21 November 2014

'My Favorite Apps' : Zoe's Secret Style

. @ZoesSecretStyle. @PicsArtMobile. @SurfCityApps #app. #blog. #pic.

From our partner blog, Zoe's Secret Style.

Hello lovelies! These are my favorite apps (all free of course - at least on iPhones). I have a lot more but figured they aren't as interesting.

1) Bloglovin - I swear I read blogs during every single spare second I have. The down side to that is that I always run out of blogs to read, and its very rare that I like the "popular" ones.. Please comment your Bloglovin URLs - I'm desperate!

2) Twitter - when I'm not on Bloglovin, this is where I am: tweeting, RTing and reading tweets (and finding more blogs to read).

3) Pinterest - I'm usually only here early in the morning before everyones tweeting and Twitter is dead. (I live in Israel which is GMT+2), so usually only on my school bus.

4) Depression by Surf City Apps - they have a lot of hypnosis apps that I love listening to. They're about 30 minutes each, and make me feel better instantly while I'm feeling depressed. I also have their Sleep Well app that helps me fall asleep.

5) 8Tracks - I love discovering new music. If you're new to 8tracks, basically how it works is that people create playlists and you listen to them. You can also 'like' playlists so the app knows what kind of playlists to recommend.

6) PicsArt - my favorite editing app! Offers lots of different services, filters, fonts etc.

I also love WhatsApp, but didn't know where to put it as its an essential for me and not for fun (well.. also).

Do you use any of these? What do you think of them and what are your favorite apps?

Zoe xx

By Zoe - More articles by Zoe

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The Libertarian Road to Egalitarianism

. @dsdamato. #liberty. #equality. #occupy. #wearethepeople.

A recent National Bureau of Economic Research study by Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman finds that “the top 0.1% of [American] families now own roughly the same share of wealth as the bottom 90%.” Furthermore, the study shows that the “recovery” we keep hearing about hasn’t reached the middle class, with only those atop the economic pyramid seeing its benefits.

With a narrow sliver of the populace hoarding so much of the country’s wealth, policy wonks and academics busy themselves pointing fingers and proffering solutions. Predictably, free markets come under fire as the source of widening inequalities of wealth and income. As exponents of deregulation and free markets, libertarians frequently find ourselves charged with living in a fantasy world, tuning out problems of inequality.

We libertarians do it to ourselves: When the subject inevitably comes up, too many of us become palpably uneasy, defensively insisting that inequality just isn’t a problem, that what we ought to look at is standard of living or some other metric. “Capitalism is great for the poor — we swear it!” Libertarians must accept the cold fact that inequality is a very big problem indeed.

But we needn’t regard inequality as a weak point in our arguments for economic freedom, or as an issue on which we simply cannot win. Existing economic relations are not the product of freedom of exchange or legitimate private property. Libertarians actually hold the high ground on the inequality issue. Liberty and equality in fact complement and reinforce one another, the former naturally resulting in the latter.

Individualist anarchists like Lysander Spooner held that “extremes in both wealth and poverty” resulted from “positive legislation,” substituting arbitrary laws for natural laws and “establish[ing] monopolies and privileges.” In capitalism, Spooner argued, the owners of capital receive special power in the economy — power having nothing to do with simple freedom of production, exchange, and competition. Considered holistically, state intervention redounds to the benefit of the rich and politically connected, economic elites with special access to those who write and implement the rules we are all forced to live by.

These interventions are not perfect, and certainly the country’s system of monopoly capitalism is overlaid with a veneer of measures ostensibly intended to protect workers, consumers, and the poor. But no such measure ever compromises the fundamental purpose of state intervention — to dispossess rightful owners, putting the multitudes at the mercy of employers. The historical purpose of the state, in short, is permanent class war, the use of state power to insulate a socioeconomic nobility.

The political left is thus quite right about inequality, even while tending to be quite wrong about freedom, individual rights, and markets. Market anarchists favor both freedom and equality, espousing a stateless society in which the ultimate law is equality of freedom and authority.

Genuine open competition is a dissolving and dispersive force. Libertarians should stop making apologies for today’s staggering inequalities as if we arrived at this place via laissez faire and sovereignty of the individual.

