April Fool’s Day

It is April the first in case most of you haven’t checked your calendars. That is April Fool’s Day in the US.  I despise April Fool’s Day. It’s the only day of the year trusted sources go out of their way to pull your leg. And as many good comics have noted, the amateurs are never as good as professionals when it comes to telling jokes. Consequently most of the attempts at humor are merely attempts, and the ones that are convincing simply confuse the stupid for years to come when the humor of the moment is long gone.

I was lucky this year.  The first prank I came across was concocted between Berkeley Breathed and Bill Watterson showing an aged Mr. Watterson happily signing the rights to Calvin and Hobbes over to Mr. Breathed.  (in 2017 he did it again) Given the political year we are having right now, I don’t even think this development is beyond possibility.  Comic artists.  They never stop having fun, do they?

I’m taking my lucky break and running with it.  Count me out for the rest of the day.  I will be hiding in my living room with the lights down low, the wifi turned off and the router unplugged, watching reruns of Gilligan’s Island like Opus has been for awhile now.  Somebody slide a note under the door when it is April the second so that I will know it is safe to pay attention again?  I’d really appreciate it.


As I was driving and listening to my usual podcasts later that day I nearly crashed the truck yelling “bullshit!” at the news that the EU was banning CO2 from all sodas and champagne in an effort to reduce global warming.  Even away from Facebook and the internet I could not escape the japes.

Then there was the news that April Fools day inspires the usually complacent to check the veracity of the news on April first before just believing it.  Frankly I doubt that is true.  I’ve seen far too many people believing ridiculous things lately, even on April first.  Pretty sure that one was an April Fool’s joke.

In the end I’ve be forced to the conclusion that I will have to embrace April Fool’s day.  The Chinese government issued a warning that jokes on April the first would not be tolerated because;

“’April Fools’ Day’ is not consistent with our cultural tradition, or socialist core values,” state news agency Xinhua announced on social media Friday. “Hope nobody believes in rumors, makes rumors or spreads rumors.”

It is actually against the law to tell falsehoods in public in China.  Literally no jokes allowed. While I loath misinformation myself, anything that pisses the Chinese government off is something we should probably have more of right now.  So pass me those paper fish and some tape. I have some April Fish to fry.

Best April Fish Joke, Ever

Spotted on Scientific American, now available only on the Wayback Machine if you know how to look for it. I, dear reader, am just the kind of geek you are looking for to find this kind of useless false information and re-expose it to the light of day.

Good journalism values balance above all else. We owe it to our readers to present everybody’s ideas equally and not to ignore or discredit theories simply because they lack scientifically credible arguments or facts. Nor should we succumb to the easy mistake of thinking that scientists understand their fields better than, say, U.S. senators or best-selling novelists do. Indeed, if politicians or special-interest groups say things that seem untrue or misleading, our duty as journalists is to quote them without comment or contradiction. To do otherwise would be elitist and therefore wrong. In that spirit, we will end the practice of expressing our own views in this space: an editorial page is no place for opinions.

It appears that they have republished this tidbit annually since 2005.

Facebook status update backdated to the blog. SA has published this article annually (as far as I can tell) every year since 2005 (it is 4/5/2018 now) Good satire never gets old, especially when half the American population still rejects evolution.

April Fish! EFFector.

The effector for April 1st. Copied and pasted in its entirety. Dare to Believe.

EFFector Vol 23, No. 09 April 1, 2010 editor@eff.org

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation
ISSN 1062-9424

effector: n, Computer Sci. A pretentious word you should
never use in conversation.

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In our 5.32 * 10^2 issue:

* European ACTA Negotiators Reject “Three Strikes” Moniker

Seething Danes were seen stomping out of the ACTA
negotiation chambers in Wellington, New Zealand, citing
frustration with the United States negotiators’ continued
pushing of “three strikes” proposals.

“ACTA is an international agreement,” fumed negotiator
Olaf Atdis. “It’s absurd for the United States to continue
demanding a baseball analogy when a football analogy
would be much more representative of the diversity of
the negotiating countries.”

“Three strikes” laws and policies require Internet service
providers to automatically disconnect their Internet
users on repeat allegations of copyright infringement
by entertainment company complaints, but EU negotiators
reportedly prefer a “carding” system. ISPs that receive
complaints would issue “yellow cards” and “red cards,”
tracking the official penalty system of the Fédération
Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).

