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suffragette

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Gender: Female
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Member since: Mon Dec 13, 2004, 01:55 AM
Number of posts: 11,007

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New twist on corporate towns. Quayside Toronto, built by Google.

Google is now expanding its data driven operation into building a part of a city based on how its executives think a city should be designed and managed.

The part that makes me a bit queasy is that Google has so far succeeded by using people as its product. People aren’t its customers so much as they are providers of data, which is extensively gathered, packaged then sold to other companies. This is very different than the civic relationship of people with their government. How does this translate to real people who are living or working in or even just passing through a physical place?

Note: I have been watching the new season of Black Mirror so my views on this endeavor is tinged by thoughts of how technology employed by private companies to benefit them can sometimes run amok. I think there is a solid role for embracing new technology in development and in improving lives and systems. I’ m just skeptical that this is the way to proceed. It has too many echoes of the old “company town” to it, with the new dimension of everything you do being tracked and analyzed.

First, here’s a statement from Eric Schmidt on Alphabet/Google/Sidewalk Labs being selected for this venture:

https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/with-toronto-alphabet-looks-to-revolutionize-city-building/article36634779/

Alphabet executive chairman Eric Schmidt said on Tuesday the genesis of the thinking for Sidewalk Labs came from Google's founders getting excited thinking of "all the things you could do if someone would just give us a city and put us in charge," although he joked he knew there were good reasons that doesn't happen. He then related his reaction when the company discovered it had won the bid for the development of its city-as-a-platform model: "Oh my God! We've been selected. Now, it's our turn."



And here Is some info from a NYT article about it:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/29/world/canada/google-toronto-city-future.html

Quayside, as the project is known, will be laden with sensors and cameras tracking everyone who lives, works or merely passes through the area. In what Sidewalk calls a marriage of technology and urbanism, the resulting mass of data will be used to further shape and refine the new city. Lifting a term from its online sibling, the company calls the Toronto project “a platform.”

But extending the surveillance powers of one of the world’s largest technology companies from the virtual world to the real one raises privacy concerns for many residents. Others caution that, when it comes to cities, data-driven decision-making can be misguided and undemocratic.

~~~
Nothing is too prosaic to analyze: Toilets and sinks will report their water use; the garbage robots will report on trash collection. Residents and workers in the area will rely on Sidewalk-developed software to gain access to public services; the data gathered from everything will influence long-term planning and development.

~~~
While surveillance cameras and other sensors are fixtures in many cities, Pamela Robinson, an associate professor at the school of urban planning at Ryerson University in Toronto, said Quayside’s data would differ in its extent and its collection method — by a private company rather than by government agencies. Plans for who will own that data and who will be able to access it have not been announced.





Why isnt media linking forbidden words at CDC to Mulvaney being director of OMB?

https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/cdc-bannedwords/

CDC gets list of forbidden terms, including: ‘fetus,’ ‘transgender,’ ‘diversity’

At the CDC, the meeting about the banned words was led by Alison Kelly, a senior leader in CDC’s Office of Financial Services, according to the CDC analyst who spoke on condition of anonymity. Kelly did not say why the words are being banned, according to the analyst, and told the group that she was merely relaying the information.

