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Archive for the ‘Law’ Category

Important: Don’t Let Your Wireless Provider Spy On You

2012-10-30 2 comments

With the widespread popularity of smartphones, everyone is walking around with a computer in their pocket.  Which is awesome.  What is NOT cool is that due to flaws in the laws regarding what wireless phone provider (WPP) companies are allowed to do, your WPP company is legally allowed to spy on you and collect info on EVERY single thing you do on your phone.  What’s worse is that the companies will automatically opt you in to agree to be tracked and spied on, and it’s your responsibility to first of all realize that you’re being spied on and tracked, and second of all it’s your responsibility to opt out of it.

At this point some you might be saying “Well, I don’t do anything bad or illegal so who cares if they spy on me and track me?”  First of all, you cannot predict everything that will be done with your phone.  Perhaps in the future you’ll use it for something personal, private, or embarrassing.  Or perhaps someone borrows your phone to make a call and also uses it to do something unsavory that you’re not even aware of.  The point is you just can’t predict the future so it’s not a good idea to give them free license to spy on your personal habits.  Second, you may be saying “Even if they have that info, they’re just using it for marketing purposes, it’s not like anything bad will happen with it.”  Wrong.  The companies are allowed to use that info for whatever purpose they want, including selling it to third parties.  Additionally, the law states that if the government asks them for the info for ANY reason, they must turn it over to them.  “But I don’t break the law!” Oh really?  Did you know that the average person breaks the law at least once per day without even realizing it?  Yup, it’s true, check it out: Mr Average breaks the law at least once a day

Now don’t worry, we don’t need to start wearing tin-foil hats and living in the wilderness.  I’m going to show you how to opt out of being tracked in under two minutes, and then you don’t have to worry about it anymore and you can continue to use your smartphone without being tracked.

Each company has a slightly different process, but they all involve logging into the companies website, finding the proper page, and selecting to opt out of being tracked.  I happen to currently have Verizon, so this is what the page looks like for me (I blacked out my phone number for obvious reasons):

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Morpheus is Fighting Neo! – Libertarian Minarchism vs. Anarcho-Capitalism

2012-06-15 3 comments

Depending on what type of logic best tickles your noodle, you might prefer to hash out new ideas through debate. Live, in person argumentation, is not only able to get your heart rate up but it allows you to use your inductive reasoning skills to hone in on potential weaknesses in what your interlocutor is saying, which in turn helps you form ideas of your own.

As far as the greater scheme of political discourse goes, this topic is very much on the fringe. This debate is in the minutia, buried under the tumultuous back and forth of above ground politics. Furthermore, and perhaps because of that, it no longer fits on the left-right spectrum. We are going either up or down now.

Because of the circumstances, exploring the proper ethical and pragmatic boundaries of government, to this level of precision, seems like splitting hairs. This is being extremely nit-picky about the role ‘the state’ has to play in all of our lives. But ideas are important. For eons and eons the debate between agnosticism and full blown atheism must have felt similarly hollow. Perhaps more even so, because with the advent of the internet and the campaign of Ron Paul, these ideas are much, much easier to get exposed to. ______________________________________________________________

I hereby present that debate opportunity, albeit vicarious, with two of the heaviest hitters in the idea-sphere:

1) Peter Schiff vs. Stefan Molyneux (< 20 minutes)

  • Peter Schiff: “CEO and chief global strategist of Euro Pacific Capital Inc.” – Wikipedia
  • Stefan Molyneux: “[B]logger, essayist, author, and host of the Freedomain Radio… He self-identifies as a full-time parent and philosopher.” – Wikipedia
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Also, if that leaves you all dressed with up with no person to yell at, here is another debate featuring Stefan Molyneux. This video has pretty shit sound quality, so there is your disclaimer, but nonetheless, this exact video is known to be responsible for the ‘conversion’ of quite a few people. You would be surprised.

2a) Stefan Molyneux vs. Michael Badnarik (Bigger, longer, and cut just a little at the beginning)

  • “Michael J. Badnarik: Software engineer, political figure, and former radio talk show host. He was the Libertarian Party nominee for President of the United States in the 2004 elections.” – Wikipedia
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Enjoy at the short term expense of your social life but at the long term benefit of your morality and your philosophical clarity. 😀 OnBoard, Johnteezey

Educational deficiencies

2011-04-02 3 comments

Many people these days are aware of problems with schools.  It’s an extremely complex issue with no easy answer.  So I’m not proposing anything or trying to make any kind of grand sweeping generalization, or claiming I know how to fix the problems.  But I want to share with you a personal example of a deficiency in my education (through no fault of my own).

