The daily irrelevant https://sinteur.com si hoc legere scis nimium eruditionis habes Wed, 15 Nov 2017 21:34:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9 Trump Fans Want Hillary Clinton Impeached—Even Though She’s Not President https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/15/trump-fans-want-hillary-clinton-impeached-even-though-shes-not-president/ https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/15/trump-fans-want-hillary-clinton-impeached-even-though-shes-not-president/#comments Wed, 15 Nov 2017 21:34:07 +0000 https://sinteur.com/?p=73425

Rep. Luis Guitierrez said it brilliantly yesterday during the Judiciary hearing.

“Before I begin, I think I have a solution that could allow the committee to move onto more important matters like gun control and immigration. Your side clearly wants an investigation of Hillary Clinton, and our side has been begging for months to hold hearings and start an investigation of the Trump administration and campaign’s improper ties to Mr. Putin and the Russian government. My solution would save the American taxpayers a lot of grief and a lot of money by eliminating the need for the investigation. I propose we simply go to the president and the former secretary of state and ask them both to resign.”

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The Challenge | Best IT-professionals 2017 https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/15/the-challenge-best-it-professionals-2017/ https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/15/the-challenge-best-it-professionals-2017/#comments Wed, 15 Nov 2017 20:52:58 +0000 https://sinteur.com/?p=73423

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gamepee https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/15/gamepee/ https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/15/gamepee/#comments Tue, 14 Nov 2017 23:03:17 +0000 https://sinteur.com/?p=73420 Here is evidence that Bill Hicks was right.

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The “Paula Principle,” a corollary of the “Peter Principle,” explains why why women work below their abilities https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/14/the-paula-principle-a-corollary-of-the-peter-principle-explains-why-why-women-work-below-their-abilities/ https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/14/the-paula-principle-a-corollary-of-the-peter-principle-explains-why-why-women-work-below-their-abilities/#respond Tue, 14 Nov 2017 22:53:34 +0000 https://sinteur.com/?p=73418 [Quote:]

The idea that employees are promoted “to the level of their incompetence” has become a truism in management circles. The satirical 1969 treatise on business and life, The Peter Principle, pointed out that if success in one role leads inevitably to advancement, incompetent employees will occupy every high post, having reached the job they don’t possess the skills to succeed at.

But for women in the workplace, unwarranted advancement is not really the problem.

Most women work in jobs that are below their competency level, argues Tom Schuller, who frames that point as a corollary to the Peter Principle: “The Paula Principle.”

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Hannity’s fans embarrass themselves by destroying $120 coffee makers in defense of child molestation https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/13/hannitys-fans-embarrass-themselves-by-destroying-120-coffee-makers-in-defense-of-child-molestation/ https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/13/hannitys-fans-embarrass-themselves-by-destroying-120-coffee-makers-in-defense-of-child-molestation/#respond Mon, 13 Nov 2017 21:17:15 +0000 https://sinteur.com/?p=73416 [Quote:]

Instead of lashing out at Senate Republican candidate Roy Moore, who was accused of molesting young girls when he was in his 30s, hardcore conservatives are instead furious at companies that have severed ties with Sean Hannity following his vocal defense of deplorable Moore.

Hannity lost five advertisers over the weekend — including coffee machine-maker Keurig — as brands flee his program rather than associating themselves with an apparent defense of pedophilia.

The advertising exodus prompted a backlash among Hannity loyalists who started trashing their own $120 kitchen counter appliances, suggesting that Democrats would be upset they had done so.

We’ve now reached the point in human existence where anti-environment Republicans are smashing environmentally unfriendly coffee makers because they won’t support pedophilia. Let them have Nestle Instant Coffee.

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Ferry McFerryface to be name of new Sydney ferry after public vote https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/13/ferry-mcferryface-to-be-name-of-new-sydney-ferry-after-public-vote/ https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/13/ferry-mcferryface-to-be-name-of-new-sydney-ferry-after-public-vote/#respond Mon, 13 Nov 2017 20:50:21 +0000 https://sinteur.com/?p=73414 [Quote:]

Ferry McFerryface is now officially the name of the last ferry in a new fleet of inner harbour vessels.

The name was voted on by hundreds of Sydneysiders in a competition which allowed the public to be part of maritime history.

However, the most votes actually went to the name Boaty McBoatface, the notable title Brits voted to call a new research vessel last year.

But Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance said they wanted to avoid a double up.

