Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Why I Write In Here

There may be some misconceptions with some of the posts I have made on here and why I choose to post them, so I wanted to make a little explanation of somethings.

1. The reason I put my name behind every thing I said is because as the time of writing them I stand behind everything, sure ideas change and it's important to embrace those changes but I am honest. I would hope that these opinions do not alter anyone's opinion of me as a person as I respect every other opinion as equal to mine.

2. I am not anti-government AT ALL, I'm anti-poorly/inefficiently run government and truly believe more people need to utilize the tools available to talk about this publicly.

3. I am not anti-education! It's 2014 and there are new ways to educate, it frustrates me that some of the brightest minds are going un-nurtured because they have no opportunity to learn what actually interests them or important "life skill" information.

4. It's frustrating seeing the media manipulate the public into believing they only have two choices when voting in an election.

5. In my day to day life I notice very little discussion of these issues, so this is my place to vent.

The world is a pretty great place and there has never been a better time to live on this planet, it's my goal to help in however I can to keep it this way.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Schools Hate Internet Freedom

As a lifelong resident of the Detroit area it saddens me that 70% of students within the Detroit city limits lack any Internet connection at home, this also most likely means that they lack Technology skills that are NECESSARY for them to exist in the current economic climate. I have no desire to go into the clusterfuck that is every aspect of Detroit Public Schools, but there is a way to disrupt that system that is leaving so many kids disadvantaged, and that is Broadband Internet Access for all at home. The sooner the well-meaning citizens figure out that teachers, administrators and government officials either really don't care or are burned out about educating the youth, the sooner they can be more open minded to how Internet access can help to change this.

To think that the public education sector and many private sectors don't have a hand in trying to block things like this from happening would be incredibly naive. School districts continue to pay MILLIONS of dollars yearly to the fucking evil Textbook industry for information that can easily be found on the Internet for free, Telecom companies continue to charge ridiculously unfair prices for Internet access (And why isn't Internet Access considered a Public Utility?), Content Control Software developers make MILLIONS on school district contracts to provide an extremely easy to bypass content blocking system and these are only a few of the obvious money pits that Public Schooling ultimately gets involved in. The cause of this is lack of education, community apathy, out of touch administrators, resistance to change and greedy corporate scumbags.

One of my favorite things about my University experience was hearing almost every professor explain how inaccurate and bad Wikipedia is for the educational process, at the time I knew they were speaking out of ignorance and history has proven just how right I was. I'm not sure if they felt this way because they were old and didn't bother trying to understand how and why it works or if they felt threatened as educators by a free online service aimed at providing quick and easy information on anything. The accuracy of Wikipedia has been seen as equal or superior to the Academic Superpower of Encyclopedia Britannica, while the methods used to measure this are hardly enough to state this definitively, it's clear it is more accurate than not because many in the Wiki community take it very seriously. I consider Wikipedia to be one of humankind's greatest creations, yet many of those in Education still give the simplistic argument of "can't anyone edit it?" not realizing that is the entire reason it works.

I'm a frequent Wikipedia editor and contributor as I believe that currently information and knowledge only have a perceived economic value and no actual economic value. Educating oneself used to require attending a school or University, purchasing expensive journals owned and sold through said Universities, purchasing books or going to a Library with a finite information, but this is clearly no longer the case. Don't get it twisted, the classroom setting works for many many people and shouldn't be abandoned, but the fact that smarter and cheaper supplements to this educational format aren't used is foolish and creating many many problems.

My previous example of the continued use of textbooks to provide knowledge is emblematic of the apathetic, self-serving attitude of those in charge of education in America. They are out of date, contain archaic and hard to understand explanations of relatively simple concepts and often do not provide any original thought or material.

When I tell people I learned significantly more from the Internet than I ever did at any point in school, I often get weird confused looks that someone can learn something in a different way than they did. Recently I was researching Sierpinski Triangles and I came across an amazing page that explains a very complicated subject in a contemporary and interesting way. Note the description of a mathematical format as the "straight ballin'" form, something that would appall traditional Academia but actually makes the subject more relatable to the average reader. The topic is not the easiest to understand without a bit of background in mathematics, but the fact this incredible information would never be presented in a classroom setting is the problem.

