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Is This The First Sign Of A Technology Dump And A Neo-Luddite Era?

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Authored by Jim Quinn via The Burning Platform blog,

Are we on the verge of a rebellion against technology?

Yesterday I was taken aback when I noticed an elderly Wal-mart greeter amusing herself with a fidget spinner.

What the hell is a fidget spinner? It’s a toy you just spin with your fingers.

It’s the hottest selling summer entertainment item that retails between $2.99-$8.99 depending on wether it lights up or makes noise.

To compare, last summer the over-hyped fad was Pokemon Go which was a ho-hum attempt at the first virtual reality game which turned out to have multiple technology problems such as being underdeveloped for rural areas and worldwide server crashes.

Why does the fidget spinner trend matter? Because it doesn’t involve any technology at all. It’s as low-grade technology wise as playing with a hula-hoop or yo-yo.

The trend peaked my interest as I believe we’ve reached the end game of the social media and app crazes of the past 10 years. Social Media IPO’s have slowed down to nil.

Why would we need another iTech item when we’ve got too many flooding the market already?

At a time when companies are replacing low-skilled workers with robots and kiosk machines, it’s not promising for their business models for customers to turn their backs on technology. Which is exactly why I’m predicting it’s going to happen.

We are no longer living in an era where people are adopting technological advancements; rather it’s being imposed on us. When pushed too far towards the direction of technology the equal and opposite reaction would be to turn a generation into neo-luddites.

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15 days ago
New Hampshire
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“Rick and Morty” is a TV powerhouse because millennials are broke

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It’s hard to find a less likely cultural rallying point than Adult Swim’s “Rick and Morty,” the weird, bleak, semi-psychedelic animated show about a misanthropic scientist and his below-average grandson whose world-inverting adventures tend to have an odd tinge of nihilism. But it’s the nihilism that makes the show such a relief to watch.

“Rick and Morty” is often horrifyingly violent, and its family dynamics are a defiantly unpleasant reversal of the classic will-they-or-won’t-they romantic tension: Instead, we root for characters to get divorced for their sakes and for their children. Thematically, suicide looms large.

And yet the show is not just a cult hit, but an astonishing financial success. Among young men, the show was higher-rated than anything running on broadcast TV during its first season. As the network begins its marketing push toward a third season, set for later this summer, the series has quietly become a big-enough deal that there is a traveling merch van shaped like Rick’s body touring the country, selling swag that fans wait in line for hours to buy.

There are a lot of answers, none of them particularly satisfying, to the question of what makes a hit, but as so much in the world goes so wrong so quickly, a lot of previously good jokes seem to have expired, or retained only nostalgia value. “Rick and Morty,” with its queasy blend of high-minded brutality and unusual kindness, is something new.

The show is the work of Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland, who often use old sci-fi cliches forced into different shapes to bizarre and hypnotic effect. Harmon’s casual mastery of the sitcom formula was a compelling reason to watch his under-loved live-action sitcom Community; Roiland is something between a protégé and a partner on “Rick and Morty,” having developed the title characters, both of whom he voices, in Harmon’s digital TV workshop, Channel 101.

At full wattage, the show viciously smashes the world only to see it restored to its old, troubled state in some unsettling way, by hopping into a dimension where our heroes’ doppelgängers have just died in a grisly accident, or having nigh-omniscient house pets abandon their plans to enslave humanity for fear of becoming too much like us.

But for a show with a nonzero number of alien testicle monsters, the characters in “Rick and Morty” respond to unknowable cosmic tragedy in recognizable, even existential ways, sometimes with heartbreaking honesty. “WHAT IS MY PURPOSE?” asks a robot Rick invents to pass him some butter. “You pass butter,” Rick replies. The robot looks at its hands and finally sees them for what they are: butter passers. “OH MY GOD,” it replies. Rick and Morty’s dilemmas are hilarious and absurd, but its characters’ desperation is real, and that may help explain its appeal to a demographic that barely even have TVs anymore.

Goldman Sachs christened millennials “the renter generation” in a recent report, observing that they’re simply not buying houses, cars, or durable goods such as refrigerators and washing machines at the rates their parents did. Since the recession, the median wage for every industry except health care, with its increasing demand from aging boomers, has fallen for people 34 and under. This is another reason it’s so remarkable to see a show on basic cable attract millennials: Far fewer of them subscribe to cable at all.

“Greed has destroyed the [cable] value proposition,” wrote industry analyst Rich Greenfield in a research note last week. The target demo for “Rick and Morty” thinks twice about buying a TV, let alone a Time Warner subscription.

