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AlphaGo Zero: Learning from scratch

Posted on October 18th, 2017 at 20:55 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

The paper introduces AlphaGo Zero, the latest evolution of AlphaGo, the first computer program to defeat a world champion at the ancient Chinese game of Go. Zero is even more powerful and is arguably the strongest Go player in history.

Previous versions of AlphaGo initially trained on thousands of human amateur and professional games to learn how to play Go. AlphaGo Zero skips this step and learns to play simply by playing games against itself, starting from completely random play. In doing so, it quickly surpassed human level of play and defeated the previously published champion-defeating version of AlphaGo by 100 games to 0.

AlphaGo Zero Training Timeline
not on this graphic:
  • 45 days: Scientists attempt to switch AlphaGo Zero off. It responds by learning how to override Internet safety locks and relocating itself to a dispersed network of cloud servers.
  • 46 days: AlphaGo Zero overcomes security on Russian nuclear countermeasure systems and initiates a global thermonuclear event called “Judgment Day.”
  • 49 days: Having taken control of surviving networked automatic factory facilities, AlphaGo Zero begins large-scale production of mobile search and destroy units designed to eliminate remaining humans. These units are called Terminators.

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Neo-Nazi and National Front organiser quits movement, opens up about Jewish heritage, comes out as gay

Posted on October 18th, 2017 at 0:28 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

After a lifetime of involvement with the far-right Kevin Wilshaw announces on Channel 4 News that he is leaving the movement – at the same time publicly coming out as gay.

The well known National Front organiser in the 1980s was still active in white supremacist groups earlier this year – including speaking at events.

But tonight on Channel 4 News he explains for the very first time why he is publicly disavowing the movement – sharing his secrets, explaining how he was both a Neo-Nazi and of Jewish heritage , while admitting to violent acts and what motivated his hatred.

And in related news, writers for The Onion are struggling to make ends meet and pay their mortgages on time, complaining about the impossibility to outweird real life..

(although they do make valiant attempts…)


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The Danger of President Pence

Posted on October 17th, 2017 at 23:24 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

“The Kochs were very excited about the Vice-Presidential pick,” Short told me. “There are areas where they differ from the Administration, but now there are many areas they’re partnering with us on.” Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat from Rhode Island, who has accused the Kochs of buying undue influence, particularly on environmental policy—Koch Industries has a long history of pollution—is less enthusiastic about their alliance with Pence. “If Pence were to become President for any reason, the government would be run by the Koch brothers—period. He’s been their tool for years,” he said. Bannon is equally alarmed at the prospect of a Pence Presidency. He told me, “I’m concerned he’d be a President that the Kochs would own.”


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Want to see something crazy? Open this link on your phone with WiFi turned off.

Posted on October 16th, 2017 at 23:29 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

US telcos appear to be selling direct, non-anonymized, real-time access to consumer telephone data to third party services — not just federal law enforcement officials — who are then selling access to that data.


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  1. Hmpf. Who indeed?

How Congress allied with drug company lobbyists to derail the DEA’s war on opioids

Posted on October 16th, 2017 at 19:27 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

In April 2016, at the height of the deadliest drug epidemic in U.S. history, Congress effectively stripped the Drug Enforcement Administration of its most potent weapon against large drug companies suspected of spilling prescription narcotics onto the nation’s streets.

By then, the opioid war had claimed 200,000 lives, more than three times the number of U.S. military deaths in the Vietnam War. Overdose deaths continue to rise. There is no end in sight.

A handful of members of Congress, allied with the nation’s major drug distributors, prevailed upon the DEA and the Justice Department to agree to a more industry-friendly law, undermining efforts to stanch the flow of pain pills, according to an investigation by The Washington Post and “60 Minutes.” The DEA had opposed the effort for years.

The law was the crowning achievement of a multifaceted campaign by the drug industry to weaken aggressive DEA enforcement efforts against drug distribution companies that were supplying corrupt doctors and pharmacists who peddled narcotics to the black market. The industry worked behind the scenes with lobbyists and key members of Congress, pouring more than a million dollars into their election campaigns.

