Thursday, December 29, 2011

Diversity does not equate freedom

There is a new initiative taking hold in Michigan that is seeking to put affirmative action back in place, allowing formally disenfranchised people to gain a leg up.

But diversity does not create, or equate, freedom.  When the Fairness Doctrine was enacted, it stated to promote diversity in the media, yet, once it was repealed there was an explosion of new TV and radio stations, newspapers, and book publishers.

Those in favor of diversity, often site that there isn't enough, even on college campuses, but the free market creates diversity itself.

Some call affirmative action "reverse discrimination," and that may be true.  Treating a group a people better than another based on race is racism; apparently so long as it isn't done to specific groups.  One would think that in the 20th century that we, as a society, would beyond these petty grievances. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cheap digital storage could cost freedom


There have always unintended consequences with many things in life, but the falling prices of digital storage products and services seems like that would be something that could avoid the lifelong cliché.

Apparently, it cannot.

With the decreasing cost of digital data storage and the increase in digital data use, authoritarian governments could very soon be able to collect and monitor millions of pieces of data from its citizens - and do so cheaply.

Fast Company has a very compelling and very Orwellian outlook on the future of digital surveillance, check it out.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Civil rights in America today

When the Founding Fathers drafted the Declaration of Independence some 240 years ago, the small part about "all men are created equal" was only held to be true for white men who owned property, disenfranchising those of different races and of certain sub-socioeconomic creeds.

Slavery was a common practice then, with many of the founding fathers themselves owning slaves and operating large plantations.  Yet, supposedly, all men were created equal, though at the time true equality was not practiced.

But as time passed after the interpretation of the Declaration changed with society, African-Americans and women were eventually given the same rights as what the white man had had prior, like the right to vote and land ownership.

Yet, though, there is a group of Americans born from the very fabric and definition of this country, defending it, dying for it, who do not have the same rights as everyone else.  For a country that was built upon equality, even with its biased and troubled beginnings, one sould think that a developed and educated society would understand the definition of equality:

1. The state of being equal, esp. in status, rights, and opportunities.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christopher Hitchens, dead, 62

Photo by ensceptcio
Even though I have never met Christopher Hitchens, and only recently, yet sadly, came upon his work, I feel like I have lost a fried.

Through his rhetoric and undeniable quit wit, he was un-debatable, a master of words who I can only wish to achieve a miniscule portion of his infinite abilities.

Many may not have agreed with his views on life and the world, but all should agree that Mr. Hitchens was like no other intellectual we have seen in our time and, depressingly, probably never will.

Rest in peace.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

2012 best cars to buy


With 2011 models being shipped off dealership lots with incentives stacked in the truck, 2012 models are already showing up before the end of the year.  There are a multitude of amazing vehicles poised to rearrange your garage, from high-tech fuel-sippers to high-tech asphalt shredding machines; below are a few of those cars.

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302

With the return of the 5.0-liter V-8 engine last year in the 2011 GT Mustang, Ford jumped on the opportunity to recreate another automotive legend, the Boss Mustang. Even though the Boss packs the same engine as the less-trim GT, it packs 32 more horsepower for a total of 444.

What makes the Boss such a 2012 all-star is its handling.  Even though it uses very archaic solid rear axle, it can cut canyons with German sports car precision – so much that the perennial driver’s car, the BMW M3, has a new, legitimate competitor on the track.

Offered in both base and Laguna Seca trims, the Laguna Seca famously named for the California race track of the same name, even the Boss Mustang tries to remain affordable to just about everyone.
For $40, 310 without the dealer markup many dealers, the Boss 302 packs American grunt and brawn of muscle cars past while still feeling composed enough for the German Autobahn.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The rise and fall of the electric car in the early 20th century


“Mrs. Henry Ford hated the smell of gasoline and drove an electric car until 1938,” said Matt Lee, an automotive historian and longtime employee of the Detroit Big Three.    Lee helps upkeep the National Automotive History Collection at the Detroit Public Library, which he has been a part of for the last 24 years.  “Last time I looked the recharging equipment was still in the garage of Fairlane, the Ford Estate in Dearborn,” said Lee.  Mrs. Ford drove a 1914 Detroit Electric Model 47 Brougham.

Vehicles at the turn of the century came in many variations; gasoline, electric and steam powered vehicles were all in different stages of development, vying for the run of America’s roads.  An early leader in American driveways were electric vehicles.   

