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A great endorsement for Europe

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From France24:

Dalai Lama says 'Europe belongs to Europeans'
The Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, said Wednesday that "Europe belongs to the Europeans" and that refugees should return to their native countries to rebuild them.

Speaking at a conference in Sweden's third-largest city of Malmo, home to a large immigrant population, the Dalai Lama -- who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 -- said Europe was "morally responsible" for helping "a refugee really facing danger against their life".

"Receive them, help them, educate them... but ultimately they should develop their own country," said the 83-year-old Tibetan who fled the capital Lhasa in fear of his life after China poured troops into the region to crush an uprising.

"I think Europe belongs to the Europeans," he said, adding they should make clear to refugees that "they ultimately should rebuild their own country".

Very wise thoughts.

An interesting list

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From AV Club:

Game of Game Of Thrones thrones: 43 big upcoming fantasy and sci-fi shows
Since debuting in April 2011, HBO’s Game Of Thrones has slowly become the defining television phenomenon of this decade, dominating the pop culture conversation in a way no other show has since the glory days of The Sopranos. It was one of a number of shows angling to step into the mob drama’s place, along with Boardwalk EmpireMad MenSons Of AnarchyJustified, and House Of Cards. HBO initially sold its adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s fantasy epic as “The Sopranos in Middle-earth,” hoping to transplant David Chase’s deeply American saga of violence, sex, family, and power to a sprawling, Tolkien-esque fantasy world. It managed to fulfill those expectations and then some, surpassing Sopranos viewership mid-way through its fourth season. Today it’s gone far beyond that: “Khaleesi” was a more popular name for baby girls in 2017 than “Brittany.”

But winter is coming. As Game Of Thrones heads into its final, six-episode season—slated to premiere sometime in 2019—it leaves a gaping hole in the television landscape. Everyone from Apple to FX has pined, sometimes publicly, for their “own Game Of Thrones,” and the model is clear: Find a nerd-culture tome, and throw money at it. Amazon has pledged to invest $1 billion on its prize-horse, a Lord Of The Rings prequel, but, as you’ll see below, this is a race with a lot of horses. There are dozens of such projects in the works, and even more if you factor in the game, film, and comic adaptations drawn in Thrones’ image, not to mention HBO’s own in-house heirs. And, while there has been no shortage of shows heavily inspired by Thrones in recent years, the sheer surplus of these upcoming projects means that at least a few of these will go on to be good. For lovers of fantasy and sci-fi, not to mention prestige television, this is an inherently exciting thing. But who among these contenders can truly claim Game Of Thrones’ throne? If we’ve learned anything from seven seasons, it’s this: Don’t count out a dark horse.

Looks like a lot of great programming ahead even if only a fraction of these ever get done.

Well crap - RIP Burt Reynolds

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From The Hollywood Reporter:

Burt Reynolds, Movie Star Who Played It for Grins, Dies at 82
Burt Reynolds, the charismatic star of such films as Deliverance, The Longest Yard and Smokey and the Bandit who set out to have as much fun as possible on and off the screen — and wildly succeeded — has died. He was 82.

Reynolds, who received an Oscar nomination when he portrayed porn director Jack Horner in Paul Thomas Anderson's Boogie Nights (1997) and was the No. 1 box-office attraction for a five-year stretch starting in the late 1970s, died Thursday morning at Jupiter Medical Center in Florida, his manager, Erik Kritzer, told The Hollywood Reporter.

The cause of death was cardiopulmonary arrest.

Always with a wink, Reynolds shined in many action films (often doing his own stunts) and in such romantic comedies as Starting Over (1979) opposite Jill Clayburgh and Candice Bergen; The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982) with Dolly Parton; Best Friends (1982) with Goldie Hawn; and, quite aptly, The Man Who Loved Women (1983) with Julie Andrews.

An American icon.

Now this should be fun - Steve Bannon

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From The New York Times:

Steve Bannon Headlines New Yorker Festival
Readers of The New Yorker prize the magazine for its wide-ranging collection of perspectives. From Oct. 5 to 7, The New Yorker Festival, now in its 19th year, will bring some of these voices to venues around New York City.

Political figures feature prominently in this year’s lineup, which includes Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist, who will be interviewed by the magazine’s editor, David Remnick, a frequent critic of the administration.

“I have every intention of asking him difficult questions and engaging in a serious and even combative conversation,” Mr. Remnick said in a phone interview.

“The audience itself, by its presence, puts a certain pressure on a conversation that an interview alone doesn’t do,” he added. “You can’t jump on and off the record.”