By David S. D'AmatoMore articles by David S. D'Amato

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18 November 2014

An Introduction to Techno-Liberation

. @hjbentham. #catalyst. #futurism. #transhumanism. #liberation.

The following as an extract from my 2013 pamphlet, Catalyst: A Techno-Liberation Thesis, available in print and Kindle at Amazon.

“The gravest danger to freedom lies at the perilous crossroads of radicalism and technology”
George W. Bush
The gravest danger to hegemony and oppression lies at the transformational crossroads of liberation and technology. An emerging technology, when allowed to cause an unguided explosion of benefits, has the greatest potential of all things to emancipate oppressed and deprived groups in the world and defeat injustices.

“BioLuddites”, as they are interrogated by James Hughes in his 2004 book Citizen Cyborg, believe the vital emerging technologies of the near future will only increase inequality and deprivation in the world. This thesis makes a raw argument for the exact opposite outcome, by greeting a maximally free and unregulated explosion of radical emerging technologies in the world as the only solution to world inequality. By promoting a long-term historical understanding of the democratization of technology, current global social trends and the democratic possibilities of several emerging technologies, the liberating potential of technology and the opportunity to resist oppression with technology become undeniable. The case argued here is that some of the various technology explosions, already in their formative state now, can be predicted to reduce inequality between states and sections of society rather than worsening it.

The prediction argued in this thesis, namely that a few great world-transforming technologies in coming decades will potentially liberate and empower people who are disadvantaged, is inspired by the democratic success of the internet, which outgrew the ambitions of its creators. The internet is now the main front for giving voices to the voiceless, and offers new subtle means of empowerment and resistance to the weak. It is time to recognize how technology is starting to play an undeniable role in liberating and empowering people and is not simply a transitory weapon that can be borrowed by the liberators. It may be time for all breeds of progressives to take a more enthusiastic stance on emerging technologies set to shake society in fundamental ways. Let us at least add to the progressive narrative a consideration of how various other imminent tech explosions, unguided, could be massively liberating like the internet.

Emerging technologies are reaching the point at which their potential can radically exceed the expectations of their creators and owners, and no longer serve elite interests even if they are created to benefit elites. Key technologies, even if they are hiding with little publicity as yet, could be set to become the prime instruments of liberation in coming decades. If so, then adopting a view that favors the relevant technological developments and rejects constraints and ethical controls over them will benefit progressive interests tremendously. This book is not advocating a techno-centric worldview or techno-utopia, nor is it part of an existing program or utopian sect. It merely posits “liberation technologies” as big arena of impending global liberation, especially now that the internet has already shown its capacity to empower people. The internet is not a blip in technology that just happened to accidentally empower people. It is part of a real trend of technology progressing fast enough to outgrow its creators’ initial goals and then work to spontaneously liberate the common man.

This book contains a thesis in four chapters, the first two looking at “is” questions about techno-liberation and the second two looking at “ought” questions. The thesis is structured to add increased detail and academic backup to support arguments I have already presented in articles aimed at a variety of progressive and futurist readers. In the first chapter of the argument, “Equal Technology”, I assert that the overwhelming consequence of the present emerging technologies shall be the empowerment, not disempowerment, of the common man and a tremendous volume of the impoverished people residing in disadvantaged countries. No matter how elitist and monopolistic the creators of an easily circulated technology are, the ease with which it can be circulated will result in it becoming widely available and empowering a vast majority of people, decisively advantaging the poor and deprived sections of the world. In such a situation, ethicists and others who wish to constrain this chaotic empowerment for whatever reasons could risk being dismissed as ideologues for oligopoly and the further deprivation of mankind.

In the second chapter of the argument, I look at what I call “open-borders technology”, that is, existing technologies that delegitimize the current idea of the state and allow people to reach out and form values that transcend the state. This is the present greatest trend of techno-liberation that is visible in the world today, and which will and should be imitated in other leaps of techno-liberation. While I do not postulate a new form of global governance emerging from media advances, I do accept that the political geography for alternate forms of governance to be tested is emerging.

Third, looking at global social trends and impending technological opportunities that will intersect those trends, I advise some emerging targets for technology-powered liberation. The most significant of these, and unavoidable in the near future, is something I call “hard-leaks”; leaks not of information as a result of the information explosion gained by the internet, but leaks of technology as a result of miniaturization and moves towards making technology user-friendly. This will include the leaking of formerly guarded production processes and equipment to disadvantaged groups and states in the world, eliminating the root cause of the worsening global wealth disparity.

The fourth chapter of the argument focuses on the justification for taking any involved risks by endorsing trends of techno-liberation. Massive risks are certainly involved in techno-liberation, but none are greater than the risk to the advantaged and oppressive parties in the world who will seek to contain and control all the technology for themselves. Massive corporations and bully-states, prone to wage war on weaker parties, are the main ones to be seriously threatened by trends of techno-liberation. This is good news for anyone disadvantaged or impoverished in the world. A level playing field between the rich and poor parties in the world makes global equality more possible. Further, the risk is not “ours” to take: it should be up to the most disadvantaged people in the world to decide for themselves if they are ready to take the risks of techno-liberation. “We”, the people engorged on technological advantages, have no paternal role to deny them anything for any reason.

In short, decisive unchecked explosions in emerging technologies should not be feared by people who favor the emancipation and empowerment of weak groups and nations in the present global regime. In fact, such explosions should automatically be embraced for being the only media with which we can empower and liberate the weak in an age increasingly dominated by the unpredictable consequences of technology. Unpredictability and chaos upset only the incumbent powers and regimes in the world, and people who have a stake in them surviving. Further, unpredictability and chaos work in favor of disempowered and oppressed groups, and this makes any unpredicted outcomes spelled by unrestrained advancements tolerable.

By Harry J. Bentham – More articles by Harry J. Bentham

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The Liquid Mind – Humanity Uploading

. @wavechronicle. #transhumanism. #humanityplus. #uploading.

This is a top level article, you are not going to find a “how to” anywhere within this article. It is a way to start a discussion in moving thinking in a different direction.

The mentality of uploading a human brain to a mainframe and believing that this is mind uploading is a concept I simply do not believe in. Uploading in that manner is not improving humanity or saving humanity.  My goal is an attempt to move transhumanists and futurists into a different direction and hopefully in a direction that may actually work in Humanity Uploading which should be the real goal, it is not just saving the information within the human mind but also saving the special individual within that mind.

We need to move past old thinking and scifi movies. We need to be more realistic on all the inputs and outputs of the human brain. This image below is a map of the human mind from Buzzle.com Human Brain Diagram.

This is a very simplistic image of the brain which should help folks understand that a hard wired computer cannot handle all the inputs and outputs of the human mind. A number of people will point out that the human brain does send out electrical pulses but they forget the chemical reactions that happen to help to create those electrical pulses and it is those chemicals that we need to duplicate so we can achieve the real goal of Humanity Uploading.

We need to focus on how we can incorporate or mimic chemicals within the human mind. The information I am going to be covering is from the following website: Humanillnesses.com Brain Chemistry

What we need to find is a computerized neurotransmifter that lets computerized brain cells communicate with each other and therefore allows the computerized brain to function properly. The reason why I listed the humanillnesses.com website and article is that we will have the same issues that human beings have, if we are able to succeed in Human Uploading. You cannot ignore the fact that humans have mental disorders and those disorders are not going to go away in a computerized form. To succeed in Human Uploading we must be able to manage all of the inputs and outputs to prevent the computerized mind from going insane or becoming out of balance.
I believe the only way to successfully perform Humanity Uploading is a move to liquid computing. The concept of liquid computing has existed for at least a decade if not more. When I was doing my research for this article, the oldest article that I found was from Harvard Magazine circa 2001.
The next item I came across is labeled liquid computing but is more liquid cooling, from Inventor Spot Liquid Computing circa 2005.

Credit: Austin Bowler: John Campbell’s first liquid computer

The next article that I came across is from BBC News IBM Brain Chips circa 2011. The overall goal stated in the article is:
The system is capable of “rewiring” its connections as it encounters new information, similar to the way biological synapses work. Researchers believe that by replicating that feature, the technology could start to learn. Cognitive computers may eventually be used for understanding human behaviour as well as environmental monitoring.

