Crazy stuff happens when there’s a full moon like last night’s. Crazier stuff happens under heat and pressure. Brace yourselves as the heat dome slides from the southwest to Midwest and east this week.
Stay cool — I’m considering popcorn for dinner at the local cineplex this evening until the sun sets and the temperature drops outside. Dinner tomorrow and Friday might be Jujubes and Good-and-Plenty.
This won’t be everybody’s cup of matcha and may not offer an optimum listening experience for most business offices. Today’s kick-in-the-seat to start the week is a Japanese rock genre at the intersection of glam rock and black metal. Visual kei rock combines glam’s signature elements with black metal’s dark, heaviness. Some say punk influences visual kei but I really don’t see or hear it. Depending on the song, death metal is far more likely to leak through both in sound and appearance.
For a little lighter variant — more pure metal than glam or black — try this live performance from Vistlip. The relationship between visual kei and both anime and video games is quite obvious. Want a little estrogen-loaded visual kei? Try exist trace’s Daybreak; it, too, is not as dark and heavy, though the band can still hammer really black tunes.
Now that the kick in the ass has been locked and loaded…
Including today, that’s the total number of days booked as in session on the U.S. House of Representatives’ business calendar for July, of which only six days have events scheduled.
Can’t see anything farther out. And of the events booked so far, nothing appears for the benefit of the Flint Water Crisis. Roughly 8000 lead-poisoned kids completely forgotten.
Michigan’s state house has a mess of stuff on the calendar, but none of it clearly marked in reference to Flint Water Crisis. I imagine that hack Rep. Pscholka may have something buried in the items labeled “zero budget.”
Whenever I get really upset with the condition of our state and federal governance, I can just take a look across the pond. The back-stabbing drama surrounding the future leadership of the Conservative Party and the Prime Minister’s office looks like a mashup of House of Cards and Game of Thrones minus dragons. I’ll let Christoph Waltz speak for me about the resignation of Ukip’s Nigel Farage this weekend. I fear, though, that U.S. politics will take the Brexit debacle as a prompt going into the general election.
• Limit DSRC to life and safety uses only. The auto industry plans to take spectrum allocated for safety of life and monetize it with advertising and mobile payments. This compromises cybersecurity and potentially violates the privacy of every driver and passenger.
• Require automakers to file a cybersecurity plan before activating DSRC systems. This plan should not only show that auto manufacturers have taken appropriate precautions today, but explain how they will update security over the life of the vehicle.
• Data transparency and breach notification. Auto manufacturers must inform purchasers of DSRC-equipped cars what personal information they collect and how they will use that information. In the event of a data breach, the manufacturer collecting the information must notify the customer.
Man, even in this heat this snowball just doesn’t want to stop once it starts rolling down the hill. At least it’s a short week. See you tomorrow!
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.
— excerpt, Dulce et Decorum Est, by Wilfred Owen
This week has been a long death march. Death to optimism, death to pre-existing notions of political parties, death to futures defined by progressive visions.
Ironically, the march led to today’s 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme — the beginning of World War I and the bloodiest day in British military history. The battle lasted five months and cost a million soldiers’ lives. The British suffered 60,000 casualties on the first day alone as they fought alongside the French against the Germans.
Among the British dead were black soldiers from Britain and British West Indies, and Indian Army Calvary who came from what is now India and Pakistan. The British recruited from South Africa, Egypt, China, and more to replace their losses as the Somme continued.
One hundred years later they have forgotten all of this shared pain and history, along with Winston Churchill’s post-WWII vision of a unified European family, a Pan-European Union which the United Kingdom, United States, and Russia supported.
On that bright and cheery note, have a little Death to Jazz — music which never dies.
Australians went to the polls on July 2nd for this year’s federal election. They didn’t torture themselves with a year or more of campaign crap, thank goodness. I can’t tell you much of anything about this election except that like the US and UK, there are two major parties running neck-and-neck — the Liberal/National coalition and the Labor party — while the world might hope for Greens to succeed. At least Aussies have more than two major parties to choose from even if they are more colorful than any of ours. Putting aside my flippant attitude, this election has serious consequences for the globe given the need for Australia’s climate change research in spite of its excessive reliance on sales of coal as well as its creeping authoritarian approach toward the internet and surveillance. What policies will the next Aussie government pursue?
Don’t forget about China
Fourth largest by area, second largest by GDP, and first largest by population, let’s not forget about China!
It’s a long holiday weekend here in the U.S. If you don’t have plans, here’s a few tips.
Holiday mode commences in three, two, one — boom! Because nothing says freedom like incendiary devices at close range!
Summer bug laid me up. I’m indulging in the audio equivalent of tea with honey, lemon, and a shot of something to scare away the bug. A little cello playing by Yo-Yo Ma never fails to make me feel better.
