Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Why Elon Musk Buying Twitter Is The Best Way To Save Twitter

Twitter is a very interesting social experiment.  A platform giving equal weight to any particular opinion.  A means by which you can take part of any conversation you can find. A de facto digital public square.  A place that needs free speech to survive. 

However if it was initially sold under the above description it has metamorphosed into something different. Twitter wants to be a platform for the “special people” (you will know them by their blue check marks) to promote their thoughts and self promotion to the masses.   This is expected when you separate people this way.  

I first noticed it while watching @espn and in a half hour of sports news it was all about athletes’ tweets not their in-field performance.  

Again this is fine.  People who gain prominence in one area of culture are sure to gain favor in others.   

Then the agenda part happened.  

When a certain orange man got into politics, his twitter account was one of his best political weapons.  He could circumvent the traditional media and communicate directly with his constitutions unfiltered and unedited.  He used the platform as it was, well not intended but how the powers that be would want to use it… but he wasn’t exactly what the powers that be wanted.  Don’t worry they got rid of him. 

But  before they did, something happened.  The vibe changed.  The algorithm started pushing timelines that were once fun, became, angry and agenda driven. Enter “The Algorithm”  Yes, the people out of power were getting louder, and twitter’s algorithm was their microphone.  It was THEIR microphone; but not everyone’s.  

Enter Elon Musk. 

Elon sees twitter as a microcosm of everything happening all across big tech (google, facebook, apple, twitter… basically any company trading on the NASDAQ).  They’re all pushing the same agenda. Elon’s not really an agenda guy, or at least not 100% on board with any one agenda. So he’s been victim of some of this himself.  And nobody makes Elon their victim.   Remember that orange guy? well he was deplatformed from all the social medias at the same time.  But shouldn’t the leader of the free world have a voice, however unpopular (or at least against the agenda) it is? 

Now what if Twitter was a bastion of free speech.  Where everyones opinion was equal, or, if what people saw was truly the popular opinion.   What if the algorithm of popular opinion was driven by popular opinion.  Because Twitter is not.   In fact, twitter may be the least viable of all social media in its current state.  A platform that caters to a subset of one half of the political isle and only wants to be a sounding board for the elites.  Eventually enough people will stop caring for it to matter. 

UNLESS, it becomes that final safe haven for free speech.  Elon has had his come to Jesus moment with free speech, because it’s hared to find these days.  Buying Twitter and having free speech as a fundamental right will break up the oligopoly of big tech.  It will dive conversation to where conversation can be had, and shoot twitter (and it’s value) to the head of the class. 

amiright Elon? 

thread on twitter 

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Avengers: Endgame did not end the way you think it did.

Spanning over twenty movies, the Infinity Saga as it is being called has crated, and coined the term “cinematic universe”  Of course I’m referring to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).  It started back in 2008 with the big screen debut of Iron Man and continues to this day, and on the eve of what would have been the premier of “Black Widow”, I have found myself thinking about the preceding films. 

I’m not afraid to admit that I have watched Endgame (more specially the last 39 minutes thereof) more times than most.   Upon these repeated viewings a few things have become clear to me, the biggest of which is that Tony Stark killed absolutely nobody in his final scene. 

Oh, and spoiler warnings ahead for the biggest movie in history, and if you haven’t seen it, frankly that surprises me. 

But onto the evidence. 

It all starts in Iron Man 3 (2012).

No, not yet, let’s not back up that far yet. 

It all starts with the time jump in Endgame.  Five years after Thanos has snapped out half of the population of the universe, Tony Stark has semi-retired with Pepper Potts in their upstate New York lake house.  They are happily married and raising their young daughter Morgan.  She is really the crux of this whole thing.  When the rest of the Avengers come to him with the idea of a “time heist” Tony wants nothing to do with it.  His love for Morgan is so great that despite what the world has become he won’t change anything in the past that might jeopardize the existence of his beloved daughter. 

But the genius of Tony stark is not a force that can be contained, and he eventually solves the time travel equation with Morgan as a witness.  And that delivers us the beautiful “I love you 3000” moment. 
Tony then brings his solution to the time travel problem to the Avengers but makes Captain America  promise that if it works they bring everyone back, and not change anything from the past five years. 

“I gotta tell you my priorities. Bring back what we lost, I hope yes. keep what I found, I have to.. at all costs” 

Then they go on the Time Heist to grab the infinity stones out of history and back to the year 2023.  They split into five teams to get the five infinity stones 

Thor and Rocket get the Aether 
War Machine and Nebula Go after the Orb
Hawkeye and Black Widow retrieve the Soul Stone
Hulk gets the Time Stone from the Ancient One
Ant Man Iron Man and Captain America go after the Mind and Space Stones. 

