Google Search Algorithms

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A lot changed since 1997. Image from Wikimedia commons

Google needs to fight to ensure that populist movements around the world are merely a “blip” and a “hiccup” in the arc of history that “bends towards progress.”   – Google Global Affairs VP Kent Walker

“You are finished, @GOP. You polished the final nail for your own coffins. FUCK. YOU. ALL. TO. HELL… I hope the last images burned into your slimy, evil, treasonous retinas are millions of women laughing and clapping and celebrating as your souls descend into the flames.” – Google Design Lead Dave Hogue

Much has been made about bias at Google. Leaked internal documents show bias, they’ve gone on the record being biased, employees were penalized over fighting this bias. They’ve considered everything from censorship, rigging search results, and outright murder. Here I’ll be looking just at the searches.

When it comes to search results, I hardly look for patterns. My first assumption is always user error, as I am a user who makes a lot of errors. Sometimes though a few things leap out at me, especially if the pattern is recurring over the course of several searches.

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As evidence here, since at least 1974 liberals have been of the “you’re either with us or evil” attitude. Outlets like “The Nation” and “New Republic” would have you believe this film and other such things are myths.

I’ve referenced this phenomenon before, when trying to find information on North Vietnamese atrocities. While the reason for there not being much info about that on the internet likely is because any scholars or web-based outlets writing about it support Hanoi Jane, think “The Trial of Billy Jack” is a documentary, and would’ve spat on our soldiers at the time if they could, it still wouldn’t explain why the top search results for “North Vietnamese atrocities”, “atrocities committed by North Vietnam”, and similar searches didn’t give me results about North Vietnamese atrocities on the first page. Instead, the results I was greeted with first and foremost, and as the overwhelming majority of search results, were items related to American misconduct. I know supposedly Google ranks results by popularity and reliability, but here it was like searching for a sushi recipe and getting a thousand ways to make sake instead.

I had considered referencing such matters as I went along in the posts, and may do so in the future, but while doing the midterm stuff I decided to just pile everything here. Besides, I think it’s more potent if you see all the search issues I’ve had in one spot, instead of scattering them in each article. Granted, it’s more likely you’ll see it should I complain about it more often, but it doesn’t have so big an impact as seeing it all at once if it just becomes steady background noise.

Anyway, let’s get to it.

Burying Scalise

On August 5 I tried to find an article showing that the claim Steve Scalise spoke at a white nationalist rally was debunked. Page 4 is where I found it in one of my searches. I tried several before that, but the first one or two pages of each were completely full of Leftwing news sources and even blogs or forums talking about how he was guilty of it. The search that I finally found the article in, it was 3 pages of all that before I got to the truth. Full disclosure- it didn’t help matters that Scalise admitted to it- assuming that the allegations made by a loser Democrat’s son, a loser Democrat who claimed that Scalise’s district was mostly composed of bigots because they wouldn’t vote for her, was true. By the way- even after Scalise was shot, vaunted liberal outlets like Mic were still repeating this debunked conspiracy theory as truth.

Memory Holed History

I tried to find an article on August 8 dealing with how the Mexicans, in colonizing the Southwest, killed the natives instead of merely pushing them out as Americans tended to do (we had reservations and guns, the Mexicans just had guns). Particularly this was an issue near Texas, around the southern part of the 4 corners states. No luck, aside from a wikipedia page I found nothing, even though such things did happen. The search results were solely devoted to what Americans and centuries prior Spanish Conquistadors did to the natives. In other words- Mexico is given a pass. Maybe that’s a reflection of Google’s algorithms, or a reflection how the researchers at our universities believe Mexico should reclaim the lands that were given to us after they defaulted on their debt and started a war that left 13,000 Americans dead.

Hellraisin’ Hillary

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The only face she or Google want you to see. Image from AP

Each time I reference Hillary Clinton being an angry monster behind closed doors, I need to find the link again. I end up trying different searches to find this article, usually searching for content related to the part on Hillary demanding that soldiers wear business suits while in the White House. Usually one of the first two results glorifies Hillary, the rest are mostly unrelated or positive about her.

