Capitalism fixing the problems of Capitalism

“Unemployment is capitalism’s way of getting you to plant a garden.” Orson Scott Card. Continue reading

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The End of Real Stories.

There are real stories and there are fake stories.

Real news stories are stories that actually matter.  Like the Goldman Sachs story where some eggheads either caused or made worse the last recession.  The oil rig that sank in the Gulf Coast.  That’s a real story.  It is a real problem and it has real consequences.  The Arizona mess where the state has turned into a totalitarian regime?  That’s a real story.  Some ass lost his cellphone and some other ass grabbed it and sold it to another ass and then the ass’ job publish a slew of stories about it?  NOT A STORY!

We’ve taken a close look at Apple’s next iPhone and it’s been quite a ride. Here’s what happened: Apple lost the next iPhone which they had cleverly disguised to look like an iPhone 3GS. We got our hands on it and shared all the details with you, including a dissection. In the meantime, our servers melted and our tech team worked overtime. We discussed how Apple missed chances to get the next iPhone back and cleared up some conspiracy theories by explaining why Apple didn’t leak the iPhone to us. (Heck, it’s not even about the iPhone!) In the end, Apple asked to get their phone back and we returned it.

So, why am I writing a blog post about it?  Because I don’t believe in Chance or Fate.  I believe in human beings.  I believe we make the world that we want, for good and for bad.  We do things to each other and what we do to each other changes the world.  The planet gets hotter or we lose money or crime spikes in our cities.  This is how it works.  And it bothers me, it bothers me more than I thought it would, that Gizmodo thought it was a good idea to run a series of stories about the phone, that a guy thought it was a good idea to sell it to Gizmodo, and that Apple allowed the police to raid an editor at Gizmodo in order to get information back.  None of this is right.  None of it is a real story.  It is like watching a movie about a movie maker.  When did our flesh taste so good that all we could do is eat our own flesh, all day long…

How the Apple Tablet will Screw over Poor People

For the mildly rich and super-elitist only.

So, apparently, the amazing and most important company that was ever created by human beings is releasing the often rumored and much desired Apple Tablet!  It is the Apple Tablet!  It is made by Apple and, uh, it is a Tablet! I mean, think of it like the iPhone, but, you know, bigger and more 3Ging and, I don’t know, it floats and it will diagnose and cure strange STDs, I guess.  I mean, what do you want from me?

I don’t care about the Apple Tablet, or the Nook, or the Kindle.  Why, you ask?  Why don’t I, Jarvis Slacks, the guy who buys USB drives based on looks rather than function, the guy who bought $100 dollar earbuds because they “Felt better”, the guy who will walk two miles just to buy Mass Effect 2, why don’t I care about the cool and futuristic  ability to read my favorite novels, magazines and newspapers on a tablet like device just like Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation?  Why don’t I care about the future?

Because this part of the future is stupid.  And we are hurting the majority of the world, not helping them.  And I’ll explain exactly why that is after this short commercial break.

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Public Transportation Works can Create jobs?

And, yeah, there is sometimes a guy being a douche bag, talking on his cellphone...

Yeah, Public Transportation sometimes sucks.  You have to find out what time the bus runs before you go anywhere, the bus sometimes smells like an armpit, and it isn’t as comfortable as sitting in an expensive car and sitting in traffic for four hours a day.  But I don’t mind it for a number of reasons.  I don’t pay car insurance just in case I bump into some idiot.  I don’t have to get my oil changed just because a little sticker tells me to.  And I don’t have to hear a mechanic try and tell me that my car will explode if I don’t change out my headlights.  And, hey, look at that!  If money is given to more public transportation jobs, we might some more jobs.  Neato! From the Wired:

By splitting public transportation and highway funding equally, Schroeer said, the bill could provide 71,415 more job-months of work than it would by favoring highway spending. That is enough work to give 6,000 more people full-time year-round employment. According to SGA, public transportation spending leads more directly to job growth than highway spending for several reasons. First, less money is spent acquiring land, which means more money is spent actually building something. Second, all those buses, trains and subways need people to operate them and maintain the infrastructure. And third, public transit requires a workforce with more diverse skills than highway construction. Even better, Schroeer said, public transit can help save jobs because it allows people to get to work — and those are jobs Smart Growth America didn’t include in its analysis. When transit programs are cut or don’t exist to begin with, “there’s a negative impact on folks’ mobility to get to work, to get to education,” Schroeer said. “It’s part of the fabric of communities, whether you use it or not.”

