🤷🏻♀️ Robot Vacuums
Amazon buys Roomba | The US bans Tornado Cash | Alex Jones pays damages
Hello readers, have I told you recently that I love you?
This week was sort of okay I guess? 🤷🏼. Ah, the sweaty central fold of my five-point scale. But why?
Something called ‘Tornado’ has been banned. Yes, we can ban tornados now — climate change flex.
Amazon has acquired iRobot for not very much money. It may seem like nothing but this does not bode well for humanity
Alex Jones pays damages of over $40m and deserves to drown in hot piss
🌪️ Swirl it! Mix it! Twirl it!
The US treasury has banned the use of Tornado Cash in the US. Tornado cash a ‘mixer’: it takes what ever crypto you put in and blends it together other people’s tokens to completely obscure your activity. So, you can send money to someone, and they won’t know it was you, and neither will anyone else. It’s called PRIVACY.
Let’s explore the various questions that I now imagine are sloshing around your brain matter:
🤔 Doesn’t THAT MUCH privacy make it really easy for people to launder money and sell illegal products? If by ‘really easy’ you mean even easier than it was before with crypto, yes.
🤔 Why have the treasury banned it? Because they are ‘tough on crime’.
🤔 But won’t this also stop the non-criminals from sending and receiving money? Yes, that’s why it’s funny.
Just to clarify, Tornado is not a company or any sort of entity. It’s just an on-chain protocol that people use to send and receive money in the most private way possible. It’s for the hyper-libertarian crypto bro, who’s business is exclusively their own.
When you have channels that are as private as Tornado, you cannot do anything about any illegal activity that might occur through them — that’s why this whole thing is so dumb. They have literally banned the virtual equivalent of a dark alley. This is one of the worst ways to stop people from selling child pornography, and one of the best ways to get people who are already anti-government to hate you even more.
shocks us all behaves as expected, and buys iRobot
This purchase was for $1.7bn. Sorry if I sound like a slimy capitalist but this is hardly anything — and it was bought outright in cash. iRobot clearly needed a buyer to get them out of trouble.
🤓 ICYMI: iRobot is the company that makes Roomba, the cheerful little robot vacuum cleaner that runs automatically and picks up little bits of dirt on the floor while learning the layout of your house.
It may surprise you to know that I think this acquisition is FUCKED (but if that does surprise you, you clearly don’t know me at all. — please make a better effort to know me from now on.) But why is it fucked? There are three key reasons that come to mind…
☝️ They are expanding their smart home offer: right so… all of us here understand that using ‘connected’ smart home devices is the same as willingly bringing surveillance equipment into your house. But, other people don’t know that, or they don’t care. They just love the ‘convenience’ of:
Doorbells that scan your face and check it against a privately owned database of suspicious persons
A speaker that you can yell at in the morning to turn your kettle on or play Radio 4 Women’s Hour.
And… you guessed it: automatic vacuum robots.
The vacuum robots is the only part Amazon doesn’t already have a hand in, so naturally they want it, especially if they expect to continue down their path of infinite growth and expand the human race to a population of one trillion.
✌️They want your floor plan: the Roomba learns the layout of your house so that it roughly knows where your furniture is and doesn’t spend all day bumping up against the fridge or trying to ingest your pets. Internal maps of people’s homes are going to be amazing for sales. Oh look at that, there’s a cot where before there was an empty space — crank up the baby ads; here is a large piece of at-home gym equipment — time to sell this household literally any luxury goods because they clearly have a lot of money.
🤟 Ambient computing is the future, and they want to shape that future: so if we can understand the value of mapping out the inside of homes, we can also understand that context is absolutely key. You don’t want to have to tell the Roomba, or indeed any robot/automated system where the fridge is, or which room is the living room. You just want it to know.
So what I’m getting at here is that they are working towards a future where this kind of connected technology is fully integrated into households. It’s like wearables but for your house — where before devices were objects that you own, and are separate from you, they are now more like appendages. Houses never used to have switches to control lighting, or the circuitry needed to make this all work, but now all that stuff is completely embedded into nearly all buildings and it doesn’t ‘get in the way’ — it’s just a necessary component.
Amazon (and I guess anyone else in the space) want nothing more than to sell us the idea that, just like light switches, we need the kettle to turn on as soon as Alexa hears us waking up and asking for a weather update; that the Roomba should go back to its hiding place as soon as it perceives you coming home; that your fridge needs to talk to your washing machine and your smart locking system needs to talk to your humidity controller. It’s all RIDICULOUS. It’s nothing more than a ploy to sell you more devices and collect granular data about what you do at home.
Widespread adoption of connected technology inside the home home is the final nail in the dystopia coffin, so I’d really rather not tbh.
👑 Alex Jones still has a throne
You may have already heard about the Alex Jones trial over the weekend: the jury ordered him to pay damages of over $40m to the parents of a Sandy Hook school shooting victim. This shooting happened a decade ago, and Jones spent a lot of that time outright denying it and calling it a hoax. Imagine: your child gets shot at school and an ugly tumour of frothy Alex Jones fans respond to this by repeatedly calling you a liar who hates guns.
I’m not a huge fan of talking about Alex Jones — I’d like to say ‘it’s really complicated, there’s just so much to unpack’ but there isn’t. He’s just a despicable liar. This interview with a former Infowars video editor really makes this evident. They say that any ‘reporting’ on what Alex Jones is doing mostly just drives his narratives further. The headlines saying that he has ‘finally’ admitted that Sandy Hook was real don’t make him look silly or inconsistent — he has ALREADY flip-flopped on the ‘realness’ of the shooting many times. He’s just one of those people who doesn’t need to factor truth into any of his thinking.
It’s hard because we of course want to point at him and make sure everyone in our echo chamber understands how much of an oaf he is. But there’s not much point to this — we all already know how gruesome he is, and crying about this out loud won’t actually make him go away. It may even make him more powerful. He’s like a radioactive cockroach who feeds on fear and resentment. The linked interview above suggests that since being deplatformed, he makes even more money than he did before. Whether that’s true or not, he has the resources to continue on his own bullshit platforms in order to sell lies, and refer to himself as ‘the most censored man in America’.
✨ Hey, read this other blog
Seeing as you read Horrific/Terrific like an obsessed superfan* I think you’ll probably enjoy this other blog called Gay Communism. Just like Horrific/Terrific it provides you with a short acidy punch of truth and makes you a better person. Enjoy!
*I am making a lot of assumptions here, e.g. that you can read.