With the widespread popularity of smartphones, everyone is walking around with a computer in their pocket. Which is awesome. What is NOT cool is that due to flaws in the laws regarding what wireless phone provider (WPP) companies are allowed to do, your WPP company is legally allowed to spy on you and collect info on EVERY single thing you do on your phone. What’s worse is that the companies will automatically opt you in to agree to be tracked and spied on, and it’s your responsibility to first of all realize that you’re being spied on and tracked, and second of all it’s your responsibility to opt out of it.
At this point some you might be saying “Well, I don’t do anything bad or illegal so who cares if they spy on me and track me?” First of all, you cannot predict everything that will be done with your phone. Perhaps in the future you’ll use it for something personal, private, or embarrassing. Or perhaps someone borrows your phone to make a call and also uses it to do something unsavory that you’re not even aware of. The point is you just can’t predict the future so it’s not a good idea to give them free license to spy on your personal habits. Second, you may be saying “Even if they have that info, they’re just using it for marketing purposes, it’s not like anything bad will happen with it.” Wrong. The companies are allowed to use that info for whatever purpose they want, including selling it to third parties. Additionally, the law states that if the government asks them for the info for ANY reason, they must turn it over to them. “But I don’t break the law!” Oh really? Did you know that the average person breaks the law at least once per day without even realizing it? Yup, it’s true, check it out: Mr Average breaks the law at least once a day
Now don’t worry, we don’t need to start wearing tin-foil hats and living in the wilderness. I’m going to show you how to opt out of being tracked in under two minutes, and then you don’t have to worry about it anymore and you can continue to use your smartphone without being tracked.
Each company has a slightly different process, but they all involve logging into the companies website, finding the proper page, and selecting to opt out of being tracked. I happen to currently have Verizon, so this is what the page looks like for me (I blacked out my phone number for obvious reasons):
Short promo video explaining uber-pimp Peter Schiff’s book “Crash Proof 2.0″ :
Yo yo yo yo! Dis yo boi JDM bringing da fly new track! Now the first single was so tight, you knew dey gonna be droppin’ it again right here y’all! Give it up for Hayyyyyy-eksplosive and K-k-k-k-iller Keynes!
Many people these days are aware of problems with schools. It’s an extremely complex issue with no easy answer. So I’m not proposing anything or trying to make any kind of grand sweeping generalization, or claiming I know how to fix the problems. But I want to share with you a personal example of a deficiency in my education (through no fault of my own).
I always paid attention in history class (or at the very least read all the assigned reading and did all the assigned work). So while I may not be a history whiz, I should at least know some of the basics, right?
Today I was on wikipedia reading about the Industrial Revolution. I’ve heard the term before, but we never covered it in school. Someone may have mentioned it in passing, but I really knew nothing about it until I started reading about it today. In the opening paragraph, it states “Economic historians are in agreement that the onset of the Industrial Revolution is the most important event in the history of humanity since the domestication of animals and plants.”
As I learned more about the Industrial Revolution, I began to see that this statement about the importance of the Industrial Revolution is not an exaggeration. Every single one of us lives the way we do because of what happened during the Industrial Revolution. I learned about economic growth. Mechanization. Worker exploitation. Labor unions. Collective bargaining. These things are huge. They matter, in a very direct and real sense. I’ve only skimmed the surface but now I at least have a foundation of knowledge about that subject. So many things in our every day lives are a direct result of global changes that took place during the Industrial Revolution, and having now learned the basics of it, I have a much better understanding of the world.
So what’s my point? Well, we’ve already talked about how we’re autodidacts. I just want to continue the conversation. There is so much to learn out there about the universe we live in. The more you learn, the more pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that comprises our reality fit into place. Let your curiosity guide you. And know that there’s always so much more to be learned. You just have to teach it to yourself. It’s empowering.
EDIT 2011-10-16: The following videos about the future of education and how it can be changed for the better are both inspiring and jarring:
Both videos are TED talks regarding the current state of and the future of the educational system. In the first video, Salman Kahn (of Kahn Academy fame) talks about how he has begun working with schools to revolutionize teaching. The second video, which is a bit more bleak, has Bill Gates (of Microsoft fame) talking about the consequences of the budget cuts to education as well as the possibilities for fixing the problems.
From the 1980 series, Free to Choose, the episode, Anatomy of a Crisis.
Highly relevant today, discussing the Great Depression, the role of the Fed, and perhaps most importantly, public opinion. Includes a surprisingly fair treatment of Keynes.
For the whole video you can go to Google videos.
At 28:22 it goes to a group discussion which can be a lot to follow, however, the following can be generally understood:
Friedman was in favor a steadily increasing supply of money, given that there was a central bank controlling it. He believed that having a stable system was paramount to hoping to have the “right people” in office.
Is it bad I could best most high school curriculums just by drawing from my personal video library?
If you understand that money is a good like any other, and are interested, as I am, in free banking, here is a good primer article.
I took a break from reading The God Delusion, flipped on the radio, and heard a familiar voice; Richard Dawkins was talking to conservative radio talk show host Dennis Prager about his latest book that just came out The Greatest Show On Earth. Soldier on, Dawkins. Soldier on.
Here’s an open letter I wrote to the Physical Sciences department at Santa Monica College. I was enraged but I managed to refrain from dropping F bombs all over their asses. Make sure you watch the video; just be ready for a cold shower because you’re blood is going to boil.
I’m compelled to bring to your attention an upsetting matter: Bear with me for just a moment. “The Story Of Stuff” ( storyofstuff.com ) is a so-called documentary that expresses the all-too-familiar opinion that capitalism and America are evil. It purports to explain the chain of production and it’s effects on the environment, but it also spills over into the the arena of politics and economics. It makes so many arguable statements, exaggerations, and even outright falsehoods that one could spend hours discussing all the misinformation it contains.
This is not new. Having graduated from college, I am accustomed to having liberal arts professors use their classrooms as podiums to spout their political and social opinions. What is the shocking news here? This video, “The Story Of Stuff,” is part of the required coursework in a college biology class! This is a perversion of an institution of higher learning. This video does not belong in a biology course! This professor should not be allowed to get away with this.
Los Angeles, CA
P.S. Here are the specifics on the class.
School: Santa Monica College (Santa Monica, CA)
Course: BIOL 2, Human Biology
Instructor: Jacki L. Houghton
Term: Fall 2009
I’m not deluding myself into thinking that anything will be done about this. It just depresses me that even science, which I thought was the last bastion of critical thinking left in colleges, is polluted with vile indoctrination. Et tu, Brute?