Monday, January 30, 2012

"Friendly AI?"

New Transhuman post.

I haven't done my post on Artificial Intelligence yet, but I've touched on the subject. I should likely do my AI post before I do this one, but - eh.

A quick primer on some AI terms, for those who don't know or missed one of my posts where I defined them:

AI - Artificial Intelligence. I've also seen this rendered as Artilect - Artificial Intellect. AIs/Artilects come in several different "flavors", depending upon what they do and the amount of labor put into creating them. In escalating order of self-awareness, they are:

Expert System: An expert system isn't a true AI. It's a program that has been developed that possesses a mastery of a particular subject and then uses that mastery in that subject area. ESes are not self-aware, they are not sapient, and they cannot learn. We've been using ESes since the 1970s and 80s, and they've only gotten better.

Narrow AI: Also called Weak AI. This AI is sorta like what we imagine when we think of AI, but it's intentionally handicapped so that it can't reach human/transhuman levels of intelligence (I imagine a Narrow AI would likely be as smart as a human is today, compared to the transhumans of tomorrow). Narrow AIs are the most plausible right now, and depending upon how one interprets  Godel's various theorems, maybe the only type of AI possible. I disagree, and I'm not the only one.

Stands for Artificial General Intelligence. Also called Strong AI. These are AI systems that are programmed to be just humans. They learn, they feel, they understand, they have their own personalities, likes, dislikes, thoughts, etc. They are, for all intents and purposes, totally self-aware. An AGI would be really no different from a human being, with the exception that they live in a computer.

Seed AI: This is where people start to get nervous. Add one half pound AGI and two quarts infinite self-improving capabilities, stir vigorously and for God's sakes don't put in the bootstrapping. A Seed AI is an AGI on steroids; these are AIs that have infinite self-improvement capabilities, achieved through what I imagine is something like recursive programming. A Seed AI has the actual potential to become a god or God or something close to it - if Seed AIs actually can exist, they're likely the only thing that remains from highly advanced alien civilizations (providing those civilization didn't just downsize themselves into attotech computer - goodness only knows what they're doing down there).

Like all technology, AIs have their own risks and benefits. No technology is likely as misunderstood as AI research; this is partially thanks to Hollywood's tendency to display AIs as prone to go rogue at the drop of hat and try to kill off humanity for... whatever purpose. Who knows.

It makes for an awesome story. It's crap science, like everything from Hollywood and modern science fiction, though.

Overlooking Hollywood's stupidity on the matter, there's an interesting discussion to be made. Obviously we don't want our AI go and get itself corrupted, or to exposed to an alien hypervirus that operates on a femtotech level and kill us all, so the natural inclination is "well, program it to be friendly to us. Recognize us as it's masters, and definitely try not to kill us."

This notion is called "friendly AI." Were we program the AI so it is friendly towards us, so it doesn't go all Skynet and, y'know, kill us.

I'm glad to know I'm not the only person who disagrees with this immensely.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Human Black Box: Devil's Advocate (Part 9)

Here we are, back on schedule again (sorta). The last few Human Black Box installments have been spread out over the last few months, due mostly to my working schedule and classes, but I'm back, and I've got new updates down the tubes for it.

First up, A recap of where we are: Chloe and Zira were sent to Mars by ANTARES to investigate a "Dr. Mahmoud-Martinique", who went vanished. While there, they started digging up evidence that Dr. M&M worked for a reclaimer movement who had made actual runs to Earth, and that he'd gotten tied up in a strange cult-like group, with individuals who model themselves after the Left Behind series of novels. While following up on the lead that lead to the discover of a Christbot that Dr. M&M had brought back from Earth on one such trip, one of those individuals - a blogger named Cameron Williams - got the drop on the women and killed Chloe. After resleeving, Chloe and Zira concocted a scheme to get into New Hope Village Colony - by creating beta forks of themselves and sleeving them into flats. Chloe, sleeved in a specialized ruster morph, followed them in. While there, Chloe discovered agents of a group called Ozma there, interrogating what looked like the Christbot. After saving him and killing off the Ozma agents, Chloe found herself face-to-face with the Christbot sleeved in a biomorph... and it wasn't entirely human...

