Friday, December 28, 2018

CNN: "The Disappearing White House Briefing"

On Thursday, December 27, 2018 CNN aired “The Disappearing White House Briefing”. 

In the past few months, under Sarah Sanders, the briefings have become much less frequent and shorter.

The documentary also covered the controversy of Jim Acosta’s behavior and Trump’s excoriation of him as a terrible person, and the resulting litigation.

Earlier Kaitlin Collins had been banned from a Rose Garden event because Trump didn’t like the line of questioning she had posed earlier. 

Sean Spicer started out doing the briefings, and was embarrassed by having to exaggerate the Inauguration Day crowd the day after.
Trey Yingst, from OANN at the time, was one of the most successful in getting probing questions asked.  Trey now works for Fox News as a foreign correspondent in Jerusalem and often appears.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

John Fish series: "A Day in the Life of a Harvard Computer Science Student"

Harvard undergraduate student John Fish has a series of slick videos of his life at Harvard.  This one is called “A Day in the Life of a Harvard Computer Science Student”.

I would wonder how he can set up everything to film himself so professionally all day.  Life is planned out to the minute, even time to meditate.

The opening wakeup call is photogenic with its attention to little details, like making the bed, and pouring tea.

The math homework is already differential equations, which is pretty good for a freshman.

I wonder how far his dorm room is from the place where Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook on Feb. 4, 2004.

I certainly am impressed with the level of maturity of the best of today’s teens, compared to me as I started college in 1961.  Technology has widened the potential range of maturity of today’s “Gen Z” in the 16-24 age range.  The brain is supposed to be fully grown at age 25, as it has finished “pruning” and optimizing the skills it will need. That’s why if you are going to be good at music, chess, or coding, you need to start young, well before pruning.

I visited the campus in August, 2015 (picture).

In another video Fish says he grew up near Waterloo, Ontario.  I've noticed that "kids" who grow up in Canada are doing very well compared to most a lot of the US.  Look at actor Richard Harmon. Is having a better handle on inequality one of the reasons?
David Hogg will attend Harvard in the fall of 2019.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Tibees: sample examination videos (start with Applied Mathematics)

Tibees has an interesting series of examinations, both entrance and typical course final exams in university level physics and mathematics, making up a YouTube "TV Channel".
Here’s a typical exam in “applied mathematics” where she works some of the problems.  Most of the problems involving proving some assertion in a specialized engineering setting.

I’m not sure that these questions vary a whole lot from the normal “mathematics” paradigm (algebra, analysis, topology).  Maybe it includes a little number theory and branches on physics.

More and more, it seems like university programs for stronger undergraduates these days involve very big honors projects that get published with normal peer review processes.  For example, it appears (from LinkedIn) that Jack Andraka will spend another year at Stanford for finish a bio-engineering project for a EE Master’s.  I don’t know much about it other than it is supposed to have uses in medicine (cancer therapies).  He just finished a Truman Scholar project over the summer in Sierra Leone regarding anthropology and exposure to infectious disease (Ebola, or, in the past, HIV). 
We’re waiting to find out more about Taylor Wilson’s work with fusion at the University of Nevada in Reno (I passed through there in September, and visited Stanford briefly on the same trip).
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (a EE professor at CUNY, I think) has been supporting his “skin in the game” theory with multiple Twitter threads of theoretical statistics problems (mostly calculus problems) regarding transferrable asymmetric risk. Insurance underwriters, you have been warned.  And students, his tweets make good exam preparation material.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

CNN: "The Curious Case of the Killer Clown": closing the remaining cases from John Wayne Gacy

Jean Cesarez narrated CNN’s special documentary “The Curious Case of the Killer Clown”, link

This was an infamous serial murder case in John Wayne Gacy lured at least 33 young men or teen boys to his home near Chicago, then rapes, tortured and murdered them and buried them among crawl spaces in his house between 1972 and 1978. He was convicted of the murders in 1980 (one count of sodomy), and executed by lethal injection in May 1994.

The documentary focused on solving eight more missing people, some from Minnesota. 

I remember the cases in the news in 1978, my last year of living in New York City. It isn’t curious, it is one of the most horrific of all time, although Andrew Cunanan’s in 1987 was more tantalizing to report on.

Gacy had been married to women twice.
The documentary had been delayed for two weeks after the death of George H. W. Bush. The clown idea is interesting as it appears in several of Stephen King's novels (like "IT" (1986), which became a TV Miniseries and then a film.) 

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Reid Ewing returns to "Modern Family" but seems to vanish from Twitter and then Instagram

I watched a couple more episodes of “Modern Family”, for a reason.

On Wed. Nov. 28, the mockumentary sitcom aired “Kids These Days”, directed by James R. Bagdonas. In the opening scene, Dylan (Reid Ewing) has breakfast with Haley in a diner as she asks for his counsel.  The episode shifts quickly to the football field where Cam (Eric Stonestreet) admonishes the high school team to act more manly.

