This seems like the coolest toy!

Monopoly credit card kit

A Monopoly credit card kit. Create and spend your own money!

Here is another awesomely cool toy:

toy atm machine

Yes! A toy atm machine. Forget Bitcoin – create and run your own bank!

Fix location bar annoyances in Firefox

I. If I type “foobar” in the location bar, I don’t want Firefox to think I meant

Turning off Domain Guessing

You can turn off Domain Guessing by changing a preference.

In the Location bar, type about:config and press Enter.
The about:config “This might void your warranty!” warning page may appear. Click I’ll be careful, I promise! to continue to the about:config page.
In the Search field, type fixup.
Double-click the browser.fixup.alternate.enabled preference to set its value to false.

II. (and this is really annoying) If I don’t use a keyword in the location bar prior to entering a string of text, don’t assume I want to perform a search. E.g., if I type “g some words” don’t search Google (my default search provider which has search keyword “g” associated with it) for “g some words”. How totally messed up.

Despite the confusion with the terminology, this setting will not turn off normal keyword searching.

Turning off the web search in the address bar

You can turn off the web search in the address bar by changing a preference.
Note: This preference does not affect smart keyword searches from the Location Bar.

In the Location bar, type about:config and press Enter.
The about:config “This might void your warranty!” warning page may appear. Click I’ll be careful, I promise! to continue to the about:config page.
In the Search field, type keyword.enabled.
Double-click the keyword.enabled preference to set its value to false.

Why its wrong to have conspiracy theories about the Kennedy assassination

I do not think this is complex. Its actually quite simple. I also think having conspiracy theories is sad. But first, let me explain why its wrong to have them.

President Kennedy was riding in an open-top car through the middle of a city. He was not killed under some highly suspicious circumstances – for example, say if his plane had been flying across the Atlantic to meet some world leaders and then it disappeared or whatever.

There are a lot of ways in which a president could have died which would have been suspicious. If he had been found in his bedchambers dead or something. Etc.

But that was not the situation. He was riding in an open-top vehicle through the middle of the city. There had certainly been death threats against him before, or at least innuendo and speculation to that effect. There were people who engaged in at the very minimum hostile rhetoric against him.

Therefore it should not at all be suprising that he was shot by some psychopath with a shotgun in broad daylight, riding through the middle of a city wide open as he was. What is more shocking is how this could have happened at all, how could any of those responsible for his security have even fathomed doing such a thing is beyond me.

This was not a mayor of some small town USA riding down the street in a parade on a nice day. How hated can a mayor of a city be? Compare that with someone like the US President and the difference is monumental. Its shocking that those responsible for the President’s security, his close friends and advisors, and the President himself did not know this.

All the speculation and conspiracy theories do nothing to help the country heal. Its possible to form conspiracy theories about just about anything at all. And in this case it is irreverent, disrespectful, and inappropriate. It opens wounds where there needs to be healing.

Even if there were some others involved, it does not change the fact that he was riding wide open in the middle of the street through a crowded city. After the assassination, it is time to move on, accept responsibility and accept what happened, however bitter it might be.

Teenage girls as killers for drug cartels “Killerinnen und Narco-Bräute

Loathesome educational failure

OECD Skills Outlook 2013

The technological revolution that began in the last decades of the 20th century has affected nearly every aspect of life in the 21st: from how we “talk” with our friends and loved ones, to how we shop, to how and where we work. Quicker and more efficient transportation and communication services have made it easier for people, goods, services and capital to move around the world, leading to the globalisation of economies. These social and economic transformations have, in turn, changed the demand for skills as well. With manufacturing and certain low‑skill tasks increasingly becoming automated, the need for routine cognitive and craft skills is declining, while the demand for information‑processing and other high‑level cognitive and interpersonal skills is growing. In addition to mastering occupation‑specific skills, workers in the 21st century must also have a stock of information‑processing skills and various “generic” skills, including interpersonal communication, self‑management, and the ability to learn, to help them weather the uncertainties of a rapidly changing labour market.

The Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC) was designed to provide insights into the availability of some of these key skills in society and how they are used at work and at home. It directly measures proficiency in several information‑processing skills – namely literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology‑rich environments. Among the main findings:

What adults can do in literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology‑rich environments

In most countries, there are significant proportions of adults who score at lower levels of proficiency on the literacy and numeracy scales. Across the countries involved in the study, between 4.9% and 27.7% of adults are proficient at only the lowest levels in literacy and 8.1% to 31.7% are proficient at only the lowest levels in numeracy.
In many countries, there are large proportions of the population that have no experience with, or lack the basic skills needed to use ICTs for many everyday tasks. At a minimum, this ranges from less than 7% of 16‑65 year‑olds in the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden to around 23% or higher in Italy, Korea, Poland, the Slovak Republic and Spain. Even among adults with computer skills, most scored at the lowest level of the problem solving in technology‑rich environments scale.
Only between 2.9% and 8.8% of adults demonstrate the highest level of proficiency on the problem‑solving in technology‑rich environments scale.

Its appalling what’s going on here in Silicon Valley. Huge swarms of mostly illiterate people are being allowed to emigrate illegally into the country, ostensibly for the sake of benefitting “the economy” and providing cheap labor, thereby driving down the demand and wages for domestic labor.

Secondary and higher-education institutions have had their missions hijacked. With some school districts having 1/3 of students being non-native English speakers, vast resources must be expended for multi-lingual services and education even when budgets are dwindling from economic pressures.

Higher-education institutions like California’s once great 2-year community-college system are now more like providers of remedial classes for flunkies.

US adults score below average on worldwide test

In math, reading and problem-solving using technology — all skills considered critical for global competitiveness and economic strength — American adults scored below the international average on a global test, according to results released Tuesday.

Adults in Japan, Canada, Australia, Finland and multiple other countries scored significantly higher than the United States in all three areas on the test. Beyond basic reading and math, respondents were tested on activities such as calculating mileage reimbursement due to a salesman, sorting email and comparing food expiration dates on grocery store tags.

Not only did Americans score poorly compared to many international competitors, the findings reinforced just how large the gap is between American high- and low-skilled workers and how hard it is to move ahead when your parents haven’t.

Here’s a reaction in England which scored better than the USA:

Business leaders issue stark warning following OECD education study

Britain’s business leaders have warned that the country risks an economic “car crash” as a respected international thinktank issued a stark warning that millions of English adults cannot read, write or add up better than primary school children.

“It’s a car crash in slow motion for the economy,” said John Cridland, director general of the Confederation of British Industry. “You have about 30% of every year of 16-year-olds who have been failed by the education system. Not by teachers. After 11 years in full time education, when they enter the labour force without adequate GCSE English or maths everyone loses out.”

USA is blue, UK is green

USA is blue, UK is green

As the American economy sputters along and many people live paycheck-to-paycheck, economists say a highly-skilled workforce is key to economic recovery. The median hourly wage of workers scoring on the highest level in literacy on the test is more than 60 percent higher than for workers scoring at the lowest level, and those with low literacy skills were more than twice as likely to be unemployed.

“It’s not just the kids who require more and more preparation to get access to the economy, it’s more and more the adults don’t have the skills to stay in it,” said Anthony Carnevale, director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a statement the nation needs to find ways to reach more adults to upgrade their skills. Otherwise, he said, “no matter how hard they work, these adults will be stuck, unable to support their families and contribute fully to our country.”

California students score at bottom of nation in reading, math

California students continue to score near the bottom among states in math and reading, according to results of a national test released Thursday.

How appalling.

A new slogan for America

What is “E pluribus unum”? I know what it means in Latin, but I mean is that like the official slogan or something for the US? Is there an official slogan? “In God we trust” perhaps?

Anyhow, today I thought of what could be an appropriate, new slogan for the US:

Deploy the draconianism gradually

Imagine that being printed on the back of every currency note. Being printed below every official seal. Being inscribed in stone on every government building.

