Tag Archives | Google

Consciousness In The Age Of Digital Dystopia

Vijay Kalakoti (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Vijay Kalakoti (CC BY-ND 2.0)

This was originally published on Jan Wellmann’s website. You can follow him on Twitter: @janwe

It’s Monday morning and you’re preparing your first cup of coffee when the tanks roll into your neighborhood. Phone lines are cut, curfew is activated, and doors are broken down.

You sigh. It’s another “cleanout day” in the not too distant future.

The War On Terror has infiltrated every layer of society. Internet sites track the spread of extremism like the CDC tracks a lethal virus. The threat is pandemic and online news sources agree: In order to keep you safe, weekly cleanout campaigns must ramp up all across the nation – yet again.

Today you just happen to be in the red zone.

The main annoyance about being in a red zone is usually the loss of your phone signal. But today is different.

A close friend has gone missing – along with his past.… Read the rest

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Google is the biggest corporate lobbyist in America now, says new Public Citizen report

Google_logo

via Pando:

I’ve been in Boston all week. I had to tell my mother where I was, but not Google. Its seamlessness in switching up my Google ad results, changing its suggestions to me of places to visit and ads to click on, was instantaneous.

Google knew where I was going, as I was making the trip. We’re used to this by now. It’s justified under the umbrella of modern convenience. But should it be?

This morning, a new Public Citizen report, “Mission Creep-y: Google is Quietly Becoming One of the Nation’s Most Powerful Political Forces While Expanding Its Information-Collecting Empire” came across my desk. It doesn’t break news. But it is an exhausting catalog of Google’s powerful information gathering apparatus, its missteps, and its massive social ambition.

When you put the isolated pieces together, it can kind of make you choke on your breakfast.

Read More: http://pando.com/2014/11/13/google-is-the-biggest-corporate-lobbyist-in-america-now-says-new-public-citizen-report/

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Google just removed the biggest obstacle to its real-world surveillance system’s spread

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via Pando Daily:

Nest plans to offer its smart thermostat to Irish consumers for free when they sign up for a two-year contract with Electric Ireland. Nest chief executive Tony Fadell said at the Web Summit in Dublin that the deal could put his company’s thermostats in up to 1.6 million homes, according to CNET, and claimed that similar deals would be announced for other countries in the future.

It makes sense for Nest to give away its thermostat. Most consumers are unlikely to spend $250 on an Internet-connected thermostat, but they might be willing to have one installed if one is offered for free whenever they sign a contract with a utilities company. (Though they might also do what Samsung’s customers did when it offered free smartwatches and try to resell them online.)

This is a familiar tactic. It’s probably how you purchased your smartphone: You signed on for a two-year contract with a wireless carrier, purchased a subsidized device, and paid it off as part of your inflated monthly payments.

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Google Nanotech Pill Will Search Your Body For Disease Detection

There’s an emerging theme in contemporary science fiction of medical nanotechnology running amok with disastrous consequences for humanity. The inevitable science fact is catching up fast with fiction and no surprise, Google is among the first mega-corporations working on a nanotech pill that will run around the human body detecting problems (and no doubt eventually “fixing” them). From PC Mag:

Google X is working on another moonshot: a nanoparticle-filled pill intended to help doctors identify and prevent fatal diseases.

Andrew Conrad, head of the Life Sciences team at the Google X research lab, told attendees at the The Wall Street Journal’s WSJD Live conference (video below) that he wants to “functionalize” nanoparticles and “make them do what we want.”

These particles are less than one-thousandth the size of a red blood cell, and small enough that millions can fit within a grain of sand – or the human body. But don’t expect to start swallowing nanoparticle-infused pills during your next visit to the doctor.

