buffoons

Assessment of presence in augmented and mixed reality

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This past winter, Goldman Sachs was closing in on a $40 million investment in Ozy, a digital media company founded in 2013, and there seemed to be a lot of reasons to do the deal. Ozy boasted of a large audience for its general interest website, its newsletters and its videos, and the company had a charismatic chief executive, Carlos Watson, a onetime cable news anchor who had worked at Goldman Sachs early in his career. And, crucially, Ozy said it had a great relationship with YouTube, where many of its videos attracted more than a million views.

That’s what the Zoom videoconference on Feb. 2 that Ozy arranged between the Goldman Sachs asset management division and YouTube was supposed to be about. The scheduled participants included Alex Piper, the head of unscripted programming for YouTube Originals. He was running late and apologized to the Goldman Sachs team, saying he’d had trouble logging onto Zoom, and he suggested that the meeting be moved to a conference call […] Once everyone had made the switch to an old-fashioned conference call, the guest told the bankers what they had been wanting to hear: that Ozy was a great success on YouTube, racking up significant views and ad dollars, and that Mr. Watson was as good a leader as he seemed to be. As he spoke, however, the man’s voice began to sound strange to the Goldman Sachs team, as though it might have been digitally altered, the four people said.

After the meeting, someone on the Goldman Sachs side reached out to Mr. Piper, not through the Gmail address that Mr. Watson had provided before the meeting, but through Mr. Piper’s assistant at YouTube. […] A confused Mr. Piper told the Goldman Sachs investor that he had never spoken with her before. Someone else, it seemed, had been playing the part of Mr. Piper on the call with Ozy. […]

Within days, Mr. Watson had apologized profusely to Goldman Sachs, saying the voice on the call belonged to Samir Rao, the co-founder and chief operating officer of Ozy, according to the four people.

In his apology to Goldman Sachs and in an email to me on Friday, Mr. Watson attributed the incident to a mental health crisis and shared what he said were details of Mr. Rao’s diagnosis.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

BREAKING NEWS FROM PLANET BULLSHIT

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Elon Musk is going to launch a satellite that displays ads in space, reports @BusinessInsider.

He is one of several billionaires investing vast sums on the space race.

SpaceX will launch the satellite with a display screen in 2022.

Ad space will be bought using cryptocurrency.

{ AJPlus | More: Daily Mail }

‘I was following orders’

For six years after Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in 1933, Hollywood studios avoided making films that made the Nazis look bad, because they did not want to lose access to the German market. […]

Now history seems to be repeating itself, with the studios kowtowing to Communist China. […] John Cena, star of the new Fast and Furious movie, just issued an abject apology for casually referring to Taiwan as a “country.”

{ Washington Post | Continue reading }

‘This world is arranged as it had to be if it were to be capable of continuing with great difficulty to exist; if it were a little worse, it would be no longer capable of continuing to exist. Consequently, since a worse world could not continue to exist, it is absolutely impossible; and so this world itself is the worst of all possible worlds.’ –Schopenhauer

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{ The Clubhouse isn’t owned and operated by the influencers themselves but is overseen by outside investors. | Harper’s | full story }

‘Try to be free: you will die of hunger.’ –Cioran

Apparently someone sat Elon Musk down and told him where Bitcoins come from […] The funny move here would be if Tesla Inc. had dumped all its Bitcoins at the highs. […] The source of value for Bitcoin is not its use as a currency or economic importance; the source of value for Bitcoin — for everything — is simple proximity to Elon Musk. […]

Mark Zuckerberg shared a picture of his pet goats on Monday, introducing them to the world as Bitcoin and Max.

{ Bloomberg | Continue reading }

related { Tesla’s Musk halts use of bitcoin for car purchases }

‘There are many people today who see that modern society is heading toward disaster in one form or another, and who moreover recognize technology as the common thread linking the principal dangers that hang over us.’ –Theodore Kaczynski

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if you want to build a global taxi service that people can hail from a smartphone app, one way to do it is to coordinate with the taxi commissions of hundreds of cities to get regulatory approvals and make sure that you comply with local requirements, and another way to do it is to completely ignore those regulations and just launch your app everywhere. The second approach might expose you to ruinous fines or shutdown orders or bad publicity or prison, but it also might work; you might end up so popular in so many places that the local regulators can’t ban you and will have to accept your proposed terms. […]

If you want to build self-driving cars, you will need to test them. […] [a] way to test them is to just send out a bunch of cars to drive themselves everywhere, without asking for permission, and see what happens. […]

Federal agencies say he’s breaking the rules and endangering people. Mr. Musk says they’re holding back progress. […] When asked to comment on the specifics of this article, Mr. Musk replied with a “poop” emoji.