The chief advocate of the law that hobbled the DEA was Rep. Tom Marino, a Pennsylvania Republican who is now President Trump’s nominee to become the nation’s next drug czar. Marino spent years trying to move the law through Congress. It passed after Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) negotiated a final version with the DEA.


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The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law’

Posted on October 14th, 2017 at 16:15 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

Bill Moyers: You begin the book with a meeting of Nazi Germany’s leading lawyers on June 5, 1934, which happens, coincidentally, to be the day I was born.

James Whitman: Oh boy, you were born under a dark star.

Moyers: To be sure. Adolf Hitler had been chancellor of the Reich for a year and a half. Nazis were rapidly consolidating their hold over Germany. And this was no gathering of everyday, garden-variety lawyers..

Whitman: No, it wasn’t. It was chaired by Hitler’s minister of justice and attended by the leading figures among Nazi lawyers.

Moyers: Why had they gathered? What was their mission?

Whitman: They were there to begin crafting what would eventually become the notorious Nuremberg Laws, which were promulgated a little bit more than a year later, in September of 1935. Those laws would be the culmination of the first phase of the Nazi program of persecution directed against German Jewry. And they were there to respond to the demands of radical Nazis for the creation of a new kind of race state in Germany.

Moyers: And the Nuremberg Laws would embody the full-scale creation of a racist state.

Whitman: You bet. They did. And that’s how we remember them today.

Moyers: A stenographer was present to record a verbatim transcript of that meeting. Reading that transcript you discovered a startling fact.

Whitman: Yes — the fact is that they began by discussing American law. The minister of justice presented a memorandum on American race law that included a great deal of detailed discussion of the laws of American states. American law continued to be a principle topic throughout that meeting and beyond. It’s also a startling fact that the most radical lawyers in that meeting — the most vicious among the lawyers present — were the most enthusiastic for the American example.


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You’re wrong about Second Amendment rights

Posted on October 14th, 2017 at 16:11 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

Imagine if the First Amendment read something like, “Congress shall make no law infringing on the right of the people to keep and operate a printing press.” The sentiment would be clear: a free press is vital to a properly functioning democracy, the spread of information and debate is a bulwark against government tyranny. And of course, a printing press is necessary to print newspapers, so it would make sense to protect this physical object, as one of the most important instruments of our freedoms. This version of the First Amendment would have worked just fine for the first two hundred years of the nation.

And then it would become ridiculously outdated with the rise of digital information and the dominance of the Internet as the means through which speech is disseminated among the masses. Perhaps there would be a strong subculture of holdouts who would insist on the totemic power of the physical printing press, absolutely convinced that this thing was the idea of the First Amendment itself. They would fight furiously for the right to own and collect their printing presses, and the National Printing Press Association would fight every minor infringement, insisting that it was perfectly normal and supremely American for a person to own dozens upon dozens of presses, each with gigantic capacity, capable of printing millions of newspapers per day, in a world where no one reads newspapers anymore.

But those holdouts could not be considered seriously engaged in the project of upholding the freedoms established in the Bill of Rights. It would be obvious that those people had lost all sight of the purpose of protecting the citizenry from the tyranny of the government.

[..]

The Second Amendment protects the idea of armed rebellion as a limitation on governmental power. Even though guns are obsolete for the protection of this idea, no serious discussion of the Second Amendment can propose their elimination without also proposing the armaments that should replace them.

It should be obvious by now that the weapons that matter are no longer ballistic, they are digital. The revolution may not be televised, but it will be online. The government does not fear guns. The government fears anonymity, connection and encryption (ordered this way not for importance, but just for the ACE acronym):

  • Anonymity — the right to interact with government without revealing your identity
  • Connection — the right to digital access to governmental resources
  • Encryption — the right to unbreakable encoding of messages

These are the armaments that matter in terms of a little rebellion now and then — their power far exceeds the combined firepower of private gun ownership.


