Knives Out movie: Migrants are better than Native-born Americans

When at Universal Orlando… see a movie! My Irish friend and I saw Knives Out, in which Daniel Craig speaks in a Southern accent that no Southerner since the 19th century (or ever?) has used.

Despite the anachronistic accent, this is perhaps the most modern Hollywood film. It concerns an extended multi-generational family of native-born Americans. They are mendacious and lazy. One even might be a Trump supporter and Wall advocate! All seek to live off the money earned by the patriarch. Their fertility is low, with a one-child maximum.

On the other side of the scale is a hard-working migrant from Latin America. Her mother is undocumented, but somehow she and a sister are citizens. So that the mom can be a completely heroic “single mom,” no father is mentioned nor appears.

It’s a mystery so I don’t want to spoil the rest!

It is worth seeing just to see how thick Hollywood is willing to lay on the “immigrants are better than natives and the U.S. will be better off once the natives have been replaced” message.

[There is a technical inaccuracy. The citizen migrant is supposedly concerned that her undocumented mother will be deported. But the citizen is over age 18 and therefore has an automatic right to bring in her parents (including a father, if one can be identified) via chain migration.]

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Integrate ADS-B and AIS information for safer overwater flights?

While flying between the Bahamas and Florida at 8,000′, we were mostly outside of gliding range from land. However, we were often within gliding range of a ship (but we wouldn’t have known this if we’d been flying in or over clouds). Since 2002, ships have been broadcasting their location via the Automatic identification system (AIS). Aviation caught up in 2020 with the similar ADS-B system. For safer overwater flights in light aircraft, why not combine these two? Given the AIS information, onboard avionics could plot a path that keeps the aircraft within gliding range of at least one ship whenever possible. Given the ADS-B information, augmented with a distress button (not built into the current system, sadly), a ship’s crew would know when to start a rescue effort.

What’s the best case for modern electronics and communications currently? The people in an aircraft would to make it out of the aircraft, get their hands on an EPIRB, activate the EPIRB. The centralized group of people looking at the EPIRB signal would have to find the closest ship via AIS, then succeed in contacting the ship, etc.

Would integrating AIS and ADS-B be a good idea? I can’t find anything on the Web to suggest that it has been done or contemplated.

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English is the terminal language for the human race

I recently listened to “Story of Human Language”, a 36-lecture course by John McWhorter, a professor at Columbia.

Of the world’s 6,000 extant languages, roughly 20 have a significant number of speakers (Vietnamese is on the list, for example).

19th century attempts to make a universal language failed with “volapuke” and Esperanto (some history). In the 20th century, however, English accomplished what Esperanto could not.

The world’s disparate languages developed due to isolation. Now that the world has been saturated with communication, the academic linguist does not expect substantial changes going forward. People tend to first learn a more popular language as a second language because it is useful for commerce. But eventually the unpopular language withers and their grandchildren end up being native speakers of what had been the useful second language. Native Americans had at least 300 languages when the European invasion began. Today, however, a Native American such as Elizabeth Warren will grow up speaking English. The same process has occurred in China, where linguistic diversity has shrunk and the comparatively simple second language of Mandarin is now the first language for children. That means that eventually English might eventually be every human’s native language.

Separately, the teacher is a bit of a heretic according to Wikipedia: “McWhorter considers that anti-racism has become as harmful a force in the United States as racism itself. According to him, what is holding blacks back is ‘black attitudes’ rather than white racism. … McWhorter has criticized microaggression and white supremacy theories, and has argued that technology cannot be racist”. Let’s try to imagine how long a white employee of Columbia would last if he/she/ze/they made these kinds of statements!

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Why does Facebook want us to vote?

Landing page for a recent Facebook alert:

Assuming that I am not special, why does Facebook the Company care whether or not we all vote? (as it happens, the ballot in our suburb is mostly taken up with candidates running unopposed; in the general election, it is nearly all unopposed Democrats)

If this is about general virtue, why not encourage Americans to quit smoking, eat less, study and work harder? Those are much more important and useful messages in all but a handful of swing states.

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What happened at the Harvey Weinstein trial?

I saw from the headlines that the Harvey Weinstein trial in New York is over (but he still has one or more to go in California?). I hadn’t followed the case because the judge said prior to the trial that Harvey was going to spend the rest of his life in prison (Vice); it was only a question of whether it would be for using his phone in the courtroom or something related to the transactional sex that we read about (and would a jury who got even a quick look at the obese elderly Harvey need convincing that sex in which he was participating was transactional?).

Given that the outcome was predetermined, was there anything new that came out?

Separately, back in 2017 I asked “Where can Harvey Weinstein go for a peaceful retirement?”. It turns out that Harvey might have accidentally escaped prosecution if he’d followed his political heart. From a September 2016 article:

Talk turned from Oscar voters to American voters as fervent democrat Weinstein, appearing in Switzerland for the European premiere of the Garth Davis directed drama, was asked if he’d move to Canada if Donald Trump were elected US president.

“I’ve known Hillary Clinton 20 years. The allegations about her being untrustworthy are not true,” he said.

“I don’t think anything she did [with email servers] was intentional. The Clinton Global Initiative has the highest rating of any charity in America, and probably as good as any charity in the world, and I’m proud I’m part of that too.

