News You Can Use! From Google/Alphabet with access to your medical history to Tyson to Mars to EPA Attacks on the environment!

 

-You can’t trust these companies with your browsing or computer data, and now they want to secure (monetize?) your medical data as well? Thanks but no Thanks.

 

You know where I stand on this whole guilty before conviction nonsense, people losing their jobs, their homes, their reputations, their livelihood, their honors, based on innuendo, and rumors, and the murmurings of the faceless idiotic twitter and Facebook mob. I think moronic sound-bytes like ‘Me Too’ and ‘Black Lives Matter’ miss the point. The concept of ME TOO has no effing place in a court of law, only at a lynching. And it is not ‘Black Lives Matter’ that is the takeaway, it is ‘All lives matter’, and until you sell that, you can’t sell anything else to the takers of lives. I think a lot of earnest but misguided causes are being used by bad men to do dreadful things, and history will look back at this year of ‘ME TOO’ and see it for what it was, targeted political attacks. The age of McCarthy and the Salem Witch Trials updated, and social media weaponized.

 

The article describes speculation that what killed life (microbial life) on Mars… was water. An experiment in arid Chile, unexpectedly showed that a mass extinction occurred when water was introduced to an ecosystem that had learned to thrive in arid conditions.

The facts of today, wonderfully recalling the fictions of HG Wells. Once again HG Wells innovative fictions, do not all stay the stuff of fiction. Man would land on the moon. The conditions on Earth may be hazardous to life on mars. Even to the new types of war machines and warfare.

His WAR OF THE WORLDS, a wonderful work of fiction, but it posited that Martian Life was ultimately ended by germs and bacteria in the very air and water. It is so great to see that HG Wells, 7 decades after his passing, remains somehow timely and relevant.

 

 

Let’s leave untouched for the moment that Resident Trump did not win the popular vote. Let us even leave untouched that a percentage of votes cast for him are in doubt at best. Here’s the issue, millions of you did vote for someone who is doing a great disservice to the highest office in the land. You are the ones who worry me more than Trump.

 

 

And to leave on a more uplifting note, here are the first and last paragraphs of HG Wells’ WAR OF THE WORLDS(1898).

 

Here the opening paragraph of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds:

No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. With infinite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their empire over matter. It is possible that the infusoria under the microscope do the same. No one gave a thought to the older worlds of space as sources of human danger, or thought of them only to dismiss the idea of life upon them as impossible or improbable. It is curious to recall some of the mental habits of those departed days. At most terrestrial men fancied there might be other men upon Mars, perhaps inferior to themselves and ready to welcome a missionary enterprise. Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us. And early in the twentieth century came the great disillusionment.

And here is the paragraph quoted from the end of the novel:

For so it had come about, as indeed I and many men might have foreseen had not terror and disaster blinded our minds. These germs of disease have taken toll of humanity since the beginning of things–taken toll of our prehuman ancestors since life began here. But by virtue of this natural selection of our kind we have developed resisting power; to no germs do we succumb without a struggle, and to many–those that cause putrefaction in dead matter, for instance–our living frames are altogether immune. But there are no bacteria in Mars, and directly these invaders arrived, directly they drank and fed, our microscopic allies began to work their overthrow. Already when I watched them they were irrevocably doomed, dying and rotting even as they went to and fro. It was inevitable. By the toll of a billion deaths man has bought his birthright of the earth, and it is his against all comers; it would still be his were the Martians ten times as mighty as they are. For neither do men live nor die in vain.

 

 

 

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Quick (kinda) 2015’s The Best Of Podcasts Primer!!


Starting off 2015 let’s do a lightning quick primer on what podcasts are, how you listen to them, and quick recommendations on some good podcasts to start subscribing to. Cool? Let’s begin!

What are podcasts?

Simplest definition they are the radio programs of the 21st century.

But not quite.

Almost 100 years ago radio (the medium, the invention) was the mass media wunderkind and juggernaut and technological cutting edge of the world. It united the world and united disparate geographically separated people in a way that was largely inconceivable just generations before. It redefined communication, but more it redefined entertainment.

