Minimizing the digital

 Nick Krauser embraces digital minimalism:

1: “Digital minimalists recognize that cluttering their time and attention with too many devices, apps, and services creates an overall negative cost that can swamp the small benefits that each individual item provides in isolation.”

2: “Digital minimalists believe that deciding a particular technology supports something they value is only the first step. To truly extract its full potential benefit, it’s necessary to think carefully about how they’ll use the technology.”

3: “Digital minimalists derive significant satisfaction from their general commitment to being more intentional about how they engage with new technologies. This source of satisfaction is independent of the specific decisions they make and is one of the biggest reasons that minimalism tends to be immensely meaningful to its practitioners.”

I’d already pared my work down to three hours a week in a Thoreau-esque manner, figuring that what really matters is disposing of my precious life hours on things I enjoy doing. Newport advises that as a digital minimalist “you’ll take walks, talk to friends in person, engage your community, read books, and stare at the clouds.” Well, sir, I think you just described the entirety of my life. 

I’ll readily admit to wasting far too much of my time on news-surfing, although it is possible that I need to do it in order to utilize my pattern recognition and anticipate future events. I simply don’t see how one can reasonably hope to filter the useful bits of information from the mass data flow without permitting oneself to be inundated by the data. But if pattern recognition is not one of your gifts, then there really isn’t much point in permitting yourself to be showered with nonsense on a regular basis.

In any event, I’m pleased to learn that of all the sites that survived Krauser’s brutal paring down, VP was one of the two.

I only read two websites ever, being Vox every day for about ten minutes and then Anonymous Conservative twice a week or so. There’s just nothing on the internet to interest me.

However, I think I’m on track with regards to the taking walks and reading books elements. After indulging in the completion of the Discworld and Laundry novels, I’m now reading The Long Game, which is the mainstream spin on the strategic rise of China at the expense of the USA. I’m reading it for the spin rather than the information it purports to contain, because the rather glaring omission of one of the more important elements involved in the process indicates that the book is intended more as establishing the Official Story than providing substantive analysis.


Google, Facebook mandate vaccinations

These employment requirements are arguably good news, given the way in which CASE NIGHTMARE KITTY still appears to be in play.

Facebook will require U.S. workers returning to its offices to be vaccinated, the company said on Wednesday.

“As our offices reopen, we will be requiring anyone coming to work at any of our US campuses to be vaccinated,” VP of People Lori Goler said in a statement. “How we implement this policy will depend on local conditions and regulations.”

Facebook will create processes for those who can’t be vaccinated for medical or other reasons, Goler said. The company will continue to evaluate its approach outside the U.S., Goler added….

The news comes after Google CEO Sundar Pichai told employees earlier the same day that Google would delay its return to office plans by one month, citing the fast-spreading delta variant. Pichai also said returning workers would have to be vaccinated.

As iron sharpens iron, evil devours evil. 


Another retreat from arbitration

Now it’s Amazon that is deciding to run away from arbitration:

We wanted to let you know that we recently updated our Conditions of Use.

One of our updates involves how disputes are resolved between you and Amazon. Previously, our Conditions of Use set out an arbitration process for those disputes. Our updated Conditions of Use provides for dispute resolution by the courts.

Please visit https://www.amazon.com/conditionsofuse to read our updated terms in full.

As always, your use of any Amazon service constitutes your agreement to our Conditions of Use.

Thank you,

Amazon 

There are several reasons for this. One, of course, is the fact that the companies now know that arbitration can cost them tens of millions of dollars even when the arbitration companies and the arbitrators are bending over backward for them and breaking both the arbitration rules and the law in their favor. Even when they win, the state courts won’t uphold their awards because awards against consumers are egregious violations of the California law where most of them are headquartered.

The second is that California is tightening its grip on the arbitration companies. The arbitration companies keep trying to worm around the law, so the legislature keeps passing new and more rigorous laws, such as SB 762, which has been passed due to the way JAMS has repeatedly tried to wiggle around the requirements of the previous year’s SB 707. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if the California legislature eventually strips the arbitration companies of the legal immunity that the courts have conveyed upon them through case law.

But the third and most important reason is that the U.S. Appeals Court for the Second Circuit in New York recently agreed to review a lower court’s ruling that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protects big tech companies from civil rights liability. The big tech companies lean very, very heavily on this ruling, and it’s probably not going to hold up to the Appeals Court review, being a very stupid ruling that has permitted the tech companies to play editor without being liable for an editor’s responsibilities.

