Let me clue you in if you have any delusions about this: Yes, the polar bears will go extinct and not just this particular sub-group. Also, The Paris Agreement Goals are missed. This is a certainty.

If Paris Agreement Goals Are Missed, These Polar Bears Could Go Extinct - The New York Times

Polar bears in the Southern Hudson Bay could go extinct as early as the 2030s because the sea ice that helps them hunt for food is thinning, a new study suggests.

“We’ve known that the loss of Arctic sea ice would spell disaster for polar bears, so this might be the first subpopulation that disappears.”


Yesterday’s Majority Report includes an interview with Greg Stoker that provides a great deal of context and insight into the complete clusterfuck that is Israel’s operation in Gaza. The interview begins at 15:00

Stoker looks to Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Gaza, which has made the US military look nearly discriminate by contrast, walking through how Israel has eviscerated every central piece of infrastructure of Gaza society, and demonstrated a divide in the tactics of Western Imperialism and outright genocide. Expanding on this, Greg and Emma tackle the narrative around ongoing ceasefire negotiations, assessing why this conflict has largely been a success for Hamas and a failure for Israel, with no real end in sight for the occupier, also touching on Israel’s increasingly irrational violence towards other regional actors like Iran. Wrapping up the interview, Stoker touches on the US’ dwindling soft power, what that means in the context of their supposed foreign policy pivot to Asia, and what THAT means in the context of US support for Israel’s genocide.


I generally don't agree with Federico Viticci's post at MacStories about Apple's AI Foundation Models and Applebot Web Scraping:

This blog post, however, pretty much parallels my reaction to the WWDC keynote. Everything was fun and cool until they showed generative image creation that spits out slop “resembling” (strong word) other people; and in this post, everything was cool until they mentioned how – surprise!Applebot had already indexed web content to train their model without publishers’ consent, who can only opt out now. (This was also confirmed by Apple executives elsewhere.)

As a creator and website owner, I guess that these things will never sit right with me. Why should we accept that certain data sets require a licensing fee but anything that is found “on the open web” can be mindlessly scraped, parsed, and regurgitated by an AI?

Perhaps I'm a weirdo but I actually thought the images Apple shared in the presentation on Image Playground were pretty adorable even the one being referred to as SLOP. Ostensibly an image of a mom in a cape, to my eyes it looked like it could have been clipped out of a Pixar movie. I honestly don't know why so many people seemed to have had such a negative reaction to it.

But, back to Viticci, in a recent podcast episode he made a point of stating that when they need images for MacStories they pay an artist/designer rather than use AI generated images. Well, okay, that's great, but he runs a successful, for-profit website.

But, and I would think this is obvious, there are a lot of use cases out in the world where people who are not publishing for-profit websites could use images like this. The possible use cases are limitless. In the WWDC keynote they show a young woman making an image as a dinner party invite to share with friends via Messages.

At no point during the Image Playground portion of the presentation did it get the impression that Apple intended this app to be used by publishers like MacStories. It's for students doing reports or even just for school notes. It's more along the lines of Bitmoji or a Freeform Memoji. It's for my granny to easily make cute cats on her iPad.

Frankly, I'm just going to ask it this way: What is wrong with this joyless, cynical community of Apple users? How do people not see how a feature/app like Image Playground is for nonartists to have a bit of fun? Does everything have to be so serious? Many of these same people sometimes complain that they miss the whimsy of past Apple's offerings. Hey, this is it, right here. This is Apple offering delight and whimsy, stop with your bullshit.

As for the Applebot web scraping, I don't understand the problem. Maybe I don't understand the process but it seems like Apple and others are using the web to create/train the models that are meant to function as intelligent assistants that have learned to "think" from the billions of pages they have digested.

Viticci has stated that MacStories will be disallowing Apple from scraping content from MacStories in the future, I'm guessing that as he is taking such a public, ethical stance against Apple using his site and the web to train its models he will abstain from using all the features they are offering based on that training?

Certainly there are plenty of issues around AI that have surfaced in the past two to three years of development. Unauthorised scraping of content is one of them. But the tech community, especially those on the Apple side, rarely express concerns about the significant increase of energy consumption.

Unlike others in big tech, Apple has been consistent in its climate goals and commitments and has met many of them. Many of these new features will rely users' local devices and those that don't will connect to Apple's custom servers. That portion of the new offering seems likely to be more aligned with achieving climate goals. Not suprisngly this was not mentioned by Viticci and has barely been mentioned in any of the discussion around Apple's WWDC AI announcements.

On a very serious downside, Apple will also be adding many millions of new users of ChatGBT via Siri's option to use that service. Of all the concerns swirling around the various AI offerings, the extra energy use and carbon being dumped into the atmosphere should be one that is actively discussed and yet I rarely see Apple pundits bring it up. Why is that?


