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Category Archives: The Post-Racial Life

Obama Wants to Build a Super-Supercomputer

IBM 360 195 at Lawrence Livermore Labs. The 195 was also the first IBM Machine that used a CRT Tube to enter control instruction (machine code, an early Assembler) instead of flip switches.

My first professional job was with IBM. In those days, the IBM 360 generation computer was on the way out to be replaced by the 370. IBM’s Mainframes, which were sold in the commercial market were General Purpose Computers. They were fast, but not very good at mathematical calculations of the types used to model weather, aircraft, or even some weapons systems. Control Data Corporation was king in that field, until their principal designer, Seymour Cray left to start Cray Computer. Cray is still around despite the tragic death of their founder in an auto accident. IBM had a habit of building special purpose computers, for big customers. From that came the first IBM Supercomputer, the IBM 360 –  195. It was blazingly fast for it’s day, operating at 10 Million Instructions per Second (MIPs). It also was the first supercomputer I actually got to lay hands on. IBM only built 28 of these, as I recall. It was the first IBM Computer to use a technique called “pipelining” which allowed the Operating System to predict where the next memory location would be that a program would use, and dynamically schedule memory allocation. Unless one of my “Geek Qualified” Readers asks, that is as far as I will get into Supercomputer internals and how they work.

The Cray 1 was a radically different design with a liquid nitrogen cooled “core. And yes, you could sit there – but I am not sure anyone would let you.

The next real “Monster” came in terms of the Cray 1.

The new Cray operated at 80 MFOPS. This one was the most popular model of Supercomputer ever built selling over 80 units. The round design was based on minimizing the distance travelled between two points inside the computer by the wiring. It was supercooled to further increase the speed, as electrons travel faster a near zero temperature. The machine operated in the nanosecond range. Electricity has time only to travel about a foot through a copper or gold wire in that time.

The Cray 2 – was 100 times faster.

The next major step was to develop machines with multiple processors, instead of just one. The best in the US is the Titan have 552,960 processors running 17.6 petaflop/s. And yes, the like to make them “pretty” now. Here is a list of the “Bad boys” over the last 20 years.

The came the Chinese…

Since 2012, they have had the fastest Supercomputer on the block, the Tianhe-2 (MilkyWay-2), owned by the Chinese Army

 

Tianhe-2 (MilkyWay-2)

Which isn’t something making the US Government happy.

To give a reference as to why these things are important, some years ago an associate of mine was doing work on calculating planets around a star located light years away. This was done then by measuring the “wobble” of the star (no I don’t totally understand it). At his University system, it took nearly 20 hours to run one calculation – and they had a fairly big system. It also stopped other users from doing their work. He got access to one of the supercomputers, which did the calculations in just under 1 second. This is critical to maintaining America’s global lead in research and science.

And if Obama gets this done…It is going to be a Monster.

Obama Wants the US to Build the World’s Fastest Supercomputer

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA has signed an executive order authorizing the creation of new supercomputing research initiative called the National Strategic Computing Initiative, or NSCI. Its goal: pave the for the first exaflop supercomputer—something that’s about 30 times faster than today’s fastest machines.

Supercomputers are at the heart of a huge number of important scientific and defense research projects. They’re used by aerospace engineers to model planes and weapons, and by climatologists to predict the the near-term impact of hurricanes and the long-term effects of climate change. Researchers involved in the White House’s Precision Medicine initiative believe exaflop speed supercomputers could aid the creation of personalized drugs, while the European Commission’s Human Brain Project hopes they will help unlock the secrets of the human brain.

Several government agencies, most notably the Department of Energy, have been deeply involved in the development of supercomputers over the last few decades, but they’ve typically worked separately. The new initiative will bring together scientists and government agencies such as the Department of Energy, Department of Defense and the National Science Foundation to create a common agenda for pushing the field forward.

