The #GangOfFive has become our defacto legislators

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Talk about rogue legislators, that’s what the Supreme Court has become. I remember when the right were screaming about the Supreme Court legislating, but now that it’s in their best interests there Is silence from their ranks. We need to call out this gang of 5 as they are putting their mark on generations to come with decisions that go against the majority’s consent and wishes. The right was correct in fearing Supreme Court nominees that only rules in there ideological interesting, but in the Left should now be screaming AVB

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

Americans are positive about quality job outlook

If this trend continues it will show up in how people vote in November. AVB

Thirty percent of Americans say it is a good time to find a quality job. This is the most positive Americans have been about the job market since early 2008.
Read more at GALLUP.com.

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

Register to vote

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Whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, independent, or just don’t know how you stand at the moment, it is important  that you register to vote. In the days of mounting political action committees loaded with money from corporations and  billionaires our vote is the only weapon we have left. Following the link below will give you all the information on how to register to vote in your state. AVB
How to register to vote

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

Work 2.0: A Web-Connected Sticky Note That Bosses You Around

Here is an example where my two interests intersect. This is a great innovation but, and that’s a big but, it will affect our lives in so many ways and make work much harder to get away from in it already overworked United States workforce . AVB
By Joseph Flaherty 
For Wired Magazine
   

The Internet of things has been expanding with Borg-like efficiency, gobbling up pedometers, smoke alarms, and bar ware.

But if Brazilian design student Lucas Neumann de Antonio has his way the next target for assimilation will be the lowly Post-it note. He’s developed a productivity tool concept called Bossy that combines the spatial immediacy of sticky notes with the encyclopedic recall of the web.

Bossy looks like a Nest thermostat ripped from the wall and placed on the desktop. Its touch screen displays up to three tasks, pulled from task management software like Omnifocus, Wunderlist, and Asana, as well as calendars, email, and custom software focused on medication adherence. The goal is to break a sprawling to-do list into manageable chunks and save the user from having to think so much so they can better focus on getting stuff done.

“The original idea was to have the tasks accumulating as if marbles inside a box, but just three felt like a good number to keep the user focused,” says de Antonio. “Too many and the text becomes illegible, plus overwhelms the user with everything he hasn’t done.”

The interface has been designed to capture the tactile pleasure that comes with scratching an item off a list or crumpling up a spent sticky. The bubbles don’t merely disappear, they are “squished” and popped allowing new bubbles to rise to the surface tying a sense of physical accomplishment to task completion.

Even the shape of the device was carefully considered. While apps are unmatched in their ability to store and display information, the physical form was meant to address user frustration. “The circle, in my case, came from the idea of something the person could hold, like a stress ball, in their hands,” says de Antonio. “Something with a nice touch, that could be soothing, zen-like.”

Aren’t There Are a Million Apps for That?

Many would ask why an app couldn’t do the same job, and it’s an idea that de Antonio considered, but he realized that the activation energy required to use an app was a barrier for many not blessed with type A tendencies. He believes that it’s too easy for productivity apps to get shunted off the home screen, rarely to be seen again. Putting an object on a desk makes reviewing projects inevitable.

“I did look at various task management methods, and tried to find the underlying principles on most of them,” says de Antonio. “It’s usually about the same few steps: Organize, prioritize, avoid distractions, take the time to do it, check it, and reward yourself.”
De Antonio’s primary skillset is design and all the hardware and software engineering underlying Bossy is still TBD. Photo: Lucas Neumann de Antonio

De Antonio’s primary skillset is design and all the hardware and software engineering underlying Bossy is still TBD.

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Photo: Lucas Neumann de Antonio

De Antonio has incorporated software into his design, allowing users to mute time sucks like Twitter and Facebook with the touch of a button, as well as schedule recurring tasks like taking pills or paying bills.

Creating a physical object also helps reduce complexity. Context is a critical component of David Allen’s Getting Things Done system, which has in turn inspired many other productivity gurus. Essentially, certain kinds of work can best be done in certain spaces. Most software tools make users explicitly search for tasks in a given context, but a dedicated hardware device can intrinsically distinguish home task from work projects.