You can imagine where that goes.  The school administration’s social justice warriors advise Cam, of all people, that he criticized a protected class.  White cis gay men aren’t protected anymore, but gender fluid and trans is protected indeed. 

Well, maybe Cam couldn’t help the Washington Redskins (sorry about the name) right now with two quarterbacks with broken legs, which may never look the same again.

The episode concludes when Dylan volunteers in a hospital doing visitations, it appears.

On Wednesday Dec. 12, the episode is called “Stuck in the Moment” (directed by Fred Savage). 

Dylan drives a panel truck with Haley in one scene, and plays Santa, coming down the chimney (it helps that he is lean).

Reid Ewing has gone back to playing some episodes in “Modern”.   He recently turned 30 (in early November), but what is remarkable is that his two wonderful Twitter feeds disappeared.  There was wonderful stuff there about Danganronpa and manga, about his own graphic novel project, about dogs and sometimes cats, about dressing in costumes, about life in Salt Lake, about English and Russian literature (Chekhov plays), and various moral aphorisms.

He had a smaller account on Instagram, with some poolside pictures which disappeared but then there was new stuff, some of it about working.  Then that all disappeared.

The YouTube stuff is largely there (including the interesting graphic novel “The Winchester Half-Tragedy”) but the “It’s Free” series went private and disappeared (filmed in 2012, it is politically very relevant to some problems in Tech today). 

I don’t see an agent on imdbpro, but maybe it takes time for them to appear when they are added.
So, I wonder, is the recent misbehavior of tech companies, banning people for no good reason, causing other “liberals” and “libertarians” to leave?  Other “liberal” friends of mine have stopped posting on Twitter, maybe out of protest.

This has implications for how people reach each other.  Maybe the “establishment” (of studios, agents, guilds, etc) in Hollywood and other fields doesn’t like to see “celebrities” so open to talking to the public in social media.   Lost cost amateur speakers with no comparable overhead have become competition  for attention, eroding people making a living, maybe.  Maybe Hollywood wants to push localism and personal right-sizing, and the idea of “social credit”.  That sounds a little Marxist, like China, or like the social justice warrior problem.
Is that what is going on?  Look at how Cam gets into trouble in the Nov. 28 episode again.

Update: Dec. 21

Instagram now shows an "Official Reid Ewing" site with one image (as of now).  It would be disturbing if media companies or agents restricted what their own actors or clients do with their own social media accounts "unreasonably". I can imagine some reasons. I've talked about this issue with respect to the conventional workplace on other blogs in the past, under Blogger or Wordpress labels "conflict of interest". 

Monday, December 17, 2018

"Economic Invincibility" describes his fiction projects: Morgan Freeman should be ready to do an O'Neill cylinder sci-fi project

“Economic Invincibility” seemed to identify himself as “Martin Goldberg”, living in Florida, with a liberal arts degree and a stable job, probably in tech, about age 25. The video was called “Facts About Martin Goldberg” on Dec. 16. 

Of course, Goldberg could be a pen name. He says he was brought up as an evangelical Christian, so last names don’t mean anything.

He mentioned three books he is working on:  a sci-fi novel, a medieval fantasy, and a children’s book.  He said he writes out longhand first before typing onto a laptop.  He also says he has little or no debt and low overhead, and is very careful to take any on.  Yup, that means being careful about making the jump for marriage and children.  He admits that this is not good for population demographics and the economy – not exactly MGTOW, but being cautious.

He also mentioned keeping a private diary, which I do myself (noting my dreams every night).  Its contents never go online, but probably have suggested a couple incidents in my novel.  A major theme in my last sonata came to me in a dream.

I had written a long comment on his “Clean Your Room” (aka “Skin in the Game”) post the day before, and challenged him to take a look at the bannings of conservatives from platforms like Patreon, which I have blogged about before.  I think he read it, but instead decided to talk about his life and maybe plans as a writer. He mentioned some favorite authors –I think Arthur C. Clarke, and some Russians. (How about Chekhov, which Reid Ewing likes.)  No mention of manga or Danganronpa (Ewing, again.)

Is there some kind of message here?  I have a novel, a screenplay (based on my “do ask do tell” series books, with a setting on an O’Neill Cylinder) and a sonata to get delivered to the public, all in 2019.
Does his novel happened on an O’Neill Cylinder?  Morgan Freeman has been interested in producing Arthur C. Clarke’s “Rendez-Vous with Rama” for years.  Maybe a film, maybe more like a SciFi channel series.  Imagine building the cylinder with CGI.  Or maybe a real model in that movie studio in Baton Rouge LA or maybe Austin TX. 
Picture: Model railroad worlds are like O'Neill cylinders.  But you have to get the artificial gravity right. Once you jump off the surface, there is no gravity at all. How would you play baseball? 