Bannon is wicked smaht and very articulate. This will be fun to watch. I'll be sure to post YouTube links when the video is put up.

From National Public Radio no less:

The School Shootings That Weren't
How many times per year does a gun go off in an American school?

We should know. But we don't.

This spring the U.S. Education Department reported that in the 2015-2016 school year, "nearly 240 schools ... reported at least 1 incident involving a school-related shooting." The number is far higher than most other estimates.

But NPR reached out to every one of those schools repeatedly over the course of three months and found that more than two-thirds of these reported incidents never happened. Child Trends, a nonpartisan nonprofit research organization, assisted NPR in analyzing data from the government's Civil Rights Data Collection.

We were able to confirm just 11 reported incidents, either directly with schools or through media reports.

In 161 cases, schools or districts attested that no incident took place or couldn't confirm one. In at least four cases, we found, something did happen, but it didn't meet the government's parameters for a shooting. About a quarter of schools didn't respond to our inquiries.

"When we're talking about such an important and rare event, [this] amount of data error could be very meaningful," says Deborah Temkin, a researcher and program director at Child Trends.

A lot more at the site - NPR goes into great detail. These numbers are generated by unelected administrators with no training in statistics and we rely on them to form public policy. The joys of working with a bureaucracy - Jerry Pournelle's Iron Law is worth remembering here:

Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people":

First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Examples are dedicated classroom teachers in an educational bureaucracy, many of the engineers and launch technicians and scientists at NASA, even some agricultural scientists and advisors in the former Soviet Union collective farming administration.

Secondly, there will be those dedicated to the organization itself. Examples are many of the administrators in the education system, many professors of education, many teachers union officials, much of the NASA headquarters staff, etc.

The Iron Law states that in every case the second group will gain and keep control of the organization. It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization.

Truer words were never written... I will close with this great graphic based on numbers from the Department of Education:

20180829-admin.jpg

Swiped from PBS - this link

A curious filing - P&G

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WTF? From Ad Age:

MARKETER'S BRIEF: WTF? P&G WANTS TO TRADEMARK L.O.L.
If you thought all those texting acronyms couldn't be yanked out of the digital commons and trademarked, forget that. Procter & Gamble Co. has filed for trademarks on household and personal-care use of LOL, WTF, NBD and FML. FWIW, there's no indication products bearing those names exist yet, and P&G doesn't have trademark approval. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has sought clarifications from P&G, which has until January to respond.

Precise uses remain TBD, as P&G declined to provide TMI. But competitors who might want to use these acronyms may now face FOMO. BTW, despite those old untrue P&G-Satanism rumors, NBC reported in 2012 that LOL does NOT secretly stand for "Lucifer Our Lord."

What are they smoking over there. I want to know because I want to avoid it at all costs. Talk about clinically stupid.

Heh - about that Asia Argento story

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People are denying it. TMZ has the photos.

And Ms. Argento falls into the memory hole. Asia who?

Seen on the internet

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So true:

20180820-contrast.jpg

Tip of the hat to Mostly Cajun for the link.

A shift in popular culture - the Media

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Seems like all aspects of media are going through some rough changes. From The New York Post:

The September Issue is dead
In years gone by, the September issue was the Super Bowl of fashion magazines.

Fat with ads and glossy shoots cherry-picking the best looks of fall — the most important season in the fashion calendar — the annual issue heralded the pinnacle of a magazine’s influence and success.

Days before the issue hit newsstands, usually in early August, executives from Vogue, InStyle, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Glamour and W would brag about the thickness of their telephone book-sized glossies. They’d boast of the “thud” the issues made when dropped on a coffee table. The louder the thud, the more powerful the magazine.

Now that thud is more of a whimper.

“The September issue means nothing anymore,” said Sam Shahid, founder of branding, advertising and design agency Shahid & Company. “You used to hold that magazine in your hand. It takes you to a place — that’s what a magazine used to do. Now they are all doing the same thing. There’s no imagination there. It’s just pure product, it’s pleasing the advertiser.”

Looks like print media is on the way out. These things are often cycles so who knows, it may come back to life in another 20 years or so. Hey - check out this new thing. It's called Paper!

From The Daily Caller via Twitter:

Excellent rant by Daniel Greenfield at Sultan Knish:

Rename America
Austin’s Equity Office has recommended renaming the Texas city because of Stephen F. Austin's alleged views on slavery. But why stop at just renaming Austin when Amerigo Vespucci took and sold slaves.

Austin, Texas is named after Stephen F. Austin, but America is named after Amerigo Vespucci.

