Monday, July 24, 2017

Late Night


Monday Evening

Get your evening on.

There's Always Money In The Banana Stand For "Capitalism"

Why I obsess about this stuff...

Proponents of self-driving cars say they'll make the world safer, but autonomous vehicles need to predict what bicyclists are going to do. Now researchers say part of the answer is to have bikes feed information to cars.

Just follow this logically about what they think their toys will require....

Flee For The Tillerson

Another one of those "hard to imagine someone worse, and yet..." things.

For weeks, conversations with Tillerson friends outside of Washington have left the impression that he, despite his frustrations, was determined to stay on the job at least through the end of the year. That would allow time to continue efforts to reorganize the State Department and would mean he could claim to have put in a year as America's top diplomat.

But two sources who spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity over the weekend said they would not be surprised if there was a "Rexit" from Foggy Bottom sooner that that.

The press likes him because he rich so he must be great, but that's not actually how things work. We should have learned that lesson recently.

America's Worst Companies



The bothsides joke isn't that the press always finds Both Sides equally and oppositely culpable, it's that there is no Republican sin without a corresponding Deomcratic one, though the opposite isn't true. The scales are almost always weighted in one direction in all things.

Those of us with long memories remember how, at best, you would find one lonely Clinton defender against 3 or more rabid antagonists during Monica Madness (at best, as often that lonely defender was basically saying, "Well, I'm not sure why should actually have him executed..."). Remember, of course, that the public was against impeachment and Clinton was popular during this time. Or during the Iraq war, when there was a similar dynamic. Or during the Bush administration, when the Republicans/Conservatives were over represented on the Sunday shows because they ran the government, and then during the Obama administration they were over represented because they didn't.

I don't think it's the case that Trump gets good press... I mean, even that would be an effort too far... But there have been about 15 events which for a Democratic president would have inspired a return to Monica Madness (including, as keeps being hinted at, Trump's own Monica, about which I know nothing and I don't really care but who reporters keep dropping clues about), an OJ-level feeding frenzy of endless coverage from which the only conclusion allowed would be "he must be resign."

Pseudo-Public Space Is Bad

In part because it seems like we will never, ever create more truly public spaces again, and the ones we have are likely to be eroded.

Pseudo-public spaces – large squares, parks and thoroughfares that appear to be public but are actually owned and controlled by developers and their private backers – are on the rise in London and many other British cities, as local authorities argue they cannot afford to create or maintain such spaces themselves.

Although they are seemingly accessible to members of the public and have the look and feel of public land, these sites – also known as privately owned public spaces or “Pops” – are not subject to ordinary local authority bylaws but rather governed by restrictions drawn up the landowner and usually enforced by private security companies.

Also, He's Bad?

A weird thing is how some foreign (usually European) elections capture the attention of Americans and some don't. I don't claim to know anything about the politics of most European countries. I follow British politics pretty closely, and Spanish some and French a bit. I only claim to know anything much about the first one.

Anyway, I get that Le Pen is Bad and beating Le Pen is good and everyone Bad is apparently a stand-in for Trump (Voldemort, some bad guy on Game of Thrones I think?, the Home Alone robbers), but the National Front has, you know, never won, so beating it wasn't actually that big of an accomplishment. He's young and pretty and projects the image of having some book learning, so I guess that's refreshing. Macron is also kind of bad on economic policy, like cut taxes and remove labor protections and talk about things like Tom Friedman does bad, and so...

French President Emmanuel Macron's popularity rating has slumped by 10 percentage points this month, according to an Ifop poll on Sunday—the biggest decline for a new president since 1995.

The poll, published in the Journal du Dimanche newspaper, said 54 percent of people in France were satisfied with Macron in July, compared with 64 percent in June.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sunday Night

Tomorrow is...

Sadly, No

Sometimes you say things in order to make them more likely to happen, but I hope Dems don't actually believe this.

Yet everything keeps coming back to pushing a Congress that has so far been supine before the president and often hostile to dissenting constituents. “If Trump were to fire Mueller, that is to me the straw that breaks the camel’s back,” Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu told me. “I think at that point you’re going to have large numbers of Republicans saying we need to start impeachment proceedings.”

Lunch Thread


Sunday, Sunday

Probably bad blogging today. Everybody's gotta rest occasionally.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Late Night

Rock on.

Saturday Evening


Weird Desires

The President isn't some abstract concept, a Sorkinian Archetype. His name is Donald Trump, and you don't want him anywhere near anything important.

Freebie For Next Trump Interviewer

Just what is it that you or your people need to be pardoned of?

Lunch Thread


Robots Are Made Of People

Made by them, anyway.

But self-driving cars have been praised by members of both parties, who see the technology as a way to spur job creation while preventing many of the roughly 40,000 motor vehicle deaths that occur on American roads each year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 94 percent of traffic deaths involve human error, including distracted driving and driving while intoxicated.

Human errors of another fashion exist, in other words. As I keep saying I don't think "eek they're unsafe!" is the issue. If they work they'll be safe enough, it's almost tautological. But I don't buy the claims that they'll eradicate accidents, and certainly not until the entire fleet is swapped out, which won't happen because they won't work. Even if the cars themselves don't hit anything, they can contribute to chaos around them.

I Think About This Regularly

Peter Thiel probably does, too, but for different reasons.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Late Night

Rock on.

We Have To Throw Money At This Bullshit To Pretend To Be In The Game

This is hilarious.

One thing is clear: Building its own autonomous vehicle technology gives Lyft more leverage in negotiations with other companies. Less apparent is whether it will be worth the money Lyft spends. And even less obvious than that is when self-driving cars will actually be cheaper than Lyft’s human-based driver model. (That model has the added benefit of employing human beings, rather than cutting big checks to other companies to borrow their robot cars.)

So much money in the bonfire.

Access To Labour

Hey, Michael, people aren't widgets.

Downing Street did not deny that free movement — under which EU nationals can live and work in any other member state without a visa — would continue for some time after Brexit.

In spite of reservations among Eurosceptic ministers that a “transition deal” could become semi-permanent, Mr Gove and fellow Brexiters have concluded it is unavoidable if British companies are to avoid the disruption of the UK crashing out of the EU in 2019 without an agreement between the two sides.

Asked about a free movement extension, Mr Gove, the environment secretary, said: “As we leave the EU we will have an implementation period which will ensure we can continue to have not just access to labour but the economic stability and certainty which business requests.”