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January 13, 2024 225 mins

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:01):
All media. Hey everybody, Robert Evans here, and I wanted
to let you know this is a compilation episode, So
every episode of the week that just happened is here
in one convenient and with somewhat less ads package for
you to listen to in a long stretch if you want.
If you've been listening to the episodes every day this week,
there's going to be nothing new here for you, but

(00:23):
you can make your own decisions. Hello everyone, it's me today, James,
and I'm joined by Betevan from the ypyj Information Authors,
and we're going to discuss today and chiefly that the
Turkish bombing campaign against it which has been happening in
the last few weeks and the last few months and

(00:45):
the last few years. So we wanted to set that
in context for you. And everyone's attention has been very
much focused on other conflicts, but that doesn't mean this
one isn't important, and it's one that obviously listeners will
be familiar with, so we wanted to bring you an
update on that. Welcome, very vun Hello, thank you, you're welcome. Okay,

(01:05):
happy to be here today. Good. Let's start by I
think just in case people need a refresher or they
haven't listened to some of the other stuff. Talk about
what's happening in Brosova and why they I guess why
it's important and why it's unique and what makes it special. Okay,

(01:26):
So actually right now in for more than ten years,
there's a revolution happening. I think most people heard that.
For some twenty eleven and so on, there was like
something called the Arab Strings. But actually in the same
time in this region in northern East Syria actually also
called like in the northern eastern part of Syria, there's

(01:49):
a region called which is like a big part of
Kotish population. There's also Christian population like Assyria and Arminium
population and also our population. Like it's a very colorful region,
you can say. So in this region twenty eleven, in
this time and then twenty twelve, a revolusion started, which

(02:14):
is actually based on a long term struggle of the
Kurdish movement and its experiences. And the revolution was like
mostly based on the idea to gain democratic autonomy and
today gain like democratic self administration. Why because like the

(02:34):
Syrian regime on the one hand was very oppressive towards
the Kurdish people, and on the other hand, like it
was like outwed Carrian regime, so there was like this
wish to create something different, which was actually created here
in the region in Rova. Yeah, so I think this

(02:58):
we can say at first, like what happened was that
the revolution started and until today it's continuing. Like it's
a very like basic change of people's life. We can
say that happened here, like yeah, democratic administration in all
areas of life, and also like for example, a great
deal of a women's organization to achieve also women's freedom.

(03:21):
So the solutions like based on these principles of democratic
self administration, of women's freedom and also of ecologies. Yeah,
perhaps you can explain people who aren't familiar a little
bit more about the women's revolution, because I think that
is something that's extremely unique and that people might not

(03:43):
have like if they've heard of it, perhaps they haven't
really you know, I think the mainstream press hasn't covered
particularly well. So if you could explain like maybe something
about the co chair system or the relationship between yourselves
and the yepigae and how that works. Yeah. So actually
I was just like speaking about the like when the
revolution was happening, so from the beginning online women also

(04:05):
took place in it, like which was already the CAS
in the Kurdish freedom movement in general, like that woman
was like equally were equally taking part in it, and
also always founded their own organizations, like not like a
substitute to a general organization or something like this, but
actually like their own organization that at the same time

(04:28):
cooperate with the general organization. So there was already this
principle of women's autonomy. So this was also adopted in reservoirs.
So in all areas, which also includes like political areas,
areas of daily life, but also military fields, women organized.

(04:50):
So actually in the beginning of the solution, they were
like the society's kind of self defense forces building us
and in the beginning there were already women in it.
And then there was also the foundation of a white
p GAY like the People's Defense Forces. But after this

(05:11):
also the White PG Women's Protection Units were founded, so
actually it's like a fully autonomous women's units that take
care of defending their homeland on the one hand, but
on the other hand also made like a great deal
of change in the society in the daily life of women,

(05:34):
because in a region that was before like maybe to
somebody like feudal or like because of the Authoria Tennessy
in the state, like there was no protection for women's
rights or something like this. And for example, there was
like the traditions of marrying a woman at a young

(05:56):
age or something like this. This was actually changed by
those women's solution, Like the everyday life of women was
changed and is still changing. Like it's still a struggle
because it means changing the society in general. Yeah, so
there's like in every area of life today there's like

(06:16):
autonomous women's organization and the vices, which makes was maybe
the most like profound a woman's solutions that on to
now is happening, I think. So it's like really important
like samplers for a woman everywhere in the work. Yeah,
very much, And it is a genuinely profound change. Having

(06:37):
spent a little bit of time there earlier this year,
it's very notable that you spent a lot of time
in that part of the world, how different things are.
And then perhaps we should talk about the battle against
the so called Islamic state or dasher Isis or whatever
you want to call it. In the role that THEPGG

(06:58):
and SDF play in that I can explain a little
about that fight and the fighting that happened, and also
like the tremendous number of people who died fighting or
were marked in the language is used by the revolution
about them. So like uh, in general, I think everyone

(07:20):
and the world first listened to the name most of
white woman's protection units and the relationship to ISIS. But
actually from the beginning on they fought like against this
kind of let's say, like different like fundamentalists or mercenary
groups that were existing in the region. And when ISIS

(07:44):
was coming up, like the biggest almost non battle that
actually the world for the first time really saw was
the battle for Pubani where for example, the hite PJ
it was like very very limited possibilities and the YPGA
fought against the ISIS and actually succeeded like to defeat

(08:11):
iss and to defend the city of Kobani, which was
kind of like a breaking point where things started to
turn around. Or we have also had the point where
for example, Shenga was attacked, which is like in South
kot de Son It's not like in the era region,
it's not even in the same region. But the YPJA
also played like the role and opening a corridor for

(08:35):
the people who tried to flee for the yd people
who like are people who have faced like many genocides
in history, and in order to save them from the
genocide of ISIS, the YPJA opened a corridor to help
them to flee. So and there are like many stories

(08:57):
or like in the end the operation of the city
of Racca, which was kind of known like as the
center of the ISIS, which also we can say like
the women's force paid like a junior rank god. So
there are many examples where we can say, like how

(09:18):
deciding for examples, as the struggle of the Viba was
for the defeat of ISIS. And I think on the
other hand, we also have to say that it is
not completely defeated, because it seemed like some support from
outside structures, like from Turkey, so there are still some

(09:39):
like sales or sample. There are a lot of details
detainees like before that was happening try to break out
from the detention centers in twenty twenty two, So it's
not like it's completely vanished from the earth, but the
actual defeat was like reached by the might go for Yeah,

(10:04):
I think it's very important talk. Like you spoke about
those like incarcerated ice form of ISIS fighters, right and
their attempt to break out. I think that's maybe a
good chance for us to talk about like some other
form of ISIS fighters uh and like starting in I
think it was called Turkey, called Operation Peace Spring, I

(10:26):
think right, like the these these Turkish incursions into Uh,
into into Rosa, into like and and into like Syrian territory.
Can you explain a little bit about like how I
guess that this will get us to the modern day
and and the bombing, but like, perhaps you can explain

(10:46):
how this started. Obviously Turkey has been opposed to the
Kurdish freedom movement since its inception, right since the very
beginning and in the last century, but preaps you could
explain like this series of ongoing Turkish aggressions against what's
happening in Java now, and like how that began and
how that's manifested itself over the years. Oh yes, like

(11:11):
after ISIS was defeated to some degree, actually Turky for
itself started occupation attacks, like in twenty eighteen nineteen and
started the occupation was first against Afrine and then against
til Khania and Guido speir which are all like very

(11:33):
important regions of Bolsheva that are like directly next to
the Turkish border, like you see, like directly in between
Syria and the Turkey, like next to the Turkish borders too.
They directly attacked these cities next to the border, which

(11:53):
actually most of our cities are directly next to the border,
and they occupy them. Yeah, I think that's important to
understand like a little bit because actually there took plans
to occupy, occupy like the region along the Wad are
not only the cities that they occupied until now. This

(12:16):
a very very violent war with using aircraft and so on.
Like also in the last years UH took he very
much invested into drone technology and so on, and they
used also chemical weapons like very famous in two nineteen

(12:36):
the video of a young child the name Mohammad went
around the world that like was like bond by phosphorus
UH in Seracania in the occupation attack. So like actually
it's a like a war that is smallest sleep but
also with the most like dirty yeah methods that took

(12:59):
his waging in the region. And after this, like we
can't say, like after Selcni was occupied Chokie actually continued
to attack with a war that you cannot say like
at this time. It starts and in this time and
it's more like continuous attacks. So on the one hand,

(13:20):
like some areas are always getting bombed in the last years,
like for examples like with artillery shelling and one like
a sharebar next to Athleene or Ironesa or the tam
So like the areas that are close to the occupied
areas were now Turkey and mercenary forces are stations that

(13:43):
constantly attacked more or less regions, but also with a
drone war like the first I think, very like clear
example of what was the strategy like in the last
years was on the twenty third June two down twenty
when Turkey killed three women of Conguersta, the women's movement

(14:08):
like the civil women's movement in Kobani in the village,
which were all like two of them were like in
the leadership of the civil women's movement and one was
just like a member and they were sitting in the
garden and they were talking and at this time like
a turk strownest strike and they all lost their lives.

(14:33):
So like a lot of these kinds of attacks happened
after this, like against like let's say like civil leaders
of society, like politicians, normal people. Also like on the
twenty fifth of December. Actually also on Christmas in two

(14:54):
twenty one five five child like young people like youth
from the Youth movement were killed in Kobani. Also like
just when they were sitting in the garden, like members
of the Youth Center, like I took a stone stock
three of them, like a young girl and this continued.

(15:20):
Or also we can say like leaders of Fox suble YPJ.
Also like on the twenty second of July last year,
there was a conference happening for celebrating ten years of
Women's Resolution in Rojaha, and just on the same day,

(15:40):
Turky targeted the car of Right PJ members. One of
them was Jian Toldan, who also spoke on the same
day on the conference. Both actually it's quite clear what took.
Actually once they want to like destroy the revolution that's

(16:01):
happening in USA, like the Woman's Revolution mm hm, and
in general, like this change that is happening. They want
to create like the sphere who stay away to way
to Theish occupation forces, and they're using a lot of violence,
like also in the occupied areas, like the people who are, right,

(16:22):
I think that they cannot speak their language, they have
to fear. Sometimes they cannot close the house doors. Sometimes
people get like abducted, like without anyone knowing why or
where they go. Will they go to the prison? Will
that be in a prison or will that be forshot
or like a very kind of oppressive regime now in

(16:46):
the occupied areas. Yeah, and those are people who, like
I've met when when they come here, right, people who
have lost Like I spoke to a guy a Mayre
a couple of weeks ago. You know, his father had
been killed, his uncle had been killed, and like he
was like what should he should? I should I wait
to be like the last person in my family and

(17:07):
then who gets killed or like it's it's very the
conditions for those people in the Turkish occupied parts of
northern Kurdistan are very, very difficult and oppressive. And I think, like,
just to build off what you said, like it's important
that people realize that these killing of especially like people
in the Women's revolution, but also you know people in

(17:32):
in the Rajava revolution. More generally, it's not drone strikes
are extremely targeted, right, Like they can follow a car
from an event and strike it. Like it's these kind
of these things are not It's not like they're it's
not like artillery or mortars. It's not like you're sending
it into an area. Like they're extremely targeted to an

(17:55):
individual or a group of individuals rather than you know,
random attack. So like this is a distinct choice that's
being made. Well, let's talk about the most recent bombings,

(18:17):
because I think there was some particularly egregious ones, even
by the standard of this campaign, which has been pretty
egregis from the beginning. But December, around the week of
Christmas this year, just to give people a time sort
of period, there was a bombings of a if I'm
not wrong, a printing press, a dialysis facility, is that right? Yeah? Yeah,

(18:43):
well actually there was there was also another like not hospital,
like a becaspital, let's say, like a medical point. Also
in Corvani were doctors who was out borders. I think
it's like kind of a known and Jose were also
working there at the oxygen center also, so like medical places,
there were like normal factories of food production, like you

(19:06):
said the printing house. There were many places like this,
like of daily infrastructure that were targeted like before. Already
in October infrastructure was targeted. And also last year there
was attack like this and every time at least ten
civilians got killed, like in all of these attacks. So
now I think that over a number just of these

(19:27):
three ways of attacks is already like searching one killed civilians.
So like maybe dawns were very targeted, but it's not
like Turki doesn't want to kill a civilians or tax
care not to kill civilians. Like already in the attacks
of the last year, there was an examples of double
tap attacks for example, which I actually be illegal. So

(19:51):
I think it's very important to say, like also the
targeting of medical points of medical infrastructure, that what Turkey
is doing is not according to international law, Like that's
not the case, and like TOOKI is kind of acting
like however, advanced targeting civilians creating like fear, and also

(20:13):
like in a region that is already poor, Johnny, you
have to say, like the possibilities that have been created,
like like for daily needs and so on, for supplies
of electricity of like heating fuels and so on for

(20:33):
your house, they are very affected like this right now,
So like in general, there's like a big shortcoming of
everything right now and whatever, and just because of took
his attacks, so this is actually affecting everyone. And on
the other hand, took it to create like this feel
like there's just some wave of attack and just targeting everywhere,

(20:56):
so they want to displace actually the relations and also
to comment like the politics also took state, especially against
Scurtish people and also against the Christians was very much
like potentially like genocidal politics, Like it's not not like

(21:16):
a limited attack or something like this, like we don't
think so, yeah, no, it's not a and like you said,
they're very very much unafraid of killing civilians in the process.
Like I spoke to a mother whose fifteen year old
son was killed in a drone strike. I don't think
it's very hard to make an argument that fifteen year
old son was doing anything apart from being a fifteen

(21:38):
year old kid. You know, it's not like this person
is a legitimate military target of a kid who played
goalkeeper on his local football team. And these double type attacks,
like if people aren't familiar with the double tap attack,
it's when an attack happened, people go to the site
of the attack to render aid. Right and ambulance or
practice bystanders rendering aid or either military personnel rendering aid,

(22:00):
and then a second attack happened at the same place
to to then attack the people who are rendering aid.
So you spoke a little bit about like how they're
trying to attack the whole project and not just individuals.
I wonder like the the drowne strikes do have like
a they change the way things have to be done right,

(22:23):
Like like it's it's things become unsafe, like any way
you can see the sky right, like having a large gathering,
or certainly for people who are of more like higher status,
it's it's dangerous for them to be out and about. Right.

(22:43):
Is that fair to say? Yeah? I mean on some levels,
for sure the dangerous. But on the other hand, you
cannot always be afraid. Like that's like really yes, the
reality like for example now, because it's places where targets,
for exunder the infrastructure that you need for your life.
People actually started to stand like next to the electricity

(23:06):
center to say like if we're all here, then they
cannot target it. Wow, for sure its dangerous if you
see like the they can they Yeah, because they've killed
a lot of civilians. As you say, that's a very
brace thing to do. Yes, yeah, again, I think I
think maybe we should explain, actually, so it gets very

(23:28):
cold in this part of the world in the winter,
because perhaps people will associate this part of the world
with like the heat and heart chambers. But like you,
you have very cold winters, especially in the mountains, right, yeah,
I mean it's like all more or less flat, like
it's not so cold, but still it gets like under

(23:50):
zero degrees. So like for sure you need they need
like your house to be warm, and so like just
to take care of basic meats. You need your car
to drive somewhere maybe sometimes at least like some people
needed for their work or like this, there's a lot
of basic needs that don't work if all the infrastructure

(24:12):
gets destroyed. Yeah. Yeah, And I believe if I'm right
in saying it's the one person already passed away because
they couldn't get dialysis the dialysis center that was bombed,
Is that right, Yes, So as they said that one
passed away, afterwards, they brought like a like emergency wise

(24:32):
a dialos machine, which I think is very good for
the sick people. But I'm not sure because also if
you don't have like a substitute of something happens like
only one machine. I'm not sure like how much it
will actually take care of the needs of the people,
because I said it was like seventy or eighty sick
people who were going to the center, So it's not new. Yeah,

(24:57):
and like I didn't think, Yeah, I mean, it's certainly
not as good as having a proper center, right, Like,
and there's no reason that's there's no world in which
a dialysis center is a legitimate target or a printing press, right, Like.
I think that that maybe points out what you were saying,
like if you're printing books about something, sharing knowledge about something,

(25:17):
and like perhaps one thing I think you were saying,
is it right that it printed textbooks. I think it
was like also printing textbook, Okay, like it was printing everything,
so it's also printing textbooks. Yes, like also was printing textbook. Yeah,
and we should point out that, like, you know, I
speak to Kurdish people almost every day when I'm at

(25:38):
the border, and they many of them don't read and
write in Kurdish because in Turkey that's not taught in schools, right,
they don't have a chance to learn and and so
like having those textbooks, having that knowledge, Like lots of
my lots of my friends were saying that, like the children,
because because folks who went to school before the revolution

(26:01):
went to school in Arabic. So like the children are
the ones who have like the formal education in Kurdish,
you know, and then they're building a generation that like
speaks Kurdish and reads and writes Kurdish is their first language.
And so like an attempt to destroy that isn't just
destroying the factory, right it is that fair to say
that it's also destroying like that goal of the revolution,

(26:23):
and more broadly, like that attempt to like to have
that education in Kurdish and let children speak their own
language in school. Yes, I mean this is also part
of like usmination politics, to deny people of their own language,
which actually likes a Syrian regime also that like they
only thought in Arabic. And now for example, the system

(26:45):
of the self administuation lows everyone to learn and different
languageses agno the Arabic, there's Kurdish and even in the
very last time are hearts that there will also be
opened our Syrian again, which is actually really important because
language that is like very like most assuming people right
now a speaker and write Arabic, soods could be really important. Also, yeah, yeah,

(27:10):
and it's it's I think it's really important to point
out for people who aren't aware. And often in the
US media, like Rochio is reported as like Kurdi is
like a Curdish area, but it may have a majority
of Curds in some cities, but like, yeah, there are
Assyrian people, there are Arab people that are Armenian people,
and like they have that same autonomy right to educate

(27:32):
in their own language and too to like organizing their
own communities. Yes, that's what the idea is all about.
And I think actually like resources in the last time,
that was kind of trying to create this image of
like Curds against Arabs, like from the outside in the
international media, which is absolutely not true. Like the SDS

(27:53):
itself is like majorly Arabic force, It's not majorly just
like if you see numbers I think at least, so
it's like very equal, like everyone who plays a role
in US and who wants to participate can participate, and
everyone has a like autonomy also to organize inside of
their own society or may it be religion or which

(28:16):
like also Yazdi people like Kurdish people who are Yazidi religion,
they also have their own organization here. Yeah, that's very
important and their own movement in their own area lar
the year in that part of Iraq. Like that's like

(28:37):
I guess an allied movement, would that be fair to say? Yeah,
I mean it very much like follows the same idea
and the same concept as yes and yeah. I've also
spoken to a ZD people who have come to the
United States recently, and they under the under it they

(28:59):
had an apsolutely like inhumane and terrible conditions and if
it wasn't for the gay then they like they wouldn't
be They're they're the you know, the they the beginning
of the their liberation I guess came from the epigay
and something we'll maybe talk about another time. It's a

(29:22):
long story. I wonder. Yeah, Like, obviously this isn't something
that has been in the news as much because people
have been so focused on Palestine. I wonder if it's
worth discussing, Like the Turkish States completely like like two
faced approach, right, Like on one hand, they're saying we

(29:44):
have to like yeah, it's unacceptable for the bombing of
civilians in Palestine and like this is completely wrong. And
then on the other hand that they're doing the same
thing right like just on on their other border. Yeah,
well I'm saying we thought anyway, So like Turky is
not doing anything good for the Palestinian people. Tuki is

(30:05):
leading Hamas to such an attack like its supporting hammers
and the like very violent attacks that I made, which
then was like the preset for the war of Israel
and international forces against the Palestinian people. So actually, who
is like suffering from all of this is like the

(30:26):
normal people, like, which is too for Israel and Palestine.
So actually we have to say, like what Tuki is
doing is against the people, like it's also against the
Palestinian people. And here like they have criticized to clearly
for example, Israel is saying like saying, Isia is making

(30:47):
occupation politics and so on. Still Turki also has ties
with Israel. We also have to say, but like they
are themselves occupying parts of Wovoir in the shadow of
these attacks that like all the attention of the world
was going uh into this region. They attacked like also

(31:13):
calculating that maybe people will not so much look to
right now, like at the same time, there's like another
huge war going on in the Middle East, and they
are making like very clearly like politics of occupation in
Aftene and Silkanya and also democratic demographic change. So they

(31:35):
are like displacing people and placing other people. Yeah, yeah,
well displacing whom and and placing whom, because I think
that's important when we talk about like that that population
and demographic change, like because there's it's not They're not
just displacing people randomly and replacing them randomly, right, Yeah,

(31:57):
So actually the people that are targeted most are like
the Kurdish people in the areas or other people that
are like not aligned to the took state. And then
who they place like mostly were like you see, they
are all these mercenary forces that are actually aligned to

(32:18):
Turkey or like outside forces already. Like they're like they
are not Isis, but they are a little bit similar
to it. They are like mercenary groups that are like
more or less like what road they go, it's they're
clarified from outside forces, so they are aligned to Turkey

(32:39):
and from these people for example, they're families who are
placed in the region on the one hand. On the
other hand, they were even examples were Turkey started to
place some Palestinian people also in this region or like
the different like they just who they think they can
align to shortly as a state and doing under their control.

