I'm not a huge fan of Glenn Beck, but I really appreciated this discussion about the Common Core. The Common Core will dictate what every student in the United States should know at the end of each grade from Kindergarten through 12th grade. In this YouTube segment, it is implied that Bill Gates (Microsoft), Yahoo, and Google are dumping millions of dollars into funding for the Common Core Initiative so that students will be educated in the ways of working for Microsoft, Yahoo, Google and the like.
Students, under the direction of teachers who have been taught everything they need to know to prepare students for work in technology related fields, will be funneled into huge corporations as employees that push power to the higher ranks. This will ensure that competition in the form of new upstarts will cease, and these already powerful corporations will become more powerful, and are guaranteed that power for years to come.
This scares the hell out of me. Topics like this have been written about by authors for centuries, and the books they produce have been labeled as dystopian fiction. This isn't fictional, this is real. Welcome to the United Corporations of America.
Further reading: Common Core Initiative Page, Wikipedia Common Core Page
Last night, I was watching documentaries on Netflix with my boyfriend Corey. One of them was called "Park Avenue: Money, Power, and the American Dream," which features clips of Ayn Rand speaking about her vision of Laissez Faire Capitalism. This brought me into research mode, wanting to find out a little more about the Ayn Rand Institute. I have loved Ayn Rand and "Atlas Shrugged" for years, but I never knew that ARI was a political powerhouse. On my quest, I came across an article George Saunders had written for the New Yorker called "I Was Ayn Rand's Lover."
I had known about Ayn Rand's affair with Nathaniel Branden from reading her many biographies, in particular "The Passion of Ayn Rand." It creeped me out quite a bit back then, but now to see that she prowled on more than one innocent young man left me with a sour taste. If you know Ayn Rand and her philosophy of Objectivism, you wouldn't be too surprised that Nathaniel Branden was a target on her radar. To hear Saunders recount his having essentially been "raped" by her was a little off-putting to say the least, but his developing jealousy over Ayn having set her eyes on a young Paul Ryan disturbed me. It wasn't his feelings of jealousy that disturbed me, rather her voracious appetite for bedding young men in late puberty is what was particularly disturbing.
So, we now know of three men in their late teens who were successfully pursued by Ayn Rand. There are probably plenty more, but my interest stops there. Seeing Paul Ryan run wild with Ayn's version of Laissez Faire Capitalism as it pertains to our present day economy was like being punched in the gut by Ayn Rand herself. All of her theories sound good as just that -- a theory, but when put into practice as Paul Ryan has done as a congressman, they are truly frightening. I don't know what plagues me more: the affairs with young boys, or being disillusioned by Paul Ryan's crazy plans for American prosperity.
To understand what I'm talking about, you'll have to do a little research. Most of it can be done by watching the "Park Avenue" documentary, reading "Atlas Shrugged," "The Passion of Ayn Rand" (also a film), and then reading George Saunder's New Yorker piece (which is very well-written, I might add). It amounts to a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach, I'll bet, because that's what I'm feeling right now. It can all be summed up in one word: UGH!
Watch the entire "Park Avenue" documentary:
Barbara Branden (Nathaniel Branden's wife) on The Passion of Ayn Rand:
Something To Take Your Mind Off Of The Government: This Crazy Website Shows You How to Find, Buy, and Sell Drugs
I don't know how it exists, but I think a stop should be put to "Silk Road Drugs," a website that tells you in detail--with the use of blogs, programs, and comments from users--how to find, buy, and sell drugs. It has features on the grades of drugs for connoisseurs, search functions, and a detailed method of installation to avoid evidence ever being tied to the pc of origin. I think it's totally cray that this exists. I'm scared to download it to tell you any more about it, so if anyone does, let me know what it's all about. I'm curious, but not enough to get arrested. This is a great article from the New York Times about the creator getting busted, so maybe it's not functioning. Let me know in the comments if you know.
National Security Agency
Meet the National Security Agency, a government agency who has master encryption codes for almost everything. Websites, e-mail, companies, agencies, social networks, texts, etc.
Essentially, their duty is to spy on everyone and everything under the guise that they're maintaining digital security. It's up to you to decide whether or not it's spying or protecting.
I, personally, think it's spying. Companies are essentially forced to hand over their master encryption codes to the agency in the name of national security. The agency, from these master codes, has developed a massive database of information collected from the ongoings of every day digital life. It probably includes every bit of information about our online habits, websites we visit, and the way that every American is tracked on the web.
This article on the New York Times website talks about the efforts being taken to bar the N.S.A. from spying on American citizens, and whether or not it is ethical for them to collect and keep these encryption codes. Read the article and let me know what you think. Is this the Big Brother agency? And is it spying or protecting?
It was hard for me to believe that marketers and websites and companies have been compiling a single report of all the information they've collected about me over the years, but there is. AboutTheData.com allows you to create a free account to view and edit all the information that's ever been collected about you. Insanity. I couldn't believe my eyes.
I have to say, though, that most of the information they have about me is incorrect. They think I have 2 mortgages and drive a Dodge Ram. Regardless of its validity, it's pretty cool to be able to see it all, and even edit it so that ads you see on the internet are better suited to your needs and wants.
I just left it alone because I don't really pay attention to internet ads, and could care less if they're tailored to my personality or not. If that's something you care about, go ahead and edit it; but if not, it's cool just seeing the report.
Another new website, Topsy, compiles every Twitter post ever published. It allows you to search for any keyword producing results that date back to the dawn of Twitter. Pretty interesting. There are paid accounts that are most likely for advertisers and product developers, but the free account lets you search for something like your lover's activity before you started dating, even if it's been deleted. The internet gets smarter and smarter every day.
Update - 09/05/13: This report came out today in the New York Times 'Bits' Newsletter about the About The Data site I mentioned yesterday in the above blog. Here's what they have to say:
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My name is Nicholas Emeigh, but everyone calls me Nick, and I prefer it. I'm usually called Nicholas when I'm in trouble. I'm from the Philadelphia area, work in business, and fancy myself as a freelance graphic designer, writer, and artist. I have a passion for art in all its forms including music, but I restrict my singing to the shower and the car for the good of society. If you'd like to know more, just send me an e-mail. I really appreciate you stopping by.