LEGO to Invest in Sustainability

LEGO is huge, and has been for decades. And that growth doesn't seem to be slowing. Last year, Lego produced more than 60 million Lego bricks. This week, Lego announced plans to hire more than 100 specialists and invest 150 million dollars in order to find a more sustainable alternative to the oil-based plastic that is used for making bricks. I think it's great that any company this large is making a move to find alternatives to oil-based products (as we know oil supplies are, realistically, limited and growing smaller each year). But it's funny to me that it's Lego, and I have a feeling that Legos are already one of the most recycled toys out there. I grew up using my Dad's legos, and I passed mine down to my nephews a few years ago. But, I suppose this is more about using a sustainable resource. Sustainability can be viewed from stuff like energy cost to create, but also on lifetime costs. Because they are so durable, their lifetime costs are minimal. However I think this is more to do with possibly being worried about sustainable resources, with oil possibly running out in the near distant future. Or at least being so expensive that it's not worth it. Either way, go LEGO!

How Clearing Your Browser History Can Get Your In Trouble

It's a practice that many computer users follow: clearing their browsing history every once and a while. The reasons to do it are totally varied: to make what you were doing not as obvious, to free up space, to start fresh, to get some programs working, and more. One man, however, is facing serious charges. Why? Because he cleared his browsing history. Well, it's not quite that simple. Khairullozhon Matanov, a former taxi driver, is being charged for clearing browsing history pieces that were related to the Boston bombings, among other things. He's not being charged for knowing about these things, but for erasing things related to those who committed the act from his history. So, can you really be charged for clearing your browsing history? Well, yes. You can. Depending on the circumstances. Typically, it's when you selectively clear history related to a crime or event, as this can then be considered to be destroying evidence. Occasionally, a normal browsing history clear might clear these more specific things and thus cause a problem, even if it wasn't cleared to hide anything. But I'm not saying you should. There's a lot of disagreements about whether or not unknowingly deleting evidence by clearing your browsing history can really be charged or not, even though this has been used in court, it may not be right. Either way, you might want to set up your browser to automatically delete. You know, just in case.

AKON Joins in on Solar Energy in Africa

It's great to see musicians, artists and other celebs who have made their way taking the time to try to make a difference where they can. One such example: a Cuban artist (Kcho) set up free public wi-fi for people to use as a thank you for their support, and as a way to try to improve something small. And now, another example: AKON has started the Akon Lighting Africa initiative, which aims to provide solar energy to some of the more than 600 million people who are without electricity in Africa. As part of that initiative, he is opening a “Solar Academy” which will aim to train people in solar and renewable energy to help provide more energy to the areas they're in while also paving a career future for themselves. There are also other African solar academies are getting, such as the Zayed Solar Academy, which gave a presentation at the Sustainable Energy for All conference, the same conference at which Akon's solar academy was announced. AKON seems like a pretty decent guy to me. He has established his own charity known as the Konfidence Foundation, which helps underprivileged children as well, so it seems he is using his success to try to genuinely help where he can. Hopefully, other artists (a lot already do) will follow in the footsteps of those trying to make technological advances and supporting various causes where they can.
+ 1 interests

The Patriot Act Expires

Well, the Patriot Act has officially expired on June 1st, 2015. Senator Rand Paul led the movement to keep the senate in gridlock, preventing them from passing any extensions on the act, and they went to recess without making any movement on an extension. You can see the full 12 hour video here, if you're really interested. The transcript is also available if you prefer to search through it quickly. Unfortunately, the expiration is thought to be temporary at best and we "won" because politicos couldn't agree on how much of an extension they should make. Check the NPR link above: you'll see that it's not that either side really wants to get rid of the Act, they just can't agree on how to keep it. The provisions that have expired are re-authorized, in slightly amended form, in the USA Freedom Act. There are still some clauses that need to be worked out, and the Freedom Act gives most of the powers back to the NSA in a different form, but for now they aren't supposed to be collecting phone data anymore. What do you think...is anything different? Is the Fourth Amendment really coming back to us? @drwhat I know you've got something to say about this one.

Don't Get Caught With Illegal Downloads

Heads up: if you like to torrent movies or download other copyrighted material, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) might forward you letters from the copyright holders warning you about this. Many people fall into the trap of paying money to the people sending these letters to settle and not risk a lawsuit, and that's what they're hoping for. Anti-piracy firms (hired by some media company, like HBO) join popular torrents, and while downloading the torrent, they record every IP address that sends them data. They can't do anything about foreign IPs, but if they see that a Comcast or Time Warner or Google Fiber IP address sent them a piece of a torrent, they send off a threatening letter to the ISP demanding info on that IP address. ISPs usually don't reveal this info, but just to satisfy the media company they contact the subscriber and give a warning, so that they are aware they could possibly be sued. But really, at that point, yes, it's possible they could try to subpoena your ISP to make them give up your personal info, then sue you. But its very unlikely--suing people for this costs them too much money, especially when its getting harder for them to win. But if they can get 10% of people to all give them $50 each, they can make money without having to put any effort into it. So be careful! If you're downloading illegally or, even legally, (not saying you should do this), make sure you're taking the necessary steps to protect yourself. I recommend paying for a VPN or private network in order to prevent this from happening to you.