The Daily Troll: Mayor's race, Obama on race, terahertz and It's a boy!

Microsoft and Carnegie Mellon collaborate on new way of tagging everyday objects - and scanning the tags with a little-used form of radiation.

Mayoral odds

Based on recent polling (from King 5), Publicola oddsmakers last week pretty much called Seattle’s mayor’s race a two-man contest between Mayor Mike McGinn and State Senator Ed Murray. Publicola gave City Councilmember Bruce Harrell 10-1 odds, slightly behind former City Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck’s 8-1. Publicola didn't even bother to make book on Charlie Staadecker, Kate Martin and other dark horse candidates. But as Publicola itself pointed out, a lot can happen between now and the August 6th primary that will narrow the current field of nine candidates to two. Consider that a Seattle Times story this weekend questioned the efficacy of Ed Murray working part-time as a UW outreach coordinator while he was chairing the Senate Ways and Means Committee. (The Legislative Ethics Board had no problem with Murray's UW position.) And Crosscut is starting to detect a quiet, but persistent groundswell of interest in Peter Steinbrueck. Stay tuned.

Heir time

It's a boy! Kate and William's first arrived safely. The Duchess of Caimbridge was admitted to St. Mary’s Hospital in London early this morning. She gave birth this afternoon (Seattle Time). The new prince is third in line to the throne  —after grandpa Prince Charles and dad Prince William — and that would have been the case even if the prince had been a princess, thanks to recent changes in Britain’s official Succession to the Crown Act of 2013. According to The Guardian's Caroline Davies, not all the i's and t's have been dutifully dotted and crossed. The new Succession law, writes Davies, won't "come into force until all 15 other Commonwealth countries of which the Queen is head of state have also made changes to their laws." Until then, "it would be possible for a daughter to become queen of England, but a younger brother to become, say, king of Canada." (Canada has kings?) No name yet for the infant future king.

Bye-bye barcodes?

Frometh the Geekwire cometh news of a collaboration between Microsoft and Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University. The result: InfraStructs. Think invisible barcodes buried inside everyday objects during the fabrication process. The codes are read by scanners that operate in the largely ignored (‘til now) “terahertz” sliver of the electromagnetic spectrum. (That’s the mid region part, somewhere between microwaves and infrared light.) Merging InfraStructs technology and 3D printing, say InfraStructs' inventors, promises to make life better for inventory managers and video gamers everywhere, not to mention those soon-to-be ubiquitous household robots that can use the tags to tell the difference between the TV and the fridge. And terahertz radiation is safe. (We hope.) InfraStructs will open up “new possibilities for encoding hidden information,” write research partners Karl Willis (Carnegie Mellon) and Andy Wilson (Microsoft). Just what we need.

Obama on race

President Obama shocked the White House press corps on Friday afternoon when he showed up unannounced at the daily press briefing. The president spoke for about 15 minutes, very personally, about how the George Zimmerman verdict felt to African-Americans like him, and whether we may be able to wring something good out of it. “Trayvon could have been me 35 years ago,” Obama told reporters before sharing a few of his own personal experiences with racial profiling. Like being tailed by security in department stores, or crossing the street to the sound of car door locks clicking. But beyond the anger and the protests, said the president, the important question is: "Where do we take this? Are there some concrete things we might be able to do?” He offered three: better training for police, more support for young black men and a careful reconsideration of laws like Stand Your Ground. The president asked the law's most ardent supoorters to consider this: "If Trayvon Martin was of age and armed, could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk? And do we actually think that he would have been justified in shooting Mr. Zimmerman, because he felt threatened? And if the answer to that question is at least ambiguous, then it seems to me that we might want to examine those kinds of laws.”


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Comments:

Posted Mon, Jul 22, 3:23 p.m. Inappropriate

It amazes me that the President apparently sees no difference between "feeling threatened" and having the crap beaten out of you. Martin was beating the crap out of Zimmerman. Zimmerman did not just "feel threatened." He was getting the crap beaten out of him by Martin.

