Mount Everest

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Chips that See through Walls


SeeThroughChips1

Of course, it’s intriguing that engineers are devloping chips that will allow smartphones to see through walls, but it also brings up a host of privacy issues as well

http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2012/12/19/give-your-smartphone-superman-vision/

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Targeting Ads Across Platforms

TargetingAdsAcrossPlatforms1

Scary to contemplate how advertisers now can target ads on multiple devices of the same user. Oy.

http://www.tvkim.com/watch/2556/kims-picks-how-ad-tracking-follows-you?utm_medium=nl&utm_source=notd&utm_content=2012-12-14-article_9-title

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Hacking the Human Brain

HackingBrain

A brave new world for the military and the humanity:

http://www.wired.com/opinion/2012/12/the-next-warfare-domain-is-your-brain/

 

Researchers are also looking into how to hack the brain for private data:

HackingBrainPrivateData1

 

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/08/brainwave-hacking/

 

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Small-Scale Social Networking

This is an interesting new development in social networking: the emergence of social networking for smaller groups.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/10/technology/10social.html?pagewanted=all (via Nelson French)

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Bin Laden Dead: Keith Olbermann Chronicle

This is a humorous account of a very serious event, including local twitter updates:
http://foknewschannel.com/bin-laden-dead/

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Israel and the U.S. Are Ultimate Allies

This is an excellent analysis and survey by U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Michael Oren: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/04/25/the_ultimate_ally?page=full

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Television Ownership Declines in U.S.

With the economic recession and the advent of internet technology, U.S. television ownership is on the decline for the first time in many decades: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/03/business/media/03television.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha25

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Facebook Data and Advertising

Here’s the way Facebook is now mining your data to deliver targeted advertising to you:
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-facebook-ads-20110417,0,1887797.story

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Corporations Own Us–Lock, Stock and Barrel–But We are Ultimately More Powerful

The American Petroleum Institute plans to contribute directly to political candidates.  Ah, a new way to buy our political system.  I guess American no longer own our own country anymore.

http://thinkprogress.org/2011/02/24/api-direct/

And here’s Paul Krugman’s take on corporatizing of both Iraq and Wisconsin

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/25/opinion/25krugman.html

In the meantime, we talk a lot about bullies in schools, but what about these bullies from the Chamber of Commerce who hack activist computers?

http://thinkprogress.org/2011/02/17/chamberleaks-malware-hacking/

Through all this, we need to remember that we have the choice to accept this or not. The corporate interests seem all-powerful, but that’s only because we the people allow them to do what they do. We could change that tomorrow if we so chose. We have the capacity to through peaceful means to stop the madness in its tracks.  How? By voting, by contacting our elected representatives regularly, by speaking out publicly, by refusing to shop (where reasonably possible) with companies that engage in autocratic and harmful behavior, by frequenting local establishments that are friendly to the environment and workers, by protesting on the street or on the web, and (most of all) by living according to our own beliefs and our own souls–not according to the manipulations of corporate media machine’s. Often we (including me) are rats in a maze running around following the expectations of a consumption-driven economy, but we can choose to follow our own paths and live our own lives however we want. There is nothing that we cannot change collectively if we follow our authentic selves and share that with others. It seems simple and polyannish, but it also happens to be true. Instead of succumbing to anxiety and fear (which corporate interests feed off of), we simply need to tap into courage and step into genuine freedom.

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The Egyptian Revolution on Twitter

This is cool to watch:  http://gephi.org/2011/the-egyptian-revolution-on-twitter/ (via Dianne Bazell)

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Wikipedia’s Gender Gap

Few contributors to Wikipedia are women.  Why, and what can Wikipedia do intentionally to change that? (via Dianne Bazell)

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/31/business/media/31link.html?_r=1

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U.S. Chamber of Commerce Hacks Activist Computers

We talk a lot about bullies in schools, but what about these bullies?

http://thinkprogress.org/2011/02/17/chamberleaks-malware-hacking/

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Egypt Able to Use Internet Cut-Off Switch

I wonder if the U.S. has such a capacity.  Hmm . . .

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/16/technology/16internet.html?_r=1&hp=&pagewanted=all

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Economics and Our Op-Ed

Some doubt has been cast on the importance of Israel to the US economy and jobs.   However, many underestimate the importance of Israel in global technology, especially in computers, health care and agriculture.  It is large.  We live in an interconnected world, and our economic relations with other countries (including foreign aid) have an economic impact on our own economy.  We cannot go it alone.  No one can.

See http://mysticscholar.org/2011/02/22/aid-to-israel-protects-us-interests/

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Drones and Our Israel Op-Ed

Apparently drones bring forth a lot of emotion and strong opinion.   Here is my response to some of those who have questioned the drone example in the Lexington Herald-Leader op-ed.

Many drones are used for surveillance purposes, but drones are also used for attacks:  e.g. General Atomics MQ-1 Predators with Hellfire missiles (which have successfully killed a number of al-Qaeda and Taliban operatives, among others); and now the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper.  I think that these weapons are just the beginning, and war will be fought increasingly virtually.  No question that this presents moral problems, but we cannot avoid questions by just saying “No.”  That’s not going to happen, nor should it.  In my view, drones save lives.  Strategic, tactical, and fighter bombers have a much greater likelihood of dropping their loads in the wrong places (in spite of major improvements in accuracy).  Ballistic missiles and artillery are not better.  Infantry operations can be even more dangerous for civilians.