Specific Searches

  • “trent franks resigned” -the first page was entirely liberal outlets. Page two had a Fox News link in the middle, but was liberal otherwise.
  • “violence against trump supporters” –first result is “FACT CHECK: Did Donald Trump Encourage Violence at His Rallies?” from snopes. Found to be true of course. Snopes does not believe Tim Kaine, Loretta Lynch, New York Times columnists, and ACLU lawyers called for violence (either through ignoring/hiding/burying or “debunking” these claims… “debunking” in quotations because it’s kind of hard to say “that person never said what they are on tape saying” as Snopes does, and still be considered credible by anyone not partisan like they are).
  • “press make death threats against trump” mostly yielded threats against the press or Maxine Waters or people on Trump’s enemy’s list, rather than results about an NYT columnist who made a death threat against Trump.
  • “death threats against trump” started with Maxine Waters, but gave like a 60-40 mix of death threats against journos and anti-Trumpers vs threats against Trump. For both this and the “press make death threats against trump” searches, the wikipedia article for assassination threats against Obama came up.
  • “former government official threatens trump” led to top stories about Trump threatening to take away the clearances of former government officials.
  • “dc police 1990 illiterate scandal mayor”/”dc police academy illiterate graduates”/”marion barry police illiterate” – not one result I wanted, with that last search only getting 2 pages. The story here is that DC’s mayor at the time, literally a crack smoker, lowered the standards for the police such that illiterate people were allowed in. Gang members, drug dealers, even people arrested recently were allowed in. But the mayor was a black liberal, so it’s natural any relevant search results would be hidden. Or perhaps even nonexistent.
  • “Trump, without citing evidence, says China hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails” – Washington Post headline, top news story for the search “comey hillary not hacked” according to Google. One minor problem- WaPo is right that Trump cited no evidence, but wrong in the implication that there isn’t any. A reporter at the Daily Caller had discovered that the FBI knew China had breached Hillary’s emails in 2015 and did nothing about it. WaPo, either jealous of not getting that story in its anti-Trump anti-Russia fervor or jealously guarding Hillary, sent out this misleading headline with Google more than happy to promote it to the top result.
  • “hillary intent Saucier” – the first result is a Snopes story claiming that Navy sailor Saucier was not held to a different standard than Hillary Clinton in regards to the treatment of classified information. Saucier was arrested while Hillary nearly became President. According to the FBI’s one-time-only-for-Hillary-and-her-aide interpretation of the law, Hillary and her aide had to deliberately want to endanger national security to be guilty. Saucier didn’t want to endanger the country, and he was put in prison. As for the difference being that the sailor (Saucier) knowingly did something while Hillary unknowingly did something wrong, I’ll point out that A: ignorance is no excuse as we’re always told, and B: Hillary MUST HAVE KNOWN because emails in her private server were MARKED classified, something Hillary’s apologists at CNN and Snopes or even Google since Snopes is their first result seem to have forgotten, lest it make the Left-proclaimed “most qualified candidate” look like a reckless idiot, or something worse given the emails about stripping classification headings from her messages (a Google search for this info had politifact, factcheck.org, and politico as the top sources, such bastions of liberalism). 
  • The first PAGE of results for “clinton emails remove classification” consisted of politifact, 2 factchecks, 2 politicos, a dailybeast, ABC News where Clinton crony/former Clinton White House operative George Stephenopolous resides, USA Today, theconversation, and wikipedia. ALL left-leaning or outright leftwing media outlets. On Aug. 5 2018, the 3rd result from the bottom of page 2 was the first rightwing outlet, Fox News. The next was WSJ at the top of page 3

To ruin one result may be regarded as a misfortune, to ruin two looks like carelessness, but twelve times…?

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Pretty sure the section header came word-for-word from “The Importance of Being Earnest”. Image from Encyclopedia Britannica

Well what do you think? Am I just bad at using Google, does Google’s search algorithm favor Leftwing sites because Google employees think they are reliable, or is it more malicious with the search algorithm targetting thought that Google disagrees with and ensuring it is rarely the first thing we see, or perhaps even not showing it at all? (One last personal experience, there was once an article for rightwing outlet “The Stream” that did not show up AT ALL well after it had been published, even when I quoted the title or quoted chunks of it.)

Now, some people try to spin Google’s actions. In the case of the employee they fired, Laurie Penny at The Guardian headlined “James Damore is wrong. It’s fine to discriminate against bigots and bullies”. It may interest her to know that the Left is starting to believe Dr. Martin Luther King jr was not tolerant enough. So Ms. Penny, are you just hoping to keep ahead of the Leftist wave until you die a natural death or are you prepared for the day when you too aren’t tolerant enough and someone says it’s ok to discriminate against you? I’ll refer you to Khrushchev Remembers, wherein we learn of real people like you- radicals saying it’s ok to discriminate based on subjective and ever-changing notions like “bigot” and “bully”- ended up being killed by the crusading government they created.

We also get efforts to spend Google’s own leaked docs to say that they’re struggling with censorship, but these defenders of Big Tech give away their partisan cheerleading, like the poor bloke at Techdirt who wrote “The Good Censor Document Shows Google Struggling With The Challenges Of Content Moderation”. In that piece, the author states that an 85-page leaked document on censorship that “Trumpkins” (DailyWire reported negatively on the document, and they are often at odds with Trump) jumped on as proof of Google censorship showed that Google was in fact struggling not to censor results. The insults at Trump supporters gave away the bias, the cheerleading happens when the author stupidly states that Google doesn’t want governments to abuse its platform. It looks REALLY bad now that we know Google had considered censoring conservative news outlets.

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ÇINLI!!!!! Image from M*A*S*H season 3 episode 12

I say the cheerleading “stupidly” happened because it was a well-known public FACT at the time that Google built a censorship engine for the Chinese government. So we are left with this: the author must have known this, and decided to “forget” about it. And if Google truly wonders about evil governments abusing its platform in that 85-page document, then Google has some serious issues with self-delusion. Or, maybe, Google thinks the Chinese government is NOT a government that would abuse its censorship powers. Worse, and probably true, maybe Google doesn’t care about what the Chinese government does because they AGREE with its decisions. None of this looks good for Google, and certainly not for the Techdirt writer supporting them. Maybe that writer loves what China is doing too.

