Archives for Society

Interesting Proposal for Stopping Online Pedophiles

I came across this interesting project that aims to stop online pedophiles by setting 100,000 online honeytraps. It calls for 100,000 volunteer adults to post online profiles in various services posing as minors. They then use these a bait and wait to be contacted by pedophiles.… Read More “Interesting Proposal for Stopping Online Pedophiles”

Fascinating Stat: Of the World's 100 Largest Economic Entities 51 are Corporations, 49 are Nations

Wow — As of 2000, of the world’s 100 largest economic entities, 51 are corporations and 49 are nations.

A Proposal to Make the Media (and Society) Better

I am concerned by what I’m viewing in our national media lately. Viewed from outside (and also from within the USA), it would appear that our nation is obsessed with, and plagued by, an increasing spree of horrible crimes and abuses of human rights.… Read More “A Proposal to Make the Media (and Society) Better”

US Banking System Collapse in 2008?

I recently listened to a talk by Dr. David Martin, given at the Arlington Institute, a think tank I advise. You can listen to it here. It takes some patience to get to the main point — but you will be rewarded with a mind-blowing new perspective on what may unfold in the next few years.… Read More “US Banking System Collapse in 2008?”

Contextual Ad Targeting On Your Life

This article discusses a new research project at Google where they are working on a way to run contextual ads on your computer that reflect what is taking place in the room around you. The technology works by using the computer microphone to make brief snippet recordings of your room where you are.… Read More “Contextual Ad Targeting On Your Life”

A Good Article on Lack of Search Privacy

This article from the Guardian raises the red flag about the vast amount of personal information that search engines are collecting, and the risks to individual privacy that entails. The article was really well written and made some good points.… Read More “A Good Article on Lack of Search Privacy”

Privacy and Search

The recent negative hype about the lack of privacy in search results got me thinking about the needs of online services versus those of individuals. Is there a way to satisfy both constraints?

AOL’s accidental data release was one thing that worried me.… Read More “Privacy and Search”

Kill the Penny

A bill has been proposed to do away with the penny — that most useless an annoying of coins. Thank you!!!! As far as I’m concerned, if you can’t buy a payphone call with it, or 10 to 15 minutes on a parking meter, then it’s just not worth having anymore — so I would also propose getting rid of nickels and dimes too.… Read More “Kill the Penny”

A Tribe That Views Time Differently

A tribe in South America has been found to have a reverse concept of time from all known cultures:

New analysis of the language and gesture of South
America’s indigenous Aymara people
indicates they have a concept of
time opposite to all the world’s studied cultures — so that the past
is ahead of them and the future behind.

Read More “A Tribe That Views Time Differently”

Privacy Nightmare

The ACLU has a nice little animation of what life will be like once the government, and corporate America, have access to all personal data. It’s a nice little simulation.

Doomsday Vault to House World Seed Bank

The Norwegians are planning to create a deep underground vault near the North Pole to house a backup copy of seeds for all known varieties of crops. The goal is to ensure food supplies and enable humanity to regenerate in the event of nuclear war, global warming or other catastrophes.… Read More “Doomsday Vault to House World Seed Bank”

Big Thinkers' Most Dangerous Ideas

The Edge has published mini-essays by 119 "big thinkers" on their "most dangerous ideas" — fun reading.

The history of science is replete with discoveries
that were considered socially, morally, or emotionally
dangerous in their time; the Copernican and
Darwinian revolutions are the most obvious.

Read More “Big Thinkers' Most Dangerous Ideas”

How to Kill a News Story

This is a fascinating article by an investigative reporter for CBS News on the various tactics used by opposing parties who want to prevent, spin, or kill negative articles in the press. Quite interesting, and unsual to find coming from a major news organization.… Read More “How to Kill a News Story”

Now They are Patenting Storylines

A truly horrible innovation. Someone has figured out how to patent storylines, for example unique plots and they have a published (but not issued) patent. Hopefully writers everywhere will blow this out of the water.

20% of Your Genes Belong to Them

From Boing Boing today:

Xeni Jardin: A report in this week’s issue of Science
says 20 percent of human genes have been patented in the United States:

The study (…) is the first time that a detailed map has been
created to match patents to specific physical locations on the human genome.

