Archive for the ‘Internet’ Category

Hey readers,

While I am working on some more meaningful posts to get on here, some Burning Man oriented ones to get people ready for the impending Burn, I wanted to add a short personal post.

As most of you are not aware I was just given a paid position as a writer for The Leaf Online, a very excellent online cannabis newspaper. You can find all my posts here, including many of my cannabinoid profiles from this blog. I am trying to find a way to cross post all my Leaf articles to this blog, but haven’t quite figured out a good way yet. Until then you’ll all need to go over there to read my cannabis posts (though some will still end up here, such as my cannabinoid profile on CBN).

I’m ever grateful for the opportunity and support The Leaf has given me, but never fear, Well Suited For Life will not be forgotten either. I’d love it if you read over and share around my Leaf posts, especially this one about the much-discussed cannabis strain Charlotte’s Web.

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Hey readers sorry for my extended hiatus. I had to have surgery on my broken wrist, which failed to heal right in the cast, which took some time. Then I transferred jobs to a new location, closer to home. But mostly I have been busy writing in my novel and building my own computer. This is my first time ever building a computer myself and it was a real learning experience, one I am ever grateful to my friends for. It is only thanks to the good graces of my housemate that I figured it all out and put it all together.

If you are like most people, including me, the idea of building your own computer seems daunting. For me the biggest issue was I had no clue what hardware actually was required for a computer, and as a kicker the hardware has changed since I last fuxed with upgrading hardware in my old desktop 8 years ago. You are looking at a man who has been using the same laptop with Windows Vista since before Obama was president. This upgrade has been long overdue.

So what are the core components of a computer that you will need for it to run? There are between eight to ten parts, depending on what you view as necessary.

1. Case – You need something to put all that expensive hardware in.

2. Motherboard – This is what everything in the computer attaches to, it IS the computer, for lack of better words.

3. Power Supply – This part converts the power from your wall socket into power usable by your computer.

4. Central processing unit (CPU) – This is the heart and brain of your computer.

5. Random-access memory (RAM) – RAM is short term memory used for processes, as opposed to longterm memory used for storage.

6. Drives – There are two main categories of drives, Disc Drives and Storage Drives. Disc drives hold CDs, DVDs, Blurays and other media to access the data on those discs. Storage drives provide longterm data storage to hold files on your computer.

7. Graphics Card – While you do not NEED a graphics card if you want to play any sort of video games or use adobe photoshop, or really do much more than word processing and surf the web then you want a graphics card. Motherboards come with a built in graphics card but they pale in the comparison to having an add-on graphics card.

8. Cooling Device – Computers get very hot and they do not like that. Heat will damage your parts and you should strive to keep your PC as cool as possible.

9. PERIPHERALS | Monitor, Mouse, Keyboard – The monitor is what you are currently using to read this text (textception…) I typed this on a keyboard and clicked post with my mouse. None of this would have been possible without peripherals, which is anything that lets you interact with the computer. It is possible to have a computer that runs without any of this, like a server.

10. OPTIONAL | Sound cards, wireless cards, more fans – While you can get a sound card to attach to your motherboard, like a video card, they are utterly superlative and not worth the money. Wireless cards are nice but I prefer to be hardwired into my Internet to avoid disconnects while gaming. I’m not using either of these parts in my build. I am waiting for 3 more LED blue glowing case fans while will both keep my computer cool and keep my computer cool.

 

Now, that doesn’t look so daunting does it? Just nine things really, and some are obvious things like a case, mouse, monitor, etc. You may even have some parts you can reuse from your old computer (monitors, extra hard drives for storage). The next major question is how do I pick the right parts? I used two main websites to figure this out, reddit/buildapc and Tom’s Hardware. These same sites conveniently have links to where you can buy parts. Once I found these sites it became a matter of figuring out my budget and the best configuration of parts I could afford.

Once all your parts arrive it is time to build that computer. I advise buying all your parts on the same day so they arrive around the same time, this will maximize the amount of time you have to trouble shoot and possibly return parts. I had to wait on a second motherboard because I bought an AMD motherboard for my Intel CPU, a totally avoidable newbie mistake that you can prevent by making sure your motherboard is compatible with your CPU. Most returns will be with a refund unless you manage to damage the part; I got a full refund and didn’t even have to pay to ship it back.