Other CDC officials confirmed the existence of a list of forbidden words. It’s likely that other parts of HHS are operating under the same guidelines regarding the use of these words, the analyst said.
Mulvaney is anti-science, against govt funding for science and in charge of OMB which is where that directive likely originated.

~~~

The ban is related to the budget and supporting materials that are to be given to CDC’s partners and to Congress, the analyst said. The president’s budget for 2019 is expected to be released in early February. The budget blueprint is generally shaped to reflect an administration’s priorities.

Federal agencies are sending in their budget proposals to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which has authority about what is included.



The linkage from Mulvaney at OMB to these orders seems pretty direct.

Mulvaney is anti-science, against govt funding for science and in charge of OMB.

As noted in the article above, OMB is the office which has authority about what is included in the budget proposals.

Mulvaney has expressed doubt about Zika and funding research about it before, so it looks like he is manipulating the language CDC can even use to request budget for research.

He’s also acting director of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Bureau.

This is the stuff of nightmares.

https://www.snopes.com/trumps-budget-director-pick-asked-really-need-government-funded-research/

On 19 December 2016, Mother Jones’ Pema Levy reported on one of Mulvaney’s since-deleted Facebook posts, unearthed by a Democratic opposition research group named American Bridge. This post from 9 September 2016 came at a time that Congress was debating funding research into efforts to fight the spread of the Zika virus. In it, Mulvaney suggested the federal government (whose budget office he is now nominated to lead) might not be well served by funding science research at all:

It has been a busy week, and with everything else going on I haven’t had a chance to post on Zika, which I know has been in the news a bit. I have received all sorts of emails and FB comments this week on Zika. Some people want me to pass a “clean” bill (which I suppose means not paying for it with spending reductions elsewhere). Other folks want us to fund more research if we can find a way to pay for it. No one has written me yet, though, to ask what might be the best question: do we really need government-funded research at all.

The post, though deleted, can still be viewed on a cached version of Mulvaney’s Facebook page. His argument against science funding (and science in general) seems to follow arguments made by other prominent Trump transition team figures: because science is sometimes wrong, or not clear cut, it shouldn’t be trusted.


https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/judge-declines-remove-trump-pick-mulvaney-consumer-financial-protection-bureau-n824711

Even more, Mulvaney is anti-science, against govt funding for science and in charge of OMB

Which is where that directive likely originated.

He has expressed doubt about Zika and funding research about it before, so it looks like he is manipulating the language CDC can even use to request budget for research.

He’s also acting director of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Bureau.

This is the stuff of nightmares.

https://www.snopes.com/trumps-budget-director-pick-asked-really-need-government-funded-research/

On 19 December 2016, Mother Jones’ Pema Levy reported on one of Mulvaney’s since-deleted Facebook posts, unearthed by a Democratic opposition research group named American Bridge. This post from 9 September 2016 came at a time that Congress was debating funding research into efforts to fight the spread of the Zika virus. In it, Mulvaney suggested the federal government (whose budget office he is now nominated to lead) might not be well served by funding science research at all:

It has been a busy week, and with everything else going on I haven’t had a chance to post on Zika, which I know has been in the news a bit. I have received all sorts of emails and FB comments this week on Zika. Some people want me to pass a “clean” bill (which I suppose means not paying for it with spending reductions elsewhere). Other folks want us to fund more research if we can find a way to pay for it. No one has written me yet, though, to ask what might be the best question: do we really need government-funded research at all.

The post, though deleted, can still be viewed on a cached version of Mulvaney’s Facebook page. His argument against science funding (and science in general) seems to follow arguments made by other prominent Trump transition team figures: because science is sometimes wrong, or not clear cut, it shouldn’t be trusted.


https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/judge-declines-remove-trump-pick-mulvaney-consumer-financial-protection-bureau-n824711

The earth hums and sings, just as the poets always knew.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2017/12/08/scientists-are-slowly-unlocking-the-secrets-of-the-earths-mysterious-hum/?utm_term=.921ff9e89b74

The world hums. It shivers endlessly.

It's a low, ceaseless droning of unclear origin that rolls imperceptibly beneath our feet, impossible to hear with human ears. A researcher once described it to HuffPost as the sound of static on an old TV, slowed down 10,000 times.

It's comforting to think of Earth as solid and immovable, but that's false. The world is vibrating, stretching and compressing. We're shaking right along with it.

“The earth is ringing like a bell all the time,” said Spahr Webb, a seismologist at Columbia University.




Hmm, so the poets were right about the music of the spheres:

'Tis the deep music of the rolling world
Kindling within the strings of the waved air
Aeolian modulations.

Listen too,
How every pause is filled with under-notes,
Clear, silver, icy, keen awakening tones,
Which pierce the sense, and live within the soul,
As the sharp stars pierce winter's crystal air
And gaze upon themselves within the sea.


Prometheus Unbound, Percy Bysshe Shelley

The Uneven Playing Field


http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2017/12/the_republicans_have_built_an_uneven_playing_field_of_morality.html

Al Franken, many argue, should now resign. He should resign immediately because there are credible accusers (another emerged Wednesday), and because the behavior alleged is sufficiently abhorrent that there is simply no basis to defend him. In this parade of unilateral disarmament, Trump stays, Conyers goes, Moore stays, Franken goes.

~~~

You can talk about gradations of harm—what Franken is accused of still pales next to child predation—but even that is a trap. The point is, as Jennifer Rubin notes Tuesday, that “one party has adopted a zero-tolerance position (with Sen. Al Franken, Democrat of Minnesota, set to go before the ethics committee) and another party opens its arms to people it believes are miscreants.” Rubin feels confident that becoming the party of alleged sexual abusers will harm the GOP in upcoming elections (did she live through last November?). My own larger concern is that becoming the party of high morality will allow Democrats to live with themselves but that the party is also self-neutering in the face of unprecedented threats, in part to do the right thing and in part to take ammunition away from the right—a maneuver that never seems to work out these days. When Al Franken, who has been a champion for women’s rights in his tenure in the Senate, leaves, what rushes in to fill the space may well be a true feminist. But it may also be another Roy Moore. And there is something deeply naïve, in a game of asymmetrical warfare, and in a moment of unparalleled public misogyny, in assuming that the feminist gets the seat before it happens.