Oddly enough, the Techdirt piece was the 2nd search result for “Google “the good censor””. The first was the original Breitbart article talking about it. I find it odd because A: Breitbart is the first result and B: there isn’t a more reliable source as one of the top two results to counter Breitbart’s assertion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Computer Companies Cripple Constitution

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image from Microsoft.com

If you have Windows 10, Microsoft is monitoring everything you type. It’s already bad enough that the NSA immediately flags you if you start doing a web search for certain terms, terms that don’t even have anything to do with classified info or national security risks or crimes in general. Now we have to worry that anything we type at all will flag us for censorship. Even liberals have to worry, particularly if they aren’t Left enough or their stock-in-trade is quoting conservatives and then attacking them. “Correction” AI makes no distinction between friend or foe, if you type it you’re wrong. We’re not at the AI stage yet except on social media, but if you think Microsoft will continue to employ censors when it can simply program them then you’ve got another thing coming.

And to up the ante, Microsoft has released a new user agreement effective May 1 2018 that makes it a violation of their terms to use their software for “hate speech“. In violating the terms, they can suspend your account and remove your ability to use Microsoft products. Microsoft, being a liberal company like all of Silicon Valley, has a definition of what hate speech is that’s doubtlessly at odds with half the country and the President of the United States. In fact, liberals like those at Microsoft are of a mind to ban free speech altogether, claiming it leads to violence (which is true, what the Left defines as “hate speech” usually leads to liberals trying to murder conservatives, or demanding it and just beating people or using threats to silence dissent, knowing full well that their position is so indefensible that it would never withstand intellectual scrutiny, so they have to physically or verbally attack anyone with a different view). Keep in mind that government offiicials use Microsoft products- how long will it be before Microsoft decides to disable the Trump Administration over some hate speech issue?

Oh, and for you angry liberals out there, you also can’t swear. And Microsoft says it can examine your personal files if someone complains to them about you. Granted, you liberals might get a pass because of the “selective enforcement” thing I mentioned in my piece “California Attacks Islam” (I’d link it, but I’m writing this while that one still hasn’t been posted).

What Does This Mean?

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The kindly, dignified group of young people expressing grievances against President Trump in a civilized manner pictured above will be the ones deciding if what a Conservative says constitutes “hate speech”. Well… if you want to know what something is, you go to the experts. Images from AP, Fox News, Quora, and RWC News

If you’re a liberal, it means nothing at all. Just like with Facebook, the folks at Microsoft are hardcore liberals. Just like with Facebook, they will use their power only against their political opponents, never a liberal (that’s far enough Left). Remember: liberals are the biggest purveyors of the notion that “hate speech” should be banned to begin with; by the very act of putting that into their service agreement Microsoft is showing its political bias and anti-First Amendment attitude. Their new terms of service for some of their products, taken with their proclivity for recording everything you type, hits a new level of scary because basically anything you’ve typed can be leaked to the public. The only thing stopping it is just how merciful a liberal will feel towards you after they lost an election.

It’s already bad enough what accusations of “hate speech” can do. Mobs are formed, people are threatened, Democrat officials demand free speech not happen because of the risk to the public from liberal mobs (a nice little cycle: liberals threaten violence against a conservative, so a liberal in authority silences the conservative in the name of public safety, thus encouraging liberal protesters to threaten even more speakers that the liberal in authority doesn’t think should have voices anyway), and now Microsoft will go through (and doubtlessly leak) your personal information. You don’t have to worry about anonymous trolls or CNN doxxing you, now it’s Microsoft itself that’s coming after you for having opposing political views.

The Left figured it out. They failed in election after election, so now instead of repealing the First Amendment legally they’re just using their power to get the same effect. I doubt they remember when they kept telling us to respect the “law of the land“, just like how they forgot about Obama delegitimizing the Democrats’ current #resistance/riots/obstructionism/First Amendment fight when he said “You don’t like a particular policy or a particular president? Then argue for your position. Go out there and win an election… but don’t break it”.

What Can We Do?

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30 years ago there was a visionary who tried to raise venture capital to save us from this Silicon Valley scourge. Sadly, the surveillance-state loving British Government stopped him. Yes, given how many death threats (and what best can be described as death porn and calls for genocide) the Left has made, including one using another Christopher Walken movie, I’m totally comfortable making this joke. Image from Squiggly’s

Do all of your work on a Linux system. Use different word processors. Good luck boycotting Microsoft. If anything this latest move will encourage the Chinese government and strongmen worldwide (that liberals like those at Microsoft who complain Trump’s attacks on the press enable) to invest in Microsoft because Microsoft just vowed to fight free speech. Never judge a liberal’s intent by their words; only judge by their actions.

You’ll notice that I DIDN’T say Apple was an alternative. They’ve done their share of fighting the first amendment, as has Google (so don’t bother with Google docs and gmail, they have your browser history, your emails, and even your movements tracked via your phone). Oh yeah, and like Microsoft the liberals at Apple are more than happy to complain about Trump enabling oppressive governments with his attacks on the press while Apple itself works with the Chinese government to censor the views of the population, thus enabling the very strongmen that they attack Trump for enabling.

