Trial bt Internet

Review:

Trial by Fury: Internet Savagery and the Amanda Knox Case - Douglas Preston

I probably have rated it higher than it should be but it was quite thought provoking. Not so much another dissection of the trial that seemed to never end as the rampant online fury that surrounded Amanda and Raffaele, people that not only were blatantly innocent but who these people couldn’t have possibly known anything about other than what was fed to them via social networks, websites, and overtly biased media outlets. What possible stake could Jim Bob in Timbuktu have in the sad tale of one British student’s brutal murder in Perugia, Italy and the quite obviously framed defendants? Why wish the innocent guilty, and so vehemently, or care at all with everything else that is going on in the world?

Preston, yes that Douglas Preston of Preston & Child, does a good job of distilling the workings and psychology of online mob hysteria and retribution and how it starts and spreads virally. He focuses not so much on the details of this actual event as on the meta-level workings of the frenzy and how literally thousands of individuals can make death threats against someone they don’t know and don’t have any stake in based purely on mob dynamics and biological and social evolution.

Original post:
Gumbywan.booklikes.com/post/1207615/trial-bt-internet

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No Future

Review:

Anger is an Energy: My Life Uncensored - John Lydon

Intelligent without being intellectual and always entertaining. And what about that whine? Lydon via Andrew Perry more or less chronologically recounts his life from a wee lad to the present time. A born raconteur, Lydon relates the saga of his life in the Sex Pistols and beyond and everything in-between. Full of laughs there are also decidedly more serious and tender moments than you would expect and Johnny comes off as a fairly serious person, not one for sex and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll but he’s seen it, just not participated. He’s refreshingly self-deprecating while at the same time you can see his actual pride in the things he has done. As you would expect he lives life to the fullest and has no time for fools.

 

Not as many sneers as you might expect.

 

All you english teachers stay away from this, Mr. Lydon has his own way of speaking and writing and it ain’t textbook correct. It’s more like listening to someone verbatim that knows how to speak but doesn’t know proper grammar.

 

Still, blind acceptance is the sign,
Of stupid fools who stand in line, like…

Original post:
Gumbywan.booklikes.com/post/1186563/no-future

Goodreads has stolen this blog . . . seriously

Author Douglas A. Anderson posted this from the multi-contributor blog Wormwoodiana:

 

“Yes, Mark Valentine and I were very distressed today to learn that Goodreads has usurped this blog and posted it at their own site, renaming it “Mark Valentine’s Blog” even though this blog is multi-authored. Neither Mark nor I gave any such permission for this action, nor did we know it had happened until today.

In my view, this moves Goodreads (owned by Amazon.com) into the top of the Corporate Scum Pile. We have sent requests for it to be completely removed, but this is something we should never have had to do, if the corporate raiders would leave other people’s stuff alone.

See it for yourself. Here is the URL for the stolen blog:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/33552.Mark_Valentine/blog

***Update. Thanks to Ryan (see comments), this now appears in snippet form, but it’s still misnamed as Mark”s blog when it isn’t.***

I hope this link goes dead soon.  Real soon.  And any inclination I might ever have had to join Goodreads is now gone.

The sad thing, too, is that both Mark and I now feel less inclined to post anything other than snippets of news here. All thanks to the unconscionable theft by Goodreads.”

Original post:
Gumbywan.booklikes.com/post/1157858/goodreads-has-stolen-this-blog-seriously

Tour de Crap

bike

Bicycle. Duh!

I took a little hiatus after the 50th post.  I figured I deserved a little rest.  Even a servant gets to sleep once in awhile.  But I’m back and ready to take on another important topic for your betterment.

tour de france

I was reading about this big bicycle race, the so-called Tour de France, the other day.  I know it’s not really bike racing weather here in the northern hemisphere but no time is the wrong time when you find out something that is to everyone’s benefit.  The Tour de France is a complete sham!  A total spectator sport swindle.  For those of you who don’t know what the Tour de France is, and I know many of you don’t get out of bed much, much less keep up with any sports other than boxing, professional wrestling, and dog racing, the Tour de France is a supposed bicycle “race” where guys ride bikes all over France and then finally come to a finish where somebody, no doubt some steroid crazed pretty-boy with a Hollywood contract already in his back pocket, “wins” the race.  So what’s the big deal about that you say?  I’ll tell you the many reasons why, and by the time I’m done you’ll want to take a shower if you just read about the Tour de France in the newspaper.