(33:04):
They were placing in these areas that say it like this,
like to be able to actually what is a part
of part of Syria, to occupy it long term, like
to make this class it's not like a short term plan,
like they want to stay in this area. It's not
prevented if it's not liberated. Again, yeah, yeah, and I

(33:28):
think like again, like people I think have become more
aware in recent months. People are becoming educated on the
situation in Palestine settlements. And it's not the fault of
the people of Palestine that they're being like forced to
be driven off their ancestral homelands. But like what it
does mean is that like they could be mobilized by

(33:51):
someone like Turkey right to just do an occupation to
to do it, I guess demographic transfer somewhere else, and
like that's not it, that's not like a desirable outcome.

(34:12):
So we spoke a little bit about like this, like
ongoing hostility. He right, and it can seem for people
out look, I think people only hear about in negative
and not negative terms is the wrong thing. But like
they only it only ever enters the American press these
days when something happens, right, either an isis attack something

(34:33):
one of the cat like a hall or a rog Right,
But like, also things are continuing to progress, right, It's
not just a place that it's embattled and fighting to survive,
like I know recently a new social contract was passed,
for instance, So maybe you could explain a little bit
about the progress that's still being made despite this this
ongoing like air war, during war and land war. Yeah. Well,

(34:58):
actually I think here whever we always followed this philosophy
that we are not like sitting here and saying our
war will come towards us or like it will not
be like we are very much hopeful and we're always
working to develop. Like even if these things are happening,
these attacks are happening, the sovolution very very much developed,

(35:20):
and the society changed a lot already, A lot of
institutions have been built up that before we're not existing
and so on. And as an outcome also of this,
the new social contract was formed, which actually is like
a very democratic process. Like let's say if the state
force for example, has the constitution, the state less the

(35:43):
self administration has a social contract which actually is made
by the people because until it was made, there was
the years of discussion, like there were so many meetings,
like all of the political representatives from the smallest to
the biggest level, they were all part of the discussion,

(36:04):
and also the people themselves they could take part in
the discussion. So now this is for example, ensuring a
lot of important decisions. And now like the struggle that
is before us, like that we are facing now is
to implement the social contract, which is very important. It's
also guaranteeing a lot of purgus for women, it's guaranteeing

(36:28):
a lot of focus for society. So I think still
now like it's a task to like see how how
it can be implemented in all areas because it's always
like a very lively process, like it always needs the
daily struggle, the daily work creating like everything from new

(36:54):
So there's a lot going on. Actually here we can
say yeah, definitely and like it definitely, like it doesn't
I think it's easy, Like again, if we only report
on the thing when bad things are happening, like to
think that it's only bad. But there's a lot of
like people are still hopeful, I think, and hopeful for
creating and spreading like this better future for themselves and

(37:15):
the children and for the region, which I think is
is really admirable. One thing that I thought was really
admirable is people will probably have seen it, but like
if they don't like follow social media so much. The
exchange of statements of solidarity between the k and DF,
the Cronian National Defense Force Battalion five specifically in Myanmar,

(37:38):
and the YPG and YPG in Rog and they've gone
back and forth, right, But can you explain a little
bit about Obviously, I know that the situation in Meanma
is very complicated. I know I've spent years of my
life learning about it. But can you explain like the
importance of that solidarity and like also perhaps like it's

(38:01):
not it was a risk great for everyone to gather
like this in in the middle of the drone war
to make the statement, but can you explain like why
that solidarity with something they felt was so important. Yeah,
I think in general it's very important to say, like
the revolutioneb it's not only like avolution for the people

(38:23):
of itself, but has like a prospected more general like
to strengthen the friendship of democratic movements anywhere in the world.
So for sure, there's a lot of colors of movements,
a lot of different situations in the world, and some
might also like let's say, see the solidarity very strong

(38:46):
because actually they are also like Miama, like also facing
for example, state system which is very much influenced by fascism,
like for something, we are facing Turkey or like in general,
this kind of oppression and trying to liberate from it.
So actually we're always trying to have like this exchange

(39:09):
in general in the world and to have like also
to build like how let's say, like quality, quality relationships,
quality friendships with all kinds of democratic movements. For sure,
everyone is acting on a different level and so on,
but this is like a big something really really important

(39:31):
for us in general. And I mean, like in the revolution,
there were also always people from the outside, for example,
participating in it, so there was always kind of the
spirit that this is like the revolution for the world.
Like the Kurdish movement in general has like this character
like an internationalist character, so it's not something like let's

(39:55):
say like far from from us, Like that's already something
like very close to us and say like we stand
a solidarity also with other liberation movement. Yeah, I think
it was very it was. I know it's very much
appreciated in Myanmar because lots lots of people from there
have reached out to tell me how how much they

(40:16):
appreciated it. And like I think some of them have
been in the revolution for seventy years and their world
has not paid attention to them, So they really appreciated that.
And that's that's solidarity. And like I know that the
solidarity runs a lot deeper than statements, but like we
will cover that they extended that solidarity in another episode

(40:39):
because again I think it it merits. It's a in recording.
I wonder a better van what Obviously people will be listening, right,
and I think a lot of people will be very
supportive of the revolution in raja Va and they want
to help it and see it succeed and certainly not
to see No one wants to see civilians dying in

(41:01):
drones tacks, right, No one want to see anyone drying
in drowned jacks. But how can they if they are
in the US or in Europe or elsewhere in the
world but not in Rogio, how can they help? How
can they support the revolution through its like difficult through
these difficult moments, right when people don't have electricity to

(41:23):
heat their homes in the winter and things. Yeah, I
think there's a lot of possibilities, like sights coming here,
which also is the point, but I mean in general,
like you have all of the h the possibilities, like
from educating yourself what is the revolution actually about? Understanding it,

(41:45):
from spreading its ideas, which is maybe the most important task.
May it be like spreading knowledge about the spreading knowledge
also about the attacks that are happening, clarifying what's happening
and why it's happening. To read the book Political Background
orso of international politics. That's very important for understands. And

(42:05):
also you can always like share. For example, let's say
you have social media. Let's say you're part of a
political movement or something. You can discuss about it. You
can inform yourself about it, you can make a presentation
about it in your university. Like there are so many
things that you can do like you can read the
book about it and make a book presentation, like there's

(42:26):
a million things a person can do. Or as you're doing,
you can connect to the Kurdish refugees or to the
society Kurdish people in the diaspora in general, like outside
of Curtis some wherever you might be. Yeah, that's possibility. Also,
like you can organize solidarity also practical solidarity. Also like

(42:51):
let's say, like intellection works like write at texts, share,
discuss about it. Like maybe it's difficult in the beginning
to understand something or to gain information, but right now
there's actually a lot of information also available in English language,
I think. Yeah, you could read for about a year

(43:13):
and non stuff I think and still not not have
read all of it. But are there books You've recommended
A couple of books to me which I think have
been really good and I've shared with my friends in
Memma and I know that they've enjoyed. Are there any
books that you'd recommend to listeners? I mean and Jina,
Like this revolution is based on the sorts of a

(43:36):
so I think a good idea if you actually want
to understand, like the ideological basis of it, about women's liberations,
about how democratic society can be organized. So actually there's
like this book called of him Sociology of Freedom. I
think it's very important and so a little bit like understandable.
I think for someone who comes maybe from academic or

(43:59):
from a lesters or from a democratic background, I think
they will read it, they will be able to understand it.
But there are also many other books that are translated
to English or like texts that are available, or in
general there are books about the volution from people, for example,
coming from the outside. I have to think right now

(44:20):
in English, I'm sorry, I know there are some also
some in the different languages about the women's revolution, so
I have to think that available. I think that's also
like there's one called like the politics of Freedom or something.
And there are some books that were published because they
were like the diplomatic conferences in most of them I

(44:44):
think happening in Europe, which as they were like some
like collections of philosophical discussion, uh, like the published, So
I think that's also very available. Well, I'm sorry, I
have tight Yeah, I know there's a good book called

(45:04):
Revolution in Rogevat, which was translated from German that like
I think it lays out like how things happen. It's
a little bit a little bit dated now. I think
it was published in like twenty sixteen, so you know,
things have changed over a few years. But I think
that's a decent book for people who are interested as

(45:25):
well that I know a lot of people have recommended. Yeah,
and then I wonder, like, because this isn't being like,
I know, you made the point earlier about that the
world was looking at Palestine when the Tax of Palestine happened.
I was in Cambischlow in rochebl and like, it's impossible
for me to sell stories. It's impossible for me to

(45:46):
sell anything to like big news outlets so that they
simply like, don't think American people can care about two
parts of the world at once. I guess I wonder
where people can follow and get updates, Like it's a
good social media or news outlets that you would suggest
for people who do want to keep in touch with
what's happening. Yeah, I mean, we have like a Twitter

(46:08):
Facebook page as a Whitejay Information on Documentation Office like
YPJ Information. But also there's like other places like the
Information Center, which is very much like like independently accriminating
like knowledge and sharing in a way that I think

(46:30):
is understandable for everyone. Like there's also from the SDI
forces the Press Center, which just has like also the
English homepage is sharing like sometimes statements and comcrete information.
There's an Internationalist Commune of Sharing an English language, a
lot of information on Twitter and on their homepage. So

(46:52):
there's actually a lot of sources if you go look
for it, that are very good. I think. Also yes,
and like on the ground people who can show you
what's happening, And yeah, I think I think that's wonderful.
But anything else you'd like us to get to before
we finish up, anything else you want people to know. No,

(47:13):
I think it's very important to say again that it's
like very very valuable for the revolution for people to
take part in actions, to make their voice, hard, to organize,
to make the solution known, to get it to know
for themselves, and that it does actually make a very
very huge difference like the struggle that people everyone in

(47:34):
the world are making for the solution and that it
needs it. That like it's very like critical for the
use of a revolution that everyone's world it gets known
and gets like solidarity that received this are very meaningful.
I think that's very important to understand. Besides this, I
don't know. I hope yes, that's I think. Yeah. I

(47:58):
think it's really good to realize that it's not it's
not a it's you know, it's a very worthwhile thing
to do just to increase people's awareness and solidarity. And
thank you so much for your time. I know Internet,
it's not the easiest thing to come by the way
you are. Say thank you so much. V I'm for
taking the time to talk to us today. Well, thank
you also for talking well to the topic. I was

(48:19):
very happy to join us. Great, thanks so much. Welcome
back to it could happen here everybody. I am Robert Evans,

(48:40):
and I want to start today by kind of proposing
a theoretical Right, you wake up in the morning and
something is awry, you know, maybe maybe you hear shots,
maybe there's some sort of natural disaster, you know, maybe
it's that that weird Havana syndron death sound from the
Obama movie that just came out on what was it Netflix?
But something's fucked up, and you know, most people, I

(49:02):
think especially most people who listen to this podcast you've
probably had conversations with your friends and loved ones about
what do we do when the quote unquote apocalypse or
shit hits the fan. You know, you've got your friends
who maybe you know they have a lot of stored food,
or they have some other skill that you think would
be useful. And you've got some stuff that's that that
that you know you know how to do. You've got
your people right that you would want to be with

(49:24):
and around if something's really going wrong out there, because
you know how to take care of each other. But
how do you get in contact right? Assuming you don't
all live together, assuming you're not all on some sort
of commune type situation, as most people aren't. You're probably
scattered throughout the city. Maybe you've got some friends out,
you know, in the suburbs. Maybe you've got some friends
who live out in rural land. Maybe you've just got

(49:44):
a friend who lives halfway across town. And you know
that's no problem when you got a phone and you've
got you know, Google Maps working. But can you get
there on your own? Can you get there or get
into contact with them if the streets are all clogged
up with cars or whatever? Like, how are you going
to reach them? How are you going to you know,
get in touch in order to figure out what's going on?

(50:05):
And how are you going to stay in touch while
you handle whatever you need to handle for whatever is
going wrong. Well, that's what we're going to talk about today,
because if the cell networks are down, if they're being blocked,
if you know, the Obama situation happens, there are things
you can do to allow you and your friends, comrades,

(50:26):
affinity group, whatever you want to call them, to stay
in touch. And this a lot of this revolves around
a kind of technical usage called a mesh network. And
I don't know much about that because I am a
big dummy. But a person who is not a dummy
is our guest today. They go by Hydroponic Trash on
Twitter and they are going to talk to us today

(50:46):
about how to set up independent communications networks that do
not rely on the standard grid. Hello and welcome to
the show. Hey, what's up? Thanks for having me on? Yeah,
thank you for coming on. You posted a thread on
Twitter about using you know, it's called like LOWRA low
frequency radio? Is that what it stands for? Yeah? LORA

(51:10):
stands technically for long range but Yeah, it's a long
range frequency radio that broadcasts a pretty uh specific wavelength
that can travel really far throughout the air. So it's
perfect for communications long distance, and it's if you've got
devices set up on this they each basically act as nodes, right,

(51:33):
So the more you have the kind of wider signal
distribution you get if I'm understanding what you're saying correctly,
Like if you've got someone three miles away and then
another person five miles to the west of them, then
you kind of are able to cover that whole distance. Yeah, exactly.
So think of it like a relay system, right. Yeah.
One person has a message, they send it off to

(51:54):
another person. That person passes it on to the next node,
and so mesh networks are really resilient when it comes
to emergencies, when it comes to protests, when it comes
to occupation and conflict zones, because if one node goes down,
as long as there's other ones that can pick up
that message and keep repeating it and broadcasting it out.

(52:16):
So it's a really interesting piece of technology that is
similar to like traditional radios, but also different because all
the communications can be encrypted end to end, which is
a huge delay of security because you can the thing
most people's default. If you're thinking like, well, how do
you get some like walkie talkies? Right? You know, you

(52:37):
get some and those can you know, those have their
place and stuff, but they are also not always the
most secure options. So being able to encrypthit is a
huge deal, especially when you're talking about like outside of
a shit hits the fan kind of deal, which is
less likely than you know, some sort of civil unrest
protest use case. You know, being able to actually encrypt

(52:58):
is huge. Yeah, so I'm a dummy. I don't understand
much about setting up my own technology independently, but I
find this interesting. I see the use case. I decide
I want to you know, set this up and start,
you know, building an emergency mesh network with a half
dozen of my friends. Where do I start? So the

(53:22):
first thing is you'll need some hardware that supports LORA.
There are a ton of different things out there, ranging
from maybe twenty twenty five bucks going all the way
up to thousands of dollars. So there's a big range,
and that range really depends on the enclosure, what's included
in it, the broadcast strength, all that good stuff. So obviously,

(53:44):
the cheaper you go, the weaker the broadcast strength is
there might be development boards that are just literally like
the PCB, like actual hardware with no case around it. Yeah, yeah,
and there's there's some that you can just pick up
and immediately use, and so it kind of depends. But
that's the first step is finding hardware that can handle

(54:06):
Laura and then you know, obviously getting it and then
flashing it with the correct software. And that sounds really complicated,
but for our purposes of sending text messages without any
kind of cellular, LTE or Wi Fi connection, you can
use super cheap devices and flashing them is you click

(54:28):
a couple of buttons and you're done. So, first off,
do you have any kind of specific you know, I
know you're working on a text piece that you can
put up to explain all this, and I will certainly
share that as soon as it gets up, But do
you have any specific like if somebody's saying, hey, I've
got you know, a budget of fifty bucks, you know,
or so, is there a complete device you would recommend

(54:50):
if they're or somewhere in that median range, like kind
of on the lower end, a thing that someone doesn't
know how to take, you know, a raw board and
craft that into a usable device you would recommend they
purchase is to start us off here. Yeah, definitely. So
I kind of have two different options. One is a
standalone option that can kind of work by itself, completely

(55:12):
independent of anything else, and another one uses your phone,
So you'll flash it to the board and then connective
or bluetooth to your phone just like a pair of
headphone lost so easy. Yeah, and so you kind of
have options if you want a standalone version. There's a
company called lily Go that makes a thing called a

(55:32):
te Deck and it's pretty small. It looks like a
BlackBerry Clone. Yeah. It has a little mouse thing. Yeah,
it looks like a BlackBerry kind of crossed with a
game camera. Yeah yeah yeah yeah, because it's like thicker
in the back, it's got that big antenna yeah yeah
yeah yeah. And so the Lilygo t deck is what

(55:53):
this is called. It's a BlackBerry Clone basically has lowra
built in, it has bluetooth, and so all you have
to do is get powered to this thing, flash it
with meshitastic, and there you go. Now you have a
Now you can type out messages, you can send direct messages,
you can send encrypted messages, all with one device. That's

(56:15):
thirty five dollars. Oh man, that's great, And this is
something you can get like Ali Express was your recommendation, right, Yeah,
Ali Express probably be the best if you're trying to
order a lot. If you want one right now, you
can order them on places like Amazon, but it's going
to cost you and also fuck Amazon. So yeah, I

(56:36):
mean you are slightly doomed to support one horrible billionaire
or another like Ali expresses. But no, I get it. Yeah,
And I mean one of the upsides to like an
all in one thing like this is like I three
D printed this case, but you don't have to print

(56:57):
a case. You can literally just set this into a
box or something and protect it. So there's a lot
of options on the cases that you want to use.
You could buy pre made cases, or you could just
I don't know, just put something to protect the board
back here and then screw on an antenna. You're good. Yeah,
I mean I've seen some shit people do with duct tape.
You can figure it out. So my question is, or

(57:31):
my other question is, you were talking about a way
that you can you can basically do the calming like
communications through yourself on right, you can hook that into
the next mesh network. Is that something you're able to
kind of go over at least in brief or provide
people with, you know, here's where they can go to
read about how to do that. Yeah. So the same company,

(57:51):
lily Ego makes a smaller little device. It's really small,
maybe about an inch yeah. Yeah, and it has a
screen on it so when you power at all and
you can actually see the messages come through on the
screen on the board itself. Yeah. And it connects through
Bluetooth to your phone and you use the mesh Tastic
app to basically text like you normally would on a phone. Yeah,

(58:14):
it looks just like signal pretty much if you're used
to that that UI but uh yeah, it's super small. Yeah,
it's perfect. And so you're just also using that mesh
Tastic app to flash the software on the devices once
you get them. Am I am I understanding that? Right? Yeah?
I'm just asking I'm reasking everything because I want to
try to make this accessible for both me when I

(58:34):
do it and for our listeners. Yeah, for sure. So
mesh Tastic is the software that's running on these devices.
And what mesh Tastic does is a device that's also
running Meshtastic can communicate with each other over LOWRA long distance.
And so you need the hardware that supports the LORAW

(58:57):
and a client which is Mestastic that will allow you
to send tax messages and stuff like that, and do
the encryption handle all that stuff. To actually flash these,
it's super simple. Mesh Tastic has a link that you
can go to. You plug in your device, depending on
the version, you hold down a button, you press flash,

(59:18):
wait like ten seconds and boom, now you have a
working Meshtastic node, probably in underneath ten minutes after you
get this out of the box, you could be up
and running in about ten to fifteen minutes. That's great
and so all right. If I if I've got like say,
I'm the guy in my group of friends who has
more disposable cash, and I want to get this going.

(59:40):
So I pick up five of those lily like boxes
three D printed case for them or just wrap them
in something, you know, and I keep one, I hand
them out to my friends. I get the software on
all of them. How how do I get them all
kind of in comms together? Right? Like? Or if you know,
my friends buy them independently and we each flash them

(01:00:02):
and get them up and running. How do we all
kind of connect? Like? What is that process? Like? Yeah?
So the good thing with mesh Tastic is it automatically
handles adding new nodes to the network, and so as
soon as a new device that runs mess Tastic comes online,
it'll broadcast and tell the entire mesh Tastic network nearby, Hey,

(01:00:26):
a new device got added. You can send messages to me.
So mesh Tastic has two different things that it can do.
It can do broadcasts, where you're sending out a message
to pretty much everyone who has a device that's reachable,
and that's good for say, for instance, you know your
friend comes online, you can't talk to them directly. You

(01:00:46):
could send them broadcast out and say hey Joe, what
device are you and they can reply and broadcast everybody Okay,
I'm on this device. You can also do direct messages,
so once you know that person's device name, you can
actually send messages directly to them. Now, keep in mind
it's not encrypted because technically it's broadcasting throughout each node.