While physical organization aids aren’t new, a mosaic of Post-it notes have kept many projects on task and a system of 43 manilla folders helps keep plenty of lifehackers organized. The concept of sticky notes is so durable the Adobe and Apple both make it a core part of their tools to this day. This concept merely supercharges the product category combining the best of bits and atoms.

Bossy looks and works a lot like Nest, but it’s closest cousin might be the wristbands that direct Amazon’s warehouse workers every move and track their efficiency. This white puck is simply the white collar edition and could usher in a new era of Taylorism in offices.

Whatever its potential, Bossy only exists as a conceptual model at the moment. De Antonio is starting to work towards a prototype using Arduino components and he is keenly aware that he’ll need to assemble a crack team of engineers and manufacturing experts before he could kickstart the project. Maybe it’s for the best? While Bossy has a superficial similarity to the Nest Thermostat, the orange dot in its center looks eerily like HAL 9000

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

An Eavesdropping Lamp That Livetweets Private Conversations

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Brian House and Kyle McDonald’s creation, the Conversnitch, impersonates a lightbulb or lamp while eavesdropping on and livetweeting nearby conversations. Photo: Kyle McDonald

This reminds me of the uproar over Furrbie being able to record conversations. Thank you to James Nickerson for posting this on his Facebook page. AVB
By Andy Greenberg 

    Tweet

As former NSA director Michael Hayden learned on an Amtrak train last year, anyone with a smartphone instantly can become a livetweeting snoop. Now a whole crowd of amateur eavesdroppers could be as close as the nearest light fixture.

Two artists have revealed Conversnitch, a device they built for less than $100 that resembles a lightbulb or lamp and surreptitiously listens in on nearby conversations and posts snippets of transcribed audio to Twitter. Kyle McDonald and Brian House say they hope to raise questions about the nature of public and private spaces in an era when anything can be broadcast by ubiquitous, Internet-connected listening devices.

“What does it mean to deploy one of these in a library, a public square, someone’s bedroom? What kind of power relationship does it set up?” asks House, a 34-year-old adjunct professor at the Rhode Island School of Design. “And what does this stream of tweets mean if it’s not set up by an artist but by the U.S. government?”

The surveillance gadget they unveiled Wednesday is constructed from little more than a Raspberry Pi miniature computer, a microphone, an LED and a plastic flower pot. It screws into and draws power from any standard bulb socket. Then it uploads captured audio via the nearest open Wi-Fi network to Amazon’s Mechanical Turk crowdsourcing platform, which McDonald and House pay small fees to transcribe the audio and post lines of conversation to Conversnitch’s Twitter account. “This is stuff you can buy and have running in a few hours,” says McDonald, a 28-year-old adjunct professor at the Interactive Telecommunications Program at the Tisch School of the Arts.

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

Supreme Court Puts Limit on Compensation to Child Pornography Victims

Another bad decision from this gang of five on the Supreme Court.  AVB

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The Supreme Court has ruled that victims of child pornography should be paid restitution by those convicted of possessing the material — but within limits.

In Wednesday’s 5-4 ruling, the high court instructed lower courts that judges will have to apportion the amount of damages in relation to how much anguish and pain the convict’s actions caused.

The case being considered involved a woman, known only by the pseudonym Amy, who was sexually abused by her uncle and forced into child pornography at age 8. He was arrested and sentenced to prison.

A major blow to her mental recovery came at age 17, when she discovered that the photos were being circulated on the Internet. She estimated that the total cost of her treatment and recovery is roughly $3.4 million.

The question for the Supreme Court was how much of that should be paid by a Texas man who pleaded guilty to possessing two pictures of Amy among hundreds of images of child pornography. Amy and her lawyers argued that every trafficker possessing those pictures should be liable for the full amount of her damages.

The defendant’s lawyers, however, argued that he shouldn’t have to pay anything — unless it could be proven that she wouldn’t have suffered any injury if he had not had the pictures.

The Supreme Court did not set the restitution amount to be paid to Amy in this case: It returned the question to the trial court to figure that out.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the opinion, was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Samuel Alito and Elena Kagan.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote a dissenting opinion, joined by Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote a dissent of her own.
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I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

Powdered Alcohol’ Is Now (Mostly) Legal

This is legal but marijuana is not, this all seems very wacky. AVB

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The Atlantic Wire 
By Polly Mosendz 4/21/14

The Alcohol, Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau has approved Palcohol, a powdered alcoholic drink mix, for sale and distribution.

