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Sunday, October 30, 2011


Hasan M. Elahi writes in the NY Times about his run-in with the FBI several months after September 11th, 2001. They'd received an erroneous report that he had explosives and had fled the country, so they were surprised when he showed up at an airport and was flagged by watch-list software. Elahi chose not to fight the investigation, and provided the FBI with enough detail about his life to convince them that he was a lawful citizen. But then, he kept going, providing more and more information about his life, documenting his every move and making it available online. His experience has been that providing too much information affords almost the same privacy blanket as too little. Quoting:"On my Web site, I compiled various databases that show the airports I’ve been in, food I’ve eaten at home, food I’ve eaten on the road, random hotel beds I’ve slept in, various parking lots off Interstate 80 that I parked in, empty train stations I saw, as well as very specific information like photos of the tacos I ate in Mexico City between July 5 and 7, and the toilets I used. ... A lot of work is required to thread together the thousands of available points of information. By putting everything about me out there, I am simultaneously telling everything and nothing about my life. Despite the barrage of information about me that is publicly available, I live a surprisingly private and anonymous life."
"In late 1965, President Lyndon Johnson stood in the modest gymnasium of what had once been the tiny teaching college he attended and announced a program to promote education. Almost a half-century later these modest steps have metastasized into a huge, federally guaranteed student-loan industry. On October 25th the Obama administration added indebted students to the list of banks, car companies, homeowners, solar manufacturers and others that have benefited from a federal handout. In response to students burying their obligations in court during the 1970s, anti-default provisions were imposed to make it almost impossible to shed student loans in bankruptcy. There are increasingly loud calls for reform of the system, with demands that range from a full-fledged bail-out of borrowers to a phased curtailment of government lending. The changes announced this week are designed to ease the pressure on struggling graduates. Borrowers who qualify will get payment relief, not debt relief. The administration says these changes will have no cost to taxpayers."

A Net Citizen Says:
"We create an online community that will enable us to collectively define the world's biggest problems, and then tap into our collective wisdom to create the solutions for those problems. The most important problems are "upvoted," and so are the best solutions to those problems. What we have then is crowd-sourced democracy.
I will personally fund this initiative if you'd like to join me.
But will it work? Yes it will. How do I know? Two reasons.
One: History has set the precedent. For example- the printing press (quick and cheap knowledge transfer) aided in ending the Dark Ages.
Two: I'm a Director at a Fortune 500 company, so I know first hand. For instance: I pay for a service that monitors every comment/post/tweet/blog about my company and I mobilize teams to manage even the smallest level of fallout, even “slightly negative” sentiment. Why? Because I know that the power is shifting. Individual customers can impact millions of dollars in revenue by portraying my company in the wrong light, even slightly, via the Internet. So I watch and listen, and then I react… Because I must do everything I can to control the perception of my brand and it’s subsequent impact to my bottom line.
Although I’m sure this is scary for many of my peers, it’s absolutely thrilling to me when I think of what this means for the world: the age of pure-profit motivation is very quickly colliding with the age of instant global information exchange and transparency.
But it's still early days, and we haven't quite connected the dots yet. Just wait until global corporations think about what people want (not just the product, but the product’s impact) before they think about their balance sheets. They know that if their customers don't like what they're doing (and their days of hiding are over by the way) then their business has no future. A free-market that is 100% accountable to the people that it serves, thanks to the Internet.
It's about time too, in fact it’s perfect timing. Industrialization is slowly shifting into the age of sustainability led by technological innovation, but that shift is being prolonged by companies that like things the way they are now, highly profitable and predictable. Change is uncertain and will upset elements of their business model, so it will be avoided and postponed for as long as possible. But this is a dangerous thing: global corporations have achieved unprecedented levels of power over the planet, its people, and its resources. They’re not accountable to a single set of governing rules, and many countries (both modern and developing) will do whatever it takes to attract investment from these companies into their borders, in many cases at the cost of safety to their people, and to the integrity of the environment.
So here’s what I’d like to create, in summary: • An online community that is accessible across the globe, in multiple languages • Simple and quick to start, so that we can support off-line movements while they’re still occurring (Arab spring, occupy wall-street) • Software that enables users to “skim the cream off the top,” meaning that the most crucial issues and solutions receive the most attention (as decided by the community) • Future evolution to include: o Facebook/Twitter/etc integration o Mobile access: WAP, Smartphone apps, and SMS o A repository of information about companies from customers and employees that is vetted by the community o Regional/local pages within the community to solve problems close to home • …And a lot more (I have a plan framework that I will share with the working team)
This has been something I’ve wanted to do for over three years. I’ve been saving, planning, and building connections, but I’m not quite ready… However I’ve never seen more of a need for this type of initiative than right now, and it’s important that we create this platform while the timing is right in order to keep the momentum going.
I want to know two things from this community: • Can you help? If so, how? (Top-shelf web developers and legal experts especially) • Do you have feedback for me? What should I be sure to include/exclude? What pitfalls should I look out for?"

