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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 1076 times)
WingsofCrystal
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« Reply #10545 on: Apr 27th, 2014, 08:45am »

MORNIN' SWAMP grin

GOOD MORNING UFOCASEBOOKERS!

CRYSTAL

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« Reply #10546 on: Apr 27th, 2014, 08:48am »

Fox

Governor approves bill dealing with massive electrical disruptions

Posted: Apr 25, 2014 5:33 PM PDT
Updated: Apr 25, 2014 9:24 PM PDT

By Adam Longo

PHOENIX (CBS5/AP) -

The Arizona Legislature wants you to be prepared in case a nuclear bomb goes off high in the atmosphere or a massive solar flare disrupts electronic communications and the power grid.

Gov. Jan Brewer also wants you to be ready, so she signed a bill on Friday requiring the state's emergency management agency to develop recommendations for citizens just in case of nuclear attack.

Not everyone, however, believes the law was necessary.

State Rep. Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix, was one of 17 lawmakers who voted no. He expressed his frustration with the focus on a catastrophe that he sees as a very remote possibility.

"Really we already have a major catastrophe in the state and that's called our schools falling apart, our roads falling apart and we should be fixing those things," said Campbell. "Not living in some fantasy world worrying about some unquantified attack or some disaster that's not gonna happen."

Scottsdale's Tim Ralston has studied the issue extensively.

"There are really simple things you can do to give you that peace of mind," says Ralston. "The food, the water, everything has to do with electricity. And an EMP in an instant would shut that all off."

Ralston owns a shop called Gear Up. He is also a TV personality featured on the show Doomsday Preppers.

An EMP, or electromagnetic pulse, is a crippling wave of energy that could be caused by a nuclear explosion or intense solar flare activity.

It would take out electricity, vehicles, cell service, basically anything with a computer chip.

Ralston estimates less than 15 percent of the population is prepared for an electrical disruption of 30 days or more.

"I think it's fantastic," says Ralston of the new law. "I think any time we can take a proactive step to help people become more self reliant it will help that transition."

The new law directs the Arizona Division of Emergency Management to list recommendations on what to do if an EMP hits.

"There's a variety of issues we should have been focused on this session and worrying about EMPs is the furthest thing we should be worried about right now," said Campbell.

The recommendations must include the type and quantity of food, water and medical supplies that each person should stockpile in case an electromagnetic pulse occurs over the U.S.

The state Division of Emergency Management is required to post the recommendations on its website and update them at least every five years.

Senate Bill 1476 was sponsored by Republican Rep. David Farnsworth of Mesa.

http://www.myfoxal.com/story/25346364/governor-approves-bill-dealing-with-massive-electrical-disruptions

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« Reply #10547 on: Apr 27th, 2014, 09:01am »

Wired UK

Real-time analytics and meme warfare will shape next election

26 April 2014
by Carl Miller

Digital strategist David Axelrod has joined the Labour campaign to give the party political edge. What will be in his armoury?

A few days ago, Labour announced that they had hired David Axelrod as a senior strategist for next year's General Election. Ed Miliband greeted the appointment as " excellent news" and with good reason. Axelrod was an important behind-the-scenes presence for Obama winning the presidency in 2008, and keeping it in 2012.

Over this time, people like Axelrod have moved more and more parts of a political campaign into the digital world. This includes its very visible parts, spreading messages far and wide, recruiting and coordinating hundreds of thousands of volunteers and raising money from grassroots donors. It has also included the backroom, less visible but equally vital task of working out who the electorate is, how they are likely to act, and what are the best ways of getting them to change their mind. In 'the cave' at Obama's campaign headquarters in Chicago, teams of data scientists fused conventional polling with online and offline data to produce, for every American voter, a series of predictions for how they'd act on Election Day. Quite how Obama's campaign succeeded in this dramatic fertilisation of politics with big data was a closely guarded secret, and considered one of Obama's biggest institutional advantages, in 2012.

But as Axelrod comes to Labour, he'll know that the techniques he helped pioneer won't be enough anymore. Partly a victim of his own success, he'll know that no self-respecting major political campaign would go without big data any more. During the 2010 General Election, the Conservative Party combined lots of polling with demographic and consumer data to work out which voters were the easiest to flip. This fitted neatly in Michael Ashcroft's key seat operation, which funnelled a large amount of resources into a small number of carefully selected marginal constituencies. The Lib Dems use NationBuilder, allowing them to both coordinate and learn more about their volunteers.

