KneelingWe fail to follow why anyone cares what some celebratedly mammalian actress or outstandingly thuggish football player thinks of President Trump, North Korea or the Star Spangled Banner. We might value their respective opinions on wearing makeup or knocking people down but for advice on politics or propriety we will consult elsewhere. Not so our erstwhile “news” media, however.

These, now evolved into propagandists, dwell endlessly upon the glandular reactions of such societal lions at the expense of any rational thought or accumulated real human history.

North Korea is less a nuclear power than for instance, Pakistan. Pakistan is the real U.S. opponent in Afghanistan, though it receives billions in U.S. aid every year. Its major ally is China. None of that ever seems to be newsworthy. Our considered opinion is that North Korea is news in spite of its negligible real stature but more because the Russians and Chinese find it useful as their pit bull against the U.S. and the Trump administration finds it useful to justify military spending amounting to a match for the next roughly 10 countries on earth added together.

And the NFL national anthem brouhaha succumbs at once to any rational thought: Why play the anthem before athletic events, anyway? What does a football game have to do with patriotism? Why do the teams need to be on field if it is played? That has not always been the case. And if an actress on the Oscars show can dis the U.S. with Constitutional impunity, why not athletes? Clearly, the Oscars bay impose behavior and so may the NFL at their respective events, for which they have paid. If they do not do so, we are free to conclude that they approve of their representatives’ conduct with respect to the American flag.

And we in the audience are equally free to say “Screw you, ungrateful and undeserving millionaires” and to simultaneously stop paying admissions to such events. That’s fair on both ends, right?

But we don’t get why it’s news when the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, the collapse of divilization in Venezuela and the arrival of dictatorship in Turkey, aren’t.

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Driverless carThe driverless vehicle is the Next Big Thing! Or maybe not. Folks are enjoying much pontificating and both Big Auto and Big Tech are handing out news blurbs but we don’t see any such advertised for general sale, anywhere. Nor do we expect that any time soon.

Consider: Millions of cars sit around idle most of the time in garages or on parking lots, just so that millions of people can be wherever they want to be whenever they want to be there. Should big business or government replace all of them with centrally owned vehicles, there won’t be a vehicle for each present car owner; the  return on investment or required taxes will be a high barrier. And to the extent that the massive car provider doesn’t provide so many cars, it will be necessary to reschedule civilization to spread out peak demands: Everybody won’t be able to go to work around the same time anymore. Or all go shopping on weekends.

If instead the tech can be made so inexpensive that everyone will still buy their own cars for regular but very part time use, then the costs of the tech to make the cars driverless plus the new tech to adapt the roads and traffic controls and provide safety for drunken pedestrians and teen age bikers may add up to enough extra expense that it will be simpler and cheaper just to retain human drivers. We will have to see. Today, people can drive after natural calamities to some extent at least. But if a calamity involves say, the power grid or cell phone towers, will driverless tech remain available?

Then too, will such vehicles be equipped with driver controls? Will a driver be able to seize control from the computer? If so, at least one passenger will have to be a driver at all times, restricting the use of the vehicle and adding the cost of maintaining those drivers to the cost of the service. No calling a driverless to take the kids to school. It may be cheaper to call Uber.

Perhaps though, the idea will serve in special cases. Taxi-rich Manhattan or central London, for instance. Such driverless vehicles should be cheaper than manned taxis, especially after private vehicles are excluded. But scheduling seems likely to remain an issue.

Once past these issues, we can visualize packs of attorneys salivating over litigation opportunities opening up with the inevitable accidents, injuries and unexpected consequences. If grandma trips over a curb exiting a driverless vehicle and requires cosmetic surgery, was it her fault or did the vehicle stop too far from the curb? Just imagine the first time a car, driverless or not, tangles with a driverless truck.

Or suppose that such autonomous transport is fed more slowly into the mix as expensive luxury affordable by the wealthy at first. The first traffic accident seems likely to make legal and insurance history.

Instead, perhaps we should first look for today’s navigator and cruise controls to improve and to gradually integrate into each other, relieving drivers of physical detail. That could proceed with less disruption but it will not arrive in any rush, seems to us. We replaced the horse pretty fast; replacing the driver seems likely to take longer.