Chides?

The NYT headline of this story trivializes it: Justice Department Chides Phoenix Police Over Civil Rights Violations

The Phoenix Police headquarters in 2018, the year the department had the highest number of fatal police shootings in the United States.

The Guardian/AP get it right:

‘Pervasive failings’: Phoenix police kill civilians without justification, US says | The Guardian

Phoenix police violate people’s rights, discriminate against Black, Hispanic and Native American people when enforcing the law and use excessive force, including unjustified deadly force…


Florida then: We don’t need no stinkin' climate policy: Florida Gov. DeSantis signs bill that deletes climate change from state law : NPR.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis this week signed legislation that erases most references to climate change from state law. The new law takes effect July 1.

Florida now: South Florida rains flood Miami, Fort Lauderdale

Torrential downpours in South Florida over the past 24 hours have flooded roads throughout the region, creating life-threatening conditions — and forecasters warned heavy to excessive rainfall was expected to last through Friday.

The big picture: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared an emergency in Broward, Collier, Lee, Miami-Dade and Sarasota counties “due to major flooding” soon after the mayors of Miami and Fort Lauderdale both declared local states of emergency on Wednesday evening.


Texas then: We don't need no stinkin' environmental regulations.

Texas now: In February 2024, Axios reported that Texas air quality was expected to get worse with:

Nearly 70 of Texas' 254 counties are expected, by 2054, to see an increase in days with an average air quality index of 100 or higher under current climate conditions.

This seems to be a trend. From 2022: Texas heat leads to worst summer smog pollution in a decade | The Texas Tribune

Texas has seen more days with unhealthy levels of smog pollution this year than it has in a decade, state data shows, as vehicle and industrial emissions react with record-high temperatures, spiking ozone concentrations.

Since the beginning of the year, Texas air monitors have recorded 43 days as of Tuesday when ozone concentrations were high enough somewhere in the state to be considered unhealthy by the Environmental Protection Agency. That’s double the number of unhealthy ozone days recorded by this time last year, and it’s the most in the period of January to mid-July since 2012, air monitoring data maintained by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality shows.

...

But while smog levels spike this summer, Texas politicians and regulatory agencies are fighting the federal government, hoping to block stricter regulations on the pollutant.

Let's talk about Texans being asked not to drive.... - YouTube

Of course, it's not just Texans that don't want to deal with the problems that come with burning fossil fuels. Most of the Global North, especially those in the US, do not want to deal with it. We have refused to deal with it. So now we will reap the whirlwind.


Mac Nerds: It’s time for you to move on

It’s been a couple days since the WWDC24 keynote when Apple offered no hope to the Mac users of the Apple Nerd Herd that they would be getting any of iPad features they’ve been clamoring for. Folks, it’s time for you to move on. Apple isn’t going to let you put macOS on the iPad. You’ve got at least a year to wait for any hope of being able to put your Final Cut Pro export in the background while you do something else. You’ll have to keep using your Mac for your podcast production. Need to format a drive? Yep, you’ll have to use your Mac. And there’s no sign from Apple that you’ll get any of that next year.

But there is some good news for you: You’ve still got your Mac! There’s no need to continue tormenting yourself. Mac users, I implore you, please, move on. Those of us happy to use the iPad will continue to do so. The Mac is your computer and it’s time for you to accept that.


The clever, cynical, self-satisfied snark at 12:38 (in the podcast) 11:50 (in the YT video) of this Vergecast is much of what’s wrong with tech media. It’s almost as if they think they are the only humans that use technology. It’s why hot takes are often so ridiculous. Maybe take a minute and think about other humans and other use cases? Students, kids, my aunt, will LOVE some of this stuff. It’s okay for some aspects of tech to be cute and fun. But no, they just shit on it right out of the gate.

Also, they clearly don’t fully understand what’s happening and are guessing/speculating as to how it works. They’ll offer plenty of opinions on something they’ve not taken the time to research and understand because, you know, clever snarky hot take wins.


I’m watching Origin and in the current scene at 48 minutes in, there is a discussion at a dinner table comparing slavery in the US to the Holocaust in Germany.

Slavery lasted 246 years, that’s 13 generations of people plus another 100 years of Jim Crow segregation and violence and murder. There were so many millions of African Americans who were murdered from the middle passage until the end of legal segregation that it goes beyond the realm of an official number. There is no number.

Those numbers. 246 years of slavery. 13 generations. It’s not the first scene in the movie to hit hard.

The movie tells the story of Isabel Wilkerson as she researches her book Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents.

Recommended.


