Something about me, it's interesting I promise.
69 stories
·
0 followers

Post Election Thoughts

2 Comments and 3 Shares

I have the luxury of being a jumble of thoughts today. My gay friends, female friends, Muslim friends, and immigrant friends are a jangle of nerves. I can’t imagine waking up in this country full of fear, but that’s the place in which many find themselves. This feels like a massive step backward for our country, but as a science fiction author full of optimism about the future, I’m going to stick to my naive and positive ways.

First, however, my dire thoughts, so I can end on all my positive notes:

  1. The Supreme Court. The ultimate check and balance in our triumvirate is going to go conservative. I worry about reproductive rights, gay marriage, gun control, and so many more issues where progress has been made (or where we hoped it might be made). My naive optimism tells me that despite this, what we call conservative today would be considered liberal in the past, and that trend will only continue. And the Supreme Court tends to rule according to public will (see gay marriage). So as long as the populace improves, the courts will as well. Only 18% of Americans voted for Trump, and many of those because of distaste for Clinton (who also got 18% of the vote). MOST of Americans support gay marriage. MOST of Americans care about the environment. MOST of Americans want reproductive choice. The court will continue to reflect this.
  2. Free trade. Trade protectionism has been likened to shooting a hole in your own boat hoping to get your rival’s boat to sink faster. I worry about rolling back NAFTA and the death of TPP. One of the reasons net immigration from Mexico has been flat or negative has been the rallying of their economy (a wall will only make it harder for some illegal immigrants to get home!). Cheaper than building a wall is to help job growth south of the border. Guess what? They buy more of our stuff as they develop a middle class. Having a 3rd world country next door is worse than losing some manufacturing jobs.
  3. Foreign perception. Hey UK, you owe us one for making you look good.
  4. Uncivil discourse. Our top spot belongs to someone who has made fun of the disabled, the overweight, the fairer sex, African Americans, and immigrants. This can only embolden others to spread a message of hate. And the other side of the political spectrum will likely return in kind. We need an end to this cycle, and it has to start somewhere. My naive optimistic take is that a Clinton win would have put the onus on conservatives to accept the outcome and dial back the negative rhetoric. It’s not an easy thing to do. I welcome the challenge.

Now for some unwarranted and unbridled positivity:

  1. Progress is going to happen no matter what. It always has, even with some baby steps backward. Take the environment: Solar panel costs are plummeting. Solar is now cheaper to install than any other power source (even without subsidies). The economic advantage means that even Republican governors are green-lighting solar plants purely for financial considerations. Going solar, and adopting electric vehicles, are the surest long term way out of our global warming ways. This will happen even if pipelines are opened and we start to subsidize coal just to win a handful of jobs back. Those job hires will no longer be profitable. Legislation won’t save them or their polluting industry. (I dream of solar panels and robots being manufactured in the rustbelt)
  2. Social progress is going to continue as well, over the long term. The only evidence I have of this is that the trend has been moving in one overall direction for a few thousand years. Future generations tend to be more compassionate and liberal than previous generations. So even the young Trump supporters who rail against Islam don’t justify slavery or say that women shouldn’t have the right to vote. I know that previous sentence sounds ridiculous, but that’s the point. Yesterday’s social movements are today’s satire.
  3. A brief spate of trade tariffs might have benefits in the long term. No trade deals are permanent, nor are free trade deals off the table forever. Everything is negotiable and renegotiable. An end to free trade will help a small segment of the population (mostly wealthy owners of manufacturing concerns here in the States and a handful of low-wage jobs), but the cost is going to be higher prices of imported goods for all citizens. Maybe we need a reminder that this is how trade protectionism works: Every consumer is harmed to protect the interests of a small group of people, who are also consumers, and so are also getting hurt. It could lead to saner policies in the future. Here’s hoping.
  4. There’s no chance in hell of this happening, because the people it targets are the people who would be displaced, but I really like Trump’s call for term limits. Trump won the highest office while spending half as much as his opponent, defying all odds and professional punditry, with an anti-establishment cause that has some planks that might as well be Bernie’s. Maybe this will spur others to run against incumbents in the House and Senate with a primary goal of establishing term limits. I don’t like the analogy of Congress needing a grenade lobbed into their midst, but a flash-bang might not be a bad idea.
  5. Yeah, the rest of the world is laughing at us for putting a Cheeto in the oval office. But Putin might not want to laugh too long. When Trump is sworn in, future Russian hacks are going to be against HIS (Donald Trump’s) country. Right now, those hacks are against the establishment. There are going to be some 3am Tweets that arrive closer to lunchtime in Moscow. The overseas operators who enjoy screwing with us, and are cheering a Trump presidency, are going to have some regrets.
  6. Civil discourse. I was heartened by speeches from Obama, Clinton, and Trump after the election. This is how democracy works: You fight for your candidate, and when you lose, you hope your opponent does well while the other side calls for unity. Country comes before party. This is rarely how it works, of course. Politicians sabotage their country all the time to lay blame and maintain power. But the way to fight this is to lead by example, not counter every ill with more sickness.On Twitter, I joked that my leaving the country for 4 years couldn’t have come at a better time, but that’s actually an unfortunate coincidence. In truth, this is the worst time to be going. Leaving means ceding the country to those who think the past was better than the future. This election would have gone differently were it not for the drain of liberalism out of our small towns and rural America to the universities and vibrant cities where progress is made, but where blue votes cluster uselessly. Just as the rest of the world agonizes over the “brain drain” as their finest students come to our great universities to study (and often stay), we should worry about a drain of liberalism as our most worldly citizens cross borders both state and federal. Maybe it’s time to move back to Arkansas to launch that startup. Or re-friend those we’ve blocked to renew some discourse. Or to just approach those who think hate will make this country great again and offer them a hug in response.

