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Altered Carbon: Best of the Year

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The new Netflix series – Altered Carbon – will probably go down as one of the best science-fiction  shows of these years. Elitism versus populism, the trans-humanist controversy, sex  and power, authority and rebellion are all ongoing themes here.

In this future, people can download (and backup) their consciousness into a “stack” in the upper vertebrae, which can then be put into a clone (if you’re rich) or whatever corpse becomes available (if your poor). So characters who begin in a certain “sleeve” (the meat and bones of the physical body) end up looking different.

While it borrows from Bladerunner and the Matrix, it has its own personality. The show’s depiction of the future overlaps with The Diamond Age (a great read, and its “neo-Victorians” remind me of the “neo-Catholics” in the show), and the The Windup Girl (harder to read, with more complicated plot lines, but fascinating, with artificial humans in a world of scarcity, etc…).

Altered Carbon is well done, with action that drives the plot and that does not become too boring or ongoing (like in those absurd superhero movies). It’s shiny, cool, and sexy. There is a very high level of sophistication behind the writing and concepts.

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I won’t continue to spoil the plot. But I need to point out one thing. Below, the AI hotel clerk / bartender in Altered Carbon, who had not seen any guests in years. He is somewhat similar to some other guys, shown below.

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Why is this meme – the lone bartender standing at an inter-dimensional portal, so pervasive? It must mean something for the producers behind the producers.

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This meme is visible in The Shining and in Passengers.

Makes me wonder if there is something real to this archetype.

Trump Admin’s Hypocrisy

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It’s not every day a multi-millionaire celebrity – who has been the the US many times – gets denied a visa to visit.

According to the Daily Mail

“Argentine football icon Diego Maradona has been denied entry to the United States after he insulted US President Donald Trump on television.

Maradona was due to fly to Miami to take part in a court case involving his ex-wife Claudia Villafane.

But Maradona, who currently manages United Arab Emirates side Al Fujairah, has again been refused a visiting visa to enter the US.”

This news is fairly prominent in Latin America, but people are not really that surprised, as this region has been plagued with the personification of political power for centuries – with cults of political personalities and the abuses of power they entail.

Maradona was just being accurate. He called Trump a “chirolita,” which means “puppet.”

While the Trump administration is right to call out the FBI for its politicization and abuse of power, it then turns around and does the same thing and denies a visa to someone for petty, personal, political reason.

In a perfect world the president would either 1) not give a shit about what various people say about him (or her); or 2) be able to take a little criticism.

But no. We have a president who engages in twitter wars with media celebrities, demeaning the very essence of government. Maybe that’s the point.

The fact that this is accepted – and supported – by his supporters speaks volumes about their true  degenerate natures: that motley crew of conservatives, bible-belt evangelicals, zionists and other assorted factions, bent on turning the republic into a fiefdom, and united by a common philosophy of supremacism.

Maradona met all the requirements of being accepted for entry to the US. But he was denied. Amazing…

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/sportsnews/article-5344935/Diego-Maradona-denied-entry-insulting-Trump.html

Damnation

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IMDB describes this show accurately: “An epic saga about the secret history of the 1930s American heartland, centering on the mythic conflict and bloody struggle between big money and the downtrodden.”

This is one of the better series on Netflix. Very well acted and produced. Captivating plot.

Yes, as described above, there is plenty of class warfare, goin’ on. The big banks and big families are preying on the ordinary American. Although in this case, the preacher does not regurgitate the standard Biblical nonsense about governing authorities being installed by God. He claims to side with another populist, rabble rousing rebel, Jesus.

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Of course, to be in this series one needs 1) a 1930s face and 2) a 1930s haircut. Most people are appropriately selected, but there some shiny, uptalking actors and actresses who have never known want.

I once knew a woman who produced a documentary on the Civil War for a major channel, and she talked about people with a “Civil War face.” They either had that face, or they did not. Very simple.

On that score, oddly enough, about a half a dozen actors looks very much like the Hollywood A list actors of a generation ago. Are they all related? Is there some kind of underground genetic laboratory, a “factory,” producing look alikes?

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Does not Paul Ray, playing “Melvin Stubbs” look a lot like John Goodman? In the show he looks a lot more like him than here, as he is much heavier for the role. There are at least six other examples. Watch the series and spot them.

My only real complaint, being a history buff, is that there are no allowances for linguistic veracity. People back in the 1930s not only had a different accent than today (just listen to WWII documentaries) but they also used different lingo. On this show someone actually used the word “upgrade,” and I was jarred back to 2018.

Also, the plot take place in Kentucky, Iowa, and Wyoming. On the show, Wyoming does look like Wyoming, but Kentucky looks suspiciously like southern California, and much of Iowa looks suspiciously like Arizona.

Overall, this is an excellent show, and hard to turn off. Very binge worthy.

Back and Forth

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According to CNN, California is about to decide if coffee should come with a cancer warning because it contains acrylamide, whatever that is. Well, its a chemical that apparently exists in higher quantities in french fries, but I don’t see those coming with a warning anytime soon.

And:

“… a large number of epidemiologic studies (both case-control and cohort studies) in humans have found no consistent evidence that dietary acrylamide exposure is associated with the risk of any type of cancer.”

So leave it to California to go overboard, once again. True, drinking coffee by the gallon is surely harmful. But an equal amount of Coke is also surely more harmful than coffee. For that matter, so is alcohol and, maybe, milk.

Was it not just a few years ago that people were touting coffee as a cancer-fighting agent with anti-oxidants?