Yet, a bit like war, campaigns need to be hotbeds of innovation. That precious edge -- which really may be the difference in 2015 between success and failure -- can only come from doing something that the other side doesn't know about yet. So, as David Axelrod comes to the Labour campaign looking for the next big edge, what will it be this time?

The next great breakthrough for campaigns will be to become more informed in real-time. Campaigns will have an edge not just by collecting and using more data about the electorate, but to get it, understand it and use it faster. Campaigns have long struggled to keep up with the twists and turns of an election. The face of a campaign can -- think Gordon Brown's 'bigoted woman' moment or the collapse of Lehman Brothers -- change in an instant. Questionnaires and surveys often take days to conduct and assess (and weeks to plan) and even with thousands of volunteers, a campaign's view of what the electorate thinks has had to remain one step behind the present.

The rise of digital society is changing all this. Social media -- our blogs, tweets and Facebook posts -- is creating a new kind of instant history of ourselves, an immediate chronicle of our everyday social, political and intellectual lives. This can be collected and crunched not only in huge quantities but, increasingly, more or less instantly. As real-time analysis becomes more reliable, it will have a huge impact on how campaigns work:

Real-time mapping

They will look to build a detailed, constantly updating map of people's attitudes, preferences and priorities change. They will look at what kind of information is being shared, how people react (and how many receive) the messages they spread, and how external events impact upon people's ideas of what the biggest problems are and who is best fitted to confront them.

Real-time speeches

There is now the realistic possibility that a politician will change the second half of a speech on the basis of how the first-half is received, including on social media. Campaigns will certainly try to keep intensive real-time feedback loops, where they know how a message is being received as soon as it is spread. Messages themselves will become more fluid; tied to the central, stable themes of the campaign, but with wordings and images and framing that is constantly being tinkered with according to what their real-time feedback is telling them.

Guerrilla memes

Campaigns won't just be looking at how their own messages and candidates are being received, they'll also be looking at real-time ways of exploiting any stumble, any mistake made by the opposition. Memes are the new weapons in digital politics, and campaigns will look to see how they can empower their grassroots base to convert any slip-up from the opposition into a meme that continue to do them damage throughout the race. As soon as Mitt Romney made his notorious 'binders full of women' remark during the second US presidential debate, it had a parody Twitter account, parody blogs, and a whole arsenal of related images bouncing around the internet inflicting the kind of damage even Obama's campaign couldn't do alone: making people laugh at Romney.

Real-time information could shift campaigning in a more profound way too -- it could shift the underlying way a campaign works. Campaigns have usually worked according to a script. A media grid coordinates the various important announcements and speeches the campaign team will make, and major themes and issues are decided months in advance. Real-time information will allow, indeed probably force, campaigns to move away from this, to become more agile and reactive, more confident to extemporise according to events they know they cannot foresee rather than stick to a script. Whilst people like Axelrod may oversee this transition, they are also managing an important abdication of power: central hierarchies will have to be replaced by looser networks of people that have the ability to react quickly to situations as they occur.

It is often said that running a national campaign is a good test for actually holding power: a matinee performance before the real thing; where the candidates are pushed to the limit, put under the microscope and thrown into the spotlight. In the adoption of new technology and innovation, it is a good test too. The basic challenge -- of pushing innovations like real-time data as far as they can go without becoming harmful or misleading -- is same one we all face. The next Prime Minister will be the leader of an increasingly digital society that will throw up these kinds of challenges more and more in the future, so now is the time to start practising.

http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2014-04/26/real-time-politics

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #10548 on: Apr 27th, 2014, 10:47am »

My sisters grandson is missing in Arizona. He was born and raised there so he knows his surroundings (he is 21).
He went out camping last Wednesday and hasn't come home. The sheriffs posse has trackers and dogs out looking for him. Those trackers know their stuff so that makes me hopeful.

Please send up prayers that they find him alive.

Crystal

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« Reply #10549 on: Apr 27th, 2014, 12:51pm »

Wow! Prayers for him and the family Crystal!
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #10550 on: Apr 27th, 2014, 1:57pm »

I feel so bad, I will pray for your family.

What part of Arizona did he go camping ?

