Track Phone First, Ask Questions Later

For quite some time it has been apparent that secrets are everywhere. By quite some time, I mean since ages past. From Masons, to Illuminati, to the famous Knights Templar. Many organizations even today keep their secrets: CIA, NSA, etc., etc., etc. The NSA is an organization that takes our information and claims to use it for our safety but in recent news it has been criticized as a cell phone infiltrator. That’s right, though most of you have already heard about this and likely lost interest in it, the fact remains that all of your data are belong to US(A).  It is no lie that:

The National Security Agency has provided timely information to U.S. decision makers and military leaders for more than half a century.

and that:

NSA/CSS exists to protect the Nation.

but where do we draw the line? Is it really in our liberty to discuss anything at all without being overlooked or guided? Is there any safe place for our information?

Related Article: Gossip Through the Prism

Apparently nowhere it seems, as a federal appeals court recently ruled that warrants are not needed for tracking cell phones. Yes, this is very serious. Serious because now all of my talks about kittens and dogs will be recorded and every conversation about “how life is going” with my mother will be documented. Joking aside, a lot of people feel threatened by the means of a government, and the display of power that one such government sometimes abuses. What will all this hacking of civilians information yield? Maybe it will help with criminals at large and terrorists that are on the loose. To think, a world where the NSA finds them and the police get them.

Related Article: The Drones Are Coming

In lighter news, NSA chief will soon be at a conference for hackers in Vegas where he will likely speak out about the data mining and collecting that the NSA does. Let him speak, but surely everything he says will be watched and scrutinized. In fact, all we can do is scrutinize and wait to see what the Supreme Court will do and how it will weigh in on the warrant-less tracking. Cheers! But don’t forget, Big Brother is always watching. Or reading, err tracking?

Related Article: Not Another 9-11 Article

 

Sources:

Time: NSA Chief Speaks

Freemasons

Gawker: Illuminati

Knights Templar

Central Intelligence Agency

National Security Agency

Youtube: All Your Base Are Belong To US

Warrantless Cellphone Tracking is Upheld

Wondergressive: Gossip Through the Prism

Wondergressive: Not Another 9-11 Article

Wondergressive: The Drones Are Coming

Failure of Central Planning and the Venezuelan Toilet Paper Shortage

Venezuelan officials continue to undermine individual freedom by further demonstrating the deleterious effects of economic central planning. The nation is experiencing shortages of dozens of staple items including rice, milk, butter and toilet paper. These shortages have been exacerbated by a new pilot program designed to limit the amount of goods each person can purchase. However, innovation and decentralization have provided a way for savvy shoppers to once again beat the government’s vain attempts to control the market.

In an attempt to curb the crisis, the western state of Zulia is embarking on a digital endeavor that will track the goods individuals purchase and will block them from buying staple products from different stores on the same day. Blagdimir Labrador, a state official, explains:

Considering the average size of a family, one person should only buy 20 staple products during the period that we establish, which we think will be one week.

The initiative’s pilot will be run in 65 supermarkets in Maracaibo, the capital of Zulia.

Related Article: Public School Failure in America

The shortages were in part caused by price controls set into law during the Hugo Chavez administration, which keep goods like rice and flour below their market price. Steve Hanke, an economist at Johns Hopkins University, describes the flawed policy:

State-controlled prices – prices that are set below market-clearing price – always result in shortages. The shortage problem will only get worse, as it did over the years in the Soviet Union.

Although the intention of these policies was to ensure that the poor would have access to these necessities, their actual (and predictable) effect has been to dramatically reduce the supply of staple items.

Recognizing the shortage, many people are stocking up on supplies and some are reselling them at greatly inflated prices to needy Venezuelans. Zulia borders Colombia, where prices are several times the subsidized costs in Venezuela, and there has also been an increase in trade across the border.

Related Article: Income Inequality in America: Red Herrings and Wealth Envy

The result of this market mangling is an eminently foreseeable feedback loop: Economic controls and central planning distort the actual prices of staple products. This imbalance between cost and actual value leads to shortages which create incentives for people to hoard goods. This further diminishes supply, and by rationing the remaining goods the government further induces people to stockpile and the shortage is exacerbated.