Taken As A Whole

  • Liberals reacted violently to Trump winning, to the point of committing acts that legally should be considered domestic terrorism (ie violent acts designed to intimidate or coerce the government and civilian population, with former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and current Senator Tim Kaine having encouraged such terrorism)
  • Liberals committed acts of violence against Trump supporters
  • Liberals believe the above violence is justified, that any violence against speech they dislike is justified
  • Liberals believe speech is equal to physical violence
  • Liberals believe speech must be censored (and that the First Amendment plus other Constitutional protections should be abolished)
  • Microsoft records everything you type
  • Microsoft will come after you if you offend their liberal sensibilities

Does anyone else find it ironic that liberals whine about corporations taking over society, but then liberal companies with liberal values do just that as liberals cheer them on?

As for the rest of us- only use your Microsoft stuff for games, use Linux, use every bit of anonymity you can on the internet (Tor browser, proxy servers, etc), and grab a gun for the day you’re eventually doxxed and physically attacked for your beliefs. No, censorship is not that bad in America yet, Microsoft hasn’t started banning people and leaking their personal info (like say social security numbers and bank account info, in addition to addresses and names) for having the wrong political views yet, but the instrumentality to do it all is in place. The Left loves to ask gun owners why they’d have a gun if not to kill someone, well I ask them why would the Left take the above steps if they had no intention of being oppressors?

Of course, as I mentioned in the article “California Attacks Islam” (still not posted, even several paragraphs in, though I wrote this citation prior to the one above. Welcome to editing), the Left and liberals reading this don’t see themselves as oppressors, and in fact don’t even understand how this could be seen as oppressive. It’s a startlingly common mantra by the Left when it comes to leaking private info of someone on the right- if you’ve done nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide (sometimes in those words, so I guess the Left hates the Fifth Amendment too, but also by demanding transparency and dismissing privacy concerns, but only when it’s related to the opposition). Why worry about liberals having this much power over you?

Yes, I’m painting the Left with a broad brush. As I said, judge them by their actions. Who on the Left is calling Microsoft/Apple/Facebook/Google out on their censorship? How many on the Left have said this is an issue? How many on the Left have signed petitions against or boycotted these liberal tech giants? They’re happy to boycott Fox News hosts for insulting liberal cheerleaders, or Breitbart for reporting actual news that liberal journalists refuse to touch (and because their guy helped Trump win, literally starting a boycott because their side lost an election), but they don’t dare touch tech giants that are waging war on the First Amendment? Think about it.

My Top 10 Favorite Vocaloid Songs

We needed a change of pace so I decided to expand the subject matter of my blog a little bit. This week I am going to list my top 10 favorite Vocaloid Songs. For those of you looking for a quick summary, Vocaloid is a singing voice synthesizer marketed by Yamaha. The most popular and well know Vocaloid are the Japanese released Vocaloid from the V1 and V2 software versions. It is a pretty neat software, though unless you are sound engineer odds are if you play with it the results will sound terrible at best

 

Anyhoo here we go starting from #10:

#10: Dead Line Circus – Len Kagamine, GUMI, Kamui Gakupo

Deadline CircusDead Line Circus is a dark little song with some darkly poetic lyrics written by Last Note, but a pretty nice bass line. It apparently tells the story of a circus of serial killers who kidnap members of the audience and kill them as part of the performance. I absolutely love the refrain to this one, “The pathetic scream of the bullet cries out as it flies free, and as it hits the clown it disappeared.” Honestly, this made the bottom of my top 10 though because of its use of Kamui Gakupo, honestly, it isn’t the best sounding Vocaloid, though I give last note credit because his use of Kamui is the best I have heard so far.

#9: Purple Butterfly on Your Right Shoulder – Len Kagamine

Purple Butterfly on My Left ShoulderAs far as Lyrics go, Purple Butterfly on Your Right Shoulder is a bit confusing. It seems to be a song about a guy who has gone mad with love, and possibly alcoholism after kissing a girl (or maybe guy?) at a party. Don’t get me wrong, the lyrics are poetic and I dig that. However, they are still very confusing sometimes, one line seems to imply cross dressing (which I have no personal problem with for the record), so it is more of an acquired taste. It does have an awesome beat and makes a great dance song if you’re into that.

#8: Ten Thousand Stars – Hatsune Miku

Ten Thousand StarsI honestly like this song mostly for its spunky lyrics. Ten Thousand Stars is one of the few Vocaloid songs intentionally done all in English with the (then) new V3 English Voice Bank Release. This song by CircusP won the Hatsune Miku Expo 2016 Song Contest which was part of a marketing campaign to promote the V3 English software. Not only did the composer win 10,000 dollars, his song was performed live by Hatsune Miku during the touring Miku Expo. So I guess that’s kinda neat.