My heart breaks for those who are now fearful of their rights and their safety. My heart also breaks for those who have lost their jobs to technological progress and globalization and who think that immigrants are to blame. We are going through a period of global upheaval, which will all be for the better, but will be painful for many in the short term. Social progress and economic progress are going to come in fits and starts. Things are changing so rapidly that we find ourselves bewildered, lost, and unable to adapt in time. Some can’t adapt to the idea that men and women have fluid genders and differing sexual preferences, and the backlash is awful. Some can’t transition careers as quickly as markets are overthrowing entire industries, and those people deserve our sympathy as well. White men can’t deal with an end to a millennia of power, and this is the last-gasp death-spasm as demographics change forever.

You can’t convince me that 2100 won’t be a better year to be on Earth than 2016. Even as we build levies to keep back the rising sea, we’ll build them together. Even as computers, AIs, and machines take more of our jobs, we’ll transition together. More of our world will thaw, and maybe that won’t be such a bad thing. Perhaps in the future, we’ll be looking at moving to Canada not out of protest, but because of the weather.

Whatever happens, we’re in this together, the entire world, every human being. As I come out of the state of shock from the election results, I find myself wishing Donald Trump well. Despite all the vitriol and all the ways that I disagree with him. Despite the fear his policies place in the hearts of those I love. I hope the weight of the office, and our collective well-wishes, and the awesome strength of our people, make the next four years ones of progress. I care more about this country than I do the letter beside someone’s name, or who wins power in the next election, or who gets credit for our steady march onwards. What I care about is that onwards means upwards.

Now to write some more science fiction. These dystopias don’t create themselves, you know.

 

 

The post Post Election Thoughts appeared first on The Wayfinder - Hugh C. Howey.

Read the whole story
taddevries
196 days ago
reply
Wow, thank you HH
Share this story
Delete
1 public comment
toddyarling
199 days ago
reply
Thats right Hugh, we got the Scotus and we going to overturn 70+ years of what you falsely claim is progress. Feels good, man.
mxm23
198 days ago
What do you mean by this? What "false progress" are you referring to?
toddyarling
198 days ago
The "SJW on the prowl for wrong think" tell

Gnome Ann

8 Comments and 21 Shares
President Andrew Johnson once said, "If I am to be shot at, I want Gnome Ann to be in the way of the bullet."
Read the whole story
taddevries
325 days ago
reply
They say Chuck Norris fears GNOME ANN
deadlock989
325 days ago
Gnome Ann is an island. AN ISLAND
325 days ago
Lake Kittamaqundi originally featured an island known as Nomanisan Island, named by Columbia resident Alan Levine in a 1980 contest held by the Columbia Association. The island's name came from the phrase "No Man Is an Island" by John Donne.[28][29] The gap between the island and the east bank of the lake was filled, creating a peninsula, during the dredging of the lake in 2010. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Kittamaqundi)
norb
325 days ago
So Nomanisan Island is still an apt name then?
bobdvb
325 days ago
Yo mama is an island.
Share this story
Delete
7 public comments
veracity
324 days ago
reply
Cute
Sydney, Australia
Brstrk
325 days ago
reply
What? ... oh...
adamgurri
325 days ago
reply
Took me a minute
New York, NY
marcrichter
325 days ago
reply
Gnome Ann's Sky!!!!!11
tbd
Cthulhux
325 days ago
reply
The last panel spoils the joke. :(
Fledermausland
GoddessOfCarbs
325 days ago
reply
Simple genius.
Boston
alt_text_bot
325 days ago
reply
In the words of Andrew Johnson, if I am to be shot at, I want Gnome Ann to be in the way of the bullet.

Scheduling Conflict

4 Comments and 10 Shares
Neither a spokesperson for the organization nor the current world champion could be reached for comment.
Read the whole story
taddevries
705 days ago
reply
Looks like we have a champion!
Share this story
Delete
3 public comments
hiperlink
705 days ago
reply
LOL
Budapest, Hungary
marcrichter
705 days ago
reply
ROFL
tbd
alt_text_bot
705 days ago
reply
Neither a spokesperson for the organization nor the current world champion could be reached for comment.

