Facebook Isn’t Just Like Tobacco, It’s Cancer

A post called “The Fall of Facebook” is brutally honest about its executive management:

The company’s pursuit of “growth at any cost,” which in biology goes under the name “cancer,” can’t go on forever. There are only two possible outcomes: either the growth is forcibly removed and destroyed, or the growth goes on to kill its host.

I think my favorite line in that post is one I’ve been trying to say here for many years now.

Facebook is different: the leaders have enabled catastrophe. They’re in free fall.

Also this line stands out.

It’s over. The only remaining remedy is law, leading to a criminal trial, leading to handcuffs.

That was my talk-track for years, even making regular trips to DC to help build a case for charging the Facebook CSO with crimes.

While many of us have for years compared an immorality of Facebook executives (especially their CSO) to the tobacco industry spreading known harms for self-gain… this post seems like the first time I’ve seen a compelling argument made for Facebook being cancer.

Also it’s not just esoteric specialists, safety experts or ethicists making these arguments about Facebook. Here’s a high-profile 2018 CEO interview for perspective:

Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, argues that Facebook is addictive like cigarettes, and that the social media platform can have serious effects on society.

The public shaming hasn’t done the job, clearly. Handcuffs for their CSO might.

Tesla Claims It Now Detects Flashing Safety Lights… Five Years Late

The first Tesla “Autopilot” crash fatality was January 2016. It crashed into the back of a high visibility service vehicle with flashing safety lights.

Did you know?

Tesla at that time said it would take decisive and quick action to prevent it happening again.

Since then, Teslas repeatedly crashed in the same basic way causing injury and death, with no updates from them.

Finally in August 2021 the US government announced it would look into this as negligence by Tesla, which seems ridiculously late when it could have been an immediate reaction to help avoid many preventable deaths.

NHTSA says it has identified 11 crashes since 2018 in which Teslas on Autopilot or Traffic Aware Cruise Control have hit vehicles at scenes where first responders have used flashing lights, flares, an illuminated arrow board or cones warning of hazards. The agency announced the action Monday in a posting on its website.

And then September 2021 the “Truth_Tesla” disinformation account on Twitter abruptly announced Tesla could now detect an emergency light and slow down for safety.

Source: Twitter

There’s quite a bit to unpack in that one tweet.

Of course this begs the question why the company waited five years? Why take sooooo long?

Why did so many people have to die first?

The answer seems to be a government action has scared Tesla into action, unlike the loss of human lives.

More to the point, “Truth_Tesla” points to a GAO report and shares a tiny snippet of the following paragraph:

These data indicate that there are relatively few fatalities and injuries from
crashes involving emergency vehicles in general. Our analysis of 2018 FARS and CRSS data shows that overall, there were 112 fatalities from crashes involving emergency vehicles, representing 0.3 percent of all traffic fatalities that year. The total number of traffic injuries involving an emergency vehicle in use was estimated to be about 8,000, or 0.3
percent of all estimated traffic injuries that year. Further, our review of the separate “related factors” data variable to identify emergency responders involved in crashes found that out of 14 individuals who were either emergency services personnel or law enforcement officers involved in a fatal crash in 2018, 11 were killed and 3 had non-fatal injuries.

The simple logic here should be if you can make a minor engineering change to save a life, would you make that change? The answer has to be yes.

However, at Tesla the answer seems to have been no for FIVE YEARS despite many crashes.

If you follow all of the GAO analysis, they’re showing a lot of time and energy has been spent since the 1990s to get to a zero crash report. Tesla in 2016 should have sent alarm bells off, and certainly by 2018 should have been in serious trouble.

Now consider how “Truth_Tesla” offers a value system that argues if only a small percentage of people are dying or injured then why bother looking at Tesla being a cause at all. They literally say this in a tweet:

NHTSA is only aware of 17 such Ambulance injuries since 2018 that involved Teslas (!), well below Tesla’s share of miles driven.