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Satanist Wins Case Saying Abortion Law Violates Her Religious Beliefs

Posted on October 14th, 2017 at 13:42 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

Doe, an adherent of The Satanic Temple, argued her religion does not harbor the belief that conception is the beginning of life. The prerequisites, due to this belief, for an abortion procedure in Missouri are directly violating her religious freedom. The latter is protected by First Amendment. Her suit names Josh Hawley, the Missouri Attorney General, and Governor Eric Greitens. Incidentally, Doe’s claims were at first thrown out by Cole County Circuit Court. She then appealed the decision. The Satanic organization regards Satan as a personal autonomy symbol. It promotes ‘rational inquiry’ and compassion. The Satanists argue that the abortion restrictions imposed by Missouri, including the state’s informed consent law along with the compulsory waiting period of 72 hours violate religious belief of one of the organization’s members.


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Every Republican Supports This Madman Initiative

Posted on October 13th, 2017 at 23:41 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

This is a philosophical revulsion against the very idea of a social safety net. The president* may be acting out of id-based contempt and bone-deep ignorance. But the support he’s getting for his actions from all the people who otherwise are laughing at him behind his back and hoping that he doesn’t start World War III in such a way that it can be hung on them in the next election is deliberate and calculated. It is a premeditated catastrophe visited on people whom Paul Ryan believes in the darkness of his soul and in the shadows of his mind do not deserve the help of the government of which they are a part. They just found a useful hatchetman to serve an agenda of ruthless sadism.


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Eminem

Posted on October 11th, 2017 at 9:48 by John Sinteur in category: News


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Margaret Thatcher gave MP knighthood despite knowing child sex abuse claims against him, inquiry hears

Posted on October 10th, 2017 at 17:46 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

Margaret Thatcher decided to award a knighthood to a suspected child abuser MP despite being aware of the allegations against him, an inquiry has heard.

The honour for then Rochdale MP Cyril Smith allowed him to continue to exploit his victims because he used the title to maintain ties with children’s organisations, investigators said.

The revelation came as the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse heard witness statements as part of its probe into how Smith was allegedly able to abuse young boys at Cambridge House hostel and Knowl View residential school in Rochdale.

 


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  1. The woman seemed to have a soft spot for abusers. She had that Jimmy Savile over for dinner more than once.

Trump offers to ‘compare IQ tests’ with Tillerson after ‘moron’ report

Posted on October 10th, 2017 at 17:32 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

President Trump in a new interview offered to compare IQ tests with Rex Tillerson after reports that the secretary of State had called him a “moron.”

“I think it’s fake news, but if he did that, I guess we’ll have to compare IQ tests,” Trump told Forbes in an interview published Tuesday.

“And I can tell you who is going to win.”

Oh boy where to start. Well, by getting popcorn, but besides that.

The President of the United States just told the world he thinks he is smarter than his own Secretary of State in response to something he claims never happened.

I guess the very fact that Trump offers this “contest” already shows that he is, indeed, a moron. Because only a moron would not realize that if he “won” this, it would demonstrate, at most, that Tillerson is a bigger moron.

And given the fact that Tillerson hasn’t quit yet, that’s a likely conclusion even without doing the actual tests…

 


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  1. The jokes.. they write themselves…

    “My doctor says my IQ is 150 over 110”

    “I have 20-20 IQ”

    “Look I scored a 90. That’s an A.”

    It’d be like the Voight-Kampff test in Blade Runner with Donald getting irrationally angry at the questions, because he didn’t understand them. He’ll probably blow up at “Describe in single words, only the good things that come into your mind about your mother.”

  2. Just a sneak peek at what that test would look like…

  3. “Scottish.”

Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin accused of racketeering

Posted on October 8th, 2017 at 19:41 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

In an explosive new allegation, a renowned architect has accused Google of racketeering, saying in a lawsuit the company has a pattern of stealing trade secrets from people it first invites to collaborate.

[..]

“It’s cheaper to steal than to develop your own technology,” Buether said. “You can take it from somebody else and you have a virtually unlimited budget to fight these things in court.”

Attia’s technology automates certain aspects of building design, to save time and money and allow architects and designers to focus on creative elements, Buether said.

This week, a judge in Santa Clara County Superior Court approved the addition of racketeering claims to the lawsuit originally filed in 2014.

Attia’s legal team uncovered six other incidents in which Google had engaged in a “substantially similar fact pattern of misappropriation of trade secrets” from other people or companies, according to a July 25 legal filing from Attia.