The specifics are thin on the ground at the moment. The Department of Energy has already identified the major challenges preventing “exascale” computing today, according to a fact sheet released by the government, but the main goal of the initiative, for now, be to get disparate agencies working together on common goals.

It’s hard not to see the initiative as a response to China’s gains in supercomputing. Earlier this month TOP500, an organization that ranks supercomputers by performance,announced that China’s 33.86 petaflop Tianhe-2 is still the fastest supercomputer in the world. The US still has more computers on the TOP500 list than any other country in the world, but researchers have worried for years about falling behind China.

An exoflop is about 1,000 petaflops, and would represent a massive leap forward in computing power. But creating an exaflop computer is about more than just finding a way to build faster hardware. Creating applications that can take advantage of such an architecture is a challenge in its own right. NCSI will also prioritize the creation of supercomputers that can handle vast quantities of rapidly changing data.

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2015 in The Post-Racial Life

 

“Black Don’t Crack”

International Supermodel Iman at 60 years of age…

 

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2015 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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Citizen Media Minutes…The Confederate Flag and Citizen Broadcasting

Back in the 60’s and 70’s I used to love to visit cousins who lived in New York City. The city was teeming with pirate radio stations, some of which only covered a few blocks. You could hear music that never made it onto any of the big company stations, whether latin, fusion, or jazz, San Francisco also had several famous pirate radio stations, which played part in the emerging culture of Haight-Ashbury.

Our technological society has allowed folks to create and voice their opinions through the airwaves. As in anything, some of that is good, some mediocre – depending on the originators and the thought put into their work. Seems like 100 years ago, but in the pre-internet age, there was an effort to re-create “Low-Power Radio“, to license station covering small area, such as community as democratic means of expression and local interest outside of the mainstream media. So called Pirate Radio was common prior to the 80’s, principally in urban areas, and derived their audiences from folks tired of the basic canned Top 40 formats and weak community interest programs by the licensed operators. It was pretty much eviscerated by Reagan era FCC rules. Black folks operated pirate radio, because of the “daylight rule” and difficulty in getting licensed. The FCC limited the number of stations in an area in any particular format. In the 50’s and 60’s almost no black radio stations were allowed to operate between the hours of sunset and sunrise on the then popular AM Spectrum.

That changed after Reagan, and there was an effort to restart the format. I started a LPR Station in the late 70’s which was looking to use low power as a means of communications in a business area, oriented toward providing information to the community about training and education being offered, events, business talks by local ventures, and interviews of local businessmen. The stiffening regulations of the Reagan FCC pretty much put the end to that effort due to the rising expense and regulations favoring the big companies. The goal had been to leverage that into the emerging Low Power TV in 1982 – however, the price on that skyrocketed, making breaking even extremely difficult. Since then, LPR and LPTV  never really took off, but folks are still trying. Some people believe it is the future of free over-the-air-radio. The cost of entry into LPR is less than $1,000 today, and the broadcast range, receivable by standard FM Receivers is about 3 miles. LPTV is substantially more expensive, due to the migration to Digital.

A modern equivalent of LPR is the YouTube Channel. No longer restricted by geographic region, small operators may host their own news and opinion shows. Three of the videos below are from just that sort of show. This group about the confederate flag…

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2015 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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Black Lives Matter Shakes Up the Democratic Primary and Message

The Republican Party is getting shaken up by the Trumplodytes…

The Dems are finally coming to grip with their Minority constituency.

This is just one of the steps that need to be taken to reinvent and create a new Democrat Party responding to it’s modern constituency.

The Republicans…well…Not so much.

The following from the Benjamin Dixon Webcast Show

 

#BlackLivesMatter Is Winning the 2016 Democratic Primary

A disruptive protest leads candidates to change rhetoric

When Black Lives Matter protestors stormed a room at a meeting in Phoenix and demanded that the 2016 presidential candidates say the names of black people killed by the police, the response was swift: Bernie Sanders did it the next day.

