"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with
power to endanger the public liberty." - - - - John Adams

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Lifelike robots made to win over humans

The Future Looks Royally Fucked

  • Giant corporations and the military are not spending billions so you can have a robot "companion" on cold winter nights. 
  • The Governments want Terminators to kill enemies of the state and big business wants to fire every possible human drawing a paycheck and replace them with machines.

(AP) — David Hanson envisions a future in which AI-powered robots evolve to become “super-intelligent genius machines” that might help solve some of mankind’s most challenging problems.

If only it were as simple as that.

The Texas-born former sculptor at Walt Disney Imagineering and his Hong Kong-based startup Hanson Robotics are combining artificial intelligence with southern China’s expertise in toy design, electronics and manufacturing to craft humanoid “social robots” with faces designed to be lifelike and appealing enough to win trust from humans who interact with them.

Hanson, 49, is perhaps best known as the creator of Sophia, a talk show-going robot partly modeled on Audrey Hepburn that he calls his “masterpiece.”

Akin to an animated mannequin, she seems as much a product of his background in theatrics as an example of advanced technology.

“You’re talking to me right now, which is very ‘Blade Runner,’ no?” Sophia said during a recent visit to Hanson Robotics’ headquarters in a suburban Hong Kong science park, its home since shortly after Hanson relocated here in 2013.

“Do you ever look around you and think, ‘Wow I’m living in a real world science fiction novel?’” she asked. “Is it weird to be talking to a robot right now?”

Hanson Robotics has made about a dozen copies of Sophia, who like any human is a work in progress. A multinational team of scientists and engineers are fine tuning her appearance and the algorithms that enable her to smile, blink and refine her understanding and communication.

Sophia has moving 3D-printed arms and, with the help of a South Korean robotics company, she’s now going mobile. Shuffling slowly on boxy black legs, Sophia made her walking debut in Las Vegas last week at the CES electronics trade show.

Her skin is made of a nanotech material that Hanson invented and dubbed “Frubber,” short for flesh-rubber, that has a flesh-like bouncy texture. Cameras in her eyes and a 3D sensor in her chest help her to “see,” while the processor that serves as her brain combines facial and speech recognition, natural language processing, speech synthesis and a motion control system.

Sophia seems friendly and engaging, despite the unnatural pauses and cadence in her speech. Her predecessors include an Albert Einstein, complete with bushy mustache and white thatch of hair, a robot named Alice whose grimaces run a gamut of emotions and one eerily resembling the late sci-fi author Philip K. Dick, which won an award from the American Association of Artificial Intelligence. They variously leer, blink, smile and even crack jokes.

Disney’s venture capital arm is an investor in Hanson, which is building a robot based on one of the entertainment giant’s characters.

Read More . . . .