IBM Brain Chip

The last article I found is again from  BBC News IBM Unveils Computer Fed By Electronic Blood. This is computing going in the right direction.

Is liquid fuel the key to zettascale computing? Dr Patrick Ruch with IBM’s test kit

One of the main quotes from the article that I like is:

The human brain packs phenomenal computing power into a tiny space and uses only 20 watts of energy – an efficiency IBM is keen to match.

A liquid computer is a perfectly good solution to Humanity Uploading.

Sources Cited

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14 November 2014

Drug War 'Isn't About Drugs'

@kevincarson1. #silkroad. #silkroadbust. #LegalizeIt.

On the morning of November 6 the US Federal Bureau of Investigation trumpeted its takedown of the Silk Road 2.0 website and the arrest of alleged operator Blake Benthall.

In so doing the FBI demonstrated, once again, that the War on Drugs has nothing to do with anything its propagandists claim it’s about. If drug criminalization is a public safety issue — about fighting violent crime and gangs, or preventing overdoses and poisoning — shutting down Silk Road is one of the dumbest things the feds can do. Silk Road was a secure, anonymous marketplace in which buyers and sellers could do business withou the risk of violence associated with street trade. And the seller reputational system meant that drugs sold on Silk Road were far purer and safer than their street counterparts.

This is true of all the other selling points for the Drug War. Hillary Clinton, in possibly one of the stupidest remarks ever uttered by a human being, says legalizing narcotics is a bad idea “because there’s too much money in it” — referring, presumably, to the lucrative drug trade and the cartels fighting over it.

But there’s so much money in it, and the cartels fight to control it, only because it’s illegal. That’s what happens when you criminalize stuff people want to buy: You create black markets with much higher prices, which organized crime gangs fight to control. Alcohol prohibition created the gangster culture of the 1920s. It’s been with us ever since. When Prohibition was repealed, organized crime just shifted to fighting over other illegal markets. The more consensual, non-violent activities are made illegal, the larger the portion of the economy that’s turned into black markets for gangs to fight over.

In related news, the Mexican drug cartels are reportedly making less money since the legalization or decriminalization of pot in several American states. I wonder why.

Perhaps the biggest joke is that the War on Drugs is fought to reduce drug use. No doubt many people involved in the domestic enforcement side of the Drug War actually believe this, but the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand’s doing. The narcotics trade is an enormous source of money for the criminal gangs that control it, and guess what? The US intelligence community is one of the biggest criminal drug gangs in the world, and the global drug trade is a great way for it to raise money to do morally repugnant stuff it can’t get openly funded by Congress. It’s been twenty years since journalist Gary Webb revealed the Reagan cabinet’s collusion with drug cartels in marketing cocaine inside the United States, to raise money for the right-wing Contra death squads in Nicaragua — a revelation he was gaslighted and driven to suicide for by the US intelligence community and mainstream press.

Now we hear that the US is “losing the drug war in Afghanistan.” Well, obviously — it’s a war that’s designed to be lost. The Taliban were so easy to overthrown in the fall of 2001 because they really did try to stamp out opium poppy cultivation, and with a fair degree of success. This didn’t sit well with the Afghan populace, which traditionally makes a lot of money growing poppies. But the Northern Alliance — which the United States turned into the national government of Afghanistan — was quite friendly to poppy cultivation in its territory. When the Taliban was overthrown, poppy and heroin cultivation resumed normal levels. Putting the US in charge of a “war on drugs in Afghanistan” is like putting Al Capone in charge of alcohol prohibition.

Besides, actually “winning” the drug war would mean ending it. And who in US domestic law enforcement wants to cut off the source of billions in federal aid and military equipment, militarized SWAT teams and unprecedented surveillance and civil forfeiture powers? This is a war meant to go on forever, just like the so-called War on Terror.

The state always encourages moral panic and “wars” on one thing or another in order to keep us afraid, so we’ll give it more power over our lives. Don’t believe its lies.

By Kevin Carson - More articles by Kevin Carson

Originally published at the Center for a Stateless Society on 7 November 2014

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