Monday, September 26, 2016

California Solons Outlaw Actresses' "Last Fuckable Day"

Or at least, that's what it looks like from here, as Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill forbidding online database websites to publish dates of birth upon the request of the actor.
“Age discrimination is a major problem in our industry, and it must be addressed,” she said in a Sept. 16 post. “SAG-AFTRA has been working hard for years to stop the career damage caused by the publication of performers’ dates of birth on online subscription websites used for casting like IMDb. We are now in the final stages of securing the enactment of a California law that would help combat age discrimination by giving performers the right to request the removal of their date of birth when it’s included on online subscription sites.”
This, of course, is aimed directly at Santa Monica-based IMDb Pro, and the "problem" it seeks to address is the reality that actresses cease to be as much in demand in their 40's as they are in their 20's:
Notably, age is not a problem for men, and beneficial up to a limit. This trend actually reflects male sexual preferences, which always skew to young women; the California law is thus an effort to police male desire. This will prove impossible, as men amount to slightly more than half the moviegoing audience, per MPAA statistics from 2014 (the most recent year available, see p. 14 of the PDF):

Tina Fey and Amy Schumer made this obviously true point (over and over and over) in their famous "Last Fuckable Day" sketch from "Inside Amy Schumer":

 Hollywood is a hard place to make a living for anyone. Susan Sarandon or Michelle Pfeiffer won't be ingenues again because casting agents don't know their birthdays. California bashing the First Amendment by way of third parties doesn't make it right.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Beatles Lyrics Translated Back To English

Why did the Beatles have a squeaky-clean reputation in the 60's, while bands like The Who and The Rolling Stones were supposed to be bad influences? Forthwith, some long-overdue renderings of Beatles song lyrics back into unambiguous English.

Beatles SongLyric(s)English Translation
No ReplyIf I were you
I'd realize that I love you
More than any other guy
She's just not that into me.
I'll Follow The SunOne day, you'll look to see I've gone
But tomorrow may rain so, I'll follow the sun
Ugh, groupies.
I Saw Her Standing ThereShe wouldn't dance with anotherThis is a threat.
ChainsMy baby's got me locked up in chains
And they're not the kind that you can see
Can't run around, 'cause I'm not free
I regret that I'm in a committed relationship now that I found another, more attractive woman.
Ask Me WhyNow you're mine, my happiness still makes me cry
And in time, you'll understand the reason why
If I cry, it's not because I'm sad
But you're the only love that I've ever had
I can't believe it's happened to me
I can't conceive of any more misery
See above.
Please Please MeLast night I said these words to my girl
I know you never even try, girl
Come on, come on, come on, come on
Please, please me, woah yeah, like I please you
I want more sex. Now.
A Hard Day's NightYou know I work all day to get you money to buy you things
And it's worth it just to hear you say you're going to give me everything
Love is a transaction.
If I FellIf I give my heart to you
I must be sure
From the very start
That you would love me more than her
I want to cheat on my girlfriend, but I am a coward. How often do you enjoy sex?

John Lennon's history of abusive relationships is well documented, and part of the reason I look a bit askance at these things.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Self-Limiting Disease

Another in an occasional series of mothers haranguing their teenage or even prepubescent sons on the horrors of supposed rape culture — except the boys aren't going for it.
“Oh boy,” my son said, rolling his eyes. “Not rape culture again.”

We were sitting around the dinner table talking about the news. As soon as I mentioned the Stanford sexual assault case, my sons looked at each other. They knew what was coming. They’ve been listening to me talk about consent, misogyny and rape culture since they were tweens. They listened to me then, but they are 16 and 18 now and they roll their eyes and argue when I talk to them about sexism and misogyny.

“There’s no such thing as rape culture,” my other son said. “You say everything is about rape culture or sexism.”
As Scott Aaronson so ably observed, we here deal with religious tenets, and there is no dissuading the pious on such matters. So when your child fails to take your catechism to heart — when, in fact, it is obviously, palpably false and wholly irrelevant to their lives — the obvious next step is to shame them in the pages of a large-circulation newspaper. As usual, the author hauls out the feminist warhorses, blaming their disinterest in her gabble on "toxic masculinity", and proselytizing for "enthusiastic consent" (which third parties after the fact have no hope of determining). Her sons, apparently imbued with working critical thinking skills despite their mother's best efforts, remain unmoved.