This sweet video is enlightening, didn’t realize Ma had an older sister who was an accomplished musician at a tender age. Worthwhile to watch this week considering the blizzard of arguments about immigrants and refugees here and abroad.
And then for good measure, a second favorite added in the mix — Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman together, performing Beethoven’s Triple Concerto Fantasy.
There. I feel a little better already.
Probably better than frustrated House Democrats led by Rep. John Lewis who are engaging in a sit-in protest on House floor demanding a vote on No-Fly-No-Buy gun control. If you want to watch the action, you’ll have to check social media. It’s said House GOP leadership ensured CSPAN cameras were shut off.
Diesel do you
Sigh, cyber, sigh
Did you know Led Zeppelin is being sued over Stairway to Heaven? Allegedly a key riff in the famous 40-year-old tune was stolen, violating copyright. Forty years. ~smh~
Going back to a recumbent position. Stay braced for the outcome of the sit-in and Brexit vote tomorrow.
This end-of-the-work-week observation is a little different. I’ve posted some not-jazz jazz for your listening pleasure. This piece called Ball and Chain is performed by a loosely joined group of people who worked on development of a subgenre of jazz during the 1990s. It’s called M-base — short for “macro-basic array of structured extemporization” — which relies on improvisation along with non-European elements as jazz does. But its artists’ deliberation in composition combined with a more contemporary flare set this style of music apart from other jazz.
Sample a couple more pieces with a little extra estrogen — Cassandra Wilson’s vocals in You Don’t Know What Love Is, and Geri Allen’s keyboarding here with Esperanza Spalding and Terri Lyne Carrington performing Unconditional Love at a recent Jazz in Marciac festival. Wilson and Allen have both been members of the M-base collective, along with Steve Coleman, Robin Eubanks, Graham Haynes, and Greg Osby. I recommend searching out each of those folks in YouTube to explore their continuation of M-base in their work.
That’s enough to get you through your Friday evening nightcap. You’ll probably need one after this stuff.
The share [of strokes] attributable to pollution has been estimated at 33.7% in countries with low and middle income against only 10.2% in high-income countries in 2013, up sharply since 1990.
Yet most of the EU has done virtually nothing to eliminate the recently discovered emissions controls cheating vehicles from the road.
Living in a Digital World
Economics of a different kind
That’s a wrap on this week. I’m fixing myself a stiff belt and shuffling off to bed. Catch you Monday, the Fates willing and the creek not rising due to climate change.
I could listen to this piece on a loop. It’s Santiago de Murcia’s “Tarantela,” performed by noted lutist Rolf Lislevand. The instrument he is playing is as important as the music and his artistry; it’s an extremely rare Stradivarius guitar called the Sabionari. While tarantellas more commonly feature additional instruments and percussion like tambourines, this instrument is stunning by itself.
You can learn more about the Sabionari at Open Culture, a site I highly recommend for all manner of educational and exploratory content.
And now to dance the tarantella we call Monday.
Bad News (Media)
Just for the heck of it, consider a lunch read/watch on a recent theory: World War 0. Sounds plausible to me, but this theory seems pretty fluid.
Catch you here tomorrow morning!
* UPDATE — 1:20 P.M. EDT —
Standard Bank reported it had lost 300 million rand, or USD $19.1 million to the attack on Japanese ATMs. First reports in South African media and Reuters were roughly 11 hours ago or 9:00 a.m. Johannesburg local time. It’s odd the name of the affected bank did not get wider coverage in western media, but then South Africa has a problem with disclosing bank breaches. There were five breaches alleged last year, but little public information about them; they do not appear on Hackmageddon’s list of breaches. This offers a false sense of security to South African banking customers and to banks’ investors alike.
Japan Times report attribute the thefts to a Malaysian crime gang. Neither Japan Times nor Manichi mention Standard Bank’s name as the affected South African bank. Both report the thefts actually took place more than a week ago on May 15th — another odd feature about reporting on this rash of well-organized thefts.
Oye como va
Bueno pa gozar
— excerpt, Oye Como Va by Tito Puente
This Latin jazz song was on the very first album I owned — Santana’s Abraxas. I have no idea what possessed my father to select this way back in 1971 because he’s not musically inclined. I prefer to think he was persuaded by the music store staff to buy it for me rather than think the cover art did it for him. To this day I don’t dare ask; I’d rather live with my illusion.
Perhaps he simply liked Oye Como Va by Tito Puente and decided I needed it. Maybe that’s what he wanted to listen to when I played the album over and over again, ad nauseam. The song is still easy to listen to even when played by a septuagenarian, isn’t it? Though Puente probably still felt the same way about this song in his last live performance as he did when he first recorded it in 1963.
