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Current Topic: Society

Corporations Now Have a Right To "Personal Privacy"
Topic: Society 12:13 pm EDT, Oct  2, 2009

Thanks to a recent ruling (PDF) by the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, corporations now have a right to 'personal privacy,'

Not only is this disturbing, but it's interesting to see this moving in the opposite direction as personal privacy. At some point, there's going to be a collision.

Corporations Now Have a Right To "Personal Privacy"

Slashdot Politics Story | US Government Sets Up Online 'App Store'
Topic: Society 1:30 am EDT, Sep 17, 2009

The Obama administration has unveiled a government 'app store' designed to push the federal bureaucracy into the era of cloud computing. The change means some federal employees will begin using services like YouTube, Gmail and WordPress, which store data on private internet servers instead of on those paid for with public money.

Is this not another case for creating infrastructure in the public trust? Not only should you have last mile copper and fiber loops that are publicly owned, but why not a cloud infrastructure? Considering the amount of data that publicly funded projects currently (and exponentially will in the future) use, does this not make sense? I mean, we have public television and radio infrastructure. Roads. Water. Gas and other energy sources. Why not data and information sources? Isn't this like a library? Here is where I think leaning on the private sector is not a good idea, as we've seen with IP infrastructure.

Slashdot Politics Story | US Government Sets Up Online 'App Store'

Slashdot Your Rights Online Story | ACLU Sues For Records On Border Laptop Searches
Topic: Society 6:43 pm EDT, Aug 27, 2009

The ACLU has sued the US Customs and Border Protection agency under the Freedom of Information Act, aiming to obtain records on the agency's policy of searching laptops at the border. Under the policy, the CBP can search through financial records, photos, and Web site histories, and retain that information for unspecified periods of time. The ACLU is arguing that the information is necessary to understand whether the CBP may be violating the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable and unwarranted searches. The agency has so far not responded to requests for comment.

Bout time.

Slashdot Your Rights Online Story | ACLU Sues For Records On Border Laptop Searches

Record fines from Bonnaroo
Topic: Society 10:29 am EDT, Aug 24, 2009

WSMV-TV in Nashville reported that Coffee County expects to collect $100,000 in fines as a result of crimes committed at the four-day Bonnaroo music festival. According to the report, more than 250 people were fined during the June festival — some up to $20,000.

Welcome to Bonnaroo: Now Pay Up. Echoing a disturbing trend in the municipal money machine.

Record fines from Bonnaroo

Health Care Reform: What do People Really Want?
Topic: Society 2:59 pm EDT, Aug 19, 2009

While policy makers have to address the details of the proposed policies, most people do not. They know what they want, or don’t want, but have only a very limited understanding of which policies will actually achieve their aims. They are often strongly influenced by political rhetoric that varies from the accurate to the simplistic to the completely false. Many different words and phrases are used to describe different policies. It is unreasonable to expect the public to understand the details of the proposed reforms or how they work in practice.

Health Care Reform: What do People Really Want?

What Jimmy Carter had right
Topic: Society 11:04 am EDT, Jul 15, 2009

Carter told America that “all the legislation in the world can’t fix what’s wrong with America.” He characterized the “fundamental threat” to American democracy as “a crisis of confidence.” Carter said that “too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption.” Explaining his energy proposals, Carter asked Americans “to take no unnecessary trips, to use carpools or public transportation whenever you can, to park your car one extra day per week, to obey the speed limit, and to set your thermostats to save fuel. Every act of energy conservation like this is more than just common sense – I tell you it is an act of patriotism.”

Gets more true by the day.