#7: Tsugai Kogarashi – Kaito, Meiko

Tsugai KogarashiTsugai Kogarashi (A Pair of Wintry Winds) is a really beautiful song done in the Traditional Japanese Style. It’s flowing poetry paints a story of two lovers split apart and reunited by fate. This song for me is very calming but only made #7 because the voice of Kaito and Meiko really were not utilized as well as they could have been. An example of a good Meiko song though is…………

#6: Samurai Soul – Meiko

Samurai SoulThis one is one of my favorites and is composed by Team Kamiuta (Gods Song). It is an excellent use of the Meiko voice as much of the singing emulates real emotion almost. This song seems to be about a young student who is depressed and considering suicide over the world’s hypocrisy. While considering suicide she uncovers the gift of her ancestors, the spirit of the Samurai which gives her the strength and courage to keep on living each day to correct those wrongs. It is poetic, the lyrics are powerful, and the use of imagery of famous Samurai stirs my heart every time I hear this song and watch this video.

#5: Heaven & Hell – Len Kagamine, Rin Kagamine

Heaven & Hell“This is the Story of a world after death.” And I gotta tell you, this song makes me wanna go to (Buddist) Hell. Heaven and Hell tells the story of a man who has died, and now Yama and an Angel are fighting over whether or not he will spend eternity playing the game of Heaven or Hell. The protagonist is dragged through Hell where he is forced to take part in crimes, fight, and even bungee jump with a rope around his neck for some pretty pervy reasons. He thinks he is saved when he goes to Heaven, but there he is repeatedly tormented and tortured for not being perfect enough. Now he is being made to choose again but….. Oh wait, they had the wrong person. Sayonara, see you soon though mortal!!

#4: Worlds End Dancehall – Hatsune Miku, Megurine Luka

Worlds End Dance HallThis song and its video are a real trip, a real hop, a real step. Apparently, it’s a dance battle at the very end of this world (and maybe the beginning of the new one?). As I am sure you guessed based on my other picks, I love this for its poetic lyrics. It also had a really danceable tune which I enjoy compared to a lot of similar Vocaloid Songs. And the Video, I mean that is possibly one of the best. Who doesn’t enjoy a dance battle between 2 (Triad Crimelord?) girls and their posse in casual dresses.

#3: Hachi-Hachi: Flowery Battle of Kagamine’s – Len Kagamine, Rin Kagamine

Hachi HachiSo this is basically a song about Hanafuda cards, more specifically the game of Hachi-Hachi (which is 8 8, or 88. the proper word for 88 though is Hachi-Jun Hachi). It tells the story of a gambler courting an Oiran at a gambling house. Pretty simple. The song is laced with many references to Hanafuda. For example, Five Brights (Gokou) and Boar, Deer, Butterfly (Ino, Shika, Chou) are both high point hands you can assemble in Hanafuda games like Hachi-Hachi or Koi Koi. I love this song because of the mix of traditional and modern sounds, and also the references to Hanafuda which is one of the few card games I am really enthusiastic about.

#2: Senbonzakura – Hatsune Miku

SenbonzakuraI enjoy this song a lot, Senbonzakura touches on a lot of themes from the time span between the Meiji Era and WW2 (Basically 1868 – 1945). That time was comprised of the Meiji Period, the Taisho Period, and the early parts of the Showa Period. It is almost like hearing the voices of the souls in the Yasakuni Shrine. For example, “After a bold and audacious Westernization Revolution, this is now an open and upright anti-war nation” is a mixed reference to the westernization began under the Meiji Restoration and was accelerated after WW2 accompanied by Article 9 of the post war constitution that forbade Japan to develop a functional military or engage in hostilities. And “This is a Banquet inside a steel jail cell, look down on us from your guillotine” is a reference to the post war execution of men accused of being war criminals. And “Hundreds of fights will give you the appearance of an officer” placed next to the lyric “The Courtesans are going here and there on a parade for their regular guests” refers collectively to military expansion/victories of the Meiji and Taisho Periods as well as a period of political and social degradation starting in the late Meiji Period and extending into the early Taisho Period before the implementation of the Taisho Democracy. While it explores the darkness of Japan it also reminds us of the greatness and resilience of its Empire and expresses hope and the final result of a happy enough ending.

#1: As The Gods Say – Hatsune Miku, Rin Kagamine, GUMI

Ame-no-UzumeI am not in the least bit ashamed to say this song brings tears of joy to my eyes. It tells a very important story from the Kojiki about how Amaterasu-Omikami hid herself and her light in a cave (Amano-Iwato) after being tormented by her brother Susanoo-no-Mikoto. The Kami (Gods/Goddesses) grew worried and held council near the cave. They finally came up with a plan to coax Amaterasu-Omikami out of the cave. Ame-no-Uzume-no-Mikoto performed a wild dance and began to bare her skin, and the Kami laughed with joy. When Amaterasu-Omikami peeked out to see why the other Kami were celebrating, Ame-no-Tajikarawo-no-Mikoto pulled her out of the cave while the other Kami sealed it up behind her.

Amaterasu-OmikamiThis is a really important story in Shinto. It establishes the basis for the ritual of Kagura. It also teaches many other things such as the burden the Kami bear, the importance of the Sun as a bringer of life and hope, the love our entire solar system feels for the sun, and the value of loving oneself and recognizing how important you may be to others. The video for this is done in the style of a scroll unfurling from right to left which is beautiful, and the imagery is based on traditional art patterns as well as the manga style. The music itself is mostly pop but it has a traditional flavor to it. This is really my absolute favorite song, it always brings me tears of joy near the end, and I usually listen to it when I am feeling bad. It was not hard to decide on this as #1 in my list, the happiness it brought me is priceless.

