No. 108: Love the smell of Napalm in the morning
Photo by Jeff Kingma / Unsplash

No. 108: Love the smell of Napalm in the morning

NASHVILLE'S ALT-DAILY · Board Airstrike · Back in Session · Blobs in Cars · Faux Pas · Good To Know · Much More!

Good morning, everyone.

A nice cool fall day is ahead of us here in Nashville with a low of 66°F and a high of 83ºF. We cover some news in the Nashville education space below and get into some of the ramifications of autonomous vehicles.

Thanks for reading.

Nashville

🎯 SCHOOL BOARD AIRSTRIKE

On Monday, the Williamson County Commission voted to appoint Josh Brown to fill a vacancy on the Williamson County School Board. A vacancy that was left by Brad Fiscus. Yes, Fiscus as in the husband of Dr. Michelle Fiscus whose firing from her position as Tennessee’s top vaccination official marred the front pages of pulp publications for weeks. The drama culminated with Fiscus receiving a dog muzzle in the mail that was paid for using her own credit card—a purchase she still denies making. The Fiscus Fracas, as we called it in polite conversation, is just the kind of dumpy, tabloid drama you hope for as a fledgling, piratical publication out to disrupt comfy bureaucrats.

You’d think Fiscus' replacement would signal an end to some of the tension in the Williamson County community. Instead, the replacement candidate joined the board with the same panache as a napalm strike. Of the ten contenders, Josh Brown was selected to hold the position until elections next year. Mr. Brown’s napalm-like characteristic? He happens to be the National Vice President of Pfizer—one of those pesky "health" administrators who stands between us and our access to medicine. Wonder what his stance on masks and vaccinations for toddler is. Could there be—I don't know—a conflict of interest here?

On the tail-end of the Pfizer clinical trials in younger age groups, this appointment would probably disturb any reasonable person who hasn't completely bent over for the state apparatus. In response, some parents have expressed their discontent while raking the Commission over the coals and vowing retribution at the ballot box come August of next year.

✏️ BACK IN SESSION

At last night’s Tennessee Public Charter School Commission meeting, Tess Stovall, executive director of the commission, approved the Nashville Classical Charter School II proposed for West Nashville. The decision overrides the Metro Nashville Board of Education who has already voted down the inauguration of the school, twice.

The school will open next August with a kindergarten class of 81. Those who opposed the Nashville Classical Charter School II argued that there wouldn’t be enough demand in the Hillwood area to fill the school. A feeble argument coming on the heels of a year where discontent surrounding school board decisions and alarm regarding curriculum triggered an outcry from parents for more choice when it comes to their children’s education.

HEADLINES

DEVELOPMENT

  • South Nashville apartment complex sells for $17.28M (Post)
  • Berry Hill building offered for $1.75M (Post)
  • Nashville apartment sales top record $2.4B this year (Post)
  • Progress On The Modern Multi-family Development On Gilmore Ave In 12 South. (Now Next)
  • International Market reopens on Belmont Boulevard (Post)
  • Williamson Medical Center to undergo $189M expansion (Post)
  • Nashville apartment sales top record $2.4B this year (Post)

National

🎪 BLOBS IN SELF-DRIVING CARS

Originally, autonomous vehicles arose as a matter of compulsive innovation. With a shrug and a sigh, companies throughout Silicon Valley took the autonomous plunge because "that's what innovation is" and they need to "stay ahead of the competition." But, in light of the Covid-19 health crisis that has put health and safety center stage, the pitch has switched to the purported safety of letting robots drive your car for you. There is zero evidence that self-driving tech is any better at operating a vehicle than a regular person, but that doesn't stop proponents from invoking the "Trolley Problem" to justify the attempt and government agencies from producing "studies" that back up this claim.

The Trolley Problem depicts people bound, gagged, and strewn across the tracks of an incoming train. The imagined victims in this thought experiment have no agency. In the scenario, there is only one man with agency: the man standing by the switch who can choose to divert the train onto another track with fewer bound and gagged people. The decision he must make: divert the train and kill fewer people, but make a decision that leads to their death, or, refuse to interfere and let the train run as it was.