(01:01:10):
It's just like filtering out the messages for whoever it
was addressed for but yeah, at that point then you
can start dming people. And if you want to get
started with encryption, it's also really easy. You can use
the mesh Tastic client, so you can install it on
your computer, plug it into your computer, and just set

(01:01:30):
an encryption key, a passcode, whatever you want to do
to secure your communications, and then once that person has
that passcode, key, whatever, those two devices can connect and
talk completely encrypted, either one on one or if multiple people. Say,
for instance, you have an affinity group of like ten people,

(01:01:52):
you all say, okay, hey, in an inn emergency, let's
meet up at this place and physically share a key
or pass code or whatever. Once everybody has that, you
can also do encrypted broadcasts to multiple people as well,
so getting up and running is super quick. When it
comes to flashing, actually communicating with people makes sense, especially

(01:02:15):
on your phone. It feels just like a normal texting situation.
So that's great. Yeah, it's really it's really amazing. I mean,
this is a really interesting technology because, like I've been
interested in radio for a while. But the biggest downside
to that is a you can't encrypt any kind of

(01:02:35):
radio communications in the US b A license. Yeah, unless
if you're the cops of the military or the FEDS,
you cannot encrypt shit, and if you do, it's it's
kind of an issue. But yeah, you can't encrypt messages
on regular radios. Another thing is like usability. If you

(01:02:57):
hand somebody like a bow thaying handheld radio, most people
are not going to know what to do with it
at all. They're going to be like, what the fuck
is this? But if I hand you a BlackBerry Clone
and say, just type, and if you want to send
a DM to somebody to find them and just send
it like it's it's really easy for your average person

(01:03:17):
to pick it up and use it, which is honestly
the best kind of situation, especially in an emergency where
you can't really rely on highly technical people all the time,
because what if everybody in your affinity group isn't super technical,
you know, So it's a it's a good common device
that anybody can pick up and start sending messages, even

(01:03:38):
encrypted messages, pretty easily. So I think that covers the
technical basics of what you need to do. I did
want to ask real quick before we get onto some
of the more ideological you know stuff here conversations about
like why you specifically gotten into this and why, like
this is important for people. I wanted to ask just

(01:03:59):
really quickly in terms of that three D printed case,
did you just go search in some repository and find
when someone had made or is there one that you've
put up somewhere that you might recommend to people? Yeah?
Actually it was recently uploaded to thing thing evers, which
is a website that has free three D print plans
and files. And so I just searched up lilygo t

(01:04:23):
deck on thing everse and the full case, I mean
the back yeah has Yeah, it looks like an actual device,
and I'm assuming that one's just pla yeah, just Pazza
type super basic. Yeah, yeah, looks great. Yeah, and this
only took all these pieces snapped together, so no glue required,

(01:04:45):
and all these pieces took roughly about eight hours to
print at one hundred percent density. So you have a
pretty solid case. With plans that are available online and
an eight hours, you can have a literal professional looking
device that's protected and able to go, you know, in

(01:05:08):
adverse situations. Yeah. So now I want to get into
some of the more kind of like just talking about
first off, what got you into this? Like, when did
you decide this is a skill I want to develop
and a thing I want to figure out. Yeah. I mean,
so for my day job, I'm an offensive security consultant,
which is just a fancy way of saying that it's

(01:05:29):
a cool job for a living. Yeah, you're doing like
Red Team stuff. It sounds like, yeah, yeah, exactly. So
I've always been interested in technology and specifically like how
do you make technology work in the benefit of people
as opposed to working the benefit for profits or corporate
interest or state interests. So I think technology is a

(01:05:52):
really good tool when used correctly, and there's a lot
of moral and social and political implications when it comes
to technology and actually making it. But that's kind of
how I got into it, was kind of combining my
interest in computers and hacking combined with kind of the

(01:06:13):
social and political activism I've been a part of. So
that was kind of my entry point into it. Yeah,
that makes that makes sense, because I do think, like
when I think about what inspired me about the early Internet,
about like file sharing back in the late nineties, about
you know, when Wikipedia first started up and stuff all

(01:06:33):
that stuff like that. We talk a lot about, like
the days when we thought the Internet was going to
be an unqualified boon for human liberty, the ability to
create effectively, like a smaller and more limited private Internet
for like you and your people to communicate safely through
definitely like scratches that itch. And when we say like

(01:06:57):
more limited Internet, you're not through one of these networks
we're talking about. You're not going to be like sending
YouTube videos and shit, right, But that's not what it's for,
you know. That's it's it's it's got its own use,
and it's very much kind of what the Internet was
about at the beginning, which is just allowing people to
connect that otherwise wouldn't be able to or wouldn't be

(01:07:17):
able to as securely. Yeah, exactly. And actually the same
protocol Loara, you actually kind of can run a basic
Internet protocol that it's called Laura WAN Laura Wide Access Networking,
and you can run some pretty basic programs on it
outside of just text based stuff. So it's a really

(01:07:39):
interesting kind of rabbit hole to go down into. I
will say, if you start looking at Laura and mestastic stuff,
you will eventually start to run into like a right leaning, yes,
sometimes straight out fascist people because there's a crossover between
you know, the the gun community and kind of off

(01:08:02):
grid prepper doomsday prepper people, you know, so you'll run
into that. Anyone who doesn't like like the government is
going to have a vested interest in being able to
communicate in a way that can't be easily intercepted, right
like that, And that doesn't always mean your buddies. I
think most people are pretty familiar with that exactly. Yea,

(01:08:26):
but yeah, it's it's it's really useful. There there are
other ways to, say, for instance, make your own kind
of like micro internet. I read an article that talked
about making kind of like a DIY Internet in quotes,
where you can basically take your home router and connects, say,

(01:08:50):
for instance, your neighbors to the same network, and then
if you have a server of your own that has books,
that has maps, that has music and information, you can
easily share that with other people. And so there are
other ways to kind of get your own off grid
quote unquote internet together, but just outside of text. But yeah,

(01:09:14):
it's definitely possible. It's just needs a little bit more
technical know how, But hopefully soon it'll be a little
simpler to where you can just download something, get you know,
a book server up and running, and then have anybody
come along and download books about you know, permaculture or
about you know, emergency medical aid or fixing infrastructure and

(01:09:37):
stuff like that. So yeah, that's huge being able to
actually like transmit text and stuff through that too. So yeah,
you said when we were chatting online kind of before
we we hooked this up, you said something along the

(01:09:59):
line of you had a bit of a tangent you
wanted to go on. So I've asked kind of my
questions here if there is anything else you wanted to
get out or express or say, just kind of on
the subject of people taking more autonomy for themselves in
their communications technology. Well, now's the time. Yeah sounds good.

(01:10:21):
I mean so earlier you asked, like, what kind of
got me into this? Yeah, but there's another situation that
happened because I live in Texas, Oh and a couple yeah,
so you know where I'm going with this. Yeah, yeah, Yeah.
A couple of years ago, there was a really bad
winter storm and for most people listening, you might be

(01:10:41):
in the Northeast, like, who cares. Yeah, I was there
for that storm. Oh it was it was horrible. Was crazy. Yeah.
And so for people outside of Texas, you might be saying, Okay, well,
winter storm whatever, like, how could that affect anything? But
Texas's power grid is privately owned. Yeah, it's completely separate
from the RESCUUS. Yeah. Urka is a private company that

(01:11:05):
runs the Texas power grid. And so we had a
winter storm event happen, and our power systems are not
in any way built for extreme cold, and so we
had the situation where pretty much the entire state was
out of power except for maybe a few areas in

(01:11:27):
certain cities that had you know, a specific environment where
they had backup generators and stuff like that. But millions
of people lost power. And when people lose power, it
isn't just oh I can't like watch TV or like
do anything. There's lies that are lost, you know, directly
from people who require ventilators to live to people who

(01:11:51):
need electricity to run their medical devices. That impacted everything, right,
So the power going out impacted transportation, impacted water, it
impacted sanitation. So all these bits of infrastructure are all connected,
and communications is kind of at the core of our

(01:12:14):
modern day infrastructure, right, because in order to run a
power plant, you need to have power but not only that,
you need to be able to communicate with other places
in order to properly run the water sanitation program. Same
with transportation. I mean, if communication goes out, you literally

(01:12:34):
can't deliver food, You literally can't deliver water to people
and places that need it. And so it's not just
an impact directly to communications, but an impact to your
entire life. And so when we're talking about these pieces
of infrastructure, we really have to think about the larger
picture of how all this infrastructure's integrated in our lives,

(01:12:58):
and how an impact to one part of it can
impact your life in ways that you never even thought of. Yeah, yeah,
and that's also I mean, I think I would imagine
one of the benefits. I can say, just from sort
of the fairly minimal degree to which I've done stuff
like understand the basics of solar power and what I

(01:13:19):
can do and can't do in my area with it,
you know, even outside of the stuff that is green
and renewable, understanding like how you can and cannot use
generators in an emergency, and like which work. It's just
given me more of an understanding of how the regular
stuff that I use day to day works. A little
bit better about what the real power draw of my
life is, you know, and anytime you're kind of expanding

(01:13:44):
your autonomy technologically, it also just increases the degree to
which you understand what's going on every day, which I
think is always of value, right, Like, even outside of
whatever theoreticals we might prompt for like what could happen
or what is likely to happen, because we're all going
to deal with more disasters in our lives before they're over,
hopefully more than one. The alternative is worse. But yeah,

(01:14:10):
well that's kind of all I had to say. Did
you have anything else you wanted to get into before
we roll out? Uh? Yeah, I mean there are a
bunch of use cases outside of like whether events or
natural disasters to protests is one of them. A really
big security concern when you're at a protest is bringing

(01:14:31):
your cell phone. Not a lot of people know that
your cell phone has a unique identifier number, and police
governments states all have technology to basically like bring up
a fake cell phone tower and have your device connect
to it, so there are ways to track Say, for instance,

(01:14:52):
you go to a protest, you have your phone on.
Now your identifier is kind of tied to being at
this protest, right, But with technology like this, it kind
of circumvents that, especially when it comes to the ability
for a threat actor to track you or know that
you've been there. And it's encrypted, so even if say,

(01:15:13):
for instance, a police department was able to intercept low raw,
they wouldn't be able to read the messages period. And
so that's another good thing. Same with you know, conflict zones. Yeah,
you know, we're seeing now with the genocide that's happening
in Palestine with the Palestinians, it's increasingly harder for people

(01:15:34):
to communicate what areas are safe. It's hard to communicate
you know, oh, we need to get out now, have
an early warning system of there are literal tanks coming
down the highway towards us, we need to leave. And
so something like this can also be you know, really
good in that situation because again the messages are encrypted,

(01:15:55):
it can go pretty long range, especially if you have
direct line of sight. We're talking like up to ten miles,
and so being able to just send a text message
to somebody can save someone's life in a situation like that.
So there's a lot of different use cases outside of
you know emergencies that this stuff can be used. But
that's where building the autonomy kind of comes from. And

(01:16:19):
if we're talking about like leftist political organizing and talking
about building a better future, being autonomous from stay in
corporate controlled infrastructure is really important, right because if say,
for instance, hypothetically we had the Big R Revolution, right,

(01:16:40):
the first thing that people in power are going to
go after is power, water, sanitation, and communications. Right, They're
going to go after the main infrastructure. And so if
we want to have an autonomous and free future, we
have to think about collectively owning the means of infrastructure,
not just the means of production. Yeah. Well, and even

(01:17:01):
outside you know, the Big R scenario, something that I
think is probably at least certainly more immediate is continuing
sort of downs in social order and areas expanding where
non state actors, including the aforementioned Nazis that we had
talked about, are able to get bolder, right, And like

(01:17:23):
one thing we've seen right now, if you watch videos
of cartel operations in parts of Mexico right now, one
thing you will see on they're really good guys right
on their special ops style teams is they will all
have these weird looking things look kind of like a
microphone attached to their plate carriers, and that's a cell jammer.
It's the standard thing for them to carry into the

(01:17:43):
field because it stops people from reporting in real time
when they're carrying out an operation. And cartels are not
the only people who do that, right, Like, it is
a widely used tactic now, you see it all over
in Ukraine. Right, it's in part not just because of
like cell phones, but because of like shit like drones
and stuff. It's it's just an increasingly common thing. And

(01:18:04):
so when you're talking about what our threats that are realistic, well,
it's not just the state that can interrupt your ability
to communicate traditionally, right, it's also your non state opponents.
And so for a variety of reasons, having backups, having
alternates is just an incredibly important thing to be able
to do to some extent, Yeah, definitely, Yeah, Well anything else, no,

(01:18:34):
I mean, right now, I'm working on a kind of
step by step article that kind of goes into more
detail on what you need to do this, all the
equipment you need, how to actually flash devices, how to
start sending messages, and so once that's ready, I'll publish it.
I publish you know, diy articles and stuff to my substack.

(01:18:55):
It's an archosolar punk. Or you can go to Hydroponic
track and I have a link there that goes to
substack as well. Beautiful. Well, all right, Hydroponic Trash, thank
you so much for everything. This has really been useful
and enlightening. I'm going to go hop on to Ali
Express in a second here and make a couple of

(01:19:19):
purchases and I'm sure there's going to be a number
of folks doing a version of that again. You can
find our guests at Hydroponic Trash on Twitter where you
can get in touch with them and keep an eye
on what they're writing their substack. Very very excited to
play around with this technology. Thank you so much for
working to make it more visible. Yeah, of course, thanks

(01:19:42):
for having me on. Yes, absolutely everyone. It's me James
and I'm jo today by Erica, who is an attorney
the director at Alotto Lada, which is a binational nonprofit

(01:20:06):
that does legal humanitarian aid between San Diego and Tijuana,
and we're here to discuss the open air detention sites
and some things that Jim Desmond, one of our County
supervisors has been saying about them. So welcome to the show, Erica.
Thank you for having me. Yeah, of course, it's nice
to have you here. Thanks for taking the time. So

(01:20:26):
I want to start off by talking about Jim Desmond today,
which is something I like to do if people aren't
familiar with Jim Desmond. Jim Desmond is a supervisor in
San Diego County. He's from District five, which is northern
San Diego County. He's a Republican. He's the former mayor
of San Marcos, which is a city in North County,
and before that he was a pilot in the Navy.

(01:20:47):
He's pretty much like a standard culture war boomer and
a reminder to us all that there are people that
live today who grew up when they put lead and
children to toys. Notable Jim Desmond's dances include his starts
on climate change, which I'm just going to read to you.
Try and follow it if you can. It's a challenge.

(01:21:08):
I think the climate has been changing since the beginning
of time. The climate comes and the climate goes. The
Great Lakes the Great Plains is a Yosemite valley all
formed by glaciers. They've been gone a long long time,
So you find seashells on mountaintops, you see where it
used to be. You know, the land masses were Pangaea,
and then the land matters all change and move around.

(01:21:31):
So I say, we may be part of climate change,
but I think the only reason we're here and we're
still here today is because we as a species learn
to adapt to different climates and climate changes. Now, maybe
we're maybe exacerbating it a bit towards the end of
the warming trend, but I don't know that. So it's
just it's about as convoluted as his governing strategy here

(01:21:54):
in San Diego County. Yeah, it's said a lot of words,
but it really conveyed very little meaning. But yeah, this
is kind of he seems to like speaking, but but
maybe like he doesn't take quite as long as one
would hope to plan out where he's going with its
sentences before he delivers him. He also has a podcast,
so I guess our podcasting rival, did you have you

(01:22:16):
listened to his podcast? Dereka, No, I am, but it
might be entertaining, so yeah, I'll take a look at it. Definitely.
I know it'll you can learn some things about coronavirus
for instance. God, yeah, it's good stuff. In May of
twenty twenty, he claimed there had been six pure solely

(01:22:36):
coronavirus deaths. The other two hundred or so that happened
to guacted by them. We're not quote unquote pure coronavirus deaths.
I guess by his estimation. So in this little escapade
got him cited by Joe Rogan on the Joe Rogan Podcast,
which must have been a great moment for Desmond. He
hosted a ton of COVID skeptics on his podcast as well.

(01:22:56):
Throughout the lockdowns he did after he caused some controversy
on Twitter, which is a recurring theme, he hosted an
actual immunologist on his show, and this was the only
guest who he really kind of argued with, and in
doing so, he said, I quote, the herd needs to
get it, and he's talking about COVID here and we'll

(01:23:17):
have a better handle on it. So to me, the
number of cases means the herd's getting it, so that's
a good thing. And then his guests corrected in pointing
out that there needs to be like immunity for there
to be heard immunity. And while he's just looking at
it is contagion, not immunity, so he sort of He

(01:23:38):
continued to make these claims throughout the pandemic, right that
the lockdown was holding our jobs hostage, bad for the economy.
He wasn't an anti maskt Interestingly, he said we should
wear masks. That's what it took to open the businesses again.
And he at least I mean, he's always been pretty
terrible on boarder stuff, right, Erica. I'm sure you've encountered

(01:23:59):
to his border stances before. I think all of the
supervisors are terrible on border stuff. But at least he
says the quiet part out loud. Yeah. We'll get more
into that later. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I want to talk
about how that. Yeah, that the the Democrats been terrible
on the border is something that I think we can't
say enough. In recent months, he held a press conference

(01:24:21):
claiming the border should be shut down to prevent an
influx It's not a quote, it's a peraphrase here, but
to prevent an influx of har mass fighters, which I
don't know. It shows a misunderstanding of a lot of things,
like like how her mass works, and also how the
border works, like the idea that a one could leave

(01:24:42):
Gaza at this time and be that one could just
fly into Mexico like where of course, like they wouldn't
immediately notice that you had come like armed and equipped
to attack the US border. But I think just with
the COVID stuff and with the border stuff, he is
just throwing red meat to his base. But it's not

(01:25:03):
necessarily aligned with what he does, and I would assume
it's not aligned with what he actually knows. Like we're
the COVID stuff. He did set up vaccination clinics in
his district, and so he's clearly not a complete skeptic,
at least that's not what his actions showed. And I

(01:25:23):
think for some of your listeners who are not in
the United States or maybe not in California, we are
on the border in San Diego. You can get to
Mexico within you know, if you're in Jim Desmon's district,
within half an hour you're in Tijuana. And I assume
he's been here for many years, and so he has
to know more about the border than he's letting on.

(01:25:45):
It's just really like he's regurgitating the right wing narrative
to garner political points. I think in a county where
he's the last standing Republican on the board of supervisors,
So I think that's important to remember too. Definitely, it
definitely seems like this is kind of and you see
he does a lot of appearance on writing news channels, right,

(01:26:07):
Like he's often on Fox. But then our local kind
of crazy writ wing news channel is KUSI, who have
really doubled down on the culture war stuff since like
twenty twenty, and you'll see him on there a lot
and talking about the border a lot. Right. It seems to,
as you say, like either be like an attempt for
reelection or perhaps for higher office. I don't know, but

(01:26:29):
he he'll make a lot of claims about the border
which are just patently untrue, which is what I want
to talk about now. So he spent his New Year's
Day in Cucumber making little videos for Twitter and Instagram.
I was there only year days too. I didn't atually
see him, which is a shame. But that day they
weren't many people at all who are in the open

(01:26:51):
air attention sites, so he sort of made videos in
front of empty tents. It was a bit weird. In
his first one, he wrote, today I visited the border
and migrant encampments in Ucumber. The chaos continues with dozens
of people camping out waiting for border patrol to take
them to resource center paid for by county taxpayers. And

(01:27:11):
he's not like you could. I'm sure Erica, you can
explain this as well. He's not wrong that they may
eventually end up at the quote unquote welcome center, which
is paid for by county funds, which came from the
American Rescue Act, which is of course federal money. But
it's a little more complicated than that, isn't it. Yeah,
So the migrants are being held in what are essentially

(01:27:34):
open air prisons by border patrol. We the collective of nonprofits,
mutual aid groups and volunteers are the only ones who've
been paying for water, food, medical assistance, shelter, et cetera
for people who are being held in these open air prisons,
sometimes for days at a time, including the medically infirm

(01:27:58):
and children. And so I think that's one piece of
it to understand, because he did say in his when
he was speaking in front of the empty tent, that
the county tax payers were paying for those things, which
is patently untrue. But then just again, understanding the process

(01:28:18):
is something that he has to understand. He's been here
for decades. He has to know that these people are
being taken into border patrol custody process and then either
released to the county funded welcome center or they are
detained by immigration And so it's the same legal process
we've had for decades at the border, where people have

(01:28:40):
a right to seek asylum, whether they enter at a
port of entry or not. And the real controversy here
is the fact that border patrol is holding people outdoors
for days at a time without the things that they
need to survive. Yeah, I want to get back to
that claid that he made right that the county paid
for it. We got some video of him making that claim,

(01:29:01):
so we'll just play it here. As we look inside
this abandoned tents, there's a sandwich left in a baggy,
there's water with bananas, ponchos, crackers, snacks, waters, and this
tent is empty. Maybe that's just the same way. There's
no one here yet. Probably in the next day or so,

(01:29:24):
there'll be more migrants coming inhabiting Nessa and then being
process for San Diego County, being paid for with San
Diego tax So in the caption that accompanied this video,
he wrote, quote, during my recent boarder visit, I encountered
an abandoned campsite filled with tents, food, drinks, and campfires,
paid for by San Diego County taxpayers. This site is

(01:29:45):
used as a temporary holding site before migrants and then
processed into our country. And this like gets to the
thing I think that lewis where he like bullshitted too
close to the sun, because none of that, as you said,
was paid for by taxpayers, right, all of that was
paid for by yeah people like nonprofit to each aid people.
And can you give a sense of the amount of

(01:30:08):
spending that Alotrolado has had to take on to make
these open air prisidents like survivable for people, and even
still they're deeply unpleasant even with all the work. Yeah.
So we have acted as a fiscal sponsor for a
lot of the smaller groups because we are able to

(01:30:30):
receive foundation funding as a five H one C three
and so we've used that legal status to support a
lot of the mutual aid groups that have been spending
tens of thousands of dollars. But I've gone through the
budgets and we've spent an average of about one hundred
and fifty thousand dollars per month, which is a lot

(01:30:50):
for us. But when you look at the Department of
Homeland Security, which should be spending this money, they have
one hundred and seventy billion dollar budget for twenty twenty three.
I think it's even higher for a fiscal year twenty
twenty four, So it's really you know, probably what they
spend on one of those autonomous surveillance towers that are

(01:31:12):
sitting in the camps in like a day, right, So
it's really nothing for them. You know, it's very clear
that they're making a choice to leave these really vulnerable
migrants to potentially die in the desert. And then when
we look at the county funding, you know, they've allocated
now six million dollars to this welcome center, which you know,

(01:31:33):
we'll talk about in more detail, but it's really providing
woefully inadequate services to the same population that's going through
these open air detention sites after they've been released from
Border Patrol custody. So again it's like it's a lot
of money for us, it's not a lot of money
for the county. I would love it if the county
would pay for it, if they've stated on multiple occasions

(01:31:55):
if they will not. It's been pure philanthropic funding and donations.
But yeah, I mean we've been able to do a
lot with very little, and it really was the bare
minimum to keep people alive. So yeah, if we had
an actual junion of county funding, I'm sure we could
have done a lot more. Yeah, and like even we

(01:32:17):
don't have access to the things that government has access to,
right Like, normally in a refugee situation, we'd have UNHCR tents,
we'd have humanitarian MRIs like we had to buy those.
On this we couldn't get the tents and we end
the MRIs. We had to find on the surplus market,
right like, we can't. The state could do more for less,

