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Topics - AgelessDrifter

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1
http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/The-Wire-Creator-Eyes-Series-on-Spanish-Civil-War-20160410-0001.html

This could be pretty cool if it were done correctly. Homage to Catalonia is one of my favorite books. The Spanish Civil War was such a cluster fuck it's amazing (but not really that amazing if you're cynical) that it's not a more popular subject of media in general and that people in general know so little about it (in the States, at least)

2
General Discussion / Hey Utumno
« on: March 27, 2016, 08:58:15 AM »
fuck you  :angry:

4
General Discussion / is Yahoo news user-submitted or something?
« on: March 09, 2016, 09:07:43 PM »
http://news.yahoo.com/hillary-clinton-drops-2016-presidential-race-103050046.html

I don't see it anywhere else and this can't be real to begin with, right?

5
http://www.theguardian.com/education/2015/jan/08/toki-pona-invented-language-memrise

Costs like $14 for the book, dunno if you can get it elsewhere or not.

It'd certainly be 100% useless but it seems like it could be pretty interesting to try out with a bunch of people

6
General Discussion / Has the Onion sold out?
« on: February 19, 2016, 06:51:43 PM »
idk but this guy thinks so

http://thefreethoughtproject.com/hillarys-top-donor-buys-onion-starts-publishing-propaganda-immediately/

If it's just the one article then w/e I guess. It is a bummer to imagine such a well-regarded staple of astute societal commentary becoming the arm of some shitty political mavhine tho

May cp article when not on phone

7
General Discussion / Apple getting srs about FBI demand for iphone backdoor
« on: February 17, 2016, 11:22:02 PM »
www.apple.com/customer-letter/




February 16, 2016 A Message to Our Customers
The United States government has demanded that Apple take an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers. We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand.

This moment calls for public discussion, and we want our customers and people around the country to understand what is at stake.

The Need for Encryption
Smartphones, led by iPhone, have become an essential part of our lives. People use them to store an incredible amount of personal information, from our private conversations to our photos, our music, our notes, our calendars and contacts, our financial information and health data, even where we have been and where we are going.

All that information needs to be protected from hackers and criminals who want to access it, steal it, and use it without our knowledge or permission. Customers expect Apple and other technology companies to do everything in our power to protect their personal information, and at Apple we are deeply committed to safeguarding their data.

Compromising the security of our personal information can ultimately put our personal safety at risk. That is why encryption has become so important to all of us.

For many years, we have used encryption to protect our customers’ personal data because we believe it’s the only way to keep their information safe. We have even put that data out of our own reach, because we believe the contents of your iPhone are none of our business.

The San Bernardino Case
We were shocked and outraged by the deadly act of terrorism in San Bernardino last December. We mourn the loss of life and want justice for all those whose lives were affected. The FBI asked us for help in the days following the attack, and we have worked hard to support the government’s efforts to solve this horrible crime. We have no sympathy for terrorists.

When the FBI has requested data that’s in our possession, we have provided it. Apple complies with valid subpoenas and search warrants, as we have in the San Bernardino case. We have also made Apple engineers available to advise the FBI, and we’ve offered our best ideas on a number of investigative options at their disposal.

We have great respect for the professionals at the FBI, and we believe their intentions are good. Up to this point, we have done everything that is both within our power and within the law to help them. But now the U.S. government has asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create. They have asked us to build a backdoor to the iPhone.

Specifically, the FBI wants us to make a new version of the iPhone operating system, circumventing several important security features, and install it on an iPhone recovered during the investigation. In the wrong hands, this software — which does not exist today — would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession.

The FBI may use different words to describe this tool, but make no mistake: Building a version of iOS that bypasses security in this way would undeniably create a backdoor. And while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control.

The Threat to Data Security
Some would argue that building a backdoor for just one iPhone is a simple, clean-cut solution. But it ignores both the basics of digital security and the significance of what the government is demanding in this case.

In today’s digital world, the “key” to an encrypted system is a piece of information that unlocks the data, and it is only as secure as the protections around it. Once the information is known, or a way to bypass the code is revealed, the encryption can be defeated by anyone with that knowledge.

The government suggests this tool could only be used once, on one phone. But that’s simply not true. Once created, the technique could be used over and over again, on any number of devices. In the physical world, it would be the equivalent of a master key, capable of opening hundreds of millions of locks — from restaurants and banks to stores and homes. No reasonable person would find that acceptable.

The government is asking Apple to hack our own users and undermine decades of security advancements that protect our customers — including tens of millions of American citizens — from sophisticated hackers and cybercriminals. The same engineers who built strong encryption into the iPhone to protect our users would, ironically, be ordered to weaken those protections and make our users less safe.

We can find no precedent for an American company being forced to expose its customers to a greater risk of attack. For years, cryptologists and national security experts have been warning against weakening encryption. Doing so would hurt only the well-meaning and law-abiding citizens who rely on companies like Apple to protect their data. Criminals and bad actors will still encrypt, using tools that are readily available to them.

A Dangerous Precedent
Rather than asking for legislative action through Congress, the FBI is proposing an unprecedented use of the All Writs Act of 1789 to justify an expansion of its authority.

The government would have us remove security features and add new capabilities to the operating system, allowing a passcode to be input electronically. This would make it easier to unlock an iPhone by “brute force,” trying thousands or millions of combinations with the speed of a modern computer.

The implications of the government’s demands are chilling. If the government can use the All Writs Act to make it easier to unlock your iPhone, it would have the power to reach into anyone’s device to capture their data. The government could extend this breach of privacy and demand that Apple build surveillance software to intercept your messages, access your health records or financial data, track your location, or even access your phone’s microphone or camera without your knowledge.

Opposing this order is not something we take lightly. We feel we must speak up in the face of what we see as an overreach by the U.S. government.

We are challenging the FBI’s demands with the deepest respect for American democracy and a love of our country. We believe it would be in the best interest of everyone to step back and consider the implications.

While we believe the FBI’s intentions are good, it would be wrong for the government to force us to build a backdoor into our products. And ultimately, we fear that this demand would undermine the very freedoms and liberty our government is meant to protect.

Tim Cook






8
General Discussion / contacts
« on: February 16, 2016, 03:53:05 AM »
I finally pulled the trigger on contacts, but now that I'm wearing them (after an embarrassing amount of time spent poking myself fruitlessly in the eyes) I'm not sure my vision is actually better.

It's like a first-person flashback/dream sequence in a sitcom where there are points on the screen that are super focused but there's this blur that kinda haphazardly orbits the periphery whenever I move my eyes or blink. Sometimes there is no clear spot and I wonder if they fell out. Sometimes things're even blurrier than without contacts. It does seem to be settling down as the day goes on, at least.

I figure maybe they're getting stuck in places other than over my irises due to dryness or something so I got some eyedrops, but I really don't wanna be one of those people who's gotta put in eyedrops every ten minutes like a teenage Sublime fan.