Imagine if a driver drove into a service vehicle and killed or injured someone, then got out of the car and said “in my defense that’s one person, a statistically insignificant number, so I should get to do this wrong thing many more times”… or “this terrible crash I just caused is well below my share of miles driven”.

Truth_Tesla then attempts a “please clap” for a minor engineering change long overdue; a neck-snapping flip from “why care about statistically insignificant events” to “everyone look over here and care about us because we did something easy”.

Tesla is a Scam. Scientists Repeatedly Attacked by Car Maker

Edmunds’ scientists apparently made Tesla very angry when the car maker failed a simple test of real-world range:

Some electric vehicles dramatically exceeded the EPA’s range estimates, while others fell short. Most notably, all five Tesla vehicles we tested missed those estimates.

Edmunds said they received an unpleasant response from Tesla as the car maker demanded a retest using special considerations and adjustments (that a zero range doesn’t actually mean zero and should be tested as a completely opaque not-zero amount).

Needless to say, Tesla was not happy with our test results, and we received a phone call. Tesla’s engineers disputed our figures.

Tesla cars, now overtly described by their engineers as based on lies (zero doesn’t mean zero) then failed the tests again.

Even allowing for the additional miles recorded after an indicated zero, only two of the six Teslas we tested would hit their EPA figures in our real-world conditions.

If that debate outcome wasn’t bad enough already (with Tesla arguing that it lies in an attempt to prove that it doesn’t lie)…

Edmunds on September 7 gave an honest and clear negative review of the Tesla “yoke” option for steering control:

…it actually feels dangerous… don’t let anybody tell you this is a good idea, I can’t believe it’s legal.

To be clear, this is a qualified review by a man with experience in a F1 car with a yoke.

He’s an expert telling us the Tesla yoke is a terrible idea, and he ends up guessing it was made only for “Twitter” noise/marketing instead of benefiting actual retail drivers.

Race cars in loops obviously aren’t turned more than slight rotation (it would be disaster at high speeds to turn too far) yet any real world driver has constant arcs over 180 degrees. The F1 has direct steering, whereas indirect steer is more functional for real-world driving.

It kind of begs the question why Tesla didn’t launch their latest attempt to stoke its base with some other fraudulent innovation like installing a “tiller” to steer it like a boat.

Come on Tesla, where’s your tiller upgrade option?

As predicted by the reviewer, despite his very careful explanations and evidence, virulent information warfare tactics over Twitter were unleashed in a stream of personal attacks with attempts to kill him as messenger.

Source: LinkedIn

Consumer Reports then echoed Edmunds’ findings:

Tesla’s New Steering Yoke Shows Little Benefit and Potential Safety Pitfalls

It reminds me of a disastrous flaw in Ford Mustang engineering where they built a rear beam suspension (linked instead of independent) useful only in drag racing, which ended up throwing a lot of owners into a very dangerous spin and crash.

Ford tends to make some pretty big mistakes, yet you don’t see any evidence today of the company organizing social media into highly-targeted warfare against safety advocates.

Edmunds also criticized Tesla’s engineering safety generally in the “Plaid” model calling the car a “marketing exercise to draw attention to an aging car”. And that seems true.

Tesla social media activists then pushed out a petulant “joke” about a new special safety acceleration mode being 60mph in 15 seconds, which honestly doesn’t sound like a bad idea.

Source:JeffTutorials Twitter

Tesla is basically engaging in these information warfare tactics, engaging from a position of insecurity, to have a fan base inflame tension and disruption that discredits experts and science.

To clarify where that “joke” image comes from, JeffTutorials is an obvious Tesla disinformation account:

Source: Twitter

It all reads to me as very similar to that time Edison created an electric chair to kill people and tried to have it called “Westinghoused” (to denigrate a man far superior to him in every way).

How very odd to think that Tesla, a brilliant man who worked for the generous Westinghouse after suffering from Edison’s abusive and inhumane cheats… has his name completely hijacked by a business being run like a modern-day Edison scam.

The 1947 Electric Car That Looks Modern Even Today: Nissan Tama

I’ve mentioned on this blog before the 1947 Nissan Tama.

