We at AlterNet feel our society is overrun with a destructive and growing social preoccupation with fear. This fear factor breeds more violence, mental illness and trauma, social disintegration, job failure, loss of workers’ rights, and much more. Pervasive fear ultimately paves the way for an accelerating authoritarian society with increased police power, legally codified oppression, invasion of privacy, social controls, social anxiety and PTSD.
Over the next few months we will be looking at most aspects of society through a “fear lens,” examining how fear operates, what motivates the purveyors, and how we can better challenge the fearmongers. At the same time, we will work to figure out and help people better cope with fear issues, hoping that more people can join together and build more supportive communities.
We are also hyperaware of how some in society scapegoat others for problems they face, encouraged by conservative media such as Fox News, the New York Post, and increasingly, the Wall Street Journal—all owned by Rupert Murdoch. Immigrants, for example, are blamed for numerous social ills, and certainly the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants and their families live in fear every day. But poor people of all stripes face discrimination, and racism, whether overt or covert, makes life far more dangerous for people of color than for whites.
For close to four years, while he underwent chemotherapy, Rhett couldn’t be vaccinated against dangerous and contagious diseases like measles and whooping cough. He had to rely on others around him for protection: As long they were vaccinated, transmissions were unlikely. But as a student in Marin County, California, an area where many parents file personal belief exemptions enabling their kids to opt out of required vaccines, Rhett was at risk.
In recent years, the number of parents who use nonmedical vaccine exemptions has been on the rise, contributing to record numbers of vaccine-preventable outbreaks. After the Disneyland measles outbreak, which accounts for most of the 150 new measles cases reported across 17 states since the beginning of the year, Rhett and his family began calling on legislators to put limits on vaccine exemptions—and they weren’t alone.
Last Wednesday, in conjunction with advocacy organization moveon.org, Rhett helped deliver a petition, along with 21,000 signatures, calling on California legislators to support a new bill that would put an end to nonmedical vaccine exemptions and inform parents about immunization rates in California’s schools.
Qualcomm has developed its own fingerprint sensor for smartphones with the aim of tapping the increasing demand for biometric security on phones. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Sense ID, announced on Monday at Mobile World Congress, isn’t the usual capacitive touch pad we’ve become accustomed to seeing on high-end smartphones. Instead Qualcomm is using ultrasonic waves to scan all of the ridges and wrinkles of your digits.
Why ultrasound? Qualcomm says it can do a far deeper analysis than the 2D image created by a fingerprint mashed up against a capacitive sensor. It can look beyond the grime and sweat on your grubby fingers and even penetrate beneath the surface of your skin to identify unique 3D characteristics of your print. It’s the same biometric technology developed for government security applications, Qualcomm claimed.
Why the ability for cell carriers to find a means of seamless offload to wifi is so important.
JDSU’s Location Intelligence business unit Arieso is shedding some light on who would most benefit from mobile data rollover: Turns out it is the 1%.
Don’t blame it on the rich — it’s the 1% of LTE users that are consuming 56% of all mobile data, the same 1% that JDSU (Nasdaq: JDSU; Toronto: JDU) found were responsible last year. At that time, the test and measurement company noted that LTE users were consuming ten times as much data than they did on 3G devices. (See LT-Extreme: 4G Subs Use 10X More Data and iPhone 5 Is Top Euro Data Hog.)
This is the fifth annual report Arieso, which JDSU acquired in 2013, has released. This year it studied where this extreme data use was happening as well and found that 50% occurs in .35% of the geographic area covered by a wireless operator. Even more interesting — or concerning, depending on your point of view — is the fact that 73% of mobile data in these so-called “extreme hotspots” is consumed in residential and industrial areas — places you’d think WiFi predominates. (See JDSU Buys Mobile OSS Vendor for $85M.)
Samsung announced new models of its flagship Galaxy S series of smartphones and a mobile payment system designed to compete with the one that Apple debuted a few months ago.
The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge will come with Samsung Pay, which the company said will debut in the second half of the year, protected in part by new security systems it calls Samsung KNOX. Samsung Pay is designed to be device-, merchant- and card-issuer agnostic, Samsung said. Apple Pay has been adopted by most major banks and at least 200,000 retailers so far, giving it a significant head start in creating a truly secure mobile wallet that is both more convenient and much safer than traditional credit cards.
