Another Perspective on the “Retail Apocalypse”

Michael Snyder of “The Economic Collapse Blog” has written extensively on the “Retail Apocalypse“. Many well known and well established retail outlets are going bankrupt at a record rate. Some may no longer exist in a short time frame.

But is this entirely a bad thing?

This won’t be an extensive economic analysis. This is mostly anecdotal from a consumer.

We all have to buy things to maintain our lives. Some things are necessary. Most things are not. And we’ve transitioned to a hybrid model of online/in-store.

Some things are easier to buy on-line. I have a generic Keurig coffee pot. (Mr. Coffee, actually). I need K-cups for it, because I won’t live without my coffee. I can get 100 K-cups on Amazon for about $35, and they show up on my doorstep almost magically within about 24 hours. That’s a better price than I can get in local stores, and I don’t have to stand in line or go anywhere. I’m not changing this pattern anytime soon.

I used to LOVE bookstores. But I’ve reached a point where my bookshelf space is very limited, so I buy my books in Kindle, epub, or pdf. I only buy physical books if I absolutely have to have the book and there are no other options. But even so, for rare books, Amazon usually has better deals, and even for those few F’ing publishers who haven’t left the last century, Amazon still has better prices, making Barnes and Nobel not an option. Why would I deal with local traffic to drive to B&N to pay MORE for a book than Amazon? They don’t mean that much to me. I miss Borders, but I had the same problem wth them.

“Anchor” stores (Sears, J.C. Penney, Macy’s, etc) – who cares? Their prices are way off the charts for my budget. I have pretty much never shopped at them. I haven’t quite adapted to buying clothes online (last time I bought a dress shirt from Amazon, I washed it once and it permanently wrinkled), but I’m not paying $50 for a shirt. Plus, you still have to try them on. I usually go to Kohl’s when I need work clothes.

Target – I used to like to shop at Target. But after their 2013 credit card breach that was totally preventable (They had FireEye, and got the warnings, but ignored them to their own peril) and their tranny policy, I’m done with Target. I bought a Microsoft Band from them in 2014. That was my LAST purchase from Target ever. I won’t allow my wife to shop there either. When they finally go out of business, I’ll drink to that. (Business) death to Target! And I got so freaking sick of every time I walked up to the register, being asked if I wanted to apply for a Target credit card. The last time I shopped there, I replied: “No thanks, I don’t want my information stolen.”

Wal-mart – good if I need something in an emergency at 4 in the morning, like the last time my smoke detector batteries died in the middle of the night and I was out of batteries. And I’ve bought my last couple TVs there. They have good prices. But I don’t go out of my way to shop at Wal-mart. Only when it’s an emergency. And even then, I go either late at night, or early in the morning before the average Wal-mart shopper is out of bed.

K-mart – I used to like K-mart, but our local K-mart (actually, out of business and long since closed) is in a crappy area. I only went there once, and don’t miss it.

Furniture stores – Don’t care. How often do you need furniture anyway? You buy a bed once every 10-20 years. I can’t see spending $5000 on a couch. I don’t go in furniture stores.

Best Buy – I would miss them. They’re great for impulse buys that I don’t want to wait for shipping on. If I need a new computer, I want it right now, not in 2 days. But even I don’t need that many new computers.

Now, for stores I can’t live without:

Grocery stores: until I can get my beer as easily as I can my coffee, I still need grocery stores. And my wife needs them for the other non-beer items we need for our household.

Convenience stores: I can’t buy smokes as easily as I can coffee either. Gotta have Wawa. Plus, gas. Although it would be great if I could order 20 gallons of regular a week and have it show up in my driveway.

Vape stores: I need juice and atomizers for my vaporizer. And when I’m too lazy to order them online, I need a place I can get to locally.

And I probably need places where I can get my oil changed and general maintenance on my truck.

So for the “retail apocalypse?” I’m not that torn up about it. Brick and mortar stores, unless they fill some specialty that can’t be done online (like beer or oil changes) are like the “buggy whip manufacturers” that went out of business once the car took off.

Funny cliche I came across recently: 100 years ago, everybody had a horse and only the rich had cars. Now, everybody has a car and only the rich have horses.

New iPad Pro/iOS 11

The newest Apple announcement (I think it was last week) had some yawns and a few things to get excited about. Let’s talk about the 10.5″ iPad Pro. According to Mac Rumors:

I’ve seen the 12″ iPad Pro. It almost seems too big. Haven’t bothered checking out the 9.7″. I have an iPad Mini 3, which I don’t use all that much.