Newly elected Irish president Michael D. Higgins to remove "God" from Irish oath.

Just Plain Cute

I wish we could do away with daylight savings time.
Russia has not put its clocks back for winter this year, after President Dmitry Medvedev decided the country would stay permanently in summertime.

My head hurts when I try to grasp this.
World's most powerful laser to tear apart the vacuum of space

More revelations on the official police-spread malware that Germany's Chaos Computer Club discovered in the wild and reverse engineered: pretty much everything the German police said in their defense turns out to be a lie.

Sen. Ron Wyden wants to keep the US from taking a step toward the totalitarian state envisioned in the novel "1984": The Oregon Democrat sees that possibility in law enforcement's use of global positioning system technology.

Psalm 14:1
The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.

One day he will know...

Engineering The 10 000-Year Clock --- Designed by Danny Hills. Paid for by Jeff Bezos. It's ready to go. "Over the course of its 10,000-year life span it will be able to power itself enough to keep time, synchronise with the sun, and randomly generate melodies"

Occupy London could be protected by Christian ring of prayer: Coalition of Christian groups plan to prevent forcible attempts to remove tents outside St Paul's Cathedral

TIL Costco sells a 1 year survival food supply that lasts 27 years and is over 4,866 total servings (as a single register ring up item)

Here's a giraffe licking a ginger...

Spectacular Time-Lapse Video of Historic Dam Removal

The debt fallout: How Social Security went ‘cash negative’ earlier than expected

Outside of a Local Church

Bruising caused by oakland police rubber bullet

French government to buy over 15,000 electric vans

An Orb Weaver spider Sheds It's Skin

Found a Spider in my Car this Morning... 

Would Jesus Occupy? Michigan's Fountain Street Church says yes and backs movement heartily

Unequal Justice: Banker Arrests, 0; Protester Arrests, 2,511

Op-Ed: Blacklist Bill allows Feds to remove websites from Internet

Confrontations between Denver police & protesters gathered in support of Occupy Wall Street among the most violent since Oakland - Clearing out an encampment in a central city park, police fired pepper spray & pepper balls into a crowd, & used batons to clear out others

Alaska’s Billion Dollar Mountain --- How Jim McKenzie acquired the mining rights to a mountain of rare earths worth billions. "I didn’t think I’d get into the minerals business. It looks like I orchestrated this brilliant move, right? But it’s just inadvertent luck”

Woke up to this up here in Maine.

The derivatives market is the next big bubble to burst...and guess what?
Bank of America Forces Taxpayers To Cosign on 53 TRILLION In Derivatives. Too Big To Fail.

Nuclear powers plan weapons spending spree, report finds 

A NY police officer’s union put Occupy Wall Street on notice; says they will pursue legal claims against any protesters who injure any of its members

Translation : God loves money

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