Community Articles from 2017
8 Ways Technology Is Improving Your Health
by Karen Reed
Posted May 25, 2017
We hear all the time about how technology is bad for us. Since the introduction of computers, we spend more time sitting at a desk than moving around at work. We have created this sedentary lifestyle that is causing havoc in our overall life.
What if I were to tell you that technology has produced benefits? Would you believe me if I said that technology is good for your health?
Most of you wouldn’t look at first. Well, you may be able to think of a couple of ways that the computer has helped, but you are still stuck on all the negatives that ‘experts’ have shared in the past. The problem with the ‘experts’ is that they are only focused on the negatives. They haven’t looked at so many of the benefits. More…
The NSA’s leaked Windows hack caused more damage than just WannaCry
by Russell Brandom
Posted May 19, 2017
mWhen the ShadowBrokers first published the code for EternalBlue — an NSA exploit targeting Windows’ file-sharing protocol — researchers knew it was a bad bug. But most had no idea of the scale of the damage that would be caused by the vulnerability.
Much of that damage has only become visible in recent days, as a ransomware program dubbed “WannaCry” locked up computers from the UK’s National Health Service to the Russian Ministry of the Interior. Some of the damage caused by EternalBlue was harder to spot, caused by more discreet malware designed to infect and monetize computers without leaving a trace. As researchers look for clues as to WannaCry’s origins, more of those programs are coming to light, and giving us more information about the sheer scale of the damage caused by Eternal Blue. More…
Torching the Modern-Day Library of Alexandria
by James Somers
Posted May 1, 2017
You were going to get one-click access to the full text of nearly every book that’s ever been published. Books still in print you’d have to pay for, but everything else—a collection slated to grow larger than the holdings at the Library of Congress, Harvard, the University of Michigan, at any of the great national libraries of Europe—would have been available for free at terminals that were going to be placed in every local library that wanted one.
At the terminal you were going to be able to search tens of millions of books and read every page of any book you found. You’d be able to highlight passages and make annotations and share them; for the first time, you’d be able to pinpoint an idea somewhere inside the vastness of the printed record, and send somebody straight to it with a link. Books would become as instantly available, searchable, copy-pasteable—as alive in the digital world—as web pages. More…
A Bank Even a Socialist Could Love
By David Dayen
Posted April 21, 2017
Wall Street banks have used shady financial instruments to extract billions from unsuspecting localities, helping devastate places like Jefferson County, Ala. Making the wrong bet with debt, like the Kentucky county that built a jail but couldn’t fill it with prisoners, can cripple communities.
Even under the best conditions, municipal bonds—an enormous, $3.8 trillion market—can cost taxpayers. According to Ellen Brown, the intellectual godmother of the public banking movement, debt-based financing often accounts for around half the total cost of an infrastructure project. For example, the eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge cost $6.3 billion to build, but paying off the bonds will bring the price tag closer to $13 billion, according to a 2014 report from the California legislature.
Public banks reduce costs in two ways. First, they can offer lower interest rates and fees because they’re not for-profit businesses trying to maximize returns. Second, because the banks are publicly owned, any profit flows back to the city or state, virtually eliminating financing costs and providing governments with extra revenue at no cost to taxpayers. More…
We Are the Parasite
By James Hunter
Posted April 20, 2017
The human race has become a parasite that is killing its host. The host is Gaia. This is the central political fact of our times.
Two important political ramifications derive from the above fact. First, it is pointless to take the superficial struggles between Democrats and Republicans seriously. Both parties are dominated by the parasitic mentality. The capitalist dogma, and specifically the neoliberal consensus, which is not seriously questioned by either party, is parasitic to the core.
Trump, for all his many and very real faults, promised that he would seek a rapprochement with Russia, and a de-escalation of the cold war. His recent attack on Syria, which brings us much closer to nuclear war with Russia, proves that this was just idle talk. The shadow government owns him now, as it owned Hillary from the beginning. All the major players within the two major parties will be brought under the control of the shadow government, or be destroyed. It is imperative that a power base outside either party be established. More…
What a State-Owned Bank Can Do for New Jersey
by Ellen Brown
Posted April 15, 2017
Consider the possibilities, for example, for funding infrastructure. Like most states today, New Jersey suffers from serious budget problems, limiting its ability to make needed improvements. By funding infrastructure through its own bank, the state can cut infrastructure costs roughly in half, since 50 percent of the cost of infrastructure, on average, is financing. Again, a state-owned bank can do this by leveraging its capital, with any shortfall covered very cheaply in the wholesale markets.
In effect, the state can borrow at bankers’ rates of 1 percent or less, rather than at market rates of 4 to 6 percent for taxable infrastructure bonds (not to mention the roughly 12 percent return expected by private equity investors). The state can borrow at 1 percent and turn a profit even if it lends for local development at only 2 percent—one-half to two-thirds below bond market rates. More…
Get to Know the BATS: Teachers Fighting Privatization
By Marla Kilfoyle and Melissa Tomlinson
Posted April 15, 2017
With the appointment of billionaire school privatization advocate Betsy DeVos to US Secretary of Education, the fight for education justice has stepped into hyper speed. We have never needed solidarity like we do now. Get to know one network of teachers who are partnering with others and taking things into their own hands.
Chris Christie once told a Badass Teacher that he was “sick” of people like her. It was his response to the question posed by her sign: Schools in NJ are among the top 3 in the country. Why does Governor Christie portray our schools as failure factories? “You know what, “he said, “I’m tired of this. I’m so sick of you people. What do you want?”He pointed his finger in her face, “just go do your job.” More…
Real Freedom Through Food and Water Self-Sufficiency
by Paul A. Phillips
Posted April 6, 2017
In recent years a number of practical, innovative methodologies for cultivating and harvesting food and water have arisen. These small setups have allowed individuals and groups to be independent and self-sufficient.
They offer healthier alternative lifestyles to our electronic-based daily existences allowing us to connect to Mother Nature. Further, they provide alternatives to the big food and big agricultural corporate-based profit-driven owned and controlled industrial monocultures with their health and life-threatening toxins:
These food and agricultural mega-corporations with their mass-produced junk foods, synthetic pesticide toxins and genetically modified crops causing diseases and allergies, threatening species diversity and ecosystems… have failed to save the world. -If allowed to go on they could bring disastrous consequences for all of us. More…
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