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Darnell (TeleVerse)

…because in Cyberspace, no one can hear you scream!

Islamic State Is Winning Thanks To…Russia And Turkey‽ 

  
Remember that Russian fighter jet Turkey shot out of the sky‽ 

Well, apparently after that fatal incident Russia decided to impose economic sanctions against Turkey…

…as well as moving to officially recognize the Armenian genocide (sad it took this incident for Russia to recognize Turkey’s past sins). 

Turkey has responded by imposing…a naval blockade‽ 

Turkey slammed the door on Russian sea travel Sunday, effectively shutting off Moscow’s access to the Black Sea and raising serious concerns among experts about escalating tensions in the region.

The recent blockade is preventing Russian naval vessels from traveling in the Black Sea to Syria. The Russian Black Sea fleet has been a key component to Russian operations in the war-torn country, primarily operating out of the Syrian port of Tartus. Without access to the Turkish Straits, Russian attempts to increase force projection in Syria or resupply the units in the willcountry will be extremely limited. (Daily Caller)

So basically this means Russian air assaults against Islamic State & pseudo-moderate terrorists groups (there are no moderate factions in Syria folks) will eventually evaporate as Russian supplies run low, ensuring that the current state of chaos will reign in the future. 

Unless the leaders of Russia & Turkey end their diplomatic pissing match, then Islamic State’s beta test of barbaric rule will continue unhindered (as Russia will not risk world war 3 over a naval blockade and one dead pilot). 

Or will they‽ Hmmm…

Image via: SigmaLive

China Needs To Exit The Child Quota Business

  
This morning I received a happy alert via the Breaking News app (a rarity nowadays). 

Scouring the Twitterverse confirmed that the Chinese government was doubling the child quota from one to…two‽ 

While allowing children in China to legally have siblings is a great idea, China needs to exit the child quota business for one important reason. 

A growing number of scholars had urged the government to reform the rules, introduced in the late 1970s to prevent population growth spiraling out of control, but now regarded as outdated and responsible for shrinking China’s labor pool.

For the first time in decades the working age population fell in 2012, and China, the world’s most populous nation, could be the first country in the world to get old before it gets rich. (Reuters)

China has a serious problem & the answer is not out dated child quotas. 

If China wants remain as the Asian empire that powers the globe, they need to allow families to responsively raise their kids sans quotas (lest they join Japan in the youth shrinkage business). 

Image via Breitbart

Sadness: No SpaceX Stock Until Mars Colony Is Established

SpaceXMars

Looks like my dreams of investing my small treasure into a future space faring corporation will not happen for a very long, long time…

According to citizen astronaut and SpaceX investor Richard Garriott, the company only exists to colonize Mars. Garriott revealed that Musk often jokes with investors about that, saying things like, “by the way, none of this money is coming back until we are on Mars. “

Musk’s intentions aren’t necessarily a surprise, considering that he’s often spoken about the Red Planet. Only recently, he talked about nuking the planet to prepare it for human arrival and told Tesla shareholders earlier this year that SpaceX will not go public until regular flights to Mars are an actual thing. (Boy Genius Report)

So when does SpaceX plan on visiting Mars? About a decade from now (give or take a few years of course!).

Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, has long been an advocate of setting up a Mars colony. Way back in early 2012 he said he’d worked out a way of sending an “average person” on a round-trip to Mars for $500,000. His tune seems to be a little more muted now, but his new estimate of 10-12 years — before 2026 — is still fairly optimistic. (ExtremeTech)

Assuming SpaceX is successful at landing humans upon the red planet it probably will be at least a decade afterwards before “regular flights” to Mars become realistic.

Personally I am skeptical SpaceX will establish a colony upon Mars before 2040 due to deadly solar flares, cosmic radiation and toxic Martian dust (which can shut off human thyroids).

Although I am confident those obstacles will be overcome by humanity in the future, I am doubtful all of these will be resolved within a decade due to…financial resources and politics (sadly humanity may experience another world war or great depression before a human sets foot on Mars).

Either way I do hope SpaceX is successful as I want to be able to see humanity return to the Moon again…as well as visit Mars! 🙂

Why Is Texas Denying Birth Certificates To Kids Of Illegal Immigrants‽ 

  
Yes, I know Texas has an “border problem” due to the willful incompetence of Democratic and Republican leaders (who in the age of terrorism have foolishly refused to secure the American borders). 

However this does not justify denying American citizens (even if they are minors) official paperwork proving their place of birth. 

Though children born in the United States are entitled by law to U.S. citizenship regardless of the immigration status of their parents, Texas authorities have been placing significant barriers to immigrants who have entered the country illegally and are seeking birth certificates for their U.S.-born children.

