his car, and told police that he had driven from Colorado to visit the singer. Swift took out a restraining order against him in May.

RTFA and don’t blame the tech. Tech, science, generally are lifetyle neutral. Use is what determines the social value – or detriment to society – at any specific time. Even that can change with societal norms. Checking out customers for known creeps and villains seems pretty useful and proper to me.

KFC fried chicken Yule Logs

If you want to wake up to the popular aroma of fried chicken this Christmas morning, KFC has just what you need to fulfill all your needs. The famous fast-food chicken joint is selling individual firelogs that smell just like their fried chicken.

The KFC 11 Herbs & Spices Firelog is made with 100 percent recycled materials for starters. KFC excitedly proves that by burning this Firelog it is “dramatically less wasteful and significantly more effective at making your home smell like fried chicken than burning actual fried chicken.”

WTF? Kentucky Fried Wood.

Fake President Brags About Shutting Down the Government

❝ A government shutdown sparked by a fight between President Donald Trump and Democrats over his demand for a border wall would have a smaller impact than others in recent years…

Among those facing a partial shutdown are the Homeland Security Department, though many of the agency’s law enforcement agents will remain on the job because they’re considered essential. National parks would remain open but most employees who maintain them would be sent home. The Securities and Exchange Commission would halt new investigations except where needed “for the protection of property.” The Defense Department is funded and would operate normally…

❝ A shutdown could be averted next week if lawmakers and the president agree to another short-term funding bill — that could last into January — or reach some kind of deal that allows all sides to claim victory…

❝ “I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it,” Trump said as the session turned tense. “And I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck.”

Offhand, I don’t recall any president who ever convinced American voters in general he was anything more than an ego-smitten idiot by shutting down the government. Trump is ready to prove he’s the worst of that lot.

Fixing our National Parks = 100,000+ New Jobs


Number of jobs per state

A Pew-commissioned analysis by the Cadmus Group, a consulting company, found that addressing the National Park Service’s $11.6 billion maintenance backlog would create or support nearly 110,000 infrastructure-related jobs. This number, based on fiscal year 2017 NPS data, is a reminder of the powerful economic impact of national parks…

If NPS’ deferred maintenance was fully funded, communities could see construction workers repairing roads and trails, preservation experts restoring deteriorating historic sites, and engineers overhauling outdated sewer, water, and electrical systems that can threaten safety and the environment.

RTFA. Reflect that the Republican Party – which has adopted the fake president – will try their best not only to oppose maintaining and repairing our national parks, they will go along with Trump and try to shut them down and turn the land over to drilling rigs and coal mines.

Do you check to see if your apps are following you around?

❝ At least 75 companies receive anonymous, precise location data from apps whose users enable location services to get local news and weather or other information, The Times found. Several of those businesses claim to track up to 200 million mobile devices in the United States — about half those in use last year. The database reviewed by The Times — a sample of information gathered in 2017 and held by one company — reveals people’s travels in startling detail, accurate to within a few yards and in some cases updated more than 14,000 times a day.

❝ These companies sell, use or analyze the data to cater to advertisers, retail outlets and even hedge funds seeking insights into consumer behavior. It’s a hot market, with sales of location-targeted advertising reaching an estimated $21 billion this year. IBM has gotten into the industry, with its purchase of the Weather Channel’s apps. The social network Foursquare remade itself as a location marketing company…

Please, folks, check your smartphone to see if you can turn off location services altogether. If there are a couple apps you really need, consider limiting location finding to only when the app is in use.

Push to Restore Net Neutrality Weakened by Democrats With Telecom Cash


AP/J. Scott Applewhite

Net neutrality proponents now have less than two weeks to convince 38 House lawmakers to support an effort to overturn the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of net neutrality. Seventeen of those votes could come from Democrats who have yet to sign on—all of whom have received significant contributions from internet service providers such as Comcast.

And that says it all for me. Nice middle-of-the-road folks active in electoral politics get pissed-off at me when I say, “A plague on both their houses” – the Dems and Republican Party. Aside from the minority of progressive activists who survive the electoral shuffle, pretty much everyone else has their hand out to corporate and wealthy donors. That’s who owns their guts. That’s who calls the tune they dance to.

They often require as much arm-twisting to support positive progressive legislation as overt bigots and populist pimps.