“Don’t worry, it’s harmless”

…is what the marijuana crowd has been telling us since I was a toddler in the Eisenhower Administration.  Well, if the States are a Laboratory for Democracy, I’d say that the Marijuana Experiment is crashing from the “unexpected” side effects.

Peter Hitchens, writing in The Spectator comments

Marijuana has been the beneficiary of one of the slickest, most sustained advertising campaigns in human history. Not only do millions believe it is some sort of medicine. Most people, even law enforcers, describe it as a ‘soft’ drug. This is an absurdity. Lifelong mental illness is not a ‘soft’ outcome.

Why, it’s almost as if it were a big scam, and Big Dope didn’t give a sh*t about their customers.  Pointers to the real dope shows up in Rod Dreher’s review of Alex Berenson’s new book Tell Your Children.

Tip from Ed Driscoll writing at the Instapundit.  Read the comments to see a microcosm of all the self-serving arguments about marijuana.

The Cyberfascism Bulleting #3: Spring Cleaning Edition

BIG BIZ

  • Uh, oh. The punditry is starting to wise up. Here’s 4 Reasons Why Big Tech is Hazardous to Our Lives.
  • Google AI Ethics Council is Falling Apart. Part artistic ethical differences, part Googloid mau-mauing. Only the truly clueless would use “Google” and “ethics” in the same sentence.
  • Time for a ‘Third-Party Audit’ of De-Platforming Policies. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo) doesn’t think folks like Twitter are holding up their end of the bargain

    Social media platforms have been given a “sweetheart deal,” according to Hawley, which includes “immunity from liability for illegal content posted by third parties.”
    They were given special consideration, he said, because they promised to provide “a forum for a true diversity of political discourse.”

  • Pop antiquarian James Lileks tries to pull a fast one and cadge an extra discount on a Coke 12-pack, and runs afowl of real-time big data.

    Went to Lunds. They had a sale: $1.99 on Coke 12-packs. Well! I bought one, the new Orange-Vanilla Dreamsicle flavor. LIMIT ONE PER DAY said a handwritten sign, because obviously people had been loading up. Drove south, decided I would check the other Lunds for the large paper bags. They had them! I also picked up another 12-pack, and I was thinking: this goes against the rules. I wonder if I can get away with this.

    On the way out I noticed that the receipt did not give me the sale price; I went back. A manager asked: did you buy one earlier today?

    “I did!” I said. “I’m sorry! I wasn’t trying to get away with anything. Well I guess I was.”

    “The computer knows everything,” she said.

    Doofus. If you’re going to sail close to the wind, pay cash. It leaves no footprints.

  • Google is thrashing.

    For a while there has been a subset of people concerned about Google’s privacy and antitrust issues, but now Google is eroding trust that its existing customers have in the company. That’s a huge problem. Google has significantly harmed its brand over the last few months, and I’m not even sure the company realizes it.

BIG MED

CYBER CREEPS

Surveillance technology enables bad behavior from individuals as well as large institutions. Looking for a new way to be a creep? a pervert? an asshole? There’s an app, or gadget for that.

ANTI-SOCIAL MEDIA

  • UNIX guru Linus Torvalds: “I absolutely detest modern “social media”

    The whole “liking” and “sharing” model is just garbage. There is no effort and no quality control. In fact, it’s all geared to the reverse of quality control, with lowest common denominator targets, and click-bait, and things designed to generate an emotional response, often one of moral outrage.

  • Writing in USA Today, Glenn Reynolds says “It’s too easy to form a mob today.” Quoting John Hayward

    Thanks to Twitter and Facebook, mob action no longer requires any significant investment of time or physical energy. In essence, mobs have been subsidized, so we’re getting more of them.

GOING DARK

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT

  • Zones of Order and Chaos. Richard Fernandez lays out a model for the New World (Dis)Order.

    What if live-streaming required a government permit, and videos could only be broadcast online after a seven-second delay? What if Facebook, YouTube and Twitter were treated like
    traditional publishers, expected to vet every post, comment and image before they reached the public? Or like Boeing or Toyota, held responsible for the safety of their products and
    the harm they cause?

    Imagine what the Internet would look like if tech executives could be jailed for failing to censor hate and violence.

    Bledsoe The Conspirators
    https://remodernreview.wordpress.com/2019/03/31/paintings-the-conspirators/
  • My continuing review of Shoshanna Zuboff’s The Age of Surveillance CapitalismZuboff’s focus is the explosive growth of the invasive exploitation of metadata by large corporations like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. She is much less concerned with the advent of surveillance states, who she treats mainly as enablers of Big Data. I think Big Biz and Big State are in competition (cahoots?) and both exploit both our metadata and the CyberMob to advance their agendas. The value of Zuboff’s analysis is that she builds frameworks that describe and predict the behavior of both Big State and Big Biz. For example, in collecting metadata, the Biggies follow the simple dictum “more is better.” Zuboff calls this the extraction imperative. How do they get “more?” Through economies of scope: “…behavioral surplus must be vast, but it also must be varied.”
    • Expand the scope of data collection. Google Maps and Streetview anyone? How about that FitBit?
    • Expand the depth of data collection. Amazon tracks your purchases. In the future, the store freezer case doors will track your gaze with facial recognition displays.

ZuboffBook

Paper or Plastic?

The Governor of Tennessee is fixin’ to stop the ban-plastic-shopping-bags nonsense in his state.  I’ve see this no-plastic crapola in several visits to Colorado, and it’s just a greenie smokescreen that allows grocery chains to charge an extra dime (per bag!) to squeeze the poor and sandbag out-of-towners.  No penguins, polar bears, or fuzzy bunnies are saved.

