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Current Topic: Society

Black Ships & Samurai
Topic: Society 12:43 pm EST, Mar 29, 2004

This is an interesting look at a specific point in history as seen from both sides of the issue. Part of the MIT OpenCourseWare initiative, this information really points out how history is really all about perspective.

[ Fascinating... I wish i wasn't at work so i could read more of it... -k ]

Black Ships & Samurai

The Coming Generational Storm
Topic: Society 11:53 am EST, Feb 17, 2004

In 2030, as 77 million baby boomers hobble into old age, walkers will outnumber strollers; there will be twice as many retirees as there are today but only 18 percent more workers.

How will America handle this demographic overload?

How will Social Security and Medicare function with fewer working taxpayers to support these programs?

... we'll see skyrocketing tax rates, drastically lower retirement and health benefits, high inflation, a rapidly depreciating dollar, unemployment, and political instability.

But don't panic.

Raise your little finger to your lips and repeat after me: "$44 Trillion Dollars"

Now follow this link, and click on the "endorsements" link, and look at the credentials of the people listed there. Recognize any names?

"It is the dawning of the age of aquarius, the age of aquarius... aquarius!!!"

The Coming Generational Storm

AN UN-FUNNY VALENTINE: Greeting card picture evokes race stereotype
Topic: Society 1:01 pm EST, Feb 15, 2004

American Greetings Corp.

The black SpongeBob was a goof in printing, the card company says. Wal-Mart offers refunds but won't stop sales.

American Greetings Corp. calls it a regrettable printing error.

Somehow, boxes of SpongeBob SquarePants Valentine's Day cards are popping up in local Wal-Mart stores -- but the popular cartoon character found inside isn't his traditional yellow color...

AN UN-FUNNY VALENTINE: Greeting card picture evokes race stereotype

Statement from Student Expelled for Recommending Web Proxy at School
Topic: Society 8:22 am EST, Feb 10, 2004

One of the teens from PhreakNIC, Michael Kozlowicz (you may know him as "The1"), filled me in on an event recently. In December, during a free period (flex block) at his high school in Carpentersville Illinois, another student asked him about web proxies. Michael explained to the other student how they worked.

A few weeks later, Michael got called in to the Principal's office, who asked him about the conversation. Michael felt he did nothing wrong, and explained in great detail what he'd said to the other student. He even put it in writing and signed his name.

To his surprise, he was then suspended from school, and eventually expelled.

He went up before a review board today, and read them a statement (linked below). After hearing the statement, the board then voted unanimously to make the expulsion permanent.

I have my own thoughts on the efficacy of the statement, but I'll leave it to you to make up your own minds.

Statement from Student Expelled for Recommending Web Proxy at School

Google Privacy Policy
Topic: Society 1:36 pm EST, Feb  4, 2004

] Google notes and saves information such as
] time of day, browser type, browser language, and IP
] address with each query.
] Please be aware, however, that we will release specific
] personal information about you if required to do so in
] order to comply with any valid legal process such as a
] search warrant, subpoena, statute, or court order.

While everyone is freaking out about their Tivos, Jeremy mentioned a much more serious issue. The fact is that TV only shows you popular culture. There are limited circumstances where surveillance of TV watching habits would really be problematic politically. TV is the soma. The Internet, on the other hand, makes your local library look tame. Google knows everything that you've thought about seriously in past 5 years. And what Google knows, the police know.

If they don't need permission or notification to pull your records from the library, how long before they can do the same with your Google records?

Google Privacy Policy

Patriot II was signed into law under our noses...
Topic: Society 12:56 pm EST, Dec 30, 2003

] By signing the bill on the day of Hussein's capture, Bush
] effectively consigned a dramatic expansion of the USA
] Patriot Act to a mere footnote. Consequently, while most
] Americans watched as Hussein was probed for head lice,
] few were aware that the FBI had just obtained the power
] to probe their financial records, even if the feds don't
] suspect their involvement in crime or terrorism.

] The Senate passed it with a voice vote to avoid
] individual accountability. While broadening the
] definition of "financial institution," the Bush
] administration is ramping up provisions within the 2001
] USA Patriot Act, which granted the FBI the authority to
] obtain client records from banks by merely requesting the
] records in a "National Security Letter." To get the
] records, the FBI doesn't have to appear before a judge,
] nor demonstrate "probable cause" - reason to believe that
] the targeted client is involved in criminal or terrorist
] activity. Moreover, the National Security Letters are
] attached with a gag order, preventing any financial
] institution from informing its clients that their records
] have been surrendered to the FBI. If a financial
] institution breaches the gag order, it faces criminal
] penalties. And finally, the FBI will no longer be
] required to report to Congress how often they have used
] the National Security Letters.

How the hell was this able to happen without public discourse and debate!?!?!?!

This is the first I have heard of this. We can't let our government tinker with laws that effect our civil liberties without pubic discourse. This is really, really, really, serious. Something needs to be done! This is a _BIG_ problem! The laws that protect our rights are being changed, and great lengths are being gone through to keep it secret!

If this can happen without a hitch, then anything can happen without a hitch. I think we can officially declare now, that we have lost control of our country to this current Administration, and they are in the process of destroying what has made America powerful and great, our openness. If this type of "governing" is allowed to continue, we might as well give this country a new name and flag, because its changed.

I don't believe I'm hearing about this FIFTEEN DAYS after its been signed into law.

Patriot II was signed into law under our noses...