Read More “20% of Your Genes Belong to Them”

Strange But True — Low Frequency Audio as a Social Instrument

This is really fascinating:

Scientists used to consider the frequency band of 500 hertz and below
in the human voice as meaningless noise, because when a voice is
filtered, removing all higher frequencies, ne hears nothing but a
low-pitched hum. All words are lost.

Read More “Strange But True — Low Frequency Audio as a Social Instrument”

You do what you eat?

This article presents some fascinating evidence that nutrition has a direct relationship on behavior, particularly antisocial behavior.

Another Actor Running for Office?

Oy Vey. CNN just reported that Virginia Democrats are rumored to be asking Ben Affleck to run for the Senate. Note to the Virginia Democrats: Ben Affleck is an A-C-T-O-R not a politician. Am I the only one who is completely fed up with actors running for (and holding) public office?… Read More “Another Actor Running for Office?”

Human-Brained Monkeys Pose Ethical Challenge

A cutting-edge research program is injecting human brain cells into monkey brains, to investigate whether this causes their brains to become more "human." This poses a potential ethical challenge: If the monkeys do become more human, would they be considered "human subjects" and be protected by ethical guidelines governing research onto humans?… Read More “Human-Brained Monkeys Pose Ethical Challenge”

Fascinating Article — Surviving a Nuclear Attack on Washington DC

This article is very interesting not only because it provides an unusually detailed scenario of what would happen if a nuke was detonated in the Washington DC area, but also because it provides counter-intuitive guidance for how to survive such a situation, as well as information about new medical treatments for helping both first-responders and victims to combat radiation sickness.… Read More “Fascinating Article — Surviving a Nuclear Attack on Washington DC”

New Ice Age Coming Much Sooner than Expected?

Significant new research findings indicate that a new ice age may be starting sooner than anyone expected…

CLIMATE change researchers have detected the
first signs of a slowdown in the Gulf Stream — the mighty ocean current
that keeps Britain and Europe from freezing.

Read More “New Ice Age Coming Much Sooner than Expected?”

Interesting Statistical Data Resource

Check out — it’s a site that provides some cool features on top of the US Statistical Abstracts and State Abstracts data-sets. This site seems to be just the kind of "statistics portal" I daydreamed about a while back. Very useful idea.

What the Next Pandemic Will be Like

Here is an article written by an MD about what the coming H5N1 flu pandemic will be like, based on historical records of the 1918 flu pandemic. Scary reading.

Chinese Hackers Target Tibetans

A recent article on Boing Boing reports the most recent round of Chinese cyberattacks on the Tibetan government in exile.

China has increasingly aimed its sophisticated cyberwar teams at the low-tech, peace-loving Tibetans. I know dozens of Tibetan lamas and their staffs and they all use PC’s — and none of them know anything about viruses, firewalls, trojan horses, etc.… Read More “Chinese Hackers Target Tibetans”

The Threat of Contaminated Money: Proposed Solutions

by Nova Spivack, Minding the Planet,

This news article reports that the FBI is investigating a situation in which mobsters deliberately contaminated their drug money with a virus in order to deter in-house theft by members of their organization. Several years ago, during the days of collective paranoia following 9-11, I started thinking about how to combat potential terrorist threats — and one of the threats I came up with was precisely this threat of contaminated money.… Read More “The Threat of Contaminated Money: Proposed Solutions”

Cell Phones Become Credit Cards

It’s finally happening in the USA — your cell phone is about to morph into a credit card, and soon will evolve into your digital wallet. Read more.

Study Finds that Second-Hand Smoke Dulls Children's Brains

A new study has found that exposure to even low levels of second-hand smoke at home had a significant negative impact on children’s reading and math performance at school.

Smelling Out Your Perfect Mate

New research has found that people select mates by smell. People fall into distinct smell-types that appear to be directly related to corresponding types of immune systems. The study found that members of couples tended to NOT be of the same smell-type and thus also to not have the same types of immunities; perhaps because this results in offspring having more diverse immunities.… Read More “Smelling Out Your Perfect Mate”

A Stock Market for Ideas

Media Mammon  is a new stock market for memes. You can invest play money in words and phrases that are spreading through the media. May the best meme win! See also: A Physics of Ideas.

Physicists Tackle Linguistics

In an interesting convergence of scientific disciplines, physicists in Germany have turned their attention to linguistics, and have come up with a statistical model that predicts the distribution and mutation of languages over time.