Portable Solar Power for your Gadgets

psfk-solar4Closing Mainstream Energy Gaps

‘”I don’t like to see those people sitting on the floor by a plug by a bathroom,” NRG Retail president Elizabeth Killinger said. “I want people to be up and about living life freely.”

‘Goal Zero has found a niche providing power to the adventure market, be it hikers or mountain bikers that need juice to power their smartphones, tablets and GoPros. The Salt Lake City-based company had only $250,000 in revenue in 2009, its first full year of business, but expects to pull in $40 million in revenue this year. It’s grown to 120 employees. The financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed…’


Add Night Vision to your iPhone
Special Case Gives Your iPhone Heat Vision
‘FLIR One is an imaging accessory that weighs a hefty 3.9 ounces (almost as much as the phone), slides onto an iPhone 5 or 5s and adds a thermal imaging capabilities to the phone.

‘Unveiled at CES earlier this year, the device’s sole job is to detect invisible heat. It combines the heat signature information with the live camera image from your phone to deliver a composite thermal heat image. FLIR Systems says FLIR One is useful for detecting ventilation leaks around doors and windows, car engine trouble, over-heating circuitry and wiring and even allowing you to see when there is no light. No more stumbling around the pitch-black campground, hoping not to step on a raccoon…’
flir one


Not all US States allow heirs to access digital assets
Delaware becomes first state to give heirs broad digital assets access
‘Delaware has become the first state in the US to enact a law that ensures families’ rights to access the digital assets of loved ones during incapacitation or after death.

‘Last week, Gov. Jack Markell signed House Bill (HB) 345, “Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets and Digital Accounts Act,” which gives heirs and executors the same authority to take legal control of a digital account or device, just as they would take control of a physical asset or document.

‘Earlier this year, the Uniform Law Commission, a non-profit group that lobbies to enact model legislations across all jurisdictions in the United States, adopted its Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (UFADAA). Delaware is the first state to take the UFADAA and turn it into a bona fide law…’

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Global Parenting Habits Sans US

npr-gp-parenting3_wide-f35ebf4027069a823aa635d8e69d2814cb9f1e49-s4-c85In Norway, kids nap outside even in subzero temperatures
‘If there’s one thing have in common with those , it’s that they both show us just how varied parenting styles can be. Argentine parents let their kids stay up until all hours; Japanese parents let 7-year-olds ride the subway by themselves; and Danish parents leave their kids sleeping in a stroller on the curb while they go inside to shop or eat. Some might make American parents cringe, but others sure could use a close study. Vietnamese mothers, for instance, get their kids out of diapers by 9 months…’

The danger of silence [Video]
‘”We spend so much time listening to the things people are saying that we rarely pay attention to the things they don’t,” says slam poet and teacher Clint Smith. A short, powerful piece from the heart, about finding the courage to speak up against ignorance and injustice.

‘I will not let silence wrap itself around my indecision. I will tell Christian that he is a lion, a sanctuary of bravery and brilliance. I will ask that homeless man what his name is and how his day was, because sometimes all people want to be is human. I will tell that woman that my students can talk about transcendentalism like their last name was Thoreau, and just because you watched one episode of “The Wire” doesn’t mean you know anything about my kids. So this year, instead of giving something up, I will live every day as if there were a microphone tucked under my tongue, a stage on the underside of my inhibition. Because who has to have a soapbox when all you’ve ever needed is your voice?…’

Your US Patent Might be a Victim of Patent Office Incompetence
Your patent or trademark could have been approved otherwise
‘Prompted by multiple whistleblower complaints, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office began an internal investigation two years ago of an award-winning program that’s been praised in and outside government: Employees are allowed to work from home.

‘What the inquiry uncovered was alarming.

