newyorker:

Later this fall, “The Simpsons” will be nationally syndicated in China for the first time. How will the show’s new viewers respond? Hua Hsu considers: 

“Will Chinese audiences—not exactly the most ironic bunch on Earth—take to the churlish sarcasm of ‘The Simpsons’? Or will the series’ nose-thumbing defiance seem tame at a time when many young people have skipped directly to cynical despair?”

newyorker:

Later this fall, “The Simpsons” will be nationally syndicated in China for the first time. How will the show’s new viewers respond? Hua Hsu considers

Will Chinese audiences—not exactly the most ironic bunch on Earth—take to the churlish sarcasm of The Simpsons? Or will the series’ nose-thumbing defiance seem tame at a time when many young people have skipped directly to cynical despair?”

Cyanogenmod Releases the OnePlus One

Smartphones are the newest technology of the decade. We have seen a variety of them over the past several months as the major companies spent lots of money on advertising. One phone in particular didn’t really require that much advertising. The information of its release spread like wildfire on the internet and via word of mouth. This phone is called the OnePlus One; Cyanogenmod’s newest endeavor into the smartphone business.


On paper, the phone seems like a beast with its 2.5 Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, 13 megapixel camera, 3gb of RAM, a 3100mAh battery and 16gb or 64gb of storage. It comes with a 1080p display and 5.5 inch screen that would fit perfectly in anyone’s hand. This monster of a phone sounds amazing but most people are probably wondering what the price of such a phone would be with its astounding specs. This “2014 Flagship Killer” is only priced at $299 for the 16gb or $349 for 64gb. This is definitely one of the best phones I have seen and I will definitely consider selling my Nexus 4 and go to this. Some Nexus users may be diehard fans and stick with the Nexus, but with specs and features that the OnePlus One comes with, it is hard to look the other way.

The OnePlus One comes with plenty for the price. Surprisingly this phone was introduced by Cyanogenmod, an aftermarket firmware maintained by many Android developers making one of the best ROMs available. The phone even comes with Cyanogenmod’s unique firmware called Cyanogenmod 11S based off of Android’s 4.4.2 KitKat. However, as of now, its only available for the OnePlus and is packed with various features and customizations that are very stable. Overall this phone seems really worth it. It would be a great thing to have a phone with this level of specs while running Cyanogenmod’s bloat-free software. Keep an eye out for this potential smartphone game changer.



smartphone Open Source Cyanogenmod

The United States Is No Longer A Democracy


A new study from Princeton and Northwestern universities has confirmed what many Americans already believed, the USA is ruled by the rich and elite. The peer reviewed study researched 1,800 changes in United States policy from 1981 to 2002. It showed that affluent Americans and large special interest groups are responsible for almost all policy changes that occur. In fact, the study found that American majority opinion had little if any effect on actual changes.

When popular opinion disagrees with the corporate culture popular opinion always loses. The report itself reads:
 ”When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organised interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the US political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favour policy change, they generally do not get it.”
https://www.princeton.edu/~mgilens/Gilens%20homepage%20materials/Gilens%20and%20Page/Gilens%20and%20Page%202014-Testing%20Theories%203-7-14.pdf

Another problem the study found was that the American political system has a strong status quo bias. This means that things are always more likely to stay the same than change in the USA. We already live in a system where the rich are heavily favored. Unfortunately it is likely to stay that way. The researchers have concluded that the USA is a system of “biased pluralism" where the whims of the rich and powerful out-way the needs of the many. This study was done on policy from before the Citizens United Supreme Court case. Who knows how these trends were affected since then. One thing is clear, in America politics has gone on sale. 

Politics

"Too many people are thinking of security instead of opportunity. They seem more afraid of life than death."
-  James F. Byrnes (via moralanarchism)

Has The Heartbleed Security Bug Compromised Most of The Web?



A new security flaw known as Heartbleed may have compromised two-thirds of websites. If true this could be a major blow to security and privacy around globe. Heartbleed affects an internet protocol called OpenSSL. OpenSSL is used to protect user input that runs from a webpage to a server. It is the most widely used form of encryption on the web. Without functioning correctly data such as passwords, messages and personal info could be accessed.


Now that the Heartbleed bug has been discovered it is only a matter of time before a fix comes out. The only problem is this bug may have existed for the last two years. Meaning that your data may already be compromised. In times like this, where there is so much uncertainty about the state of privacy, you need to be proactive and change your password. Also, it helps if you actually log out of a site when you are done using it instead of letting it sit there. If you are running a server that uses Openssl you need to patch it.