 

So hopefully this article was not too bad. Please, especially for this piece, leave feedback in the comments. I am always hesitant to add new content since I don’t want to risk diluting the subject matter of the website too much. Luckily with this, I was also able to tie it into subjects I already established. Anyway, good or bad feel free to drop that feedback. I value it greatly from my friends, and I need it from my readers. Oh, and if you are interested in purchasing Vocaloid software you can buy it here at Crypton Future Media’s online store, or if you are more comfortable buying domestically (within the US) you can purchase them through Big Fish Audio.

Oh, and before I forget, here is an honorable mention because the composer is deserving of recognition.

Honorable Mention: Luka Luka Night Fever

Luka Luka Night FeverThe composer of this song Sano Takayuki, or as some called him, Samfree, passed away September 24th, 2015. He was only 31 years old. His family did not release the cause of death but it was assumed that it was an internal disease as Takayuki was not suicidal. It is hard to see someone who had a promising career die so young, the only thing we can do though is to continue celebrating their work. This is still in my top 15 by the way.

App Comparison: Countable Vs Congress

So this week I am going to bridge two subjects I like to cover in this blog. I have the pleasure of reviewing two separate apps that both provide news and information about Congress. Both apps have their pros and cons so in the end whichever one you choose to use is left up to your personal preference. They really are decent apps though. I am going to start with a review of the app Congress.

Congress

Congress” is an app developed by Sunlight Foundation. I have been using it for a few months now so I am much more familiar with it and to be honest, I prefer this app. I will say however it is not for everybody. It has a minimalist layout that I really prefer.

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“Congress” Home Screen

Upon opening the app you are immediately provided with a list of upcoming bills and resolutions. It provides the index number of the item as well as the title. The menu to the left also lets you explore more bills as well as track Congressmen, the status of votes, and many other things. You can also open the Bill menu and view active bills being considered

When opening information on a bill it provides you with the title, the congressman who submitted it, a log of changes and a summary of the Bills Contents. By pressing the 3 vertical dots in the top right corner you can access a link to the exact text of the proposed bill. The app also gives you the option to share it or save the bill to your favorites so you can follow its progress.

The app also lets you search for your own congressional representatives and create a favorites list of congressional representatives you want to follow. The bios for each congressman contain links to their social media accounts and their personal website, a map of their jurisdiction, as well as the phone number for their DC offices and a shortcut to the pages for the committees they serve on. It also lets you track the votes of the congressman you are following.

“Congress” also provides a schedule of committee hearings as well as a list of the committees and the congressmen on them. This can help you keep track of what committees are doing since this doesn’t always make the news or get widespread attention

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Log of events on the floor

My favorite thing about “Congress” is that it allows you to see a log of events taking place on the House and Senate floors. For some, this makes for very dry and boring reading, however, I find it important to know how they are using their time while on the taxpayer’s dime. It also is the next best thing to actually watching C-Span.

The downside to this app is that it is a little glitchy. It also isn’t really the best for everyday users as it is heavy on legalese. Unless you took Poli-Sci in college or went to law school you may become easily by descriptions of regulations and such things.

So to summarize the Pros and Cons:

Pros:

  • Detailed information on Bills and Committees
  • Minimalist Layout
  • Log of events from the House and Senate
  • Ability to form custom list of Congressmen you want to follow\
  • Optional Push Notifications

 

Cons:

  • Glitches and Lags
  • Heavy on Legalese

 

Countable

Editors Note: Since this article posted I have noticed a disturbing trend in the news pieces this app chooses to share. Namely that they share click-bait titles designed to cater to the perceptions of Liberal users. This does not affect my opinion of the apps ability for people to share opinions on public policy or to contact their representatives, however it does call into question again the impartiality of the writers of the app. I would encourage the writers of the app to steer away from this behavior and question the way they word things.

Countable” is an app I recently found out about. It is an app designed to simplify politics. They try to make the issues understandable and simplify connecting people to their representatives. Now initially upon reading reviews about the app, I had some major concerns. It was encouraging when I actually got a response after reaching out to the PR department for countable. I brought up some of my bigger concerns and here are the responses from the CEO of Countable, Bart Meyers:

