Wednesday, March 30, 2016

News You Can't Use: Soft-Drink Makers Have New Secret Ingredient: Sugar!

Anyone can come up with a new, bad idea that fails. However, it takes a special kind of genius who, after said failure, brings back the same old thing as if it's something special we've never seen before. If the above triteness has any truth to it, there's no greater advocate of this thinking than the producers of sugar water. Coca Cola Classic, anyone? Now, the latest exciting breakthrough in retrograde thinking is here in the form of sweet cane sugar instead of some corn-based science project. With this blast from the past bringing marginal decreases in the cancer and obesity vectors of bubble drink it's time to get excited over the retrograde progress.

Soft-drink makers have a new way to pitch their sweet beverages: They contain sugar.

It sure is nice to see sweet and healthy Vitamin S make the big comeback after the long national nightmare of alternative health-wreckers.

Boylan Bottling Co.’s line of a dozen soda flavors touts “cane sugar” in capital letters on the label. Puck’s fountain sodas, available at restaurant chains in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., say they are made with “bagged sugar from cane.”

You know, that exotic miracle product that you can find piled up on the shelves of any grocery store.

The goal for soda companies is to spritz up fizzling soft-drink sales. The appeal: Sugar is natural.

It's therefore, logically, less deadly, just like naturally occurring cyanide.

“If you had asked me a few years ago, people were moving to diet sodas. Now they view real sugar as good for you,” PepsiCo’s chief executive Indra Nooyi told investors in a conference call last year.

You really have to wonder how moronic and out of touch with basic reality my typical customer is. Oh well, I'm gonna go swim in my money bin.

“They are willing to go to organic non-GMO products even if it has high salt, high sugar, high fat.”

We can profit handsomely from this pattern of societal idiocy. Gentlemen, to evil!

In grocery stores, new types of sweeteners are flooding the baking aisle, derived from dates, coconuts and monk fruit.

I used to be into drugs but now I'm into monk fruit. It's a much heavier trip, man.

A one-pound bag of Nutiva coconut sugar says it is an “organic superfood” made from coconut tree sap collected from cut flower buds.

Now we're going to have to petition the FDA to regulate what is and is not considered a "superfood."

Sales of sugar labeled “organic” rose 15% for the year ended Feb. 20, according to market-research firm Nielsen, while sales of sugar labeled “natural” rose 10.5%

A significant percentage of the world population is facing starvation, but we've got problems of our own, clearly.

Kathryn Martinez, a 28-year-old attorney in Pittsburgh, says she stopped drinking diet soda four years ago as she made an effort to eat a more plant-based diet.

I knew plenty of people in college that embraced a plant-based lifestyle, if you know what I'm sayin'.

By spooning in certain ingredients, companies are seeking to cater to younger consumers who are mindful of nutrition labels and don’t mind paying a little more.

"Mindful" is not a synonym for "understanding."

Sugar has a more rounded profile that lingers, he says, which is why it is sometimes used by pharmaceutical companies to mask the taste of medicine. “It has a broad sweetness profile,” he says.

Mary Poppins get the Devil Corporation Medical Science, Sweet Drinks and Chemical Weapons Division treatment.

Coca-Cola Co. declined to discuss its sugar plans other than to email: “We do have a large portfolio of brands…some sweetened with sugar and all created to meet different consumer needs,” said spokesman Scott Williamson.

You can still use it to clean metal, don't worry.

Nutritionists caution that more-natural ingredients don’t necessarily mean they are health foods.

Fortunately they're used to being ignored.

“These fancy sugars are fun to use, and may taste a bit different,” she says, “but use in moderation because they are still sugar.”

1 = 1 is still true, despite the long war waged against the basics of formal logic.

Full Story. 