Thankfully, the Heartbleed bug is such a big deal that an entire industry will be clambering to get it fixed. Meaning this problem could be solved within a couple of weeks. A number of major sites have been reported to have been patched already. Still I would recommend that you change your password for social media sites and others that may contain your personal info. You can also check if a website you frequent has patched yet right here: http://filippo.io/Heartbleed/

More info at: http://heartbleed.com/

SSL security Openssl internet heartbleed

Americans Now Believe Marijuana Significantly Less Harmful Than Alcohol



American opinions on marijuana have been evolving for a long time. A drug once seen as a serious danger to society has become innocuous in many peoples minds. A new study proves that the United States is on the fast tract to becoming a pro pot nation. The pew survey showed by 5 to 1 Americans believed alcohol was more harmful to health and society than marijuana.



The results of the study may be divided by demographic lines, but strong majorities agree that marijuana causes less harm than alcohol. Hispanics and the elderly were the least likely to agree, yet still by a majority of 2 to 1 find alcohol more harmful. This puts American opinion in line with current scientific data.
http://www.people-press.org/2013/04/04/majority-now-supports-legalizing-marijuana/



A study published in the Lancet in 2010 judged multiple drugs in terms of their harmfulness to health and society as a whole. On both of these criteria marijuana was judged significantly less harmful than alcohol. In fact, in terms of harm to society alcohol scored higher than heroin and meth.
http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(10)61462-6/abstract

Other studies have shown time after time that a majority of Americans already support legalization and find the war on drugs a failure. Despite this growing objection federal drug laws have little hope of changing. The Federal Government has had many objections to the call to legalize pot. Now that this new survey clearly shows Americans disagree with national drug policy, how long before they change the policy? They need to do it at some point. The culture wars have been fought and marijuana has won.

Politics marijuana

Browser Extensions That Improve Your Security

Security and privacy can be elusive things on the internet, but even a little effort can greatly improve your ability to protect your data. Browser extensions are a great first step into improving your security. Also these extensions can improve your browser’s performance.

HTTPS Everywhere




This software ensures that when you connect to a webpage you are doing so through HTTPS. The default on the web for the most part is unencrypted HTTP. Using this app lets you take any unsafe HTTP and rewrite requests for these sites in HTTPS, making your browsing more secure.

https://www.eff.org/https-everywhere



Disconnect




Disconnect is a widely used extension for protecting web information. The best thing about Disconnect is the simple interface that shows the websites that are tracking you without you knowing. There are more of them than you would think.

https://disconnect.me

Adblock Plus




This software does exactly what you think it would, block ads. Adblock will also protect against popups, video ads and other obtrusive nuisances. Not having to load these assets from a webpage will make your pages load faster and work more smoothly. These ads may also be tracking your internet activities. Adblock prevents this and keeps your data safer.

https://adblockplus.org/

The combination of these extensions has worked very well for me and I would highly recommend this setup for most users. The only caveat is that depending on what you are trying to load you may want to have certain scripts run as they would normally. When this happens simply disable the plugins. Then once you are done you can go back and enable them. It’s very simple and easy. 

Technology security privacy anonymity

Ukraine In Flames


In Kiev, at this moment, there is still an ongoing bloody conflict between protesters and the military. This struggle has been happening for weeks now. In the past few days the violence has intensified. A few days ago the police attempted to flush the demonstrators out of the town square only to be met with growing opposition. The police’s efforts failed miserably and set off a series of violent retaliations. A truce soon followed and was broken several hours later. The police have tried pushing the protesters out with tear gas, concussion grenades and some gunfire. The protesters fought back with Molotov cocktails, fireworks and guns of their own.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/20/ukraine-protests_n_4823701.html

Today this fighting came to a climax in a massacre of Ukrainian citizens by the military. Government snipers killed as many as 70 people. The protesters have captured at least 67 police officers and are holding them in the Kiev city hall. All of this is over the fight between closer ties with Russia or Europe. President Viktor Yanukovych passed up a trade deal with Europe, much to the dismay of many Ukrainians who wished to open up to the west. They are also protesting Ukraine’s incredibly corrupt political system and crippled economy. Opposition protesters have demanded that he step down. Yanukovych has so far refused, only vowing to push the protesters out of the square, calling them “radicals” and “extremists”. Thankfully many experts believe that if the president pushes the military too far they will outright refuse to comply.

