(Photo credit: West Midlands Police)
If you’ve ever been a victim of phone theft you know how scary, frustrating and expensive it can be. Not only have you lost what can be a costly device, but a lot of personal information and account access is now in the hands of strangers to do with what they like. In 2012, 1.6 million people in the US were victims of smartphone theft. Wouldn’t it be great if you could disable your phone when it was lost or stolen so that your phone became basically useless?
Well you are in luck. Enter the kill switch. Basically a kill switch allows owners to use their username and password to render their device useless. Sound familiar? That’s because Apple’s iOS7 included such a feature, which rolled out this past fall. So why isn’t everyone doing this? US wireless carriers say that hackers could get control of this technology and that once the switch was triggered it would be difficult to undo.
When has the “possibility” of hackers ever stopped us from doing anything? If every time anyone worried about the possibility of hackers we wouldn’t have online banking, or probably smartphones at all. The real reason seems to be the profits cell phone companies make selling customers insurance, new phones bought by victims after a theft, and resold stolen phones reactivated by new users. If cell phone theft goes away then so does all that money. So how was Apple able to do what others have not?
According to CNN, “Unlike makers of Android phones, Apple controls all aspects of its devices, including the hardware to the operating system. Because iPhones are so popular and profitable for carriers, Apple has been able to dictate what features are included on its devices. Apple is also leading the way on theft prevention because its devices are the most popular target for smartphone thieves.”
On Monday new federal legislation was proposed in the House that would require smartphone manufacturers to add a kill switch feature to new phones as a way to prevent future crimes. If you would like to see this bill passed contact your representative and demand their support.
A friend recently brought a mind-boggling article to my attention. The article, “Is the Universe a Simulation?” makes the case that we’re likely living in a world created by a “highly advanced computer programmer of the future”. This is based on the invariability of mathematical truths – the codes by which our world is said to have been programmed. The article references Nick Bostrom, an Oxford Philosopher who believes that if simulations exist in theory, “then eventually humans will create them”.
Perhaps the only possible simulation is the organic world, for the built environment shows our ability to simulate worlds here and now. The article asks the question, “But if math is only a product of the human imagination, how do we all end up agreeing on exactly the same math?” Rather than a code for programming worlds, math may be an indicator of our collective imagination. Apart from nature, nearly everything around us results from human creativity – creativity that spawns from imagination and manifests through calculation. Math is a mutually intelligible idiom providing us a synoptic view of our creations. Math makes the shift from imagination to reality legible. Imagination is a vehicle for reality. The built environment is a reflection of our imagination, math helps us conduct a group-analysis of it.
I’m no math-wiz, but a mathematical concept I have always been fond of is the “cipher”. The dictionary defines “cipher” as, “The mathematical symbol (0) denoting absence of quantity”. When coming across this I thought, “Doesn’t the absence of quantity equate to the inclusion of everything?” In other words, you have nothing to gain when you have everything, you have everything to gain when you have nothing. Zero is thus the most complete number. We can learn a lot from zero – a lot from nothing. Zero doesn’t take from others and others can’t take from it. Zero shows exclusion entails categories. By classifying one another we exclude one another. If we are part of some grand mathematical program, social equity remains core to our existence, though we struggle to decipher it, math functions for equality.
Every year the Super Bowl draws attention not only for the game but for the commercials that run between the plays. This year there were stand out commercials that warmed our hearts, but there was one commercial that didn’t make the airways that is worth taking a look at.
The ad was developed by the National Congress of American Indians and really drives home the Native perspective of what it means to be a Native American, and what it definitely does not mean, in America today.
In 2004 Dr. Stephanie Fryberg, of Stanford University, conducted a study on the effects of these ‘Indian’ names, mascots and logos. According to Fryberg’s study, “American Indian social representations were associated with lower self-esteem for American Indians and higher self-esteem for European Americans.” This low self-esteem is serious as currently the suicide rate for Native young people is at 18 percent, which is the highest for all American youth and more than double the rate of any other group.
Personally I don’t see why the NFL, the team, and the fans are holding so tightly to a name that is potentially offensive to the 5.2 million American Indian or Alaska Native people in the US. I’m sure if the name were to be changed it would not affect the players’ ability to catch a football, and let’s be real for a team that hasn’t made it to the Super Bowl since 1992 a change couldn’t hurt.
If you agree ChangetheMascot.org has a variety of ways to get involved including:
- Write to Roger Goodell at NFL Commissioner, 345 Park Ave., New York, NY 10154
- Call the NFL league office at 212-450-2000.
- Send a message to Commissioner Goodell on Twitter @nflcommish with the hashtag, #ChangeTheMascot
In closing, below are the words of the great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. which are also worth a moment’s reflection at the very least.
“Our nation was born in genocide when it embraced the doctrine that the original American, the Indian, was an inferior race. Even before there were large numbers of Negroes on our shores, the scar of racial hatred had already disfigured colonial society. From the sixteenth century forward, blood flowed in battles of racial supremacy. We are perhaps the only nation which tried as a matter of national policy to wipe out its indigenous population. Moreover, we elevated that tragic experience into a noble crusade. Indeed, even today we have not permitted ourselves to reject or to feel remorse for this shameful episode. Our literature, our films, our drama, our folklore all exalt it.”
