Today is Thanksgiving day in the US.

Americans seem to have a love-hate relationship with this holiday. In many families it seems to be anticipated with dread at the thought of a large number of family members who do not share the same views and often do not get along with each other being expected to share a very long afternoon and evening together that can end up with arguments. And yet to not turn up can also cause problems, so it is a lose-lose proposition.

This Saturday Night Live sketch uses the framing of a Target advertisement to make this point.

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Extra-terrestrials are English speakers

The 2016 film Arrival that I reviewed here involved the sudden arrival of a fleet of alien spaceships at many locations on the Earth and had as a central plot the efforts by a linguist to overcome the language barrier and learn how to communicate with them.

But if we examine a map of all the reported UFO sightings over time, we see that almost all of them are in the English-speaking world, primarily the US and UK. This clearly shows that aliens also worry about communicating with us and have chosen to visit just those regions where the natives speak a language they understand, and that is English.


Vicious union busting tactics

Big companies like Amazon, despite making huge profits for its owners and shareholders, fight tooth-and-nail to prevent their employees from forming unions that could help provide better pay and working conditions.

In another excellent episode of Last Week Tonight, John Oliver describes the lengths the companies will go to fight unionization.

Is your phone spying on you?

I am getting weary about hearing of all the ways that our devices are spying on us. The main ways in which we give away information are the sites that we visit and the searches we make. But we know about those and have grudgingly come to accept them as facts of life and the price we pay for the conveniences they provide. But there are other, more disturbing aspects, like that the cameras and the microphones on our devices may be surreptitiously recording us.

If you think your smartphone is spying on you, you’re probably right.

Apps are designed to track your moves, and your phone’s microphone can be picking up your conversations.

So if you’re suddenly bombarded with ads on your social media for things you’ve never searched for but have spoken about, it’s no coincidence.
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But really, who’s on first?

Fox News personality Laura Ingraham is an awful person similar to Tucker Carlson, using her show to promote the most hateful views. To appreciate this clip, all you have to know is that there is apparently a show on Netflix called You that she has clearly never heard of. (I had never heard of it either but I am notoriously clueless when it comes to popular culture.)