January 21st, 2020


Orioles and Tanagers


Fake Employment Numbers

Employment/unemployment reporting falls into the category of "lies, damn lies, and statistics."  It's not about measuring how many people are refused work, have too little work, or work but don't get enough to live on. It's about making things look good when they are not.

This article methodically points out all the ways in which this is not a "tight labor market" as claimed, and instead workers are competing for insufficient and poor-quality jobs.

Yoga Styles

Here's a guide to several different yoga styles.

I note that Terramagne has a lot more.  If you look at the principles of yoga, there's somebody teaching classes for each of those.  Here we have pranayama yoga, which focuses on breath, and most of the other styles use asana poses.  But there's so much more.  Vagary practices santosha yoga for contentment, and he has mentioned several other options.  Each approach uses a different set of techniques and meditative focus to pursue its goal.

While we may not have classes in all that stuff, we do have most of the pieces.  Just pick the principle you want to practice and run a search on it.  You should be able to find poses, meditations, and maybe a few other things.  Add your own trappings, like a color or Hindu figure associated with the theme.  You can find incense for a fair number of these things too.


Outrageous Inequality

This article gives some examples why billionaires are parasites. I particularly appreciate this set of statistics:

* The world's 2,153 billionaires have more wealth than 4.6 billion people.
* The 22 richest men have more wealth than all the women in Africa. According to the UN, there are 326 million aged 20 and over.
* The world's richest 1% have more than twice as much wealth as 6.9 billion people.
* The value of unpaid care work by women aged 15 and over is $10.8 trillion annually.
* The number of billionaires has doubled over the past decade.

Nobody's work is worth billions of times someone else's work.  Billionaires aren't "making" money or jobs or value or whateverthehell they're claiming.  Instead they're robbing  other people of fair recompense for their hard work.  No billionaire is working as hard as African women hauling water by hand. >_<

Serial Poetry Collections

I just finished collating the serial poetry collections for 2019. \o/ There are 13.

Also, I have completed another of my goals for the year and I am pretty stoked about that. :D

* Collate at least three more poetic series into collection files. [MET 1/20/20: Arts and Crafts America 1/4/10, One God's Story of Mid-Life Crisis 1/18/20, P.I.E. 1/20/20]

I was honestly not expecting to finish that one so early in the year.  However, it occurred to me to check the series and see which ones had new poems in 2019.  I updated all the older ones that did, and for those not yet collated into collections, I did that step too.  Arts and Crafts America was just introduced last year.  One God's Story of Mid-Life Crisis and P.I.E. are both much older, but it took them a while to build up enough to be worth offering.  I still have some others that aren't available because they're too small.  I should remember to do this in future years, if I can manage it, because it will help keep up the selection for long-term sponsors.

Housing and Economics

This article sets up a pretty simple equation:

Low housing availability 
High housing demand
Static or falling wages
Reduced economic growth

In other words, if people can't afford to live near work, and can't afford to drive there, the work won't get done.  People are moving to other places where it is cheaper to live and/or there are better jobs.

I have personally seen this tank an outlet mall near us.  Years ago, it was built in a town that didn't have enough workers to staff that many shops.  For minimum wage, it is not cost-effective for anyone to drive in from anywhere else.  They used to have all kinds of things -- a bookstore, a music store, a toy store, kitchen stores, etc.  Now it's pretty much down to clothing stores and Harry & David's.  That's very sad.  But it was also predictable from the moment they announced plans to build an outlet mall where they did.

I find it frustrating that I, with my bad grasp of math, fairly often do a better job of spotted economic realities than people whose job this is supposed to be.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Labor Activist

Most people think of him as a race activist, but he was really into labor rights too. Those things are deeply connected.



Why should you care about labor rights? Organized labor brought you the weekend and "Eight hours for work, eight hours for rest and eight hours for what you will."

We have lost most of that ground.  We need to take it back.

Modern Slavery

Slavery remains legal in the form of prison labor.  Why do you think there are such high racial disparities?  It's all about obtaining livestock.  The game is rigged from the very beginning via the school-to-prison pipeline.  That's not an accident, and it's not something those in power wish to fix.  The slaveowners simply figured out they could continue owning slaves if they convinced the populace that some human beings deserve  to live in cages.

Data Breach

 This is what I mean when I say that once data is put in electronic form, and especially connected to the internet in any way, it is no longer secure.  It is merely more or less convenient to steal.  The very act of conglomerating large amounts of data makes it an irresistible target, and with scads of people trying to steal it, some will always succeed.

The best way to prevent that is not to create the target in the first place.  Scattered data is too much work to gather enough to have any value.  So for instance, instead of piling up medical records like a giant pile of treasure just waiting for a pirate, disperse each to its owner.  

Another option, especially for sensitive data, is Secure On Paper Only.  In fact, ribbon typewriters are reviving because they cannot be hacked.

So when you see a data breach, think of it as a sign that people can't be arsed to protect the information.  There are ways.  But the ways take more work, so people prefer to make targets and just hope they don't get hit.