Lincoln

Posted Tue, Jul 23, 7:24 a.m. Inappropriate

Trayvon was beating the crap out of some one that was stalking him, searching for him and quite possibly had threatened him with a weapon. This satisfies any reasonable interpretation of "stand your ground".

Posted Thu, Jul 25, midnight Inappropriate

"Trayvon?" You were on a first-name basis with the young thug, were you?

NotFan

Posted Mon, Jul 22, 4:47 p.m. Inappropriate

Absolutely, Lincoln. The Prez is also disingenuous in insinuating that Stand Your Ground was an issue in this case, which of course it was not. Then he launches into the egregiously hypothetical in musing about the result of the trial would have been if the races of the protagonists had been reversed, and then again proceeding as if the result would have been assured to be a conviction for the shooter. I think that the jury in this trial would have reached the same verdict as would have the jury on which I recently served.

Funny that it is insinuated to be improper for people to be chary of young black men, with or without hoodies, right after acknowledging that the statistics say that they are more likely -- perhaps the most likely -- persons to do you harm.

As a former aircraft certification engineer, all of you who fly should be damn glad that our decisions were based on statistics and not on the fact that this-here unit on the bench performed satisfactorily.

Of course, that doesn't mean that one should take peremptory action against one and all, but George apparently did not.

None of the sanctimoniously indignant A-A talking heads, nor the Prez himself, have ever suggested that the A-A community should take responsibility for raising their male children not to be insistently playing the "race card" and instead should work to clean up their act so no car door locks would herald their presence on the scene.

kmeyer

Posted Mon, Jul 22, 4:48 p.m. Inappropriate

Absolutely, Lincoln. The Prez is also disingenuous in insinuating that Stand Your Ground was an issue in this case, which of course it was not. Then he launches into the egregiously hypothetical in musing about the result of the trial would have been if the races of the protagonists had been reversed, and then again proceeding as if the result would have been assured to be a conviction for the shooter. I think that the jury in this trial would have reached the same verdict as would have the jury on which I recently served.

Funny that it is insinuated to be improper for people to be chary of young black men, with or without hoodies, right after acknowledging that the statistics say that they are more likely -- perhaps the most likely -- persons to do you harm.

As a former aircraft certification engineer, all of you who fly should be damn glad that our decisions were based on statistics and not on the fact that this-here unit on the bench performed satisfactorily.

Of course, that doesn't mean that one should take peremptory action against one and all, but George apparently did not.

None of the sanctimoniously indignant A-A talking heads, nor the Prez himself, have ever suggested that the A-A community should take responsibility for raising their male children not to be insistently playing the "race card" and instead should work to clean up their act so no car door locks would herald their presence on the scene.

kmeyer

Posted Mon, Jul 22, 7 p.m. Inappropriate

"The cell block has replace the auction block." - Yusef Komunyakaa

KarenLee

Posted Wed, Jul 24, 11:59 p.m. Inappropriate

Well, if young black men didn't commit a grossly disproportionate amount of the violent crimes in our society, maybe it would be different, wouldn't it?

NotFan

Posted Fri, Jul 26, 10:30 p.m. Inappropriate

White Wall Street Traders and reckless bankers have stolen more from me and my family than any one else has or ever could.

Posted Sat, Jul 27, 11:10 p.m. Inappropriate

Black males are 6% of the population but commit 50% of the murders. I'm no friend of the reckless bankers, but who have they murdered lately?

NotFan

Posted Mon, Jul 22, 7:01 p.m. Inappropriate

"The cell block has replaced the auction block." - Yusef Komunyakaa

KarenLee

Posted Mon, Jul 22, 8:26 p.m. Inappropriate

If you watched the trial and listened to Zimmerman as he explained his position to the police, you would have noticed that he said his gun was on his right hip, to the rear of his body.

It is pretty damn impossible, lying on your back to draw a weapon in that position.

Zimmerman's attorney during the presentation of his case, seemed to show the gun was in Zimmerman's waste band in the front of his body.

The boy's body was found on the grass, at least a foot from the concrete. How did it get there? Zimmerman's head showed scratches, not the sort of wounds one would expect from having his head pounded into concrete.