“I wish that in the year 2015, I could tell you we have eliminated racism in this country, but you all know that is not true,” said Sanders, to a crowd of more than 11,000 in Houston on Sunday, and then listed the names: “Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray and many, many others.”

It’s a testament to the influence Black Lives Matter activists are already having on the 2016 presidential race. Since the raucous protest of a few dozen mostly African-American activists brought the biggest meeting of progressives in the country to a screeching halt, Hillary Clinton repeated her calls for body cameras and improved early childhood education, and wrote “Black lives matter” in a Facebook post. Martin O’Malley promised to roll out a comprehensive plan to reform the criminal justice system, and Sanders has repeatedly brought up race on the campaign trail.

Now, Black Lives Matter leaders are preparing an agenda of policy demands and requirements designed to push Clinton, Sanders and O’Malley to embrace broad reforms to address systemic racism head-on. Activists foresee a series of demonstrations to call attention to racial injustice in the United States.

“What does the Democratic camp have to say about our society? We are in a crisis,” said Opal Tometi, cofounder of the Black Lives Matter movement. “If they want our vote, they’re going to have to speak to the death of black people at the hands of law enforcement, and create a racial justice agenda that cuts across all major issues.”

Black Lives Matter activists meeting in Cleveland this weekend will formulate a long list of policy demands for candidates, Tometi said, intended to shape the 2016 presidential race and help form the basis for candidates’ talking points.

Some of the agenda will likely include anti-bias police hiring, the demilitarization of police forces and external reviews of police practices, activists told TIME. But leaders are also calling for more sweeping reforms that include a package of progressive packages intended to help poor blacks, including lifting the minimum wage, aggressive education reform, housing protections, protecting access to the ballot box and ending mass incarceration.

A number of racial justice groups including the Black Youth Project, Million Hoodies Movement for Justice, the Dream Defenders and others are expected to be in Cleveland.

“Body cameras and dash cameras are clearly not enough, because Sandra Bland still ended up dead,” said Alicia Garza, a second cofounder of the Black Lives Matter movement, referring to a civil rights activist who was found dead in a jail cell in Texas, in what authorities have called a suicide. Many observers have called her arrest violent and excessive.

“I want to see from all these candidates is program for how they’re going to aggressively work to ensure that black lives matter,” Garza continued. “Not just in relation to policing: we have to dive into questions of economics and democracy.”

Black Lives Matter grew out of the death of Trayvon Martin in 2012 and the violence last year in Ferguson, when Michael Brown, an unarmed black man was killed by the police. Over the past year, the organizationally diffuse movement has mounted large protests against police violence and incarceration policies. The movement is fueled by a widespread anger over police violence against black citizens.

Of the Democratic candidates, Clinton has perhaps addressed race in the most detail since launching her campaign. She has called for automatic voter registration and protecting the rights of black Americans at the ballot box, body cameras on police officers, early childhood education directed at low-income families and overhauling the criminal justice system. She has called for greater gun control and raising the minimum wage, and spoken specifically to the persistence of racism.

“Our problem is not all kooks and Klansman,” Clinton said in a speech in June. “It’s also in the cruel joke that goes unchallenged. It’s in the off-hand comments about not wanting ‘those people’ in the neighborhood.”

Sanders led anti-segregation efforts in Chicago in the 1960s and participated in the Million Man March, but does not frequently talk about racism on the campaign trail. He has become increasingly vocal about racism, particularly since Saturday, calling for more accountability among police and larger steps to address prison reform. O’Malley has called for better funding of independent external review boards and reducing penalties for nonviolent criminals.

The spectacle on Saturday at the Netroots Nation conference in Phoenix, Arizona began during former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s presidential town hall question-and-answer session, when several dozen Black Lives Matter protestors marched into the conference room, chanting, “What side are you on black people, what side are you on!” and chanted “Say her name! O’Malley was silenced for some ten minutes before finally addressing the protestors and calling for broader criminal justice reforms. Sanders nearly left the stage in frustration as the chanting continued.