No longer did you have to go to New York or LA or London to see the greatest and most exciting acts of the day, the comedies, the dramas, the concerts, the debates, but now with radio the greatest acts in the world, this sea of entertainment, and news, and interests… with a flip of a switch, comes to you.

Radio of a hundred years ago was a watershed evolution in the way people communicated, it expanded the width of our collective conversation, even if lessening to some degree the depth of the impact of the individual and the local community on that conversation.

TV tends to get the hype, but is nothing more than an extrapolation of that model that radio defined, radio being the true 1st evolutionary leap of the 20th century. The next real evolutionary dialog changer of the 20th century would come at the end of that century, with the mass adoption of the WWW, the Internet. The Internet into the 21st century has been the evolutionary next leap in communication from the medium Radio.

That brings us to podcasts and VOD. In a world where traditional terrestrial radio and television just doesn’t meet the needs of a 21st century audience, the on demand nature of podcasts and VOD platforms such as Amazon Prime or Netflix, perfectly fits the needs of an internet age that wants to “watch what it wants whenever it wants”.

And podcasts (recorded audio files on a near infinite range of topics, available for streaming or download or subscription through select syndication hosts) particularly are dear to me, as someone who grew up on the idea of radio drama, the theater of the mind, and loving shows like THE SHADOW, ESCAPE, SUSPENSE, and recognizing the intimate power of the audio format to move you in a way that television rarely does, I’m thrilled to see the flourishing of audio drama and audio commentary in the 21st century.

So that in a horribly non-brief way is what podcasts are and why they rock. But now how do you get them?

There are a bunch of ways to do it, depending if you are doing it on your smart phone, or tablet, or media player, or computer. I use an android tablet, so that’s the process I’m going to cover here. And we’ll wrap this puppy up with some quick shows to get you started with in 2015:

1- Get a tablet. My personal preference is Android 10″. Android OS because I don’t want to put up with the gatekeeping of Apple or Microsoft, and I like the bang for the buck I get. Your preference may be different and that’s perfectly fine, just telling you what works for me. As far as 10″ , I like reading books, magazines, and comics on the tablet, so that form factor works great for me. All this to say you do your homework, you can end up with a great tablet for around Ebook prices.

2- Find an app to use to subscribe to podcasts: Being tech savvy, I have tried MANY, MANY apps looking for the most useful, least obtrusive podcast app (also known as a podcatcher) and most of them are ultimately disappointing. The exception, and my current podcatcher of choice is PODKICKER. You can easily stream shows or you can download shows you want to keep for posterity, the “WTF Robin Williams” episode comes immediately to mind. Have been using PODKICKER for most of 2014, and still using it in 2015. Highly Recommended!

3- And now last but not least… choose podcasts to start your 2015 off right. Just type the following into your podcatcher search engine to subscribe to them, and job done.

WTF WITH MARC MARON
SIDEBAR SIDEBARNATION
11OCLOCK COMICS
HORROR ETC
B MOVIE CAST
GILBERT GODFREY

Start with those few, guys and gals, as they were all shows I consumed voraciously in 2014, and will remain in rotation in 2015 as new shows are discovered.

Hope this primer has been helpful!

Today’s Winners and Losers : Microsoft, Apple and You?!

Winners and Losers

Losers:

Today’s losers are Software Patents and the companies that use Software Patents to destroy the selfsame innovation and opportunities that allowed them to flourish.

These companies, such as Microsoft and Apple, are burning the ladder that they used to climb from small company to successful giant. If IBM had used the same tactics against them, that these companies are now using against others to suppress competition, there would be no Microsoft or Apple. Frivolous and Expensive lawsuits would have crushed them before they had the chance to innovate and thrive, and the innovations they spurred would not have happened.

We would still be on the Big Blue(IBM) time-line, which largely means the PC revolution and laptop revolution and now smart phone and tablet revolution, would likely have been delayed generations, or never happened at all.

The push to computers as a consumer device and away from simply the business market, that young stupid and brash companies like Apple and Microsoft helped spearhead would not have happened in an environment of software patents and companies utilizing them to crush competition, secure market share, and generate revenue.

There’s no telling the marvelous companies and inventions that have been delayed or destroyed by this present environment of software patents; destroyed by the current short-sighted business practice of making money being the only goal, and making a great product and earning customers that way, largely a fallen idea for suckers.