It has several important historical characteristics that make it look like something very modern even today.

  • Designed for the switch to a peacetime economy
  • Designed by 200 Tachikawa Aircraft employees
  • Extreme shortage of gasoline
  • Top speed of 35 km/h (22 mph) and a cruising range of 65 km (40 miles) on a single charge
  • Passenger car and truck models
  • Battery compartment in the cabin floor, with two doors on either side
  • Battery cases on rollers so used batteries could be quickly exchanged with fresh ones

I bring it up again as people lately have been saying they wish they had a quick way to replace their electric car batteries instead of using a gasoline-pump like attachment for slow (complicated and dangerous) charging.

That is what Tama offered in its “bomb bay” like doors and energy swap cases:

Tama power swap used cases of batteries on rollers

Well I guess that means look at 1947 for the answers from war-time aircraft engineers who understood the significance of rapid replacement, refuel turnaround and similar efficiencies.

Of course it wouldn’t happen today for cars without someone involving robots.

The Chinese refer to the 1940s Japanese model of drive-through battery-swapping as “killed by Tesla years ago” and thus a re-emergence trend:

It’s similarly tempting to get very excited by a Taiwanese company GoGoro as they have slick marketing calling their products “reimagined”. It’s basically the most distributed and modern take yet on what came so long before the ill-conceived “plug-in” market that’s slow, dangerous and bad for batteries.

Source: GoGoro

We’re essentially going back to the beginning, which is good for modern electric vehicles.

The most exciting thing about this stop-and-swap transit model is that any home anywhere could be a supplier. It’s much more attractive to have someone grab a power pack to go than to hook up to your house charger.

And even that model goes back centuries.

Imagine hanging a small sign outside your home that says “power cell available”, like the hanging red lamp of the Japanese Izakaya. That’s in fact a hint at the universal thinking about services and sharing that led everyone towards a modern hotel, the modern restaurant…

Interesting to historians is how battery replacement perhaps models after an ancient system of canvasarais spaced 20 miles apart on Persian highways, where a tired horse or camel could be quickly refueled or exchanged with a fresh one.

…Middle East, Central Asia, and North Africa would have been much more difficult if not for the caravanserais… centers for the exchange of goods and culture…

How to Succeed Again After Being Successful

A 2019 article in The Atlantic reads to me like a whole narrative that is slowing working towards an answer yet never achieving one.

It is kind of ironic.

If you rise towards a single objective there will be a fall, leaving you guessing what’s next… whereas if you continuously improve you may enjoy life-long success instead of feeling it only was in the past:

Entrepreneurs peak and decline earlier, on average. After earning fame and fortune in their 20s, many tech entrepreneurs are in creative decline by age 30. In 2014, the Harvard Business Review reported that founders of enterprises valued at $1 billion or more by venture capitalists tend to cluster in the 20-to-34 age range. Subsequent research has found that the clustering might be slightly later, but all studies in this area have found that the majority of successful start-ups have founders under age 50.

Any single objective is really made up of a large number of rise and fall movements.

So the answer is… how to recover and rise again, a form of adaptation and change.

The less you obsess at achieving a single peak as a life’s objective, the better you might become at climbing every day after you reach it.

I suspect that the Harvard Business Review is stuck measuring narrow factors in their closed-minded study of wealth accumulation. It’s like saying a study has found children under age 4 making rapid improvement in language are in creative decline by the age of 10. Yeah, they move on to other improvements, like math!

What if progress is the goal, instead of perfection of any one step along the way? Are you moving on too fast, too slow? These may be worries ahead, yet at least you’re still moving.

The Face of Disinformation on LinkedIn

This is disinformation to the core on LinkedIn. Please review carefully and factor:

Source: LinkedIn
  1. Rumble is documented “right-wing propaganda and conspiracy theory as well as false information”
  2. The man arrested is “U.S. Customs and Border Protection” and ///NOT the FBI/// as spread in this disinformation post by Norcross. That alone should be an immediate take-down of the post.
  3. Norcross is engaging in weaponized speech by diverting a topic to “what the police look like” as an attempt to disarm targets of a violent insurrection, while he is passively promoting violence using false allegations against federal staff (e.g. these police look like a country defending itself against violent disinformation militias, such as a man illegally carrying a firearm).