 
 

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Brooks Argues Ta-Nehisi Coates is Wrong

 Interesting battle between a white Liberal and Ta-Nehisi Coates. David Brooks is getting hammered in several publications as representing the liberal racist wing of the left, here, here, and here. This battle has political repercussions in the candidacy of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

Hillary Clinton could be the unlikely beneficiary of white progressives’ stumbles on race. The woman who herself stumbled facing Barack Obama in 2008 seems to have learned from her political mistakes.  She’s taken stands on mass incarceration and immigration reform that put her nominally to the left of de Blasio’s Progressive Agenda on those issues, as well as the president’s. Clinton proves that these racial blind spots can be corrected. And American politics today requires that they be corrected: no Democrat can win the presidency without consolidating the Obama coalition, particularly the African American vote.

In fact, African American women are to the Democrats what white evangelical men are to Republicans: the most devoted, reliable segment of the party base. But where all the GOP contenders pander to their base, Democrats often don’t even acknowledge theirs. Clinton seems determined to do things differently, the second time around. The hiring of senior policy advisor Maya Harris as well as former Congressional Black Caucus director LaDavia Drane signal the centrality of black female voters to the campaign. In a briefing with reporters Thursday in Brooklyn, senior Clinton campaign officials said their polling shows she’s doing very well with the Obama coalition, despite her 2008 struggles – but she’s taking nothing for granted.

For Sanders..

Democrats are pinning their electoral fortunes on African-American and Latino voters. But the Sanders revolution looks a lot like Vermont, the second whitest state in the country. To mount a competitive challenge against Hillary Clinton, Sanders must do something he has never had to do—reach beyond the kind of post-racial political message he honed in his home state and connect with voters who don’t look like him.

And so far, he’s coming up short.

“I haven’t seen him engaging the black community. Nor am I hearing any chatter about him,” said Rick Wade, Obama for America’s African-American vote director. “Black voters don’t know him.”

A June CNN/ORC poll showed just 2% of black Democrats supporting Sanders, a figure that has remained unchanged since February. Among non-white voters overall, Sanders polls at 9% compared to Hillary Clinton’s 61%.

And then there is Brook’s…”It really wasn’t that bad” excuse…

Listening to Ta-Nehisi Coates While White

Dear Ta-Nehisi Coates,

The last year has been an education for white people. There has been a depth, power and richness to the African-American conversation about Ferguson, Baltimore, Charleston and the other killings that has been humbling and instructive.

Your new book, “Between the World and Me,” is a great and searing contribution to this public education. It is a mind-altering account of the black male experience. Every conscientious American should read it.

There is a pervasive physicality to your memoir — the elemental vulnerability of living in a black body in America. Outside African-American nightclubs, you write, “black people controlled nothing, least of all the fate of their bodies, which could be commandeered by the police; which could be erased by the guns, which were so profligate; which could be raped, beaten, jailed.”

Written as a letter to your son, you talk about the effects of pervasive fear. “When I was your age the only people I knew were black and all of them were powerfully, adamantly, dangerously afraid.”

But the disturbing challenge of your book is your rejection of the American dream. My ancestors chose to come here. For them, America was the antidote to the crushing restrictiveness of European life, to the pogroms. For them, the American dream was an uplifting spiritual creed that offered dignity, the chance to rise.

Your ancestors came in chains. In your book the dream of the comfortable suburban life is a “fairy tale.” For you, slavery is the original American sin, from which there is no redemption. America is Egypt without the possibility of the Exodus. African-American men are caught in a crushing logic, determined by the past, from which there is no escape.

You write to your son, “Here is what I would like for you to know: In America, it is traditional to destroy the black body — it is heritage.” The innocent world of the dream is actually built on the broken bodies of those kept down below.

If there were no black bodies to oppress, the affluent Dreamers “would have to determine how to build their suburbs on something other than human bones, how to angle their jails toward something other than a human stockyard, how to erect a democracy independent of cannibalism.”