9
because it wasn't already painful enough sending money home for student loans

The USD apparently dipped against almost every major currency /but/ Japan this week

10
Experts say it's a major breakthrough. All the compsci kids in my facebook newsfeed have been geeking out.





IN A MAJOR breakthrough for artificial intelligence, a computing system developed by Google researchers in Great Britain has beaten a top human player at the game of Go, the ancient Eastern contest of strategy and intuition that has bedeviled AI experts for decades.

Machines have topped the best humans at most games held up as measures of human intellect, including chess, Scrabble, Othello, even Jeopardy!. But with Go—a 2,500-year-old game that’s exponentially more complex than chess—human grandmasters have maintained an edge over even the most agile computing systems. Earlier this month, top AI experts outside of Google questioned whether a breakthrough could occur anytime soon, and as recently as last year, many believed another decade would pass before a machine could beat the top humans.

But Google has done just that. “It happened faster than I thought,” says Rémi Coulom, the French researcher behind what was previously the world’s top artificially intelligent Go player.

In theory, such training only produces a system that's as good as the best humans---not better. So researchers matched their AI system against itself.
Researchers at DeepMind—a self-professed “Apollo program for AI” that Google acquired in 2014—staged this machine-versus-man contest in October, at the company’s offices in London. The DeepMind system, dubbed AlphaGo, matched its artificial wits against Fan Hui, Europe’s reigning Go champion, and the AI system went undefeated in five games witnessed by an editor from the journal Nature and an arbiter representing the British Go Federation. “It was one of the most exciting moments in my career, both as a researcher and as an editor,” the Nature editor, Dr. Tanguy Chouard, said during a conference call with reporters on Tuesday.

This morning, Nature published a paper describing DeepMind’s system, which makes clever use of, among other techniques, an increasingly important AI technology called deep learning. Using a vast collection of Go moves from expert players—about 30 million moves in total—DeepMind researchers trained their system to play Go on its own. But this was merely a first step. In theory, such training only produces a system as good as the best humans. To beat the best, the researchers then matched their system against itself. This allowed them to generate a new collection of moves they could then use to train a new AI player that could top a grandmaster.

“The most significant aspect of all this…is that AlphaGo isn’t just an expert system, built with handcrafted rules,” says Demis Hassabis, who oversees DeepMind. “Instead, it uses general machine-learning techniques how to win at Go.”

'Go is implicit. It's all pattern matching. But that's what deep learning does very well.'
DEMIS HASSABIS, DEEPMIND
The win is more than a novelty. Online services like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, already use deep learning to identify images, recognize spoken words, and understand natural language. DeepMind’s techniques, which combine deep learning with a technology called reinforcement learning and other methods, point the way to a future where real-world robots can learn to perform physical tasks and respond to their environment. “It’s a natural fit for robotics,” Hassabis says.

He also believes these methods can accelerate scientific research. He envisions scientists working alongside artificially intelligent systems that can home in on areas of research likely to be fruitful. “The system could process much larger volumes of data and surface the structural insight to the human expert in a way that is much more efficient—or maybe not possible for the human expert,” Hassabis explains. “The system could even suggest a way forward that might point the human expert to a breakthrough.”

But at the moment, Go remains his primary concern. After beating a grandmaster behind closed doors, Hassabis and his team aim to beat one of the world’s top players in a public forum. In mid-March, in South Korea, AlphaGo will challenge Lee Sedol, who holds more international titles than all but one player and has won the most over the past decade. Hassabis sees him as “the Roger Federer of the Go world.”

Judging by Appearances
In early 2014, Coulom’s Go-playing program, Crazystone, challenged grandmaster Norimoto Yoda at a tournament in Japan. And it won. But the win came with caveat: the machine had a four-move head start, a significant advantage. At the time, Coulom predicted that it would be another 10 years before machines beat the best players without a head start.

The challenge lies in the nature of the game. Even the most powerful supercomputers lack the processing power to analyze the results of every possible move in any reasonable amount of time. When Deep Blue topped world chess champion Gary Kasparov in 1997, it did so with what’s called brute force. In essence, IBM’s supercomputer analyzed the outcome of every possible move, looking further ahead than any human possibly could. That’s simply not possible with Go. In chess, at any given turn, there are an average 35 possible moves. With Go—in which two players compete with polished stones on 19-by-19 grid—there are 250. And each of those 250 has another 250, and so on. As Hassabis points out, there are more possible positions on a Go board than atoms in the universe.

Players will tell you to make moves based on the general appearance of the board, not by closely analyzing how each move will play out.
Using a technique called a Monte Carlo tree search, systems like Crazystone can look pretty far ahead. And in conjunction with other techniques, they can pare down the field of possibilities they must analyze. In the end, they can beat some talented players—but not the best. Among grandmasters, moves are rather intuitive. Players will tell you to make moves based on the general appearance of the board, not by closely analyzing how each move might play out. “Good positions look good,” says Hassabis, himself a Go player. “It seems to follow some kind of aesthetic. That’s why it has been such a fascinating game for thousands of years.”

But as 2014 gave way to 2015, several AI experts, including researchers at the University of Edinburgh and Facebook as well as the team at DeepMind, started applying deep learning to the Go problem. The idea was the technology could mimic the human intuition that Go requires. “Go is implicit. It’s all pattern matching,” says Hassabis. “But that’s what deep learning does very well.”

Self-Reinforcing
Deep learning relies on what are called neural networks—networks of hardware and software that approximate the web of neurons in the human brain. These networks don’t operate by brute force or handcrafted rules. They analyze large amounts of data in an effort to “learn” a particular task. Feed enough photos of a wombat into a neural net, and it can learn to identify a wombat. Feed it enough spoken words, and it can learn to recognize what you say. Feed it enough Go moves, and it can learn to play Go.

MORE AI
 Google and Facebook Race to Solve the Ancient Game of Go With AI
Google and Facebook Race to Solve the Ancient Game of Go With AI
 The Mystery of Go, the Ancient Game That Computers Still Can't Win
The Mystery of Go, the Ancient Game That Computers Still Can’t Win
 Google Just Open Sourced TensorFlow, Its Artificial Intelligence Engine
Google Just Open Sourced TensorFlow, Its Artificial Intelligence Engine
At DeepMind and Edinburgh and Facebook, researchers hoped neural networks could master Go by “looking” at board positions, much like a human plays. As Facebook showed in a recent research paper, the technique works quite well. By pairing deep learning and the Monte Carlo Tree method, Facebook beat some human players—though not Crazystone and other top creations.

But DeepMind pushes this idea much further. After training on 30 million human moves, a DeepMind neural net could predict the next human move about 57 percent of the time—an impressive number (the previous record was 44 percent). Then Hassabis and team matched this neural net against slightly different versions of itself through what’s called reinforcement learning. Essentially, as the neural nets play each other, the system tracks which move brings the most reward—the most territory on the board. Over time, it gets better and better at recognizing which moves will work and which won’t.

