Facebook to Use AI to Alleviate Its Greed

Facebook plans to use artificial intelligence and update its tools and services to help prevent suicides among its users.

Artificial intelligence is touted as the solution to everything these days, but with respect to suicides committed on or because of Facebook,  AI feels like a band-aid. The only way Facebook can really help prevent suicides is by making its service less addictive so that users can spend more time in real social circumstances with real people instead of being trapped inside a cold illusion of a social experience spawned from their smart phone. Making FB less addictive, however, will make FB lose revenue because its revenues are tied intimately to the number of eyeballs that are glued to the FB web site. Hence, progress is not profitable. The only benefit to society may be the development of an AI baby sitter. As FB and the rest of “social” media infantilize us all, the market will be briskfor such a product.

Source: Facebook turns to artificial intelligence to tackle suicides

Ending a Legendary Career with Greasy Eggs

About 17 years ago, I ate at two Wolfgang Puck restaurants: Chinois on Main and Granita in Malibu. Both were culinary delights, but not worth the hassle. (Lucques was the only restaurant that was worth the hassle.) It is a mystery as to why he lent his name to so many mediocre enterprises like TV dinners and fast food stands at malls and airports. After all, he was already damn wealthy by virtue of his books, restaurants and TV appearances. Alice Waters, his mentor, never felt any such compulsion, and her brand remained undiluted. Based on the picture below, Puck’s brand is now so diluted and debased that he has his picture next to greasy eggs. It is a denouement that can only elicit schadenfreude, not any sympathy. Here is a man who abandoned a promising career in the culinary arts for a couple bucks shilling greasy eggs. 

What a slut. 

I had a bagel and cream cheese at Starbucks. That is a far better choice for the captive passenger. 

Political Parties and Political Jokes

David Letterman’s Top Ten Lists were masterpieces of comedy. If he had a top ten list titled “Top Ten Signs Your Political Party is a Joke”, then the number one reason would almost certainly be “Your most popular candidate is Write-In”.  The results are still fresh, but that outcome is not likely to change for the American Independent “Party” in Ventura County. The screen grabs below show that candidate Write-In is the top vote getter for this political “party”.

As of this writing, the total votes cast in Ventura County were 81,991. This means the American Independent Party received 1.3% of the total votes cast, The Green Party 0.2%, and the Libertarian Party 0.5%. These statistics and the popularity of the respective write-in candidates overwhelmingly support the notion that the majority of the people in the AIP are the ones who erroneously confused its name with the unaffiliated voter designation. They likely wrote in Hilary Clinton or Bernie Sanders as a result. The math then means that the AIP chosen candidates garnered a mere 0.4% of the vote.

Does this make the Green Party a joke? After all, a hoax played on the public is attracting more votes than a party that has been active for over 20 years.

The strangest thing is that the Libertarians–people who are so obsessed with their own point of view–miraculously found enough consensus to support one candidate.

Of course, since none of these parties seems to have attracted more than 1% of the vote even statewide (results are all the way on the bottom, with 22% of precincts reporting), every single one is, frankly, a joke. We Americans like power and powerful parties. We seem to like it that way because we enjoy complaining about them. The fact that we distance ourselves from idealists who will undoubtedly irreparably disrupt the scantly orderly society we have  speaks volumes the wisdom of the American masses.

Unless there is a President Trump.

On second thought, maybe the greatest joke is a party that traces its roots to the abolition of slavery has managed to select a bigot as its leader.

Write-In is the most popular American Independent Party Candidate. The members are so independent that they can't reach consensus.
Write-In is the most popular American Independent Party Candidate. The members are so independent that they can’t reach consensus.
The Green Party is faring slightly better than AIP. Write-In candidate still registers, but it's the runner up.
The Green Party is faring slightly better than AIP. Write-In candidate still registers, but it’s the runner up.
Libertarians are almost looking like a bona fide party. The Write-In candidate is also the runner up but by a much larger margin than the Green Write-In candidate.
Libertarians are almost looking like a bona fide party. The Write-In candidate is also the runner up but by a much larger margin than the Green Write-In candidate.

 

Dem total

1559505

61.7%

GOP total

936721

37.1%

AIP

14235

0.6%

Green

4508

0.2%

Peace & Freedom

1438

0.1%

Libertarian

9482

0.4%

Shkreli is sued over his $2 million Wu-Tang Clan album

Marin Shkreli is proud of–even smug about–every single act that distinguishes him as a singularly depraved, morally bankrupt and rude human being. The fact that the governing boards of several large corporations have appointed this idiot to run their companies is probably even more shocking. When will the focus of the investigations shift to the incompetent or corrupt corporate boards that betray their shareholders’ interests by giving this imbecile employment?

