Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Every gun that is made, every warship launched...

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. This is, I repeat, the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron

Monday, September 22, 2008

Context Sensitive Advertising

This new story is sure to get those conversion rates going for Max Insurance...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Dear TRAI. Give us free Wi-Fi hotspots instead of Wi-Fi security tips

TRAI is planning to issue guidelines to ISPs regarding wireless security following the recent bomb blasts.

Importantly, following the 21 blasts in Ahmedabad on July 26 which killed 55 and injured 100, TRAI had asked the government to direct all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to instruct their customers to have ‘proper authentication measures’ so that this facility is not misused. “All ISPs may be instructed to ensure that their subscribers using wireless devices must use effective authentication mechanisms and permit access to internet to only authorised persons using wireless devices,” the regulator said in its earlier communication to the DoT.

We live in a world where governments no longer have any control over the flow of money or information. Trying to stop terrorists from using communications technology is well futile, but the TRAI is going to have a good crack at it, nevermind if it makes everyone's life more miserable and paranoid.

This new regulation sends a different message from our government. They won't bother providing free public wireless hotspots, because you know, that would be too much to ask as a tax payer, and the terrorists might just use it to plan their next bomb attack!. As an added measure, they're also going to make sure you don't share your wireless connection with friends or family.

No matter how much infrastructure is put in place to track/monitor net users, the terrorists will simply just up their game. They could plan their next raid on an MMORPG, as this article points out.

"Could terrorists use Second Life? Sure, they can use anything. But is it a significant augmentation? That's not obvious. It's a scenario that an intelligence officer is duty-bound to consider. That's all."

I don't know how ISPs plan to enforce the whole thing, most likely they will create mechanisms to prevent home users from having a Wi-Fi network. As a recent migrant to Reliance Broadnet, I know they're evil enough to use this opportunity to limit the number of machines on a home network, or charge a premium for each machine on the wireless network at home.

If that happens, the Terrorists win. :(

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Bad Lifestyle Choices: Bottled Water

I don't feel like regurgiating the talking points of this thread, but would like to add that I really dislike the trend of restaurants not offering plain water to customers anymore.

Every city worth its salt must have drinking water fountains and facilities so that citizens do not pay for bottled water. The system already has the means: piped water to distribute water all over the place, and bottled water is the most criminal waste of fuel and money. Please boycott any places that insist on serving you bottled water.

More stats and figures from this thread:

I. Bottled water is bad for the environment.

Earth Policy Institute estimated that to make the plastic for the bottles burns up something like 1.5 million barrels of oil, enough to power 100,000 cars for a year. Nearly 90 percent of the bottles are not recycled.

Gleick offered a simple way to visualize the average energy cost to make the plastic, process and fill the bottle, transport bottled water to market and then deal with the waste:

"It would be like filling up a quarter of every bottle with oil."


Corporations steal water from small communities and sell it at exorbitant prices.

"In addition to the strains bottled water puts on our ecosystem through its production and transport, the rapid growth in this industry means that water extraction is concentrated in communities where bottling plants are located," says the Earth Policy Institute Report.

"In India, for example, water extraction by Coca Cola for Dasani bottled water and other drinks has caused water shortages for over 50 villages.

"Similar problems have been reported in Texas and in the Great Lakes region of North America, where farmers, fishers, and others who depend on water for their livelihoods are suffering from concentrated water extraction as water tables drop quickly."[6]

The former chairman of Perrier, now part of Nestlé’s collection of more than 70 global bottled water brands, candidly stated: “It struck me…that all you had to do is take the water out of the ground and then sell it for more than the price of wine, milk, or, for that matter, oil.” 21

In Canada, Nestlé recently applied to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment for a 10–year extension on its permit to take water from the underground source of drinking water of the City of Guelph and Wellington County. The company wants to take more than 950,000 gallons per day, 365 days a year over five years. Nestlé already is hauling away almost 300,000 gallons per day of the region’s groundwater to be bottled and sold hundreds or thousands of miles away.22[7]

IV. Buying bottled water legitimizes the corporate world's efforts to commodify essential resources for human life.

This is the most important reason, to me anyway. I'm gonna go off for a second and fuck the links and quotes and reports and papers and just speak on this cause it's important.

When you buy bottled water, you're telling Coca Cola "Yes, I believe that I should pay for water, the most essential ingredient to all life on Earth." You're sending them a message that they can never go too far in their pursuit to fucking peddle their fucking wares no matter what.

Corporations will stop at nothing to sell you anything and everything possible. Clean drinking water should be a fucking basic human right, not an item to be pulled off the shelf and paraded around like an item to make you look health-conscious and chic. But because we stand by and let private entities steal our water and sell it back to us at ridiculous prices, they will pillage and plunder the resources of the world until there's no choice left but to pay 2 bucks a bottle for something that should be as free as air.