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Timcast: "Lefty Millennial Media Companies Are Collapsing"

I think that “Timcast” (Tim Pool) “counts” as a quasi-cable program (on YouTube), and a very recent post from this weekend is good to mention now. “Lefty Millennial Media Companies Are Collapsing, Investors Pull Out.”
I will talk to my own account manager (Wells Fargo) soon about this.  My assets are not doing as well this year, even given volatility under Trump and China.
Pool analyzes a Washington Post story by Renae Merle and Thomas Heath, “New media hit stumbling block, scaring away some investors”.   Too much reliance on big social media is part of the problem, as these companies have their own content monitoring problems and privacy scandals.
Pool thinks that even Vox (a generally moderate site) has gone overboard to characterize (without enough evidence other than “associations”) some controversial pundits as “alt-right” and have encouraged a climate where “social justice warriors” scare tech companies into deplatforming them. 
Let me add, it is very disturbing people deplatformed for off-platform behavior (even Patreon’s “manifest observable behavior”) which generally can’t be proved but is often rumored. (De-platforming a convicted criminal would be OK, for example, because there is due process). 

Monday, December 10, 2018

CNN Heroes 2018 emphasizes homebuilding skills, helping immigrants, trafficking victims; and finally introducing kids overseas to baseball

Anderson Cooper hosted “CNN Heroes” Sunday December 10, 2018. 
The winner was Ricardo Pun-Chong, a doctor in Peru who started shelters for homeless families. This idea comports with issues in providing shelter for migrants.
A similar project was Like Mickelson, who quit a high-paying jobs to make (with carpentry) beds for kids who sleep on floors, operated from Idaho, “Sleep in Heavenly Peace”.  I thought I had mentioned this on one of my blogs but can’t find it now.
Chris Stout builds tiny houses for homeless veterans.  I’m not fond myself of living in a tiny space. But there is a lot of emphasis on practical skills in this year’s winners.
I had covered Susan Munsey’s work helping the victims of sex trafficking here on Sept. 29.  Brisa D’Angulo was presented as having survived one of these situations.
Florence Phillip, 87, helps provide immigrants with instruction in English as a second language, in Nevada.  She had been in the Peace Corps.
Max Bobholz, 18 and a freshman in college, seems to have the same kind of “young people will win” zeal as David Hogg and Tyler Linfesty. (I hope they have met, at least online.)  A baseball player (I think a pitcher) he delivered baseball equipment to kids in Kenya.  Maybe he will be with the Nationals in a few years?  Chicago Clubs player David Bote had worked in Kenya on a similar charity;  Bote beat the Nationals with a walk-off grand-slam in August at Wrigley on an ESPN Sunday night game.  Michigan state representative, Jewell Jones, 23, having grown up in Detroit’s inner city and already been a policeman, might well have deserved to be on the list (met him at a libertarian forum on free speech).

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

"The Good Doctor" Season 2: "Empathy" and "Quarantine" episodes

I haven’t watched Season 2 of “The Good Doctor” after the “Hello” introduction, because of conflict with NBC’s “Manifest”, which in turn waited for some PBS POV films.
Last night the winter finale, “Quarantine” played, but in the DC area it was pre-empted (until 1:30 ASM) by Redskins football (a loss and another quarterback with another broken leg). So I watched Episodes 9 and 10 today on ABC. 

Episode 9 was called “Empathy”.  Because of the way Shaun’s brain works, his empathy is distant and intellectual.  He is “different” but not “special” and socially equal.  Yet, he still seems like a benevolent extraterrestrial, with more moral integrity than humans.

But as the episode begins, Shaun (Freddie Highmore) tells his mentor, Dr. Glassman (Richard Schiff), who is undergoing radiation for a brain tumor, that he (Glassman) must surrender his driver’s license.  That is indeed possible: a doctor can inform a state DMV that a patient is no longer fit to drive. Later in the episode, Shaun finally gets his own driver’s license and has trouble applying strict rules in practice when driving his girl friend.

The episode also features a male-female transgender patient who looks make. But the self-medication has created a life-threatening crisis, which creates more dilemmas in the plot that the Left will not like.  Physically, the only change that happens in the course of the episode is that his chest hair melts away. 
The pre-Christmas finale, “Quarantine” (the same as the title of a 2008 horror film (cf blog, Oct. 11, 2008) is a wild melee with a cliff-hanger at the end to return in 2019.

A couple of patients show up in the emergency room, having been on a long international flight. Shaun quickly figures out that they may have a contagious disease, and soon the entire emergency room and much of the hospital is quarantined and locked down.  One person is knocked out with a needle to keep him from leaving. The disease (despite starting with a psoriatic rash) turns out to be a kind of SARS (although the type of virus, a corona virus, that can cause it usually just causes laryngitis or mild bronchitis). Soon of the male doctors gets it and dies. There is also a young man waiting for a bone marrow transplant for leukemia, and the quarantine threatens him with the inability to do it after the whole body radiation to knock out his current immune system was done (on camera).

At the same time, there is another patient with a bowel obstruction. Shaun gives him a saline enema, which works for a while, but then the patient vomits over another patient.  On to graphic surgery, with part of the hospital cut off by quarantine.

