Monday, January 30, 2012

Moyers: How Big Banks are Rewriting the Rules of our Economy | The Big Picture

Moyers: How Big Banks are Rewriting the Rules of our Economy | The Big Picture:

Bill Moyers talks with former Citigroup chairman John Reed and former Senator Byron Dorgan to explore how our political and financial class shift economic benefits to the very top.

Moyers & Company Show 103: How power and influence helped big banks rewrite the rules of our economy.from on Vimeo.

January 27, 2012

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There’s a myth in the USA that just won’t go away. It’s this idea that a household balance sheet is somehow comparable to that of the federal government’s. Few myths are more destructive and lead to greater confusion and/or misguided government policy. In recent months this has become a particularly public subject as the debt ceiling debates have raged and the European debt crisis continues. The problem is, the analogy between a sovereign government’s balance sheet and a household’s balance sheet is never accurate. The reason this analogy always fails is due to the difference between being a currency issuer and a currency user.

In the following video I explain briefly why this is such a destructive myth and why this country desperately needs to learn that the burden we leave our children is not a debt burden, but a certain living standard. It’s true that spending money at the government level could reduce this living standard and we could certainly leave our children with a standard of living that is below our own, but what we won’t leave them with is a bill that they need to pay off in the form of some debt burden.

See the following video for more and read the following links if you’re still confused:

Understanding the burden we leave our grandchildren:

Why government debt matters:

Understanding the modern monetary system:

8 Crazy Things IBM Scientists Have Learned Studying Twitter

8 Crazy Things IBM Scientists Have Learned Studying Twitter:

IBM Scientist Rick Lawrence

Business Insider

IBM scientist Rick Lawrence looks to Twitter to read the world's mind

Read more:

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The Bald Terrier 1200 | Deus Customs

The Bald Terrier 1200 | Deus Customs:

Needles Deer Skin Moc Shoe Camel

Needles Deer Skin Moc Shoe Camel:

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Luc Besson’s Lockout Looks Pretty Good [Movie Trailer]

Luc Besson’s Lockout Looks Pretty Good [Movie Trailer]:

I’m a big fan of Luc Besson’s movies, so I hope this one lives up to my expectations!

Lock-Out (also known as MS One: Maximum Security) is an upcoming science fiction action film starring Guy Pearce and Maggie Grace. James Mather and Stephen St. Leger are both writing and directing it. This film has an expected release date of April 20, 2012. [Source]


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  3. Avatar 2 Unofficial Movie Trailer

Lenovo ThinkPad- T430u Ultrabook and X1 Hybrid

Lenovo ThinkPad- T430u Ultrabook and X1 Hybrid:

Lenovo ThinkPad- T430u Ultrabook and X1 Hybrid

Lenovo has launched a couple of ThinkPad laptop computers to be featured in the CES 2012, the T430u Ultrabook and the X1 Hybrid and is aimed at the popular Apple laptop, the Macbook Air.

Going For Ultrabooks

ThinkPads are extremely popular laptops in businesses and schools and these gadgets are known for their reliability and performance. The Ultrabook concept focuses on several vital specifications including lightweight, fast start up times, sleek design and extended battery life at the same time not compromises on the display, keyboard size and the performance of the system.

The dual-booting X1 Hybrid is not actually an Ultrabook but is the thinnest ThinkPad ever. When you are logged on to Windows 7, you can switch to the low power Linux- based media environment for music, video and web applications while the Windows platform is on stand-by.

Device Specs

The 14-inch T430u is priced at $849. It has Intel Core-i processor with up to 16GB RAM with an integrated graphics card which is extendable. It has a fingerprint reader and comes with VPro, Intel’s hardware based management and security system.

The X1 Hybrid comes at $1599 with Intel Core-i7 processor, 8GB RAM, 160 GB solid-state drive, and runs on 64-bit Window 7. It has a fingerprint reader with integrated 3G and up to 10h battery life.