I’ve had the iPad 1,2,3 and the Mini 2 and 3. (The Mini 2 was from a failed mobility project at work. They deactivated the cell data and told me they didn’t want the tablet back).

The iPad has a buttload of promise, but one huge shortfall: it’s still a MOBILE operating system. That means you can only do one thing at a time. My personal “workflow” normally involves having a YouTube video playing in the background, or a podcast, while I’m going through email, reading RSS, or whatever else. You CANNOT do that on an iPad. OK, I have two Minis, so I guess I could play the YouTube video on one while I work on the other. Yeah.

Apple seriously needs to put some desktop features on the iPad, specifically the ability to open a YouTube video in Safari, then switch back to Apple Mail. Normally, when Apple goes through its annual update to iOS and MacOS, I see things like the following:

Update to iMessages!

Update to Photos!

14 freaking cameras that work as one!

Undecipherable update to Apple Music!

None of which excite me. I use an Android phone, so iMessages is useless to me, and I have yet to get excited about a new iPhone due to the above. Photos has some usefulness, but for my purposes, the built-in Windows photo viewer does what I need. And on my Mac, I just go through my pictures in Finder. Don’t care about cameras; ever since the iPhone 4 era, phone cameras have been at the resolution I need. And I don’t use Apple Music, which only works on Apple products. I’ve been using Amazon Prime Music lately (not the extra subscription service.)

According to Mac Rumors, iOS 11 does seem to have some interesting features, (at least on the iPad Pro):

Let’s see what Apple has to say.

Files – could be a game changer. Imagine that; actually being able to manipulate the file system on a tablet (you could do this on Windows tablets back in the 90’s… welcome to the future, Apple!)

The Dock – could be interesting. Is this only on the Pro, or will I also get this when I upgrade my Mini 3? (Yes, at the bottom of the page, both the Mini 2 and Mini 3 will get iOS 11. But will they get ALL THE FEATURES?)

Multitasking – if this is available on my Minis, that would be great. I could use them more.

Drag and Drop – again, you had this capability on Windows tablets back in the 90’s. You’re way late to the party, Apple!

Apple Pencil – will this work on the Mini?

Instant Markup – Adobe has had this on phones and tablets for years, but having it native would be useful.

Instant notes – again, had this in Evernote and OneNote. My cheap ass RCA Windows 10 tablet from Walmart came with this feature. But having it on the iPad means we’ll think Apple invented it!

Inline Drawing – looks pretty cool!

Scan and sign – part revolutionary, part late to the party. Evernote did this years ago. I had to scan my entire 110 page divorce agreement in 2015. I used Evernote for this. But to be able to sign… will anybody accept it? I tried to sign documents in Adobe with a stylus and had them rejected. I had to revert to 1848 technology (yes, the fax was invented THAT FREAKING LONG AGO) and “wet sign” and fax said documents, even though my signature looked exactly the same. I couldn’t tell the difference. How could they?

Quicktype Keyboard – interesting. I’ll have to play with it.

Augmented reality – just an API. Others have to develop apps for it. I had an AR app on the Nokia 920 I had in 2014. It was pretty cool. And Apple has had the ability for people to develop hardware that plugs into iOS devices since the iPad 2. I don’t know if anybody ever did.

That’s enough. I don’t get paid for this.

Chances are, I’ll get the public beta when it’s available. I’ll make some updates after I’ve gotten my hands on it. Now I need to look up MacOS 10.13. High Sierra. Although it’s been years since Apple introduced anything revolutionary into their MacOS.

Yawn. Another Android Phone

As much as I love technology, I’m kind of sick of hearing about dual cameras, retarded “virtual assistants”, and new messaging apps. I want something that changes the entire paradigm like the original iPhone did in 2007. Instead, the guy who created Android launched a new company to create the “Essential Phone“.

And it’s just another Android phone. With magnetic attachments. Mostly cameras, from what I can tell. Specs: the same. Instead of glass and plastic, it’s ceramic and titanium. And it costs as much as the high-end phones anyway. And I doubt it uses MST for payments, so no Samsung Pay, which has become essential to my operations.

MSLGBPTV Report on “Kekistan”

MSLBTP apparently did the following poorly researched report on Kekistan:

I don’t consider myself part of the Kekistan movement, but I am sympathetic to the plight of the Kekistani people. It’s a virtual nation which has a main export of dank memes. And I like those memes.