So yeah today’s losers are: Software Patents, Microsoft and Apple.

And the winners…

You.

For trying the various Linux Distributions out there, for informing your representatives that you want software patents made illegal, and generally not jumping on the Windows 8 or I-phone or Itunes or Cloud bandwagon. Play around with them by all means, but buy into them not at all.

Monopolies were outlawed for a reason. And that reason is coming around again. And many who have barred up the doors, and held back the river… will be swept away when the levy breaks.

Yes they will. And I can hear it, starting… to crack.

There’s something… satisfying in that thought.

Well enough presentiment for this installment, you gals and guys have a great day and… stop by next time for more.

Digital Revolution: Discussing the Greedy and the Ungoverned, And Entertainment as prelude to War!


I feel a rant a’ coming.

You new to the blog may want to skip this one. You old timers… jump in… the water is like you like it, deep and treacherous. 🙂 .

Or be mollified by the following disclaimer:

This is an imaginary story. The following is all fiction except for the parts that are true… I leave you to determine the one from the other…

*********

There are a lot of great things about the digital revolution, not the least of which is the ubiquitousness of content. Which makes this sense of foreboding I have about the coming bad, a bit troubling.

I think you have… to have been around before cable, before on demand, before 500 channels, before DVD or CD, before Internet household presence, before even the home computer to truly appreciate just how amazing are the strides made in many areas, not least of which is the creation and dissemination… of entertainment and information.

If you are a movie fan you can, without leaving your house, have at your viewing pleasure just about every film made in the last 100+ years of cinema. More, you can have films from multiple nations, multiple languages easily subtitled into your language.

As a film fan who was around during the age of VHS, I remember that just locating a cult or foreign film was a HUGE production. You had to find those resellers/stores often in the back of magazines, send away for the catalog, then order the film.

And with the Internet it made that search a bit easier. Allowing you to stumble across someone’s site who had a VHS movie you were looking everywhere for. And you would get the VHS tape, and it would be a third generation, copy of a copy, really not good quality, but at the time— you were just elated to have it, and be able to see this film that you couldn’t find anywhere else.

It was that way with everything: Books, records, cassettes, lps, and then Laserdiscs DVDs and CDs. The Internet being a huge way for resellers to connect with buyers. And fly by night companies came and went.

But a few questionable startups, Ebay and Amazon among them, grew legs and found themselves not just a fad, but soon a fixture of this Internet phenomenon. And all these shaky startups, these microsofts and apples …these cowboys that proliferated in a time before software patents and lawsuits to stifle competition, began to thrive.

Suddenly content in digitized formats, and the explosion of storage capacity created an age of ready access, on demand availability, of almost everything.

Great. Wonderful. Beautiful. I mean this has allowed for the rise of podcasts, one of the greatest audio revivals since the dawn of radio. And if you’re an Itunes or Hulu or Archive.org patron, it’s just opened up the history of entertainment to anyone with an Internet connection and the desire to explore. That’s the great part, That’s the wonderful part of the digital revolution.

Here’s the bad part. The digital revolution is not being driven by quality concerns or for love of the medium, it is being embraced by decision makers because of two reasons 1/cost savings and 2/control.

I understand both those things in moderation, but moderation is a word that business doesn’t really practice. Cost savings has come to mean some suspect things, two of the most disturbing is the replacement of physical media, and part and parcel of that… is the elimination of the reseller.. the middleman.

I like resellers, I like mom and pop shops, I like middlemen, and I think gearing an economy to do away with that whole part of the conversation, is to gear the economy to in essence do away with a middle class of any kind. It is gearing an economy toward those who own and those who work and pay— landowners and serfs with no middle ground.

And a lot of people think nothing of it, because it’s just book stores, or comic stores, or DVD stores closing. But let’s extend the same thing to McDonald’s.

What if automation tomorrow allowed McDonald’s to do away with the middleman, the franchises?

What if they could get the food to you the consumer without going through a middleman? Say click a button on your laptop, and the food teleports into your hands, whatever. Stay with me here. Because technology gives you the ability to do something, should you do that thing? Is that thing necessarily the best thing for your company, your customer, your economy?