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Codeine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, buprenorphine, fentanyl: Ranking the strength of opioids https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/13/codeine-hydrocodone-oxycodone-buprenorphine-fentanyl-ranking-the-strength-of-opioids/ https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/13/codeine-hydrocodone-oxycodone-buprenorphine-fentanyl-ranking-the-strength-of-opioids/#respond Mon, 13 Nov 2017 14:20:02 +0000 https://sinteur.com/?p=73412  Not all visuals need to be able to fit on a poster to get the point across

 

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Could Rome Have Had an Industrial Revolution? https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/13/could-rome-have-had-an-industrial-revolution/ https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/13/could-rome-have-had-an-industrial-revolution/#respond Mon, 13 Nov 2017 14:02:11 +0000 https://sinteur.com/?p=73410 All right, but apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health, and the industrial revolution, what have the Romans ever done for us?

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Why has Fox News abandoned Benghazi? https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/11/why-has-fox-news-abandoned-benghazi/ https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/11/why-has-fox-news-abandoned-benghazi/#respond Sat, 11 Nov 2017 21:29:27 +0000 https://sinteur.com/?p=73408 [Quote:]

The drop-off is stark and inexplicable. In the 20 months following the attacks, Fox News ran in excess of 1,000 segments on Benghazi, according to a September 2014 report by Media Matters. The focus remained intact even after that, spiking upon the release of the “13 Hours” book and movie — a compelling account from the security operators who saved many American lives that night. “This movie, if it’s really popular, is going to force [Hillary Clinton] to answer some questions,” said Steve Doocy on “Fox & Friends” about the movie, which premiered during the 2016 presidential primary season.

So, why would Fox News go nuts about a Benghazi movie in early 2016, yet yawn over a Benghazi trial in 2017? We here at the Erik Wemple Blog are stumped. Could it be that Fox News really didn’t care all that much about terrorism and American lives, after all? No way. Could it be that the Fox News Benghazi Editor has the flu or is on paternity leave? Could it be that all that Benghazi coverage strained resources at Fox News, which hauls $1.5 billion in profits? Could it be that something happened in the last year or so that diminished the urgency of the story?

Whatever the case, there’s still time. The trial is ongoing and may wrap later this month. “There’s still a chance for them to tell their viewers what happened in Benghazi in 2012,” says Goldman. “There are plenty of seats at the media room in the courthouse for Fox to set up.”

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German officials celebrate doubled Twitter character limit https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/11/german-officials-celebrate-doubled-twitter-character-limit/ https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/11/german-officials-celebrate-doubled-twitter-character-limit/#respond Sat, 11 Nov 2017 20:58:47 +0000 https://sinteur.com/?p=73406 [Quote:]

Twitter announced Tuesday it’s increasing the limit for almost all users of the messaging service from 140 to 280 characters, prompting a mix of delighted and despairing reactions.

Waking up to the news Wednesday, Germany’s justice ministry wrote that it can now tweet about legislation concerning the transfer of oversight responsibilities for beef labeling.

The law is known in German as the Rindfleischetikettierungsueberwachungsaufgabenuebertragungsgesetz.

Munich police, meanwhile, said that “at last” they won’t need abbreviations to tweet about accidents involving forklift drivers, or Niederflurfoerderfahrzeugfuehrer.

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Alabama task force performs drug raid, man dies. Officials take his home, split the proceeds https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/11/alabama-task-force-performs-drug-raid-man-dies-officials-take-his-home-split-the-proceeds/ https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/11/alabama-task-force-performs-drug-raid-man-dies-officials-take-his-home-split-the-proceeds/#respond Sat, 11 Nov 2017 20:57:57 +0000 https://sinteur.com/?p=73404 [Quote:]

Wayne’s death was already a tragedy. But, for his family, it was only compounded by what police and prosecutors did next.

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Facebook asks users for nude photos in project to combat revenge porn https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/11/facebook-asks-users-for-nude-photos-in-project-to-combat-revenge-porn/ https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/11/facebook-asks-users-for-nude-photos-in-project-to-combat-revenge-porn/#respond Sat, 11 Nov 2017 20:35:35 +0000 https://sinteur.com/?p=73402 [Quote:]

Individuals who have shared intimate, nude or sexual images with partners and are worried that the partner (or ex-partner) might distribute them without their consent can use Messenger to send the images to be “hashed”. This means that the company converts the image into a unique digital fingerprint that can be used to identify and block any attempts to re-upload that same image.

