El Gringoqueño

All a man needs out of life is a place to sit ‘n’ spit in the fire.

Why Blame TikTok?

https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/social-media/tiktok-suicide-videos-lawsuit-social-media-self-harm-rcna146680

I’m reading this horrifying article about this poor kid who had a breakup with his girlfriend, spiraled, acted out, and eventually killed himself. His mom blames TikTok for providing him with provocative suicidal ideation videos, but at the end, the lede, buried as deep in exposition as you can get, revealed this nugget:

When Dave realized that Mason had gone to his room, he ran there and pounded on the door, trying to get him to unlock it.

But Mason was already gone. The 16-year-old died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. 

This happened in Arkansas, so I wondered how easy it is for a kid to get a gun.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_laws_in_Arkansas

You must be 18 to purchase, but you can possess a shotgun or rifle without restriction at any age. Did mom and dad buy him a shotgun for his sweet 16? If he were 18, he could purchase any weapon with no restrictions. No parental notification. No waiting period. No permit. No mandatory safety course. No registration. Nada.

So parents need to know what books kids are reading, what teachers are saying about sex, whether or not there’s a trans kid in their county, and what their kids are doing on TikTok, but are perfectly ok with that same child possessing a device specifically designed to take a life.

A child, mind you. Can’t vote, can’t drink, and can’t enlist in the military.

It boggles my mind.

So let’s say it was a gun of one of the parents. They are the ones who brought the weapon into the house and failed to secure it. No information can be found on the internet about what kind of gun was used. Was it a rifle or shotgun, that he would be legally allowed to possess, or a handgun he got access to by other means. I think it’s telling what the news article leaves out, while calling for accountability for TikTok. I mean, TikTok is trash, but the elephant in the room is easy access to guns.

You are 5x (3x by suicide, 2x by homicide) as likely to die by gun violence if there is a firearm in your house, either by your own hand or the hand of a family member. The best way to stay safe from gun violence is to not own a gun.

Vacuum cleaner engineering breakdown – but it’s not really about engineering

Today my son came to me to tell me the vacuum cleaner stopped working. Uff, another thing broken! I’ll take a look – or rather I’ll take it apart. Haha. That’s an engineering joke.

Anyway, it turns out that the switch has a wire that came loose. It’s interesting, because due to the nature of the design, by putting the power switch at the end of the suction hose, they have created a problem whereby tension on the hose puts tension on the wires. They’ve included snap slots to secure the wires, but the wires worked themselves loose and separated at the connector.

Normally a vacuum has the power switch near the motor. You have to bend down to turn it on. Isn’t it SOOOO much easier to bend down, pick up the suction hose, and then turn it on? Sarcasm.

Anyway, checking out how they designed the pathways and connectors for the wires, I was struck that none of heat shrink fittings were actually on top of the connections nor do they seem to be shrunk. Hmmm, what happens if I slide the tubing down and properly secure it?

It turns out that with the heat shrink fittings in place, there is not enough slack in the wires to press them into their snap slots. The tubing blocks them, not to mention with the fitting in place, the snap slots won’t accept the wire.

Where am I going with this?

I’m imagining the factory worker assembling the vacuum hose. They are frustrated by the fact that the wires aren’t of proper length and that the snap slots aren’t big enough to accommodate the wire with shrink tube. You could make a modification in the factory, but that’s above their authorization level. You could make a suggestion to the engineering staff to alter the design, but they are in another country. And besides, you’re doing it as requested. Just do it like it’s drawn.

Here are the specifications. We don’t pay you to think.

The bright engineer(s) who put this all together, drew it out, who selected the materials and everything, missed something, but they can’t see it in assembly because it’s in another country. If the company valued quality, they would visit the manufacturing plant and solicit advice from the workers and plant managers about problems they have had.

But they didn’t. The worker isn’t paid to care and probably doesn’t work for the company contracting them to assemble these plastic things in the first place. The engineer is smart and experienced, but doesn’t have enough professional humility to accept there might be other sources of knowledge other than their fabulous engineering experience/degree.

In the end, you get a vacuum that works okay, but after some normal use has a tendency to break.

Lessons learned?

Design and engineering should have a closer relationship with manufacturing. Is it possible when your manufacturing plant is oh so far away? I’m not saying every company that produces a widget needs to own their own manufacturing plant, but they need to make in-person visits more often. Walk the floor.

Caveat: This is all contingent upon the premise that each entity actually wants to make a quality product. The manufacturing plant wants to do good work, and the design firm wants to put out a quality product. I know it’s possible there’s some short term thinking involved whereby you build for planned breakage/obsolescence.

If Jesus Were Here Today

Jesus went out among the people and heard their murmuring. They come here and take, they said. Why do they deserve to draw water from our well, eat of our crops, and take jobs in our land? Their ways are not our ways. These and all things were promised to us for our faithful devotion to God.

