Tuesday, 20 March 2018

California, Divisions, Fake Solutions, and the Six State Idea

I could probably make this a 100-page thesis type project but I'll try to limit myself to sixty lines.

The first time I ever made it into California was a western-US drive which I had mapped out in 1981.  I had three weeks of leave from the Air Force and $3,000 in cash to splurge on this 'expedition'. I crossed over the border near Baker, California....about an hours drive west of Vegas.  I made my way down to the Santa Monica area....got on Highway 1, and spent seven days traveling up the coastal highway. 

The adjectives to use for Highway 1?  Majestic, monumental, and grand.

Except for a side-trip to San Diego and Hollywood in the 1990s, I've never been back.

I worked with various characters who grew up in California or spent part of their lives there.  The topic of conversation would come up and you tended to get four references to the state:

1.  Most who were there in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s....all describe the state like some classical Hollywood movie.  Almost 99-percent of these people would be considered die-hard fanatics of their version of California.  In their mind, the state no longer exists.

2.  The folks who grew up in the shadow of LA.  These are mostly the people who grew up there in the 1980s or 1990s....saw the community go through negative periods, and would question why any idiot would stay there today.

3.  The San Francisco crowd.  This crowd will go and describe to almost the exact day where good and bad....met, and ended (November 1975).  The mayors election that brought Moscone into power would be described for years as a politically rigged election and set into motion the tail-spin.  To be honest though....Democratic mayors had been the trend since 1964. 

4.  The folks who grew up in northern California.  This crowd will harp on clean air, great landscapes, and quiet solitude.  They also will let you know that they are conservatives.

So here's the reality of what's happened in the past fifty-odd years.  Urbanized LA has become a political machine with guaranteed votes for the Democratic Party.  Urbanized San Francisco has become a political machine with guaranteed votes for the Democratic Party.  The northern third of the state, and San Diego (leading east to the AZ border) is mostly Republican-type voters.

You hold a state election, and the bulk of the power (probably 65 to 70 percent) will stay in Democratic hands. That's the simple truth.

The state is in serious financial trouble, and can't find any solution.  Adding to the pain is that the fact that people are leaving the state now....something that no one would have suggested back 25 years ago.  Between crime, taxation, and dwindling resources....the state has no future to brag about.

So, some people would like to split it up.....a minimum of two states, to a maximum of six states.  I've looked at the maps.  Using the six-state formula, you can figure that four of the states will be conservative type states.  Silicon Valley and West California would be extremely Democratic in nature. 

The harm brought by this idea?  The huge tax income from Silicon Valley and LA?  It wouldn't be shared any longer with the rest of the state. 

Nothing within the Constitution really allows for this, and you could sense that the Democratic Party itself doesn't want this to come up.  But the bigger question is.....if you allow them to split up....why not allow Missouri or Michigan to do the same thing?   Let's be honest.....NY City ought to be a state by itself. 

All of this keeps people busy and talking about something.....that will never be allowed.  That's the whole dynamic to this game. Course as each passes and financial woes escalate....you have to wonder.....where exactly will the solution be found?

The greatness of the state?  Highway One.  Even today.....you could spend a week going up the state and seeing all the fantastic landscape.  It would be so easy to sell the state on just the landscape.

What Will Happen to Mark Zuckerberg?

This is strictly my humble view of Facebook's creator, and the path left here.

On the path of technology development and nifty ways of using Facebook....Zuckerberg might be the guy to have as the chief and running the company.

As a business CEO, or being the figure to be dragged into some congressional meeting?  No, he's simply not that guy.

I think by summer of 2019....after congress attempts to write various reforms into the data handling of Facebook....the board will meet and decide upon a bold new vision....which pushes Zuckerberg out the side door and he will be kept as a consultant-only.

The pain here for Facebook is that they envisioned using all this collected data for dozens of projects, and somewhere in the middle....was political conversation and converting people to certain agendas.  You might sit there and laugh....but they expected to use it for bringing the 'right'candidates up (note: Democrats).  Instead, they've now discovered that they released the user data to an organization that blended it into a product for Donald Trump. 

I would suspect that Zuckerberg is sitting there in a furious state of mind.  His product was supposed to be used for 'good' purposes and bringing in Hillary Clinton and so on.  Instead, he gave the private data data to be used for Trump.

What Zuckerberg does as a non-entity of Facebook?  He might go and start up another social media site.  He might just retire to Costa Rica and sip fruity cocktails.  He might even relocate to England and be part of the BREXIT world.

I just don't see him there at Facebook by the middle of 2019. 

Cambridge Analytica Analyzed

I sat over most of yesterday evening reading through the various bits and pieces of this 2016 election story involving Cambridge Analytica and

So ten observations:

1.  While everyone is hyped up and talking about Cambridge Analytica being the ONLY company doing this.....that's mostly a laugh.  There are probably dozens, if not hundreds, of companies....which use social media data to predict trends with customers and the public.  This is simply one of many.

