Wrong Side Of Memphis

May 18, 2019

“Wrong Side Of Memphis,” written by Matraca Berg and Gary Harrison, recorded by Tricia Yearwood, 1992.

Tricia Yearwood website

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I Wanna Be Yours

May 18, 2019

“I Wanna Be Yours,” performed by Alex Turner and Matt Helders, who recorded the song with  Arctic Monkeys, 2013.

Arctic Monkeys website

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Make Believe Revue

May 18, 2019

“Make Believe Revue ,” A Columbia/Screen Gems Color Rhapsody cartoon, 1935.

Animated by Manny Gould and Harry Love. Written by Ben Harrison, with music by Joe Denat.

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Ken Nordine, 1920 – 2019

May 17, 2019

“Blue,” written and performed by Ken Nordine, with music by Dick Campbell, 1967. Kinetic Type by Emily McLain.

More:

“‘Word Jazz’ Creator And Host Ken Nordine Dies,” Carrie Shepherd, WBEZ News

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Ted Cruz and the Space Pirates!

May 17, 2019

Ted Cruz and the Space Pirates!

Shiver me timbers, matey! Senator Ted Cruz says we need a Space Force to protect us from space pirates:

“Since the ancient Greeks first put to sea, nations have recognized the necessity of naval forces and maintaining a superior capability to protect waterborne travel and commerce from bad actors. Pirates threaten the open seas, and the same is possible in space. In this same way, I believe we too must now recognize the necessity of a Space Force to defend the nation and to protect space commerce and civil space exploration.”

The CBO says the initial bill to launch the Trump Space Force is $2 billion of your tax dollars, but independent estimates rocket start-up costs closer to $5 billion. Maybe we could defray the expense by licencing the film rights to Netflix. After all, the Cruz space pirate plot treatment is sure getting lots of buzz on Twitter.

More:

“Cruz warns ‘Space Force’ needed to prevent space pirates,” Owen Daugherty, The Hill

“Space Genius Ted Cruz Is Super Worried About Space Pirates Stealing our Space Booty,”
Jason Torchinsky, Foxtrot Alpha

“US Senator Ted Cruz irked by ‘space pirate’ ridicule,” BBC News

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Image: (“Ted Cruz & the Space Pirates, after Louis S. Glanzman”) by Mike Licht.  Download copies here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com.

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Calories: A Con Game?

May 16, 2019

Are calories a dietary delusion?

More:

“The Death of the Calorie,” Peter Wilson, 1843 Magazine

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Uber’s Employment Model: Sharecropping.

May 15, 2019

Uber's Employment Model: Sharecropping.

After the Civil War, when plantation owners were deprived of a chattel slave workforce, they implemented a form of peonage euphemistically called “sharecropping.” The landowners contracted poor black and white laborers to work their fields as tenants. These independent contractors did the backbreaking work in return for a small share of cotton harvest proceeds, often absorbing the costs of farming and bad harvests. That’s the employment model of rideshare companies like Uber.

Think of Uber’s digital platform as the plantation’s cotton fields. Uber lets the drivers plow use it if they turn over most of their cotton fare money to the plantation platform owner. Drivers absorb the costs of fuel, cellphone, car loans, permits, insurance, and maintenence. And if their mule car dies, the platform owner lets them buy a new one at subprime rates. Healthcare and retirement benefits? Nope.

Drivers are catching on, and so is the public. No wonder rideshare companies are pushing so hard for autonomous vehicles. After all, they automated the cotton fields, didn’t they?

 

More:

“Uber and the labor market,” Lawrence Mishel, The Economic Policy Institute

“Strike All You Want. Uber Won’t Pay a Living Wage.” Sarah Jeong, New York Times

“‘It’s a Laughable Fiction’: How Uber’s $82 Billion Valuation Was Built on a Lie to Its Workers.” Brianna Provenzano. Pacific Standard

“How Corporate Delusions of Automation Fuel the Cruelty of Uber and Lyft,” Brian Merchant, Gizmodo

Related:

“Research: Ride Share Has Increased San Francisco Traffic,” Rachen Swan, SF Chronicle, via Government Technology

“Uber Is a Scam,” Doug Henwood, Jacobin

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Image derived from “In a Cotton Field” by Horace Bradley, from Harper’s Weekly, August 1887 (Library of Congress).

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Bitcoin mining in Siberia

May 14, 2019

For centuries, Siberia has been known for its coal, iron, diamond, and gold mines, but its new industry is cryptocurrency mining. BBC Moscow correspondent Sarah Rainsford reports.

Related:

“Bitcoin Miners Flock to New York’s Remote Corners, but Get Chilly Reception,” Patrick McGeehan, New York Times

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American Expansion, Month by Month

May 13, 2019

Month by month, colony by colony, state by state: An animated map of the contiguous United States shows every boundary change since 1629. a video by EarthDirect. Map data from the Newberry Library’s Atlas of Historical County Boundaries.

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For Your Love

May 12, 2019

“For Your Love,” written and recorded by Ed Townsend, 1957.

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