It is not a little interesting that the author makes no effort to understand the world through her sons' eyes; empathy for the male position in all this simply doesn't matter. A marriage is one long negotiation, not a harangue, and it is no surprise that Jody Allard never mentions a husband in this exposition. If self-described feminists are now in decline in the general population, one can only imagine it is scenes like this one repeated over and over driving it. Feminism as currently practiced is a self-limiting disease, to the extent it requires male assent and cooperation.

Update 2016-09-18: Allard's backlog is a deeply disturbing array of self-indulgence; her excusing her own lousy credit because of her inability to remain unpregnant would be funnier if the life she created wasn't trying to self-terminate. (The former link also confirms my suspicion that she has left behind a trail of failed marriages and poor decision making with contraceptives.)  And while of course the question of nature or nurture here is an open one, constantly hectoring your young sons about how their sex is behind every horrible thing in the world might not have a beneficial effect.

Update 2016-09-19: Seven kids.

Friday, September 9, 2016

With The iPhone 7, Apple Turns On Its Customers

Somewhere, Apple fanboys (and -girls) defend the recently announced iPhone 7's lack of a 3.5mm audio jack; so far, I'm not seeing it. It's part of a long line of decisions eliminating older technology in favor of something better and newer, e.g. ditching floppy disks ahead of the rest of the industry, or less successfully, the transition from the 30-pin iPhone/iPod connector to the proprietary, reversible, and faster Lightning cable. But that cable transition has not gone nearly as smoothly as Apple would have hoped. Why is it that Apple's Lightning cables suck so badly? Apple used to sell excellent 30-pin cables, but their Lightning cables fray at the strain relief, and die young compared to quality third party cables. This is a big part of the reason people rail against the jackless 7:
It's all too easy to mock Apple's overgrown sense of entitlement here; the replacement for the free headphones that used to ship with prior iPhones is, um, a little spendier:
As ever, emboldening below is all mine:
Geoffrey Stormzand, who spent three years managing the in-office technology for none other than Steve Jobs in Cupertino, admits that he scolds his wife over how many cords she goes through. But he also concedes it shouldn’t be so challenging for normal people using the devices in normal ways to keep them working.

“I wonder if the reason Apple doesn’t see the problems with the cables is because they treat them with the respect they deserve and don’t consider the cables to something they need to test,” says Stormzand, now an Apple technology consultant in Las Vegas. “There’s a number of things you look at and say, ‘Steve would’ve raised hell about this.’ This might be one.
And, one gets the sense that the wins for the all-digital iPhone 7 are not nearly going to be as positive as Apple might like, but customer blowback could be significant. Company flacks already dismiss the obvious direction this points Apple toward as so much "conspiracy theory". The advantages come down to
  • One less ingress point for water, so easier to waterproof
  • Less space occupied by external connectors, so more internal real estate for battery and camera
"It’s debatable whether they are good enough arguments," Patel writes, "but there is no denying that Apple has its reasons." Other reasons, of course, are not hard to find, and they look a lot like they think their customers have turned into milk cows:
... Let’s leave aside the many arguments that simply asking consumers to deal with additional dongles and potentially buy new accessories because Apple wanted to make the phone smaller is fairly aggressive behavior. Let’s just focus on that DRM conspiracy instead.
  1. Apple already runs a DRM-encumbered music service. It is called, you know, Apple Music. The step from streaming DRM music to authenticated devices to only allowing those devices to output that music to approved audio peripherals is vanishingly small, and the sort of insane demand that record labels are organizationally designed to make. Apple may not want to DRM audio devices, but the record labels might certainly demand it, especially now that they can. Record labels love to exert control just because they can!
  2. Apple already runs the Made For iPhone program, which charges accessory makers a fee for the use of the Lightning connector, a connector which contains — surprise! — an authentication chip. It’s not particularly sophisticated, but it’s there, and that means anyone who wants to make Lightning audio devices for the new iPhone will have to have those devices approved and pay Apple at least some money per unit.
  3. If an accessory maker wants to make a contraband Lightning device, Apple might figure out how to disable that device in a future software update, which the company did with some unauthorized cables in iOS 7.
  4. When we plugged the Apple Lightning-to-headphone-jack adapter into an iPhone 6S at the Apple Event, it popped up a warning saying the device was unsupported and didn’t work, because the phone wasn’t running iOS 10 yet. It is not simply a passive adapter; it requires software support.
  5. The thing about any digital signal chain controlled by software is that it can be controlled by software, and that means all of the problems inherent to software are present. That means small things like bugs and incompatibilities, but it also means big things like the richest corporation in the world having the power to decide which devices its software can talk to.
  6. Apple’s vision of the future is wireless audio, and the current foundation of that vision is Bluetooth, which means any Bluetooth device can theoretically get audio out of an iPhone. That’s great — but the best wireless audio experience available in the Apple ecosystem come from either Apple’s AirPods or its new Beats headphones, which use Apple’s proprietary W1 chip atop the Bluetooth protocol. The step from "buy Apple W1 products because they’re easier to use with an iPhone" to "the iPhone only supports officially approved W1 products because that’s all anyone really buys" is, again, vanishingly small.
  7. Very few people will realistically switch to an Android device simply because of the headphone jack, so the amount of competitive power in the market that might meaningfully check Apple’s behavior is very low.