That’s a heck of a question, and I don’t pretend to have the answers. But what I’m saying when it comes to the digital revolution with books, dvd, cds, and the thousands of stores and businesses and millions of employees we are making obsolete, I feel as though no one is even asking the obvious questions, among them… ‘Should we do it this way?’

I feel big business is not looking beyond their own pockets, to see see what is best for their customers and their country. And that’s a very nationalistic thing to expect of a company, to think in terms of their country. But considering our congress in its infinite wisdom allows companies to actually have a say in drafting the laws of a country, ie basically gives to companies greater rights than citizens, I think it’s not too much to ask from those companies the loyalty of citizens.

And those companies that cannot, for whatever reason of conflict or commerce, think in terms of what is best for America— should not have the right to lobby our Congress and make laws for America.

So I view these companies making these grandiose and sweeping changes to America, without regard for the good or ill it will bring… as a great danger for our nation. For any nation. To have someone who has no concern for your nation, making policy in your nation… leads us to the world outside our door.

From gas at $4 a gallon to Americans struggling to keep their homes.

And entertainment is part of it as well.

The elimination of physical media plays into this, creating a market where there is nothing to resell, and worse… nothing to really own. So no need for your favorite DVD reseller, because DVDs are being prepared for the pasture.

You want to view this film, you buy it digitally from the studio for the price they set, and in the absence of any ability to resell– their price is unmoderated by a free market. In other words they can charge whatever they think the market can bear.

While a lot of people embrace this idiocy that a company’s only priority is to generate more income for their stockholders, that’s flawed thinking that led to our recent market melt-down. It comes back to what I said, about a company working withing a nation, has the same inherent priorities as a citizen within that nation…and that is to do no harm to that nation.

And more and more, the actions of companies working within sovereign shores is to do nothing but harm, is to shatter economies, devastate populations, victimize neighborhoods. Actions that if done by someone not hiding behind the mask of incorporation… we would call… acts of terror.

I’m saying that the joys of itunes today, and Amazon kindle today, and digital comics today, and Warner on Demand today, extrapolated on their 25 year plans into tomorrow… points the way to an America completely shorn of any gradations between the few ultra rich oligarchies and the masses of struggling poor.

I’m saying a war of economies, without fail… drives far more literal and bloody wars.

I’m saying don’t be so quick to jump on the bandwagon of eliminating DVDs, eliminating CDs, eliminating physical books, eliminating middle men— because you’re going to find that in a society shorn of middle men to moderate the greed and abuses of those on the top to those on the bottom, the joys of immediate gratification today, will spell the horrors of rampant price gouging, inflation, and poverty tomorrow.

And in the absence of true ownership (digital, in reality of how it is disseminated, being something that is rented… not owned), suddenly you may find those 99cent prices give way to $99 dollar prices, when you have allowed them to destroy or outlaw all other ways of you getting that product.

And how long before some products, are deemed unacceptable to make viewable via streaming or priced out of being readily available for viewing.

Historically, ethnically diverse items are oft at risk for obsolescence through marginalization. The most politically active films of Ousmane Sembene (CEDDO, CAMP DE THIAROYE, and GUELWAAR) never received DVD releases in his lifetime, and to this day are still not available on DVD (THIAROYE had a spotty release before disappearing).

Rather than freeing films and filmmakers from the tyranny of commerce (which digital has the potential to do), under the auspices of the greedy and the ungoverned you’ll see more marginalization and more control over the ideas disseminated to the masses.

So the lesson? Not to allow these companies, Itunes/Apple, Sony, Disney, Microsoft, Netflix, Time Warner, etc… to be ungoverned.

And how much is our entertainment a smokescreen for our aggressions? How much is our entertainment, the last, best drug, or the last, best cheerleader, for the aggressions of our time?

And how much do our aggressions allowed, ignored, take out of America?

The reports of America’s decline are rampant. They are in every aspect of our everyday life, the skyrocketing inflation that has destroyed many a nation before America, is all throughout America.

But our eyes in America, are filled and dazzled and misdirected… by such false fire, that the obvious becomes… indistinct. Almost invisible.