I visited a local Sprouts yesterday, where they showed how reasonable folks steer their customers away from plastic.  They offer the alternative of sturdy brown paper bags with attached handles, which make them much more useful at home.  And, when they do go into the trash, the ant and termites with decompose them completely.  Win-win-win.

San Antonio City Council steps on a rake…

…and is surprised when it hits them in the face.  And the ass.

Our lefty, virtue-signaling city council has decided to pick a fight on Chik-fil-A, one of America’s most successful fast-food companies. This doesn’t look like too smart a move, even for nanny-staters. Clearly this is viewpoint discrimination by a government entity, and puts the City in an indefensible situation, especially considering the recent Riley’s American Heritage Farm v. Claremont Unified School District decision coming from Judge Jesus Bernal of the Central District out in California.

Terminating this benefit is a matter of discretion reserved to the District and its agents; however, Defendants’ cannot terminate the benefit for unconstitutional, retaliatory reasons. Because Plaintiffs plausibly allege the cancelled field trips and prohibition of field trips were in retaliation for Riley’s online political commentary, Plaintiffs state a claim for First Amendment retaliation.

Of course, what really gripes me is that (1) Chik-fil-A should sue the pants off the City of San Antonio and the members of the City Council who voted in the ordinance, but (2) should Chik-fil-A win such a lawsuit, it would be city, not Ron Niremberg and his band of stooges, who would pay. Meaning ME, and my fellow city taxpayers.

Look at the lineup:

In this corner, Chik-fil-A

  • Over 2200 locations in the US, Canada, and (!) South Africa
  • Over $9 billion in annual revenue
  • Over 40,000 employees

And, in the opposite corner, the City of San Antonio

  • one location, ostensibly in Texas, USA. But looking more like Massachusetts or California, one of those moonbat places.
  • $2.8 billion budget for 2019
  • Over 11,000 employees

Update:  I’m not the only one who thinks this is a bad idea.  (two guys stuff here)

 

 

The Abolition of Cash, Frisco Edition

Do people not understand the words “Legal Tender?”

US_one_dollar_bill_2009

If you want a hot coffee at Blue Bottle, cold hard cash may not work anymore.

The high-end coffee company will ban cash at 12 locations across the country starting on March 11 as part of a month-long experiment that aims to speed up purchases.  (photo from this article)

BlueBottleCCbaby

Commenting on The Instapundit, Ed Driscoll notes

On Twitter, Rob Province, aka, “Educated Hillbilly” asks, “Am I a total racist for thinking this is a way to keep poor & minority customers out of their hip San Francisco coffee shop?” Not at all. Beyond that, as Glenn noted in December, “This is mostly a stealthy way to keep homeless people out.”

It’s much more than this.  Remember, surveillance institutions–whether corporate or state–have an imperative to collect behavioral data in ever-widening scope.  No aspect of your life is immune.  The Chronicle’s Shwanika Narayan blithely swallows the pretense offered by the restaurant industry

The move reflects a growing cashless trend across the restaurant industry, which is eager to make service more efficient.

That’s the businesses fronting for the credit card folks, who would love to track every purchase made by every person, every day.  Think what a goldmine of behavioral profiling this would be to their “back end” customers in advertising, law enforcement, and more nefarious endeavors.

As for me, “Real Texans pay cash,”   (unless I working the x% cash back on my credit card).  As for places like Blue Bottle, if you don’t want my cash, I don’t want your coffee.

Update:  On further consideration, I really don’t like this; it abuses the help.  My custom is to always tip in cash, even when paying by credit card.  (Try this where you’re a regular customer; you’ll notice a boost in service.) A tip is a private transaction between me and my waiter.  It is not the business of the employer, the IRS, or some band of tip-sharing Nazis.  No cash, no tip.

I smell a rat…

…in the records disposition of this twin study.  Yale pulls this kind of stuff

Neubauer conceived the experiment to compare the development of separated sets of twins and triplets with fellow psychiatrist Viola Bernard, to explore one of psychology’s most pressing questions — that of nature versus nurture, or whether human behavior is more affected by environment or genetics. Researchers did not obtain the consent of participants or their adoptive families. They also failed to inform families that their child had been separated from a twin during the adoption process or in their later observation of the children, according to Sharon Morello, one of the subjects of the study.

Compounds it with obfuscation

Many of Neubauer’s subjects have encountered issues accessing the records now housed at Yale. For instance, in 2011, the Jewish Board denied two separated twins — Howard Burack and Doug Rausch — the request for access to the sealed records in a letter that claimed they were never participants of the study. Ultimately, Shinseki helped them prove their participation.

… redactions to the materials were made to ensure the privacy of other subjects.

Morello received a limited selection of 700 pages about two years ago, but frequent redactions made them nearly undecipherable “black pages of nothing,” she said. She has not received any of the photos or videos researchers recorded — though Yale University Library’s guide to the records lists that the films and tapes are stored in Boxes 50-58 in Yale’s Library Shelving Facility in Hamden, Connecticut. Morello feels strongly that 12 years of research must have yielded more than 700 pages of material.

And then tops it all off with a big frackin’ lie

“I don’t think [the study] would be allowed to go forward under current standards,” Latham told the News last week. “But you have to bear in mind that the study was set up well before any of our current regulations were in place … we didn’t have our rules governing research on human subjects until decades after. We don’t commonly retroactively apply ethical standards.”

So all the fuss about Calhoun College is what?