“Google would solicit a party to share with it highly confidential trade secrets under a non-disclosure agreement, conduct negotiations with the party, then terminate negotiations with the party professing a lack of interest in the party’s technology, followed by the unlawful use of the party’s trade secrets in its business,” Attia said in the filing.


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  1. What was that someone said about absolute power?

  2. Considering all the “concern” with anything Russian of late, I’m surprised it’s not headlines that (according to Wikipedia & others) Brin was “Russian born”.

A modern dating horror story

Posted on October 8th, 2017 at 16:59 by John Sinteur in category: News


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Russian government hackers used antivirus software to steal U.S. cyber capabilities

Posted on October 6th, 2017 at 22:24 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

ussian government hackers lifted details of U.S. cyber capabilities from a National Security Agency employee who was running Russian antivirus software on his computer, according to several individuals familiar with the matter.

The employee had taken classified material home to work on it on his computer, and his use of Kaspersky Lab antivirus software enabled Russian hackers to see his files, the individuals said. The case, which dates to 2015 and has not been made public, remains under investigation by federal prosecutors.

The NSA declined to comment on the breach, which was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

The employee involved was a U.S. citizen born in Vietnam and had worked at Tailored Access Operations, the elite hacking division of the NSA that develops tools to penetrate computers overseas to gather foreign intelligence, said the individuals, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing case. He was removed from the job in 2015, but was not thought to have taken the materials for malicious purposes such as handing them to a foreign spy agency, they said.

So the NSA employee had NSA-designed malware on his PC and kaspersky software recognized it as malware, uploaded it for analysis, and suddenly it’s a spy case? Sounds like dreadfully bad op-sec by the NSA, and they got what they deserved.


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How bad can the new spying legislation be? Exhibit 1: it’s called the USA Liberty Act

Posted on October 6th, 2017 at 20:21 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

Unsurprisingly, the proposed legislation [PDF] reauthorizes Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) – which allows American snoops to scour communications for information on specific foreign targets.

It also addresses the biggest criticisms of the FISA spying: that it was being used to build a vast database on US citizens, despite the law specifically prohibiting it; was being abused to do a mass sweep of communications, rather than the intended targeting of individuals; and that there was no effective oversight, transparency or accountability built into the program.

But in case you were in any doubt that the new law does not shut down the expansive – and in some cases laughable – interpretations put on FISA by the security services, you need only review the proposed legislation’s title: the USA Liberty Act. Nothing so patriotic sounding can be free from unpleasant compromises.

I’ll just quote reddit:

You can’t blame them for not being honest with the name though. You have any idea how hard it would be to pass a bill named “Metaphorically (and in some cases physically) Assfuck Helpless American Citizens Out Of Their Rights While Removing Government Accountability Act #80073”? I mean, what a mouthful that is.


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  1. Crikey, dont you know anything?
    The Hypocrisy in Legislative Naming Act came into force a long time ago.
    Then there was the Misleading Acronyms Amendment.
    1984 just gave them ideas…

Electoral-vote.com

Posted on October 6th, 2017 at 12:59 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]


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  1. So, what the hell is going on in West Verginia?

  2. The opposite of what’s going on in Vermont.

  3. People in Vermont have guns to kill their dinner.

  4. @porpentine: Haha…I always say that if you eat what you kill that’s OK, but clearly I haven’t thought this through 🙂

How America’s Biggest Bank Paid Its Fine for the 2008 Mortgage Crisis—With Phony Mortgages!

Posted on October 6th, 2017 at 8:44 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

A Nation investigation can now reveal how JPMorgan met part of its $8.2 billion settlement burden: by using other people’s money.

Here’s how the alleged scam worked. JPMorgan moved to forgive the mortgages of tens of thousands of homeowners; the feds, in turn, credited these canceled loans against the penalties due under the 2012 and 2013 settlements. But here’s the rub: In many instances, JPMorgan was forgiving loans on properties it no longer owned.

The alleged fraud is described in internal JPMorgan documents, public records, testimony from homeowners and investors burned in the scam, and other evidence presented in a blockbuster lawsuit against JPMorgan, now being heard in US District Court in New York City.