The case of Domen v. Vimeo came about after Vimeo, an Internet video-hosting company, terminated Church United’s video streaming activities after it featured videos of five men and women who left the gay lifestyle to pursue their Christian faith. Vimeo claimed that its terms of service bar streaming videos that promote sexual orientation change therapy. Church United is led by Pastor Jim Domen.

A federal district court had previously held that Section 230 exempted firms such as Vimeo from civil liability and a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit upheld the lower court’s ruling.

However, as a result of the July 16 decision, the panel’s ruling will be reheard before the entire Second Circuit. The Second Circuit covers six federal district courts in three states, including New York, Connecticut, and Vermont.

“This ruling puts Section 230 immunity in the crosshairs of judicial review. We suspect that the en banc court recognizes that Big Tech is not exempt from state and federal civil rights laws,” said attorney Robert Tyler, general counsel for the California-based Advocates for Faith & Freedom. His law firm, Tyler & Bursch, represents Pastor Jim Domen and the California-based Church United nonprofit.


The silent war

 Someone is reportedly attacking US diplomats around the world:

The mysterious “Havana Syndrome” illness, which some intelligence officials believe might be a microwave attack by foreign actors, has claimed another 20 U.S. diplomatic and intelligence personnel victims abroad since President Joe Biden took office.

About two dozen U.S. intelligence officers, diplomats, and other government officials, in Vienna, Austria, are experiencing symptoms like the brain illnesses experienced by staff at the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba, in 2016, New Yorker magazine reported Friday.

The symptoms include hearing high-pitched sounds, steady “pulses of energy” in the head, pain, nausea, dizziness, and several other “bizarre” sensations, the WebMD website said.

The incidents continued around the globe, at a U.S. Consulate in China, a U.S. facility in Russia, as well as other countries in the Middle East, Europe, and even on U.S. soil in Washington, D.C., just miles away from the White House.

So far, officials estimate the number of victims to be more than 130, many of whom report ongoing symptoms and the inability to work, according to the site.

I’m dubious that the situation is quite as mysterious as it’s described as being by the media. As one who has read Charles Stross’s Laundry novels, I think it’s fairly apparent that these “diplomats” were dabbling in the esoteric arts and have contracted K-Syndrome as a result.


Schizophrenia at Google

Google’s position on a free and open Internet is not so much incoherent as schizophrenic.

A free and open internet is under attack, according to Sundar Pichai, the head of Google. In a wide-ranging interview with the BBC, the Google CEO said an open internet –information online being equally free and available to everybody – has been a ‘tremendous force for good’ that is ‘taken for granted’. 

While Mr Pichai did not directly refer to China, he did make the point: ‘None of our major products and services are available in China.’ 

He also called artificial intelligence (AI) more profound than fire or electricity, and said privacy is ‘foundational to everything we do’.  

Pichai’s firm posted whopping revenues of $55.3 billion in the first quarter of this year, but he argued against suggestions it’s a ‘surveillance capitalist’. 

Someone should let ol’ Pikachu know that one of evil those organizations attacking a free and open Internet is Google’s YouTube subsidiary, which is actively defaming, deplatforming, and demonetizing creators for making information online equally free and available to everybody:

YouTube is selectively enforcing its policies regarding ‘disinformation’ in what appears to be an attempt to silence content creators who oppose the platform’s penchant for censorship, political commentator Matt Orfalea told RT.

Orfalea is speaking from experience: Last week he received a ‘strike’ and had his channel demonetized for allegedly violating the company’s policy prohibiting “violent criminal organizations.” The flagged video was a seven-year-old satirical fake Starbucks ad, which referred to the coffee chain’s “insanely overpriced beverages for psychopaths.” YouTube later admitted it had acted “in error” and dropped the strike. 

Speaking to RT on Sunday, the YouTuber said he felt that he had been intentionally targeted by the company because of an earlier video he made in which he criticized the platform’s attempts to censor discussions about ivermectin, a drug that some medical experts believe could be effective against Covid-19. Orfalea pointed out that it was puzzling why a video from nearly 10 years ago would suddenly pop up on YouTube’s radar. 

“Why did they flag that? A video from seven years ago? Well, that tells me that because I had the recent unfortunate experience of YouTube banning me for a video covering YouTube censorship – that told the AI or whatever to keep digging and find more stuff,” he said. 


This is what success looks like

Last night UATV successfully took a big step forward, as both Big Bear and I streamed live on UATV without any problems or interruptions. Big Bear had 615 peak simultaneous viewers and I had 154; these UATV-specific numbers were in addition to the viewers on Odyssey and D-Live, as we were both streaming on multiple platforms.