Let’s start this tirade with my usual disdain for “spectator” sports in general.  Why anybody watches any other adult play a children’s game is beyond me.  If you are not going to do it or aren’t trying to learn how to do it, why watch it?  Everything from ice dancing to professional football is a waste of your life and valuable entertainment time.  Let’s start with the basic statistics, you already know whatever team, or jockey, or bowler you are watching is going to lose approximately half the time.  Who invites a 50% failure rate into their lives?  Now I’ve told you all to expect the worst, but this is different, this is hoping for the worst and that is a much different thing my friend.  Just because you know you are a loser doesn’t mean you have to roll out the red carpet for it.  That’s just crazy!

The other reason I hate spectator sports is they are boring.  Even when the time isn’t taken up with endless commercials for Duck Dynasty Chia Pets, nothing pretty much happens.  Everybody just runs around mostly.  Even in high scoring basketball, the ultimate fixer sport, only about one one-millionth of the time is actually spent scoring, the only half-way useful thing that happens during a “game.”  Even if the scoring aspect was somehow increased in each sport, how much can you watch a ball going through a net or someone spinning in the air?  Compare this to watching the Three Stooges or Castle of Blood and I think I’ve made my point.  By comparison you sports fanatics are just wasting your useless lives.  Besides, while watching films and TV shows you might actually learn something, like how medieval siege engines work, but you know nothing can come of watching that lacrosse contest.  If the alternative in this hell we call life was watching a fly crawl up the wall, then maybe sports would be a step up from your present misery, but this just isn’t the case with cable, WiFi, satellite, and 4G available almost everywhere.

bike injury

Typical “accident”

Next comes the rigging.  Everyone knows that everything from wrestling to to tiddley-winks  is run by the mob nowadays.  The outcomes are more or less a foregone conclusion.  If somebody steps out of line with a muffed dive or a caught pass, then they run the risk of keeping Jimmy Hoffa company.  Once the big money came in, what little was left of interest in synchronized swimming was gone.  For awhile drownings became synonymous with fair play until the athletes wised up and started following mafia orders.  If this alone doesn’t put you off sports, well you are just a hopeless waste of human flesh.

Next we have to deal with the aesthetics of bicycle racing.  The helmets are stupid, dorky looking things that sit on top of your head like a hen on a nest.  At least in sports like auto racing, football, and hockey the headgear looks butch.  Also those tight racing pants don’t look good on most people and are a turn off in a sport that you would think would want to be more inclusive.  There is supposed to be zero contact in bike racing and even when there is contact the crashes are usually uneventful, unlike auto racing.  ‘Nuff said.

tourmap

Now here is where the real BS nonsense about the Tour de France comes in.  Say it takes two weeks, ten days, a month, I dunno it doesn’t matter I’m too lazy to look it up and the exact number doesn’t matter; it takes more than a couple of days for the Tour de France to finish, it’s a really long race.  But here’s the real crapola, they get to go to a hotel and get a hot meal and sleep a few hours every day before they all get up to start again at the same time from the same place!  You think they are killing themselves with this day and night torture of riding all over France but really they are just having a nice ride, looking at a couple of chateaus each day, stopping for some wine tastings, and all finishing at the same place to have a few cocktails and some escargot each and every night.  Who do they think they’re fooling?

8-devil-guy-crazy-tour-de-france-fans

Mafia “spectator”

Well, they also do this thing called “sharing the yellow jersey” which means that a different guy gets to do the heavy lifting each day while the others try to knock the other jockeys off their bikes or just enjoy the day.  It doesn’t matter because they all get to start over again tomorrow unless they have a heart attack, fall off a cliff, or get run over by a car.

UCI Armstrong Doping Cycling

Typical steroid crazed pretty boy

So now you see how it goes.  The only day that “matters” is the last day of the race.  So everyone stores it up and gets their blood doped, and takes their steroid shot, eats a big spaghetti dinner, and skips the vino for that night and gets a good night’s rest.