‘Some of the 8,300 patent examiners, about half of whom work from home full time, repeatedly lied about the hours they were putting in, and many were receiving bonuses for work they didn’t do. And when supervisors had evidence of fraud and asked to have the employee’s computer records pulled, they were rebuffed by top agency officials, ensuring that few cheaters were disciplined, investigators found…’

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Know Your Device Rights While Travelling

examiner-72cfa449eab57167dcc7b956c161a255‘You’ve left the plane and collected your luggage, and the last thing you want to do is submit to a customs search. Getting your souvenirs and taxable items out is a hassle, but nothing like the stomach churning thought of handing over your digital fingerprint to border officials.

‘When flying, we consent to put our laptops in separate x-ray bins for inspection. Likewise, depending on the routes we fly, we also consent to turn our phones and laptops on to prove they are genuine. But what about when the scrutiny our devices undergo reaches another level?

‘We’re going to explore what rights customs and TSA agents have to inspect your mobile devices and computers…’
First stop? The Great White North

The Online Incivility Known as Trolling
Even Zelda Williams who was mourning for his father Robin wasn’t spared and the trolling resulted in multiple account suspensions

‘That’s the dismal judgment of the handful of scholars who study the broad category of online incivility known as trolling, a problem whose scope is not clear, but whose victims keep mounting.

“’As long as the Internet keeps operating according to a click-based economy, trolls will maybe not win, but they will always be present,” said Whitney Phillips, a lecturer at Humboldt State University and the author of “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things,” a forthcoming book about her years of studying bad behavior online. “The faster that the whole media system goes, the more trolls have a foothold to stand on. They are perfectly calibrated to exploit the way media is disseminated these days.”

‘“Troll” is the fuzzy term for agitators who pop up, often anonymously, sometimes in mobs, in comment threads and on social networks like Facebook and Twitter, apparently intent on wreaking havoc. The term is vague precisely because trolls lurk in darkness; their aims are unclear, their intentions unknown, their affiliations mysterious…’

8 Biggest Tech Rip-Offs and How To Avoid Them
‘Mainstream consumers have been using computers for more than 30 years, smartphones for at least half a decade and tablets for several years, but gadget vendors are betting that their customers aren’t tech savvy. How else can you explain why these companies would offer a bevy of overpriced or unnecessary products and services in hopes of fooling you into buying them? Don’t be their dupe. These are the top eight tech rip-offs — and how to avoid them…’
the ripoffs

The Digital SWAT Team of the White House
‘On Monday, the White House announced a new organization designed to help spruce up government websites and (it hopes) prevent another HealthCare.gov debacle. Called the U.S. Digital Service, it will be tasked with modernizing the government’s digital presence and revamping how the feds provide information and online services in ways that compare favorably with Amazon or Facebook.

‘The White House has hired Mikey Dickerson, the former Google engineer largely credited with resolving the HealthCare.gov catastrophe, to head USDS. The small organization will serve as consultants for other federal agencies, aiming to help them improve everything from user interfaces to database integration…’

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Trolling of Zelda Williams Triggers Suspension of Twitter and Facebook Accounts

justjared-zelda-williams-old-dogs-01Robin Williams’ daughter swears off social media after trolls trash her Twitter

‘Although most of the world expressed its condolences and well-wishes to the daughter of Robin Williams, cruel posts by trolls on her Twitter account has forced her to step away from her social media accounts indefinitely.

‘Zelda, 25, the daughter of Williams and Fil-American philanthropist Marsha Garces, announced that she was taking an indefinite leave from her Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram accounts after receiving cruel comments and pictures of her late father on social media.

‘One of the pictures contained a doctored image of Williams’ corpse.

Wikimedia turns its back on the open internet
‘Wikipedia’s vision is “a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge.” It’s a value that we at Access share. So we were shocked last week when the Wikimedia Foundation, which supports and hosts Wikipedia, turned its back on the greatest driver of open access to information the world has ever known, the open internet.

