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FSogol's Journal
FSogol's Journal
May 31, 2018

You Can Soon Own a HAL 9000 Replica That Uses Amazon Alexa to Control Your Home, Dave

Introducing the Master Replicas Group's 2001 Interactive HAL Computer!
For the first time in 50 years, you can own an absolutely authentic, fully-operational HAL 9000 computer interface. The Master Replicas Group Interactive HAL Computer uses Amazon Echo technology to control your home!


What could go wrong?

May 31, 2018

How 1960s Film Pirates Sold Movies Before the FBI Came Knocking

“When a movie breaks back then [in the 1960s], they put it in like a hundred theaters,” Wise explained. “And, of course, that’s film. That’s 100 films. After two or three weeks, they only need like 20 and [the movie studios] pay tax on every print that’s in the room... so they have to junk 80 prints—they have to throw them away. So you can kind of guess the story there, when I find out they’re throwing these things away....”

Wise said that when he found out they were just tossing film prints in the trash, he started to offer the low-level employees in the shipping department at the movie studios a few bucks to take them. At first, it was just a single movie from time to time.

“Well, that grew,” Wise said in an understated way. The guys in the film exchanges in Washington, D.C., his friends, were more than happy to make $25 here or there for something that the studio was just going to throw in the landfill.

Wise sold movies for up to $575, which would be over $4,000 in today's money. But then the FBI found him.

From http://www.neatorama.com/
More on the story at:
May 29, 2018

She was in labor. From her hospital bed, she officiated the wedding of a couple also having a baby.

Sushma Dwivedi Jindal was having her baby last week at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

As she was getting an epidural in her spine to halt the pain of contractions, her anesthesiologist started chatting with Jindal to calm her nerves.

“She happens to mention that there was a mad dash to hunt down the hospital chaplain for a wedding,” said Jindal, 37.
A couple down the hall — together for 10 years but never married — had their hearts set on tying the knot before the baby came, the doctor said. They had gotten their wedding license the day before, but then the woman unexpectedly went into labor.

Jindal blurted out: “I don’t know if this will feel helpful or weird, but I was ordained on the Internet and I can perform the ceremony.”

Whole story here:
May 29, 2018

The first cyberattack took place nearly 200 years ago in France

France created a national mechanical telegraph system in the 1790s; in 1834, a pair of crooked bankers named François and Joseph Blanc launched the first cyberattack, poisoning the data that went over the system in order to get a trading advantage in the bond market.

Tom Standage has a great stock-in-trade in this kind of story; his 1998 book The Victorian Internet was a fabulous look at the parallels between the telegraph bubble and the internet bubble of the late 1990s; his 2006 essay cataloged the predecessors of the moral panic over video games (like the waltz and the novel); he's written about the great handwringing over the Facebook of the 17th century (cafe society); and his 2013 book The Writing on the Wall traces "the first 2,000 years of social media" ("from the papyrus letters that Roman statesmen used to exchange news across the Empire to the advent of hand-printed tracts of the Reformation to the pamphlets that spread propaganda during the American and French revolutions" ).

His essay on the first cyberattack is an excellent Standage riff, combining the technical (the crooks exploited a bug in how the backspace characters were handled by the mechanical telegraph) with the economic and social, and revealing lessons from history that bear close reading today.

More by Cory Doctorow at:
May 23, 2018

A New U.S.-Mexico Border? Imagining a Binational Region Called MEXUS

Architects are frequently accused of being out of touch, but this might take the prize:

May 23 -- LA JOLLA -- Teddy Cruz and Fonna Forman aren't the sort of urbanists to get squeamish over a little raw sewage.
In 2011, the pair led a curious procession of 300 day-trippers from San Diego's side of the border through a drainage pipe to Tijuana .
The pipe connects a natural preserve on the U.S. side with higher elevation canyonlands to the south. A video on the website of San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts , where Cruz and Forman exhibited their work last year, shows a pair of immigration agents at a folding table stamping passports as a stream of dingy wastewater cascades beside them.

Forman and Cruz don't look at the U.S. - Mexico border as a dividing line. They look at it as a region -- one with a shared culture, economy and environment. That vision is why they were chosen as one of seven design teams to be featured in the U.S. Pavilion's official exhibition, "Dimensions of Citizenship," at this year's Venice Architecture Biennale, which opens Saturday.

For this project, Cruz and Forman have re-imagined the U.S. - Mexico border. Starting with the by-now familiar undulating shape of the dividing line, they erased the narrow political boundary and created a new 154,000 square-mile border region they call "MEXUS."

Entire story here:

Let me be the first to sing: Bum, bum bum, deep in the heart of Mexus!
May 21, 2018

Can Americans ditch guns the way we ditched cigarettes?

