work is an intrusion to home

Every human needs a sanctuary, a place where they can unplug and not be accountable to anybody but themselves or their immediate family.

For the white collar worker this evil virus has eviscerated that line.  Yes, it’s been dulled for years as high fliers or big shots checked their work e-mail at 12:31 in the morning just to keep themselves in the game, but now it’s in overdrive.

For blue collar workers who are either out of a job or have to expose themselves to the virus every day on the jobsite this is a good problem to have though.

I’m now on week two of online conferences and courses for work at home and it’s extremely jarring.  I don’t want to hear big shot #43 run his mouth about how awesome he is while I hear my washing machine go.  It’s an intrusion on my castle.  It feels odd.  It feels wrong.  Honestly, I’d just rather be at work.

A few publications that aren’t busy (still) playing politics have begun to ask very important questions about where society will be after the first global pandemic in a century.  My worry at this particular moment is the work world and the your world will be essentially blended from now on.  You did it for months, so why can’t your boss ask you do to work at home whenever the hell they want?  At whatever time they want?

This isn’t normal and it isn’t human.  But whether we like it or not, maybe it will become the new normal?

a classy drink for the true gentlemen

You may have noticed recent television advertisements where ordinary average gentlemen, day care worker, former crash scene investigator, and jai-alai extraordinaire Conor McGregor shills for Proper 12 whiskey, aka his own whiskey company.

Just as a reminder, here is the video of McGregor sucker punching an old man square in the face in a Dublin pub for refusing to drink his “shite” whiskey.

Conor’s walking around with his bottle and handing out free shots.  Conor lays the plastic cups on the bar and the old man emphatically takes two of them and slams them back behind the rail.  Conor didn’t take this well and like all true gentlemen responded with cowardly violence.  Conor has to be physically restrained by his handlers otherwise I guess he would have kept wailing on this guy?  What a piece of shit.

So if you want to drink Proper 12 (my Guests and I aren’t sure why anybody would particularly when there are 271 better whiskeys available) in case you were tempted we propose the following.  You can drink Proper 12, but if you have to take a bare knuckled punch to the face from that old man.  You might not think this is a big deal, but:

1) Old man directly and deliberately shined on lethal martial arts champion

2) Old man takes a sucker punch directly to the skull without falling from his bar seat

3) Old man thinks so little of said sucker punch that he doesn’t even bother to rise from his stool

4) Old man did all of this while probably six pints into the black stuff clearly in front of him

Do you want to fight that old man?  We sure don’t.  Don’t drink Conor’s shite.

proper shite

spot the shite in this shot

DuckDuckGo flies from the top rope

Long time readers of this degenerate blog will know I take data and internet privacy issues pretty seriously.  But I guess this will be the first time I state that for over a year I haven’t used Google for internet search.  I use DuckDuckGo, who’s been around a long time, and makes it a point not just to not track you but help you understand who is tracking you and how they’re doing it.

In the year I’ve used DuckDuckGo, I haven’t noticed a decrease in my capability to internet search.  It’s widely acknowledged Google has the most proficient search algorithms in the business, but what do I care?  I’m not searching for details of obscure string theory research by some mad scientist in Belarus.  DuckDuckGo finds what I need like 99% of the time.  When they fail, I don’t go to Google, I try Bing next.

Now DuckDuckGo is making their tracking data more public, so you can see who are the real big time data offenders.  No points for guessing who the two worst assholes are:

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You might be surprised to see Adobe on this list, but remember they own/operated Adobe Flash Player and have been in the imbed business a long time.  This graphic confirms what many in the privacy business are coming to realize, an established consensus, that anything Google touches, to include Android, essentially functions as spyware.

Enjoy your day!

we dual beer carriers

We all met on a mist covered field at dawn just after a full moon.  Each participant could pick the melee weapon of their choice.  A duck (Earl) officiated the process and had right of refusal for all rules as Earl saw fit.

Standing at one end of the field of honor was E. Scott Santi, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer for ITW.  At the other end was Nancy Baker, International Sales Manager for PakTech.

Santi chose the katana.  Baker chose the gas powered chainsaw.  Earl quacked loudly, and dropped the handkerchief to begin the bout.  Who emerged victorious from this most glorious of contests?  First, some history.

In the 1950’s one of ITW’s inventors came up with the idea of the classic plastic can holder that we all grew up with.  This used a minimal amount of plastic, performed its function well, and generally was left alone for decades.  However, nobody recycled anything back then.  So by the 1980’s and certainly the 1990’s this creation was popping up everywhere.  As the environmental movement gained steam, we’ll all remember hearing and seeing how many ducks were slain by this product.  But the product worked, and so the solution offered to humanity was not to ban the plastic holder, but to cut it up prior to throwing it away so wildlife couldn’t be snared within its death jaws.