Q: My first question is about Bias. Many reviews claim that your app is biased. Out of the complaints to this effect which I read over, 4 of them claimed there was a left wing Bias. One did claim a pro-Trump bias but in light of the other reviews and recent behavior from former Hillary supporters I dismissed that as an ignorant reaction to hearing an opposing opinion. And one of the reviews with claims of left wing bias admitted he might have been reacting to other commenters. But yet another review claims the list of political organizations you connect people with has very few conservative groups listed. Of course Bias is a serious accusation, so how would you respond to this claims and how do you ensure the information on your application remains unbiased? What efforts do you make to market this app to people on all levels of the political spectrum?
A: Other than reviews, on our facebook page, and on Twitter, we get people saying we’re too left leaning, and then those who say we’re a right-wing trap.  It’s actually pretty even.  It just depends on what bills or articles people might be looking at.  For instance, it is pretty easy for someone fairly liberal to look at a bill that would kill the EPA, and think we’re too far to the right, because we don’t write up the bill in a way that gives all the points opposed that they want to see.  We actually have writers that check each other, and have various personal political views, to ensure that we’re avoiding bias.  But, naturally, if anyone feels like something is biased, we want to hear from them on what, specifically, they felt was too far right or left.  If they have a good point, we’ll change the writeup, absolutely.
Q: My second question has to do with bugs in the app. There seems to be persistent complaints of the application not keeping people logged in. There are basic complaints that the app makes it complicated to earmark information or articles. So my next question is how often do your developers read over reviews to figure out what needs to be fixed?
A: We want to give our users the best experience possible. We watch our reviews in real time. Any time a negative review is written, it’s felt by the team. We haven’t met our commitment to our users recently with the surge of new use. We now have those issues in hand and are eager to get more feedback.  We’re continually rolling out new features and fixes with a new version of our iOS and Android apps in the works.
Q: My third Question is about information security and hacking. One review claims that you mine peoples personal information. He also claims that a email he sent to a congressman in your app was rewritten to fit a liberal point on view. Now to be very honest these are wild claims, but in a time when cyber security is in the headlines how do you respond to these accusations? What efforts do you take to secure the information of your users?
A: We take our users privacy very seriously. We do not mine or sell users information.  At sign up, users can enter where they live, so we can match them up with their Representative or Senator.    Messages are sent immediately and automatically after you write them or vote on a bill.   Our lawmakers use legacy software tools to sort the emails that come through. It’s possible that the lawmakers software could mis-classify a message. For this reason, we encourage our users to send a video message in addition that carries the full weight of their message.
Q: My last question goes back to the matter of Bias. One review accuses you of bias because of ties to NPR. Now I did check your website and while there is a former NPR reporter working there, I can see no solid affiliation to NPR. I am concerned though because your staff lacks diversity. All of your staff listed are affiliated with the Democratic Party or with left leaning media outlets. There are no Republicans or Libertarians. Is there any way you can explain to me why there are no conservative leaning members of your team? Has any effort been made to reach out to or hire somone with conservative views?
A: Our team includes people from both sides of the aisle who believe in our mission that everyone should have a voice and be able to “get the facts”. In fact, our best “defense” against bias is that anyone can use Countable to have a voice and express their opinion. If you think we’ve got it wrong, correct us in a comment or opinion. You have the power.
Our team includes, or has included, many notable conservatives including Ed Feulner, the founder of the Heritage Foundation, Marc Shot, Trump’s Legislative Affairs Coordinator, Jon Runyan, the former Eagle and Congressman.
We don’t have any ties to NPR. We are, however, thrilled to bring aboard Andrea Seabrook, as our managing editor.  Andrea is an award-winning reporter in DC, who has a real talent for making information and bills a lot more accessible to non-wonks.  We actually do have libertarian-leaning conservatives working for us, including our chief writer, Eric Revell.

Now I didn’t like the answers to all these questions personally (Like Andrea Seabrook. Ugh), but it is encouraging to see a company willing to reach out to people. They also cleared up my concerns about bias as well as information security. So with all of that out of the way, I began a week-long evaluation period of the app. I was reasonably pleased with what I found as well.

screenshot_2017-03-06-16-47-56.png

Countable provides a news feed with current events happening in the capital.

The first thing I noticed about countable is that it seems to rely more on news based presentation of legislative issues rather than just raw information and events. When you first open the app you get a news feed which shows you current issues.

In these news stories, it allows you to read opinions for and against a piece of legislation and then make a vote on whether you are for or against this issue which shows up on your profile. You can also publically comment on issues sort of like social media.

The app enables you to follow key political figures as well as the issues that concern you. It also provides you with ways to connect to non-profits that advocate for causes you believe in. Some of them I recognized, for example, I had an ex who worked at No Labels.

Now when you first sign up for the app it asks you for your zip code and then instantly adds your congressional representatives to your follow list. (whether you want to follow them or not) Countable provides you with a more diverse set of options for contacting your congressmen including email, fax, phone, and the app allows you to send a video message to your congressmen. It doesn’t tell you what committees they serve on.

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An example I caught of BOT posting

Now there are some downsides. For me it is the lack of detailed information, however, most would find that to be a Pro. Another goes back to one of my initial concerns of bias in a way. One review complained that most of the comments were from biased liberals and that he believed that was the general makeup of the app. Well, that apparently could be attributed to BOTs, programs that run automated tasks. In this case, it looks like someone programmed a BOT to repeatedly post inaccurate remarks disparaging the new health care bill. Obviously, this is not something Countable can really totally prevent. They were however extremely grateful that I brought this to their attention which is another great thing about the app.

