[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Tuesday, 2016-06-07

Looking back on copyright

Filed under: Art,Books,Intellectual Property,Philosophy — bblackmoor @ 18:30

Prediction: In five hundred years, our current system of “intellectual property” (copyright, trademarks, patents) will be considered an archaic affront to basic human rights, rather like “creative feudalism”. It will be mentioned alongside multi-level-marketing and trickle-down economics as one of the peculiarly unchallenged scams of our era. People of the future will wonder how we could have possibly been so stupid.

Thursday, 2016-05-26

Adventures in gardening

Filed under: Gardening,Nature — bblackmoor @ 16:44

Just had my heart attack moment of the day. I was moving this concrete planter (it’s about halfway to its intended new home, in this photo). I got it to this point, when suddenly a grey bullfrog-shaped critter leaped from right in front of me, in the middle of the the planter, away to the bushes on the right. And then another!

2016-05-26 17.19.28

“HOLY FREEZING SHIP!” I shouted (except that’s not what I shouted). The camouflage on bullfrogs is AMAZING, I thought to myself. I had no idea they were sitting right in front of me.

So I grabbed the sides of the planter, and just barely budged it when ANOTHER ONE jumps away.

“FRIEND!” I shouted (except that’s not what I shouted). I looked closely at the dirt. How could there have been another bullfrog right there? As I was looking, ANOTHER ONE jumped away.

It was at this point that I noticed two things. First, two of the ones that had jumped away were slowly hopping away from me in different directions, and they were definitely not bullfrogs. They were little bunnies. Second, that fuzzy looking spider-webby looking area on the dirt, covering a hole (I now realized), was squirming a little bit, like there was at least one more debating whether to flee the giant monster (me).

“Well, fudge,” I said (and that is actually what I said).

What was I to do? I briefly considered trying to catch the little bunnies and put them back. Yeah, right. Even if I did manage to catch one, it would probably just run away again. More likely, I would only succeed in making them run even farther away from where mama bunny expects to find them later this evening.

2016-05-26 17.19.54

2016-05-26 17.20.13

So I took these photos and then left the planter where it is. Bunnies have been dealing with creatures much meaner than me for a very long time, and I am sure that mama bunny has a plan for situations like this. So I am not too worried about the little bunnies. The planter will just have to stay where it is for a while.

Also, I think I sprained my wrist.

Wednesday, 2016-05-18

Potatoes

Filed under: General — bblackmoor @ 09:13

A group of 51 Muslim states has blocked 11 gay and transgender organizations from attending a high-level meeting at the United Nations next month on ending AIDS, sparking a protest by the United States, Canada and the European Union.

People who are anti-Muslim are using this as ammunition to attack people who are anti-bigotry. I find that peculiar. No, all Muslims are not terrorists. That doesn’t make Muslim countries all beacons of tolerance and love. Some, like Saudi Arabia, are dictatorships that behead people (over 150 in Saudi Arabia last year). Some, like Albania, lack any form of religious fanaticism at all — except that which is imported from other nations (such as, you guessed it, Saudi Arabia).

And while yes, Muslim countries are, in general, far less accepting of homosexuals, etc., we shouldn’t be too smug about that. It wasn’t that long ago that American homosexuals were prevented from enjoying the basic human right of being able to marry the person of their choice. It wasn’t all that long ago that a “queer” would be at risk for a brutal, perhaps even lethal, beating in many parts of the USA. Some Americans would like us to go back to that.

So, yeah, this is wrong… but don’t get cocky. We don’t behead people in the USA, but we do execute them in other ways (a couple of dozen a year, at least), and we have the highest prison population rate in the WORLD. And of the three front-runners for being our next President, one has taken tens of millions from Saudi Arabia, and another is a notorious liar and bigot.

The point I am making is this. First, a potato ain’t a cow pie, but that don’t make it a pumpkin pie, either. Second, don’t be too proud just because we are a few decades ahead of some (some) countries when it comes to treating people like human beings.

Tuesday, 2016-05-17

Captain America (1990)

Filed under: Comics,Movies — bblackmoor @ 15:04

Watched the Captain America movie from 1990 last night. You know, it really wasn’t all that different from the 2011 film. Yes, the 2011 film is better, but the 1990 film hits a lot of the same beats, and it has a good cast. It’s a lower budget film, but it’s certainly not a bad film. I haven’t seen it since I first saw it at the theatre in 1990 (YES, I DID), but to my surprise, I still like it. It still tickles me that the Red Skull’s minions are all beautiful young Italians.

FUN FACT! Darren McGavin plays an American General. The World War 2 era younger version of McGavin’s character is played by Bill Mumy. Danger, Karl Kolchak! Danger!

Captain_America_(1990)

Friday, 2016-05-06

C-3PO’s red arm

Filed under: Movies,Philosophy — bblackmoor @ 08:32

I think it’s telling that the only people in the Star Wars movies that treat robots as though they were people are Luke (who is desperately lonely) and Anakin (who is a mass-murdering, child-killing psychopath). To everyone else, the fact a machine can talk means no more than it does for you and I when our car tells us the door is open or our phone tells us that we have an appointment in 15 minutes.

That a robot has a red arm means exactly as much as the fact an old yellow Fiat has a red door.