The personal irony I’m certain my father never considered: the last line is a reference to a mixed race “mulatto” woman. That’s me.
Looks like it’s going to be a lovely late spring weekend here — hope you’re going to have a nice one, too. See you Monday!
I admit it, I’ve betrayed my kind. I’ve been remiss in my responsibilities, haven’t been equitable.
To fix that, you need a dose of estrogen, stat. This morning’s medication is Veruca Salt’s Volcano Girls.
Feel better soon, eh?
Mitsubishi’s Tetsuro Aikawa to leave, asks Nissan to name replacement (Bloomberg) — Announcement comes six days after Nissan announced it would buy a controlling interest in Mitsubishi. Nissan’s CEO Carlos Ghosn indicated he does not intend to subsume and phase out the Mitsubishi brand; this may have encouraged Aikawa he was leaving the company in good hands. I wouldn’t bet on some overlap between Nissan/Mitsubishi being eliminated.
Suzuki apologized for using the wrong fuel economy tests (Reuters) — Suzuki says it didn’t need to change its declared mileage data based on correct testing. I sure hope independent testing confirms this, though I suspect the same study which revealed Volkswagen’s cheat would have indicated additional validation needed.
Volkswagen says it will focus on profitability, pronto (Bloomberg) — Investors are restless and complaining about VW’s recalcitrance toward cost cutting in light of 16 billion euros it set aside for fixes and claims due to Dieselgate. Executives’ pay is on the butcher’s block. More than a little overdue as VW execs knew about the emissions controls defeat’s detection two years ago.
Forensic scientist reports to NHTSA Chevrolet’s dangerous cruise control problem (Zdziarski’s blog) — PAY ATTENTION TO THIS IF YOU’RE A LATE MODEL CHEVROLET OWNER. Read the linked post; Chevrolet’s response is deplorable, asking drivers to modify behavior rather than supply/fix product to work as documented and sold.
The (Fossil Fuel) Business
Goldman Sachs downgrades stocks to neutral while going bullish on oil (Bloomberg) — I like the subhead on this article: “Too many things to worry about.” ~LOL~ Excess valuation, lower growth, “a wall of stock market worries” encouraged the bear move. Things not explicitly mentioned: the U.S. and Australian elections and Brexit referendum outcome.
But…bullishness on oil out of whack (MarketWatch) — Another LOL-ish subhead today: “The fine print shows Goldman analysts believe oil will struggle to easily top $50.” So GS is telling its clients to reduce excess oil holdings while conditioning overall market to firm up what’s in their clients’ portfolios? ~smh~ Just as above, not mentioned in this take are any elections/referendums.
Note, too, that neither of these reports mentions Iran.
Anadarko Petroleum downgraded to neutral by Credit Suisse (Trade Calls) — You want another confusing take on fossil fuels? Read this article. Supports MarketWatch’s calling out GS on oil, though Anadarko also includes natural gas.
Total SA’s CEO Pouyanne pooh-poohs France’s ban on shale gas (Bloomberg) — Man, this dude is as arrogant as his predecessor. France could simply outlaw any imports without a certificate of origin, and force the industry to figure it out. Yet another article that doesn’t mention Iran, which sits on one of the largest natural gas reserves in the world. Pouyanne’s predecessor was cozy with Iran, too. So why all the attitude about North American shale gas imports?
Hedge fund used AI to pick through Fed Reserve’s minutes (Business Insider) — Using AI gleaned from a competition it hosted, Two Sigma fund analyzed the Fed Reserve. The app used Natural Language Processing and found some interesting trends. Wonder if the results would be different using Google’s SyntaxText open sourced this past week?
Cynically opportunistic marketing push promotes so-called ‘anti-Zika’ condoms (IBTImes-AU) — Pharmaco Starpharma Holdings and condom-maker Ansell will give Australia’s Olympians “Dual Protect” condoms lubricated with VivaGel for “almost 100-percent anti-viral protection” against Zika. Never let a perfectly good health crisis go to waste, right?
CDC says any condom will work against Zika (MarketWatch) — Yeah. That. I said this already: condoms are recommended for other viral STIs like herpes and HIV, will work fine for Zika, no special anti-Zika condom required. But you have to use the consistently and for at least six months after exposure to Zika since the virus can remain in men’s reproductive system for at least that long after infection.
ONE company will release condoms in 56 different sizes (Glamour) — Holy schnikes. This is a broader range of sizes than men’s off-the-rack suits. No excuses about not wearing condoms, there will be one bound to fit gents. Would be nice if ONE could hit the market with these in Brazil before the Olympics. (And don’t turn your nose up at Glamour. It’s one of the better articles I read today, includes some good links.)
