Am I reading this right?

Let’s see what this says:

Opposition MPs accused the minority Conservative government of anti-democratic practices Thursday as they foiled a sudden government bid for Commons committee passage of a bill subjecting the Indian Act to the federal human rights code.

Waita minute. The Canadian federal government is being anti-democratic because they want to give human rights to aboriginals.

The best line:

"Human rights rammed down a community’s throats are not human rights," Anita Neville, Liberal aboriginal affairs critic, said during the hearing. "I think it is imperative that we get it right."

I thought human rights were sacrosanct.What is there to get right?

Tip of the hat to Fighting for Taxpayers.

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How did we ever live without mobile phones?

Whenever I am driving down the street or walking through a mall and see someone chatting on their mobile phone I wonder how we ever survived before they existed.

I seem people talking constantly on their mobile phones. Is it possible that people have that much more to say to each other that we did all those years ago?

For years now nobody has called either of my sons on our home phone. It is always their cell phones, their lifelines to the world. And more frequently they are texting back and forth, lives lived and plans made in 170 character chunks. Who could have foreseen this?

Back when I was a kid we didn’t even have voice mail or call display. You had to run to the ringing phone, and you probably only had one in the house. If you missed it you didn’t have any idea who had called or what they wanted. If they really wanted to talk to you they called back.

Of course you couldn’t screen your calls. But there really wasn’t that much telemarketing either.

Now if I see a number on my call display that I don’t recognize, I just don’t answer. I let it go to voice mail, which is no problem really, because telemarketers don’t leave messages. They just call back incessantly, but of course I don’t answer, so it becomes a cycle of them wasting their time for nothing.

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Spam. Now on your phone.

Textually.org notes that SMS will fall by the wayside as people get email access on their mobile phones:

"… Today there are less than 20 million wireless email users worldwide, but this will grow to 350 million, or 20 per cent of all email accounts, by 2010, Monica Blasso, the firm’s research vice-president said.

"Once email becomes available more or less free of charge by default on your mobile handset, people will gravitate to that rather than just continuing to use SMS," Robin Simpson, mobile and wireless research director at Gartner Australasia said."

Great. Then I can be constantly bombarded by spam on my phone too.

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Do you ever look up?

Most people go from place to place every day, concentrating on what is in front of them. They don’t see anything else but that.

I go for walk for about 45 minutes every evening. I spend a lot of time looking around, and especially up. No matter how monotonous my route might be, the sky is different every day.

From time to time change is good. Look around. Look up.

Do something different every day.

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Altruism doesn’t exist.

Altruism is defined as the principle or practice of unselfish concern for or devotion to the welfare of others.

In discussing this with a friend the other day I argued that true altruism doesn’t exist. I should mention here that I am a fan of Ayn Rand and she would argue that humans operate basically out of selfishness (which she describes as a positive trait).

The other day I did something nice for someone. I did it anonymously. But the truth is that it made me feel really good. And that was my point; since I felt good, then it couldn’t be "unselfish concern or devotion".

I think that people care about each other, but they do so because it makes them feel good to do so. That isn’t altruism.

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Steve Pavlina.

I’ve seen posts from Steve Pavlina before, but I finally subscribed to him. His thoughts are incredibly insightful and consistently well written that they are a joy to read. Things like this:

Several years ago, I’d have viewed such purchases as extravagant, wasteful, or imprudent. But I started asking questions that led me to some new insights. How could anyone possibly justify spending $10,000 a night for a hotel room? What kind of person would pay $100,000 for a car? Who’d be crazy enough to spend $200 on a dinner? Are such people completely nuts, throwing away good money just to show off? Don’t they realize that if they bought a cheaper but still adequate car they could use the rest to put a few kids through college? And what kind of person eats $200 in a single meal?

I eventually saw that these questions were a function of scarcity thinking. I call it the “outrage script.” Have you ever run the outrage script?

[...]