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Google Is Not What It Seems

OR Book Going RougeWikiLeaks has a lengthy excerpt from the new book by Julian Assange, When Google Met WikiLeaks (OR Books), in which he describes the special relationship between Google, Hillary Clinton and the State Department:

Eric Schmidt is an influential figure, even among the parade of powerful characters with whom I have had to cross paths since I founded WikiLeaks. In mid-May 2011 I was under house arrest in rural Norfolk, about three hours’ drive northeast of London. The crackdown against our work was in full swing and every wasted moment seemed like an eternity. It was hard to get my attention. But when my colleague Joseph Farrell told me the executive chairman of Google wanted to make an appointment with me, I was listening.

In some ways the higher echelons of Google seemed more distant and obscure to me than the halls of Washington. We had been locking horns with senior US officials for years by that point.

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Ireland to close corporate tax loophole used by Google and others

Google_logo

Well now isn’t that special.

Via the LA Times:

Bowing to pressure from U.S. and European officials, Ireland will phase out a notorious loophole that helps multinational corporations legally dodge billions of dollars in taxes in their homelands.

A tax maneuver known as the Double Irish has allowed major U.S. technology companies such as Google Inc. to funnel income through subsidiaries in Ireland to slash their tax bills at home.

The decision to close that loophole won’t affect Ireland’s low corporate tax rate or other special tax breaks that have lured the likes of tech giants Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Oracle, all of which have set up Irish subsidiaries to help them shelter foreign profits from U.S. taxes.

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This should be interesting…

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Google Ditches ALEC

If you haven’t heard of the American Legislative Exchange Council, generally referred to as ALEC, it’s a conservative group of American lawmakers who are trying to institute extreme right wing legislation throughout the states.

American Legislative Exchange Council (logo).gif

They’ve been remarkably successful in persuading large corporations to back them, but first Micrsoft and now Google are distancing themselves, reports the Chicago Tribune:

Google is breaking ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council, a prominent network of conservative state legislators that, among other projects, works to roll back laws that promote solar and wind power, the company’s chairman said Monday.

The decision marks a major victory for a campaign by environmentalists, union activists and other liberal groups that have pushed companies to drop support for ALEC. Microsoft ended its ties to the group a few weeks ago.

“The consensus within the company was that that was some sort of mistake,” Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said, referring to the initial decision to support ALEC.

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Google wraps underwater wires in “armor” to protect against sharks

Tasty!

via Slate:

The Internet is a series of tubes … that are sometimes attacked by sharks.

Reports of sharks biting the undersea cables that zip our data around the world date to at least 1987. That’s when the New York Times reported that “sharks have shown an inexplicable taste for the new fiber-optic cables that are being strung along the ocean floor linking the United States, Europe, and Japan.”

Now it seems Google is biting back. According to Network World’s Brandon Butler, a Google product manager explained at a recent event that the company has taken to wrapping its trans-Pacific underwater cables in Kevlar to guard against shark bites.

Google confirmed to me that its newest generation of undersea cables comes wrapped in special protective yarn and steel wire armor—and that the goal is to protect against cable cuts, including possible shark attacks. Here’s an old video of what that looks like, in case you were wondering:

Continue reading.… Read the rest

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Google’s Frankenbuger

Burgers (4627873264)“Frankenburger” taste pioneer Josh Schonwald thinks that the $300,000 not-so-great lab grown meat-burger may soon become commercially viable and, perhaps, quite tasty, thanks to funding from Google’s Sergey Brin. He writes at TIME:

They may not taste great yet, but scientists, with the help of Sergey Brin, are ready to change that.

It has been one year since I took part in one of the most surreal and expensive taste tests in human history. No, I didn’t eat a black Périgord truffle seasoned with gold or a bowl of beluga caviar. Last August in London, with 200 journalists and several hulking cameras staring at me, I was one of the two people to taste the so-called Frankenburger: the world’s first lab-grown beef burger, a five-ounce patty grown from cow stem cells that took a Dutch scientist four years of research and $332,000 to create…

The most exciting news I heard last summer was not that a cultured beef burger was actually, finally, being made—nor that I would be the guinea pig flown to London to try it.

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