Perjury isn't a crime if a big corporation does it. Just like if you infringe copyright then you're an evil, artist killing individual. If a corporation steals your copyrighted image/photo/etc and uses it for their own purposes, at most they just need to say "oops" and toss some token payment your way. Corporations are people and all people are created equal, but some people are more equal than others.
Exactly. Sadly, American politicians have fallen in love with standardized tests as a measure to "make sure teachers are teaching our kids well enough." So they mandate a bunch of tests (which funnels money to Pearson and other big educational companies/campaign contributors) and tie those test scores to the teachers' jobs. The result: Teaching to the test and ONLY teaching what is on the test. If it's not on the test, then the teacher is essentially risking their job teaching the kids that as it takes away from valuable test prep time.
Having two kids in NY elementary schools, we know this all too well. Thankfully, we also know we can refuse the tests. Unfortunately, now politicians are pushing back against people who refuse the tests saying things like the kids will still be given the tests against the parents' wishes. Some have even gone so far as to insinuate that parents who refuse the tests will get a visit from Child Protective Services. (Because protecting your child from abusive tests which don't benefit their education in any way is apparently considered child abuse now.)
Sadly, what we're getting is a big push by politicians for Charter schools. These are schools owned by businesses which function like private schools (they get to set their teacher hiring requirements and can accept/reject students based on anything they like) but are funded from the public school budget. They wind up draining the public school coffers and funneling the money to businesses instead of to students (through a good education).
And yet politicians keep pushing for more of these. Lobbying dollars talk.
It's worse than that, even. In a claimed attempt to "catch up", politicians and business leaders developed "Common Core" - a set a principals that all schools should go by. Notice I didn't say educators. They weren't allowed to work on this. After all, this would kill the "teachers are to blame" notion that politicians/business leaders have been pushing for years.
Now, with Common Core, we are paying big companies like Pearson millions of dollars to design curriculum that teachers MUST adhere to and paying them millions more to give horrible standardized tests to our kids. Normally, tests help teachers gauge how good students are doing and where they need help. These tests, however, are sealed. Neither teachers nor parents are allowed to see them. Results are posted the following year (after the kids are with different teachers) but the results dictate whether the teachers get to keep their jobs. So teachers have a strong incentive to teach ONLY what is on the test and focus on test preparation. If it's not on the test (Math and English), it doesn't get taught or somehow gets "folded" into Math and English. (History has become a side-topic to teach during English. Science is a side-topic during Math.)
What if the schools keep failing? (As they likely will given that kids aren't really being taught anything well.) Well, businesses have an answer for that also: Charter schools. These are schools run by businesses, for profit, but using public school money. So the businesses open charter schools, get to choose which students they accept, get to hire anybody as their teachers (no degree or background in education required), and don't need to take those tests I mentioned before. Meanwhile, the public schools have LESS money, need to focus on tests MORE, and are left with all of the kids with special needs. So the public schools fail more and more charter schools take over. It's a win-win... for businesses and the politicians who get their lobbying money - not for the kids.
I think it's more than just PC gamers, but you're right about the power of the desktop and laptop PC being a limiting factor. I have a laptop that I got three years ago and it can still run every program I need it to run. Maybe I'll need to upgrade in a year or two, but that's in the far future as far as the computer market is concerned.
Contrast this with the early 90's when you'd get a new computer only to have a new, more powerful one come out and make you want to get it. Computers were the hot commodity and everyone wanted the latest and greatest. Now, they are seen as useful tools which are so powerful that even the low end products can handle the tasks most people need them for.
Add into the mix the fact that smartphones and tablets can handle the tasks that many people previously needed a computer for (e-mail, updating Facebook, etc) and it's easy to see why desktop computer manufacturers are seeing stalled sales. The market isn't dying, but it is reaching an equilibrium much lower than it was in its heyday.
I don't think you need a religious justification for people having rights. If that were the case, the US couldn't have people having any rights since we have a secular government. As much as the fundies would love to argue otherwise, we aren't a "Christian Nation." We're a nation made up of a lot of Christian people, but also a lot of Jews, Muslims, Atheists, Wiccans, and other various religious/non-religious types. Therefore, so as to not make any laws concerning religion (e.g. declare an official State Religion or require that all government workers say a prayer to Jesus Christ daily), our government is secular in nature.
Our rights are "naturally existing." You can read that as being "from God" or as being "the natural correct way things should be" depending on your personal preference. The government doesn't need to address WHERE the rights came from. It just needs to recognize that the rights are there and not get in the way of them.