You won’t often see abundance-minded people running the outrage script. Instead you’re more likely to see them running the gratitude script. That script looks something like this: Isn’t it wonderful that certain people are generating so much value — and so efficiently — that they can easily afford to pay $10,000 for a hotel room, thereby helping to create new jobs and keep money flowing through the hard-working service industry? Isn’t it great that people can afford a $100,000 car in order to fund new innovations that could benefit us all? Is it outstanding that people can buy a $200 dinner, encouraging the best chefs to create new culinary delights and to help the wait staff support their families? While it would be unusual for someone to phrase their questions like this, the common element is that they recognize that spending money is itself an act of contribution because spending is giving.

Years ago I learned that it makes sense to buy the best that you can afford, even if it means scrimping a little in other areas. As Steve notes, these things tend to last longer, saving you time in the long run. But the $200 you spend on dinner lets the restaurant owner pay his or her employees well, which lets them contribute to the local economy. The owner may also support things like local youth sports teams, which contributes to the community.

The money you speng flows back to you in so many different ways, often improving not only your life, but also the lives of others in your community.And that is after you already got your money’s worth from your purchase.

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One million users.

Joost has revealed that it has one million users signed up. That’s impressive, but I wonder how many people are actually using the service.

I’ve been one of those users for some time now. It is neat to play with for a while, but the choice of shows is so limited that it gets old pretty fast. The technology is very slick and works very well, but a lot more content is needed to make me want to use it more.

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User is a four letter word.

Josh Bernoff doesn’t like the term "user":

Nobody talks about users of dishwashers, or users of retail stores, or users of telephones. So why are we talking about "users" of computers, browsers, and software?

Try, just for a day, to stop using this word. You’ll be amazed at how differently you think about the world.

I agree. But I must point out that the term "user" is also used to describe someone who is addicted to something. If you can’t live without the web, email, or your BlackBerry, perhaps "user" is indeed the correct term.

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An organic part of their lives.

According to surveys, kids don’t think about technology – they just use it – as they would a telephone or anything else:

While young people embrace the Web with real or virtual friends and their cell phone is never far away, relatively few like technology and those that do tend to be in Brazil, India and China, according to a survey.

Only a handful think of technology as a concept, and just 16 percent use terms like "social networking," said two combined surveys covering 8- to 24-year-olds published on Tuesday by Microsoft and Viacom units MTV Networks and Nickelodeon.

"Young people don’t see "tech" as a separate entity – it’s an organic part of their lives," said Andrew Davidson, vice president of MTV’s VBS International Insight unit.

I’m an adult. I use Facebook, but I would never call it social networking either. But nobody surveyed me.

My kids grew up on the internet, so they use technologies like instant messaging just as I would have used a phone twenty years ago, but that just makes sense. As it becomes a part of their lives they don’t name it; they just use it.

We’ve gone from VHS tapes, to DVDs, to shows on TiVo, to video stored on a network server. Yet I have always just asked the kids if they want to watch a movie. The underlying technology is inconsequential. The same goes for music. Regardless of the storage mechanism we still listen to songs, rather than CDs, or iPods, or last.fm.

Analysts and marketersfeel the need to name things. As do Microsoft and Viacom, the survey sponsors. The average person just uses the technology to do what they want to do.

Nobody buys digital audio storage and playback devices. They buy iPods – 1000 songs in their pocket.

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The lowest common denominator.

It’s sad when spam and phishing is so common that the perpetrators don’t even make much of an effort anymore. I’ve seen emails purportedly from Paypal that look so real that I actually have to look twice. Then I receive something like this:

Once you have updated your account records, your PayPal session will not be interrupted and will continue as normal.

To update your PayPal records click on the following link:
http://0xc33ae465/icons/LOGIN/update/online/

Seriously folks, at least take the time to throw a logo on the page and to make the URL at least look plausible.Otherwise you’re just wasting bandwidth unnecessarily. Nobody is going to click on that.

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