Category Archives: Tech

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to The Other McCain, Whores and Ale, Pirate’s Cove and Bacon Time for the Rule Five links!  Thanks also to our blogger pals at The Daley Gator for the link.

This seems like a good idea for voting reform, at least on the surface.  I’ve written a few words here and there on the ideas of a modern, electronic voting system, and this looks like the kind of thing I was thinking of.  Maybe.  Here’s the description:

Your elections officials create millions of digital ballot records in several separate files before the election. They use a software tool provided by Redo Voting and the source code for this tool is publicly available for ANYONE to review. Our software security is based on peer review. If software is kept secret, it’s not secure. We don’t want you to trust us or anybody to create perfect software. We want you to trust the world’s experts to assure you that what we are doing is as secure as it is transparent.

Next, our ballots are printed on the very same secure printers used to create lottery tickets. The same ones used by state lotteries. Fun fact: these secure machines cost $50 MILLION!

The printer then prints a series of unique codes from the file under special scratch materials. These unique codes are revealed by YOU when you pick up a ballot and scratch it. YOU are the first person to ever see them.

The other files are encrypted by election officials and kept secure until after the election. The files are secured using the same cryptography used by the government to secure its most classified secrets. Ever heard of “crypto?” It’s just a short version of the word “cryptography.” We have built our infrastructure in the same way that many understand as Blockchain, or “crypto.”

You, the voter, pick up a secure ballot at your civic buildings OR at any participating retailer. When you pick up the secure ballot, the clerk scratches and scans one of the hidden codes and conducts the same digital ID check required to purchase cigarettes or alcohol. This allows us to track that Secure Ballot from the printer to the warehouses, to the store, to YOU, and to only you. You will be personally connected to your ballot and the chain of custody remains tied to you forever more, but no one can ever associate your personal identity with your ballot. You can verify that your vote counted and was correctly submitted at anytime in the future.

Here’s the best bit:

When the polls close, your election officials will decrypt the files created when the election started. Here’s the fun part: they can make the secrets PUBLIC now. In fact, every activation and every ballot cast can be made public DURING the election. THAT’S transparency and accountability.

On the surface this seems like a pretty good system – secure, simple, easy and accountable.  And being able to know, instantly, who won – added bonus.  No recounts, no fudging, no late night shenanigans, no sudden discoveries of boxes of ballots in the trunks of cars days after the election is over (and, let’s say this quietly, after one party has determined how many votes need to be manufactured to put their guy over the top.)

But here’s my concern:  Anything that can exist, can be manipulated, one way or another.  Could this system really be hack-proof?  Color me skeptical, but I admit I’m not all that knowledgeable about this kind of tech.

Any of you True Believers who know more about IT systems than I do, see any holes in this?  It appears to make a great deal of sense, at least on the surface – which is why I suspect pols of all stripes will be dead-set against it.  In fact that should serve as a caution, if pols start saying this is a good idea, that’s when it’s time to get really suspicious.

Animal’s Daily Brain Implant News

One of these people is real.

I admit to a kind of sneaky admiration for Elon Musk much of the time.  He’s kind of the real-world Tony Stark, and I like how his FY-money gives him license to tweak proggy politicians, which he does.

But this, which I gather is one of his ventures, really seems like a bad idea.  Here’s how it works:

We’re designing the first neural implant that will let you control a computer or mobile device anywhere you go.

Micron-scale threads are inserted into areas of the brain that control movement. Each thread contains many electrodes and connects them to an implant, the Link.

The threads on the Link are so fine and flexible that they can’t be inserted by the human hand. Instead, we are building a robotic system that the neurosurgeon can use to reliably and efficiently insert these threads exactly where they need to be.

Here’s the onion:

Neuralink is building a fully integrated brain machine interface (BMI) system. Sometimes you’ll see this called a brain computer interface (BCI). Either way, BMIs are technologies that enable a computer or other digital device to communicate directly with the brain. For example, through information readout from the brain, a person with paralysis can control a computer mouse or keyboard. Or, information can be written back into the brain, for example to restore the sense of touch. Our goal is to build a system with at least two orders of magnitude more communication channels (electrodes) than current clinically-approved devices. This system needs to be safe, it must have fully wireless communication through the skin, and it has to be ready for patients to take home and use on their own. Our device, called the Link, will be able to record from 1024 electrodes and is designed to meet these criteria.

