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Thursday, December 26, 2013


I had a lot of freedom growing up in the 50's and 60's. My friends and I only had one requirement from our parents and that was to be home before the street lights came on. But when my own son was growing up I curbed his freedom. And now today parents are even less likely to allow their children freedom...
"Wired presents this damning perspective on so-called social media addiction: 'If kids can't socialize, who should parents blame? Simple: They should blame themselves. This is the argument advanced in It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens, by Microsoft researcher Danah Boyd. Boyd ... has spent a decade interviewing hundreds of teens about their online lives. What she has found, over and over, is that teenagers would love to socialize face-to-face with their friends. But adult society won't let them. "Teens aren't addicted to social media. They're addicted to each other," Boyd says. "They're not allowed to hang out the way you and I did, so they've moved it online." It's true. As a teenager in the early '80s I could roam pretty widely with my friends, as long as we were back by dark. Over the next three decades, the media began delivering a metronomic diet of horrifying but rare child-abduction stories, and parents shortened the leash on their kids. Politicians warned of incipient waves of youth wilding and superpredators (neither of which emerged). Municipalities crafted anti-loitering laws and curfews to keep young people from congregating alone. New neighborhoods had fewer public spaces. Crime rates plummeted, but moral panic soared. Meanwhile, increased competition to get into college meant well-off parents began heavily scheduling their kids' after-school lives.'"

 All of us have had the ability to take pictures on phones, video cameras, ipads and other means for quite some time now. One thing that we all deal with is the enormous amount of pictures we have ended up with. And then there is all the stuff on our computers over the years. So it is something that we can relate to when we hear that now the NSA is drowning in data. When you seek to play God and try real hard to know everything there is to know about everyone, you are bound to come to the realization that your collecting way too much useless data....

"Some of the documents released by Mr. Snowden detail concerns inside the NSA about drowning in information. An internal briefing document in 2012 about foreign cellphone-location tracking by the agency said the efforts were 'outpacing our ability to ingest, process and store' data. In March 2013, some NSA analysts asked for permission to collect less data through a program called Muscular because the 'relatively small intelligence value it contains does not justify the sheer volume of collection,' another document shows. In response to questions about Mr. Binney's claims, an NSA spokeswoman says the agency is 'not collecting everything, but we do need the tools to collect intelligence on foreign adversaries who wish to do harm to the nation and its allies.'"

"The Associated Press reports that the Houston (Texas) Police will be adding 180 surveillance cameras in the downtown area, bringing the total to close to 1000. While most cover public areas (stadiums, theater district) the police suggest that Houston also has more 'critical infrastructure' (energy companies) than other cities. Interestingly AP points out that 'Officials say data is not kept to determine if the cameras are driving down crime.' Didn't London face the same issue?"

 "If John Madden steps outside on February 2, looks down, and doesn't see his feet, we'll have 6 more weeks of Pro football." -- Chuck Newcombe

 The future of the internet for 2014? 

"Two big shifts happened in the American cellphone industry over the past year: Cellular networks got faster, and smartphone screens got bigger. In the United States, consumers used an average of 1.2 gigabytes a month over cellular networks this year, up from 690 megabytes a month in 2012, according to Chetan Sharma, a consultant for wireless carriers, who published a new report on industry trends on Monday. Worldwide, the average consumption was 240 megabytes a month this year, up from 140 megabytes last year, he said."

 TIL England built an underground city in the 1950s to house 4,000 key government employees in case of a nuclear strike, complete with 60 miles of roadways, an underground lake to provide fresh water and a railway to transport the Royal Family. It was not revealed to the public until 2004.


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