Read more:

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Vi Hart and More Fun with Fibonacci, Plants, and “Spiraly Things”

Vi Hart and More Fun with Fibonacci, Plants, and “Spiraly Things”:

Here are parts two and three of Vi Hart’s brilliant and dizzying exploration of the Fibonacci number, plant growth patterns, and the mathematics behind other cool, spiraly things.


Spirals, Fibonacci, and Being a Plant

How Allan Scherr Hacked Around the First Computer Password

How Allan Scherr Hacked Around the First Computer Password:

New submitter MikeatWired writes "If you're like most people, you're annoyed by passwords. So who's to blame? Who invented the computer password? They probably arrived at MIT in the mid-1960s, when researchers built a massive time-sharing computer called CTSS. Technology changes. But, then again, it doesn't, writes Bob McMillan. Twenty-five years after the fact, Allan Scherr, a Ph.D. researcher at MIT in the early '60s, came clean about the earliest documented case of password theft. In the spring of 1962, Scherr was looking for a way to bump up his usage time on CTSS. He had been allotted four hours per week, but it wasn't nearly enough time to run the detailed performance simulations he'd designed for the new computer system. So he simply printed out all of the passwords stored on the system. 'There was a way to request files to be printed offline by submitting a punched card,' he remembered in a pamphlet (PDF) written last year to commemorate the invention of the CTSS. 'Late one Friday night, I submitted a request to print the password files and very early Saturday morning went to the file cabinet where printouts were placed and took the listing.' To spread the guilt around, Scherr then handed the passwords over to other users. One of them — J.C.R. Licklieder — promptly started logging into the account of the computer lab's director Robert Fano, and leaving 'taunting messages' behind."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Silicon Valley Newcomers Are Still Dreaming Big

Silicon Valley Newcomers Are Still Dreaming Big: A surge in high-tech start-ups and investment money has drawn recent college graduates who, unlike their peers in other parts of the country, seem snugly protected from any hint of the recession.

The Future of War (From Jan., 1993 to the Present)

The Future of War (From Jan., 1993 to the Present):

(image is a shot of my copy of the first Wired magazine, signed by our founding team)

I just read this NYT piece on the United States’ approach to unmanned warfare: Do Drones Undermine Democracy?. From it:

There is not a single new manned combat aircraft under research and development at any major Western aerospace company, and the Air Force is training more operators of unmanned aerial systems than fighter and bomber pilots combined. In 2011, unmanned systems carried out strikes from Afghanistan to Yemen. The most notable of these continuing operations is the not-so-covert war in Pakistan, where the United States has carried out more than 300 drone strikes since 2004.

Yet this operation has never been debated in Congress; more than seven years after it began, there has not even been a single vote for or against it. This campaign is not carried out by the Air Force; it is being conducted by the C.I.A. This shift affects everything from the strategy that guides it to the individuals who oversee it (civilian political appointees) and the lawyers who advise them (civilians rather than military officers).

It also affects how we and our politicians view such operations. President Obama’s decision to send a small, brave Navy Seal team into Pakistan for 40 minutes was described by one of his advisers as “the gutsiest call of any president in recent history.” Yet few even talk about the decision to carry out more than 300 drone strikes in the very same country.

Read the whole piece. Really, read it. If any article in the past year or so does a better job of displaying how what we’ve built with technology is changing the essence of our humanity, I’d like to read it.

For me, this was a pretty powerful reminder. Why? Because we put the very same idea on display as the very first cover story of Wired, nearly 20 years ago. Written by Bruce Sterling, whose star has only become brighter in the past two decades, it predicts the future of war with an eerie accuracy. In the article, Sterling describes “modern Nintendo training for modern Nintendo war.” Sure, if he was all seeing, he might have said Xbox, but still…here are some quotes from nearly 20 years ago:

The omniscient eye of computer surveillance can now dwell on the extremes of battle like a CAT scan detailing a tumor in a human skull. This is virtual reality as a new way of knowledge: a new and terrible kind of transcendent military power.

…(Military planners) want a pool of contractors and a hefty cadre of trained civilian talent that they can draw from at need. They want professional Simulation Battle Masters. Simulation system operators. Simulation site managers. Logisticians. Software maintenance people. Digital cartographers. CAD-CAM designers. Graphic designers.