On September 7, 1896 America’s first track races were ran at Narragansett Park, Rhode Island. Things did not bode well for gasoline vehicles.  First and second place were taken by electric cars after five one mile heats.  The Riker Electric Stanhope and the Salom Electrobat took the tops spots, beating out five gasoline powered vehicles entered by the Duryea Motor Wagon Company, though two of the Duryea’s were disqualified. 

In 1897 the Electric Carriage and Wagon Company put twelve electric taxis on New York City streets, increasing their fleet to sixty-two in 1898.  The batteries took eight hours to fully recharge and could travel a distance of twenty-five miles at fifteen miles per hour.  At the time, this proved to provide ample convenience for many.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Top Cars from 2011

Published in the December 15th edition of The Eastern Echo.

With the Detroit Big Three in shambles and the global market on the verge of collapse because of the recession that started in 2009, the importance of automakers in America was in question.  Plants were closed and workers were laid off or fired.  Things did not look good for American automotive manufacturing.

But 2011 marked a beginning.  General Motors, Chrysler, and Ford finally began to deliver the cars Americans have been yearning for – trucks, SUVs and crossovers. 

Yes, even with the influx of new compact car models from almost every automaker, and the persuasion by the American government to make cars Americans actually wanted to buy, small cars sold horrifically less than their behemoth work horse brethren.

So with American’s undeterred in their gas-guzzling habit, here are four of the top cars from 2011 – gas-guzzlers need not apply.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Kindle Fire review: it's not an iPad 2

This was published in the print edition Monday, December 13 edition of The Eastern Echo.

Amazon’s Kindle Fire has been touted as an Apple iPad 2 competitor, if not killer, but the Fire is in a different camp of products.  Where the iPad 2 is focused on accomplishing a multitude of functions seamlessly, the Fire’s purpose is one thing and one thing only; accessing and buying multi-media content.

Amazon has an expansive library of e-books, mp3s and albums, and the ability to stream thousands of TV shows and movies for those that have Amazon’s Prime membership.  Prime costs $79.00 a year and offers  free two-day shipping on “millions” of  items, unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows, and one Kindle book to borrow each month for free – like a library.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Fox News viewers less informed study says

An interesting study has come out of Fairleigh Dickinson University's PublicMind Poll a few weeks ago that raises some suspicions.

First, there were only 612 participants in the study. Of those 612 participants, only 34 percent considered themselves Republican or Republican leaning.  It seems fair to say that 208 people in the study who considered themselves Republican should not be taken as an accurate sample of the some 2 million daily viewers of the Fox News Chanel.

If only 34 percent of Democrats were surveyed regarding their knowledge of faith-based initiatives, wouldn't there be some clear biased involved?

Second, the issues that the survey covered involved the protests in Egypt, Syria, the Occupy protests here in America, and the GOP presidential candidates.  Oddly, though, the protests would considered a more Democratic topic to follow, as opposed to business finance reform, or other current economic issue, which would be deemed a more Republican topic.

For the poll to be more fair, the PublicMind Poll needs to rethink its questions to be more equal when regarding news items.  The poll seems stacked against conservatives in every way throughout the study.

I linked the results so you can see them for your self.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Wisconsin has some protesting issues, as does Virginia Tea Partiers

Wisconsin seems to be entering a new type of governmental censorship - you got to pay if you want to protest. 

The Daily Kos has the biggest provisions the policy states listed, check it out.  It is understandable that money is needed to cover the extra cost of police, but it should not be put onto the protesters.  It will inadvertently inhibit poorer protesters from demonstrating.

This is a slippery slope indeed.

In Virginia, there seems to be an issue of content selection.  Richmond, Va. mayor seems to be giving the local Tea Party protesters a tax audit and no refund on their $8,500 fees they paid to even protest.  The issue that has arisen is the local Occupiers had protested for two weeks in the city park, had police on hand, and even portable toilets, but have not been served a bill for those services. [Washington Post]

Apparently the Daily Kos didn't pick up on that story for some odd reason.  What do you think needs to be done?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Kindle Fire Review

Coming soon, but let me just say it is the tablet everyone needs to buy and they don't know it.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Looking for a car?

This can be found in Thursday's edition of the Eastern Echo, or here on their website.

Finding the right used car can be difficult. Do you go for a GDI or TDI? Direct-injection or port-injection? Turbocharged or supercharged?

Does knowing the difference even matter? For some the differences matter greatly, but when money is hard to find, choices are limited.

What follows is a listing of five basic majors and the cars that could best fit those looking for a new ride.