And Jesus called them to gather about him, and he said:

There were two brothers. One, when the afternoon was long, would take the sheep out to the hillsides to graze. He walked along rocky paths and kept watch over them for predators. The other brother would go out in the morning to clear land with fire, plant, and harvest the wheat. He would carry water, dig ditches for irrigation, and maintain vigilance for pests.

One day, the brother who herded the sheep slipped in a rocky pass and broke his leg. He could no longer tend to the sheep, so the task fell to the brother from the wheat.

“Father, I cannot do his job while doing mine. He should have been more careful. He was negligent. Now he gets to relax and recline while I have to do two tasks. My own job is dangerous. If the wind turns, I could be consumed by the fire. If I do not bring enough water, I may die of exhaustion in the field. Who will look after me?”

And the father said, “Dude, what the fuck? Your brother is injured. He didn’t want to break his leg. He feels terrible that you have extra burden, don’t make this harder on him, dumbass. Take care of him and his chores, and he will return tenfold when he is able.

Like, what is wrong with you!?!?!”

Climate Denying – And Why You Should Put that Donut Down

I turned it off after his third logical fallacy. The one that’s easiest to point out is the following:

Because human production of CO2 is minuscule in comparison to naturally occurring CO2, we are not responsible for global warming.

Put the donut down, Steve, and step away from the counter.

I think that’s a formal fallacy called a non-sequitur, that is, the statement conclusion does not logically follow the premise.

Steve is either very ignorant or very dishonest. Since he leads with his numerous academic achievements, I’m going to suggest he is being dishonest, but for the sake of the ignorant, I will explain why he is oh so wrong.

In this case the premise is correct, human activity is minimal compared to natural sources of CO2, but it does not absolve humanity or human activity as the culprit in our current predicament.

That donut you just put in your pie hole doesn’t represent the bulk of your daily caloric intake either, Steve. In fact, it’s just an eighth of the average daily caloric requirement. But if you go over that, by eating that donut, Steve, consuming 250-300 calories or so extra from what would be your normal weight maintaining diet, you’re going to get fat, Steve.

It’s not nature, Steve. You ate that donut.

In a year, one might gain 20 pounds. A steady weight the year previously, is upended when calories consumed exceeds calories expended. It didn’t just happen. That human-made, not naturally occurring donut made of (carbon) upset the balance and made you fat.

You got fat, Steve, because you ate a donut every day.

His other points are equally egregiously wrong, especially the warming for 400 years one. Again, he’s deliberately deceiving the public. He doesn’t believe this stuff; there’s no way anybody could be that stupid.

Unexpected “My Cousin Vinny”

“Breaking 234 years of precedent, the incumbent administration has charged President Trump for acts that lie not just within the ‘outer perimeter,’ but at the heart of his official responsibilities as President,” Trump’s lawyers wrote in the filing. “In doing so, the prosecution does not, and cannot, argue that President Trump’s efforts to ensure election integrity, and to advocate for the same, were outside the scope of his duties.”

“Let me remind the defendant that this court does not work for the administration of President Joe Biden. We serve in the judicial branch which, let me remind the defendant again, is a co-equal branch of government like the li’l ol’ Congress.

“Secondly, election integrity is the purview of the the States. State’s rights, remember those? It was written in the Constitution that elections should be wholly the business of the states.

The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.

Article I, Section 4, Clause 1:

“Do you see the president mentioned there? Now, if the next words out of your mouth are Joe Biden or election integrity, I’m gonna hold you in contempt.”

Why Would Anybody Ever Leave the Pack?

Our dog, Lucy, seems confused and anxious. She’s taken to never ever letting us out of her sight. If we leave the room to go wherever, she follows us. If we leave the house, she whines. She’s aging, so we understand. Maybe she’s just getting a little anxious. I don’t know though. Her behavior seems purposeful and deliberate.

“I think she’s worried about people disappearing,” I said. “Olaia, left for college, and is now on her own. Jaimito is in his third year of university. Javier just left this summer. Our household is down to just Asier, Laura, and me now. There used to be 6 of us, now we’re down to 3. And Asier is at school during the day.

“I think she thinks something is wrong, and she’s worried we keep disappearing. Why would anybody ever leave the pack, she wonders? The pack is where family is. It’s warm and safe and comfortable. It’s where you have your friends. It’s where you get foodies. It’s where you get pets and love. WHY WOULD ANYBODY EVER LEAVE THE PACK?!?!?!

“Someone is taking them!

“So I think she’s worried something is happening to us. There are three people missing. What is going on here?! Where did they go?!?!? I better keep my pack close to make sure nothing happens to them, she seems to say.”

Mark Meadows is Looking for Comfort in the Federal Courts?

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/mark-meadows-in-ga-court-time-with-donald-trump-was-challenging/ar-AA1fSFUE

So let me get this straight, Mark Meadows, Donald Trump’s former Chief of Staff, seeks to change his court case from a wholly GOP controlled Georgia State jurisdiction, to a Federal one. I thought these 50 states were where the GOP found its power, where the rights of the people lived, and where the deep state doesn’t penetrate.