Before you build your computer, perhaps even before buying your parts I would recommend watching two videos produced by Newegg. These videos on how to choose your parts and then build your computer are very informative and accessible, as long as you can get past the smug looking tech douchebag with a soul patch. There is a third part on how to install Windows but I am doing my best to remain neutral regarding the OS since there are many valid options. Sure there is Windows and Mac, but there is also Ubuntu, Linux, and Linux’s grandaddy Unix. While Windows kind of dominates the gaming market you can always just run a Windows partition on an Ubuntu or Linux machine.

And that’s how you build a computer.

Hey readers, I’ve recently begun wondering if my blog might be too diverse in focus for my readership and I am debating limiting my focus on this blog and starting another one for other posts or possibly something else. As a person who has many focuses in life and does many things I wanted a blog that reflects that, but I worry people might feel spammed with posts that are not relevant to their interests (you are here for DIY but I just keep posting about politics, or vice versa).

Here is your chance and your place to tell me what you come here for and what you’d like to see more of. You can choose up to 3 options on the poll and even add your own options if I missed something.

If you’re a comic book fan you’re probably familiar with the DC comics group of supervillians called the Legion of Doom. That is not the Legion I am talking about. Lex Luther, Bizarro, and The Riddler didn’t start a grunge rock band.

The Legion of Doom is a duo of music producer Chad Blinman and Trevor Keith (frontman of punk band Face to Face). After Face to Face broke up in 2004, the Legion was formed as a way to experiment in new genre-redefining ways. Their first album, Incorporated, was a beautiful blend of hiphop, hardcore punk, emo, metal, and more into a magnificent synthesis of 14 mash-ups. This album has a bit of something for everyone, it has some upbeat songs, some downtempo songs, happy sad, light dark, and it transitions between all mediums with complete fluidity. It almost sounds as if the songs were written to be heard symbiotically rather than as distinct entities. For example, I don’t like Dashboard Confessional at all but my 2nd favorite mash on the CD, “The Quiet Screaming,” is half a Dashboard song, “Screaming Infidelities.” Check it out for yourself in this fan made music video.

Incorporated was redefining not just genres but also to the entire music industry and method of doing business. Instead of selling a CD they gave it away. Yep, you heard that right, free. Though it was eventually released as a limited edition CD and is on iTunes, you can still find it all over the Internet for free and the band still encourages you to obtain it on P2P software, as I would. If an artist creates a work and wants that to be free it is wrong for anyone other than the artist to change their mind and charge money for that work. You may get the vibe I don’t like record labels much and you would be right.

The next major project they worked on together was composing the soundtrack to the independent philosophical/existential horror film, Eyes Front. I love independent movies and have seen my share of the stereotypical artsy over the top indie films, some were good many sucked. This was a good one, but somewhat hard to follow. Eyes Front wasn’t the first nor the only soundtrack the Legion made an appearance on. They have songs on the soundtracks for Las Vegas, Saw II, Saw III, Underworld EvolutionResident Evil Extinction, and more. Check out their downloads page for some free downloads of their music.

Many musicians and other artists might be baffled by this business model of investing lots of time into something you intend to give away, but it worked well for the Legion. I am a huge fan of this business model and thank the Legion for showing me that it can be a big success. The CD got them most popularity which guaranteed songs in movies and royalties from those songs, a constant revenue stream. The limited edition CD was effectively self-produced giving nearly all the profits directly to the artists themselves, instead of to a greedy money vampire (read as: record company). As a huge fan of the Legion, who wants to support them and all the artists I like any way I can I bought a CD. I viewed my purchase not as paying for the music, I already had that; I was buying the album art, I was buying a 1/3000th share in the Legion. I was incorporating myself into Incorporated and distinguishing myself as a fan from a listener. While I haven’t hear much of their new music I still listen to Incorporated on a regular basis.

I’ll leave you with the sage words of Sage Francis.