This report is so full of crap, and the narrator is boring as hell. For one thing, they show a YouTube clip of a black man with a French Africa accent and say he’s Sargon of Arkad. No, he’s Big Man Tyrone, a YouTuber who will say what you want him to if you pay him. Sargon is a fat British liberal with enough sense to actually come down on the right side of some issues. This is the Tyrone clip:

They also show a clip of a guy dressed up like a 21st century American Jesus, saying “Hitler did nothing wrong”. That guy is on Fiverr, and will dress up like that and say anything you pay him to. I believe PewDiePie paid him to say that for one of his videos. He was kicked off of Fiverr for a while for it, just like the two poor Indian guys he paid to hold up a sign saying “Death to all (you fill in the blank)”.

Next are the code words. Where do they get this crap:

Total crap. A snowflake means what it means: some idiot liberal who somehow things he, she, it, xir, or whatever it identifies as thinks is special for whatever reason.

The alt-right/Kekistani code word for “Stingy Jew” is, well, Stingy Jew. SJW means Social Justice Warrior, a term THEY devised for themselves. A cuck is somebody who cuckholds themselves, realistically or metaphorically. That’s why we call typical Republicans “Republicucks”, and conservatives “Cuckservatives”, because they don’t fight for anything; rather, they cuckhold themselves.

A lover of fat women is just that, or a chubby chaser. No code word needed.

Trap I’m not entirely sure about, although there they go again with their “all white men are rapists meme”, while European women are being raped left and right by the immigrants they demand more of.

They totally forgot about THOT, which stands for “That Hoe Over There”. In alt-right/Kekistani “culture”, a THOT is somebody like, say, Lauren Southern. I’ve watched a few of her clips, and she seems OK, but people wonder if she believes what she says she does, or if she realizes she’s hot and can make a lot of money from thirsty men who will never dare criticize her and she can do no wrong. Time will tell. I’ll probably pay more attention to her when time does tell, maybe in a few decades.

Tomi what’s her name lost a lot of credibility when she went on The View and supported abortion. That’s kind of the definition of cucking; going into the enemy’s house and trying to gain cred with them. Tomi is a THOT.

Anyway, if you need any actual evidence that the “Mainstream Media” is truly fake news, this is it. They’re useless, and don’t do the slightest bit of research. I’m a total amateur and don’t get paid for this, but if I’m going to write about a leftist, I’ll at least make an attempt to understand their argument.

One thing this report did get right is the similarities between the Kekistani flag and the flag of the 3rd Reich. They did this on purpose; mostly for trolling. They’re going to call anybody to the right of Karl Marx a Nazi anyway. Might as well run with it.

Are They Trying To Get Ransomwared?

Just a personal matter, but my wife is in the hospital. I reached the point where I couldn’t sit in the room anymore, so I went for a walk. After WannaCry last week, I was a little curious as to the hospital’s cybersecurity posture.

The computers I’ve seen are running an application that obscures the actual operating system. But, the application has a Windows 4.x look to it (Windows 4.x includes 95, NT, 98, ME, and 2000). However, you can skin XP, Vista, and 7 to the “Classic” Windows look. Maybe Windows 8, but I don’t know because I’ve never done it.

But as I was walking the halls, I saw a computer sitting there, unlocked, without the application running. And it was exactly what I expected: Windows XP, which went out of support 4 years ago.

That hospital is vulnerable as hell. It’s like they’re trying to get infected.

I’m sure they’ll say it’s not in the budget, but is cleaning up the aftermath of a ransomware infection in the budget? I guess so.

YATA (Yet Another Terrorist Attack)

Bombing at an Ariana Grande concert yesterday. I think it was the new French President who said something like “We have to get used to daily terrorist attacks because we want to live in a diverse, multicultural society.” And they voted for him because they want to get used to daily terror attacks so they can live in such a utopia.

I’d rather live under a Trump administration period of martial law than a “diverse, multi-cultural society with daily terror attacks”.

In our great multicultural age, if you want to stay safe, stay the hell away from large gatherings of people. I am very glad I don’t feel compelled to go to concerts and other pop culture activities because they are a security risk. If you have children, especially teenage girls, keep them away too. Stay out of the cities, and stay away from popular culture events.

I assume gun shows are safe.

Anyway, make sure you change your social media avatars to the Union Jack, post to every single social network you’re on (and join the rest, damn it, we have victims to help!) that your “thoughts and prayers” go out, and by all means: DO NOT HURT ANY TERRORIST FEELINGS! because that would be racist or something. We need to find every terrorist we can, hug them, and tell them we love them and they should bring all their friends.