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GLEANINGS FROM THE PASSING SCENE … (Politically Uncorrected)


Scrapings from the week …

Healthcare: A Bernie Sanders 1987 video saying that single payer healthcare would bankrupt the nation  (Report) (Now, he says it will save the nation)

Politics: Are the two big parties obsolete? Article)

The economy: Los Angeles unfunded employee pensions exceed $10 B (Report) (The pensions are owed, but the money to pay them isn’t there)

Chicago: Hit 500 homicides so far in 2017 (Report)

The culture: Social media are increasingly providing network censorship for governments? (Report)

Naples, (IT) A nearby supervolcano may be heating up? (Report)

The internet: Will the politicians move in on Facebook? (Report) (Only if they can …)

The culture: Los Angeles schools will try sex education for 9 year olds? (Report)

Iraq/Syria: Update (Article)

The European Union wants to raise taxes on internet services by Google, Facebook et al. (Report)

Venezuela missed its 9/155 interest payment?  (Article) (Another socialist paradise bankruptcy)

Spain: Police are arresting Catalonian officials who support the Barcelona secession vote (Article)

Algeria: Update (Article)

The climate: How reliable is the published climate history? (Article)

Hawaii is considering legislation to provide universal basic income to its citizens. (Report)

Science: A quake swarm under Mount Rainier (WA) (Report) (Volcano swarm “not unusual”) California is sending seismic signals too. (Report)

The culture: San Francisco and others are suing Chevron and others in search of billions because they are allegedly a cause of climate change. (Report) (Why hasn’t Hillary sued Putin?)

Puerto Rico: Adds record storm damage on top of mismanagement bankruptcy (Report)

More culture: Oprah Winfrey is joining CBS “60 Minutes” (Report) (Probably a good choice … for today’s version of the show)

Turkey: Is following Venezuela into censorship, imprisoned political dissidents and dictatorship? (Report)

The internet: The European Union is leaning heavily upon internet tech operators to provide rapid mandated internet censorship (Report)

Florida: Residents are being cited for unrepaired storm damage (Report)

Chicago: 11 dead, 29 wounded in weekend shootings (Report)

 A naked man’s picture on Craigs’list brought charges (Report)

And so it went …

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GLEANINGS FROM THE PASSING SCENE … (Politically Uncorrected)

alfred_e-_neumannAnother week’s selections; about all we could stand …

The U.S. government: FEMA has barred Texas churches from Federal disaster relief? (Report)

The culture: Sexbots replace prostitutes; robots replace soldiers – Do we really need people, anymore? (Reports) (Well, somebody’s gotta pay for it all …)

The economy: Nordstrom is opening a smaller store, one without stock but offering a few service where goods will be ordered online.(Report) (Hmnn … we recall when Sears and Penney tried catalog stores)

Food: Now we hear that red meat/poultry may raise diabetes risk (Report) (Well, we know that NOT eating will kill us… Guess we’re all just gonna die)

The political culture: A Nobel Laureate economist writes on the substitution of propaganda for news illustrated in the “Russian election interference” nonsense. (Article)

The economy: After the hurricanes pass, America can’t afford to rebuild (Article) (We’ve already replaced our wealth with debt)

California corruption: U.S. taxpayers were stuck again for a costly state water project promised by politicians as free of taxpayer obligation (Report)

Brazil: Corruption amidst the anti-corruption? Lenient plea deals becoming odorous? (Report)

Idaho quake swarm is continuing; no mentions of possible connection to the Yellowstone caldera (Report)

Montenegro: Real, not fake Russian meddling unravels (Report)

A war on cars? Government seems to push self-driving tech fast (Report)

The economy: Simple, detailed explanation of ongoing federal financial mismanagement (Article)

Venezuela: Dactorship settles in (Article)

Satellites have been shrinking, proliferating and going up cheaper (Article)

The dulture: Sweden has begun use of implanted microchips to replace credit cards and train tickets? (Report)  (And they’re phasing out cash …)

The climate: Canadian government has been investigating climate change skeptics (Report) (First, the Inquisition, then burnings at the stake, right?)