Southern Arizona is more of a desert.
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« Reply #10551 on: Apr 27th, 2014, 2:04pm »

CRYSTAL,

MY THOUGHTS ~ PRAYERS ~ GO OUT TO YOU ~ HIS MOM AND DAD(FAMILY) ~ AND OF COURSE TO HIS SAFE RETURN!!!

SHALOM...ZETAR
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #10552 on: Apr 27th, 2014, 2:38pm »

on Apr 27th, 2014, 10:47am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
My sisters grandson is missing in Arizona. He was born and raised there so he knows his surroundings (he is 21).
He went out camping last Wednesday and hasn't come home. The sheriffs posse has trackers and dogs out looking for him. Those trackers know their stuff so that makes me hopeful.

Please send up prayers that they find him alive.

Crystal



God watch over him..we keep you in prayer
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« Reply #10553 on: Apr 27th, 2014, 4:26pm »

Thank you so much for the prayers. I have a strong belief in the power of prayer.

He is in the Tonto National Forest, north of Mesa, AZ. It is pretty temperate so hopefully they will find him hungry but unharmed. They are meeting the sheriff this afternoon at 3:00pm for any updates/etc.

Thank you so much for those prayers. I'll give a holler when I know anything.

Crystal

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #10554 on: Apr 27th, 2014, 5:58pm »

on Apr 27th, 2014, 10:47am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
My sisters grandson is missing in Arizona. He was born and raised there so he knows his surroundings (he is 21).
He went out camping last Wednesday and hasn't come home. The sheriffs posse has trackers and dogs out looking for him. Those trackers know their stuff so that makes me hopeful.

Please send up prayers that they find him alive.

Crystal



Crystal, I'm saddened to hear that. I'm sending good vibs and thoughts your way that he is found well.
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« Reply #10555 on: Apr 28th, 2014, 07:48am »

No news about my sisters grandson. They are widening the search area.

Crystal


~

Reuters

Obama announces new U.S. sanctions on Russia over Ukraine

By Matt Spetalnick and Thomas Grove

MANILA/SLAVIANSK, Ukraine
Mon Apr 28, 2014 8:25am EDT

(Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama announced new sanctions against some Russians on Monday to stop President Vladimir Putin from fomenting the rebellion in eastern Ukraine, but said he was holding broader measures against Russia's economy "in reserve."

On the ground, pro-Moscow rebels showed no sign of curbing their uprising, seizing public buildings in another town in the east. Interfax news agency reported that the mayor of a further major eastern city, Kharkiv, had been shot and was undergoing an operation. It gave no details of the shooting.

Germany demanded Russia act to help secure the release of seven unarmed European military monitors, including four Germans, who have been held by the rebels since Friday.

The new U.S. sanctions, to be outlined in detail later on Monday, will add more people and firms to a list announced last month of figures whose assets are frozen and who are denied visas to travel to the United States.

The European Union is also expected to add targets to its Russia sanctions list on Monday. Ambassadors from the 28 EU states met in Brussels and an EU diplomat said they were expected to add around 15 new names.

Washington will also target some high tech exports, Obama said. But the measures do not yet include the wider sanctions, such as curbs on the Russian financial and energy sectors, that would do the most serious damage to Russia's economy.

"We are keeping in reserve additional steps that we could take should the situation escalate further," Obama said, acknowledging that he did not know if the measures he has ordered so far will work.

U.S. officials have said the new list would include Putin's "cronies" in the hope of changing his behavior.

"The goal is not to go after Mr. Putin personally. The goal is to change his calculus with respect to how the current actions that he's engaging in Ukraine could have an adverse impact on the Russian economy over the long haul," Obama said in Manila during a trip to Asia.

"To encourage him to actually walk the walk and not just talk the talk when it comes to diplomatically resolving the crisis in Ukraine."

Nevertheless, such measures have done nothing so far to deter Putin, who overturned decades of post-Cold War diplomacy last month to seize and annex Ukraine's Crimea peninsula and has since massed tens of thousands of troops on the frontier. He acted after Ukraine's pro-Russian president was ousted in February by protesters demanding closer links with Europe.

Moscow has in the past shrugged off targeted sanctions like those Obama announced on Monday as pointless.

Washington says armed rebels - who have captured towns and government buildings across eastern Ukraine - are operating under the direction of Kremlin agents.

Russia denies it is involved and says the uprising is a spontaneous response to oppression of Russian speakers by Kiev.