Palcohol is exactly what it sounds like: Kool Aid for the 21+ set. (Don’t worry, it’s not actually affiliated with the Kraft Foods brand.) Simply add five ounces of water to the powder and enjoy a mixed drink that is “equal to a standard mixing drink” in strength. Created by Mark Phillips, a wine expert, the product took four years to get approved. 

The powder comes in four flavors: Cosmopolitan, Mojito, Powderita (which apparently “tastes just like a margarita”), and Lemon Drop. In an email correspondence from the brand, we have confirmed that no pricing information is publicly available yet, because you can’t actually buy it yet, and might not be able to for some time. However,a prior draft version of the Palcohol website did allude that the product is marketing to cheapskates: “What’s worse than going to a concert, sporting event, etc. and having to pay $10, $15, $20 for a mixed drink with tax and tip. Are you kidding me?! Take Palcohol into the venue and enjoy a mixed drink for a fraction of the cost.” Because exactly what sporting events need is more drinking.

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

Public smoke-out marks pot holiday in Colorado

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So much time, effort, and money lost on a substance that is less harmful than alcohol makes no sense to me. AVB
Associated Press 
By SADIE GURMAN
4/20/14

DENVER (AP) — Tens of thousands of revelers raised joints, pipes and vaporizer devices to the sky Sunday at a central Denver park in a defiant toast to the April 20 pot holiday, a once-underground celebration that stepped into the mainstream in the first state in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana.

The 4:20 p.m. smoke-out in the shadow of the Colorado capitol was the capstone of an Easter weekend dedicated to cannabis in states across the country. Although it is still against the law to publicly smoke marijuana in Colorado, police reported only 130 citations or arrests over the course of the two-day event, 92 for marijuana consumption.

“It feels good not to be persecuted anymore,” said Joe Garramone, exultantly smoking a joint while his 3-year-old daughter played on a vast lawn crowded with fellow smokers.

The Garramone family came from Hawaii, among the tens of thousands who crowded into various cannabis-themed extravaganzas, from a marijuana industry expo called the Cannabis Cup at a trade center north of downtown to 4/20-themed concerts at the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheater. Acts included Slightly Stoopid and Snoop Dogg.

At 4:20 p.m., an enormous plume of marijuana smoke wafted into the sky above downtown Denver as rapper B.o.B. belted out his song “Strange Clouds,” with the hook: “And all we do is light it up, all night/All you see is strange clouds/Strange clouds, strange clouds.”

The Civic Center Park event is the most visible sign of the pot holiday’s transformation. It started as a defiant gathering of marijuana activists, but this year the event has an official city permit, is organized by an events management company and featured booths selling funnel cakes and Greek food next to kiosks hawking hemp lollipops and glass pipes.

Gavin Beldt, one of the organizers, said in a statement that the event is now a “celebration of legal status for its use in Colorado and our launch of an exciting new experience for those attending.”

Denver is just one of many cities across the country where 4/20 marijuana celebrations were planned Sunday.

In Trenton, N.J., speakers urged a crowd of about 150 gathered at the statehouse to push state and federal lawmakers to legalize or decriminalize marijuana and called on Gov. Chris Christie to do what he can to help medical marijuana patients. Among those at the rally was Jawara McIntosh, the youngest son of noted reggae musician and pro-marijuana activist Peter Tosh.

In San Francisco, thousands of revelers gathered at Golden Gate Park’s Hippie Hill, which has become the go-to spot for the unsanctioned festival every year.

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

Pipeline delay gives boost to Obama’s political base

Instead of posting our indignation on Facebook and Twitter we need to mobilize and go out to vote. Here in Los Angeles I’m finding it very difficult to register to vote, and this is Los Angeles, I wonder what it’s like in the rest of the country. Below are 3 photosthat should be our primary reason to go out and vote. AVB

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The latest delay to a final decision on the Keystone XL oil pipeline will reinforce a White House strategy to energize President Barack Obama’s liberal-leaning base before fall elections in which Democrats risk losing control of the U.S. Senate.

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil