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This Internet Person Thinks Your ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ Memes Are Terrible

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Jason Richards is known as @Seinfeld2000 on Twitter, where he explains what the world would be like if “Seinfeld” were on TV today. He messaged me recently to explain that he was incensed by the misuse of a meme that he says he popularized three years ago. This meme consists of adding the theme music from “Curb Your Enthusiasm” to an unrelated video clip, often zooming in on someone who is visibly trapped in an awkward situation and thereby making light of the person. In 2019, he said, he is looking to help end the meme. I invited him to tell me more, so he did. (This interview was stitched together from many, many direct messages, and a telephone conversation, and edited for clarity, coherence and grammar.)JONAH ENGEL BROMWICH

Jason Richards: Thank you. Before we get into it, I just want to preface this by saying I’m glad you’re taking some time to discuss this serious subject.

I understand that this is a confusing time for digital media. Instagram keeps adding widgets and baubles nobody wants in an effort to make us spend more time staring into Kylie Jenner’s vacant eyes. Most of Facebook’s users are dead. News publishing start-ups are struggling, with companies like Mic being sold because they spent their funding on a gold foosball table that says WOKE on it that doesn’t work because every player is a replica of Colin Kaepernick taking a knee. These days the desire to create shareable content is stronger than Stephen Miller’s desire for hair that looks as real as it does on the outside of the can.

So I can see how whenever there’s an awkward moment that happens publicly — any awkward moment at all — people working at media companies would immediately rush to make it into a “Curb Your Enthusiasm” meme, without putting any of the love into the content that made it such a beloved meme to begin with.

So can you give me some examples?

Sure, let’s start with this one.

First of all it’s a vertical video. You know, let’s have the wherewithal to record horizontally here, this isn’t Aunt Linda using her Android for the first time. Let’s rein it in, let’s be calm enough to hold the phone in the correct position, first of all.

We’re recording a flat-screen and not even facing the TV at the correct angle; it’s off to the side. This is so haphazard. We see someone’s disgusting cupboard above the television. Now we’re zooming in manually. This is pathetic.

And also … this is funny on its own. One thing I make sure of is the person we’re zeroing in on has some philosophical situational kinship to Larry David. This guy is trolling Trump. He’s not in an uncomfortable situation; he holds the power here. I can’t really think of an episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” where Larry David emerges victorious and is getting his reward as the camera swoops in on him. It’s a complete inversion of the “Curb” formula. It’s just fundamentally wrong. This meme isn’t about just identifying anything, isolating it and putting in the music.

But is it just this one guy? Or are there lots of these bad uses?

Mr. Richards quickly found four more examples as well as “the one that really set me off,” which came from The Daily Beast’s Twitter account.

It’s not just people working at media companies who are abusing the meme. Celebrities (or “celebs” for short) are now exploiting it for their own viral success.

Jaden Smith? I would expect this type of online self-indulgence from Will, Jada, Willow or even Trey, but I thought you had more integrity than this. I guess I was wrong.

Why do so many of these include the president?

The not-very-funny answer is that Trump is such a dominant figure across all media. And a lot of people on Twitter want to see him look like a loser.

How can you get mad at people for ripping you off when the meme is taken from somewhere else?

I’ve sort of appointed myself the social media guardian of Larry David and HBO slash Warner Media’s intellectual property. I justify that by being something of an originator, I might go as far to call myself a pioneer of this meme, much like Marie Curie or Alexander Graham Bell, spreading knowledge of a pre-existing truth.

I suppose maybe the best way to say this is that within the territory of Twitter, I am the gatekeeper of this meme, this particular way of using this content. Larry David has no social presence. In a way, I’m his unintentional surrogate and I like to think that he would absolutely agree. In fact, if you happen to reach out to Larry David for this article and he declines to comment or doesn’t respond, that silence would qualify would as absolute consent and complete agreement with me.

Mr. David did, in fact, respond, when asked to comment on the phenomenon. “I don’t know anything about this,” he said in an email. “Every now and then someone will send me something with ‘Curb’ music at the end. Some of them I find mildly amusing, some not. Have never really given it any thought except for wondering why anyone would do it.

I wonder if you can retire a meme. It kind of reminds me of the cartoonist who drew Pepe. (Matt Furie’s creation, Pepe the frog, was appropriated by white supremacists, leading him, in one memorable phrase, to go “legally nuclear.”)

Oh yeah Matt Furie … but I think that kind of worked in the long run!

I am retiring the “Curb Your Enthusiasm” meme on Jan. 1, 2019.

Beginning next year, no one will be allowed to make a video where they zoom in on an uncomfortable moment and add the “Curb Your Enthusiasm” theme song to it capped with an abrupt end credit.

And you might say: @Seinfeld2000, how ever will you enforce this ban? As usual, I’m already 100 steps ahead of you. I’m working with disgraced Twitter C.E.O. Jack Dorsey to ensure that anyone who attempts to post one of these memes will be immediately exiled from the platform. Just to give you an update on this plan, so far, I have DM’ed Jack with the proposal and I am awaiting a response. As soon as he reads my DM, I’m sure he’ll make this initiative his top priority, over adding an edit button or banning Nazis, people who send death threats, and worse, people who link to their SoundCloud accounts the moment a tweet gets over 500 RTs.

If this plan doesn’t work for WHATEVER reason, here are three tips for when you’re attempting to make your own Curb Your Enthusiasm meme, which will never be as good as mine, to seem less pathetic:

  • Choose good moments. In today’s always-on culture, cringe-worthy events happen all the time. Be a good editor and pick only the moments that will work best. Usually these will have to be drawn out and painful enough to accommodate the first 12 seconds of the “Curb Your Enthusiasm” theme and have a character suffering in the center of it all. Have you found a moment where an athlete laughs awkwardly for a moment? That’s not quite right. I know, but everyone on Twitter is laughing about it. Still, be strong. A better moment will come along soon. Let the hacks take this one on.

  • No sloppy iPhone screen records. Download the video and open it in iMovie and use the Ken Burns effect, just like the professionals do. This is the Curb Your Enthusiasm meme, not amateur hour at Captain Johnny’s Two-Cent Peanut Circus. Have some respect.

  • Stay true to “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” No juxtaposing credits over the video or cutting the shape of the video square. Is that what the show is like? No. Do you even watch the show?

Lastly, I just want to leave you with a thought. One thing I’ve always tried to promote on my Twitter account is the idea of imagination. I ask what “Seinfeld” would be like today and like to make my own suggestions, but there’s really no wrong answer. The only real answer is: “Seinfeld” today is whatever you want it to be. Is it imaginative to just use the “Curb Your Enthusiasm” meme anytime something slightly weird happens on TV or social media? That’s a rhetorical question, and so I’m not obligated to answer, and yet I will: It simply is not. And so that’s why I am leaving this tired meme, which I am largely responsible for, in 2018, which is almost over.


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Trudeau Government Should Turn to Sustainable Floor Heating In Its New Deal

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A consortium has been chosen by Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) to manage the $1.1-billion overhaul of five heating and cooling plants in the National Capital Region. However, this decision has been met with a lot of disapproval by the country’s largest federal public service union.

Early June, the department announced that Innovate Energy has been awarded the 30-year contract “to design, retrofit, maintain and operate the plants,”winning the bid over a rival group that included SNC-Lavalin.

Minister of Environment, Catherine McKenna, said the federal government was “leading by example” in its bid to drastically reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions across the country. McKenna noted that by supporting this project, they’re utilizing heating and cooling infrastructure to promote a more environmentally friendly option.

“We’re very proud that our government is working with partners like Innovate Energy to modernize this critical infrastructure,” she said during the announcement at one of the facilities that will be upgraded, the Cliff Heating and Cooling Plant in downtown Ottawa.

The plants would be known as the district energy system and would heat 80 buildings in the area with steam. It is also expected to cool 67 of these buildings with chilled water through more than 14 kilometres of underground pipes.

Under the Energy Services Acquisition Program, PSPC will be tasked with modernizing the outdated technology in the plants to lower emissions and supportgrowth in the eco-friendly technology sector.

During the first stage of the overhaul, the system would be converted from steam to low temperature hot water and then switched from steam to electric chillers—with the estimated completion date being 2025. PSPC notes that the project will reduce current emissions by 63 per cent, the equivalent of removing 14,000 non-eco-friendly cars off the road.

Afterwards, the natural gas powering the plant will then be replaced by carbon-neutral fuel sources, which according to estimated will reduce emissions by a further 28 per cent. The renovation project is bound to save the government an estimated fee of more than $750 million in heating and cooling costs in the next 40 years.

Furthermore, the implementation of radiant floor heating in Ottawa by the federal government would be an additional step in driving its agenda for a more eco-friendly state.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Savers website, radiant floor heating has a lot of benefits and advantages over alternate heat systems and can cut heating costs by 25 to 50 per cent.

“It is more efficient than baseboard heating and usually more efficient than forced-air heating because no energy is lost through ducts,” the website states.

Radiant floor heating provides an equal amount of heat throughout a building, including areas that are difficult to heat, such as rooms with vaulted ceilings, garages or bathrooms. Consideringit warms people and objects directly—controlling the direct heat loss of the occupant—radiant floor heating provides comfort at lower thermostat settings.

“Radiators and other forms of ‘point’ heating circulate heat inefficiently and hence need to run for longer periods to obtain comfort levels,” reports the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNet).

Radiant heating is a clean and healthy option—a perfect choice for those with severe allergies—as it doesn’t rely on circulating air, meaning there are no potentially irritating particles blowing around the room. Additionally, it is more energy efficient, aesthetically pleasing with wall radiators or floor registers and virtually noiseless when in operation.

“They draw cold air across the floor and send warm air up to the ceiling, where it then falls, heating the room from the top down, creating drafts and circulating dust and allergens.”

It is important for the leadership in Ottawa to equally drive the adoption of radiant floor heating as doing this would lead to increased usage in residential buildings—and even government-owned buildings.

However, in October, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), a representative body of employees of the plants,began a campaign target at the government against their decision to use a public-private partnership (P3) for the retrofitting project, citing concerns about costs and safety.

According to the union, outside employees won’t be bound to the same health and safety standards of government workers and that typically P3 projects cost a lot more than traditional public financing deals.

The union demands that the government scraps the proposed project and meet PSAC members and experts to brainstorm on a new way forward that would ensure federal employees continue to operate and maintain the plants.

However, parliamentary secretary to public services and procurement minister, Steve MacKinnon said that the union officials have consulted him but that after conducting an analysis, the P3 option was still the best for the job.

“We didn’t have (to) sacrifice on safety or health — we didn’t have to sacrifice on job security,” he said.

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Steps to becoming a Data Scientist

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Data science has become one of the most in-demand career paths in this century, according to Business Insider. With the amount of information being circulated online, it has created a huge demand for storing, interpreting and implementing big data for different purposes—hence the need for a data scientist.

Today, there too much information flying around for regular people to process efficiently and use. Therefore, it has become the responsibility of data scientists to collect, organize and analyze this data. Doing this helps various people, organizations, enterprise businesses and governments to manage, store and interpret this data for different purposes.

Though data scientists come from different educational backgrounds, a majority of them need to have a technical educational background. To pursue a career in data science, computer-related majors, graduations and post graduations in maths and statistics are quite useful.

Therefore, the steps to becoming a data scientist are quite straightforward.  After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in an IT related field—such as computer science, maths or physics—you can also further your education by obtaining a master’s degree in a data science or any other related field of study. With the necessary educational background, you can now search for a job and obtain the required experience in whichever filed you choose to invest your acquired skills.

Here are the necessary steps to be taken to become a data scientist.

Step 1: Obtain the necessary educational requirements

As earlier noted, different educational paths can still lead to a career in data science. However, it is impossible to begin a career in data science without obtaining a collegiate degree—as a four-year bachelor’s degree is really important. However, according to a report by Business Insider, over 73% of data scientist in existence today have a graduate degree and about 38% of them hold a Ph.D. Therefore, to rise above the crowd and get a high-end position in the field of data science, it is important to have a Master’s degree or a Ph.D.—and with various online data science masters program, obtaining one is quite easy.

