Stingrays and Katrina

It wasn’t all about 9/11. In the aftermath of Katrina, the communication systems in Southeast Louisiana and Gulf Coast Mississippi were devastated. It was tough to get cell phones to work. Regular landlines were useless. The FBI realized they needed to accelerate their efforts.

Hurricane Katrina incapacitated wide swaths of telecommunications infrastructure along the Gulf Coast, including thousands of cell phone towers. Power outages also meant many people were unable to recharge their mobile devices. It’s thus unclear which Harris Corporation product the FBI’s cell phone tracking team identified as a critical solution. The FBI refuses to provide additional details about the procurement.

What the hell kind of surveillance technology do they have access to supplement Stingray in the absence of power and infrastructure?

Bosnian pyramids again

What caused this hoary fringe story to pop out of the woodwork? Interview with Osmanagich.

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I confess. The shape is compelling (this image is better than the ones from 2005 I recall) but not one bit of the rest of the story makes a bit of sense. If we’re going to make up stories to catch up with current weird discoveries, let’s date this to 10,000 years go and pretend that it has something to do with the underwater monolith of Sicily. Neolithic Atlantis flee to Balkans!

The detail about his team still being at it, scraping away actual archaeological history to get that perfect pyramid shape is tragic. They’re not as willfully evil as IS but they’re certainly not doing future research of the area’s history any favors.

New Orleans needs a culture, not a tourism industry

Very Visionary People keep putting the cart in front of the horse. New Orleans doesn’t need entrepreneurs with ideas for gourmet cupcakes or disruptive technology. It needs its homegrown musicians and their traditions. New Orleans (or rather, NOLA) is losing its second lines.

The tourism industry needed the idea of a place-based culture and the suggestion of authenticity but not the club members themselves, or, for that matter, the neighborhoods they paraded in.

Second lines aren’t some bullshit trotted out on a tight schedule with designated, underpaid performers sticking to a script like Disney. Stop trying to make the city a theme park if it’s to have any relevance to the future as anything other than a profit center.

I confess I’ve never been to a true second line. When I spent significant time in the city,  I was always in a specific mission and social media didn’t exist. I watch the videos on Big Red Cotton’s Youtube channel, knowing her story. I prefer being a voyeur.  The truth is that I hate crowds and always have.

Tarantino

This Tarantino interview entertained me. Some points:

  • I’ve not seen his last three movies, although I still consider myself a fan. It’s one of those silly hangups I have about wanting to see it with no disturbances and in a good mood… and that perfect period doesn’t happen. Or I use it for something else, like reading. Reading always takes priority over movies.
  • Inglorious Basterds and Django Unchained are his greatest box office successes? Yeah, international box office is in the equation, but what the fuck? This blows my mind.
  • Poor Cate Blanchett. I like her a lot. He’s not wrong.
  • He’s still grounded in my opinion. He’s still a fan and he still has perspective. Lucas and Spielberg are being silly about franchises. Tarantino checking off Planet of the Apes and James Bond was perfect. It’s also worth remembering Lucas and Spielberg were trying to revive the pulp serials of their youth. Pulp is good. Pulp is fiber. Fiber keeps the system regular.
  • Despite all of the talk of his cockiness, Tarantino seems to know his place. He remembers that taste is subjective. He may turn up his nose at something but doesn’t place himself as the final arbiter of worth. He still enjoys having opinions and voicing them though. He’s still a fan.
  • No Golden Age. The past is great and had peaks and troughs, but he’s not hung up on mourning a lost era of filmmaking. Even his aversion to technological changes seems to be conscious of his own taste, not a Platonic ideal of cinematic art.
  • I do miss his need for stunt casting. It feels at odds with his mature desire to create memorable characters… which for all I know I’ve never experienced because I’ve held off watching his past few movies.
  • Newsroom. Bwa ha ha ha ha. Heh. I forgot. I need to hate watch season 2.

Half-assed post, but I feel guilty for getting the blog rolling then letting it bleed out drop by drop because of technical issues yet again. Fuck you, phone. Thank you, phone.

The extinction of the pterodactyl of Black Dragon Canyon

Say it ain’t so!

The thunderbird of Black Dragon Canyon isn’t a winged monster at all, but two separate figures blurred together.

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Apparently some sloppy attempts to interpret and restore the images in past decades created this mythical beast. New techniques have been able to discern the original images.

One of these days, I need to list all of the goofy shit I’d wished was true after sifting the oldest depths of the archives.

Becoming more human is not point of evolution

No, gorillas aren’t learning to talk. No, chimps aren’t entering the Stone Age.

My under – informed two cents is to point out that humans, gorillas, and chimps are all descended from a common ancestor. That common ancestor probably possessed traits of using stone tools and having a vocal form of communication. Gorillas and chimps probably evolved away from those traits.

Remember the recent story that argues chimp hands are more evolved than humans. Gorillas and chimps are not primitive, evolving to be more humanlike. They are highly adapted to their environments.