So how do you win?  Just give the yellow jersey to the best, most rested guy on the last day and have the other guys on the “team” throw banana skins out on the track all day.  Except for the teams that are being paid off to take a dive.  These teams drop out along the way due to so-called “accidents” like a squirrel in the spokes or a “leg cramp.”  The fixers are all along the final leg of the race to make sure each racer does what he’s been paid to do.  It has even been reported that a few “warning shots” have been taken at certain racers that had “second thoughts” about throwing the race.

Lothar_Matthaeus

Mob Fixer

 So there you go, what was already as dull as dirty dish water to begin with becomes even less interesting when you realize it’s all a sham.  The only real excitement that comes is if you can get an insider tip and make a little money off the race.  Even then it’s not too smart to win too much because then you are going to get a visit from “Vinnie” and your dog is going to wander off or worse.  If you keep your winnings modest all you’ll get is a “warning”  Take it from me.

In recent times the Commissioner has tried to make the whole thing seem legit with trumped up charges of blood doping and steroid use.  This is a joke.  Everyone does these things.  You could test any of the athletes and find the same thing.  The only reason this happened is a new family in the mob took over power and now wants to show the others that they mean business.

I Told You So

nuremberg_rally__by_iloveswats-d5bykq2Remember when I told you all about spooks and peepers in that NCIS post, well here is just another piece of evidence that proves your’s truly is on the cutting edge:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/how-the-nsa-spies-on-smartphones-including-the-blackberry-a-921161.html

I bet you all thought I was exaggerating and being all paranoid here.

Der Spiegel means like The Speaker or The Supreme Leader or something like that in German (I’m too lazy to look it up and it doesn’t matter anyway). You know you can believe it because when have the Germans ever lied about anything in the last hundred years or so.

Pointless

pointless

Well here’s todays installment of me foaming at the mouth. As you can plainly see it’s called Pointless, and if you haven’t already figured out that it’s going to be a waste of your time then you’re on the wrong side of the mean.

pointless

Pointless

Anyway, here we go. Where to start? A bunch of years ago (you already know I’m not looking it up!) a scientist/anthropologist sort of Viking guy name Thor Heyerdahl built this raft using prehistoric methods and materials. He launched it into the Pacific Ocean. Eventually he landed using only primitive means and supplies on a Polynesian island. So, you’re gonna say this was pointless, oh no effendi, this had a very good reason. Let’s just make one thing clear, this scientist was the first person in the historic era to do anything like this and he wrote about it. This is very important so quit nodding off. Why? He was trying to see if prehistoric man could have populated all of Polynesia; if they had all the means and knowhow to achieve this. This was important because a lot of scientists were skeptical and there were conflicting theories about how Polynesia could have been populated. Heyerdahl proved that some guys in prehistoric times would have all they needed to push off from the continents to eventually find and populate all the islands. It didn’t prove that this is what happened but it proved all the guys wrong that said it couldn’t have happened this way. It also showed just how early or late Polynesia could have been settled. This is how science proceeds you waterheads.

Kon-Tiki

Hero – Scientist

Now somewhere along the line another guy got the idea to do the same thing as Heyerdahl, exactly the same way. This is the most important thing I’m going to tell you so write it down, this guy’s escapade was pointless. Why? Heyerdahl had already done it. There was nothing further to be proved by a second trip. Even if this second guy died trying, it proved nothing since Heyerdahl had already proved it could be done. Nobody really cared that you could die doing it. Everyone already knew this. There were probably a lot of prehistoric guys who sailed off and died trying. So why did this second modern guy do this silly thing. Was he really stupid? Was he crazy? Probably not, after all even doing a lousy job would require a lot of planning and intelligence. Hmmmm. You wanna know why he did it? Because he’s an egotistical and selfish bastard, a piece of human scum, that’s why.