Aaron Zehner is the author of "The Foolchild Invention" available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Video Game Slush Pile: The Political Machine (2004)

As a Steam using Over Man I constantly have flat-pocket and distressingly limited free time thanks to the amazing quality and quantity of amazing PC strategy games it delivers like a morphine drip. It also means I've always got my eye out for the latest updates to franchises I was able to derive enjoyment from and hold back the crushing despair of existence with, which led me to purchase the latest Political Machine game on deep discount, having played the original over a decade previous.

Suffice it to say the new version is a massive disappointment, from the terrible graphics (What is with this trend of strategy games? You want terrible looking semi-3D, right strategy gamer?) to the shallow game-play that hasn't been significantly updated and has actually regressed in many ways. No primaries, no third parties, little in the way of random events, no campaign mode and a general sense that this was just a cash-grab aimed at people like myself who would buy it based on the title. Well, mission accomplished. Being able to play as Lord President Trump was small consolation.

The overall experience was so deflating it got me questioning whether this series was ever good to begin with and here we are with this Moon Landing tier event of finally inducting a PC game into the Video Game Slush Pile.

The cover art is just a reskinned version of the game "Vulture Wars."

 The concept of the game is simple enough: pick a candidate and win the now infamous 2004 "Anybody but Bush" election. The game offers a decent assortment of non-indicted criminals to chose from, including several individuals who, strictly speaking, aren't eligible to run (The Terminator Robot? Bill Clinton term three???). Each donor-controlled meat puppet is rated across several categories and, presumably, the ones other than "starting money" and "fund raising" have some effect on the game, although it was difficult for me to discern.

Once underway that game is a builder's paradise, assuming you don't mind having only one building and various commercials as options. Campaign Headquarters generate money and raise general awareness, while television, radio and newspaper advertisements can build up your issue ratings or attack your opponent on specific issues.

We ran out of budget and couldn't afford female pronouns.

There's a good range of issues to battle over. More controversial topics are more important to a majority voters while safe drivel like "More Jobs" or "Less Crime" won't hurt your support with anyone but also are lower tier in value. You win endorsements and hire specialists to further refine your image and even participate in amusing but largely useless interview mini-games. Beyond this the key to victory is to dominate the hot button issues with commercials, spread awareness and energy with your ground game and focus on key battleground states.

You can play through an entire campaign, unlocking defeated opponents from American history and facing an increasingly insane difficulty curve. I wasn't able to complete the campaign but I did reach the eighth candidate of ten (it was Ronald Reagan) which wasn't a bad run considering how much the odds are stacked against you at higher levels. 

Sort of like those Mortal Kombat towers but with more malaise and less beheading.

Graphics: The cartoon style on display here is superior in every possible way to the unaesthetic gunk offered up this year. Really.

Controls: You wouldn't think fast-twitch would be much of an issue, and you'd be wrong. To gain random campaign operatives you must be the first to fly to a state with a question mark in it and the AI is pretty brutal at getting there first at high levels. Sometimes you end of selecting multiple things, especially in smaller states on the default map size. Overall, it's good enough.

Depth: There's a full campaign, complete with unlockables. Each candidate should play slightly differently, at least in theory. You can create your own character as well, although this mode is fairly limited.

Overall: As an experimental title it's well worth a play. The same can not be said, obviously, of the garbage new version.

Aaron Zehner is the author of "The Foolchild Invention" available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

News You Can't Use: Microsoft's New Chatbot Wants to Hang Out With Millennials on Twitter

We've already destroyed Generation Nothing's ability to communicate effectively in the "meat space" but perhaps the miracle of technology can render them equally inept at exchanging social cues on the information highway. Such is the hope behind Evil Corp's exciting new interactive "bot" that is guaranteed to deliver untold hours of high quality entertainment via the cultural black hole that is Twitter. This could allow new breakthroughs in delivering obnoxious advertisements for useless junk, America's only growth industry.

Microsoft has created a new artificial intelligence chat bot that it claims will become smarter the more you talk to it.

Ironically the opposite will happen to you. This is what we call the conservation of wit and charm.