It was recently brought to my attention that science and truth have come under attack again by the forces of misinformation. The time has come to metaphorically strap on my battle armor and prepare to jump into the ring to defend Truth and Science one more time. Articles are floating around the Internet claiming that 98% of the Pacific Ocean’s floor are covered in dead animals, up from 1% the year before the Fukushima  Daiichi nuclear disaster.

Oh Gods no! Save the whales! Save the fishes! Save the shrimp! Or save your panic for things that matter because this is a fake emergency. It is as real as virtual reality; that is, as much as you believe it to be.

This is pretty similar to the last sensational headline I debunked about big butts making you smart and healthy. Just like before a few not-scientists and not-journalists took one very real and reasonable study then blew it out of proportion, twisted the context, and proceeded to run with it so far away no one could find the real story anymore. Too bad for them I am a good runner and better detective, like if Dick Tracy and Usain Bolt had a gayby.

My first thought after reading the original release is where the heck did anyone get those 1% and 98% numbers, that doesn’t seem to be found anywhere. The Monterey Bay Research Institute (MBARI) does a pretty good job debunking the rumors themselves last week, but that hasn’t stopped sensationalized misleading stories. To quote the MBARI researchers, “These stories are false and misleading. In addition, there is absolutely no connection between MBARI’s research findings and radiation from the Fukushima disaster.” Huh, that seems pretty clear, no room for error.

You may be thinking, “but what about that scary looking chart of the radiation spreading across the ocean?” That was the chart of the tsunami’s height, it had nothing to do with radiation. Another example of people taking something factual and twisting it for their own agenda.

Some articles also cite National Geographic as a source to substantiate their outlandish claims. After some digging I came across this blog post, and I found the source of that 1%/98% figure that keeps circling around, it would seem it originated here (not with MBARI’s actual data). This isn’t to say that figure is wrong, just unsubstantiated. The actual data seems to show these algae blooms happen pretty regularly and are needed for deep sea ecosystems to exist. The studies show that if anything man-made is the cause it is climate change, not Fukushima. What the research shows is that, if any recent event is to blame for these blooms, it is the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that happened in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. Amusingly, many of the same articles that cite National Geographic and Carrie’s blog as a source (without links) seem to ignore the numerous articles National Geographic has published disproving the hoopla over Fukushima.

So what does National Geographic actually have to say on the topic? First off, yes there is a leak of contaminated water, and it is very very small. This leak has been known about since 2012 and has never been viewed as a threat to human health anywhere. According to National Geographic, most experts blame “ordinary movement of groundwater” for the continued leak. The radiation is spreading, but it will still take years to reach the West Coast and there is presently no public health risk from Fukushima for Californians (it is a different story for people in Fukushima prefecture). Finally, for those people worried about eating fish, many experts say that is an unnecessary precaution and you’re probably fine to eat fish. I’m the kind of person who advocates for people following their instincts, and if your body is saying no to seafood then you should listen to it. But, if you are not eating fish because you are worried about radiation then you are overreacting and I imagine the type of person who (like me) opts out of airport radiation machines. Even though I opt out I’m still eating fish. The reality of global fishing is that it already is a pretty dirty ocean out there and fish, like tuna, who can live as long as a person (fifty years), tend to accumulate massive amounts of radionuclides and toxins like mercury along the way. That means when you eat tuna you are now eating all that too (I still eat tuna), though last I heard most “tuna” Americans eat really isn’t tuna.

I am a bit concerned by reports that TEPCO and their subcontractors who managed the plant and the clean up may have covered up the extent of radiation exposure to workers. Any corporate or coverup concerns me, especially regarding the environment and human health. For what little RT news is worth, as Russia’s official news is horribly biased, RT news is reporting that radiation levels at the plant are at 8 times the Japanese governments accepted limits. Reading the various RT news stories very few seem to be substantiated by science, and even fewer provide outside links to studies they claim exist. I’m getting some serious red flags here about the truthiness of these articles.

If I see hope in something it is the ingenuity of the Japanese in embracing green technologies to clean up the nuclear spill. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers reports that Fukushima prefecture is creating a “Renewable Energy Village,” a garden of rapeseed underneath solar panels. Rapeseed has been shown to absorb radionuclides into their stalks leaving  the seeds untouched and usable for other purposes.