In other words, in the face of a man illegally carrying a firearm and posing an imminent threat to the federal government, Norcross here is attempting to passively gin up anger at the federal government by falsely maligning a federal law enforcement agency. Why? He is trying to make a government defending itself against insurrection look like the extremists, the bad guys, when the exact opposite is true.

The careful observer will also note the “4d” meaning the post spread disinformation at least four days without interruption.

Norcross may as well have been asking what did someone look like in 1859 defending the nation against right-wing propaganda and conspiracy theory. Who was branded extreme in the face of a violent Southern mob that had been murdering countless Americans to perpetuate and expand slavery?

After witnessing mob murder of US abolitionists, John Brown dedicated his life to finish the work of victims. As Laurens Hickock put it to Brown: “The question now before the American citizen is no longer alone, ‘Can the slaves be made free?’ but, ‘Are we free, or are we slaves under Southern mob law?'”

New Special Forces e-Bikes are Really Just Motorcycles

Special Forces are orienting around the amazing performance characteristics of light bicycles with electric motors — motorcycles.

One of the curious problems with gasoline motorcycles is they grew too big and unwieldy at several hundred pounds, not to mention they ran on gasoline (not ideal for a military running on diesel). And since light-weight diesel motorcycles never really seemed to take off, electric makes perfect sense.

A new story in iNews claims an exclusive in reporting that Colorado is supplying the new commercial-sector mountain bicycles with electric motors to the military for testing.

In a reverse of the convention of defence technology finding its way to the civilian market, the vogue for military bicycles follows the global boom in e-bikes used by commuters and leisure cyclists. The value of the this market is predicted to reach £34bn by 2026.

But the new breed of special forces bike is a different beast.

With five-inch-wide tyres more likely to be found on a motorbike, a range of nearly 60 miles and silent 1,000w motors, the Jeep/QuietKat bike, made in Colorado, has been tailored for the needs of cycling special forces.

There are multiple problems with this story, although I have to commend it for making history front and center to the narrative.

First, it’s not a one-way convention. The civilian market also has a convention of making its way into defense technology. Special Forces often pull civilian companies like Patagonia, North Face, and Arcteryx into their equipment kits (as I’ve written about here before).

Second, the boom in e-bikes has been very pronounced in mountain bike racing, where training now is pedal-assist power to improve range in order to improve handling. In other words if you ride a technical pump track 50 times on an electric motor for training, then you likely get 40 times more experience in a session to prepare for non-electric racing than if you didn’t have the motor.

In other words, the “new breed of special forces bike” is NOT different from civilian bikes. A range of 60 miles on silent 1,000w motors is par for course, as well as extra fat tires commonly used for snow and sand trails.

Here’s a typical tweet from me in 2015.

Source: Twitter

Third, the history in this story has a GIANT gaping omission. This is not fair retelling.

Ever since the advent of the mass-produced bicycle in the late 1800s, armies have looked to harness the potential of soldiers on two wheels.

By the end of the 19th century most European militaries had formed bicycle units to replace horses for the delivery of messages and scouting and surveillance missions.

During the First World War, the British Army had two Cyclist Divisions, largely devoted to home guard duties. Prior to the war becoming bogged down in trenches, all sides sought to use fast-moving cyclist units, with the Belgian military using early folding bikes.

However, it was the Japanese who became most closely identified with the mass deployment of cycling soldiers. When Tokyo invaded China in 1937, it did so with a 50,000-strong “bicycle infantry”.

The ability to rapidly move large numbers of troops through jungle terrain without motorised transport proved vital to Japan’s early victories in the Second World War. During the invasion of Malaya in 1941, Japan was able to repeatedly outflank and overrun a retreating British Army by using bicycles along minor routes, ultimately resulting in the humiliating loss of Singapore.