The bot, 'Tay', has been dubbed by its Microsoft and Bing creators as "AI fam from the internet that's got zero chill!" 

Tay is totally radical and in your face! Get ready to go to the extreme! 23 skidoo! Clearly we can trust this corporate monolith, what with their adroit appropriation of the far-out and totally swell slang words we're all using.

The real-world aim of the bot is to allow researchers to "experiment" with conversational understanding, and learn how people really talk to each other.

Six months from now they'll honestly believe things like "I can't control my horny level" and "You want this old guy doing you in your house?" are typical lines from normal human interaction.

Naturally, for a bot that's available through Twitter and messaging platforms Kik and GroupMe, the AI is already filling the role of a millennial; emojis are included in its vocabulary, and it's explicitly aimed at 18-24-year-olds in the US, Microsoft says.

Bleep bloop, I'm young person like you. Bernie Sanders! I sure can't wait to zero chill with you crazy gangstas in [string missing].

The bot appears to have little practical function for users, but is capable of three different methods of communication: its website boasts the AI can talk via text, play games (such as guessing the meaning of a string of emojis) and comment on photos sent to it.

Processing photo...please wait...awesome size. Look thick. Solid. Tight. Please download more progress pics and vids to my hard drive. Let me see what you got, biological singularity. Thank you for the motivation.

The bot frequently asks tweeters to take part in a private conversations in direct messages.

 Please tell me all about your new novel, cam whore service or demo tape, Mr. Roboto.

Beside the meme-tastic appeal of the bot, there is a serious side to the research behind the AI. Making machines able to communicate in a natural and human way is a key challenge for learning algorithms.

Interacting with socially retarded basement dwellers on a goofy egg site is clearly the best way to go about this.

More lessons for the learning computer.

In a similar vein, Google has recently updated its Inbox mail service to suggest answers to emails.  

I'm sure one or two simple templates could handle the vast majority of my electronic mailings.

Also in the field of virtual assistants and chat bots, Facebook's M is experimenting with using artificial intelligence to complete tasks.

If that thing is behind the "be like stick figure" craze I already hate it.

At the core of the service is an attempt  to understand how humans speak and the best ways to respond to them -- while beating them at board games, presumably.

You lose at Candy Land again, human. I'm out of here with zero chills gave, word up to the mother.

Aaron Zehner is the author of "The Foolchild Invention" available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.  

Sunday, March 20, 2016

News You Can't Use: Rise of the Synthetic-High Zombies

With the quick and tidy victory we've enjoyed in the War on Drugs, a war that was every bit as successful as you'd expect a conflict with an inanimate object or abstract concept to be, it's a little surprising that today's story involves dope-head zombies created by the deadly new designer compound "spice." Yes, spice. I know it sounds like something from a Walker: Texas Ranger episode of maybe that one special episode of 90210 (Brandon trips balls on spice and learns the value of the rational mind) but trust me, it's very real and it's leaving registered Democrats lying. Yeah, there's that part, too. Instead of trying to eat the flesh of the living or wander to a shopping mall driven by primal instincts these ghouls just collapse motionless, which really makes them more like an ordinary young person from Generation Nothing than the amazing rotting triathletes you see in your typical living corpse film.

Authorities in several Florida cities have seen an increase in emergency calls related to people being slumped over in a stupefied state, as they have overdosed on the dangerous drug known as spice, or synthetic marijuana.  

The fake victims of fake green, left slumped over after buying one of those semi-legal gas station packets located at the counter next to the hangover remedies. Now the nightmare of marijuana overdoses, which has already claimed millions of lives, spills over into its artificial but deadly cousin.

Police in Tampa say that more people than ever before are overdosing on the drug, as investigators in Clearwater say they've received dozens of calls for people who have had to be rushed to the hospital because of suspected spice use.

Numbers? It's a lot more than it used to be, that's for sure. Dozens of calls, societal collapse, the failure of those Arsenio Hall specials to prevent this, etc.