There’s enough material to get you over the hump. Catch you in the morning tomorrow!
This music video is the result of an insomniac walkabout. I went looking for something mellow I hadn’t heard before and tripped on this lovely little indie folk artistry. Not certain why I haven’t heard Radical Face before given how popular this piece is. I like it enough to look for more by the same artist.
Let’s go wandering…
Volkswagen: 3.0L fix in the offing, but too late for EU and the world?
Mixed government messages about hacking, encryption, and cybersecurity enforcement
Compare: FBI hires a “grey hat” to crack the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone account, versus FCC and FTC desire for escalated security patching on wireless systems. So which is it? Hacking is good when it helps government, or no? Encryption is not good for government except when it is? How do these stories make any sense?
Well, it’s not quite noon Pacific time, still morning somewhere. Schedule was off due to insomnia last night; hoping for a better night’s sleep tonight, and a better morning tomorrow. Catch you then!
I meant woe, not whoa. I do know the difference.
It’s woe I was thinking of when I wrote this next bit.
What would you do if you were told you wouldn’t be paid for last 2 months of a 9-month job?
Let’s say you have kids to feed, a mortgage/car payment/college loan payments to make, childcare to pay, out-of-pocket healthcare costs — you know, all the expenses the average working person has.
In spite of one or more obligatory college degrees, continuing education requirements and mandatory background checks, your job requires you to work in facilities where ‘mushrooms, black mold, fecal matter, dead rodents, no heat‘ are common. It’s a workplace functioning like Flint’s water crisis, and it’s been this way for more than a decade. Fellow employees have had to bring in paper towels and light bulbs from home or solicit them as donations to the workplace.
Because of your employer’s money woes, you may even have made a concession agreeing to collect your pay over 3-4 months instead of the next six to eight weeks you are actually scheduled to work.
And then your employer’s employer says they aren’t going to pay, and you might have to work without pay for the next six weeks. Unpaid, as in violation of labor laws unpaid.
And your employer’s employer has a history of acting both in bad faith and with prejudice. Your workplace hasn’t improved for years; children were permanently poisoned and adults died as a result of their awful handiwork on this and other projects.
What would you do? Quietly stay at your desk working and hope for the best, or walk out in protest to demand action?
The employer’s employer accuses you of all manner of bad things, and is actively undermining your rights to organize, by the way.
Welcome to Detroit Public School system, and welcome to more of Michigan’s obnoxious and toxic GOP-led legislating. Pretty sure the jerks who are causing this latest crisis by grandstanding on teachers’ backs don’t care if the president arrives here in Michigan today.
Dude caught on video sprinkling substance on food arrested by FBI
As if we didn’t have enough to worry about in Michigan, some whackjob has been sprinkling a mixture of hand sanitizer and rodent poison on food in stores, including salad buffets. He was caught on security camera in Ann Arbor, but he is alleged to have sprinkled this mix in multiple stores in Ypsilanti, Saline, Birch Run, and Midland. The mixture is not supposed to be toxic, but who wants to eat remnants of isopropyl alcohol and an anticoagulant? What the hell was this all about anyhow?
Canadian city of 80,000 forced to evacuate overnight due to massive wildfire
Mind-boggling to think of an urban center this size forced to flee on such short notice, but Fort McMurray did just that beginning late afternoon yesterday. Even the local hospital was emptied as fire leaped from undeveloped to developed areas, consuming neighborhoods. 80% of homes in the Beacon Hill neighborhood are ash. Conditions have been unusually warm and dry in the region; the local temperature was 83F degrees before the evacuation notice was issued. Weather conditions today are expected to be hotter (32C/90F) and WSW winds stronger ahead of a cold front, likely spreading the fire even farther to the northeast.
The area around Fort McMurray has only been in moderate drought conditions, yet the fire was explosive, doubling in size in a matter of hours. Can’t begin to imagine what might happen in areas where conditions are drier while this climate-enhanced super El Nino continues.
Volkswagen’s former head of engine and transmission development exits company
Wolfgang Hatz, suspended by VW for his role in Dieselgate, chose voluntarily to leave the company. This bit in NYT’s article is choice:
In 2007, shortly after being named head of engine and transmission development at Volkswagen, Mr. Hatz complained at an event in San Francisco that new rules on tailpipe emissions in California were unrealistic.
“I see it as nearly impossible for us,” Mr. Hatz said of a proposed regulation during the event, which was filmed by an auto website.
In other words, Hatz didn’t see the purpose of the regulation, didn’t perceive a challenge to design truly clean diesel — he saw an obstruction he needed to bypass. Auf wiedersehn, Herr Hatz.
Odds and sods
It’s supposedly downhill from the top of this hump. Race you to the bottom!