Here are my Pros and Cons for Countable:

Pros:

  • Lush layout
  • Simple and easy to understand information
  • Provides a number of ways to contact your representatives in congress
  • Very responsive technical support
  • Highly interactive and allows you to share opinions

 

Cons:

  • Small BOT problem
  • Lack of detailed information on committees
  • Sends e-mail notifications rather than push notifications

 

Summary

So both of these apps have their good qualities and bad ones. Countable is simple to understand and their responsiveness and willingness to answer questions definitely scored them points in my book. I would definitely suggest it for someone who wants to get involved in the political process but isn’t a political or legal expert. I personally prefer Congress for its minimalist layout and its detailed information but its glitches are extremely frustrating. Both of these apps, however, are very enjoyable in their own rights. I recommend trying them both and seeing which suits you better. As for a final determination though, I would say based on the way it simplifies information that Countable is probably the preferred app for most users.

SPECIAL POST: Congrats Verizon, you guys are Saints!!

So every day we hear from liberals that corporations are evil and every day that is bullshit. This is a prime example of why that is bullshit. Cell provider Verizon is giving customers in the hurricane-affected states of Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina Unlimited Domestic Calling, Text and Data between the 7th – 11th of October. Their reason is they want their customers to “stay connected when it matters most” and I have to say that is a beautiful sentiment. Kudos Verizon, I am definitely considering them as my next provider after my term with my current provider is up.

This is a classic example of why corporations are your friends rather than enemies. Besides providing us with jobs the better ones provide us hope in the darkest times. Corporations are people too because it is people coming together, and in tough times like this people need to come together. Sadly their only thanks at first will be having to cover the high taxes imposed on them by moronic liberal’s that their customers normally pay but I hope more people switch to Verizon after seeing this example of humanity at its finest. But the important thing though is that we thank Verizon for helping the Families affected by the storm.

Why Android is and always will be better than Apple.

So recently a lot of smug Apple fans have gone to the Internet trying to troll Android users over the Galaxy Note 7 Recall. This is like the skinny retarded guy in school trying to tease Valedictorian Quarterback. The only reason the Note 7 exploded is because Samsung tries to do something Apple doesn’t, make a better product. Seriously though, all Apple ever does is find ways to make their product less compatible with other things to try and force you to buy more of their products. A good example is their recent announcement to eliminate the headphone jack and make you pay for Bluetooth earbuds, but I bet they still haven’t addressed the dismal battery life their phone has always had. And when you compare the 6S Plus to the defect-free S7 Edge there is no comparison, the hardware is simply better.

Even older Android Build models outperform iPhones that were considered new and improved then as you can see in the chart below. The reason this happens is not the fact that the Android OS itself is open source, it is the fact that the Hardware Developer’s who utilize Android software are trying to build new and better phones while Apple focuses on phones that look pretty but force the user to be absolutely dependent on Apple alone.

Android is built to be open. Thus their slogan, be different. Not the same. Its about options and Apple doesn’t provide that. I mean beyond the Hardware Options, you can customize aspects of the software like the keyboard or launcher and do your own Bug Fixes. Android also has the ability to multitask and the ability to have 2 apps running on the same screen. Apple has not even tried to make that possible.

Android also has widgets. These widgets allow you to see relevant information from apps like previews of your email inbox and then access them with a single touch. I find them to be very handy myself, I even have the WordPress Widget on my phone so I can see how many people aren’t reading my blog! But seriously, iOS just added widgets however they are confined to a taskbar whereas the Android Widgets can be assigned to a home screen. It makes accessing critical information on the go a lot easier.

With iPhone you are stuck with the memory it comes with and when your battery finally dies you have to buy an entirely new phone. (God help you when it freezes too since you can’t pull out the battery and Hard Reset.) Most phones running on Android though have expandable memory through a Micro SD slot. Most models also have a removable backing and a removable and replaceable battery. This means my Android phone can and will last longer than any iPhone and I will never be limited to just the 16 GB of internal memory on my phone. Some phones are capable of even expanding up to hundreds of GB effectively making them like a handheld computer.

Android phones are more Durable too. Remember the Bendgate Scandal? Well besides it showing how committed Apple is to lying in order to cover up their messes it also shows you how they care more about how it looks than how durable it is. Apple users can laugh at the plastic housing of my phone all they want, it isn’t going to bend like their stupid iPhone. Along with that Android has features like water resistance, dust resistance, and shatterproof screens built into certain models. Meanwhile, Apple still has screens that shatter like glass when you drop them.

Android uses the far more durable and universal Micro USB. What does Apple use again? It’s that thing called Lightning USB, the thing that breaks easier and ONLY works on Apple devices. That’s to be expected, though Apple is about exclusivity rather than quality. But hey, at least you look hip at Starbuck’s in your skinny jeans with your bent aluminum iPhone that’s gonna die in 15 minutes since the battery sucks and you can’t charge it since your expensive Lightning USB broke like the 4 cords before it. 

When it comes down to it the this is what it boils down to. Android Phones are more functional than iPhones because they are built for adults. Apple iPhones are just built to look pretty and are in no way imaginative or innovative in a relevant way. Apple iPhones cannot match the Android phone in its capability to help users stay productive and dare I say it happy. All of this innovation is possible because the mentality is to build a better experience for the user rather than to trap the user and bleed them dry for profit. 

I’d like to thank crambler.com for the spec information and credit them for a few points I covered in this article that I forgot to consider going in. Click Here to read his article comparing Android to iPhones. It’s pretty good and less snarky than mine. XD