But with any good story, something goes wrong and Loki makes off with the Space Stone (to set up his Disney+ series), and Nebula accidentally reveals the whole plan to Thanos in 2014 and is replaced with her evil counterpart. 

Then something you may have overlooked happened, and you might chalk it up to lazy writing, plot convenience or you just went with it because you are completely invested in these moves.  
But Tony tells Cap that he has a “vaguely exact idea” where they can get more Pymm Particles (time travel fuel) and the Tesseract. 
How did Tony know to go back to the New Jersey military facility in 1970?  

I’m getting to it, hold on. 

Back in the year 2023, they finally have all five infinity stones.  Tony fabricates a gauntlet using the same nanotech in his armor to hold them. The duty falls on Hulk to snap his fingers and bring everyone back.  Tony again reminds Hulk to just bring everyone back, nothing changes from the past five years.  

And that’s exactly what Hulk does. 

However evil nebula uses the time machine to bring her father and his army to Earth so that we get an epic battle to end the movie. 

And there’s a lot to break down in this battle too, but a few parts are what we need to focus on.   First off; Nebula shoots herself.  Well the good version of Nebula (from 2023) shoots herself (the version that came back from 2014) but surprisingly nothing happens to good Nebula.  While the move goes out of its way to toung-and-cheek explain their rules of time travel, shooting your past self will most likely cause terrible damage to your present self. 

But there’s an explanation for this that hasn’t happened in the movie… yet. 

In the battle’s climax Tony grabs the Infinity Stones from Thanos because he and the gauntlet use the same nanotech so his Iron Man armor reconfigures itself to hold them.  Then in an instant, Tony Stark, Earth’s most brilliant man (so far) has complete mastery of time and space.  So what does he do with this power? 

You probably are saying “He snaps his fingers erasing Thanos and his minions from reality thus putting the universe back in order” 

You could say that but you’re wrong. 

Because Tony didn’t, kill, dust, erase anyone.  He just put them all back where they came from. Including Nebula who goes back to 2014, to relive the events that bring her to the point that she would shoot her past self. 

If you compare Tony’s snap with Thanos’s snap in “Infinity War” people, but not things turn to dust.   

But if you watch closely, Thanos’ crashed spaceship also fades to dust.  Why would that need to happen? 

Well it’s obvious,  Tony didn’t want to change the past five years, or even the past nine years.  Through the entire epic battle he was only trying to save Morgan, and he did. 

And here’s how.   With the five infinity stones in his possession and a brilliant mine to boot, Tony had complete control of the universe.  So he did a few things.   First he dropped himself a “vaguely specific” reminder of where to find those Pymm Particles and the Tesseract back in 1970. 

And you thought it was lazy writing. 

But he didn’t stop there. 

Just before the epic Battle he, Thor and Captain America see Thanos off the the distance.  Cap asks where he came from and tony replies “When you mess with time, time tends to mess back. You’ll see”

Meaning maybe Captain America doesn’t get a simple “happily ever after” with Peggy Carter after all.  We can only hope Chris Evans signs on for some more moves so we can find out. 

And in my best Billy Mayes voice, “But there’s more” 

Remember Infinity War?   Remember Titan, I know we all cried when Spider-man got dusty, but before that Thanos addresses Tony by name. 

Tony asks “You know who I am?”

Thanos replies “You are not the only one cursed with knowledge” 

To What knowledge is Thanos referring?  At the time we probably all thought it had something to do with Tony flying a nuclear missile through a wormhole during the battle of New York (2012).   Well, Tony Stark is not without ego.  He is the type to leave you a cryptic note just to keep you thinking about him.  And we saw this in Iron Man 3 (told you we’d get here).  He leaves a note for a woman that simply reads “You know who I am” 

So with absolute control of the universe Tony sends Thanos, all his minions, alive and dead, back to 2014, where they can spend the next four years chasing Infinity Stones until 2018 only to have it undone five years laters with the simple reminder, “You know who I am”

I am Iron Man. 

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Avengers Infinity War shows the dark side of environmentalism and the left is going nuts!

The latest installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe opened last week and has become the largest box opening ever!  But hidden beneath the flashy costumes, dazzling special effects and Tony Stark, Dr. Strange, Peter Quill, Thor (did I forget somebody?) one-liners is a cautionary tale of environmental extremism.  

Our main villain in the movie is Thanos.  He’s a big purple alien out to collect all the Infinity Stones: powerful artifacts that give their owner ultimate power.   Thanos wants to use this power to eliminate half of all life in the universe.  Why?  Because he came from a planet that was overpopulated and eventually died.   In the comics he does it to impress a girl, and as you will see if you keep reading, that is a much more plausible scenario.

Now if you haven’t seen the movie (but judging by the box office numbers you are in the minority) you might expect this is where the colorfully costumed heroes come in to save the day.

I propose that this is not necessary and all you need is a half-way competent economist.