New York City has been on its own anti-history binge, demoting the statue of the ‘Father of Gynecology’ and tearing out plaques memorializing Robert E. Lee attached to a tree that he had once planted, but it’s got bigger problems. The city is named after King James II whose Royal African Company branded thousands of slaves with DY for the Duke of York.

And New York’s problems don’t end there. Its Bronx borough is named after Jonas Bronck, who was likely killed in an Indian raid. Queens is named after the wife of King Charles II (James’ brother) whose husband was also quite active in the slave trade. New York is full of places named after Charlie and his relatives, like Richmond County, and the city and the state would both have to be renamed.

Even Berkeley, CA for cryin' out loud:

But back in California, its leftist city has an even bigger problem. Berkeley is named after the Irish empiricist George Berkeley. Berkeley was not only a slave owner, but a vigorous advocate for the enslavement of Africans and Indians. His name has touched off controversy at Yale and UC Berkeley.

Read the whole thing to see the absurdity of the left's passion for sanitizing the past. Multiple drink alert though.

Great quote

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“It’s the half-educated, as usual, who’s the enemy. He always is.
The Wise Men and the shepherds both knelt in Bethlehem.”
Robert Hugh Benson, The Dawn of All

So true in today's political arena.

Unleashing the dragon - InfoWars

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The coordinated ban of InfoWars by Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube is not having the effect that the technology elites were intending. From The London Daily Mail:

EXCLUSIVE: 'Thank you Apple, Facebook and YouTube!' Alex Jones claims 5.6 million people have subscribed to Infowars newsletter in 48 hours as he calls 'bull***t' on tech giants who have blocked the conspiracy theorist's content
Infowars motor mouth Alex Jones has issued a 'never surrender' battle cry to his army of alt-right followers after a string of tech giants hammered him over his controversial views.

And underfire Jones - accused of spreading bile and hatred as America’s leading conspiracy theorist - says he isn't taking the attack lying down.

In an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com he launched an expletive laden rant claiming the Democratic Party staged the 'desperate' onslaught and says he's a 'sacrificial lamb' who has been likened to Hitler for the purposes of a wider attack on free speech.

What's more he claims the publicity surrounding the action taken by the likes of YouTube, Facebook and Apple - who have blocked his content and removed his channels - has gained him millions of subscribers - not lost him followers.

Jones claims 5.6 million people have subscribed to the Infowars newsletter and free podcast in the past 48 hours.

They were looking to silence him. They just made him louder - much much louder.

Loved his character. From Hollywood Reporter:

Patrick Stewart to Reprise 'Star Trek' Role in New CBS All Access Series
Patrick Stewart is boldly going where he has been before.

As has been rumored for months, the actor has officially signed on to star in a new Star Trek series for CBS All Access in which he will reprise his role as Jean-Luc Picard. The new series will not be a reboot of The Next Generation but instead is being described as an exploration of the next chapter of Picard's life. Additional details about the new series, including its title, episode count or a premiere date, are being kept under wraps. The creative team for the newest Star Trek series includes Alex Kurtzman, who serves as showrunner on CBS All Access' Discovery and whose recent overall deal with CBS Television Studios included marching orders to expand the beloved and global franchise.

Very cool!

From Yahoo/Agence France Presse:

Saudi king holidays in still unbuilt mega city NEOM
Saudi King Salman has arrived for a holiday in NEOM, a still-undeveloped mega city that the crown prince has pledged to build from scratch in the kingdom's remote northwest, state media said Monday.

NEOM appears an unusual holiday destination for the 82-year-old monarch, who is known to spend his annual summer vacation in exotic palaces in locations such as Morocco.

The king "has arrived in NEOM, where he will spend some time in rest and recreation", the official Saudi Press Agency said in a brief statement.

And the city itself:

NEOM, announced with much fanfare last October by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is part of a series of multi-billion-dollar projects as the kingdom seeks to diversify its oil-reliant economy.

The Saudi government says NEOM -- billed as a regional silicon valley -- will draw investments worth $500 billion from the kingdom's vast Public Investment Fund, as well as local and international investors.

The city has an interesting (if vague) website: NEOM

Interesting bit of archaeology

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From the Los Angeles Times:

Unearthing the mysteries of 'Egypt' in the dunes of the California Coast
The 300-pound head of a sphinx that emerged from the dunes on California’s central coast traces its roots to Hollywood, not Egypt. The artifact is now on display at a little-known archaeology site and wildlife refuge in the farm town of Guadalupe, eight miles northwest of Santa Maria.