 

Special Prosecutor

By now, you’ve probably heard that the Deputy AG (((Rosenstein))) has assigned the former FBI director, Robert Mueller (I have no idea if I’m related to him), as a special prosecutor to look into ongoing allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

I’ve been thinking about this. They’ve been “investigating” for months, and haven’t produced a single shred of evidence. Part of me wants to believe if there actually WAS evidence, they would have found it.

When Trump first announced his candidacy, I figured he was just another globalist elite. But as his campaign went on, I started to think he was actually different than the others. I can’t speak for the rest of you, but enough American voters are f’ing sick and tired of being told that we have to subordinate our own interests to the “global community”. We have to import millions of rapists, welfare queens, and terrorists because somehow that shit is “good for our economy”. And we have to send our jobs overseas and be unemployed because that too, is “good for our economy”.

To hell with that.

When I realized that all the “right” people seemed to hate Donald Trump, I started to get on board more. They attacked him incessantly. I figured, like any other politician, his life must be full of scandal. But all they found was the “they let you grab them by the pussy” recording, which I don’t have a problem with. Everything else, like “pissgate”, was made up, and they didn’t do a good job of making it up.

So when, as hard as they attacked him, they couldn’t find a single actual scandal or element of corruption in his past, it blew my mind. Maybe he is the real deal.

Or, and there is plenty of evidence to this, the left is totally incompetent. They have their own scandals. Apparently, the DNC is in a full-on panic mode about their own scandals. /pol/ seems to be a far better intelligence service than our own intelligence organs. They found Shia LaPoof’s silly “He Will Not Divide Us” flag at least 3 times in isolated parts of the globe. The FBI has taken on a reputation lately as the “F’ing Bunch of Idiots”.

So maybe there is actual evidence somewhere for Trump/Russia collusion, but Congress and the media are too incompetent to find it. But I doubt it.

Mark Dice thinks this will be a good thing. The left is absolutely giddy about the special prosecutor, and when he finds NOTHING, they’ll be crushed worse than they were on election night, and will probably start accusing former FBI director Robert Mueller of being a Russian agent himself. So grab some beer and some popcorn and watch the show:

As for President Trump, a lot of people jumped off the “Trump Train” after April 6 when he ordered a bombing in Syria. I figure we still have several more years to get through, so I’ll hold my own decision for a while, although I am disappointed that he hasn’t cleaned out his house. He has too many people he can’t trust in his administration.

WannaCry… Who Should Get The Blame?

I’ve heard Friday’s cyber attack called both “WannaCry” and “WannaCrypt”. I”ll stick with WannaCry for now.

As we know, on Friday, tens of thousands of users in about 150 countries were hit with a cyber attack that encrypted their hard drives and locked them out of their computers unless they pay $300 worth of BitCoin. After a few days, it goes up to $600 BitCoin. (I assume, for larger organizations, that’s $300 PER COMPUTER).

Obviously, governments and cybersecurity “experts” are telling those affected not to pay, and to trust those governments and experts.

My professional opinion? Pay the ransom, learn your lesson, and NEVER let it happen again. I guarantee you, $300 worth of BitCoin will be a LOT cheaper (assuming you take corrective measures) than bringing in experts to recover your systems, and of course the lost business and efficiency.

Biggest Factor

Pardon my French, but this attack was apparently VERY FUCKING EASY to prevent. The #1 factor involved was: outdated versions of Microsoft Windows, mostly Windows XP.

Background

Let’s review: Windows XP was released in 2001. I remember being very excited to get it. About that time, cybersecurity started becoming a big issue, and Microsoft had to devote a TON of resources into beefing up XP’s security rather than develop a new version of Windows. Windows XP Service Pack 2 was released in 2004. This incorporated a firewall and some new security features. Now, Microsoft was able to work on a new version of Windows, and shit out Windows Vista in 2006.

By most accounts, Vista was a flaming piece of crap. I liked it over XP, as it had some neat new productivity features, but it was a gigantic resource hog. It apparently needed 4 GB of RAM to run decently, at a time when most consumer computers came with 256-512MB. Also, Vista had some substantial changes to the system and security architecture that are still causing problems for those too stupid and cheap to upgrade from Windows XP.