However, in the early 1990’s (in PakTech’s case 1991) smart people saw this situation as a business opportunity.  Thus was born the solid molded form plastic can holder that you see far more often today.  This is what PakTech makes.  Its (usually black) plastic holders carry the canned beer from just about any craft beer company on the planet that doesn’t put their cans inside a paper box.  PakTech even goes through the trouble on their website to explain how their holders are not just better than the old ITW version, but also more environmentally friendly than the paper six pack box.

The examples I used in this most intense study (where I consulted three MIT engineers, a pair of preeminent environmental activists, a blue whale named Betty, and the Ethiopian immigrant who sells me most of my beer) I had an ITW can holder that held old style classic and tasty Yuengling.  This makes sense, Yuengling is older than anybody else, and isn’t looking to be flashy.  The PakTech version held a six from one of my local craft breweries who has every interest in their branding to appear more environmentally supportive than your average elder brewery.

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But wait, hold on here.  We at TAP love to question assumptions.  Just how lethal are ITW’s original plastic holders to the planet’s poor creatures?  National Geographic does a pretty good summary.

The original numbers of the dead was supposed to number six figures each year but nobody seems to know where that number came from, as in, it was made up.  Since 1994 the EPA mandated that the ITW style holder be biodegradable.  This means it’ll biodegrade in about 700 years.  It also means it’s worthless in terms of plastic recycling ability, and it still ends up with plastic particles in the ecosystem.  The article also lists some very wacky replacement solutions to the ITW design which sound stupid and make one admire the sound business acumen of PakTech who built a realistic and useable design.

But let’s go ahead and take the article at face value.  And then multiply it ten times.  Thus we estimate that in a given year the ITW design viciously strangles one million ducks per year.  Compare this to the over ten million ducks that are shot by hunters every year.  You do the math, and determine just where the threat to wildlife really is.  I’m not against hunting, but if you’re an environmental type, where is your time better spent, beer can holders or shotgun rounds?

Our belligerent conclusions:

– It’s pretty obvious that the ITW design uses way less plastic up front, we’ll say only 5% as a rough estimate.  [katana slash across the cheek by Mr Santi]

– But the ITW design can’t really be recycled and requires the user to cut it up prior to throwing it away.  [Ms Baker powers up chainsaw]

– The PakTech design uses way, way more plastic up front and requires confidence in the user (and their local jurisdiction) to recycle it properly, otherwise it’s just a huge piece of landfill that’ll take 7,770 years to biodegrade.  [katana pierce into the belly by Mr Santi]

– But the PakTech design is completely recyclable and does not require the user to cut it up, it can be just tossed into the bin alongside the cans that held your tasty, tasty beer.  [chainsaw rips through shoulder of Mr Santi]

– Earl quacks: “Who gives a fuck?”  [Mr Santi lowers katana; Ms Baker powers down chainsaw; both are panting, exhausted, and covered in blood]

There are positives and negatives to both these products.  Both perform their function well.  Both have attributes that are meant to aid the environment.  But the key fact is, in order to complete their purpose to the end stage, it’s the end user that must complete the process.  As in, you.  If you use ITW, and you don’t cut it up at the end, you have failed.  If you use PakTech and don’t recycle properly, you have failed.

This is just fine by me.  Because instead of shouting online or protesting or whatever, it just comes down to sound, simple actions by individual humans.  Each individual can make a difference just by doing their job.  Buy ITW, or PakTech, or a paper six pack box, whatever, just do your job at the end and the cycle works.

Just try to avoid buying beer in bottles though.  Why?  Ah, more on that later.

[Earl quacks loudly]  [Earl draws firearm, a Colt 1911; proceeds to rob two injured big shot corporate suits at gunpoint; flies away]  [Earl is spotted at The Hen Pub & Grille later getting blitzed with a swan, a goose, and a komodo dragon]

ordinary average gentlemen escapes from evil claw via jetcopter, supermodel in tow

The interesting thing is despite what you read in the news I’m going by the assumption that Carlos Ghosn escaped from the evil claw death room with relative ease.

– Oh, his home was under surveillance?  I love Japan, but the Japanese have a reputation for a stoic, detail oriented nature that is often unearned and comically missing: see Fukushima, the incessant problems with the Tokyo Olympic building projects, and Death Stranding.  Ghosn’s home wasn’t likely under anything approaching the level of surveillance he’d have received in Mr Takashima’s subterranean volcano fortress.  Ghosn probably just slipped out the back while the cop was asleep or watching the Giants destroy the Tigers, again.

