The Atlantic has a really interesting article about what we now know (and still don't know) about the fate of MH370, the Malaysian Airlines flight that literally disappeared in 2014. Most interesting is the pervasive incompetence and corruption that surrounded the official investigation by the Malay government, and how that has thrown off the search and obfuscated the findings about what exactly happened, where, and how.

The first thing I thought of when I saw the headline was the 1981 movie "Looker" about a company that uses advanced data analytics and algorithms to develop ads that almost hypnotically influence consumers.

Science fiction becomes reality more everyday. I just wish it wasn't the dystopian stuff that always seems to come true.

I'm going to go watch that movie again now.

Too smart for its own good (or yours)?

Something has gone well off the rails when you need to regularly scan your TV for malware.

Call me a Luddite but I refuse to have a smart TV in my house. Give me a plain, old dumb display with an OTA tuner, an HDMI input, and ZERO network connectivity. I'll handle providing my own streaming media content and sending it to the screen, thanks.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts."

-- Bertrand Russell

To elaborate, what benefit is there of "switching" users to GNU/Linux if the selling point is that they can continue to use all of their proprietary lock-in applications? E.g. GApps, Chrome, Skype, AAA games, Slack, etc.

Obviously the ideal solution would be to say, "come to GNU/Linux and benefit from all of these great FOSS desktop apps which are available gratis and respect your privacy, etc."

But is the number of such apps growing or shrinking?

Listening to LNL65 prompted a thought. Seems like there has been a lot of FOSS developer focus in recent years on improving desktop environments, while at the same time desktop application development has waned in the general trend towards cloud apps/services.

So I wonder, is "desktop Linux" even relevant if everything the user does with their computer is via proprietary apps/games and cloud apps? At that point, does it really matter that the desktop and underlying OS are FOSS?

I had a quiet week last week, I guess I'm paying for it this week. I have been *inundated* today with junk calls on my private line. A number btw that has been in the National Do Not Call registry for almost 16 years (I just verified - it's still registered). So much for the efficacy of that system.

Two things would fix this spam problem overnight:

1. Carrier-level caller ID verification (antispoof), and

2. Give customers the ability to carrier-level block unidentified (no caller ID) callers.

I sort of wonder if this is one of those "devil you know" vs. "devil you don't" kind of situations.

It also makes me wonder about the motivations and financial backing of said activist investors.

I had a thought regarding recent news about Facebook's activist investors and the controversy over stock classes and voting rights (Zuckerberg's 15% holding gives him dictatorial control, due to class B shares).

If all shares had equal vote, it would take ~$300B to buy a controlling interest in Facebook (at current stock price). If any theoretical lawsuits were to succeed in leveling the class structure, might that then open Facebook to potential takeover/buyout?

E.g. a Google+Facebook merger?

It's a limited-time offer, while freedom lasts!

"Police departments across the country, from major cities like Houston to towns with fewer than 30,000 people, have offered free or discounted Ring doorbells to citizens, sometimes using taxpayer funds to pay for Amazon's products. ... While Ring owners are supposed to have a choice on providing police footage, in some giveaways, police require recipients to turn over footage when requested."

Step right up folks! Trade in your old-fashioned liberties for shiny new tech!

A haiku inspired by something I read this morning in a comment thread:

Rainbow on their flags,
Brownshirts marching in the street.
"Kill haters" they chant.

The good news: the FCC has finally taken some real action towards ending robocalls. The bad news: there are no restrictions preventing phone companies from charging customers to block robocalls.

Anectdotally, I have seen a marked drop in robocalls this week. Down from 4-6/day to only 2 all week. Coincidence?

Yet another reason why I always install on my phones and tablets. I flatly refuse to run the stock OS on such devices.

I've long thought that the laws in the US around prostitution make little sense and really just boil down to an attempt at legislated morality.

Let's see.. you can have sex as much and with whomever you want - as long as you do it for free. And you can do it for money but only if someone is filming the act.

If you have sex with someone for money but nobody films it - you are a criminal and you go to jail.

Is there ANY other human activity with the same crazy rules? 🤨

Well, this is concerning. A Vim arbitrary code execution vulnerability that allows a malicious text file to pwn your system - just by opening it in Vim/Neovim.

Don't open text files from strangers, kids. Or, you know. Just use Emacs. 😎

PSA: Seriously though, apply available security updates if you're running Vim before 8.1.1365 and Neovim before 0.3.6.

Since getting some fully-assembled-but-gray-and-gathering-dust models finally primed last weekend, I've been on a blitz this week trying to get some work done on my "stuff to paint" backlog.

I managed to finish my "urban ruins" table this week, and I'm only a few pieces away from completing my "jungle of death" table.

Of course, it seems like every time I get ahead the UPS guy brings me another box of plastic crack... so, yeah.

And for the record, I'm not convinced the phenomenon is "extraterrestrial" (at least, not in the traditional connotation). In fact, I find that the least likely possibility.

As someone who has seen an "unexplained aerial phenomena" first hand ("UFO" is too loaded a term), I find it encouraging that at least we've now got military personnel talking about their sightings (on the record).

Official disclosure is probably too much to ask for because the gov't would have to say either:

1. It's us, and we have tech far in advance of what you think exists, or

2. It isn't us, and who/whatever it is has superior tech.

Either option is not good.

I've been saying for years that was a documentary, and now that's starting to bear out.

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