The larger question is:  When military action is necessary, how do we have successful operations and minimize the killing of civilians?  The emotions that drones induce have more do with symbolism and PR than with actual facts on the ground.

I believe that drone technology is helpful overall, because it saves US and Coalition lives and because killing of civilians is less likely (even though it still tragically occurs). War has always been characterized by awful, hideous events.  Drones are not the reason they happen.  Nor do drones fuel insurgencies in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen.  Problems existed in those countries long before drones.  Americans seem to think that we have this great influence on the world and that we are the main drivers of events–it’s a kind of imperialism that exists on both the right and the left.  But people all over the world have their own motivations and reasons for doing what they do that have nothing to do with the US or with Israel.  There are independent actors, and we don’t pull everybody’s strings.

Drone technology is simply one concrete illustration of military cooperation and research.  However, one could also pint to other military items that the Israelis have developed (or helped to develop) that the US employs:  Python missiles, Gabriel missiles, SMAW anti-tank guided missiles, Simon breach grenades, Samson Remote Control Weapons Stations, etc.  Of course, Israel also uses US weapons:  F15s and F16s, transport planes, Apache attack helicopters, transport helicopters, howitzers, missiles (including Hellfire, Maverick, Sidewinder, and Stinger) and now the Arrow Missile Defense System, among others.  The US military clearly understands Israeli weapons research as a major strategic advantage for the US, and the Israelis naturally know the importance of US weapons for them.  The relationship is symbiotic and a part of our economy–even though I would love to see a time when the need for this is greatly reduced.

The question is not drones.  The question is military action in general.  I agree that not every time is a military option the best option.  In my view, both the US and Israel have sometimes forgotten this.  Still military elements are a crucial part of self-defense.  Without them, Israel would be annihilated and Jews slaughtered. In other locations, projecting military strength is required (even though the US might sometimes overplay its hand).  Having weapons is often more powerful than using them, but that is only the case when at least occasionally we do use them.

UPDATE:  On March 1, 2011, the IDF employed a new, defensive weapon, called the Trophy active protection system, designed to protect tanks from missiles.   This is a significant upgrade for tank and armored car protection.  During the Lebanon war, Israeli tanks suffered damage from hand-held, rocket-propelled grenades.  The Israelis designed this system, and it will undoubtedly become important for the U.S. military as well.  There is further similar technology in the pipeline as well.

http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Editorials/Article.aspx?id=210540

See our op-ed: http://mysticscholar.org/2011/02/22/aid-to-israel-protects-us-interests/

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Mixed Assessments on Iran and Nuclear Weapons

Iran appears, at least in part, to have recovered from the Stuxnet worm attack.  The Iranians have replaced the hardware, but it is unclear whether they have control over the software.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/15/AR2011021505395.html?sid=ST2011021404206

On the other hand, the New Intelligence Estimate suggests that the Stuxnet worm has had considerable impact.  Just as important, the sanctions seem to be having an impact on some Iranian leaders, who question the wisdom of developing a nuclear weapons program given the economic impact of sanctions.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703373404576148581167010572.html

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“How Google Removed the Muzzle on Twitter”

On the adaptability and flexibility of technology.  That makes it so much more powerful

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_tec_egypt_google_twitter_tool

Now see: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20110204/us-tec-egypt-google-twitter-tool/

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Criticism of Bill Keller on Assange and WikiLeaks

I happen to support the idea of transparent governance as a whole.  Transparency is what the Internet is all about:  while closed, proprietary platforms decline, open source platforms are increasingly flourishing.  This is affecting our politics, particularly in the case of WikiLeaks.  While I recognize the value of secrets for diplomacy, most stuff that is labeled secret should not be.  WikiLeaks has unveiled documents that we have a right to know about and, for that reason, I am glad that we have access to this trove of materials.  Citizens of the US and others need to grow up and understand what’s going on in their home countries and in the world.

I happen to support a robust foreign policy and am not against our Iraq policy, although I recognize the ignorance, cynicism, unnecessary violence, and corruption that drove our policy there.  Nevertheless, I am glad that we have, for example, the WikiLeaks expose of soldiers indiscriminately killing Iraqi civilians.  This is war, and this is what unfortunately and tragically happens in war.  Do we naively believe that war is clean and neat and that soldiers always behave appropriately under incredibly stressful conditions?  War is filled with horror, moral degradation, and murderous rampages (we can read about that as far back as Homer’s Iliad and the Hebrew Bible).  This does not mean that we should never engage in war, although it should be a last resort, but it does mean that we need to acknowledge and recognize what actually does happen in war.  However, it will mean that citizens will have to be grown-up and adult about it.  They will have to have their eyes open before deciding to embark on a war.  That’s what Assange and WikiLeaks force us to be.

