Tag Archives: sports

AI IS HERE

AI

If artificial intelligence in the hard sense (real thoughts) is not here yet, the soft kind (with robots) definitely is. In the new Blade Runner we see replicants acting “more human than human.” Humans have become brutal or apathetic, the result of what musician/philosophy David Byrne calls our cultural disconnection. Read THIS. Driverless cars are being created to produce more time for people to be on their screens (iPhones, tablets), allowing the big four to track people everywhere, and customize ads that categorize and target. (The opening of Blade Runner 2049 shows Ryan Gosling asleep in the driver’s seat of his flying car…which is flying.) Spying is everywhere, as today, and as revealed in the books Riveted, Weapons of Math Destruction, The Filter Bubble, Utopia is Creepy, The Four, and Future Crimes. One of the unintended results of customization (besides profits) is to polarize beliefs: you never see alternative views, because The Four only show you (in search and in ads) things you already believe, including conspiracy theories and fake news. Only by reading books can you see the whole picture, because even the networks are in the pockets of advertisers and drug companies. And literacy is slowly declining as more people turn to TV and the internet for one-liners and  “factoids,” as Ray Bradbury called them in Fahrenheit 451, about burning books. One of the lines from that movie was rendered by an Overseer: “More sports for everyone.” (He meant it as a substitute for reading, to keep people in line, as slaves to the system.) A giant Coca-Cola sign is seen in both Blade Runners, as part of the brand-washing (read Brandwashed or The Coke Machine: The Dirty Truth Behind the World’s Favorite Soft Drink.) The networks, or Coke itself, never mentioned these books. It is easier to double down on cute commercials for their diabetes and cancer-causing products requiring prescription drugs to treat at massive cost (while the new Drug Czar is a former Big Pharma confidant sponsoring a bill to repress prosecution of drug distributors involved in the Opioid epidemic.) Do you doubt any of this? It may be because you didn’t hear about it on the news. They have vested interests not to tell you. To keep you in the dark. You can bet that 60 MInutes is coming under fire for their report this past Sunday. Once they (and Frontline) is shut down, along with all whistleblowers, what happens then? Blade Runner 2049 happens, for real. That’s what happens. It is predicted that climate change, if ignored until 2100, will cost $600 Trillion to fix. That’s a T, in today’s dollars. Many will need to die first. But even by next year, perhaps, terrorists can sit back and watch as a Category 5 hits Miami and wipes out all those homes now shown on “Beachfront Bargain Hunt” or “My Lottery Dream Home.” In San Francisco, building codes were ignored as people watched TV, so what happens if a 10.0 quake hits the San Andreas? Most of the city (and other cities not yet burning) reduced to rubble. What happens to the economy then? Maybe Leonardo diCaprio is right. Maybe those on Instagram posting images of his satirical movie The Wolf of Wall Street should go to his actual IG account and check it out. Coffee? Time to wake up.

Apple Watch

Robot Selfie
http://TowerReview.com/future-shock.html

 

Infinity

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Luck’s Role in Success

 