But not quite. If you take the time to look, the signs are there.

In-fact once you are looking in the right direction, (‘got my mind right boss’) the signs are clear and present. America is well on the way to becoming a third world nation, it is being pushed to these ends.

I said pushed.

With your tax dollars, and the blood of your children… the rich have just spent the last few decades pacifying (ie invading and toppling) African/Middle Eastern nations and carving a new western acceptable pleasure nation for themselves, an entertainment nation, where all the studios are in a hurry to setup shop, and a middle East Disney World and Marvel World and all the 3D rides and luxury and cinematic excess you can want is being built there. It is called Abu Dhabi, this paradise, and it is being built over the bodies of the massacred.

Infact, a cynical man might even say it’s very similar to the way, in the wake of World War II, the allied forces led by the US and Britain, set up the Israel state, by pretty much massacring the millions of Jews and Arabs and Nomads, who already lived in that region.

And yeah I did say Jews. We weren’t just killing Arabs to setup Israel. The region was already home to Jews, who lived without issue, for generations next door to Arabs. Unfortunately most of them weren’t Western acceptable Jews, they weren’t European Jews… that is to say they were Black.

So these Jews, and Arabs, and Nomads woke up one day to find the rest of the world was calling their home Israel, and they weren’t invited to the house warming. And then the missiles came.

So similarly the Middle East we’re bombing into existence today, is being done so, over blood both ancient and irreplaceable. All so that the rich have a place to vacation… while America burns.

I’m such a cheery, glass half full guy aren’t I?

But seriously, it begins simply. As all our falls do.

It begins with a laugh.

With you laughing with them. With the ones who will eviscerate you.

It begins with us rolling over the simple rights of the many for the grandiose greed of the few.

So… don’t make it easy.

Resist.

At every step, ask of them and ask of yourself… ‘Who profits from this and who loses?’. And by your answer to that question, will you know the nature of your nation and the nature of yourself.

And by your answer to that question… be ruled.

Here endeth the lesson.

******************

Woah! Only here on this blog, can you go from digital disenfranchisement to the fall of nations. 🙂 And even crazier is— the line between the two should be ridiculous, it should feel far-fetched. It should feel… ludicrous.

But it doesn’t.

It should feel like a laugh. But it doesn’t.

It I have to be perfectly honest, it feels like…

It feels like we’re running out of time.


PODCAST OF THE DAY: Joseph Kony, Angelina Jolie, New World Orders and Wacky Podcasts! :)

PODCAST OF THE DAY: NO AGENDA

Stumbled across this podcast. These guys are nuts! More than half of what they say is questionable/ludicrous at best, but in between their humor and craziness is some interesting, and some informed, pokes at the traditional media/press that we are all getting… more than a little sick of.

This podcast is a bit too talk show and obnoxious for my liking, too much like the hate media they take shots at, but there is enough of a difference to give this particular episode a bit of a listen.

Particularly give a listen to around the hour thirty mark where they play clips of your congress people at work, and you see how utterly clueless your representatives are when dealing with these tech and software companies. They basically sign any ‘cyber-security’ legislation that gets put in front of them, and sign away your rights along with them, rather than admit they are not qualified to ask much less answer… these questions of a new digital age.

Listen Here

And if you like that, you can sign up for their show’s RSS feed here.

:)!

FAVORITE Website & Program OF THE DAY: CELESTIA?!

FAVORITE WEBSITE OF THE DAY: CELESTIA

I’m kinda double-dipping here because this is not just my favorite website of the day, it’s one of my favorite programs to use on the computer.

Just addictive as well as being fun and educational. How often does that happen?!

I’m speaking of a mad open-source astronomy project called Celestia.

You can see what I’m going on about here!

As well as here andhere!

It’s like having an endlessly configurable planetarium on your computer. The idea of creating simulations of voyages through the stars, and sampling amazing voyages and scripts that other users create… well all that functionality makes Celestia pretty close to great. 🙂

You can get download links for the program and user created voyages/scripts from the link above. Okay need to go do some Celesting now! 🙂

(Yes. it’s geeky but it’s also pretty… [wait for it]…stellar! You see what I did there? :))

Google’s Android Tablets vs Apple’s IPAD2, Microsoft, Oracle, British Telecom, Ebay!