In short, the Venezuelan government dug itself into an economic hole and is trying to dig its way out.

The national shortage of toilet paper has struck a nerve with many Venezuelans. In order to quell their frustration, the government says that it is going to import an additional 50 million rolls along with 760,000 tons of food.

Related Article: Bitcoin’s Rise and the Cyprus Bailout

Amazingly, Commerce Minister Alejandro Fleming blamed the shortage of staple goods on “excessive demand.” To a dyed-in-the-wool statist, the inherent friction involved in managing a society is always to be blamed on the proletariat, never on the Top Men attempting to organize the nation.

However, people are already ingeniously subverting the statists’ attempts to model society. On May 29 Jose Augusto Montiel launched an app called Abasteceme, which translates to “Supply Me,” which helps people get around government-caused scarcity. The app utilizes crowd-sourcing technology that alerts users to supermarkets that still have desired goods in stock. According to Montiel, toilet paper and flour are the items most sought after by shoppers. When users find a store that has these items on the shelves, they flock to the market and whip out their checkbooks. More than 12,000 people have already downloaded Abasteceme, mostly in Caracas, but its popularity is spreading.

The economic problems in Venezuela are intrinsic to the state-controlled political legacy Chavez helped create. Venezuela ranks 174th out of 177 in the 2013 Heritage Foundation report on economic freedom, nestled neatly between Eritrea and Zimbabwe. Chavez’ authoritarianism echoes elsewhere in Venezuelan society, as Chavez repeatedly attacked and censored the media for criticizing his regime and held human rights in disregard.

Related Article: The Senate is Useless and Should be Dismantled

Central planners believe in Top Men who have the knowledge and ability to maximize the productivity of a country and its people. They fail, however, to have the humility to realize that this is an absurd task for any leader or politburo, as it’s inherently impossible for a group of few to effectively run a nation of many. History has borne this out repeatedly and this further elucidates the mindset of Top Men. Every problem or inefficiency can be blamed on the Little People who audaciously have an “excessive demand” for anything, be it toilet paper, a free press or even liberty itself. For them, the problem isn’t that their political and economic ideology is fundamentally flawed, logically destined to devolve into the same illiberal hell that every socialist government has thus descended.

It’s that the proletariat didn’t comply or simply that the “right” Top Men weren’t in charge.

Modern technology has made controlling human activity gloriously challenging. This is a decided advantage of living in the 21st century, where people can wirelessly transmit knowledge and innovate myriad wrenches to throw into the machinery of tyranny. However, to statists this development makes their ultimate goals more difficult to achieve. To them it is something to be stymied and snuffed out, perhaps most dramatically seen during the 2011 uprising in Egypt when the Mubarak regime literally turned off the Internet to make it more difficult for the protesters to organize.

This authoritarian impulse can also be seen in America, as news of secret NSA surveillance has been leaked. Also reminiscent of Chavez’ regime, the Associated Press was specifically targeted and the phone records for 20 reporters were seized by the Department of Justice.

The statist playbook is outdated; their only remaining tool is the administration of further force onto an increasingly unwilling populace. This gambit continues to work in many regimes around the world, but its expiration date is nearing. People have begun to realize that the decentralization of power and the abandonment of Top Men leads to freedom and peace.

By innovating to strip Top Men of their iron authority, the Little People—too numerous and evasive to be stomped out—can hopefully reject unwanted and unwarranted authority in illiberal governments around the world.

Sic semper tyrannis.

 

Related Article: Gossip Through the PRISM: NSA Shenanigans

 

Sources:

http://news.yahoo.com/venezuelan-state-considers-system-limit-food-purchases-160925448.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/southamerica/venezuela/10112604/Venezuelans-use-smartphone-app-to-find-toilet-paper.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/southamerica/venezuela/10062640/Venezuela-running-out-of-toilet-paper.html

http://www.heritage.org/index/ranking

http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/03/05/venezuela-chavez-s-authoritarian-legacy

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/01/egypt-isp-shutdown/

wondergressive.com/2013/06/11/prism/

The Draw of Cell Phones

everydaymomideas.com

everydaymomideas.com

Bzzzt! Bzzt! Did I just receive a text? Am I getting a call? Email? Facebook notification? Oh wait, I guess it was just my imagination. Or was it…

The other day I left my cell phone at home and worked a 12 hour shift only to find myself completely bored out of my mind during the slow periods. Nobody to text, no news to read, no status updates to follow/comment/post on facebook, but worst of all no Wondergressive articles to browse through! Oh the humanity!