What Jimmy Carter had right

RE: Book Review: 'Bad Girls Go Everywhere : The Life of Helen Gurley Brown' by Jennifer Scanlon -
Topic: Society 1:08 pm EDT, May  5, 2009

ubernoir wrote:

Look at Michelle Obama: She has segued seamlessly from an active professional life as a highly paid hospital executive to her current incarnation as fashion plate, doting mom and demure sex object, posing for Vogue in a hot fuchsia frock that shows plenty of skin. What's most surprising about this metamorphosis? How few people are objecting to it.
And guess what? In the long battle between the two styles of feminism, Brown, for now, has won. Just look at the culture around us. Ms. Magazine, the earnest publication that defined feminism in the 1970s and '80s, has been replaced on college women's dorm room shelves by sexier, sassier updates such as Bitch and Bust. The four talented, smart -- and feminist -- women of "Sex and the City," who are intent on defining their own lives but are also willing to talk about Manolos and men, look more like Brown's type of heroine than "Sisterhood Is Powerful" readers. The stereotype of feminists as asexual, hirsute Amazons in Birkenstocks that has reigned on campus for the past two decades has been replaced by a breezy vision of hip, smart young women who will take a date to the right-on, woman-friendly sex shop Babeland.
Then third wave feminism came along, critiquing its staid mothers and reinvigorating -- while simultaneously giving some political heft to -- the kind of gestures Brown had set out in her 1962 manifesto. Third wave feminism is pluralistic, strives to be multiethnic, is pro-sex and tolerant of other women's choices. It has led to an embrace of what was once so politically suspect -- the notion that you can be a "lipstick lesbian" or a "riot grrrl" if you want to be, that you can choose your persona and your freedom for yourself.

But that very individualism, which has been great for feminism's rebranding, is also its weakness: It can be fun and frisky, but too often, it's ahistorical and apolitical. As many older feminists justly point out, the world isn't going to change because a lot of young women feel confident and personally empowered, if they don't have grass-roots groups or lobbies to advance woman-friendly policies, help women break through the glass ceiling, develop decent work-family support structures or solidify real political clout.

Feminism had to reinvent itself -- there was no way to sustain the uber-seriousness and sometimes judgmental tone of the second wave. But feminists are in danger if we don't know our history, and a saucy tattoo and a condom do not a revolution make.

The fact is, we know the answers to Western women's problems: The way is mapped out, the time for theory is pretty much over. We know the laws and the policies we need to achieve full equality. What we lack is a grass-roots movement that will drive the political will. "Lipstick" or lifestyle feminism won't produce that movement alone.

review by Naomi Wolf

This is common amongst any "movement" or "revolution". It's been co-opted by capitalism. "Hey there hipster, wanna join the trend in [insert counter-culture meme here]? Well, come by the shop and get outfitted." This is my complaint about the 60's Baby Boomers. If you ever strike up a conversation, apparently everyone back then was a hippie and went to Woodstock. Of course, the numbers tell differently. But ahh... romantic reminiscence. We were all cool in high school. We were all heavy and deep. It makes me sick.

RE: Book Review: 'Bad Girls Go Everywhere : The Life of Helen Gurley Brown' by Jennifer Scanlon -

Slashdot | Censorship By Glut
Topic: Society 2:21 pm EST, Dec  1, 2008

But I submit there is a solution -- a variant of an argument that I've suggested for stopping cheating on Digg, or building Wikia search into a meritocratic search engine, or helping the best writers rise to the top on Google Knol. The solution is sorting based on ratings from a random sample of users. The remainder of this speculation will be very theoretical, and will at times seem like a Rube-Goldberg approach to what should be a simple problem. But at each juncture, the complications to the algorithm are motivated by an argument that anything simpler would not work. At many points along the way, it will be tempting to throw up one's hands and say, "Why go to all this trouble, the existing system works well enough." But this statement is hard to quantify with any actual evidence -- unless you're just using the circular definition above, that whatever rises to the top is automatically the "best".

Decius, will you please give this guy a swift kick in the ass?

Slashdot | Censorship By Glut

Narcissistic People Most Likely To Emerge As Leaders
Topic: Society 2:11 pm EDT, Oct 11, 2008

“There have been a lot of studies that have found narcissistic leaders tend to have volatile and risky decision-making performance and can be ineffective and potentially destructive leaders,” she said.


Narcissistic People Most Likely To Emerge As Leaders

MAKE: Blog: We can make things better...
Topic: Society 10:53 am EDT, Oct  7, 2008

Being able to make, fix, repair, and build might be the most important skills to develop. We really only have each other, and I think we're all better off when we're able to be self-reliant when we need to be.

As Henry Jones famously said "and I taught you self reliance!"

MAKE: Blog: We can make things better...

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