During the Vietnam War the Viet Cong used bicycles to ferry supplies along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

The Swiss Army maintained its Bicycle Regiment until 2001.

That covers a few bases, obviously (no pun intended).

What is missing? It was Black Americans who invented mountain biking in 1896. The Buffalo Soldiers deserve credit, as I’ve written about here before, for riding bikes from the Rocky Mountains all the way to Missouri.

A story about mountain bikes being developed in the Rocky Mountains for military use, which makes no mention of 1896 bikes in the Rocky Mountains for military use… begs the question why leave out the most obvious comparison of all.

Also, as I suggested at the start, a bicycle with a motor is in fact a motorcycle so this history really should include motorcycles when considering usage and modifications to carry heavy loads.

2015: A Non-Meat Diet Has HUGE Positive Environmental Impact

It seems like a million years ago I was on a platform called Twitter, where I posted insights like this one:

Source: Twitter

Hard to believe I ever willingly used a product called “MetroTwit”.

Anyway, the Global Calculator Tool was something brought to my attention by economists at LSE.

I ran all the possible outcomes (based on the spreadsheet) I could find and in every single scenario it became obvious that removing meat from diets had the single biggest impact in the shortest time.

It can save the world? Why?

Meat brings massive upstream implications, which cross most of the other factors. It is basically an overlay (e.g. land-use, transit-use, resource-consumption) and adding them together.

Put all the bad things together and you get a worse thing: meat.

It seemed pretty important as far as things to share. And Twitter delivered me exactly 3 “Likes”. Is it any wonder I left the platform?

I highly suggest you take this big data analysis tool for a spin.

Source: Global Calculator Tool

Performing the straight-forward assessment of risks using this tool helps decipher headlines you likely will see more of (as people fail to shift their diet to either local sustainable meat or no meat).

2018: Plos One: 20% tax on red meat needed to cover associated healthcare costs (110% tax on bacon, which is more harmful)

2019: Animal Frontiers: livestock responsible for 14.5 percent of greenhouses gases

2020: Nature Sustainability: global plant-based diet by 2050 could remove over 16 years of CO2 emissions

Who Attended General Lee’s Funeral and Why?

Confederate General Lee died obscurely as a foreigner and traitor to the U.S., never having been pardoned and without restoring his citizenship

One of the great myths about General Lee was that he was well liked or popular. Let’s look at his funeral for some insight in how that came to be.

Start with this simple history fact:

On June 7, 1865, Underwood’s grand jury indicted Robert E. Lee for treason, charging him with “wickedly, maliciously, and traitorously” carrying on war against the Constitution and the “peace and dignity” of the United States of America. Lee faced death by hanging, if found guilty of the charges.

If Lee had been victorious in Civil War, it would have meant death to the Constitution. Thus he very correctly was charged with treason.

He was in fact the very face of tyranny, the Old South in a single man. As a deeply flawed aristocrat Lee was to blame for a staggeringly cruel death toll, and doing little or nothing when his followers committed gross atrocities.

He betrayed his own country, a republic, with the aim of slaughtering Americans to replace it with a violent tyranny where only a few white aristocratic men would rule.

That’s not exactly the kind of popularity one wants for a funeral in 1870.

Don’t get me wrong, though.

There were many traitors who loved Lee’s vision of tyranny replacing American government and fought for his cause of expanding slavery. Many also favored his barbaric tactics in war, essentially terrorism. Some even have tried to fabricate him into a “Christian Soldier” myth to rope in religious extremism as some kind of excuse for his habit towards unnecessarily high casualties (as Grant maneuvered repeatedly towards obviously decisive victories, repeatedly capturing his opponents, Lee mired his men in withering defeats and unnecessary mass deaths).

Yet, his funeral gives us ample evidence how Lee’s popularity diminished so greatly he died mostly ignored just several years after the end of a Civil War he infamously led to failure. In a very real sense it was a state of being ignored and disappearing from view that prevented him from being very publicly put to death.