Hold on a minute you say, here’s a brave and intelligent fellow. He’s taking on this dangerous quest all alone with no modern contrivances. No he’s a selfish ego-driven idiot and a bane on humankind; someone never to be held up as a role model. I’m going to prove this to you so pay attention. Why? Because he does this out of his own selfish reasons, to prove some pointless fact about his courage and brilliance, plus he probably counts on us to risk our lives to bail him out if things go awry. He’s nothing but a spendthrift thrill seeker hoping you’ll be a big enough sucker to support him/her and say “well done” and have a parade when he/she maybe comes back. He’s a dumb ass swindler. A flim-flam man.

robert-falcon-scott

Heroes – Explorers

Here’s another thing I heard that’s a little different but equally pointless. In the early part of the 20th century a lot of folks were trying to be the first to the South Pole in Antarctica. This has at least some little merit from a scientific standpoint but it was basically another attempt to explore a place NOBODY had gone to before. There were two groups that went to the Pole, a British team and a Norwegian guy. Well the Norwegian guy got there first because he had a better plan and somewhat better luck. The British guys all died coming back, so the fact that they reached the Pole second almost doesn’t count because you’ve got to get back to tell about it to say it’s successful.

dumbass1

Dumb Ass

Now fast forward to modern times. People go to the South Pole all the time. People even live there in a sort of moon-base setup now. But here come some dumb-asses that want to go to the South Pole just like the British team did in 1911 (circa), man-hauling sledges, to “prove” that it could be done. What? First we already know it could be done. It was done by a Norwegian guy with a dogsled. It is also pretty certain that with a little better luck and maybe planning the British team would have gotten back as well. In addition, this is not like Heyerdahl’s experiment because we already know how people got to the South Pole, it’s no mystery. On top of this there are all sorts of less dangerous ways to get to the South Pole. You should use these before you resort to early 20th century technology and depend on us to save your ass in case of trouble. This newest expedition is pointless and a waste of time and money, no reason for accolades; an egotistical display of wasted time, money, and effort. An expensive and foolish hobby. And unnecessarily dangerous and risky.

hillary

Hero – Explorer

We see this all the time: somebody we know summits Mt. Everest, they’re somehow a better or deeper souled person than we are. No they’re as selfish as the guy down the street who spent $50,000 on a car. We already know somebody can get to the top of Mt. Everest, hundreds of people have done it. Planes fly higher. Real brave explorers have even walked on the moon, think about that. Now here is something to crow about: being launched in a tin can 250,000 airless miles with a pocket calculator for guidance and actually getting there and all the way back in one piece with rocks to prove you were there (uh, oh here come the loonies talking about the back-lot in New Mexico again). We actually learned a lot of stuff in the process unlike the guy who summits Everest without oxygen. Big deal!

everest-storm

More Dumb Asses

The last part is these fools put other people’s lives at risk with their egotistical and foolish behavior. How many times do we hear about the Coast Guard trying to pluck some retard out of a boat in a hurricane when they were trying to sail around the world alone? I say let the dumb asses drown. Why put a CG helicopter crew at risk for some dummy that doesn’t have the sense to crew his sailboat or come in out of the storm. This person put themselves intentionally in peril and we’re supposed to die to save them. I don’t think so! It’s like tying yourself to a potential suicide standing on a building ledge 30 stories up, a real bad idea. We’re supposed to come rescue these idiots when they express their ego-driven Darwinian behavior? It’s fake heroics. Heroics without purpose is just a waste of everything.

nantucket_boat

Another Dumb Ass

What I’m trying to say is all these stunters that are always trying to get support for their “expeditions” are nothing but leeches. Their time, money, and effort could be channeled into something useful. The problem is they get no accolades for their courage for building and staffing a soup kitchen. What kind of lousy accomplishment is that? There are all sorts of people everyday that are doing brave things with a point that don’t have this incredible ego thing going on and wasting our oxygen. Think about a fireman going into a burning building for a child, a regular cop who never knows if the next drunk isn’t going to go berserk at a traffic stop, an ambulance driver in Afghanistan, Mother Teresa helping infectious lepers. There are tons of deserving and heroic people making a difference in life, science, spirituality, etc. that really put it on the line and for a real reason, not pointlessness.

So be careful when you hold these “models” up your children or others. They aren’t role models. They are egotistical selfish people displaying dangerous behaviors. Is that who you want your kids to look up to and emulate?

fireman

A Real Hero

So I’m never going to jump out of an airplane and rely on a bed sheet to keep me from hitting the ground unless the plane is going to crash because then it’s the less risky, less foolish, less pointless option. And if I make it I don’t expect anybody to be patting me on the back for how brave I was in saving my own sorry ass.

Booksellers

Another quickie, this time more serious but still delivered in my always erudite yet entertaining style.  Barnes and Noble (B&N from here on out) looks like it is on the ropes and may even go the route of Borders; big losses and a prediction of more big losses.  Not good.  However there might be a silver lining to this which I will elucidate later.

