Past Links

“UK to monitor, store all social-network traffic?” – ZDNET – The UK and EU are considering plans to store all social networking data to help ‘prevent terrorist attacks.’  The biggest step towards big brother to date.

“Tim Berners-Lee for world Internet czar?”CNET – Speaking of escaping technology, this highlights an inevitable confrontation between users and those who have access to information about their internet activity.  Do we need a world internet czar to protect our privacy?  If so, should we elect the man who invented the internet?

Topps 3D Live Baseball Card – Not Your Father’s Baseball Card” Silicon Angle – Look what the geeks did to baseball cards!!!  There is no escaping technology.

“Guarding the U.S.-Mexico border, live from suburban New York”CNN – Watch webcams of the US Mexican boarder and alert the police with a click if you see suspicious activity… Someone has to watch the boarder, right?

“Moderate Alcohol Intake Associated With Bone Protection”Science Daily – Two servings of booze a day keep bones strong but, unfortunately, more than that and it makes bones weak.  My personal recommendation is a shot of white tequila and a PBR to fulfill the two drink quota.

“The 10 Major Newspapers That Will Either Fold or Go Digital Next”Yahoo – The first big round of newspaper closures are coming.  Imagine the perspective of the editor-in-chief of your middle school newspaper.  Do you think they’re optimistic about their future?

“Ecstasy treatment draws rave reviews”CNET – Army Rangers and the psychologists that treat them for post-traumatic-stress-disorder are using ecstasy because it allows them to get ‘years of therapy done in hours.’

“Dreaming of cutting the subscription TV cord”CNET – TV is expensive and generally sucks but we all still love a few shows.  Well, the time is quickly approaching where you’ll be able to get the best of TV without a subscription.  Sorry sports fans, you’ll need to keep paying.

Obama’s economic saviour savaged as Keating lets rip”Sydney Morning Herald – A sobering account of Geithner’s legacy at the IMF.  Apparently he really screwed up with the Asian Economic Crisis of the late 1990s.  Apparently I’m not the only one who isn’t very good at macroeconomics.

“Regulatory reports show 5 biggest banks face huge losses”McClatchy – The losses are bigger than anyone in the mainstream media estimated.  Now what?

“3 billion use SMS, what does that mean?”Communities Dominate Brands – About half the world uses cell phone text messaging.  To put that in perspective: 1.4 billion people use the internet and 1.4 billion watch TV.  Within the US, the average cell phone user text messages 4 times a day.

“Funeral set for Tsvangirai’s wife”BBC – Morgan Tsvangirai and his wife Susan were involved in a deadly car accident on Friday.  Their SUV hit a USAID truck and flipped 3 times, killing Susan and badly injuring Morgan.  This tragic accident came as Mr. Tsvangirai’s MDC party and Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF continue their year long power sharing negotiations.  Political violence has been a continuous theme in the last decade of Zimbabwe politics and while no one is accusing Mugabe or his party of engineering this accident, certainly everyone is suspicious of foul play.  The MDC says they’ll conduct their own investigation into the matters.

“Of saints and sinners”Economist – Welcome to Popular Sufism: the more mystical, diverse (and fun) strand of Islam practiced by 450m Muslims in Pakistan, India and South Eastern Asia.  Read about their parties and you may find yourself considering a conversion.

“Obama’s CIO wants more citizen activity on Web”CNET – Washington DC’s CTO is now the Federal Government’s Chief Information Officer.  He views citizen particpation on the web as an integral part of our emerging, web enabled democracy.  If he can effectively utilize just 10% of the internet’s potential to revolutionize governance, it’ll be a massive achievement.

A Moderate Manifesto”NYTimes – David Brooks makes the list again with his sobering Obama analysis and his fear that the US is becoming a centrally organized, top-down society.  Despite classifying himself as a Hamiltonian, which he defines as ‘limited but energetic governance’, Brooks leaves his reader waiting for a coherent political philosophy to grab onto.

“CNBC Gives Financial Advice”The Daily Show – John and friends rip apart CNBC: the financial news network that fiddled as Wall Stree burned, confusing their viewers with BS analysis, softball interviews and, of course, heapings of sensationalized financial reporting.  Complete with a nice montage of silly predictions, including Jim Cramer explaining why you should keep buying even though everything is over valued.

Miru Kim: Making art of New York’s urban ruins” – – This woman takes naked pictures of herself in abandoned industrial wastelands in New York.  Also of note: the first non TED video I’ve ever seen on  The times they are a changin’.

“Foreign students made sex slaves” – Guess what: it’s super easy for registered sex offenders to apply for and receive foreign exchange students.  Read the second to last paragraph for an unintentional ‘balance through decentralization’ moment.

“Everything’s Amazing, No One is Happy”YouTube – Hysterical sketch by comedian Louis CK.  Technology has made life fantastically easy but everyone is still complaining about slight inconvenience.  Appreciate the miracle!

Bobby Jindal, the Exorcist” – NYTimes – If Bobby Jindal’s delivery of the Republican Response to Obama’s speech to Congress didn’t creep you out, maybe his personal history with exorcism will.  Since nearly 70% of Americans believe angels and demons are active in our world, you might be in the minority.