The head dude in charge of Vista was fired or put aside, and Microsoft came out with Windows 7 in 2009. Windows 7 is what Vista SHOULD have been in the first place. It actually ran very well without needing a top end computer. Windows 8 followed around 2012, then Windows 10 in 2015.

I liked Windows 8, but I think I was the only person on Planet Earth who did. Most people couldn’t stand it. I’m smart enough to spend the 5 seconds I needed to on Google to figure out how to operate it, and I never had a problem. But Microsoft had to build back in the legacy features from Windows 7 because everybody else but me can’t handle change or 5 seconds on a search engine. (This includes Bill Gates, who allegedly came back to Microsoft part-time, was given a Windows 8 computer, and demanded to go back to Windows 7 because this software genius can’t handle a search engine either).

While all of these versions of Windows were going on, people got so dependent on XP that Microsoft was forced to keep supporting it. They originally intended to end support in 2008, but ended up extending a couple of times until 2013. Many companies had custom applications that were practically hard-coded to only work on XP. I knew a dentist who, in 2010, went to buy some new Windows 7 laptops. He tried to run his dental application, and it wouldn’t work. He called support, and sure enough, they didn’t support Windows 7.

I see a doctor who uses Windows Server 2003 for his application. Every freaking time I go in there, I bring this up. Sever 2k3, like XP, is long since out of support. I ask the doctor “Are you trying to get hacked? Are you trying to get my patient data, and that of all the rest of your patients, stolen?” He keeps telling me he’ll bring it up to the people who provide their IT services, but so far, nothing has happened.

I go to another doctor who does everything by paper. As much as the IT Professional in me cringes at the stacks and stacks of paper and records in his office, I realize there’s no F’ing way he’ll get hacked. Of course, an office fire, a break in, or a misplaced record will have the same effect, so you’re screwed either way. You might as well embrace IT and TAKE REASONABLE MEASURES, and yes expenses, to protect it.

Second Biggest Factor

When it comes to any type of security, your biggest threat comes from inside. It’s your users, your employees, even your family. And it’s not even because they want to be. They’re just people (or sheople) stumbling through life without paying much attention.

For a class I took last year, I had to take a cybersecurity simulation. The set up is, you’re running an IT organization for 4 quarters, and you have a budget. You can only spend so much each quarter to protect your network. You can spend it on appliances (firewall, IDS, IPS, etc.), user training, antivirus for computers, and so on. But it’s a limited budget. And I had to get at least a 95% before I could submit my certificate. I was at it for hours.

I remember one time in particular, several rounds in. I’d somewhat gotten a feel for what areas I had to cover with the limited budget. Like, you can’t just give 5 rounds of user training and forget to install a firewall. So I had two good quarters, and defeated all the cyber attacks. Then, at the end of the 3rd quarter, the simulation hit me with 3 social engineering attacks in a row. All were successful, and I had to play again. I finally got a 96% on one round, saved the certificate to pdf, and emailed it to my instructor. I was not going to try to top the score at that point.

A user can be totally subversive, or a double agent, spy, or whatever form of actively working against you. But you probably have far more to fear from casual carelessness or just not understanding security.

We’ve all had a casual friend with an email account that started throwing off spam. Suddenly you get poorly worded English from them telling you to click a link. I always catch them; most people don’t. I tell the person to change their password. They probably change it from password to password1, and keep sending off spam as soon as the spammer cracks the new password. I just mark them as spam, since I don’t normally correspond with those people by email. But most people get an email with something like “You have GOT to see this!” and they click the link, which brings malware onto your network. And if you’re still stupid enough to be running Windows XP, now you’re infected.

Or, consider this scenario, which I used to explain social engineering to my wife:

<phone rings> “Random hospital, Karen speaking.”

Social Engineer: “Hi, Karen, I’m looking for John Smith.”

Karen: “There’s nobody here by that name.”

Social Engineer: “I’m sorry about that. Must be a wrong number, but I talked to John Smith from Random Hospital. Maybe you can help me, Karen.”

Karen: “Sure, what can I do for you?”

(Most people want to be helpful.)

Social Engineer: “I’m working on a proposal to upgrade Random Hospital’s computers. I’m wondering if you can tell me what operating system you’re running. I want to give you better equipment if I can.”

Karen: “I don’t know much about computers.”

Social Engineer: “That’s OK, it’ll just take a second. I can walk you through it. I really appreciate your help, Karen. Click on Start…”

<walk through of finding OS version, maybe browser version and what antivirus>

Social Engineer: “OK, so Random Hospital runs Windows XP, Internet Explorer 7, and McAfee. Thank you, Karen, I appreciate your help”.