Yellow Fiat with a red door

Thursday, 2016-05-05

Definition of “virtue signaling”

Filed under: Philosophy,Society,Writing — bblackmoor @ 10:46

vir·tue sig·nal·ing
/ˈvərCHo͞o ˈsiɡnəliNG/
verb
gerund or present participle

  1. a phrase used by sociopaths when trying to explain the behaviour of someone who has empathy.
     
    “she is collecting cans of food for the hurricane victims, but that’s just virtue signaling”
    “my rape jokes were funny, but I got fired because my supervisor was virtue signaling”
    “people who call Donald Trump a bigot and a sexist are just virtue signaling”

Thursday, 2016-04-28

A game of three factions

Filed under: Politics — bblackmoor @ 09:08

From my own particularly skewed point of view it seems that there are three basic factions in this game.

The first faction is controlled by the super-rich, and seeks to maintain the status quo and push us even further into oligarchy. Their figurehead is Clinton. She’s a puppet, she knows it, and she’s perfectly comfortable with that.

The second faction is basically the same as the first faction, but they are seeking to supplant the first faction by appealing to the angry and ignorant, providing easy answers and asking only that people give up their humanity in return. Their figurehead is Trump, although I don’t think he’s self-aware enough to realize that he is a figurehead.

The third faction is controlled by ordinary people, everywhere from dirt-poor up to moderately wealthy. They want to depose the oligarchs and return some portion of that power to the citizenry. Their figurehead is Sanders, and he knows it, but he does his best to keep telling them that he doesn’t want to be their figurehead — that he wants them to take that power back for themselves, and not make it about him. But people do love their figureheads, don’t they?

Monday, 2016-04-25

Mobile audio 2003-2016

Filed under: Fine Living,Technology — bblackmoor @ 10:49

One of the first things I did when I bought my Hyundai Tiburon in 2003 was to replace the stereo and install an mp3 player in the trunk (mounted on the back of one of the back seats). It was a full size 20 GB hard drive that connected to the “head unit” (the stereo in the dash board) via the interface that was originally intended for a trunk-mounted CD changer (basically a very long extension cord). Imagine that: 20 GB of music in a space the size of a large hardback book! Keep in mind that this was a year before the iPod was released: we are talking some cutting edge stuff here.

Neo 35 mp3 car jukebox

A couple of years later, I upgraded from that beast to a Creative Zen Touch portable mp3 player, which held as much as the Neo did in a fraction of the size. I replaced the stereo with one that had an auxiliary jack in the back, and custom-wired a headphone jack into one of my blank dash buttons. As the years passed, I eventually upgraded to an 80 GB iPod Touch (running Rockbox firmware — I have no love for iTunes). 80 GB in a package the size of a pack of cigarettes? Astounding!

Tiburon dash 2010-07-13

Now it has come time to upgrade again. This time, the stereo has USB ports in the back that can support a standard thumb drive. I removed the headphone jack from the dash, and installed USB ports in the ash tray (which is normally closed). Into one of those USB ports, I now have a 128 GB flash drive: six times as much music storage as the Neo 35, in a widget the size of a nickel, hidden in my ash tray.

Freaking amazing.

Tiburon ash tray 2016-04-25

Wednesday, 2016-04-13

Ethics in building design

Filed under: Comics,Conventions,Gaming — bblackmoor @ 09:05

What the whole “sexism/harassment in gaming/conventions/comic shops” looks like to me…

Someone, we’ll call them Chris, says, “We need to do something about these precipices with no railings. People keep falling — or getting pushed — over the edge, and other folks are just standing around while it happens. If you see someone on the edge of a precipice, don’t just stand there: give them a hand. And maybe put some railings around these things.”

Then a handful of people show up wearing “RailingHate” t-shirts, shouting, “This is anti-precipice liberal hate speech! Precipices are not a problem!” And they start pushing people into the chasm.

Chris is horrified, and a little confused. “Seriously? You just pushed someone over that precipice!”

But the RailingHate crowd shouts, “That’s a lie! They dated a guy whose cousin worked across the street from a company that once made signs for a railing company! It’s a huge conspiracy!” And they push a couple more people over the precipice.

Chris says, “What are you doing?? Are you insane? Why are you doing that? Stop! Please stop!”

Meanwhile, the RailingHate crowd is grabbing people and tossing them into the precipice, while shouting, “There is no need for railings! No one is falling into these precipices — they just want attention! It’s all about ethics in building design!”

It’s the most weird, demented, surreal thing I have ever seen in real life.

Friday, 2016-04-08

Trainwreck

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 21:05

Trainwreck

Watched the first half of a movie called “Trainwreck”. The only funny lines were spoken by a big beefy weight-lifter looking guy (IMDB tells me his name is John Cena), but he was only in the first fifteen minutes or so of the movie. After that… not remotely funny. Not even interesting. Watching the sandwich artists at Subway put together an Italian sub is more entertaining. It’s not even interesting in an “oh my god this is horrible, who thought this was a good idea” way, like that Reese Witherspoon/Sofia Vergara movie “Hot Pursuit” (which is truly terrible, and I do not recommend you watch it). It’s just dull. I started checking the time at 18 minutes. At an hour, we decided to “take a break”.

It’s going to be a long break.

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