Your definition of “white” is complicated. But you write “ ‘White America’ is a syndicate arrayed to protect its exclusive power to dominate and control our bodies. Sometimes this power is direct (lynching), and sometimes it is insidious (redlining).” In what is bound to be the most quoted passage from the book, you write that you watched the smoldering towers of 9/11 with a cold heart. At the time you felt the police and firefighters who died “were menaces of nature; they were the fire, the comet, the storm, which could — with no justification — shatter my body.”

You obviously do not mean that literally today (sometimes in your phrasing you seem determined to be misunderstood). You are illustrating the perspective born of the rage “that burned in me then, animates me now, and will likely leave me on fire for the rest of my days.”

I read this all like a slap and a revelation. I suppose the first obligation is to sit with it, to make sure the testimony is respected and sinks in. But I have to ask, Am I displaying my privilege if I disagree? Is my job just to respect your experience and accept your conclusions? Does a white person have standing to respond?

If I do have standing, I find the causation between the legacy of lynching and some guy’s decision to commit a crime inadequate to the complexity of most individual choices.

I think you distort American history. This country, like each person in it, is a mixture of glory and shame. There’s a Lincoln for every Jefferson Davis and a Harlem Children’s Zone for every K.K.K. — and usually vastly more than one. Violence is embedded in America, but it is not close to the totality of America.

In your anger at the tone of innocence some people adopt to describe the American dream, you reject the dream itself as flimflam. But a dream sullied is not a lie. The American dream of equal opportunity, social mobility and ever more perfect democracy cherishes the future more than the past. It abandons old wrongs and transcends old sins for the sake of a better tomorrow.

This dream is a secular faith that has unified people across every known divide. It has unleashed ennobling energies and mobilized heroic social reform movements. By dissolving the dream under the acid of an excessive realism, you trap generations in the past and destroy the guiding star that points to a better future.

Maybe you will find my reactions irksome. Maybe the right white response is just silence for a change. In any case, you’ve filled my ears unforgettably.

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2015 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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The Fix is in! Chicago fires investigator who found cops at fault in shootings

Well…The fix is in in Chicago. Not really surprising considering he city’s history of police brutality and corruption. This isn’t a first, as we all saw this movie in Ferguson and a number of other places. Seems that big city cops are immune to the very laws they are supposed to enforce. A situation which isn’t true everywhere…But in far too many places.

 

City fires investigator who found cops at fault in shootings

A Chicago investigator who determined that several civilian shootings by police officers were unjustified was fired after resisting orders to reverse those findings, according to internal records of his agency obtained by WBEZ.

Scott M. Ando, chief administrator of the city’s Independent Police Review Authority, informed its staff in a July 9 email that the agency no longer employed supervising investigator Lorenzo Davis, 65, a former Chicago police commander. IPRA investigates police-brutality complaints and recommends any punishment.

Davis’s termination came less than two weeks after top IPRA officials, evaluating Davis’s job performance, accused him of “a clear bias against the police” and called him “the only supervisor at IPRA who resists making requested changes as directed by management in order to reflect the correct finding with respect to OIS,” as officer-involved shootings are known in the agency.

Since its 2007 creation, IPRA has investigated nearly 400 civilian shootings by police and found one to be unjustified.

WBEZ asked to interview Ando, promoted last year by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to head the agency. The station also sent Ando’s spokesman questions about sticking points between IPRA investigators and managers, about the agency’s process for overturning investigative findings, and about the reasons the agency had reversed many of Davis’s findings.

The spokesman said there would be no interview and sent this statement: “This is a personnel matter that would be inappropriate to address through the media, though the allegations are baseless and without merit. IPRA is committed to conducting fair, unbiased, objective, thorough and timely investigations of allegations of police misconduct and officer-involved shootings.”

The performance evaluation covered 19 months and concluded that Davis “displays a complete lack of objectivity combined with a clear bias against the police in spite of his own lengthy police career.”