The good news is that the bandwidth logs indicate that UATV is now able to support up to 5,000 simultaneous viewers, and the server infrastructure is already in place to support up to 20,000 simultaneous viewers.

The next major step will be adding chat functionality, at which point there will be no need to stream on any other platforms unless one wishes to make the stream available to non-subscribers. Superchats will eventually follow, and devs are already working on the apps. We also plan to permit creators to control how open they want any given stream to be, although chat will always be limited to subscribers.

Anyhow, if you haven’t gotten on board with UATV yet, you might want to consider subscribing soon.We’ll also be releasing a new documentary there very soon.


Get off LinkedIn

As well as Facebook, Twitter, and every other converged social media platform. The risks and costs far outweigh the benefits, as one VP reader correctly noted:

About 7 years ago, some gamma wrote an article about how we need to bend over backwards to pull more women into STEM careers. All I did was post a comment that women make their own life choices, and if they are not flocking to STEM careers, it is because they don’t want to, not because they are being prevented. Within 24 hours, I was contacted by the legal department of the company I was working for at the time, and told to take the post down. The attorney told me that the switchboard had been flooded with calls, mostly from angry women from over 15 countries that did not like my 2-sentence comment. I wiped my account after that. It is just not worth it.

It’s really not worth it. I would delete my Twitter account if it wasn’t still “suspended” and I have deleted my Facebook and LinkedIn accounts even though I hadn’t been using them for years. 

Remember, everything you post can and will be used against you, by people who actively hate you. Don’t give them the ammunition. If friends and family want to stay in touch with you, they can email, telephone, or write.


All ur info are belong to us

A privacy breach at LinkedIn illustrates why it’s simply not a very good idea to utilize mainstream social media for any reason:

Recent reports claim that a second data breach at Microsoft-owned LinkedIn has exposed the personal data of 700 million users, which is more than 92 percent of the platform’s total 756 million users.

9to5Mac reports that a second LinkedIn data breach has reportedly exposed the data of 700 million users and the database is currently for sale on the dark web. The user information reportedly includes phone numbers, physical addresses, geolocation data, and inferred salaries.

The hacker who obtained the data posted a sample of 1 million records and checks confirm that the data is both genuine and up-to-date. 

I deleted my LinkedIn and Facebook accounts more than two years ago and I can honestly say it has not had any negative impact on my life whatsoever. 


Controlling the nukes

So, apparently the Unidentified are reported to be turning off US nukes while turning on the nukes of other countries.

That is one of the concerns we have from a national security perspective, that there does seem to be some sort of congruency or some sort of intersection between these UAP or UFO sightings and our nuclear technology with nuclear propulsion, nuclear power generation, or nuclear weapons systems. Furthermore, those same observations have been seen overseas in other countries. They too have had the same incidents. So that tells us this is a global issue.

Now in this country we’ve had incidents where these UAPs have interfered and actually brought offline our nuclear capabilities. And I think to some they would probably say, well, that’s a sign that whatever this is, is something that is peaceful. But in the same context, we also have data suggesting that in other countries these things have interfered with their nuclear technology and actually turned them on, put them online. So that is equally, for me, just as concerning. I think that there is certainly at this point enough data to demonstrate there is an interest in our nuclear technology, a potential to even interfere with that nuclear technology. And when you look at all these naval ships out there–let’s take the Nimitz battle carrier fleet for example–in some cases you’re talking about a nuclear footprint probably bigger than most cities. You have a nuclear-powered carrier with aircraft on board that–and then you have nuclear-powered destroyers. You have nuclear-powered submarines, some of those with nuclear weapons on board, or nuclear–certainly nuclear capabilities. I’ll just say that. So, I think–I think, yeah, it shouldn’t be a surprise that maybe there is an increased interest in our capabilities as it relates to our nuclear technology. And the Navy is certainly not immune to that.

Of course, if this all turns out to be yet another – and that’s why we have to have a single global government – we’ll know it’s just the latest Satanic deception. Which is precisely what I assume it is, but let’s try to have an open mind for the time being.

And turning off weapons systems should never be confused with peaceful intentions.


Internet outage

From Russia Today:

OUTAGE: USERS REPORT MAJOR SITES DOWN, INCLUDING AMAZON, GUARDIAN, NYT & REDDIT
I’ve noticed that Outkick and Sports Illustrated are also down. But Arktoons, SocialGalactic, Infogalactic, and Unauthorized are all running fine.
From The Daily Mail:

The problem, affecting customers worldwide, appears to be related to Amazon’s Web Service (AWS) crashing, leaving people unable to connect to other websites. 

And that’s one of the reasons why we run on our own metal, which is made possible by you subscribers.