Meanwhile, Zira caught up with one of Cameron's forks, and after a question and answer session, managed to get some disturbing truths from the fork, including a plan to smuggle the fork through one of the Pandora Gates and into an exosolar colony...

This is the final part of Devil's Adovcate. The next arc-segment will pick up with a familiar face that we haven't seen in a while - even though she's got a new one - and deal with a different problem...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Klan, Operation Rescue, and Al Qaeda

For those who don't know, Operation Rescue is a terrorist organization, just like Al Qaeda. They're a terrifying mix of violent extremism and anti-woman, anti-life, anti-human self-righteous blindness, run by a man who can only be described as a corrupted, soulless monster.

The right to not have to use a coat hanger for abortion in the United States has come under fire. Like all other third world countries, a patriarchy convinced of it's own conceited worldview has stepped up and deemed women as unacceptable human beings. No where is that more visible than in Operation Rescue, the Orwellian named group who's sole purpose seems to be bombing women's health clinics, killing gynecologists, and lying about how they didn't want any of the above to happen.

So yes, sort of like the Klan. But the Klan had the guts to stand up and say it was what they wanted. Like other Right-wing cowards, Operation Rescue can't do that.

And just like the Klan, I hope they become shunned really soon. Because these theocratic cryptofascists have adopted a new technique in their battle against female human rights: these radical clerics have started adopting a database with the names, pictures, work hours and work locations of all the doctors who preform abortions.

Does this scare you? Because it scares me. And we know exactly what it will be used for. It's getting a bit hot in here, and the law needs to step in. Now. Before someone else dies.

h/t the Slacktivist

Monday, January 23, 2012

Conservative Love!

If you couldn't tell by the title, this has to do with love as only Conservatives are capable of showing it. So, heads up, because things can only go down hill from here.

A few Trigger Warnings - Animal Abuse for sure, with discussion of Slavery and racism in the Modern TEA Party - you know, the party that isn't racist - included.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

As Promised! Human Black Box - Now As A PDF!

I burned the midnight oil for this - let this be lesson: Never put off today what you can do tomorrow. Or something like that. Anyway, after spending a couple of weeks intermittenly working on it, I'm finally done. I have collected the entire first part of Human Black Box into a single PDF file, done through publisher. I sorta wish that I had more artistic talent than I do, but that's what DAZ studio is for.

So - here it is. Human Black Box: Things Go Sideways.
I plan to do this for all of the releases of Human Black Box, but what I learned here was that I need to start sooner than a week before I promise it. Anyway, the document is released under the Share and Share Alike license, so if some Godforsaken reason you want to use the artwork or you want to use the characters, feel free - just attribute me as their creator. Everything else is the IP of Posthuman Studios; the folks who created Eclipse Phase.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The New Christian Sharia

If you've ever wondered what a critical failure in civics looks like, look no further than the Liberty Council. In a pique of fantasy, they rewrote the Constitution. Christian extremists masturbating their faith over civic law is nothing new in this country; whether it's lying and claiming that "we're a Christian nation" or lying about Thomas Jefferson and the founding fathers/framers of the Constitution, a document they hold in such high regard they've never read, for fear it might be sacrilege. Their ideas are like all the different superpositions of an atom - once you look at it, they collapse (this is provided you accept wave-function collapse).

For those unfamiliar, the Liberty Council is an insult to pathetic jokes in the field of law. They basically have to lie about being a law firm, because they sit at the intersection of "law", "extremism" and "that burrito that you didn't eat all of and threw away last Friday." They're the "moral substitute" pushing Christian Sharia, and like 99.9% of all moral substitutes, they suck at what they do.

So, in an effort to pretend that they don't suck, they rewrote the Constitution, and modeled it after their own Christian Sharia law. Now, figure this - they scream that the United States is a Christian nation. If it's a Christian nation, why the hell are you rewriting the Constitution? It should be in the original Constitution (and not the Declaration of Independence, assdouche - they're two entirely different documents), but it's not, so you have to rewrite the Constitution that this country is built upon in the name of turning it into the Christian nation that it always was despite it not being in the founding documents? Spin me 'round and 'round; this oroborous of logic isn't ending anytime soon. Of course, that's the least of their logical flaws - why do you think they resort to lying? There is no legitimate debate because this isn't a Christian nation. Lie and make it up, concoct, list to FOX noise, In God We Trust does not mean Jesus, and I challenge any conservative to prove me wrong.

