Worst Idea Ever: Robotic Soldier Killing Machines


Okay, so like, these people working on robotic soldiers/war machines haven’t seen Terminator??? NO WAR ROBOTS PLEASE!!!  Like, after seeing the terrorist attacks in India…what are the chances terrorists will ever get ahold of killer robots? And once we have killer robots, people will want weapons that knock out electrical functions, like electromagnetic pulse weapons, as self-defense against the robots, and of course once those become common people will be knocking off power grids left and right and we’ll be screwed, without the ability to use electricity…and the robots will be able to track you through your cellphone use, GPS, etc…BAD IDEA PEOPLE!!!

Talk about an arms race/race to the bottom.   WE NEED SOME HELP WITH GAME THEORY HERE PEOPLE!!! I mean, once country A has the robots, so will every other country want similar robots, etc etc etc.  We should just have a world-wide ban on war robots, period.  Of course, the logic is also that no country wants to be the last to develop them and be caught unprepared…

NY Times: A Soldier, Taking Orders From Its Ethical Judgment Center

On the privacy front, see this article on all the ways these robots will hunt you down:

NY Times: You’re Leaving a Digital Trail. What About Privacy?


Retro-2000s: Felix da Housecat

Felix da Housecat: Madame Hollywood from “Kittenz and Thee Glitz.”

Remember 2001?  Still a great album, for its mix of italo, house, new wave.  Never quite understood the term “electroclash” though.  Guess it was like, a pretty savvy repackaging/branding term…

Interestingly enough, Felix was executive producer on an as-of-yet unreleased Puff Daddy dance album?!

Articles 11/30/2008


Regulation, Transparency, Wall Street Collapse and Katrina; Responses to Financial Collapses and National Disasters


Portfolio.com: The End, by Michael Lewis

Required reading for anyone wondering about our current economic mess. Here’s where regulation is needed and free markets don’t just work: you can get a ton of really smart people together controlling major sections of the world financial system, who are only out for short-term profits (i.e. tomorrow, next quarter maybe), and many of whom don’t know what they’re selling, just that if they keep hyping it and selling it they can charge a lot of money for it. And not just ignorance, but other times outright fraud, knowingly giving things good ratings and telling people they are secure financial instruments when they know they are not.

The emperor really has no clothes. Things got so complicated, non-transparent, and under-regulated, even within individual firms…

Another thing that worries me in terms of regulation and transparency, is the whole Katrina fiasco. I mean, I can’t believe that Bush didn’t immediately send in the National Guard with tons of water, food, supplies, etc. I mean, if Katrina didn’t count as a huge national disaster, what would? And does that mean that the US doesn’t have an adequate stash of food and water and an adequate national disaster response communications network and strategy plan set up? What if there was a disaster on the scale of Katrina but man-made–would the federal government have stepped in to help US citizens any sooner? Or would people still be going without adequate supplies and assistance for days, weeks, etc? QUITE WORRISOME, no? I really hope our disaster response plans nationally have been beefed up–Obama, this should be a top priority when you take office.

Best Live Show Ever: Camper Van Beethoven


Camper Van Beethoven, November 22, 2008, The Abbey, Chicago.  Almost like what I would imagine seeing the Beatles would be like.  Absolutely phenomenal.  Incredibly high-quality mp3s of the amazing performance are available at the Internet Archive for free (Camper Van Beethoven allows non-commercial taping of their shows–in fact they use the exact language of the Grateful Dead’s taping policy on their website!!!).  The old songs before Key Lime Pie sound to me even better in this live recording.  Just as good or up to three times better than when I saw Daft Punk at Lollapalooza, which of course was leaps and bounds above every other one of the many other live shows I have ever seen.  Camper Van Beethoven are all truly amazing musicians, and the lyrics and songwriting are often amazing and heartbreaking.  Musically they are experts in playing blues, rock, country, classic rock, prog, indie, metal, ska, psychadelic, styles sounding like Klezmer, some sort of folk Gypsy, Mexican, and Arabic musics (see their song title “ZZ Top Goes to Egypt” ).

Camper Van Beethoven–Sweethears (live 2007)

They have songs literally as good as Dire Strait’s Sultans of Swing–“some of their best songs trace out the route between Fleetwood Mac’s Rhiannon and Dire Strait’s Sultans of Swing”–and more (see their album Key Lime Pie, which is their best album, with amazing songs like “Borderline,” “Sweethearts,” “When I Win the Lottery,” etc.  Somehow everything really came together with Key Lime Pie).  Overall being at the show was like seeing the Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, the Pixies, Blur, Oasis, Radiohead, the Cure, Brian Eno, Roxy Music, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, ZZ Top, Dire Straits, the Grateful Dead, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart, and Pink Floyd etc etc etc all in one.

And incredibly you could tell the absolute influence they have had on any sort of indie/alternative music.  Bands like Oasis and Teenage Fan Club and Radiohead must have listened to Camper Van Beethoven albums in awe, and Teenage Fan Club indeed covered their song “Take the Skinheads Bowling,” and Sublime covered “Eye of Fatima.”  The best thing is Camper Van Beethoven are so good you could never categorize them as “rock” or “ska” or “alternative” or “country” or whatever.  They are so skilled at songwriting and playing that they can do literally anything and it sounds good and real and authentic, some sort of new “Camper Van Beethoven” genre that doesn’t sound like a mishmash of influences but is just good.

The singer’s voice is incredible; the lead guitarist is incredible; the singer’s guitar has this perfect tone; the bass is awesome; the drummer is awesome; and you would not believe how good the violinist is and how much the violin adds to the music, taking it over the top.  It’s incredible.

I kind of hope they can keep touring every year and become sort of like a Grateful Dead, where people come to all their shows because they’re just that good.  And John Mayer, you should invite them on the next Mayercraft.  Camper Van Beethoven rule at that sort of singer-songwriter blues thing too even though that’s just one aspect of their rich sound.

See the CVB webpage “Sound Off!” section for more details on the show including setlist, with plenty of fan favorites including at least three off of Key Lime Pie.

They’re playing in San Francisco in December!

Here’s another live set of theirs from 1989 with one of my favorite songs of theirs, Borderline.

There are several other shows on the Internet Archive with other great songs like Humid Press of Days and I was Born in a Laundromat.

The Ark – Dr. Dog

The Ark – Dr. Dog

Yes, it’s “modern alternative” day on Trickle-Down…great song!

Kaiser Chiefs–Never Miss A Beat; Oh My God

Great 80’s pop/new wave retro song from the Kaiser Chiefs “Never Miss A Beat.”  Cue My Sharona.  Sounds like Magazine,Blur, Franz Ferdinand, Madness.

Wow, this band is great.  Kaiser Chiefs “Oh My God.”  Reminds me of when you could hear Madness or Men at Work on the radio.  80s without being too cloying.