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Blog of the Brothers Judd



Last Build Date: Tue, 12 Dec 2017 14:51:34 -0500

Copyright: Copyright 2017
 



GREATEST WAR EVER:

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 14:51:34 -0500


Since September 2017, cyber-terrorists have made more than 2,700 anonymous bomb threats in 190 cities, forcing costly evacuations at shopping centers, movie theaters, state administrative buildings, and schools across Russia. By mid-November, more than 1 million people had been swept up in the evacuations. Federal agents have stated that the culprits are using IP telephony, making it difficult to track the calls.



WE ARE ALL DESIGNIST NOW:

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 14:39:30 -0500

What Are the Odds We Are Living in a Computer Simulation? (Joshua Rothman, June 9, 2016, The New Yorker)

The simulation argument begins by noticing several present-day trends in technology, such as the development of virtual reality and the mapping of the human brain. (One such mapping effort, the brain Initiative, has been funded by the Obama Administration.) The argument ends by proposing that we are, in fact, digital beings living in a vast computer simulation created by our far-future descendants. Many people have imagined this scenario over the years, of course, usually while high. But recently, a number of philosophers, futurists, science-fiction writers, and technologists--people who share a near-religious faith in technological progress--have come to believe that the simulation argument is not just plausible, but inescapable.

The argument is based on two premises, both of which can be disputed but neither of which are unreasonable. The first is that consciousness can be simulated in a computer, with logic gates standing in for the brain's synapses and neurotransmitters. (If self-awareness can arise in a lump of neurons, it seems likely that it can thrive in silicon, too.) The second is that advanced civilizations will have access to truly stupendous amounts of computing power. Bostrom speculates, for example, that, thousands of years from now, our space-travelling descendants might use nanomachines to transform moons or planets into giant "planetary computers." It stands to reason that such an advanced civilization might use that computing power to run an "ancestor simulation"--essentially, a high-powered version of the video game "The Sims," focussed on their evolutionary history. The creation of just one such simulated world might strike us as extraordinary, but Bostrom figures that thousands or even millions of ancestor simulations could be run by a single computer in the future. If that's true, then simulated human consciousnesses could vastly outnumber non-simulated ones, in which case we are far more likely to be living inside a simulation right now than to be living outside of one.

The more interesting question is: what are the odds we can tell the difference?



WHEN THE BEST DEFENSE OF YOUR GUY... (profanity alert):

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 14:29:20 -0500

What I Saw Inside Roy Moore's Barn Burner : The message made zero sense. People lapped it up. (CHARLES P. PIERCE, DEC 12, 2017, Esquire)

Moore was defended against the allegations of child molestation by an old Army buddy who told a story about how they all were taken to a brothel in Vietnam one night and Moore refused to pay for sex with prostitutes who may have been underage. [...]

This was the first time I'd ever seen the Steve Bannon Show in person, and I was struck by how completely full of painfully obvious horses[***]t he is. A rootless cosmopolitan, a former investment banker at Goldman Sachs, a former producer who worked in godless Hollywood, a man who wouldn't have a public career at all had he not latched onto a lunatic wingnut zillionaire from the proletarian enclaves of the Hamptons, Bannon came down to Midland City like a combination of Elmer Gantry and an aluminum siding salesman, unspooling angry banalities about the contempt other people have for the "working class," about how he is one with all the old white folks gathered in the activity barn because they all share a fealty to a pussy-grabbing casino bankrupt who's coherent for about 20 minutes in the morning. This is the oldest scam in American politics. I thought better of Bannon, at least in terms of his material.

At bottom, Bannon's entire spiel is an endless bluff against his own barely concealed hypocrisy. He came down here, he maintained, to defend Moore, who lost his job as chief justice of the Alabama supreme court twice for attempting to nullify decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court, against what Bannon referred to as The Nullification Project. But at no point was Bannon, the last heir to House Harkonnen, more transparently lacking in shame as when he identified himself with the military families in the audience. The man sells tinhorn empathy like a payday lender. He told the crowd that the "elites," who are not Steve Bannon, start wars because "they know that it won't be their kids who die."