2.  Was Trump the first to use their services?  No.  Ted Cruz laid down $3-million for a brief period of 'customer support'.  Ben Carson briefly used the services. 

3.  Facebook acting all shocked?  About the most fake 'shocked' that you can get.  Their whole future profit situation is dependent upon having stupid people post things, chat about friends, and take stupid pictures.....which can be viewed and 'graded' in some way. Then Facebook sells that information to someone for a bit of money for profit.  If they yank this data collection business out....their profits drop and they marginally can survive.

4.  Lobbyists have used various data sets over the past two-hundred years to get an advantage for products, referendums, and candidates.  It's just that now.....in 2018....it's so easy to slip info on 100 million people and in a month...come up with positions that might entice 10-percent of the group to vote on something differently.

5. Will some idiots from the UK or US political establishment go after Cambridge Analytica?  More than likely....but they will simply shut down their UK office and move to some country like Czech or Switzerland. 

6.  If you were really furious and wanted to make an effect against them?  Delete your Facebook, Twitter, social media accounts.....and just live a simple quiet life.

7.  Oddly, among the millions of accounts on Facebook, there are dozens (maybe hundreds) of accounts that lead back to 'Hank' the dog, or 'Cindy' the cat.  So as Cambridge Analytica does its magic....somewhere in the middle is dog and cat information. 

8.  What did Cambridge Analytica really tap into?  Anger and frustration existing.  Something that Hillary and the Democratic Party probably weren't willing to pay a company to tell them that bit of information.

9. Are CNN, Fox News, Washington Post, or MSNBC any different?  They are relying upon a psychological profile of the viewers/readers, and they hope enough will be around to view their product.  So far, MSNBC and Fox have been correct.  The Post is marginally profitable and require cash infusion from their owner.  CNN? It's on the line of starvation.

10.  Is there anything illegal about what Cambridge Analytica did?  No.  There might be new laws made but they will be crafted carefully around what Facebook desires.  Is there anything unethical about what they did?  No....they took public information that people wanted to share.  From my home state of Alabama....I would take a guess of the 4.87-million people in the state....probably around 2.5 million have an account.  Most folks in the state under the age of thirty (probably 95-percent) have an account. You can walk around and find various people in your community who aren't part of the data collected by Cambridge Analytica. 

While journalists want to hype this and make you worried....the question...worried over what?  You put all this data in public forums to be read....what did you expect would happen with that data?

Sunday, 18 March 2018

How McCabe Royally Screwed Up

Over the past couple of months, I've been this Andrew McCabe story a good bit.  My speculation was that he would be fired....it was just a matter of when.

So what did he royally screw up?

At some point in mid-September 2016, it came to his desk.....that another copy of the Hillary emails existed.

The odd thing now occurs.....for about five to six weeks....he keeps his mouth shut and refuses to brief his boss. Well....he says that now.  I'm not exactly buying into this part of the story.

Yes, there on the laptop of former US Representative Anthony Weiner....were copies under a folder which connected back to Hillary's top aid....Human Abedin.

What happened in this period of five or six weeks? It's virtually unknown.  He's never talked about keeping the secret and I seriously doubt that he kept the secret.  My guess is that he told the boss (Comey), and probably Hillary Clinton.

All of this would have been fine, if Hillary had won.  Yes, IF she had won.  No one would be talking about this today and McCabe would have gotten a promotion somewhere in the middle of this mess.

But Trump won, and an IG investigation occurred.  In the end....they asked for McCabe for a sworn testimony, and he basically lied.

At that point, I think he was finished with the position and just hopped that something would delay his being fired. 

His expectation now?  He might wait out the remaining Trump period (3 years or 7 years) and hope that someone will come in and offer him a job with a pardon.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

The DNA Story

It's an odd science story, which make people go and ponder upon things.

After Scott Kelly went off into space for roughly eleven months.....he returned.  He has a twin brother.  DNA-wise, the two should match up very closely.  After the trip though....they took another DNA test of Scott, and came to this odd conclusion.....SEVEN percent of his DNA changed after this trip. The general things that changed?  The immune system, DNA repair structure, bone formation networks, hypoxia and hypercapnia.

If Scott had made two or three trips over a decade period?  There's probably a heck of a lot about the DNA structure of Scott that would be totally different.

So, we come to this topic of science conversation.  Any serious space travel....means that your DNA changes....for better or worse.  If you did go off on some seven-year adventure....you would return in a very different way, with probably more than a quarter of your DNA revamped, and it would lead to general expectations going to some far extremes. 

But using this same logic....it means that some other folks (aliens, if you like) are stuck into this problem as well, and if they went off on some great fifteen year expedition....their DNA wold be modified and changed as well.  In fact, if you hauled a dog aboard the space ship....you'd find their DNA swapped around and changed as well. 