REBELS TAKE TOWN

The rebels took another town on Monday morning, seizing the police headquarters and municipal administration building in Kostyantynivka, an industrial city in the eastern Donetsk region. Separatists in the province have proclaimed an independent "People's Republic of Donetsk".

A Reuters photographer at the scene saw about 20 gunmen controlling the administration building.

The Interfax news agency quoted a spokeswoman for the mayor of Kharkiv, another large city in the east, as saying he was undergoing an operation for a gunshot wound in the back. It said no further details of the incident were available.

On Sunday the separatists paraded eight unarmed European military monitors before journalists. One, a Swede who is diabetic, was freed for medical reasons but four Germans, a Czech, a Dane and a Pole are still being held, described by the rebel leader as "prisoners of war" and NATO spies.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Siebert said they were held "against the law and without justification".

"We ask the Russian government to act publicly and internally for their release, to distance itself clearly from such acts and to use its influence on pro-Russian perpetrators and forces in eastern Ukraine to secure their release."

Armed rebels also occupied Donetsk television on Sunday and ordered it to start broadcasting Russian state TV.

Obama is under pressure from opposition Republicans at home to move faster on sanctions. But in taking what he described as "calibrated steps", he has emphasized the need to act in concert with European countries, which have more at stake economically and a more cumbersome process for taking decisions.

The EU does more than 10 times as much trade with Russia as the United States and buys a quarter of its natural gas from Moscow. Most EU decisions require unanimity among member states.

Western countries say the targeted sanctions are already having an effect on Russia by scaring investors into pulling out capital. The central bank has been forced to hike interest rates to prop up the ruble and Russian firms are finding it more difficult and costly to raise funds.

Russian shares dropped on anticipation of the impact of new sanctions. The ruble-denominated MICEX index was down 1.3 percent early on Monday. The cost of insuring Russia's debt against default rose to its highest level since November 2011.

Monday's sanctions build on those imposed over Crimea last month, which were deliberately designed to punish individuals close to Putin without having wider impact on Russia's economy or its trade with the West.

The new sanctions could still have a greater impact by widening the net to include personal transactions by the heads of big Russian companies, and the prospect of sectoral sanctions continues to hover over Russian business more generally.

"The heads of Rosneft and Gazprom are rumored to be on the list of targets," Uralsib bank analysts wrote in a morning note, referring to Russia's two biggest firms, its state oil major and natural gas export monopoly.

"Entire sectors of the economy could be targeted as well. Further sanctions for the energy and banking sectors could continue to harm sentiment if announced this week," they wrote, while adding that it was impossible to assess the impact until measures were announced.

(Writing Peter Graff; Editing by Giles Elgood)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/28/us-ukraine-crisis-idUSBREA3O16720140428

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« Reply #10556 on: Apr 28th, 2014, 07:55am »

Guardian

It's electrifying: the paint that becomes conductive when it dries

Bare Conductive's 'paintable wire' has many applications – from light switch walls to playable posters and 'humanthesizers'

by Shane Hickey
The Guardian, Sunday 27 April 2014 10.42 EDT

It is unsurprising that in the meeting room of Bare Conductive's east London office, there is a light switch on the lefthand side of the door. What is surprising is that the switch is painted onto the wall. More surprising still is that the company says the button does not need to be there at all: you could in theory tap anywhere on the wall and a light would come on.

The light switch acts as an illustration of the young company's core product – an electric paint or "paintable wire" which can be applied to paper, wood, cement and textiles, among other materials, and becomes conductive once it dries.

From its most simple use of lighting up a tiny bulb on a birthday card to creating an over-sized game controller for consoles or painting an entire wall so that when it is touched a light comes on, the liquid has been used for a variety of applications since the four founders of the company came up with the idea while working on a final-year project together at the Royal College of Art.

In 2009, Isabel Lizardi, Matt Johnson, Bibi Nelson and Becky Pilditch wanted to investigate whether they could print an electrical circuit on to the body, eventually settling on an idea for an electric paint.

After looking at the ingredients of existing conductive paints, the group examined how they could bind together a conductive powder into a paint – their first experience was copper powder in glue – and eventually came to a formula using carbon, a similar concept to the non-toxic paint they now sell. Early tests show the paint on skin being used as a conductor between a battery and a tiny bulb which lights up.

"The project was four months long and by the time we got to the idea that we wanted to create a material, I think we had a month left so we spent a month figuring out how to create this prototype," said Nelson.