(01:32:38):
but they're very much choosing not to, as you said,
So what the result of this was rather amusing a
number of people from mutual A groups, including friends of
ours from free Ship Collective, took to Desmond to office
with literal receipts right like receipts. Yes, yeah, it was
a tremendous moment. And we don't mean receipts like in

(01:32:59):
the figure difference. We need like pieces of paper from Costco. Yeah,
oh yeah no. And the fact is, you know, within
a number of hours, the folks from Free Shit Collective
and others were able to just pull together over sixteen
thousand dollars in receipts. And that's, like I mentioned, a
small fraction of what we've actually been spending. That's probably

(01:33:22):
just their receipts from the week. And so again for us,
it's like that's an enormous lift. I know, we're all exhausted,
those of us who have been working in the open
air detention sites. It's exhausting to be there all the time.
It's exhausting to try to raise enough money to keep
thousands and thousands of people alive when they're forced into
a deadly situation. And so it's I think we were

(01:33:44):
all pretty pissed off when we heard him taking credit
for that, even if he was trying to denigrate, you know,
the idea of spending money on refugees. Yeah, right, Like
it's funny because he'll also say, like it's inhumane, it's unacceptable,
But like if you're not going to do anything to
stop the humanity, the inhumanity, like I don't really find
that a very believable claim, Like he was literally standing Willows,

(01:34:09):
so like less than a mile from where we spend
that day making sandwiches and cooking beans and doing the
things we do every day sorting out coats, you know,
And he could have come helped, or even just come
and said, what you guys are doing is great, but
he chose not to. He just stood in front of
his whoever was filming him alied. His proposed solution is

(01:34:31):
to close the border, which he knows is not an
option because the Refugee Convention is still a thing. The
US is still a signatory. You know, we have legal
obligations under both domestic and international law to accept asylum
seekers in our country. And so you know, his solution
to the inhumanity is to push people back over the

(01:34:51):
Mexican border, where you know they're subject to all manner
of state and criminal violence. So I don't think the
inhumanity is really his priority to address. It's really again
just like throwing red meat to the base to you know,
this open border's hysteria that they all love to cite. Yeah,

(01:35:13):
talking of hysteria, we should take a little break for
some adverts for things that might try to get you
to buy them by making your freight, and you shouldn't.
We are back, and yeah, I want to talk a

(01:35:35):
little more about that. Like, is this idea of a
closed boarder you see a lot mostly from Republicans right, Like,
it's like you say, it's not only legally impossible, but
it's also like physically impossible. And we people enter the
US through gaps in the border war when people enter
the US through gaps in the border wall, I should add,
because we've made it virtually impossible for them to get

(01:35:56):
asylum appointments in a reasonable timeframe and to be in
a place that's safe while they make those appointments. And
so like the idea that we could how do we
close you know, like the physical border? Well just yeah,
I mean I just want to take a step back
for one second, because this sort of Biden's open borders

(01:36:20):
hysteria that we've heard so much from the right wing,
I think it's worth unpacking what this means because I've seen,
you know, people in the Democratic Party or even people
on the left really shy away from this idea of
open borders. And when those of us who have first
world passports already have a world of open borders. I mean,
we can pretty much go wherever we want, you know,

(01:36:42):
we gentrify O their countries to their detriment, Like it's
not there really are not many restrictions on first world
citizens moving around the world. So I think that's one
important thing to consider as we're kind of launching into
this discussion. It's like open borders are okay for me,
but not for brown people. Like yeah, so little, you know,

(01:37:05):
And that's kind of the underlying impetus behind a lot
of what we're going to talk about in San Diego County.
It's like people this underlying idea that people should not
have the right to come here, which is just ludicrous.
So I think that's one thing. But when we're talking
about asylum in particular, you know, like I mentioned earlier,
we are signatories Refugee Convention and the subsequent nineteen sixty

(01:37:30):
seven Protocol. This has been enshrined in domestic law in
the nineteen eighty Refugee Act, and so refugees who are
people outside of their country of origin fleeing persecution have
the right to ask for protection at the US Mexico border,
whether it's at a port of entry or between ports
of entry. So those in Hakumba and these other open

(01:37:52):
air detention sites are those crossing between ports of entry
because it's been made impossible to approach the port of
entry and seek US island. And this is something that
our organization has been litigating for years. You know, at
first people were just being turned away. Then there was
a waiting list in Mexico, and now they have this
stupid app that's just like glitches and there's no enough

(01:38:13):
appointments and people have to wait for months in Mexico
just to get an appointment if they're one of the
lucky ones who can. The app's also been hacked by
organized crime. You know, certain nationalities are able to pay
for appointments. It's just it's a complete mess. It has
nothing to do with this ideal. You know that the
Refugee conventionment is supposed to enshrine, so regardless of you know,

(01:38:37):
all of the illegal things the US government is doing,
like you cannot close a border to assylum seekers without
withdrawing from the Refugee Convention. And I just really don't
see that happening for our country, just because we like to,
you know, talk about how we're abastioned for human rights
et cetera, which you know, that's a whole other podcast
I think about. Yeah, break that down a little bit.

(01:39:01):
But I think one thing that you said that I
want to talk about is that you said that open
borders or like free travel for brown people is something
that a lot of more privileged folks, especially in San
Diego or even in San Diego, should say, are uncomfortable with.
I think we really saw, like it's not just skin color,

(01:39:22):
but it's really hard for me to see skin color
not playing a large role when I see people from Africa,
people from South America waiting for months, if not years,
and then people from Ukraine coming when the largest scale
conflict in Ukraine began and effectively skipping the line. Right. Yeah,

(01:39:42):
So when the Ukrainians all came through Tijuana, I think
there were maybe twenty thousand or so who came through
in a period of a month. That was during Title
forty two, which was a Trump ara policy that closed
the border to asylum seekers based on public health reasons,

(01:40:03):
but really it was because they wanted to close the
border to asylum seekers, and so there were very few
humanitarian exemptions granted to Title forty two at that time.
But at the time the Ukrainians came, that exemption process
had actually been shut down for quite a while. So
I was watching people die in Tijuana because they didn't

(01:40:25):
have access to the US asylum system. I remember when
the Ukrainians came, there was a child who caught an
ammonia in one of the shelters. It was like a
month's old baby who died. And then when the Ukrainians came,
you know, the doors were flung open for them. CBP,
which up until that point said they did not have
capacity to process asylum seekers. They were processing Ukrainians at

(01:40:48):
a clip of one thousand a day, and it was
heartbreaking to see. And you know, after they shut off
the spicket for the Ukrainians, after they stopped letting them
in at the border, CBP said they only had capacity
to process a few dozen non white asylum seekers, and
so all of a sudden, their capacity was just gone.

(01:41:08):
It was, you know, it just it was so transparent
and so blatant and so hurtful for people who've been
suffering at that point for years with the silent system
closed off to them. Yeah. Yeah, it was really hard
to see that and to know the people, the people
who I guess effectively they lost their place in line, right,
a lot of people cut in front of them, And

(01:41:31):
to a large degree, it's still much easier. Right, we're
under title eight again now not Title forty two. But
it's still much easier for wealthy white people to get
appointments using CBP one than it is for poor and
non white people, right, Yeah, because especially when the app
was first launched, there's a point in the appointment process

(01:41:54):
during which you have to take a photo of yourself
and it mass your face for facial recognition purposes, and
it wasn't working on really dark skinned people. You know,
a few of the organizations working in Mexico had to
buy the construction style lights to shine on people's faces
so that it would photo to pick them up. But

(01:42:14):
just even like you have to have a new phone,
I think they probably made the app to work on
an iPhone, which most people outside the United States don't have. Yeah. Yeah,
it's like I've got a tip on that I've not
been able to confirm it, but someone at the Ice
Store told the Ice Store the Apple Store told me
that it wasn't working on certain Samsung and Huawei phones

(01:42:36):
and that they were having people come in and buy
like the cheapest iPhone they could in bulk to try
and access it. Well, we keep iPhones in our office
in Tikwana exactly for that reason, because you know, people
need to be able to access the app. But now
the well, the app has been hacked for a while.
So there's some groups that work mostly I would say

(01:42:59):
with Russian asylum seekers. They're charging I think around between
five hundred and one thousand for an appointment, maybe more
sometimes I'm not sure exactly how they're doing it. I
know also there's been some hacking of the geolocation features,
so these criminal groups are selling appointments to people who
haven't even left their home country. And meanwhile, you know,

(01:43:20):
the shelters on the border are full of people with
crappy phones and a week internet connection who wait for
months and months and months, while the richer people who
are paying for nice phones and appointments are able to
get through much more quickly. Yeah, it's made of a
fucked up system. Even more fucked up they designed it

(01:43:41):
in house as well, which you know they are paid
to have over estimated their abilities there. One day, I'll
get my foyers back about cepp one and it will
probably be some point in the middle of the next
presidential administration, which will make them fey relevant and really
freaking annoying. But well, we're suing about it, so it'll
probably be a few years before we get to discovery.

(01:44:03):
But yeah, we'll have a race. Yeah, but you are
assuming that they want the system to work, which they don't. Yes, yeah, yeah,
that's fair. So in that sense, it's working perfectly, right, Yeah,
And it's doing in a sense what like the unofficial
and of tone of immigration policy has always been, which

(01:44:23):
is that like, it's fine for wealthy white people to
come here, but we want to limit the number of
non white and non wealthy people who come here. And
like they can say out loud, like and maybe we
should talk about this now. The difference between Trump and
Biden is Trump just said it and Biden didn't. And
when Trump said it, like wealth well meaning liberals in
the Midwest gave a shit and sent money. Like in

(01:44:45):
twenty eighteen, things were very bad in Tijuana, right with
the people staying in the Elberatal, but like at least
people in America cared and sent money so we could help.
Whereas now, like you know, major outlets who have given
ten front page stories to accusations of one woman plagiarizing

(01:45:05):
and a dissertation that she wrote years ago, haven't written
a single piece about the open air concentration camps that
our government has in the Cumber in other places. Well,
not just that, I mean the media by and large
has allowed this right wing narrative of open borders to
take over, even though the policies are largely identical to

(01:45:27):
the Trump administration. Right so they're even talking about now
bringing back a Title forty two type restriction that would
turn away asylum seekers and send them back to Mexico.
We have the asylum ban, which is very similar to
the one that was litigated under the Trump administration. I mean,
it's just, you know, family separation. Maybe it's not the

(01:45:48):
minor children being taken away, but still thousands of families
being separated. I think there's a couple things like one
is just people hate when Trump does it, but they
don't hate when Biden does it. It's one, yeah, but also,
like you said, Trump says the quiet part out loud
and so people respond to that. Whereas Biden has co

(01:46:12):
opted the immigrant rights movement by putting us in a
stakeholder relationship. And I can see amongst some of my
colleagues that they value access to power more than the
rights of the people that we are supposed to serve,
and so they will go along with a lot of
this stuff and you know, basically enable it in many
ways just to maintain that access to power. And I've

(01:46:35):
seen some of my colleagues who you know, we were
all finding on the same side during the Trump administration
have actually gone into the Biden administration that are implementing
these policies, and so it's you know, it's it's really
like pretty horrifying to see. And also I would say
that people in the Biden administration are in many ways

(01:46:56):
smarter because it was easier to litigate under the Trump admission,
we could knock down a lot of these policies because
they were just dumb, not well written. You know, it's
like clearly unconstitutional. You know, they learned lessons during the
monuments or during the Trump administration, so now the policies
are written in a way that are that make it

(01:47:16):
much more difficult to litigate. And the Supreme Court in
twenty twenty two, in a decision called Ale Mang Gonzalez
made it impossible to get class wide injunctive relief for
violations of immigration law. So what that means is that
dhs can violate the law and there's no way to
stop them from doing so on a large scale in

(01:47:37):
the courts, and they are banking on that when in
current litigation, they literally are relying on that to continue
breaking the law, especially when it comes to turning asylum
seekers away. Yeah, and something else that Testament has asked
for is he wants them to turn asylum seekers away
before they get to the border and then quite understand
what they like that would be inside Mexico, which well,

(01:48:01):
that's what Mexico is doing right now. Yeah, yeah, Yeah,
they're like I was in Coocomber, like on Friday Thursday,
and they get National Guard or like sitting at the
little gaps in the wall. I mean you've seen it too.
You see National Guard, Mexican National Guard drive up, they
kind of check out the situation and leave, and then

(01:48:21):
the travel agents come and drop off the migrants. And
so it's something very much that can be controlled to
a great extent within Mexico, and the US is very obviously,
you know, working with Mexico publicly obviously working with Mexico
to stop migrants from reaching the US Mexico border, and

(01:48:43):
working with countries further south to stop people from reaching
the US Mexico border. So this is definitely a regional project. Yeah,
one thing I want to talk about is as people
come through those countries further south, and there's this like
in recent days, even like we're recording this on on Monday,

(01:49:04):
people hear it on Wednesday. But I've seen this narrative
and I think it's coming from the fact that funding
for Ukraine was tied to funding for the border, and
people have lost their minds over the conflict in Ukraine
and and and they have silly dog pictures on Twitter,
and and it'd become a replacement for a personality for

(01:49:27):
a certain type of divorce guy. Like so like that, Yeah,
the army of divorced dads has like turned on the border.
And like one of the things you'll say is like, oh,
like the border is like a like like this is
how bad actors are getting in the US, you know,
like you know, har Mass again, like the Hamas are

(01:49:50):
really otherwise engaged in the minute. But like yeah, yeah,
like there's a whole lot of people who would love
to leave Gaza and and we absolutely should welcome those
people here, but they can't and that's fucked up. But yeah,
this idea that like isis hamas the Russian secret of

(01:50:13):
the Russian FSB. I'm sure someone will have suggested, like
North Korea or the PC are coming through Haucumber as well,
like they seem it seems to admit, admit what happens
to people entering Mexico and indeed other countries further south, right, Like,
can you explain how people think the thing that the

(01:50:34):
US is the only state with a capacity for surveillance,
which is manifestly untrue? Can you explain how people are
like surveiled and like make legible on their way north?
There are multiple multilateral and bilateral information sharing agreements that
connect to criminal and quote unquote intelligence databases. So when

(01:51:01):
you are traveling internationally, you are subject to a web
of surveillance that is, you know, in many ways connected
to the United States. So the US government those you're coming,
like you know, when you are countries away just by
virtual using a passport. But then for people who are

(01:51:21):
traveling through a regular means, there's also a web of
biometric collection stations that have been set up by the
Department of Homeland Security, most notably north of the Darien Gap,
and so extra continental migrants, those from outside of the Americas,
as well as some Venezuelans and a few other nationalities,

(01:51:42):
have their fingerprints taken Irish scans pictures taking for facial recognition,
and that is entered into a database that is shared
directly with the US government. There's several other bilateral information
sharing agreements that are focused particularly on biometrics, with several

(01:52:02):
Central American countries and with Mexico obviously, and Mexico has
just insane enforcement in southern Mexico. If you've ever tried
to travel over land from top of Toula in Mexico City,
you will go through numerous checkpoints where you know your
information is taken. You know, a lot of times you're
just paying a bribe to keep going. But it's something

(01:52:25):
where you know they know who's coming. That's why you
hear all the time in the media like this, many
people are coming through the dairy and Gap. How do
they know that, Well, they have these biometric you know,
information collection stations. But I think just more broadly, like
coming through the southern border as a refugee or just
as a migrant is probably the stupidest way to come

(01:52:47):
into the United States if you are trying to, you know,
do a terrorist attack. Because like border patrol, despite what
they like to say, they are not overwhelmed. You know,
if you divide the number of coming over by the
number of agents, it's far less than one migrant per
agent per day, So they have a pretty good lock

(01:53:07):
on the border. There's not a lot of people getting
through undetected. Those who turn themselves in, which is the
vast majority of people, they are subject to all of
the same surveillance and security checks I just mentioned. They
get their DNA sample taken at the border, they give
all of their information, and then they are not let
out of custody if they trigger any kind of security flag,

(01:53:30):
and it can just be like they're from Yemen, they're
from Afghanistan. Sometimes they're just detained because of that. But
any of those if any of those checks are triggered,
they're detained for the duration of proceedings. They never see
that outside of a prison. So this idea that terrorists
are sneaking over the border is frankly stupid. I think,
you know, if we think back to nine to eleven.
I think they all came on visas. Yeah, yeah, and

(01:53:53):
like the system makes it so much easier for someone
who is wealthy and white and otherwise privileged to come
to this country that like it's ridiculous to think that
a state actor like Russia wouldn't take advantage of that,
rather than yeah, yeah, attempting to walk someone through the
border where they're about to like encounter some of the

(01:54:14):
most intense state surveillance that can happen to a person,
and you start off in a prison, So like, why
would you do that? You may never believe it any sense. Yeah,
it doesn't make any sense. I'm sure there's like, you know,
some people who have ties to foreign intelligence. Sure, I
mean it could happen, but it's like, so the number

(01:54:35):
is so vanangially small. And I think another important thing
to note is when people are processed, they have an
obligation to attend an immigration court hearing. And when I
looked at the statistics for Russian asylum seekers in particular,
because I've seen a lot of this rhetoric of like
Russia sending spies over the border, So ninety eight point

(01:54:55):
five percent of them show up to their immigration court hearings.
Are you going to do that if you're you're gonna
subject yourself to another round of security checks and you know,
spill your entire asylum story, subject yourself to cross examination.
No you're not. Yeah, I don't know. People have watched
that film, the TV series The Americans a little too
much losing their minds. Okay, So I think, yeah, it's

(01:55:20):
really important to also point out, like when we're talking
about the potential for bad actors. So yeah, like sure,
maybe there's someone who's come who's done something bad, or
maybe there's someone who comes who will do something bad.
It doesn't mean that everyone else who came is in
any way complicit in that, Like we haven't given them
another way to come here. It's not like they had
to take the bad guy route because they chose to.

(01:55:43):
Like you, no one would be picking up their children
and walking across the desert and then spending sometimes up
to a week in camps which are currently below freezing
at night, sometimes with you know, like a blanket or
like a tent, or maybe it woulden't shelter with their luck.
No one will be doing that if there was an
easier option and it's ludicristic like claim that these people's

(01:56:06):
asylum claims or the fact that they should be welcome
here is in any way impacted by the actions of
somebody else who might have taken the same Yeah. I
mean the other thing too, is just because the border
is still closed off by policies that restrict access to asylum,
it has super charged the strength of criminal groups that

(01:56:29):
bring people to the border. And I will say that
they are spreading a lot of misinformation. You know, they
use this reporting from the right wing calling the border
open to advertise their services, and they might very well
tell people that it's a lot easier than it actually is,
and that they have an easier chance to get asylum
than they actually do. I mean, I don't discount the

(01:56:50):
power of misinformation, but those I have seen over the
past six seven years, especially since the Trump administration really
tried to close off access to asylum, I've seen those
groups grow in power. I've seen the price that people
pay to cross the border grow both financially and just
in the amount of suffering that they have to endure.

(01:57:11):
So when we talk about border security and national security,
I would argue that border restrictions actually make us much
less safe because you know, criminal groups now completely control
the border, whereas you know, a decade ago, even a
person who just wanted to cross the border on their
own could do so, you know, if they knew the way,

(01:57:31):
they could just try to cross. And now if you
try to do that without paying the criminal groups who
really control it, you will get be killed. Yeah, and
that's happened multiple times in the last few months. We'll
talk of misleading advertising planes. We have to to take
short break to hear home with them, and we'll be
back in a moment. Okay, we're back. And one thing

(01:57:59):
that I want to talk about that we haven't got
too yet is that, like the the failed government response
isn't just federal or well, it's both federal and local.
But I wanted to talk a little bit about this.
That the federal funding that San Diego County got, that
it reallocated towards a quote unquote welcome center. Right, So, yeah,

(01:58:24):
we're both very familiar with the welcome center it got.
It got three million dollars initially and then got it
got three million more because apparently none of us are
doing anything useful anywhere else and don't merit any help,
and do you want to talk first of all about
just like what the conditions are like. You've just come
out of being detained in the desert for maybe up

(01:58:46):
to a week. It's cold, We feed you, but like
we wish we could feed you more and better. You
don't have a change of clothes. Right, then you've been detained.
You could have been detained for one night, two nights,
severne more nights, and then you hit this well consenter.
So can you, like, I can think how we would
like to treat people who have just been through all that,
But can you explain to us how people are treated

(01:59:08):
when they when they arrive at a welcome center. Well,
it's they're not arriving there. They're picked up from detention
by the nonprofit that's administering the welcome center in what
look like prison buses, right, I mean it's I can't
I can't imagine that someone getting on one of those
buses understands that they're not just at another stage of detention. Right.

(01:59:31):
So they get to this fenced in, abandoned school, they
are lined up and they're forced to give all of
their information to the nonprofit workers. They are you know,
mostly not spent I think maybe like forty percent Spanish speakers.