The Edge is the first Galaxy smartphone to include an extra curved bezel along the length of the phone’s right edge that can either extend the main screen or display customized streams of additional information. The Edge design first debuted as a variant of last year’s “phablet” model from Samsung, the Note 4. Both new phone models will use version 4 of Corning Gorilla Glass, and come in multiple colors. Both models’ rear-facing camera will include a 16-megapixel sensor, a new quick-launch capability and a range of options to further hone photo quality.
The mailer wasn’t just about Campos’ opponent, Magdalena Carrasco. It purported to be from her, which makes it a serious crime. By portraying her as a communist, it successfully alienated Vietnamese voters. A strikingly similar hit piece was used against Shirakawa’s opponent several years earlier in his first campaign for the supervisor seat.
At pretrial proceedings last week, Shirakawa decided to plead no contest to false impersonation, perhaps because it became clear that Campos could be compelled to testify at a trial. Campos had taken the Fifth Amendment during grand jury proceedings and intended to continue exercising his right to avoid self-incrimination, but prosecutors said they would offer him immunity, giving him no legal excuse to stay mum. They clearly had hoped to elicit the names of Shirakawa’s co-conspirators, and Campos and his sister, Assemblywoman Nora Campos, obviously are persons of interest. Among other things, the grand jury looked at a $5,000 check that Nora Campos gave Shirakawa about the time of the mailer.
Rosen likely would be happy with a plea deal that disclosed accomplices. It would place Shirakawa on the side of the public interest, and the reward of a light sentence would be appropriate.
Wells Fargo, one of the largest subprime car lenders, is pulling back from that roaring market, a move that is being felt throughout the broader auto industry.
The giant San Francisco bank, known for its stagecoach logo and its steady profits, has been at the center of the boom in making loans to people with tarnished credit scores. Wall Street, meanwhile, has been bundling and selling such loans as securities to investors, reaping big profits while allowing millions of financially troubled borrowers to buy cars.
But now, amid signs that the market is overheating, Wells Fargo has imposed a cap for the first time on the amount of loans it will extend to subprime borrowers.
Speaker John A. Boehner’s unilateral invitation to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to address Congress on Tuesday has turned a foreign policy issue that has had near unanimous support in both parties — Israel — into a bruising political showdown.
And nowhere has that transformation been more wrenching than among Jewish members of Congress — all but one of them Democratic — who seem to reflect the dismay of the nation’s larger Jewish community over the House speaker’s action.
“I went out to play golf — I never play golf — with three of my Jewish buddies,” recalled Representative Alan Lowenthal, a Jewish Democrat from Southern California who only this weekend decided he will attend Mr. Netanyahu’s address to a joint meeting of Congress. “One said, ‘You must go,’ one said, ‘You definitely should not go,’ and one said, ‘I’m in the middle.’ That literally reflects the American Jewish community.”
Through foreign policy trials as difficult as the wars in Gaza and Lebanon, Israeli settlement policies, Arab terrorism, and the repeated failures of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Jews in Congress — and to a large extent, Jews in the United States — have spoken in a near-monolithic voice, always in support of the government of Israel
The Iraqi military, alongside thousands of Shiite militia fighters, began a large-scale offensive on Monday to retake the city of Tikrit from the Islamic State, a battle that could either deepen the country’s bloody sectarian divide or become a pivotal fight in the campaign to reclaim north and west Iraq.
Iraqi state television announced the beginning of the offensive Monday morning, a day after Haider al-Abadi, the Iraqi prime minister, visited the forces massed on Tikrit’s outskirts and delivered a speech in which he said “zero hour” for the liberation of Tikrit was at hand.
While visiting Samarra, a town near Tikrit, on Sunday, Mr. Abadi promised amnesty to local residents who had been forced to join the Islamic State, but said it was the “last chance for them” to lay down their arms and assist the security forces in pushing out the militants.
The violence and crisis in eastern Ukraine has deepened in recent weeks, despite ceasefires.
But where diplomacy has failed, students from both countries have stepped in. YouTube videos are being filmed and uploaded by students in both countries, exchanging frank views.
More at m.bbc.com