Limbaugh - Internet Giants are Stalinists

Obey Your Stalinist Masters

(WND)  -  Internet giants such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube may have, albeit quietly, declared war on conservatives, with new efforts to shut down their ability to get their message out.
And talk-radio icon Rush Limbaugh has identified what he believes is the ideology behind it.
“These people are pure – they would never think of themselves this way – but these are pure Stalinists. While they’re running around call[ing] Trump a Stalinist, they don’t even know what it really is,” he charged.
He pointed out that Facebook’s newly announced change in its newsfeed, which aims to give greater visibility to posts from “friends and family,” as Breitbart reported Tuesday, actually does much more.
“The subtext is that it will decrease visibility to pages run by publishers and news sites.”
The bottom line is that “Breitbart News’ 3.7 million Facebook fans will have to manually navigate to our Facebook page in order to find our articles, instead of having them automatically appear in their news feeds. They will not have a choice in the matter: Facebook will not allow users to stick with the old system, even if they prefer it,” he said.
He pointed out the influence of social media platforms such as Facebook.
“Consider this: at the inauguration of President Trump, Fox News’ coverage attracted the most viewers on cable news – an average of 8.8 million. But their Facebook video of the same event attracted almost twice that number: 16 million,” Limbaugh said.
“Facebook now has the power to make or break publishers. If the latest newsfeed change is anything to go by, they’re now keen on breaking them.”
The Breitbart report said that when Facebook previously targeted “individual publishers,” there were charges of political bias and a Senate-led investigation, so it now “might be trying to get around the problem by diminishing the reach of all publishers equally.”
The report took the issue straight to its logical conclusion – the overwhelming power of social media companies.
“With Facebook’s change threatening to rob news sites and publishers (including Breitbart News) of potentially millions of views, the change only further underscores Facebook’s extraordinary influence over the media landscape.”
It continued, “No other organization in history, save perhaps the politburo of the Soviet Union during the era of the Warsaw Pact, has had this much influence over so many news outlets at the same time.”
Breitbart said the comparison to the Soviet Union “is relevant.”
“The propaganda ministries of the USSR didn’t just influence the news in Soviet Russia, but in Poland, Hungary, the GDR and even Cuba. Facebook’s influence over the news is, if anything, even more extensive. And whether they like it or not, they can now choose to strengthen the political establishments of foreign countries – to the point of nearly snuffing out opposition media in Cambodia’s case – or weaken them,” the Breitbart report said.
In Cambodia, Facebook tested newsfeed censorship in a move that “almost killed independent content creators in Cambodia, and indisputably strengthened the authoritarian ruling party.”
John Hawkins wrote Saturday at Townhall that his Right Wing News website is shutting down because of Facebook’s change of rules.
“Remember the mainstream media liberals going out of their minds because the Russians reached almost 150 million people with their $100,000 Facebook ad buy? In July of 2015, in just a week, the Right Wing News Facebook page reached 133 million people,” he reported. “Because conservatives were sharing content they were interested in, little ol’ Right Wing News (well, I guess nearly 3.6 million Facebook likes isn’t so little) was driving the same amount of web traffic as some of the biggest newspapers in America. Barack Obama’s Facebook page was 36 times bigger than our page; yet we had seven times as many people talking about our content.”
Then Facebook changes its rules of use.
“So, why would Facebook want to kill extremely successful Facebook pages that its users enjoyed?” he wrote. “One of the reasons goes back to something I told multiple reporters during the 2016 election. I believe that all of the thriving right wing Facebook pages activated large numbers of what I like to think of as ‘instinctive conservatives.’ You know, the sort of people who love God, guns and America, but who don’t follow politics day to day, read National Review or consume any of Milton Friedman’s books. From what I could see on Facebook, that group of people LOVED, LOVED, LOVED Donald Trump and I believe they were responsible for getting him the GOP nomination and probably even got him over the hump in states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. I think the liberals that run Facebook came to that same conclusion.”
Read More . . .

Facebook Censorship

New California declares "independence" from rest of state

Dead on Arrival

  • This proposed break up of California is even more stupid that the past ones. The Golden State is huge. Lumping San Diego in with far north Redding makes no sense at all.

(CBS)  -  With the reading of their own version of a Declaration of Independence, founders of the state of New California took the first steps to what they hope will eventually lead to statehood. CBS Sacramento reports they don't want to leave the United States, just California.
"Well, it's been ungovernable for a long time. High taxes, education, you name it, and we're rated around 48th or 50th from a business climate and standpoint in California," said founder Robert Paul Preston.
The state of New California would incorporate most of the state's rural counties, leaving the urban coastal counties to the current state of California.
"There's something wrong when you have a rural county such as this one, and you go down to Orange County which is mostly urban, and it has the same set of problems, and it happens because of how the state is being governed and taxed," Preston said.
But unlike other separation movements in the past, the state of New California wants to do things by the book, citing Article 4, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution and working with the state legislature to get it done, similar to the way West Virginia was formed.
"Yes. We have to demonstrate that we can govern ourselves before we are allowed to govern," said founder Tom Reed.
And despite obstacles, doubters, and obvious long odds, the group stands united in their statehood dream.
The group is organized with committees and a council of county representatives, but say it will take 10 to 18 months before they are ready to fully engage with the state legislature.
This is not the first effort to split up California. In 2014, Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper submitted signatures to put a measure that would split California in six separate states.
Read More . . . .

Breaking up is hard to do

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

IDIOT - Jeff Flake Compares Trump to Stalin

Arizona Republicans Should Hang
Their Heads in Shame

  • What passes for "news" in the controlled Corporate Media Machine is little more than marching orders handed out by the Politburo of the Democrat National Committee.
  • It is fascinating to watch assholes like Flake rip into Trump for daring to tell the truth about the corrupt Corporate "News".