What could possibly go wrong?

I’m far from an expert on these kinds of things.  I’m a biologist by training, but my particular field was field zoology and behavior, and it’s been years and years since I did any actual work in the field, although I try to stay current.  So, neurophysiology isn’t exactly my cup of tea.

But I’m concerned.  Could this be back-hacked?  It’s relying on a wireless signal.  Could someone literally put a thought in your head?  Or just give you a bad headache?  Or, looking at it from the other direction, could someone take control of your phone or other devices through this system?

Granted that latter one can happen in a number of ways already; it’s a risk we take when using modern tech.  But the “brain implant” part of it, to me, seems fraught.

If folks choose to do this kind of thing, fine.  Every cat its own rat.  But you can count me out.

Animal’s Daily Automotive News

1979 Thunderbird Ad

Ars Technica asks:  Was 1980 the worst year for American automobiles?  Well, having owned cars back in those days, I’ll say that if it wasn’t the worst year, it was probably in the top five.  Excerpt:

Quick, what’s the worst year in American automotive history?

Recent bias might lead you to select 2008, when an unprecedented modern financial crisis slammed the overall economy and led to a government bailout of GM and Chrysler (those carmakers received $80 billion after taking a 40 percent nosedive in sales and having some 3 million jobs at risk). But the near-death experience yielded vehicles and automakers more closely aligned to consumers’ needs and desires.

Arguments could be made that 1929 proved far worse, as the stock market crash and the Great Depression that followed drove many automakers out of business. But that period also yielded some of the finest cars ever produced, ones with names like Marmon, Duesenberg, Pierce-Arrow, Stutz, and many others. Or perhaps it was 1957, when the last of the independent automakers, Nash and Hudson, disappeared from the market, and Packard was gasping its final breath as a poorly disguised Studebaker, a company that would disappear a decade later.

No, it’s 1980. With the arrival of the second OPEC Oil Embargo the year before, a recession took hold of the country. Sales of US-made cars came in at 6.58 million units, down 20 percent from 1979, as import automakers claimed a 26.1 percent market share, up from 21.2 percent in 1979. Ford lost a record $1.5 billion as domestic sales plunged 33 percent and worldwide sales declined 29 percent. Chrysler, having lost $2 billion in the past year and a half, was in such bad shape that banks wouldn’t lend it money. Instead, Congress did, providing a $1.5 billion loan guaranteed by the federal government. Even General Motors was hit by a $763 million loss, the company’s first since 1921.

But bad numbers alone don’t earn 1980 the title of ‘Worst Automotive Year Ever.’ Having to engineer cars with new technology for the first time in decades, the Big Three struggled to meet the unprecedented demand for small fuel-efficient cars. And in the face of profits and market share declining, Detroit responded by, frankly, fielding some of the worst cars it has ever produced.

Peruse the article for a list of some of the worst offenders.  And yes, my manufacturer of choice, Ford, has some well-deserved entries on that list.  What Ford did to the proud old names of Mustang and Thunderbird in those years was a travesty.  Fortunately, they managed to salvage some of that in the mid-Eighties; I had a 1984 Thunderbird and it was a big step up from the 1980 Fairmont-chassis abomination.  But then, I had also had a 1979 Thunderbird, long, sleek and black, with a hood big enough for a soccer field, and other than the notoriously leaky T-Bar roofs, it was a pretty decent car.

But then, when I married my first wife, she had a 1972 Pinto – objectively one of the cheapest pieces of crap I had ever driven – but the damn thing was perversely reliable.  It could be twenty below zero, and that car would start and run.  It never ran well; the body rusted out, the doors sagged, the hood was so far out of alignment that you had to pull it to the right to close it, but the damn thing always ran.  Go figure.


As to the point of this article, yes, American made cars in 1980 were pretty bad.  Fortunately they’ve come a long way since, and that’s a good thing, since I’m figuring on dumping a substantial piece of cash into a new F-450 in the next few months.