In this day and age a cell phone deprived person seems to be at a great disadvantage. A prime example of this happened last week. My girlfriend forgot her cell phone at home and her house keys in my car while she was out running some errands.That got me thinking. Without a cell phone she could easily have gotten hurt or lost or needed assistance and there would have been no way of me reaching her. Needless to say, she showed up where I was and got her keys, but I was still left with the thought of how important and intertwined our lives have become with cell phones.

inthebestofhealth.wordpress.com

inthebestofhealth.wordpress.com

For those of us suffering from nomophobia, and for those that are in denial, let me ask you: could you really part with your digital friend? Think of all of your daily routines, think of all of your leisure time and what you spend doing during that time, think about what you do while driving or while you are stuck in traffic, and finally, think of how you reach your friends/family/lovers/doctors/Wondergressive authors etc. If you can honestly avoid using your cell phone for any of these activities then congratulations! You may not be a zombie like the rest of us. Yet. A preliminary study on cell phone addiction by Baylor University yields that:

mobile phones are conspicuous artifacts of acquisition and sometimes are viewed as extensions of the self.

 

How deep is THAT?! Cell phones as a part of ourselves! Or is it the other way around… In the same way that some would argue that people suffer from hoarding items because they project emotions, experiences, and self onto the items they are keeping, cell phones are now becoming an integral part of our body and mind! In a way, my cell phone is my best friend: it always listens and does what I want it to do, well most of the time at least, so it is no wonder that I feel lost if I am without it. Not too long now, and the singularity will be nigh upon us, at which point I wonder if we will greet it with open arms?

The study goes on to say that

Much in the same way as consumers who use materialistic pursuits to cope with stress, anxiety, and feelings of low self-worth, cell phone and other technological addictions are likely similar attempts to cope with the exigencies of life and self esteem struggles.

A lot of people resort to cell phone sexting instead of real human interaction and that may be partially caused by stress and low self worth. Digitally displaying something is easier than having to deal with real life encounters and embarrassment.  I think, at least, that its easier to get rejected digitally than it is in person.

Lets re-rail this focus train and stop with all the sexting talk for a second. Speaking of re-railing thoughts, Multi tasking while using your cell phone has almost become impossible not to do. Just think of all those recipes you looked up on your smartphone while cooking or those soundtracks you listened to while working on something. One would think headlines like “Brain and Spinal tumors caused by cell phones” would put a stop to our obsessions but then again why do we continue to smoke, and not the good kind, when we know it is killing us?

I am as guilty as the rest of you, however this is my conscious effort at lessening my cell phone dependency. Here are a couple of tips to help with our digital addictions, but the most important thing to remember is to be as involved with other humans as we are with our electronic devices. Remember, when your battery dies, it is comforting to know that the person next to you will keep you not only interested, but also as warm as your cell phone does when it overheats in your hands from overuse. And for those of us that prefer to live in denial, check out this awesome tablet/phone concept designers are working on! Cheers!

 

Research:

Baylor University Preliminary Cell Phone Study

Nomophobia – Wikipedia

Tips to Overcoming Digital Addiction

Wondergressive – Cannabis Cures Cancer

Wondergressive – Singularity is Nigh Upon Us

Wondergressive – TVs, Brains, and Zombies

Wondergressive – Sexting

Wondergressive – From Multi to Mono

Wondergressive – Cellphones Cause Tumors

Wondergressive – Lumpy Tablets

Water Droplets Now Used as Computers

 

Researchers from Aalto University have discovered that water droplets can be used as tiny bits of digital information.  When water droplets are placed on highly water repellent surfaces and collide, they bounce off of each other like billiard balls.  These collisions and bounces can be controlled and turned into computational logic.

Using superhydrophobic surfaces with tracks for guiding the droplets, the foundation for computing is created with the simple addition of water.  Researchers are claiming this new form of computation will pave a way for non-electronic computers in the near future.