The Oatmeal "The Backfire Effect"
Tuesday, March 13, 2018
The Oatmeal "The Backfire Effect"
Monday, March 12, 2018
Sunday, March 11, 2018
Remember when Trump was talking about people on the US side of the US Mexico border being hurt by packages of drugs that were being hurled over the border from Mexico? Most of us had a good laugh about it, but there was a grain of truth to it.
from High Times
|An officer shows the cylindrical packet|
fitting in the tube of the bazooka.
Pot smugglers in Mexico have been using a cannon to blast bundles of weed over the border into Douglas, AZ. Mexican authorities found the big gun in a van on the Mexican side, in Agua Prieta, along with 1,800 pounds of weed divvied up into 900 cannonball-size packages. Transnational pot-flinging has been reported elsewhere in the area lately, according to the Arizona Daily Star. In February of last year, Border Patrol agents discovered a weed-tossing catapult attached to the border fence near Douglas's port of entry. In December 2016, a pair of teenagers were nabbed in Cochise County, AZ, after receiving cheeba missiles fired by an air cannon over the border fence into the United States. Three months before that, authorities in Agua Prieta found an air cannon inside a van used to shoot pot packets into Douglas. If the US president ever builds his "big beautiful wall," we can expect more artillery fire from south of the border.
Saturday, March 10, 2018
Friday, March 9, 2018
We have not purchased any kind of "home assistant" like the Echo or Siri or whatever else is out there. There have been suspicions that these devices are "listening in" on their owners and sending information to the home computer, in effect, spying on people. Their job is in fact to listen to their owners and respond with answers or music or whatever they have been programmed to do.
These devices are NOT supposed to just break out in laughter without any kind of prompting from the owners. I think it would make me jump out of my skin if my assistant just started laughing for no reason. Yea, technology!
Unprompted, creepy laughter from Alexa is freaking out Echo users [Updated]
from ARS Technica
Don't be alarmed! Your Alexa-enabled device may lapse into a sudden fit of giggles, but Amazon is aware of the problem. Recent reports detail a quirky bug that has Amazon's virtual assistant Alexa laughing for no apparent reason, scaring the daylights out of unsuspecting users.
According to a Bloomberg report, Amazon is aware of the issue and is working to fix it. The news comes a few days after users took to social media to share their stories of strange laughter coming from their Echo devices. Some claim Alexa laughed in response to unrelated or misunderstood commands, while others claim Alexa simply laughed out of the blue.
It's not uncommon for Echo devices to hear sounds and mistake them for a user's wake word. Amazon's smart speakers can be programmed to respond to a few words: "Alexa" is the most common, but other options like "Echo" and "Amazon" are available as well. These bouts of laughter could be a byproduct of Echo devices mistakenly hearing their wake words.
But reported situations of unprompted laughter in silent homes are obviously quite creepy. Some users have resorted to unplugging their Echo devices to ensure that Alexa cannot interject anything, ominous or not.
While my Echo device has lit up and responded to random noises in my home a few times, I've never experienced the laughing issue. When asked, "Alexa, how do you laugh?" my Echo replied, "Sure, I can laugh—tee hee!"
It's always worth checking the History section of the Alexa mobile app in situations like this. Since Echo devices are always listening for their wake words, they record and save clips to the cloud every time they hear something that they think Alexa needs to respond to. Users can review and delete these clips at any time in the Alexa app's History section.
Update (8:26am ET March 8): An Amazon representative provided the following statement to Ars, explaining that Alexa's unprompted laughter was caused by an incorrectly heard phrase.
In rare circumstances, Alexa can mistakenly hear the phrase “Alexa, laugh.” We are changing that phrase to be “Alexa, can you laugh?” which is less likely to have false positives, and we are disabling the short utterance “Alexa, laugh.” We are also changing Alexa’s response from simply laughter to “Sure, I can laugh” followed by laughter.
Thursday, March 8, 2018
Here's yet another reason to not go to Mexico. Damn shame that a beautiful country such as Mexico, with some outstanding beaches, is so fucked up socially and politically that it's just too dangerous to go there.
State Department Warns Spring Breakers of Mexico Threat
Wednesday, March 7, 2018
Steve Benen is essential reading. I'm sure there are more people that are "essential reading" but, dammit, who has the time?! Lots of links in Steve's writings.
The problem with this story is that the GOP and Trump just continue to lie about everything, even after things get "debunked."