The Dunes Center works on excavating items unearthed from the massive set where Cecil B. De Mille filmed the silent movie “The Ten Commandments” in 1923. It’s a registered archaeological site.

One of the displays:

20180726-egypt.jpg

Don't have any travel plans in that area but something to keep in mind if I ever get down there. That would be fascinating to spend an afternoon there.

Great story about a city government that actually does the right thing. From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

Teen's hot dog stand serves up food, inspiration with Minneapolis inspectors' blessing
Jaequan Faulkner stood under a shady pop-up tent, shuffling dollar bills and tucking them into a pink cash register, his hazel eyes locked on the next customer.

“You need me?” his uncle called from the screened-in porch as cars whooshed past on Penn Avenue N.

Without looking back, Faulkner, 13, waved him off and picked up his tongs, cradling another hot dog in its bun.

The pop-up Mr. Faulkner’s Old Fashioned Hot Dogs goes far beyond the traditional neighborhood kid’s lemonade stand. It’s a business with a permit from the city of Minneapolis.

Faulkner’s venture, a tabletop of hot dogs, Polish sausages, chips, drinks and condiments, will travel around the North Side this summer, including stops at the Minneapolis Police Department’s Fourth Precinct, the Minneapolis Urban League and Sanctuary Covenant Church. Eventually he hopes to move into a food truck.

The back story:

The business started in 2016 when Faulkner saw an old hot dog grill at his uncle’s house. After two years of starts and stops, Faulkner stuck with it this summer.

Then he hit a snag: The Minneapolis Health Department called. Someone had complained to the city about the hot dog stand.

But instead of shutting Faulkner down, the Health Department decided to help him meet its standards.

Health Department staff made sure he had the necessary equipment — thermometers, food containers, hand sanitizer and utensil-cleaning stations — as well as knowledge about proper food handling. Once he passed his health inspection, inspectors paid the $87 for the special event food permit, and the city-sanctioned stand opened for business.

Very cool and Jaequan Faulkner seems like a great young businessman. He will go far. It would have been so easy for the city to take the complaint and shut him down. This is the way it should be done.

The original was awesome - the sequels and remake? Meh...

From Deadline:

Neill Blomkamp To Direct New ‘RoboCop’ For MGM; Justin Rhodes Rewriting Sequel Script By Creators Ed Neumeier & Michael Miner
EXCLUSIVE: MGM is developing a new installment of RoboCop and has set District 9 director Neill Blomkamp to helm the picture, which is titled RoboCop Returns. The studio hopes to revive a franchise that began with the Paul Verhoeven-directed satirical sci-fi action thriller that Orion released in 1987. Original writers Ed Neumeier and Michael Miner are producing and exec producing, respectively. Justin Rhodes, who co-wrote the Terminator film that Tim Miller is shooting, will rewrite the script that Neumeier and Miner wrote years ago as a planned sequel to Verhoeven’s hit, an installment that never happened. That duo is creatively involved in moving forward their creation for the first time since the original.

Blomkamp directed District 9, Elysium and Chappie - excellent films. The new Robocop should be a fun ride.

Dang - missed it by one day

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Missed what? National Dive Bar day:

NATIONAL DIVE BAR DAY
On July 7, raise a toast to the place where friends gather and memories are made. It’s National Dive Bar Day!

From the one-time speakeasy to the little hole-in-the-wall, the dive bar is like an old pair of jeans; it just fits right. During the week, we can stop in, our team will be playing on the TV, and the beverages will be icy cold. The same dart and pool leagues meet every year, and familiar faces go head to head. Sweethearts still have date nights at the beach shack where they met 20 years ago, and in small towns across the country, the dive bar serves the best steaks for miles around.

The dive bar is more than just a place to kick back and relax. It’s where we mark out life’s plans, celebrate its successes and make memories to treasure. We make friends who become family and remember those who have left us behind.

National Dive Bar Day is about the first place to come to mind when it’s time to celebrate, to hang out with friends or just feel at home once again.

I love a good dive bar. Feel right at home.

From Infogalactic:

Sliced bread
Sliced bread is a loaf of bread that has been sliced with a machine and packaged for convenience. It was first sold in 1928, advertised as "the greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped". This led to the popular phrase, "best thing since sliced bread".