{ Matt Levine/Bloomberg | Continue reading }

previously:

Driverify [cryptocurrency]: Developed by Tesla’s self-driving-car division. Cars mine Driverify with spare computing power while idling, and spend it bidding against each other for right-of-way if they arrive at a four-way stop sign at the same time (users can preprogram how aggressively their cars bid in these auctions). […]

Banned [by the SEC] because: in the Phoenix suburb where the system was being tested, a pedestrian and Driverify-equipped car reached an intersection at the same time. The car dutifully wired a bid, but the pedestrian failed to respond. The car interpreted this as a bid of zero and ran into her.

{ Astral Codex Ten | Continue reading }

related { NASA suspends SpaceX’s $2.9 billion moon lander contract after rivals protest }

A hallmark of people who have strong narcissistic traits is the avoidance of taking responsibility for their incompetent behavior

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Musk tweeted on Monday that “data logs recovered so far” show the car’s Autopilot feature was not enabled […] The NHTSA currently has about two dozen active probes into Tesla vehicle crashes that may have involved Autopilot […]

Tesla in the past has drawn the ire of federal agencies for how it markets Autopilot and whether there’s true understanding on the part of passengers/drivers that the cars can’t fully drive themselves.

Tesla has warned that drivers must remain fully engaged while using these features.

Tesla told California regulators that its latest “full self-driving” software doesn’t actually make the car autonomous, seemingly contradicting its name.

{ Axios | Continue reading }

Sous le soleil de satan

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Facebook Says It’s Your Fault That Hackers Got Half a Billion User Phone Numbers

#IWokeUpLikeThis

Queen Elizabeth … a public servant, and an annual recipient of the taxpayer-funded sovereign grant — valued at $107.1 million (£82.2 million) in 2019…

{ CNN | Continue reading }

‘In a nation ruled by swine, all pigs are upward mobile — and the rest of us are fucked until we can put our acts together: Not necessarily to Win, but mainly to keep from Losing Completely…’ –Hunter S. Thompson

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Among the lowlights is a text from Depp to CAA agent Christian Carino, who previously repped Heard, in which he wrote: “[Heard is] begging for total global humiliation. She’s gonna get it. I’m gonna need your texts about San Francisco brother … I’m even sorry to ask … But she sucked [Elon Musk’s] crooked dick and he gave her some shitty lawyers … I have no mercy, no fear and not an ounce of emotion or what I once thought was love for this gold digging, low level, dime a dozen, mushy, pointless dangling overused flappy fish market … I’m so fucking happy she wants to fight this out!!! She will hit the wall hard!!! And I cannot wait to have this waste of a cum guzzler out of my life!!! I met fucking sublime little Russian here … Which makes me realize the time I blew on that 50 cent stripper … I wouldn’t touch her with a goddam glove.” […]

Depp adds, “Let’s drown her before we burn her!!! I will fuck her burnt corpse afterwards to make sure she’s dead.” […]

while shooting Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales in Australia, Depp swallowed eight ecstasy pills at once […]

He dropped $30,000 a month on wine alone. And in perhaps the most extravagant move of all, he spent $5 million to have Hunter S. Thompson’s ashes fired from a cannon hoisted atop a 153-foot tower in a fleeting tribute to the gonzo journalist. […]

a personal sound technician to handle his earpiece needs — “so he doesn’t have to learn lines,” adds the source

{ Hollywood Reporter | Continue reading }

‘The doors of hell are locked on the inside.’ –C. S. Lewis

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What Trump needed to do to make Television City a reality was to bring together different stakeholders: locals (like the late actor Paul Newman) who wanted parks and a less imposing development, and Ed Koch [mayor of New York City]. […]

Koch said Trump was “squealing like a stuck pig.” Trump said Koch’s New York had become a “cesspool of corruption and incompetence.” Koch said Trump was a “piggy, piggy, piggy.”

Trump said the mayor had “no talent and only moderate intelligence” and should be impeached. […]

Trump promised that he would eventually build Television City “with or without the current administration” in City Hall. But he never did.

Although New York developer William Zeckendorf Jr. offered Trump $550 million for the site in 1989 — which would have given him a handsome return on the $115 million in borrowed money he used to acquire the Yards four years earlier — he refused to sell.

In 1994, with the Yards bleeding about $23.5 million in annual carrying costs, and long after Koch had departed City Hall, Trump’s bankers forced him to give up control of the site. The property went to a group of Hong Kong investors, including New World Development, for $82 million and the assumption of about $250 million in debt Trump had amassed.

