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50% of people living in China have cell phones, according to official figures. That could be a huge factor in the future, particularly when it comes to replacing the Communist government with something a little friendlier to human rights. Cell phones allow people to take pictures and videos, send text messages, and coordinate group activities with relative privacy. And as more cell phones get Internet access, they make it harder for the authorities to monitor and track people's online behavior. That could end up being great news for pro-freedom organizers in China, which could have revolutionary effects.
Here's a question for you -- and we'd love to get your response via text message at 515-745-7887: How would you use your cell phone to fight back against a totalitarian government?
Speaking of cell phones: The heavy use of cell phones, cradled between the shoulder and the ear, could be causing strokes among people as young as their 40s. So even if you aren't inclined to use a hands-free earpiece for the sake of safety while driving, perhaps you ought to consider doing it for your health.
We had some brief severe weather on Friday -- and it's kind of exciting to note that there were so many big outdoor events going on that Polk County Emergency Management put out a special notice to organizers about it. There's so much good stuff happening in Des Moines these days that mass outdoor events require extra attention. That's great news.
An overdue backlash may be growing in Britain against the widespread use of surveillance cameras by the police. It turns out that better streetlights are seven times more effective than video surveillance at preventing crime.
Now that Bill Gates has retired from his full-time position at Microsoft, we'll find out how much that company was based on a cult of personality and how much it was based on a long-term strategy for success. With or without him, Microsoft needs to get into other lines of business to remain strong and profitable in the long term. Software is a tough business, and the Internet seems to keep giving Microsoft black eyes. But they have tools like computing power and human brainpower that the rest of the economy could really use...and would probably pay a pretty penny to get.
What makes things funny? One researcher says it's all because the brain rewards itself for finding novel and unexpected connections and conclusions to series of events. And that makes some sense: The better your pattern-recognition skills, the more likely you (and your offspring) would be to avoid being killed by passing saber-toothed cats because you learned to recognize their tracks.
FYI: Getting shipwrecked and trying to form your own independent libertarian paradise country probably isn't going to work. It's like the Free State Project: In theory, it sounds OK, but you're really much better off trying to influence your friends and neighbors to share your point of view rather than running away and taking your toys with you.
Think people are confused now by the proliferation of toll-free telephone prefixes (800, 888, 866, and 877)? Just wait until the rules on top-level domains go crazy. The bosses in charge of these things will allow more than just .com, .org, .net, .edu, and so on -- they're going to open it up to dot-just-about-anything. As long as you're willing to pay at least $150,000 for the privilege.
Life keeps on getting better, and robots deserve some of the credit.