“If you’re living a normal life, you have nothing to worry about.”
That quote, which appears in this Atlantic article, seems on its surface a mere variation on the old untrue truism “If you’ve got nothing to hide you’ve got nothing to fear.”
Bad, but not news.
But as the headline and theme of the linked article clearly show, data gathering and selling is now truly beginning to affect every aspect of our lives. And is doing so in ways that are used to judge us as “fit” or “unfit” to function in society — ways that permit no appeal. Often it’s done in ways that permit no knowledge of what’s being done to us. Increasingly, the definition of “normal life” is being judged by secret data and proprietary algorithms.
Last month, after Dave quit paying me to blog, you guys rose grandly to the occasion via Amazon. May was the best non-Christmas month ever. Not enough to make up for the lost income, but it definitely went a good ways in that direction. For which, many smooches.
This month? Erm … not so much. I believe the word for it is “sucks.”
Amazon has its natural ups and downs, so normally I don’t worry. But nothing’s been normal since that email from BHM.
So I’m just asking once again. Whether you’re at a level where you’re Cookin’ With Beans and Rice (which is a great little Mormon cookbook, BTW) … or a level where you do your cooking in style with an Ecoque portable grill (which over the years has been the most popular item I’ve ever linked) … please do it via my Amazon links.
The drill again for those who don’t know, is that if you use any one of my Amazon links, any time you visit Amazon to purchase anything, then everything you purchase during that visit will earn me a commission.
Or you could just bookmark my main Amazon link and use it as your forever-entry to that great and vast marketplace o’ stuff. That’ll make your life — and mine! — easier.
Amazon may be having a pitsy month, but I did receive a mysteriously uplifting donation. Which came from a ghost. Not a Ghost as in the ranks of Freedom Outlawry (though perhaps that, too). But a ghost as in spectral haunting.
Or so the return address said. Really. A famous regional ghost from one of the most haunted parts of the country. I’ve sent thanks to the live person I’m guessing sent the donation. But just in case I guessed wrong … Thank you, Ms. Ghost.
And again … I’m not soliciting donations right now. Hoping to put that off for a while as I see how I do without. It was wonderful to get that ghostly boost, but if you want to donate, I’m pretty sure I’ll give you an “official” chance later. Perhaps soonish, as later goes. But later.
Cops have a new machine that lets them grab money off your prepaid cards right at roadside. But it’s not about the money. Really it isn’t. Of course not! It’s about … um … erm, identity theft! Yeah, that’s what it’s really about. The cops aren’t just getting more bold and efficient about stealing from you. They’re protecting you! (H/T Fred in comments)
Oopsie. Looks as if that gun “documentary” wasn’t the only one Couric and pals artfully edited to make their opponents look like dumbasses.
Well, yes, that’s almost exactly how it is being a writer. Except they forgot to add smoking three packs a day* and finding clever strategems (like counting the perforations on the acoustic tiles in the ceiling) to avoid actual, you know, work. (H/T jed in comments)
While this article leans anti-Peter Thiel and I’m way more inclined to think the world owes Thiel a debt for his creative thinking and his billionairish backing of it, it’s still a decent look at the man.
This is so cool! Completely fake, mind you. It’s a conceptual art project, not a real thing. But still … so weirdly, imaginatively, creepily cool: The Merrylin Cryptid Museum. (Best viewed by allowing all three scripts, if you happen to be browsing around with NoScript on.)
* No, the smoking and drinking are NOT ME. I have been known to count holes in ceiling tiles, but that was actually in the fifth grade, when I was trapped in class. These days I have more wide-ranging and interesting ways of work avoidance.
Oh, Katie, Katie, Katie. You went the full Rather. You should never go the full Rather. And at least he didn’t make phony-baloney excuses.
A recent study says that the threshhold-based blood tests used by states to determine whether legal pot users are impaired or not aren’t based in sound science. This wild-and-crazy pro-pot-user claim comes from those mad radicals at … the American Automobile Association. AAA.
John Tamny: if we love the big banks (“we” meaning not you and me, necessarily), we must love them enough to let them fail.
Speaking of smartphones (as we were earlier this week), reader F. sends this cheery word that F*c*b**k’s admission that it’s listening to you via your phone’s microphone while you’re using its app may be only part of the even creepier, much creepier, truth.
How much creepier can things get? Advanced tech is not the only thing we have to worry about. How about nuclear capability coordinated by eight-inch floppies??? For you young things, eight-inch floppies were already obsolete when I got my first computer in 1982. (H/T MtK)
I normally like to end links posts on a cheery, or at least a “lite” note. But there seems to be no joy in Mudville or anyplace else today. I need to go look for some cute dog videos or somesuch.
ADDED: Well, wait. I didn’t have time to look for any cute dog videos. But since today’s theme seems to be “creepy as all get out,” I remembered this story about … um, men who live as dogs. Yes, not cute. But the best I could do today, sorry. I suppose we’ll soon be hearing these “pups” demand special restroom privileges. (And a big thanks to Cat for turning my stomach.)
Just past the halfway mark of my six months without home Internet. Not too painful so far, right?
Its original purpose of lowering monthly payments to clear last year’s home-improvement debts kind of went kablooey when Dave quit paying for the blog. At that point, I emptied savings to clear nearly all that debt, figuring any unnecessary monthly payments would not be a good idea right now.
Kept a small emergency fund, of course. Always keep a small emergency fund unless you’re living in your car and eating out of Dumpsters.
The barefoot one didn’t manage to freeze Mama. Reading this article, I’m not sure whether Colton Harris-Moore is a naive young kid or a crass hustler who’s going to head right straight for trouble again when they release him from prison this summer.
“This Bud’s for you, America.” Another one to read mainly because it’s by George Will, who writes like a barbed angel. The whole business with Budweiser’s temporary name change is as pathetic as it is cynical.
Why are house prices soaring across this Great Land of Budweiser? One guess.
Be patient, citizens! That is an order! Your government is hard at work protecting you. (I do rather wonder what those TSA lines snaking up and down escalators look like. Or worse, feel like to stand in, especially if you’re stuck at the top or bottom where the stairs disappear. But not enough to want to go to an airport to see for myself.)
Speaking of gummint “protection,” be glad you didn’t run into this employee of the Federal Protective Service.
Militias going mainstream? So sez The Guardian with a surprising minimum of tsking about it.
But not to worry. Plenty of tsking is still to be had in government schools. This time over a rather creative paper gun.
We are shocked. Simply shocked. Facing minimum-wage hikes, Wendys is adding self-serve kiosks, with McDonalds not far behind. Yeah, kids; that minimum-wage that nobody thinks you’re worth is a real benefit, isn’t it?