"We were quite rigorous in our analysis of existing materials. It is based on a lot of similar paints in that they were made in a similar way without realising it necessarily at the time. We just needed to figure it out as quickly as we could. We also thought that 'this is as far as it will go'. We never imagined that afterwards we would need to develop it for manufacture – it was just to prove the idea, and that was it."

After the paint was displayed at a student design conference in Eindhoven, interest from the public started to build. Soon, an email from Sony Music arrived saying they had an artist who wanted to use the paint in a music video. In the film, dancers' feet and hands were painted while they stood on a pad of the dried fluid, which was in turn connected to computers. The dancers became extensions of a circuit so that when their hands were slapped by the DJ Calvin Harris, various drums and beats would sound – a system dubbed a "humanthesizer".

The film sparked huge interest across the web, and the four graduates were exposed to a deluge of suggestions from the public about what the paint could be used for – an experience they say they were not ready for.

"At the time the tutors were saying 'you are doing interesting work but what is it for?' and we kept saying that we know it is interesting so we feel we should keep doing it, but we were also not sure that we are the best people for deciding what it is for exactly," said Johnson.

"That mentality of saying we are creating a platform and then giving it to other people and then they tell us – that is what the business is built on now and it has given us a lot of success."

By 2010, after leaving the idea of a body paint behind due to the complex cosmetic manufacturing regulations they would have to follow, they came to the conclusion that there was a business opportunity in their "paintable wire".

A £100,000 grant from the Technology Strategy Board allowed them to advance their plans and also acted as a validation for their idea, to attract other investment. By September 2011, they started to sell jars of the paint and soon after a pen from which lines of circuits could be drawn.

"The best thing about the material and our approach is that it provides for engagement of multiple kinds of intelligence. We go to a trade fair and an electrical engineer picks this up and starts asking detailed questions. But then someone else comes who knits for a living and they want to make their knitting responsive and their skills and intelligence are engaged at the same point," said Johnson.

Kits are now produced which allow children to learn about electronics by drawing their own greeting cards with lights on them and making a small cardboard house with a the inside. Concert posters that play music when you touch them have been discussed, while an artist has mixed the paint with oil in a lamp so that when the lamp is tilted, the light dims. A blogger painted a cushion with large buttons to play games on her computer, and invitations to a party have been turned into musical instruments by being plugged in.

The company has now expanded to eight people, while seven private investors have put in £450,000. A Kickstarter campaign to launch a programmable circuit board has been oversubscribed eightfold. Sales for this year are anticipated to exceed £1m, according to Johnson.

The product has not been without criticism from those who question why the paint has no exact end use. "I think it is that people aren't comfortable because they want a simple story about [how] we are going to reinvent the Oyster card or we are going to build the world's tallest building and say 'that's easy'.

"And we say 'we know it's great but we don't know where it is going to end up yet'."

How it works

Bare Conductive's black paint uses carbon to conduct electricity when it dries after being applied by a brush, roller, stencil, pen or any method usually used to apply paint. It can be used domestically to fix broken electronics, such as remote controls, while hobbyists use it to create things such as drumkits which can sense hand movements without being touched.

A 10ml pen costs £6, a 50ml tub costs £18, a card with three greeting cards and electronics costs £15. The products are sold through the Science Museum in London, on the company's website (http://www.bareconductive.com/) and in Radioshacks in the United States among other outlets.

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/apr/27/electric-paint-bare-conductive-paintable-wire

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« Reply #10557 on: Apr 28th, 2014, 12:51pm »

Another “gift” from China?

Killer virus spreads unchecked through US hog belt

Published April 28, 2014

John Goihl, a hog nutritionist in Shakopee, Minnesota, knows a farmer in his state who lost 7,500 piglets just after they were born. In Sampson County, North Carolina, 12,000 of Henry Moore's piglets died in three weeks. Some 30,000 piglets perished at John Prestage's Oklahoma operation in the fall of 2013.

The killer stalking U.S. hog farms is known as PEDv, a malady that in less than a year has wiped out more than 10 percent of the nation's pig population and helped send retail pork prices to record highs. The highly contagious Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus is puzzling scientists searching for its origins and its cure and leaving farmers devastated in ways that go beyond financial losses.

PEDv does not pose a risk to human health and is not a food safety issue, the USDA says.Months of forensic research so far have turned up no clear evidence of how the disease entered the United States.