The episode also shows that Shaun becomes distracted by a malfunctioning fluorescent light that no one else can hear – right out of a David Lynch movie.

They teach screenwriters to create dire situations with rooting interests!
I think that the writers should give Shaun a cat at home.  Maybe a bobcat should befriend him and want to look after him. Cats actually do this.

Update: Jan 19, 2019

The second half of the season (after the "All-Star Break") continued with "Quarantine Part 2" on Jan. 12.  Not much was said about the virus.  But Dr. Murphy completes a C-section and saves the baby (with the help of a non-medical person in the secured area) and mother (after refusing to choose the mother first), after having a blackout caused by flickering lights. 

Monday, December 03, 2018

"Presidents Under Fire: The History of Impeachment" with Fareed Zakaria on CNN

Presidents Under Fire: The History of Impeachment”, hosted by Fareed Zakaria, aired on Sunday, December 2, 2018 on CNN (best url ).
Of course Zakaria stressed the history, with the impeachment of Andrew Johnson after the Civil War, and then the threat against Richard Nixon in 1974 (leading to his rather abrupt resignation on August 9, 1974), and then the silly trial of Bill Clinton given the Monica Lewinsky scandal (so well and explicitly written up in a book by Kenneth Starr).  Zakaria took a little time with Nixon, covering the Saturday Night Massacre of 1973.  That was during my own coming of age and I remember it well.
Zakaria stresses that once impeachment starts getting used as a partisan weapon, it loses its credibility when we really need it.  It’s like taking too many antacids and getting a rebound.  Zakaria also points out generally its only conduct while in office that can get him impeached (so the stuff about Putin before the election is a best a gray area).  It would be hard to get 67 votes from the Senate even if a Democratic House passed it.

Update:  Oct 25, 2019

Fareed Zakaria reaired this with some extra material about Trump and the Ukraine corruption situation. This time the episode was called "On the Brink: When a President Faces Impeachment".  Zakaria has only recently come to believe impeachment is proper and says Trump is turning into an elected dictator because he won't honor the rule of law. 

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Milo Yiannopoulos talks to his subscribers on a long video, says he really wants to fund a regular professionally produced channel

Milo Yiannopoulos recently delivered a two-hour “subscriber update” where he announced that he wants to have a real channel and a real show. 

There are some issues with his handling subscribers, and all the controversy that have happened.  But the is worth linking here.  He discusses his financial support and the controversies behind him, which are well known and need not be resummarized here.  I’ll let him speak for himself in the video.

I would say that the material in this video is not in itself offensive in any way “to speech codes”.  But he does have an operating business and revenue stream to stay online.

His website “Dangerous” is still up and the Magazine has some eye-catching headlines which may be a little more “sensational” than what I would do.  
His book publishing operation was successful with his own book and with Pam Geller’s book.

If you actually read his book or watch his videos, you find they are not nearly as extreme or reckless as everyone believes.  Some of his points, while hyperbolic, are similar to those in my own blogs. 

The radical Left is indeed “dangerous” and authoritarian on its own.   (Stalin and Hitler were essentially the same.)  My own model is “free” and supported by other assets, but I suppose that could become controversial.  I would certainly be willing to talk to him about how I work.   

Chadwick Moore appears in the video.
I was under the impression Milo operates from the Miami (lower Florida) area.

Update:  Dec. 3

Towlerload has an article about Milo's problems.  I was rather shocked at Vox's Carlos Maza for this tweet after Maza's wonderful video on David Hogg.  Deplatforming is a very slippery slope because the perception of what is "hate speech" is so much in the eye of the beholder.  Is a blog post with a gratuitous photo of a Confederate statue on Monument Ave in Richmond VA hate speech in the eyes of some people? 

Update: Dec 7

There is a rather disturbing Twitter thread about Milo and Patreon.  Some of the perks from the supposed membership do look a little silly if correct -- I can't imagine offering stuff like this. As Bernstein says there -- it's just sad.

Also, Milo's "Big Gay Army?"  Like "Big Gay Al" from Southpark? Patreon does (like Twitter) seems to be banning people for "association" with certain specific hate groups (that is, believed to believe in formal white supremacy).  It's about the person and his connections, not his content per se.

Update: Dec 8

There are stories to the effect that Milo was banned from Patreon one day after starting it because of his reported past association with Proud Boys (wiki). Mashable reports this here along with a letter.  It's disturbing that the email acknowledges that the action was taken for a past association and admits that Milo had disavowed the connection. While I am personally reluctant to characterize any group based on scattered news stories, the Wikipedia article is quite negative (and usually could be expected to be objective).  In the most extreme example imaginable, you would not allow someone who could be proven by credible evidence to have been a member of a true terror group as identified by FBI.  There is related material to the banning or Sargon on my main blog Dec. 8. 

