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

Peace Lily Blooms Again

For the first three years of its life in my domicile, this peace lily was constantly in bloom with one or two beautiful flowers, but it stopped blooming after I moved to the house. It’s unclear if it didn’t like the smaller confines of the bedroom in the house, or if it was not feeling any good vibes from other plants during the long drought, but shortly after I moved it to the dining room, it rewarded me with the most spectacular bloom it has ever produced. I can’t believe the size of this flower!

My seven-year-old peace lilly makes a comeback.

 

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. 

Statins for Los Angeles Traffic

The same way cholesterol clogs arteries, bad drivers clog freeways. People with persistently high cholesterol take statins to lower them. A good public transit system is the statin that will take some of the lousy drivers off the LA freeways and keep the traffic flowing. When that happens, I won’t resent my family for inviting me to endure LA traffic for an overpriced restaurant dinner, and I won’t have to end a very exciting freeway race with a Ferrari in the hands of a very capable driver just because the DAMN FREEWAY IS CLOGGED AT 2 PM ON A SATURDAY!!!!

405 Traffic at 2 PM on a Saturday
405 Traffic at 2 PM on a Saturday
405 N Slowdown at 10:30 PM on a Saturday

Ferrari Bucks the Trend After Brexit

It’s been a grim day in the stock markets after the United Kingdom narrowly elected to exit the European Union. This vote triggered a bloodbath in the global markets. All stocks are red in my stocks app, but Ferrari manages to eke a gain on this grim economic day. WTF?

Luxe: The End of the Second Tech Boom

The fatality is terribly sad, but it highlights the fact that tech entrepreneurs are scraping the bottom of the barrel of ideas. Valet parking is little more than a peculiar appeal to the common man’s ego. Why would anyone want to undercut the patchwork of small businesses that use this gimmick to earn a meager living? Uber disrupted the taxi service, but they arguably provided opportunities for many people. Air B ‘n B is finding opportunity at a time when hotel vacancies are very low. Luxe is trying to make poor people poorer, it would seem.

The app economy is very quickly becoming very boring.

The on-demand valet parking service says it’s the first fatality involving one of its drivers since it started in October 2014. The accident comes weeks after the San Francisco company secures $50 million in financing.

Source: Luxe valet driver involved in fatal accident – CNET

Whom to Blame for This Stupidity

I may well miss my flight because the security line in the United terminal is a mile long. As if that weren’t bad enough, a construction worker accidentally tripped a security alarm. Their solution? Put a piece of turquoise duct tape over the alarm. 

LAX is a fucking embarrassment, yet it actually gets worse every time I travel through this joke of an airport. I’m beginning to fear for my life. How can anything task performed in this chaos be completed with any level of confidence?

Whether it’s the fault of United Airlines, TSA or the goddamn shithead Los Angeles politicians who insist in cramming every single flight into LAX instead of distributing them over the numerous airports in the county, little excuse can be made for this fucking embarrassment of an airport. Will LA’s slide into a pathetic third world city ever stop?

In order to silence the deafening chime of the emergency alarmed accudentally tripped by one construction worker, another covered tenalarm with duct tape. it helped, but it’s not quite an authoritative a gesture as turning it off.
Amazingly, I made it to my flight, but only after enduring a security check nightmare lasting nearly 45 minutes.

Desert Solar Plant from Above

Above the Spirit Airlines Airbus A319’s engine, the vast area of solar arrays can be seen in the Mojave. I think this is the Desert Sunlight Solar Farm.

 

Not Enough Entertainment, Damn It

American Express released its annual analysis of my spending for the tax year gone by (2015), and in it is an absolutely pathetic amount spent on entertainment. Given that a good portion of the travel expenses noted therein was for business travel, one can see that I was quite deprived of entertainment this past year, my cash expenditures on entertainment notwithstanding.

Never thought I’d become a workaholic, or even confess to it.

I spent way too little on entertainment last year!
I spent way too little on entertainment last year!

Goodbye Charter, Hello DSLExtreme (or AT&T)

This year, my complaints to Charter fell on deaf ears and they refused to lower the top tier monthly rate of $60 that they were charging me for an internet connection. Fortunately, AT&T is finally rolling out its improved DSL service to Ventura, and I signed up. I shaved my monthly bill down to $45 by subscribing through DSLExtreme, who allowed me to buy the modem in order to avoid monthly rental dues. So, I quit Charter’s service, much to their apparent disappointment.

I’m getting slightly more than one-third the throughput of Charter’s service at 22 megabits/s, but this is enough. Economists tout the virtues of competition. If enough of my neighbors abandon Charter for DSL service, then maybe Charter will begin to compete for customers in Ventura, instead of taking everyone for granted.

That’s the only recourse the consumer has in a deregulated marketplace.