Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Google’

Another pundit bites the dust. Jeffrey Lord, a Mr T defender on many CNN shows, has had his contract with the network terminated. I would usually turn the channel whenever his smugly leering mug appeared because he always seemed to me insincere. Nothing worse than a reluctant ideologue. And guess what he said – in a Twitter tirade no less – to Angelo Carusone, the President of Media Matters for America?

“Sieg Heil!” 

“Nazi salutes are indefensible,” a CNN spokesperson said in a statement. “Jeffrey Lord is no longer with the network.” https://www.washingtonpost.com

This particular German phrase is banned in Germany. You can’t put air quotes around these two words and pretend you don’t know what they mean. In English the phrase means “Hail Victory;” in reality, it goes along with the Holocaust and an arm in the air and black shirts.

Kayleigh McEnany, another Mr T media consultant left CNN recently. She is now the RNC’s spokesperson, working for Mr T’s very own network. You can’t make this stuff up, in fact I wish I was making it all up.

Let’s skip over to Google shall we. James Damore, an engineer wrote some of his thoughts in a company memo on the reason we see nearly 75% more men in the tech industry and in leadership positions, and then he got sacked. His words of choice were “Biological Differences,”  which seems pretty tame on the surface. After all, we women are the ones giving birth and nursing if we so choose. That can sometimes put a dent in a woman’s career.

But we are not back in the 60s when women could be asked if they planned on having children in a job interview. On a deeper level, Damore was implying we’re not FIT for such complicated, intellectually stimulating and challenging work. Remember, initially we didn’t have women astronauts because of that little “time of the month” problem. No, it’s actually 2017 and young girls are encouraged to pursue Stem careers (science, technology, engineering and maths) – just ask my niece Lynn!

But I have to admit that censorship of any kind scares me. In fact, the ACLU is taking up the case of Milo Yiannopoulos’s free speech rights. He is that ex-Brietbart editor who was drummed out of speaking at a California campus, a British citizen who is ‘dedicated to the destruction of political correctness,’ an alt-right agitator extraordinaire. The Washington, DC Metro removed Yiannopoulos’s ads on their trains for his new book…now a train system is a utility and I guess they don’t have the right to discriminate. Right?

And believe it or not, I’m glad the ACLU is doing what it’s supposed to be doing – protecting our rights! When “Hate Speech” collides with “Free Speech” we have a fundamental question that speaks directly to our democracy and may end up at the feet of the Supreme Court. This is an essential thing that differentiates us among many nations, we don’t ban words or burn books, our only admonition is not to yell “Fire” in a big, crowded public room.

Yesterday I spent much of my time pointing out to a certain two year old, who loves his new Superman cape, we need to use our “inside voices.” We teach our children about tone and decibel levels effortlessly, we want them to grow up in a civilized world. Unfortunately, we have a President who needs someone to manage his Twitter speech, to explain to him it’s like yelling “FIRE” at North Korea, in an “OUTSIDE” voice.

This was my view yesterday morning on my way to the Zoo. Nashville has sent out the Bat Signal because we need a hero!

IMG_1063

 

 

Read Full Post »

My heart goes out to Sen John McCain, 80, who was recently diagnosed with an extremely aggressive brain cancer. His glioblastoma was found “incidentally” in medical parlance, in that doctors were removing a blood clot that was associated with this condition when they found the culprit. It’s the same kind of tumor that killed Sen Ted Kennedy and Joe Biden’s son, Beau.

It’s the same cancer that killed my Father.

My Father was a pharmacist in Scranton, PA. He had survived the Great Depression and was raising five children with the Flapper. At first, it was only headaches, but later he lost the use of his left arm. My sister Kay had to help him actually grind medication in a mortar at the back of the drug store while her younger brothers read comic books up front. Psychology was a relatively new field at the time; a psychiatrist told my parents that they should have another child because my Father had “lost the will to live.”

I am that sixth child and I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for his glioblastoma. The Flapper always joked that I was the only child she had planned! My Father’s friend, an ophthalmologist, noticed his bulging retina and sent him back to the university hospital where they operated on his brain right before Christmas 1948. I was three months old. He died in April the next year, he was only 47. Our Year of Living Dangerously was just beginning.