The question is: Was it you pointing at the hidden food or was it the dog's powerful sense of smell that detected the food? If you have two overturned bowls, one hiding food, and you point to a random bowl, will the dog go to the bowl you point to or to the food bowl?
I remember first encountering this back in High School when I made a joke about Jehovah's Witnesses and someone in the class claimed to be a Jehovah's Witness. Whether they were or weren't, I realized that I had rationalized making fun of a group simply because they were "an other." Years later, on a visit to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC, I saw a piece that explained how Hitler approached the Jehovah's Witnesses and basically told them "sit quietly while we do this and you won't be harmed." They didn't feel they could morally do this and protested. Thanks to this, they were persecuted alongside Jews, Gypsies, etc. Those two experiences taught me that every "Other" group is comprised of individuals. Some are going to be bad, yes, but some are going to be good. I try my best not to assign labels to whole groups based on the actions of a few individuals. (Sadly, this is a lesson that my father didn't learn and I'm constantly rolling my eyes when he gets talking about how SOME GROUP is ruining America. It doesn't help that he listens to some particularly bad right-wing radio/TV commentators.)
I use a similar product called Password Safe. http://passwordsafe.sourceforge.net/ It lets you store your passwords in an encrypted file with a master password. It can also generate passwords for you (in a configurable manner so you can go from "p%qLr%&Vb9" to "+R0WeeDUck" to "PiGhtEdraN" and anywhere in between - and yes, those were Password Safe generated). There are also ports for Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, Linux, etc: http://passwordsafe.sourceforge.net/relatedprojects.shtml All free and open source.
If you put your password file on a cloud drive (e.g. Google Drive), you can then access it using your smart phone anywhere you happen to be. Yes, there are security concerns with this, but this can also be a very useful feature to have.
Just to add one more element to the mix, Autism can often be marked by an inability to filter out noises and other sensory input. So the brain gets bombarded by input from all directions. Whereas neurotypical (those without Autism) can filter it out, those with Autism can feel like they are struggling to stay afloat in the sensory sea. People with Autism will often need time in a calm, low-sensory input environment to decompress after too much sensory input. (I know this both personally - I have Asperger's Syndrome/High Functioning Autism - and as a parent of a child with Asperger's Syndrome/High Functioning Autism.)
We've never had a UPS package stolen, but given the UPS drivers in our area, it's only a matter of time. The drivers, no matter how many times we complain, will put the package outside our front door and walk away. They don't ring the doorbell at all even when it's apparent that people are home. (Cars in the driveway, lights on, sounds coming from inside the house.) Luckily, we tend to track our packages and know approximately when they'll be delivered. Still, we've had packages that seemingly were outside for an hour or more before they were discovered. If the doorbell was rung, this would be minutes (if not seconds). Without the doorbell rung, someone could easily run up to our front door, grab the package, and drive off before we ever noticed.
Interestingly, FedEx doesn't seem to have this problem by us. Just UPS.
And the best thing about "local-scale censorship" is you get to decide what to censor. If you happen to think that the human body is fine to be viewed but violence is horrible, then you can ban violent sites and allow sites that show humans sans clothing. If you think that certain combinations of adult humans are abhorrent, you can block that from being viewed by you (or anyone else in your house). And so on. Meanwhile, other people with other ideas of what is fine to view and what isn't will view (or block) their own sites without affecting you.
If the censor-happy people really just didn't want to see the stuff that offends them, they'd install NetNanny (or a similar program) and be done. Instead, like you said, the mere existence of what offends them is what gets them upset. They don't care if you need to type in an address, confirm your age, sign up for an account using a credit card, pay a $10 monthly fee, and THEN get to see the offending content. The fact that a path exists to the content at all is horrible and MUST be stopped at all costs. Usually because they imagine a child innocently stumbling along the path - no matter how unlikely - and seeing the content. ("Then little Johnny mashed his fingers on the keyboard and just happened to enter our Discover Card number and expiration date.... If only the site was banned, he wouldn't have seen those nekkid women!")
There are many reasons not to buy from Wal-Mart. In our case, it's the fact that Wal-Mart supports business-backed, for-profit Charter schools which take money away from public schools.
The Times Union recently had a front page story on how the New York State Department of Education was selecting curriculum and programs like InBloom. There's a small, secretive group of private workers (not bound by state worker rules). They raise donations from big companies/individuals and set educational policy. One of their biggest donors? The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Like that donation to the group setting the educational policy didn't result in InBloom being implemented at all.
And if they get one true thing and lump it in with a couple of made up things, the target can't deny it all without denying the true thing. Then, when the true item is proven to be true, everyone will just assume that the rest is true also.