The economy: Anaheim, CA declared an emergency to initiate a delayed reaction to its homeless burden. (Report)

Spain: Catalonia secession is heating up as a vote nears (Report)

The economy: Are more elder Americans “slipping into poverty”? (Report)

Venezuela: Russia and China are propping up the financially collapsing new dictator?  (Report)

Healthcare: The Senate is writing a bill “to stabilize the insurance market” (Report) (Actually it subsidizes insurers and sets healthcare pricing)

Politics: Is it time for a new political party? (Short article)

Science: New 3D printed structures start to fold themselves into final form as they are peeled from their printing substrate. (Report)

More science: Arrival of quantum computing seems likely to invalidate all current computer security encryption (Report)

Tech/Politics: Are the Feds pushing self-driving vehicles faster than the states wis? (Report)

The economy: Spendthrift politicians, oblivious voters and the debt threat (Article)

North Korea: Update (Article)

The government: A CIA whistleblower warns of that lurking in the shadowy depths of U.S. government (Article)

Technology: The unsolved puzzle of breathable air for high flying military pilots (Article)

Chicago: 5 dead, 31 wounded in weekend shootings (Report)

A naked man was arrested at Wal-Mart riding a shopping cart  (Report)

If we ever meet aliens, will they be as silly as we?

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GLEANINGS FROM THE PASSING SCENE … (Politically Uncorrected)

alfred_e-_neumannThe economy: McDonald’s has automated, serve yourself burgers are rolling out (Report)

Science: Quantum entanglement has been demonstrated between a satellite and two ground stations. (Report) (A big advance for those interested in particle physics/future computing and writing sci fi)

The culture: California churches must fund abortions in employee health insurance per a Federal court. (Report)  (God may tell you what to believe; the state will tell you what to do)

The culture: The dissolution of America’s historic culture analyzed (Article)

The war on cash: India’s de-monetization of cash is proving expensive. (Article) (Who knew?)

Science: An unusual, ongoing earthquake swarm in Idaho near the Wyoming border (Report) (Hmnn … any relation to the events under the Yellowstone caldera?)

More Science: Some NASA scientists want to defang the Yellowstone supervolcano with cold water pumped down onto the rising lava bed. (Report) (Some NASA ‘scientists’ sell climate change, too.)

California culture: Will the state’s Left provide the new Luddites, turning against progress to freeze a need for human labor? (Article)

The legal culture: Federal 7th circuit judge Richard Posner sees the U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights irrelevant to today’s reality. (Report)  (How does Pope Francis view the Bible?)

Chicago: 7 dead, 35 wounded over long holiday weekend’s shootings (Report)

The economy: President Trump pledged to dramatically reduce income taxes (Report) (He has also pledged increased spending … are we really that dumb?)

Hawaii legislators voted to “explore” the idea of a universal basic income (free money for all). (Report) (Where will they get the free money?)

The culture: A couple was arrested after public sex amidst families on the beach (Report) (But they don’t arrest public school sex ed teachers do they?)

The environment: A short history of U.S. nuclear weapons that have escaped (Report)

The economy: Retail closures are feeding unskilled unemployment (Report)

The economy: Kentucky government worker early retirements are booming as prospective state/city pensioners notice vastly underfunded pension plans. (Report) (Wishful thinkers …)

Afghanistan: The secret CIA war (Report) (A hidden piece of America’s perpetual wars apparatus)

More Afghanistan/Pakistan/India: Update  (Pakistan is the real enemy in Afghanistan.)

The culture: A transgender rapist was moved to a women’s jail where he began unwanted sexual advances toward the female prisoners. (Report) (Duh!)

The corruption: The Southern Poverty Law Center (A civil rights ‘nonprofit’) has $69 M parked overseas? (Report) (Poverty pays pretty well, we suppose … after the government gets involved)

The infrastructure:  “Mysterious” underground explosion cratered a Los Angeles street. (Report) (More votes spending on social goodies than on maintaining underground sewer, power, water and uh, gas)

The politics: Prez Trump finessed GOP leaders by cutting a debt limit deal with Democrats (Report) (And they were wondering how he could govern without a party behind him?)