It's your sons and daughters who are over there. Our most precious resource, squandered by the elites in this country. You know why? It's not their sons and daughters over there. They want you to pay for it. They want your kids to enforce it. Under Donald Trump, that deal's changed.
This, of course, in the service of a president* who skipped Vietnam because his feet hurt. Nobody in that president*'s family ever has served in the military, although the Klan-curious paterfamilias once fought bravely in the battle against black people living in his buildings. Eventually, you grow tired of this grubby hucksterism. You grow tired of the people who cheer for it. You grow tired of it all, and exhausted in the attempt to make sense of human beings so obviously jonesing for the kind of illusions in which a former investment banker in a camo jacket and 31 dress shirts is really one of them, and in which a judge who has been credibly accused of sexual misconduct with teenage girls is really as close a friend to Jesus as they are.


...is that he insisted on freebies at a whorehouse....



GENE PUDDLE:

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 12:21:16 -0500

Why Melania, Ivanka and Jared's mayoral election votes didn't count   (LEONARD GREENE, 12/11/17, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
 
[T]he First Lady did not sign the envelope she put the ballot in as required by BOE, so her vote wasn't counted. [...]

Trump's daughter Ivanka also botched her ballot. It was filled out correctly, but she didn't mail it until Election Day -- which was too late to be counted, officials said.

Her husband, Jared Kushner, didn't mail his back at all, according to the board.

White House reportedly overrun with cockroaches, mice and ants
Officials said the President's ballot was fine. But that was before the Daily News pointed out to an official that the date of birth on his application was a full month off.

Trump, 71, was born on June 14, 1946, but his ballot application lists his birthday as July.



PRIMA FACIE:

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 08:40:16 -0500


The White House's chief lawyer told President Donald Trump in January he believed then-national security adviser Michael Flynn had misled the FBI and lied to Vice President Mike Pence and should be fired, a source familiar with the matter said Monday.

The description of the conversation raises new questions about what Trump knew about Flynn's situation when he urged then-FBI Director James Comey to drop the investigation into Flynn and whether anyone in the White House, including the President himself, attempted to obstruct justice. [...]

A week later, McGahn was provided a transcript of what Flynn and Kislyak discussed and the conclusion was that it was inconsistent with what Pence said publicly he had been told by the national security adviser.

Despite McGahn's recommendation that Trump fire Flynn, the retired lieutenant general was kept on. Flynn was forced out in mid-February after news outlets reported about Yates' warning to McGahn.



FIRST THEY CAME FOR THE DEHUMANIZING, BACK-BREAKING LABOR...:

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 08:27:30 -0500


The drones, which cruise at a leisurely 3-5 miles per hour, are doing work typically reserved for manned research ships -- but for a small fraction of the cost.

California-based Saildrone, which raised $14 million in funding from impact investors last September, says its drones can be operated for only 5% of the cost of a manned vessel.


FOR millennia, man has broken rocks. Whether with pickaxe or dynamite, their own or animal muscle, in a digger or a diesel truck, thick-necked miners have been at the centre of an industry that supplies the raw materials for almost all industrial activity. [...]


On a visit to Rio's Hope Downs 4 mine in the Pilbara, it is eerie at first to watch 300-tonne trucks speeding uphill in a cloud of red dust with no one in the cab. Then it becomes endearing, as you watch supersized robotic mammoths so safety-obsessed that when sagebrush blows in their way, they judder to a halt.

As for the mine's managers, they are struck by the silence; there is no longer a steady stream of banter across drivers' two-way radios. They also welcome the productivity gains. Over a 12-hour period, they say, manned trucks are competitive, but over 24 hours and longer, the absence of coffee breaks, fatigue and driver changeovers begins to tell. The autonomous trucks stop only once a day for refuelling. "Then you pat them on the bum and out they go again," one says. He adds that the workforce at the mine is already about one-third lower as a result of automation. The 76 autonomous vehicles in Rio's 400-strong truck fleet in the Pilbara are an estimated 15% cheaper to run than the rest.

Two hours' flight away, at Rio's operations centre in Perth, engineers remotely control the equipment with screens and computers. "You have to blow dust in their faces to make them feel like they're in the Pilbara, otherwise it's too comfortable," quips an executive, as he oversees desk-bound employees operating two of Rio's six autonomous rigs digging into the Pilbara rock. Rio's boss of iron ore, Chris Salisbury, says that autonomy enables drilling to run for almost a third longer on average than with manned rigs, and to churn through 10% more metres per hour. The extra data collected helps the firm to evaluate the quality of the ore for further digging.