He wants his court case heard at the Federal level because why? Isn’t the Federal government the big bad for these people? Why would he flee his GOP friends at the state level and put his fate in the hands of the “deep state.”

Well, yeah, I know, they don’t believe in the deep state either, but the rhetorical question is just too juicy.

A Person with an Opinion

I was speaking with someone a while back, trying to get to the crux of the wrongness of the assertions that the election was stolen, the covid vaccine is harmful, and the mainstream media is lying about it.

So I told a story. I told the story about how back in 2002/2003, I knew that Saddam Hussein didn’t have weapons of mass destruction. Credible sources trotted out evidence, and the main stream media had agreed. World governments agreed. Saddam could come for the US next with his weapons of mass destruction. That’s why we had to go in and fight a war.

I had watched in the years leading up to this, countless inspectors finding nothing. I had watched the brinksmanship, the back and forth; did they have access; didn’t they have access. I didn’t know anyone on the team. I didn’t know anybody from the intelligence agencies. I had no access to any first hand data about the situation.

I knew in my gut that Saddam had nothing and the war was a lie.

“Without data you’re just a person with an opinion.”

W Edward Deming

My correct selection of “black” on the roulette wheel was no indication of my credibility. It was no guarantee on future outcomes. It was not even an indication of any probable future outcomes.

I moved the needle exactly nowhere. Sure, I made a correct assertion, but with no data, no evidence, and no basis whatsoever.

Practice it with me. Don’t trust me in any capacity. I have no insight. I have an opinion based on nothing. I could be wrong.

The Open Internet is Back. The Fediverse is Here

When Facebook/Twitter/Google+ et al, showed up they published open interchange formats. Facebook’s messenger chat was XMPP, which meant you could use your own IM client to communicate with your contacts.

A company or individual could publish directly to their Facebook page from their website. Then, little by little they closed off all that 3rd party functionality. You now could only publish from their platform. Your own website could no longer be the hub of your communications. You can pull data from social media sites, but you can’t push. These social media sites wanted you engaged on their platform only. And why wouldn’t they. They can’t monetize you if you’re not there, can they?

Now, Mastodon (and others) come along with #ActivityPub. Public utilities, FEMA, weather service, local services etc, could publish to a regional mastodon instance, funded perhaps by the local municipality or province. This interchange format isn’t beholden to one company, and your channel of communications could be funded with public money and be maintained as part of jurisdiction’s emergency response.

I hated that Twitter was the default for important public services.

It’s ready right now. All that is required is some forward thinking agency to set up their own instance.

But it gets even better. There’s even an #ActivityPub plugin for #Wordpress? https://wordpress.org/plugins/activitypub/

WordPress runs 44% of the web. Every single one of those websites could publish on the #Fediverse right now.

What does it mean? It means your website right now could publish to the public Fediverse and be found and followed by any user on any instance in the world without having to repost your information to a private company’s website.

This brings a few benefits. A decentralized platform is infinitely more resilient to censorship and bad behavior by a private corporation. You cannot be monetized of manipulated by corporations and their algorithm.

Are Google/Facebook/Twitter good stewards of privacy? Do they protect the identities of dissidents when their governments come for them? Do they protect you?

I’m telling you, Elon’s meltdown may be the best thing for re-exposing people to what an open internet looks like. Let’s not screw this up again, okay?

To Peel a Mango

This morning, I was faced with the task of preparing a bowl of fresh mangoes. Mangoes are some of the tastiest and finest fruits anyone will ever eat. Yet, I hesitated. I wish they would just appear in the bowl ready to eat. Eating them is the fun part. The effort, it seems to me, is nearly identical to the enjoyment, that is to say, enjoyment nudges out effort by only a smidge. Let’s get to it then, I sighed, resigned to the task.

It may seem simple. It’s fruit. How hard could it be? I assure you, to peel a mango is a difficult thing, so difficult, in fact, that I believe it to be an excellent measure of a person.

I have talked to country folk in Puerto Rico. I have watched Youtube videos. I have tried different kinds of peelers, knifes, and widgets. This is a test, the kitchen’s version of the Kobayashi Maru from Star Trek. How do you function in a no-win scenario?

If you want to see what kind of person someone is, whether they may be a potential mate or friend, ask them to peel a mango. They will fail, and it is in their failure you will find out who they are.

I have been peeling mangoes for 25 years, and I still struggle nearly every time. They are slippery. They are messy. They resist process. They resist technique. The knife must be razor sharp, your fingers nimble, your grip delicate. You don’t know where the pit is. It could be shallow. It could be deep. How could such a heavy fruit have so little flesh? They foil you in unique and frustrating ways EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

If you want to find out how a person is when they fail, ask them to peel a mango.

If you want to see how a person plans, ask them to peel a mango.

If you want to see if a person is open to new things, is curious or adventurous, ask them peel a mango.

If you want to find out if someone is a good sport, ask them to peel a mango.

If you want to see how perseverate a person is, ask them peel a mango.

It is all there, contained within the mango, the truest test of a human being I can imagine.

Also, If you want to find out why is yucca healthier than potato, read on.

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