“AlphaGo learned to discover new strategies for itself, by playing millions of games between its neural networks, against themselves, and gradually improving,” says DeepMind researcher David Silver.

According to Silver, this allowed AlphaGo to top other Go-playing AI systems, including Crazystone. Then the researchers fed the results into a second neural network. Grabbing the moves suggested by the first, it uses many of the same techniques to look ahead to the result of each move. This is similar to what older systems like Deep Blue would do with chess, except that the system is learning as it goes along, as it analyzes more data—not exploring every possible outcome through brute force. In this way, AlphaGo learned to beat not only existing AI programs but a top human as well.

Dedicated Silicon
Like most state-of-the-art neural networks, DeepMind’s system runs atop machines equipped with graphics processing units, or GPUs. These chips were originally designed to render images for games and other graphics-intensive applications. But as it turns out, they’re also well suited to deep learning. Hassabis says DeepMind’s system works pretty well on a single computer equipped with a decent number of GPU chips, but for the match against Fan Hui, the researchers used a larger network of computers that spanned about 170 GPU cards and 1,200 standard processors, or CPUs. This larger computer network both trained the system and played the actual game, drawing on the results of the training.

When AlphaGo plays the world champion in South Korea, Hassabiss team will use the same setup, though they’re constantly working to improve it. That means they’ll need an Internet connection to play Lee Sedol. “We’re laying down our own fiber,” Hassabis says.

ADVERTISING

According to Coulom and others, topping the world champion will be more challenging than topping Fan Hui. But Coulom is betting on DeepMind. He has spent the past decade trying to build a system capable of beating the world’s best players, and now, he believes that system is here. “I’m busy buying some GPUs,” he says.

Go Forth
The importance of AlphaGo is enormous. The same techniques could be applied not only to robotics and scientific research, but so many other tasks, from Siri-like mobile digital assistants to financial investments. “You can apply it to any adversarial problem—anything that you can conceive of as a game, where strategy matters,” says Chris Nicholson, founder of the deep learning startup Skymind. “That includes war or business or [financial] trading.”

For some, that’s a worrying thing—especially when they consider that DeepMind’s system is, in more ways than one, teaching itself to play Go. The system isn’t just learning from data provided by humans. It’s learning by playing itself, by generating its own data. In recent months, Tesla founder Elon Musk and others have voiced concerns that such AI system eventually could exceed human intelligence and potentially break free from our control.

But DeepMind’s system is very much under the control of Hassabis and his researchers. And though they used it to crack a remarkably complex game, it is still just a game. Indeed, AlphaGo is a long way from real human intelligence—much less superintelligence. “This is a highly structured situation,” says Ryan Calo, an AI-focused law professor and the founder of the Tech Policy Lab at the University of Washington. “It’s not really human-level understanding.” But it points in the direction. If DeepMind’s AI can understand Go, then maybe it can understand a whole lot more. “What if the universe,” Calo says, “is just a giant game of Go?”




11
http://www.salon.com/2013/05/30/half_of_americans_living_below_or_near_poverty_line_partner/




The Census Bureau has reported that 15% of Americans live in poverty. A shocking figure. But it’s actually much worse. Inequality is spreading like a shadowy disease through our country, infecting more and more households, and leaving a shrinking number of financially secure families to maintain the charade of prosperity.

1. Almost half of Americans had NO assets in 2009

Analysis of  Economic Policy Institute data shows that Mitt Romney’s famous  47 percent, the alleged ‘takers,’ have taken nothing. Their debt exceeded their assets in 2009.

2. It’s Even Worse 3 Years Later

Since the recession, the disparities have continued to grow. An  OECD report states that “inequality has increased by more over the past three years to the end of 2010 than in the previous twelve,” with the U.S. experiencing one of the widest gaps among OECD countries. The 30-year  decline in wages has worsened since the recession, as low-wage jobs have replaced formerly secure middle-income positions.

3. Based on wage figures, half of Americans are in or near poverty.

The IRS reports that the highest wage in the bottom half of earners is about $34,000. To be eligible for food assistance, a family can earn up to  130% of the federal  poverty line, or about $30,000 for a family of four.

Even the Census Bureau recognizes that its own  figures under-represent the number of people in poverty. Its  Supplemental Poverty Measure increases, by 50%, the number of Americans who earn between one-half and two times the poverty threshold.


4. Based on household expense totals, poverty is creeping into the top half of America.

A family in the top half, making $60,000 per year, will have their income reduced by a total tax bill of about $15,000 ($3,000 for  federal income tax and $12,000 for  payroll, state, and local taxes. The  Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau agree that food, housing, and transportation expenses will deduct another $30,000, and that total household expenditures will be about $50,000. That leaves nothing.

Nothing, that is, except debt. The median  debt level rose to $75,600 in 2009, while the median family  net worth, according to the Federal Reserve, dropped from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010.

5. Putting it in Perspective

Inequality is at its ugliest for the hungriest people. While food support was being targeted for  cuts, just  20 rich Americans made as much from their 2012 investments as the entire  2012 SNAP (food assistance) budget, which serves 47 million people.

And as Congress continues to cut life-sustaining programs, its members should note that their 400 friends on the  Forbes list made more from their stock market gains last year than the total amount of the  food, housing, and education budgets combined.




There are links to sources (2nd hand, though, mostly, from the look of it) in the article if you go to the link.

12
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/as-zika-virus-spreads-el-salvador-asks-women-not-to-get-pregnant-until-2018/2016/01/22/1dc2dadc-c11f-11e5-98c8-7fab78677d51_story.html?tid=sm_fb




MEXICO CITY — The rapid spread of the Zika virus has prompted Latin American governments to urge women not to get pregnant for up to two years, an extraordinary precaution aimed at avoiding birth defects believed to be linked to the mosquito-borne illness.

What until recently was a seemingly routine public health problem for countries that are home to a certain type of mosquito has morphed into a potentially culture-shaping phenomenon in which the populations of several nations have been asked to delay procreation. The World Health Organization says at least 20 countries or territories in the region, including Barbados and Bolivia, Guadeloupe and Guatemala, Puerto Rico and Panama, have registered transmission of the virus.

[Here’s a quick explanation of Zika]

Although the Zika virus has been documented since the 1940s, it began its assault on Latin America in the past several months. The hardest-hit country has been Brazil, where more than 1 million people have contracted the virus. In the past four months, authorities have received reports of nearly 4,000 cases in which Zika may have caused microcephaly in newborns. The condition results in an abnormally small head and is associated with incomplete brain development. Colombia, which shares an Amazonian border with Brazil, reacted to its own Zika outbreak, numbering more than 13,000 cases, by urging women not to get pregnant in the next several months. Other countries, including Jamaica and Honduras, also have urged women to delay having babies.