At the same time, I don’t think that this is a fair article.  Coleen Rowley criticizes Keller for his views on Iraq, not primarily for his portrayal of Assange in Keller’s recent New York Times piece. I don’t think that Keller’s views on Iraq automatically prejudice him in the case of Assange.  In spite of its massive flaws, I support our policy in Iraq, and yet I am glad for what Assange has done.  Keller was simply pointing out Assange’s strange personality and behavior.  Given the significance of WikiLeaks, Keller’s comments here are newsworthy.  Assange is part of the story.  That does not nullify or diminish the importance of what Assange has done.

http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/mike-friends-blog/nyts-keller-disparages

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Profile of Arianna Huffington

Or how someone can move from a Greek immigrant to a follower of self-help gurus to wife of a Republican multi-millionaire to conservative icon (and supporter of Newt Gingrich!) to liberal icon to media maven.  Wow, that leaves me breathless.  She sure knows how to reinvent herself.  And everyone seems to like her, no matter their political persuasion.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/news/ap/politics/2011/Feb/08/can_huffington_transform_aol_like_she_has_herself_.html

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Wael Ghonim’s Television Interview

This is a moving interview that provides insights both into the thinking of the protesters and of the government.  The interview speaks for itself and shows the profound integrity of everyday Egyptians.  I am struck by the deep concern for dignity that Wael consistently mentions.  There is a sense among Egyptians that this government has shamed them and treated them as children.  Young protesters like Wael are educated, cosmopolitan, entrepreneurial, thoughtful, and modern.  They are the future leaders of Egypt and other Middle Eastern nations.  While there are many perils and chances for disasters, Wael and his colleagues should give us all reason to hope for greater peace and prosperity in the Middle East in the long term.

http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/08/subtitled-video-of-wael-ghonims-emotional-tv-interview/

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/09/world/middleeast/09ghonim.html?hp

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Google Exec, Wael Ghonim, Released in Egypt

In the end, you can imprison a person, but you cannot lock up the internet or social media. Egypt’s attempt to control the spread of protest by arresting social media entrepreneurs did not succeed.  However, we can sure see where the real power is now.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/08/world/middleeast/08google.html

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Mindfulness Training in the US Military

Because of the massive information overload that affects soldiers in the US military due to a heavy emphasis on sophisticated technology and multi-tasking, there is greater need than ever for awareness and grounding.  This article shows the unstated influence of Buddhist meditation, with its ubiquitous focus on mindfulness–an intriguing development.  (via Dianne Bazell)

http://nyti.ms/eEa6dV

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Israel, Iran, and the Stuxnet Worm

This is certainly better than a military attack or a war.  Of course, the same technology can be used for more nefarious purposes, and there’s the rub.  Still I prefer it done this way.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/16/world/middleeast/16stuxnet.html?_r=2

Then again, here’s another piece arguing that that the US and/or Israel did not design this worm and that its effect is much more minimal than what has been reported:

http://blogs.forbes.com/jeffreycarr/2011/01/17/the-new-york-times-fails-to-deliver-stuxnets-creators/

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Will Ocean Generators Affect Migration of Sea Creatures?

As we develop new green technologies, we will have to think about unforseen consequences:  http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/12/26/105798/will-generating-ocean-energy-affect.html

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“Computers That See You and Keep Watch Over You”

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A Review of the Net Neutrality Debate

http://lifehacker.com/5720407/an-introduction-to-net-neutrality-what-it-is-what-it-means-for-you-and-what-you-can-do-about-it?utm_source=Lifehacker+Newsletter&utm_campaign=4306c49fc7-UA-142218-1&utm_medium=email

An excellent review. The internet is key medium of information and news exchange for coming decades. Corporate attempts to control the flow will limit freedom and transparency. Government regulations have their limitations and dangers, but the power of corporate control is much more harmful and pernicious.  (Via Gary Yarus)

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Net Neutrality

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The Importance of Net Neutrality

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Web as Random Acts of Kindness

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P65XdTlk4vA
The internet as a verb: self-creating, transformative, and spreading kindness (via Nelson French).

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Hermit Crabs as Social Networkers

http://tuftsjournal.tufts.edu/2010/05_2/features/02/

This is pretty cool: Hermit crabs and human beings as social networkers.

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Social Networking and the Movement of Money and Power

With global social networking, money and power move much more effectively and faster horizontally than they do vertically in traditional structures.

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Triumph of Social Networking in Politics

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0510/37468.html
I’m most interested here in social networking and its synergy with media. The triumph of social networking activists on both the left and the right shows the diminishing power of long-established political institutions and traditions. Money and power move faster horizontally than they do vertically. Fast-growing social networking promises just as fundamental changes for other institutions as well: business, education, religion, media, newspapers, publishing, transportation, environment, etc. Organizations that do not transform themselves in fundamental structural ways will find themselves replaced by others that understand the new dynamics.

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Snopes

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/05/technology/05snopes.html


At a time when it’s very difficult to tell truth from fiction on the internet, Snopes is one of those oases of reliability (via Dianne Bazell).

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A Toddler Uses an iPad for the First Time

We could all use this kind of mental flexibility.

http://laughingsquid.com/a-2-5-year-old-uses-an-ipad-for-the-first-time/

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