This financial trend is actually visible within “Rick and Morty” episodes. Young people avoid ads, so companies trying to reach them often use product placement, and brands that can’t sell to young people simply abandon them (try to find a Lexus ad for people under 40). Thus, product placement in “Rick and Morty” is a handy index of brands that are OK with poor people: Wheat Thins, Cold Stone Creamery, Shoney’s, McDonald’s. No Whirlpool, no Infiniti, little financial services or real estate. That’s stuff for people who aren’t afraid of living under a bridge, and who don’t need an inoculation of despair with their dinnertime half-hour comedy.

When Rick tells his daughter that “emotionally speaking, honey, Shoney’s is my home,” we’re not just laughing at Rick; we’re laughing at Shoney’s, too. Who could be at home, emotionally speaking, in a restaurant you go to when Applebee’s is closed due to flood damage? A lot of us, actually.

A few weeks ago, Adult Swim debuted one episode of season 3 on April Fools Day as a sort of anti-prank. The internet loved jokes about a discontinued McDonald’s menu item (yay, brand synergy) but in fact the show’s punchline was that Rick collapses the interstellar economy by hacking into the Galactic Federation’s central servers, recalling the financial crisis, which presumably means more jobs in food service on an interstellar level.

Tragedy plus time equals comedy, but if you don’t have time, light-years will do.

Though Rick is the show’s omniscient guru, it’s Morty who puts it best, when he tries to explain to his sister that he and Rick managed to destroy their entire universe with a botched love potion and had to hide out in hers because “her” Rick and Morty had just died. The moral?

“Nobody exists on purpose, nobody belongs anywhere, everybody’s gonna die,” he tells her. “Come watch TV.”

Follow Sam Thielman on Twitter

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53 days ago
New Hampshire
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Debbie Wasserman Schultz Uses Voice Changer To Call Law Firm Suing DNC - Forgets To Disable Caller ID

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There was a hilarious filing with the court today in the lawsuit against the Democratic National Committee - in which Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a defendant...

Attorney Elizabeth Lee Beck's office received a call just before 5PM on Thursday from an individual who was apparently using a 'robotic and genderless' voice changing device, sniffing around with questions about the DNC lawsuit filed over cheating in the 2016 election. The suit - based on documents released by hacker Guccifer 2.0, claims that the DNC colluded with Sec. Hillary Clinton's campaign 'to perpetrate a fraud on the public.' (see more here)

After a brief chat with the law firm's secretary, the 'mysterious' voice-masking caller concluded the call with an 'Okey dokey.'

And whose number showed up when the law firm turned around and googled the number from the caller ID? Why, who else but Debbie Wasserman Schultz' Aventura office!

See filing here.

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54 days ago
Apparently no one has heard of phone number spoofing.
New Hampshire
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Fidelity Is Mining Bitcoin, CEO Abigail Johnson Admits

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In what bitcoin geeks undoubtedly interpreted as a sign of bitcoin’s renewed relevance now that its price is at all-time highs, Fidelity CEO Abigail Johnson told CoinDesk’s Consensus conference that her company is now in the business of mining bitcoin.

Per the FT:

“Ms Johnson noted that Fidelity has also set up a bank of computers built by 21 Inc that can crunch complex algorithms to be rewarded with bitcoin.


My…computer has mined over 200,000 satoshis,” she said, using the name for the smallest unit of bitcoin.

Her remarks coincide with an astounding rally in virtual currencies like bitcoin. As DoubleLine’s Jeffrey Gundlach noted on Tuesday, bitcoin is up 100% in under two months, implying that the turmoil in Chinese markets was driving more locals into bitcoin.

One coin was trading at $2,275 Tuesday according to Coinbase, the latest in a series of all-time highs as global uncertainty rises...

Johnson also added that Fidelity now allows employee to pay for lunch with bitcoin at the cafeteria in its Boston headquarters. She noted that fewer than 100 employees have paid with bitcoin, demonstrating an unnatural-sounding mastery of industry slang.

“I guess we have a lot of hodlers,” she said, using the slang for bitcoin users who avoid selling the currency when it jumps in value.

And Fidelity's CEO also revealed information about her company's partners on its journey, naming blockchain startup Axoni, investment firm Boost VC and university initiatives based out of MIT, University College London and Cornell. To date, Johnson explained that Fidelity Labs, its internal R&D division has also set up experiments for bitcoin micropayments and even run bitcoin and ethereum mining operations in the spirit of learning more about the technology. Further, she revealed that Fidelity will be taking some conservative steps to expose Fidelity's customers more to the industry, announcing that customers will soon be able to see Coinbase holdings on Already, she said, this feature is available to employees who own digital currencies available through the startup's services.

