Archive | January, 2020

Are You Out There?

23 Jan

 

The scientists asked volunteers to spend an hour recalling as many faces as they could from their private lives, covering old school friends, work colleagues, past partners and colleagues.

In recent studies psychologists have developed the first evidence based estimates of the number of faces the average human knows.

Through a series of recall and recognition tests on volunteers, researchers have discovered that while the human ability to recognize faces varies enormously, people know between 1,000 and 10,000 faces of friends, family members, colleagues and celebrities, with most being able to remember and recognize about 5,000 different faces.

But did you know that this year a startup company called  Clearview AI with its newly developed app has made it possible for a human being to recognize just about everybody they see!

The app works by comparing a photo to a database of more than 3 billion pictures that Clearview AI says it has collected from Facebook, YouTube and other sites. It then serves up matches, along with links to the sites where those photos originally appeared.

The size of the Clearview AI database is gigantic compared to others already in use by law enforcement. For example: The FBI’s database, which taps passport and driver’s license photos, is one of the largest, with over (only!) 641 million images of US citizens.

Clearview AI said in a statement that its technology is intended only for use by law enforcement and security personnel and since its creation more than 600 law enforcement agencies (as yet unnamed) have started using the app in the past year. Law enforcement officers say they’ve already used the app to solve crimes from shoplifting to child sexual exploitation to murder.

Privacy advocates however, warn that the app could return false matches to police and that it could also be used by stalkers and others. They’ve also warned that facial recognition technologies could be used to conduct mass surveillance. (what could possibly go wrong?!)

But the Clearview AI app is even more powerful than that because those who have had a chance to use and analyze it say that The computer code underlying its app includes programming language to pair it with augmented-reality glasses that would enable users  to identify every person they saw. The tool could identify activists at a protest or an attractive stranger on the subway, revealing not just their names but where they lived, what they did and whom they knew.

Remember those x-ray glasses that we used to see for sale in our comic books and hoped that for just $5.95 we’d actually have x-ray vision once they arrived in the mail?

Image result for x-ray glasses from the comic books

Wow! Forget x-ray glasses! In the foreseeable future we’ll be able to walk around with glasses that will be able to tell us who everyone we see… is! However, Clearview AI says that this new technology is not intended for use by the general public…but there are no federal laws against its public use. (what could possibly go wrong?!)

So get ready for a brave new world coming to a city near you. where everybody knows your name and you know theirs and privacy will be a distant memory…except in banks and airports no doubt… where they’ll probably still require 3 forms of photo ID before agreeing that you are who you… and their glasses… say you are!

Climate Mockery II

20 Jan

A view of the hotel and clubhouse with the 18th green to the right at the Trump International Golf Links Doonbeg.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has proposed a six-mile-long barrier of man made islands with retractable gates to protect New York City from flooding at a cost of around 119 billion dollars. The project would take 25 years to complete but a finalized proposal  won’t be presented to Congress until 2022.  Some experts however, fear that with the expected sea rise do to global warming the massive proposal will be too little too late.

But President Trump, upon hearing of the proposal to save the largest and most famous city in his United States tweeted this:

Besides global warming and sea rise is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese government and not something for any US citizens and cities to worry about, right?
Meanwhile… our President has appealed to the Clare County Council in Doonberg, Ireland  to allow his resort and golf club to build a line of two low, concealed seawalls on the landward side of a public beach to prevent storm waters from eroding three holes of his golf course. One wall will be 2,000 feet long and the other 840 feet long.

In his first application in 2016, Mr. Trump cited “global warming and its effects,” including rising sea levels and water erosion, as reasons for the wall,  despite his statements calling global warming and climate change “a total hoax.” He later submitted a second application without the mention of global warming which was approved in late 2017.

Thank goodness I suppose. Otherwise we might think him to be some kind of…

Hypocrite?

I’m also guessing that his wall in Ireland will be a beautiful wall that will be pleasing to the eye and most pleasant for the citizens of Clare County to look at… and not at all like the “foolish, unfriendly and terrible” wall that his US Army Corp of Engineers will plan to build.

So New Yorkers get your “Mops and Buckets” ready!

And Maybe while you’re at it you can also…

Eat Some Cake?

 

 

They’re Unbelievable!

17 Jan

The First Family of the United States of America really is quite something to behold. Here is the President’s son, Donald Junior, posting a selfie of himself with one of his favorite guns.