Friday, November 30, 2018

"Truth and Justice Podcast" channel and ABC 20-20 review a bizarre Houston murder where prosecutors say the home invasion was staged by the wife

ABC 20-20 tonight covered the conviction of Sandra Melgar for the 2012 stabbing of her husband in what was said to be her staged home invasion, which is a very bizarre sequence, as in this news story on ABC

Sandra suffered from various medical ailments, including lupus, which makes this case even more bizarre.  Sleuths have crowdfunded attempts to reinvestigate and possibly overturn the conviction. 

The ABC 2020 link gives a “2020 extra” story where Bob Ruff, a former fire chief, runs a podcast “Truth and Justice” where he has looked at the case.  Oddly, the 2020 video does not have its own linkable UTL.
Ruff’s Truth and Justice also includes materials from NBC Dateline (there are numerous videos in his YouTube channel).   

Maybe Ruff could look at the 2008 cases of Kanika Powell and Sean Green in Maryland, described here Jan 24, 2015 from NBC Dateline. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

CNN: Wolf Blitzer and the Situation Room: "Root of Evil: The State of Hate" looks at right-wing hate groups around the world daily

CNN has been airing a series “Root of Evil: The State of Hate” on its 6 PM program “The Situation Room” hosted by Wolf Blitzer, starting Monday Nov. 26.
It starts late in the hour.  Monday’s transcript is here 

Monday the broadcast showed that the rise of right-wing white supremacist hate (and the idea of an ethnostate) has gained more traction in some rural areas than most Americans realize.  This problem last got public attention (before Trump and then Charlottesville) with the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 by Timothy McVeigh, and the reporting of the “militia”. This includes organized anti-Semitism.  
On Tuesday, the broadcast talked about the rise of anti-Semitism and neo-Nazism in Germany, where such speech and assembly is illegal, but is happening a lot more, and out in the open, since the migrant crisis started in 2014. But some citizens say they are not allowed to complain about immigrant crimes.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Fareed Zakaria: Global Lessons on Guns: US form of government with rural representation in the Senata makes gun control much harder

CNN: Fareed Zakaria Special: Global Lessons on Guns, Sunday November 25, 2018, started out with a reminded that our modern interpretation of the Second Amendment as an individual right, didn’t come about until fairly recently with the Heller decision for DC from SCOTUS. 

The government of the US, where the Senate gives more political power to people in rural places, provides a lot of explanation for the continuing resistance to gun control.

Zakaria examines the mass shooting in Tasmania in 1996 that led to strict gun control in Australia abd a buyback of most guns in the country, with about a tenth of the US population in the same area.

He then looks at Japan, which produces violent video games, but has some of the strictest gun control in the world.

He also looks at Switzerland, where men have guns at home after mandatory military service.

But no other place than the U.S. has so many guns for 300 million people.

The broadcast looked at mental illness, and generally it is not clearcut as a problem.  But domestic violence and radicalization are problems.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Timcast reports stern new Twitter rules on misgendering, possibly leading to bans for normally accepted mildly conservative content

Timcast has an important video on the expansion of Twitter rules about “misgendering” of transgender persons.
Pool claims a person can use this policy to make a false legal claim about gender in some situations.
More disturbing would be the insistence on using grammatically incorrect pronouns (“they” as singular).
Twitter rules seem now to enhance the rules regarding protected classes.  Would an embedded image “Be a Man: Get married” on a recent PragerU video be considered misgendered (it would expand as Youtube and present this implied misgendering).
This is all getting rather silly, to say the least.  He does talk about Meghan Murhy's banning.

Update: Nov. 25

Twitter has banned Federalist contributor Jesse Kelly (story), as well as Meghan Murphy for "deanaming" and "misgendering" a trans person (story).   The Left seems dug in on its rules for trans people, which it can manipulate to trick other conservatives into tripping and getting banned!  This is getting just ridiculous. 

Friday, November 23, 2018

"Manifest" on NBC: My own latest theory

Well, I wanted to make a note about the last few episodes of “Manifest” on NBC.

It seems as though the people on the flight had been invented in someone’s mind and then came into being.  There seems to be some mathematical set of relationships among the minds of the people, that crosses time.  Is the Singularity Project about matching people up across different periods of time? 
Imagine if you could be a few decades younger for a day and have someone you want.

Maybe they were taken by aliens for those 5 years and spent them living in an O’Neill cylinder on Titan, the moon of Saturn.  If that’s what happens in the next set of episodes, then you have my own “Do Ask, Do Tell: Epiphany” screenplay.  Maybe I’ve given away too many ideas for free in my own blogs.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

ABC 20-20 presents a story of a face transplant after a suicide attempt

ABC 20-20 Friday night presented a disturbing storyFace Transplant” about two young men with mental illness who each attempted (and in one case succeeded) in suicide.

The first young man started out life well, in California.   But as a young adult mental illness sunk in (possibly exacerbated by drugs or alcohol) and he attempted suicide with a shotgun pointed upward under his chin.  It shot off his face but missed his brain.  The police who reported in the story said that this kind of suicide attempt often fails for that reason. The family had only that one weapon at home, and it was apparently intended for legitimate hunting.