What Californians should really be concerned about is the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant which is being held up to lax safety standards and is BUILT ON A FAULT LINE. Or perhaps we should worry about the San Onofre Nuclear Plant that had 2/3 of its reactors permanently decommisioned  after a dangerous radiation leak was discovered. Or maybe we should be worried by the historically low rain levels we have had this year leading to California’s major reservoirs being obscenely low on water for mid-winter, expect water rationing come summer. Personally, I am more concerned with the real problems we know are in front of us that are sure to be issues, rather than rip my hair out stressing over fake news reports.

You may now be wondering, if 98% of the ocean floor is covered in ocean, what about that last two percent? Two words, mermaid  colonies. They breed like rabbits, the rabbits of the sea.

This year’s theme for Burning Man has been announced, and it is Caravansary. If you are like me then your first thought was probably, “what the hell is a caravansary?” Quickly followed by the realization that it is a very tricky to pronounce word. A caravansary is a type of walled inn with a large central courtyard that was built along the Silk Road to protect caravans at night from marauders. You can think of a caravansary as a man-made oasis; they offered the same level of protection in their stone walls that an oasis saw from the harsh climate of the desert itself. Caravansaries and the Silk Road were crucial to the flow of information as they served as meeting places for all sorts of people from every corner of the globe, the crossroads.

Now, if you are like me, you probably then realized that this theme doesn’t really add much to the event like previous themes have. Burning Man has had themes for art since 1998, but the art-theme area of the website gives no hint as to the purpose of these themes nor their goal. Perhaps I am off base in assuming the themes are meant to modulate the event to make it somewhat different every year. Sure, Burning Man is always totally different, yet always the same, but the theme offers participants a filter or locus through which to view the event, it points us in a direction and says “go.”

Past themes, like Green Man, Metropolis, Cargo Cult and American Dream have forced us to re-examine our relationships with the environment, our cities, ourselves, and likelihood of realizing the American Dream. While Burning Man is always a leave no trace event, thus environmentally conscious, Green Man took it to new levels with art pieces like Crude Awakening. This was a giant oil derrick which showed humanity’s worship of oil which ultimately erupted into a mushroom cloud of fire when nearly 3,000 pounds of propane and jet fuel were ignited at weeks end. While that might not sound terribly green it is equivalent to “the amount of energy consumed in the Bay Area in one minute” and since the Bay Area was on vacation that week at Burning Man I imagine it balanced out. So while past themes have provided direction to the event in addition to the existing matrix of Burning Man laid out in the Ten Principles, this years theme does not.

Let’s break down this year’s theme. A caravansary is an inn where people from all over the world would get together, drink, swap stories, and perhaps swap more than that in gifts, trade, and lovemaking. By default, in order to be at a caravansary, you were on a pilgrimage of sorts or you worked at the inn. If you have never been to Burning Man let me do a quite comparison for you. If you are at the Burn you are on a pilgrimage of sorts or you work for Burning Man/the Government (“the inn”). Burning Man itself is a caravansary protecting inhabitants from the harsh Black Rock Desert that surrounds, it is our oasis in time and space in a vast sea of dust. Within this grand caravansary there is arranged a smaller assortment of taverns, bars, inns, and lounges, nearly all having some sort of inner courtyard to offer weary travelers repose.

While I am rather underwhelmed by the theme, because it is basically saying “this years theme is Burning Man,” I am similarly impressed. I was forced to learn a new word and I’ve already had my consciousness expanded thanks to my initial opposition to the theme. Sometimes what sounds utterly moronic at first proves to be the best idea imaginable and Burning Man is a great place for testing the bounds of imagination and idiocy. I am also impressed by this year’s Burn because instead of placing the Man ever higher from the desert floor on huge structures, making him ever less ADA accessible, he is returning to the floor of the desert as a MASSIVE effigy.

So how is Burning Man a grand caravansary? And if it is what sort of folks go there on pilgrimage to trade ideas and craft a collective narrative?

Well, there are these kinds of people…

Burning Man – Fun for all ages, old and young.

