According to the demographics given in the US census I live in the most diverse neighborhood in Tampa. That’s one of the reasons we chose this neighborhood to call home.
It typically trends blue. Tampa’s a mostly blue city in a sea of red, and we’re a mostly blue neighborhood. Four years ago I was disappointed by the number to Trump yard signs I saw. Very few for Hillary, too many for Trump.
Starting in mid-March, I began regular walks through the neighborhood. These days I do a five-mile walk, three times a week. On my walk there is one house that has had some form of Trump banner flying for the last four years. Otherwise, I’m happy to report there are many Biden signs.
Other than the family flying the banner, I spotted my first Trump sign last week. Today, there were two more Trump signs, but there are scores of Biden signs, and some have been up for over a month.
Anecdotal, and it doesn’t really mean anything, but it’s nice to see that all those people who showed support for Trump four years ago via yard signs, are no longer so eager for their neighbors to know where they stand.
Only two more weeks. If you can vote now, vote now.
A month ago I put myself on a Twitter lockout for a month. I made the right choice.
Technically, the hiatus ended yesterday, but I don’t think I’m going back to using it the way I did before. I’m not exactly sure what my new relationship with social media will look like, but I’ve pretty much shut down all avenues for doomscrolling.
I like blogging. Getting back into the regular flow of keeping this blog updated brings me a sense of satisfaction and joy that I never get on any of the social media platforms.
For the next month I’ll try posting to Twitter (including linking to these blog posts), but not scrolling through the feed. Maybe that’s the solution I’m looking for.
Just Security has started a series of “Good Governance” proposals. With any luck a Democratic majority will embrace some of these over the next couple of years.
“Regular invocations in the mainstream media of formerly obscure corners of the law such as the Hatch Act, Insurrection Act, and the Emoluments Clauses of the Constitution, as well as norms such as the independence of the Department of Justice or the non-partisan administration of the security clearance process are evidence of an urgent and widespread desire to see our government recommit itself to good governance, public integrity, and the rule of law. Many commentators have identified and offered analysis of one or another means of pursuing this goal. The Good Governance Papersseeks both to expand and render more concrete this discussion by collecting in one place a ready list of non-partisan, carefully crafted, specific reform proposals.”
The progress is incremental, but I’m happy that I’m getting creative work done every week.
For a minute, I thought I’d do NaNoWriMo again this year, but I dug around through their site, and I guess I probably won’t. It turns out what I really loved about NaNoWriMo was the little blog widget that charted my progress over the course of the month. They dropped those widgets in their re-design a couple of years ago.
My current creative project is a complete re-write of a novel I did for NaNoWriMo in 2014. Whether it will be any good or not, I don’t know. What I do know is I have a much greater understanding of what I’m doing with a project of this size. The current goal is to have it posted in ebook form by the end of the year.
Looking through past NaNoWriMo projects it looks like my peak years were 2010-2015. I skipped 2016, and completed a novel in 2017. Of those seven, I think four of them might be suitable for substantial revision and ebook production.
As an aside — I don’t want to rule the world, I don’t want to be the biggest boss that ever bossed the world around, but at least one line of this song has been a constant refrain rolling through my brain since the early days of the pandemic.
“Afrofuturism is an escape for those who find themselves in the minority and divorced or violently removed from their African roots, so they imagine a ‘black future’ where they aren’t a minority and are able to marry their culture with technology. That is a very important story and it means a lot to many people. There are so many wonderful writers from the diaspora dealing with those feelings or complexities that it would be insincere of me to parrot what they are doing.
“My story, as an African living in Africa, is this: I lived (as in, under the same roof ) with white people for the first time when I was a nineteen-year-old student. My television screen showed stories populated by black people speaking indigenous languages, so I have never suffered from a lack of representation as such. Was I, though, still living in a country where my culture, language and presence were considered a nuisance? Absolutely!”
You know that cool future holographic internet where people just wave their hands around and we can see from the graphic overlay that they’re interacting with 3D graphics? Well, what if you don’t have hands? Or arms? Dots asked these questions and developed an inclusive interactive system.
“As the world is entering this hand-gesture controlled future driven by machine-learning, we realize it will be difficult to accommodate disabilities, due to a lack of datasets. While we may use thousands of people’s hand-motion video to train one model, it is almost impossible to find two people with exactly the same form of disabilities. Disability is often highly individual, which is not reflected in machine learning. Can we imagine asking an upper limb amputee to use Hololens?
“Dots is an inclusive interface for future spatial computing, which empowers the disabled person to design their way to interact with Mixed Reality and Internet-of-things, based on their body conditions.”
The gap between expected deaths and real deaths suggests that COVID-19 has been more deadly than the numbers currently reported. It may be 33% higher (if we’re approximately 210,000 right now, the likely number of dead due to COVID-19 is probably closer to 280,000).
Used to be if you allowed 300,000 US American citizens die through neglect and disinformation campaigns you’d be persona non grata in the states. Now, the Republican Party will ask you to be their standard bearer. Is this what Freud meant by ‘death drive’?
“The process of training an AI system immediately raised questions about the importance of attribution and remuneration in this area. What most people understand Artificial Intelligence to be is just us, in aggregate — often behind the spectacular results of machine learning systems lies a database of uncredited and uncompensated labor.”
Here’s a collaboration between Herndon and her AI named Spawn.
“The results of their paper expose just how flawed our current security systems are. The neural networks the two trained initially identified over 95% of the normal, everyday deepfakes. But when they perturbed the images, the detectors were able to catch (checks notes) zero percent.”
Yes, Senator Lee, but republicanism is supposed come with Republican virtue. Not only is the current Republican party without virtue, it seems to actively pursue criminality, immorality, and unethical behavior. Nor does it actively support ‘negative’ liberty (freedom from government interference). Otherwise the Republican party would be the party of decriminalizing cannabis, and ending government interference in same-sex marriage, and women’s reproductive rights. They would also be the party of encouraging voting and civic participation, instead of the party of voter suppression. It may be that many of the founders wanted to see a republican nation, but the Republican party does not reflect those republican values.
I need a search engine that will give me a results list of only websites without advertising.
Ignore the title (which should more accurately be written “Fascist Revolution is a Fascist Concept”), and the annoying interstitial ‘quote’ graphics. This is an excellent introduction to Rosi Braidotti. Somehow, she only appeared on my radar this year. She is awesome.
Wow, I can’t remember the last time I looked at BoingBoing. Probably not 10 years, but eight maybe? Seven?
Anyway, my feed knows me and alerted me to this post by Gareth Branwyn about Dark Shadows. Like Branwyn, I have fond memories from childhood. However, I wasn’t rushing home from school, I was still too young. My memory is that my aunt would visit occasionally (she must have been a teenager then) and would want to watch Dark Shadows.
I was captivated because there was a child character named David. I think that’s also where my childhood interest in blue whales started (the Blue Whale was the name of the local bar).
In 2012 I decided to revisit the series and watched all the pre-Barnabas episodes and fell head over heels. I love that show. I especially love the pre-Barnabas episodes (though as a child I was infatuated with Jonathan Frid).
This summer I watched the 1990s remake, which I thought was a pretty good adaptation.
I think it’s all available through Amazon Prime, and there are probably worse ways to while away a pandemic than watching this one-of-a-kind soapy goth. (For some reason I especially love the introductory voice-over that opened each episode.) If you want some idea of what to expect Branwyn points to this 2019 article from Syfy covering the major plotlines that developed over six seasons.