China has created chimerae of piglets with monkey cells.  Two laudable goals are nonhuman organ transplants and more humanlike test subjects for research.

Possible drawbacks:

* If you think it's bad when a germ jumps from one pure species to another pure species, just wait until you see what a chimera can do.  That boomerang will bash your brains out.  I doubt the scientists are really thinking about that.  Do you want to see a virgin field epidemic on a planet with billions of people, shitty health care, and airplanes?  I don't.

* Once you start mixing primate genes with anything else, you are rolling uplift dice.  There's a chance you'll wind up with something a lot smarter than you intended.  Not a large chance, but then people are making these batches by the thousands.  That is a lot of dice.  The chance is even bigger if instead of assembling things carefully you just bang them really hard together to see what happens, like China just did.  Now, we know China doesn't give a flying fuck about sentience because they murder political prisoners for organlegging, but other countries may object to these things.

Arguing Over Reincarnation

China is whinging about the Dalai Lama's succession again.  It is beyond ridiculous.

They're talking about a guy so adroit that he can choose when and where to be born.  None of the people squabbling over this issue have that level of skill.  They can just forget manipulating him.  It makes them look pathetic.  All they're arguing over, really, is the fact that China wants to name a sockpuppet and the Tibetans would like some hints on his actual plans.  Which he's not enthusiastic about, and I can't say I blame him.

But if he does come back, I don't think it'll be hard to spot him.  After all, people that evolved stick out.  I think he'll go right back to kicking China in the cooch

Dance Identification

It turns out that AI can identify people by how they dance.

Yes, it will be used.  Dance and gait analysis are modes that come into play after people have used up and hacked through the easier things like eyeballs, faces, and fingerprints.  They're also used as rather brutal filters in searching for people "healthy enough" to qualify for things like insurance or gym membership.

Allow me to point out a couple of obvious drawbacks to all the motion-based modes: they're much less reliable for people with certain physical conditions, especially variable ones, that mean they might move differently from one day to the next.  Acquired disabilities will also fuck it up.  Now multiply that by the number of people to whom those traits apply, and you can see why it's suboptimal.  But it will get used anyway, because once you've trashed the previously mentioned options, your choices are to use shoddier options or give up biometrics, and very few civilizations will give up biometrics quickly.  They usually want to ride it into the ground and make life really miserable for a long time.

The End of the Checkout

This article talks about the end of checkout lanes.  It mostly talks about the bad impact on workers.

Now consider the bad impact on shoppers, which is to say, everyone who is not fluent enough with computers to use self-checkout, everyone who doesn't have a smartphone, and people who just don't want to.  Add in the very negative impact of further reducing human interaction in a country that already has a raging epidemic of loneliness.

Happily, I don't have to worry too much about this.  I live within reach of Amish people who will gladly take my money and bag my groceries.  It would be less convenient to do all shopping there, but more convenient than using only cashierless stores.

Don't like the idea of cashierless stores?  Boycott the cashierless lanes that are showing up now.  There is still time to stop this shit.  Stores can't sell if customers refuse to buy.  You have the power, if you choose to use it -- if enough people choose.  So use your folding vote.  BOTHER them.  Make them drag someone out to the floor to check you out if they've closed all the cashier lanes at night.  They'll quit doing it if you make it a pain in their ass.


Today is chilly and calm.  Ice is building up all around the drainpipe from the basement.

I fed the birds.  There was a squirrel on the hopper feeder that ran away when I went outside.

Still no activity on the new suet feeder; they may not like the suet in it.

Call for Cosponsors

[personal profile] fuzzyred is seeking cosponsors for poems in the half-price sale:

"Work Worth Doing" and "All the Beautiful Lights" will be the first
targets of the pool. If there's enough interest, "Survive the Recovery"
will be next, followed by "Strange amd Twisted Creatures". If we get
really lucky, I'd love to sponsor "Conducive to Thought" as well.

And of course, as always, if anyone just wants to take advantage of the
quarter price deal to buy a poem they want but can't afford at
half-price, they are welcome to join too


Poem: "Dépaysement"

This poem came from [personal profile] iamnotgod requesting a square in my 12-31-18 card for the Untranslatable Words Bingo Fest. It has been sponsored by [personal profile] lone_cat. It belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.

Dépaysement (French): The feeling that comes from not being in one’s home country; being a foreigner

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Poem: "Way Down Deep"

This poem came out of the November 5, 2019 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] we_are_spc. It also fills the Dysfunctional square in my 10-31-19 card for the People-watching Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] lone_cat. It belongs to the Polychrome Heroics series.

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How to Fight Self-Checkout Lanes

Self-checkout lanes are spreading. Some people have been forced to use them, and the trend is that stores want to eliminate traditional cashier lanes altogether -- or at least reduce them to the point that the waiting line becomes prohibitive. Cashierless stores like Amazon Go are even worse, adding privacy violations to job destruction. Self-checkout lanes are just the camel's nose creeping into the tent.

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