There are there sorts of people too…

Sometimes a dance floor at Burning Man just looks like a forest of fuzzy coats and furry top hats. This can be both wonderful and very disorienting if high on drugs.

And yes, they’re out there too…the infamous sparkleponies.

A wild herd of sparkleponies have appeared. Not always female, know a sparklepony by their sass, ass, and magical ability to vanish whenever it is time to do work.

Burning Man is representative and inclusive of everyone, including the aforementioned stereotypes of sparkleponies, people wearing furry coats, and naked old people; honestly, they make the event what it is, God bless the sparkleponies and shirtcockers. Past the usual stereotypes and tropes, Burning Man has a lot of techies. Hordes. It’s like SF moved to the desert for a week. The Burning Man census reveals this to be true, showing that over a third of participants still come from northern California, mostly the Bay Area. Most participants identify as being white/not a person of color; the question has been asked in different ways in different years yielding different results.

There also are retired army generals, like former NATO Supreme Commander General Wesley Clark, who was hanging out at this last Burn in conversation with John Perry Barlow (an EFF founder and Grateful Dead lyricist) and Larry Harvey (the main co-founder of Burning Man and its informal mayor). It sounds like the start of a joke; a Dead-Head,  a retired General, and the founder of Burning Man all walk into bar to sit down for a drink. It would be funny if it wasn’t real and didn’t have major significance. The usual belief is that Burning Man is only a place for the fuzzy hats and that clean-cut Good-Ol’ Boys would scarcely want to go let alone be accepted there. Only he did want to go there, no one is forced to be there other than the police and Burning Man staff who provide the crucial infrastructure to keep the event functional and safe. Not only did General Clark go to the Burn he also was accepted and given a rather warm welcome.

Everyone knows that world-class DJs are at the Burn every year, such as Junkie XL, Paul Oakenfold, Beats Antique, and The Crystal Method, but many people don’t realize that non-electronic artists also go to Burning Man, they just aren’t performing yet. P Diddy was sighted around this last Burn as well, sporting a stylish pink parasol. Hopefully P Diddy will join the vast legion of performers who gift their crafts to Black Rock City every year. As previously stated there are hordes of techies at Burning Man, this includes the God-child of all techies, Mark Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg is not alone, he is joined by the whole cast of The Social Network, including the identical Winklevoss Twins and Dustin Moshkovitz. Moshkovitz wrote a great piece about why the presence of techies and plug and play camps should be embraced rather than spurned. I still have mixed feelings about plug and play camps, but much of the bad taste has been cleansed from my palate. Some people need a very sterile environment in order to enjoy the Burn, sometimes for valid medical reasons; who is any one person to deny them that experience? I’m not that guy and I don’t care to meet him.

Mostly you find lots of people like me. We dress however the hell we please regardless of where we are; I wore a three piece suit many days this last Burn, then other days I looked like a “steampunk hobo wizard” to quote a friend. People like me do work, often more than our fair share because we recognize that without someone doing work Burning Man doesn’t happen. People like me are kind of artists, maybe writers, often wearing many hats at different times filling many different roles in camps and in life. We’ll gift you things at the Burn unprompted and without any expectation of return, the way any true gift should be given.

The only people who are not welcome are asshats like Krug champagne who either cannot read, can’t be bothered to read the rules, or worse of all read the rules and think they are exempt from them. Burning Man makes it very clear that you are not to exploit the event for marketing or promotional reasons; this isn’t your photo-op to make your brand seem edgy. Krug thought it would be in the Burner ethos to have a huge invite-only champagne party out on the Playa, exclusively to take promotional photos. They then felt it would be neighborly to leave the place trashed; isn’t that one of the Ten Principles? Oh wait no, it’s not “leave it trashed,” it is leave no trace. Way to go asshats. Some Burners did come by to help clean the mess up, but it wasn’t their mess and that really wasn’t fair to them, but then when is life ever really fair? Burning Man often teaches us, sometimes brutally, that life is not fair (see the yearly ticketing melee).