Rumsfeld's Rules
Topic: Society 5:30 pm EST, Dec 14, 2003

Many of these rules, reflections and quotations came from my role as Chairman of the "transition team" for President Gerald R. Ford and my service as White House Chief of Staff. Others came from experiences as a U.S. Naval Aviator, a Member of Congress, Ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Secretary of Defense, Presidential Middle East Envoy, business executive, Chairman of the US Ballistic Missile Threat Commission, and other experiences. These reflections and quotations have been gathered over the past 40 years.

There are many good rules here, but here is my personal selection:

1. Learn to say "I don’t know." If used when appropriate, it will be often.

2. It is easier to get into something than to get out of it.

3. Don’t divide the world into "them" and "us."

4. Keep your sense of humor.

5. If you are not criticized, you may not be doing much.

6. Don’t be a bottleneck.

7. Look for what's missing.

8. For every human problem there is a solution that is simple, neat and wrong.

9. Simply because a problem is shown to exist doesn’t necessarily follow that there is a solution.

10. If you develop rules, never have more than ten.

Rumsfeld's Rules

The Hello World Project 2/3
Topic: Society 4:25 pm EST, Dec  9, 2003

the geneva laser is on right now and the Rio and New York ones open in an hour (it's 3:20 pm est)...

SMS the world, or use the link to send one online.

The Hello World Project 2/3

RE: Google Time Bomb - Will Weblogs blow up the world's favorite search engine? - Microcontent News, a Microblog
Topic: Society 12:25 pm EST, Dec  9, 2003

Decius wrote:
] ] And thus was born the Google Bomb.
] Explanation for recent funny google searches like "miserable
] failure." The "angry mob" threat model continues to find new
] applications.

MemeStreams is a mini Google bomb for the people. Take your MemeStream title for instance.. Because if the way our pages interlink, if you are one of the people on this system who has used it actively for a long time and is highly recommended (yes, it matters, alot), you can pretty much pick your Google key words.. Just don't shoot for the moon. There is only so much one site can do, hence why the Bush "miserable failure" thing required a bunch of bloggers posting in concert to pull off.

[ Glances over at ]

Assume the stuff in ""'s is a Google Search.. And keep in mind, the results may have changed.. In general, everything I put in ""'s was a first result returned, or otherwise noted. Here we go:

Elonka has her "Subcultures R Us", lets hope the nation of 'R Us' dosen't mind.. :)

Google is so in tune with Jeremy I can ask it "What questions are you asking about Raymond?", and its going to pick up on the fact he has been preoccupied with some humorous who loves raymond meme.. Yes, I know in order for that to make sense it should be "What questions are they asking you about Raymond?".. But the first hit for that is ESR telling me the right way to ask a question. Ironic. All this confusion about questions being asked and who is asking them. It seems like such a small Internet sometimes.

flynn23 could ask Google some questions he already knows the answer to like "If I had a weblog, what would I call it?"

With the right set of words, you do not need to be around long to get some action out of Google. "Gremlin Garbage", "Leprechauns and Star Tattoos" can be found in Google land..

Jessica the "Paranoid Defense Worker" isn't showing up yet, because she just changed her MemeStream title. The reason why is ironically connected. The previous one was showing up for "General Dynamics web site access policy".

"Get back to work" is shooting for the moon in this economy.. Almost 100k results to rank. However if you use Laughing Boy's complete title and ask "get back to work slacker", it shoots to the top..

How is this for weird? crankymessiah was either "resurrected on the wrong side of the bed" or Google has a built in sense of humor, because for some reason that query is bringing up the RSS feed..

"Nanochick" dosen't need shit. She dosen't need a title. She is "Nanockick". Look at her, kicking that email address. Aww yea.

Who "Deletes spam"? Who "Sips the tea substitute" and "watches the grey light become more like day"?? Cayce the Coolhunter in William Gibson's novel Pattern Recognition? No! More irony. As far as Google is concerned.. Its Decius.

And me? I'm the one researching all this.. Whenever I'm at Google, and I want to search for something I know I've meme'd before, I don't use "site:...", I just go "sudo bash" and use MemeStreams. Heh.. Solaris/Linux people will find that amusing. OSX people will think I'm talking shit on Google. Everyone else can just know there is a joke they are not in on. :)

RE: Google Time Bomb - Will Weblogs blow up the world's favorite search engine? - Microcontent News, a Microblog

Cringely's crazy idea
Topic: Society 4:05 pm EDT, Jul 25, 2003

] When I mentioned in last week's column that I would this
] week be writing about a legal way to do a successful
] music downloading business -- a business that would
] threaten the Recording Industry Association of America
] and its hegemony -- dozens of readers wrote to me trying
] to predict what I would write. Some readers came at the
] problem from a purely technical perspective, ignoring the
] fact that the real issues here aren't technical but
] legal. Some readers took a legal approach, but they
] tended to ignore the business model. Some were looking
] solely for the business model. Interestingly, nobody
] even came close to my idea, which makes me either a total
] loon or a diabolical genius. Truth be told, I'm probably
] more of a diabolical loon.
] The reason I am even writing this column is two-fold.
] The biggest reason is simply because I would like people
] to consider lateral solutions to problems. I am pushing
] the concept of problem solving in a new way. There is no
] particular methodology here, just the underlying concept
] that if things aren't working the way you like, think of
] something different. Too often, people restrict their
] thinking or they somehow expect the world to change just
] for them, which it won't. But taking a lateral approach
] often yields interesting results. And once you've found
] an approach, maybe it can be applied to a different
] problem. What I am abo

Cringely's crazy idea

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