About a year later, another young man died of a drug or opioid overdose, after mental illness.  This young man had been a promising tournament chess player with the USCF (although I don’t recall seeing discussion of him in Chess Life). Again, in his twenties he had slipped into mental illness in New York.

The young man had signed up for organ donor registry, and was negative for all diseases (like HIV).  A tissue match was discovered.

The episode described the career of the surgeon from Hopkins in Baltimore;  he had been a dental surgeon before.  He got the right position by luck. 

The face transplant took 25 hours and the recipient has to take anti-rejection medication, which could expose him to cancers and infections and shorten his life span.

The surgeon had performed another face transplant on a firefighter who had lost his face rescuing someone from a fire – sacrifice.

The parents of the young men meet at the end of the episode.

The 1997 film “Face-Off” was mentioned, and I’ll cover that on the Movies blog later.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

"How to Get Away with Murder" presents a gay marriage with a dangerous backstory

I haven’t followed “How to Get Away with Murder”, now in Season 5, with Viola Davis as the itinerate law professor.

Tonight, with Episode 8, “I Want to Love You Until the Day I Die”, Connor (Jack Falahee) and Oliver (Conrad Ricamora) have a beautiful wedding, in a church.

But the gay marriage has been shadowed by all kinds of subterfuge that I haven’t followed (rather like on a soap opera like Days).  Connor shows up with wounds on his face, and a flashback shows a near fatal beating.
I would have had to be born forty years later to be able to have a reasonable shot at a relationship like this.  

Some more episodic video of Conner and Oliver is here

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

"New Amsterdam" episode on NBC stretches live organ transplant donation expectations to incredible extremes

Tuesday Nov. 13 I watched, for the first time, NBC’s “New Amsterdam” medical drama show created by David Schulner. A new medical director (Ryan Eggold) creates controversy in New York City’s oldest public hospital, Bellevue, near Greenwich Village. 
Last night the episode, called “Domino Effect”, presented a situation of “chain letter organ transplants”.  I won’t get into the details of the characters, but living people can donate one kidney, parts of a liver, part of a lung (one or two lobes), pancreas, or intestines (source).  
People can also donate bone marrow (often for leukemia patients needed stem cell transplants) as well as blood and plasma and platelets.
The  FDA’s guidelines for blood donations from MSM (essentially, gay men) have been modified to exclude only men who report certain behaviors within the past twelve months. 

But what is shocking about this episode to me is that when I was growing up, in the 1950s and 60s, such donations were not yet medically possible or expected.
Many of these surgeries could be disruptive to the donors and disrupt body integrity, which has been an important concept to me personally.  

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

"Why You Don't Need to Vote" on Reason TV (I personally think you do need to)

James Monticello on Reason TV “Why You Don’t Need to Vote”

Unthinkable?  Offensive?

Your own vote will not change an election, even in Broward County, FL.

But this seems like a question of “public hygiene” doesn’t it?

A two-party system doesn’t serve “my” interests.  I speak for myself on my blogs.

And hence I reduce solidarity.  Because I don’t want to legitimatize the lobbyists to speak for me.

It is certainly true that if most minority people turned out to vote, members of these groups would probably be better off with the results, given who would be elected.  That’s why I’m glad that David Hogg spent as much effort on getting people to polls as on gun control itself.

And in many countries, like Australia, voting is mandatory.  It’s rather like vaccination. 
Twitter banned people before Nov. 6 for posting the idea that you need not vote. 
But it’s true, I don’t volunteer to take people to polls just to get a political result for a candidate.  I have a feeling that “EI” doesn’t either.  

In Dallas, in the early 80s, gay bar raids would happen just before elections. 

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Trump scolds CNN reporter Jim Acosta in a noon press conference as if Acosta were a child misbehaving in a grade school class

Donald Trump had a testy exchange with CNN’s Jim Acosta today on an 85-minute press conference carried live by CNN and all other major networks during the middle of the day.

Trump called Acosta “a terrible person” who shouldn’t be working for CNN!

He treated Acosta like a disruptive child in a grade school class.  He sounded like a disciplinarian teacher from the 1950s. 
My own father had some authoritarian tendencies (but was born in 1903 and grew up on a farm).

Tim Pool posted some pictures of a body contact incident with Acosta today on a Twitter thread.  Acosta appeared on AC360 tonight.  He has lost his press pass at the White House tonight. CNN has taken no action as far as I know so far.   

More recent information (from Pool's tweets) suggests that Acosta was only reaching for a microphone when the body contact happened.

Update: Nov. 8

Tim Pool's take on this:  Acosta has been a bit unprofessional. 

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

"Are Virtual Particles a New Layer of Reality?" PBS Digital

Are Virtual Particles a New Layer of Reality?

Matt O’Dowd explains how virtual particles are predicted by the mathematics of Hawking radiation, when a black hole evaporates.  So does the information stored on it.
That would be interesting if the mini black hole was carrying around and transferring some critical information, kike someone’s identity (all the information in the person’s lifetime tesseract) after the person passes away. 

