Prorog? What Prorog?

A historic ruling with implications far and wide:

The United Kingdom’s Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to shut down parliament in the run-up to Brexit was unlawful, a humiliating rebuke that thrusts Britain’s exit from the European Union into deeper turmoil. 

The unanimous and stinging judgment by the court’s 11 judges undermines Johnson’s already fragile grip on power and gives legislators more scope to oppose his promise to take Britain out of the EU on Oct. 31. 

Parliament, where Johnson has lost his majority and he suffered repeated defeats since taking office in July, is now set to be reconvened three weeks early, giving opponents more time to challenge, amend, or block his Brexit plans or even bring down his government. 

“The decision to advise Her Majesty to prorogue parliament was unlawful because it had the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of parliament to carry out its constitutional functions without reasonable justification,” Supreme Court President Brenda Hale said. 

In its historic ruling, the court said Johnson had not given any reason – “let alone a good reason” – for suspending the legislature for five weeks.

(Via (Reuters)[])
I have no horse in this race but I think Brexit is a mistake. I also think the UK should have either gone all-in on Europe or stayed out completely, but a wishy-washy middle ground is what they chose.
I do not care for BoJo. He brings nothing new to the table, one could argue that he brings less, and he failed repeatedly. Were I British and especially if I were a Tory, I would be demanding his resignation. I’m surprised there aren’t more pictures of Theresa May sitting in Parliament smiling.

This house is on fire


Holy shit.
I don’t watch a lot of videos; I prefer transcripts. When I absolutely have to get through a video, I usually put it in a background window and listen.
Don’t do that with Thunberg’s four-minute address to the UN.
Instead, watch it. I understand and agree with her that we should be listening to scientists, not her, but if anyone can get us to listen to scientists, it’s her. Now I know why the people followed Joan of Arc.

(Via boing boing)
Can’t agree more. Greta Thunburg is remarkable, and she’s not wrong. Even if her message doesn’t resonate with you, she speaks multiple languages, has a grasp of science and statistics, and is a sailor. Her evil eye at the UN was pure, unadulterated disgust.

The go Language is Google's Own

I’m baffled as to why programmers put their trust in this advertising company to do the right thing, or why companies would stake their reputation on go. Several people tell me that Google handed over control to open source, but the main landing page for go,, the place were everyone needs to go to program in the language, says:

The Go website (the “Website”) is hosted by Google. By using and/or visiting the Website, you consent to be bound by Google’s general Terms of Service and Google’s general Privacy Policy.

Go the go privacy policy page, and you’re sent to Google’s own privacy policy page.
The copyright page, which a lot of folks point to, actually says:

Except as noted, the contents of this site are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License, and code is licensed under a BSD license.

… which means Google can exempt whatever it wants from the CC & BSD licenses. A good legal argument could be made about the BSD license for the code as the commas make things more open to interpretation. The term “code” could include HTML and other markup. But IANAL
Back to my main point, Google’s reputation is not good based on their behavior. I would not want to stake my company or my coding on them.
(Picture via Roman Synkevych (@synkevych) on Unsplash)

Self-Conscious Minds, Our Selfish Selves, and Possible Salvation

Like all living things, humans are organisms, biological entities that function as physiological aggregates whose constituent parts operate with a high degree of cooperation and a low degree of conflict. But unlike other organisms, humans possess a rogue component – a brain network that can, at will, choose to defect and undermine the survival mission and purpose of the rest of the body. This is the network that underlies human consciousness, and especially our capacity for autonoetic, or reflective, self-awareness, the basis of the conceptions that underlie our greatest achievements as a species – art, music, architecture, literature, science – and our ability to appreciate them.

(Via Can our self-conscious minds save us from our selfish selves? by: Joseph LeDoux; picture Via Abishek on Unsplash)
I highly recommend reading the whole piece.

Poetry, Daily-ish

And They’re Running
I used to quite like poetry. Don’t tell my Dad, but for one brief moment in college I considered changing my major to poetry from journalism & broadcasting, a degree program he tolerated far more than philosophy (the other brief moment degree change I considered). Then I “got out of the habit” of reading poetry in so far as I read prose pretty much all the time since about 1995. Oh, sure, I would grab a New Yorker or some such and read its bit of poetry on my travels, but it was no longer a part of any kind of regimen or diet.
Recently I signed up for the 3 Quarks Daily RSS feed. I get a regular dose of poetry from it. Some of the poetry I don’t particularly care for, some I do, and to some I find myself indifferent. But I’m reading it, and I like what it is doing to me. Please see the above link for an example of a poem I like.
(Picture via Running in Floresville | HD photo by Jennifer Birdie Shawker (@nursebirdie) on Unsplash)

