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
The following are the nominees for the 2014 Academy Awards (the ones I care about) announced by Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, on Thursday. For some strange reason, she was joined by "Hunger Games" actor Chris Hemsworth. Weird. I wonder who he had to screw to get that spot... Anyway, The Academy Awards will air live on ABC on March 2, starting at 7 p.m. ET. Share your picks in the comments.
CNN Coverage | Official Oscar Site
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:
A poll released by Public Policy Polling reveals a hilarious list of all the unpleasant things that people like more than the current Congress. People were directly asked: “What do you have a higher opinion of: Congress or cockroaches?” And so it went, for 25 questions.
A total of 830 people were surveyed, and said they liked a number of detested creatures and institutions more than the U.S. Congress. In the end, the Washington Times writes, “Congress is less popular than carnies, root canals and colonoscopies, but more popular than the ebola virus, meth labs and gonorrhea.”
According to Public Policy Polling, here is a list of things people now like more than Congress:
I, personally, like a lot of detestable things more than congress, but, being a gentleman, I won't say what they are. ;) Pass this along to your friends, family, and coworkers. It's all fun and games when polling like this takes place, but there is a definite impending doom if the government can't agree on a budget. Please search the net for local petitions, write to your state reps, mayors, and local officials and tell them that you want this to end. Let your voice be heard!
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.
I got a surprise e-mail from Allison Dufty this afternoon. If you remember my blog post from September 19th, I posted a video called "How Siri Found its Voice" which chronicles the journey from spoken word to synthesized speech used in technology. One of the voice artists highlighted was Allison Dufty, who sounds a lot like Siri (a LOT like Siri if you ask me), but really isn't. So it is still a mystery as to who the voice of Siri is. Maybe like "how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie pop?", there are answers to questions the world may never know.
So, to Allison Dufty, I do apologize. I wish you were Siri, but even if you're not, I saw your website and you do amazing work. Siri would be lucky to have your voice. See another retraction here where they call this whole mess a "Siri-ous Mistake." Indeed it is.
Before reading, please note that Allison Dufty is not the voice of Siri as stated in this article. That is an error of fact. Please refer to this blog post for more information.
Included here is the fascinating video I just saw about synthesized speech, text reading, and an introduction to Allison Dufty, the voice of Siri. Just in time for the release of the new IPhone 5c and 5s. The video is only 10 minutes long. Take a look.
This list of the 12 Worst Supermarkets in America is fairly accurate, based on the ones I know. Acme used to be very popular with the parents of the baby boomers, but since that's a dying generation, Acme is in a steady decline as a result. Its customer base is basically dying or can't afford expensive Acme prices on their limited budget. Pathmark has also seen its day.
I don't agree that WalMart is the second worst, though. They're just super busy and cheap, so they have to sell lots of products and be really busy to be profitable, and that might result in some inconvenience. I expect a crowded store that might be out of one or two things to come along with that, and I set out knowing that's going to happen. That's the business, and everyone will have to get used to it.
Graciela Martinez, a normal, healthy girl, was found dead from heat stroke in her brother's BMW on Wednesday after a lock malfunctioned. Everybody's just taking this at face value, but seriously? How does a girl get left for dead in her brother's car? Doesn't anyone miss her at the dinner table? And then think to look in the cars, or get in one to go looking for her? This is craziness. Something seems fishy. Here's the article with a video:
A 14-year-old girl was found dead inside a car that investigators said she couldn't exit.
This is definitely weird. Tell me what you think in the comments.
Logogate: the new Gap
The Watergate of the corporate identity and branding sector, "Logogate." is a real controversy as of late. Yahoo! just unveiled a new logo which the public deemed boring, the new Gap logo spawned a huge controversy, and sales of Tropicana products fell 20% after they revealed a new logo and new packaging. Even the University of California's new logo incurred huge backlash. That being said, it seems brand loyalty is closely tied to the branding and identity of the corporations who sell the products we buy. A new logo means a new image for the brands we choose to buy, therefore changing who we are as consumers. Judging by the backlash, or acceptance as is the case for Chiquita and Hot Topic, we as consumers do judge books by their covers and products by their packaging. So much so that both Gap and Tropicana went back to their old look based on the resulting consumer feedback and sales decline. Food for thought: do you buy into Logogate? You can decide by clicking on each text link above to see the logos, the stories behind them, how consumers received them, and ultimately what happened to them.
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.