The Traitor / Il traditore – Marco Bellochio film

“The real life of Tommaso Buscetta, the so-called “boss of the two worlds,” the first mafia informant in Sicily in the 1980s.” – IMDB

“In December 1984, he was extradited to the United States where he received a new identity from the government, American citizenship and placed in the Witness Protection Program in exchange for new revelations against the American Mafia. He testified in the Pizza Connection Trial, which took place in 1985 in New York and saw defendants Gaetano Badalamenti and other Sicilian-American mafiosi accused of drug trafficking. He also testified in 1986 at the largest anti-Mafia trial in history, the Maxi Trial in Palermo, arising from the statements made to Falcone, Buscetta helped judges Falcone and Paolo Borsellino achieve significant success in the fight against organized crime that led to 475 Mafia members indicted, and 338 convicted, sentences upheld in 1992.” Tommaso Buscetta, Wikipedia

The look and feel and acting of this movie is different from anything I’ve seen in a while. The beats were different. Hard to describe. Highly recommended.

Fun fact – According to the movie, in 1992 Buscetta was in witness protection in Fort Collins, Colorado. I would have been living there too at the time. Small world.

‘Glass House’ Chronicles The Sharp Decline Of An All-American Factory Town

Lancaster, Ohio, the home of the Fortune 500 company Anchor Hocking, was once a bustling center of industry and employment. At its peak following World War II, Lancaster’s hometown company was the world’s largest maker of glassware and employed more than 5,000 town residents.

Though Anchor Hocking remains in Lancaster today, it is a shell of its former self, and the once thriving town is beset by underemployment and drug abuse. Lancaster native Brian Alexander chronicles the rise and fall of his hometown in his new book, Glass House.

“People are genuinely struggling,” he tells Fresh Air’s Dave Davies. “The economy of the town is struggling, not because there’s high unemployment, [but] because the employment that there is all minimum wage, or even lower than minimum wage.”

Fresh Air, February 6, 2017. NPR

Chuck D – What’s in My Bag?

Public Enemy’s Chuck D goes shopping at Amoeba Music in Hollywood.

Check out his picks:
100 Best Selling Albums Of The 90s (BOOK)
Angie Errigo – The Illustrated History of Rock Album Art (BOOK)
Public Enemy – Rebels Without A Pause: The Induction Celebration Of Public Enemy (DVD)
Various Artists – Midnight Special (DVD)
George Hickenlooper – Mayor Of The Sunset Strip (DVD) http://bit.ly/2iAocX0
Laura Archibald – Greenwich Village: Music That Defined a Generation (DVD) http://bit.ly/2jS2xuk
Peter Conners – JAMerica: The History of the Jam Band and Festival Scene (BOOK)
Greg Kot – I’ll Take You There: Mavis Staples, the Staple Singers, and the March up Freedom’s Highway (BOOK)

Buy Public Enemy albums: http://bit.ly/1oy9GAl

How To Take Smart Notes by Sönke Ahrens – Book Review

But recently I picked up How To Take Smart Notes by Sönke Ahrens. Ahrens is a Lecturer in Philosophy of Education at the University of Duisburg-Essen and also coaches students, academics, and professionals with a focus on time management, decision-making, and personal growth….

Principle #1: Writing is not the outcome of thinking; it is the medium in which thinking takes place
Writing doesn’t begin when we sit down to put one paragraph after another on the screen or page. It begins much, much earlier, as we take notes on the articles or books we read, the podcasts or audiobooks we listen to, and the interesting conversations and life experiences we have.

Tiago Forte, 10 smart note-taking tips that can boost your productivity

 

Disney’s abuse of H1B system

ORLANDO, Fla. — The employees who kept the data systems humming in the vast Walt Disney fantasy fief did not suspect trouble when they were suddenly summoned to meetings with their boss.

While families rode the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and searched for Nemo on clamobiles in the theme parks, these workers monitored computers in industrial buildings nearby, making sure millions of Walt Disney World ticket sales, store purchases and hotel reservations went through without a hitch. Some were performing so well that they thought they had been called in for bonuses.

Instead, about 250 Disney employees were told in late October that they would be laid off. Many of their jobs were transferred to immigrants on temporary visas for highly skilled technical workers, who were brought in by an outsourcing firm based in India. Over the next three months, some Disney employees were required to train their replacements to do the jobs they had lost.