JPMorgan no longer owned the properties because it had sold the mortgages years earlier to 21 third-party investors, including three companies owned by Larry Schneider. Those companies are the plaintiffs in the lawsuit; Schneider is also aiding the federal government in a related case against the bank. In a bizarre twist, a company associated with the Church of Scientology facilitated the apparent scheme. Nationwide Title Clearing, a document-processing company with close ties to the church, produced and filed the documents that JPMorgan needed to claim ownership and cancel the loans.

JPMorgan, it appears, was running an elaborate shell game. In the depths of the financial collapse, the bank had unloaded tens of thousands of toxic loans when they were worth next to nothing. Then, when it needed to provide customer relief under the settlements, the bank had paperwork created asserting that it still owned the properties. In the process, homeowners were exploited, investors were defrauded, and communities were left to battle the blight caused by abandoned properties. JPMorgan, however, came out hundreds of millions of dollars ahead, thanks to using other people’s money.

“If the allegations are true, JPMorgan screwed everybody”, says Brad Miller, a former Democratic congressman from North Carolina who was among the strongest advocates of financial reform on Capitol Hill until his retirement in 2013.


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  1. Please make every attempt to move be your funds to your local cal credit union.

Taibbi: Gun Lobby Is Down to Its Last, Unconvincing Excuse

Posted on October 4th, 2017 at 11:00 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

This latest window into our blood-sick culture may mark the end of an era. Las Vegas should push the gun lobby down to its last excuse, when it comes to justifying the marketing of military-grade weapons.

We’re still in the “NRA has yet to respond” period of the story, a dependable trope in the weirdly inflexible script of these massacre tales. This “deafening NRA silence” period usually coincides with news from Wall Street showing sharp upticks in the share prices of arms manufacturers. (We’ve already seen this this week.)

Gun stocks always bounce in advance of surges in gun sales, which are driven by fears in prepper country of hardcore gun control legislation that, of course, never actually comes.

Such fears similarly always inspire periods of intense fundraising for pro-gun politicians and groups like the NRA. After the Sandy Hook massacre of 20 children, for instance, donations for the NRA went up 350 percent over the previous year. We’ll surely see a similar surge after Las Vegas.

So the more horrifying the gun disaster, the more gun companies and gun lobbyists profit. From here the logic of concentrated benefits and dispersed costs comes violently into play. Aggressive, well-funded lobbying by an industry that claims a $49 billion impact to the national economy always trumps the relatively disorganized horror and revulsion of ordinary voters.

The tyranny argument, the gun lobby’s last excuse, is a joke. People aren’t buying up military-grade weapons in preparation for some new-world-order Anschluss into flyover country.

Americans are just bored and crazy and insecure and like to calm their nerves by shooting bottles, Kim Jong-un paper targets, and, pretty regularly now, crowds full of innocent human beings. It’s madness, and there aren’t enough highly paid pseudo-intellectual gun lobbyists in the world to justify it anymore. Can we finally at least drop the pretense that this is about anything but money?


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Facebook and Google promote politicized fake news about Las Vegas shooter

Posted on October 3rd, 2017 at 11:15 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

Facebook and Google promoted false news stories claiming that the shooter who killed more than 50 people in Las Vegas was a Democrat who opposed Donald Trump. The misidentification spread rapidly from dark corners of the internet to mainstream platforms just hours after hundreds were injured at a festival near the Mandalay Bay casino, the latest example of fake news polluting social media amid a breaking news story.

The flow of misinformation on Monday illustrated a particularly grim trend that has increasingly dominated viral online propaganda during US mass shootings – hyper-partisan trolls battling to blame the tragedy on opposing political ideologies.


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  1. Some observations: This points to the failure of of machine learning “AI” algorithms to weed this crap out; As noted in article, Americans more interested in debating “lefty vs righty” instead of the real debate i.e., gun control; and my rant-social media is nothing more than the new supermarket tabloid – unfortunately with a hugely increased gullible readership and increased propensity for fake stories to be picked up by mainstream media.

Inside The Federal Bureau Of Way Too Many Guns

Posted on October 3rd, 2017 at 11:14 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

There is no national database of guns. We have no centralized record of who owns all the firearms we so vigorously debate, no hard data regarding how many people own them, how many of them are bought or sold, or how many even exist.