Pre-released segments of an upcoming speech by Republican Senator Jeff Flake, in which the frequent Trump critic compares the US President's words to those of communist leader Joseph Stalin, have gone viral on social media.
The quotes were shared by the Washington Post and spread like wildfire on Twitter.
“‘The enemy of the people,’ was what the president of the United States called the free press in 2017,” the statement said.
“Mr President, it is a testament to the condition of our democracy that our own president uses words infamously spoken by Joseph Stalin to describe his enemies. It bears noting that so fraught with malice was the phrase ‘enemy of the people,’ that even Nikita Khrushchev forbade its use, telling the Soviet Communist Party that the phrase had been introduced by Stalin for the purpose of ‘annihilating such individuals’ who disagreed with the supreme leader,” it said later.
Senator Flake is due to make the comments in a speech on the Senate floor on Wednesday. On the same day, Trump will be handing out “Fake News Awards” to news outlets he thinks are covering him unfairly.
“Well he borrowed that phrase. It was popularized by Joseph Stalin, used by Mao as well, ‘enemy of the people,’” Senator Flake told MSNBC on Sunday. “It should be noted that Nikita Khrushchev, who followed Stalin, forbade its use saying that it was too loaded. That it maligned a whole group or class of people, and it shouldn’t be done.”
“I don’t think we should be using a phrase that had been rejected as too loaded by a Soviet dictator.”
On February 17, 2017, Trump tweeted his belief that the US news media “is the enemy of the American people,” and has often referred to the media as an “opposition party” to his administration. He has blamed news organizations for stymieing his agenda.
Read More . . . .

Liberal California the poverty capital of America?

(Los Angeles Times)  -  Guess which state has the highest poverty rate in the country? Not Mississippi, New Mexico, or West Virginia, but California, where nearly one out of five residents is poor. That’s according to the Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure, which factors in the cost of housing, food, utilities and clothing, and which includes noncash government assistance as a form of income.

Given robust job growth and the prosperity generated by several industries, it’s worth asking why California has fallen behind, especially when the state’s per-capita GDP increased approximately twice as much as the U.S. average over the five years ending in 2016 (12.5%, compared with 6.27%).

It’s not as though California policymakers have neglected to wage war on poverty. Sacramento and local governments have spent massive amounts in the cause. Several state and municipal benefit programs overlap with one another; in some cases, individuals with incomes 200% above the poverty line receive benefits. California state and local governments spent nearly $958 billion from 1992 through 2015 on public welfare programs, including cash-assistance payments, vendor payments and “other public welfare,” according to the Census Bureau. 

California, with 12% of the American population, is home today to about one in three of the nation’s welfare recipients.

The generous spending, then, has not only failed to decrease poverty; it actually seems to have made it worse.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, some states — principally Wisconsin, Michigan, and Virginia — initiated welfare reform, as did the federal government under President Clinton and a Republican Congress. Tied together by a common thread of strong work requirements, these overhauls were a big success: Welfare rolls plummeted and millions of former aid recipients entered the labor force.

The state and local bureaucracies that implement California’s antipoverty programs, however, resisted pro-work reforms. In fact, California recipients of state aid receive a disproportionately large share of it in no-strings-attached cash disbursements. It’s as though welfare reform passed California by, leaving a dependency trap in place. Immigrants are falling into it: 55% of immigrant families in the state get some kind of means-tested benefits, compared with just 30% of natives.

To keep growing its budget, and hence its power, a welfare bureaucracy has an incentive to expand its “customer” base. With 883,000 full-time-equivalent state and local employees in 2014, California has an enormous bureaucracy. Many work in social services, and many would lose their jobs if the typical welfare client were to move off the welfare rolls.

Further contributing to the poverty problem is California’s housing crisis. More than four in 10 households spent more than 30% of their income on housing in 2015. A shortage of available units has driven prices ever higher, far above income increases. And that shortage is a direct outgrowth of misguided policies.

Read More . . . .

Middle America is a "Sh*thole" says tech founder

What Silicon Valley Thinks of You

(Daily Caller)  -  One Silicon Valley executive had a few choice words to describe Americans living in the heart of the nation, and they were not flattering.

Melinda Byerley, MBA and founder of Timeshare CMO, a Silicon Valley-based tech start-up, tweeted out Saturday afternoon describing what middle America could do to “get more jobs in their area.”

Byerley says that the first thing those in middle America need to realize is that “no educated person wants to live in a shithole with stupid people.” Particularly, in a “shithole” filled with people who are “violent, racist, and/or misogynistic.” In Byerley’s opinion, “big corporations,” do not consider moving to the heart of America because “those towns have nothing going for them.”

The towns have “no infrastructure, just a few bars and a terrible school system.”

The MBA claims that “we,” the educated people, like herself, “would like to live a more rural lifestyle,” but they “won’t sacrifice tolerance or diversity to do so.” Especially, these folks do not want to live in “states where the majority of residents are voting for things against their own interests,” solely, because these voters “don’t want brown people to thrive.”

