Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ghana: Digital Dumping Ground

Last night was a slow night for I found myself clicking through a very interesting program. Frontline is a great series; last night's program was titled "Ghana: Digital Dumping Ground."

The show piqued my interest because when I was in B-school, I was in a class that was about socially related business issues, for lack of a better word. One of the classes was about how China was becoming the world's dumping ground for what is called "e-waste." This waste is related to old CRT monitors, keyboards, and computer desktop towers that were discarded by "the West." The reason this class stuck with me was because 1) it was interesting and made you think 2) there was almost a riot during the lecture since there were many disturbing images shown to the class. These images were considered inflammatory to my Chinese classmates. Images of children sitting atop massive piles of old outdated monitors, etc. were shown. Remember, we were in b-school, and China is the world's next economic engine. These pictures were humiliating to my Chinese classmates, who viewed the images as insensitive...

Well I digress, but the show was really interesting. Suffice it to say, our professor was not out to humiliate anyone (at least I don't think), but rather bring to light a very real and growing problem that flies under the mainstream media. It's not just China that receives all of these items, but rather, as the map above shows, many places of lower socioeconomic regions. Ok, ok, I have a point, and here's why you should care about this problem, beyond the obvious reasons.

Two Reasons Why You Should Care...Beyond the Obvious During one part of the segment, the investigators showed how people's hard drives are ending up in these distant dumping places. No joke apparently. I was skeptical, but low and behold, the investigators bought hard drives from folks in Ghana who got them by sifting through the garbage. (Apparently, if you melt a motherboard down, you can take the copper that is left and sell for about $1 USD. Since a hard drive can fetch money, this is obviously the hand of economics driving the people to look through the waste...) One woman purchased a hard drive, and plugged it into another computer to read its contents. There were pictures, credit card info, you name it. If you are surprised, don't be. The hard drive, with an operating system on it, is the computer...So you might think you're wiping the data, but the only way to truly wipe it is to physically destroy the platters in the drive. Easier said than done, as I've blogged about before..

The segment also showed one clip where they had found a hard drive from Northrup Gruman, a defense contractor. When they looked at the drive, they found, among other things, classified documents of government contracts won or applied for. Applying for government contracts is apparently a highly confidential process. The data was shown to the FBI's homeland security deputy, who promptly told you why you should care about this...To paraphrase:

"This is unbelievable. In the wrong hands, these documents would show someone how to infiltrate a government agency. Once you have someone you don't want on the inside, you don't have security."

There you have it. Check the program out, it's worth it just to show you how a seemingly innocuous decision made can leave ripples around our world and come back to bite you.

Link to Hard Drive Issue

Link to Hard Drive Issue

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Google Chrome's Logo

This is an interesting picture of one blogger's interpretation of Google's logo for its Chrome browser. I have never used the browser, but it is worth noting why they couldn't have come up with anything else.

The tech war is once again becoming an interesting arena. If you think corporations aren't driven by their arch enemy, think again. What's a bigger question is that an arch enemy, or at the very least, someone who pushes them, is necessary to move forward, not bailouts. Look at the Cold War, and how silly that all seems now. If you don't believe me, watch the video below, which is what they used to show children so they were prepared for a nuclear war. And yet, we're the only country that has ever used a tactical strategic nuke. Organizations, people, you need a motive to create, innovate and move the collective forward. Sadly, we have a new enemy pushing us, and after we conquer them, we will find another one to drive us. Fear is a great motivator. Of that I'm sure.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Jackass Prank

We were talking about this video when the Leigh's were in town last weekend. It's by the crew on Jacka**, hilarious stuff. Johnny Knoxville puts a car seat on top of his car with a baby "doll" in it, and proceeds to drive off...

Seriously, what would you do if you saw this?

So Scary

I don't even know where to begin. No, it's not a clip from the terrorists, but it might as well be.

I've posted a video clip below of a trailer for the movie "Jesus Camp." Seriously F**KED up. I don't know who is more disturbing, these kids or Al Qaeda. I'm actually pretty sure these kids are the same and hopefully on Homeland Security's list. But maybe it's not the kid's to blame per se, but certainly the parents.

This camp was located in South Dakota, go figure, the interior of the country, but you know, these folks are probably closer than you of PA are not much different.

I think I'll just leave it at the clip. If you can't see the problem with this, you should check yourself in.

Here's some other links, in case you aren't convinced at how disturbing this is.


Link 1

Link 2

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Project Natal

Well, it's finally here. I think that this was inevitable, and MSFT should thank Nintendo for initially building the market for this application. At the most recent E3 show, MSFT unveiled its latest application for the Xbox 360. The project, codenamed "Natal", utilizes technology to do full-body motion capture. This is essentially the same technology used in film production when people where the body suits with "balls" all over them to capture their movements. Here's a link in case you are thinking about doing some motion capture and need a suit.

Wow, this is really cool. The battle to seize control of your living room between Sony and Microsoft has just gone nuclear. Round 1 went to MSFT with their launch of Xbox before Sony, Round 2 went to Sony for the entertainment industry's endorsement of Blu-Ray vs. HD, and now in Round 3, the Wii sets the table and MSFT runs with it.

Competition is a good thing, it drives us forward. Remember that when you think about the state of affairs and bail-out nation.

Kid's Back

Charlie Morton fans, he's back. Pittsburgh Pirates get Charlie and two other players for McLouth. Charlie is the #5 pitcher, and his next start is next Tuesday against Minnesota.

Welcome back to the Show Charlie. Remember, all you can control is the ball, your location, and your state of mind. Get out of your own way, and dare yourself to be great. We're all pulling for you bro.

Now go get it.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Triumph the Comic Insult Dog

This dog is the best. I think this clip was on Conan, and it's spot on. Turn the volume down if you are at work. Triumph goes to NYC and talks to the Star Wars geeks that are lined up for attack of the clones premiere. Spock makes an appearance at the end, it's worth it just for that.

Seriously, people really dress up as Star War characters? Get ready to laugh.

Part 1

Part 2

Links to Other Triumph Bits

Thursday, June 4, 2009

F&(#*@&$!K -- Westbrook's Surgery

If this is true, then the Bird's 2009 season is going to be extremely tough. I wonder if D-Mac will pack it in, since no Westbrook exposes McNabb.

This sucks.

Link to Story on Westbrook's Surgery