Promoted to customer

Not sure if the specific language of this tweet was Verizon’s idea or CNBC’s:

Verizen layoff tweet CNBC

The article uses the much more sensible term “buyout offer.”

Being fired or laid off is one of those unpleasant aspects of modren life that has spawned a plethora of Orwellian euphemisms to mask the brutal underlying reality.

I think it was from the BBC series The Office that I learned the startling British euphemism “redundancy offer.”

The Office David Brent

Alpha Centauri Sucks

Latest XKCD cartoon:

I believe this is known as a “dad joke.” In any case, nothing wrong with a little mild astronomy humor. Astro-comedy? Reminds me of this quote from Douglas Adams’s The Restaurant at the End of the Universe:

The History of every major Galactic Civilization tends to pass through three distinct and recognizable phases, those of Survival, Inquiry and Sophistication, otherwise known as the How, Why, and Where phases. For instance, the first phase is characterized by the question ‘How can we eat?’ the second by the question ‘Why do we eat?’ and the third by the question ‘Where shall we have lunch?”

(See also. And.)

Scientist stabs other scientist who kept giving away the ending

Don’t do this:

A scientist plunged a kitchen knife into his colleague as he was fed up with the man telling him the endings of books, say investigators.

Sergey Savitsky, 55, and Oleg Beloguzov, 52, would pass the lonely hours during four harsh years together in a remote outpost in Antarctica by reading.

However Savitsky became angry after Beloguzov kept telling him the endings, it has been claimed.

Oleg Beloguzov

Beloguzov the blabbermouth

Savitsky is back home in St Petersburg under house arrest.

He has been charged with attempted murder.

It is believed to the first time a man has been charged with a murder bid in Antartica [sic].

Sadly, Beloguzov appears to have ignored the First Rule of Survival with Another Human Being in Close Quarters Over a Long Period of Time, which is also enshrined in Article 15 of the Antarctic Treaty:

Don’t be annoying.

Idiocracy and other new English words

Idiocracy Costco

Idiocracy (the movie)

The English language, if the Oxford English Dictionary is to be believed, has over 600,000 words and gains several thousand new words every year. New words enter the OED only if there is evidence of widespread use for a significant period of time (typically, at least a decade), so the quarterly updates to the dictionary offer an interesting glimpse into how our collective consciousness is expanding and mutating. I was amused, for example, to discover that the following words were recently added to the dictionary:

  • apocalyptician, n.
  • apocalypticist, n.
  • Archie Bunker, n.
  • areligious, adj.
  • butthurt, adj.
  • Chan, n.
  • douchebaggery, n.
  • douchey, adj.
  • Dunbar number, n.
  • idiocracy, n.2
  • Indiana Jones, n.
  • Kansas, n. [Ed: ??]
  • Kubrickian, adj.
  • lumbersexual, adj. and n.
  • Lynchian, adj.
  • Mrs Robinson, n.
  • Nollywood, n.
  • nothingburger, n. and adj.
  • prepper, n.3
  • Scorsesean, adj.
  • Spielbergian, adj.
  • Tarantinoesque, adj.
  • Tarkovskian, adj.
  • verbalness, n.
  • yarg, n. [Ed: This appears to refer to either “an ironic invocation of the pirate spirit by rule-bound individuals frustrated by the setbacks of civilized life” or a semi-hard cheese made in Cornwall]

Minimum wage machine

This is pretty funny:

If you’ve always wanted to work for minimum wage, but in typical overachieving fashion haven’t quite got there yet, the Minimum Wage Machine will pay you $7.15 for an hour of turning the crank-handle.

Workers will receive one penny for every 5.04 seconds’ worth of work, which at $7.15 an hour is the minimum pay required by the NY state—or at least, it was back in 2008 when this piece was created by artist Blake Fall-Conroy.

Soviet Valley

This is amusing:

Things that happen in Silicon Valley and also the Soviet Union:

– waiting years to receive a car you ordered, to find that it’s of poor workmanship and quality

– promises of colonizing the solar system while you toil in drudgery day in, day out

– living five adults to a two room apartment

– being told you are constructing utopia while the system crumbles around you

– ‘totally not illegal taxi’ taxis by private citizens moonlighting to make ends meet

– everything slaved to the needs of the military-industrial complex

– mandatory workplace political education

– productivity largely falsified to satisfy appearance of sponsoring elites

– deviation from mainstream narrative carries heavy social and political consequences

– networked computers exist but they’re really bad

– Henry Kissinger visits sometimes for some reason

– elite power struggles result in massive collateral damage, sometimes purges

– failures are bizarrely upheld as triumphs

– otherwise extremely intelligent people just turning the crank because it’s the only way to get ahead

– the plight of the working class is discussed mainly by people who do no work

– the United States as a whole is depicted as evil by default

– the currency most people are talking about is fake and worthless

– the economy is centrally planned, using opaque algorithms not fully understood by their users

Mr Zuckerberg, tear down this wall!

How will disaster movies ever recover?

THE SATELLITE DID IT

I thought The Day After Tomorrow marked the pinnacle of disaster-movie absurdity, with its infamous scene of a wave of killer frost literally chasing Jake Gyllenhaal across the New York Public Library.

But Roland Emmerich, the man behind that spectacle, surpassed himself several years later with 2012, in which a burst of neutrinos somehow disrupts the earth’s core, unleashing a Ragnarok of natural disasters that wipes out virtually all of humanity, including Danny Glover.

Nothing quite prepares you for Geostorm, though. This massive box-office flop, described as “the worst film of the year,” introduces a bizarre twist on the genre, in which a network of climate-controlling satellites is the only thing standing between humanity and the general concept of bad weather. So that when a computer virus makes these satellites go haywire, there is nothing to stop a gigantic tsunami from nearly eradicating Dubai. To quote Dave Barry, I am not making this up.

This is a movie in which a wonky satellite causes: a hideous electrical storm in Miami, a Biblical hailstorm in Tokyo, an array of tornadoes pummeling Mumbai, and a brutal heat wave descending on Moscow. Among other, equally ridiculous things.

Now, The Day After Tomorrow was just silly, but fun, while 2012 was awesome and scary despite being scientifically preposterous. And that’s all good. Geostorm, though, is aggressively stupid, without a single redeeming quality. Even by the generous standards of disaster flicks, the storyline and dialogue are trash-tier, the characters behave in nonsensical ways, and worst of all, in the one area this type of movie absolutely must perform – namely, captivating visual spectacle – Geostorm does a sickening bellyflop into the pool of failure. Only the Dubai-tidal-wave scene sort of makes the cut.

For a couple hours of escapist entertainment that will do real and lasting damage to your cerebral cortex, I give Geostorm a reluctant one thumb up.