While the PhD guys avoided the topic....you'd sit and pause over the next issue....plants have DNA as well.  If you blasted a dozen plants into space for a year....would all of them be altered as well?  The odds are....yes.

The odds of vast space travel ahead for humans?  Once you admit that your body is undergoing constant 'renovation' upon itself, and medical folks can't predict how they'd treat these things while on a voyage....the idea of vast space travel will likely go away. 

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Caffeined Out

It was a poor night of sleep last night, and this morning....on my way to a German language class in town.....I stopped to have a double-espresso. 

For those from Bama who've never had an espresso....it's a shot-like container with about 80 to 110 milligrams of caffeine in it, which you balance against a large cup of coffee which would normally have about 120 milligrams of caffeine in it.  Some German coffee shops make 'low', and some go to the 110 level. 

So I stood there and asked for the double....at a shop which goes for the max level....so I was set to get 220 milligrams of caffeine....in a fairly small cup.

Well....the lady accidentally punched the button twice.  So I ended up with a larger sized espresso cup, with four shots of 110 milligrams each. 

About 30 minutes into the class, I came to realize how wired up I was and focused to the max.  It's not something I would suggest to folks to binge upon.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Recognizing Fifth-Grade Behavior Among Adults

I've come to this stage in life where I sit and analyze things to the ninth degree.  Lately, it's bothered me about childlike behavior that we see....particularly among teens, college-age folks, and even young adults.  So I've come to my five factors over these people:

1.  When something goes wrong....their first reaction is to go and find someone to blame.  Rather than repairing the situation....analyzing the contributing factors of the problem....resolving to fix the mess, they are totally focused on one single agenda....blame.

Part of this is poor parenting....part of this is poor teachers through school, and part of this involves university professors who are themselves poor quality instructors. 

2.  Impulse-like behavior.  This tends to involve people who can't handle stress or pressure.  They react in a impulsive way to events that occur.  During this stage, they skip over thinking about consequences and create a bigger mess than necessary.  Maybe days later....maybe even months later, they will come back and revisit some event that they triggered and realized that they turned a one-star event into a five-star fiasco. 

The problem here is that some folks may try to herd them toward a central point or a resolution situation, and the childlike adult will then push them back and intimidate them into sticking with the impulse that started.  I call this a 'wave-effect'.  Logic would dictate that thinking take place and some solution ought to be implemented, but this child-like 'creature' can't accept that as the right step.

3.  Bullying.  You see this over and over now in high schools and university situations.  Divide and conquer.  There are the insiders and the outsiders.  It's acceptable as fifth-graders to act in this way....but you shouldn't be expecting 21-year old adults to behave like this. 

Forcing some type of team approach?  You now find companies looking at various coaching tactics to force younger employees to work as a team.  This was a common thing to see in most people through the 1970s and 1980s.  Today?  You see a declining behavioral trend. 

4.  Defensive measures which are marginalized and ineffective.  Generally, if some conversation starts with these people....they want to explain their position, which has a 'you-must-believe' scenario attached to it.  You listen intently and reach a stage where you offer a counter-statement to the 5th-grade mentality 'kid'.  You state the obvious....you will be open-minded and able to hear out a discussion....but you state your position with logical clarity.  In the end, you suggest a divided position exists, and the fifth-grade 'kid' can't accept that.  At this point, they go with defensive measures which involve yelling, screaming, or just plain bad behavior.

In a university hall where they've decided to stage one of their marginalized yelling/screaming episodes....they usually turn the event into a joke because they can't handle the topic, the discussion, or the alternate view. 

5.  Finally, this odd situation of not accepting any lessons learned.  In this behavior trait....the 'kid' can't bare to discuss the idea that they were wrong, and they could learn a lesson from the mistake or the poor decision made.

This would be OK if we were talking about 11-year old kids.  But in this case....we are talking about older teenagers, college kids, and young adults.  Admitting they screwed up is bad enough, but then asking them to consider the future, some other walk of life, or some other understanding?  Well....no, they can't handle that.

 In their mind, there are no lessons learned because there are no mistakes. 

The sad thing about all of this is that some kid's parents end up to a great degree...funneling $50,000 to $100,000 for some four-year period, and 'Junior' (or 'Wanda') end up being some product that can't think or comprehend.  They believe they are out to change the world but can't resolve the fact that they know very little about the world, or the people in it.  The cash that mom and dad throw down into the 'pit'?  Well....it's gone and expecting any return on the money is just about impossible.

So as you sit in some mall, or in some staff meeting....coming to the realization that members in your group aren't behaving as adults, and maybe acting like 5th-graders.....you can understand their maturity issue.  Don't expect much, but at least there's some logic to illogic.