Not that long ago, cigarettes were completely woven into American culture. The Marlboro Man, posters telling us that “more doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette,” even the armrests on planes and all our cars were designed for smokers.

And now? Not so much. Can it work like that with guns?

Because after another horrific school shooting — eight students and two teachers massacred at Santa Fe High School outside Houston on Friday — we are nearly out of fresh ideas.

“I know some have strong feelings about gun rights but I want you to know I’ve hit rock bottom and I am not interested in your views as it pertains to this issue,” Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo wrote in a Facebook post. “Please do not post anything about guns aren’t the problem, and there’s little we can do.” The only relief in sight is the end of the school year. How’s that for a solution?

Whole Column by Petula Dvorak here:
May 17, 2018

I dedicate this Richard Hell song to Trumpy, all of the Trumpkins, & the whole stinking GOP scummery

Liars Beware

Look out liars and you highlife scum
Who gotta keep your victims poor and dumb, and dumb, and dumb

Your motives and your methods are not disguised
By your silk, soap, sex, or your smiling lies, your lies, your lies

Look out here, you pompous jerk
Well, look out here, I go berserk

Well I guess you put me in my place
But I won't forget your stupid face


They gave you power 'cause they knew your needs
Soprano boys get talent when you shoot seeds, your seeds, your seeds

Well you laugh to hear what your best friends say
Oh man, they laugh when you walk away, away, away

Look out chief, ridiculous creep
Well, look out thief, you'll lose your teeth

Well you got power, now there's competition
And your blind side's turned to the boys with a mission



You were sixty-five when you wiggled out
Your mind all twisted and your mom all shout, all shout, all shout

I'm a man with his share of excess nice
But it can't be spared for drooling lice, for lice, for lice

Look out jerk, you ancient slut
I can't endure our smirking smut

Well life is short so don't even try
To bother waving as we pass you by


May 15, 2018

For six decades, 'the man with the golden arm' donated blood -- and saved 2.4 million babies

In 1951, a 14-year-old Australian boy named James Harrison awoke from a major chest operation. Doctors had removed one of his lungs in a procedure that had taken several hours — and would keep him hospitalized for three months.

But Harrison was alive, thanks in large part to a vast quantity of transfused blood he had received, his father explained.
“He said that I had 13 units of blood and my life had been saved by unknown people,”

At the time, Australia’s laws required blood donors to be at least 18 years old. It would be four years before Harrison was eligible, but he vowed then that he too would become a blood donor when he was old enough.

After turning 18, Harrison made good on his word, donating whole blood regularly with the Australian Red Cross Blood Service. He disliked needles, so he averted his eyes and tried to ignore the pain whenever one was inserted into his arm.
Meanwhile, doctors in Australia were struggling to figure out why thousands of births in the country were resulting in miscarriages, stillbirths or brain defects for the babies.

Harrison's blood plasma contains a rare antibody that was used to save babies. He made 1,173 donations.

Whole story here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2018/05/12/for-six-decades-the-man-with-the-golden-arm-donated-blood-and-saved-2-4-million-babies/?utm_term=.ffc999789ab4&wpisrc=nl_optimist&wpmm=1

May 15, 2018

Isn't a major co-winky-dink that all Trumpish WH actions ultimately benefit Russia more than the US?

The US reimposes sanctions on Iran and prevents US and European businesses from doing business with Iran.
Who gets that business? Russia and China.

What do we get? An unstable Middle East, Iran siding with Russia, and Iran restarts its nuclear project.

WTF Trumpy?

May 14, 2018

It's not Ripley's loader, but this industrial exoskeleton makes physical labor a breeze

The exoskeleton is a popular science fiction trope: “Aliens,” “District 9,” and “Edge of Tomorrow” all prominently feature the mechanical suits. And as with many sci-fi inventions before it—holograms, 3D printing, self-adjusting shoelaces—exoskeletons are making the jump from the silver screen to the real world.

SuitX industrial exoskeletons reduce the risk of injuries to the wearer without the use of batteries, actuators, or computers. Available in backX, legX, and shoulderX, the modular devices can be combined to form a full-body exoskeleton, called MAX.

ackX can be put on and taken off in 30 seconds and is designed to integrate with standard safety harnesses and tool belts. The module reduces the forces and torques on a wearer’s lower back region (L5/S1 disc) by an average of 60% while stooping, lifting objects, bending, or reaching. It comes in two models. Model S is compatible with legX, weighs 4.9 lbs, and is worn with an exoskeleton harness that weighs 2.5 lbs. Model AC is compatible with legX and shoulderX and weighs 7.5 pounds. It is worn with the same 2.5-lb harness. The Model S frame keeps the rear belt open and accessible for reaching tools, while the Model AC frame is load-bearing and transfers the weight of attached loads directly to the hips or the ground if legX is attached.

More at

PS: BackX and shoulderX cost $4,000; legX is $6,000.

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