Facebook is piloting the technology in Australia in partnership with a government agency headed up by the e-safety commissioner, Julia Inman Grant, who told ABC it would allow victims of “image-based abuse” to take action before pictures were posted to Facebook, Instagram or Messenger.

“We see many scenarios where maybe photos or videos were taken consensually at one point, but there was not any sort of consent to send the images or videos more broadly,” she told the Australian broadcaster.

I cannot see any possible way in which this could go wrong.

I also have a bridge for sale.

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artist statement https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/11/artist-statement/ https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/11/artist-statement/#comments Sat, 11 Nov 2017 18:38:33 +0000 https://sinteur.com/?p=73400 [Quote:]

My work explores the relationship between Critical theory and counter-terrorism.

With influences as diverse as Wittgenstein and John Lennon, new variations are generated from both mundane and transcendant textures.

Ever since I was a teenager I have been fascinated by the theoretical limits of meaning. What starts out as hope soon becomes corroded into a hegemony of futility, leaving only a sense of dread and the chance of a new reality.

As shifting replicas become frozen through boundaried and critical practice, the viewer is left with a clue to the limits of our era.

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Mary had a little lamb https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/11/mary-had-a-little-lamb/ https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/11/mary-had-a-little-lamb/#respond Sat, 11 Nov 2017 14:03:31 +0000 https://sinteur.com/?p=73398

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Trump in China: A former ambassador says Xi is “playing him like a fiddle” https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/10/trump-in-china-a-former-ambassador-says-xi-is-playing-him-like-a-fiddle/ https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/10/trump-in-china-a-former-ambassador-says-xi-is-playing-him-like-a-fiddle/#respond Fri, 10 Nov 2017 09:03:18 +0000 https://sinteur.com/?p=73396 [Quote:]

Beyond the numbers, it’s Trump’s embrace of Xi that has diplomats and human rights activists around the world concerned. China’s government is “playing Trump like a fiddle,” said Jorge Guajardo, Mexico’s ambassador to China from 2007 to 2013. “You don’t have good chemistry with a Chinese leader who doesn’t speak your language and is geared to not develop chemistry,” he said.

The Communist Party’s top aides are masterful at making diplomats and foreign businessmen feel special, he said, warning that Trump may be particularly susceptible to Beijing’s tactic of flattering foreigners with over-the-top ceremony and then refusing to change.

“You leave that meeting thinking ‘It went great,’” said Guajardo. And then when it comes time to negotiate a practical agreement, if you invoke the special friendship you’ve formed, Beijing officials “laugh and say ‘No, let’s not confuse all that pomp and circumstance with the meat of the matter.’”

“I would be lying to you if I tell you I didn’t fall for it when I was there,” he added.

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DOJ: Strong encryption that we don’t have access to is “unreasonable” https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/10/doj-strong-encryption-that-we-dont-have-access-to-is-unreasonable/ https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/10/doj-strong-encryption-that-we-dont-have-access-to-is-unreasonable/#respond Fri, 10 Nov 2017 08:29:08 +0000 https://sinteur.com/?p=73394 [Quote:]

The DOJ’s position runs counter to the consensus of information security experts, who say that it is impossible to build the strongest encryption system possible that would also allow the government access under certain conditions.

“Of course, criminals and terrorists have used, are using, and will use encryption to hide their planning from the authorities, just as they will use many aspects of society’s capabilities and infrastructure: cars, restaurants, telecommunications,” Bruce Schneier, a well-known cryptographer, wrote last year.

“In general, we recognize that such things can be used by both honest and dishonest people. Society thrives nonetheless because the honest so outnumber the dishonest. Compare this with the tactic of secretly poisoning all the food at a restaurant. Yes, we might get lucky and poison a terrorist before he strikes, but we’ll harm all the innocent customers in the process. Weakening encryption for everyone is harmful in exactly the same way.”

Rosenstein closed his interview by noting that he understands re-engineering encryption to accommodate government may make it weaker.

“And I think that’s a legitimate issue that we can debate—how much risk are we willing to take in return for the reward?” he said.

“My point is simply that I think somebody needs to consider what’s on the other side of the balance. There is a cost to having impregnable security, and we’ve talked about some of the aspects of that. The cost is that criminals are going to be able to get away with stuff, and that’s going to prevent us in law enforcement from holding them accountable.”