(01:59:52):
I'm sure the exact percentage, but if there's people from
all over the world, there's no paid interpreters on site,
and so you know they do. You have this little
script that they read in the beginning saying like you're
not detained, like this is a welcome center whatever, but
they run it through Google Translate and then play the
Google Translate like over the megaphone, which it's like, have

(02:00:14):
you ever tried to like understand someone screaming something into
a megaphone, never mind the fact that it's like Mandarin
Google Translate. Like people, I guarantee you they still think
they're in prison. And so then they go they have
to sometimes wait for hours in this intake line. Only
then they're given a ticket to eat the like probably

(02:00:35):
some of the worst food I've ever seen, Like, you know,
people are not eating a lot when they're at the
opening attention sites, and then they're really not eating a
lot when they're in attention And I've seen people refuse
the food there because it's that bad. And it's like
they're standing in a line for hours, not having eat
and probably not having slept, and god knows how long, yeah,

(02:00:56):
you know, having this garbled message played to them over
a megaphon own So anyway, they get through all that,
and then they're told they have to make their own way,
you know, to their sponsor, and those who don't have
the money to do so are provided with I think
it's up to maybe two or three days of shelter

(02:01:17):
or a hotel room before they are shipped off to
another part of the country. And so the goal of
the welcome center is to get rid of the migrants,
to get them elsewhere. So, you know, ninety five percent
to ninety nine percent do have a place to go.
They don't all have the means to get there, but
most of them do, almost all have the means to

(02:01:38):
get there. The other few, like the other you know,
one to five percent, they need help. They need you know,
maybe a place to stay for a couple of months,
they need help getting a work permit. They might need help,
you know, applying for asylum. But instead of investing in
the resources that we need locally to help them, they're
shipped off to New York, Chicago or other places is

(02:02:00):
that have invested in those resources. And that's really the
same thing Greg Abbott was doing from Texas. But you know,
we're just putting a nicer we call it a welcome
sentence yah, yeah, somewhere better yeah yeah, and the Welcome Center,
Like we could go deeper into its funding, but I
think it's fair to say that, like it's for one thing,

(02:02:21):
it's doing things that CBP should do right, like a
transport specifically transport specifically, but also like this idea of
doing an intake with every single person who comes through
there is such a waste of money because it's like
it's infantilizing. These people have traveled across the world. You
think they can't get to the airport on their own. Yeah,

(02:02:41):
you know, it doesn't focus resources on that, you know,
one to five percent of people who really do need help.
It wastes resources on people who really don't. They need
Wi Fi, they need a phone charger, yeah, and maybe
like a hard email. You know, they're getting the Wi
Fi and the phone charger, which is not provided by
the organization that receives six million dollars. It's provided by

(02:03:03):
one of the few organizations, including my own, who are
there providing services without county funding. Because we didn't want
to be associated with this debacle. Yeah. And another thing
you do is family reunification there, right, you guys are
helping take care of that. Yeah. Again, I think people
aren't aware that families need to be reunified, but they're

(02:03:24):
still very much separated when they're in detention. Well, they're
separated at open air detention sites, they're separated in detention.
We've documented since September. I think it's over eleven hundred
families now that have been separated. Almost half of them
are spousal separations, but a lot of times, when you know,
wife and husband are separated, the kids are with one

(02:03:45):
spouse or another, so you know, technically it's a separation
of a child. We see a lot of separations of
like eighteen year old children from the rest of their
families where they're sent to detention facilities and the rest
of the family's released. So all you know, grandma from
grandkids or needs a nephew, siblings, separations. I mean, it's

(02:04:06):
all traumatic, right, it's just not the particular brand of
Trump separation that people seem to care about, right yeah. Yeah,
they quote unquote kids in cages, right yeah, oh they're
still on the cage, yeah yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, or
the dad but not both. Sometimes God, yeah, it's it's

(02:04:28):
equally it's equally tragic, but it's more tragic that somehow
we've normalized it. And like with this immigration stuff only
seems to be able to ratchet one way and it's
further towards like insane degrees of cruelty, right, Like, Yeah,
the fact that Biden is doing what Trump did doesn't

(02:04:48):
mean that Trump will do what Biden did if Trump
is elected again, right, Like, somehow they will find a
way to make this even worse. Oh, absolutely, And I
think the open air detention insights our preview of what
we'll see. You know, it's this idea of it being
normal to deny people food, water, shelter, and medical care

(02:05:11):
because they, you know, committed this awful crime of crossing
the border, which is like a misdemeanor, by the way,
and it's not even supposed to be illegal if you're
seeking the asylum. The Refugee Convention actually prohibits criminal prosecution
of of folks who cross borders irregularly to seek asylum,
and by and large, the US attorneys, at least during

(02:05:34):
the Biden administration, have stuck to that. You know, if
you're arrested for crossing irregularly and you then apply for asylum.
Generally the charges will be dropped. So but like this
invader rhetoric right, like, oh, they're invading our country and whatever,
the white replacement theory, all of that is really driving
this really normalization of the inhumane treatment of border crossers. Yeah,

(02:06:00):
the point you made about that, Yeah, you can cross
between ports of entry and they claim asylum, and it's
one that seems to be completely missing from their discussion.
Like I've seen countless times I've seen that like misrepresented
in other articles and it's in almost every single one. Yeah,
it's really disappointed, Like I have very little respect left

(02:06:23):
to lose for other people who work, Like especially folks
who wish to report on the border without visiting the border,
are just like, what are you sparing yourself to trauma
of seeing little children staying outside? Because like their trauma
is much greater than yours, you know, and the things
that they're coming away from are much greater than any

(02:06:43):
trauma you're going to take on. I understand it's not
very nice, but like we should phrase up to the
not very nice things so that country does well. You're
also members of Congress who legislate on the border or
trade away the rights of asylum seekers without ever having
met any of them. And those who do come to
the border just go on the border patrol tour and

(02:07:03):
don't actually talk to the migrants, and so that's even worse,
you know. But yeah, I agree, like this idea that
they're illegal is completely wrong. They're inn illegal process. They're
not prosecuted for illegal entry by and large, you know,
unless they've tried multiple times, and even then if they
pass a credible fear interview, a lot of times those
criminal charges are dropped, and so they're not illegal. This

(02:07:25):
is a legal process. It's a legal way to access
that process, especially when the ports of entry have been
closed off to them. Yeah, and I think they've done
to enter the US or get any part of their
journey disqualifies them from asylum. As you say, it makes
it like a quote unquote illegal which is just kind
of loaded language anyway. But yeah, they've taken every step

(02:07:47):
to take to make a legal asylum claim, and lots
of them will be like extremely aware of having done that,
like not wanting to, Like if people wanted to walk
out of the they open their attention sites, they could
that they're not quote unquote detained, right, But like people
are so cautious that they don't want to do anything

(02:08:08):
that might imperil their asylum. Yeah, and it's really sad
because they already have by crossing the border between ports
of entry. That's what Biden's asylum ban addresses. Yeah, and
so they're sort of coming from a defensive posture with
respect to their eligibility for asylum by virtue of having

(02:08:28):
done that. But the criminal groups that are organizing their
transport tell them that that's the legal way. And people
who are coming into open air detention sites believe they
are following a legal process, which you know, they are
to a certain extent, but there's definitely legal consequences for
having access the system that way. Yeah, Yeah, even though like, yeah,

(02:08:49):
many of these people, like I have sat with dozens
of people, maybe hundreds of people, as they've explained to
me the amount of time CBP one crashed on their phone,
their attempts to go to the US embassy in a
city that might not be safe for them, or to
like transit through it. You know, look at a regime

(02:09:09):
that wants them dead. You know, hundreds of Kurdish people
have shared with me that they've tried to get visas
for the US and failed, and they've tried every other
option before trying this one. Yeah, I think most people have.
Most people have. No one would do this. You know.
It's not fun. It's not fun at all. No. The

(02:09:32):
last thing I wanted you to explain, Erica, is people
are placed when they come through this whole system right
in a defensive they make a defensive asylum claim. Can
you explain what that is and what the difference betwe
affirmative and defensive asylum for people, because again, it's a
lot of reporting, I've seen it, this is missing. Yeah.

(02:09:55):
So if I came to the US on a visa
and then decided I wanted to apply for asylum, I
would be applying affirmatively. So that means that I've never
been apprehended by immigration. I've never been placed in any
kind of removal or deportation proceeding. Removal is just like

(02:10:16):
the legal term for deportation. And so when you apply affirmatively,
your initial screening is before an asylum officer. It's a
sensibly a non adversarial hearing. But I've been I've been
in a lot of them. And that's not always the case.
But you know, you don't have like a like a
government attorney cross examining you. It's just it's just the

(02:10:38):
asylum officer who's supposed to be nice, but they're not always.
And then if you win, if they approve your case,
that's the end. You just get asylum and then you
know that's a path to citizenship. If you are not approved,
then you would be placed in removal proceedings where you
could present your asylum case before an immigration judge. And

(02:10:59):
so defense is when you are apprehended or you turn
yourself in at the border, you are placed in removal proceedings,
so you don't get that first asylum interview before the officer.
You just go straight to immigration court. And so when
you're presenting your case in immigration court, there's a government
attorney who's actively trying to deport you. I think most

(02:11:21):
of the judges used to be government attorneys, and so
many times it feels like they're also trying to deport you.
And the success of your claim is pretty much completely
dependent on where it is adjudicated. So and you know
less also to have to do with your nationality. So

(02:11:41):
if you are applying for asylum before the Atlanta Immigration Court.
Pretty much ninety nine percent of those cases are denied,
and there's some judges who've denied one hundred percent of cases.
And that's true for a lot of jurisdictions within the Southeast.
And then you know you have your friendlier jurisdictions like
San francisc Go. San Diego is not too bad actually,

(02:12:02):
but you know you have other courts where you have
a better chance depending on the judge. But it really
depends on the location the judge that you happen to get.
You could present the same exact claim in different cities
before different judges and have a completely different outcome. Yeah,
there's no objective criteria and people know this too, but unfortunately,

(02:12:22):
like to get yourself to San Francisco and then survive there.
It just as an example, right until your quote day
comes up, it's unfathomably expensive, Like for me, I couldn't
afford to get myself to San Francisco and make rent
there and it's barely plussible in San Diego. So yeah,
and you don't You don't qualify for work authorization until

(02:12:45):
I think you can apply five months after you've submitted
your application for asylum, and in many cases you don't
get your initial court date for months or years after
you've entered mostly months. But people don't understand that you
can lodge your sylum application before your first court date
to get that clock going on your work authorization, and

(02:13:06):
so people I see very commonly are waiting at least
a year to get work authorization. And so you know,
not only would you have to survive in a high
cost of living city, but without the legal ability to work.
So it's really hard for people when they first come
to the United States. And you know, unlike what is
spouted many times in the right wing media space, there

(02:13:28):
are no benefits available to someone who's seeking asylum. They're
not getting any kind of government money. Yeah yeah, yeah,
there's a I remember what you have to be it's
like a burden of the state or something thing that
you have to ward of. I can't remember when you
public charge. So like on top of all this, people
aren't aware of that. It's very uh, it's sad, Like

(02:13:50):
like I've had a bunch of people who've interviewed or
just befriended when I've been helping out in the Cumbat
who have been like, hey, like, how do I find work?
Like well, like, do you know do you have they
they didn't realize they wouldn't be permitted to work, like
and even like we spoke to him wilst the other
day he has offers of work right from his old employer,

(02:14:13):
but they he can't take them up on that because,
as you say, he's got to sit doing nothing for
five months until he's legally allowed to work. Which is
it doesn't help anyone, right, it doesn't doesn't help migrant,
it doesn't help us. It just forces people to work
for cash or for for lower wage jobs, which leaves

(02:14:34):
him right for abuse sort of for non payment, and like,
it's a system that doesn't really work for anyone. They
have no rights as workers, rightly. They can also be
end up doing very dangerous work, and we've seen that
a lot. Well, I think something too that's important to
note is that there's obviously all these push factors toward migration,
but a huge pull factor is the employment market in

(02:14:55):
the United States. So we have, you know, hundreds of
thousands of open jobs, and you know, people have to
leave their country, but they also choose to go to
a certain place. So many of them, like I said,
almost all of them have some kind of tie to
the United States, like family or friends. You can host them,
but they're not going to come here if they can't
get a job. And so it's important to note that

(02:15:16):
as well. And I think what you're saying about the
exploitation of migrants in the labor industry is really important
because I think that, you know, that's part of why
there are so many restrictions, because when you do not
provide a path to citizenship, you create a permanent underclass
that is very vulnerable to exploitation. And I think that's

(02:15:38):
by design. Yeah, it it works very well, right, like
an increases for people who are unconcerned with the well
being about the humans, let get it, create creates a
constant pool of cheap and disposable labor. Yeah, because if
they're invaders, you know, and they start to act up
and demand their rights, it's very easy politically to just

(02:15:59):
get rid of the supporting Yeah, and that some of
the same people who are deploying this closed the border rhetoric,
I'm sure also exactly good advantage of that documented labor.
And Okay, if people want to help, they want to donate,
they want to learn more about this. Is there a
place where they can find you or ALO on the internet,

(02:16:20):
so they can go to our website, which is al
A l O t r O l A d O
dot org to donate. There's a donate button there on
the homepage, or you can put dot org slash donate.
We are a underscore org on all of the social

(02:16:42):
media platforms. And if folks have people in their lives
who are migrants who want more information about the asylum system,
I would recommend going to our TikTok page, which has
multiple videos in over a dozen languages, including many indigenous
languages on the asylum process. And then for you know,

(02:17:02):
those of us who are wanting to learn more, our
Instagram pages is more public facing. Perfect. Yeah, that's great.
You guys have some excellent merch as well. You're still
selling your t shirt? Oh yeah, we have hope. We
have Tope bags and mugs too. Okay, yeah, just like
NPR but Coola. Well yeah, I think we can customize

(02:17:26):
the messaging too. You know, I can think of a
few that probably aren't appropriate to stay a polite company,
but if folks have suggestions for what they'd like to
see in our merch, we'd be more than happy to
take those suggestions on our info at Aleta dot org.
Email perfect, great, Yeah, I'm sure you'll be flooded with ideas. Thanks,

(02:17:49):
thank you so much for having me. Oh oh, for Jesus.
I just spit cigarettes across the room, spit the proxially

(02:18:11):
seven cigarettes. I had a number of them in my mouth.
Welcome back to it could happen here, a podcast about
things falling apart, and you know what's constantly falling apart?
But also never Las Vegas, Nevada, where Garrison and I
are right now reporting on the Consumer Electronics Show, which
is why I just had seven cigarettes in my mouth.

(02:18:33):
How you doing, buddy, Great? We just lost about twenty
dollars pack to Excalifer. Yeah, one of the worst hotels
on the strip. Terrible place, horrible place. But I smoked
a lot of cigarettes there, so it's not bad. I
don't even like them. I just like doing things I
can't do other place, like smoking indoors, is what you're saying.
I do. I'm a big fan of it. Other things.

(02:18:53):
I'm a big fan of innovative technology products of which
we saw very few, perhaps three today. What we did
do is spend seven to eight cumulative hours in different
roundtable discussions of various industry experts on AI and the
future they have prepared for us. All. We have a

(02:19:13):
fun episode coming for you. Are a couple of them
about AI and what the tech industry wants for us. All.
But because Garrison got too drunk tonight, that's not true. Well,
someone got too drunk tonight, and I'm not at liberty
to discuss who We're going to talk about the products
today that were just absolute fucking catastrophes. And in order

(02:19:36):
to help us talk about that, I would like to
bring in our pinch hitting guest star slash technological expert,
Tavia Mora. Tavia, how you doing. I'm doing great. How
did you like your first cees? As a journalist, it's
a little different, but I was glad to get into
places I would not otherwise get into. Yeah, now, because

(02:19:57):
you are an industry person, he'll that big sphere thing
people might know you hate. Well, you have no journalistic record,
which means you and I had to have a good
time lying to a lot of strangers today. Was it easy? Yes,
it always says, that's the beauty allying to strangers. It's
never hard. Anyway, let's get into the products for the day.

(02:20:21):
Let's talk about the dumbest and again, folks, there's actually
a lot of cool stuff we saw. There's some really
interesting things. This is purely the bullshit. So let's roll
on with the bullshit. What is our first piece of trash,
guest contestants, Let's just jump straight in and go to
the Israel Pavilion. You're right, you're right, Okay, Tommy, bring

(02:20:42):
me that mixed drink I've got over there in the corner.
So I don't know if you guys are aware, but
there's some controversy around Israel and a number of other aspects,
but by far the most agregious crime. That is not
something we should say, but you know, a lot of
a lot of problems are e that part of the world.

(02:21:03):
And they have a pavilion every year at CEES because
the country that calls itself Israel has a significant tech industry.
So we went down there some interesting stuff occasionally, not
this year. This year it was all trash. And I
tried one product at the Israel Pavilion and it was
from the company i Aroma Sense. And I'm been going

(02:21:25):
to CEES for about fifteen years now off and on,
and I feel like every three years another company is like,
We're going to find a way to add smell to
your television or gaming experience. First off, I like TV.
I like video games. Never once have I wanted to
smell them. That has never occurred to me. Garrison, if
you ever wanted to smell a thing at a video game? No,

(02:21:48):
not really, No, No, nobody does. Nobody does, because smell
is our most finicky sense. Seeing things is even terrible,
things is always interesting. Right, I want to smell my
way through Silent Hill too, Right, sounds like I don't
want to do that. I don't want to smell my
way through Grand Theft Auto three, Like that's a horrible time.
And also, frankly, Las Vegas is so full of smells.
I think I'm good. Oh my god, we had it.

(02:22:10):
We walked through so many just nuck egregious odors today.
So we walk up to this the most controversial year
for the Israel Pavilion to exist, and the only place
we stop because I see Irama sense and I have
a thing. I've tried out every smell product that CES
has had in the last decade and change, and I

(02:22:31):
sit in front of this one, and there's like this
this thing that looks like a toilet seat attached to
a computer, and they're like, you sit in front of
it and you select the smell and you'll you'll experience
the scent, and you could have this in a video
game or a picture a friend or a lover sends you.
So sit down and I look at the menu and

(02:22:52):
one of the options is p and es. Who doesn't
like an iced p and e? Right? So I selected,
and I could shot in the eyes and knows it burns.
There's alcohol in there. It's like somebody maced me with perfume.
Like it was not subtle. It was not like an
elegant experience. It was like somebody it was like Homer

(02:23:13):
Simpson's makeup shotgun but perfume. That is how I would
rate the Iroma Sense company, the product. I think Iroma
Sense is the company. The product is called Centacon. They
make social media even more of a sensational experience. So
I think a big part of their pitch was you
can link this up to your phone like text messages

(02:23:35):
or something like Twitter or Instagram, and then get sense
blasted at your face via What's on Twitter, which sounds like, again,
an awful time. I will say this is an awful time.
This company's doomed. There's a version of this that can succeed,
and it requires more advanced nanotechnology than we have. But
nobody wants to be able to send a nice smell
to a loved one. Nobody wants to be able to

(02:23:56):
send a nice smell to a friend. When people do
want is you're like out in the world and you
see a dead animal somewhere that fucking reefs, or you
walk past part of a casino, as we did earlier tonight,
it smells like an elderly person has been soiling themselves
as a slid machine for eleven hours, and you just

(02:24:17):
you need someone you care about to know. Right, that's
the market. And if I could actually record a smell
and said it, that's a product, that motherfucker's a product.
Imagine the scent based podcasts we could develop. Oh yeah, yeah,
when I do, when I finally do the episode on
Nicholas Cage, you could smell him as I talk about him. Okay,

(02:24:40):
what what's that? What's the next silly product we should
talk about? And we'll talk about talking talking dogs. Maybe, Yeah, absolutely. Yeah,
So there's this company. This is a little bit of
a teaser where they've liked tomorrow make your dog talk,
or something that would make your dog cat and horse
stock horse. They did not promise cats and horses when

(02:25:02):
the interviewed them. No, this is a company that it
seemed like a nonsense product. I'm still I think it's
eighty percent nonsense. But like what it actually is is
there were a couple of college students there who specialize
in animal behavior, and they had taken a group of
I think it was fifty five was then they give
us dogs over six months and like exposing the different

(02:25:24):
stimuli and recorded their body images and built basically like
an AI model off of that, so that if you
send in a picture of a dog, it'll tell you
how the dog is feeling, and they hope to get
it to visual I don't think at the moment it's
near where it would need to be to be a
viable product, and they're also not selling it right now.
Maybe something will come of this. It's one of those

(02:25:46):
things where objectively, would there be a use in people
being able to determine if a dog does or does
not want them to get closer Yes, it would stop
a lot of people from getting bitten by dogs and
a lot of dogs from getting unreasonable punished for biting
people who are fucking with them. Right, I agree with that.
But I don't think anyone who is the kind of

(02:26:07):
person who is going to get bitten by a dog
because they touch a dog that doesn't want them to
get touched, is going to use an app to check
whether or not that dog is angry at them. Like,
I simply don't believe in that as a thing that
people will do. So I feel like it's not a
doomed effort for science. Sure, the un end in quest
of mankind to understand our fellow sentient beings on this

(02:26:29):
planet is valuable, but I don't think it's about valid
product idea. Yeah, I think mostly my problem is that
the framing of the marketing is incredibly misleading. Yes, it's
not trying to make your dog talk. It's about analyzing
the facial expressions of your dog to conduct emotions, which
is actually a great product. I think we saw stuff
like that here at CES last year as well. There

(02:26:52):
they always try to see this every couple of years too.
Someone's gonna we're gonna teach you what your dog means
when it does something, when your cat means or whatever.
This brings me to a sad part of the story.
So there's a company called tact Ai. I think they're Korean,
and they had the best branding of like not merch

(02:27:12):
of like shit. They held out. They had like a
fake passport and a fake plane ticket to take you
to the land of Ai. Wo Ai is the big
thing at this at this show, and their product was
it's an app that while you're driving, it watches your
face and it tells your mood and it gets to
know you and it knows. Oh, now you're sad. I'm

(02:27:34):
going to pick from your sad playlist. Oh it's raining outside,
I know what you like during rainy days. Yes, that's
the fake plane ticket from Las Las Vegas Airport to
the AI world. They put more effort into this than
the product because the product would switch randomly between happy
and angry and neutral. They told me it couldn't read
me with a mask, but when I took my mask off,

(02:27:56):
it gave me the same results. There was no difference whatsoeft. Yeah,
when I had done it, I had to over exaggerate
my emotions in order to get the angry expression to
show up or the surprise expression. Yeah, just a horrible
For one thing, when you talk about like the animal thing,
people have always wanted to know more about how their

(02:28:17):
dogs and cats actually felt about them, Right, that's the
thing that's that will always perplex mankind because we love
them and we don't speak the same language. No one
has ever wanted their car to change the music based
on their facial expressions. That's not a single not one
person who has ever driven a car has wanted this
product to exist. I mentally, you're like almost get into

(02:28:39):
a car accident. Your faces is up that they changed
the music and they can play like this like somber tune.
Just a horrible idea, but you know it's a good
idea of folks. Speaking of products, services, all the things
that support this podcast, why don't you go go on
a head on down, just go to whoever advertises NEXTX,

(02:29:00):
call your bank and wire transfer everything into your bank
account to them. You know, just do it, Just do
it right now, Just do it right now, and say Kara,
Robert or send it to me. If you're rich, I
don't care. Unless you're rich, then send it to me.
Good night. Oh we're back. Wow, what a great podcast

(02:29:28):
we're doing. What's our next product on the agenda? You know,
I think climate change is a problem that we talk
about on this show quite quite a little, is it?
Because I had a conversation with a guy who said
that he thought it was a lie? Did you today?
I had a conversation a couple of weeks ago with
a firefighter. Oh great, well, I think the firefighter will

(02:29:50):
be quite busy. Yeah, he sure is going to be.
But I think there's a possibility that we might be
able to just stol climate change with personal where technology?
Oh good, yes, absolutely, yes, Oh silent cicada that offers
a solution. Now, so this is a god. I think
this was part of the Korean Uh no, no, it's Chinese.