Davis served in the police department for 23 years. As a commander, he headed detective units, the department’s Austin district and, finally, its public-housing unit. He retired from the department in 2004.

“I did not like the direction the police department had taken,” Davis said. “It appeared that officers were doing whatever they wanted to do. The discipline was no longer there.” …More

This one in Harrisburg,  Pennsylvania –

Cop Arrested After Video Shows Her Shoot Unarmed Man in Back Lying Face Down in the Snow

Harrisburg, PA– Hummelstown police Officer, Lisa J. Mearkle was charged with criminal homicide on Tuesday in the shooting death of 59-year-old David Kassick on February 2.

Mearkle shot Kassick as he laid face down on the ground in the snow, unarmed, during a routine traffic stop gone awry.

Mearkle had attempted to pull Kassick over for an expired inspection sticker, but the situation escalated when Kassick attempted to flee from the officer.

Eventually Mearkle caught up to the motorist close to his sister’s home where he was staying, but Kassick got out of the vehicle and fled on foot.  As he was attempting to run away, he was incapacitated by the officer’s taser which she held in her left hand. With her right hand, she unnecessarily pulled out her service gun and shot the unarmed man twice in the back as he lay face-down on the ground.

The 36-year-old officer claims that she shot the unarmed man because he would not show his hands and she was concerned he may have been reaching in his jacket for a weapon, but the recording from the deployed taser paints a different picture.

District Attorney Ed Marsico has stated that it appeared from the recording that Kassick was simply trying to remove the stun gun probes from his back before his life was taken.

“At the time Officer Mearkle fires both rounds from her pistol, the video clearly depicts Kassick lying on the snow covered lawn with his face toward the ground, furthermore, at the time the rounds are fired nothing can be seen in either of Kassick’s hands, nor does he point or direct anything toward Officer Mearkle,” the arrest affidavit reads….More

 

 
 

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Dolezal Doubles Down….”I’m Black!”

Going to start this one with a picture…

By the infamous one drop rule, every kid in this family is black. Their mother is Jewish. and the father is black.

These girls are twins…

When Lucy and Maria Aylmer tell people they are twins, disbelief is one response. The 18-year-olds from Gloucester, U.K. are two of the five children born to their Caucasian father and “half-Jamaican” mother, World Wide Features reports.

So…In my view, if Rachel Dolezal wants to be black…I can see no reason to reject her assertion. I have cousins who look like the girl on the left, and right – and there are kids in the family who look like the ones in the top picture.

Ex-Washington state NAACP leader Dolezal: ‘I would say I’m black’

A civil rights activist who drew national attention for self-identifying as a black woman despite being the child of white parents, told magazine Vanity Fair she did not lie, but her critics are limited by their views of race: “I would say I’m black.”

Washington state activist Rachel Dolezal, 37, resigned in June as president of the Spokane chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, a leading civil rights organization, amid reports she was falsely claiming to be black.

Dolezal came under intense scrutiny when a white couple who identified themselves as her estranged biological parents told U.S. media she has Caucasian roots. She was raised in a home with adopted black siblings, attended historically black Howard University, and has produced art work and taught classes about black culture.

“It’s taken my entire life to negotiate how to identify, and I’ve done a lot of research and a lot of studying,” Dolezal told Vanity Fair in an interview published on Sunday.

“I could have a long conversation, an academic conversation about that. I don’t know. I just feel like I didn’t mislead anybody; I didn’t deceive anybody,” Dolezal said, according to the magazine.

“If people feel misled or deceived, then sorry that they feel that way, but I believe that’s more due to their definition and construct of race in their own minds than it is to my integrity or honesty, because I wouldn’t say I’m African American, but I would say I’m black, and there’s a difference in those terms,” she said.

Her self-expression triggered a national debate over the bounds of racial identity and self-identification.

After she stepped down as local NAACP president, Eastern Washington University did not re-new her teaching contract, and the Spokane City Council ousted her from a municipal police oversight commission over conduct violations…

 

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2015 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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