“Red (Light) States”NYTimes –  The more you ‘fear God’ the more likely you are to subscribe to porn websites.  8 of the top 10 porn consuming states voted for McCain.

Cricketers wounded in Lahore attack”Al Jazeera – The Sri Lankan cricket team was attacked by a dozen gunmen in Lahore Pakistan.  The athletes survived, six policemen were killed and the gunmen escaped.  Officials in Sri Lanka and Pakistan say they doubt it the LTTE, aka the Tamil Tigers, were behind the attack and there is some suspicion that the same organization that alledgedly executed the Mumbai attacks was behind this one.  What is more frightening: that the LTTE has once again resumed their international terrorist campaign or that Laskhar-e-Taiba, the Mumbai attackers based out of Pakistan, are alligning themselves with the LTTE… or that something else entirely is going on?

Mars had ‘recent’ running water” BBC – Only a few years ago scientists were passionately debating whether or not Mars ever had flowing water.  Now the questions are when and where and the answer appears to be within the last million years.  If we can access water on Mars, we can colonize the planet; but with real estate prices at such low levels should we really welcome an infusion of new inventory?

“The Uncertain Trumpet”NY Times – Despite Obama’s bravado, he doesn’t have a pack of wolves in Congress ready to drum up support for his proposals and has effectively deferred much of his power over healthcare reform to Capitol Hill.  This scares David Brooks, who would rather see the Obama Administration produce a complete peice of legislation than watch Congress squabble over who gets more pork.

“Slumdog Subtext”The Nation – To many Americans, Slumdog Millionaire is a classic rags to riches story set in the slums of Mumbai,  but to many Indians, the film portrays a story of revenge in which a member of India’s persecuted Muslim minority gets to one up his Hindu oppressors.

Burgeoning bourgeoisie: The new middle classes in emerging markets” – Economist – Just when you think we’ve ruined everything, the Economist reminds us of the truly MASSIVE growth of the middle class in the developing world over the last two decades.  Summary: when the middle class hits a tipping point, it’s growth is rapid and stunning.  Between 1990 and 2005, the size of the Chinese middle class grew from 19% to 62%!  Analysts think India’s middle class boom is just beginning.  In 1990 the world was 33% middle class.  Now it’s 50%.

Please Raise My Taxes” – NYTimes – The ingenious CEO of NetFlix Reed Hastings proposes that the government institute a 50% income tax on all earnings over $1,000,000 instead of mandating a pay ceiling.  Bravo Reed…. Bravo.

Leading futurists, thinkers to launch Silicon Valley university” – CNET – The author of the Singularity is Near and the undisputed king of futurology is launching a university with the help of NASA and Google.

Elizabeth Gilbert: A different way to think about creative genius” – TED – If we think about creative genius like the Greeks or Romans instead of Renaissance era Europeans, we might be happier and more sane.  Widely regarded as the best talk of this year’s TED.

Computer model says Iran won’t build nuclear bombs” – Yahoo News – The influence of religious leaders is going down, while the influence of business leaders is going up.  ‘Ahmadinejad is on the way down.’  One of the great talks that came out of this year’s TED.

UN, Hamas meet to discuss stolen Gaza aid” – Haartz – Hamas controls the flow of aid into Gaza like organized criminals.  A free Gaza seems like a distant fantasy.

Live Nation Aspires to Be One-Stop Shop for Sponsors” – Ad Age – As concerts become the primary income generator for musical artists, Live Nation is making big moves: signing a-list artists, possibly merging with Ticketmaster and partnering with massive hotel chains.  Interesting developments in the never ending battle for your entertainment dollars.

“Gaza Rockets”Current TV – Watch as Gaza militants build a rocket and try to launch it towards Israel.  It’s surprising these things ever hit their targets.

“Commentary: Bush saved 10 million lives”CNN – Watch as competing interests battle over the legacy of George W Bush.  Makes you realize how illusory our meager understanding of history really is.

“Profile: Captain Chesley Sullenberger”BBC News – This nation is blessed with some competent souls.

“‘Atlas Shrugged’: From Fiction to Fact in 52 Years”WSJ – Rand’s classic novel is more relevant now than ever.  Beware ever expanding government that erode economic freedom.  Freedom is the best economic policy.

“New soil map for African farmer”BBC News – This is the type of projects world development organizations would be pursuing if their objective is to help people in the developing world:  grassroots, decentralized and open source.

“Obama’s new BlackBerry: The NSA’s secure PDA?”CNET News – Obama gets his wish: a secure PDA with which he can communicate with people in ‘ways that aren’t scripted, ways that aren’t controlled’.

“Is the end near for Sri Lanka’s rebels”BBC News – The Tamil Tigers are one of the world’s best organized and well funded separatist groups in the world.  After 20 years old war with Sri Lanka, it appears the government has finally gotten the upper hand and are using this momentum to build a more oppressive state.

“Obama picks RIAA’s favorite lawyer for a top Justice post”CNET News – Obama adds former RIAA lawyers to his increasingly uninspiring cabinet.  If Obama is turning his back on the open culture advocates, it’s likely he’ll do the same with the open internet folks.