gambling

According to economist Robert Frank of Cornell’s Graduate School of Management, luck plays a significant role in what our culture defines as “success.” (ie. Money) This flies in the face of what the super rich wish to brandwash us with: the “Mr. Wonderful” morality of cut throat “winner take all” business practices. O’Leary crows about his accomplishments, but how did he make his money? A horribly bad business deal which the toy company he sold to regrets ever making, described as “one of the worst business deals ever.” So bad that no one can expect anyone ever making such a bad decision again. He walked away with a fortune, and they were nearly bankrupted by it. Yet he is proud of it, just as 50 Cent is proud of having been involved with Vitamin Water, a product which even the company admitted was “not healthy, and no one should believe is healthy.” (Really? Even with the name “Vitamin Water???”) Lies. But then Coke has lied to consumers for decades, assisting in an epidemic of diabetes and pretending to be environmentally friendly for the publicity, denying HFCS is unhealthy, and linking themselves to love and happiness in one brazen, ballsy LIE FEST (ad campaign) after another, leaving the taxpayer to pick up their hidden costs. Buyer beware, you say? Only one problem with that: the buyer doesn’t read, anymore, and the media will never inform them because they too know where their bread is buttered. Frank’s new book SUCCESS AND LUCK spells all this out, in comprehensive, logical detail, including how we have fallen into this lemming-like trance of accepting that ever fewer superstars make an ever greater percentage of profits at the expense of all. And the inequality is increasing. The super rich actually believe they should pay no taxes, most of them. They hide their wealth overseas, and the dying middle class is asked to pick up the tab for failing infrastructure. Of course this greed will end, just as the bubble of 2008 ended. But people like “Mr. Wonderful” are protecting themselves now from it by foreign investments. Frank proposes a progressive consumption tax to solve this problem, but it is unlikely any President will be allowed to even approach Congress with it. It’s DOA among those who are just fine with things as they are. ($$$) The public, too, has been conditioned like Pavlov’s dogs, via soundbites and McNews. Not to mention worshipful, unthinking culture memes (which propagate like viruses.) But I digress. Frank shows that small advantages translate into huge benefits over time. Who your father was (Trump), what went viral (Kasdashians), etc. Everything has to go right. Working hard is not enough for “world domination.” You need to be lucky too. In a study of foot races, 97% of winners were shown to have a tailwind in their record breaking attempts. What if yours is a headwind? Too bad. You lose. Even if you’re better. Persistence? Does that pay off? Not always. Many are those whose talents exceed those “at the top” but who, even after many years of struggle, have failed to move up that very steep ladder where the lucky few stand and pretend they deserve to be there…and give you advice. Should we envy them? No. The Kanyes of this world live in an alternate universe where everything is unreal and twisted by the lens of celebrity. They can’t be happy. They are pretending for the cameras, and for the fans, who expect it. Demand it. Once you realize you are not in competition with anyone, that you are who you are, you are then free. Who do I admire? The non-Diva, the incredibly talented few who are humble because they have seen the reality, the wider view of things. Because they read, listen, and observe. They are open to life, to change. That is true wealth. The rest of it is as fake as a post-1964 “silver” coin.     

Yuja’s advantage was starting at age 3. But she is real, not fake at all. This comes from music itself: the infinite vision that it empowers one with, and the total dedication to interpret a vision. This is the ending to one of the most difficult sonatas in all of piano literature, yet she tosses it off with no apparent difficulty, and no ego.

My brief interview with her here.

The Gunning of America

The Gunning of AmericaAmericans have always loved guns. This special bond was forged during the American Revolution and sanctified by the Second Amendment. It is because of this exceptional relationship that American civilians are more heavily armed than the citizens of any other nation. Or so we’re told. In The Gunning of America, historian Pamela Haag overturns this conventional wisdom. American gun culture, she argues, developed not because the gun was exceptional but precisely because it was not: guns proliferated in America because throughout most of the nation’s history they were perceived as an unexceptional commodity, no different than buttons or typewriters. Focusing on the history of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, one of the most iconic arms manufacturers in America, Haag challenges many basic assumptions of how and when America became a gun culture. Under the leadership of Oliver Winchester and his heirs, the company used aggressive, sometimes ingenious, sales and marketing techniques to create new markets for their product. Guns have never “sold themselves”; rather, through advertising and innovative distribution campaigns, the gun industry did. Through the meticulous examination of gun-industry archives, Haag challenges the myth of a primal bond between Americans and their firearms. Over the course of its 150-year history, the Winchester Repeating Arms Company sold over eight million guns. But Oliver Winchester—a shirtmaker in his previous career—had no apparent qualms about a life spent arming America. His daughter-in-law Sarah Winchester was a different story. Legend holds that Sarah was haunted by what she considered a vast blood fortune, and became convinced that the ghosts of rifle victims were haunting her. In this provocative and deeply researched work of narrative history, Haag fundamentally revises the history of arms in America and, in so doing, explodes the clichés that have created and sustained our lethal gun culture.

https://soundcloud.com/tower-review/survivor-meets-lethal-weapon

The Seven Lessons of Physics