Mark Bult Design: San Francisco, CA, Established 1988

Web design and development for small and large business, e-commerce, b2b, b2c, SAAS, and community websites. User experience design and usability testing.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

BushCo is trying to outlaw contraception, without congressional approval

From MoveOn:

Can you imagine living in a place where birth control is considered an “abortion” and health insurers won’t cover it? Where even rape victims are denied emergency contraception?

It seems unbelievable, but the Bush Administration is quietly trying to redefine “abortion” to include birth control. This could wipe out dozens of state laws that protect women’s reproductive freedom and protect rape victims. Access to basic health care for millions of women would be jeopardized. And it’s being pushed as a “rule change,” meaning: it doesn't need congressional approval.

Here’s what some others are saying about this proposal:
  • “The draft regulation would define birth control as could deny access to critical family planning for women across the country.” [source: Letter signed by Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and 26 other senators]
  • “The draft rule could void laws in 27 states that require insurance companies to provide birth control coverage for women requesting it [and] laws in 14 states requiring that rape victims receive counseling and access to emergency, day-after contraceptives.” [source: Houston Chronicle editorial]
  • “The administration needs to stop playing word games with women’s health and state clearly they will reject any regulations that will undermine women’s access to basic health care.” [source: Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.]
  • “The birth control pill, the IUD, and emergency contraception might all become unavailable — illegal — as a result.” [source: Brigid Riley, executive director of a Minnesota teen pregnancy prevention organization]
Do something: Sign the petition.

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Thursday Top 5+5

I've been busy so I didn't have time to post a Top 5 last week. So here's a double dose of distractions for you.

What if humanity disappeared?
This Sunday, the National Geographic Channel premieres "Aftermath: Population Zero," which imagines what it would be like if humans suddenly disappeared from Earth (coincidentally, they chose Velma's birthday for the date on which human history ends). Pets will starve, dams will break, electricity will shut down and nuclear plants will eventually melt down. And that's just in the first few months; they continue to forecast out to 230 A.H. (after humans). Using CG and cleverly edited real film footage, National Geographic has created an altogether frightening and fascinating vision. Since we don't have cable Velma and I can't watch it, but I'll Netflix this someday if it gets released on DVD. There's an interactive timeline and several preview video clips on the web.

The Wasmopolitan Cavalcade of Recorded Music
Legendary producer Don Was has a show on the new online video source My Damn Channel, and so far he's got interviews with and/or performances by Ozzy Osbourne, Slash and Duff from Guns 'N' Roses, Sass Jordan, Jill Sobule (performing in an LA furniture store!), Sweet Pea Atkinson, and Lori McKenna, along with some up-and-comers. The Ozzy interviews contain some of the most interesting questions Ozzy's gotten in years (in this way, Don Was could kick Bob Coburn's ass), and they even briefly discuss the long-forgotten duet Ozzy did with Madonna on Was (Not Was)'s 1983 album Born To Laugh at Tornadoes.
I also liked this rock–reggae band — Common Sense:

"The Mean Kitty Song"
I think this guy's cat and Orson may have been separated at birth.

Scratching Darth Vader

Kermit on the Daily Show

The trouble with Steve Jobs
Fortune has named Apple number one on its 2008 list of America's Most Admired Companies. Among the magazine's coverage, editor at large Peter Elkind uncovers some facts behind Apple's stock backdating scandal and 2004 surgery that saved Steve Jobs from cancer.
There's also a separate interview with Jobs:

Facebook and privacy
Much has been made over the last year about Facebook's privacy policy and terms of service. I happen to think most of this sharing is benign, but there's no question that it could be used (as could nearly any information) for the wrong purposes. While this video's outline of corporate and government relationships to Facebook are a bit tenuous, it provides some interesting insights that all Facebook users should be aware of.

Does Google have a Master Plan?
As if the Facebook video wasn't enough, this video contend that Google is secretly cooperating with the CIA and collecting your personal information for purposes that are possibly more nefarious than just simply serving up relevant text ads. I'm not sure how much of this I buy, but I'll look into the allegations of Robert David Steele, the former CIA agent. The video, btw, is worth watching if only for the terrific design.

Make a cheapo parabolic wifi extender

Parking garage of the future
Pull in, step out, the garage parks your car for you.

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Room 641A: AT&T's complicity in Bush's Orwellian America

I pass this windowless, metal-clad behemoth of a building every day. It's practically across the street from my office downtown. It's an AT&T building, but I never understood why it would have absolutely no windows. I always wondered what was inside.

A whistleblower who used to be a technician working for AT&T in this building revealed that it contains a room which is only accessible to National Security Agency (NSA) personnel, into which all communications traffic — internet and telephone — flows and is copied.

"My job was to connect circuits into the splitter device which was hard-wired to the secret room," said whistleblower Mark Klein. "And effectively, the splitter copied the entire data stream of those internet cables into the secret room — and we're talking about phone conversations, email web browsing, everything that goes across the internet."

In January 2006 the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a class-action lawsuit against AT&T, accusing the telecom giant of violating the law and the privacy of its customers by collaborating with the NSA in a massive, illegal program to wiretap and data-mine Americans' communications.

The traffic routed through these secret rooms is not limited to AT&T customers, and AT&T is not the only telecom company complicit in the government's conspiracy to surveil the entirety of American civil communications. The EFF has filed briefs seeking information on similar locked rooms in facilities owned by Verizon, MCI, and others.

Coverage of Room 641A:

Washington Post: A Story of Surveillance: Former Technician 'Turning In' AT&T Over NSA Program
PBS's Frontline: Spying on the Home Front
Wired interview with Mark Klein: Spying in the Death Star: The AT&T Whistle-Blower Tells His Story
Wired: AT&T Whistle-Blower's Evidence
Electronic Frontier Foundation: Hepting v. AT&T
Wikipedia: Room 641A

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