Though rife with hardship, America’s history has nonetheless produced rich diversity. The pre-Columbus indigenous population was in the millions, millions of Europeans immigrated to the colonies, and over a half-million African slaves were brought to the colonies. Add more immigrants, a couple hundred years, spice it up with our nature to discriminate less in the bedroom, and boom – there’s a slim chance of bland DNA. After all, only .1% of our DNA determines the artificial notion of race. How perplexing that .1% can lead vanity to discrimination. On the other hand, varying genetic features excite us and produce multiracial babies.
Bulk Babies of the World (Photo credit: zoomar)
Othello and Desdemona in Venice, 1850, oil on wood, 25 x 20 cm, in the Louvre, Paris. Another work inspired by Shakespeare (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
According to the 2010 US Census, multiracial individuals (a population of 9 million) are America’s fastest growing demographic. The multiracial population grew by 32%, while the single-race population grew by only 9.2%. In addition to the Census’ effort to allow individuals to report multiple races, this may also result from the rise of interracial marriages. In 2010, over 15% of U.S. marriages were interracial, including my own. The estimated amount of interracial marriages is 4.8 million, they occurring at a ratio of 1:12. Another factor is America’s growing diversity. Whites are expected to be minorities on the 2043 Census. Currently, over 20 U.S. cities with populations exceeding 500,000 are majority-minority. Examples of such cities are Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Milwakee, New Orleans, Tampa, New York, and of course my home – Boston, a place commonly mistaken as otherwise.
What does this mean? It means the picture of the average American family is likely to be a collage – given our history, it already is. It also means it’s a shame how the outrage over a Cheerios commercial occurred, and how Doyin Richards, a black man married to a half-white-half-Japanese woman, had to read, “He probably rented those kids. They don’t even look like him”, after posting a picture of himself taking care of his daughters simultaneously. Other comments received by Richards were, “why don’t you hand the children back to their mom so you can go back to selling drugs or your bootleg rap CDs?” and “So do you do this for all of your illegitimate kids?” Addressing the negative ways black males are perceived in America requires more server space than I can write for, even President Bush having spoken against “the soft bigotry of low expectations”. Richards is an instructional designer and author for The Good Men Project whose popular blog is Daddy Doin’ Work – something I relate to.
Another implication of the rise of the multiracials occurs in affirmative action. New York Times article, Race Remixed: On College Forms, a Question of Race, or Races, Can Perplex reads, “the number of applicants who identify themselves as multiracial has mushroomed, adding another layer of anxiety, soul- (and family-tree) searching and even gamesmanship to the process”. Multiracial college applicants face indecisiveness when wondering how race will affect their applications, while admissions committees struggle to integrate them into diversity initiatives. The article reads, “Some scholars worry that the growth in multiracial applicants could further erode the original intent of affirmative action, which is to help disadvantaged minorities. For example, families with one black parent and one white parent are on average more affluent than families with two black parents”.
Diversity is undoubtedly one of America’s greatest treasures. When considering America’s history with racism and its growing diversity, the increased number of multiracials serves to indicate integration and social progress. Nonetheless, institutionalized exclusion remains and the ways multiracials and interracial couples encounter structural racism is bound to offer valuable insight. If your roots in America go back a few centuries, odds are you witness a multiracial experience in the mirror – even if you can’t tell.
In Texas, as a woman you can’t make choices for your body whether you’re living or deceased. We’ve spoken about the battle for women’s rights in Texas like the abortion regulations that are being passed that violate federal laws in order to severely limit women’s access to abortions. The courts have now escalated to keeping a dead woman on life support to incubate the fetus inside her.
Malise Munoz was 14 weeks pregnant when she was found unresponsive and later declared brain dead. As her family prepared to say goodbye to her, they were told that due to a Texas statute it is illegal to disconnect life support from a pregnant woman.
Often people are confused by brain dead vs. vegetative state. As a recent TIME article states, “Brain death is death. It has nothing to do with being in a coma. It does not refer to a permanent vegetative state. It does not refer to being severely brain damaged. Comatose (unconscious) patients recover all the time. In fact, physicians often use medications to temporarily place a patient into a coma to aid in recovery. Vegetative patients have lost (temporarily or permanently) most of their higher brain functions. Recovery is more rare in these cases, but a lot depends upon the amount and type of injury that has been done to the brain.”
Texas is not alone in superseding women’s choices even in death. 31 states have laws that allow hospitals to keep women alive against their wishes if they are pregnant. This leaves families in bureaucratic limbo, unable to gain closure but rapidly gaining extensive medical bills.
What can you do? See if your state is one that disregards your living will wishes and if it is, write to your state lawmakers to share your outrage.
 Read more: Brain Death Really Is Death | TIME.com http://ideas.time.com/2014/01/03/why-brain-death-really-is-death/#ixzz2ppBmmdNm