Big Life–the Ska Musical

I’m not going to go into the performance history for this, but I did see a piece on BBC London news about it. Unfortunately, I missed the play in all its runs.

It has been recently archived in audio form here:

Here is a scene from the start of the play which I can only link to:


Posted 04/09/2017 by lacithedog in Big Life, Ska, Ska Musical, Uncategorized

Gun Control Irony

Yeah, yeah. I try not to post this stuff on my blog, but this one is pretty important.  It was posted on Penigma, but I want my other post to get a few more views before this shows up again on that blog.

On the other hand, this needs to get out there.  That said:

It would be really ironic if instead of all the mass shootings the US has suffered (my condolences to the victims and their families of those), that the incident that caused people to realise the US needs gun control is an out of control suburban mother fighting over a notebook in a suburban Wal-Mart.

No, pulling a gun in this situation is not self-defence by any stretch of the imagination.  No one was fearing death or serious bodily injury which would justify even the threat of deadly force.

The woman pulling the gun is committing Felony Assault under Michigan law, Section 750.82.

The offense of Assault with a Deadly Weapon (ADW), is also known as Felonious Assault in Michigan. ADW is felony which is punishable by up to 4 years in prison. ADW is a crime which involves an assault with a deadly weapon (such as a gun or knife) or any other instrumentality which is fashioned or used as a weapon (car, club, bottle) which is capable of inflicting serious bodily injury or death. A criminal charge or conviction does not require actual physical contact or an injury. The offense is considered complete upon placing another in fear of an assault by a person who possesses a deadly weapon

Michigan law requires that the defendant “must have honestly and reasonably believed that he or she was in danger of being killed, seriously injured or sexually assaulted” in order to use deadly force.  Additionally, the defendant “may only use as much force as he or she thinks is necessary at the time to protect himself or herself.”

While a person may believe he or she had acted in self-defense, the police, prosecutor, judge and jury may disagree.

No shots need to be fired for her to be found guilty.

I’m not sure how the “pro-gun” crowd can defend this action.  I know responsible gun owners don’t, but it’s time they stepped up to the plate and admitted this shit happens too often with the relaxing of concealed carry law for it to be condoned.

It’s time to give Presser v Illinois, 116 U.S. 252, 6 S.Ct. 580, 29 L.Ed. 615 (1886) yet another plug.

One of the many failings of the Heller-McDonald bullshit is that those cases were not cases of first impression, but that post is coming in the future.

See also:

What Does Brandishing Mean? And Why You Should Never Do It…

Je suis arrivé

This screencap was made from my home.  Arrived2

No VPNs were involved in this whatsoever.

The Infamous Donkey comment or RUSSIANS!

I couldn’t help myself.

Donkey Comment redacted

OK, maybe it isn’t true how she died, but it seems she is now being accused of figuratively fucking a donkey.

Computer dating

I recently got an iPhone which includes the virtual assistant, Siri.  Siri comes from the early Artificial Intelligence programme Eliza, which was an early natural language processing computer program created from 1964 to 1966 at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory by Joseph Weizenbaum.  You can have long conversations with Eliza and people thought she was human.

You can try Eliza here.

While Siri is descended from Eliza, she is far from being indistinguishable from a human.  That’s where the Turing Test comes in.  This test was developed by Alan Turing in 1950, is a test of a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behaviour equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human.  Siri makes it clear she is not human and has a long way to go to become one.

I would say she is poor at doing her job.  My joke is that my wife should be worried if I had a personal assistant as inept as Siri since it wouldn’t be her PA skills that kept her around.

But there is a desire on the part of humans to have a machine intelligence which is useful, but even the best systems are flawed.  I had a private screening of two AI classics: the Twilight Zone episode, The Lonely (season 1, episode 7) which featured a young Jean Marsh as Alicia, and Spike Jonze’s Her. Both of these must take place in the future since the current state of the art of Artificial Intelligence is far from the level of humanity shown by the robot and operating system.  Especially if I use Siri and other systems as a benchmark.

The one issue I have is the autonomy shown in sci-fi for intelligent systems: especially the one Samantha shows in Her. I think the reality would probably be closer to how Alicia acts in the Twilight Zone episode, where she learns from her human master.  This then gets into the topic of sex robots, which at this point are basically the RealDoll that moves and speaks.  I can’t really address how well it does this since my experience of these comes from this Guardian video and my experience with other artificial systems.