History
Otto Frederick Rohwedder of Davenport, Iowa, USA invented the first loaf-at-a-time bread-slicing machine. A prototype he built in 1912 was destroyed in a fire and it was not until 1928 that Rohwedder had a fully working machine ready. The first commercial use of the machine was by the Chillicothe Baking Company of Chillicothe, Missouri, which produced their first slices on July 7, 1928. Their product, "Kleen Maid Sliced Bread", proved a success. Battle Creek, Michigan has a competing claim as the first city to sell bread sliced by Rohwedder's machine; however, historians have produced no documentation backing up Battle Creek's claim. The bread was advertised as "the greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped."

Use it most days - handy.

A sobering comparison

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From Anton Troynikov by way of Jamie Zawinski

Things that happen in Silicon Valley and also the Soviet Union

    • Waiting years to receive a car you ordered, to find that it's of poor workmanship and quality.
    • Promises of colonizing the solar system while you toil in drudgery day in, day out.
    • Living five adults to a two room apartment.
    • Being told you are constructing utopia while the system crumbles around you.
    • 'Totally not illegal taxi' taxis by private citizens moonlighting to make ends meet.
    • Everything slaved to the needs of the military-industrial complex.
    • Mandatory workplace political education.
    • Productivity largely falsified to satisfy appearance of sponsoring elites.
    • Deviation from mainstream narrative carries heavy social and political consequences.
    • Networked computers exist but they're really bad.
    • Henry Kissinger visits sometimes for some reason.
    • Elite power struggles result in massive collateral damage, sometimes purges.
    • Failures are bizarrely upheld as triumphs.
    • Otherwise extremely intelligent people just turning the crank because it's the only way to get ahead.
    • The plight of the working class is discussed mainly by people who do no work.
    • The United States as a whole is depicted as evil by default.
    • The currency most people are talking about is fake and worthless.
    • The economy is centrally planned, using opaque algorithms not fully understood by their users.

Scary true...

Affirmative Action restored

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Real Affirmative Action, not just some Social Justice Warrior's demands. From Zero Hedge:

Trump Reverses Obama-Era Policies On Affirmative Action
As Donald Trump moves to undo every last trace of Obama's legacy, the WSJ reported that on Tuesday, the Trump administration reversed Obama-era policies that encourage the use of race in college admissions "to promote diverse educational settings."  Instead, the Trump administration will encourage the nation’s school superintendents and college presidents to adopt race-blind admissions standards.

The reversal would restore the policy set during President George W. Bush’s administration, when officials told schools that it “strongly encourages the use of race-neutral methods” for admitting students to college or assigning them to elementary and secondary schools.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions made the official announcement Tuesday afternoon.

"The American people deserve to have their voices heard and a government that is accountable to them. When issuing regulations, federal agencies must abide by constitutional principles and follow the rules set forth by Congress and the President," Sessions said. "In previous administrations, however, agencies often tried to impose new rules on the American people without any public notice or comment period, simply by sending a letter or posting a guidance document on a website. That's wrong, and it's not good government."

The decision comes amid a DOJ probe whether Harvard was illegally discriminating against Asian-American students by holding them to a higher standard in its admissions process. The administration revived the probe last year after Obama civil rights officials dismissed a similar complaint.

Good - people should be able to stand on their merit and not their gender orientation or race. Hopefully, this will cut down on the number of Lesbian Yoga Studies courses too and we will have more Real Shit 101 classes.

From the Houston, Texas Chronicle:

Fentanyl-laced flyers placed on Harris County sheriff’s fleet vehicles in east Houston
A sergeant with the Harris County Sheriff's Office was hospitalized Tuesday after coming in contact with a fentanyl-laced paper flyer, authorities said.

The flyer was one of several placed on nearly a dozen sheriff's office vehicles at HCSO's recruitment and criminal investigations center at 601 Lockwood Drive in east Houston, according to Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez.

A bit more:

The sergeant came across the flyer on her windshield Tuesday afternoon as she left work, Gonzalez said. She initially did not think anything of it but soon started to feel light-headed and showed other fentanyl-related symptoms.

She was rushed to the hospital and is expected to survive as authorities investigate the flyers' origination. She was released around 4:30 p.m., authorities said.

"She caught it quickly," Gonzalez said. "We do know from our experience with fentanyl is that it can be very deadly. It's 100 times more potent than morphine."

And the flyers:

The flyers promoted the organization Targeted Individuals, an organization which believes that the "Deep State" targets certain individuals.

The group believes the FBI and CIA purposefully inflict mental, physical and emotional stress on enemies of the "Deep State," in part, by shooting microwave technology at their heads in order to cause brain damage, according to the group's website.

The organization could not be reached for comment.

Pure conspiracy theory stuff - get your AFDB's ready.