The virus is nearly identical to one that infected pigs in China's Anhui province, according to a report published in the American Society of Microbiology journal mBio. Researchers also are exploring whether the widespread use of pig-blood byproducts in hog feed might have introduced the disease.

"It's a real morale killer in a barn. People have to shovel pigs out instead of nursing them along," Goihl said.

Since June 2013 as many as 7 million pigs have died in the United States due to the virus, said Steve Meyer, president of Iowa-based Paragon Economics and consultant to the National Pork Board said. United States Department of Agriculture data showed the nation's hog herd at about 63 million as of March 1, 2014.

PEDv was first diagnosed in Ohio last May and has spread within a year to 30 states with no reliable cure in sight. U.S. packing plants may produce almost 2 percent less pork in 2014, according to Ken Mathews, USDA agricultural economist.


http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/04/28/killer-virus-spreads-unchecked-through-us/?intcmp=latestnews
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« Reply #10558 on: Apr 28th, 2014, 3:30pm »

This virus started in the UK over thirty years ago only it’s got tougher, it will be interesting to see if this virus jumps the species gap as what happened with swine flu. We already have similar such as ecoli but that is in bacteria form but in viral form it could make a lot of people ill especially the old and infirm.
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« Reply #10559 on: Apr 28th, 2014, 7:20pm »

wow wings that electric painnt is just wonderful stuff!
with the new smart thermostats purchased by google...the new imicowave smart meters..why a mns castle will take on new meaning being plugged in an monitored..

we are but a step from becoming one big lithium battery ..watch this..from the Queen of The Google/darpa hive herself..


Note the emphasis on identification..now we just need the synergy of the of on switch to merge...and we ca be shut off like a light switch..

This tech has nothing to do imo with making lives better..just manageable for them..

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/04/25/silicon-valley-s-giants-are-just-gilded-age-tycoons-in-techno-utopian-clothes.htmled Apr 16 2014, 13:56 PM
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Silicon Valley’s Giants Are Just Gilded Age Tycoons in Techno-Utopian Clothes
The $300 million payout from tech giants like Google and Apple to settle a lawsuit brought by employees makes it clear that Silicon Valley is out for profit, not to change the world.

Silicon Valley’s biggest names—Google, Apple, Intel and Adobe—reached a settlement today in a contentious $3 billion anti-trust suit brought by workers who accused the tech giants of secretly colluding to not recruit each other’s employees. The workers won, but not much, receiving only a rumored $300 million, a small fraction of the billions the companies might have been forced to pay had they been found guilty in a trial verdict.

The criminality that the case exposed in the boardrooms the tech giants, including from revered figures like Steve Jobs who comes off as especially ruthless, should not be jarring to anyone familiar with Silicon Valley. It may shock much of the media, who have generally genuflected towards these companies, and much of the public, that has been hoodwinked into

thinking the Valley oligarchs represent a better kind of plutocrat—but the truth is they are a lot like the old robber barons.

Starting in the 1980s, a mythology grew that the new tech entrepreneurs represented a new, progressive model that was not animated by conventional business thinking. In contrast to staid old east coast corporations, the new California firms were what futurist Alvin Toffler described as “third wave.” Often dressed in jeans, and not suits, they were seen as inherently less hierarchical and power-hungry as their industrial age predecessors.

Silicon Valley executives were not just about making money, but were trying, as they famously claimed, to “change the world.” One popularizing enthusiast, MIT’s Nicholas Negroponte, even suggested that “digital technology” could turn into “a natural force drawing people into greater world harmony.”

This image has insulated the tech elite from the kind of opprobrium meted out to their rival capitalist icons in other, more traditional industries. In 2011, over 72 percent of Americans had positive feelings about the computer industry as opposed to a mere 30 percent for banking and 20 percent for oil and gas. Even during the occupy protests in 2012, few criticisms were hurled by the “screwed generation” at tech titans. Indeed, Steve Jobs, a .000001 per center worth $7 billion, the ferocious competitor who threatened “war” against Google if they did

not cooperate in his wage fixing scheme, was openly mourned by protestors when news spread that he had passed away.