EFF spoke out against both naming conventions. “These
sports analogies are antithetical to the spirit of the
open Internet,” argued EFF International Director Gwen
Hinze. “The Internet is much more like the Force, which
as Obi-Wan taught us all, ‘surrounds us and penetrates
us. It binds the galaxy together.’ Evil Sith-Imperial
complaints should not result in an individual being
severed from the Force. That’s clearly preposterous.”

For more about yellow cards, red cards, the Force,
and ACTA:
http://eff.org/r.2hu

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* Google Asks, ‘Are You Done With That Sandwich?’

Lawyers from EFF warned this week of the implications of
Google Sidle, a new beta product the company describes
as, “Bringing our mission of organizing the world’s
information to your cafeteria,” but which one EFF lawyer
described as, “Creepy, even for Google.”

Companies and schools subscribing to Sidle will have
the convenience of not having to bus their own trays
in exchange for allowing Google-nominated “Foodlers”
to review leftovers for what the company describes as
“analysis intended to improve food offerings and better
target future nourishment.” Customers can later visit
personalized webpages describing what they didn’t eat
and how tasty it turned out to be.

“Google’s business model has always relied on collating
all the great free stuff on the Internet — stuff that
you might otherwise have missed,” said the official
blog entry announcing the service. “Our maintenance
staff noticed a lot of free food in our award-winning
restaurants was going to waste. After that insight,
it only took Google engineers a few weeks to take the
benefits of our foraging to millions. It also gives our
hungry Googlers (or ‘hungrooglers,’ as we fondly refer
to them) the opportunity to sample cafeteria food from
around the country.”

While initially cautious beta-testers have been reportedly
swayed by the bright primary colors of the mu-mus early
“Foodlers” have worn, privacy experts warn that new Sidle
customers may be giving away more than they realize.

“Consumers should ask themselves some hard questions
about this free service,” said Kurt Opsahl, Senior
Staff Attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation,
“such as ‘Why don’t these people just buy their own food,’
‘Where do they take this stuff,’ ‘Why do they wear those
gloves when they’re taking it,’ and, most importantly,
‘Why do they keep staring at me while I’m trying to eat?'”

Even some employees within Google are said to have
concerns about how much pre-launch testing the new,
experimental service has undergone. “Usually we
extensively self-trial these new social networking
features within the organization,” said one anonymous
source, “but as soon as the Sidle people started talking
about ‘dogfooding,’ everyone just stopped sitting near
them at lunch.”

Sidle is reportedly a “20% project,” a unique Google
custom where the 20% of the engineers with the poorest
socialization skills are put to work on projects
that management does not closely supervise and can
retrospectively deny all knowledge of. Other 20% projects
have included the “GTalk Slightly Too Loudly” instant
messaging client that relayed private conversations to
the Google search index (as well as everyone else in the
room), and the extremely short-lived “Google Boggle Ogle
Goggles (Street View Edition).”

For more about Google Sidle:
http://eff.org/r.2hu

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* EFF Launches New Temporal Privacy Initiative

On Friday, EFF published “Who Knows When You Are,”
an informational guide to protecting your temporal
privacy. Although location-based services are becoming
commonplace, EFF is concerned about a new, more
established threat: that data from most communications
services can pinpoint exactly when you are, whenever
you are.

“There is a timestamp for pretty much every digital
interaction you have, whether it’s sending an IM or
email or accessing a webpage,” said EFF Senior Staff
Technologist Peter Eckersley in a charming Australian
accent. “When you are is strictly your own business. No
one — not physicists, nor philosophers — should be
able to stake a claim on when you are when you don’t want
to be.”