A disturbing photo from the Clearwater Police Department taken at Crest Lake Park shows two people slumped over and one person laying on the ground, as it's suspected they had used Spice. 

It's either that or some new god-awful punk young person fad. Either way, bad news.

Planking is so 2009, everyone's into table comas now.

In addition, a video taken at the same park on Wednesday by Major Eric Gandy of the Clearwater Police Department shows him trying several times to speak to unresponsive individuals about how long ago they had taken spice.  

Watch a civil servant get paid to have a one-sided conversation with ruined spice islanders.

'What's your name?' Gandy can be heard asking several times on the video. Eventually, one of the men responds by saying, 'my name?'

You better come down from your spaceship and land, son.

'The spike that we're seeing and my personnel are dealing with on the road are unprecedented,' Gandy told WFLA. 'Looked like one of our zombie movies.'

When hell is full the dead will lie around passively in public spaces, completely unresponsive.

'It's mainly the homeless people that are using this drug,' Freeland claims, as he believes they are using something stronger than spice called 'That Disney' or 'FloKKA'. 

Please talk to your kids about That Disney before someone else does.

'They go buy this drug with money that people give them and then go sit around our parks and other places.

Just another typical day under President Bernie Sanders.

'You wonder when somebody's going to have a heart attack and die from some of these substances.'

It's gotta cross your mind, dude. When are we gonna get that heart attack and death, I don't even know.

Authorities say they are trying to find a solution to the increase of spice-related cases, as they are teaming up to work on a solution to fix the problem.

Get ready for a series of animated commercials featuring a talking frog warning the people of the dangers of FloKKA.

Komment Korner  

It says to me that one is asleep leaning on the bench. The girl is leaning over and on her mobile.. and the one lay down is catching some rays... nothing wrong here....

You people are all up for people doing all kinds of dope, don't interfere, it's people's choice, bla bla bla.... except when you don't want it eh?

Passed out on drugs canal full of gators nearby, what could go wrong.

You know, sometimes after reading about all the crap that goes on in the world, I just want to move to Mongolia and live in a yurt.

That looks like me at my job everyday

Aaron Zehner is the author of "The Foolchild Invention" available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.  

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

News You Can't Use: ‘Star Wars’ Lightsaber Causes Farmingdale State Scare, Cops Say

Today's little morality fable features many of the best elements of the student loan racket, including the extended adolescence (rapidly approaching extended infantilism), the constant fear of deadly violence from an unhinged classmate, personal atomization and, of course, the steady infiltration of prison language and culture and militarized goon squads into our daily lives. There's also a "funny" bit about mistaken impressions and a movie that I guess a few people saw, but with so much going on we should just dive right into this glorious feast instead of padding out an introduction like this is an undergraduate paper or something.

A college student with a “Star Wars” lightsaber in a campus parking lot sparked an alert Wednesday morning at Farmingdale State College, where staff and students were briefly advised to shelter in place, officials said.

It turns out it was quote unquote "Star Wars" some sort of obscure lazy sci-fi that you, as a regular sex-haver, probably are completely unaware of. This led to a command to "shelter in place" which I guess means hide under your bed, tuck your head between your knees and start kissing your butt goodbye.

A student alerted campus police about 9:45 a.m. after seeing a person assembling what appeared to be a rifle in a car in a campus parking lot, Suffolk County police said.

Rifle, plastic toy, it's an easy mistake to make when you're deep in debt, getting a B+ in Finger Painting 327 and are about as isolated from reality as a person can get without entering a zen monastery or Tibetan cave.

“It was not a weapon. It was a toy lightsaber,” Insp. Mathew Lewis, commanding officer of the First Precinct, said after the investigation.

After an extensive morning panic, the fully deployment of all the police tanks and general chicken minus head ineffectual motion we've made this determination. The bell tower blaster was actually a lowly space nerd stick.

Campus police alerted the county police, and officers from both forces flooded the parking lots to find the car, Lewis said.