In his ruling denying an emergency order sought by families, Judge Robert L. Pitman of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in San Antonio said Texas officials can refuse to accept matricula consular cards, issued by Mexican consulates, as a form of identification to obtain birth certificates for U.S.-born children. (Los Angeles Times)

Fortunately this case will probably be overturned in a higher appellate court as anyone born on American soil is a United States citizen & access to their documents should be given to their legal guardian/parent if they are a minor (irregardless if they are a citizen or a foreigner). 

What Texas needs to do is give these children their birth certificates as well as deport the parents (along with the kids) back to the country they originated from (with the only exception being for those seeking political asylum from hostile nations).

Discovered Via: Deray McKesson

Image Via: Texas Department of State Health Services

Beyond 140: The Future of Twitter is…Twogger‽ (via Medium, Tumblr & WordPress)

  
No, a product called Twogger by Twitter does not exist—yet. 

But with Twitter pondering on expanding beyond the 140 character limit they may want to consider “Twogger” as a superior alternative. 

What is Twogger‽ 

Twogger is a portmanteau of the words twitter & blogger in which tweet messages beyond 140 characters are posted upon a third party blogging service like Meduim, Tumblr or WordPress
However instead of simply being a Twitlonger alternative, Twitter could auto embed the tweet within a newly created blog post from within the official app. 

I have crudely tried doing this within Medium before via Mediums iOS app (when I needed more than 140 characters) when responding to: 

Instead of taking a screenshot & manually creating a post later on, it would be great if Twitter could auto embed the tweet (especially replies) along with the extra content underneath that would not fit within the 140 limit. 

This way Twitter would not sacrifice its core features for the sake of promised growth that may or may not come due to moar characters.

Image Credit: Digital Trends

Trump And Bush’s Tax Plans Sound Great But What About The Deficit‽

debtball

Donald Trump recently unveiled his tax plan to the world and just like Jeb Bush’s plan it would lower federal taxes for many Americans (if not eliminate them completely).

While either of these plans would be in the financial best interests of me, myself and I (along with millions of other Americans), they would be disastrous at reducing the deficit.

Why? Because neither Bush nor Trump go into detail how they are going to reduce federal spending (which is critical if you want to protect the future value of the dollar).

Courtesy of National Priorities, here is the Federal Budget for 2015:

totalfedspending

Social Security, Medicare as well as the Military are America’s biggest burdens upon the budget and (not surprisingly) are often left along by politicians lest they be voted out by the elderly and “patriotic” (as cutting military spending for any reason is often seen as “un-American”).

Unfortunately for citizens of the United States the expense of all three will most likely increase in the foreseeable future due to people living longer, semi-healthier lives and America facing greater threats from terrorism as well as hostile regional powers abroad.

What American needs is not just tax cuts but also serious spending cuts lest we end up on the path traveled by Iceland as well as Greece (as America’s deficit is over $18 Trillion!).

Unless Donald Trump and Jeb Bush tax plans will magically result in immediate ginormous economic growth (well over 6%) to offset the decreased government revenues then both plans will increase–not decrease–the gigantic deficit that threatens America’s tomorrow.

While I will always welcome a tax cut (as that means more money for me) I do wonder if any politician will propose a serious solution that involves easing the burdens of today without bankrupting the promises of tomorrow.

Image Credits: The Top Five Percent, National Priorities

Dear Verge: Stop Whining About Ad Blockers! (Instead Just Shut Up And Take My Money!)

shutuptakemoney

With the release of iOS 9 to the masses, many publishers (big and small) have been trembling at the popularity of ad blockers.

Cue The Verge:

But taking money and attention away from the web means that the pace of web innovation will slow to a crawl. Innovation tends to follow the money, after all! And asking most small- to medium-sized sites to weather that change without dramatic consequences is utterly foolish. Just look at the number of small sites that have shut down this year: GigaOm. The Dissolve. Casey Johnston wrote a great piece for The Awl about ad blockers, in whichThe Awl’s publisher noted that “seventy-five to eighty-five percent” of the site’s ads could be blocked. What happens to a small company when you take away 75 to 85 percent of its revenue opportunities in the name of user experience? Who’s going to make all that content we love so much, and what will it look like if it only makes money on proprietary platforms?

These are the questions worth asking — and they deserve better answers than simply “they’ll adapt.” Because there’s only one thing that makes adaptation such a powerful force.

Death.

This fear is understandable as most (if not many) publishers make the vast majority of their revenue from advertisers (who are devious enough to slip in unwanted cookies within our browsers while we read first class blogs and popular news sites).

