Archive | July 15, 2013

I Could Get Away With Murder

trayvon-martin-550x330Edwin Lyngar writes at the Good Men Project:

I could shoot a black kid in the street and get away with it.

I’m not proud of this, and I might have never put it into words, except for the sad, horrid feeling I got watching the George Zimmerman trial. George shot a black kid and walked. I know I could too, and with much less trouble than George Zimmerman had. I’m 40 years old, white and educated. I’m a chubby, pale taxpayer. I have no tattoos and have never been arrested and I walk around with the assumption that the police are actually here to serve me.

I could drive through a part of town known for housing people of color. I could get out of my car, walk down the street and find the first kid that looked “street.” I could insult or provoke him, perhaps by calling him a horrid racial name.

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Why Poor Kids in the US are Fat and Hungry and What to do About It

photo_09I was thinking about Buckminster Fuller, dedicating his life to help humanity. I was really seriously thinking about this. I wanted to do it. I wanted to seriously consider it and then do it and not take it back. Then soon after this, I went to my friend’s (liberal not Fundy) Presbyterian church and the message was about feeding the hungry. After church we had a luncheon and watched a DVD about how to end Childhood hunger in America. It was called A Place at the Table, and it explained how hunger and obesity are related. Because of the US system of Farm subsidies, corn, wheat and soy are really cheap and so food companies use these commodities to make lots of junk food. The subsidies were created for family farmers recovering from the depression, but now huge agribusinesses get 70% of it. Vegetables and fruit are smaller operations and don’t get many subsidies and so fruits and vegetables have gone way up and commodities have gone way down.… Read the rest

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Man Sues Apple for Addicting Him to Porn

F2_jordy_porn_550“It’s not my fault, darlin’. It’s my biological sensibilities as a male. Damn you, F**kbook!”

A Tennessee man is suing Apple, claiming the tech giant is at fault for selling devices that grant him unrestricted access to porn on the internet.

In a 50 page complaint, filed mid-June, former attorney Chris Sevier holds that since Apple is “concerned with the welfare of our Nation’s children, while furthering pro-American values” it should “sell all its devices in ‘safe mode,’ with software preset to filter out pornographic content.”

Per the complaint, Sevier’s problem began after he tried to visit “Facebook.com,” but — accidentally, he says — typed “F**kbook.com,” an adult site that “appealed to his biological sensibilities as a male and led to an unwanted addiction with adverse consequences.”

Keep reading.… Read the rest

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Pixar and LucasFilm Settle After Allegedly Shutting Former Employees Out of Jobs

monopoly-logo-mickey-mouse-parodyIt’s a small world after all… especially if you’re an animator looking a new job in Silicon Valley.

Disney’s Pixar and LucasFilm subsidiaries have agreed to a settlement over their alleged involvement in a Silicon Valley-wide pact to avoid hiring competitors’ employees. Reuters reports that a Friday court filing stated that both branches had settled a suit brought by former tech company employees, though no further details were disclosed. The suit, filed in 2011, was brought by five employees who said they had lost out on higher wages and better job opportunities because Pixar, Lucasfilm, Google, Apple, Adobe, Intel, and Intuit had all agreed to avoid hiring each others’ workers.

Evidence from the trial suggests that between 2005 and 2007, company executives began creating agreements that shut workers out of jobs unless both companies approved of the hiring. One document said that if a Pixar employee applied to Intel without being recruited, Intel would “contact the CEO of Pixar for approval to hire” before moving forward.

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Florida Mom Received Twenty-Year Sentence For Firing Warning Shots To Abusive Husband

firing warning shotsFrom one year ago, a case that has been compared and contrasted with George Zimmerman’s in regards to notions of “self defense” and “Stand Your Ground” in the Florida legal system. Reported by CBS News:

A Florida woman who fired warning shots against her allegedly abusive husband has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Marissa Alexander of Jacksonville had said the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law should apply to her because she was defending herself against her allegedly abusive husband when she fired warning shots inside her home in August 2010. She told police it was to escape a brutal beating by her husband, against whom she had already taken out a protective order.