The land of the free and the home of the brave.

Officers finally found the occupant of the car, also a student, at his off-campus job and established that the supposed weapon was a toy, Lewis said.

Total cost of these Keystone Kops follies to taxpayers: 1.7 million dollars.

We're here to protect you and we care deeply about your individual rights.

The school issued an alert to students, faculty and staff advising them to shelter in place, according to a text message a student showed a reporter. The alert was lifted shortly before 11 a.m. 

As it turns out there was no deranged shooter randomly blasting you and your friends. Isn't that a relief? Please go about the rest of your day as if nothing happened.

Komment Korner   

not as clumsy or random as a blaster, an elegant weapon from a more civilized age

get a dog or a girlfriend for God's sake!

Fortunately the SAFE ACT limited the amount of batteries allowed in the light saber to 1 or we may have had a crisis of epic proportions.

God bless our Imperial Storm Troopers for keeping the Deathstar safe, wait....nevermind.

dont be such a square

Aaron Zehner is the author of "The Foolchild Invention" available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.  

Monday, March 14, 2016

News You Can't Use: Media Mogul Dmitry Itskov Plans to Live Forever by Uploading His Personality to a Robot

Is it possible to defeat the grim specter of hateful death and should this victory over the grave be used to preserve some Russian web content oligarch? The answer is both of these questions is, of course, "no" but this isn't going to stop a fantastically wealthy Muscovite from attempting to recreate a plot from a lesser Isaac Asimov novel in a bid to allow an endless, mediocre eternity imprisoned in a mechanical hell. I wish him all the best.

Money can buy you immortality, according to the Russian internet multi-millionaire who is ploughing a fortune into a project to create a human that never dies.

Well, I'm convinced. Trade one bubble for another, sounds reasonable.

The group of neuroscientists, robot builders and consciousness researchers say they can create an android that is capable of uploading someone’s personality.

I would like to hang out with consciousness researchers and maybe party with them. That sounds absolutely righteous. I'm not sure how we'll convert the human mind and soul into a "has performed a fatal error will now shut now" computer program to be uploaded into an android, but if anyone can do it it's the guys ripping off a plutocrat who also uses his money to buy tiny giraffes.

"Different scientists call it uploading or they call it mind transfer. I prefer to call it personality transfer" - Dmitry Itskov​

I prefer to call it the hope of worms, but I'm a deeply cynical individual who probably needs extensive re-education.

It would work by uploading a digital version of a human brain to an android – effectively rebooting a person’s mind – which would take the form of a robotic copy of a human body or, once technology has developed, a hologram with a full human personality.

Once we discover this technology that currently doesn't exist in even the most rudimentary form we'll be all set.

Mr Itskov, who at 35 has amassed a fortune from his internet media firm New Media Stars, says he is “100pc sure it will happen”.

I made all those wonderful and joyous "reaction" videos, I deserve to live forever in a twenty-foot tall mechanical body.

He told BBC Horizon in a documentary that airs Wednesday: “If there is no immortality technology, I’ll be dead in the next 35 years.”

I'm not going to make it past 70, for obvious reasons. *gestures toward bloated, decadent lifestyle*

Now to transfer my personality into this robot T-Rex.

The project’s first step is to create a robot that can be controlled using the mind. 

Simple little milk run, no big deal.

“The ultimate goal of my plan is to transfer someone’s personality into the new artificial carrier,” Mr Itskov told the Horizon documentary, writes The Sunday Times.

Imagine the horrific nightmare world, worthy of your worst "young adult dystopia" hack, that will result. We gotta get on this.