Rule Five Power Grids Friday

Programming note:  Next week I’ll be afield with loyal sidekick Rat in pursuit of antlered ungulates, so we’ll have some placeholder totty while I’m out of contact.  Tomorrow and the following Saturday we’ll have Gingermageddon as usual, then normal posts resume on Monday the 8th.

The bloodwind calls!  It’s time to hunt.

Now then:  Go and read this treatise on California’s new energy “infrastructure.”  Excerpts, with my comments, follow.

The leaders of California and China have at least one thing in common: fear of blackouts. In late September, following widespread and economically debilitating losses of power, China’s vice premier Han Zheng ordered the country’s energy companies to ensure sufficient supplies before winter “at all costs” and added, ominously, that blackouts “won’t be tolerated.” A month earlier, California governor Gavin Newsom issued emergency orders to procure more natural gas-fired electrical capacity to avoid blackouts. And in a possible sign of more such moves to come, earlier in the summer, California’s electric grid operator “stole” electricity that Arizona utilities had purchased and that was in transit from Oregon.

Energy is far from the only thing the leaders of California and China have in common, of course.  But the energy issue is a big one.  China, of course, is addressing this by building coal-fired power plants, and plenty of ’em.  California?  Well, they’re trying a different approach.

In late August, in pursuit of that “transition” vision and while skirting the edge of widespread blackouts, California brought online the world’s biggest-ever grid-scale battery, located at Moss Landing, just 60 miles south of Silicon Valley. Proponents of an all-wind/solar grid seem to be saying that all we need to do to get past the volatility of conventional fuels for electricity is to build enough such batteries—the sooner, the better.

The Moss Landing battery is about ten times the size of the previous world-record-holder: the grid-scale battery that Elon Musk built, to global fanfare, for the South Australia grid in 2017. States and countries everywhere are in hot pursuit of grid-scale storage, including New York City, where the state Public Service Commission recently approved construction of a battery “plant” in Queens roughly the size of Tesla’s Australian project.

Three basic constraints work against building enough batteries to solve the intermittency of wind and solar power, however. First, there’s the time it takes to conquer the inevitable engineering challenges in building anything new at industrial scales. Second, there’s the scale issue itself and the deeply naïve reluctance to consider the utterly staggering quantity of batteries that would be required to keep society powered if most electricity is supplied at nature’s convenience. And finally, directly derived from the scale issues, are the difficulties involved in obtaining sufficient primary minerals to build as many batteries as the green dreamers want.

Ay, and that’s the rub; there just aren’t enough of those materials.  It’s not a matter of economies of scale, nor of lack of will; there just simply aren’t enough materials:

Building enough Moss Landing-class systems for 12 hours of storage for the U.S. alone would entail mining materials equal to what would be needed for two centuries’ worth of production of batteries for all the world’s smartphones. That doesn’t count the additional minerals needed for the transition to electric cars or the “energy minerals” needed to build the wind and solar machines themselves. It’s a little-noted fact that using wind/solar/battery machines to deliver the same amount of energy as conventional hydrocarbon machines requires about 1,000 percent more primary materials for fabrication.

The world isn’t now mining, nor is it planning to mine, a quantity of minerals and metals sufficient to build as many batteries as the transition roadmap requires. About this fact there is no dispute, even if it’s being ignored. In a surreal disconnect, the International Energy Agency’s own analysis of the astonishing, even impossible mineral demands required for the wind/solar/battery path was quickly followed by a different report proposing an even more aggressive pursuit of the energy transition. Meantime, another recent study from the Geological Survey of Finland totaled up the overall demand that the transition will create just for common minerals—for example, copper, nickel, graphite, and lithium—never mind the more exotic ones. They concluded that demand would exceed known global reserves of those minerals(Emphasis added by me.)

So, in other words, what nitwit Gavin Newsom and that idiot Alexandria “Crazy Eyes” Occasional Cortex and her ilk want to do to our electrical grid just simply isn’t possible.  There is an existing source of clean electricity, of course – nuclear power.  But the nitwit brigade doesn’t want to discuss that.