In today's "hyper-dangerous" world, our leaders view us as the agency-less victims lying helpless across the tracks while they are the ones capable of deciding who should die, how, and what measures they can take to reduce the number of deaths even more. Autonomous vehicles are the proverbial track diversion. It's not up to us, it's up to what our leaders determine is best for us. Wonder if there are any conflicts of interest in the mental calculus that got us self-driving cars as the next "big thing."

With the Trolley Problem as the central justification of autonomous vehicles, we have an ethical obligation to try. So, in the framework of modern ethical concerns, self-driving cars are an ethical responsibility we all must encourage the development of in order to save more lives. If you are against this development, you are nothing short of a reactionary Luddite and probably a domestic terrorist to boot. "Want to tell us your vaccination status there, bucko?" It's not hard to imagine a future wherein people who drive their own cars are demonized in much the same way as those who choose to forgo gene therapy rebranded as a vaccine. "Self-driving cars prevent the death of others" will be the line. "You're selfish for believing for otherwise."

The creation of Brown-shirt-like enforcers has already begun. Tesla's reliance on a coterie of "Beta" testers (many of whom post videos driving with each software update) provides it with a strong support group of free labor—citizens so excited by the prospect of self-driving cars that they lend life and limb to test them. These acolytes of Tesla buy into the promise of the new technology full-stop and will devolve into a muttering mess if challenged on this point. So eager are these men to give up their agency that they devote hours and hours of time to documenting bugs and exposing how primitive and far-away the technology is from reality.

It's a fairly dystopian development that further strips the dignity one might feel operating his own motor vehicle and replaces it with an imagined future much like that sketched in Wall-E. Now is not the time for a full-throated defense of operating your own vehicle, but that day will come.

In a recent interview with Kara Swisher, Musk dropped this gem:

“Even if you, for argument’s sake, reduce fatalities by 90 percent with autonomy, the 10 percent that do die with autonomy are still gonna sue you,” Musk told Swisher at Code. “The 90 percent that are living don’t even know that that’s the reason they’re alive.”

Inspiring stuff. We'll stick with motorcycles, roadsters, and old muscle cars.

☔️ CLIMATE FAUX PAS

When it comes to climate change, it's the solutions that are fake.

Entertainment

THINGS TO DO

You can view our full weekly event calendar here.

Tonight
🎙 Celebrating the Life & Songs of John Prine @ Basement East, 8p (Info)
📽 NightLight 615 presents: Bridesmaids @ Bicentennial State Park, 7p, $10 (Info)

COMING SOON

📺 Succession Returns Sunday 10/17
Season 3 of the popular HBO show premiers on Sunday night.

🎞 The Velvet Underground Opens Fri. 10/15
Acclaimed filmmaker, Todd Haynes' new documentary on the NYC of the 60s and how the band created a new sound that changed the world of music, cementing its place as one of rock 'n' roll's most revered bands.

Covid Gutter

Trends and news concerning everyone's favorite viral pandemic.

On Rotten Tomatoes, the new Fauci documentary produced by Disney+ shows where we stand as a country. It received a critics score of 91% and an audience score of 2%.

HEADLINES

Around the Web

🧀 Why Loud Food Tastes Better, and Other Reasons Texture Matters Research suggests our brains are wired to love crunchy things. But what about creamy, sticky, chewy, and all?

🪓 Two cheers for preppers As the Facebook outage portends, sometimes it’s good to be prepared

📉 A Tale of Two Sundays: The Outsized Impact of Experience

💸 Bitcoin Bodice Rippers Are Romance’s Most Sizzling New Subgenre Why cryptocurrency solves for our moral calculus of arousal

Political Theater Highlight Reel

  1. Carl Bernstein wails like a wet cat: “Democracy is in peril… We are in a cultural Civil War… The Republican Party has been taken over by the most radical political movement of our lifetimes…” And he's not talking about the political movement that denies the entire concept of gender and thinks that eating soy beans will lower the Earth's temperature by 1.5ºC.
  2. Terry McAuliffe, Democratic candidate for Governor in Virgina, continues to claim critical race theory is 'made up'

Good to Know

💰 “Beauty Too Rich for Use”*: Billionaires’ Assets and Attractiveness Study examines how the net worth of billionaires relates to their looks, as rated by 16 people of different gender and ethnicity. Surprisingly, their financial assets are unrelated to their beauty; nor are they related to their educational attainment. As a group, however, billionaires are both more educated and better-looking than average for their age.

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Have a great Wednesday