He talks about it as if the entire world would go back to encryption with a back-door if only the big tech companies caved to his begging. As if strong encryption would simply disappear overnight if somebody like Tim Cook said “Okay, the Rosenstein is right”. The strong encryption horse has left the barn long ago and is now living three zip codes away. The only people who would be stuck with weakened encryption are the average law abiding citizens.

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‘Take the Bible…’: And thus began the worst defense of Roy Moore https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/10/take-the-bible-and-thus-began-the-worst-defense-of-roy-moore/ https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/10/take-the-bible-and-thus-began-the-worst-defense-of-roy-moore/#comments Fri, 10 Nov 2017 07:33:28 +0000 https://sinteur.com/?p=73392 [Quote:]

Roy Moore’s Senate campaign was jolted by an allegation Thursday that he initiated sexual touching with a 14-year-old girl when he was 32.

Moore (R) has denied the allegations. Alabama state Auditor Jim Zeigler (R), though, is taking it a step further. In some rather remarkable and often nonsensical comments, the Moore supporter’s argument isn’t that Moore didn’t do these things, but that even the conduct described in The Washington Post’s report is a-okay with both him and the law.

[..]

And finally, the piece de resistance:

“Take the Bible — Zachariah and Elizabeth, for instance. Zachariah was extremely old to marry Elizabeth and they became the parents of John the Baptist,” Ziegler says, choosing his words carefully before invoking Christ. “Also take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus.”

“There’s just nothing immoral or illegal here,” Ziegler concluded. “Maybe just a little bit unusual.”

First, there are issues with Zeigler’s Bible references. Both Zachariah and Elizabeth were elderly when John the Baptist was born; it wasn’t that she was young and Zachariah was “extremely old.”

Second, comparing modern age-of-consent laws to biblical times seems to be a slippery slope. Many things from 2,000 years ago don’t apply today. Girls were often betrothed early in their teenage years, for example.

And third, there is something called the virgin birth. Here is the definition of virgin.

So treason is okay. Sexual assault is okay. Corruption and abuse of power are okay. Telling an average of 5 unique lies a day is okay. Incompetence and negligence are okay. And now pedophilia is okay.

But if some motherfucker puts dijon mustard on their burger…

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Gay man denied a marriage license by Kim Davis wants to run against her https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/10/gay-man-denied-a-marriage-license-by-kim-davis-wants-to-run-against-her/ https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/10/gay-man-denied-a-marriage-license-by-kim-davis-wants-to-run-against-her/#comments Fri, 10 Nov 2017 07:19:26 +0000 https://sinteur.com/?p=73390 [Quote:]

“I don’t think that she has learned anything from the experience at all.

“I really, truly think that she feels like she is right. I really don’t think she cares at all about what civil rights are.”

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How Fake News Works: Millions of Americans Would Flunk Any Basic Civics Class https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/09/how-fake-news-works-millions-of-americans-would-flunk-any-basic-civics-class/ https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/09/how-fake-news-works-millions-of-americans-would-flunk-any-basic-civics-class/#comments Thu, 09 Nov 2017 12:26:42 +0000 https://sinteur.com/?p=73388 [Quote:]

Gore Vidal once remarked, “Half of the US population reads a newspaper. Half of the US population votes. Let’s hope it is the same half.”

Now, fewer than half of Americans read the newspaper, and an increasingly alarming amount report that they rely on social media for news, but many of them are still participating in the Democratic process. I often see bumper stickers that announce, “I’m Catholic and I vote” or “I’m NRA and I vote.” It seems that a lucrative merchandising opportunity exists for someone who invents the sticker, “I don’t read and I vote.”

The documentation of Americans’ ignorance on fundamental issues of history and governance is by now so thorough that it hardly bears repeating. For example, only 26 percent of Americans can name all three branches of government. These are people commonly referred to as “elitists.”

The problem is not just that Americans don’t know. It is that they don’t know what they don’t know, and they don’t know how to figure it out.

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The most consequential offenders in the dissemination, and success, of fake news are not the Russians or social-media company executives, but the American education system, and the parents who are content with raising children who know little about their country, much less about the rest of the world.

Only nine states require civics as part of the high school curriculum, and many colleges have reduced or eliminated requirements in history and political science. As unimaginable as it seems, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni published a report last year that only seven of the nation’s top 25 liberal arts colleges require their history majors — this is not a joke — to take a course in US history.