The article doesn’t mention how it can help the environment, but it can.  Cities are greener because more people take buses or subways or, and I know this might be crazy talk, but people WALK places.  I know!  So weird! Hopefully, articles like this one can generate support for a greener, and more economic, way of life.

The Best and Worst of the Best and Worst of 2009: Twitter

When the image that represents your failures gets promoted on a T-shirt, then maybe you are doing something right...

Twitter is stupid.  So are DVDs, Macbooks, videogames and text-messaging.  All good things are stupid, at first.  Then they become part of our lives like cotton socks and toothpicks. That is why Twitter is so useful.  It is a very raw tool that we have taken over and changed to do what we need it to do.  That is why is has the legs it does and that is why it is so amazing.  And that is why is makes pretty much no money.  Or does it?  Reuters has a story that might have us think a little differently about our favorite free-to-use waste of time.  And we might get a little worried, too.

The companies have kept mum about the financial terms of the deals, which will allow Tweets to appear in Google and Microsoft’s search results. But people familiar with the situation have told Reuters that money did change hands as a result of the deals and the blog AllThingsDigital previously reported that the search deals could be worth several million dollars apiece. It turns out the search deals were worth $25 million, according to a report in Business Week on Monday. Google coughed up $15 million and Microsoft paid $10 million, the report said, citing two anonymous sources. The deals will allow Twitter to finish 2009 as a profitable company, and comes amid ongoing efforts at the company to cut costs.

Why should we worry about Microsoft and Google dipping into our Twitter cookie jaw?   Google Wave and Windows Vista, that’s why.  Do we even have a reason to even think about Google Wave?  WHAT THE HELL DO YOU DO WITH IT? And I wouldn’t give a PC to a homeless tech-worker trying to build spreadsheets for adjunct math profs to get back on their feet.  Twitter works because it has almost ZERO money making ability.  Any add that pops up on a tweet is instantly ignored and any douche that tries to sell me something on twitter is uber-ignored.  That is the sad fate of our capitalistic world.  Give a baby a brand new Xbox and he drools on it.  Give the same kid a box full of styrofoam and you’ve got yourself an instant kid party!  Same thing applies here.  I’m not sure what is keeping Twitter alive, but the moment the money becomes the reason for the season, and the whole point of the contraption will become mute to the reality that I’m not paying any money to tell people what I had for dinner.  Sorry.  But truth.

Rationing, the Way it should be.

It isn't going to get any better.

I’ve been reading “Hot, Flat and Crowded” for the past few days and, yeah, it is pretty good.  If you like getting angry and throwing stuff on the bus as you read.  I don’t really throw stuff on the bus.  No one is happy on a bus.  But, speaking of buses, whenever I ride on one, I always think about the people that will be riding on one once we start running out of oil. And we will.  Soon.  You don’t think that gas comes from the Heavens down in some big tube, do you?  Sorry, folks.  We are gonna run out and then we are either going to be walking to work, car-pooling or just shooting ourselves.  We’ve done it before, you know.  Restricted oil use, not mass suicides. Yeah, we’ve rationed.  Back during the World War II.  I don’t joke about stuff like this.  Just ask Wired:

The Baruch Rubber Report, presented to President Franklin Roosevelt on Sept. 1, 1942, concluded that the United States was “a have-not nation” when it came to rubber. Meeting the military’s enormous needs would be nearly impossible if the civilians at home didn’t cut out nonessential driving to conserve on tire wear. Thus, Americans soon became acquainted with the ration card, which had to be presented on every trip to the filling station. To be out of ration stamps was to be out of luck. Drivers who used their cars for work that was deemed essential to the war effort were classified differently and received additional stamps. There were five classifications:

  • Class A drivers were allowed only 3 gallons of gasoline per week.
  • Class B drivers (factory workers, traveling salesmen) received 8 gallons per week.
  • Class C drivers included essential war workers, police, doctors and letter carriers.
  • Class T included all truck drivers.
  • Class X was reserved for politicians and other “important people.”

The last three classifications were not subject to the restrictions.

So, go ahead and get use to it.  Our dependence on oil is ruining our economy and destroying the environment.  And it makes you fat because you don’t walk anywhere.  Sorry.  The truth hurts.

Need a Job? Give up your Facebook password. Seriously.

Yep. Still Watching us.

Yep. Still Watching us.

