Moonfall, a new movie by one of the current masters of the disaster genre Roland Emmerich, involves not only shameless praise for Elon Musk, but also the old story of machines turning against their makers. In this case, there is a twist: the makers come from another galaxy, but live inside of the moon; their machines want to destroy them, the moon, and humans, who also are more and more dependent on machines. But why does Hollywood produce so many films of this kind? Look no further than this Seattle Times story: "The price tag for Starbucks’ ‘Reinvention’ initiative? $450M." 

Seattle Times business reporter Renata Geraldo writes:

Starbucks’ Reinvention plan will also include more automation with new coffee machines, such as a cold brew machine. It can take a 20-step process, which makes measuring inventory difficult, to a four-step process, according to the company. A frappucino that takes 86 seconds to make will take 35 seconds using new dispensing systems.

More automation will not result in a reduction of workforce and employees will have more time to connect with customers, Starbucks COO Culver said in an interview with The Seattle Times.

Two points here. One, Starbucks is locked in a struggle with workers who are unionizing. Two, Starbucks is resorting to an increase of what Marxists call the "organic composition" of its stores. Organic composition measures the ratio between variable capital (humans) and constant capital (machines). The history of the economic system we find ourselves caught in has been about weakening the power of workers by increasing the role of constant capital, machines, in the accumulation process.

In short, we do not hate (or rage against the) machines because of some fear that we are playing God, the creator (when we should be just humans), a popular theme in films, books, and even music. No. It's because the dominant function of machines in our social order has been the suppression of troublesome human labor. This is why we deeply fear them, but this fear is almost always expressed in theological terms. In Moonfall, old and decommissioned technology is seen as human-friendly.

What is Redmond doing? Something all cities should be doing, cracking down on mufflers that are deliberately loud. MyNorthwest: "Last weekend, Redmond Police conducted an emphasis 'muffler' patrol to stop those with modified mufflers after receiving complaints about the loud noise." The idea that has made the roar of mufflers possible is American individualism. The loud biker or driver is just expressing the power of their freedoms. Some want to be quiet about it; they want to be very loud about it. That's who they are. To go after such individuals is nothing less than the acceptance of the limits of a feeling at the heart of this culture, individualism. Meaning, it is very un-American for Redmond PD to fine the muffler men.  

Seattle area will soon have two tech giants testing self-driving cars on its streets. One is a subsidiary of Amazon, Zoox; the other is a subsidiary of Google, Waymo. These cars are, of course, useless. What they do, a properly funded transit system could do a million times better. But trains and buses make life cheaper, which is what energy efficiency really comes down to.  Automated cars are aggressively being pushed into the near future because they, like their human-driven descendants, will make sure that life remains expensive. 

As for the weather, all I can say is thank you. Thank you today. Thank you tomorrow. Thank you the day after tomorrow. Let's keep cool and cloudy.

What's up with this?

Watch the man who packed our highest court with nutters do what he does best: Lie through his teeth.

Remember Kenneth Starr? Well, "he dead."

The Dow dropped 1,000 points today because inflation did not fall fast enough in August. In other words, we can expect interest rates to rise, which, of course, will do nothing to inflation. It will only force the economy into a recession whose victims will almost all be those who, in the words of Donna Summer, "work so hard for [their] money ." 

The strike is over. School starts tomorrow.

Let's end PM with an afrofuturist track from back in the day, Newcleus' "Computer Age (Push the Button)."