Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Disclosure


After being leaned on heavily by both Thane Eichenauer and Steve Trinward, I've slowly become a bit of a Scott Adams fan.

Immediate effects of that have been that I occasionally mention him here or there, and usually cover his daily Periscope videocasts in Rational Review News Digest.

Now, however, there is a financial relationship that I think bears disclosure. Not because I think that it will necessarily affect the way in which, or the frequency with which, I mention Adams to y'all*, but because I think that should be something you know about and judge rather than me just not mentioning it. So anyway ...

I'm investing $10 or so (the "or so" involving transaction fees and any slight price moves in Ethereum -- the transaction is confirming on the blockchain now) in the Initial Coin Offering for WhenHub Interface, a company/app for which Adams is Chief Strategy Officer. It's an interesting "connect people to 'experts'" idea, and the first ICO in which I've invested personal funds (as opposed to accepting airdrops and such).

There being a referral bounty, please feel free to download the Interface beta app and receive 500 WHEN Tokens (part of this disclosure is that I'll get 3% of that amount as a referral bounty) for trying it out. You can use the app to find an expert or to be an expert who gets found and paid for his or her time in those tokens) by people wanting to talk with you.


* Nor because of what any idiot FTC bureaucrat might think. Screw them. I disclose what I think is important, not what they order me to disclose.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

I Still Think Kim Should Try This


Kim Jong Un has declared a moratorium on new nuclear weapons testing. The public pretext seems to be "hey, we've got working nukes, we don't need to test anymore." The obvious message to the US is "OK, we're giving you something as a prelude to these coming negotiations."

Of course, the US goal is for Kim to give up his existing nukes, not just to stop making and testing new ones. Most of the commentators I'm reading predict that that proposal will be received with words along the lines of "it will cold day in hell ..."

But I think Kim should go big in a way that leaves the US in a "put up or shut up" position.

He should offer to get rid of his nukes at the same time as, and at the same percentage rate as, the US.

If he has 10 nukes and the US has 1,000 nukes, he'll decommission one nuke for every 100 the the US decommissions. With mutual inspections for verifying both the declarations of numbers and the decommissionings, of course.

If the US negotiators don't just harumph and ostentatiously walk away from the table -- making the US look like a douche nozzle rogue state to the rest of the world -- their obvious objection will be "but all these other countries have nukes, and we can't get rid of ours until they get rid of theirs."

To which the obvious North Korean counter is "well, let's get them in here around the table and get this whole thing done, then."

Of course the US negotiators would just harumph and ostentatiously walk away from the table. Getting rid of weapons of mass destruction is always for those other regimes. And we'd be right back to the status quo ante.

But I still think that's the way Kim should go.

Suicide Squad: Not Really a Review


I've been wanting to see Suicide Squad ever since it came out, and unsuccessfully tried to talk the family into catching it on the big screen. I finally rented it on Friday (my "day off" as such things go).

Lots of fun. I'll try to avoid spoilers and this isn't rally a review, just some thoughts.

Reasonably good actors doing reasonably good acting, especially Margot Robbie. The film does visually (and promotionally in trailers, etc.) rely quite a bit on her physical assets, emphasis on the first three letters there, which might cause some to misunderestimate her acting ability. She makes the movie in a lot of ways. I've never been a huge Jared Leto fan, but I thought he did pretty well, especially in a role where he was expected to fill the shoes of Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger. Will Smith is always a pleasure. And so on, and so forth.

The film is obviously the latest attempt at putting together a DC ensemble that can compete with Marvel's Avengers and X-Men. Fantastic 4 was apparently a commercial calamity (still haven't seen it).

I think it works, and hope for sequels. Of course, they openly cribbing from the Avengers template in certain ways:

The Avengers are recruited/assigned by former S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury. The Suicide Squad is recruited/assigned by another black character, Amanda Waller -- they just made Nick Fury female and her position a little more ambiguous (no formal agency for the sole purpose of the project).

Instead of having the straight arrow military guy be a superhero type (Captain America), they go with a regular human (Colonel Rick Flagg -- I wonder if he's related to Randall?) who happens to be in love with one of the "meta-humans" -- June Moone/Enchantress). But they still have the straight arrow military guy.

Instead of Hawkeye with his ever-ready bow, they have Deadshot who can't miss with a firearm.

I'm not saying that there's nothing original about the film. It certainly stands on its own. But it's pretty obvious, once again, that DC is tired of only being able to do stand-alone superhero flicks (Batman) and wants one of those big group deals. I think they got it right with Suicide Squad.

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