What is Code

1 Comment
Comments
Read the whole story
taddevries
718 days ago
reply
thank you for assaulting my eyeballs.
Share this story
Delete

Three line batch file shows how to launch a command prompt with elevated privilege

1 Comment
Comments
Read the whole story
taddevries
718 days ago
reply
Yeah, but that third line is a doozy.
Share this story
Delete

What To Wear When You're On The Run From The NSA

1 Comment

CV Dazzle Makeup
They may look like high fashion, but these styles are actually designed to fool facial recognition software.
Adam Harvey

In the documentary film "Citizenfour" by Laura Poitras, it’s revealed that Edward Snowden’s longtime girlfriend Lindsay Mills also left the United States and joined Snowden in Russia. Cheekily, Vogue suggests a trio of outfits for Mills, to match both the climate and the need for discretion that comes with proximity to the source of a major intelligence leak.

Here are Vogue’s recommendations:

For a discreet stroll around Moscow, we think Mills would do best to embrace her adopted countrymen’s fondness for fur—and a touch of Bonnie Parker panache—in a camouflage look from Valentino. (A fur-lined coat will fit the bill as a closet staple for more casual occasions.) And should she ever feel homesick? A bold pop of color from Missoni and Matthew Williamson paired with a hibiscus dial watch from Versace should have Mills feeling right at home, regardless of the terrain ahead.

The outfits are pricey; this story is as much about high-end winter fashions as it is spycraft. Listed prices for the items cost, combined $13,563, and there are several other items with prices available upon request. That’s a lot of money for anyone, particularly someone who's trying to avoid detection while living in exile abroad.

Here are some alternate suggestions:

Instead of: Valentino camouflage coat (price available upon request)

Try: Anti-Surveillance Hoodie And Scarf, by Adam Harvey

Adam Harvey has a whole line of stealth wear, designed as both a comment on and protection from modern surveillance. Many of the designs mask a person's thermal signature, so they blend into the background when seen through infrared cameras. The designs are pretty conspicuous when seen through the normal visual spectrum, though, so probably best to wear a jacket over a stealth hoodie.

Instead of: Pierre Hardy mixed media fur-front sneakers

Try: CV Dazzle face makeup, by Adam Harvey

Fur-covered sneakers will stand out in a crowd while failing to conceal anything about a person's identity. If one is going to hide in plain sight while looking like a peacock, there are better ways to do that. Also by Adam Harvey, Computer Vision (CV) Dazzle is a whole category of makeup application that confuses facial recognition software by using sharp contrasting shapes. CV Dazzle draws its inspiration from World War One battleship camouflage, designed to confuse enemies and especially submarines about exactly how far away their target was. Dazzle paint looks nothing like the background environment yet still obscures the appearance of the wearer. 

It’s not without limitations. Atlantic technology writer Robinson Meyer tried wearing CV Dazzle in public in DC for multiple days, and found it very, very conspicuous:

The first thing to know about wearing the dazzle is that everyone looks at you. You can never forget you have it on. People glance at your face, their eyes lingering as you wait on escalators, pass on sidewalks, sit in museums or restaurants. It’s more than a quick double-take or turn of the head: Their eyes lock, and they stare. For a while. You’re in costume, basically, as out of place as a mascot walking down the street. You are anything but invisible.

Instead of: Versace Mystique watch

Try: Masking one’s presence online

Vogue recommends the watch, paired with a print dress and spring-colored coat, as a “Memories of Hawaii” ensemble, nodding both to the fact that Snowden and Mills left Hawaii and that Russia can be very, very cold. Dressing with nostalgia for an old home is fine, but anonymity-protecting apps can make it look like a person is still accessing the internet from their old haunts. When writer Kevin Roose tried to spend a day online hiding in plain sight in San Francisco, he used HideMyAss, a secure virtual personal network that allowed him get online in the Bay Area but “make it look like I'm logging on from Brazil or Bangladesh.”

Instead of: Moncler Gamme Rouge lapin fur ushanka hat

Try: Full Face Visor

In October 2007, Popular Science writer Catherine Price tried living for a week while masking her identity from surveillance technologies. Using cash, Price bought and activated a pre-paid phone under an alias: “Mike Smith”. Many of her steps would be repeated by other writers trying out anonymity, and she herself got help from security researchers to figure out how exactly to keep information private in a world that wants it at every turn. Most of the time Price just wore a cap and sunglasses to obscure her face in surveillance cameras. A trip from the East Bay into San Francisco for the International Association of Privacy Professionals required snagging a ride from an informal carpool network, and for the trip Price wore a face visor. As she describes it:

Let me be clear: This was no ordinary face visor. Designed to provide complete sun protection, it was more of a mask, with a wraparound piece of dark plastic that extended from my forehead all the way down to my chin. It made me look like a welder. It also made it difficult to see. But I still managed to find a car, and surprisingly, no one commented on the visor. In fact, they didn't talk to me at all.
Read the whole story
taddevries
951 days ago
reply
So all the crazy makeup in 80's Sci-Fi had a real purpose.
Share this story
Delete
Next Page of Stories