Never mind the fact that the phrase is unconstitutional to begin with.

But, let's take a look at this abomination that the Liberty Council shat out - this joke of fixer-fic of the Constitution.

(TW: Language - moreso than usual - and all the usual TWs associated with anything out of the bigoted and stupid political Right)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Now With 20% More Fallacies!

In the wake of this turning 2012, there's sure to be a surge of interest in the various codes and such, especially as we get closer to the fateful day of December 22-25th, 2012, after which will occur December 23-26th, 2012. With that in mind, it's time to launch a preemptive push back.

One of the funnest aspect of looking at these "prophecies" and these "codes," and by larger extensions, the so-called psychics like Edgar Casey and others, is how many logical fallacies they hit on their way down to the bottom. Because they nail quite a few. Men like Casey and other prophecy "scholars" are very good at taking vague descriptions and blowing them way out of proportion, stretching the meaning of words like the Biblical Literalists ignore the majority of the Bible on the Political Right.

It can be fun to sometimes live in a world where there are such things. Those familiar with the Dark Matter setting, which was originally published by TSR under their flagship Sci-Fi label Alternity, and later re-appropriated by WotC for their d20 modern setting, know. Those familiar with a little show from the 1990s named The X-Files know. A world with conspiracies can a fun place. It's very exciting to think that you have secret knowledge that nobody else has; that you've been able to put together these pieces and look at the evidence in a different way, disregarding everything else along the way.  To pretend that there are these dark forces at work in the world and that you can see them - it gives an otherwise random world shape. That everything in the world happens because there are mysterious Illuminati that are pulling the strings behind the world curtain, or that the Bilderburgs and the CDC are working together to plant the next population-controlling virus in the population. However, this is fantasy, and most people recognize it as fantasy. It's not real. The Bilderburgs have a lot of power, but they don't set the tone for the entire world. A Freemason lounge can barely decide on what time of sandwiches they want for lunch most of the time, much less control a vast global conspiracy with other lounges. If it's always two Jewish people and three opinions, how does anything get done in the vast global conspiracies that seem them controlling the markets? It can fun to live in a world where there are these conspiracies, but it's also fun to live in a world with dragons and fairies and elves. The thing they have in common is that neither set of devices exists in the real world - not conspiracies, not dragons.

I understand the draw of conspiracies. There is something appealing to believing that you've thought of something and that you're hiding information that could implicate a vast global conspiracy, and that the government is out to get you. Real life is boring most of the time. Who doesn't want to have access to these top level files that implicate the existence of aliens at Area 51? Humans are natural story tellers and our minds are not geared towards critical thinking - critical thinking is something we have to train ourselves how to do. Nobody is born a critical thinker. We see patterns in nature and we ascribe meaning to those patterns - if you think about it, that's all language is. It's patterns on a sheet of paper that we ascribe meaning too. We you look up at the clouds and you see a face, or an airplane, or a cow or flower or whatever - it's the same thing. Conspiracies are the same; we look around us and we find these patterns and we ascribe meanings to them, and we connect the dots, and we come to conclusions. They're the wrong conclusions, but they're conclusions never the less. More importantly, they're interesting conclusions; ones that hold the attention, and that reach out and grab you.

But that doesn't change the fact that they're wrong. And it doesn't change the fact that, when spread as facts, we have a problem.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Homer and Codes

I've talked a bit about people who find codes in the strangest things. I plan to do a post that takes apart the whole notion of "code finding" in ancient texts - for instance, this BS surrounding the Bible Code. However, I have other things going on this evening, so I won't have time to.

But, as a prelude to it, my own proof that codes "exist".