You can see RealDoll’s Harmony app in action here.  I am not sure how well it will work in reality, but is sounds like Siri with a libido.

Although, I do have to disagree with the ethicist who thinks that machine sex is bad since it may reflect on human relationships.  I think there would always be the knowledge that the Sex robot was a machine. Again, I think the real experience might run closer to the Twilight Zone episode than actual slavery and debasement.

Then the other issue is the disembodied nature of an intelligent system such as Siri or Samantha.  Her got into that issue. But the fact is that an intelligent system may know a lot about me, but she can’t do a whole lot of tasks around the house.  Toss in there isn’t the real human touch with the current state of the art.  The interactions of Theodore and Samantha on a date seemed a bit like Lars and the Real Girl, but slightly more accepting.

On the other hand, enough people are glued to their cellphone that it could be someone on the other end instead of an intelligent agent.

The bottom line to me is that Siri is sort of useful, but I can do most of the tasks she does.  And I can do them much better.  It would be nice if the web search were weighted and more accurate (I want current information) and she could read a result to me: especially if I am driving.  Instead, I find myself correcting Siri’s inaccuracies, which is something one doesn’t want from a personal assistant of any kind.

Penigma, Catherine the Great, and Russian Interference in the 2016 Election

Catherine the Great! (Oh, the temptation to make a comment about Donkeys!)

Yep, you got that correct, Catherine II, also known as Catherine the Great (Екатери́на Вели́кая, Yekaterina Velikaya),  Empress of Russia from 1762 until 1796.

That’s because the only thing which made Donald Trump president was the electoral college, an institution created by the US Constitution (Article II, Section 1, Clauses 2-4).  So, if there really WAS any “Russian” influence in the process that made Trump president of the US, it would have had to have been produced during the reign of Catherine the Great!

The Fact is Hillary Clinton won the popular vote with 65,853,516 (48.5% votes) to Trump’s 62,984,825 (46.4% votes), but lost in the electoral college by receiving 232 (43.1%) of the electoral votes to Trump’s 306 (56.8%) votes.

Of course, it is far easier to blame the Russians for this defeat than it is to address the real issues behind Clinton’s loss.

Although, that is a strategy that is sure to backfire since any claims of “Russian” interference result in the faults of the Clinton Campaign: her being a weak candidate, DNC misconduct, and pretty much everything that was common knowledge to Sanders’ supporters and Clinton opponents.

Any real discussion of Clinton’s loss must include the faults of the US system of elections: especially the radical overhaul of the electoral college, which was supposed to have prevented foreign interference in the US presidential process ( The Federalist Papers, No 68).

It is blatantly obvious that the Electoral College serves no useful purpose, but that won’t be addressed as long as people refuse to address the real cause of Trump’s becoming president.

Then again, any real investigation of the US election would be a threat to the current Democrat-Republican duopoly. The duopoly thrives on the illusion that US elections are somehow “democratic”, but it is hard to make that claim when an institution designed to be anti-democratic is allowed to continue its existence.

See also:

To pirate or not to pirate–that is the question

Series 7 of Un Village Français aired last year.  France 3 divided it into two parts the same way they did series 6, which is really annoying on several fronts.
UVF 5a
The first being that we find out what happens at the end of Series 5, which ends with an outdoor production of a play being raided by the Gestapo. It is safe to assume that things didn’t work out too well for our thespian members of the Maquis who decided that the show must go on from the picture to the left below.

I imagine Mueller having his troops give them a standing ovation before machinegunning them on the spot.UVF1

But, it’s taken a couple of series to learn their fate.  Not to mention find out what happens to the rest of the inhabitants of Villeneuve.

But there is a big drawback in that it seems this series is hard to find.  Although I did come up with a pirated copy of Series 7. And the subtitles are available at  I don’t feel right buying the pirated copy, but I also don’t like having to pay as much as the “official” English releases can cost.

I can only imagine that France 3 will again release all of Series 7 on DVD after all the episodes have aired.  That will be sometime this autumn.

Not sure I can hold out that long.

(Actually, this is available on a couple of streaming services which specialise in the type of non-US, furren language programming I like: e.g., and Amazon. I’ve signed up for a couple of these services since I don’t watch broadcast TV. I prefer to be my own programming director)

Further info: the First half of Series 7 has been released on disc.  MHz combined the first two series into one making the rest of them a number lower (i.e., 3 is 2, 4 is 3, etc.).  The first half of series 7 has been released as series 6.