After more than 5,000 suspected Zika cases were reported last year and in the first weeks of 2016, El Salvador on Thursday took the most extreme stance so far: Deputy Health Minister Eduardo Espinoza urged women to refrain from getting pregnant before 2018. The Central American nation saw its first suspected Zika cases in November and sent samples to the United States to be tested for the virus, Espinoza said in an interview.
What you need to know about the Zika virus
Play Video1:10
Authorities have confirmed a dozen cases of Zika virus in the United States. Here’s what you need to know. (Gillian Brockell/The Washington Post)

“The recommendation is that people plan their pregnancies, that they avoid if at all possible to have babies this year,” Espinoza said. “This is the first time that we have suffered an attack of Zika virus, and the first attack is always the worst.”

A campaign to delay pregnancy would seem to be an implicit endorsement of birth control. For a region that is majority Roman Catholic, this presents a potential conflict, as the church has long condemned contraception. The Rev. Hector Figueroa, a priest in charge of health issues in the San Salvador archdiocese, said that the pregnancy alert appeared in the Salvadoran news media Friday morning and that the archbishop had not had time to formulate an official response.

“Morality says that people shouldn’t have that control” over procreation, Figueroa said. “But the church also isn’t going to say something that runs contrary to life and health.”

“This is a very delicate issue,” he said.

As in other countries in the region, Salvadoran authorities have tried to slow the spread of Zika by launching fumigation programs in mosquito-breeding areas. Radio and television public-service campaigns have called on pregnant women to cover their skin to avoid bites.

Outside the National Maternity Hospital in San Salvador, Selina Velasquez Cortez, a 30-year-old employee of a sardine factory who has been trying to get pregnant for two years, said there is no way she will stop trying now.

“After so much time wanting to be a mother, I’m not going to give up now” because of the deputy health minister’s statement, she declared. “I think it’s absurd.”

Most people who have contracted the illness experience no symptoms. But Dinora Martinez, a 46-year-old secretary at a private health clinic in San Salvador, said she, her husband and their two adult sons had suffered when they contracted the virus in 2015.

“Pain, fever, aching joints. I couldn’t move my feet and thought I’d never be able to walk again,” she said. Her office has seen a rise in the number of Zika patients.

“The clinic has been full,” she said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday added eight to a list of 14 countries and territories it has urged pregnant U.S. women to avoid because of the risk associated with Zika outbreaks. So far there is no vaccine for the virus.

Zika is spread by two types of Aedes mosquitoes, which carry a clutch of fever-causing pathogens as they buzz in search of fresh blood. Besides the Zika virus, the mosquitoes transmit dengue, chikungunya and yellow fevers. An adult who contracts Zika might find the experience relatively mild: a slight fever, a rash, and pain in the joints and behind the eyes.

But the real devastation apparently strikes the children born to women with the illness, who can have permanent physical and mental defects, according to research in Brazil linking a surge in the number of microcephaly cases to Zika. There is also growing concern that Zika virus could be linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome, which can result in weeks of paralysis.

In the city of Santa Marta on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, a nurse in the maternity ward at the Clinica La Milagrosa said that the news about Zika and possible birth defects has scared many people. At least 500 of Colombia’s reported Zika cases involve pregnant women, according to the Health Ministry.

“There are women coming in really worried,” said the nurse, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “With everything that’s on the news about malformations, mothers are scared.”

Health Minister Alejandro Gaviria has advised Colombians to delay pregnancy for the next six to eight months. So far, 106 babies have been born to Zika-infected mothers, and the infants are under observation to determine whether their development has been affected by the virus, the ministry said. Colombia expects as many as 700,000 infections in the general population.



JFC

13
General Discussion / The Walk
« on: January 23, 2016, 09:18:38 AM »
Went and saw it on a whim. Hadn't seen the ads, just knew it was JGL as the guy from Man on Wire.

Might be really cool in IMAX--I saw it in regular 3D and it definitely had me muttering "nope,nope,nope" with sweaty palms at a point or two.

Wouldn't bother in 2D or at home though--it's a pretty cut-n-dry Oscar season drama. JGL does a great job of course (I can't comment on his French accent, though; to me for whatever reason 100% of French accents sound fake, even when they're real. I have no idea why French, specifically, has this effect on me). Nothing else really stands out, though. Probably didn't help that I had to read Japanese subtitles  for the French parts (distracting because I'm not fluent, of course, but also Japanese subtitles always lose a shitload in translation) but all the English dialogue is pretty perfunctory so I doubt it made that big a difference.

14
Spamalot / Red
« on: January 17, 2016, 01:38:48 AM »
I didn't renew my contract so if you wanna visit Japan while I'm here you got till August bruh

also I lost that other cellphone snowboarding so I won't get messages at that number anymore, at least unless someone finds it on the slope still working (unlikely)

15
General Discussion / Alan Rickman down
« on: January 14, 2016, 08:18:33 AM »
also age 69, also of cancer

16
Spamalot / Man, what the fuck happened to Gallagher?
« on: January 09, 2016, 10:42:54 AM »
Like, I know it's been cool to hate on Gallagher forever, right up there next to Carrot Top, but I always thought he was funny, at least when I was a kid. At the very least he seemed like a sharp and generally upbeat hippy type

Then I listen to this



Dude sounds like a toddler--like I honestly wonder if he didn't sustain brain damage at some point listening to that

And then there's this interview some time later





Gallagher’s reputation as a watermelon- and cottage cheese-smashing comedian was forged in the ’80s on the strength of his cable specials and highly interactive performances. But the North Carolina-born performer is the first to admit that that was a long time ago: Although he’s stuck tenaciously to his guns and released three specials in the ’90s and two this decade (the most recent being 2005’s Tropic Of Gallagher), at 63, Gallagher says he’s now “bored” and “bitter” about the current landscape of comedy. While on tour, Gallagher talked to The A.V. Club about inventing the mosh pit, losing his insurance, and the rise of mediocrity forcing prop comedy into extinction.

The A.V. Club: You’re pretty outspoken about which comedians you support and which ones you don’t. In an interview a few years back, you said America craves the mediocre, not the heroic or the moral in their comedians. What makes you heroic or moral in a way the comedians you disapprove of aren’t?

Gallagher: Are you going back to that Oregon interview?

AVC: Yes.

G: The Internet’s wonderful, isn’t it? I’m talking to a guy in Oregon, right? And it gets posted to the world, and then it gets preserved, and then I have to remember it and support it the rest of my life. Well, you looked around at all the different things that I’ve said and decided that this would be the most controversial for The Onion?

AVC: I’m not trying to be controversial, just asking for an elaboration.

G: I can’t remember, but certainly I can discuss how I think America looks for the mediocre.

AVC: Sure.

G: Well, I don’t think Katie Couric should have been the anchorperson for the news. She was originally a kicky young woman that did the on-the-street interviews, and she was known for her cuteness, and that’s why she was hired. The lady on the desk with all the stature that doesn’t speak good, Barbara Walters, was more of the kind of person you would have as an anchorperson, but in America, they are afraid to take a chance on people who aren’t known. This is how Conan [O’Brien] ended up with The Tonight Show: Rather than take a chance on somebody, they decide to advance from within. We promote people until they reach a point at which they’re incompetent.

