American Civics | Khan Academy.
I have always loved the idea of Khan Academy, which has become one of the leading educational sites on the Internet. Free, and effective, education about math and science and economics on the Internet, what's not to like? However, math and science have never been strong interests of mine, so I didn't spend a lot of time there. Now, Khan Academy is branching out into the Humanities, which is in my wheelhouse, and it is going to be wonderful. Are you interested in an even handed discussion of Obamacare, the Government's Financial Condition, or Medicare Sustainibility, among other topics? Are you interested in Art? Check out these lessons. This is what the Internet should be all about.
BillyJim47: My Life With Technology - Chapter 2.1.
Bill Holmes continues his quest to learn everything there was to know about early computers; but, he has to do it in Valdosta, Georgia, in the early seventies, and while driving an Opel. Apparently, the life of a computer geek hasn't changed much over the past 30 to 40 years. In computer years, 1970 seems like a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. However, the details of what it took to process simple check data in the early days of computing is instructive for our future. Is it better that human minds and hands were required back then, or that today we are dealing with billions of electronic bytes stored in a far away data center that runs itself, except for a few humans at computer consoles? This all makes me think of the rise of the machines in the Terminator series.
DOJ: We don't need warrants for e-mail, Facebook chats | Politics and Law - CNET News.
The Department of Justice, and other Government agencies, will always take the default position that they do not need a valid search warrant to look at digital data such as email, Facebook or other social media posts or anything placed online by the author. There is a conflict between this position and privacy advocates who argue that the new emphasis on cloud computing has put much information in which the user has a "reasonable expectation of privacy" in the ether where it can be discovered and claimed by anyone. Of course, the sticking point is what we consider "reasonable". The Fourth Amendment states:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Social media, and other Internet based methods of communication were certainly not contemplated by the founders. However, the principle is the same. Citizens have the right to maintain private information. The question becomes whether, in the modern era, it is reasonable to protect information that we voluntarily place in the cloud. I always will default to the position that my private information, wherever I choose to store it, belongs to me until a Judge, after a probable cause hearing, says it doesn't.
Senate passes Internet sales tax bill by 2-to-1 margin | Internet & Media - CNET News.
Get out your checkbook. It is about to get a lot more expensive to buy online. States have long been upset that sales tax laws have been avoided by many online retailers. When this bill is signed into law, which seems inevitable at this point, online retailers will lose their advantage over bricks and mortar stores. Whether this is a good thing, or a bad thing, really seems to be a function of your place in the marketplace. If you are a buyer and you are used to avoiding sales tax on your purchases, you will be tested. Taxes will certainly be going up, and the only issue seems to be how much.
Insect-like flying robot developed by Harvard researchers | CITEworld.
My favorite pop astronomer, Jack Horkheimer (RIP 2010) was fond of ending his programs with this line. However, in the drone age, looking up takes on a whole new meaning. If you think that looking up to see if a military or police drone with automatic or laser weapons is in your future, I have a whole new problem for you to spend the weekend worrying about. Tiny insect drones with God knows what sort of weapons are in our future. We won't even see them, since we won't be able to distinguish them form mosquitoes or other flying insects. They will be programmable, and will be used to target any individual. If this makes you want to hide in your room, you aren't alone. Keep looking up.
BillyJim47: How Our Lives Color Our Perception of TV & Movies.
My recent post about legal aspects of a popular TV series prompted this article by friend, Bill Holmes. Billy and I had similar influences in our youth, growing up in Jacksonville, Florida, and attending the same high school. After that, our lives diverged, and this article does a good job of pointing out how our life experience colors our view of modern media; especially TV and the movies. Good art causes the viewer or reader to suspend disbelief, as the craft often requires the author to bend reality to the will of the story line. The many examples of viewer knowledge causing the recognition of such action makes it difficult to escape into a fictional piece as we grow older and more experienced. On the other hand, the modern explosion of knowledge and facts available on the Internet make it more difficult to maintain the innocence required to suspend disbelief. Perhaps we all need to step back and attempt to find a little innocence occasionally. Alvin Toffler predicted this confusion caused by a society with more and more connections and influence, exploding in a cacophony he named "Future Shock". In Toffler's world of the future, we met more people, moved faster, our senses ovewhelmed by the speed of modern society. The Internet has accelerated that speed to a level that Toffler couldn't have imagined. However, we experience the speed and stress in physical isolation. What will our future look like? Can we survive Toffler's future sitting in front of a computer screen? When computers become part of us, or we wear them on our heads, or carry them on our belts, will our stress become unmanageable?
NASA - Home.
As we celebrate Earth Day, and millions around the earth post pious platitudes about taking care of Mother Earth, I remember the quote highlighted in today's NASA blog by Apollo 8 Astronaut, Bill Anders. He said we have come all this way to discover the moon, and what we have discovered is Earth. The iconic pictures of the Earth set against the void of space are burned into the brains of all of us who have seen them. It called to mind one of the poems in my first book. Let's all take the day and think a little about what we see around us every day, and whether it is worth the effort to protect it.
He pushed the envelope Put on a white spacesuit Trained for years Swam in weightless swimming pools Took a thousand medical tests Waited for his day to ride the candle up to the moon and back.
He left his family waiting at the altar of professional accomplishment Wondering whether it was worth it To see the stars.
The spacecraft had a million parts complex computers lights blinking madly monster engines burning fuel and gas exploding into the darkness of a launch pad built with the sweat of a thousand men and women.
When he got to space He brushed his teeth looked into the mirror slept eight hours read a book did his work and looked out the porthole at the same stars.
What if Your Boss Tracked Your Sleep, Diet, and Exercise? | Wired Enterprise | Wired.com.
I don't know whether to cringe or scream. It isn't enough that some people are so self involved that they track their exercise, eating and other habits. I wonder if they ever just sit and enjoy being alive. However, now some controlling employers are tracking employees' diet, exercise and sleep habits. A company in Portland, Oregon, actually calls this Citizen Evolutionary Process Organism. I call it 1984 a few years too late. I have a message for any wacko who goes to work for this company, and any wacko running it. You are insane. These guys must work for Mayor Bloomberg or the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Let's be clear. If any of you ever come after me with this stuff, be prepared for World War Three. OMG.
Making critical information more accessible in times of disaster %u2013 Google Crisis Response.
Responding to crisis, whether natural disaster, or insane evil such as occurred yesterday at the Boston Marathon, is a job for all of us. My favorite Mr. Rogers quote has been reprised on many blogs and on the Internet; he said that his mother advised him to think about all the "helpers" when a crisis or tragedy struck, and the news was filled with the consequences of an evil or tragic act. Tragedy is what happens when a natural disaster creates chaos in our lives. What happened yesterday in Boston was evil, with tragic consequences. Google has leveraged its technology to help with the Person Locater service; but, Google has been involved with Crisis response for some time. Since natural disaster Katrina in 2005, Google has used its vast network to help first responders and others connect in a meaningful way. It will be interesting to see how future Google technology is used as we look for answers. As pundits discuss the privacy concerns of those who will be coming into contact with people wearing Google Glass in coming months and years, we also need to discuss the benefits that wearable tech will provide in future crisis situations.