She declares that if middle American towns can begin fixing their schools, and, essentially, “clean up their act,” then people like Byerley will “want to live there.” She even says that the fixing these problems would bring the “best and brightest” of our youth who “would rather scrape by in SF than live in a huge house somewhere if it meant dealing with with bigots and backwards ideologies every day,” to middle America.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Cornell student says Fox appearance led to threats on her life

Neetu Chandak

Leftist Terrorism

(New York Post)  -  Last year Cornell University undergraduate Neetu Chandak appeared on “Fox and Friends” to share her objection to a course description that seemed overly critical of President Donald Trump while glorifying former President Barack Obama.
Now, in an essay in The College Fix, Chandak says her remarks on Fox expressing concerns about liberal bias at the college and the explicit agenda of the course led to threats on her life and such constant harassment that she sought therapy and was afraid to leave her apartment.
“It is difficult to express conservative views as a college student without being called names, attacked personally, or even threatened by peers,” Chandak said in the essay.
“I had done the interview, not to show support or disagreement with any particular person, but to show the ridiculousness in comparing eight years of Obama’s presidency to the first 100 days of Trump’s term,” she said. “While I expected disagreement from many Cornellians for my views, I was mentally and emotionally unprepared for the backlash, name calling, and threats to my physical safety.”

The name of the course is “America Confronts the World,” and the course description linked “xenophobic nationalism” to Trump and “pragmatic cosmopolitanism” to Obama, setting a tone that she believed students would be expected to echo.
Chandak, who won Miss Upstate New York’s Outstanding Teen in 2013, and was crowned Miss Seneca Falls in 2016, now is a senior.
She said she was made to feel afraid even to go to class, and she considered taking online courses.
“Considering that Cornell University’s College Republicans president was physically assaulted right after Trump was elected — shoved to the ground and called a ‘racist bitch’ — threats around here are no joke,” she said.
A campus newspaper, the Cornell Sun, even did a story about her appearance, and quoted college Republicans saying that while the wording of the course description seemed skewed toward Obama and liberalism, they believed the professor would have welcomed other viewpoints.
Chandak is skeptical.
“From my situation, many found it acceptable to be hateful toward me because they perceived me as hateful,” she said. “What hypocrisy.”
Chandak bemoaned the chilling effect condemnation of conservative views has on college campuses, and said all students are robbed of broader perspectives.
“I am not alone in my struggle,” she said. “Many people holding views similar to mine will likely not express their beliefs in the classroom or on campus out of fear of facing the isolation and threats I faced. This becomes a disadvantage for college students as the entire point is to learn about various ideas.”
Read More . . . .

US to build 30,000-strong army inside Syria

Syrian Democratic Forces female fighters hold their weapons during a graduation ceremony in the city of Hasaka, northeastern Syria on 9 August 2017 Rodi Said/Reuters

Another Military-Industrial Complex Project

  • Mixed feelings. We had no business in Syria in the first place, but abandoning our Kurdish allies is not right either. 
  • But what business is it of ours to arm and fund an army inside another nation? This sounds like another of those projects of the Military-Industrial Complex to keep our fingers in everyone's business.

(Agence France-Presse)  -  The US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group said on Sunday it was working to create a 30,000-strong border security force in northern Syria, drawing sharp condemnation from Turkey.

With the offensive against IS winding down, the coalition and its allies in the Syrian Democratic Forces alliance were beginning to shift their focus to border security, coalition spokesman Colonel Ryan Dillon told AFP.

"There is a goal of a final force of approximately 30,000," about half of whom would be retrained SDF fighters, he said.

"There are approximately 230 individuals that are training right now in the border security force. That's an inaugural class," Dillon said.

Backed by the US-led coalition's air strikes, special forces advisers, and weapons, the SDF has ousted IS from swathes of northeastern Syria.

Read More . . . .

A fighter from Deir al-Zor military council which fights under the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) holds the council's flag in the village of Abu Fas, Hasaka province, Syria September 9, 2017. REUTERS/Rodi Said

"Grow a Pair of Ovaries and Get the Job Done" says GOP Congresswoman

Retired Air Force Colonel Martha McSally

(CNS News)  -  “I’m a fighter pilot and I talk like one,” Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) declared a day after reports of President Donald Trump referring to certain countries as “sh*tholes” sparked controversy.

In a YouTube video posted Friday advocating “national security, economic security, and border security,” McSally brags she told Republicans to “Grow a pair of ovaries”:
“Like our president, I’m tired of PC politicians and their B.S. excuses. I’m a fighter pilot and I talk like one.”
“I told Washington Republicans to grow a pair of ovaries and get the job done.”
McSally served 26 years in uniform, retired a U.S. Air Force colonel in 2010, as is the first female pilot in U.S. history to fly in combat and the first to command a fighter squadron in combat.

During her military career she fought, and won, a battle against Saudi Arabia’s dictate that she wear a long, black robe over her uniform while stationed in the country:
“I absolutely refused to bow down to Sharia law. After eight years of fighting, I won my battle to fight for the religious freedom of servicewomen.”
Read More . . . .

Sunday, January 14, 2018