The Net Neutrality Debate Rages On

The Debate About Net Neutrality - Carlos GaminoBy Carlos Gamino

Lawmakers are fighting over net neutrality again—and it doesn’t look good for consumers.

What is Net Neutrality?

Net neutrality is a big deal. It prohibits broadband providers, like Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and others, from giving or selling access to fast internet connections to some internet services but not others. Unfortunately, most politicians have no idea what net neutrality is… or how it has the potential to give companies a monopoly (and therefore price-gouge us all) on the data we use and share every day.

Who’s Messing With Net Neutrality Rules?

The head of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai (who was nominated by President Donald Trump in January), wants to repeal the rules that former President Barack Obama put into place in 2015.

Obama’s rules reclassified internet service providers, or ISPs, as if they were utilities. According to Pai, though, those rules are unnecessary and can harm our tenuous employment numbers.

A statement by Twitter lambasted Pai’s suggestions, saying, “Net Neutrality is foundational to competitive, free enterprise, entrepreneurial market entry – and reaching global customers. You don’t have to be a big shot to compete. Anyone with a great idea, a unique perspective to share, and a compelling vision can get in the game.”

Netflix, Amazon, and other giants are against rescinding the rules, too. Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, and other ISPs are all for it because if the rules are changed, they’ll be able to charge you more to stream data, shop online, or even give consumers access to your own website. People who don’t pay for data plans that include those things won’t get them—and that limits nearly every company’s reach.

The Internet Association, a group that represents Google, Facebook, and a handful of other companies, said that the rules are working the way they are; reversing them “will result in a worse internet for consumers and less innovation online.”

The rules changes will affect everyone, from the grandma who works on her family tree online to kids who participate in online gaming.

You can learn more about fighting against the change to give ISPs the ability to price-gouge here.

What Do You Think?

Share your thoughts on the net neutrality debate on my Facebook page or join the conversation on Twitter.

Carlos Gamino

Amazing Rescue Off the Florida Coast

Floridians Perform Amazing Rescue Off Panama City Beach - Carlos GaminoBy Carlos Gamino

It’s not every day that you’ll see a heart-warming story like this one coming from Florida, but in early July, a group of ordinary beach-goers rescued a group of people who were caught in a deadly rip current off the coast of Panama City Beach.

A group of nine—two young boys and a group of adults—were caught in the rip current and couldn’t get back to shore. That’s when Derek and Jessica Simmons came up with the idea to create a chain and pull the swimmers back to safety.

“The only thing that popped into my mind was if you’ve ever watched ants, when one of their babies is in trouble and can’t move, they start making a chain in order to pass them down the line to get them to safety,” said Derek Simmons, who lives in Panama City, Fl. “That’s the only thing I was thinking of… if we’re arm to arm, we can get them.”

It started when two young boys were caught in the current on their boogie boards. Brittany Monroe and another adult swam out to help, then became caught in the current as well. The boys’ mother also swam out, as did their grandmother and uncle. None of them could swim back to shore, which was about 70 yards away—and that’s when Simmons and his wife took action.

The chain of people grew until about 40 strangers were involved, standing hand-in-hand or arm-in-arm and passing the exhausted swimmers to the next person until they were all on solid ground.

Monroe was treated at a local hospital for having water in her lungs, and then released to her relatives to recover at home.

What Do You Think?

Have you ever seen people pull together like this? I’d love to hear your story, so please feel free to share it on Facebook or Twitter!

Carlos Gamino

Steve King Wants People on Food Stamps to Pay for Trump’s Wall

How Steve King Wants Congress to Pay for the Border Wall - Carlos GaminoBy Carlos Gamino

Washington, D.C. is no stranger to wild acrobatics when it comes to finding funding for things they want—but Congressman Steve King (R – Iowa) is coming up with some pretty extreme ideas when it comes to funding President Donald J. Trump’s signature border wall.

According to King, Congress should use money from the national food stamp budget and Planned Parenthood funding to pay for Trump’s wall, which experts say is doomed to fail before construction is complete.

In early July, the House Appropriations Committee released its homeland security bill, and it included the full $1.6 billion that the Office of Management and Budget required to begin construction on the wall. King, though, wants to more than triple what American taxpayers are spending on it.

When CNN’s Alisyn Camerota asked King whether he was comfortable providing $1.6 billion in American taxpayer money to build the wall, he said, “Absolutely, yes and more. And I’d throw another $5 billion on the pile and I would find half a billion of that from right out of Planned Parenthood’s budget. And the rest of it could come out of food stamps and the entitlements that are being spread out for people who haven’t worked in three generations.”