Barnes and Nobles EarnsB&N has made all the wrong moves IMHO, some of which I will speak of here. First, the Nook Tablet: B&N failed to capitalize on it when it was ahead of Kindle Fire in the e-book market. Also, although nobody else seems to pick up on this, Nook Tablet lack of apps versus the Kindle Fire and lack of ability to load third party Android apps on it (Kindle could do this, at least at that time). To a techy like me this was a killer for B&N’s tablet reader (I actually own both the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet so I kinda know what I’m saying here). There was no way the Nook was going to catch the Kindle even with B&N’s in store presence.

Second, Nook’s more limited e-book catalog and B&N’s clumsy and unattractive site. These are additional killers for me although from time to time I find Nook titles ahead of Kindle and some books on Nook that are not in the Amazon catalog (weird).

nonbook crapThird, too much floor space dedicated to non-book crap (see above) and Nook without compensating for the more limited book floor space. A lot of investor and marketing types would disagree with me but I’m right even without the MBA. I’m a real customer. I love books, especially real ones. The only advantage B&N has over Amazon is brick and mortar stores. You simply cannot browse books at Amazon despite the “Look Inside” feature. Some people, the kind that go to bookstores (dummy MBA), like to touch books; like to smell, feel, and peruse a few of the tomes. B&N corporate types think that by putting more non-book and Nook crap, and fewer real books in the stores they will boost sales. Readers shun most of this crap and non-reader knuckle draggers don’t go into bookstores unless they are those idiots in the cafe with laptops and tablets that pretentiously pretend to be writing the next Great American Novel (they only ever buy one drink and take up all the good tables all day). But I digress… Even the readers who do the “browse, scan, and switch to Amazon” usually can’t help leaving the store with something if they could find anything they might be interested in. Book lovers are suckers for the impulse buy.

Fourth, I think B&N devotes too much space to the wrong genres, not because I hate those genres but because they don’t sell in BOOKSTORES. For instance, I know Paranormal Romance is supposed to be a big thing with teens and young women (I think some older women are sneaking these in too). I never see anyone browsing this space in the store. They must be getting these books elsewhere, probably WalMart or Target or Sams. At the same time I always see someone (or two) in the Graphic Novel section which they have squeezed down to two shelf columns. Now I’m no fool, unlike B&N merchandising types; B&N is trying to appeal to the wrong demographic. The average (and remember 50% of the people are ALWAYS below average for anything) WalMart customer never sets foot in a bookstore. I know I have two B&Ns and many WalMarts in my metro area and I have utilized both. (I hate WalMart. It has to be the grimmest shopping experience on earth. I have more fun at Sams Club.). Just scan the crowds, you’ll see what I mean. But the dummies at B&N just look at sales numbers from publishers and “the buzz” in the business. They are ultimately too lazy to go walk around in stores and do a POS stint to absorb the obvious.

Expect a lot of store closures. I know in my town where there are two B&Ns one has gotta close soon. A good feeding frenzy for book buyers who want short term bargains and all that crap in the front of the store.

happy-books1I promised you a silver lining and I’m not here to disappoint (heh, heh, heh). Independent bookstores, the ones that managed to stay open, should get a boost from a B&N demise unless Amazon decides to get into bricks & mortar in a big way. I don’t think the latter is likely once they knock off B&N. The independents will be the only place where the real book lover can go to handle a real physical book (besides the few BAMS). Now independent bookstores have their own set of problems, like lack of focus on small presses and/or regional printed matter and an over-reliance on big publishers. Most of these problems are caused by bookstore owners with blinders on or an old notion of the market. Most should have some on-line presence in addition if they are going to survive.

Man Oh Man look at where we are! I said this would be quick and it wasn’t but you are getting used to me disappointing you (heh, heh, heh). Since it’s topical, soon to spoil like rotten fruit, I’ll publish it now. I usually sit on these pearls for awhile and I actually have a few, okay one, in the hopper so I can hone what is already an almost perfect blog post, but your brain will explode if I unleash too much profound knowledge too fast.

books

Go buy a real book from a real store before it’s too late!  Oh, and the Blackhawks won the Lord Stanley Cup!