Although I may not have agreed with Sen McCain’s policies over the years, I have always considered him a true patriot. And unlike many politicians, he didn’t couch his words in innuendo. He played it straight and tried to be fair and work across the aisle. His daughter, Meghan, Tweeted:

“It won’t surprise you to learn that in all this, the one of us who is most confident and calm is my father. He is the toughest person I know. The cruelest enemy could not break him. The aggressions of political life could not bend him. So he is meeting this challenge as he has every other. Cancer may afflict him in many ways: But it will not make him surrender. Nothing ever has.”

But this type of cancer is a very cruel enemy indeed. Survival rates are devastating – only 14 months average with 5-10% alive five years after the diagnosis. Will he choose to fight with chemotherapy and radiation, or will he choose to battle Mr T on the Senate floor? Looking at his recent statements to Sen Lindsay Graham, I think he may do both!

Something happens to us when we are reminded of our mortality, when time begins to shrink. Bob said after his cervical surgery, he had less patience with hospital shenanigans and employee’s misbehavior. Before surgery he may have forgiven a surgeon’s harassment in the OR, for example. After surgery, not so much.

McCain is a war hero, and he is already criticizing Mr T’s strategy, or lack thereof, in Syria and Afghanistan. But if you recall, that other Lion of the Senate, Ted Kennedy, was instrumental in getting President Obama’s ACA passed while he was battling this same cancer. If John McCain were to bring both parties together to salvage healthcare in this country, his legacy would be outstanding. I wish him well on this battlefield.

And check out the Google Doodle today. It’s celebrating the 106th birthday of Marshall McLuhan, who coined the phrase, “The medium is the message.” He predicted the internet but I wonder what he would think of Twitter. It was a key factor in Mr T’s election, and has taken the place of greeting cards as our politicians send heartwarming thoughts to McCain in 140 “characters.”

I don’t know which brother’s arm is sticking out behind the Flapper, but this is one of the few pictures I have of my Father.    IMG_0991

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

How else can one explain what is happening in China over the last few years? Mr T Tweets at 3am, and now he’s calling the Taiwanese Prez, which is like snubbing your nose at your big (or little depending on your POV) brother or sister. Only this sibling doesn’t sleep, and could suffocate you with his or her pillow all while continuing to pollute our environment.

Remember back in February when I recommended a compelling non-fiction book about China? “Age of Ambition – Chasing Fortune, Truth and Faith in the new China” by Evan Osnos. https://mountainmornings.net/2016/02/27/mj-fever/

If you’re not one for the long read, how about a couple of articles in this month’s Atlantic, “China’s Great Leap Backward?” Kisssinger explains China 101 and tells us how to avoid a trade war, among other things. And James Fallows tells us that freedom is even harder to find in the new China; “It has become repressive in a way that it has not been since the Cultural Revolution.”

We Americans have been asleep. We don’t want to wake to the nightmare of last month’s election, and why should we? We would rather come home from work, open a craft beer, and watch Netflix. Only the latest sci-fi series I told you about, Black Mirror, is actually coming true in China! https://mountainmornings.net/2016/10/25/feeling-twitchy/

If you need a respite from politics, and all the mud-slinging of this election, I have a Netflix show to recommend from England. “Black Mirror” (a trope to our attachment to the smart screen) is about how technology is changing the course of human history in a very scary, sinister and smart way. I’ve only seen the first few episodes of Season 1, created by Charlie Brooker, but if you are wondering where our dystopian obsession with devices is going, tune into the future.

So that’s what I said in October…and now China is creating a nightmare for its citizens with their tacit consent.

It is collecting “Social Credit Scores,” in other words, the dragon has a highly developed Big Brother with a big pillow under his head. All electronic purchasing data, social media networks, and algorithmic sorting devices are being collected to give each citizen a score between 350 and 950. This system not only monitors whether or not you could pay for your apartment. but how compliant you are politically, and what kind of spouse you might make! If you hit a score of 700+ you are allowed to travel to Singapore…

Black Mirror is no longer science fiction, it is becoming fact. The Regime can now keep a tally of any message with a mention of Tienanmen Square for example, which would not only lower your score, but those of your friends and family! All of the scores are available to everybody in China online, and strangely enough like salmon swimming furiously upstream, citizens have embraced this system.

