The Insightful Troll

Rants and ruminations.

America's Broken Medical Systems

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40% of Americans put off medical care in 2022 because it was too expensive. What are the US politicians arguing over? Drag queen story hour & trans gender athletes in high school sports. It is absolutely disgusting that America is the wealthiest country on Earth and yet has the same life expectancy as Cuba.

Stranger Things - Amiga 1000

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Amiga 1000

I just started to watch Stranger Things. Not because everyone was talking about it - but because of the nerd nostaglia factor. A bunch of middle school friends sit around playing Dungeons & Dragons, ridding around town on their bicycles at all hours of the night, and parents who don’t really care to know where there kids are every minute of the day.

They even have BASIC as a plot element. And the reference don’t end there - Commodore 64s, NES, Tandy and to my surprise and delight the Amiga!!!! Okay they didn’t get it all correct - but the mere fact it was there blew my mind.

Carl Svensson:

Of course it’s fun to see the Amiga make an appearance in a high profile show like Stranger Things, but I do feel they dropped the proverbial ball this time. After a pleasantly accurate depiction of mainframe BASIC, decades of hardcore Amiga zealotry forbids me from simply accepting this as a bit of telly. They clearly had all the makings of accuracy right there; the OS screenshots, icons, mouse pointer, even the block cursor. When it’s that close, fumbling with the details is somehow more annoying than just phoning it in completely. If there was a reason for it, it completely escapes me. Would Topaz and standard window titles have been terribly boring? Would C, BASIC or Assembly code look less appealing than HTML? We may never know.

Don’t even get me started on the season 4 soundtrack – Master Of Puppets!!!! Ah the 80s - the greatest decade!

Spielberg Didn't Want to Do Crystal Skull

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I think we can all agree that Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was an underbaked idea. Something that most of us would rather pretend never existed (much like the Star Wars prequels). This banter explains the whole situation:

George: Let's do aliens.
Steven: I don't wanna do aliens.

Years later...

George: Maybe you're right. We shouldn't do aliens.
Steven: George, I love ya!
George: We should do inter-dimensional beings.
Steven: What?!
George: Yeah, ever heard of string theory? They're from another dimension.
Steven: Fine! Fine... What do they look like?
George: They look like aliens.
Steven: facepalm

Moral of the story - George Lucas is a genius filmmaker - but he needs people around him that will reign him in. Heck even Star Wars: A New Hope was saved in the cutting room. If you watch some of the dialog and scenes that were cut or pre-editing - they were just painful. Utter crap.

Let’s hope with The Dial of Destiny - George had some really good people around him that held him in check.

Dial of Destiny

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George Lucas and Steven Spielberg are back at it again - Indy is coming back in 2023. We have some old friends, new characters and the exotic locations, and the music theme. That music theme gets me every time.

Let’s hope this does not turn into Crystal Skull.

Twitter Bans Links to Other Social Media Sites

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Twitter’s new policy regarding tweets that link to other social sites:

At both the Tweet level and the account level, we will remove any free promotion of prohibited 3rd-party social media platforms, such as linking out (i.e. using URLs) to any of the below platforms on Twitter, or providing your handle without a URL.

Prohibited platforms:

Facebook, Instagram, Mastodon, Truth Social, Tribel, Post and Nostr 3rd-party social media link aggregators such as, Examples:

“follow me @username on Instagram” “” “check out my profile on Facebook -”

Right. Good luck with that. Spare us the drama and just shut down Twitter why don’t you? Elon is a moron.

History of the Banjo and Black Folk Music

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Jake Blount runs us through a quick history of early Black folk music, using the banjo. More importantly - there is a wealth of resources to dive deeper. As someone learning the electric guitar and blues music, this is especially relevant and enlightening.

Here is an example track form the video above - you can hear the basics of the blues tradition emerging here - repetition, call & response, and rhythmic clapping.

Elon Musk Booed on Stage

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I gained perverse joy from watching this YouTube video, which shows Elon Musk being relentlessly booed for nearly five minutes straight.

Repealing the 20th Century

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Jack Mirkinson isn’t mincing words:

Alito’s draft opinion is the work of a gleeful theocratic, woman-hating vandal, eager to begin the court’s ultimate project: tearing down the broader civil rights framework that has been in place in this country for generations. He says that Roe should be scrapped because the right to an abortion is “not deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and traditions”—a byzantine litmus test that would wipe out just about every modern civil rights protection you can think of, given the nature of American history. He forthrightly casts aside the notion that the court should be cautious about overturning decades of precedent. He sends unmistakable signals that other civil rights opinions, especially ones protecting gay rights, are in the crosshairs.

The final opinion could differ, but what we have in front of us is an extremist, illegitimate opinion from an extremist, illegitimate court, one that sees women as serfs and breeders, that sees queer people as subhuman, that sees minorities of every kind as dirt under its collective shoe. It is happily dragging us into the dark ages. Alito and everyone who joins him are evil people. No hell is too hot for them.

And on the Republican Party:

I cannot think of a single institution that causes more harm in the world than the Republican Party. There has possibly not been one in the entire history of the planet.

Well the Taliban comes to mind, but an unchecked Republican Party is not too far behind.

Shot, Reverse Shot

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Tony Zhou and Taylor Ramos examine how the Coen brothers shoot characters in their films close up with wide lenses to created empathy and comedy.

You've Got Mail

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Akiva Cohen, an attorney representing 22 laid-off Twitter employees, in a letter to Elon Musk.