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63 days ago
200000 Satoshi = USD $4.7676926000
New Hampshire
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Interesting Cut and Paste From the Mayo Clinic

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Does the following description remind anyone of a current small-handed
US politician?

Narcissistic Personality Disorder


By Mayo Clinic Staff

(November 2014)


If you have narcissistic personality
disorder, you may come across as conceited, boastful or pretentious. You often
monopolize conversations. You may belittle or look down on people you perceive as
inferior. You may feel a sense of entitlement — and when you don't receive
special treatment, you may become impatient or angry. You may insist on having
"the best" of everything — for instance, the best car, athletic club
or medical care.

At the same time, you have trouble
handling anything that may be perceived as criticism. You may have secret
feelings of insecurity, shame, vulnerability and humiliation. To feel better,
you may react with rage or contempt and try to belittle the other person to
make yourself appear superior. Or you may feel depressed and moody because you
fall short of perfection.

Many experts use the criteria in the
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the
American Psychiatric Association, to diagnose mental conditions. This manual is
also used by insurance companies to reimburse for treatment.

DSM-5 criteria for narcissistic
personality disorder include these features:

  • Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
  • Expecting to be recognized as superior even without
    achievements that warrant it
  • Exaggerating your achievements and talents
  • Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power,
    brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
  • Believing that you are superior and can only be
    understood by or associate with equally special people
  • Requiring constant admiration
  • Having a sense of entitlement
  • Expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance
    with your expectations
  • Taking advantage of others to get what you want
  • Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the
    needs and feelings of others
  • Being envious of others and believing others envy you
  • Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner

Although some features of narcissistic
personality disorder may seem like having confidence, it's not the same.
Narcissistic personality disorder crosses the border of healthy confidence into
thinking so highly of yourself that you put yourself on a pedestal and value
yourself more than you value others.

Risk Factors

Narcissistic personality disorder is
rare. During childhood and teen years, children may show traits of narcissism,
but this may simply be typical of their age and doesn't mean they'll go on to
develop narcissistic personality disorder.

Narcissistic personality disorder
affects more males than females, and it often begins in the teens or early

Although the cause of narcissistic
personality disorder isn't known, some researchers think that in biologically
vulnerable children, parenting styles that overemphasize the child's
specialness and criticize fears and failures may be partially responsible. The
child may hide low self-esteem by developing a superficial sense of perfection
and behavior that shows a need for constant admiration.”


They're playing your song, Donny Boo Boo!


Article 4, 25th's time.



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88 days ago
New Hampshire
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Trump is not 'slipping away' from populism, he was never there to begin with

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A growing chorus of pundits are painting a picture of Donald Trump moving away from “populism” toward a more “traditional” Republican approach. Peter Baker takes a swat at this idea in Tuesday’s New York Times

As he nears 100 days in the White House, Mr. Trump has demonstrated that while he won office on a populist message, he has not consistently governed that way. He rails against elites, including politicians, judges, environmentalists, Hollywood stars and the news media. But he has stocked his administration with billionaires and lobbyists while turning over his economic program to a Wall Street banker. He may be at war with the Washington establishment, but he has drifted away from some of the anti-establishment ideas that animated his campaign.

But though populism provided a neat—and extremely affirmative—label, there was never much resemblance between what Trump was proposing and that of historically populist figures like Huey Long or William Jennings Bryan. Yes, Trump captured a large following in rural areas and successfully attacked the concept of an “elite” of academics and environmentalists, but that’s not a populist position. That’s a Republican position, one that’s been built up over decades of talk radio, Fox News, and Tea Party rallies. Despite some fist-waving at corporations that move out of the nation—rhetoric that has led to exactly no action—Trump’s message was strongly pro-corporate, fiercely anti-government, and heavily racist. Completely Republican.

Trump’s speeches found their villains in government regulation, immigrant workers and weak leaders. His proposed solutions were white privilege, government destruction, and the intrinsic genius of businessmen. That’s not populism. It’s conservatism salted with white nationalism.

Traditional populists did insist on cutting taxes and fees, but mostly those that directly affected and disadvantaged the poor, like reducing the cost of public education, poll taxes, and high tolls for the use of infrastructure. Those positions are anathema to Trump. Traditional populists also brought government healthcare and jobs programs. 

Traditional populism was squarely focused on income disparity and the threat money and power held for democracy. Trump’s position was always in support of a moneyed elite, of the idea that wealth signals worth. There’s a reason why so many were quick to draw lines between what Trump was offering—an regressive oligarchy that celebrated white privilege—and fascist movements. They have much more in common than anything that in the past was called populist.

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99 days ago
conservatism salted with white nationalism
New Hampshire
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