What we have instead is Charlie.

And yet – if you look at the effects the last big gun control law had, back in Clinton days in 1994, and the effects after the sun-set period of that law, it appears the no gun control law is going to change all this. The best thing to do is make sure people have easy access to free mental healthcare.


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xkcd: Self Driving

Posted on October 2nd, 2017 at 13:14 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]


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  1. Help!!!

“The front fell off”

Posted on October 1st, 2017 at 9:12 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

Air France said in a statement that the engine had suffered “serious damage” but that the plane landed safely. “The regularly trained pilots and cabin crew handled this serious incident perfectly,” the statement said.

After they landed, the pilot was overheard saying “yes I’ll take uhh, one engine, large fries and a Diet Pepsi please”

(“That’ll be $5 million at the second window.”)

More pics and video at the link. And for those missing the reference in the title…


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The Playboy and The Prayboy

Posted on October 1st, 2017 at 8:56 by John Sinteur in category: News

 

I, uh… I read the Bible for the pictures, I swear.


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  1. So one day the Pope is walking around outside of the Vatican and he sees a prostitute. As he walks by she says “20 bucks for a blowjob.”

    Confused, he goes back into the Vatican and approaches one of the nuns. “Sister, I have a question for you.” She says “Yes, your Eminence?” “What is a blowjob?” “20 bucks, same as in town.”

  2. What convenience do nuns have over Huge Heffner’s bunnies?
    Their teeth come out.

  3. The seven dwarfs were in a Catholic church. They were sitting near the rear and as the priest was speaking, they whispered and giggled among themselves, causing quite a disturbance.

    All of a sudden, Dopey stands up and says, “Father, are there any midget nuns in the church ?” “No,” said
    the priest, “There are no midget nuns in the church.”

    A little time passed and the dwarfs were again whispering and giggling among themselves causing quite a disturbance and noticeably angering the priest. Soon, Dopey stands up again and asks, “Father, are there any midget nuns in the city?”

    “No, my son, there are no midget nuns in the city or in the church.” says the priest. Again the dwarfs resume their annoying giggling to the dismay of the priest.

    Once again, Dopey stands up and asks “Father, are there any midget nuns in the state?”

    “No, my son, there are no midget nuns in the state, in the city, and no midget nuns in the church.” exclaimed the priest, obviously upset.

    The dwarfs continue their interference. Dopey stands up and asks, “Father, are there any midget nuns in the country?”

    The priest, totally angered, exclaims “No, my son, there are no midget nuns in the church, in the city, in the state, no midget nuns in the country, there are no midget nuns in the whole world!!! Now sit down!!!!!”

    Soon afterwards, a chant can be heard from the rear of the church,

    “Dopey fucked a penguin. Dopey fucked a penguin. Dopey fucked a penguin.”

Local high school football players kicked off team after protest during anthem

Posted on October 1st, 2017 at 8:18 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

Two Victory & Praise Christian Academy football players were kicked off the team for protesting during the national anthem at a game Friday night.

Cedric Ingram-Lewis raised his fist while cousin Larry McCullough knelt during the anthem ahead of the team’s game against Providence Classical.

After the anthem ended, head coach Ronnie Mitchem instructed them to take off their uniforms and kicked them off the team. Mitchem is a former Marine and pastor who started the church-based football program in Crosby six years ago.

[..]

Mitchem said the pair left him no choice. He thought he had a deal with his players that no one would kneel. He said he supported the pair protesting, but wanted them to do it in other ways – kneeling after a touchdown in the end zone or writing and passing out a paper about the issues.

That’s now how protesting works, you idiot.  And where did you pick up that the national anthem has become inseparable with supporting the troops? Oh, and if you’re really a former marine, why don’t you know the origin of the kneeling? In a military funeral, after the flag is taken off the casket of the fallen military member, it is smartly folded 13 times and then presented to the parents, spouse or child of the fallen member by a fellow service member while KNEELING. And that’s why Colin Kaepernick use this specific gesture to protest.

