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Member since: Fri Apr 4, 2014, 03:21 PM
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Mr. Robot's latest episode captured the swirling chaos of 2017 in just 45 minute

It’s one of the best TV episodes of the year.

Source: Vox, by Todd VanDerWerff

If you’ve watched Mr. Robot on any occasion, hearing that the show filmed an episode that appears to be one long take will either instantly irritate you or instantly delight you. Sure, it’s the kind of showoff-y thing this always-showy series would pull out of its bag of tricks as a desperate attempt to pump juice into its storyline. But you can also be reasonably assured of Mr. Robot’s ability to pull it off with a level of technical precision few other TV shows can match. Hence — irritate or delight.

My experience was quite different when I first watched the episode weeks ago, in the buildup to season three’s premiere: I didn’t realize it was filmed to seem like one long take at all. I was so pulled in by the episode’s story and central dilemma that I simply didn’t notice there were no obvious edits. Those who watched the episode on TV — where USA broadcast it without commercials — likely clued in right away. But I remained blissfully unaware until I started talking about it with a friend who’d also seen the screeners.


It’s a dizzying, surreal sequence, but it’s one that captures the feeling of living in 2017 better than almost any shot I’ve seen in film or television. Here’s Angela, a small part of a much bigger machine, but also somebody who just might have the key that will bring down a corrupt world order (and/or install an even more corrupt one). The chaos is being held at bay, but only somewhat.


And yet isn’t that true of all of us? We look at our computer screens, typing away missives we hope will convince somebody, anybody. We might join protests, skeptical that anyone will listen. We worry, all along, that we are being buffeted about by forces beyond our control, because we are. The world is wheels within wheels within wheels, but so are we. Everything is under control, and nothing makes sense.

Read it all at: https://www.vox.com/culture/2017/11/12/16634564/mr-robot-episode-5-recap-runtime-error-long-take

Sean Parker unloads on Facebook "exploiting" human psychology

"Sean Parker, the founding president of Facebook, gave me a candid insider's look at how social networks purposely hook and potentially hurt our brains."

Source: Axios, by Mike Allen


"The thought process that went into building these applications, Facebook being the first of them, ... was all about: 'How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?"

"And that means that we need to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while, because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever. And that's going to get you to contribute more content, and that's going to get you ... more likes and comments."

"It's a social-validation feedback loop ... exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you're exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology."

"The inventors, creators — it's me, it's Mark [Zuckerberg], it's Kevin Systrom on Instagram, it's all of these people — understood this consciously. And we did it anyway."

More at: https://www.axios.com/sean-parker-unloads-on-facebook-2508036343.html

The Dotard says: ""He (Putin) said he didn't meddle. He said he didn't meddle. I asked him again," he said.
"You can only ask so many times... He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election."

The Health 202: Four possible explanations for the shocking Obamacare enrollment figures

"Americans are flocking to Healthcare.gov in greater numbers than ever before in a development that runs precisely contrary to the doom-and-gloom everyone had predicted for this enrollment season."

2016: 78,000 ppl/day
2017: 84,000 ppl day
2018: 150,000 ppl/day

Source: Washington Post, by Paige Winfield Cunningham

1. More Americans can get more generous subsidies this year.

This is a phenomenon stemming from Trump’s decision to cut off extra payments to insurers for cost-sharing reductions they must offer.

Enrollees eligible for subsidies will get $555 on average to offset the cost of their plans, up 45 percent from this year’s $382 average tax credit, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

2. People with a Healthcare.gov account are still getting reminder emails.

Over the last four years, the Obama administration created a large database of email addresses for past and current enrollees. Even though it appears the Trump administration isn’t using some of the email messaging strategies that were effective in years past – like telling people they could find cheaper plans on Healthcare.gov if they shopped around – email remains a major way Americans remember to sign up.

3. Maybe brokers are kicking butt.

The Trump administration reversed the crackdown in a rule last spring, allowing brokers to once again enroll people in marketplace plans through their own websites. This could lead to brokers filling a hole left by the administration’s refusal to promote the law.

4. Advertising drives enrollment near the end of signup season, not the beginning of it.

If the reduced advertising dollars do have a dampening effect on enrollment, that effect won’t be apparent until near the end of the signup season, Peck told me. Outreach is less important at the very beginning of the season because that’s when the most motivated customers are signing up. Last year, the Obama administration didn’t run any TV ads during the first week of open enrollment, Peck said.

“Outreach has an outsize effect the last week or two weeks of open enrollment,” Peck said.

Read it all at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/the-health-202/2017/11/10/the-health-202-four-possible-explanations-for-the-shocking-obamacare-enrollment-figures/5a04720530fb045a2e002ecb/

'Marvel's Inhumans' airs its finale tonight!

The only question remaining for this show - does Anson Mount get paid by the word?

The best possible final scene - Anson Mount looks perplexed, then glances off stage and says, "Line." Fade to black.

Not even the dog can save this dog!