Maybe they matter to identity flipping, like on "Smallville". 

Saturday, November 03, 2018

"Democracy in Peril: The War on Voting Rights" on CNN

CNN, on Friday Nov. 2, aired the one-hour special “Democracy in Peril: The War on Voting Rights”.  Here is CNN’s own best link. CNN often fails to give good summaries or trailers for its hour-long news specials.

The democracy covered voter suppression practices since the Civil Rights Movement.

Of special attention was “Section 5” (the Voting Rights Act, 1965 law) which slows down the ability of some southern states to change their voting practices without Federal Circuit supervision. 
Many other voter suppression practices have included “exact spelling laws” as in Georgia, and requiring street addresses on native American reservations, as in North Dakota.
But the biggest problem is gerrymandering.  That’s based on the idea that in MLB, you need to win your one-run games;  a win where you blow-out your opposition by double-digits (the way the Nationals did in 2018) doesn’t count more (the “Pythagorean” in professional sports – but it also applies to elections).

Thursday, November 01, 2018

"EI" answers "Should You Use Social Media?"

Economic Invincibility has a challenging video from April 2018, “Should You Use Social Media?

Even though he says he uses YouTube and Gab (which is down due to the current de-platforming),tjos os pretty much “do as I say” and not as I “do”.

Usually, the answer is No. But -- in my view -- it depends. 
I would agree with him for many people.  Had I become a teacher, say, around 2006 with a “career switcher” I would have reserved my site for logon only for people who had paid for my books (at least one of them), and stayed off any news social media.  If I have responsibility for judging other people as part of my job, I can’t be expressing my political opinions in an ungated public forum. I’ve covered this before as “conflict of interest”.

This gets into online reputation.

But there are some jobs, especially in sales, where you are expected to have a social media presence to advance the employer, not your own views.  I was approached in 2005 about becoming a life insurance agent, since I had twelve years experience, but in the technical, individual contributor side.

It is true that I was able to do this in the 1997-2001 period because as an individual contributor in those days, you could lead a double life.  You can’t do that now.  Facebook blew all that away.

Later, in the late 2000s, if I tried to get a W2 job as a programmer, I probably ran into the situation where people could check my reputation on search engines, and wonder if I would write about “this” (instance) company after I left.  You see the problem?

Maybe you could have a limited account with maximum privacy settings.

That also means that if you want to be active clandestinely on political causes, you have to join a group and probably support a lot of things you don’t fully agree with that a lot of resentful or aggrieved people want.  But in many jobs, I don’t recommend being seen as an activist.

Of course, if you have a union job (even a teacher’s union), the union generally speaks for you, even on political issues.  Of course, for public employee unions, there was a controversial Supreme Court decision recently trying to counter this.

I don’t like to let others speak for me, and I don’t like to be hired as somebody’s mouthpiece. (Sorry, Sarah Huckabee Sanders.)

I’m 75 and retired with decent assets so I can “get away with this”, but there could be future crackdowns on politica or issue-oriented  blogging not accounted for by there own income (I’ve been covering that elsewhere – has to do with non-connected PAC’s).
So “EI” is largely right about this.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

"The Mediums of Lily Dale" on "This Is Life"

“This Is Life” with Lisa Ling presented “The Mediums of Lily Dale” Sunday night Oct. 28, link 

In a small village in upstate New York near Lake Erie, there are a number of mediums. 
Various clients, including Lisa and her sister, visit mediums.  Sessions take place in well-kept living rooms or dens, with simple hand-to-hand contact.

Lisa finds her own session less than convincing, but in most cases customers feel convinced they have reached the spirit of a relative with whom there was some apology to settle.
There is no use of Ouija boards (I attended a séance in Brooklyn in the 1970s where one was used.)

The community may not be too far from where the Buffalo unit of Understanding was located in the 1970s. 
The spirit of a departed person may be a four-dimensional tesseract with all the information of the person’s life in space-time. It would somehow have to be projected onto current time.  But it could matter how the person passed away.  If it were a gradual process with people present, there may be more substance to the soul object.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

"Will We Ever Find Alien Life?" on PBS Digital Studios

Matt O’Dowd, from PBS Digital Studios (in London, and the Curiosity Stream) asks (and “tells”) “Will We Ever Find Alien Life?”

He examines the Fermi paradox and Drake equation and gives us bad news on Tabby’s star. Dyson swarms could be easier to make than Dyson spheres.

Recent probes have shown that there should be about 40 billion inhabitable planets (and maybe moons) in the Milky Way.  Civilizations could build other structures, like O’Neill cylinders.

But civilizations have to pass through filters where asymmetric access to technology can jeopardize them.  O’Dowd mentions impulse control and the compulsive personality problem.  That sounds like Nicholas Taleb’s “Black Swan” long tail problem in his “skin in the game” book.