That is to say, Apple appears poised to follow Sony in making the kind of epic, DRM-fueled mistakes that put their content business ahead of their hardware, to the detriment of both. I hate to say it, but this may be the first iPhone I take a pass on.

Update 2016-09-10: This is hilarious:
Update 2016-09-10: Apple has a very sound financial interest in removing the jack: it owns the largest Bluetooth headphone company in the world, Beats.
...[T]he lack of a headphone jack on the iPhone — and increasingly, on Android phones as well — will lead to an uptick in sales of Bluetooth headphones. And it just so happens that Apple owns the number one Bluetooth headphone company, Beats.

Beats brings in more revenue from Bluetooth headphones than LG, Bose, or Jaybird, according to NPD figures released in July. In terms of unit sales, it controls over a quarter of the Bluetooth headphone market.

Bluetooth headphones are also disproportionately profitable among headphones. NPD has them accounting for 54 percent of all dollars spent in the market, despite representing only 17 percent of units sold in the US. These headphones sell at high prices with high margins, and Apple’s company is making the best of it so far.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Protestant Reformation Of Dogs Is Missing Its Martin Luther

Jemima Harrison, whose Pedigree Dogs Exposed blog through some oversight was missing from my sidebar, has a new post up today regarding the death of her friend Gina Spadafori's Flat Coated Retriever Faith (Faybee) at the absurdly young age of seven. For anyone not keeping up, FCRs have an impossibly large genetic predisposition to cancer (50% of all such dogs will succumb); it was thus a huge gamble when Ms. Spadafori purchased bred Faith, even despite her considerable due diligence on the parents' health. [Thanks for the correction in the comments, Jemima.]

What I found utterly puzzling about Ms. Harrison's post is that it fails to link to a 2013 entry on that same blog mentioning Ms. Spadafori's admirable Mackenzie Project, an attempt to outcross FCRs with other breeds in an effort to reduce the incidence of cancer. But looking for that website today will yield you nothing; the only trace of it is that post at Jemima's blog now.

I will not here speculate on the reasons Ms. Spadafori removed that from circulation, having not asked her. But what I will say is that it is painfully obvious that dog culture generally needs to change. The ribbon society members who can write this wretched treacle eliding their dogs' short, painful lives as having "chosen well" have surrendered any claim to "improving" their breed whatsoever.  Kennel blindness even among those who ought to be knowledgeable enough to understand the danger of genetic bottlenecks is so rampant that even Niels C. Pedersen at UC Davis recently appears to have pussyfooted around the real hazards facing FCRs in a report on that breed's genetic diversity: "... the Flat-Coated Retriever is increasingly recognized for its comparatively good health...." Compared to what, exactly? Pedersen's report comes off sounding like the gag, "But other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?": so much whistling past the graveyard.

Patrick Burns sounds the right note: "So how do you avoid cancer in a Flat-coated Retriever?  You stop buying Flat-coated Retrievers. It's just that simple." The reason for this is obvious: dog culture is itself debased by people who lack even a rudimentary knowledge of population genetics, and in fact are hostile to this knowledge. If the AKC vaguely resembles a "Stalinist Switzerland", the broad public is having none of that (less and less, in fact). We desperately need new, sound ideas about dogs and how to breed them, based on demonstrated genetic principles. Dogdom is ripe for a sort of Protestant Reformation; all that is missing is its Martin Luther.