Jay Leno and Dave Letterman could not work any of the places that I work, under the circumstances that I end up working. People don’t know how to behave in public anymore. Parents are trying to be friends with their kids rather than draw the line and tell them what proper public behavior would be. If you can go out in public with your underwear showing and your pants below your butt; if girls can wear a top that shows their bra as part of the fashion; if kids are getting tattoos that cause you to react because of the size of the tattoo and the colors of the tattoo, extending their earlobes, you know, bone through their nose—all of these things work because they’re wrong. It’s the wrong thing to do, and they’re trying to get a reaction out of people, and the reason people react is because it’s wrong.

As soon as enough people have done the wrong thing—Lenny Bruce talked about this when he ruined “fuck.” A good, strong word, but everybody now uses “fuck,” so it’s not a big, strong word. “Ass” recently, within the last few years, [George W.] Bush used it in public, and so then it became okay to use on TV. So then “ass” has entered the lexicon of acceptable words, so then “ass” loses its power as a surprising word. Then of course President Clinton ruined oral sex. [It’s] now an acceptable activity for a virgin, and doesn’t qualify as sex. So somewhere in there is a loss of morality—a mediocrity. You know, I think when Clinton ruined the presidency, it certainly made my point of mediocrity. We never pick a president who is above, we pick somebody we identify with: the lowest level, the most common. We didn’t pick the best politician in the Bush family, which of course was the governor of Florida. We picked the beer-drinking good ol’ boy. Ask them to lead us in areas that maybe didn’t require a good ol’ boy. You know, this is what I notice. Of course, I’ve been excluded from a lot of show business in America. So I’ve got a point of view that I don’t mind expressing, because I’m really not ruining a career that’s not really happening.

AVC: Speaking of your career, there’s a lot of footage on YouTube of you interrupting your openers, telling them how they could perform better. Does this also stem from that rise of mediocrity?

G: Here’s what happened there: I never have an opening act. Words are actors in your show. When you say a word, you are introducing that word to the audience as if it were an actor entering the scene. So the first time that the actor comes out onstage is important. So many of these comedians use “fuck” and “shit” right off the bat, and then lose the power of that word for a punchline later on. They also don’t pay attention to what they’re wearing or how they’re standing. And so we don’t really have a high level of performance in America, or even a demand that people onstage have studied, or pay attention to the performing arts. You can actually take a drink now during your show! You know, George Burns performed smoking a cigar, and never needed a drink of water on a stool. But now this has become a tradition in America. They more or less have a stool ready for you and ask, “What water ya want?” To me, as a visual artist, everything that’s in the picture should have meaning—what does a stool and a bottle of water mean?

AVC: That the performer is thirsty?

G: I can’t get through the show without hydrating? How is that funny? It’s just more of the same mediocre, lackadaisical, lack of quality, acceptance of the average that goes on in America. First we allow people to wiggle balloons behind the foul shooter as if it’s okay to win because the audience distracted the visiting team. I thought it was an athletic competition! I didn’t know it was a psychological competition in which you could ring cowbells behind the coach so the coach couldn’t talk to his players. Or that you could put a big “brick” up in the air and psychologically attack the foul shooter, “Oh, don’t be a brick!” Now, what is the game here? Is it chess? Or is it some kind of psychological torture of the opposing team? We’ve lost the meaning of athletic competition.

So of course when [Lakers  player Ron] Artest lies on the timer’s table, the audience is confused as to whether you can throw a beer. Then Artest is confused as to whether if someone throws a beer at you, you can enter the stands and have fisticuffs. The only real leader in America was, I guess his name is David Stern? The head of the NBA? Who finally said, “No! There are standards of behavior.” And you know why he said it? It wasn’t because he was concerned about behavior—he was concerned about money. The NBA cannot ask a family man to bring his children to an NBA game where a fight might erupt.

But the whole thing, basketball, is way too close. The audience is too close to the players. Something’s going to happen. Some player is going to be seriously injured falling on a tripod or a large lens of a camera. These celebrities that are placed extra-close on folding chairs—the players have to run for a ball and then jump two or three rows of people—who said that was okay?

I’ve always had to deal with insurance problems. My insurance was actually canceled at one point because someone sued me saying that they had been hurt seriously by a candy bar in the balcony. Somehow a candy bar I hit with a tennis racket so the people on the balcony could have candy? Said that she was injured in her eye, and the insurance company decided not to fight her case and pay it off and canceled me! She was 130 feet away. You know, I’m more or less at fault here. I was the first one to allow a projectile to come off of the stage and into the audience. And I kind of take responsibility for the mosh pit. Major amusement parks now have splash rides—you don’t even have to be a participant in the ride to get splashed, you can be on a bridge. And of course there’s Blue Man Group, GWAR, Insane Clown Posse, all have a necessity of putting plastic on the chairs or people wearing plastic to the show. It becomes a blurring of the rules. And I’m, you know, somewhat at fault here. But at least it’s my job as an entertainer to do something different. It shouldn’t be the audience.

You see, we’ve even blurred—where’s the stage? Is the audience the entertainer? Can I yell out? Can I be funny if I’m in the audience? Can I interrupt the comedian? Can I disrespect the rest of the people in the audience? What do I give a fuck about their right to have a show, as long as I’m having fun? Spoiled brats. We have a country… you know, people can’t handle alcohol. There’s no clear line as to what you can and can’t do. Nobody wants to be responsible for their actions.

We just had a real confusing situation in football. One player kills somebody and somehow isn’t punished as much as a quarterback who kills a dog. Dogs are given to the pound, and the pound kills them. So if, I forget his name, if [Michael Vick] had worked for the pound, he wouldn’t have been put in jail. It’s very—

Comedians need meaning. We need to know what words mean, and our society now is intent on blurring the meaning of just about everything. And the legal system also! “What is an adult? What’s premeditation? What is a felony?” It’s very difficult. “What’s improper behavior?” I ask these cops. If the kids already have their pants mostly down and they’re facing a wall, how do you know they’re not about to pee on the wall? Because this is what you do with homeless guys. You would catch them with their pants half down and you would get them for indecent exposure and public urination. And the cop told me, you can’t arrest them until you see the “brown round.”

AVC: What? What’s that?

G: That’s your dick. I guess everybody has a brown dick.

