Twilights of Rage

16 06 2017

Miami

OCGE reversed some of Obama’s last moment Cuba policy changeups, and insinuates that none of them will go back in that direction until, among other things, Havana hands over Joanne Chesimard, aka Assata Shakur.

ICYMI, here’s a long but excellent book review that’s probably as worthy as the book itself, that puts, among other people, the lovely and gracious Miss Chesimard, into context.  We think it’s never been worse, but the 1970s make our times look Halcyon.





We’re About to Open an Early ’80s Time Capsule

16 06 2017

USA

* Cannonball Run reboot.

* Atari reboot.

Could silver ghettoblaster boomboxes be far behind?





Garden State of Mind

11 06 2017

New Jersey

Slashdot:

Before Silicon Valley, New Jersey Was Tech Capital

It was in New Jersey that Thomas Edison invented sound recording, motion pictures, and the light bulb in what is considered the first modern corporate R&D facility. In other words, Edison invented the modern lab — teams of people working together, sharing ideas and perfecting devices. In the century after Edison, New Jersey became the place to set up shop if you wanted to invent. On top of all the other assets, the state had lots of inexpensive land available. The transistor and cellular communications came out of AT&T’s Bell Labs, also in New Jersey. If it was 1955 and you had to bet on where the next half-century of technical innovation would emerge, the Garden State would be the most likely winner, not some farmland south of San Francisco. As a couple of Jersey natives at NPR note, it didn’t quite work out that way. What happened?

I’ll take a stab.

(1) Average January high in Newark is 39, in Palo Alto 58.  Average annual snowfall in Newark is 28 inches, in Palo Alto, none.  Average annual rainfall in Newark is 46 inches, in Palo Alto 16 inches.

(2) Father Lewis Terman and son Fred Terman.  That father-son combination was brilliant and Machiavellian, and exploited the best parts of the raw drive for human intelligence, measurement and selection, California’s one-time individualist-libertarian political climate, and channeling a lot of Federal military-defense R&D money into the area.

(3) New Jersey is smack dab in the Bos-Wash northeastern Acela corridor, which for a long time has had a business climate focused on large corporations.  I am of the opinion that the personal computer could have never been invented or popularized by the big three-letter Acela corporations, because, as far as they were concerned, computing only concerned large corporations, and therefore, individuals and their households had no use or need for them.  It took the California individualist-narcissistic mentality (that it once had) to fathom an individual even wanting a computer.  For the same reason, historically, team sports were popular in Eastern industrial towns, while they weren’t that much in California.  Because team sports carried the same connotation as team employment or team industry, the large corporation, the large factory.  Olympic style sports, which are generally more individual than team affairs, were both popular in and sometimes grew out of, a place like California, because of its (former) atomistic-libertarian climate.

(4) “Had lots of inexpensive land.”  By 1955, that wasn’t so true in New Jersey anymore, but it was true “south of San Francisco.”

(5)  The Termans, Fred especially, developed the business-academic mentality, again, rooted in what California’s political climate used to be, of the Stanford-to-startup pipeline.  This new industry generally attracted people who were, along with being highly geeky and intelligent, also highly entrepreneurial.  So, if their two options were corporate slave in New Jersey or roll-your-own between San Francisco and San Jose, guess where they were going to go.

(6)  Part of what hurt Edison and New Jersey insofar as motion pictures is that certain ((())) intent on ripping off Edison’s IP set up shop fairly close to the Mexican border, so they could quickly schlep across it if process servers came calling.





Shorpy Does Downtown

7 05 2017

Downtown

In 1900.

Today.

The building on the northeast corner is still there, as you can see.





Another Ten

15 04 2017

Brooklyn

I’ve been blogging for so long that I blogged on the day of the 60th.

And today is the 70th.

About that stale link in my post of ten years ago today:  I saved it, and cut-and-pasted it in a post here about a year ago.





So Much For So Much

23 03 2017

Berlin

Yahoo:

Germany to clear gays convicted under Nazi-era law

The German government Wednesday approved plans to quash the convictions of 50,000 men sentenced for homosexuality under a Nazi-era law which remained in force after the war, and offer compensation.

(snip)

Germany’s Article 175 outlawed “sexual acts contrary to nature… be it between people of the male gender or between people and animals”.

Sex between women was not explicitly illegal.

Although the law dated from 1871, it was rarely enforced until the Nazis came to power, and in 1935 they toughened the legislation to carry a sentence of 10 years of forced labour.

So it wasn’t a “Nazi-era law.” It was a law that was passed during the first year of Germany as a unified unitary nation-state, but one that was unenforced until the GNSWP party governments came to power. And it is one of many historical examples of the strange inconsistency of the illegality of male homosexuality but not female homosexuality, though I think the inconsistency can be rationalized even if not justified.

But what this does is totally discredit screeds like Pink Swastika, if you already didn’t know it from reading it and then comparing it from what we know about GNSWP-era Germany. Pink Swastika tries to make Adolf Hilter into Harvey Milk, and the Nazi Party into GLAAD. That, obviously, is way out of its tree.





Accuracy In History

20 03 2017

Washington, D.C.

Inside Higher Ed:

Howard University is investigating an alleged incident in which a white professor asked his class to engage in a mock slave auction. News of the exercise was first reported by the Caged Bird blog, which did not name the professor or his department. The instructor reportedly was teaching Frederick Douglass’s slave narrative earlier this month and asked one of two black men in the class to stand up and be examined because he looked “healthy,” according to the blog.

“He asked me to show my butt to the class so that he could get a better sense of my worth and had the audacity to say that it was uncomfortable for him, too, because he’s a white man,” the unnamed student reportedly told Caged Bird. “He started propping my body up as if we were on a slave auction block.” The student said the professor told him he could stop participating when he felt uncomfortable but that he stood up “because I didn’t expect him to do or say the things he said and did. I didn’t sit down sooner because I was so shocked.”

Even though he was just reenacting the history of slave auctions rather accurately, my bet is that prof is gay and was making a pass at that particular student of his.  He wanted a quick peek at that which he hopes to tap.