Some institutions provide data science programs with courses that will equip students to analyze complex sets of data. These courses also involve a host of technical information about computers, statistics, data analysis techniques and many more. Completing these programs equips you with the necessary skills to function adequately as a data scientist.

Additionally, there are some technical—and computer-based degrees—that can aid you begin a career in data science. Some of them include studies in, Computer Science, Statistics, Social Science, Physics, Economics, Mathematics and Applied Math. These degrees will imbibe some important skills related to data science in you—namely, coding, experimenting, managing large amounts of data, solving quantitative problems and many others.

Step 2: Choose an area of specialization

There rarely exists an organization, agency or business today that doesn’t require the expertise of a data scientist. Hence, it is important that after acquiring the necessary education to start a career as a data scientist, you need to choose an area of specialization in the field you wish to work in.

Some of the specializations that exist in data science today include automotive, marketing, business, defence, sales, negotiation, insurance and many others.

Step 3: Kick start your career as a data scientist

After acquiring the necessary skills to become a data scientist, it is important to get a job in the filed and company of your choice where you can acquire some experience.

Many organizations offer valuable training to their data scientists and these pieces of training are typically centred around the specific internal systems and programs of an organization. Partaking in this training allows you learn some high-level analytical skills that were not taught during your various school programs—especially since data science is a constantly evolving field.

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Artificial intelligence pioneers win tech’s ‘Nobel Prize’

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Computers have become so smart during the past 20 years that people don’t think twice about chatting with digital assistants like Alexa and Siri or seeing their friends automatically tagged in Facebook pictures.

But making those quantum leaps from science fiction to reality required hard work from computer scientists like Yoshua Bengio, Geoffrey Hinton and Yann LeCun. The trio tapped into their own brainpower to make it possible for machines to learn like humans, a breakthrough now commonly known as “artificial intelligence,” or AI.

Their insights and persistence were rewarded Wednesday with the Turing Award, an honor that has become known as technology industry’s version of the Nobel Prize. It comes with a $1 million prize funded by Google, a company where AI has become part of its DNA.

The award marks the latest recognition of the instrumental role that artificial intelligence will likely play in redefining the relationship between humanity and technology in the decades ahead.

Artificial intelligence is now one of the fastest-growing areas in all of science and one of the most talked-about topics in society,” said Cherri Pancake, president of the Association for Computing Machinery, the group behind the Turing Award.

Although they have known each other for than 30 years, Bengio, Hinton and LeCun have mostly worked separately on technology known as neural networks. These are the electronic engines that power tasks such as facial and speech recognition, areas where computers have made enormous strides over the past decade. Such neural networks also are a critical component of robotic systems that are automating a wide range of other human activity, including driving.

Their belief in the power of neural networks was once mocked by their peers, Hinton said. No more. He now works at Google as a vice president and senior fellow while LeCun is chief AI scientist at Facebook. Bengio remains immersed in academia as a University of Montreal professor in addition to serving as scientific director at the Artificial Intelligence Institute in Quebec.

“For a long time, people thought what the three of us were doing was nonsense,” Hinton said in an interview with The Associated Press. “They thought we were very misguided and what we were doing was a very surprising thing for apparently intelligent people to waste their time on. My message to young researchers is, don’t be put off if everyone tells you what are doing is silly.” Now, some people are worried that the results of the researchers’ efforts might spiral out of control.

While the AI revolution is raising hopes that computers will make most people’s lives more convenient and enjoyable, it’s also stoking fears that humanity eventually will be living at the mercy of machines.

Bengio, Hinton and LeCun share some of those concerns especially the doomsday scenarios that envision AI technology developed into weapons systems that wipe out humanity.

But they are far more optimistic about the other prospects of AI empowering computers to deliver more accurate warnings about floods and earthquakes, for instance, or detecting health risks, such as cancer and heart attacks, far earlier than human doctors.

“One thing is very clear, the techniques that we developed can be used for an enormous amount of good affecting hundreds of millions of people,” Hinton said.

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