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A � https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/08/a/ https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/08/a/#respond Wed, 08 Nov 2017 21:41:57 +0000 https://sinteur.com/?p=73385 [Quote:]

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Transgender Candidate Defeats 13-Term Catholic Homophobe in VA Delegate Race https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/08/transgender-candidate-defeats-13-term-catholic-homophobe-in-va-delegate-race/ https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/08/transgender-candidate-defeats-13-term-catholic-homophobe-in-va-delegate-race/#comments Wed, 08 Nov 2017 08:49:40 +0000 https://sinteur.com/?p=73383 [Quote:]

Danica Roem didn’t just win a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates tonight. She became the first transgender elected official at the state level anywhere in the nation.

And she beat one of the most homophobic Republicans in the country on her way to victory.

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What do you mean you threw away that crumpled beer can? IT WAS MY PASSWORD https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/08/what-do-you-mean-you-threw-away-that-crumpled-beer-can-it-was-my-password/ https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/08/what-do-you-mean-you-threw-away-that-crumpled-beer-can-it-was-my-password/#comments Wed, 08 Nov 2017 08:04:49 +0000 https://sinteur.com/?p=73381 [Quote:]

Scientists from Florida International University and Bloomberg have created a custom two-factor authentication (2FA) system that relies on users taking a photo of a personal object.

The act of taking the photo comes to replace the cumbersome process of using crypto-based hardware security keys (e.g., YubiKey devices) or entering verification codes received via SMS or voice call.

The new system is named Pixie, and researchers argue it is more secure than the aforementioned solutions.

 

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Automatic Donald Trump https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/07/automatic-donald-trump/ https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/07/automatic-donald-trump/#respond Tue, 07 Nov 2017 21:40:44 +0000 https://sinteur.com/?p=73378 [Quote:]

I always wanted to implement a Markov chain. They are used all over: in compression, speech recognition, telco error correction, Bayesian inference, economics, genetics, biology. They run your smartphone’s writing suggestions. Hell, even Google’s PageRank (the thing that kind of pays my bills) is defined using a Markov chain.

Markov’s idea is actually pretty simple — but its simplicity is often obstructed by thick layers of mathematical formulas and formal definitions. Few people actually grok it.

This is my shot at explaining Markov chains in a palatable and maybe even enjoyable way. How do I want to make this article enjoyable? Two things:

  • Actual code.
  • Donald Trump.
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26 Dead in Yet Another Mass Killing https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/07/26-dead-in-yet-another-mass-killing/ https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/07/26-dead-in-yet-another-mass-killing/#comments Tue, 07 Nov 2017 08:14:55 +0000 https://sinteur.com/?p=73376 [Quote:]

Now it’s time for a pop quiz: What race was the killer, and what means did he use to kill? You get three guesses, and the first two don’t count. Time’s up! His name was Devin Patrick Kelley, and of course he was white and used a gun to kill. The President’s verbiage here was his usual for a white-guy-with-a-gun attack; if it had been a person of color and/or a Muslim, he would have responded with things like “politically correct” and “terrorists” and “tougher vetting.” He also would have sent 10 tweets rather than one. This CAP Alert graphic, comparing the words Trump most commonly uses on Twitter in each of those two situations, is instructive:

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Vorticity (4K) https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/06/vorticity-4k/ https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/06/vorticity-4k/#respond Mon, 06 Nov 2017 13:55:26 +0000 https://sinteur.com/?p=73374

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Monsoon IV (4K) https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/06/monsoon-iv-4k/ https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/06/monsoon-iv-4k/#respond Mon, 06 Nov 2017 13:53:37 +0000 https://sinteur.com/?p=73372

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MINIX — The most popular OS in the world, thanks to Intel https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/06/minix-the-most-popular-os-in-the-world-thanks-to-intel/ https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/06/minix-the-most-popular-os-in-the-world-thanks-to-intel/#comments Mon, 06 Nov 2017 10:58:36 +0000 https://sinteur.com/?p=73370 [Quote:]

That’s right. A web server. Your CPU has a secret web server that you are not allowed to access, and, apparently, Intel does not want you to know about.

Why on this green Earth is there a web server in a hidden part of my CPU? WHY?

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Donald Trump Asked Why ‘Samurai’ Japan Isn’t Shooting Down North Korean Missiles https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/06/donald-trump-asked-why-samurai-japan-isnt-shooting-down-north-korean-missiles/ https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/06/donald-trump-asked-why-samurai-japan-isnt-shooting-down-north-korean-missiles/#comments Mon, 06 Nov 2017 10:47:13 +0000 https://sinteur.com/?p=73367 [Quote:]

According to the Japan Times, diplomatic sources confirm that with a Monday meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe looming, our very lucid leader has set low expectations with complaints that “he could not understand why a country of samurai warriors did not shoot down the missiles.”