This moment is another chapter in the story of global protest that has been playing out since the “Arab Spring” occurred. Now, whether or not you think the “Arab Spring” achieved its goal, it has had an undeniable impact on world politics. Protests in the middle east were followed by the “Occupy” movement and demonstrations throughout Europe and America. What do all of these protests have in common? A desire for a better life. This may be vague, but this encompasses all that has been demanded through the protests of the last few years. People are sick of lack of public services, oppression and corruption. These kinds of complaints are heard in each of these uprisings. Public disgust once saved for coffee houses and quiet gossip has made its way from the internet into the real world, thanks in part to social networking. Despite all the violence and all the struggles caused by this new age of protest, this is a positive development in world politics.

Ukraine’s growing unrest is messy, violent and dangerous, but the unrest is not the fault of the protesters. Unrest is always a symptom of an unjust society. Ukraine’s government refused to listen to the will of the people and open its county up to the west. Hopefully one day Ukraine will be more democratic and pro western, and maybe this violence is the first step and more than just chaos.

unrest Ukraine protest Politics

Adventure In Android 1 (CyanogenMod On Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1)


I wanted to put CyanogenMod on my Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 for a long time, and I am very happy I finally got to do it. I put it off for a while in fear of ruining my warranty, but i figured if i can ROM it I can unROM it before needing any potential repairs. CyanogenMod is great, customizable, responsive and has a ton of features. It wasn’t hard to install, then again it wasn’t very easy either. To be frank, it took me a few attempts and some nervous moments where I thought I bricked my tablet. Despite all this it was totally worth it.



Now, for those not in the know, CyanogenMod is an open source ROM for android devices. The main reason I wanted to give it a try was to take advantage of some features not available on the stock Samsung OS. The first steps were relatively easy. I have experience rooting and installing ClockworkRecoveryMod, both of which are required to install CyanogenMod. The difficult part came with placing the ROM image on the internal SD.

Instructions for CyanogenMod suggested copying the ROM to the tablet by using an android developer tool called ADB. I was unfamiliar with ADB and it was very difficult to get working. After figuring all that out and actually managing to get the ROM to the internal storage. I ran into an issue where the installation would have an error midway through and abort. After failing to solve the problem for about an hour I was afraid I was at a loss. Stuck with a tablet that would just restart itself over and over again until it ran out of battery. Thankfully after doing some research I finally figured out the problem. My version of CyanogenMod was too new. It was buggy and untested. After downloading and installing a more stable version, much to my surprise, CyanogenMod installed very quick and ran extremely smoothly.

Everything was great until I realized I didn’t install Google Apps. You see, ROMs and Google Apps are two separate things and must be installed separately. So, now I had a great working tablet with only a calender and web browser. The weirdest part was no Google Now, something that is almost synonymous with all new updates of android. As appealing as it was to run a truly clean Google-less version of android with all custom Apps, I missed Maps and Google Now. So, I bit the bullet and repeated the process of moving the ROM image for the Google Apps Image.

All and all this was a very fun and educational experience for me, and I hope to be doing more projects with my android devices. I am still curious about the vast array of available ROMs. Next project on the burner is rooting my Lg Optimus F6.

If you are interested in installing CyanogenMod the files and directions can be found at this address:
http://www.cyanogenmod.org/

There is even a new and improved installation method that is compatible with a number of devices. So give it a try. I did it and am very pleased with the results. 

Technology ROM Cyanogenmod android

Rosenberg Sees Inflation After Calling Housing Bust in Recession

rationalcapitalistspeculator:

The contrarian nature of the call is cause for extra analysis.  Wages are indeed set to rise given some leading indicators.  Also, it’s important to note that if the reduced labor participation rate is more structural in nature, then we don’t have as much labor slack as many think.  The problem with this view is that it assumes that the US economy is set for a period of sustained growth.  While numerous indicators do point to this development [absent the weather], its important to account for exogenous risk such as China, the Eurozone, and the adverse effects of rising interest rates at many important emerging economies due to the Fed’s taper.  Higher interest rates from these EMs may adversely affect global economic growth given their importance.  One thing’s for certain, uncertainty is pretty high at this point.  

(via minarchist)