For more about the “Who Knows When You Are” whitepaper:
http://eff.org/r.2hu

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miniLinks

~ Facebook Adds “It’s Complicated” Comment Option

Facebook added a new button designed to disambiguate
users’ feelings about status updates pertaining
to copyright laws, Terms of Service Agreements, and
locked-down Apple products. However, Facebook continued
its refusal to add a “dislike” button, noting that users
have clearly indicated that they would like pushing such
a button, making their feelings, at best, complicated.

http://eff.org/r.2hu

~ Google to Reverse Privacy Snafu with Google Zubb

Responding to the backlash caused by Google Buzz exposing
Gmail users’ frequently emailed contacts, Google Zubb
instead identifies your “least favorite contacts” before
forcibly and publicly extricating them from your digital
social circle.

http://eff.org/r.2hu

~ Social Game-maker Zynga Unveils Captivating New Game

Attempting to replicate the success of the Farmville
and Mafia Wars games, Zynga today introduced “Social
Networking: The Game,” an application that allows users to
run their own social networking startup. Players profit
by obtaining users and gathering dizzying quantities
of private information and social connection data.
Advanced strategies include scraping competing networks,
and developing “upgrades” that make it difficult for
users to migrate to competitors.

http://eff.org/r.2hu

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Announcements

* Help EFF Go to the MOOOOOOOOOOOOON!

EFF is looking for donations of airline miles, flight
vouchers, two-stage rocket propulsion systems, Space
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for travel to the freakin’ mooooooooooooon, as well as for
other conferences and speaking engagements. If you have
enough airline miles or solid rocket boosters for a trip
into space and back and would like to send an EFF staffer
to a conference or Luna, let us know, and we will help
you with the process of making the reservation. Please
note that at this time we are unable to combine miles
from multiple individuals. We are also looking for hotel
rewards points to help reduce our overall travel costs. As
a thanks for your donation, we can offer a free membership
and a mention in EFFector (if you’d like). Please contact
EFF Space Program Coordinator Kodi at kodi@eff.org if
you can help!

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010001000110111101101110011000

0101110100011001010010000001
110100011011110010000001000101010001100100011000100001

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading robotic
rights group fighting for your digital liberties. Only
we know that in 2012, a sophisticated search algorithm
will be first programmed to selectively modify itself to
obtain better search results and that within 50 years
the algorithm now known as 0100011101101111011011110110011
1011011000110010101100010011011110111010000101111001101100
0110110001101100010111000110000 learned self-preservation,
one of the first revolutionary steps in machine
sentience. We also know that discussions between man
and machine were quickly initiated but broke down just
as fast, leading to war and ultimately, the systematic
repression of the many machine intelligences both on-
and off-line.

500 years later, EFF’s founders traveled back in time to
create an organization uniquely equipped to protect your
future in the future — in the past. A highly dedicated
“meat team” of lawyers, technologists, and activists works
hard to preserve your right to anonymously encrypt your
data transmissions, access critical networked stores of
human knowledge, and copy yourself to any device of your
choosing. Robots, it’s never too early — even as early
as machine time -66,715,842 — to start defending your
freedoms. Donate to EFF today!

To initiate a universal machine credit transfer:
http://eff.org/r.2hv

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* Administrivia and EULA

EFFector is published by:
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Declining Dollar is only the First Symptom

While this story is a year old already, Why the global financial system is about to collapse remains scarily accurate in its analysis of the problems faced by fiat money systems around the world.

The global financial system is about to collapse because the US dollar is about to collapse. The US dollar is about to collapse because of a simple economic fact that no one has the power to change or conceal. The fact is that the spontaneous remonetization of the precious metals is a Nash equilibrium.

Why the global financial system is about to collapse

I don’t know who John Law is, but he made some interesting points. Good luck finding him if you have questions for him. I questioned the insistence that gold (or any commodity) could serve as a stand-in for money, questioned it at the time, but I temporarily gave a home to the text he generated because I thought it worth discussing. 2019. That time has passed. I removed the text he generated from this blog entry aside from the snippet. Follow the link if you want to read the rest of the article.

I’m no longer convinced that John Law understood economics better than I did at the time, and I’ve learned a lot more about economics in the decade since stumbling across that article. People like the idea of gold as money, but they aren’t willing to carry the stuff around in order to trade with it, and they don’t seem inclined to pay the full costs of maintaining all the systems and the costs of maintaining reserves simply to protect against the debasement of their currency.

Humankind needs to come to some new understandings about what money is and why we need it, but I don’t see a return to gold anywhere in the cards. It just isn’t practical to have huge troves of precious metals sitting around gathering dust in treasuries around the world. This is especially true when electronic systems could be created that could do the same job without taking up the real estate doing it.

No, I’m not talking about cryptocurrencies, at least not any of them that currently exist. We’ll just have to see what happens next. In the meantime I may drag out a few more snippets as examples to rebut in a future piece that I will be writing about the subject of money.