(Ed: Like my son playing Call of Duty?)

And it wouldn’t break their hearts if the American entertainment industry picked up on their interactive simulation network technology, or if some smart civilian started adapting these open-architecture, virtual-reality network protocols that the military just developed. The cable TV industry, say. Or telephone companies running Distributed Simulation on fiber-to-the-curb. Or maybe some far-sighted commercial computer-networking service. It’s what the military likes to call the “purple dragon” angle. Distributed Simulation technology doesn’t have to stop at tanks and aircraft, you see. Why not simulate something swell and nifty for civilian Joe and Jane Sixpack and the kids? Why not purple dragons?

(Ed: Skyrim, anyone?!)

Can governments really exercise national military power – kick ass, kill people – merely by using some big amps and some color monitors and some keyboards, and a bunch of other namby-pamby sci-fi “holodeck” stuff?

The answer is yes.

Say you are in an army attempting to resist the United States. You have big tanks around you, and ferocious artillery, and a gun in your hands. And you are on the march.

Then high-explosive metal begins to rain upon you from a clear sky. Everything around you that emits heat, everything around you with an engine in it, begins to spontaneously and violently explode. You do not see the eyes that see you. You cannot know where the explosives are coming from: sky-colored Stealths invisible to radar, offshore naval batteries miles away, whip-fast and whip-smart subsonic cruise missiles, or rapid-fire rocket batteries on low-flying attack helicopters just below your horizon. It doesn’t matter which of these weapons is destroying your army – you don’t know, and you won’t be told, either. You will just watch your army explode.

Eventually, it will dawn on you that the only reason you, yourself, are still alive, still standing there unpierced and unlacerated, is because you are being deliberately spared. That is when you will decide to surrender. And you will surrender. After you give up, you might come within actual physical sight of an American soldier.

Eventually you will be allowed to go home. To your home town. Where the ligaments of your nation’s infrastructure have been severed with terrible precision. You will have no bridges, no telephones, no power plants, no street lights, no traffic lights, no working runways, no computer networks, and no defense ministry, of course. You have aroused the wrath of the United States. You will be taking ferries in the dark for a long time.

Now imagine two armies, two strategically assisted, cyberspace-trained, post-industrial, panoptic ninja armies, going head-to-head. What on earth would that look like? A “conventional” war, a “non-nuclear” war, but a true War in the Age of Intelligent Machines, analyzed by nanoseconds to the last square micron.

Who would survive? And what would be left of them?

Who indeed.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Google Launches Feature to Find Hotels by Travel Time, Landmarks

Google Launches Feature to Find Hotels by Travel Time, Landmarks:

Google Hotel Finder

Looking for a hotel near the Eiffel Tower, but not too familiar with your Parisian neighborhoods?

Google has unveiled a new feature for its “Hotel Finder” tool, allowing travelers to look for lodging near popular landmarks. The addition is perfect for those looking to narrow their hotel search by how long it takes to get to certain spots within a city. So whether you’re planning a vacation or a business trip, the feature makes it easy to find the best spot to spend the night.

Finding hotels by travel time is an extension of Google’s Hotel Finder tool, which debuted in July. Now, instead of just looking for hotels in a certain city, typing “Eiffel Tower” or “Empire State Building” will show you available hotels and prices in that area. You can also search by address.

SEE ALSO: Online Ad Spending to Surpass Print for First Time in 2012

Not into a 20-minute commute or want to walk to the landmark by foot? Select your travel-time and mode of transportation preferences, and Google’s Hotel Finder map will automatically update with suggested hotels.

Google noted in a blog post that the feature is currently “experimental” and that filtering by transit time is only available in certain cities, including New York, Niagara Falls (Canada), Las Vegas, Honolulu, Paris, London and Bangkok. These locations have “partnered with local transit agencies to integrate their data into Google Maps,” the site said.

Have you used Google’s Hotel Finder? Would you use this tool — and the new feature — to help you plan trips? Let us know in the comments.

More About: Google, travel