I always paid attention in history class (or at the very least read all the assigned reading and did all the assigned work).  So while I may not be a history whiz, I should at least know some of the basics, right?

Today I was on wikipedia reading about the Industrial Revolution.  I’ve heard the term before, but we never covered it in school.  Someone may have mentioned it in passing, but I really knew nothing about it until I started reading about it today.  In the opening paragraph, it states “Economic historians are in agreement that the onset of the Industrial Revolution is the most important event in the history of humanity since the domestication of animals and plants.”

As I learned more about the Industrial Revolution, I began to see that this statement about the importance of the Industrial Revolution is not an exaggeration.  Every single one of us lives the way we do because of what happened during the Industrial Revolution.  I learned about economic growth.  Mechanization.  Worker exploitation.  Labor unions.  Collective bargaining.  These things are huge.  They matter, in a very direct and real sense.  I’ve only skimmed the surface but now I at least have a foundation of knowledge about that subject.  So many things in our every day lives are a direct result of global changes that took place during the Industrial Revolution, and having now learned the basics of it, I have a much better understanding of the world.

So what’s my point?  Well, we’ve already talked about how we’re autodidacts. I just want to continue the conversation.  There is so much to learn out there about the universe we live in.  The more you learn, the more pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that comprises our reality fit into place.  Let your curiosity guide you.  And know that there’s always so much more to be learned.  You just have to teach it to yourself.  It’s empowering.

 

EDIT 2011-10-16: The following videos about the future of education and how it can be changed for the better are both inspiring and jarring:

Both videos are TED talks regarding the current state of and the future of the educational system.  In the first video, Salman Kahn (of Kahn Academy fame) talks about how he has begun working with schools to revolutionize teaching.  The second video, which is a bit more bleak, has Bill Gates (of Microsoft fame) talking about the consequences of the budget cuts to education as well as the possibilities for fixing the problems.

 

But I thought “Insider Trading” is illegal…

2010-11-12 2 comments

The term “Insider Trading” is fairly well known from it’s somewhat ubiquitous presence in film and TV. In brief, Insider Trading is when someone with “inside knowledge” of a company (aka the “Insider”) profits from that knowledge by buying/selling shares in a company.

An example would be a scientist working for a pharmaceutical company that has developed a cure for AIDS. Obviously, the price of the company’s stock is going to go up once their cure is made available to the world. If this scientist knows about the cure but that knowledge has not been made public, the scientist is prohibited by law from buying a lot of shares in the company and thus profiting greatly once the information is released and the stock price soars. This would be an example of illegal insider trading. But in fact it is possible for insiders to trade stocks legally. In fact, it is common. Read on…

Legal Insider Trading

Many employees have stock in the companies that employ them. Those employees are free to trade that stock. This is perfectly legal and fairly common: As you read these words, somewhere in the world shares of some company have been bought or sold by employees of that company. Nothing wrong with that. These employees may be called “Insiders,” depending on who you ask. Typically, the officers and directors of a company are considered insiders.

Illegal Insider Trading

So what makes it illegal for insiders to trade stock in the company they work for? The key is Material Nonpublic Information. What the hell is that? Good question. As of this writing (2010-11-12), Wikipedia does not have an entry for Material Nonpublic Information, so it was necessary to look elsewhere (gasp!). According to LSU Law Center’s Medical and Public Health Law Site, Material Information is any information that would influence an investor’s decision to buy or sell securities. Nonpublic Information is information that is not available to members of the general investing public. Put the two together and what do you got? Any information (not available to the public) that would influence an investor’s decision to buy or sell securities. In this case, “public” essentially means “shareholders.”

So in our example above, the scientist who knows about the new AIDS cure would have to wait until the news was made available to the shareholders or to the public in general via a widely-read publication such as The Wall Street Journal. Only then could he legally trade the stock based on his inside knowledge.

Now you know: And knowing is half the battle. GI Jooooooeee…..

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