All things said and done, I love Burning Man as much as ever and would love to make it back out there this year, though I worry about the chance of that given massive medical bills. People complain every year about the theme, how it’s not like it used to be, and how it used to be free, etc. Nope, it’s not how it used to be, no one is driving over tents in the night or shooting guns in city limits. Nope, it isn’t free either, but there are bathrooms provided and other services (an awesome medical system with 3 major locations in the city). Burning Man used to embrace anarchy more than it does today, now it is radical self expression that is embraced. I prefer what it is today, a temporary experiment in city building and the world’s largest living art museum/gallery, and I for one love being part of that grand social experiment in the most famed caravansary of our time.

You all may remember my post about Students for Sensible Drug Policy, and how they direly needing funding to further fight against America’s failed drug laws after a major grant didn’t come through. I have good news and then even better news.

The good news is  their IndieGoGo campaign was a complete success and they met their $100,000 goal. The better news was they received an update on the grant and they will be receiving the $100,000 grant as well. This means they are now way ahead in the game in a major election year and have a much stronger position to influence the direction of policy for years to come.

I just wanted to let you know that the campaign was a huge success and personally thank you for helping. I know I was worried when they only had 24 hours to raise $10,000, but they did it and did even more than that. As an SSDP alumni myself I am glad to give back to them and help this great nonprofit continue to be rock stars.

I was part of a student group while at San Jose State getting my bachelors in politics called Students for Sensible Drug Policy. Schools not Prisons is their very appropriate slogan. SSDP is an international organization ran by students for the benefits of everyone, though largely focused on campus policies like passing Good Samaritan policies across the US. These Good Samaritan policies have become a central piece of drug policy reform because they make sense and save lives. In areas without a Good Samaritan policy in effect, if a 20 year old ODs on alcohol in their dorm at school there are strong punitive measures in place to punish anyone who would call 911 to save their life. If 911 is called that 21 year old may face being thrown out of school, any dorm-mate over 21 risks jail-time for assisting the corruption of a minor even if they didn’t provide the booze, in fact everyone present can potentially be found guilty of something. This means usually ODs aren’t called in and people die who shouldn’t, these are 100% preventable deaths and Good Samaritan policies are a way to do that.

As awesome as Good Samaritan policies are that isn’t the point of this blog and I don’t mean to belabor that point because SSDP does tons of amazing things. You know how cannabis was legalized in Colorado? That was us, not totally but we sure helped a ton and a former advocacy director for the campaign, Betty Aldworth, is about to be SSDP’s new executive director. The Colorado success built upon SSDP’s experience supporting the Prop 19 campaign in California two years prior, which was a valuable learning process for all involved even though we only got 46% of the vote.

The point of  this blog is one of charity. This great organization, who has tirelessly worked to improve human rights by ending the drug war, needs our help. SSDP depends in part on government funding and a $100,000 grant they rely on did not come through this year leaving a huge hole in their budget. I am already giving to them monthly and about to donate even more. I encourage all of you to join me in giving to this organization with an impressive track record for success.

Please go to their Indiegogo page to donate and consider becoming a monthly donor like myself.

 

Elizabeth Warren, the chief watchdog of Wall Street, has warned us that the biggest banks are now even bigger than when they caused the financial collapse of 2008. The four largest have grown 30% larger and the five largest banks represent over half the market. That brings the word antitrust to my mind, but that is about as likely as world peace at this point. No, the current crop of US politicians in both major parties are far too business friendly to go for the ‘nuclear option’ of pursuing an antitrust suit against a major corporate bank. It will take some new blood to pursue new options, Elizabeth Warren being but one example.

If this November’s elections can be read as a sign of anything it is that people are fed up with austerity and they want politicians who will work for the working class. One tangible example being the election of the socialist Kshama Sawant to the Seattle city council, in a state who just legalized recreational cannabis. Washington is definitely moving in the right direction, but we will have to see how things go in a few months to really know how well the cannabis legalization is going. Another major progressive win was  the 73% landslide that road Bill de Blasio to victory as the new mayor of New York, dethroning the former king mayor Bloomberg. While we have more progressives winning in local elections we lack true progressives in the federal government. There is Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, that’s about it. There are also rumors about Elizabeth Warren running for President in 2016, which would probably the only ticket the Democrats can put forward that I’d vote for. Which is still better than the no chance the Republicans have for my vote. This may be the first Presidential race I sit out on due to a lack of interest in all candidates…it is still two years from the election though and two years is a long time.