Had he more prominently stuck his neck out after the Civil War it seems likely Lee could have ended up hanged. Some even suggest it was General Grant who personally and very silently weighed in to save Lee from his due.

Indeed, prohibited from taking any public office or even being able to vote in elections, Lee squirreled himself away. He served obscurely as president of a small militant extremist training school, a regional “Washington College” in Lexington, Virginia (a school he fit into well, given it very notably owned human beings and benefited from their forced labor and sale).

Then Lee abruptly died from heart disease on October 12th (just five years after the end of Civil War).

Records tell us at this point very few mourned him outside his militant school and his former circles of slaveholder politicians. The numbers don’t lie.

The school even had to turn its “cadets” into his pallbearers and the small funeral procession was over almost as quickly as it started.

Order of Procession as “Escort of honor, consisting of officers and soldiers of the Confederate Army. Chaplain and other Clergy. Hearse and Pall-Bearers. General Lee’s Horse. The Attending Physicians. Trustees and Faculty of Washington College. Dignitaries of the State of Virginia. Visitors and Faculty of V. M. Institute. Other Representative Bodies and Distinguished Visitors. Alumni of Washington College. Citizens. Cadets V. M. Institute. Students Washington College as Guard of Honour.” It continues, in part “At 10 O’Clock, Precisely, The Procession (except as hereafter designated) will be formed on the College ground, in front of the President’s House and will move down Washington Street… The Procession will be halted in front of the Chapel… when the Cadets for the Institute and the Students of Washington College will be marched through the College Chapel, past the remains…

These details are captured in an auction piece.

And it’s confirmed also in an 1883 recount of the funeral.

Source: Life of General Lee

To put it another way a small regional school and some former seditious officers showed up dutifully, as well as slaveholder politicians, in total numbering barely over 1,000 people.

That’s essentially nothing, given he had only recently stopped being the head of a secessionist military with lofty aims of destroying America to replace it with a slave state.

He had more than 8X that number preparing to fight a last battle when he surrendered just a few years prior. Think about that. Four years after 8,000 men swore they would fight to destroy America on Lee’s command only a few showed up to pay him respect at his funeral.

Thus, the defeated General Lee died with a negative score in his battles, losing a massive war badly with excessive loss of life. He had not regained his citizenship, nor was he personally/formally pardoned officially for treason let alone leading a fight to destroy the American Constitution.

Nonetheless his body was allowed to receive a “military salute” from the tight circle of his own cadets at his school.

Tributes were mentioned in eight cities: Louisville, Kentucky; Augusta, Georgia; New Orleans, Louisiana; Atlanta, Georgia; Richmond, Virginia; Columbia, South Carolina; Baltimore, Maryland; and Lexington, Kentucky.

Eight cities.

In a nutshell, after Lee stopped his fight to expand slavery and surrendered his sword to General Grant at Appomattox Court-House, his public career ended. He quickly passed from public thoughts and very few cared to inquire about his fate, foreshadowing why his own cadets in a small college in an obscure town had to be his pallbearers.

Lee was buried under his school’s church and its name was abruptly changed to “Washington and Lee”. This bizarrely led to anti-American Confederate flags being flown in an American school chapel (until 2014) and even serving as the events center of anti-American militant groups (until 2016).

All of this promotion of animosity stood in direct contradiction to Lee’s supposed wishes to bury signs of his rebellion (which confusingly contradict him becoming president of a militant school training anti-American cadets). It’s a good reminder to everyone that even in death he continued to be a confused and ineffective leader.

The Washington and Lee school in fact just refused to return their name to an original state (continuing to disgrace Lee’s request to bury signs of rebellion).

The school plainly cited “a threat to current financial support” if they removed the change, suggesting that adding Lee’s name mainly has been to stoke cash donations through manipulating sentiment of white supremacists.

General Lee’s funeral, as small as it was, ended up being just one more way for people to make a lot of money from what has become known as the “Lost Cause” fraud.

the poetry of information security