Coffee, like eggs, alternates between being good for you and bad for you.

So a California court will decide the fate of coffee in that state, even though the entire country is awash in corn syryp, refined sugar, GMO foods, fluoride, etc…

Is this supposed to make no sense?

Under the Dome

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A town gets domed very suddenly and no one knows why.

This series, on Netflix, is interesting because of the themes it addresses: extra-dimensionality, portals, reincarnation of the soul, destiny, the will of the “dome,” etc. Of course, this plays into the Flat Earth paradigm perfectly well.

While the overarching theme is fascinating, this series jumps many, many sharks. By the middle of Season 2, everyone has taken turns betraying everyone else, everyone has been in jail a few times, at death’s doorstep a few times, missing a few times – these subplots are recycled so often people have called this show “Under the Dumb.”

I put up with the over-the-top subplots because there are so many Easter eggs in this show. The town’s name is “Chester’s Mill” (Jester/Joker), and a dog was “Truman,” (as in the movie). On and on. Monarch mind control.

Those between-the-lines messages are what makes this show worth watching – well, at least through Season 2. When I’m not editing, and not working out at the beach, and not having coffee with some new friends, I watch Netflix.

Getting Roasted

The video below is 4 minutes, interesting, to follow up on yesterday’s theme.

Juan Valdez Lives

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Here in Colombia, there are not very many Starbucks. Instead, there are these “Juan Valdez” coffee shops everywhere, with excellent coffee and a simpler, more streamlined menu of drinks and desserts.

Starbucks used to be like this back a decade or so ago, before they became a milk-shake factory and added all kinds of salads, wraps, and other things to eat. In Juan Valdez, you can choose among twenty things or so, basic things like muffins, banana bread, and the guayaba cheesecake. But who knows, give them another decade ago and corporate momentum will have them selling quinoa and beet salads also.

It’s a bit strange to see Juan Valdez emblazoned on all these things in the cafe and on billboards. My hotel had wi-fi problems for a few days (the wind!), so I’ve been spending a few hours in various Juan Valdez cafes in the morning and then at night.

For people growing up in the 70s, we remember those absurd,  laughableTV commercials, with Juan Valdez hand picking beans, loading them on sacks, and guiding the donkey into town – just in time to hover over someone trying to wake up and offer them a steaming cup of joe.

Those commercials lent themselves to endless jokes, skits and assorted send ups..

Jim Carrey meets Juan Valdez

 

War on Cash

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The Washington Post ran a story with this headline (linked on the Drudge Report):

Hackers Are Making ATMs Spit Out Cash Like Slot Machines

First of all, I don’t believe it. ATMs have multiple safety and fallback measures in place. There are limits to how much cash can be spit out. They are not slot machines. And they are not electronic voting machines, which designed to have back doors.

Imagine, the report says that “criminal gangs” are hacking the machines. And here is another preposterous claim, that there are “… similar attacks in Mexico, in which criminals used a modified medical endoscope to access a port inside the machines and install malware.”

Also according to the report, a hacker convention included a demonstration of how this could be done, no doubt with a jerry-rigged machine and David Copperfield flair.

I’m calling bullshit on this story. It is simply a backstory, a pretext, an excuse to install biometric technology on ATM machines and, eventually, to add another argument to do away with cash altogether.

I’ve actually seen television commercials in Mexico urging people to use electronic payment instead of cash, and I believe the clips were for the Oxxo convenience store chain. The argument was that it was safer and reduced the prevalence of counterfeit currency.

Considering that coins and paper money have been around for thousands of years, the war on cash is nothing short of a war on civilization itself.

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/business/wp/2018/01/27/hackers-are-making-u-s-atms-spit-out-cash-like-slot-machines-report-warns/?utm_term=.0114929ba183

1st Place, Congrats

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No wonder illegal immigration has been front and center in mainstream news and politics. Here comes the second half of the problem-solution sequence: the real-time mass surveillance of every driver in the United States. Yes, that was the plan all along.

Americans of all stripes – liberal, but especially conservative – are commonly found babbling on about how the US is a bastion of personal freedom and individual civil liberties. Some of them even contrast the US system, favorably no less, with other presumably more authoritarian systems.

No other political system – not Russia, not China, not Iran – has the necessary ingredients for 1984-level mass surveillance. Those systems lack the most cutting-edge technology available and, furthermore, they are a decade or so behind the curve of applying such technologies to real life.

The western world has always included the presumption of anonymity in public places. But this presumption is now a thing of the past, both in the US and the UK, two societies in competition with each other to become the most totalitarian.

So, while the US keeps dropping on the list of standard of living and other “good lists,” an argument can be made that its political system is already in the zone of “partially free” or “not free.”

The Trump administration has never lifted a finger to preserve the Fourth Amendment. This is in keeping with Republican and conservative “statism” which is reflected by the conservative members of the Supreme Court. Democratic and liberal “statism” is slightly different. Both sides are hypocritical (the bedroom v. boardroom debate).

Here, Christians are normally silent on such issues. Most evangelicals are anti-immigrant, either blinded by hatred or believing that immigration “law” has integrity after decades of selective enforcement and actually encouraging illegal immigration. Christians are big on “the law” even when it violates natural law.

American evangelicals will back this license-plate surveillance measure. They surely think that mass surveillance is an inevitable part of the New World Order, fulfilling prophesy. They forget that destiny that is “written” cancels out free will. Which is it? Is the future written or do we have free will? Make up your minds.

Meantime, as different factions bandwagon on this surveillance measure, it is important to bear witness to their collective degeneracy.