Quick break from my regularly-scheduled monster deadline.
AMERICAN WINTER reveals the alarming consequences of the sharp decline of the middle class, the cuts to social services, and the fracturing of the American Dream. By documenting the personal stories of families who are suffering in the economic fallout, our hope is that viewers will come away feeling that the families profiled in the film are much like their neighbors, their relatives, or even themselves. This film gives desperate families a voice, and it has the potential to become a powerful tool to educate, inspire, empower, and move audiences and communities to action. We need to get this film out now, when questions about budget cuts, taxation, the plight of the middle-class, and funding for the social safety net are in the national discussion. (From the Kickstarter page)
Here’s a 30-second animation from NASA, published at Mother Jones, showing global temperature data from 1880 – 2011. Pretty terrifying.
Saudis may not have oil to export by 2030. Interesting to see this in Al Jazeera. Of note: the Saudis won’t be out of oil by 2030, they’ll be consuming it all domestically due to demand growing at 8%/yr; all Saudi natural gas is already consumed domestically; electricity and water are free to Saudi public-sector workers and residents, and gas is heavily subsidized, which cost the government $80 billion in 2011 and which could mushroom up to $400 billion per year by 2035.
Deconstructing The ‘Guns Mean Freedom’ Meme gets it wrong. People who collect weapons in order to defend themselves against the government aren’t worried about the Air Force, they’re worried about the local police and possibly the National Guard. If things ever broke down to the point that Americans have to worry about defending themselves against the Air Force, Second Amendment memes are moot.
New AIDS-like disease found in U.S., Asia – I bookmarked this last month but its worth noting again in case you haven’t seen it before.
Here’s a browser plugin that stops ad networks & other sites from tracking you around the web. Here’s a response to a comment of my own about it, stating that it won’t stop Facebook and other social networks from tracking you. (Disclaimer: I use Google Analytics to track Mythodrome website traffic. It tells me how many people come here, when they’ve come, if they followed a link to get here, and what cities they live in, among other things. It’s how I know if someone has linked to me, and which articles people are reading most often.)
Finally, this is old, but super interesting (especially if you dig John Robb’s pre-Resiliency work): Misinformation campaign targets USA TODAY reporter, editor. Part of the work I do as a “web designer” (more like “web everythinger”) includes what’s called “search engine optimization,” or SEO. At its core SEO is the art and science of getting a website to climb the ranks of Google’s (and other search engines’) algorithm so that it shows up near the top of the first page of search results.
But a search term that brings up a client’s website also brings up all kinds of other shit, like individual tweets, forum posts, comments on blogs, actual blog posts, Facebook pages, Wikipedia pages… on and on. Sometimes this other stuff gets really ugly and it makes the client look like a total asswipe, or worse, whether he is or not — it may be the endless spewings of a spurned, unmedicated, bipolar ex-girlfriend. Intervention is necessary to save the client from looking like an asswipe, and this may include contacting forum owners, blog owners, filing complaints with Wikipedia or whomever, in order to have inaccurate and ugly information removed. This process is called “online reputation management.”
And then there are companies which specialize in smearing people and/or competitors by destroying their online reputations through blog posts, tweets, forum posts, etc. The USA Today reporter and editor in question were, evidently, the targets of an online reputation smear campaign after publishing an article about info ops in Iraq and Afghanistan, which apparently resulted in Congressional calls for a probe.
In a nutshell, what’s going on here is reputation warfare, a subset of information warfare, conducted against two individual mainstream journalists operating within US borders, presumably by a Pentagon contractor that specializes in information operations. I’ve seen this type of thing against fringe folk, particular at Catherine Austin Fitts’ long-defunct forum, but not in the mainstream and certainly never in so blatantly obvious a way: a misinformation campaign that can be so easily identified as such is sloppy and counterproductive. This is a Very Big Deal for more reasons than I’m even going to try to get into here… suffice to say there are entire dissertations in multiple disciplines to be written about this one incident.