$2 million for a Wu-Tang Clan album? Are you kidding me? Maybe corporate America should focus on eradicating such stupidity from its ranks before it starts complaining about federal government waste.

Or, maybe the SEC’s sluggish expurgation of such morons from corporate ranks should be the only Federal inefficiency that the corporate world should bemoan.

Martin Shkreli faces a new legal headache, a lawsuit claiming that his $2 million Wu-Tang Clan album contains illustrations ripped off from a New York artist, who now wants the former drug executive to pay for them.

Source: Shkreli is sued over his $2 million Wu-Tang Clan album

Freedom of the Press

Hong Kong democracy protesters defy tear gas, baton charge in historic standoff | Reuters

 Freedom of the press is taken for granted in the West, but one struggles to remember the last time the American press took a principled stand against the government. A striking example of this is cited in the above story.

Publishing tycoon Jimmy Lai, a key backer of the democracy movement, joined the protesters.

The New York Times famously buried a story about the NSA’s illegal exploits under pressure from the Federal government. The Times had every right to publish the story, and it had all the resources it needs to defend itself against any accusations the government might bring, but it caved to the government bullying. In Hong Kong, in contrast, in defiance of an autocratic government, the publishing magnate is willing to risk his own life, not just his fortunes. The New York Times and The Washington Post haven’t shown this kind of moxie since the Pentagon Papers and the Watergate scandal. The hippies were right, it seems. We should look east for leadership and inspiration.

Jimmy Lai’s participation in the Hong Kong protests should remind us that freedom of the press is worthless if the press has no balls.

Why Do Texans Enjoy Stepping into This?

Texas governor says he stepped right in it on gay comments | Reuters

It’s difficult to pinpoint Rick Perry’s most revolting attribute, but the ersatz modesty he projects in defense the asinine notions he espouses may be the one. As the Reuters article cites, this comparison of homosexuality with alcoholism is his second assertion in nearly a decade. He really seems to believe it.

The “it” into which he seems to have stepped seems to be the hostility of the masses who lack the good sense to understand his apt analogy: how can anyone not understand that homosexuality is like addiction to a drug? It would be interesting to know what the gateway drug for this addiction is. The glory hole? Teletubbies? Organic tomatoes? The feather boa? If he could argue for such a gateway, then there would be nothing to step into.

Election results show that the man has received more than 50% of the vote on three elections. Why, oh, why do Texans insist on forcing the rest of the country step into this over, and over, and over?

I need to clean my browser while Perry cleans his boots.

Unscientific Poll Concludes That Iraq Invasion Was a Mistake

Tom Toles: Political Cartoons from Tom Toles | The Washington Post

I voted in this little sideline survey on the Washington Post’s political cartoons web site just to see what the outcome would be. At least with the Post’s well defined demographic, there is near unanimity. I somehow doubt that Fox viewers are quite as polarized. Had Fox any balls, they probably would ask.

iraq_invasion_mistake

California voters increasingly tolerant

California voters increasingly tolerant

There is a lot of speculation about how the Republican Party will do in the upcoming elections in California. If there is any truth in the above cited poll of Californians, then the extreme positions that the GOP has taken in California have almost certainly guaranteed its demise and decline into an irrelevant minority party. Prehistoric sensibilities rarely succeed in ostensibly modern societies.

We Aren’t Ready for Some Football, but They’re Gonna Give It to Us Anyway

Environmental exemptions OKd for football stadium in City of Industry | latimes.com

It is tough to love Los Angeles. It is an exceptionally large city ruined by the diminutive thinking of its residents and especially that of its politicians. Among the great signs of civilization in the city was the distinct absence of a football team. The thoroughly corrupt political machine of Los Angeles somehow had managed miraculously to demand that the football league pay its own way for the privilege of reaping profits from the largest media market in the nation. It was a standoff that benefitted the city tremendously. Free from the tyranny of football, people dreamt up fabulous other activities to do. Angelenos are so happy without football, in fact, that nobody remotely cares about an NFL presence.

It boggles the mind, therefore, that a state politician would go so far as to pass a special law exempting an unwanted stadium project from environmental studies that other ones have to conduct.

This is the same politicians who couldn’t quite go to the mat to preserve education and social services, but it seems as if he can pull the strings for real estate developers who want to build a stadium that nobody wants for a team that nobody will care to watch.

That Schwarzenegger would sign this giveaway comes as no surprise.

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. The complacency of Angelenos in the face of the ruthless assault on the city and their quality of life, however, feels a lot worse.

The Pinnacle of Cynicism

Prison consultants help inmates get good digs – Yahoo! News |  Other Sources

Had these dumb bastards had a morals and ethics consultant, then perhaps they would have no need for a prison consultant now.

No matter how sensational and overblown this story might be, the slightest hint of its veracity sickens one to the stomach.

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