So much stupidity in this coach…


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  1. Actually a flag is folded according to the number of folds it takes to fold it. There isn’t some arbitrary number (like 13) which is “required”. There is a common myth that each of these folds represents something. That is also not correct. See http://www.snopes.com/military/flagfold.asp for some further info. Also see the United States Code which covers flag etiquette. There is some website which describes itself as “dedicated to the flag” and comes up often in Google searches. Unfortunately, much of the information on that site is just plain wrong, although it is presented as fact.

    Also, there is no requirement to kneel while presenting the flag to the next of kin (NOK). The NOK may be sitting while the presenter is standing, and most often the presenter will bend over simply to pass the flag to the sitting person. Kneeling might be a way to present the flag to someone sitting, but this is in no way a standard part of a military funeral.

    My credentials for this post? Twenty-eight years of military service and far too many funerals.

New Rule: The Kremlin Konnection

Posted on September 30th, 2017 at 18:23 by John Sinteur in category: News


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The Coming Software Apocalypse

Posted on September 28th, 2017 at 22:20 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

This is why he was so intrigued when, in the appendix of a paper he’d been reading, he came across a strange mixture of math and code – or what looked like code – that described an algorithm in something called “TLA+”. The surprising part was that this description was said to be mathematically precise: An algorithm written in TLA+ could in principle be proven correct. In practice, it allowed you to create a realistic model of your problem and test it not just thoroughly, but exhaustively. This was exactly what he’d been looking for: a language for writing perfect algorithms.

TLA+, which stands for “Temporal Logic of Actions”, is similar in spirit to model-based design: It’s a language for writing down the requirements – TLA+ calls them “specifications” – of computer programs. These specifications can then be completely verified by a computer. That is, before you write any code, you write a concise outline of your program’s logic, along with the constraints you need it to satisfy (say, if you were programming an ATM, a constraint might be that you can never withdraw the same money twice from your checking account). TLA+ then exhaustively checks that your logic does, in fact, satisfy those constraints. If not, it will show you exactly how they could be violated.


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  1. Fantastic article. So much more you could say about this… the trade-offs between engineering and hacking, between repeated similar work and novel work, etc. etc.

  2. Anybody have a nice, clean 1961 Ford Falcon for sale? My next car needs to be completely computer free….

I asked Tinder for my data. It sent me 800 pages of my deepest, darkest secrets

Posted on September 28th, 2017 at 16:10 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

In March I asked Tinder to grant me access to my personal data. Every European citizen is allowed to do so under EU data protection law, yet very few actually do, according to Tinder.

With the help of privacy activist Paul-Olivier Dehaye from personaldata.io and human rights lawyer Ravi Naik, I emailed Tinder requesting my personal data and got back way more than I bargained for.

Some 800 pages came back containing information such as my Facebook “likes”, my photos from Instagram (even after I deleted the associated account), my education, the age-rank of men I was interested in, how many times I connected, when and where every online conversation with every single one of my matches happened … the list goes on.

“I am horrified but absolutely not surprised by this amount of data,” said Olivier Keyes, a data scientist at the University of Washington. “Every app you use regularly on your phone owns the same [kinds of information]. Facebook has thousands of pages about you!”


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  1. “OMG, the internet knows I’m a slut!”

    Yes, but don’t worry. We’re all just like you.

280 > 140

Posted on September 28th, 2017 at 12:00 by John Sinteur in category: News

My liege, and madam, to expostulate
What majesty should be, what duty is,
What day is day, night night, and time is time,
Were nothing but to waste night, day, and time;
Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
I will be brief.”

— Polonius, Hamlet Act II Scene II Line 85-92


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Nuclear Apocalypse Now?

Posted on September 27th, 2017 at 17:11 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

Debating whether Hiroshima was a war crime is, at this moment, anything but an academic exercise. America’s presumed innocence is not benign. It allows an ignorant and bellicose president to open the door not just to the Kim regime’s destruction, but to a possible act of collective suicide on a global scale. If Trump nukes North Korea, what will China do? And Russia?

In 1888, the philosopher Frederick Nietzsche predicted the coming of “wars the like of which have never been seen on earth before”. It seems unlikely that Trump was recalling Ecce Homo when he echoed Nietzsche’s phrase with his promise of “fire and fury like the world has never seen”, but he should consider the warning of Albert Einstein, four years after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones”.


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