I have a half-way decent knowledge of Ancient Greek. I'm self taught, so it's hit or miss, but otherwise fairly solid. Well, I sat down today and decided to see if Google Translate knew as much Ancient Greek as I did (humor me; I know here's a huge difference between Modern and Ancient Greek), by posting a few lines of the Odyssey in to Google Translate, in their original Ancient Greek, and translating them. Leaving aside linguistic drift (and the fact that 'c' isn't used for sigma anymore), the results were... interesting. And a linguistic trainwreck.

But make no mistake - if this is true, and it is, I am now a fervent believer in the Bible Code and Nostradamus. *sage nod*

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Fantasy and Science Fiction

As you may or may not know, I'm a writer. I write for hobby, mostly, because I don't foresee any of my books getting published unless we talk self-publishing (for instance - the protagonist of the book I'm trying to get published right now, the Blue Pimpernel, is a 16yo gay teenage half-Korean/half-White girl. Who suffers from realistically portrayed ADHD and Bipolar disorder, in addition to be extremely uncomfortable in her own skin. She's a really good athlete, but that's because she's a body-kinesthetic learner in addition to being a dynamo of energy due to the ADHD and her hypomanic phases). There's no publishing house that would touch a character like that. I would never change any aspect of the character, from people telling me "well, maybe if you made her mom Korean, rather than her dad..." to "she doesn't have to be so obviously gay, does she?" Changing any aspect of her, or her friends - who are just as diverse as she is - would be a huge deal breaker for me, and because the publishing community is dominated by White cis-gendered males and White cis-gendered male characters written for White cis-gendered male readers - and the fact that she's not played for any type of lesbian fan service at all and is likely as physically inclined as Batman is ("Fuck" is said 58 times in the book. ~30 of them are from her, so she's got a bit of a temper, too) - would only be precieved as "off-putting" to the White cis-gendered male readers of science fiction/superhero fiction. Because, the popular schema goes, White cis-gendered male readers what White cis-gendered male characters, or uber-sexy females played for fan service. If there's a lesbian couple, they must have sex on screen at least once but please, don't humor those who would like to see to men having sex. That'd be gross and icky and would assault the fragile notions of masculinity that these White cis-gendered male editors and publishers ascribe to their White cis-gendered male readers (attention all White cis-gendered male readers: are you insulted yet? You should be. I am and I'm not even cis-gendered).

So, self-publishing it is for me. When I do publish it, which I hope will be sometime this month or next month, I'll definitely post the link here. Not only that, but I get to design my own cover. None of this bullshit "if your heroine is a 16 year old auburn-haired green-eyed teenage girl who looks like an athlete and is so half-Korean as to be mistaken for full Chinese in spite of her hair and eye color, why do you have a 24 year old blind, blue-eyed supermodel on the cover who's half naked holding a flower, and likely doesn't have a spine given the way she's twisting?"

Speaking of publishing and science fiction and my writing - I'm sure the readers of Human Black Box are wondering where the updates are. Fret not - I've been posting in segments for a reason, and I really appreciate the editorial work that Brin's done for me so far. I've got a surprise in the wings; expect it sometime next week, providing time works with me, and then I'll go back to semi-regular updates for Human Black Box (I have more computer access now than I did the whole month of December and the end of November, so I have time to go back to working on it.)

Anyway, the content of the post. Right. I'm a writer, so I'm familiar with a lot of genre conventions. I'm a troper, so I know their unofficial names. I'm also a student of genre studies, so I know their official names, too. I know how they get implemented, and I'm familiar with the ways in which they get used. This post deals with a subject that I've touched on in passing while writing previous posts. That is, the inherent difference of Science Fiction and Fantasy. I've actually started a previous post about this before, but it wasn't the right time for it. Because it's Saturday evening, and I've posted on politics almost all week, I think it's time to take a step aside and look at something different. So - what is the difference, and is it true that one is better than the other?