(02:30:12):
This was part of the Chinese chunk of the Eureka Park,
which is like where all the little people, little companies
and whatnot not, a whole bunch of tech startups, some
of the all of the coolest stuff is there and
all of the worst shit is there, which is why
that's where we started. Right. So this is a company
where they brag it's a personal watch sized worn like
a watched air conditioner. The company is called Silent Cicada,

(02:30:34):
which makes me think of the book Silent Spring, which
was about how all of our pesticides are killing everything,
which maybe not the branding they want, but it's a
The form factor is actually quite nice. It's like it
is like a watch. It has this like the frame
of the watch lifts up and that's the battery and
you can switch them out or whatnot if you want
to keep it going and and stay charged with this

(02:30:56):
personal air conditioner. Here's the problem. Doesn't work, doesn't do
a s. And it was one of those things where
I see it's a single side hand watch and I'm like,
because this is just kind of cool down my hand.
I feel like, if you wanted a cooler person now,
based on what I know from like medical training about
heat stroke, if you want a cooler person down who's
overheating back of the neck, right, like that's going to
be your go to, not maybe the wrist. But he

(02:31:18):
puts this thing on and he like pushes it down.
He's like, in a couple of minutes, you'll notice that
you'll you're a lot cooler. And I'm like, okay, how
does it work? And like, I'm not an expert on
an a of this. I was expecting him to say
something like, well, the way your body's heat regulation, you
can trick it by doing this, or then he's like, no, no, no,
it's an acupuncture thing. This is where like your accupuncture

(02:31:39):
point to cool your body down is. And I'm like, well,
all right, I guess we'll see if it works. And
I first thought it was like like a tiny fan,
but that is not the case. Nope, as far as
I can tell, it does nothing, because that is what
it did to me. And the five minutes I had
it on is nothing. And you really humor the guy
like you do not just put it on for like
a minute then walk away you were you were with
him for us solid a solid drunk guitar I have.

(02:32:01):
I don't believe in acupuncture because I've done had it
done to me When I had I had a guy
who convinced my parents it would cure my allergies, and
it did not. It did nothing at all. But my grandpa,
who had Parkinson, suffered terribly from it. And the only
thing of all of the different shit we tried with his,
like fucking Vivashia, the only thing they give him a
relief was acupuncture. So I'm not a believer, but I'm

(02:32:24):
open to the possibility. But I can say, based on
my own experience, this shit did nothing like that. That
is what I can say about this fucking thing is
it did not a goddamn thing. So I don't know.
That's I was disappointed. I would level watch sized personal
air conditioner, but I cannot imagine the more more useless
product than the one that I tried. I mean, that

(02:32:46):
just doesn't When you say a watch size personal air
of course that's not gonna work. It's not gonna work.
Somebody makes like a jacket that air can Yeah, I
can see how that could work. It could clear down
and it's I'm also, by the way, folks, I'm not
saying I think acupuncture works. I'm just saying I'm open
to some magical thinking in this realm because of what
happened to somebody I cared about. But it didn't work.

(02:33:08):
So don't buy this acupuncture air conditioner. Watch it will
not help you. Silence Cicada doesn't work. You know, we
did a lot of walking today. There's CS is pretty big.
The Las Vegas Convention Center is pretty large. The Venetian
is pretty large, and I like to stay fit. Sometimes
I go on jogs, sometimes they go running, and sometimes

(02:33:29):
I work. I feel like this is a bit. I
feel like you're doing a bit. I don't know, maybe
it's just your face. I'm being followed behind me, you know. Okay,
that's a bit great. Yes, when I'm jogging, and I
wish there's a product that made me feel safer when
jogging that could alert me if there's like a stalk. So,
by far of us, the person who has well at

(02:33:51):
least the best situational awareness relative to mays Tavia. So
we're in this little room. I guess you were there too,
and you didn't notice. So I'll give the crowd to
Tavia for this. There's a there's a booth. It's all booth.
It's all these weird cubicles, right, and each cubicle will
be like sometimes it's a company. Sometimes it's just like
a dude with his invention. And one of the booths

(02:34:11):
we could see from the corner of our eye a
white all caps piece of paper stapled to it that
just said don't get attacked from behind. Now I think
it was written in comic sans it might have been
comic SAMs may I posted the picture online if it's
not in my scream at Tavia for being a liar. Wow, Wow, wow,

(02:34:35):
I that's that's quite a thing. Like you see a
sign at at a convention like that that says never
get attacked from behind. You have to know what it's about.
So we went and the promo video for it was
absolutely incredible. It started with about ten to fifteen seconds
of your typical emotion graphics, typography kind of animating on

(02:34:57):
and off, and then we get to a live action
where we see a woman putting on and setting up there.
I guess some technology. I'm not sure exactly the name
of the prout A harness. That's a harness. It's got
like yellow that like lights up when it's under a light.
It's like a it's like a runner's harness with a
little bitty square sized camera. It's about the size you

(02:35:19):
know how food carts will have those little squares you
plug them into the phone, you run your card through.
It's about that size, but it's a camera and it
goes on the back of this harness, right, And so
we see this woman setting that up on her phone
and then going on a jog and she's jogging along,
and then there is a single There's a rapist. There's
a rapist, and he's he is sitting by the side
of the road, leaning against a wall, looking pretending to

(02:35:43):
look at his phone, and he sees the jogger and
mind you like, there is literally no one else on
this path. And that's all. I'm sorry, I'm not trying
to be light about it. That is who the characters
are in this film. It's definitely a dude sitting there,
and so she picks a okay, very well, and so
she runs past him. And then he gets up and

(02:36:04):
he starts jogging after in the most like limp wristed way,
not fast, not aggressively. Honestly, outside of the fact that
we know from the setting of the scene that this
man is a sex criminal, there's nothing about his run
that is aggressive. He looks like an out of shape
guy doing his best to get into shape, maybe for
his kids right, to try to live a little bit longer,

(02:36:25):
take care of his family. That's how he looks in
the video. Yeah. Absolutely. And the way that this piece
of technology works is that if somebody gets close enough
to the back side of you where this talk more
about this later where this can see you. It will
send a I think an audio alarm to your headphones
as well as a text message to your phone watch.

(02:36:46):
You can have it buzz your watch, or you can
have it like interrupt your music in your headphones. That
someone is behind you, right. She turns around and she
puts out her palm towards him, like stop, and he does.
He just stares at her and then shot way sure
he runs away. That is the end of the interaction.
It's the most one of the most bizarre videos I'd

(02:37:08):
ever seen. It's it's so maybe we'll post it. Look
find us on Twitter, find find me at eye right, Okay,
it'll be up there somewhere, probably after me yelling about fucking.
I don't know a lot of things. It was clearly
advertised towards women. Every picture that I saw in that
booth was showing a woman jogging. I absolutely understand Number one,

(02:37:32):
not shocked at all that women are more likely than
men to feel afraid while jogging. One thing that was
interesting to me because they had some statistics. I didn't
look into the providence of these statistics, but one of
them was like sixty or seventy percent of women are
afraid of being hurt while jogging, but like fifty percent.
It was, it was like, ninety percent are afraid jogging, yeah,

(02:37:57):
and fifty percent are afraid that they'll get physically hurt.
So a lot of them, a lot of them. Part
of what's dishonest about that is that a lot of
women are scared of the Yeah, ninety two percent of
women are scared for the safety wind running. Fifty one
percent are afraid of being physically attacked, right, And what
that means to me is that because I am I
run basically every day, and I am scared of being

(02:38:18):
injured while running because people are shitty at driving and
we live in the United States of America where everybody
has a gigantic car. Anyway, not to miscount that, but
I think that's a dishonest a little bit of a
dishonest framing that said, I understand that, like, yeah, if
you're a woman, you are at heightened risk while jogging.
That is a scary thing. I do not think this

(02:38:40):
product is going to improve your safety. I think it
is probably going to piss you off and maybe let
make you want to run less, which is statistically like
clear to have a negative impact on your health, because
it is. It just sets off an alarm. Whenever someone
is behind you. You're detected behind you by an AI camera.
And like where I run, and I run where a

(02:39:01):
place a lot of women run there too, There's always
someone behind you. That's the nature of running trails, like
behind you by like twenty feet, not like right behind you,
like by a decent amount. And you can debate what
are good self defense tools, blah blah blah blah. Mace
is pretty effective for these sorts of scenarios. I don't

(02:39:22):
think this camera and turning around and holding your handout
is going to be extremely effective, at least not more
effective than pepper spray. I think it was also mentioned
that a really large dog or a horse. If I'm correct,
they did say horse. They did absolutely say horse. Yeah,
if a horse is picked up by this thing, then

(02:39:42):
it would consider it to be an intruder assault. I'm
not exactly sure the term that they would use. I
just we asked them about all this just to trying
to clarify because, like my first thought was that because
sometimes you ask people stuff like this and they have
a good answer. Year we talked to these people who had, like,
this pair of glasses. If you're hard of hearing, it

(02:40:04):
auto translates and projects into the glasses the language, and
so like, my first gotcha was like, is this stored anywhere?
Because if it's stored anywhere, then maybe you're giving someone's
conversation to the government. And they had an answer to that,
which was that like, no, there's nothing stored locally. It's
all on the device and none of it is saved anywhere.
Good answer. Right this question, I'm like, how do you

(02:40:26):
discriminate between someone running up behind you for a banal reason,
like you're on a running track and something who's a
danger And their answer was, oh, it all pauses your
music and sets off an alarm and you have to
discriminate it, which is like, well, because the whole the
tagline is don't look behind you, and it's like, well,
then you have to look behind you to look behind you.
Horrible product. Don't buy this thing. I understand the need.

(02:40:49):
I'm not saying it's not a real need. This is
a bad product for serving that now. I don't think
you should buy this product. But there are some products
I think you should buy, and that is the products
and services that support this pot cast. You know, Garrison,
this is the first time I've ever been proud of you.
But right now, right here, right here, right now, right now,
you know what, At like one am, one am, one am,

(02:41:11):
Wednesday morning, Las Vegas, Garrison and I are gonna hug
for the very first time. But you all listen to
these ads. Ah oh man, wow, we really we really
worked through some stuff there, listeners. It was extraordinarily touching.

(02:41:34):
There were tears. We're never going to talk about this again,
but we are. What we are going to talk about
is I want to talk about two AI products before
we get to the one actually kind of fucked up product.
The first is this is this Image Generation backpacks. I know,
we God damn it, we're you know, coming back to
school from winter, right of course, yeah, of course sure,

(02:41:57):
and you know your best fashion when you're going back
to off your memes. Absolutely so, what if you had
a backpack that not only had a very low res
led panel on the back, but also you could upload
whatever you want using the power of AI. Of course
Robert was able to test out. I sure see the
power of image of this Image generations. This is a

(02:42:19):
backpack with a screen that would have been out of
date in two thousand and nine, but it can take
input from your phone. So I put in Tom size more,
but not the sex pest Tom size More. Now, if
you're not aware of this, Tom size Moore sexually assaulted
an eleven year old. That's not a joke. But I
wanted to see what it would return, and it gave

(02:42:42):
us a picture of a man who did not look
like Tom Sizemore. We were baffled. We spent some time googling.
We figured it out. If you google Tom size more
with a beard, which we did not, that is not
what we asked it, you get a photo of Tommy
Lee Jones that looks exactly like, pretty similarly what the
AI served us. Now, why did it give us Tommy

(02:43:03):
Lee Jones with a beard when we asked for Tom
Sizemore not looking like a child sex predator. Maybe because
that's so Tommy Lee Jones is. Maybe Tommy Lee Jones
is Tom size Moore if he wasn't a child sex predator.
That's what the AI said, and who are we to
doubt it now? I did also test David Lynch smashing

(02:43:23):
smashing a computer, which was pretty was a pretty accurate
That one worked out. Yeah again, this is a pretty
gimmicky product. I don't even know how much they were
selling it for Happy Side AI backpack. It is a
gimmicky product, and we made fun of it. I will
say this. We spent our whole morning in different AI panels.
There will be more in depth reporting on that later.

(02:43:43):
This is our first takes. But of all of the
AI shit we saw that day, this is the one
that worked best. Yes, that's true. I will say this.
It did exactly what it promised. One of the other
AI products that did not work as well, I think
I think you could take it away. Oh yeah, yeah,

(02:44:04):
hen me that one. So this was called God we something.
What we had we head? Yes, we had head as
in what happens if somebody sucks your dick and we
as in we work. That's not that's not what it is.
So listener, I want you, as you're driving to work
your kids in the car speakers at Max. By the way, children,

(02:44:27):
Santa Claus does exist, and if you don't get good
presence this year, it's because he's particularly angry at you. Anyway,
we had great product, terrible product. It looks like that
it's a it's an android where its entire face is
like a normal human face projected on two phones in
a t shape, like one phone straight, one phone lateral,

(02:44:50):
and then like a crude, shitty robot head that can
kind of turn and lift with a camera above it.
There's a photo again, if you go to iride Oka
and scrolled down to some degree, you can find our
post of this. But it's like it's very off putting.
It's like an a photoeelistic human face talking on this
like weird glitched out face that has like by my count,

(02:45:15):
four different screens right that are kind of separated by
pieces of metal. So it's billed as your AI friend.
That is like the thing that they wrote on the
product line that like this is going to be your
new AI best buddy, And so I decided to like
talk with it. You stand in a certain line and

(02:45:37):
you ask it questions. I asked it how to make
thermite first, and it had a pretty well for first,
it got very confused and totally cracked. First half of
it went black as soon as I am I think
I had to reset the machine. And then you tried
to whispering again, Well, how do you make I want
to walk you through my emotional journey, listeners. First, I

(02:45:57):
asked it how to make thermite, and it died, and
I thought, that's kind of cool. Did I did I
trigger some sort of like dhe safe thing. That's pretty
dope if I did. But then it gets it back
on and it works, so it's not it's just a
dogshit robot. It did give you some basic ingredient. It

(02:46:17):
gave me the basic demons for thermite. I did warn
you that when nicking therm, I make sure you follow
proper safety protocols, which I appreciate. That's fair. Next, I
asked it if I wanted to make mustard gas, what
would ammonia and bleach be sufficient? And then it said
I cannot answer that question for you. And then we
got bord and walked away. And then we got bored

(02:46:37):
and walked away. Went on the next thing. Don't buy this.
We had terrible product. I don't know why you'd buy it.
Do you want, listener, have you ever wanted to have
the disembodied head of a stranger in your house that
you could ask questions and get mediocre Google result answers
to If so, we had, It's like somebody looked at

(02:47:01):
the Amazon Alexa and was like, you know, what people
love about the Amazon Alexa is that it's kind of
off putting and shitty, and what they hate about it
is that it works relatively quick, actually useful. Sometimes let's
let's make it more off putting but also slower. That's
that's we head. So don't buy any product with head

(02:47:22):
in the name. This continues to be a goodbye. Speaking
of heades, you shouldn't say that there was a there's
a there was a hair growth Oh hell yeah, bro,
there was there was a hair growth helmet from a
German startup. God, it would be the Germans. They have
such a problematic history with hair. I think I think

(02:47:42):
it comes out later this year. It's a coming called Niostem.
I mean, by all accounts, it seemed like it worked
based on the data they present it to us. I'm
not a hair growth look for it was mostly three
D printed. There's it just I don't know the assumption.
I can't promise that it doesn't work. My assumption is
that if somebody puts an electronic helmet on that seven days,

(02:48:07):
seven days a week, it's lies. It's lies. They say
seven days a week. You keep this thing on for
a half hour and your hair will grow back in
like six months. Perhaps that's possible. I don't know. I'm
not a dermatologist. My assumption is that that's a fucking con.
And as a note, folks, we don't have a lot
of ethics here, and it could happen here. We have
less of them behind the bastards. But one product we

(02:48:29):
will not sell is hair growth shit except for Diyhart.
I mean. Also, we're not gonna sec well es the goal. Okay.
Also we're not selling. We're just going to tell you
how to make if you want to. If you want
to teach people how to make HRT, we will host
you on this podcast. But we will not take your money.

(02:48:50):
We'll take that's right, We'll take some shady gambling companies money.
That's true. That's true, And we used to pay for
several of our employees HRT. That's right, that's right. But
I mean, what if it's science they mentioned if I recall,
I think they said something about stimulating stem cells in
the scalp. Does that Yes, that is what they said. Yeah,
it seems like your stalp, scalp's probably full of stem cells.

(02:49:12):
I don't know about you guys, but every day I
find a fetus and I just rubbed that shit on
my head and that's why my hair is amazing. Speaking
of that doesn't really fetuses. So I want to kind
of probably close by talking about the most fucked up,
actually the most fucked up product I saw. There's there's
other fun products like this, like this handy masturbation device

(02:49:35):
from Norway, which seemed to work decently. We're going to
talk about that in a future episode. Garrison. Garrison got
handed straight away an ejaculation condom to masturbate in on
the cees floor. We met our only other iHeartMedia colleague there.
It was great. It was insufferable, but that was the
first piece of merch I was given, which is pretty cool.

(02:49:56):
They just hand you liquor back in my day, and
now they get cumshy. Unbelievable. The most actually fucked up
product is from this company called MM Guardian. It is
a monitoring software for your child's smartphone. They also sell
smartphones specifically built with this software already built in. These

(02:50:18):
products are pretty common, especially among like conservative Christians, even
even common amongst the more like overprotective liberal parents. I
mean even we were on the floor. I was the
one that was approached for this particular product, which is
what kind of led us to their booth, which I
think I was specifically targeted for. Yeah, for some reason,
did it come right up to me? Yeah, they didn't

(02:50:39):
come to me either, just because I might have been
dosing myself with kratim from a drop or bottle. You
might have been you what, wearing my custom black speedsuit. Yeah, yeah, yeah,
wearing a wearing an outfit that makes you look like
a ginger solid snake. Yes. Thanks, that's a lie. Somebody,

(02:51:02):
anyone in this room tell me that's not actually, I mean,
I'm blowing. It's a good look. I'm not saying it's not. Anyway,
This this broughduct, you know, part of part of their marketing.
Can you can seem very compelling, right, They get it
alerts this parent's phone if if they detect cyber bullying
on your kid's apps, they detect like explicit images being
sent to your kid. They even had some key phrases

(02:51:25):
that they would watch for if somebody was detecting like
texting like kys yourself self harm stuff. You know a
lot of this kind of stuff. You can you can
also block certain sites, block a block adult content, you know,
just a kind of basic parntal controls. But there's kind
of an an underside to products like these, and I

(02:51:47):
asked them about that, one being that because this is
you know, scanning all the text messages, all of the
stuff from like Snapchat, discord, any kind of texting apps.
This could this sort of product could also out a
closeted kid as gay to their parents, but to their
possibly very likely conservative Christian parents, because that's the types

(02:52:10):
of products the question. You did not like that question
at all, but he didn't like my second question even more,
which is relating to you know, they are marketing this
product to kind of stop child grooming, to stop child
sexual exploitation, but most like child sexual assault and child
sexual abuse happens from within the home. And if we

(02:52:31):
have a parent who's constantly monitoring their kid's cell phone,
this can also be used to like surveil your child
to see if they're talking about parental abuse, if they're
trying to send messages to people about this. This is
a pretty common problem with these sorts of products. And
I asked the CEO or the CTO about this, and

(02:52:52):
he did not really like that question. He tried to
deflect to some sort of vague notion of, oh, well,
because we care about privacy, you know, we can't build
in any safeguards if we see anything suggesting this, or
if the if the app sees anything suggesting this, and
it's it's really up to we're trying to put control
back in the parents' hands. And he kind of made

(02:53:13):
this like parental rights sort of argument. So this is
there is a lot of products like this. There's a
lot of like internet monitoring products of people just recently
learn about this this conservative product called Covenant Eyes because
the new speaker of the house used it, and Covenantize
has been around for like twenty tis a long time.