The End of Reputation

AI can now easily (8 seconds) change the identity of someone in a film or video.
Multiple services can now scan a few hours of someone’s voice and then fake any sentence in that person’s voice. […]
Don’t buy anything from anyone who calls you on the phone. Careful with your prescriptions. Don’t believe a video or a photo and especially a review. Luxury goods probably aren’t. That fish might not even be what it says it is.
But we need reputation. The people who are sowing the seeds of distrust almost certainly don’t have your best interests in mind-we’ve all been hacked. Which means that a reshuffling is imminent, one that restores confidence so we can be sure we’re seeing what we think we’re seeing. But it’s not going to happen tomorrow, so now, more than ever, it seems like we have to assume we’re being conned.
Sad but true.
What happens after the commotion will be a retrenchment, a way to restore trust and connection, because we have trouble thriving without it.

(Via The end of reputation; photo via Raphael Lovaski on Unsplash)
Apologies to Seth for quoting nearly his whole post, but it’s important and scary.
Neal Stephenson, in his book Fall; Or, Dodge in Hell 🇺🇸 🇯🇵, addresses this very issue of reputation and authenticity. In very simplistic & basic terms, it involves leveraging something like blockchain to “check in” or “sign in” to legitimate things by you or things you control. He also talks about Editors, who are human professional social media filters, which takes us down a different rabbit hole.
As I move my on-line life as much on to platforms I control or trust, I am thinking about how to validate “me” outside of that without that validation coming back to bite me later, assuming such a thing is possible.
What do you think?

I Hereby Declare The Lions The Most Miserable NFL Franchise

So while there are a lot of valid contenders for worst franchise, with a variety of arguments for them, the Detroit Lions have ONE PLAYOFF WIN IN 62 YEARS. I’ve capitalized, italicized, and bolded that phrase for emphasis, and I’d make it blink if I could. One win. How is that even possible? It’s a staggering degree of nonstop ineptitude across multiple generations. It’s possible to be a Social Security- and Medicare-eligible Lions fan and to have witnessed a single, solitary postseason victory. And to know that it was followed a week later by a 41-10 loss in the NFC championship game. There hasn’t been much to cheer for in all these years, either. Calvin Johnson was extraordinary, Barry Sanders was the coolest player ever, and, um, Billy Sims was fun to watch. The other dude to wear No. 20, Lem Barney, was pretty great, too. Beyond that? I’m sure some pedant in the comments will lecture me about the underappreciated exploits of Joe Schmidt or whoever. But everyone else ought to get my drift by now: The Lions haven’t done jack shit since Bobby Layne shoved off to Pittsburgh and settled his last bar tab.
The Lions won the NFL championship three times between 1952 and 1957. Since then, 18 head coaches have guided them into this never-ending hellhole.

(Via I Hereby Declare The Lions The Most Miserable NFL Franchise by Dom Cosentino: picture Lion pulling a tongue | HD photo by Wade Lambert (@wade_lambert) on Unsplash)
Think about that – the level of ineptitude the Lions embody. I love and miss living in Detroit; I do not miss hearing Lions fans ache and moan about the team’s performance on every given Sunday.
By the way, my Dad got to see those glory days in the ’50s. He doesn’t remember them as he was but a tyke. Every Thanksgiving we try to reminisce, but don’t.

The Lions have won just three division titles since the merger. All told, they are 1-12 in playoff games since 1958. Only the Texans (eight) have played in fewer postseason games in all that time, and the Texans didn’t exist until 2002. The Patriots, by contrast, have played more playoff games (14) in _just the last five seasons _than the Lions have in 62 years. What the Lions have accomplished is truly unmatched across the NFL. God help all of you who are doomed to root for them.

God either has nothing OR EVERYTHING to do with it, if you’re into that sort of thinking.
I absolutely love this bit of football hand waving by “Future former head coach” and Chrysler minivan model name inspiration, Mike Patricia:

Sports Illustrated‘s Albert Breer reported last week that Matt Patricia, who might as well change his title to future former head coach, had a hill built next to the Lions’ team facility. The idea was create a conditioning challenge for the players not unlike the grueling terrain that abuts the Patriots’ practice field–but an unnatural phenomenon in the flat Midwest. Sisyphus himself couldn’t have come up with a better metaphor for this franchise.

This is a fine strategy for all of those NFL football stadia, and especially the team’s own Ford Field, where one or more hills impede the Lions’ forward progress.
There is no hope for the Lions while they are owned by the Ford family. I do not know anyone in Detroit who thinks otherwise.