if you want to save the world, be disagreeable

Posted on: Tue, 07/01/2014 - 12:46 By: Tom Swiss

Those of us who always got "needs improvement" on "works well with others" on our report cards, are less likely to work well with others to implement authoritarian violations of human rights. If you want to save the world, be disagreeable.

Are Polite People More Violent and Destructive?

Now a new study using a variation of Milgram’s experiments shows that people with more agreeable, conscientious personalities are more likely to make harmful choices. In these new obedience experiments, people with more social graces were the ones who complied with the experimenter’s wishes and delivered electric shocks they believed could harm an innocent person. By contrast, people with more contrarian, less agreeable personalities were more likely to refuse to hurt other people when told to do so.


...It turns out that people holding left-wing political views were less willing to comply with demands to inflict suffering. A third group was also more likely to go against the grain and refuse destructive orders—women who had previously participated in rebellious political activism such as strikes or occupying a factory.

"wi-fi" doesn't mean anything

Posted on: Thu, 06/26/2014 - 15:44 By: Tom Swiss

I always thought "Wireless Fidelity" was a stupid name...

WiFi isn't short for "Wireless Fidelity" (Boing Boing)

Wi-Fi doesn't stand for anything.

It is not an acronym. There is no meaning.


The only reason that you hear anything about "Wireless Fidelity" is some of my colleagues in the group were afraid. They didn't understand branding or marketing. They could not imagine using the name "Wi-Fi" without having some sort of literal explanation. So we compromised and agreed to include the tag line "The Standard for Wireless Fidelity" along with the name.

data brokers selling your lifestyle info to doctors

Posted on: Thu, 06/26/2014 - 13:11 By: Tom Swiss

And this is why we pay with old-fashioned untraceable cash, and never join "store loyalty" tracking programs.

Your Doctor Knows You're Killing Yourself. The Data Brokers Told Her (Bloomberg)

Information compiled by data brokers from public records and credit card transactions can reveal where a person shops, the food they buy, and whether they smoke. The largest hospital chain in the Carolinas is plugging data for 2 million people into algorithms designed to identify high-risk patients, while Pennsylvania’s biggest system uses household and demographic data. Patients and their advocates, meanwhile, say they’re concerned that big data’s expansion into medical care will hurt the doctor-patient relationship and threaten privacy.

feds lying to courts about "stringray" surveillance

Posted on: Sun, 06/22/2014 - 12:03 By: Tom Swiss

The surveillance state is out of control, and it's time to put some of these people in jail. (Including Holder and Obama if they knew about this.)

Emails Show Feds Asking Florida Cops to Deceive Judges | Threat Level | WIRED:"

Police in Florida have, at the request of the U.S. Marshals Service, been deliberately deceiving judges and defendants about their use of a controversial surveillance tool to track suspects, according to newly obtained emails.

At the request of the Marshals Service, the officers using so-called stingrays have been routinely telling judges, in applications for warrants, that they obtained knowledge of a suspect’s location from a “confidential source” rather than disclosing that the information was gleaned using a stingray.

state-backed eugenics is alive and well in Virginia

Posted on: Sat, 06/21/2014 - 12:37 By: Tom Swiss

All your body are belong to the government. See also my recent piece on the sacredness of the body and the sacrilege of the state

Virginia Offers Man Plea Deal That Includes Vasectomy - Latest - In These Times

Jessie Lee Herald, 27, of Edinburg, Virginia was offered a plea deal by assistant commonwealth's attorney Ilona L. White on June 4 that encompassed undergoing a vasectomy, 20 months in jail and five years' probation. Herald accepted the plea to avoid a trial for charges of child endangerment, hit-and-run driving and driving on a suspended license....

Critics have been quick to point out that this is a form of state-sanctioned eugenics, which has a long history at the margins of United States law. State sterilization was infamously upheld by the Supreme Court in 1927's Buck v. Bell, a case that originated in Virginia and paved the way for systemic sterilizations in poor and minority communities, prisons, and U.S. territories.

Obama interrupts The Price Is Right, the masses get pissed

Posted on: Mon, 06/02/2014 - 10:20 By: Tom Swiss

And this is why we are doomed.

I still recall the horror of daytime TV from when I was kid, home from school sick and feeling too wiped out to even read. I would have welcomed any breaking news that interrupted the mind-numbing flow of game shows and talk shows. Especially The Price Is Right, I developed a specific loathing for that show.