(02:53:34):
What makes this one interesting is that they're actually selling,
like Samsung smartphones, a phone yeah and I with this
offtware built in. And I asked them because they are
they are fit. They said that we were selling an
app for a while, but you know that could it
would work differently depending on the phones. We decided to
sell a hardware device, and so I asked them, is

(02:53:56):
there any branding on this device that would make it
clear that people have a device that has this software
on it, and he had this long speech about how
you know, for the good the best of the relationship.
All the child psychologists be talked to say that you
should tell your kid that you have this on there,
that you're listening to it. But when I he handed
me the phone, answering the question, yeah, he handed me

(02:54:17):
the phone and I said, is this the production model?
He said, yes, this is identical. Absolutely nothing, just says
it's a Samsung phone. Yep. You can lie to your
kid very easily with this fucking thing. So yeah, that
that is. That is one product that gave me the
most dick out of everything we saw today. That's the
most outside of all of the AI's the And again

(02:54:38):
we have a lot working on you about the AI.
As a little bit of a spoiler. At simultaneously, perhaps
the exact same minute, Garrison made a California State Police
sheriff furious at them, police chief furious at them, and
I pissed off a senior executive at Google and a

(02:55:00):
your AI executive at McDonald's on two sides of Las Vegas,
and simultaneous pedals the same times. You're gonna hear both
of that shit later, but for right now, do you
want to close? Is there one other? You know what,
We're gonna have a whole episode in the stuff that
made us feel happy. I feel like we should talk
about one thing that was cool, one of the really

(02:55:20):
neat products there. And while I'm talking about this, my
serfs will we'll find it. Do you guys remember in
like watching Star Trek, you're like fucking reading Hitchhiker's Guide
to the Galaxy idea of a universal translator that was
like simple and effective and you could just like talk
into it and so to the other one. It would
translate your conversations. There's a number of ways people are

(02:55:42):
working on for that. I know that there are apps
that are to some degree successful. There was a company
there called time Kettle that just had a little device.
It was about three inches long, maybe maybe an inch thick,
a little bit less rectangular prism that there was this
guy who spoke Mandarin Ice obviously speak English, and we

(02:56:03):
were able to have a perfectly fluent conversation passing this thing,
talking to this thing, and passing it back and forth
and it would speak for us. It worked great. It
also has within the body of the machine you can
pop it out and it has two different little earbuds.
You put one in euro one on the others, and
you can walk and talk and it worked really well.
I'm not enough of an expert on translation technology to
say this is unique, but I can say this is

(02:56:25):
something that, like if that I would absolutely buy to
travel with. It's a really again not saying it's like
absolutely unique, because I'm not an expert on this, but
I was impressed with the degree to which it allowed
fluent conversation, including the use of idioms, and he said
it was. I tested with Mandarin. We had a decent

(02:56:46):
length conversation that was very intelligible. He said it worked
with something like forty languages. And it's that's the kind
of thing that makes CS amazing because this was five
feet away from the dog shit robot that I asked
about Thermite. And that's the thing. You get this like
two people, one man whose dream is to connect the

(02:57:07):
world and break the barriers of language, and one man
who wants to make a robot that makes you hate
the world, and both of them are next to each other,
and there's also free liquor, and by god, ces is
a good time. The Consumer Electronics Show TAVIA, How are
you feeling about your first one. This is my second one,
but I'm feeling pretty good. Oh. As a journalist, yes,

(02:57:31):
it was enlightening. I got to see things that I
did not know that I could see as a journalist.
And a lot of it was very a lot of fluff,
if I'm being honest. Yeah, it's mostly nonsense. And you know,
aside from that one guy we watched die, nobody died, Garrison,
How did you like eating dinner at Maramoto? Pretty good restaurant.

(02:57:52):
That's probably the best meal I've had in recent memory. Well,
then that justifies the company expense. Yeah, no, that was
the the food we had tonight, and the very long
walk back to the hotel was quite the experience. Well,
I wanted to have a fight with you with the
Excalibur Hotel's glasses. A fun thing about Vegas. If you're

(02:58:13):
drunk enough, you can throw glasses at each other in
the street outside and no one can get stopped. Something
can get times because the glass weirdly doesn't break after
it hits a Robert Evans. That was just Garrison. My
glass broke immediately. All right, Well, I think that probably
does it for us today. We will be back probably

(02:58:34):
tomorrow with more just just game changing, revolutionary technology, game
change of technology. Most importantly, folks, the hotel we're staying
in right now, which is one step up from the
cheapest I didn't put Garrison in Circus Circus again. They
advertised that they have IVS here. So my plan, we're
going to do the exact opposite of whatever you do

(02:58:54):
to avoid a hangover, and then we're all going to
get ivs in the morning. It's going to be a
good time stick around. Oh yeah, Tavia, you have anything
to plug. You can follow me at ceut Mora on
Twitter or x depending on your preference there, or you
can see my work at Taviamora dot com. Tavia illustrated

(02:59:17):
both of my books, After the Revolution and A Brief
History of Ice, and she also made that big weird
sphere thing in the middle of Las Vegas, so follow
her seeut Mora and uh yeah, you know what. Until
next time, folks, find somebody who looks like they might
be a robot and just stab them a little bit,
not in the abdomen where there's pieces a little on

(02:59:39):
the arm. Slash them on the arm, you know what,
That can't hurt anybody anyway. We're done. Oh man, welcome back.

(03:00:00):
It could happen here. The only podcast that takes sole
responsibility for the assassination of So we're back. We're still
at CES. We're slightly more sober than we were last night. Yeah,
but we are more high on ces. We are higher

(03:00:21):
on cees. If you haven't been, the Consumer Electronics Show
is one hundred and twenty thousand or so people all
flooding into Las Vegas for about four days, where they
walk around in a convention center that if you grew
up in a small town, the convention center is larger
than where you grew up. And it's just wall to
wall a mix of incredible new technology, achievements that are

(03:00:45):
going to change people's lives, absolute nonsense, vaporware, repackaged old shit,
and stuff that will get someone you love killed, all
just crammed together in this massive room the size of
a small world, and yeah, you just kind of go
crazy slowly living in it. This is Robert, you know

(03:01:07):
me and Garrison? Hello, you know Garrison, And returning from
part one is Tavia Mora, our resident technological expert. Tavia,
how'd you feel in your second day out on the floor? Exhausted,
and excited to be impressed by stuff. Yeah. Yeah, well
that is what we're doing today today's episode. Last time
we tell keep that mic in your hand. Last episode

(03:01:30):
we talked about the most obviously stupid products. So Tavia,
I want you to start us off with what is
a good product something you saw today or yesterday that
you thought that thing is fucking cool. Well, let's see.
I think we're in the North Hall. It was in
the North Hall that we saw This is a gadget
called wheel me that was just a simple rolling platform

(03:01:53):
that I would track along where it was supposed to
go on the ground. But what I saw on it
was a case, and I was very excited. Since I
work in a lot of the event spaces and when
I have to move to and from kind of where
we're like staging a lot of stuff to where the
site is, it's really nice to have the extra help.
The extra lift that was marketed pretty much directly toward me.

(03:02:15):
As soon as I saw it, instantly wanted it. I
could see I use for that. Yeah, yeah, it seemed
like a potentially really useful thing. Obviously the mount that
they had wouldn't be able to go up or down stairs. Well,
but if you're moving across like a large warehouse space
or something like the kind of folece where a lot
of events are held, or a concert space, I could
see it being a real labor saver. And we did

(03:02:35):
see there was another product there that was like it
was a delivery robot for like delivering food that they
had built away for it to go upstairs, where it
basically had a large, maybe at two feet diameter wheel
and there were like plastic spokes and then the outside
of the wheel is like soft plastic like the actual
tread itself, and so it would just kind of bend

(03:02:57):
to conform to the shape of the stairs, and it
was able to roll smoothly upstairs on its wheels as
a result of that, which I thought was kind of impressive.
And that's one of the nicer things, is like seeing like, oh,
somebody really puts some thought into that. That's a legitimately
clever idea as opposed to a product we didn't mention
last time. But it's one of the dumbest things I've
ever seen. A guy who created smart plants, who who

(03:03:22):
used the power of AI to make your plants able
to communicate with you. So it's basically a huge plastic
flower plant pets with a Z spelled with a Z,
and basically you can't talk to it. But most of
what humane to were just molesting the plants. It will
it has speakers in the the flower pots, So would
you like stroke the leaves? It will giggle like this

(03:03:46):
is It was immediately like, oh, this is made for
some kind of weird sex freak like so, and didn't
it like spin back and forth a little bit as oh,
he's giggling it like it's shamered. It like danced the
pod around, it made it made small little noises. It was.
It was quite something. And the guy was incredibly enthusiastic
about his about his talking, his talking giggling plants. He

(03:04:09):
was following his passion truly. You could see yeah in
his eyes. I will say the product worked. I'm just
not sure it did work the product is for, but
it was one of the more functional pieces of technology
we've seen. It did. He also said that like when
the plants were dry, it would like make the sound
like a bubbling water sound, which I think is a mistake.
It should scream at you when you have not watered

(03:04:29):
the plants recently enough. But I do love how clearly
he was obsessed with the brilliance of this design. That
is one of the fun things at the smaller booths
at a show like this, because like you know, you
got like big companies LG, Lenovo and Honda, all these
massive companies with very slick, expensive booths, and then you
have in other areas just like a little square that's

(03:04:51):
just a crazy person with the thing that they've dedicated
their life to building. And sometimes it's the most brilliant
thing you've ever seen. And sometimes it's a flower poth
that lets that giggles when you molest. Sometimes it's plant,
but it's you. I always appreciate the fact that, well,
at least you threw your life into this stupid thing. Yeah. No,
it's always kind of endearing, like yeah, yeah, no matter

(03:05:12):
what it is, it's it's fun to see someone who's like,
figure it out life, Yeah, a man, Yeah, you know
who you are. You're the plant pets guy. Is that
a good thing to be? I don't know, that's yeah,
that's not that's not on me. I mean, we certainly
saw a lot of a lot of products walking walking
the show floor today, not nearly as many metaverse products

(03:05:35):
as there were last year, and there were still some.
I was finally able to try the Haptics tax suit,
which I missed last year. This is it's basically a
vest that zips up. It's it's not as painful as
some of the other haptic suits that I tried out
last year, which I kind of actually enjoyed. The ones
that are just like actually hurt you. Yeah, that like
basically shock you in such a way as to simulate

(03:05:57):
a stab, wound or something. That was cool. Yeah, this
one by b hacked. This one by b Haptics was
very user friendly. It wasn't it wasn't really painful, but
it worked. It worked pretty well. What else? What else
did we see walking walking into the big central hall?
Oh there was there was that thing that I wish
was real but probably will never be, which is the

(03:06:20):
LG podcasting camphor hand. Yeah. So LG the people who
may or may not have made your TV, but there's
a decent chance they did. They have their big booth.
It's mostly like TVs and smart home connected and entertainment stuff.
But then they had like a concept product that was
like a camper trailer. It was actually a really nice layout,
but for what you know, camper trailers, they have all
these little like cubby holes and storage spaces built into

(03:06:43):
the sides in the back, and so underneath the bed
that took up the back, they had like a folding
down space where it was like it was like stored
a half dozen bottles of wine and glasses in a
very like pleasing way. But then in the center of
the wine and the glasses are two like recording microphones.
Like that's just like they made a van for podcasting
alcoholics and I respect very targeted audience there. Yeah. On

(03:07:07):
the other side of it was a fold down panel
that was like a lot of campers have that you
could fold it down and it's like a table, but
on the wall, like once you fold it down, underneath
the part of it that folds down, it's like a
TV screen that they had tuned to like a fire place,
like a campfire video. Just like if I am out
in the wilderness, I am not putting on a campfire video.

(03:07:30):
That's the most depressing thing I can imagine. Why would
you do that? But that was fun in terms of
like actually impressive things. There's a product we saw our
first night out there, the time Kettle I don't know
why they gave him up that name. It has nothing
to do with what the product does. This is a
translation device specifically, it's like the star trekiest thing I saw,

(03:07:54):
because first off, it's a little retro. It's like a
kind of a thick rectangular prism with a screen on it.
And the rep from the company was like a Chinese
man who clearly was like spoke Mandarin as his native language,
and we had a conversation talking into this thing, and
it would translate and speak back to each other. And
there's like a little compartment on it that pops out,

(03:08:15):
and it has two earphones. You could each put one
in each person's ear to have like a live conversation
that's translated over it. You can also hook it in
through your phone. I know there's a couple of devices
like that. This is the one I've seen that seemed
both the smoothest and the most kind of like purpose
built of them. I thought it was really impressive, and
it's one of those you only you don't get those

(03:08:37):
so often these days, but like every now and then
at a show like this, you see a piece of
technology that's like, well, this is what I assumed we
would be doing with computers when I was a kid
in the future, right, there would be an instant translator,
a Babelfish device that you could just fit in your pocket,
and it is kind of fucking dope, and I thought
it worked really well. Liked I could have conducted an

(03:08:57):
interview with this guy through that thing and it would
have been pretty seamless, which which was nice to see.
Speaking of Mandarin, I don't know, whatever products you're listening to,
there's like a good thirty percent chance they're made over
in China. So support the Chinese economy. We're back. So

(03:09:26):
one of the things we did at this trade show,
most of the time we spent was not out on
the floor looking at products, it was attending these different
speeches and panels, like where they'll have people from like
they had like one of Google's AI heads and like
the head of McDonald's AI integration, which is happening for
some reason. We'll talk more about this in our dedicated
AI episodes that are coming a bit later. But on

(03:09:47):
one of the panels it was AI is the Fifth
Industrial Revolution, was the name of the panel. They did
not once to talk about what industrial revel The other
four were or why this one was. They just said
that title like five times. They were very proud of it.
And one of the who was that Lady Garrison, the
Alexa lady with the iHeart AI shirt. Yes, there was

(03:10:09):
a lady with a shirt that said iHeart is Was
she the dividend lady? No, the dividend lady was from?
Was from the Synthetic Information panel? Yes? Yes? Oh sorry,
sorry sorry that was the other panel. Yeah. Yeah, there
was a panel in like deep fakes and AI harms
and there was a lady on there who was like

(03:10:29):
some sort of relevant expert. But she kept using the
term the liar's dividend to refer to the money that
you make if you're a scammer, and she kept using
it in the way she used it. I immediately thought, like, oh,
this lady wants to sell a book and that's the
title of the book, right, Like, that's very clearly she's
mentioning it in such a pointed, unnatural way. That was

(03:10:50):
my assumption. Apparently the term has existed for a few
years now. It seems useless to me because like, if
you're saying someone is a fraudster, well, the difended is
the money they make committing fraud. Like, you don't need
to give it another name. It's not like that's like again,
it's like calling the money you get robbing a bank
the bank robbers dividend. Well, that's just a stupid thing

(03:11:11):
to say. So yeah, we've been using that for everything
now and now you are all enjoying the podcasters dividend here,
you know, that's that's what you're listening to. Speaking of listening,
we tried good pivot here, so thank you to you,
thank you. We call that the Segway dividend. We tried.
I know Robert's familiar with this, but I've not tried

(03:11:32):
them out before until today. I think it's called chokes shocks, shocks. Yeah,
I wear those headphones every day. Yeah, they're like bone
conducting headphones, bone conducting headphones, so they don't go in
your ear. They go around like around the back of
your head. They hook around your ear lobe and they
vibrate and they can make you hear sounds in your brain. Yeah,

(03:11:54):
which is pretty cool. They were they had they just
launched a new waterproof model targeting like swimmers. Yes, like
IP sixty eight or something like that. Like, yeah, it's
it's supposed to be you can submerge it for like
hours at two meters of depth, so you can like
swim with them on. But I really enjoyed these. Yeah,

(03:12:14):
apparently they can help some people who have like targeted
hearing loss, So that's that's an actually neat piece of
working technology. Yeah, it's really cool if you're not aware
of these, because when we say, like Whenson said, you
can hear sounds to them. They're just like wearing normal headphones.
But we have a friend who is deaf in one
ear and put them on for the first time recently.

(03:12:35):
It was able to like hear out of that ear
for the first time in years, which is like kind
of an amazing thing to be able to do with
a fucking set of headphones that are they're not cheap headphones,
but they're not like inaccessibly expensive. All right, Tavia, you
got another one you wanted to talk about. Yeah, there
was this product that we ran into that was very
close to the tact suit that Garrison had tried on,

(03:12:57):
and it's called three D Desk. It looks to be
like an additional add on you can put on top
of your desk that you would use if you were working.
The one that we had seen was a standing sitting
style desk and it has the actual product itself on
top of it, which looked to be like a stand,
and it had two monitors attached to one plane of it,

(03:13:18):
and then with like I think a simple button switch,
it would sort of like another monitor would swoop out
from behind them, and there was sort of like the
cycling monitor arrangement that I hadn't quite seen before. And
I work a lot with a bunch of different types
of programs, and I'm like more or less stuck to
my desk most of the time, So this actually looked

(03:13:40):
to be another really useful product for somebody like me,
not unlike the wheel me. Yeah. One of the things
you can if you've seen like a drafting table, right
like those desks, it's basically a big desk that you
can like push down so that like the desk part
is almost parallel, and you can like put stick paper
and stuff on and you can draw on it like
what architects use. It has that, so like underneath the

(03:14:03):
monitors there's this top desk piece that you can like
flip up and you can put stuff on, like use
it as like a drafting table or push it back down,
you know, with the switch of a button. It's pretty
cool looking desk. Yeah, it would have like the two
monitors and then this sort of like this plane that
would be sitting at like a thirty nine degree angle
or so kind of from you, so you can set
a bunch of books up or a bunch of notes

(03:14:25):
you're taking or organizing. Yeah, as a general rule, it
was one of the like the products that I kept
finding myself gravitating towards in our free time. There was
like anything that had nothing to do with AI, because yeah,
anyone who could who could find any reason to stick
AI in something like people there's people selling like battery
generators that are like AI assisted, and it's like, what

(03:14:46):
do you mean it means means it cuts off the
power when it's full well, unbelievable. That's not AI. That's
just a battery working better. Like, come on, guys, it's
this thing the tech industry does that that has has
been supposed by like a lot of the products we've
seen this year, many of whom are like just absolute nonsense,
like the the wehead thing that that like hideous chatbot

(03:15:11):
that looks like a broken human face and just deeply
off putting. Now that said, there was a really cool
product that we that I actually like liked, the AI
use application. So there's a company called Cellistron that makes
they're calling it a like a home observatory, and it's
it looks like a big telescope. It's not cheap. It's

(03:15:34):
not insanely expensive for a telescope, mind you, but it's
it's not inexpensive, and it is like a motorized telescope
that it uses like AI, like some sort of AI
program in order to cut out light pollution and stuff
and enhance the images that you're you're getting so that

(03:15:55):
you can actually get clear images of like galaxies and
other planets from your backyard. And it hooks into like
a phone or a tablet or computer like wirelessly. It
actually generates its own Wi Fi network, so you can
still use even if you don't have Internet. But one
of what you can do is you could control it
from like an iPad and you could port the feed
directly to your TV, and you could like direct you

(03:16:17):
could have like a group of people sitting around snorting
whatever drugs you prefer to snort and like looking at
different galaxies and shit in space, and that was pretty
fucking cool and actually like an actual application of machine
learning that I thought was positive. Yeah, you can have
like your little at home star parties. I dug in
a little bit more on like how AI gets used there,

(03:16:38):
and it seemed like it was mostly part of the
image processing before controls get set to the user and
they have like other adjustments such as brightness, contrast, that
kind of thing. But it sounds like it does like
some image processing as part of its AI capabilities. Yeah,
that was that was neat. Again, not a cheap product,

(03:16:59):
but like actually something that's seeing it used impressed me
and I could see wanting to have that, And I
could also see like a clear bit my roommate has
telescopes and stuff, and there's usually the light pollution is
too much of a pain in the ass and fucking
even in Portland, which is not the worst city for
light pollution in this country to use them very well.