'Contact' and Carl Sagan's faith

The film captures the novel’s religious sensibility that Arroway is asking people to accept “on faith” her testimony of wonder.

Source: The Conversation, by Christopher Douglas

It’s the 20th anniversary of Robert Zemeckis’s 1997 science fiction film Contact, and we’re in the middle of remembering its story of aliens purposefully communicating with our planet.

The film, like the 1985 novel by Cornell University astronomer Carl Sagan which it adapted, recognized the essentially religious implications of the question of whether we are alone in the universe.


Sagan has a reputation as a hardened, somewhat combative atheist. But the film gives us a very different picture, an affirmation of the religious experience of wonder. And the novel, in turn, offers an even more startling sympathy for the epistemological premise of revealed religions.



Sagan opposed emergent Christian fundamentalism for its growing political muscle and its creationism. He would be appalled and amused to discover that Contact’s premise of searching for meaningful patterns in random noise is used by the updated creation science of Intelligent Design to suggest the science-iness of its theological project.

He may have grown more cynical as the years went by, but his widespread reputation as a fire-breathing atheist is surely mistaken.

Read it all at: https://theconversation.com/contact-and-carl-sagans-faith-85150

Karin Dor, actress who played Bond assassin eaten by piranhas, dies at 79

My favorite Sean Connery "Bond" film.

Source: Washington Post Obit

Karin Dor, a titian-haired German actress who played an assassin sent by James Bond’s nemesis Blofeld to kill the British agent in 1967’s “You Only Live Twice,” died Nov. 6 in Munich. She was 79.


Established as a bankable star in Germany, she ventured into international productions of widely ranging quality, including “The Face of Fu Manchu” (1965) starring Christopher Lee and “You Only Live Twice” with Sean Connery as Bond. As would-be Bond assassin Helga Brandt, she ended up being fed to piranhas by the cat-stroking Blofeld (Donald Pleasence).

Ms. Dor met a similarly unpleasant fate as an anti-Castro Cuban resistance leader in Alfred Hitchcock’s espionage thriller “Topaz” (1969), based on a Leon Uris novel about a Russian spy ring that infiltrates the French government.


One of the best Bond songs ever!

Nancy Sinatra.

Army to determine if Bergdahl is owed back pay for his time in captivity

Please, give the Dotard a coronary.

And justice for Bowe Bergdahl!

Source: Army Times, by Meghann Myers

When Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl came home in 2014, he was potentially entitled to hundreds of thousands of dollars in pay that accumulated over five years while he was in Taliban captivity in Afghanistan.


From the moment he was captured, Bergdahl became eligible for extra pays available to captive troops.

In total, along with his basic and deployment pay, he could be entitled to more than $300,000.


“Based upon the results of trial, the Army is reviewing Sgt. Bergdahl’s pay and allowances,” Lt. Col. Randy Taylor told Army Times. “His final pay and allowances will be determined in accordance with DoD policy and Army regulation.”

Those policies and regulations require the Army to wait for Gen. Robert Abrams, the commander of Army Forces Command and the convening authority in this case, to approve the sentence that was handed down to Bergdahl, an Army official, who was not authorized to speak on the record, told Army Times.


Read the rest at: https://www.armytimes.com/news/your-army/2017/11/08/army-to-determine-if-bergdahl-is-owed-back-pay-for-his-time-in-captivity/

Roy Moore and Doug Jones both have young girls in their past


Is it actually harder to get cold medicine in Alabama than to get a gun?

Source: al.com, by Christopher Harress


Since I have a cold right now, I figured I'd go out and buy the medicine first, CVS's Cold and Sinus Relief, which contains a substance known as pseudoephedrine, the same stuff that goes into making meth. That's why it's a partially controlled substance. If you want it, you have to approach the pharmacy directly and hand over a state driver's license or ID, or a passport. Your details are inserted into a database that tracks how much pseudoephedrine you're buying. In all, the transaction took about five minutes. I'm feeling better already, and I didn't try to make meth.

Because people were buying hundreds of boxes at a time, Alabama passed a law in 2010 establishing that no person can buy or sell 3.6 grams of a pseudoephedrine product per calendar day or more than 7.5 grams per 30 days. A standard cold medicine box of 40 tablets contains 1.2 grams of pseudoephedrine in total. That means you can buy up to three boxes a day but not more than about six boxes a month. That's 240 tablets a month, or 2,880 a year, which is a hell of a cold. See a doctor. Seriously.

By comparison, there's no limit on how many guns you can buy.


Online you say? I've heard of it.

So I visited Armslist, which is widely known as the Craigslist of guns. I found myself the exact same gun that was used in the recent shooting in Texas, the Ruger AR-556. Price: $450. There was another at $495. I emailed the seller of the cheaper gun who explained that I could buy the gun if I stated to him in an email that I was over 18 and was not a criminal. No background check required.


To the best of my knowledge, there is no Craigslist for cold medicine.


Read it all at: http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2017/11/is_it_harder_to_buy_a_gun_than.html#incart_river_home?li_source=base&li_medium=default-widget
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