Ellen Bennett is the Marie Kondo of kitchen organization. She has lots of clever ideas, my favorite one is this:
In December of 1969, the Selective Service held a lottery to determine the order in which young men would be called up for the Draft. My number was a low 53, and that set the course for much of my adult life. Turns out, the odds were against me.
- A nice description of what happened. More details available on Wikipedia.
- More details that you ever wanted to know.
- Was the 1970 lottery truly random? Some clever statistician at the College of the Redwoods shows a simple analysis with R that suggests men born in December (like me) got shafted.
- Want to run more analyses? This article from the Journal of Statistics Education shows the way.
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.
Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett is back, reinstated, in C. J. Box’s latest thriller
This one’s a breakneck thriller; a week of non-stop action that catches up Joe and nearly everyone around him.
C. J. Box is one of the few best-selling authors who is skeptical about overreach by the Federal authorities. In a conversation between a game warden and two FBI agents, we get this
“Are you threatening me?” she [the game warden] asked. She said it calmly but it felt like shout.
“We don’t threaten,” Pollock [an FBI agent] said. “We don’t need to.”
“We’re the FBI,” Sandburg said unnecessarily.
He said, “If you lie to us about anything, we can put you in federal prison.”
Pollock grinned. He said, “have you heard of Martha Stewart? Scooter Libby? Bernie Madoff? Michael Flynn? All of them went down for lying to FBI agents.”
“You didn’t even take notes…”
“We don’t have to,” Sandburg said. “We heard you, If need be, we’ll write up what’s known as an FD-302. What is that, you ask? An FD-302 is a form that summarizes our conversation here and what our impression are of this exchange We’ll write up the fact that you lied to us. The 302 will be the basis when we testify in court that you willfully withheld information from us that was easily verifiable.”
Box gets in another dig a bit later in the story
“Right now, as we speak,” she [a senior FBI official] continued, “the Department of Justice has indicted four of five Sinaloan-affiliated gangsters…It’s imperative you realize where we’re coming from and why we place such importance on the issue.”
Reed [the local sheriff] sniffed and said, “And here I thought you guys in DC spent all your time rigging presidential elections.”
Lots of good guys, bad guys, assholes, and really, really bad guys. I don’t do spoilers, but some folks get just what they deserve.
This is the first in a continuing series of “callouts” detailing the onslaught of the ubiquitous surveillance and behavioral influence state. Remember, whether the state seizes industry, or industry seizes the state, the result is still fascism.
- Volvo wants to spy on you while you drive. Two thoughts immediately came to mind: (1) Isn’t Volvo owned by those “social credit” folks, the Chinese? and (2) I find it impossible to utter the phrase hot-rod Volvo without laughing.
- Google tracks users’ phones–even when their location history is turned off. If you want to keep your movements to yourself, you need to do two things: (1) turn location services OFF and (2) don’t keep any of that GoogleSh1t on your phone.
- Heck, I didn’t even realize that email tracking was a thing. How naive of me.
- Facial recognition is coming to an airport near you. With sketchy privacy controls, and a less-than-upfront opt-out policy. Our reporter makes the classic statistical of drilling down on the false positive rate, and ignoring the false negatives.
- Know your surveillance cameras. They’re everywhere.
- How did the police know you were near a crime scene? Google told them What did I just say about that GoogleSh!t?
- Public schools are enabling Google to track kids in school. Glenn Reynolds is right: In the future, we’ll view sending your kids to public school as a form of child abuse.
- Rwanda has proposed the world’s first country-wide DNA database…in an effort to crack down on crime. Really? Rwanda? No way THAT could be abused.
Social media is pretty much a blight on society, a timewasting temptation to reveal way too much information that should be kept private. The rise of cyberbullying and online outrage mobs are symptoms of what I call the Cyber Sturmabteilung, the Internet incarnations of san-coulottes, lynch mobs, Red Guards, Khmer Rouge. The only way to win that game is to not play.
- Chelsea Clinton(!) called out for NZ Muslim massacre
- When Kids Realize Their Whole Life Is Already Online
- Cybersocials get freaked out by The Antisocial
- Google Chrome may be improving incognito browsing. Why do I suspect a catch?
In a world of doom and gloom, a couple of bright spots appear:
- Indefatigable theatre critic Terry Teachout gives us this delightful bit of wisdom
“You were made for enjoyment, and the world was filled with things which you will enjoy, unless you are too proud to be pleased by them, or too grasping to care for what you cannot turn to other account than mere delight.”John Ruskin, The Stones of Venice
The Surveillance Market is set to invade your local quick-stop, grocer, or ice house.
A new digital door technology from a company called Cooler Screens is now being tested in Walgreens, and it sounds absolutely awful. Rather than a basic, transparent glass door, coolers and freezers will be sealed by screens that show a sanitized image of the products behind them. Supposedly, these screens will:
- Save energy
- Help monitor inventory
- Help customers with poor eyesight
- Make products more visually appealing
That’s all nice enough, and those mild benefits might even be worth replacing a simple glass pane with a complex TV screen. However, further reading ultimately makes those benefits sound like nothing so much as an after-the-fact justification for the real motives behind this technology:
Flashing banner ads float between the digital rows of goods…in addition to the flashy ads and “smart” merchandising, these screens are equipped with sensors and cameras designed to watch and profile the appearance and actions of customers who find themselves in their path, like me. Approximate age and gender. How long my gaze lingers on the bottles of tea.
And they don’t even hide the fact that they’re watching you! Zuboff is right when she says the corporate desire for behavioral data is insatiable.
Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think having Big Brother determine whether I’m buying milk, soda pop, or a cold beer is any of their business. I won’t patronize Cool Screeners.
Be a dirty shame if someone banged a shopping cart into these screens and disabled them (hey, it happens to smartphones all the time).
Tip from Stephen Green writing at the Instapundit.