Saturday’s Forum

FILED UNDER: Open Forum
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Japan introduces enormous humanoid robot to maintain train lines

    I Robot?

    It resembles an enormous, malevolent robot from 1980s sci-fi but West Japan Railway’s new humanoid employee was designed with nothing more sinister than a spot of painting and gardening in mind. Starting this month, the large machine with enormous arms, a crude, disproportionately small Wall-E-like head and coke-bottle eyes mounted on a truck – which can drive on rails – will be put to use for maintenance work on the company’s network.

    Its operator sits in a cockpit on the truck, “seeing” through the robot’s eyes via cameras and operating its powerful limbs and hands remotely.

    So, it’s not a robot anymore than my circular saw is.

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  2. Kathy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    IMO, a robot is either an automated machine, or software, that can operate on its own. If you direct every movement, it’s not a robot.

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  3. OzarkHillbilly says:
  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Heh:

    Speaking to Vanity Fair, (Kevin) Bacon said he had long hankered after the anonymity of the everyman, so commissioned a prosthetics specialist to enable him to do so.

    “I’m not complaining,” he said, “but I have a face that’s pretty recognisable. Putting my hat and glasses on is only going to work to a certain extent.” He continued: “I went to a special effects makeup artist, had consultations, and asked him to make me a prosthetic disguise.”

    Kitted out with fake teeth, a different nose and a pair of glasses, the actor trialled his new look at a shopping mall in Los Angeles called The Grove. To his delight, he discovered that “nobody recognised me”. Yet the newfound freedom soon palled as Bacon discovered the downsides of invisibility.

    “People were kind of pushing past me, not being nice,” he said. “Nobody said, ‘I love you.’ I had to wait in line to buy a fucking coffee or whatever. I was like, This sucks. I want to go back to being famous.”

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  5. Michael Reynolds says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    Does your circular saw have AI? You can’t be cutting boards without AI. I have an AI refrigerator, and it makes ice all on its own. Life is so much better now with AI directing ice-making robots to provide all my ice needs. And I have an AI thermostat which – this is amazing – will turn the AC on all on its own, once I tell it what temperature I want. My AI dishwasher can clean dishes autonomously, once I push a few buttons. And add soap. Ditto the washer and dryer.

    I was watching a YouTube short and the AI-supplied captions were amazing, I hadn’t even known that ‘Toot In Common’ was an Egyptian pharaoh. I even have AI books – if I turn a corner down, the book will go right to where I was reading it last. Incredible.

    This is the future, man, you better get on-board.

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  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The reformist Masoud Pezeshkian has pulled off a stunning victory in the Iranian presidential runoff, reflecting deep dissatisfaction with the direction of the country in recent years and opening potential new avenues of cooperation with the west.
    ……………………
    Pezeshkian has been an advocate of letting women choose whether to wear the hijab and ending internet restrictions that require the population to use VPN connections to avoid government censorship. He said after his victory: “The difficult path ahead will not be smooth except with your companionship, empathy and trust.”

    Under the slogan “For Iran”, Pezeshkian had promised to be a voice of the voiceless, saying protests must not be met with the police baton. Although some regard him as naive in high politics, a large part of his campaign was deliberately framed around his personal integrity, as well as his absence from ministerial office for the past decade. There were immediate calls from his backers to release political prisoners from jails, a symbol of the pent-up demands he may struggle to satisfy.

    How long before Khamenei has him executed by the IRGC?

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  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Reynolds: ‘Toot In Common’ was an Egyptian pharaoh

    Heh. Thanx for that. Thanx for all of that.

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  8. Stormy Dragon says:

    Today is the 15th anniversary of…

    United Breaks Guitars

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  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Stormy Dragon: The plate of revenge is best served cold.

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  10. Jen says:

    Where TF are these kids’ parents?

    Students Target Teachers in Group TikTok Attack, Shaking Their School
    Seventh and eighth graders in Malvern, Pa., impersonating their teachers posted disparaging, lewd, racist and homophobic videos in the first known mass attack of its kind in the U.S.

    As if teaching isn’t hard enough, with garbage pay. And oh, look…they’re learning something from Trump:

    “Move on. Learn to joke,” the other student said about a teacher. “I am 13 years old,” she added, using an expletive for emphasis, “and you’re like 40 going on 50.”

    I’m not one for ruining kids’ lives for making dumb mistakes, but there really, really, really need to be big, serious consequences for this. THIS is the result of demonizing public education. THIS is the result of having an appalling, arrogant POS at the head of the GOP.

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  11. DK says:

    ‘Project 2025’ Trends After Taraji P. Henson’s Comments At BET Awards:

    Taraji P. Henson’s call to the BET Awards audience to do their research ahead of the 2024 presidential election appears to have been successful.

    On Sunday (June 30), Henson hosted the 2024 BET Awards at Peacock Theatre in Los Angeles, where she urged the audience to stay informed on new laws and Project 2025, a collection of policy proposals that outline how former President Donald Trump would transform the federal government if reelected.

    “Time for us to play chess, not checkers,” Henson said. “It’s about making decisions that will affect us as human beings…They are attacking our most vulnerable citizens. The Project 2025 plan is not a game. Look it up.”

    According to reports, Google searches for “Project 2025” skyrocketed following Henson’s comments at the BET Awards.

    Proposals included in Project 2025, a 920-page document, include gutting the Environmental Protection Agency and Food and Drug Administration and cutting the Department of Education.

    Social media users thanked Henson for warning the country about Project 2025 ahead of the election.