AVC: To take things back a little bit to comedy—

G: I’m a little pissed. I know that I am an excellent live performer. I know that I have spent my life paying attention to my art form, developing my art form, worrying about my show and what it is I’m bringing to people, making sure that I give them a fine trade. They get a two-hour show, sometimes a three-hour show, for a decent price. And I’m rewarded with immature, drunken behavior. Why in the hell did I sit at home thinking up really intelligent, insightful comments on the passing American scene just to end up at a drunken brawl where the things I say have to be yelled over the yelling that’s already going on? But you know what? Madison is wonderful. They’re going to listen. Detroit is drunken idiots. It was no surprise to me. I performed with Kenny Rogers for one year as his opening act, and I got to visit every major American city and notice the audience, and Detroit was one of the worst. Comparing them to 100, I did 100 dates with him. It was no surprise to me that the riot at the basketball game occurred in Detroit. It would not have occurred in Minneapolis.

AVC: What percentage of your audience do you think are hardcore fans vs. people who are just curious and haven’t seen you before?

G: See, that’s the problem—casinos give away the tickets. I had a problem just a few nights ago at a casino where I walked off the stage because they weren’t respecting me, and the audience was composed of people who got the ticket for free because they were high rollers. They weren’t really my fans filled with love and admiration and thankfulness that told me how much I’d meant to them over the years. But if you want to go back to your question about that New York situation—once again really thanking the Internet for making me have to address everything I do.

AVC: What more would you like to add?

G: Well, they couldn’t wait to post the videotape. I didn’t ask for an opening act, and I was surprised to discover that they had decided to put three kids on before me. And I say kids because they weren’t schooled. You can watch them. Now, it’s hard enough to do a show at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City. I hardly ever work in Manhattan, and it’s hard enough. That audience was there to see me, and those kids were ruining my audience. They were going to use all the words, they were going to introduce all the hot topics, so that by the time I got on as act No. 4, they were going to be overstimulated and bored and tired. And I didn’t want that. My audience was cooling off. They were not skilled comedians. So I jumped onstage so that the audience would see me, and that I could keep it going. I was actually using those comics as props. Too bad. That’s what I decided to do. I don’t have to be a nice guy if the situation and the people that hired me are not nice in one way or another to me. I pretended to be helping them to be better comedians because I felt that was some kind of a persona that I could take. And they did need my help, to tell you the truth. They don’t introduce their topics in a proper order. They don’t care how they stand, what they wear. I can tell you right now: There are at least five comedy specials on Comedy Central where the comedian wears a dark color and stands in front of a dark curtain. Now how fucking stupid is that? Now your hands and your face are floating in blackness. And then there’s an art director who’s given credit for the show and doesn’t know enough to say the figure should stand out against the background? Hello? It’s television!

I’m just bored to death and unimpressed with Hollywood and our country. I can prove it. I’m 63 years old, I’ve been doing this for 30 years, and I also know about the history of comedy before I was a comedian. I can see the whole panorama of this art form and America and the audience. I know that there used to be variety shows. There used to be places that people could learn the performing arts. You know, the No. 2 or No. 3 winner of Star Search doesn’t have a career. You have to have a hit and play a major hall to have a career in singing. There’s no place where everybody says, “Ooh, we’d love to hear the No. 3, and we’re ready to just sit and listen to you sing and appreciate your talent.” No, they’re not going to see them unless they’re hot. You know? ’Cause I work these smaller halls, and they don’t have anybody. They’re stuck in the air, they’re going out of business, they have to be supported by tax dollars because America really doesn’t appreciate the performing arts. There’s no vaudeville. Show business isn’t organized. There’s no way of becoming a beginner and moving into intermediate [and] then being a professional. You either have a hit and work the stadiums, or you’re a nobody and you’re over with.

AVC: Why has prop comedy been stagnating more and more?

G: I told you: an emphasis on the mediocre. You’re giving the audience what they want, but, that’s, I guess, a reflection on our society. It’s so thin, it’s a veneer, it’s not deep, it doesn’t have a moral direction. ’Cause we really don’t know, we don’t know.

AVC: What qualities should a good comedian have?

G: They need to be empathetic. They need to be a member of the audience. They need to think, “What is my audience thinking and doing while I’m performing?” That’s how you perform. What would you want your celebrity to do? What kind of a show would you want? You want somebody that just comes out there and doesn’t appear to be prepared and does what the hell they want to do? I don’t say the things onstage that I want to say; I say the things I think the audience wants to hear and would enjoy. You’re a servant of the audience.

I’ve got my own standards. I don’t say that I’m going to be like every other comic that’s blue, or gratuitous use of language. I do try to have my own standards: I don’t do everything the audience wants, and I do try to surprise them. But it’s still a service business, and I think the fact that I’m still in business 30 years later proves that this is the proper way to think about things.

http://www.avclub.com/article/gallagher-36622




He was a sad enough character when people just thought he was unfunny--ya kinda figure, hey fuck it, at least he's still having fun with it--but that he's also evidently a bitter racist piece of shit is just depressing and kinda baffling. Somewhere between I'm Still Stuck in the 60s and now he somehow wound up in some even earlier decade, apparently.

17
Spamalot / Aro
« on: January 08, 2016, 09:37:09 PM »
HBD from the future

fuck money get blunts smoke bitches

18
General Discussion / Now that I'm back from vacation
« on: January 03, 2016, 11:14:20 PM »
I'd like to give big ups to big Grand for showing me a baller time in Taipei. Did some drunken frogger on bicycles through the crazy downtown traffic, saw some sites, closed out a fancy nightclub and got breakfast with strangers afterward, drank some of the cheapest-if-also-nastiest scotch and tequila shots I've ever had in my life, and played some smash 64 with the man himself, just to name a few of the highlights. Great time in Taiwan. Would do business with again.

Taipei: basically endless hot chicks on scooters.

Managed not to get sick until my last day on Phi Phi. Drank a pineapple shake from a street stand in the morning before I got on the ferry, and by the time I managed to get to an airport bathroom some 5ish hours later I'd been nursing a nasty stomach ache through the whole ferry and cab rides + the security line--puked up more liquid than I'd've thought my body could hold. Felt a lot better afterward but I still got some BGs going now, like 5 days later.

Phi Phi was cool though--did some scuba for the first time, kayaked in the ocean a bit. Did a lot of chilling with a hookah and drinks on the beach, though, mostly. I'll probably kick myself in  few years for not spending some more time on the mainland sightseeing, but that woulda meant a lot more running around, and as it is I'm glad for all the relaxation.

Phi Phi: Don't drink the pineapple smoothies.

I don't do selfies, and you can find better landscapes online than the ones I took, but I think Grand might have a picture or two of us.

19
Or sneakily undermine net neutrality in a developing country?



http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2015/12/17/facebook-free-basics_n_8824378.html

Facebook has sneakily--without any announcement-- launched its Internet.Org service across India, asking people to send an automated email to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), letting them know that you support 'Free basics'.

And, a lot of people, are actually signing it up reading the word 'free'.