Friday, January 13, 2012

School's Prayer

Here's my new version of this school's prayer:
Our Heavenly Father

Grant us each day so that we may regress and stay ignorant; so that we may express our intolerance and bigotry towards those who are different from us. To remain mentally and morally stunted, as well as physically confrontational, for we are not adults, and have no other recourse for expressing our feelings. To be cruel to the helpless and the downtrodden, the unprivileged and those with a different view, so we and our teachers may mock our classmates for disagreeing with us. To be as utterly dishonest as possible, to others and ourselves. Help us be as self righteous and arrogantly hypocritical as possible. Teach us the value of hate and ignorance, as well as intolerance and inhuman cruelty, so that we may express it towards those whom we disagree. Help us conduct ourselves as such so that we can bring due credit to the Christians of Rhode Island in general and Cranston High School West in particular.


Oh, but she won. Congratulations, Jessica Ahlquist - stay strong in the face of adversity. She's won so far, and she'll win here, too. Those Christians are full of shit - they're all talk, without the moral fortitude to back up their immoral words. Not that this takes away, nor should it take away, any fear that their words inspire. They should all be taken seriously - so seriously I'm posting their names here, along with their comments.

Taste the Christian love. If it tastes sorta like shit, that's because it is.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

NOM Lies; News At 11

h/t Dispatches

This is like the Funny Right-wing Martyr Complexes; this shouldn't even be news anymore. Liars lie, false truths are told, shit-eating grins are given and nothing gets done. NOM is really good at this; especially the shit-eating part.

So at the end of the day does it really surprise anyone when lairs rehash the same tried "argument" - I wouldn't even dignify it with that term but I can't think of another word, and this sure as hell isn't a debate - that praying on young children is identical too two adults who love one another giving their consent to engage in sexual activities? And this is the best argument they have.

Why the don't these people just go away? They've lost. Repeatedly. Their ideology and agenda is gum in the machine, and you can only tolerate gum in the machine for so long before you have to remove it and throw it away. They don't have a true word amongst their claims except for one verse from Leviticus, and it's not even the verse that supports abortion (that'd be 27:6, for those keeping score at home - "If it is a person between one month and five years, set the value of a male at five shekels of silver and that of a female at three shekels of silver" and if it's a thing under one month, because anything under one month aren't people by Leviticus, not a single fuck one is given. Except, of course, a fine determined by the husband in accordance with Exodus 21:22-23.)

So not only are they dishonest about gays, they're dishonest about how they treat their own holy book. Gasp. Shock. Awe. I would never have suspected. You'd think that they never even read it before, but we know that can't be true. After all, that'd make them hypocrites too.

Monday, January 9, 2012

I Am Apparently An Indigo Child

I'm gonna have a lot of fun with this one.

I'm not sure what it is with the soft-headed left, but in a great many ways, they can be even more offensive and culturally insensitive than the right can be. I've criticized the whole notion of an "end of the world" in 2012 before, and I've gone after the plenty of backwards liberals who believe it - I know who you are. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Likewise, the whole anti-vaxx movement and "natural medicine" is very common among the left. I'm pretty sure this has nothing to do with them being on the right and more to do with them being sad, confused individuals who don't have a clue how science of any stripe works (or take a romantic view to the scientific method and automatically leap the assumption their aura drained the lightbulb and that's why it isn't working anymore). The remainder are con artists and liars.

My point is, the left is not immune to this. In fact, the left propagates bad science just as much as the right does. Any time you deny that modern medicine doesn't work, you might as well be denying evolution and anthropogenic climate change, too. Anytime you stand up and scream that vaccinations cause autism you might as well be telling me that that homosexuality is a damn choice, or that life begins at conception. Any time you start talking about "traditional medicine", you might as well be telling me that the Earth is flat and Intelligent Design is right. It's all the same bad science. You have no room to criticize one if you willingly believe the other. You cannot tell me that someone is wrong for not accepting climate change when you stand there and tell me that the MMR vaccine causes autism. It's the same piss-poor critical thinking all around.

Arguably, it's even worse. Creationism is a victimless crime. It destroys science education and critical thinking, sure, but at the end of the day, it doesn't kill people like the anti-vaxx movement does (now, you can't say the same thing for the "live beings at conception" crowd). And these people are supposed to be on my side!