    “Thank you Taraji P Henson well done people please read they republicans are trying take all our rights we will have nothing,” one TikTok user wrote.

    “It’s about time an actress/actor used their platform to make us aware. So I Googled it and yeah vote, ” another user said.

    When a celebrity has better journalistic priorities than most the pundit class and elite media. Project 2025 is scarier than Biden’s and Trump’s advanced age.

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  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Buitengebieden
    @buitengebieden

    Smart dog..

    Jeebus, that dog should be on TV or something.

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  13. Jay L Gischer says:

    @DK: It’s good for sure. It looks like advocacy to me, rather than journalism. It might seem low key, but it’s valuable and important. We all need to be doing stuff like this, rather than complaining about ‘journalism’. We all have a platform somewhere. We might not have the reach of the BET awards or Teraji P. Henson, but there are lots of us.

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  14. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    No wonder Trump hates dogs. They’re all demonstrably smarter than he is.

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  15. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    I bet that’s how come he claims to be a germophobe, too.

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  16. CSK says:

    @Kathy:

    Indeed.

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  17. just nutha says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: And the dog is STILL more talented and smarter than our best trolls here.

    Sad. SMH, again. [Sigh…]

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  18. just nutha says:

    @CSK: Smarter than Trump isn’t a very high bar. Even for a dog.

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  19. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    First time I’ve seen anyone win at any variation of 3-card monte after the set-up.

    Hint to anyone tempted to play this game in the wild — the dog is way smarter than you.

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  20. Mr. Prosser says:

    A good dog with a very smart nose. Still better than TFG

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  21. DK says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    We all need to be doing stuff like this, rather than complaining about ‘journalism’.

    We can walk and chew gum simultaneously. Or play the game and work the refs, as it were.

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  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: — the dog is way smarter than you.

    Don’t I know it, he is far more attentive than I.

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  23. wr says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: ““People were kind of pushing past me, not being nice,” he said. “Nobody said, ‘I love you.’ I had to wait in line to buy a fucking coffee or whatever. I was like, This sucks. I want to go back to being famous.””

    Three cheers for an honest celebrity!

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  24. Kurtz says:

    @Jen:

    From the article:

    In a statement, the Great Valley School District said it had taken steps to address “22 fictitious TikTok accounts” impersonating teachers at the middle school. It described the incident as “a gross misuse of social media that profoundly impacted our staff.”

    There is little unique benefit to social media at all. Almost everything that would fall under proper use can be fulfilled through other means.

    The unique downsides of social media are numerous and varied.

    An add-on take: I argue using Twitter, X, whatever the hell it wants to be called, for discussion of complex topics is a misuse of the platform. But we live in a tl;dr culture, so I guess it doesn’t matter.

    Last month, two female students at the school publicly posted an “apology” video on a TikTok account using the name of a seventh-grade teacher as a handle. The pair, who did not disclose their names, described the impostor videos as a joke and said teachers had blown the situation out of proportion.

    “We never meant for it to get this far, obviously,” one of the students said in the video. “I never wanted to get suspended.”

    Oh, yes, teachers are blowing it out of proportion.

    And of course, this little spoiled brat never wanted to be suspended. I doubt anyone thought she desired a suspension, what she really means is she never expected to be held accountable for slander.

    And the kid who acted as if the middle aged teacher was the one being immature because they couldn’t take a joke is absurd. This wasn’t a joke made to the teacher’s face–it was made in a public forum, but it doesn’t appear that these kids every expected the teachers to ever see it.

    One last thing:

    Jen, here are the 2020 Presidential results from Malvern:

    Biden: 1,483 – 63.5%
    Trump: 834 – 35.7%
    Jorgensen: 18 – 0.8%

    Maybe the kids involved are all from Trumpy families, but I’m skeptical this can be tied to attacks on public education.

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  25. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @wr: Yep. I’ve always liked KB.

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  26. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kurtz: Kids are kids. They do stupid things without ever considering anybody might get hurt. (whether themselves or others) Lord knows I did. They are myopic to the Nth degree. They can not even begin to think how others might be hurt, most times they can’t even see how they might be hurt.

    Consequences? Parenting is a dance, between protecting one’s child from harm and allowing them to find out what the price is for “fcking up.” I give people a little slack if they don’t get it quite right as long as they get the love part right.

    Myself, my siblings all thought I was way too hard on my sons and I’m sure I was overly… strict from time to time. Regardless, they both now appreciate all the things I did for and with them, the experiences I gave them and most of all, the fact that I never gave up as so many other divorced fathers do.

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  27. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    As have I. A terrific actor. My sister once stayed at the same resort hotel as did Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick and their kids, and she said they were regular folks.

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  28. Michael Reynolds says:

    I’m stuck for another week in exciting West Hollywood playing nurse to my wife. Despite all the scare headlines, the high here is only going to be high 80’s to 90. But back in Vegas, we may top the all-time record of 117 on Tuesday, with 118. And I’m annoyed I’m not there.

    Vegas is getting in my head.

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  29. Kurtz says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Yeah, perhaps, I came across as too hard on the kids. I didn’t comment about parenting, though. I try to avoid that sort of thing. I don’t have children, so I can only imagine how difficult it is.

    For me, it’s more about social media, specifically the in/actions of the companies, than it is about kids doing dumb things.

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  30. gVOR10 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    But back in Vegas, we may top the all-time record of 117 on Tuesday, with 118.

    When those Chinese do a global warming hoax they don’t miss a bet.

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