“I just couldn’t believe they could fly people in to sit at our desks and take over our jobs exactly


Pink Slips at Disney. But First, Training Foreign Replacements
. NYTIMES
Julia Preston, June 3, 2015

Anthrax – What’s in My Bag

Legendary thrash metal band Anthrax goes shopping at Amoeba Music in San Francisco.

Check out their picks:
Sam Liu & Lauren Montgomery – Batman Year One (DVD) http://bit.ly/2jOHVEE
Dean Martin – The Best Of The Dean Martin Variety Show (DVD) http://bit.ly/2kqc7oN
Patton Oswalt – Finest Hour (CD) http://bit.ly/2kqggJk
Queen – Jazz (CD) http://bit.ly/2jupxjr
Queen – The Game (CD) http://bit.ly/2jurjRE
Queen – News of the World (LP) http://bit.ly/2j2b3va
Nirvana – Nevermind (LP) http://bit.ly/2jWvgl2
Mary Tyler Moore – The Mary Tyler Moore Show: The Complete Seventh Season (DVD)
Dean Martin – The Best Of The Dean Martin Variety Show (DVD) http://bit.ly/2kqc7oN
U2 – 360 At The Rose Bowl (BLU-RAY) http://bit.ly/2kfLJyH
Joe Bonamassa – Had To Cry Today (CD) http://bit.ly/2jOSzez
Eric Johnson – Ah Via Musicom (CD) http://bit.ly/2juAlxQ
Eric Johnson – Tones (CD) http://bit.ly/2k0sj3D
Whitesnake – Live at Donington 1990 (DVD)
Joe Bonamassa – The Ballad Of John Henry (CD) http://bit.ly/2kfLbca
Pink Floyd – The Wall Live 1980-81 (CD) http://bit.ly/2kqcwHF
John McLaughlin – My Goal’s Beyond (CD) http://bit.ly/2jOOOpA
Peter Gabriel – New Blood (CD) http://bit.ly/2kfJ5ZO
Rob Crow – He Thinks He’s People (CD) http://bit.ly/2jWEyxC

The Miseducation of Lisa Simpson, Slashdot on

On Sunday, The Simpsons aired The Miseducation Of Lisa Simpson, an episode in which Marge — with the help of a song from John Legend (“STEM, it’s not just for dorks, dweebs and nerds / It’ll turn all your dumb kids to Zuckerbergs”) — convinces Springfield to use a windfall the town reaped by seizing shipwreck treasure to build the Springfield STEM Academy to ‘prepare kids for the jobs of tomorrow.’ All goes well initially — both Lisa and Bart love their new school — until Lisa realizes there’s a two-tiered curriculum. While children classified as “divergent pathway assimilators” (i.e., gifted) like Lisa study neural networks and C+++ upstairs, kids like Bart are relegated to the basement where they’re prepared via VR and gamified learning for a life of menial, gig economy side-hustles — charging e-scooters, shopping for rich people’s produce, driving ride-share. Hey, it’s not so different from the two-tier caste systems at Google and Facebook, Lisa!

Slashdot

Google Ngram Viewer – Demo

“When you enter phrases into the Google Books Ngram Viewer, it displays a graph showing how those phrases have occurred in a corpus of books (e.g., “British English”, “English Fiction”, “French”) over the selected years.”

Here we typed in the word ‘neurasthenic’, and see its usage in the English 2012 corpus over the period 1800 – 2008.

Neuasthenic 2

Try it out here: https://books.google.com/ngrams

Margaret Cho – What’s In My Bag?

Margaret Cho visits Amoeba to pick up some music DVDs.

Check out her picks:
The Beach Boys – The Beach Boys and the Satan (DVD) http://bit.ly/2jMRFxt
The Beach Boys – In London 1966 (DVD)
David Bowie – The Plastic Soul Review (DVD) http://bit.ly/2k5DCE8
White Stripes – Under Great White Northern Lights (DVD)
Aimee Mann – Live at St. Ann’s Warehouse (DVD)
Steve Binder – The T.A.M.I. Show (DVD) http://bit.ly/2kCeLv2
Various Artists – Urgh! A Music War (DVD) http://bit.ly/2kCfRXD

The Fight for Housing in California

In California, more than 100,000 people sleep on the streets. The tent cities in Los Angeles’s skid row have distinct neighborhoods, and across from a homelessness center, the bodies on the sidewalk are four rows deep. Trailers line the streets near Google’s Mountain View headquarters, and in Modesto, a woman sleeping in a cardboard box was crushed to death by a front loader that came to clear her encampment away.

