Archive | Corporate Skeptics

Ruptured Pipeline Along California Coast Dumps Crude Oil into Pacific Ocean

birdrefugio

This post was originally published on Common Dreams. See more of Jon Queally posts here.

An oil pipeline that runs along the coast of central California broke on Tuesday, according to officials, dumping tens of thousands of gallons of crude onto local beaches and creating a 4-mile slick in the Pacific Ocean.

Initial estimates put the spill at about 21,000 gallons Tuesday, but the Associated Press cited a U.S. Coast Guard spokesperson on Wednesday who said that figure is likely to change after a Wednesday morning flyover gave a better sense of the spill’s scope.

“Unfortunately with accidents and oil development, it is not a question of if, but of when.” — Owen Bailey, Environmental Defense Center

The pipeline, which runs parallel to Highway 101 near Santa Barbara, left a slick extending about four miles (6.4 km) along Refugio State Beach, extending about 50 yards into the water, explained Petty Officer Andrea Anderson of the USGC.Read the rest

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The Scent of a Cabbie

Bluury Streets of SF

Tuesday

5:05am:
The sun’s been coming up early. (Ok. And I’ve been “sleeping in.”) Regardless, I do feel the unrelenting compulsion to race in to work, to beat its rise, like a vampire trying to make his casket before turning to ash. Hopefully, mine will be full of coffee grounds. I need a buzz.

5:30am:
I’m finished greasing Tony’s palms back in the Citizen’s Cab office, and I head out to the lot.

Aside: Yeah, I chanced a $5 bribe on Tony for an airport this morning. I don’t actually expect to see one come my way from dispatch. But I gotta check-in now and then, if only to keep Tony on his toes.

5:31am:
I’m in new ‘ol 137 and I’m immediately overcome with a strong wave of fruity… Well, just strong, fruity. I look around hard, but I cannot find the offending Christmas Tree air freshener, however hard I try.

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NSA’s Big Defenders Cash Big NSA Checks

Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)

Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)

via Lee Fang at The Intercept:

The debate over the NSA’s bulk collection of phone records has reached a critical point after a federal appeals court last week ruled the practice illegal, dramatically raising the stakes for pending Congressional legislation that would fully or partially reinstate the program. An army of pundits promptly took to television screens, with many of them brushing off concerns about the surveillance.

The talking heads have been backstopping the NSA’s mass surveillance more or less continuously since it was revealed. They spoke out to support the agency when NSA contractor Edward Snowden released details of its programs in 2013, and they’ve kept up their advocacy ever since — on television news shows, newspaper op-ed pages, online and at Congressional hearings. But it’s often unclear just how financially cozy these pundits are with the surveillance state they defend, since they’re typically identified with titles that give no clues about their conflicts of interest.

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Elon Musk Denies Email was Sent to Employee Who Missed Work Event to Witness Birth of Own Child

Steve Jurvetson (CC BY 2.0)

Steve Jurvetson (CC BY 2.0)

Yesterday, Boing Boing, Business Insider, The Washington Post and others reported on an email that Elon Musk allegedly sent to an employee. The email snippet originally appeared in Ashlee Vance’s new book, Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future. According to the book, the employee (who was not named) missed a work function because his child was being born. This was Musk’s alleged reply:

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Mind Your Own Business

Surian Soosay (CC BY 2.0)

Surian Soosay (CC BY 2.0)

Barbara Ehrenreich writes at the Baffler:

At about the beginning of this decade, mass-market mindfulness rolled out of the Bay Area like a brand new app. Very much like an app, in fact, or a whole swarm of apps. Previous self-improvement trends had been transmitted via books, inspirational speakers, and CDs; now, mindfulness could be carried around on a smartphone. There are hundreds of them, these mindfulness apps, bearing names like Smiling Mind and Buddhify. A typical example features timed stretches of meditation, as brief as one minute, accompanied by soothing voices, soporific music, and images of forests and waterfalls.

This is Buddhism sliced up and commodified, and, in case the connection to the tech industry is unclear, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist blurbed a seminal mindfulness manual by calling it “the instruction manual that should come with our iPhones and BlackBerries.” It’s enough to make you think that the actual Buddha devoted all his time under the Bodhi Tree to product testing.

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Ganny & the Stormtroopers

SFO CAbbie Underworld

Monday

4:05am:
I wake before my alarm today, relaxed.

OoOooMMmmMmm.

And this time, it’s a good “OM”! My last shift, I was way busy with a bunch of locals (in-town runs). But the real red meat was a ride I took to Redwood City. That’s meter and a half!

(If the ride takes you more than 15 miles from San Francisco’s City Hall, MTA rules sees the driver charging meter and a half. The logic being that the driver and passenger should split the gas and time down due to the return trip.)

Anyway, I walked away with $285! Tony Jr. was working check-out at the bullet-proof glass in the afternoon, and there’s a new deal where drivers can pay gate (cab rental) out of their day’s Cabulous take. Needless to say, Tony Jr. was pretty impressed after he saw that I still had around $210 set to hit my bank account (via direct deposit) AFTER paying gate!… Read the rest

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Synchronicity, Delusion, and Mainframe Communication – Free Radical Media Podcast

You can also listen to this and our other podcasts via Itunes. In this episode of the Free Radical Media podcast, co-founder Patrick Ryan speaks with thinker Mitch Miller, author of the book "M." Miller details his strange tale of synchronicity and communication with an artificial intelligence, a series of events that led him to be institutionalized in a mental health facility. He goes on to explain his theories about over-reaching corruption on the part of elites in government and industry, and how artificial super-intelligence and the technological revolution fit together to form a shadowy system of domination.
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Patents for technology to read people’s minds hugely increasing

Hartwig HKD (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Hartwig HKD (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Via The Independent:

Companies are taking out a huge amount of patents related to reading brainwaves, according to analysis, with a range of different applications.

Fewer than 400 neuro-technology related patents were filed between 2000-2009. But in 2010 alone that reached 800, and last year 1,600 were filed, according to research company SharpBrains.

The patents are for a range of uses, not just for the healthcare technology that might be expected. The company with the most patents is market research firm Nielsen, which has 100. Microsoft also has 89 related patents.

Other uses of the technology that have been patented include devices that can change the thoughts of feelings of those that they are used on.

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How Americans’ Views of McDonald’s Changed Over the Years

Mike Mozart (CC BY 2.0)

Mike Mozart (CC BY 2.0)

Francie Diep explores the ever-evolving public perception of McDonald’s at The Pacific Standard.

via The Pacific Standard:

One morning, you wake up, turn to your partner, and it’s like you don’t even know how they feel about you anymore.

After decades of enormous growth, McDonald’s has been on the decline recently, with same-store sales falling over the past five years, as the New York Times reported recently. America’s tastes have changed, a fact pointed out by many retail journalists. People are more concerned about wholesome, quality ingredients, and are therefore more likely to visit healthier-seeming chains, such as Chipotle.

As a look at the academic literature shows, this change has been a long time coming. Researchers have been bringing up worries about the influence of McDonald’s on business, culture, and health for at least 20 years. But it wasn’t until the last decade or so that the critiques really began to hit home, paving the way for Americans’ rejection of the Golden Arches.

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