So, if you sign up for it, this is the message that you are sending to TRAI:




"Free Basics provides free access to essential internet services like communication, education, healthcare, employment, farming and more. It helps those who can't afford to pay for data, or who need a little help getting started online. And it's open to all people, developers and mobile operators. With one billion Indian people not yet connected, shutting down Free Basics would hurt our country's most vulnerable people. I support Free Basics - and digital equality for India. Thank you."

facebook

However, what it doesn't tell you is that 'Free Basics' is the other name for Internet.Org. It is the same service that net neutrality activists have been fighting against for a year now.

Since its India launch this May, Internet.org had come in for criticism for being a “walled garden” for its limited number of partners and single service provider.

Several internet activists had signed a petition against Facebook's initiative saying that goes against net neutrality and that world's poorest people will only be able to access a limited set of insecure websites and services if Internet.org is implemented.

"We are deeply concerned that Internet.org has been misleadingly marketed as providing access to the full Internet, when in fact it only provides access to a limited number of Internet-connected services that are approved by Facebook and local ISPs. In its present conception, Internet.org thereby violates the principles of net neutrality, threatening freedom of expression, equality of opportunity, security, privacy and innovation," the activists had said in the petition.

Net neutrality activists have said that Facebook's Internet.Org or now 'Free Basics' is a threat to the open, free Internet we’re used to—one that doesn’t discriminate between highly capitalized success stories like Netflix and Google and scrappy new startups that hope to be the next Google or YouTube or Facebook.

The activists are now asking you to change the text of that Facebook message to this.

    So if you're seeing a Facebook message asking for support for free basics, please replace their text with this https://t.co/mcOna2vv6F



In fact many also say that the petition is getting 'signed' without people actually doing it.

Incidentally, Facebook's fight may be different but the campaign form is the same as that was done by net neutrality activists. In April, activists had asked internet users to send emails to TRAI, from http://savetheinternet.in.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg says that the initiative is to help the poor and make internet accessible for all. However, what Zuckerberg isn't telling you is that--when the poor, who in theory can’t afford a net connection, come to the Facebook's 'Free Basics' service, they’re made to believe they’re on the internet while in reality they’re only on Facebook and a few hand-picked sites.

Nikhil Pahwa had responded to Zuckerberg’s editorial saying that 'zero services' amounts to economic racism—exploiting the poor in under-developed parts of the world to become your customers under the guise of some apparent charitable purpose. While offering them a shoddy, stunted version of the real thing.

In trying to convince people to sign up for Facebook's initiative, the company says that "Free Basics is in danger in India."

"A small, vocal group of critics are lobbying to have Free Basics banned on the basis of net neutrality. Instead of giving people access to some basic Internet services for free, they demand that people pay equally to access all Internet services, even if that means 1 billion people can't afford to access any services."

Facebook's campaign comes almost a week after TRAI has issued a consultation paper on differential pricing for data services, where it has asked if telecom operators should be allowed to have different pricing for accessing different websites, applications and platforms. They are allowing comments only till 31 December.

No wonder Facebook is looking slightly desperate in their act.

Update: Facebook has responded to this story with this statement

    "Hundreds of millions of people in India use the Internet every day and understand the benefits it can bring. This campaign gives people the opportunity to support digital equality in India. It lets people speak in support of the one billion people in India who remain unconnected, and lets them participate in the public debate that is being held by The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on differential pricing for data services. And it gives them the opportunity to support Free Basics, which is proven to bring more people online and accelerate full internet adoption."--Facebook spokesperson

21
General Discussion / Netflix Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon sequel
« on: December 07, 2015, 10:19:00 PM »


Yes?

Maybe?

I liked the original a lot, and I guess Netflix has a pretty decent track record at this point

Trailer doesn't give me much to go on though

22
Spamalot / So this morning
« on: December 03, 2015, 08:37:19 PM »
Ie, five minutes ago


I'm really hung over. Like, really really hung over. Yamagata is like the Florida of Japan--it's full of old people--so every once in a while, apparently, the young people of Yamagata (ie under 60) throw a party just to celebrate that they're not the old people of Yamagata. So last night me and some of the other JET teachers went to that. So I'm really hung over.

So usually I get to work like 45 minutes early in order to kinda zen my way into being a real human being before I have to deal with anyone in the morning, but today I snoozed my alarm for an extra hour and got to work like 2 minutes before the first bell would ring and the morning meeting would start.

So I sit through the morning meeting--all Japanese of course--totally disengaged and thinking about how I should've drank something before coming to work (no time for breakfast). When the meeting's over, I run out of the office to the student union around the corner to grab a drink from the vending machine there. Sweet, sweet Pocari Sweat. I want to just open the thing and slam it right there, but I need to get back to my desk in case anyone needs anything before classes start, so I head back. Teachers are supposed to not drink in the halls because students aren't allowed to and it sets a bad example for them or whatever, but it's a short stride. I start walking back, imagining the feeling of the first crisp, cold sip spreading cold sobriety through my arid loins. I can almost feel it.

I open the door to the office. Almost there. So close. I shuffle through a crowd of people on the narrow walkway to my desk--my hungover brain can barely handle the mental strain of doing the stranger dance with a dozen people, but I'm almost ready to drink away the pain of all the drinking-away-the-pain I did last night.

So I get to my desk and there's a teacher standing there. One of the English teachers. She wants to ask me about a work sheet. I greet her, trying not to make eye contact in the hopes that it won't be apparent how hung over I am, do the stranger dance with one last person on my way around the barrier between me and my desk, and come around to see the paper she's holding.

In Japanese offices, if someone comes to talk to you, you stand up to be polite, and you definitely don't slam a sports drink while they're talking to you. So I set my drink down on my desk. Nbd, she probably just wants to hand me the worksheet and have me check it for grammatical mistakes and get it back to her. 10 second interaction--I can do the actual checking after I've taken the tears of the gods into my being and rid the evil from my soul.

But it's not that. She hands me the paper and explains that it's a "heartwarming story" that "I found, not from the textbook," that it's a story divided into four parts, and that the point will be for students to identify the correct order of the parts of the story. She wants me to read it to see if I can figure it out and if it'll be too difficult for the students. This already sounds like it's going to take more brain power than I want to expend.

So I start reading the thing and two lines in, two things are immediately apparent: 1) this story would not be heartwarming and 2) that this was "found" in  the spam folder of someone's work email account. The story is roughly this:

1. College student has rich father, wants car
2. Graduates college, father gives him a bible instead
3. Kid throws a tantrum, storms out, leaves bible, never talks to father again
4. Father dies. Kid goes to sort out his stuff, finds the bible
5. Looks inside bible, deed to car in bible

Despite the distracting sense that I have transformed into a piece of parchment paper that somehow retains the capacity to experience dizziness, and that the fluorescent lights seem especially bright and flickery today, I manage to piece the story order together after reading one or two lines from each chunk, and I say "Yeah I think this'll be fine. It might take a while for the students to read, but they'll get it." and then I made a mistake. For no good reason I decided to be affable and I threw in "I think they'll be a little depressed afterward, [HAR HAR] but they'll be able to figure it out for sure"

"Depressed?" she asked

"Well yeah, to me this story is very sad," I say, already sensing that I had doomed myself to at least several more seconds without the sweet lifeblood sitting coolly on my desk, gathering moisture from the air, as if the other fluids of the world were gathering to admire and envy its perfection.