And just like the American 12 year old I overheard bragging about how many Instagram followers she had, I am finding this brave new world frightening. After all, we have Google and Amazon and Facebook et al collecting our data, but our government isn’t quite yet in cahoots with them, is it? http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-34592186

It’s enough to make me want to crawl right back under the covers and hibernate the winter away. But first a prayer for what it’s worth, please God, let Mr T pick Romney over Giuliani for Secretary of State. We don’t need any more bulls roaming free in a China shop. Let me know when it’s time to wake up and get off the grid. From an exhibition in LA at the Broad Museum – this is Jenny Holzer 1979 – it’s strangely prescient

img_5663

 

 

Read Full Post »

Last night the Trump train went off the rails.

I’d rather use a transportation metaphor than a sporting event for “the greatest show of all time debate,” because any sport involves two usually, equally prepared teams – two opponents with a job to do, and that just didn’t happen. Because one candidate has an A game and the other doesn’t know the rules of any game except maybe the Con Game.

Halfway through their 90 minute exchange, Hillary Clinton told the Donald that indeed she had been preparing for the debate and not campaigning over the weekend; she said she had been “Preparing to be President.” <wink>

And at that moment the cloudy sky parted and a ray of sunshine hit Clinton on her perfectly highlighted head!

But most of the time, I felt as if I needed a body language translator, like the one who pointed out that if Clinton shrugs her shoulders while talking she is discounting what she just said. Or if Trump looks down and left he is lying. Because I just couldn’t stop watching last night’s train wreck: Trump’s inane sniffling which I chalked up to allergies, but some on Twitter thought might be a problem with “blow;” his exaggerated swaggering and swaying along with smug lip posturing; plus his inability to complete a simple sentence left me dumbfounded.

It was as if she was on the train to Pennsylvania Avenue and the conductor had already punched her ticket.

And he got on the wrong train, to some Monopoly board street, and forgot to buy the damn ticket…and anyway why would he need a ticket? He’s so big and important and we (the American people) should just forgive all those nasty things he may have said in the past, because for all we know maybe climate change is a Chinese hoax and President Obama is an imposter, and not paying taxes IS the American way…and just because a silly Tweet might enrage him, we should still trust him with our nukes. Right?

Trump points his tiny chin in the air and says, “That’s called business, by the way.” Declaring bankruptcy not four but six times! http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2016/jun/21/hillary-clinton/yep-donald-trumps-companies-have-declared-bankrupt/  Stepping all over his vendors and not paying others, making more money while millions of Americans see their life savings dwindle down to nothing after the great/recession/depression of ’08, these are Trump tactics after all. The rest of the world must think we are collectively losing our minds.

When we left our tour group in Prague, and hopped on a tram to see the city we didn’t see a conductor or an engineer. The tram moved along of its own accord, like a drone, stopping every few blocks. We wondered how we should pay for our ticket, but noticed everyone else was just getting onboard and sitting down. Later, we found out you need to buy your tram ticket elsewhere, at a convenience store, and just keep it in your pocket. It’s all on the honor system. Once in a blue moon, an official may come aboard a tram and check tickets. If you are a freeloader, you will get a hefty fine.

I hope that the undecided among us, the Millennials thinking about voting for a third party, the Republicans who know a con game when they see one, will consider casting their vote for Hillary Clinton in November. Because Mr Trump doesn’t believe in an honor system, in our Allies, or in fair trade. He postulates about 400 pound shut-ins hacking the DNC and tells Fox he was self-righteous for not mentioning how Bill treated women.

Trump lives in an alternate reality, where private jets await and gold escalators move him around his tower. He invites people to touch his hair, like Rapunzel, so he can prove to himself and others that he is real. And maybe by telling us he’s renovating the post office on Pennsylvania Avenue, he’s purchased his Hotel in DC, because he fully expects to have his name emblazoned across the Front Lawn, win or lose.

It’s not like Trump is on a different track to the Presidency…he doesn’t need a train ticket because he thinks he owns all the Monopoly railroads. His Wild Card is Putin and whatever else jumps into his head and spills off his tongue. And after all, he had six Get Out of Jail Free cards.