But the collusion case amply proves what has been clear to those watching the industry: greed and the desire to control drives tech entrepreneurs as much as any other business group. The Valley is great at talking progressive but not so much in practice. In the very place where private opposition to gay marriage is enough to get a tech executive fired, the big firms have shown a very weak record of hiring minorities and women. And not surprisingly, firms also are notoriously skittish about revealing their diversity data. A San Jose Mercury report found that the numbers of Hispanics and African Americans employees in Silicon Valley tech companies, already far below their percentage in the population, has actually been declining in recent years. Hispanics, roughly one quarter of the local labor force, account for barely five percent of those working at the Valley’s ten largest companies. The share of women working at the big tech companies - despite the rise of high profile figures in management—has also showed declines.

In terms of dealing with “talent,” collusion is not the only way the Valley oligarchs work to keep wages down. Another technique is the outsourcing of labor to lower paid foreign workers, the so called “techno-coolies.” The tech giants claim that they hire cheap workers overseas because of a critical shortage of skilled computer workers but that doesn't hold up to serious scrutiny. A 2013 report

rom the labor-aligned Economic Policy Institute found that the country is producing 50% more IT professionals per year than are being employed. Tech firms, notes EPI, would rather hire “guest workers” who now account for one-third to one half of all new IT job holders, largely to maintain both a lower cost and a more pliant workforce.

Some of this also reflects a preference for hiring younger employees at the expense of older software and engineering workers, many of whom own homes and have families in the area.

“I want to stress the importance of being young and technical," Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at an event at Stanford University in 2007. "Young people are just smarter. Why are most chess masters under 30? I don't know. Young people just have simpler lives. We may not own a car. We may not have family. Simplicity in life allows you to focus on what's important."

Of course what’s really “important” to Zuckerberg, like moguls in any time and place, is maximizing profits and raking in money, both for themselves and their investors. The good news for the bosses has been that employees are rarely in the way. Unlike the aerospace, autos or oil industries, the Valley has faced little

pressure from organized labor, which has freed them to hire and fire at their preference. Tech workers wages, on the other hand, have been restrained both by under the table agreements and the importation of “technocoolies.”

Rather than being a beacon of a new progressive America, the Valley increasingly epitomizes the gaping class divisions that increasingly characterize contemporary America. Employees at firms like Facebook and Google enjoy gourmet meals, childcare services, even complimentary house-cleaning to create, as one Google executive put it, “the happiest most productive workplace in the world.” Yet, the largely black and Hispanic lower-end service workers who clean their offices, or provide security, rarely receive health care or even the most basic retirement benefits. Not to mention the often miserable conditions in overseas factories, notably those of Apple.

It’s critical to understand that the hiring restrictions exposed by Friday’s settlement, reflect only one part of the Valley’s faux progressiveness and real mendacity. These same companies have also been adept at circumventing user privacy and avoiding their tax obligations.

One might excuse the hagiographies prepared by the Valley’s ever expanding legion of public relations professionals, and their media allies, but the ugly reality remains. The Silicon Valley tech firms tend to be every bit as cutthroat and greedy as any capitalist enterprise before it. We need to finally see the tech moguls not as a superior form of oligarch, but as just the latest in long line whose overweening ambition sometimes needs to be restraineed, not just celebrated.


what about all the jobs this was supposed to create?..
wake up and smell the starbucks..

Hullabaloo
Sunday, April 27, 2014

America land of the free: leading the world in "guard labor."

Speaking of a country run by greedy billionaires buying the protection of a global military empire, how about this?

Another dubious first for America: We now employ as many private security

guards as high school teachers — over one million of them, or nearly double their

number in 1980.

And that’s just a small fraction of what we call “guard labor.” In

addition to private security guards, that means police officers, members of the

armed forces, prison and court officials, civilian employees of the military, and

those producing weapons: a total of 5.2 million workers in 2011. That is a far

larger number than we have of teachers at all levels.
[...]
But however one totes up guard labor in the United States, there is a lot

of it, and it seems to go along with economic inequality. States with high levels

of income inequality — New York and Louisiana — employ twice as many security
\
workers (as a fraction of their labor force) as less unequal states like Idaho and

New Hampshire.
User Image

t's a fascinating article and one that should at least make people stop and wonder just what in the hell is going on here in the land 'o the free. The authors speculate about the effect of inequality and how that leads to a need to "guard the store." And I'm sure that's at the heart of much of this.
But there are other factors that make us unusual. There is the huge military manufacturing sector that is creating a market for its goods. You see police forces turning themselves into para-military operations all over the country. Half the medium size towns in America look like they're being guarded by the Delta Force these days instead of your old fashioned
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