{ Bloomberg | Continue reading }

‘Murder the Media’

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The business challenges to launching a TV channel or other high-profile media property seem beyond the talents, resources and patience of Trump and his crew. This isn’t to predict that Trump won’t enter the media business, only to record that if he does, he won’t get very far. […]

Assuming that he can raise the hundreds of millions of dollars to stand up a competitive network—Trump has always preferred using other people’s money in his ventures—what sort of luck might he have in getting AT&T, Comcast, Verizon and other major cable companies to carry his new channel? He has no friends at AT&T […] Comcast doesn’t desire a new entry in the news market to go against its MSNBC property. As The New York Times noted in 2016, not even Oprah Winfrey, the queen of all media, succeeded in turning her personal franchise into a cable powerhouse. Can Trump do something the far-wealthier and much more appealing Winfrey couldn’t?

But let’s say Trump does the unlikely. If you think Fox has been distancing itself from the toddler-in-chief since the Biden victory, you can be assured that it will savage him when he poses a threat to its viewership and revenues. The same goes for the Trump-lovers at NewsMax and OAN. Trump’s better bet would be to buy NewsMax, something Trump allies flirted with in November, or even OAN. But again, doing so would draw the ire of Fox, where the majority of his followers currently park their TV sets.

{ Politico | Continue reading }

related { A scholar of American anti-Semitism explains the hate symbols present during the US Capitol riot }

related { Appears the Trump campaign’s digital director tried to give Trump his account. Twitter promptly suspended him }

When is a theory a conspiracy theory?

Trump had tried to reach Raffensperger at least 18 times before Saturday’s call, according to Raffensperger’s deputy, Jordan Fuchs, but the calls were patched to interns in the press office who thought it was a prank and didn’t realize it was actually the president on the line.

{ Washington Post | Continue reading }

‘A lie never lives to be old.’ —Sophocles

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Senior campaign and GOP officials vented that Trump’s finance team, led by former Fox TV host and Donald Trump Jr. girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle, underperformed and was an HR nightmare. Trump couldn’t compete with Biden’s small-dollar fundraising machine, and some donors were horrified by what they described as Guilfoyle’s lack of professionalism: She frequently joked about her sex life and, at one fundraiser, offered a lap dance to the donor who gave the most money.

{ Politico | Continue reading }

previously { Dear 45, I ain’t Kanye }

related { To the other educational benefits of Rudy Giuliani’s recent press conference in the parking lot of Four Seasons Total Landscaping, we can add the opportunity to learn about Hazard Communications (HazCom) signage | Language Log | full sotry }

and { “A lawsuit without provable facts showing a statutory or constitutional violation is just a tweet with a filing fee” }

image { Trump campaign dismissing its own appeal from the Nevada Supreme Court }

‘The Trump government in exile has established a foothold at Four Seasons Total Landscape and will begin exchanging ambassadors on Monday.’ –Jack Shafer

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On November 8, 1932, Americans decisively rejected Herbert Hoover’s leadership; he lost the popular vote by 17 percent and the Electoral College by 472 to 59. Franklin Roosevelt won an overwhelming victory, promising hope and government assistance for those in need. […]

Despite his defeat, Hoover was unrepentant, and doubled down on the very actions that voters had rejected. He used the long period between the election and the March 4 inauguration to sow discord, undermine the economy, and constrain his successor’s options. Hoover even pressured Roosevelt to abandon his campaign promises and sign on to his own failed policies. […]

The Twentieth Amendment, ratified in 1933, moved the presidential inauguration to January 20, where it remains.

{ The Bulwark | Continue reading }

related { Trump Team Holds News Conference Outside Drab Landscaping Firm, Next to Adult Book Store [and Crematorium] | More }

We salute Trump for crush COVID given to him by Democrats

Sacha Baron Cohen has responded to Donald Trump’s remarks about Borat 2

Donald—I appreciate the free publicity for Borat! I admit, I don’t find you funny either. But yet the whole world laughs at you.

I’m always looking for people to play racist buffoons, and you’ll need a job after Jan. 20. Let’s talk!

{ Sacha Baron Cohen | Quote: Borat }

‘One silver lining to this shit show is that Bill Barr destroyed his reputation.’ –Scott Shapiro

updated with The Lincoln Project’s legal response

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Only 4 more spray tans before we vote him out

This paper presents a model in which politicians can increase the probability of election by making exaggerated claims about the benefits of their own platform — referred to as positive campaigning — and by exaggerating the undesirable characteristics of their rival — i.e., negative campaigning. Such lies may be detected at some point in the future and thus result in a costly loss in reputation. Thus the politician must tradeoff immediate benefits against potential future costs.

{ Public Choice (1996) | Continue reading }

‘Smoking doesn’t kill.’ –Mike Pence

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Let’s honor National Substance Use Prevention Day

California is gonna have to ration water. You wanna know why? Because they send millions of gallons of water out to sea, out to the Pacific. Because they want to take care of certain little tiny fish, that aren’t doing very well without water.

{ Donald J. Trump | Continue reading }