As it turns out Earth already has a Thanos.  His name was Paul Ehrlich.   In 1968 he wrote a book called “The Population Bomb”. The book is centered around a thesis that the world would experience mass starvation due to overpopulation throughout the 1970’s and 80’s.   Ehrlich even had a vasectomy to not be part of the problem.

King of late night Johnny Carson was infatuated with these ideas and invited Ehrlich on as a guest of the Tonight Show multiple times.

But it was in the pages of Social Science Quarterly where Economist Julian Simon challenged Ehrlich’s assertions.  Ehrlich wanted to bet that England would cease to exist by 2000.  Simon proposed a counter-wager. He bet from 1980 to 1990 five non government-controlled raw materials would rise in price, adjusted for inflation.   The agreed-upon materials were copper, tin, chromium nickel and tungsten.

Ehrlich lost the bet in spectacular fashion.  Rumor has it that Ehrlich never actually paid up the $10,000, and has since tried to massage the numbers in his favor.

This is a prime example of what extreme thought, and however well thought out and articulated by people with letters after their names or holding the most powerful weapons in the universe, can be utterly wrong.

What is right is the faith that the human mind, paired with the free markets will always find more efficient ways of using, gathering and even recycling resources.

While very few environmentalists are proposing genocide on a Thanos level, they do often propose limiting our modern day comforts and conveniences, sometimes to the point that it does put lives in danger. Yes, your air conditioner does keep grandpa from dying of heat stroke. 

Free markets will always provide an answer to whatever problem exists. And the solution will usually make someone very wealthy.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

10 Commandments forFront End Web Development

Here's some thoughts I had today on my roll as a web developer/designer.   Hoping to open this up for discussion. 

- andy!
  1. Work with the functionality, not against it, or around it.  The best products are a good marriage of form and function. The worst products focus on one or forget the other. 
  2. Think in terms of user tasks, not pages—This is rule #1 for mobile
  3. Do anything, as long as you do it consistently
  4. Be brief, be upfront. Web users rarely read past the first paragraph
  5. Graceful degradation is an acceptable practice.  Don’t waste effort on (money) forcing legacy browsers the exact visual experience as newer browsers, as long as the functionality is there (I’m talking to you Internet Explorer 8!)
  6. Your visual elements should use HTML 5 first, and images where it’s not possible.
  7. JavaScript/jQuery is great for interface logic, not business logic.
  8. Use JavaScript and CSS as complementary tools, they are not always mutually exclusive.
  9. You don’t have to be original. Look to see if someone else has done it before you, and follow their example.
    (or “Good programmers write good code, great programmers steal someone else’s” - old internet adage)
  10. Be inspired.  Look at other sites often to see what other people are doing different, and doing well. 
BONUS: Whenever possible put a picture of a pretty girl on the home page. (see above photo for example!)

Friday, September 07, 2012

My Plan For America

Having seen nomination exception speeches from both President Obama and Governor Romney I decided that since I will be eligible to be president on Election day I should let America know what my platform would be if I were president.   

  • Reform the tax code:  Either a flat or fair tax.  I might even be wiling to consider a VAT tax, as long as income ceases to be a consideration in taxation.   The progressive tax system has become so progressive that politically it is impossible to propose tax cuts without being accused of giving tax cuts to millionaires.  Of course the critics are right, since those are the only people actually paying taxes anymore.
  • Resolve the housing crisis overnight by privatizing Freddie Mac and Fannie May while repealing the Community Reinvestment Act.  I would also appoint Chris Dodd and Barney Frank as their respective CEO’s.  Without federal funding those companies would immediately collapse.  As soon as bad mortgages stopped being issued, the housing market rebounds.
  • Deal with Iran… indirectly.  Since we are already planning to leave Iran and Afganistan I would park some of our bombers, tanks and other military equipment over in Isreal… maybe even leave the keys in the ignition of some B-1 Bombers.  Isreal, Do what you have to do… We’ll look the other way.
  • Open up drilling EVERYWHERE.  This creates jobs and affordable energy.
  • Healthcare:
    • Repeal Obamacare. 
    • Enable individuals to buy insurance across state lines 
    • Allow portability of insurance over an individual’s lifetime.
      • A policy is opened at 18 years of age
      • As long as that policy is maintained
      • Covers 99% of pre-existing conditions (because most 18 year olds are healthy)
      • Keep it until you die.
      • No unreasonable penalties for changing your plan attribute over time.
      • This creates competition, individual responsibility and lowers healthcare costs while increasing service through the free market.
(Yes, this is a de-facto healthcare savings account with the added benefit of economies of scale.)
    • And give more people access to Healthcare Savings Accounts
  •  Medicare
    • If you are over 40, you can opt to keep Medicare.
    • If you are under 40, see the above Healthcare point.
  • Debt:
    • Reduce spending to 2006 levels
    • Federal Spending  freeze for 10 years
    • Pay down national debt
    • If that doesn’t work, sell California (and everything in it) to the Chinese.  They’re practically communist there already. Should be a smooth transition
On my second day in office I’ll take Air Force 1 to Cuba, open up trade, smoke Cigars and drink margaritas on the beach. 