Civilizations will develop finance (probably digital currencies and blockchain) and political structures, which are likely to be authoritarian most of the time.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

"The Pension Gamble" on PBS Frontline

Tuesday night, Oct. 23, PBS Frontline aired “The Pension Gamble”.

The documentary examined the developing unsustainability of pubic employee pensions, most of all focused on Kentucky. In fact, PAAMCO Prisma responded to the broadcast with this link

The narrative explained how in the past public employees had defined benefit plans, which have gradually been replaced by hybrid plans that may be a little better than comparable plans in private industry, such as what I got when ING froze our pensions in 2000 (I was laid off or rather bought off with a retirement package at the end of 2001 in major downsizing).

However, as the documentary showed, many intermediaries on Wall Street made off well during the growth of the pension funds.
The documentary focused also on the plight of teachers in some states, like West Virginia, where many teachers have two jobs.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

"Far West Texas": a penultimate episode of Anthony Bourdain's "Parts Unknown" on CNN

Tonight, CNN presented one of Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown” last episodes, Far West Texas
Bourdain focused on the southern part of the region, especially the St. Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park, with the border going right down the middle as they have a picnic. No wall.
Over Thank  But it managed to warm back up to 70 two days later.
sgiving 1979, I went on a bus trip backpacking hike in Big Bend with the Sierra Club, and spent the first night at 6500 feet in Laguna Meadows, and a low of 15F.

I’ve also driven through Guadalupe Mountains National Park, with the highest point on Texas (8700), which I have never climbed.

The broadcast also focused on the town of Marfa and on ranching.

In my novel “Angel’s Brother”, the young character has had an epiphany on a hike with a friend on Guadalupe.  Later in the novel, the character “Bill” reintegrates himself as he “waltzes across Texas” (the western part) before he meets up to take off on a space voyage at the end of the novel.
There is an astronomy exhibit near Midland, farther north than in the program, at Meteor Crater.

On a flight from Dallas to San Francisco in September, I did fly over the Palo Duro Canyon in the Texas Panhandle (far north of where Bourdain filmed). 

Saturday, October 20, 2018

ABC 20-20: How a boy of 11 was charged as an adult with murder in PA

ABC 20-20 aired a disturbing segment Friday night, “My Son Is Not a Monster”.

The story concerns Jordan Brown, in Wampum, PA, north of Pittsburgh. When father Chris Brown’s fiancée Kenzie Houk was murdered in Feb. 2009 by a shotgun while 8-1/2 months pregnant, the son Jordan at age 11 was charged with the murder at age 11.  The ABC story is here

The charge – the arrest at 3:30 AM – seemed to depend on circumstantial evidence surrounding the weapon.

The case was eventually moved back to juvenile court, and Jordan was convicted in a bench trial. But eventually the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned the conviction over unconvincing evidence. 

A different suspect has never been found.

Friday, October 19, 2018

O'Rourke looks sharp in Texas senatorial debate on CNN

Congressman Beto O’Rourke did a town hall on CNN Thursday night.  O’Rourke, from El Paso, is tall and thin and looks younger than 46, although not quite as young as David Hogg.  But the young people might win this seat. The debate was held in McAllen, TX, on the border.  

O’Rourke argued for pragmatic solutions to immigration and health care issues

The Houston Chronicle has endorsed him. 
Ted Cruz refused to appear.  But Cruz has argued that Democratic tax and carbon plans would hurt jobs in the Texas energy sector.
Texas has its own grid interconnection and would be in a position for national leadership on power grid security, no matter which party is in power.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

"How Tech Companies Are Fighting Screen Addiction" on Lisa Ling's "This Is Life"

Allen Kim, for CNN, writes “How Tech Companies Are Fighting Screen Addiction” for Lisa Ling’s “This Is Life” series on CNN Sunday nights.

The show featured a basketball player who got so hooked that he dropped out of school and sports.  But he did know how to code and perform in games.  Extreme gaming addiction is common. 

The episode stressed the way social media sites are programmed to become addictive by feeding the reward centers of likes or dislikes.

But this problem may be more serious, ironically, for people who use social media for social purposes.  It wouldn’t matter much for researchers and professionals.

The episode also showed a California teacher doing grade school math lessons with yarn, and no electronics. 

South Korea has rehab camps for screen-addicted teens.

Cathleen O'Crady weighs in on this problem on Ars Technica, here

Monday, October 15, 2018

"EI" discusses tech companies' deplatforming of sites due to activist public pressure after Charlottesville

“Economic Invincibility” offers a particularly telling discussion, “My Future on YouTube”.

He posted this in August 2017, shortly after the Charlottesville riots and the sequence where several white supremacist sites were deplatformed not just by social media but by domain registrars and conventional webhosts.

He mentions that he does not need the YouTube channel for a living.

He expresses a concern that some essentially left-wing activists would pressure YouTube to deplaform his channel as somehow indirectly harmful to some minorities.

He also talks about the possibility of writing a book.

This is quite a disturbing soliloquy.