Here is my man on a tram, with Google Maps. Priceless.img_4677

 

 

Read Full Post »

I’ve said it myself, “I’d just like a reboot please.” Who doesn’t want a “do over” every now and again? I was signing up online for a restorative yoga class, when my computer asked me to “sign in” and pick a password. Then it had the gall, when I hesitated, to suggest I may want Safari to assign a password for me!

First of all, NO, thank you computer, but nobody else gets to pick a password for me. I already have too many passwords: one for Google, another for Facebook; one for Twitter and one for Tumblr’ then there’s Etsy, Amazon and Zillow, to name a few. And now I need a new password to check out A Place to Breathe Yoga Studio?

I admit it, my brain on passwords is not pretty. Once you hit a certain age, your memory center starts to fill up and things like birthday dates and wedding anniversaries may just slide right on down your brain stem and end up in the proverbial trash heap of spam messages.

Yesterday I had an appointment with my smart, talented hair stylist Christopher Hays. I received the reminder email the day before, but a few days before that, I had received another email – a group list serve – from Christopher. The first message was about a conflict and it suggested I make another appointment online . HA. Well I have never signed into their scheduling service online simply because I don’t want another password! I always schedule the next appointment when I’m actually there, face to face, shears to hair.

Luckily he knew that about me, so he just scheduled yesterday’s cut on his own! And since I always usually do what my computer says, I showed up!

I got up early and went to the Cville City Market for some fresh okra and heirloom tomatoes. I schmoozed with some vendors, and met a great baked plantain gal. Then I went to confession – isn’t your hairdresser your confessor? – and started to plan my Indian fresh market dinner. Because Bob and I happened to see Helen Mirren’s new movie,  A Hundred Foot Journey, about dueling French and Indian restaurants, and love and renewal. We sat among the grey-haired legions at bargain matinees everywhere.

And we didn’t get our tickets on Fandango, although the line was long and filled with seniors on walkers. We strolled into the lobby and bought our tix at the kiosk – no human interaction necessary! And I wonder…

Will we be the last generation to know how to interact without an interface? To know how to write a letter? To know how to leave a phone message?

Thankfully, I wrote down my yoga password. I’m starting my yoga journey slowly, with the best of intentions, to restore my memory.

My Reflection pre-Market

My Reflection pre-Market

Read Full Post »

Tomorrow is a big day. Today I’m waiting for the HVAC guy to show up and fix my furnace. Fires are going in both fireplaces and fleece is making a big comeback in my wardrobe. Luckily it’s sunny so getting out of my warm and cozy bed wasn’t quite so bad. I’m reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things which means the temptation to stay under the covers this morning with book and  coffee in hand was nearly insurmountable.

While hovering slightly above 60, thinking about Friday keeps my fingers typing. Bob and I will join the Richmond cousins on the Historic Downtown Mall for Cville’s first ever TEDx conference. You’ve probably watched a few YouTube videos from TED, somebody walks onstage to talk about ‘ideas worth sharing’ –  they are usually very bright people, distinguished in one field or another, and you’ll come away from the requisite 18 minute TED lecture on your laptop feeling a bit smarter. I admit I’ve shared a few of these videos myself. Now I want to know just how all this smart talk got started.

In 1984 Richard Saul Wurman, an architect, writer and designer, came up with the idea for a conference that would synthesize three areas: Technology of business; Entertainment industry; and the Design Professions (TED).

…things that seemed to be interesting to me, had the other two involved. If there was a seeming technology project, it had entertainment, and design involved (when they were good). Certainly, you can look at the first Macintosh — which was shown at my first conference, in ’84. Later on, Google was announced at my conference — a combination of technology, entertainment, and design. When Google Earth was called Keyhole, it was first shown at my conference. And then Google bought Technology Entertainment Design. So that was pretty good. People seemed to like that.