Francesca Mari, NY Times
Review of:
GOLDEN GATES
Fighting for Housing in America
By Conor Dougherty

Simplification of skilled work

And here’s the corollary: over here, Ford, GM, Boeing, Caterpillar, and others want us to be lower skilled. Wait, they prefer low-skilled workers? Yes. Now that’s contrary to what you and I are told; it’s contrary to what President Obama, the pundits, and even the companies are saying. It’s the world turned upside down. I know it’s hard to believe. After all, if it’s true that corporations don’t want us to be higher skilled, then it’s pretty demoralizing for those of us who would like to push for more education, more job training. What’s the point, right?

But before you dismiss the claim, listen to what David has to say about how things have changed over time at Ford. “They have a system there,” he said. “I like to call it ‘Simplicity.’ It’s to break everything down into the simplest possible tasks.” Indeed, he claims that both the hourly and the salaried positions are being simplified. By that David means that there used to be skill sets, or different levels of work. In the old labor contracts these skill sets had names, “classifications.” It might be General Utility or Repair. The newbies would say, “Hey, I see that guy over there. How can I do what he’s doing?” It used to mean more pay. One went to Ford to move up and develop higher skills in order to get more pay.

Well, that’s gone.

The “classifications” in general may soon disappear. Or let’s put it this way: entry level will be the classification, and people will stay there. Even if people learn higher skills, which used to lead to more money, they will stay at the entry level, at entry-level pay. And here I’d add that in nonunion places it is even harder to move up. People start at welder at $17 an hour, and they stay at welder at $17 an hour.

There is a puzzle about welder pay,
which lately has received comment in the Chicago Tribune and the New York Times. The puzzle is that there is a shortage of welders, and employers moan about it. But the pay is stuck at $17 an hour, where it’s been for years. That means the real inflation-adjusted wage is dropping. Even with a shortage of labor, the wage drops. But worse, after the welder starts and gains experience, the pay does not go up.

Geoghegan, Thomas. Only One Thing Can Save Us
Amazon

Is labor’s day over or is labor the only real answer for our time? In this new book, National Book Critics Circle Award finalist and labor lawyer Thomas Geoghegan argues that even as organized labor seems to be crumbling, a revived—but different—labor movement is now more relevant than ever in our increasingly unequal society.

25 Open Datasets for Data Science Projects

Some of the best datasets for data science projects are those created for linear regression, predictive analysis, and simple classification tasks. This list will include the best resources from our past dataset articles tailored for said tasks. We’ll also highlight some of the best websites to search for open datasets on your own.

Lucas Scott, lionbridge.ai

Psychedelic Mushroom Decriminalization, Denver Initiative 301 update

A first-of-its-kind meeting took place at Denver’s main municipal building on Tuesday, with drug policy reform advocates talking openly with law enforcement and elected officials about the therapeutic potential of psilocybin mushrooms and the logistics of implementing the city’s policy that decriminalizes the psychedelic.

Kyle Jaeger, marijuanamoment.net, February 12, 2020

“What are some HTML and CSS techniques, skills, know-how’s that are an absolute must? Just off the top of your head” – reddit user asks

What are some HTML and CSS techniques, skills, know-how’s that are an absolute must? Just off the top of your head from r/webdev

Learn Flexbox in-and-out. Whenever I can’t remember how something related to Flexbox works, this is the go-to article: https://css-tricks.com/snippets/css/a-guide-to-flexbox/

For Her Head Cold, Insurer Coughed Up $25,865

Alexa Kasdan had a cold and a sore throat.

The 40-year-old public policy consultant from Brooklyn, N.Y., didn’t want her upcoming vacation trip ruined by strep throat. So after it had lingered for more than a week, she decided to get it checked out.

Kasdan visited her primary care physician, Roya Fathollahi, at Manhattan Specialty Care, just off Park Avenue South and not far from tony Gramercy Park.

The visit was quick. Kasdan got her throat swabbed, gave a tube of blood and was sent out the door with a prescription for antibiotics.

NPR, December 23, 2019

The system at work.

Five Open-Source Projects AI Enthusiasts Might Want to Know About

TensorFlow
The Google Brain team created TensorFlow. Its underlying software powers some of the technologies that Google uses today. It translates languages, improves search engine results, recognizes pictures in Google Photos, and understands spoken words, making its machine learning (ML) capabilities genuinely awe-inspiring.

To the surprise of the tech community, Google open-sourced TensorFlow, making it available to everyone. Developers can create ML models, classes for these models, and write imperative forward passes with it, among others. TensorFlow uses Python, C++, and CUDA.

Brittany Day,  linuxsecurity.com