Hypocrite - David Hogg

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From The American Mirror:

Anti-gun protester David Hogg — protected by armed guards?
David Hogg is a VIP now.

The 18-year-old attended the Parkland, Florida school where a student murdered 17 people in February, then made himself famous with relentless calls for gun control in the wake of the tragedy.

Now he’s got a book deal, and publicists — and armed guards.

Sean Di Somma snapped some pictures of Hogg strolling the streets of New York City recently with his new entourage in tow.

Hogg is just as much a media whore as Stormy. A convenient tool who will be thrown away as soon as their usefulness to the deep state is over.

Don't you know you never go full retard. From The Boston Globe:

In an about-face, hospital will disperse portraits of past white male luminaries, put the focus on diversity
The employees and students who regularly gather in the Bornstein Amphitheater at Brigham and Women’s Hospital include women, blacks, and Hispanics. The 31 gold-framed portraits of medical luminaries that cover the walls do not.

The portraits are all of men. Thirty are white, and one is Chinese.

On Thursday, the Harvard Medical School teaching hospital plans to remove the paintings of the former department chairs, as part of its broader diversity initiatives.

Many of the paintings have spent decades in the prestigious spot. They hang in a room that hosts a growing array of cultural events, including the hospital’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration. Now they’ll be dispersed to department conference rooms and lobbies throughout the hospital.

Good God - these morons are re-writing history. Whitewashing.

Water usage - Iceland

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A fun observation from Iceland's The Reykjavík Grapevine:

Household Water Use During Argentina-Iceland Game Looks Like You’d Expect
Capital area utilities company Veitur tracked household water usage during the Argentina-Iceland match, and the results are pretty unsurprising.

According to their data, household water use took an unusually high upwards spike at about 11:00, some two hours before the match, and steadily declined until the match started. At that time, it dropped precipitously.

At halftime, water use spikes back up, just slightly higher than average levels for a typical Saturday, before dropping like a stone again once the match resumes. At the match’s conclusion, water use then returns to normal.

Contrary to popular myth, Iceland’s plumbing system was not overburdened with thousands of simultaneously flushing toilets during any part of this day.

And here is the data:

20180618-iceland.jpg

Censorship these days

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Glad that we have the First Amendment - not so lucky in Germany. From The Guardian:

Populist talkshows fuel rise of far right, German TV bosses told
The head of Germany’s most powerful cultural body has called for the plug to be pulled on the nation’s multitude of political talkshows for a year, arguing that their populist agenda has helped fuel the rise of the far right.

Olaf Zimmermann, who heads the German cultural council, an umbrella group for organisations from art galleries to television companies, said public broadcasters needed to step back and rethink a format that has helped cement gloom-ridden public attitudes towards refugees and Islam, and propelled the into parliament at last September’s election.

“I’d suggest for them, take a break for a year ... though the length of the intermission isn’t the decisive factor. What is crucial is that they return with new talkshow concepts and try to come up with more suitable contents with regards to social cohesion in our society,” Zimmermann said, arguing that the public broadcasters ARD and ZDF were obsessed with refugee-related issues, often framing them negatively.

Hey Mr. Zimmermann - stuff it! You progressives are all alike - ideas so good they have to be mandatory. Do you want to get people to like what you have to offer? How about offering them something they want instead of trying to cram your failing agenda and narrative down their necks.

2026 World Cup

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Barry tried but Donald delivered. From Yahoo:

U.S., Canada and Mexico win right to host 2026 World Cup
For the first time in 32 years, the men’s World Cup is coming back to North America.

FIFA’s 200-plus member associations gathered in Moscow on Wednesday and voted to award 2026 World Cup hosting rights to the United States, Canada and Mexico.

The North American bid – the product of over a decade of planning and campaigning – beat out one rival bid, Morocco’s, by a vote of 134 to 65.

And this April 2009 article at The Guardian:

Barack Obama issues support for USA 2018 World Cup bid
Barack Obama has written to the Fifa president, Sepp Blatter, to signal his support for the United States' hosting of either the 2018 or 2022 World Cup. In the letter Obama also recalls his early ties to football during his time spent as a child in Indonesia.

The difference? Leadership. Nobody wants to associate with a losing team.

From All Fin:

How Can We Explain the Coming European Idiocracy?
A recent paper in PNAS by Bernt Bratsberg and Ole Rogeberg reveals a significant generational drop in IQ in Norwegian male cohorts — a “reverse Flynn effect.” Other researchers have found similar results in the UK. An IQ decline of roughly 7 IQ points per generation was seen by Bratsberg & Rogeberg.