What’s left out of this article is this:  The Powers That Would Be in this country don’t care if the peasantry has to deal with rolling blackouts and prohibitive fuel costs.  They figure they’ll have theirs; like the old Soviet Polituro had their Zil limos and their dachas in the woods outside Moscow, the new American Politburo figures on still having their Congressional auto service and their tony Georgetown mansions.  The agenda is all for these idiots, facts be damned, and they’re willing to stomp all over you and I to shape things as they think they ought to be.

Read the whole article.  It really reduces the “green” energy issue to what it is – an absurdity.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Someone told me a while back that, of all the immortal Douglas DC-3s still in use in the United States, well over half are flying in Alaska.  I haven’t taken the time to confirm that but we do see DC-3s regularly passing overhead, sometimes two a day.  They’re great for small Alaska airfields:  Rugged, rough-field capable, dependable, and able to carry big loads.  I expect we’ll see them in use here in the Great Land for some time to come, which is pretty good for a model of aircraft which once carried the Old Man from Lowry Army Airfield, Colorado to Victorville, California, in 1945.  He described that trip in an Army C-47 as “being sealed in a tin can full of bolts and shaken,” but then, his sorties in B-25 and B-17 bombers in that time frame were very similar, or so he always told it.

Here’s a neat video of a startup and takeoff of a Swissair DC-3.  What a beautiful old bird.  It’s great to see them still in use.

Now then:

On To the Links!

Beer.  Is there anything it can’t do?

Elder Versus Newsom: Two Radically Different Views of the Soul of America.  That’s something of an understatement.

Amazon’s Answer to Delivery Driver Shortage: Recruit Pot Smokers.  Note to self:  Stop ordering snack foods from Amazon.

Couldn’t happen to a more deserving cackling harpy.

Up to 60% of Americans think President Biden(‘s handlers) should resign over the Afghanistan catastrophe.  Problem is, he has a great life-insurance policy, namely that nobody in either party wants Heels-Up Harris in the Imperial Mansion.

Joe Manchin steps up.

Ready… Fire… AIM!

Artorius rex!

Fuck off, slaver!

Savages gonna savage.

Why not just ditch the monarchy altogether?  Seriously, Brits, it’s way past damn time.

How Has Joe Biden Become So Unpopular?  Well, his constant incompetent fucking up may have something to do with it.

Well, this is amusing.

Timing Biden’s exit?  He may not have much say in it.  He likely isn’t coherent enough to have any say in it.

Wait, we don’t call them tornadoes any more?  Seriously, is there anyone left on the planet that can’t see that this guy is too far gone to blow his own nose, much less be President?

This Week’s Idiots:

MSNBC’s Hayes Brown (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

Slate‘s Dahlia Lithwick (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

The New York TimesEzra Klein (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

CNN’s Chris Cillizza is an idiot.

New York Magazine‘s Eric Levitz is an idiot.  Seriously, do none of these dimwits ever give a moment’s thought to what happens when the shoe is on the other foot?

CNN’s John Blake is an idiot.

The Atlantic’s Jemele Hill is an idiot.

MSNBC’s Tiffany Cross is an idiot.

Guardian‘s Lawrence Douglas is an idiot.

NY Daily News’ Paul Bledsoe is an idiot.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

Mike Nesmith is probably best known for his tenure with The Monkees, but the post-Monkee Nesmith did some… interesting stuff.  Among other things, he was one of the pioneers of the themed music video, along with his buddy Frank Zappa and the prescient David Bowie.

In 1981, Nesmith released a video album (on Laserdisc!) called Elephant Parts. It was odd, to say the least, but worth a watch.  Here, from that album, is the classic work Cruisin’.  Enjoy.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!
Spring at the Casa de Animal.

Spring doesn’t last long up here in the Great Land.  Summer doesn’t, either.  But it’s great while it’s here.  Right now the birches and poplars are fully leafed out, with that bright green so characteristic of late spring and early summer.  We have ferns and wildflowers coming up all over, along with some irises and various other plants around the yard.  The greenhouse won’t get much use this year, as we don’t have seeds and equipment in time to get things started, but next year we’ll be making use of it.