Now, Social Engineer knows Random Hospital is stupid enough to be running an out of date, unsupported operating system with well-documented vulnerabilities. Dis gon be gud!

That’s all it takes. Or digging through a dumpster. Social engineers can get a TON of good information from all the crap users throw away.

And that’s just from an employee who was trying to be helpful, not subversive.

For the record, I don’t tell people shit over the phone. I don’t look up numbers or give names to them unless I know who they are. And it’s not that I don’t want to be helpful or friendly, but because I know how social engineering works. And I’m not going to be the idiot who compromises my organization.

I can do this all night, but I think you get my point. WannaCry could have all been prevented IF the affected organizations were running currently supported operating systems with recent patches and updates applied, which can help mitigate user carelessness.

There’s one final factor we need to look at:

The Deep State, Unaccountable Spying Agencies

Here in America, we have the National Spying Agency and Cocaine Importing Agency. From what I’ve read, the very exploit that caused all of this was built by one of them (I don’t remember which, and it probably doesn’t matter). The recent Vault 7 leaks included some malware developed by one of them and left on an insecure directory that was apparently easy to access from outside.

Heads should roll for this. Both agencies most likely need to be gutted, involving people being fired and/or prosecuted. Proper lines of control need to be drawn and enforced.

Conclusion

I saw some claim today that this is all Microsoft’s fault. They should have left Windows XP in support forever.

Right. Should your car manufacturer be forced to support whatever car you drive indefinitely? Sooner or later, things break down and you need to buy a new one. Even if we all agreed to just freeze technology where it’s at forever, to never again develop newer hardware or software, maintenance still needs to be done. As people develop new exploits, those have to be patched. Sooner or later, the best way to defend against those vulnerabilities is going to be radical changes to the architecture of the operating system and software that runs on it. So no, this is a bad idea. Plus, how are the tech companies supposed to make money if they can’t convince you that you HAVE to buy a new phone every year?

I got into IT because I’m excited by new technology, new features, and new capabilities. I’ve spent most of my career frustrated by the baby boomers and people afraid of change forcing us to keep doing things the old way. I’m convinced that email is pretty much obsolete, but the biggest tool I still use at work is Microsoft Outlook. And I finally got Office 2013 on my work computer. I’ve been running 16 at home since last year.

(I wish I could get into independent consulting, but I don’t appear to be entrepreneurial).

A lot of people in IT need to get out of it. Go find something else to do, and stop holding the rest of us back. Or actually, start learning about it so you can do it effectively. Read some books or magazines, or watch some YouTube videos that don’t cost you anything. Learn and grow.

IT is the ultimate cargo cult. Everybody thinks it should be easy and fun. How often do you hear somebody who can barely charge their phone say “I’d like to get into IT!” My wife was saying that when I met her. I was able to make her head spin enough with my own knowledge of IT to convince her it’s not a good idea. No, of course, I’m willing to help her, but once she realized what was involved in learning it, and how getting in with no experience is a pay cut and a shitty help desk job, she changed her mind.

I guarantee a lot of IT departments need to start firing people over this WannaCry episode. If you run a business and don’t know much about IT, make sure you bring in someone who does. If you contract with a 3rd party to provide your IT support, make sure they have a plan for obsolescence. What are they going to do when Microsoft releases a new version of Windows and discontinues support for the current one? If their answer is “Oh, it’ll be fine…”, DO NOT HIRE THEM!

Arcologies

This is a technical term I didn’t know before today, although I’m familiar with the concept. An arcology refers to a self-contained building. Basically, in dystopian science fiction, it’s where the entire population is crammed into skyscrapers where they also grow their own food.

This guy takes an engineering and mathematical look at it. Very interesting. I’ll be watching more from his channel.

Symbol Appropriation

This is something interesting I’m seeing lately. It started with this meme:

My first reaction was: WTF? I see a mixture of the rainbow, which is associated with gayness. But also the separation of colors, which is associated with nationalism (specifically, white nationalism ((mislabeled as white supremacy)) ). And of course, the swastika, which we all know what to associate that with (although it is an ancient symbol associated with peace and good luck and yes, Hitler knew that).

Then, this showed up:

And finally, this:

Thanks to “meme magic”, this appears to be an attempt by some in the “alt-right” to appropriate the left’s cherished symbols. Since the left is driven almost totally by the amygdala, they are likely to get triggered and abandon those symbols, which should be interesting.