AND THE HORST WESSEL YOU RODE IN ON:

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 08:12:30 -0500


[I]t was an ultimatum from Fox News host Sean Hannity, delivered on his Nov. 14 broadcast, that posed the direst threat. "For me, the judge has 24 hours," Hannity told his viewers, after excoriating Moore. "You must immediately and fully come up with a satisfactory explanation for your inconsistencies." He added, "If you can't do this, then Judge Moore needs to get out of the race." In 2017, a Republican candidate can overcome disapproval from party leaders, but losing the conservative media is usually fatal. [...]

Bannon worked to create a counter-narrative that ultimately would change many Republicans' perception of the scandal. A former filmmaker, he's long been captivated by the propaganda films of Leni Riefenstahl, the Nazi filmmaker, and the Soviet director Sergei Eisenstein for their power to shape public sentiment. Earlier this year, Bannon told the New Yorker's Jane Mayer his 2012 anti-Obama film "The Hope and the Change," had consciously mimicked Riefenstahl's infamous, "Triumph of the Will." Her film, he added, "seared into me" that unhappy voters could be influenced if they felt they were being conned. 

"Riefenstahl and Eisenstein both created an image of their nation that coalesced in the minds of citizens and shaped public opinion through narratives, which is essentially what Bannon is doing in politics," says Nadia Szold, a filmmaker and documentarian who has studied Bannon's films and discussed his influences with him. "They all evoke emotions like nostalgia, patriotism or paranoia that strengthen a collective sentiment."

Nationalism, not patriotism.  They hate America.



THE ONLY ONE WHO GETS OUT ALIVE (POLITICALL):

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 07:59:42 -0500


The president's advisers were stunned Sunday when one of the highest-ranking women in the Trump administration broke with the White House line and said the accusers' voices "should be heard."

"They should be heard, and they should be dealt with," Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said in a CBS interview. "And I think we heard from them before the election. And I think any woman who has felt violated or felt mistreated in any way, they have every right to speak up."

Haley's comments infuriated the president, according to two people who are familiar with his views but who spoke on condition of anonymity because they aren't authorized to speak publicly about private conversations. Trump has grown increasingly angry in recent days that the accusations against him have resurfaced, telling associates that the charges are false and drawing parallels to the accusations facing Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.


2020 beckons.






CITIES WERE A MISTAKE:

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 06:24:25 -0500

SUBURBS & EXURBS GRAB NEARLY ALL METROPOLITAN GROWTH (Wendell Cox 12/12/2017, New Geography)


City Sector Model analysis shows that by 2000, 83.5 percent of major metropolitan area residents lived in the automobile oriented, principally postwar suburbs and exurbs. The exurbs largely include both urban development and rural areas within the metropolitan area (which is both the labor market and housing market).

The share of residents living in the suburbs and exurbs increased to 85.3 percent in 2010. The share of growth in the Urban Core was so small between 2000 and 2010 that the exurbs passed the urban core in population. The exurban population now leads that of the Urban Cores by 3,000,000.

The most recent data, from the ACS 2012 to 2016 rolling survey (middle year: 2014) places the suburban and exurban share of major metropolitan area population at 85.5 percent. Since 2010, suburban and exurban growth has accounted for an even higher 90.5 percent of population growth (Figure 1). The share of growth in the Urban Core was 9.5 percent, well below its 14.5 percent share of the 2010 population. Even the prewar Central Business Districts, part of the urban core had growth that fell nearly one-third short of their 1.3 percent 2000 population (1.0 percent).

The overall growth in the suburbs and exurbs was 6.6 million from 2010. The Later Suburbs accounted for 3.4 million new residents, the Earlier Suburbs 2.0 million and the Exurbs 1.1 million. The Urban Core added 0.7 million, approximately 70,000 in the Central Business Districts and 610,000 in the Inner Ring (Figure 2). Overall suburban and exurban growth was nearly 10 times Urban Core growth.



THE ONLY EXISTENTIAL THREAT IS INTERNAL:

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 06:09:47 -0500

Poll: 45% of Israelis believe its democracy in 'danger' (MARISSA NEWMAN, 12/12/17, Times of Israel)

Overall, some 45% of respondents agreed that Israel's democracy is in "serious danger." This sentiment was far more prevalent among left-wing Jewish respondents (72%) and Arab Israelis (65%), while just 23% of religiously identified and right-wing respondents agreed.

Nearing the bottom of the list of public trust in institutions was Israel's Chief Rabbinate (20%), while the IDF again came in first place, with 81% of all Israelis and 88% of Jewish Israelis placing their confidence in the military. [...]

Some 79% of secular Jewish Israelis believe "the religious population is gradually taking control of the state," while the majority of religious Jewish Israelis disagree, the poll said.