After thirty years in semi-arid Colorado, it’s amazing how green everything is here in the Susitna Valley.  There’s a lot more moisture, obviously, what with all the snowfall and the frequency of wet, drippy days.  Still, like the old saying about April showers bringing May flowers, in Alaska it may be May showers bringing June flowers but it still holds true.  Things are pretty here now but in a few more weeks they’ll be really gorgeous.

There’s always something, though.  This shook the house for the better part of a minute.  No damage to the Casa de Animal or the surroundings.  My reaction to the possibility of future tremors?  Worth it.

And so…

On To the Links!

Corruption?  In New Jersey?  Really!?

Nobody’s going to watch your melodrama after you’ve killed off the villain.

What do you expect from a self-professed Socialist who owns three mansions?

Plastic-Driven Sperm Apocalypse May Not Be Nigh.  Also:  “Plastic-Driven Sperm Apocalypse” would be a great indy rock band name.

Florida Man Strikes Again.

A graduate of the Anthony Wiener School of Commercial Airline Pilots.

 Yeah, we’re fucked.


Here’s the problem with big proposals like this; if it were economically viable, someone would have already done it.  If government has to pay for it, we shouldn’t be doing it.  This one doesn’t pass the bullshit test.

Speaker Trump?  I’d like to see that, just to watch leftist heads explode.  Imagine President Biden mumbling and maundering his way through a State of the Union with Donald Trump sitting right behind him.  If that wouldn’t bring the lulz, I don’t know what will.

Her Imperial Majesty Hillary I, Dowager Empress of Chappaqua, presents us with the latest in a lifetime of whoppers.

It’s only wrong when Republicans do it.

Fuck off, slaver!

I love a happy ending.

Chicago continues its ongoing meltdown.

No shit, Sherlock.

Ever wondered what the hardest language is for English-speakers to learn?  Turns out Japanese is one of the toughest, which doesn’t surprise me at all.

Guess which states have the lowest unemployment rates. 

The Hunter Biden saga ain’t over yet.  Not by a long shot.

This Week’s Idiots:

CNN’s Chris Cillizza is an idiot.

The Week’s Ryan Cooper is an idiot.

CNN’s Eli Zupnick is an idiot.

The Nation’s John Nichols is an idiot.

Heels-Up Harris steps on a rake.

Juan Williams is an idiot.  I used to like Juan Williams; he seemed like a guy with principles, as opposed to politics, and I respect people with principles even if I don’t agree with them.  But these days Juan seems to have devolved into just another partisan hack.  That’s too bad.

Salon‘s Michael Camp is an idiot.

The New York Times’ Charlotte Alter is an idiot.

This “artist” is a con man, and the people who fell for it are all idiots.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

Very few bands have ever matched the immortal Led Zeppelin.  This is one of the greatest of their works, one in fact used to great effect by director Taika Waititi in Marvel’s tongue-in-cheek Thor:  Ragnarok.

In 1978 or 79 – the exact year is a little fuzzy at this distance in time – I had the pleasure of seeing Zep live.  My buddies and I managed to work our way up pretty close to the stage and at one point were about twenty feet from Robert Plant, who was on stage, hair flying, wailing in his best Seventies rock-band fashion.  It was a neat experience.  Here’s The Immigrant Song.  Enjoy.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Spring seems to be (finally) coming to the Great Land.  After weeks of prevailing winds blowing out from south-central Alaska into Cook Inlet, dragging cold air down from above the Arctic Circle, the last few days have finally dawned warmer.  By the weekend we should have temps in the low fifties and sunshine.

Sunset the other night.

That, of course, is a recipe for wet and muddy surroundings, but at least the new house is on high ground.  According to the folks who we bought the house from, who left us detailed notes, the slope keeps the yard and the upper driveway fairly dry during snow-melt.  Over the next few days, we’ll see for ourselves.

And yes, we still love it here.  More than we expected we would, and we expected we would love it a great deal.  Breathing the free air of Alaska is like taking a step into a new world.

On that note…

On To the Links!

Gee, I wonder why?

This is cool:  Possibly the earliest map in Europe.

Hungry?  Try slapping your meat.

Monkey See.

Monkey Do.

Fuck you, Joe.  And the horse you rode in on.  Also:  How can you tell President Biden(‘s handlers) is lying?  His lips are moving.