If basic human decency and honor isn’t enough to make you want to keep your word, maybe this will:

If you don’t unequivocally confirm by Wednesday, December 7 that you intend to provide our clients with the full severance Twitter promised them, we will commence an arbitration campaign on their behalf, with each employee filing a separate individual arbitration, as required by the terms of your arbitration agreement. Under both California law and the JAMS arbitration rules, Twitter will be responsible to pay the arbitration costs for each individual arbitrator and arbitration. Consistent with the terms of Twitter’s arbitration agreement, those arbitrations will be held in jurisdictions across the country — no more than 45 miles from where each employee worked. Not only will you lose on the merits, but even if you somehow won the victory would be pyrrhic: Twitter will pay far more in attorneys’ fees and arbitration costs than it could possibly “save” in severance due our clients.

And to be clear, Elon, you will lose, and you know it.

Posted on - what else - Twitter.

Pencil vs Mechanical vs Ball Point Pen

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YouTuber President Chay decides to see which writing utensil is the longest lasting, by drawing a continuous line until the ink or graphite is spent.

Chay compared two #2 HB pencils (one cheap, one expensive), a fully loaded mechanical pencil and a ballpoint pen.

Curious minds need to know …

Desperate Bosses

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Vinjeru Mkandawire for The Economist

To tempt workers back and repopulate corporate digs, companies are offering generous—and increasingly desperate—freebies.

If your employees are that adament about not coming back to the office, maybe you should rething your office environment?

Clinton Roasts Trump at Al Smith Charity Dinner

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Hillary Clinton delivered a speech roasting her opponent Donald Trump at the Al Smith Dinner.

You know come to think of it, it’s amazing I’m up here after Donald. I didn’t think he would be okay with a peaceful transition of power.

Amazing how percient Hillary Clinton was…

Artificial Intelligence Art Wins State Fair

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Jason Allen, a video game designer in Pueblo, Colorado, spent roughly 80 hours working on his entry to the Colorado State Fair’s digital arts competition. Judges awarded him first place, which came with a $300 prize.

But when Allen posted about his win on social media late last month, his artwork went viral—for all the wrong reasons.

Allen’s victory took a turn when he revealed online that he’d created his prize-winning art using Midjourney, an artificial intelligence program that can turn text descriptions into images. He says he also made that clear to state fair officials when he dropped off his submission, called Théâtre D’opéra Spatial. But over the last week or so, his blue ribbon has sparked an impassioned debate about what constitutes art.

If the art you create can be be generated by AI, it’s not art.

20 Rules for Making Money

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20 rules for making money form d a book published by P.T. Barnum called The Art of Money Getting:

  1. Don’t mistake your vocation
  2. Select the right location
  3. Avoid debt
  4. Persevere
  5. Whatever you do, do it with all your might
  6. Depend upon your own personal exertions
  7. Use the best tools
  8. Don’t get above your business
  9. Learn something useful
  10. Let hope predominate but be not too visionary
  11. Do not scatter your powers
  12. Be systematic
  13. Read the newspapers
  14. Beware of “outside operations”
  15. Don’t indorse without security
  16. Advertise your business
  17. Be polite and kind to your customers
  18. Be charitable
  19. Don’t blab
  20. Preserve your integrity

You can get read it online.

It's Not a “both Sides” Affair in 2020s America

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David Frum for for The Atlantic:

But if both Republicans and Democrats, left and right, suffer political violence, the same cannot be said of those who celebrate political violence. That’s not a “both sides” affair in 2020s America.

You don’t see Democratic House members wielding weapons in videos and threatening to shoot candidates who want to cut capital-gains taxes or slow the growth of Medicare. Democratic candidates for Senate do not post video fantasies of hunting and executing political rivals, or of using a firearm to discipline their children’s romantic partners. It’s not because of Democratic members that Speaker Nancy Pelosi installed metal detectors to bar firearms from the floor of the House. No Democratic equivalent exists of Donald Trump, who regularly praises and encourages violence as a normal tool of politics, most recently against his own party’s Senate leader, Mitch McConnell. As the formerly Trump-leaning Wall Street Journal editorialized on October 2: “It’s all too easy to imagine some fanatic taking Mr. Trump seriously and literally, and attempting to kill Mr. McConnell. Many supporters took Mr. Trump’s rhetoric about former Vice President Mike Pence all too seriously on Jan. 6.”

United States v Donald Trump

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And as the nation’s chief law-enforcement officer, he is a hyper-prudential institutionalist who would like nothing more than to restore—quietly and deliberately—the Justice Department’s reputation for probity, process, and apolitical dispassion. Which is why it is so difficult for me to imagine him delighting in the choice he now faces: whether to become the first attorney general in American history to indict a former president.

But this is what I believe he is preparing himself to do.


Over the course of my reporting, I came to appreciate that the qualities that strike Garland’s critics as liabilities would make him uniquely suited to overseeing Trump’s prosecution. The fact that he is strangely out of step with the times—that he is one of the few Americans in public life who don’t channel or perform political anger—equips him to craft the strongest, most fair-minded case, a case that a neutral observer would regard as legitimate.

United States v. Donald Trump would be about more than punishing crimes—whether inciting an insurrection, scheming to undermine an election, or absconding with classified documents. An indictment would be a signal to Trump, as well as to would-be imitators, that no one is above the law. This is the principle that has animated Garland’s career, which began as the Justice Department was attempting to reassert its independence, and legitimacy, after the ugly meddling of the Nixon years. If Garland has at times seemed daunted by the historic nature of the moment, that is at least in part because he appreciates how closely his next move will be studied, and the role it will play in heading off—or not—the next catastrophe.

Just get on with it already.