Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Soylent Green, now almost a thing.

Cheesy SF movie buffs will remember the movie Soylent Green, wherein megacorporation Soylent Inc. grinds up captured humans and turns them into food for the cities. Spoiler, Soylent Green is people.

Well, as usual, somebody took that as an instruction manual, not a warning.

Start-ups are trying to revolutionise the food industry and have received hundreds of millions of dollars in funding from venture capitalists to do so.

Many are motivated by a desire to wean humanity off meat and other foods that have big environmental and social impacts, whether in the methane emissions and land use of cattle herds or additives in typical processed food.

"The traditional food system is broken in every way," says Seth Bannon, founding partner at Fifty Years, an early stage venture fund in San Francisco that has invested in food technology companies. "It's terrible for the environment, it's economically unfavourable and it's not great for human health."

The best-known of these would-be disrupters is also the most extreme in its approach. Soylent was founded in 2013 by a group of Silicon Valley engineers trying to cut the time and money they spent buying and preparing food. The company has expanded from producing a powder that was mixed with water to ready-made drinks and nutritional "food bar" snacks. 

Yeah, those damn farmers are fragging the ecosystem with their amazing production and low cost. The bastards. We better fix that! By marketing shit that is really and truly called "Soylent."

Here's another better way, food from slime.

Insects, blood and faeces may not sound particularly appetitising, but they are among the produce we should consider eating if we want our food to be sustainable and healthy, according to a team of chefs and scientists in Denmark.

The Nordic Food Lab was set up on a boat in the Danish capital of Copenhagen in 2008 by Michelin-starred Noma head chef RenĂ© Redzepi and culinary entrepreneur Claus Mayer to better understand the flavours and the gastronomic potential of Scandinavia. 

But in almost a decade – and now based at a laboratory at the University of Copenhagen – its researchers are travelling the world to piece together a holistic approach to eating. Scientists, artists chefs, designers and specialists in education are all rolling their sleeves up and getting stuck in to the cause.

A reminder my friends. This year these people are fricking looneytune nutjobs on the fringe of the fringe. In ten years, given the slavish following of the media to yet another Good Cause, you will be seeing this shit on the school lunch program. And I do mean shit, note above that the Nordic Food Lab is talking about processing and including animal poo in their offerings.

The Lefties lost the Gun war, they're in the process of losing the Global Warming war and the Race war, and they need another war. Next up, the Food War.

The Delicious Phantom (Excellent with a nice dry merlot.)

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Obligatory Hillary Clinton post.

Hillary Clinton's robot pantsuit fights on, even though Hillary herself is a zombie jazzed into life with drugs and possibly a remote control unit.

In news that surprises no one, the Clinton campaign is contesting the election, despite losing by a wide margin. Because it is always about the Clintons, fuck the nation.

All those who booed when Trump said he wouldn't accept defeat because of possible DemocRat cheating will now shut up in embarrassment. (I don't really expect that from such baying mongrel dogs, but if they had the decency of a goat, they would.)

Phantom Prediction: On Monday the stock market will fall off its new all-time high, as uncertainty mars a US election, and the nation spends millions on waste motion.

Clinton: The Thing That Couldn't Die.

The Deplorable Phantom

Obligatory Fidel Castro post.

Fidel is dead. Liberals hardest hit.

The Phantom

Thursday, November 24, 2016

New hack turns headphones into a microphone.

Just when you thought you knew all the ways your PC can spy on you:

Security researchers at Israel's Ben Gurion University have created a proof-of-concept exploit that lets them turn headphones into microphones to secretly record conversations. The PoC, called "Speake(a)r," first turned headphones connected to a PC into microphones and then tested the quality of sound recorded by a microphone vs. headphones on a target PC. In short, the headphones were nearly as good as an unpowered microphone at picking up audio in a room.

I will add that there is no reason at all that -speakers- can't be made to do this. They don't have to be headphones.

"Most of today's built-in sound cards are to some degree retaskable, which means that they can be used for more than one thing. …the kernel exposes an interface that makes it possible to retask your jacks, but almost no one seems to use it, or even know about it," wrote Linux sound engineer David Henningsson. That's exactly the exploit Speak(a)r uses.

This isn't a driver fix, either. The embedded chip does not allow users to properly prevent this hack which means your earbuds or nice cans could start picking up conversations instantly. In fact, even if you disable your microphone, a computer with a RealTek chip could still be hacked and exploited without your knowledge.

Perhaps its just my tinfoil hat is a little tight, but when I see experts in a field say "no one uses this or even knows about it," my radar starts to ping and I begin thinking about back doors and three letter agencies in the USA.

Maybe might be good to put a physical "off" switch between your PC and the speakers/headphones.

Just thought y'oughta know.

The Tinfoil Phantom

Friday, November 18, 2016

Best article yet on the US election polling failure

This is a great article.

Now that the initial dust has settled from the historically surprising 2016 election, we all have one question: What went wrong with the polls and predictions? They showed Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump, sometimes handily. Just about everyone blew the call.

Well, not everyone: There were some people who got it right. Whether by a quirk of their polling, a model that relied more on history or by sheer accident, a handful of predictors bucked the crowd and told us something else was going on.

In a move unheard of in the mainstream press, this author went and talked to some pollsters who called it right.


The "shy voter," those being people who did not want anyone around them to know they were voting Trump.

The "lapsed voter," people who hadn't voted in many years but came out for Trump. That's a major notion right there. He inspired people that had given up.

The "herding effect," where the polling companies didn't want to be too far off the accepted norms in the polling industry. Go-along-to-get-along.

The "bubble effect," media people and Blue Staters not having anyone in their social circle saying anything good about Trump.

