IPhone Tethering and Cellular Bandwidth Consumption

Last week's Engadget article, "AT&T tells customers using unauthorized tethering methods to pay up or stop" got me wondering, just how much mobile bandwidth IS our family utilizing each month now that we have three iPhones among us? This month, with 18 days left to go in our billing cycle, I'm definitely on my way to hitting a new bandwidth consumption record with 3.8 GB used so far on my iPhone.

Is There No Other Way in Libya?

One of the arguments that is being forwarded by proponents of military intervention in Libya is that Qaddafi is literally crazy and therefore cannot be reasoned with or expected to step down without force. In an article for Tikkun, entitled "Libya: Acid Test for Nonviolence?," Metta Center for Nonviolence president Michael Nagler, who I deeply respect and have personally learned a great deal from, makes an argument for war along these lines: We in the nonviolence field will recognize this as a "madman with a sword" analogy. Gandhi said flatly that if a madman is raging through a village with a sword (read: assault rifle -- or Glock Automatic) he who "dispatches the lunatic" will have done the community (and even the poor lunatic) a favor.

Dissident Tech

With the recent rise in anti-government protests in the Middle East, there has been renewed interest in the use of the Internet as a means of communication. Authoritarian governments, such as those in Egypt and Libya, have reacted by trying to shut down Internet service, or to sever connections with the outside world.

New Book on Gandhi: A Great Soul with Wrinkles

The New York Times Book Review features a new biography of Gandhi by Pulitzer Prize winner Joseph Lelyveld that focuses on his role as a "social reformer," and often a frustrated one: "Gandhi is still routinely called 'the father of the nation' in India, but it is hard to see what remains of him beyond what Lelyveld calls his 'nimbus.' His notions about sex and spinning and simple living have long since been abandoned."

Crowdsourcing Japan’s Nuclear Crisis

In the aftermath of Japan's recent earthquake, the Japanese have turned to crowdsourcing in their battle against the nuclear crisis. RDTN.org recently launched online, allowing people to submit their own radiation readings that are then posted in comparison to data contributed by official sources.

The Thin Jew Line

The Daily Show had a segment last week about a controversy about an eruv in Westhampton Beach, NY. If you have no idea what an eruv is, you were like me. Apparently, an eruv, a practice observed by orthodox or observant Jews, is an enclosure around a community that allows for the carrying of things -- as in, the transportation of objects -- on the Sabbath. Which apparently you're not supposed to do.

Justin Bieber Supports Universal Health Care

Canadian pop star Justin Bieber backed public health care in a Rolling Stone interview, joking that the American system makes this country "evil." He said, "Canada's the best country in the world. We go to the doctor and we don't need to worry about paying him, but here, your whole life, you're broke because of medical bills. My bodyguard's baby was premature, and now he has to pay for it. In Canada, if your baby's premature, he stays in the hospital as long as he needs to, and then you go home."

Debt Snowball Advice is Terrible

I have a big problem with the debt snowball idea. In a nutshell it is this: If you are trying to get out of debt, start with your smallest debt and pay it off first. Then your next biggest debt, etc. The idea is that the mental benefit of making a debt go away is a greater advantage than the money savings of paying off your higher interest debt first. While I can see this point, it seems like it is encouraging a lack of financial literacy. People who are going to the debt counselors who are advocating the debt snowball are in financial trouble. If they are in trouble with debt, they probably lack some of the basic financial literacy that they need to properly manage their finances. The debt snowball doesn't fix the core problem of financial illiteracy. In fact it makes it worse because it encourages them to do things that are financially unwise. If people can't learn to get the same psychological "buzz" out of really saving money by choosing an optimal payoff strategy, I would

New Year, New Call: For United States of Innovation

As we start a new year (and, some would say, a new decade) as an already reeling country now reeling even more from the shooting of a Congresswoman, I'm grappling with the state of the United States. There is no question that we are poorer than we were when I grew up, and there is much evidence that we are more divided and pessimistic than we've ever been.

Robots to Replace Native English Teachers

EngKey (English Jockey) robots started the year in 21 schools in South Korea. This is a part of an ambitious program which hopes to " be able to replace native English speakers in 3 to 5 years." The current English education system employs over 30,000 teachers from native English speaking countries such as the US, the UK, Australia and others.