"Well, I want the students to write in English about why they thought the father left the receipt in the bible," she says. I nod into the paper absentmindedly as if I'm rereading something and try to think of the most noncommital thing I can say to end the conversation and move on to icy redemption, but my brain can't word correctly and I say nothing. After a few seconds I notice the silence and look up. The teacher is staring back at me.

Oh no.

I can see it before it happens. Like a photograph of two train engines nose to nose, the catastrophe hasn't started yet, but it's coming, when it arrives, it will not end quickly.

"You know when I was a kid..." she began. And for the next ten minutes I would stand there listening to the story. She lost her father to cancer many years ago. She had been a terrible daughter. She'd always regretted it. My brain is unable to keep up with the task of finding and communicating the appropriate facial responses--here sad, here a bemused and knowing chuckle--I feel like a punk rock drummer who's woken up on stage at a jazz festival, naked. All I can think about is the ever-warming, but still promisingly frigid ambrosia sitting in a puddle of moisture on my desk, as if, among the droplets that had gathered from the air to admire it, some had, like Narcissus, forgotten the importance of eating and had starved and fallen in their rapturous awe of it.

I tune back in momentarily. She is explaining that when she was 9, she yelled at her father for keeping her awake and she never forgave herself. I try to find the correct level of eyebrow furrowment but I worry that, outwardly, I may just be squinting really hard at her. I pretend to be checking the paper again for something.

It dawns on me that the room has become much quieter. This conversation has gone on unusually long and we're the only two people in the office standing. My awkwardness tries desperately to find a physical outlet. We're standing in a very narrow spot so shifting my weight is no good. I can't put my hands behind my back and twiddle my fingers because I'm still holding the paper in front of me. Hmm. I settle on shifting the paper in my hands slightly. Her eyes immediately dart to the paper and I freeze and throw in a "MMmm mhmm mhmm" to seem casual, but also empathetic. Her expression relaxes and she continues. She has not paused in speaking.  It takes my starved and abused brain a moment, but I try to take comfort in the recollection that only a few people in the office can understand what we're saying. They probably just think we're planning some very complicated class activity.

Then she starts crying. Not much, not loudly, but enough. Ok. I can do this. I knew this was coming. Just keep nodding, and the hydration god will repay your diligence in due time. I try not to be obvious about glancing over her shoulders to see if anyone else is staring.

The Japanese are better about being surreptitious than I am; everyone seems to be staring into their monitors, for the moment (but I know they see).

I set my face to "understanding" and try to go to my happy place--a paradise where the waterfalls pour Pocari Sweat and the other inhabitants are all pillows--but when I get there I find that all the Pocari Sweat is gone. One of the pillows explains to me that it's been kidnapped and is being held hostage on a desk somewhere...

I glance back at my savior-in-a-bottle. Now the condensation looks like tears. It's crying, too. Why won't I drink it? Was it not good enough for me? Don't cry, Pocari Sweat, it's not like that.

The teacher shows no signs of slowing. She and the Pocari Sweat are both crying. I almost feel like crying too, but I can't spare the moisture.

After some interminable interval someone walks past on the way to the printer, and although the person managed (through almost visible effort) not to notice us, her passing seemed to cause the teacher to remember herself. She trails off in her story. I say something sympathetic and do my best to nod in a consolatory way, hoping the addled brain can pull it off without making me look like a bobble head. After a few seconds I say something like "Well I think the students will really get something out of this exercise" and look back at the paper. There's no story anymore. The paper just says "Pocarisweatpocarisweatpocarisweat" in endless unbroken rows.

I look back up at the teacher and she is also pretending to inspect paperwork that she is holding. Several seconds go by like this. I can almost *hear* the Pocari Sweat...sweating.  What if it gets dehydrated, too? Who could save us both?

Finally, after a few more brief exchanges the teacher wanders off, clearly lost in thought. I immediately tear the Pocari Sweat bottle in two and drain its all-too-sparing contents into my craven gullet. I feel the coolness traveling from my throat into my stomach and from there, slowly spreading into my extremities. Back in the once-and-future happy place, the pillow people are rejoicing. Lifeblood has returned to the falls. All is right with the world. Resisting the urge to lick the sweat off the Sweat bottle, I return to reality and take a look around.

All the faces that were staring into their monitors before are now staring at me. I clear my throat and pull up TZT.





23
General Discussion / Anyone been to Thailand?
« on: November 29, 2015, 09:33:02 PM »
recommend me some shit (not prostitutes)

24
General Discussion / Anyone else enjoy Every Frame a Painting?
« on: November 26, 2015, 03:17:25 AM »


I fucking love this guy's videos--it's like porn for film dilettantes

25
Spamalot / I shouldn't
« on: November 01, 2015, 01:58:49 AM »
type this post with both hands

and move the cursor over to the post button with my right index finger

and click the left mouse button with my thumb

my right thumb

26
Spamalot / Hey Agrul
« on: October 23, 2015, 08:56:56 PM »
You got any advice/sources for studying for the math subject GRE?

27
Spamalot / How many more years
« on: October 19, 2015, 10:48:29 AM »
until TZT's oldest offspring are as old as TZT's youngest poster was when that poster started posting here?

28
Tech Heads / Desperately attempting to set up wifi: solved
« on: October 14, 2015, 06:57:24 AM »
in japanese

Surface Pro 2s don't have ethernet ports

I finally got a wireless router from a pal, and spent all day trying to get into the damn thing. Was finally successful, but once inside (everything was Japanese) had no fucking clue what to do.

My internet isn't canceled, I checked that first thing. But when I connect to the wireless router's wifi signal, I get a limited connection and "Dns server unavailable" as the error. At first I wasn't able to even log into the router by using the default gateway, but I figured out my computer wasn't setting its IP correctly, so I set it manually and got into the router.

The trouble is that my ISP needs log-in info. The type of thing you would put in on the first page of the "connect to the internet" wizard in windows if you choose a pppoe type connection. But I can't do pppoe because I have no ethernet cable. The firmware on the router doesn't seem to have anywhere to put in the username/pass combo either.

Does this make any sense? Do I just have a router that lacks the functionality required here, or is there something I'm missing? It's a huge song and dance to get through to tech support and when I talked to them earlier (before I'd figured out how to get into the router) they told me I should contact the router manufacturer instead.

This is the router http://site2.buffalotech.com/downloads/WLAG54_manual.pdf

edit: all fucking and I'd been looking at the wrong ID/Password document. It was the id password combo for accessing my account with the ISP (for like billing stuff).

The hazards of skimming

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General Discussion / Just noticed Bick browsing an old thread
« on: October 07, 2015, 12:50:15 AM »
Wonder how often that happens.

Hi Bick

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