Instead of getting smarter, humans have started getting dumber.
The study by the team consisted of analyzing IQ test results from young men entering Norway’s national service (compulsory military duty) during the years 1970 to 2009. In all, 730,000 test results were accounted for. In studying the data, the researchers found that scores declined by an average of seven points per generation, a clear reversal of test results going back approximately 70 years.  Source

Previous research from the UK had already discovered the problem:

The drop has been calculated to be between 2.5 and 4.3 points every ten years, according to two British studies.  Decline in IQ Ongoing

PNAS paper abstract:

Population intelligence quotients increased throughout the 20th century—a phenomenon known as the Flynn effect—although recent years have seen a slowdown or reversal of this trend in several countries. To distinguish between the large set of proposed explanations, we categorize hypothesized causal factors by whether they accommodate the existence of within-family Flynn effects. Using administrative register data and cognitive ability scores from military conscription data covering three decades of Norwegian birth cohorts (1962–1991), we show that the observed Flynn effect, its turning point, and subsequent decline can all be fully recovered from within-family variation. The analysis controls for all factors shared by siblings and finds no evidence for prominent causal hypotheses of the decline implicating genes and environmental factors that vary between, but not within, families.  PNAS

Much more at the site - they also talk about it in this post.

The reason explained in a movie:

Quite the trove in Iceland

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Interesting discovery - from the Reykjavík Grapevine:

Ancient Artefacts (Nearly) Lost In The Garbage In Iceland
MBL reports that the National Museum of Iceland received a peculiar phone call the other day, when they were asked to inspect a series of strange objects that had landed in one of charity shop Good Shepherd’s collection bins. The items in question, wrapped in toilet paper and placed in a plastic box, turned out to be priceless artefacts from antiquity.

Amongst the items discovered were spear points, axe heads, arrowheads and similar items, all of them obviously remarkably old.

Archeologist Vilhjálmur Örn Vilhjálmsson was amongst those who saw these objects on the news when the story was first reported. By his estimation, they are actually far older than the Dark Ages estimation that reporters were bandying about. Writing on his blog on the matter, he believes that the spear heads, for example, likely date to the time of Christ, or possibly even older.

But the story gets even weirder.

The artifacts are now at the National Museum of Iceland - just wow!

Trailer - directed by Peter Jackson:

No word as to how good the plot is but it looks to be a grand visual epic. Website here: Mortal Engines

RIP - Anthony Bourdain

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From CNN:

CNN's Anthony Bourdain dead at 61
Anthony Bourdain, the gifted chef, storyteller and writer who took TV viewers around the world to explore culture, cuisine and the human condition for nearly two decades, has died. He was 61.

CNN confirmed Bourdain's death on Friday and said the cause of death was suicide.

Bourdain was in France working on an upcoming episode of his award-winning CNN series, "Parts Unknown." His close friend Eric Ripert, the French chef, found Bourdain unresponsive in his hotel room Friday morning.

Crap - the guy could write and was a fun personality on the air. He will be missed.

A movie review

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Rex Reed at his best - from The Observer:

What Made Jodie Foster Agree to Star in the Worst Movie of the Year?
There are bad movies everywhere. And then there is 97 minutes of total garbage called Hotel Artemis. This shoddy, gross, cruel and nauseating freak show is the work of Drew Pearce, a writer of no discernible talent (Iron Men 3, Mission Impossible—Rogue Nation), making an atrocious directing debut. Moronic drivel that truly qualifies as the worst movie of the year, it sinks amateurish moviemaking aimed at audiences with no taste to an alarming new low.

The remaining seven paragraphs are just as fun to read. The premise could have been interesting but the trailer makes me yawn.

A tectonic shift

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Why should less than 4% of our population dictate how the other 96% lives their lives. From Reuters:

U.S. Supreme Court backs Christian baker who spurned gay couple
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory on narrow grounds to a Colorado Christian baker who refused for religious reasons to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, stopping short of setting a major precedent allowing people to claim exemptions from anti-discrimination laws based on religious beliefs.

The justices, in a 7-2 decision, said the Colorado Civil Rights Commission showed an impermissible hostility toward religion when it found that baker Jack Phillips violated the state's anti-discrimination law by rebuffing gay couple David Mullins and Charlie Craig in 2012. The state law bars businesses from refusing service based on race, sex, marital status or sexual orientation.

The ruling concluded that the commission violated Phillips' religious rights under the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment.

