This is a great series of maps (explaining the Middle East and really showing what Vox is all about. I learned quite a bit from it. It may sound silly but it also helped me realize how interrelated the various timelines, histories and events covered in high school really affected the world we have today. Learning “European history” seemed so distant from modern day events but these maps and explanations helped some things “click” back together for me.
Different from some existing car sharing services (which I’ve also tried), car2go has worked out a local ‘zone’ where if you park on the street (even in metered areas), you can leave the car there instead of being tied to specific parking lots of spots in the city. So, I can literally park in front of my house after taking a trip and use the app to find the nearest car (which may be in my neighborhood or on the same street where I work). It’s a great service and made me think of this quote:
A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It’s where the rich use public transportation — Enrique Penalosa, Mayor of Bogota
For a limited time, the $35 registration fee is waived if you use offer code “ROCKIES”. Check out car2go in Denver.
States should not be allowed to prevent Tesla Motors from selling cars directly to customers. The state legislators are trying to unfairly protect automobile dealers in their states from competition. Tesla is providing competition, which is good for consumers.
I’ve never appreciated the laws and relationships between car manufacturers, dealers, etc. I want to buy my cars directly. The established groups typically require legislation to maintain the status quo and I’d certainly like cars to be ‘disrupted’ by a company like Tesla.
I feel the same is starting to happen in the alcohol industry…
From over a year ago, an article by WIRED I had a started to draft a blog post about, is now extremely relevant:
For the first time, a former NSA official has gone on the record to describe the program, codenamed Stellar Wind, in detail. William Binney was a senior NSA crypto-mathematician largely responsible for automating the agency’s worldwide eavesdropping network. A tall man with strands of black hair across the front of his scalp and dark, determined eyes behind thick-rimmed glasses, the 68-year-old spent nearly four decades breaking codes and finding new ways to channel billions of private phone calls and email messages from around the world into the NSA’s bulging databases. As chief and one of the two cofounders of the agency’s Signals Intelligence Automation Research Center, Binney and his team designed much of the infrastructure that’s still likely used to intercept international and foreign communications.
My guess: Google, Apple, etc. are not knowingly handing data over, just “named” as sources the NSA is obviously interested in harvesting. As the Wired article describes, the NSA is intercepting data (at the lowest levels possible) and currently or planning to decrypt, decypher, and extract as much as they can…
Obviously this is a compilation of hand-picked interviews, but this video certainly shows a refreshing amount of “a-ha” moments after asking a different (better?) question.
I was surprised to learn this was conducted in Colorado Springs given the composure of the community (very large population but not very diverse demographically, very Evangelical Christian and politically Conservative).
David Cohen has a good observation about shaking hands:
The handshake is thought to have developed as a gesture of peace, to show that neither side was carrying a weapon in their right hand. Since I’m not really afraid that anyone I meet at a conference will be carrying a spear, you’d think we could just move past this tradition.
I’ve tried pre-empting friends and folks I’ve met before with a fist-bump to avoid the germy, awkward palm-to-plam interaction. It’s less-often received as ‘inappropriate’ or a cultural “faux pas” and I can’t help but think President Obama is mostly to thank for that. But new encounters don’t feel right with a bump… for now.
DecodeDC is my favorite new podcast and, appropriately enough, its all about politics. Self described as “deciphering Washington’s language and procedure so you can focus on what matters”, Andrea Seabrook has done a great job with the first four episodes diving in and pulling back the curtain on a lot of the status quo in Washington that the mainstream may not address (and fringe groups wouldn’t have access to, Seabrook was previously with NPR). If the last few months (or last night) sparked your interest in politics, I’d recommend checking out DecodeDC.
Squashed takes a quick look at the math around paying income taxes:
Because one spouse isn’t working, there is no child care tax credit. There could be up to $2,500 in education credits per child—but let’s say the kids are younger and go with the lower $1,000 child tax credit for both of them. So that’s a $2,000 credit. To owe taxes at this point, you’d need $19,000 in taxable income—or $45,400 in total income.
It looks like its not too hard to not have to pay federal income (note: different from payroll) tax. I won’t ruin the ending where he answers how many hours, at minimum wage, one would need to work to have to pay in.
This isn’t a partisan issue. This is a tax code (largely dictated by interest groups, corporations) so why don’t we all agree we should fix this? Lets stop letting politicians turn us against each other and create a sideshow…
From Roger Ebert at NYTimes.com:
The United States is one of few developed nations that accepts the notion of firearms in public hands. In theory, the citizenry needs to defend itself. Not a single person at the Aurora, Colo., theater shot back, but the theory will still be defended.
First: I’m moved and saddened by this event, it was a weird way to start the day for many of us I’m sure.
Will this be enough to start a real political debate? Not to be insensitive, especially so quickly after the fact, but I appreciate that Bloomberg used this opportunity to say something while Obama and Romney did not (beyond condolences, prayers). I’m curious if this is just going to remain a 24-hour-news story or can lead to a tipping point and begin change? I doubt it. I can’t think of any important gun-related legislation passed after Giffords (a Representative) was shot.
This is all very sad and certainly hits close to home. It’s just as sad how often shootings happen every day in cities across our country. I fear nothing will change.
Here’s a fascinating play-by-play from SCOTUSblog of what happened in the media and at the White House (all within 15 minutes) after the Supreme Court’s decision being announced last week:
The announcement of the Supreme Court’s decision largely upholding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on Thursday, June 28 precipitated a genuine media drama. Millions tuned in to get the result in real time, and were rewarded with the spectacle of two major news networks reporting the story incorrectly. Indeed, the President himself was in limbo while his staff raced to find out whether the Court had struck down his signature policy initiative.