These are the fuckers making critical decisions about our communities

George Shirakawa scandal raises new questions about San Jose politicians Xavier and Nora Campos

By Mike Rosenberg
Posted: 11/14/2013 06:18:09 AM PST

Grand jury transcripts released Wednesday in the illegal campaigning indictment of former Santa Clara County Supervisor George Shirakawa, Jr. raised new questions about the role of San Jose City Councilman Xavier Campos and his sister, Assemblywoman Nora Campos.

Shirakawa is charged with helping Campos, his friend and former aide, win the San Jose City Council seat vacated by his sister in 2010 by sending out campaign postcards falsely impersonating Xavier Campos’ opponent and suggesting she was a communist. Xavier Campos has denied any involvement with the mailers and has not faced any charges while Nora Campos, D-San Jose, has for the most part stayed out of the saga’s public spotlight.

But criminal grand jury transcripts of the Shirakawa case made public Wednesday showed prosecutors asking pointed questions to both Campos siblings, who were subpoenaed to testify before the jury in a closed-door hearing on Oct. 23.

Upon taking the stand, Xavier Campos spelled his name and then repeatedly invoked his Fifth Amendment right to avoid making statements that could incriminate himself. Even when prosecutors asked him basic questions — such as his job title and whether he was the brother of Nora Campos — Campos refused to acknowledge them, saying only that his lawyer had advised him not to comment.

During the hearing, Xavier Campos’ attorney spent several minutes trying to persuade Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Peter Kirwan to let Campos leave the stand so prosecutors could not ask him more questions. The attorney, Gregory Ward, said it would only make Campos “look bad” to repeatedly plead the fifth.
When that failed, Ward asked for prosecutors to read jurors a statement that would make it clear that pleading the fifth was not necessarily an indication of any wrongdoing.
At one point, an unidentified juror asked: “We would like to know why we are not trying to indict Xavier. Is there not enough evidence?”
Another juror interrupted, saying: “You can’t ask that,” and the proceedings continued.
Through their spokespeople, both Camposes declined to comment. A spokesman for Nora Campos said the transcripts speak for themsleves.
Throughout the closed-door hearing, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office tried to link Shirakawa and the Campos siblings.
They noted the trio shared many of the same campaign staff and helped each other run for office. Of particular concern to prosecutors was that Nora Campos had given Shirakawa a $5,000 donation from her campaign fund without asking why he needed it. Prosecutors called the funds a “reward” for something Shirakawa had done.
At the time, Shirakawa was not in the middle of an election but needed to “retire his debt,” Nora Campos told the jury.
Lisa Jensen, initially the campaign manager for Xavier Campos’ opponent, Magdalena Carrasco, alleged Nora Campos made a point of trying to get Carrasco not to run, calling her stance “slightly threatening.”
During her testimony, Nora Campos said she had only requested a “conversation” with her brother’s opponent.
The grand jury hearing only targeted Shirakawa — who has been linked by DNA to the illegal mailers. He was indicted by the jury on Oct. 28 and faces a trial next year. Those charges come on top of the one-year jail sentence term Shirakawa was given last week in connection to separate counts that he spent campaign and public funds on gambling and lavish dining.
Assistant District Attorney Karyn Sinunu-Towery, the prosecutor in the case, declined to say whether either Campos sibling was being investigated.
“We are just letting the transcript speak for itself,” she said. “It just gets curiouser and curiouser.”

These scamming, rotten motherfuckers have a limitless supply of energy to get into office and play dirty. But can any of them actually run a government? Do any of them even come remotely close to having the mental competence to even be able to occupy a position of responsibility? To make decisions which impact the lives of millions? People who seem more suited to be real-estate agents than public decision-makers.

What a seriously fucked situation this is. And this is the case all over the place, not just in Santa Clara/San Jose.

By the way, it was in the news recently how Santa Clara County is one of only a very few places in the entire country which is going against the federal immigration authority and refusing to hold inmates who are undocumented immigrants and have committed serious crimes.

Totally fucked.

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