View image on Twitter

Notice how he has decorated it! Here’s a close up look in case you haven’t seen this on the news, or twitter, or Instagram, or FOX News or wherever…

Donald Trump Jr. rifle

The magazine of his decorated AR-15 shows the former Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton behind bars ― because, as all Trump supporters agree, she should be locked up… like all Democrats…or at least in Hell.  And this particular weapon is called the “Crusader”. Notice also the Christian soldier’s helmet and the Jerusalem cross adorning the trigger…

Is that because we are currently engaged in a Holy War between Christianity and Islam?…or maybe because we would like to be?… Or because the President’s and his son and this administration would all like to be?…

In any case, when will the Trumps and their supporters give up their own personal holy war against Hillary Clinton and the 65 million or so Americans who voted for her?

Did you know that a Justice Department inquiry (another one) launched more than two years ago at the behest of newly elected President Trump, has recently ended with no tangible results (again)! And this one authorized DOJ attorneys to investigate the Clinton Foundation, the Uranium One sale and of course those Emails.

And still no wrongdoing on the part of Hillary Clinton or any other Clintons has been found. So that make 9 Congressional inquiries, The FBI investigation, and the Department of Justice investigation all at a cost of untold millions of dollars…and all for nothing.

But still every President Trump Hate Rally ends with “Lock Her Up!”

Meanwhile: Our President Trump has admitted in a court of law to using his charity, The Trump Foundation, to bolster his campaign and settle business debts (rather than, you know,  for…charity) and so he has paid $2 million to eight charities as part of a settlement in which he admitted he misused funds raised by the Donald J. Trump Foundation in order to promote his presidential bid and pay off business debts.

And he admitted to using the foundation’s money to settle obligations of some of his for-profit companies, including a golf club in Westchester County, N.Y., and Mar-a-Lago, his private club in Florida which he frequently visits…now at tax payer expense! And he admitted that the foundation had given his presidential campaign control over 2.8 million dollars that the foundation had raised at a veterans fund-raiser in Iowa in January 2016… and President Trump acknowledged the fund-raiser was in fact a campaign event.

And my favorite part of the story is this: As part of the settlement, President Trump’s three children who were officers of the foundation — Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump — were ordered to undergo mandatory training to ensure they do not engage in similar misconduct in the future.

Because, I guess, how were these 3 brilliant young children of perhaps the smartest most intelligent father in the world to know that charitable funds were only supposed to be spent on charities?!…And that was the sum total of all of their punishment for stealing from their own charitable foundation: Pay back the money stolen and go to school to learn why it was wrong.

I have a neighbor who “misappropriated” 250,000 dollars from the local little league fund that he helped administer and he did 6 months in jail, plus the payback etc…and our former school Superintendent misdirected taxpayer funds for his own personal benefit and he is serving 11 years in prison for public corruption and tax evasion charges.

And yet, while the President’s son and The President himself continue to call for the incarceration of Hillary Clinton, even after years of personally seeing to her investigation and finding no evidence of any crimes… and in a country that prides itself on the just application of the rule of law… they confess to and settle out of court, crimes that they have committed themselves.

Meanwhile: The judge in President Trump’s case ruled that the President will be allowed to write off his restitution payments as charitable contributions in his future tax filings! Now THAT is truly…

unbelievable!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Climate Mockery

11 Jan

Image result for greenland ice melt

It’s now 2020! And After a summer of record temperatures in the Arctic scientists say Greenland’s ice sheet experienced its biggest melt, losing 197 billion tons of surface ice to the ocean — equivalent to 80 million Olympic swimming pools.

Temperatures are rising all across the planet. Weather patterns are changing. More and more animal species are in danger of extinction. Birds and bugs are disappearing. Our garbage and waste products are piling up all over the world and the oceans are filling with plastic debris from sea to shining sea.

And Australia is on fire…

Meanwhile:

President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign store now sells: Trump-branded plastic straws. And The description of the Trump straws is not subtle about the message the merchandise is meant to send. “Liberal paper straws don’t work. Stand with President Trump and buy your pack of recyclable straws today,” it reads. “Make Straws Great Again.”

A video that went viral last year of a marine biologist helping to remove a plastic straw from a sea turtle’s nose brought attention to the issue of plastic waste and specifically to the use of plastic straws…A recent study estimated that there are about 7.5 million plastic straws strewn on America’s beaches, amid 35 million tons of plastic pollution produced worldwide every year, about a quarter of which is dumped in rivers, streams and the oceans.

As a result many communities and businesses have begun to ban the use of plastic straws altogether. In the US, the west coast cities of Seattle and Malibu, near Los Angeles, have declared war on straws, while statewide bans of the items are being considered in California and Hawaii…and Many countries are even moving to phase out plastics in various forms.

