Short apology…

…for posting being a bit sparse starting up the week. Tidying up about Lot 4 for autumn and winter. Plus preparing for the grand arrival of a new television set. Nothing outrageous in technical advancement except its arrival prompts moving our existing set to another household in the family – followed by that other existing set to be prepared for a move a few states over to another state courtesy of kinfolk coming to Santa Fe for Thanksgiving.

So, tonight I finished off Season 3 of MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE and then we finished off Season 5 of TRAVELS BY NARROWBOAT, Helen’s favorite…though the whole compound takes delight in that journal. Links are to the start of each.

A day dealing with unpacking after the TV critter arrives, resetting my Harmony remote [if it’s still usable], starting off with the accepted mods and nudges from RTINGS and AVSFORUM of the new TV. All tomorrow. And all should then return to what passes for normal around here.

Meanwhile, in local news…

❝ (Socorro, New Mexico) — Socorro is charged up about building its own electric utility to offer cheaper, cleaner electricity to local consumers than they get from the 75-year-old Socorro Electric Cooperative.

Mayor Ravi Bhasker and city councilors are pursuing an independent contract with Guzman Energy LLC, an upstart power provider that’s challenging the long reign of Tri-State Generation and Transmission, which currently supplies all wholesale electricity to Socorro and 10 other rural New Mexico cooperatives.

❝ The city says Tri-State, which relies heavily on coal plants, charges far higher wholesale rates than other providers like Guzman can offer through solar and wind facilities that have plummeted in price in recent years.

The Socorro co-op, they add, has done nothing to mitigate those high costs, such as building local renewable systems independently of Tri-State to save money for co-op members. And that, in turn, has forced local consumers to use expensive electricity…

Expensive electricity mostly generated by burning coal, BTW.

❝ Kit Carson Electric Cooperative in Taos, for example, pulled out of Tri-State in 2016 to sign with Guzman, and at least two cooperatives in Colorado are now following in Kit Carson’s footsteps.

“We’re not the only ones trying to get out from under Tri-State,” Bhasker said. “Kit Carson did it by partnering with Guzman. We can do it too in Socorro.”

Warms the cockles of my heart to witness the most basic of essential services being turned over to clean, modern technologies after decades of being tied economically and (yes) politically to King Coal.

Will your car learn when to interrupt – and when not to interrupt?

❝ Can your AI agent judge when to talk to you while you are driving? According to a KAIST research team, their in-vehicle conservation service technology will judge when it is appropriate to contact you to ensure your safety.

❝ Professor Uichin Lee from the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at KAIST and his research team have developed AI technology that automatically detects safe moments for AI agents to provide conversation services to drivers.

Their research focuses on solving the potential problems of distraction created by in-vehicle conversation services. If an AI agent talks to a driver at an inopportune moment, such as while making a turn, a car accident will be more likely to occur…

❝ The safety enhancement technology developed by the team is expected to minimize driver distractions caused by in-vehicle conversation services. This technology can be directly applied to current in-vehicle systems that provide conversation services. It can also be extended and applied to the real-time detection of driver distraction problems caused by the use of a smartphone while driving.

Or it will just take your cellphone away from you.

No more AT&T throttling your data plan…Just buy their more/most expensive options and you’re OK

❝ AT&T…announced three new “unlimited” data plans. Keeping track of all the different limits on AT&T’s unlimited mobile plans is just as difficult as ever, but…Buying AT&T’s cheapest unlimited plan still comes with the risk of getting your data throttled to speeds slower than those provided to other customers when the network is congested. The possible throttling can be imposed at any time, even if a customer hasn’t used much data that month. But while upgrading to pricier plans currently only gives AT&T customers 22GB a month before possible throttling, the plans coming out soon have options for at least 50GB or 100GB of un-throttled use…

❝ Starting November 3, AT&T will offer a new “Unlimited Starter” plan as the entry-level edition at prices of $65 per month for a single line or $35 for each line when you buy four lines…

The new top-level plan is Unlimited Elite, and AT&T said it will launch “in the coming weeks” but did not reveal a specific release date. This one is $85 a month for a single line or $50 per line with four lines…blah, blah, blah!

I especially love their plan to keep you viewing even when throttled by “giving you” Standard Definition quality streams. I hope you love down-rezzed screens because US brands stopped making or importing SD TVs about 16 years ago…and the last few SD broadcasters gave up a couple years ago. AT&T will actually have to reduce the quality of whatever they’re letting you receive — when they’re screwing you out of bandwidth.

11,000 scientists warn: climate change isn’t just about temperature

❝ Exactly 40 years ago, a small group of scientists met at the world’s first climate conference in Geneva. They raised the alarm about unnerving climate trends.

Today, more than 11,000 scientists have co-signed a letter in the journal BioScience, calling for urgently necessary action on climate.

❝ This is the largest number of scientists to explicitly support a publication calling for climate action. They come from many different fields, reflecting the harm our changing climate is doing to every part of the natural world.

You don’t need me to quote chapter and verse to illustrate the danger to life and culture. Please, just RTFA and get on board with activism. Support the fight for a healthier lifetime in coming generations – and maybe this one, too.

Smugglers saw through The Great Wall of Trump in minutes


Trump’s Pipe DreamEvan Vucci/AP

❝ Smuggling gangs in Mexico have repeatedly sawed through new sections of President Trump’s border wall in recent months by using commercially available power tools, opening gaps large enough for people and drug loads to pass through, according to U.S. agents and officials with knowledge of the damage.

❝ The breaches have been made using a popular cordless household tool known as a reciprocating saw that retails at hardware stores for as little as $100. When fitted with specialized blades, the saws can slice through one of the barrier’s steel-and-concrete bollards in minutes, according to the agents…

After cutting through the base of a single bollard, smugglers can push the steel out of the way, creating an adult-size gap. Because the bollards are so tall — and are attached only to a panel at the top — their length makes them easier to push aside once they have been cut and are left dangling, according to engineers consulted by The Washington Post.

Trump really has added a number of new qualities to the Republican Party: a whole new class of lies, a meaner version of class-based economics and, especially, a level of incompetence unheard of in a party which shared power for decades with essentially just one other party.