Who would have thought that I would be on Google’s side on anything, much less feeling sorry for them.

But true to the axiom the enemy of my enemy is my friend, that’s exactly where I am at with Google, at this point in time.

The Android platform came onto 2011 like a breath of fresh air, and its meteoric rise gave the mobile market something it hasn’t had in many a year… choice, and true competition, relief from the Apple Juggernaut.

But that choice came at a price… Namely a feeding frenzy of the most powerful companies in the world all deciding to destroy the Android Platform, Google, itself no lightweight, finds itself having to deal with no less than 6 Mega-Massive Lawsuits, from companies with revenues in excess of billions of dollars each.

The companies lined up to protect their entrenched, monopolistic and consumer enslaving business models and technologies are Oracle, Apple, Microsoft, Ebay, GeMalto and as of today British Telecom. And that’s just counting the ones suing that are valued over a billion dollars.

You add them all together and you have as stated… a bloody feeding frenzy.

With companies using flawed to the point of destructive Software Patents, to stifle innovation and destroy competition.

These Goliath’s don’t want to win customers through creating better products, heaven forbid, they want to sue, and legislate and license and otherwise utilize “Al Capone style” Protection racket schemes, to sell the American people and the world… only their product. Typically overpriced, often severely crippled products. Take the Ipad that is lacking basic design features such as USB and HDMI and SD ports, and it’s only the competition of Android (which does offer these ports) that is making Apple have to address these glaring omissions on their tablet in each successive new model.

So again I’ve had, and had my share of problems with Google, their search engine and email and pretty staggering abuses of privacy and personal freedoms, from digitizing and uploading massive amounts of books, to the detriment of authors and publishers, to extreme methods of uncovering and mapping public and private networks/wi-fi hotspots, to generally being one of the privacy problems on the Internet rather than one of the solutions.

So imagine my surprise that it is Google, for self serving needs to be sure, that through the android platform, offers us, the consumer, the best chance at real choice and real innovation to hit the technology scene in decades. Android isn’t perfect, it’s in its infancy, and as Carrier IQ and malwaqre scare show, it has growing yet to do. I’d like it to get the chance to grow.

And further, Google’s Android platform, in an economic environment that has been going from depression to depression, has actually been allowing businesses to flourish in a way we have never seen in the mobile market. That competition thing again, that is the first excitement, and first upswing in terms of substantial new products, and new players we’ve seen in the market, the first good sign in the economy.

And the Goliaths rather than wanting to compete, and win or lose based on product merit in a flourishing everybody makes money environment, seek instead to sue the Android Platform into a coma, and all the watershed business, and economies of scale, and diversity, and yes choice… that has built up around it… sue them out of business. And continue an economic outlook and policy, that further disenfranchises the bulk of people and companies, in favor of a very few companies and a very few people. Moving ever quicker to an unsupportable age of masters and slaves. And I tell you now, in that age… when the poor man has nothing left to lose… the fall for the rich…. shall be steep.

Apple particularly has been blatant and disgusting in their global attempt to monopolize the mobile market. To allow this monopolization and indeed chilling of innovation and competition is to sign the death warrant of liberties both subtle and gross in America and in the world. It is to Grandfather these six companies in… not as providers of services and technologies to customers, but as imposed entities, protection rackets, selling their products to the American people and the world at the barrel of a lawsuit.

It cannot stand.

And not only is Google the sole large capital company to defend open source, but they are also one of the few big cap companies to battle the media provider rape of the American people that is this horrendous SOPA Bill now, brokered by the same companies suing Google, winding it’s way into law in our congress. Which once done will make freedom of speech on the Internet, like competition, an endangered species.

Find out where your representative stands on this ‘Patriot Act level of wrong’ bill.

Tell them today to oppose the SOPA bill.

So as odd as this is for me to say, I’m rooting for Google, not just to win all six court cases and get to maintain a non-crippled Android, but further to deal a death blow to this horrible ‘its time is passed’ concept of Software Patents.

The enemy of my enemy being in this case… my friend.

All I had to say.

For more on all this go to Eff.

Now go… Defend something. While you’re able.