‘In a blog post, the foundation’s Deputy Director Erik Moeller promoted a relatively new offering, Wikipedia Zero, a partnership with telecom companies to provide access to Wikipedia free of charge. The idea is to overcome the prohibitively expensive data charges that contribute to keeping many people around the world offline. In making the case for Zero, Moeller argued that the Wikimedia Foundation is committed to net neutrality — the notion that all online data should be treated equally — and that Zero doesn’t violate this fundamental concept of the open internet. We respectfully disagree. We believe that Zero clearly violates net neutrality and is an attack on the future of the open internet…’

How Do You Identify a Social Media Expert?
‘As social media has expanded into the immense communications platform it is today, along with that growth has come thousands of people claiming to be social media ‘experts’. Most in the field avoid such labels – to call yourself an expert in such an evolving and ever-changing landscape can be risky, and either way, if you are an expert, you probably don’t need to label yourself, others will do that for you. But that hasn’t stopped some, and while there are, of course, quite a few social media types who are experts who rightfully stake that claim, many are not. So how do you know who’s who? How do you sort the wheat from the chaff and establish who possesses genuine expertise, as opposed to those who just say it? Here’s a few queries and questions to ask when assessing a person’s social media presence to get some determination of their right to their ‘social media expert’ claims:…’

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The Live-Tweeting of Michael Brown’s Killing [photos]

Warning: foul language
mashable-BunLgIMCIAAZtiZ.jpg large‘Just after 12 p.m. local time in Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis, a Twitter user and St. Louis-area rapper named Thee Pharoah tweeted that he saw someone die.

‘He then tweeted a photo of Michael Brown’s dead body lying in the street (warning: this is graphic).

‘The world would later learn that Michael Brown was shot after the officer, Darren Wilson, encountered him and another man on the street at 12:01 p.m. local time. The initial confrontation occurred because Brown and a friend were “walking down the street blocking traffic,” Ferguson’s police chief said on Friday.

‘Eyewitness to the shooting who have previously spoken to the media said Brown ran before he was shot. Thee Pharoah said the same in his tweets…’

LinkedIn Mistakes To Avoid
‘The other day I received a notification from LinkedIn that made me actually laugh out loud. My friend and colleague Lauren Orsini had endorsed me for “murder” and “arson.”

‘It was a joke referencing my Twitter bot and law-breaking alter ego, @SelenaEbooks; I’m not actually all that skilled in either murder or arson. But LinkedIn asked me if I wanted to include the new endorsements on my LinkedIn page. I accepted “murder” because I wanted to see if LinkedIn would actually take it—and it did. (I did turn down “arson,” though.)

‘It’s not just joke endorsements that could potentially jeopardize a potential job prospect or tarnish online reputations. Whether they’re purposely to get a rise out of a friend, colleague or stranger, or because people legitimately don’t understand how to use the service, there are a few key things people should stop doing on LinkedIn…’
mistakes to avoid

You can use your phone to film the police, even if they tell you not to
‘This should be obvious to anyone living in a free society but, it’s worth repeating: citizens have the right to record the public actions of the police. And while some police officers don’t like this fact, they have no right to stop you.

‘The issue came up again this week in riot-torn Ferguson, Missouri where police reportedly told a crowd of protesters to turn off their cameras following a volley of tear gas and rubber bullets. If this account is true, the police are simply wrong: protesters have the right to film the police.

‘This is the position of liberal and conservative scholars, and of appeals courts throughout the United States. As scholar and blogger Eugene Volokh explains of a 2011 First Circuit decision:…’

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Meritocracy Within Democracy

Deterring Democracy

Deterring Democracy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was playing Charade (?) with my friend when he made a fist and shook it then acted as if he were crazy. When I gave up, he said it was Democracy. Now, I think we ought to change the suffix ‘-ocracy’ with ‘-ocrazy’.

‘Two of America’s core values—democracy and meritocracy—seem increasingly conflicted and the way we talk about them isn’t helping:

1. “-ocracy” means “rule of.” Democracy is rule of the demos, the people; Meritocracy (minted only in 1958) means “rule of” high-merit folks (a variation on aristocracy, aristo = best).