All of this comes down to one thing, and it's one of the ideals I hold most valuable, that is it is the Earth's benefit for the Internet to remain 100% free of censorship, regulation and profit.

Edward Snowden made a claim that "the Internet is the most important invention in all of human history" and explained how much it meant to him and changed his life, I share the same views. The Internet expanded my mind and made me think about things in new ways I never would have otherwise. Living in America is weird because those in charge are so out of touch with the opinions of those they govern, especially those of another generation. The institutional power structure of these groups are constantly threatened by the openness of a Free Internet so it is in their best interest to stifle that when at all possible.

Remember how many people demonized Snowden and used his age as a reason, there is a war on youth and the Internet and it's up to the outspoken to convince those who aren't a part of this culture that the value is too important to give up on.

Bill Gates' Attitude Toward Charity and Broadband Access Is Misguided....And It's Shared by Millions of Americans (Part 1)

Last year Bill Gates made comments regarding how providing free/improved broadband Internet access to impoverished nations is not as important as providing treatment for the Malaria epidemic. If you think about this only in the short term it is 100% correct, but if you move further away from the picture it becomes drastically altered, and instead should be seen like a band-aid trying to heal a gaping bleeding wound. It's shocking that someone as bright and caring as Bill Gates doesn't see the bigger picture here.

America has this weird love affair with charity that sometimes results in creating bigger problems in the long run because those donating and administrating the charity believe they are doing good while missing the same bigger picture that Bill Gates fails to see. Think about every time a person, a company or a corporation donates mass amounts of clothing to third world countries. The result for the person donating is a good feeling in how they are helping others and giving a shirt to a poor kid who cannot afford one. What no one asks or thinks about is what is the actual result of this action? The result is that these countries have no economic incentive to create any sort of textile market or industry, which is one less potential job for the poor.

The previous example is similar to the statement Bill Gates made, which upon hearing makes complete sense but upon further examination is troublesome. Don't get me wrong, providing them with Malaria vaccines is a valid charity and definitely worthy of donations and support, but it doesn't fix the problem, only individual cases. Providing free or low-cost Internet access opens doors to these communities that could provide them with information on how to reduce the spread of malaria or how to create the vaccines used.

I truly believe that in the past 15 years 1st World nations have had something of an educational boom because of technology, and although the system of sharing information is severely neutered because of obsolete and evil patent laws, the ease of access to information is still exponentially greater than it ever has been.

Contrary to popular belief by the conservative, old and racist communities, Third-World nations full of "dark" people contain just as many brilliant and talented people as America, China, Japan or any other country, the only difference is their impact is greatly diminished due to lacking access to information. Enabling cheap or low-cost access to this information is the greatest charity we could provide to these countries and could result in many problems being solved by those within their own community.

The suggestion I have to those who still want to help their fellow man is to concentrate on helping the less fortunate within your own country and more specifically in your own community. In my job I assist many low-income students who lack Internet access at home, requiring them to come to campus or a library (often using slow/unreliable public transportation) in order to do simple things like applying for a job, paying a bill, registering for a class or typing a paper.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Cicada 3301 Update, Possible Anonymous Affiliation

The link I posted in my last entry was removed from Craigslist shortly after posting, thankfully I saved a screenshot which I will share in the near future. Unfortunately many within the Cicada community are keeping their communication about the entire thing private to the rest of the Internet.

The other interesting development that happened is a page set up by Anonymous now has a "3301" link and a timer counting down until January 5th, 2014 on the front page. The addition of this is curious as nothing has been stated outright about this or anything else.

I would also be weary of any news reports stating that someone "figured out Cicada" as their authenticity and knowledge have been questioned by many.

The best rule of thumb when dealing with Cicada information (including things posted here) is DTA! I try to only report what I believe is true but this subject matter makes it incredibly difficult.