Governors push back – including here in Alaska.

Nuclear fusion by 2030?  Maybe, but that’s a song we’ve heard before.

How to woke-proof your kids.

Casting for Indiana Jones and the Nursing Home of Doom is under way.  Or will it be Raiders of the Lost Bedpan?  Kingdom of the Crystal Colonoscopy?  Either way, this is a franchise that jumped the shark on the last installment and needs to just drop.

Good point.  Markets aren’t always “fair” but usually get things right.

Equality and the Criminal.

Apparently being oppressed pays really well.

Letting Hunter Biden Off Is A Message To Us Peasants.  Indeed.

This Week’s Idiots:

Salon‘s Chauncey DeVega is an idiot.

Salon’s Dean Obeidallah is an idiot.  (Anyone else sensing a pattern, here?)

Governor Andrew Dice Cuomo continues to pursue idiot policies.

It’s not about safety, you idiots, it’s about control.  Relevant:

“Did you really think we want those laws observed?” said Dr. Ferris. “We want them to be broken. You’d better get it straight that it’s not a bunch of boy scouts you’re up against… We’re after power and we mean it… There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system, Mr. Reardon, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.”
Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

The Biden(‘s handlers) administration just seems to keep stacking stupid idea on stupid idea.

Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) responds to idiots.  Honestly, Senator, don’t bandy words with morons.  You’ve proved nothing when you’ve bested a fool.

Idiot David Hogg gets his comeuppance.  Haw haw haw!

The New York Times’ Jonathan Alter is an idiot.

And So:

Man, I had the hots for Debbie Harry back in the day.  Here’s a representative piece of her work, also from back in the day; this is Blondie’s 1980 hit Call Me, from the soundtrack of the Richard Gere – Lauren Hutton grenade American Gigolo, an execrable movie but not a bad song.  Best of all, Call Me featured a smoking hot lead singer, the aforementioned Debbie Harry.  Enjoy.

Animal’s Daily Electric Car News

Before we start, be sure to check out the latest in the Mystical Child series over at Glibertarians!

This just in:  No less an authority than Toyota is warning folks that moving to eliminate gasoline-powered cars isn’t a good idea.  Excerpt:

A senior Toyota executive will express skepticism before U.S. senators Tuesday about aspirations by rival automakers to phase out gasoline-powered vehicles, saying those goals must overcome many obstacles.

Robert Wimmer, director of Energy & Environmental Research at Toyota Motor North America, will testify at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing.

“If we are to make dramatic progress in electrification, it will require overcoming tremendous challenges, including refueling infrastructure, battery availability, consumer acceptance and affordability,” he will say according to an advance copy of his remarks.

He will say that while rivals have made aspirational statements, less than 2% of vehicles sold in the U.S. last year were battery electric. He will also note it took Toyota 20 years to sell more than 4 million U.S. gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles.

Toyota plans to begin selling two new electric vehicles in the United States next year, but also aims to keeps boosting sales of hybrid cars.

Many automakers and policymakers in Washington are eager for the U.S. government to take steps to speed the adoption of EVs.

The problem always comes down to energy density.  The same folks who agitate for all-electric cars, with their limited range and long recharge times, are the same nincompoops who agitate for windmills and solar panels.  These do not produce energy on the scale or with the reliability of natural-gas or nuclear plants, and will not maintain the energy requirements of an advanced technological society – but then, that may be a feature, not a bug, eh?

When these people start talking about building nuclear power plants to meet our electricity needs, then I’ll give them a listen on electric cars.  Not until.

As for hybrids, when someone builds a hybrid pickup that will carry a slide-in camper and tow a boat for 3-400 miles a day, on roads that pass through mountain ranges and into remote back-country destinations, then maybe I’ll give it a look.  But, as with so many things, color me skeptical.

Animal’s Daily Speech Suppression News

Before we start, make sure to check out my latest over at Glibertarians – this time, a preview of something you might find interesting.