2. But “rule of” isn’t specific enough, per Lincoln “of the people” must also be “for the people.” And since democracy is only ever as good as the ideas used in it me-centric, or merit-centric, or top-centric ideas can mislead it.

3. Economic merit and taxation are democracy’s toughest top vs. bottom test. Some top-folk understand their dependence on “the people” below. Others imagine they can isolate themselves, believing that whatever “trickles down” is enough for the masses. But every pyramid level needs stability below (see Good vs. Bad Rich)…’


How Rational Are You? Try This 3-Question Quiz

‘Irony lurks in the surge of interest in cognitive psychologists’ research on human reasoning: we seem to be desperately interested in reading about how poorly we think. If Descartes could behold the popularity of books by Daniel Kahneman and Leonard Mlodinow and the hundreds of articles and blog posts they and similar books have spawned, he might alter his pronouncement: I think about thinking, therefore I am. Metacognition rules.

‘I have a meta-meta-cognitive question or two about all this cerebrum gazing. But before I get to those, here’s a little quiz to get you thinking. The questions are my adaptations of items from research studies from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, two of them initiated by Kahneman and his late research partner, Amos Tversky. See how well you do…’

The Questions

Neurons Offer Clues to Suicide

Since Robin Williams commited suicide, suicide became a viral issue. Here’s one for our enlightenment:

‘A certain type of brain cell may be linked with suicide, according to a recent investigation. People who take their own lives have more densely packed von Economo neurons, large spindle-shaped cells that have dramatically increased in density over the course of human evolution.

‘The team compared the density of von Economo neurons in nine patients who died from suicide and 30 who died of natural causes, such as heart failure. All subjects had been diagnosed clinically with either schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. The researchers found the density of these neurons was significantly greater in those who died of suicide than in those who had not, regardless of what disorder they had. Evolutionary psychiatrist and neuroscientist Martin Brüne of University Hospital Bochum and his colleagues detailed these findings online June (2011) 22 in PLoS ONE…’


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Lessons From The Checkout Line

cradlepoint-Grocery_line_Skeleton‘…The other day my wife asked me to run some errands and on the way back, pick up dinner. It sounded easy enough but it must have been bad timing. I ended up stuck in a throng of people on every aisle. The further I went down my shopping list the more it felt like my wife had set me up. This was a prison sentence, not a quick trip to the store! Determined to get through the task, I fought the mob and could finally see daylight. I quickly learned just because I was in line, it didn’t mean I was free.

‘Stuck there I started thinking about the humorous similarities between a super market check-out line and real life…’
Here are a few of Early Jackson’s musings:

5 Terrifying Things Only Truckers Know About the Highway
‘We don’t spend much time thinking about truckers, which is strange considering that everything we eat, wear, and plug into our walls was at one point entrusted to their care. Well, Cracked tracked down Donec Quis and Mallory Spline, two of these noble “freeway cowboys,” to ask them what it’s like to be the platelets that carry nutrients down the arteries of America. After they corrected us (apparently plasma cells carry nutrients, and “freeway cowboys” is the dumbest thing they’ve ever heard), we discovered that …’
#1. Truckers Are Paid by the Mile, and That Is Insanely Dangerous
Read more

Elderly Woman Beats up 2 Male Robbers
2 male snatchers no match to elderly woman and her cane
‘…As the jeepney passes by Samson Road, Basal snatched the shoulder bag of Linaro containing HP Pavilion Notebook, iPhone 5 and Sony Xperia, wallet containing P4,000, some identification cards (IDs) and some pieces of jewelry. Bernabe saw the incident and immediately reacted by hitting the snatcher with her cane repeatedly.

‘Due to the old woman’s action, the snatcher fell from the moving jeepney. At that instance, Santos, the other suspect, tried to get his gun and poke it at the old woman and the call center agent. But before Santos could use his gun, the old woman hit his hand and head hard with her cane…’

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