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The Great College Loan Swindle https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/05/the-great-college-loan-swindle/ https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/05/the-great-college-loan-swindle/#comments Sun, 05 Nov 2017 22:18:36 +0000 https://sinteur.com/?p=73364 [Quote:]

Americans don’t understand the student-loan crisis because they’ve been trained to view the issue in terms of a series of separate, unrelated problems. They will read in one place that as of the summer of 2017, a record 8.5 million Americans are in default on their student debt, with about $1.3 trillion in loans still outstanding.

In another place, voters will read that the cost of higher education is skyrocketing, soaring in a seemingly market-defying arc that for nearly a decade now has run almost double the rate of inflation. Tuition for a halfway decent school now frequently surpasses $50,000 a year. How, the average newsreader wonders, can any child not born in a yacht afford to go to school these days?

In a third place, that same reader will see some heartless monster, usually a Republican, threatening to cut federal student lending. The current bogeyman is Trump, who is threatening to slash the Pell Grant program by $3.9 billion, which would seem to put higher education even further out of reach for poor and middle-income families. This too seems appalling, and triggers a different kind of response, encouraging progressive voters to lobby for increased availability for educational lending.

But the separateness of these stories clouds the unifying issue underneath: The education industry as a whole is a con. In fact, since the mortgage business blew up in 2008, education and student debt is probably our reigning unexposed nation-wide scam.

It’s a multiparty affair, what shakedown artists call a “big store scheme,” like in the movie The Sting: a complex deception requiring a big cast to string the mark along every step of the way. In higher education, every party you meet, from the moment you first set foot on campus, is in on the game.

America as a country has evolved in recent decades into a confederacy of widescale industrial scams. The biggest slices of our economic pie – sectors like health care, military production, banking, even commercial and residential real estate – have become crude income-redistribution schemes, often untethered from the market by subsidies or bailouts, with the richest companies benefiting from gamed or denuded regulatory systems that make profits almost as assured as taxes. Guaranteed-profit scams – that’s the last thing America makes with any level of consistent competence. In that light, Trump, among other things, the former head of a schlock diploma mill called Trump University, is a perfect president for these times. He’s the scammer-in-chief in the Great American Ripoff Age, a time in which fleecing students is one of our signature achievements.

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How the Democrats Are Failing the Resistance https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/05/how-the-democrats-are-failing-the-resistance/ https://sinteur.com/index.php/2017/11/05/how-the-democrats-are-failing-the-resistance/#respond Sun, 05 Nov 2017 22:06:03 +0000 https://sinteur.com/?p=73362 [Quote:]

And next Tuesday, we will get a dose of outside-the-bubble political reality. Ed Gillespie and Ralph Northam will be duking it out in the Virginia governor’s race in an evenly balanced, but Democratic-trending, state. It has morphed into a real-life test of how strong Trumpism will be in 2018, how effective the Democrats are as an alternative, and the future of the country. I don’t know what the result will be. But it is not looking good — for the Democrats or the country as a whole.

Northam seems to me almost a classic Democratic politician of our time. I have no idea what his core message is (and neither, it seems, does he); on paper, he’s close to perfect; his personality is anodyne; his skills as a campaigner are risible; and he has negative charisma. More to the point, he is running against an amphibian swamp creature, Ed Gillespie, and yet the Washington lobbyist is outflanking him on populism. Northam’s ads are super lame, and have lately been largely on the defensive, especially on crime, culture, and immigration. He hasn’t galvanized minority voters, has alienated many white voters, and has failed to consolidate a broader anti-Trump coalition. In Virginia, Trump’s approval rating is 38/59, but Northam is winning only 81 percent of the disapprovers, while Gillespie is winning 95 percent of the approvers. Northam’s early double-digit lead has now collapsed to within the margin of error.

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Now go to Northam’s website and you see a near-copy of Clinton’s agenda last year. Drenched in wonky micro-policies, one of its exhausted themes is actually “Working Together.” If you plumb the message, behind various poll-tested good-government bromides, he even has policy proposals on concussions and STEM curricula, and a smoking ban. This is Establishment Democratic boilerplate. And Democratic turnout, in response, looks wobbly, especially among minority voters.

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