An excellent 2 part interview with Swiss historian Vincent Gerber on the ongoing work in Rojava to put direct democracy and social ecology into practice. As Gerber states: "The theories of Abdullah Öcalan and Bookchin offer a new model for the future by challenging capitalism."

Part 1, Part 2

For a better understanding, can you tell us a bit about the concept of Social ecology, which Murray Bookchin put forward as a theory and later turned into a movement?

Social ecology, as you mentioned, is an ecological movement initiated by Murray Bookchin in the 1960s, which argues that the roots of the ecological problem are based on social problems. Solving the ecological problem is not only a matter of protecting nature, but also a matter of resolving the issues of social domination that exist among us. In other words, the social problem and the ecological problem are of the same nature and, simply put, should be solved together...


A bowl of small pink plums sit in a mostly white porcelain bowl Guessing I missed out on all the snarky bullshit the Apple nerds have been cleverly spouting for the past few hours. No, wait, actually, I didn't miss it. I spent the time more wisely, harvesting plums from the fruit tree in my yard. Far sweeter than the sourness I would've been subjected to.


UN: Israel-caused Famine to encompass all Gaza by July, killing as many as 19,800 a Month

A new joint report from the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Program warns that even as North Gaza is now facing famine, “it is highly likely that the rest of the Gaza Strip would be facing a risk of famine through July 2024, in a worst-case scenario.”

..."the situation in Gaza is alarming: the ongoing conflict has significantly worsened child malnutrition from a Global Acute Malnutrition rate of 0.8% to 16% in northern Gaza and 7% in the rest of Gaza.”


After Israel’s massacre in Nuseirat … when will the world see us? | Al Jazeera

Around 11am, I was eating breakfast with my children before heading to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital to work on my stories when everything suddenly turned upside down.


Susan Kaye Quinn:

I've been thinking that climate fiction that imagines a future where we actually fight the crisis, a future worth fighting for, is super subversive (and it is) but I'm coming around to thinking that encouraging folks (even ones who aren't "writers") to engage in that imaginative act--imagine the future you want and what it would take to get there--is 100% part of how we fight this.


Went to bed disgusted with this nation. Woke up disgusted with this nation. I'll keep saying it over and over because I can't turn away, won't pretend it's not happening. Supporting war criminals makes us war criminals.

The Electronic Intifada reports that hundreds of Palestinians were massacred in "rescue" operation lauded by US.

270+ dead, 400+ wounded. This just 2 days after Israel bombed a UN school in the refugee camp killing at least 33.

As of 5 June, the Palestinian health ministry in Gaza had recorded more than 36,500 fatalities and 83,000 injuries since 7 October.


Another day of US/Israel war crimes and protests.

Reportback from massive "We are your red line" protest for Palestine in Washington DC

The 8th of June was a horrific day in Gaza, as an IOF raid that retrieved only four hostages killed at least 210 Palestinians and wounded over 400 more. Many were seen with limbs blown off by Israel’s bombs.

On this same day, tens of thousands (possibly 100,000) furious protesters descended on Washington DC for a protest organized just weeks earlier to pressure Biden’s administration to half the flow of deadly weapons to Netanyahu’s murderous regime in Israel.


The intention is to dismantle what little "democracy" we have but most Americans don't seem to actually want the responsibility of even the most minimal democracy. The white middle class generally passive and comfortable in its supremacy, will take little action.

Rumored to be a possible choice for chief of staff should Trump be elected, Russ Vought has a plan for the second term: 'radical constitutionalism'.

A battle-tested D.C. bureaucrat and self-described Christian nationalist is drawing up detailed plans for a sweeping expansion of presidential power in a second Trump administration.


I don't usually post here about movies I've watched but I'm going to make an exception: Perfect Days on Hulu.

Beautiful and slow, a contemplative depiction of one man's quiet, simple daily life in Japan. A gentle film sprinkled with little moments of sweetness, patience and humor.


I have deep sympathy for non-human species and for the humans of the Global South that have contributed so little to the climate emergency.

The specific problem is the hyper consumption of privileged middle class whites in the US and other wealthy, over-developed nations: The 10%.

When we face the consequences we'll cry, complain and blame anyone but us. But we insist on keeping this lifestyle. We're inflicting the damage upon ourselves and upon billions of others.

We REFUSE to change, WE deserve to suffer.

Wildfire smoke prematurely killed over 50,000 Californians in a decade | The Guardian


Caturday morning coziness with Rosie.

Image taken fairly closeup from an iPad front camera of a brown haired beardy man. He sitting in front of wood shelves and a long haired gray-brown cat lays across his chest and right arm looking at the camera. She is laying across his arm and his hand barely reaches a keyboard at the bottom of the image.