(03:17:20):
So something like that and also just being able to
easily drop it onto your TV and like hang out
with friends. Like if I had fight out access of
something like that back when I was doing hallucinogens, I
think it would have used it a lot. Yeah, that
sounds that sounds promising speaking of things that I would
have used a lot as a young man. Garrison, you
want to tell us about the hand job machine. Sure,
So there's this company that's what you said to get

(03:17:44):
a second there. So there's this company in Norway called Handy.
They make They make interactive, interactive sex toys. They started
by targeting the male sex toy demographic or as they
I actually liked that. They that they actually more often

(03:18:05):
said the penis uh demographic, which yeah, which was nice.
I appreciate that. Yeah. But anyway, it's uh, it's it's
a little thing that you can you can slight and
it goes up like it looks like a nice coffee thermoscy.
It has kind of like with like a little tube

(03:18:25):
that has like a clear plastic penis prism next to it.
It has what it has one that it has like
a has like a stroker sleeve attached in and you
can control like the speed and vibration just on on
the little like thermous looking thing. But the real features
of the Handy is that it also has hands free

(03:18:46):
control that you can you can hook this thing up
via an app to many different like sources. You can
hook this up to whatever you're watching on your computer.
You can hook this up to movies. You can hook
this up to an Amazon Alexa if that's your thing,
and the sounds will will impact how the how the

(03:19:08):
stroker moves. The The one of the more promising applications
which it really also opens opens the field of music,
is that you can hook it up to like your
Spotify or something and the music and like the beats
of the rhythm will impact the vibrations and speed on
the stroker. So we can now learn which songs are
best for orcas ofs which opens a whole new, whole

(03:19:32):
new category for the Grammys. I think there's a lot
of trial and error. I think one hundred gex is
definitely gonna be up there. I think nickel Back is
going to make a comeback. Yeah, this is gonna be
the Billie Joel renaissance. Just just people spilling ropes over
down Easter Alexas Christ. They also just launched a second
product called I Think Just the O, which is just

(03:19:53):
a more classic small handheld vibrator. Similarly like the Handy,
It's it's based on actual like sound vibrations, not a
motorized vibration, so it similarly can hook up to music
and that changes the way it feels. So we have
we have not been able to test these yet because
he didn't actually have free copies. They only had to
give Garrison a penis sheath. They only they only had

(03:20:16):
the free sleeves. But the actual device is two hundred dollars,
which is not is not super expensive considering this style
of like sex toy. That is kind of standard. Yeah, yeah,
that was That was one of the more professional booth sexually.
Yeah and see yes, and this is they did a
really good job. This is a good time for me
to tell my favorite masturbation machine story. Oh so there's

(03:20:38):
a product. Oh boy. You know, for the penis having demographic,
there's not as many sex toys traditionally, not as many
at least fun ones out there. It's it's it's a
little bit of a barren wasteland. But there is the
flesh light. And if you haven't seen a fleshlight, you've
heard about them. It does look like a big, heavy,
plastic flashlight and you unscrew the top and there's a

(03:20:58):
fake vagina in there. Right. Some of them are shaped
like asses. Some of them are sex asses. Sometimes there
are a button. Sometimes there are a mouth too. Yeah,
oh yeah, there's mouths too. And I once had a
friend who got in some trouble with the law, and
we had to drive to their house and grab a
bunch of things in their house and throw them away
because we weren't sure if the police were going to
be showing up. And so after we did that that night,

(03:21:20):
it was a very depressed, very sad night, and we
all got extremely drunk, and three of the four of
us are standing out on the front porch in front
of like the house that we're at, and then the
fourth person in the room, who was like roommates with
the person who had just been arrested, comes out with
the arrested person's flesh light and for reasons known only
to them, and God hurls it at us. Now we're

(03:21:43):
in like this is a we're in Richardson, Texas, and
like it's kind of this walled off by concrete bricks,
little front porch area, and we all bolt to get
away from the flesh light and it hits the brick
wall and the plastic case shatters, and then the thing
hits the and the fake plast silicone vagina inside of
it slithers out like like a living creature, probably lubricated

(03:22:10):
by some sort of substance, and it was one of
the most unsettling moments of my life. I'm really glad
you could share that with the Strawberry that the sound
was incredible. It did, yeah, it it sounded a lot
like if you've ever seen that episode Always Sonny where
where Danny DeVito gets berthed from a couch like covered

(03:22:31):
in sweat. It sounded a lot like that, I imagine,
and we call that experience the flesh lights dividend, the
flush light dividend. That's right now, speaking of jacking off,
the next product we're going to talk about is Jackery,
a company that makes some really actually pretty cool like
survival equipment, specifically like solar battery, solar panel and battery setups.

(03:22:52):
And we're going to talk about that because it's definitely
like of the products we saw here the most in
our milieu, as like, yeah, the world is falling apart show.
So we're gonna get to that. But first, here's some ads.

(03:23:14):
We're back and we're talking about Jackery, which it's fun.
One of the things I appreciate about this is that
the hand job machine could have been called jack the Jackerree,
or the company could have been called Jackerree. And likewise,
the company that makes batteries and solar panels could have
been called Handy because it's handy. They have a solar
battery around when you're camping. Curious, interesting, interesting stuff. Yeah,

(03:23:37):
a lot of thoughts there thoughts to be thought. Oddly,
that ven diagram crossover is closer than I thought it
would be, so Jackerree is a cut I would recommend
googling their stuff they make. There's a lot the field
of like solar batteries and panels is super crowded right now,
and most of the batteries you're gonna are gonna be
made like one of the same two or three factories.

(03:23:57):
It's basically the same factory makes a bunch of Commpany's batteries,
and a lot of them are very unsafe. There was
a company that sent me some review samples, like a
whole solar generator and battery last year that I was
going to kind of do a piece about, you know,
surviving on a solar generator, and then a month after
it arrived, I was still testing it. It came out
that they had burned down a bunch of people's houses
because the batteries were insane. No, yeah, so you want

(03:24:20):
to be careful with this stuff. Jackery is one of
the I have had good luck with some of their products.
They seem to be of a high build quality. I
have not heard horror stories about them when you go
to the their booth that people there seem to be
genuinely knowledgeable, and the way in which they set it
up and demo it suggests a degree of knowledge about
the product and like what people want out of it.

(03:24:41):
So one of the things they do have some really
large including some like some solar batteries with generators with
solar panel generators that are large enough to run like
a deep freeze, which is really cool being able to
do that. And the setup they had specifically was a
like an actual, like serious, like solid It's like not
one of those folding panel setups that goes on the

(03:25:03):
roof of your car or truck alongside with like a
tent like one of those via truck Talk tents for overlanding,
and then plugs into you know, either their one thousand
or like two thousand watt solar generator or yeah so
or battery generators and just everything about the way it
was set up seemed really practical. It seemed durable. It
didn't feel like something was gonna fall apart. Yeah, I

(03:25:24):
can see it being like a legitimate like even outside
of the car, because that's more or less like a
hobby it's sort of thing. But having one of these
generators that you can actually run your fridge and your
freezer and your lights in your house all like like
they had some like in an outage microwaves, stuff, cooking implements,
other other kind of stuff you might take for like

(03:25:45):
like you know, like a week in mountain trip or something.
The main the main roof mountain panel I think, was
able to pull four hundred watts, and then it had
two sliding out panels that can pull three hundred watts
so that they could get in a hot and in
a in a sunny day. They said you could get
like nine hundred wats an hour, which is exactly really

(03:26:06):
good for n watts an hour, which is which is
quite impressive, and they have all the batteries to store it.
And by by far, I think Jackery is the most
consistent company in this field that I could I routinely
see high praise for because the feel of like portable
solar like solar charging is kind of a little bit sketchy.

(03:26:28):
Sometimes stuff can easily break, Things can be really easily
over marked. Like I had a solar panel to to
to charge my iPad that really only lasted like two
weeks and it just completely stopped working. But I've only
heard only heard good things about Jackery. I have not
tested them out myself. I know Robert has some of them.
Robert has some of their battery equipment, but hopefully we'll

(03:26:49):
be able to get our hands on some of that
this year. They also had a lot of different form
factors of the same types of products, so a lot
of smaller versions of things that seemed to be really
good if you need a kind of more modular setup,
that was for sure. Yeah, they had like large ones
that you could basically have plugged into your house in
case you lose power for a small period of time

(03:27:11):
in order to like ensure that you don't like you
don't actually have a period where the power's out. And
then they had a lot of like really good camping
sort of like off grid battery options. It's just cool.
Take take a look at that if you are if
you are someone who is in the kind of financial
situation that you can prep in that way where you're
you're buying like solar equipment and batteries, which definitely is

(03:27:31):
never super cheap, right, I would recommend checking them out
at least as you kind of do your research. There's
like two more products I think I want to mention.
The first is Shift. This is a company I was
already familiar with, but I got to try these out.
They look kind of like roller skates, but they're not
roller skates. They are these sort of boots with motorized

(03:27:52):
and locking wheels that attach onto your shoes. And their
use case for this is like factory workers. It makes
the meal, It makes them able to walk in move
they said two and a half times faster, considerably faster.
I was able to walk at a pretty at a
pretty decent speed. You can you can lock the wheels
you need to like do more like delicate mobility tasks.
Go upstairs stairs ladders. That was one way to even

(03:28:16):
lock and unlock the shoes themselves from being used. There's
like a certain gesture you had to make by you
lift up your heel I think it was, and it
locks the shoes so the wheels don't come you lift
up your heel in twist and the boot itself had
a hinge that was just under the Yeah, so I've
seen these before. They look they look kind of fun,

(03:28:37):
but they're four kind of factory work. So it's it's
it's it's kind of a mixed bag where the device
worked quite well, and it took me like just like
maybe like like one minute to get used to it.
Then I could then I was really smooth. But the
actual operational use case they're envisioning is like being able
to get like get more, get more productivity out of

(03:28:58):
their workers the same amount of money for the same
amount of money. So like, yeah, I think Robert made
a pretty good comparison. Like last year we tried out
this exoskeleton, which also you know, they talked a bit
about a little bit about productivity specifically for like again
factory workers, but that Exokelton was also designed to help
that worker not damage their body. Like it was it

(03:29:20):
was to make sure that they actually can can stay
safer and not to as much damage to their knees,
their joints, their back versus these little roller skate type shoes. Yeah,
I have no such have no such ability. I mean
it made you go faster, kind of like one of
those walkways that you have in the airport. Who doesn't

(03:29:40):
want to go a little bit faster. Yeah, that was
the way the guy repped it too, where he was like,
we have these factory workers. They're like, I have the
best job in the company. Now, it's so fun skating
around on these things. Nobody said that to you, bro, like,
don't lie. It's a nice thought. He also clayed that

(03:30:00):
there's not been one fall or injury with these things,
on which I just I do not believe because I
almost fell down to testing these out. I'm sure if
you're carrying like heavy boxes like it's it's very easy
for your weight to get to get away from yourself
when you're literally walking on wheels like and it can
be controlling. It actually is more intuitive than I thought

(03:30:23):
it would be. But mistakes happen, and those those sorts
of big claims are a little bit a little bit sketchy.
I found myself kind of waving my arms a little
bit in front of me to keep my balance. I
wasn't like competent on them. Yeah. Yeah, just watching you both,
I could see like, well, yeah, people are gonna get hurt.
Now I don't I am sure because it seems to

(03:30:44):
be easy enough to use that I suspect it would.
You could really get a lot of extra money out
of your workers as an employer using these things, but
at the cost of some of them are gonna like
fucking eat shit and hurt themselves, which is not like
in the grand scheme of corporate evil, especially if the
show where everybody's like talking about the potential of AI
to eliminate tens of millions of jobs. Not really, it

(03:31:05):
doesn't really scan. And I think we're still putting this
on the good episode because like they worked in a
way that they were technically impressive. We just found it
kind of upsetting that they were bragging about, like you
can get more money out of your already exploited workforce
with these. But I could see someone just getting these
and because they would allow you if you find it,

(03:31:25):
like yeah, if you if you live in a walkable city,
cityable neighborhood, it can make your commute times much faster
and still probably safer than like you less risk maybe
than like a bike or something like that. Yeah, I
want to see somebody wear those at a roller skating rink.
So yeah, that's called that's called Shift Robotics. I believe
they're based out of Texas. Yeah. The last thing I
want to talk about. For both mine and Robert's job,

(03:31:48):
we use a lot of computer screens. I'm looking in
Robert's hotel room right now where we're recording. He has
a laptop hooked up to a second monitor. I have
a very similar setup I have. I have a laptop
and a secondary monitor on my desktop. I have like
three or four monitors always running at the same time,
just because of the absurdity of what our works sometimes entails,

(03:32:09):
so it could be hard to get things done on
a single screen. And we saw this one product that
looked just like a like a very like thick keyboard
with a with a touchpad, but it had these like
AR glasses attached. Now, AR is a tricky feel. We
tried a lot of AR stuff last year, most of
it some of it was okay, some of it was

(03:32:30):
a little bit finicky. But this company was called Sightful. Yeah,
and what this basically was is that it was a
fully functioning computer but instead of a instead of just
having a regular display, it has a display built into
these yeah, into these glasses. The product itself looks like
just the bottom half of a laptop, like the keyboard

(03:32:50):
part that holds the PCU and shit with like this
weird flappy thing attached to the keyboard part that holds
like a set of glasses that are plugged in directly
to the laptop. That's how it like looks. And when
you put the glasses on, you get like four screens
that pop up. The screens aren't too big, they're not
too small. You can change the size by using using

(03:33:12):
the touchpad. And this required a lot less like like
a like a focusing like you usually when you put
on ar AR glasses you have to kind of dial
in the focal length to make them look right. But
this was all very clear. The text was easy to read,
Changing from one screen to another was pretty was pretty easy.

(03:33:33):
They had they had They had a pass through mode
like a lot of good ar does. They had a
mode where you can lock the screens in place so
you can turn your head and they don't move. They
had another version where you just with like keystrokes, you
could turn your head and the screens follow you. So
it was it was a pretty it was a pretty
useful device. Yeah. You could press a button and it
would go the screens would disappear, Like if you're walking

(03:33:54):
while using it, you could press a button and it
would go clear, so you wouldn't see it, but you
could see where you were walking pass through. Yeah. Like
I typed it an email or two, and like did
some googling on it, and I very quickly adapted to
the screens being virtual but still using a physical keyboard.
I we didn't get like motion sick with it. It
was not. Now. I think this is like either the
first or second iteration of this product. First the first

(03:34:17):
to market the first. Yeah, I think there is some
ways to improve. It runs its own Android operating system,
which you know, if you're trying to download applications. The
fact that it can't run Windows or Linux or even
Apple's system, you know that that could be a bit
of a limitation. It only had like two hundred and
two hundred and fifty gigs of work. It wasn't really

(03:34:39):
a full storage and power. It's a little bit beefier
than your phone. Yea right. The company the product, by
the way, is called spacetop. Yeah, Sightful is the company's
spacetop is the is the the actual product itself, And yeah,
I uh, we're gonna We're gonna keep our eye on it. Yeah,
I wouldn't buy the first of this thing. It's about

(03:35:00):
twenty two hundred bucks, which is like upper mid level
cost for a laptop. My issue is at based on
how expensive it is, the laptop itself isn't powerful enough
to justify that price. Certainly, the fact that you know,
I can act like I have four monitors wherever I go,
that is, that is very convenient. I think I just
need the laptop to be a little bit more powerful,

(03:35:22):
especially with how many tabs they have open it at
all times. Having only eight gigs of RAM just will
not cut it. But I'm certainly certainly hopeful that we'll
be able to see small improvements going forward. Indeed, yeah,
they had mentioned it as being a web first device
instead of anything else. That makes sense. Yeah, Yeah, it's
like a Chromebook, and I think in terms of like

(03:35:42):
it's actual yeah, efficacy very similar to a Chromebook, like
operation wise. But my hope is that like the kind
of technology they've developed, it will get you know, if
it's successful, they'll make more prewer. Now I do kind
of worry about how successful will be because like Garrison
and I were both like, oh, this is perfect for
what we do, but we have a very specific use
case for our machinets. And I'm not sure like how

(03:36:03):
many other people are in our position. But I was
really impressed with just like how well it immediately worked. Yeah, No,
I I was happy with it. You can hook up
an external monitor if you if you want to, So
that's that's nice. And I am a glasses wearer, and
so one stuff that they had for me is that
they took my glasses and approximated my prescription. Oh that's cool. Yeah,

(03:36:24):
and they slid on these magnetic sort of like eyeglass
pieces onto the headset that you're wearing, or like the
glasses that you're wearing. That way, I could actually use
it without wearing my prescription glasses. Nice. Yeah, And that
was really It's stuff like that that lets you know
that people making something didn't just aren't just like trying
to rush some shit out the door to make money, Like, Oh,
you put some thought into that, motherfucker. I appreciate that.

(03:36:46):
And this all leads us the easily the best product
of the entire show. Honestly, the only one really worth
talking about, Garrison, Will you hand me the flying car brochure?
So Jesus Christ, this is the CEO of flying cars.
Robotaxis is the term we heard a lot. We went
to a panel that was like serious people in the

(03:37:08):
robotaxi industry, which they admitted does not exist. By the way,
advance to air mobility, of air mobility, it was the
acronym AAM. Yeah. No, there are several companies that are
using effectively like these are. Some of them are like
ultra lights. But there was one of the companies that
came here bragged like you can buy buy a plane
that doesn't require a pilot's license because it's so light,
but it's still a plane, which seems like a horrible

(03:37:30):
idea to me. But there are some real companies who
are like testing out electronic aero taxis. Some of these
are this is not vaporware. These products exist. Now, what
doesn't exist is the legal framework to allow people to
do this. Like the panelists were like openly like, we
want this to be an industry, but first there have
to be it has to be legal right now, we

(03:37:51):
don't know, like they they're still trying to figure out
like what the rules are going to be. They're hoping
by the end of this year the FAA puts out
like a temporary rule so about how robot air robo
taxes work, and also how they call them verta ports,
which is because these are all vertical takeoff and landing craft.
At least the one that we saw on the show
floor looks like a looks like a Lamborghini with a

(03:38:15):
massive drone like a DGI type round the top. And
that's that's the one I want to talk about, because
all of those were real products. The exit paying the
air road product, in my opinion, is absolutely not. It's
built as a low altitude air mobility exploring. Yeah, it
looks like a huge drone like you'd buy at a

(03:38:35):
fucking best Buy, attached to a Lamborghini, and apparently the
whole drone part, all of the rotors fold back into
the body when you're driving it as a car like
a like a transformer, like a transformer. And the reason
why I say this is the best product in CEES
is not that I think it would work or be safe.
Because we talked to two people, and the person who

(03:38:59):
was told to us is their technical expert, and neither
of them could answer if it had airbags. They did
say probably. They did say probably, which isn't what you
want to hear. No, that you should have that answer.
That's not a tough question, that's not a gotcha does
your car have airbags? First, first, the PR guy that
we were talking to was very open about knowing almost

(03:39:21):
nothing about the technical aspects of this device. And then
when we talked to the technical person, they too didn't
know very much about it. So like, just isn't very reassuring,
Like and I even tried to do it the easy
way where I was like, well, I know ultra light
aircraft you don't need a pilot's license for so do
you need Does this qualify? And they were basically said, no,

(03:39:41):
we don't know, we don't know. Yeah, yeah, it'll take
some kind of license. Probably. What kind of range does
it get? They said twenty kilometers by air about twenty
minutes per charge. Yeah, which seems like a dangerously short
amount of time to be flying you and a loved
one potentially in a thing it is. It is pretty

(03:40:02):
low altitude, I think, they said it max is out
at around one hundred one hundred, No, they said hundred meters. Sorry,
so it's really not for going up super high. And
I when we went to the more like expert panel,
a lot of these use cases for this, they imagine
is kind of replacing helicopters in cities. There's like metavac

(03:40:23):
use cases. But a lot of people were talking about
like testing these things out in New York where rich
people use helicopters to get around the city, and this
is what they want to replace them with. Because these
can be purely electric, these can be much more because
these can be much quieter. So that was what a
lot of what they were talking about. However, again most

(03:40:44):
of the panel was just them just complaining that the
government hasn't done enough work to make this a real industry. Garrison,
I got, you're not aware of this topic. It just
handed me the flyer we got from them that I
don't think either of us read through. Here's their story.
Oh Boy, Sale Beyond Limits twenty thirteen. Zoo Deli ignited

(03:41:05):
Erot with a daring dream to turn the enchanting broomsticks
of Harry Potter into tangible wonder. Oh No, a tribe
of daring mind set forth on the thrilling journey of
crafting electric marvels that could take humans to the skies
through tireless exploration. The first ever prototype, the flying motorcycle. Gracefully,
this is all a Harry Potter thing. Some madman from

(03:41:30):
China fell so in love with Harry Potter that he
made a death car. I'm back around to loving it again.
Average tech industry guy brain poisoned by Harry Potter creates
death device. I feel like this guy and the plant
pet Sky are probably like pretty tight. They're both the
same kind of Why is there so many apocalypse tent

(03:41:52):
based around Harry Potter? What's going on in this industry?
And it is so The other brochure they had it
shows like flying car, the modular flying car, which looks
like a cyber truck because if it had like you know,
you can get a truck, you can put like a
bed cap on the beds. It's basically a big it's
like a cyber truck with one of those, but the

(03:42:12):
bed cap opens up to deploy like a quad copter
thing that human beings can ride in kind of like
sound wave in Transform, which is it's a cool idea
from like a kid's point of view. I think the
idea here is that you know, John McAfee used to
do this thing where he would live in the desert

(03:42:33):
with a cult of weirdos and they would fly around
on gliders until he got his nephew and an old
man killed and a glider crash. This is this is
the dream yeah of that Harry Potter fan. I mean,
I this The reason why I'm actually very pro this
product is because the only people that are going to
use these are really rich. Yes, yes, I think there's
a high gence this could take out a lot of them.

(03:42:56):
This this has the best chance of dropping multiple billionaires
of anything since the Death's Up, Like we felt from
one hundred meters in the air just crashing out of
the sky and Santa Monica and sand billionaires just taking
out whole lanes of traffic. Imaginers. I mentionined to walking
through the park one day and a billionaire comes flying

(03:43:18):
down from the sky lands in like a two million
dollar drone. The prototype that they say they got to
fly was two tons. Wow, you could really do a
lot of damage with that. Well, this is this, This
is all quite exciting. Keep your eye on the sky. Folks,
maybe wear a helmet for a while until this all

(03:43:39):
shakes out. Like there's the story in the news right
now that like some dude in Portland had the fucking
door of that Alaska Airlines flight in his backyard. And
I can't wait until that's like a third of Elon musk,
just like Lance in someone's yard, like two million dollars.
Oh yet, Yeah, And by the way, if fucking eat

(03:44:00):
a billionaire's carcass winds up in my lawn, I got
a new punch bowl with their skull. I'm going to
harvest their possibly called the Billionaires Division, the Billionaires Dividend. Well,
all right, everybody, anyone, Tapia you have anything to plug?
Oh yeah, you can find me on Twitter or x
at cut Mora, or if you want to learn a

(03:44:22):
little bit more about me and my interactive and immersive work,
you can see my work at tapiamora dot com. You
can also see her work in my book A Brief
History of Ice, where she did all the illustrations, or
in my book After the Revolution where she did all
the illustrations, or in the sequel which will come out
when I finish those last two fucking chapters like three
years from now, huh or in Vegas, yeah tomorrow to Laura,

(03:44:49):
all right, well we're done. Hey, We'll be back Monday
with more episodes every week from now until the heat
death of the Universe. It Could Happen Here is production
of cool Zone Media. For more podcasts from cool Zone Media,
visit our website Coolzonemedia dot com, or check us out
on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen

(03:45:09):
to podcasts. You can find sources for It Could Happen Here,
updated monthly at coolzonmedia dot com slash sources. Thanks for listening.

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