A lot of this silly anti-science garbage finds its way back to the New Age movement. It's about high time I dealt with these people. New Agers - believers in the Age of Aquarius - take the same irrational approach to objective reality that their counterparts in the Creationist and Intelligent Design community take, with the exception that New Agers try to couch it in a faux-sense of "moral relativity" that consists of stealing ideas from other cultures and then twisting those ideas to your liking. This is called "cultural appropriation", if you've never heard the term before. Sometimes, you get a blend of cultural appropriation that leads to something offensive - for instance, this notion that individuals like me, who have AD/HD, aren't really sick. No, we're "indigo children."


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Republican APC Strikes Again!

APCs (Amusing Persecution Complexes) are a dime a dozen anymore. Any time you turn on the television, or go to any Right-Wing webpage, you'll hear them. Some of them are just the end results of narcissistic egos who believe the world should revolve around them. Others are paranoia-induced. All of them tend to be amusing, and invoke cries of "shut up and grow up" from those of us who read them.

So with that in mind, I wouldn't normally even bother, unless I was just trying to make them look silly (because they need the help). However, when I found this over at Dispatches from the Culture Wars, I couldn't resist. This is just too much to pass up. I'm convinced this is genetic - these people must be missing a gene that lets them discern "irony" or something.

Do Musicians Block Republican Candidates From Using Their Songs?

FOX News is protesting that song-writers won't let Republican candidates pirate their songs. And as a result, because the singers an musicians won't let Republicans pirate their music, Republican candidates are so persecuted. Those damn librrrl musicians hate us Republicans. Hell, look at what the Dixie Chicks did to Bush! And now they won't let Republicans pirate their music for the campaign trail. Imagine that. The nerve of those songwriters, thinking that you should ask their permission before publicly reproducing any of their songs. You'd think those arrogant bastards thought they owned it or something.
When GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s team was looking for a theme song for his campaign, Kid Rock’s hit “Born Free” hit a chord. But instead of doing what countless other politicians before him had done, simply take the song and start blasting it at events, Romney first asked Rock’s permission.
Attorney Larry Iser is taking credit for Romney’s ask first, use song later approach.
“I can proudly say it was primarily the two pieces of litigation that we handled on a national scale, Browne versus McCain, and David Byrne versus Charlie Christ, that have served to educate the political community and their ad agencies,” said Iser, a partner at the L.A. law firm Kinsella, Weitzman, Iser, Kump and Aldisert. “The fact that Mitt Romney asked for and actually got permission from Kid Rock is a giant leap forward for the rights of musicians and songwriters.”

Romney’s approach does seem to be the exception to the politicians’ rule. But could he have taken this tack because musicians often seem to lean anti-GOP?
It could also be the fact that, y'know, Romney asked first. Like you said, right there in the opening paragraph. But hey, don't let your own contradictions stand in the way of a perfectly good delusional persecution complex.

On average, artists tend to be more liberal. This comes from being more empathetic and intelligent, a haul mark individuals who are more in tune with themselves and their emotions and, as a result, other people. Note that this isn't always the case, but speaking in broad generalizations, this is largely the case. You learn to empathize with other people. That's the first step in becoming a liberal.
“Musicians are part of the entertainment industry which is mostly anti-Republican. So lefty performers hate having conservatives use their music,” says Vice President of the Business & Media Institute and political commentator, Dan Gainor. “There's definitely a PR component to complaining about politicians using your music. If you have a hardcore lefty base of listeners and you bash Michele Bachmann, then you score points. Imagine if a liberal tried to use Toby Keith's ‘Courtesy Of The Red, White, And Blue.’ Keith and his fans would rightly be upset. But that never happens since liberals don't like images of the flag.”
I can imagine what would happen if a liberal tried to use that horrible song. They'd get laughed off the face of this planet.

It's because we don't like flag, mind you. Wave it around like a mindless drone, scream at the top of your lungs how patriotic you are, and how you wish gays would be thrown in jail, and that Muslims should be deported and executed, and that Obama is a secret Kenyan-born Muslim, and that Blacks are responsible for their own poverty and that they're just lazy, that the Earth is 6-10,000 years old, and that God came down and personally poured the Holy Oil of the Blessed Constitution on George Washington's forehead to decree that women were wombs with feet. When you do stuff like that, it's no wonder liberals don't want to be seen anywhere near a flag.