Yeah, you need a job.  We all need a job.  This isn’t new.  But what are you willing to give up?  Are you willing to let your boss all over Facebook?  Myspace?  Twitter-Twat?  Would you give your boss your passwords and usernames?  Isn’t that almost like giving a mugger the knife that you are holding in your pocket and asking the mugger, “Hey, please, stab me in my liver stuff!”  Well, welcome to the future boys and ladies.  From Cnn’s Scitechblog:

“Before we offer people employment in a public trust position, we have a responsibility to do a thorough background check,” [Assistant City Manager] Chuck Winn told CNET on Thursday. “Shame on us if there was information out there available about a person who applied for a job who was a child molester or had some sort of information out there on the Internet that kind of showed those propensities and we didn’t look for it, we didn’t ask, and we hired that person,” Winn said. “In many ways we would have let the public down.”

Shame on you for being nosey!  But, for serious, I’ve applied for a few jobs where I had to tell the employer if I posted anything “crazy” and “weird” on the Internet.  I mentioned this blog and, hey, what do you know!  I didn’t get the job!  Your Internet identity is just as important and just as prevalent as your true identity.  Be careful what you sign.  Even without passwords, a boss can still get into your profiles if you sign the right, or wrong, forms.  Man.  God forbid if an employer looks at my updates!

8:45: God, I never should have eaten that sandwich.  I think the meat was moving.

8:50: Battlestar Galactica!  Battlestar Galactica! I want you in my pants!

9:00: Megan Fox.  Stop looking at me with those eyes.  I know you are a Decepticon!

9:10:  All right!  Time to take a dump!

Yeah.  I’m sure those are all things an employer is looking for.

The Never-Ending Compulsion to Social Network

Yeah, its all fun and games until someone pulls the crack-pipe out and some dude walks in asking what the hourly rates are...

It is sad to think that Twitter will turn these pour children into crack addicts.

The up-coming Jarvis Slacks Podcast for this week has Kenneth and I yelling at each other about absurd things that make me want to pull him right through the Skype-tubes.  Which is the norm.  One of the issues we attack during the podcast is the over-usage of the wonderful and powerful social networking tools at our exposure.  Who’s fault is it when all our information, all the small, little, tiny details of our existence, are spread out on the internet for the world to see?  No, its not my fault.  Stop asking.  But it is true that the mere existence of these networking tools are bound to cause a few problems.  Steven Levy over at Wired has a nice commentary on the situation.  He probably can articulate it better than I can, because he’s actually getting paid for it.  Here’s a sample:

It’s not that I don’t like social networking—I adore it. I love the way it transforms my ragged circle of contacts and acquaintances into something approaching a community. Every site becomes a personalized small town where strangers don’t stay that way for long. I’m fascinated by the quirks and preferences my “friends” reveal through comments, status reports, and alerts.I post Facebook status reports, send iPhone snapshots to Flickr, link my Netflix queue with FriendFeed. But as my participation increases, I invariably suffer another psychic downside of social networking: remorse. The more I upload the details of my existence, even in the form of random observations and casual location updates, the more I worry about giving away too much. It’s one thing to share intimacies person-to-person. But with a community? Creepy.

Yes.  Yes, it is creepy.

3 Billion bucks in Stimulus package for the Internets. Our Addiction says, “Thank You”.

Soon, every child will realize the dream of easily finding porn, anywhere in our great land...

Soon, every child will realize the dream of easily finding porn, anywhere in our great land...

As you know, I am a huge proponent of the internets.  If someone could put the internets into a bottle and sale that shit for, like, a dollar, I would be walking around town with a bag full of bottles of internets.  It isn’t an addiction.  I can stop anytime I want.  But, thanks to an obnoxiously huge and badly needed stimulus bill, I might never have to worry about finding a wi-fi link up ever again.  From my homies at Rueters:

The House Energy and Commerce Committee backed including about $3 billion in grants to expand Internet service as part of a larger economic stimulus bill, including a provision requiring “open access” in wireless service and on the Internet. The Democratically-controlled committee on Thursday cleared the provisions aimed at expanding high-speed Internet and wireless service in rural and hard-to-serve areas over objections from several Republican members. Another $3 billion sought for broadband expansion in rural areas will be considered by the House Agriculture Committee. The Democrats’ overall $825-billion stimulus plan is expected to go before the full House next week for a vote. The massive package includes tax cuts plus funding for roads, mass transit, healthcare and other projects.

Does that mean we’ll have the wireless link ups all across the country, like my brothers and sisters in parts of central Europe?  No.  $3 billion dollars is just a very tiny drop in a giant bucket.  It will take a whole lot more than that.  But hey, guess what?  At least we’re trying.  Now, how about we get some jobs going on around up in this piece.