This isn’t a call to become tolerant of awful behavior. It is a call for understanding that Democrats honored the blue slip, and Republicans didn’t. Democrats had hearings over the Affordable Care Act; Republicans had none over the tax bill. Democrats decry predators in the media; Republicans give them their own networks. And what do Democrats have to show for it? There is something almost eerily self-regarding in the notion that the only thing that matters is what Democrats do, without considering what the systemic consequences are for everyone.

We are at a moment in this country in which entire institutions that existed to protect women—from the courts, to our criminal statutes, to our workplace protections—have proved not only incapable of protecting us but also to be tools used to shame and silence us. The question we now face is really about which institutions need to be blown apart altogether and recreated to promote justice, and which institutions do not or cannot. The Senate, I would submit, is not about to be blown up and created anew, with greater institutional solicitude for women. Not now. And that means that when it comes to the Senate, we play by the institutional rules and norms as they exist, even as those rules and norms devolve into empty shells. The alternative is a game of righteous ball, in which the object is pride and purity, and Dems are the only ones playing.

Shirley Sherrod, Maxine Waters, ACORN, Planned Parenthood. When will we learn how far they will go

to smear and take down effective leaders and organizations?

Paddock reminds me of William Krar, especially in having such large caches of weapons, ammo,

and explosives/ bio weapons.

And in the similar surprise that someone amassing such would be planning to commit atrocities.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2004/mar/21/usa.terrorism

William Krar and Judith Bruey appeared a perfectly normal couple. Certainly Teresa Staples thought so. She remembered a polite, sociable couple who always paid their rent on time for the three garages they rented from her.
~~~

She was right. Among a terrifying arsenal of guns, bullets and bombs, the FBI found a chemical cyanide bomb. Used in a shopping mall, a stadium or a subway, it could have killed thousands. 'I was terrified. I live here with my children and they had that terrible stuff in there,' Staples said.
~~~

But FBI agents uncovered the cache of weapons hidden behind them. More weapons were found at Krar and Bruey's secluded home in the pine woods that surround Tyler. Eventually the haul totalled 500,000 rounds of ammunition, more than 60 pipe bombs, other remote-controlled bombs disguised as brief cases, and dozens of machineguns, silencers, pistols, mines and explosives.

And, inside an ammunition cannister, was the sodium cyanide, next to quantities of acid that would act as a trigger for the device, reacting with the cyanide to release a cloud of lethal gas.



http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/02/us/las-vegas-shooter/index.html

(CNN)Stephen Paddock, who sent bullets and terror down on thousands attending a Jason Aldean concert in Las Vegas, had an arsenal in his 32nd-floor hotel room and at his home 80 miles away, officials said.

Police recovered 23 guns from his Las Vegas hotel room and another 19 guns from Paddock's home in Mesquite, Nevada, Clark County Assistant Sheriff Todd Fasulo said.

Authorities said Paddock killed 59 people and injured another 527 early Monday in the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.

But what they couldn't explain is why the man who had never faced any notable criminal charges did it. There was no known motive late Monday.

Flooded chemical plant near Houston now has "black plume of smoke."

https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/hurricane-harvey/harvey-danger-major-chemical-plant-near-houston-likely-explode-facility-n797581


One of the world's largest chemical companies warned Wednesday that its flooded plant near Houston will likely catch fire and explode in the next few days — and there's nothing the company can do about it.

Arkema Group's plant in Crosby, Texas — about 20 miles northeast of Houston — was inundated by more than 40 inches of rain by Hurricane Harvey and has been without electricity since Sunday, the French-based company said in a statement.

The firm said it made extensive preparations for Harvey, but "the plant has never experienced flooding of this magnitude before."

Julia Bagg, a reporter for Miami's NBC 6 who is on assignment in Texas, reported early Thursday that a "black plume of smoke" had been spotted over the factory. Firefighters subsequently moved journalists about two miles away from the facility.

"Hurricane Harvey Probably Isnt a 500-Year Event Anymore"

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/08/hurricane-harvey-probably-isnt-a-500-year-event-anymore/



Once in 500 years? Hmmm. Here are a couple of relevant illustrations from the Fourth National Climate Assessment, which was recently made public:




Down on the Gulf Coast, the number of “precipitation events” that exceed the largest amount expected over five years has already gone up 40 percent since 1901. By about 2030, what used to be a 5-year event around Houston will occur every two months. This means that Hurricane Harvey used to be a 500-year event, but maybe not anymore. Maybe it’s now a 20 or 30-year event.



Pitch perfect

K&R
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