Safe and Sound

Wow. Some thought went into this episode of Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams.

There is actual real UX design here as it could work in the real world for augmented reality, not just the thoughtless nods that most TV shows make. There’s also strong commentary on the privatization of schools and how that will allow corporate propaganda infiltration into scholastic environments on a level never seen before. It also deals very well with the effects and outlook of corporate mass surveillance in combination with a threat-averse overarching security state. It is a look at our possible — and likely — future.Maura

The two main actresses are also a marvel. Just really great. The always-reliable Maura Tierney as the mother is utterly believable as the combative, compassionate, conflicted mom who despises all the tech intrusions and insults of her society, but still wants the best for her daughter. She doesn’t get nearly enough screen time but is perfect in the time she does have.

There’s a scene, though, where the daughter (played by Annalise Basso) is having trouble adjusting to her new environs with all its necessary tech. She doesn’t know how to use her new “Dex” which is some augmented reality surveillance device that everyone uses. She finds a friendly tech support person to help her with the device and is speaking to him to set up the Dex — just watching her face as she makes that simple connection over a voice chat with one of the few people who has been friendly to her in her new environs is a study in great acting. I watched that scene a few times and it just gets better each time.

Also, the sound design and costume design is just spot-on. It seems like a real world, like someplace you could visit. Really, cheers to whoever worked on both of those for this episode. Completely immersive yet divergent from our own timeline.

AnnaliseThis episode covered so much territory so quickly without being at all preachy that I can’t even encapsulate it. Mixed into all of this is how the episode deftly handles how mental illness is exploited in the media and society, and in such a heartbreaking way in this particular program. After she is caught for her “terrorist activity” and at the end of a prepared speech, Foster (Annalise Basso) starts rambling off-script about, “People need someone to trust, even if they can’t see them, even if their voice comes from sunbeam or tree.” This part is just acutely sadder than any scene I’ve seen in a TV show. The whole society has harmed her — and she may actually be mentally ill — but all the society was interested in doing was exploiting her illness and weakness in this respect to further their propaganda and control goals. And, just like us, she’s the pawn and doesn’t realize it.

I suspect the relatively-low IMBD rating because all of the leads and most of the important side characters are women. Any woman-heavy show or program is usually a point or so below its “natural” level in IMBD.

But fuck, man, Annalise Basso in that episode is devastating.

Ill

Mozilla Removes Individual Cookie Management in Firefox 60.

What a joke of a browser. As a Slashdot commenter said:

Mozilla just keeps thinking of new ways to make Firefox worse.

As another noted:

When is Mozilla going to realize that Firefox got popular because of developers and power users and the fact that they keep doing things like this that are hostile to developers and power users is a contributing factor to Firefox’s decline in usage?

I can’t imagine any scenario where I’d use Firefox again for anything serious. It’s a toy browser that can only do toy things.

Yeah, it’s fast. So is a car if you strap a big damn rocket to it. Can’t turn. Can’t stop. But shit, you can haul ass.

Gravitron

Does no one check stuff like this?

This curvature of spacetime by objects in motion is felt as gravity.

Nope. This has nothing to do with motion. Motionless (from whose perspective, anyway?) objects still curve space-time. Perhaps he is conflating Einstein’s Equivalence Principle with gravity?

One of the phenomena predicted by the general theory is the existence of spacetime singularities in black holes, a mass that is so dense that nothing can escape its gravitational effects—not even light.

This is misleading. Maybe it’s good enough for this article’s purpose. However, if you could somehow fill the entire solar system out to the orbit of Neptune with air at the density of sea level on earth and have it avoid gravitational collapse, it’d be a black hole as no light would be able to escape this “bubble universe.” However, you’d notice no difference.

The reason that physics can be used to predict things in nature is because the universe is deterministic.

Really? Tell me more. Please. Somehow this journalist has solved one of the most vexing problems of science and philosophy, but like Fermat did not have space to write it in the margins. This article is ridiculous. If you don’t believe me, here’s what Richard Feynman had to say about it:

“It is not a lack of unknown gears – a lack of internal complications – that makes nature have probability in it; it seems to be in some sense intrinsic.

Someone has said it this way: ‘Nature herself doesn’t know which way the electron is going to go.’ A philosopher once said (a pompous one): ‘It is necessary for the very existence of science that the same conditions always produce the same result.’ Well, they don’t: if you set up electrons in any way – I mean, you set up the circumstance here, in the same conditions every time, and you cannot predict behind which hole you’ll see the electron.

They don’t – and yet the science goes on in spite of him.”

The article also puts forward some highly questionable assertions such as this:

The important thing here is that determinism means that the past determines exactly one future.

Read the Feynman quote to understand why that is definitively not true.

Yet general relativity’s ability to describe gravity falters on the threshold of singularities, where the curvature of spacetime becomes infinite.

This is not what this means. This is just the solution to some equations. We don’t actually know what happens inside a black hole, hence the name “black.” That the equations “go to infinity” means we don’t have anything to describe what happens in a black hole, hence the search for quantum gravity, etc.

I can’t really speak to the rest of the article as most of that is new to me, but someone should’ve done just a bit more research here, in quite a few different fields.

The Modern Consensus is Moronic

Very much against the modern liberal prudish grain, I think on net is to most people’s benefit to date older people when they are 18-25.

I’m not talking about someone 18 dating someone 50.

I mean, someone 20 dating someone 30 or 35. And yep, I mean for men and women.

I’m very glad I did. It was a huge benefit to my life and my development. This is even more true if the relationship does not work out long term (which most relationships, age disparate or not, do not).

Obama Blame

I wish someone had gone after the criminals who caused the financial crisis with the ferocity and ruthlessness that Mueller is pursuing the Trump lackeys and hangers-on.

Yeah, I am sure many if not most of those guys were doing illegal things. But we let and are letting far worse criminals get away scot free while having impoverished and continuing to immiserate millions and millions of Americans.

That’s not justice. It feels righteous, sure, and captivates clueless liberals like little else, but it’s ultimately worthless and meaningless.

Meanwhile, the real criminals and saboteurs of the United States continue to enjoy lavish lifestyles with looted money.

French Wrench

Yes, America is a pretty racist place. At the same time, many Americans hold some nebulous idea that all of Europe is some mystical unracist nirvana.

I know the most about the culture of France, and I can tell you that a black man named Barack Hussein Obama (or anything similar) would never be elected to high political office in France.

It’d never, ever happen. Not even a sliver of a chance.

Early I

I don’t get nostalgic for much, but I do miss the early public internet (1994-2000ish or so). It was superior in almost every way. Not yet completely dominated by commercial interests, with a sense of wild freedom and with no barriers, it was a haven rather than the prison of attention and surveillance it has become.

We’ve gone from the open internet to the oubliette.

No one group is responsible for this; “freedom-loving” liberals are just as culpable as the FCC and Amazon. In a way, Mozilla and its terrible decisions is just a symptom of this and the authoritarian turn in society in general.

Ah well, I remember how the internet was going to “change everything.”

It sure did.

Throwback

This is the first version of the “Dreams” video that was on MTV. I know because I watched it the first time it was ever aired. On YouTube, the third video is erroneously labeled the original, but the one below was it. You can tell because it’s obvious they literally spent tens of dollars on this one.

The first time I watched this video I thought, That’s a very shy possibly angry Irish girl with an amazing voice. I’ll be buying that album. Which I did.

There were actually three versions of the “Dreams” video, by the way, made as The Cranberries got more popular. My favorite was always the original because Dolores seemed more real in that one than in any of the others — although the red cloak she wears in the third is damn cool.