“Cash-strapped New York Times opens front page to ads”Yahoo News – The top down, mass media era ends when the New York Times fails or dramatically restructures its operations.

“Posing as a Bidder, Utah Student Disrupts Government Auction of 150,000 Acres of Wilderness for Oil & Gas Drilling” Democracy Now – It’s rare to see such effective examples of civil disobedience.  One student with one paddle disrupted the Bush administration’s last ‘fire sale’ to the oil and gas companies.

“Zimbabwe: South Africa Declares Cholera Disaster at Border” – The cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe has already ‘officially’ killed over a 1,000 people and now it is spreading South Africa and other neighboring nations.  Does anyone else still find it shocking that In 2008, the international community still cannot resolve these types of problems?

“Riots push Greece to the edge”BBC News – Months of riots and amid a collapsing economy places Greece in the spotlight.  Is this an isolated national crisis or will it spread to other nations in the EU who feel an economic pinch and suffer from a corrupt and incompetent government?

“South African prisoners embrace yoga”BBC News – Another episode in the ongoing process of yoga’s integration into the fabric of societies throughout the world.

“China delivers first commercially available plug-in hybrid”TerraPass – A Chinese battery manufacturer has produced a plug in hybrid like the Chevy Volt for about half its price.

“Washington diary: Family ties”BBC News – Why do Americans love dynastic politics so much?

“Shoe thrown at President Bush “CNN – A man throws a shoe at Bush at a press conference during what might be Bush’s final visit to Iraq as commander in chief.  Embarrassing, but seriously: who throws a shoe?

World Bank’s ‘Wrong Advice’ Left Silos Empty in Poor Countries”Bloomberg – The World Bank has imposed a trickle down trade philosophy on developing countries, placing their populations at the mercy of international commodity price fluctutions.  As Jeffery Sachs states in this article: ‘ history has shown you need to help people to get above the survival threshold before the markets can start functioning.’

Iran: A Nation Of Bloggers”Viral Blog –  Iran is the “third largest blogging country” and 50% of it’s population is under 25 and upset with the traditional establishment.  Blogs are powering their freedom movement.

“Commentary: Chicago factory sit-in fits nation’s mood”CNN – Closes with this great quote: ‘As Sen. Robert Wagner said in response to the 1937 sit-downs, “The uprising of the common people has come, as always, only because of a breakdown in the ability of the law and our economic system to protect their rights.”‘

“Blackwater guards ‘used grenades'”BBC News – Six Blackwater guards responsible for the 2007 death of 17 Iraqi civilians have been charged on US soil with dozens of counts of manslaughter.  A major milestone in the complicated relationship between the US government and the domestic mercenary industry.

“Facebook Connect aims to simplify, monetize”CNET News – By allowing users to log in to participating sites with their Facebook ID, the company will integrate more deeply into the web (and more profitably) than ever before.

“Chambliss: Palin ‘allowed us to peak'”Politico – Sarah Palin’s star power apparently saved the Republican senator in Georgia.  Does this tremendously important win for the GOP cement her position as the future leader of the GOP?

“The Libertarian Moment” Reason Magazine – Libertarian ideas have permeated business, culture and even politics subtly but substantially for the last few decades.  Now, with the help of the internet, freedom and individual liberty will only become more popular.

“White Russians Arise, This Time at a Bowling Alley”New York Times – Lebowski Fest ’08.  Best article of the week. Thanks New York Times.

“How do you pay a pirate’s ransom?”BBC News – Q: So what do you do for a living?  A: Negotiate with pirates.

“Swiss approve prescription heroin”BBC News – The Swiss electorate also voted against decriminalizing cannabis.

“India’s Muslims in Crisis”Time – A brief but thorough contextualization and history of the tension between Hindus and Muslims in India.

“Palestinian Forces Dilute Hebron’s Volatile Brew”New York Times – A stronger Palestinian Authority, working in coordination with the IDF, is bring law and order to the West Bank and the foundations of a two state solution.

“Pope Questions Interfaith Dialogue”New York Times – Pope Benedict XVI has issued a detailed commentary on the role of Christian-Muslim dialogues in secular Europe.

“What’s the Value of a Big Bonus”New York Times – The author of Predictably Irrational studied how bonuses effect employee performance.  Apparently they’re counter productive…

“Fighting with photons”The Economist – Laser weapon systems are being introduced for a wide variety of applications ranging from detonating roadside bombs to vaporizing enemy troops.

“SolarWorld serious about buying GM’s Opel”CNET News – A German solar cell company offered $1.3 billion for one of GM’s European car divisions, hoping to turn it into a serious European green car company.

“The Seething Genius of ‘Get Your War On'”More Intelligent Life – hacks will love this closer look at the predictive and dark humor of Get Your War On and its ideological conflict with the “War on Terror.”

“Questioning the ceasefire in Gaza”BBC – The Israeli maintained economic isolation of Gaza allows Hamas to control (and profit from) the massive amount of underground trade between Egypt and Gaza.

“Evolution’s New Wrinkle”Princeton University – New study shows that self-conscious evolution is built into certain protein functions.

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