Science: Women got around a lot more in the late stone and early bronze ages than was previously believed (Report) Hmnn … Women have always amounted to more than anyone thinks …)

More science: An engineering breakthrough in manufacturing of quantum computers (Report)

Spain: The government moved to block an upcoming Catalonia vote on independence (Article)

Obamacare: Added millions of low income beneficiaries via subsidized coverage and continues to price the unsubsidized middle class out of coverage (Report) (There can be no ‘fix’, only reduced coverage for which each party wants to blame the other)

The Internet: Democrats still want to regulate (i.e. censor) the web (Report) (What government doesn’t?)

The economy: Connecticut’s capital city threatens bankruptcy filing minus a state bailout (Report) (Hartford; what of Chicago, New Yor et al?)

Israel: Prime Minister Netanyahu’s wife is about to be indicted for fraud? (Report)

Education: “The math doesn’t work – Americans are losing faith in college” (Article) (Well, excepting math, science and engineering, right?)

Israel must repay millions in aid dollars per the U.S. State Department, though Congress disagrees (Article) (The swamp strikes back)

A naked woman was found asleep in his bed by a northern California man returning home. (Report)

And if that isn’t enough, it should be …

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GLEANINGS FROM THE PASSING SCENE … (Politically Uncorrected)

alfred_e-_neumannThe fallout from the week that was:

The economy: Congress is maneuvering to continue spending non-existent billions at our grandchildren’s expense. (Article) (A neat, simple explanation of how it’s done)

Guatemala: U.N. investigator expelled by allegedly corrupt president (Report) (Shocking, right?)

Hurricane/politics: Texas Governor Abbott (R) first called Houston’s mayor to advise evacuation; later to offer help with recovery; the mayor never called ack. (Report)

The culture: Denmark targets big cuts to reduce world’s highest tax burden (Report) (The country often cited as proof of successful socialism is backing away from it?)

Israel: Update (Article) (Some unpleasant realities)

The culture: “Burning Man” with partygoers dancing naked and enjoying orgies in the Nevada desert. (Report) (A stage of human culture that has historically preceded calamity, right?)

Italy: As poverty surges, populists propose a free “citizens’ income” (Never mind who will pay for it?)

The economy: The Federal Reserve is politicize? (Article) (Ya think?)

More economy: 19 European countries now have negative rates (Report) (Interchangeable genders, gay marriage and now you pay the bank to take your money – the nuts are running the asylum!)

Yemen: Update (Article)

Wells Fargo bank’s tally of fraudulent accounts in its ongoing scandal has risen to over 3 M (Report)

Venezuela: Opposition broadcasts went quiet as newly dictator Maduro tightened his grip (Report)

The culture: Female guards used male juvenile inmates as sex slaves? (Report) (Feminists find equality?)

The economy: The U.S. has 1.3 M troops deployed around the world? (Report) (If correct,no wonder it’s in debt … and Prez Trump wants more?)

Government: Americans pay more for taxes than for food/clothing combined? (Report) (And there’s the national debt to repay, too)

Reality sucks: A man fled cops by swimming out to sea; was pursued by a shark? (Report)

The culture: The Southern Poverty Law Center’s impressive financial holdings and Cayman Island bank accounts aren’t breaking news? (Article) (Well, they’re a lefty outfit, so what’s to remark?)

Science: Some fossilized human footprints indicate human presence a lot earlier than thought (Report)

More science: Some blind people use clicking sounds to “see” or measure distances, just as do bats and dolphins (Report)

The California culture: Sacramento approved paying gang guys to stop violence? (Article) (And pay North Korea ot to nuke us?)

Mexico: Update (Article)

The environment: The Yellowstone supervolcano (caldera) earthquake swarm approaches record size (Report) (Is it filling with pre-eruption lava?)