I’ve been dabbling around on Parler (pronounced par-lay, from the French, meaning “to speak.”)  You can in fact see my Parler works by following the link on the left, although I confess most of my activity is just reposts from here.  But now Apple and Google Play are deplatforming Parler; fortunately the url works just fine.  Excerpt:

Twitter banned President Trump on Friday and prominent conservatives like Mark Levin have been encouraging followers to move to Parler, an app dedicated to protecting free speech. Now, cancel culture has enlisted Apple and Google in its fight to eradicate the left’s opposition. 

The New York Times reported that Apple and Google have removed the social networking app Parler from the companies’ app stores, preventing countless conservatives from finding an alternative to Facebook and Twitter. 

On Saturday morning, Parler was listed as the No. 1 iPhone app as millions of the president’s followers search for a friendlier alternative to Twitter and Facebook. Despite Parler’s popularity on the app store, Apple said it banned the app on Saturday. 

“We have always supported diverse points of view being represented on the App Store, but there is no place on our platform for threats of violence and illegal activity,” Apple said in a statement. “Parler has not taken adequate measures to address the proliferation of these threats to people’s safety.”

Parler CEO John Matze responded to Apple’s decision.

“Apple, a monopoly, provides no alternatives to installing apps on your phone other than their store … big tech tyrants coordinate moves and work together to stifle competition in the marketplace,” Matze wrote in a statement.

This kind of deplatforming has nothing to do with “threats of violence and illegal activity.”  If it was, Twitter would have long ago banned AntiProfa and BLM activists.  This is speech suppression, pure and simple, and both Apple and Google wield enough power to make their suppression effective.

Honestly, I’m underwhelmed with Parler, which is why my contributions are limited to reposting.  The noise-to-signal ratio isn’t really any better than Twitter – in other words, awful – and I hate the text-limited, bumper-stick format.  When I feel strongly about a topic, I tend to go on at some length, and that platform doesn’t allow me to do so.

But here’s the thing:  All of this started with the moves to silence President Trump, and is now moving on to silence anyone with views to the right of center.  These aren’t the actions of people who are convinced of the rightness of their views.  These are the actions of people who are afraid.  They are afraid to let contrary ideas spread.  Why, do you suppose?

Maybe they understand that silencing people who are already angry is not the way to peace and reconciliation.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

One of the things I will miss about Colorado is the winters.  In the current Casa de Animal, on the high plains just east of Denver, we are routinely seeing temps in the fifties and sunny skies, even now in the first week in December.  At the site of our new Casa de Animal, in Willow, Alaska, this week has temperatures in the twenties and snow throughout the week.

I can live with that.  Aside from the more extreme daylight hours, the winter weather in the Allamakee County, Iowa of my youth was arguably no worse than southern Alaska, which has some benefit of warming from Pacific Ocean currents.  Those daylight hours, though; today, in Willow, sunrise is at 9:55AM, sunset at 3:44PM.  That’s not a lot of daylight for the inevitable choring required in a rural residence.  But, boy howdy, do the long, long summer days make up for it.

OK, then…

On to The Links!

I have no problem with this.

Ten hypocrites.

Turns out when you defund police, the crime rate goes up.  Who knew?

Would you miss it?  Seriously?

Hydroxychloroquine study finds that the drug reduced hospitalizations by 84%.

This was a census year, and redistricting is going to be… interesting.

No.  It was bad policies.

“If only we’d known about Hunter Biden!”

Well, how about that – Tokyo turns out for President Trump.

Fuck off, slavers!

Iowa Republican leads in recount results by… six votes. This, True Believers, is why no amount of election fraud is acceptable.

Well, duh.

The center cannot hold.

This Week’s Idiots:

The Pope (sorry, any Catholics reading) indulges in idiocy.

The New York Times’ Charlie Warzel is an idiot.

Paul Krugman is still a hack, and an idiot (this is getting to be a habit.)

San Francisco is still run by idiots.

These “kids” are idiots.

Rashida Tlaib (D-PLO) is an idiot.

And So:

When it comes to country music, you really only need two words:  George Strait. Unlike a lot of musicians, George is the real deal.  An Army veteran, George started out in music in rock & roll (!) before finding his feet as one of America’s greatest country & western performers.

George Strait is America’s Troubadour, and here, bearing that out, from his album of the same name, is his elegy Troubador.  Enjoy.