Ghosting in the land of surveillance

Using makeup as camouflage

Public opinion about the use and spread of drones is still up in the air, but burgeoning drone use has sparked numerous efforts to curtail drones. These responses range from public policies exerting community control over local airspace, to the development of sophisticated jamming equipment and tactics for knocking drones out of the sky…Anti-drone measures range from simple blunt force, 10-gauge shotguns, to the poetic: well-trained hawks.

The article develops analysis and then suggests techniques to disguise yourself…which is truly worthy and affordable. And fun.

The…most practical, thing you can do to protect yourself from drone surveillance is to get a disguise. The growth of mass surveillance has led to an explosion in creative experiments meant to mask one’s identity. But some of the smartest ideas are decidedly old-school and low-tech. Clothing is the first choice, because hats, glasses, masks and scarves go a long way toward scrambling drone-based facial-recognition software…

Artists and scientists have taken these approaches a step further, developing a hoodie wrap that’s intended to shield the owner’s heat signature and to scramble facial recognition software, and glasses intended to foil facial recognition systems.

And, not so incidentally, driving spooks from the FBI and your local Red Squad crazy is fun.

Winner gets to bury the GOP

I presume the eventual winners of the Final in this international competition will also be awarded the opportunity to bury the moribund Republican Party. Driven to distraction, self-harm and suicide by continued support of the proto-fascist regime of the Fake President…that political party has lost all respect. From traditional members and office-holders, from political conservatives around the world with the backbone to hold to standards rejecting bigotry, racism and fascist brutalizing of any nation.

Live frite or die!

“We’re going after Virginia with your crazy governor. … They want to take your Second Amendment away. You know that right? You’ll have nobody guarding your potatoes.”

— President Trump, to farmers assembled at the White House

I am a potato guardian. This is the only life I have known. Here is my tale, one no doubt familiar to you, just as the concept of a person who guards potatoes in Virginia is familiar…

Penguin poop can make you loopy!

Click to enlarge

More than 1,600 kilometers east of the Drake Passage between South America and Antarctica lies the Atlantic island of South Georgia. There, king penguins live in huge colonies. They spend their days chomping on krill, squid, and fish, feeding their chicks, and producing “guano.”

And that guano releases tremendous amounts of what’s better known as laughing gas, according to the study in Science of the Total Environment, which involved laboratory analysis of soil and guano samples.

“Penguin guano produces significantly high levels of nitrous oxide around their colonies. The maximum emissions are about 100 times higher than in a recently fertilized Danish field. It is truly intense—not least because nitrous oxide is 300 times more polluting than CO2,” explains Bo Elberling, professor in the University of Copenhagen’s department of geosciences and natural resource management.

Besides being a strain on the climate, the gas has an effect very similar to the sedative used in the dentist’s office, Elberling explains.

I can see all the stoners in Scandinavia lining up, now. Applying for jobs as “research assistants”.

Legacy of Winsor McCay

‘Little Sammy Sneeze’ (9 November 1904)

Winsor McCay is one of the founding fathers of newspaper comics and animated cartoons. An extraordinary virtuose artist, his vivid and technically complex drawings are still impressive today. He lifted both media out of their children’s shoes and elevated them into genuine art forms. As a comics artist McCay made several series featuring characters having dreams or nightmares. He devoted large colourful drawings to these fantasy sequences, printed out over entire newspaper pages. Out of all his comics ‘Dream of the Rarebit Fiend’ (1904-1911, 1913) and ‘Little Nemo in Slumberland’ (1905-1914) are his masterpieces. His inventive use of framing and lay-out was decades ahead of its time. As an animator he adapted his own comics into short films, with equal sophisticated brilliance. His other animated cartoons, ‘Gertie the Dinosaur’ (1914) and ‘The Sinking of the Lusitania’ (1917), are cinematic landmarks…

26 September 1869 – 26 June 1934, USA)</em

Click the link up top and read the long, delightfully illustrated, history of McCay’s creative work.

Prickles the Sheep Back Home After Seven Years on the Lam(b)

Photo courtesy of Alice Gray

When a devastating spate of bushfires hit the Australian island state of Tasmania in 2013, locals like Alice Gray found themselves caught completely off guard. The flames, which burned through some 50,000 acres statewide, destroyed much of the Gray family’s farm, consuming miles of fencing that ran along its border.

In the chaos, several livestock animals living on the farm fled for their lives—including a sheep, now known as Prickles, who was then little more than a tiny lamb. Seven years later, she has wandered back into the Grays’ lives, swaddled in a gloriously rotund wool coat after nearly a decade unshorn…

With thousands of sheep under their care, the Grays didn’t initially notice Prickles’ absence. But years after the fire, Gray’s father-in-law spotted something unusual in footage captured by a night vision camera installed on the property: a “great white, fluffy thing” that hobbled up to the lens and peered down into it…

The family had been looking for a change of scenery during self-isolation and were in the middle of a sausage cookout on the property’s back paddock when they spied “this big round thing,” according to Gray, who recalls thinking, “Oh my God, I think that is that crazy sheep we saw in the video.”

…The Grays have scheduled her shearing for May 1 and are currently holding a fundraising contest to benefit the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, bringing aid to refugees affected by COVID-19.

RTFA. Heartwarming, woolly tale about nice folks and a silly sheep caught on the wrong side of the fence they rebuilt after a bushfire.