President Obama Interrupts The Price Is Right; Twitter Reacts (Yahoo News)

And if there is one thing evident after scrolling through the tweets, it is that people do not like their hour of "The Price Is Right" interrupted by anyone — even the Commander In Chief.

"Unless Godzilla is attacking the Eastern seaboard, Obama doesn't need to be interrupting the Price is Right," tweeted Amanda Marie, a viewer. Although, the fact that she wrote that makes you wonder if she would still be upset over missing the Card Game.

Georgia SWAT team burns baby

Posted on: Sat, 05/31/2014 - 17:14 By: Tom Swiss

The militarization of policing must end.

Georgia police threw a stun grenade in a 19-month-old's crib (Vox)

A SWAT team raiding a home in Habersham County, Georgia at around 3 am Thursday, May 29th, threw a stun grenade into the crib of an 19-month-old toddler, Bounkham Phonesavanh, critically injuring him. His mother, Alecia Phonesavanh, told the Atlanta ABC affiliate WSB-TV that the grenade exploded on Bounkham's pillow, right next to his face. "He's in the burn unit. We go up to see him and his whole face is ripped open. He has a big cut on his chest," she continued....


We don't know all the facts of the case yet, but they fit with a growing trend of police using SWAT teams and military tactics for cases that never would have warranted that treatment before. Eastern Kentucky University's Peter Kraska estimated that there were about 3,000 SWAT raids a year in the early 1980s, 30,000 by 1996, and 40,000 by 2001.


...A SWAT team raided a DJ in Atlanta on suspicion of copyright violations. A Gibson Guitar factory in Tennessee was raided with a SWAT team on suspicion that they weren't the wood they imported for their guitars wasn't treated properly. Plenty of innocent people, from 80-year-old Isaac Singletary to 11-year-old Alberto Sepulveda to 88-year-old Kathryn Johnston, have been killed in SWAT raids. "In drug raids," Balko writes, "killing the dogs in the targeted house is almost perfunctory."

Anthem Blue Cross denies long-time policyholder coverage for cancer treatment

Posted on: Thu, 05/29/2014 - 16:01 By: Tom Swiss

"ObamaCare" has many problems -- the website, the lack of a public option, the lies about keeping your plan -- but by far the biggest is that it did not utterly destroy the for-profit health insurance industry, burn it down and salt the the ground that nothing may ever grow in its place. Maybe some day we'll get real health care reform instead of a subsidy for one of the most evil sectors of corporate America...but not if people keep voting for corporatists from the two major parties.

Sonoma County Man Battling Cancer Denied Coverage By Anthem Blue Cross After Paying $100K In Premiums - CBS San Francisco

Then came even more devastating news: Anthem Blue Cross was denying their coverage for the treatments.

The family received a letter from the insurance provider, saying his hospital stay didn’t meet the criteria for medical necessity.

“It’s like an attack on my family. It feels that way,” Rusch said.

Jeffrey and Zoe have been Anthem members since 2008, and estimate they’ve paid $100-thousand in premiums.

“I would call saving my husband’s life medically necessary,” Zoe said.

TrueCrypt compromised?

Posted on: Wed, 05/28/2014 - 21:04 By: Tom Swiss

Well, this is interesting. Certainly not upgrading to this suspicious new version, hoping the project is taken over by a new group with more transparency.

TrueCrypt considered HARMFUL – downloads, website meddled to warn: 'It's not secure'

The website of popular drive-encryption software TrueCrypt has been ripped up and replaced with a stark warning to not use the crypto-tool. It's also distributing a new version of the software, 7.2, which appears to have been compromised.

It's feared the project, run by a highly secretive team of anonymous developers, has been hijacked by unknown parties. The easy-to-use data-protecting utility is favored by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and his journo pals, as well as plenty of privacy-conscious people.

Americans unlikely to vote for atheists

Posted on: Thu, 05/22/2014 - 09:30 By: Tom Swiss

According to a Pew Research Center poll, being an atheist is one of the worst things a candidate for political office can do in terms of getting people to vote for them.

(The trend of them preferring state governors for President, which we've discussed previously (2008 being quite the oddity), seems to be strengthening. If the Democrats are dumb enough to put H. Clinton up against a GOP governor -- including, gods help us, a potential J. Bush run -- look for a trouncing.)

For 2016 Hopefuls, Washington Experience Could Do More Harm than Good (Pew Research Center for the People and the Press)

Just over half (53%) say they would be less likely to vote for someone who does not believe in God, while only 5% say this would make them more likely to support a candidate.

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