– He certainly didn’t escape in a music case.  For you see, what he did is his mercenary handlers drove him to an airport in the dark.  Then they went to the civil aviation terminal side and boarded a private jet.  For those who are unaware, civil aviation security and immigration checks are a flat joke compared to what folks go through in the steerage terminal.  Ghosn may or may not have been required to present a passport and undergo a minor security check.  My guess is he did neither, at least in any serious manner, and then they took off.  They didn’t even have to break one guard’s neck, so boring.

– So now our hero is in the air, and on his way to Lebanon via Turkey.  He flies from Osaka to Istanbul.  Turkey is easy, so easy, Ghosn just paid them all off in gold doubloons.  Next.

– And finally to Lebanon where he’s well known to the elite and without an extradition treaty.  Japan can’t touch him there.  Game over.  Takashima screams at his giant video board and slams his claw down atop a mostly full brandy glass, shattering it into numerous pieces.  Kitty squeals.

Hey man, I’d run too.  Japan has a Stazi-like 99% conviction rate for federal charges.  A man got a fairer trial in Nazi Germany.

But hey, isn’t the USA’s federal conviction rate also 99%?  Why how interesting that you ask, because yes, yes it is.  Damn, maybe we all better move to Lebanon while we still can.

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Takashima:  “I’ll get you next time Ghosn!  NEXXXT TIME!  [pets kitty]

your car knows when you’ve been bad or good

As we’ve written previously on this degenerate blog, it’s in your interest to read most of what Geoffrey A. Fowler writes. Your smartphone has your DNA on file. Amazon knows what toothpaste you use. Google has a complete list of things you have nightmares about. Now your car is in on the game.

When I renewed my auto insurance policy Allstate tried to get shovey with me and do the driver monitoring program. Supposedly if you drive safely (I don’t) you get a discount on your insurance bill. The discount is probably like $5 a month. In exchange Allstate (and other auto insurance companies doing the same thing) probably go ahead and sell all your personal data for $15 a month. Naturally, I declined.

But all these auto insurance programs run via the app on your smartphone. In the future, it’s the car itself that will spy on you.

Fowler wanted to determine how much data and what kind of data a car was collecting. This (of course) was not an easy task:

But for the thousands you spend to buy a car, the data it produces doesn’t belong to you. My Chevy’s dashboard didn’t say what the car was recording. It wasn’t in the owner’s manual. There was no way to download it. To glimpse my car data, I had to hack my way in.

That’s right folks! The law is so loose and the Giant Octopus is so brazen that the only way Fowler could figure out what personal data was being pulled and sold was to hack the freaking car.

They also hacked another car computer they bought off the Internets:

For a broader view, Mason also extracted the data from a Chevrolet infotainment computer that I bought used on eBay for $375. It contained enough data to reconstruct the Upstate New York travels and relationships of a total stranger. We know he or she frequently called someone listed as “Sweetie,” whose photo we also have. We could see the exact Gulf station where they bought gas, the restaurant where they ate (called Taste China) and the unique identifiers for their Samsung Galaxy Note phones.

Maybe we should all just get it over with and let the Giant Octopus put the monitoring chip in our brains? It’d be quicker in the end.

The only other option is regression. Want a car that doesn’t spy on your without your knowledge? Buy a 1995 Ford. Want a fridge that doesn’t track what tasty food is contained therein? Buy one of those neato 1940’s fridges from the movies.

We’re doomed. We work for the Giant Octopus and most folks don’t even know it, or care.

Enjoy your day!

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a discovery process that is actually easier than attempting to read and understand a privacy policy

we briefly & shamelessly join the hater crowd: Ban Receipts! And Other Wise Ideas

There’s lots of problems in life: the train line broke down this morning, our planet’s attempts to harness fusion power have failed, we can’t use genetic engineering to make elves and dwarves real (and then pit them against each other in cage matches), and so on.

Plastic straws are a problem, according to some. We don’t agree.

But whatever. Hey you want to make the planet better? Ban paper receipts. Just look at this monstrosity the store printed out for me this morning:

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Damn thing is longer than a broadsword or [insert human, animal, or alien sexual reference of your choice here]. I only bought two items. The rest of this receipt is just garbage and offers that nobody reads. When you think about the hundreds-of-millions of transactions each day in America, that’s a lot of dead trees.

Receipts can be replaced by e-mails, or at least made available ONLY at the direct request of the purchaser. Or go super green, receipts will only be beamed information into one’s head as an abstract existential reality construct where the customer is constantly like, “Did I really buy that? Hmm. Well, did, did I, … hmm.”

Join our cause! Ban Receipts! Post on all social media. Personally and professionally demonize those who support paper receipts. Insult their intelligence, threaten their children’s lives, get their addresses! Hurry now, before paper receipts burn down the planet!