Comparing the world’s competing cultures: Analysis (Superior, though long, article from U.S. War College)

The culture: A Los Angeles version of the Left’s “College for Everybody” political scam (Article)

Chicago: 7 dead, 25 wounded in weekend shootings. (Report)

One naked and one half naked man were arrested after breaking into Harvest church to defend their mom. (Report)

And that should be enough …

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GLEANINGS FROM THE PASSING SCENE … (Politically Uncorrected)

alfred_e-_neumannAnother week’s worth:

The culture: Is Google working with liberal political groups to eliminate conservative web sites? (Article) Tech censorship is drawing criticism from within the industry (Report)

The war on cash: Visa and Master Card are both pushing abandonment of cash, leaving us only with government-accessible electronic payments tied to banks. Visa offers rewards to merchants who refuse cash. (Article) (We can run, but we can’t hide …)

The economy: How will millennials and gen X support all the retiring baby  boomers while repaying the government’s debts? (Article) (Economic reality made simple without political nonsense)

Iraq: Playing coy between Saudi Arabia and Iran? (Article)

The media: CNN demonizes mainstream conservatives along with Alt Right hate groups? (Report)

The (secret) economy: “It’s time to audit the Federal Reserve” – Senator Rand Paul (Report) (No, Senator – It’s way past time!)

The very quiet scandal re Democrat Congressfolk’s leakage of classified data via their chosen computer guru is still expanding, quietly (Report) (Now if it had been Trump’s data …)

Electronic Black Ops? Another U.S. Navy ship collision in    Asia  Another U.S. Predator drone crashed in Turkey  Black Sea ships report that GPS is suddenly unreliable  (Report)  Suspicion of electronic hacking appears (Article)

Science: Manufacturing and trade existed in Viet Nam 2,000 years before Christ? (Report)

The politics: Thousands of “protestors” squelch a free speech rally in Boston (Report) (Only the Left is allowed large public displays?) (Some media couldn’t differentiate between free speech and white supremacy)

That “coming cultural civil war”  is a political game; we’re being played? (Article)

Afghanistan: Prez Trump will beef up U.S. expenditure of lives and borrowed dollars for no ascertainable gain. (Report) (Just like his predecessors) More for the Afghan military at U.S. expense (Article) And there are already some 3,000 more U.S. troops in Afghanistan than previously acknowledged. (Report)

Science: Researchers have controlled a mouse’s movements by signaling its brain (Report)

Charlottesville was a se up, scripted political theater? (Report)

 The culture: Google has been secretly monitoring/recording smartphone users when they have been near their devices? (Report) (We’re never aloe anymore)

North Korea: Update (Article)

The economy: Several Wall Street banks are predicting a downturn in the business cycle. (Report) (Predicting rain from an oncoming hurricane….)

The culture: Modern life is making everyone constipated? (Report)

Science: Medical diagnoses from handling paper? (Report)

Philippines/China: Update  (Article) (China’s muscling into the South China Sea continues)

Cuba: U.S. and Canadian diplomats in Havana have been subtly and not so subtly harassed and attacked? (Report)

Retail: Wal-Mart and Google have partnered to provide voice-based electronic shopping. (Report)

The economy: A simple explanation of the conflict between Trump and the globalist business/banking interests. (Article)

The economy: 78% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck (Per CBS News) (Report) (Wonder how they know … But we can believe that life isn’t improving for a lot of people.)

The climate: Actual temperature data graph shows cooling; then N.O.A.A. ‘adjusted’ data shows warming? (Report) (Who you gonna trust, me or your lying thermometer?)

Myanmar (Burma): Update (Article)

The culture: Canada has introduced “X” as a third sex for passports. (Report) (Politics trumps biology)

Science: Trigonometry was used by Babylonians 1,ooo years before the ancient Greeks (Report)

The economy: Capital exiting the U.S. is a “paradox”? (Article) (More a flight from inflated values toward delusional safety?)

Libya: Update and review of Africa-to-Europe migration (Article)

Turkey: Updat on President Erdogan’s rising opposition (Report)

The politics: Organized Right/Left thugs are maneuvering for advantage in San Francisco street politics. (Report) (We know who’s funding the Left; who’s funding the Right?)

Congress approved warrantless searches of private property. (Article) (Yes, that’s unconstitutional, so what)

The politics: President Trump slammed GOP leaders for the debt ceiling mess. (Report) (Trump, who wats lower taxes, greater military spending and billions spent on infrastructure, is redefining chutzpah)

Chicago:  9 deadm 54 wounded in weekend shootings. (Report)

And somehow, everybody seems to have kept their clothes on …

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