Under Florida’s mandatory minimum sentencing requirements Alexander couldn’t receive a lesser sentence, even though she has never been in trouble with the law before.

According to a sworn deposition, Marissa Alexander’s husband, Rico Gray, said that he and Alexander began fighting after he found text messages to Alexander’s first husband on her phone.

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Five Corporation-Crushing Disruptive Technologies That Will Empower the Masses

disruptive tech headerEveryone knows we are at the mercy of huge corporations in multitude of ways.  Just look at Big Oil.  We are wildly dependent on them as not only individuals, but as a nation and a world.  Though Exxon stands atop the global economic podium, the technology sector isn’t far behind.  Apple made nearly as much in profits in 2012’s fourth quarter as Exxon (a ridiculous $8.2 billion).  Let’s bring that number down to Earth a bit.  Americans are spending an average of $444 per household per year on Apple products alone.  For further evidence, just look around your living room, or better yet, consider the origin of the screen you’re currently staring at.  Chances are, one swollen oligopoly or another made all the pieces of technology you’ve surveyed in the last few seconds.

However, chinks in the armor of these untouchable behemoths are beginning to take shape, leading some, like MIT’s Neil Gershenfeld to question the sustainability of today’s techno giants.… Read the rest

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John Lydon Won’t Be Your Monkey… Unless You’ve Got Money. And Butter.

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Two years after he faxed the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame letting them know that he and the rest of the Sex Pistols wouldn’t be their monkeys, John Lydon cheerfully embraced the opportunity to shill for Country Life butter. Even better? This quasi-nationalistic explanation for his endorsement:

Lydon drew a great deal of criticism for his decision to appear in the ad, but he has been steadfastly unapologetic. “The advert was for a British product,” he told The Sun last year. “All Britain. Fantastic. We don’t seem to believe in ourselves as a country any more. And I found great empathy with that. Plus it was the most maddest thing to consider doing. I thought it was very anarchic of the dairy company to want to attach themselves to me. And they treated me with the utmost respect and I love them forever as it all allowed me to set up my record label and put out this record.”

God save the queen, right Johnny?… Read the rest

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Vast Majority Of CCTV Cameras Are Privately Owned

cctv cameraBig Brother may be private and unregulated, Russia Today reports, regarding the United Kingdom:

There are 70 times more privately owned surveillance cameras in the UK than government ones, a new study has revealed. The research found that Britain has a total of 5.9 million cameras and called for better regulation of privately owned devices.

Some 70,000 cameras run by the British police and authorities make “perhaps only 1.2 to 1.7 per cent” of the overall number of CCTV cameras in the UK, the study reads. The research was conducted for the British Security Industry Association.

The study’s conclusions challenge the UK’s popular image as a “Big Brother” state, claiming that such notions are “misplaced.” Instead, its authors believe the lack of regulation governing privately run cameras is a bigger concern for Britain, and have called for establishing rules to enforce “better standards.”

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Tomorrow’s Surveillance: Everyone, Everywhere, All The Time

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Will the recent revisiting acknowledgement of our dwindled privacy make encryption products more user friendly? Is the hacker witch-hunt a symptom of a powerful group hedging it’s bets? Tech Crunch breaks it down.

Everyone is worried about the wrong things. Since Edward Snowden exposed the incipient NSA panopticon, the civil libertarians are worried that their Internet conversations and phone metadata are being tracked; the national-security conservatives claim to be worried that terrorists will start hiding their tracks; but both sides should really be worried about different things entirely.

Online surveillance is the one kind that can actually be stopped. One interesting thing we learned from Snowden: “Encryption works.” Right now almost all Internet traffic is completely unencrypted, or badly encrypted, or only encrypted until it reaches the first set of servers, or your host encrypts all data with the same key. But these are all, in theory, solvable problems.

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