Very good read, I recommend it.

The Recommended Phantom

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Left moves to shut everyone up.

Twitter has just suspended a large number of accounts for political purposes.

SAN FRANCISCO — Twitter suspended a number of accounts associated with the alt-right movement, the same day the social media service said it would crack down on hate speech.

Among those suspended was Richard Spencer, who runs an alt-right think tank and had a verified account on Twitter.

Well now, that's interesting. Who decided what accounts were "Alt-Right?"

Heidi Beirich, spokeswoman for the Southern Poverty Law Center, told USA TODAY that the center had asked Twitter to remove more than 100 accounts of white supremacists who violated Twitter's terms of service. She also pointed to two alt-right accounts that had been verified by Twitter, including Spencer's.

The article does -not- say that the SPLC made the decision and Twitter implemented it. However, the article does say the following:

 The alt-right used social media to spread its cause of white supremacy, operating largely unchecked by social media giants Twitter and Facebook.

So, the author approves of this decision, and is part of the pol;itical spectrum who no doubt lobbied for it. Probably thinks the SPLC is a noble cause.
Now, I've not been paying attention to Milo Yiannopoulos  who was suspended by Twitter back in August, and I don't know who Richard Spencer is or what his "think tank" says.

If they really were George Wallace-KKK-style White Supremacists then I'm sure I'd at least have heard. Richard Spencer is the white Louis Farrakhan? Who knew? So I find it unlikely, given the frantic scramble on the Left to label everyone and everything RAAAAACIST!!!1! that I wouldn't have heard of a -real- racist.

Important to note here, and this is my entire point, Noam Chomsky and the e-zine "EcoWatch" both are not on the Twitter suspended list. Noamy can come out and say:

"On Nov. 8, the most powerful country in world history, which will set its stamp on what comes next, had an election. The outcome placed total control of the government—executive, Congress, the Supreme Court—in the hands of the Republican Party, which has become the most dangerous organization in world history.

False news. A lie. A heinous lie, in fact.

But allowed, because it is a lie that works for the Left. Lies that work for the Right (assuming for the sake of argument that everything the SPLC says is true) will not be allowed.

Some animals are more equal than others. How long before The Phantom Soapbox gets banned?

The Phantom

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Hyper stupidity: Mansplaining hotline.

Today in the latest witch burning news, a Swedish labor union has started a telephone hotline for women to call when men explain things to them. I hope this is a joke, but I'm afraid it isn't.

Unionen, Sweden's largest union, is encouraging members to call up when male colleagues give them unsolicited lectures on things they already understand. 

The organisation, which represents 600,000 private sector workers, launched the advice line on Monday and said it will be open from 10am to 4pm everyday for a week as part of a campaign to highlight and stamp out the insidious and damaging practice.

For those who might not be familiar with the modern portmanteau, the union defined mansplaining as when "a man explains something to a woman without being asked, particularly something which she might already know more about than the man".

Unionen said the commonplace practice diminishes women, by making them appear less competent than they are.

No word on when the men's "anti-Harpy" hotline goes live.

I have a prediction. After a brief and disastrous flirtation with all-female workplaces, profitable companies will segregate their employees. Men and women will not work together in the same office. There will be the Boys section and the Girls section. This will happen because the men will simply stop interacting with the women.

If every time you talk to a co-worker you get a phone call from Mansplaining Central, you will most definitely stop speaking to the female staff. You will in fact shun them at all costs. Simple self defense.

Another prediction, the Girls section will get smaller and smaller over time until it disappears. I'm not saying that's a good thing, I'm saying that is what will happen. This is how businesses used to run, and they will go that way again.

The Phantom

Chinese Android phones home. To China.

I keep having this argument with tech heads. Android is LESS secure than Apple.

Apple of course is famous for storing your location data and sending it to an Apple server every ten minutes whether the phone is in use or not. It sends the data to Apple servers in the USA.  Android sends stuff to Google, also in the USA. Unless you bought an off-shore phone.

Kryptowire, the security firm that discovered the vulnerability, said the Adups software transmitted the full contents of text messages, contact lists, call logs, location information and other data to a Chinese server. The code comes preinstalled on phones and the surveillance is not disclosed to users, said Tom Karygiannis, a vice president of Kryptowire, which is based in Fairfax, Va. "Even if you wanted to, you wouldn't have known about it," he said.

Security experts frequently discover vulnerabilities in consumer electronics, but this case is exceptional. It was not a bug. Rather, Adups intentionally designed the software to help a Chinese phone manufacturer monitor user behavior, according to a document that Adups provided to explain the problem to BLU executives. That version of the software was not intended for American phones, the company said.

Sure. "...was not intended for American phones..." Uh huh. If you believe that, I can get you a deal on this nice bridge in Brooklyn NY.

In case you were wondering why some phones are so amazingly cheap, wonder no more. They collect and sell your data for more than the phone is worth.

My approach is to buy my phone from somebody I can sue if they rip me off. You can't sue Random Chinese Company, they're completely unreachable. But you can sue Apple, Motorola, Blackberry, etc. My other line of defense is to never put anything on a phone I don't want my worst enemy to know. Because they will know.

The Phantom

Monday, November 14, 2016

Media: We weren't wrong! Shut up!

Doubling down:

One big complaint about the latest U.S. election is that "the polls were wrong." It reveals a complete misunderstanding of what polls -- and statistical forecasts in general -- are supposed to do.

This article explains to the gentle reader that it is all far too complicated for your feeble minds to comprehend, math is hard, and we should leave these difficult decisions to our betters.


The Phantom, who took statistics in graduate school, thanks all the same,