Just 15% of ultra-Orthodox and 16% of religious Jews agreed with the statement on encroaching religious control, according to the survey.

Some 75% of the Jewish left, 74% of Arab Israelis, 61% of Jewish secular Israelis -- and 42% of Jewish Israelis overall -- said the Jewish component of Israel's character was "too strong," the survey said.



KNOWING YOUR ALLIES:

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 05:53:57 -0500

Iran Thrives in the Levant on Weakened States Threatened by Sunni Radicalism (Fabrice Balanche, December 12, 2017, The Caravan)

The announced defeat of the Syrian rebellion and the Islamic State is favoring the extension of Iranian influence in the Levant. The Iranian corridor between Beirut and Tehran via Baghdad and Damascus is now a reality. Territorial continuity was achieved symbolically at the end of May 2017, when Iranian-funded Shia militias joined on both sides of the Syrian-Iraqi border north of al-Tanf. In Iraq, Iranian allies Syria and Lebanon dominate; people support them out of fear, default, or sympathy. If the West wants to fight against the Islamic Republic's influence in the Levant, it must understand the root causes pushing more and more Lebanese Christians, Iraqi Shiites, and Syrian Sunni Arabs into the Iranian camp. [...]

Whenever a Sunni country proclaims itself the defender of the Palestinian cause--as Egypt under Gamal Abdel Nasser or Iraq under Saddam Hussein--Iran can exploit it to conquer the Arab street. As long as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict persists, the congenital anti-Israeli feeling of the Ayatollah's regime will exert a power of attraction over Sunni Arabs. After the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah was the most popular personality in the Arab world. In Syria, a few thousand Sunnis even converted to Shiism. Therefore, this parameter should always be taken into consideration, even if it is not the main one.

However, the real cause of Iran's rise in the Levant is sectarian and religious. Paradoxically,  theocratic Iran became the protector of non-Sunnis and even secular Sunnis against jihadism.

The main fear of Christians and Shiites in the Levant is to be overwhelmed by Sunni Islam. Although the Sunnis are a minority in Lebanon and Iraq, they consider themselves the only legitimate community to exercise power, since they belong to the majority in the Arab and Muslim world. The concept of minority-majority needs to be assessed throughout the Middle East to understand the fear that drives non-Sunnis and the sense of superiority that drives Sunnis. The ethnic criterion introduces more complexity in the case of the Kurds. Although Kurds are mostly Sunnis in Syria and Iraq, they were marginalized by the Arab Sunnis, too.



DONALD WHO?:

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 18:26:13 -0500




WHERE INNOVATION COMES FROM:

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 18:21:49 -0500


Two decades ago, the US intelligence community worked closely with Silicon Valley in an effort to track citizens in cyberspace. And Google is at the heart of that origin story. Some of the research that led to Google's ambitious creation was funded and coordinated by a research group established by the intelligence community to find ways to track individuals and groups online.

The intelligence community hoped that the nation's leading computer scientists could take non-classified information and user data, combine it with what would become known as the internet, and begin to create for-profit, commercial enterprises to suit the needs of both the intelligence community and the public. They hoped to direct the supercomputing revolution from the start in order to make sense of what millions of human beings did inside this digital information network. 



WE ARE ALL DESIGNIST NOW:

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 18:02:47 -0500

'Humans will worship AI MESSIAH' God Robot religion expected to boom :" A so-called "God Robot" will be worshipped by millions of people because it will have mankind's best interests at heart, it has been claimed. (Rachel O'Donoghue, 11th December 2017, Daily Star)

John Mitchell, a lawyer and AI expert, said human beings, in general, tend to "worship supreme understanding".

Mr Mitchell claims the same drive that compels people to believe in God and follow religions will work for Artificial Intelligence.

He explained: "We [believe] there must be some higher power that causes lightning, sunsets, and crashing waves - or at least speaks to the bottom of our beings, rather than ignore them as ho-hum background."

Dr. Stephen Thaler, the President and CEO of Imagination Engines and an AI and consciousness expert, has claimed people will rely on AI to provide solutions to society's problems.

"An AI would provide the equivalent of a 'Messiah' - having many orders of magnitude more processing elements than the brain, enabling it to gift us with solutions to the most daunting social, political, economic, and environmental challenges," he said.

Of course, one of the most persuasive reasons to believe Christianity is true is that the Messiah did not gift us any of those things.