You defiled it with your mere presence. Burn that boy. Get rid of it. It's contaminated with conservative stupid. It'll never be the same flag again.

It's not that we aren't patriotic - liberals are far more patriotic than anything you'll find out of the Right, because we criticize the country and don't blindly follow authority. Not that I'd even want to wear the label. Not after the mess that these fools made in it.

Iser disgarees.
“I would say certainly in recent years, there's been a greater unlicensed use of songs by Republican candidates,” Iser, said. “The point that the musician is making is not about the [political] party. The position they're taking is: This is what we do for a living, we are protected by copyright, and if you're running for election, you need to respect the law. It just is a coincidence really, simple as that.”
Iser stresses that when it comes to music and campaigns, artists and songwriters only want to protect their intellectual property rights and ensure that they aren’t involuntary endorsers of candidates and campaign messages. 
“If you're Jackson Browne or you're David Byrne or if you're Kid Rock, you have the right, just like you and I have, to choose to endorse somebody or not,” he continued. “When the song is used without permission, you've taken away the choice that the songwriter has to say 'yes' or say 'no.' Another reason, which is more fundamental, is that when you take somebody's song and use it without permission, then the songwriter and the singer, the performer, they don't get paid. People often forget that writing songs and performing them and selling records and actually licensing music for use in advertising, that's how these guys make a living. That’s how they put food on the table.”
This is a total non-issue and they know it. They're just looking for something - anything - to fuel their post-War on Christmas persecution withdrawal.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Transhumanism and the Ethnic Identity

This is a tricky subject for me to write on, but I feel like I'm doing it a disservice if I don't. I've addressed the issue of race and privilege numerous times on this blog, and I've stated before that I'm a White, (outwardly) male. One of the benefits of this is the fact that I don't constantly have my identity shoved in my face, so I'm free to think of what it might be like as a different identity, and possibly even shed the notion of ethnicity and race all together.

Others don't have that freedom. So what happens, and what I've seen and read, is that they take the identity constantly shoved in their face and turn it into something they're proud of. This is why a "color-blind" society still does everyone a disservice: you're stripping them of their identity that they've worked hard to put so much pride into, while at the same time, continuing to shove it back in their face in a different way (a truly color-blind society still sees Blacks and Whites). The privileged, who are not constantly reminded of their identity because theirs is the "default" identity benefit from it, because they automatically become the "White."

I dislike the term "race," if only because it's such a political football. What is "race?" It depends on what country you're from. In the United States, we have "White" and "not-White", which is basically what it boils down to. When you look at selection under "race" on the census form not all of them are "races." Some - White and Black - are "races." Others, like "Asian", are geographic identifiers; Asia as a continent. I'm Asian even if I'm from the Caucasus Mountains - the root for the term "Caucasian". If I'm from the other side of the Ural Mountains in Russian, I'm Asian (this is especially painful when you see "Middle Eastern" on the same census form. The Middle East is in Asia, damn it); and even then, that's arbitrary. That's why you'll see "Eurasia" as a continent name, but never "Eurasian" as a race. Others, such as "Polynesian/Pacific Islander" are geoethnic designations. Some, such as "Latino", run the risk of being offensive. What is a "Latino?" Someone from Mexico? From Honduras? I'm sure an individual proud of their Mexican heritage loves being confused with a Nicaraguan - I have an uncle who's Columbian, and he does not like being called Mexican, and for Chrissakes don't say he's Cuban. Is it someone who's a mix Indigenous populations and Spanish? What degree of mix? Only Indigenous populations from Latin America? Someone who speaks a Latin language (Spanish or Portuguese)? And don't get me started on "Native American," lumping a diverse population of people together like they were one large identity.

Now, note: remember what I said above about people who take identities shoved in their face and try to turn them into something they're proud of? My dissection above is actually an example of privilege at work; there are people who are proud of those "racial" identifiers and will take strong offense to my dissecting them. This is one of the reason why, as a White man, I can never attempt to speak for an underprivileged population, and why trying to dissect any issue surrounding race can be a minefield if you're not sensitive in acknowledging that there are those who disagree with you, and their disagreements are every bit as valid as your points, if not more so because they have to live it every day when you don't have to. There are others - like my Columbian uncle - who will agree with me, and claim that you should never confuse a Cuban with a Columbian, because they're different. However, the above still serves my purpose, because it highlights the divisions between two totally different concepts - "race" and "ethnicity."