(As a side note, several famous people - Octavia Butler in Lake Forest Park and Dr Atkins of the diet that bears his name, for example - fell and hit their heads on the sidewalk and died.)

Zimmerman was also proven to have lied about knowing the Stand Your Ground laws in his instructor's testimony.

I'm a black woman and I've had people clutch their purses, lock their doors and look at me with fear - are women also likely to harm others or is this just irrational fear of the unknown (another definition of racism).

Amaliada

Posted Wed, Jul 24, 11:57 p.m. Inappropriate

Amaliada, the biggest service you could do is advise the young black men you know to keep away from drugs, stay in school, and avoid attacking people. If Trayvon Martin had done those things, he would be alive today. His death was tragic, but his death was his own fault.

This is was a Florida jury concluded, and I agree with that jury.

NotFan

Posted Fri, Jul 26, 2:12 p.m. Inappropriate

Actually, what the jury concluded was that the prosecution could not prove their case for murder/manslaughter beyond a reasonable doubt - they did not draw the conclusions you repeatedly assert they did.

But then again, you knew that already, you disingenuous piece of racist s***, didn't you?

Posted Sat, Jul 27, 11:12 p.m. Inappropriate

Ah yes, now comes the typical Seattle "progressive" to shed his Kumbaya pose and bare his foam rubber teeth!

NotFan

Posted Sat, Jul 27, 11:18 p.m. Inappropriate

Classic bully - you post nasty, abusive comments by the hundreds, and you turn into a glass-jawed little bitch when someone gives it back to you.

How's about you take that faux high dudgeon and fainting couch and stick them where the sun doesn't shine?

Posted Sun, Jul 28, 4:29 p.m. Inappropriate

I'm fine with whatever you call me. In fact, I think it's funny to see a Seattle "progressive" lose it and go nuts, like a Sunday schhol preacher on his first drunk. Let's face it, not even a mild-mannered "progressive" can live on self-rightouesness along. Every now and then, you've got to let them dogs out! It's a little bit like how vegans make the best cannibals.

p.s. Trayvon Martin had it coming. And he's still dead. Pass it along.

NotFan

Posted Tue, Jul 23, 7:27 a.m. Inappropriate

The issue that should up for discussion is why we allow Stand Your Ground laws to exist. These laws foster exactly this type of unprovable activity. Was Trayvon being stalked? Yes, we did know that. Could he have been afraid for his life? Was he "standing his ground" without a gun?
We need to get guns off the streets. We are quickly moving from the need to control assault weapons, to the need to control handguns.

gmgd

Posted Wed, Jul 24, 11:58 p.m. Inappropriate

"Trayvon?" So you were on a first-name basis with the young thug, then?

NotFan

Posted Sat, Jul 27, 11:27 p.m. Inappropriate

Way to avoid the question, douchebag.

Posted Sun, Jul 28, 4:37 p.m. Inappropriate

To answer your questions:

1. Your thug hero was not being "stalked."

2. Your thug hero certainly could have been afraid for his life. There are all kinds of things that could've been going through his pot-soaked mind, such as it was. He also could have been convinced that his was third in line for the throne of Namibia, for all we know. Or that he had an imaginary (to everyone else but him) friend from Neptune. Alas, now that the young thug is dead, we'll never know, will we?

3. He was not "standing his ground without a gun," in the sense that I deduce you mean. There is no evidence that Zimmerman attacked him; there is evidence in the opposite direction. I'm afraid that Zimmerman was the victim, and Martin was the thug.

----------

Now that I've answered your questions, how about answering mine? Were you on a first-name basis with the young thug? Was he your friend, and do you consider every violent teenage thug your friend? If so, does that include the white ones?

NotFan

Posted Sun, Jul 28, 9:34 p.m. Inappropriate

Shorter NotFan:

"The n*****r had it coming."

Whether they are walking through a gated community in Florida, or whistling at a white woman in Mississippi, it has been ever thus...

Posted Mon, Jul 29, 4:26 p.m. Inappropriate

Trayvon Martin's race matters very much to you, to the point of obsession, but not to me in the slightest.

NotFan

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