 

But if you are a supporter of President Trump and the Republican Party then for just 15 dollars you can purchase a 10-pack of  red straws with Trump’s name “laser engraved” on them to show that you just don’t care about plastic waste. In fact his supporters so far don’t care to the tune of more than $856,000 in sales… since last July!

The success of the plastic straws – which the campaign says are recyclable (as is most plastic already) – is likely due to the hope of riling liberals, or anyone who is not keen on clogging up landfill, oceans, or the noses of turtles everywhere…with plastic straws.

Besides, President Trump has said that the US has bigger environmental problems than straws… And sadly, he has been addressing those problems by the way, by slashing and/or eliminating environmental regulations and protections on just about everything throughout the United States.

Now I know that we live in a free country and we all have the right to say and do as we please. And if you don’t think that our environment needs any special taking care of or that 8 billion people living on a planet that once had none, cannot in any way shape or form have any impact on how that planet behaves, then you are entitled to your opinion.

But do you really have to mock the rest of us who do? And mock the planet that you live on too? Really?

40% of America is now on board with tossing your soda cups, straws and cheeseburger wrappers out of your speeding car’s window while laughing and cavorting in your front seats as you wave your middle finger in the rear view window at Mother Nature… whenever the feeling moves you?!

Really? Remember when being a Litterbug was a bad thing?! Doesn’t anyone have grandchildren… who they love anymore?

I know that you won’t be around when they will have grown up to be the age that you are now. But if you were, what would you say to them?

“We did it for the straws? Plastic Straws were fun! Plastic Straws were wonderful! Plastic Straws were a necessity!

…You?… Not so much”…?

 

Oh, You Don’t Want To Go There!

3 Jan

Image result for statue of liberty

Did you know that Foreign countries are now issuing warnings to their citizens about traveling to the United States!

The Venezuelan government issued a statement urging Venezuelans to stay away from U.S. cities that have the most violence, citing a 2019 Forbes article that lists the most dangerous cities in the U.S. Those cities were Cleveland; Detroit; Baltimore; St. Louis; Oakland, California; Memphis, Tennessee; Birmingham, Alabama; Atlanta; Stockton, California; and Buffalo, New York.

The Uruguayan government also issued a similar statement urging its citizens to take precautions when visiting the United States because of its “increasing indiscriminate violence” and hate crimes fueled by “racism and discrimination that had cost the lives of more than 250 people in just the first seven months of 2019.”

And in Detroit, Michigan, The Japanese Consul published an alert advising that Japanese citizens “should be aware of potential for gunfire” everywhere in the U.S…. which they went on to describe as a “gun society,”

And in the very recent past other countries including, France, New Zealand and Germany have issued travel warnings because of gun violence in the U.S.

A database by The Associated Press, USA TODAY and Northeastern University shows there has been an increase in the number of mass killings in both 2018 and 2019. The database tracks every mass killing in the country dating back to 2006 and there have been more than 250 mass shootings in which four or more people were killed or wounded since that time.

So I guess that if you already live here in America and call the USA your home and someday (just like those foreigners) find yourself  worrying about going out and about your daily business…don’t worry…Just do what millions of Americans are already doing…

Bring your gun!

As Time Goes By…

2 Jan

Happy New Year everyone! And thanks to those of you who  you visited my blog once again this year…that’s if you have been visiting… because I have stopped writing… or at least haven’t written very often these days! But I am still alive! (And hopefully you are too 🙂 And so…here we are…again…

There are 525,600 minutes in a year and in 2012, (when I started blogging) I crossed the 30 million mark in minutes spent on Earth!

…So that means that as of midnight of the 31st of December this year I will arrive at 33,899,040!…(that’s 23,541 days!) but again, who’s counting? Still over 33 and one half million minutes alive!? Is that an accomplishment or just something that breathing and waking up every day took care of for me? Life in the fourth dimension took forever to move through when I was a child…but now it seems like I am definitely on the fast track to old age and beyond for this year (2020) I shall reach the age of 65.

And that is officially, at least by American standards, old! Can you say Medicare?

I’ll be leaping over the 35 million minute threshold early into 2020 and I will do my best to keep enjoying every minute of those minutes! So do your best to Spend your time… and enjoy it… wisely…

Remember! It may be a crazy and unpredictable world but it still is the only world in town.

Anyway, thanks for continuing to slow yourself down every once in a while by taking the time to visit and read my blog…and

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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