Initially, speakers were very Silicon Valley,  but during the ’90s scientists, philosophers, musicians, religious leaders, and philanthropists all got on board the TED train. Tomorrow we’ll hear from distinguished UVA professors, some alumni and even a few community members, including someone I wrote about once with her Dirty Barbie show. I’m looking forward to hearing from a 3rd year student, Hawa Ahmed. who started her life as a refugee from Chad, and now is studying Politics and Middle Eastern Studies. http://news.virginia.edu/content/local-ted-talks-feature-uva-faculty-alumni-and-student-s-unique-journey

TEDx branched off about four years ago as a kind of repertory company for the rest of these United States and it has now sold out in Cville. Ted.com has been viewed over a Billion times around the world! I believe even my current crush author, Elizabeth Gilbert, expounded once on creativity. http://ed.ted.com/lessons/your-elusive-creative-genius-elizabeth-gilbert And you know I had to just watch this again right?

But after listening to oceanographers, brain researchers, educators and physicists online, sitting in the beautiful Paramount Theatre tomorrow for some 3D inspiration should prove illuminating. And hopefully we won’t end up snoozing simply because we’ll be nice and warm.   IMG_2139

Read Full Post »

Sit down, take a load off. We’re not talking about Weight Watchers here; we’re going to talk about warrantless wiretapping. Just because you think they’re watching you…doesn’t mean they are, does it? I have to admit that conspiracy theories will always get my attention. Then I move on, attributing most of the paranoid delusional rhetoric to a bunch of crazies. But this past weekend, I was staying up late with Real Time and Bill Maher on HBO. Getting the TV fixed definitely cuts into my healthy sleep habits. Welcome back Bill to your new season you are the Left’s answer to Rush Limbaugh. Maher routinely comes up with one or two-liners like this: “I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about what’s philosophically wrong with Republicans. It’s like asking what’s intellectually wrong with lobsters.” http://www.real-time-with-bill-maher-blog.com/real-time-with-bill-maher-blog/2013/1/18/party-foul.html

But his closing soliloquy left me sleepless in Cville. Now it’s probably not a good idea to lay your head down on your pillow after hearing that we Americans have just been giving most of our fundamental rights away without so much as a whimper. I’m talking about all of us, red and blue Americans and any other colorful configurations. He pooh poohed the idea that we are losing our 2nd Amendment rights and got right to the heart of the matter, saying,

“The Senate quietly reauthorized the National Defense Authorization Act while everyone was so concerned about the fiscal cliff, and there wasn’t even a peep out of the “freedom” crowd. In fact, people seem to be okay with government surveillance and warrantless wiretapping at this point….Does anyone care that this is the new normal?” I was lying awake and thinking about baby robotic drones overhead stealing my ideas about how to make a better lasagna.

Then I read this – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/23/google-transparency-report_n_2537153.html Now everybody knows that one usually needs to acquire a warrant from a judge before snooping through a private citizen’s home. But your email and internet searches are another matter; maybe your mail box is federally protected, but your inbox is fair game. “From July to December 2012, Google revealed, the company received 8,438 total requests for information about 14,791 users or accounts in the United States. Requests were up 34 percent from 2011 to 2012.” Yes folks, requests from law enforcement went up 34%!! I wonder what the stats will be for 2012 to 2013. The article goes on to say that only 22% of the time is a warrant involved; the FBI and/or police will simply write up an administrative subpoena.

It’s good to know that privacy advocates and Google (Facebook would you chime in here) are trying to reverse this trend, and hats off to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) for passing an amendment to reform the very broad law ironically titled the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which was passed by Congress in 1986 based on technology at the time. In 1986 the Rocker was 2 years old and we all were wearing shoulder pads! Leahy spearheaded his plan for governing internet surveillance in November saying this is the first step in corralling the Department of Justice, “…growing and unwelcome intrusion into our private life in cyberspace.” Still I’m not too hopeful it will go anywhere in our congenial House of Representatives.

The Tea Partyiers are worried the government will take away all their guns; that helicopters will be landing in their back yards. That’s why they need assault weapons. Maybe the “freedom” they are fighting for is misleading? Maybe both parties need to worry more about how incrementally we have given up our right to privacy. Background checks to buy a lethal weapon? Sure. Emails and social media about a shoe sale in Cville – What? Technology races ahead while civil liberty law limps along trying to play catch-up.
email_and_internet_authorizations

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: