It's That Time of Year Again…

[Amazon Link, See Disclaimer] … and this year, Dave Barry’s 2022 Gift Guide takes you back to the Wise Men. Who brought, we're told, the baby Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

We all know what gold is, of course. But what the heck are frankincense and myrrh? According to Wikipedia, they are both aromatic tree resins. That’s right: Two-thirds of the wise men chose to give their newborn king, as a physical symbol of their reverent adoration, goo from a tree. Why? Because they were guys, that’s why. Here’s what probably happened:

FIRST WISE MAN: So I’m bringing gold as my gift.

SECOND WISE MAN: Wait, what?

THIRD WISE MAN: You got a gift?

FIRST WISE MAN: It was my wife’s idea.

SECOND WISE MAN: I didn’t know we were supposed to bring a gift!

THIRD WISE MAN: Me either! What’re we gonna do?

(The wise men notice they are standing next to a tree, which has excreted some globs of resin.)

SECOND WISE MAN: Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

FIRST WISE MAN: Are you serious? That looks like squirrel poop.

THIRD WISE MAN: We can tell them it’s aromatic.

If I could go back in time a week, I'd give thanks for Dave Barry still occasionally writing new stuff.

And our Amazon Product du Jour is one of his Gift Guide selections, full-face sunglasses, a mere $16.99 as I type. For when you want to knock over a convenience store that has one of those pesky video cameras.

Briefly noted:

  • Christian Schneider notes allegedly smart people demanding a return to the bad old days: Colleges Turn to Segregation to Solve Racial Ills.

    Years from now, students of American history will be taught of the era when college students were kept from living near one another because of the color of their skin. When separate graduation ceremonies were held for students of color because of a group’s unease with the commingling of the races. When students were kept out of colleges because of their ethnicity. And when governors openly questioned the learning abilities of schoolchildren of color.

    The history books covering this era, however, won’t be talking about the Jim Crow South or George Wallace’s 1963 declaration urging “segregation now, segregation forever.”

    They will, instead, be referring to the last five years, in which colleges have begun separating students by race out of concern that it might damage the “mental health” of non-white students if they are forced to interact with white students.

    The governor in that first paragraph? Not Ron DeSantis!

    I hope you're under your NRPLUS free article quota so you can Read The Whole Thing.

  • I'm old enough to remember the parody of a New York Times headlne: "World Ends: Woman and Minorities Hardest Hit".

    So WIRED got pretty close to that: San Francisco's Killer Police Robots Threaten the City's Most Vulnerable.

    Subhed: "Law enforcement says that in some scenarios a lethal robot is the only way to protect public safety. Experts say the policy will harm communities of color."

    Three years ago, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors made history by becoming the first city in the nation to ban use of facial recognition technology by local government. Last night, the board went in a different direction, giving police the right to kill a criminal suspect with a teleoperated robot if they believe there is an imminent threat of death to police or members of the public.

    Assistant police chief David Lazar said ahead of the vote that killer robots might be needed in scenarios involving mass shootings or suicide bombers, citing the Mandalay Bay shooting in Las Vegas in 2017 and the killing of five police officers in Dallas, Texas, in 2016. Dallas police ultimately used explosives strapped to a Remotec F5A bomb disposal robot—a model also possessed by the San Francisco Police Department—to kill that suspect.

    So what about those "experts"? Well, here are a couple:

    Supervisor Hillary Ronen voted against killer robots at the meeting, saying that like many US parents she sometimes worries about school shootings but that the new policy opens a Pandora’s box where police using robots is the norm. “The tool begs to be used,” she says. “It might be used originally only occasionally, but over time people get less sensitive.”

    Peter Asaro, an associate professor at The New School in New York who researches automation of police force, agrees. “Giving police this option means they’re going to use it when they should be looking for other options,” he said.

    The underlying assumption seems to be that, when in doubt, the cops' go-to tactic is killing people. Instead of "looking for other options".

    Dude, we shouldn't let people like that even have guns!


Last Modified 2022-12-01 12:30 PM EST