Although I loathe ads in general, the truth of the matter is those annoying interruptions of media entertainment/enlightenment (also known as commercials) help put food on the table for bloggers, journalists, et al, families (not to mention keep the lights on and keep the tax man away).

adblockplus

However Ad Blockers are not going away, and while hiding content behind a pay wall has kept a few news organizations alive (example: Wall Street Journal, Haaretz, et al), most people will loathe paying for information the same way most music lovers loathe paying for music.

So how to miniature, medium and mega media sites convince users to pay for content they have grown up reading for free?


Enter The Freemium Dragon


Instead of hiding 80% of their content behind a pay wall, sites like the Verge could allow users to pay between $10-$15 USD/month for the privilege of:

  • Commenting upon the web site (which would eliminate 99% of the troll issue)
  • Guaranteed ability to comment upon live social streams such as Periscope (which would require the Verge to follow their clients).
  • Ability to purchase reviewed products at slightly discounted prices (which companies will love as they will be “marketed” towards potential premium customers)
  • NO ADS!!!!
  • Access to a native mobile app (yes, bring back the app but only for those who pay!)
  • Submit “Letters to the Editor” which (at The Verge’s staff discretion) will be published on the main page

To test out whether their reading population is willing to convert from free loading users to premium clients, sites like the Verge could launch a kickstarter-like campaign to see if there is any hope of converting a significant size toward the shut up and take my money side.

After all in an age where media giants pretend to be neutral in a vain attempt to mask their bias, we need openly transparent media (like The Verge, Techcrunch, et al) to thrive and give an honest opinion about how they view the world (even if it is not what we want to hear).

Image Credits: Futurama, Adblock Plus

Out: Apple Watch, In: Neptune Hub‽ 

  
The last time I was excited about wrist wear was when I discovered that the Leatherman Tread was courting Apple Watch!

Neptune Hub allows you to make calls, send messages, stay connected with your social networks, track fitness stats, and much more, all directly on your wrist – all on its own. (Neptune Hub Indiegogo Page)

Here is a more indepth video sans the promo hype:

Honestly though I could see myself wearing the Neptune Hub over an Apple Watch for 5 reasons:

  1. Larger screen (so I can actually see apps)
  2. Built in 3G/LTE radio (so it can operate independently of a smart phone)
  3. 64 GB of internal storage
  4. Running a full mobile OS (not a dumbed down wrist version)
  5. Real video calling from my wrist! (Yes, I am a Trekie!!)

The Neptune Hub is running Android 5.0, although I assume they will upgrade to 6.0 when Google unveils it to the world. 

Its GSM friendly so (in theory) it should work on AT&T & T-Mobile networks (Verizon & Sprint are out of luck sadly). 

  
They plan to ship devices out by February of 2016, although there is no word on whether they will parter with GSM telecoms via leasing plans (as Neptune Hub is selling for $899 off contract). 

My only major concern is battery life as having this last less than a day would be a deal breaker for me (as it only boasts 1,000 mAH).

Exit Question: Is Apple working on something similar‽ After all good artists copy while great artists steal

Discovered via: Engadget

Image Credits: Neptune Hub Indiegogo Page

Coming Soonish‽ Apple Watch With Leatherman Tread Band‽ 

  

Photo: Mockup of Leatherman Tread with smart watch Pebble by Rajrdajr on Reddit

Ever since the Leatherman Tread was revealed in January (now available at Cabelas), I have dreamed of pairing Tread with Apple Watch as a band. 

While Leatherman will sell the Tread with a “dumb watch” in 2015 (in Autumn), they are seeking to match it with an Apple watch in the semi-distant future. 

Also according to The Wall Street Journal, Leatherman’s President Benjamin Rivera is already sporting an iWatch/Leatherman Tread combo in the wild. 

The company plans to release additional links with tools for specific hobbies (possibilities include archery and motorcycle repair). Mr. Rivera currently wears the Tread as a watchband for his Apple Watch using a custom-fabricated adapter, which the company is also considering releasing. (The Wall Street Journal)

Hopefully Apple approves Leatherman as a third party iWatch wrist vender in the semi distant future.

However if Apple declines to embrace the future of wrist wear then I will take matters into my own hands (pun not intended) by attaching the Tread by tweaking this iWatch band hack.

Note: Video discovered via MacRumors

Either way I look forward to wearing the ultimate wrist utility as soon as I figure out which links upon the Leatherman Tread I can live without (as it is huge upon my wrist!).

Final Thoughts: I considered pairing the Leatherman Tread with Pebble but alas an iWatch would work better with my iPhablet (aka iPhone 6 Plus).

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