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Good Riddance

And another one bites the dust.

One by one, they drop like flies. I understand that this is sort of the purpose of political primaries, but this tragifarce circus that the Republicans have attempted to guise as a "political primary" has been nothing if not entertaining. I feel that the Republican Primary should be, right about now, shooing out the clowns to make room for the real drama of an election, but there's a problem - all of their candidates are clowns.

Still, that didn't stop them from shooing out Michelle Bachmann, who kissed her hopes of being president good bye today, after finishing a dismal sixth place in the Iowa primary. Not that the results of that should make you feel comfortable - Frothy is in practically neck-and-neck with Romney. Here in Michigan, we do not have fond memories of Romney and Amway. However, I'll take unhappy memories over a lifetime of nightmares - that was why I voted for Obama rather than Palin/McCain last time around. He's been surprising; he's kept a lot of his promises, but you can't over look the fact that on the issue of civil rights Obama has been a bigger disaster than Bush, and I'd love to throw him out in favor of someone else, but that someone else sure as hell is not Romney. Or Paul.

It's going to come down to Paul or Romney, and Romney will likely win because he's the more consummate politician of the two, and also the more mediagenic. Romney is a shapeshifter without substance, like the vast majority of the people in the media. Paul is like the twisted little gnome that lives under asshat hill screaming at those fucking halflings to get off his property. That and Paul will get - rightly - gnawed to the bone for his racism.

Still, let's take this time to bid farewell to Bachmann. I'm actually rather disappointed - I was sorta hoping she actually would get the nomination, so she could run against Obama. I think the last landslide that would've been remotely close in size was one that happened 48 million years ago. Moving mountains indeed.

So, to commemorate the announce that Bachmann is retiring from the race (I probably should've done this for Cain, too, but Cain flew under the radar for a while and wasn't a big name until he supernovaed and left everyone going "WFT just happened?" Bachmann is here by sheer dint of her time spent on the campaign trail and in the media eye) I have a collection of some of the most intellectual, insightful, and fucking batshit quotes by Bachmann.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

WTF Is Wrong With This Man?

I've ripped into Mike Adams before. Politely, he's a fucking idiot who's stupidity wouldn't even be worth my time if he didn't spread his obscene arrogance over some of the most sensitive topics. Honestly, he's an obstinate moronic fucking idiot twit well versed in the arts of the anti-logic and anti-thought who's dribble wouldn't be worth the throw-away bib that it's on, were it not for the fact that he shoots his mouth off while knowing negative knowledge about sensitive topics. The article of him that I ripped into before remains one of the most popular articles I've ever done - Real True Men(TM), in which this dimwit decides that because he had a borderline bromance back in middle school, gay children are automatically women (and that's an insult, mind you) if they don't stand up and fight back against their bullies, rather than relying on the system in place to protect them (which is an attitude that, if anything, benefits the bullies). That article was a wonderful display of lack of empathy and his misogyny.

Well, Adams is at it again. In another astonishing article, Adams freely reminds the world that he lacks intelligence, empathy, and is well versed in misogyny in a way that makes one want to exile him from the species.

(h/t Ross on the Slacktiverse; original comment found in this thread here)

Nanotech is so 21st Century

What would it mean to you if you knew you would never die of old age? If you knew it was possible to live "forever" (at least, until the big rip or big chill)? This is becoming a rather large question looming on the horizon, because in the very near future, this will be a possibility. I read an interesting article that comes down to through H+ magazine today dealing with just that.

I also read another article dealing with a very interesting concept. I've always got my eye on potential post-singularity technology, and that's actual the one that named this article. Think something similar to Blood Music, because that's what comes to mind here - putting femtocomputers in your DNA, and using longevity treatment to eliminate aging and the effects of aging. So, let's get the new year off right with a post about the future. 2012? Please. That's so 2009. You aren't living unless you're 2 to 4 years ahead of the curve.