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

I Only Eat Free-Market Chicken

Boycotts never work… just sayin’

So a private citizen who owns a private company makes public his personal opinions on an issue and a couple of mayors don’t want him doing business in their cities.

What the hell happened?

It all started in Chicago where an alderman wanted to block the opening of a Chick-fil-a restaurant because of the CEO’s public support of “The biblical definition of marriage” 

But the restaurant chain had already obtained zoning and other licensure for the opening of the store.  So, what real grounds does this statist really have to evoke this power?   Well that’s a whole other issue…
But what I really enjoyed was this quote from Mayor Rham Emmanual, “Chick-Fil-A’s values are not Chicago values”  Really, Mr. Mayor.  If dozens of people were murdered at Chick-Fil-A stores would you then approve?  

I know some gay people.  For the most part they've been pretty cool around me.  But having first-hand experience with divorce I would say that I really wouldn't want anyone to have to go through that.  Maybe it's a little callus but I honestly believe that the true motivation behind the gay marriage initiative is gay divorce (male same-sexmarriages are 50 percent more likely to end in divorce than heterosexualmarriages, and female same-sex marriages are an astonishing 167 percent morelikely to be dissolved).  Remember: always follow the money.  Also, another issue…

But what really gets under my skin is liberal politicians who want to limit free enterprise on unrelated political statements! 

Why I am going to Chick-Fil-A for lunch today is to prove that the free market is more powerful than political ideology.  

Let me give you some more instances where this applies:  

Apple has a well documented history of liberal leadership;  But I still have an iPhone.
Jos Wheaton   is pretty much a socialist, but I still saw Avengers opening night in the theater.
Dan Rooney II is currently Obama's ambassador to Ireland, but the Pittsburgh Steelers are still my favorite sports franchise

I have an iPhone because it is a superior product.
I saw Avengers because it was a great movie.
I root for the Steelers because they are awesome! 

And what their ownership thinks about any issue does not affect the product they provide to me. 
So I will visit Chick-Fil-A today because I support free markets more than I care about the gay marriage issue (or any issue for that matter). 

Friday, January 06, 2012

To Van Halen or not to Van Halen?!?!

That is the question.

It was a late Christmas gift I received when I logged onto facebook and saw an announcement from the official Van Halen website about tickets for a new tour going on sale in mid January.

Lets back this up for a moment.  Van Halen is my favorite band of all time!  In fact I pretty much dont even listen to music if its not Van Halen. I saw them twice on their last tour, and at least once on every tour since 1995. If you are keeping track, thats 5 shows, plus the Daive Lee Roth/Sammy Hagar show dubbed the Sans Halen tour.  I even once painted my computer to look like Eddie Van Halens guitar.   I should find photos of that.

But I digress

I am left with a dilemma.  When I bought my first Van Halen album back in 1991, I had two  options: Cassette or Compact Disc. Having just received a CD player for Christmas that year I opted for CD.  Come to think about it, I think I got that one through one of those Columbia house deals in a magazine. Do they still have those?   You get your first 7 CDs for a penny, then you buy 3 more at regular price, unless you sign up a friend, then you get two more at half price.  But if its a Tuesday and you are wearing green pants theres a bonus disc you get for half price if you buy two more at regular price

What can I say It was the 90s.  Thats the decade when Nirvana was popular.  A lot of bad decisions were made.

But I digress again.

Times, and technology have changed.  I honestly cannot remember the last time I actually loaded a CD into any type of device for listening purpose. Come to think of it, I dont remember the last CD I purchased in physical form!  Why? Because ever since iTunes, I can download music faster and cheaper than it would take me to drive to Wal Mart, purchase it and even if I play it in my car, let alone bring it home to play it on my Bose system.

Speaking of playing CDs in my car.  The Neil Diamond Christmas (do you get the irony?!?) album has been the only disc in  my car stereo for at least two years now.  

But I digress...  Oh you should be used to it by now.

At one point I had a shelf with every Van Halen album sitting on it in order of release date.  So aside from greatest hits compilations in which I only downloaded the newest songs,  I have the complete set.  But what’s the point of physically owning music? Will “A Different Kind Of Truth” be the first Van Halen album that wont be on my shelf not that I still have that shelf, all my CDs are in a box in a closet.  But I do like to read liner notes.

What do I do!?!?!
Please vote in my poll!

Van Halens new album A Different Kind of Truth will be released on February 7, 2012