Sunday, August 13, 2017

When All You Have Is A Hammer

Everything Looks Like A Nail.

As we often notice here at Pulverized Concepts, modern American law enforcement has problems with animals, man or beast, wild or domestic. These problems generally result in a fatality for the beast. Latest cop/beast failure to communicate took place near Portland, OR where an intimidated Washington County sheriff's deputy was forced to shoot a charging billy goat and call on another deputy to dispatch the wounded animal.

  Image result for volt the goat
Volt, the dangerous but now deceased goat.

In the recent past other cops have been forced to kill wandering alligators in Minnesota, bears in Glacier National Park, and, of course, dogs in a backyard

Big Waters Classic

The Big Waters Classic is a two race omnium series contested in the Twin Cities on the weekend of July 22-23. The Saturday races were held in the Selby-Dale area of St. Paul. Chicago Ave. and 48th St. was the scene for the Sunday action. These two races were the finale of the Midwest Flyover Series, which included events in La Crosse, WI; Burlington, Muscatine and Davenport, IA; Kansas City, MO and Clear Lake, IA. The women's 1-2 series was won by Vanessa Curtis of Iowa City, IA.

Both of the Big Waters Classic women's 1-2 criteriums were won by local rider Melissa Dahlmann. She won a field sprint on Saturday and triumphed on Sunday in a breakaway with Molly Clark-Oien.


Monday, July 31, 2017

What's Charisma?

According to historian Steven Stoll, it's this:

"Charismatic leaders often depend on dedicated interpreters. Charisma is not the ability to communicate, and it is certainly not the quality of being well liked. It is  the capacity to impose an idea on others that they internalize. Charismatic leaders make people see the world as they do--but not always by making reasoned arguments. They foretell obscurely, speak in poetry, and declare irreducible truths without evidence. They don't have friends, since everyone serves the instrumental purpose of advancing their views. So Aaron spoke for his brother Moses and performed the rituals that translated prophecy into religious practice. Jesus needed the disciples to elaborate and spread his message. Sherlock Holmes depended on Dr. Watson to act as a catalyst for his thinking about crime."

Steven Stoll, The Great Delusion, Hill and Wang, NY, NY, 2008, pg. 97.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Prison Guard Impersonates Cop

A group of ATV riders were accosted by an angry individual who attempted to wrestle one of the machines away from its rider, went back to his truck for a gun and badge, and forced the rider down to the ground at gunpoint. When cops arrived the unarmed rider was arrested and charged with assault while the prison guard gets some time off from work.
Perhaps it's no big deal if a member of the coercion complex straightens out a situation. Maybe it's a good thing that guys like this are willing to do their part to maintain order. Or, maybe not.

Addendum:  According to an Aug. 4 entry on the News-Miner website, charges against the ATV rider have been dropped. The prison guard has not been charged.
Braeuer, who worked at Fairbanks Correctional Center since 2006, was placed on administrative leave May 30 after the Department of Corrections learned of the incident. He has since left the agency, and his last effective day was July 28, said DoC public information officer Megan Edge.
Edge declined to comment on the circumstances of Braeuer’s departure from the department, citing confidentiality rules.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Two Photographs

Page A2, Wall Street Journal, Wednesday, July 19, 2017.
Darrell Sapp/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/Associated Press

 PAYING RESPECTS: Hundreds of officers, some from as far away as Colorado, Utah and Texas, attended the funeral of Trooper Michael Stewart III in Latrobe, PA, on Tuesday. The 26-year-old officer died in  a collision with a garbage truck. The cause is under investigation.


Page A8, Wall Street Journal, Wednesday, July 19, 2017.
Ebrahim Moroozi/Associated Press

 Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps troops in formation. New US sanctions are partly aimed at cutting off procurement for the force.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

How are we going to handle artificial intelligence?

". . . the fact is that we are rushing ahead into the AI universe with almost no political or policy debate about its implications. Digital technology has become critical to the personal and economic well-being of everyone on the planet, but decisions about how it is designed, operated and developed have never been voted on by anyone. Those decisions are largely made by executives and engineers at Google, Facebook, Amazon and other leading tech companies, and imposed on the rest of us with very little regulatory scrutiny. It is time for that to change."

                                   Jonathan Taplin
                                   Wall Street Journal
                                   July 15-16, 2017

Mr. Taplin is the director emeritus of the Annenberg Innovation Lab at the University of Southern California. In June 1971,George Harrison asked Taplin to help him and Ravi Shankar stage a benefit concert Madison Square Garden for the newly created state of Bangladesh, which was undergoing extreme famine conditions. The resulting Concert for Bangladesh, with appearances by Harrison, Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton and others was the first benefit concert of this magnitude in world history. Producer of a number of movies, Taplin must know his stuff.

"He’s been warning people about AI for years, and today called it the “biggest risk we face as a civilization” when he spoke at the National Governors Association Summer Meeting in Rhode Island.
Musk then called on the government to proactively regulate artificial intelligence before things advance too far.
“Until people see robots going down the street killing people, they don’t know how to react because it seems so ethereal,” he said. “AI is a rare case where I think we need to be proactive in regulation instead of reactive. Because I think by the time we are reactive in AI regulation, it’s too late.”
“Normally the way regulations are set up is a while bunch of bad things happen, there’s a public outcry, and after many years a regulatory agency is set up to regulate that industry,” he continued. “It takes forever. That, in the past, has been bad but not something which represented a fundamental risk to the existence of civilization. AI is a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization.”

                                     Elon Musk
                                     CEO Tesla, Inc.
                                     CEO SpaceX

There you have it, two members of the elite both think that an effective government regulatory apparatus be set up to defend us from what is essentially ourselves. As Pogo once said in the newspaper comic strip of the same name:

There's a long history of government defending us from ourselves. Prohibition immediately comes to mind, the "war on drugs", gambling, prostitution and a myriad of other typical human failings. Of course, you might say that the threat of AI is an existential one, far more serious than teen-age cigarette smoking. You would be correct. But the government and its many agencies and bureaucrats doesn't seem to have been very successful at even managing the other human failings, much less eliminating them. 

Taplin's recipe for control is the typical one for statists, more government control and regulation, led by a "democratic" process that must include, at least in some attenuated form, the will of the people, as if they would be able to correctly assess what the pros and cons of AI might be. Naturally, it's their elected representatives who will decide, after consulting with their donors.

Musk wants to head off any problems with AI, whatever they might be. Maybe gun-slinging robots striding through the cul-de-sac. So we need another FCC or FAA or BLM or USDA to set the parameters of AI before the issues arise.

By the way, the Selective Service still exists and operates with a budget of $24 million although no one has been drafted since 1972.