“It’s insane that she doesn’t have the trustworthiness and it’s the only thing keeping her from winning. I don’t want to move to Canada, but I certainly don’t want to see Donald Trump [win] with bigotry and racism.”

Weinstein, who has hosted Clinton fundraisers this year, continued: “This is the worst I’ve ever seen it. This is not Mitt Romney or Robert Dole, or anybody you could afford to have as president.”

The Oscar season veteran didn’t mince his words when it came to Clinton’s opponent.

“Ronald Reagan ran the country and it survived. This is not George W. Bush. This is really serious. It’s somebody appealing to the worst in us.”

Mr. Weinstein, at least, seems to be living proof of the wisdom of fleeing the Trump Presidency (though perhaps it would be better to choose a country other than Canada, e.g., one without an extradition treaty with the U.S.).

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Baha Mar hotels in Nassau

Sick of the cold weather yet?

On a no-plans-in-advance island-hopping trip around the Bahamas everyone we asked for a hotel recommendation in Nassau said “Baha Mar”. The good folks at the Odyssey FBO have a corporate rate with the Hyatt Baha Mar so that’s where we ended up.

The Chinese-built complex is the newest development in Nassau and everything sparkles. Staff members at all of the hotels are friendly and competent.

Budget at least $100 per day per person for food within the complex. Restaurants are good, but everything is about 2X the price of what it would cost in a big U.S. city. Restaurants are crowded at dinner. We had trouble getting a table for two at 7:30 pm on a Thursday.

The epic breakfast buffet is worth it, though Michael Bloomberg would not approve of all of the dessert items available:

A taxi downtown is a fixed $18 for two passengers. There are no independent restaurants within walking distance. There is no Uber in the Bahamas.

There are a fair number of activities within the resort, including a twice-daily flamingo walk, a fountain show every 30 minutes, and a marine animal sanctuary containing sea turtles, sharks, rays, fish, etc.

When the massive hotels are full, the pools are busy and not relaxing. The Rosewood hotel is within the complex, but has its own private pools that are much quieter. If traveling with children, one big issue is that the pools close at 6 pm (maybe later in the summer months?). What are the kids going to do from 6 pm until bedtime? Play the slots?

Rosewood:

The beach is reasonably sheltered and the water is calm, though perhaps not as calm as in Provo (Turks and Caicos).

The gym seems to be shared among all of the hotels and it is huge and blessed with water views.

If you need to get work done or just enjoy Skype with friends around the world, the Chinese-financed and Chinese-built Baha Mar offers a Chinese level of WiFi: at least 75 Mbits symmetric everywhere that I tested and usually a bit more.

The Rainbow Flag Religion is weak here:

Competition: we had wanted to stay in Atlantis, but all of the Bahamians warned us against it. “It need to be renovated” and “It is run down” were typical comments. We hopped in a taxi to Paradise Island (formerly “Hog Island”) and were awed by the lobby of the Atlantis. Public WiFi clocked in at 0.82 Mbits (1/100th the speed of Baha Mar) and then failed altogether. There are herds of cruise ship passengers who come here on tours. To keep them from wandering too far, there are security people everywhere challenging people (most of whom seemed like obvious guests, e.g., with nothing but flipflops and a towel) to see proof of hotel guest status. An adjacent marina has some impressive superyachts and signs telling people not to go anywhere near them (ignored by the Chinese tourists). My friend was unimpressed with the Atlantis: “even the chairs in the casino look old.” The lagoon was deserted.

The veneer of luxury and wealth on Paradise Island is thin. Right across the street is a strip mall with a downscale casino, a grocery store with canned goods, and a Dunkin’ Donuts. Farther to the east is the Ocean Club, run by the Four Seasons. This is a small expensive hotel with a single pool, which was fairly crowded. On a day when the Baha Mar beach was nicely sheltered and perfect for swimming, the Ocean Club beach was hanging a “caution” flag and the water was rough. It is a great place for lunch and probably a great place to stay if you want to get away from the crowds (but, if so, why not simply stay on one of the “out islands”?).

Conclusion: the locals seem to be right about the Baha Mar complex being the best place to stay in and around Nassau. However, you have to want to be in a city-sized development (2,200 rooms) that seems to be quite full even slightly off peak. Imagine a huge cruise ship that never leaves the dock. If you want to be in a smaller scale lower-rise hotel and enjoy a perfect beach, consider flying an extra 30 minutes to Turks and Caicos (Provo).

Separately, as here in Massachusetts, the construction of casinos is encouraged. Unlike in Massachusetts, however, it is illegal for a local to gamble:

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Joe Biden: et tu, Google?

Top of my Gmail, day after the New Hampshire primary:

How do folks think the Nevada caucuses will shake out today? Are there enough government workers and people on the traditional welfare system in Nevada to appreciate an old-school Democrat like Uncle Joe? Enough Californians who moved there to escape taxes to appreciate the idea of yet higher taxes under President Sanders? Enough Native Americans to give Elizabeth Warren a boost?

Per https://philip.greenspun.com/blog/2019/07/02/why-isnt-pete-buttigieg-the-front-runner-among-democrats/ , my money is on Mayor Pete! (except that I am not energetic enough to drive down to our local casino and place an actual bet)

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