5 Things - Week Ending 6/14/13

This is the 46th post in a series called 5 Things. Each week I will share a combination of technology articles and apps that I have discovered and liked in the past week. Anything highlighted in blue is a link to an article, an app, or another section of my website.

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In her 2011 book Disconnect, National Book Award finalist, former senior White House health advisor and internationally regarded epidemiologist Devra Davis revealed that the cellphone industry is knowingly exposing us to dangerous levels of electromagnetic radiation. No small problem when you consider that of the roughly 7 billion people on this planet, about 6 billion of us now use mobile phones.

I am concerned if what Devra Davis is claiming ends up being true. I have had a cell phone in my front right pocket daily for the past 11 years. This is an interview worth reading!


Has Technology Killed Cursive Handwriting?

Vignesh Ramachandran:

In the United States, somewhere around the third grade, cursive handwriting instruction has long been a sort of milestone, or rite of passage. But in recent years, the nation’s Common Core State Standards — which at least 45 states and the District of Columbia, have voluntarily adopted — took out the requirement for cursive instruction in K through 12 schools. It has stirred quite the debate, since it’s up to each individual state to decide whether cursive is important enough to teach its own students. In recent months, North Carolina legislators approved a bill to require its students to learn cursive in elementary school, the Winston-Salem Journal reported. North Carolina joins states like California, Massachusetts and Georgia, which have already added a cursive writing requirement, according to The Associated Press.

It appears that there is a debate across the country whether it is worth teaching elementary students cursive writing. By reading this article, I discovered that there are numerous benefits to learning how to write in cursive.

On the flip side, I will be the first to admit that I have not written in cursive since elementary school. I have utilized the numerous years of typing classes much more than the time spent learning how to write in cursive.

I would be interested to hear your thoughts on the issue! Feel free to discuss with me next time you see me in person or contact me.


The History of the Weird Keyboard Symbols You Never Knew You Needed

Adam Clark Estes:

And it’s not just the @ symbol that has a sordid past. Many of the symbols that you’re jamming into your keyboard on a daily basis had rich past lives before they became internet-age fixtures.

We see the following symbols all the time. @, * &, $, ©

This article gives you a little background on how they came to be. I found this quite interesting!


Cost-Effective Alternatives to Cable and Satellite Television

Trent Hamm:

The average American cable/satellite bill is $128 per month. Let that sink in for a minute. $128 per month.

Naturally, this average does include bundles of premium channels that many households subscribe to, HD service (which the providers charge more for), DVRs, and other such perks.

Still, $128 a month just to have something to watch on the television? Ouch. There’s got to be a cheaper way.

In the past week I have had three of my clients have discussions with me about "cutting the cable". They all expressed their disgust at the high cost.

If you feel like you are spending too much on cable/satellite, I would encourage that you check out some of Trent's suggestions in this article and read the blog post I wrote in September 2012 titled "Cutting The Cable".


Security-State Creep: The Real NSA Scandal Is What's Legal

Rebecca J. Rosen:

As much as one might be personally appalled by the notion of the NSA collecting everybody’s call records, disgust doesn’t make something unconstitutional. Rather, the real scandal here is what’s legal — namely, how the surveillance powers enabled by modern technology have been embraced and expanded by Congress and a succession of presidents, and how the Court has failed to develop a robust system for applying the Fourth Amendment meaningfully to the questions of the 21st century.

June has been dominated by headlines of the National Security Agency collecting massive amounts of information from the following companies:

  • AOL
  • Apple
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • Microsoft
  • Skype
  • Verizon
  • Youtube

I am personally very disturbed by this news. This article makes the claim that there may not be anything illegal about what the government is doing. The reason for this is that the court system has failed to keep up with the times in regard to technology.

I hope that the Supreme Court takes a look at this situation and updates some previous rulings to better serve the needs of people in 2013 when it comes to privacy and technology.


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