What gets me is that this couple went screaming to their lawyers instead of just moving on and finding another baker. That is not how I live my life - if I have a disagreement with anyone, I will talk about it if they are sincerely interested and open and otherwise, I will STFU and continue with my life. David and Charlie give all the other flaming fa**ots out there a bad name. All about meeeeeeeee...

Major - from Infodocket / Library Journal:

The Library of Congress Receives Largest Donation of Comic Books in Library History, Includes the Original Storyboards that Document Creation of Mickey Mouse
The Library of Congress announced today that collector and entrepreneur Stephen A. Geppi has donated to the nation’s library more than 3,000 items from his phenomenal and vast personal collection of comic books and popular art, including the original storyboards that document the creation of Mickey Mouse.

This multimillion-dollar gift includes comic books, original art, photos, posters, newspapers, buttons, pins, badges and related materials, and select items will be on display beginning this summer.

The Stephen A. Geppi Collection of Comics and Graphic Arts has been on public display in Baltimore, Maryland, for the past decade and is a remarkable and comprehensive assemblage of popular art. It includes a wide range of rare comics and represents the best of the Golden (1938-1956), Silver (1956-1970) and Bronze (1970-1985) ages of comic books. The mint-condition collection is also noted for its racially and socially diverse content as well as the distinctive creative styles of each era.

And some items of particular interest:

One signature item in the collection represents the birth of one of animation’s most iconic characters. Six rare storyboards detail the story layout and action for Walt Disney’s 1928 animated film, “Plane Crazy.” It was the first Mickey Mouse cartoon produced, but the third to be released, after sound was added, in 1929. “Steamboat Willie” was the first Mickey Mouse cartoon to be theatrically released, on Nov. 18, 1928, which marks its 90th anniversary this year.

Wonder if they are planning to digitize these and make them available online - that would be an amazing resource.

Quote of the week

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From Woodpile Report (new editions every Monday night/Tuesday morning - a weekly read for me):

My daughter is looking for a summer job. She’s a millennial so she’s hoping to find part-time work as a CEO.
— brian kiley

From Bloomberg:

Our so-called "drug war" is useless and has always been useless. Portugal decriminalized drug possession and spent the monies directed to law enforcement to medical care and counseling. Excellent result. It is interesting to look at the situation here - only the criminal drug traffickers stand to profit by keeping the drugs illegal. Why have we not decriminalized drugs here in the USA - how much are the drug-traffickers paying our members of House and the Senate?

We have President Richard Nixon to thank for the opening salvos of this war in 1971. In 2009, ex-Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske was the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy and rather than say the War on Drugs failed and try something else, he just renamed it - said the old term was counter productive. We still spend $51 Billion per year on this program that essentially does nothing.

A memorable voice - HAL 9000

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Great article on the voice behind HAL 9000 in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. From The New York Times:

The Story of a Voice: HAL in ‘2001’ Wasn’t Always So Eerily Calm
“I’m sorry, Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.”

Even if you’ve never seen the movie, you know the voice.

HAL 9000, the seemingly omniscient computer in “2001: A Space Odyssey,” was the film’s most expressive and emotional figure, and made a lasting impression on our collective imagination.

Stanley Kubrick’s epic, a journey from pre-human history to a possible infinity that doesn’t need humans at all, is probably the most respected, if not the most beloved, science-fiction film of all time.

The story of the creation of HAL’s performance — the result of a last-minute collaboration between the idiosyncratic director Stanley Kubrick and the veteran Canadian actor Douglas Rain — has been somewhat lost in the 50 years since the film’s release in April 1968. As has its impact: Artificial intelligence has borrowed from the HAL persona, and now, unwittingly, a slight hint of Canadianness resides in our phones and interactive devices.

Great story and a fun bit of cinema history.

Eliminating guns will stop terrorism in its tracks. Right? Not so much - from The London Daily Mail:

ISIS knifeman 'shouting Allahu Akbar' kills one and leaves four injured in stabbing rampage in Paris before being shot dead by police as Macron says 'France has once again paid the price of blood'
A terrorist shouted 'Allah Akbar' as he 'slashed at the the throats of innocent bystanders' in Paris last night - killing one and injuring four others.

Armed police swooped on the French capital's historic Opera Garnier opera house shortly after 9pm and used a taser on the attacker before shooting him dead when he refused to surrender.

ISIS later claimed the unnamed killer, in his 20s, was one of their 'soldiers' as President Emmanuel Macron said 'France has once again paid the price of blood'.

The price of placing a low barrier to immigration. Christianity had its reformation. Time for these folks to get with the big picture.

Quote of the day

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"The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see."
--Winston Churchill

September 2018

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