President Obama may have been progressive in 2004 when he advocated for cannabis decriminalization and a single payer option for health care, but a decade changes a man and he is as much an establishment Democrat as Nancy Pelosi now. This can be seen best in his devolution on the issue of cannabis. Where he was once firmly in support of legalization, even being the leader of a drug gang, his support is now so weak he is willing to call commuting the sentences of drug war 8 prisoners a win for human rights. We’re talking about a man with a secret ‘kill list’, that is not the kind of progress I want our progressive movement to embrace, that is Orwellian at best and Stalinist at worst. I support much of what President Obama has done, but I oppose at least that many of his actions too. Like President George W. Bush before him Obama is a mixed bag; he wins a Nobel peace prize yet keeps a secret kill list, oversees more paramilitary raids of cannabis dispensaries than Bush and gave the go-ahead to a spy game so massive it makes Watergate look like child’s play.

You might now be asking yourself, “what should a progressive movement look like in America?” Here is what I envision it to look like and what I hope its priorities will be. I imagine it will look much like the 73% majority  that rode Bill de Blasio to victory in New York, inclusive of nearly all races, religions, and demographics conceivable. This new progressive movement will not be bound by race or religion like past political movements; it will progress beyond race to be a movement focused on results, such as raising the minimum wage federally improving the lives of millions of all races. That isn’t to say this new progressive movement will be colorblind, if anything it will be more sensitive to the factors that make us up than any former movement and it will fight for our right to be ourselves, whatever that self may be. This new progressive movement will work to progress gender equality and end de jure and de facto discrimination against gender non-conforming people. Tied in with gender equality is equality for all sexual expressions and sexes. Simply put, this new progressive movement should fight to advance the progress of as many people as possible, especially those  who are presently disadvantaged.

This movement is likely to include some uncommon alliances, like one we may now be seeing between the drug policy reform/drug legalization movements and gun rights advocates. There also is a clear synergy between the drug legalization/prison reform movement and the effort to provide more funding to our schools (here is a protest to save public education, here is one for drug policy reform, notice the similarities?). The reason for the natural alliance between education and prison reform is illustrated beautifully by this drawing.

School-to-Prison-Illustration

As schools are robbed of funding the quality of educational environment plummets, leading to more crime down the road when people resort to crime to pay the bills  their abysmal education cannot. This is a self-perpetuating downward spiral that can very easily be reversed with more people flooding into schools instead of prisons. This would also free up billions of dollars a year in federal and state budgets due to less policing of non-crimes like possession of cannabis.

If you are like me then you own a computer and other electronic devices, many people across the world fall into this camp.  If you are reading this blog, chance are you’re one of us. Being a technology user you probably know what a blight tangled wires can be in your workspace. This blog will give you some quick tips to help with that.

Thankfully my room isn't this bad.

From the anime Serial Experiments Lain

As an aside, I love the anime Lain, it is something I watch whenever I feel like the real world is starting to drop away into fiction and blend in with the digital world. I would say it comforts me, but if anything it is quite the opposite;  Lain offers us a mirror of our own world’s future, a possibility of where we are going. Enough on that, back to tangled cords.

1. If you have extra length in a cord bundle it up. Why have excess hanging all over the place if you don’t need it?

2. Try to hide your bundles of excess cord under or behind your computer desk to keep them out of the way and protected.

3. Use the clips from bread-bags to sort your cords. I did not create this one, I merely TumblrdUpon it, but I certainly advocate its use and use it myself to keep things organized. With my set up (pictured below) I color coded my clips, preventing any need to label them. Blue is my monitor because a monitor plug is generally blue. Green is for sound because generally your sound cable is tipped green. Yellow for my clock for no particular reason (alarm clock = yellow like the sun when waking up?). The large white one is from a potato sack and is used for my laptop power cord because the others wouldn’t fit on it.

Bread Clips