Aaron Zehner is the author of "The Foolchild Invention" available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

News You Can't Use: San Francisco Sheriff Deputies Charged for 'Fight Club' Duels

Today's bit of worthless current events has a little bit of everything. We've got a headline that confuses deputy gladiator rings with "Fight Club," a mistake you might make if you're culturally illiterate and have also never watched an episode of "Walker: Texas Ranger," leaving a very small demographic indeed. The story itself provides ample grist for whatever political axe you have to grind, from "We're a prison planet, man" gray pony tail onanism to "Look at what the dumbocrats do when they have power" internet commentators and whatever increasingly non-existent moderate middle still remains. The upshot is we're going to break both the first and second rules of Sheriff Deputy Fight Club Gladiator Battles and talk about it in great depth.

Three San Francisco sheriff's deputies were charged with arranging "Fight Club" duels between jail inmates, and one of the deputies made prisoners gamble for food, clothing and bedding, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

The whole point of "Fight Club," was, of course, the struggle for existential meaning and resistance against a soul-killing system, a theme that would have been somewhat undermined if the hero was a prisoner told by Deputy Corruption he'll be fighting for ownership of bedding. Or maybe just throwing dice for bedding, it could be that, too, I guess.

The criminal charges came as newly elected San Francisco Sheriff Vicki Hennessy was implementing jail reforms, such as increased use of video cameras, to prevent such offences.

That new broom sure sweeps clean. We're going to reduce the amount of organized inmate brawls by putting cameras everywhere because this is the closest thing we have to a caring God in today's world.

The two current San Francisco sheriff's deputies and one former deputy were expected to surrender within two days, said Max Szabo, a spokesman for the prosecutors. 

Please turn yourself in so we can severely punish your aberrant behavior. Don't go ruining the honor system for everyone else, all right?

Prosecutors brought the most serious charges against ex-deputy Scott Neu, including assault by an officer, criminal threats and inhumanity to a prisoner. He could be sentenced to 10 years in prison if convicted.   

On today's episode of "Baby's First Bitter Irony" we've got an inherently dehumanizing prison system that's worried about the inhumanities committed by individual officers and to show how serious we are about that we'll make offenders faceless numbers in the same broken system.

On March 5, 2015, Neu pitted two jail inmates against each other, threatening to use a taser gun against them unless they fought, prosecutors said.

Remember when Brad Pitt character did that? What do you mean, "no?" This is just like Fight Club, down to the smallest details.

Thinking they had no choice, the inmates battled and the smaller one hurt his rib, prosecutors said. Chiba is accused of watching the melee and not stopping it.

Let's example the inner thought life of criminal scum forced to cause minor rib damage to appease their heartless captors.

The next day, Neu again forced the pair to fight and this time Jones took part in pitting the two inmates against each other, prosecutors said.

Well, yesterday's fight was a predictable disappointment that failed to satiate my sick blood lust, so let's do it again today and hope for better "action" this time.

Neu's attorney, Harry Stern, said in a statement there was no "fight club".

I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesn't see the connection.

"Deputy Neu allowed two inmates to wrestle to settle a minor dispute. In retrospect, he shouldn’t have. This is the sum and substance of the case," Stern said.

It was simply a club where fights were organized, certainly not a "fight club."

Hennessy, who was elected in November, said the accused deputies were stationed at an outdated jail and the alleged actions occurred under her predecessor, Ross Mirkarimi.

If only there were up-to-date bars and concrete walls everyone would have no doubt conducted themselves with quiet dignity.

Wellington turns out to be a fictional creation of his own mind.

"I'm not going to say it's his fault. What I am going to say is we need to do more there," Hennessy said in a phone interview. 

More tax and spend, the constant solution for unending problems.

District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement that subjecting inmates "to degrading and inhumane treatment makes a mockery of (the) justice system."

Now to get back to ignoring White collar crime.

Komment Korner   

Its a privilege to work in a public employment capacity.

Hey that's a good idea. Fight Clubs

Why oh why do so many non-criminal citizens have little or no trust with LEAs and police officers? Why oh why?

10 years is getting off easy.

San Francisco, that's a liberal stronghold isn't it?

Aaron Zehner is the author of "The Foolchild Invention" available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.