King says that the number of Americans on food stamps is ludicrous at more than 40 million, which works out to be about 12 percent of the population. Nearly two-thirds of the Americans who receive food stamp benefits are children, the elderly, or are disabled, and the average household income of families receiving the benefit have an income of less than $10,000 per year. The White House budget proposal cuts more than $193 billion in funding for food stamps as it is.

King feels that fat people don’t need food stamps—literally.

“We built the programs because to solve the problem of malnutrition in America. Now we have a problem of obesity. When you match up the EBT card with what the scales say on some of the folks, I think it’s worth looking at,” King said. (Never mind the fact that obesity isn’t always caused by overeating, but by eating heavily processed foods… and those foods are cheaper and more available to people who receive benefits.)

What Do You Think?

I’d love to hear what you think about King’s proposal to slash even more from the federal food stamp budget to pay for Trump’s fraught-with-problems border wall, so please share your thoughts on my Facebook page or on Twitter!

Carlos Gamino

Teleportation is Now Possible, So What Does That Mean for Us?

Teleportation Into Space - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

Chinese scientists have sent a photon into space during a real, live teleportation experiment in mid-July, and experts think it’s going to revolutionize computers and the internet.

A photon is a far cry from a candy bar or a television-obsessed little boy, as we saw in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, but it’s still a big deal. In fact, it’s the first time anyone has ever been able to teleport anything into space—and it could make a huge difference in the way we communicate over the next few years.

“This work establishes the first ground-to-satellite up-link for faithful and ultra-long-distance quantum teleportation, an essential step toward global-scale quantum internet,” said the scientists who conducted the experiment. (You can read their paper here.)

 

The technology the scientists developed involves a satellite called Micius, which was sent up from the Gobi desert in 2016. It’s been orbiting earth since then, waiting to receive photons by spotting and catching them when the scientists attempt to teleport them into space.

It works by using quantum entanglement—a complicated theory and effect that Albert Einstein once described as “spooky action at a distance.” Entanglement isn’t held back by distance, which means two particles can interact with one another, even when they’re incredibly far apart.

Scientists are now looking at how to use quantum entanglement to send messages that are truly received instantly—much faster than texting or sending something through email servers.

 

What Do You Think?

Do you find quantum entanglement as fascinating as I do (or as creepy as Einstein did)? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please feel free to share them on my Facebook page or on my Twitter feed.

Carlos Gamino

Richard Collins III, Army Lieutenant, Killed at University of Maryland

Richard Collins III - Carlos GaminoBy Carlos Gamino

A Bowie State University student, Richard W. Collins III, was killed on the University of Maryland campus in mid-May—and it’s being investigated as a hate crime. Collins, a 23-year-old senior, was murdered by a 22-year-old University of Maryland student, Sean Urbanski, who was a member of a Facebook group called “Alt-Reich: Nation.”

Authorities said that they’re investigating the incident as a hate crime due to Urbanski’s involvement in the Facebook group, which posts racist material.

Urbanski is being charged with first- and second-degree murder, as well as first-degree assault.

According to the victim’s father, Richard Collins, Jr., investigators told him that Urbanski approached his son and made some type of threatening statement. When Collins III responded, Urbanski allegedly took out a knife and stabbed him.

Collins was a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, completing his college degree in exchange for a commission in the military.

Hate crimes have been on the rise this year, but the sad truth is that some states don’t even have hate crime laws. (Maryland does, as does Wisconsin.) Even in states that do have hate crime laws, the prosecution has to prove that the person who committed the crime was motivated by the victim’s race, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, or another protected class.

In this case, University of Maryland Police Chief David Mitchell said, “Anyone who feels empowered by what happened, the only thing I can say is that if you want to harm our students, you are going to have to go through us. We are not going to tolerate any harm brought to our students. Not on my campus. Not on my watch.”

What Do You Think?

What do you think is causing the surge in hate crimes, which have been on the rise since about January 20 of this year? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please, share them on my Facebook page or on Twitter.

Carlos Gamino

Why T. Rex Costumes Are Funny… Until They’re Not

Woman in T. Rex Costume Scares Horses - Carlos GaminoBy Carlos Gamino

We’ve all seen hilarious videos of people wearing T. Rex costumes and performing everyday activities, including gym workouts, riding motorcycles and skateboarding, and participating in the American Ninja Warrior Competition.

But one woman took it way too far—and now she’s been accused of a crime.

The Charleston, South Carolina police department reported that the woman, who was wearing a T. Rex costume on the street, stopped her stroll to growl at a pair of horses pulling a carriage.

“This spooked the horses and they began backing up. The carriage then struck an unoccupied vehicle and caused minor damage to its bumper,” said Charles Francis, the Charleston Police Department’s spokesman.

The carriage’s driver was also hurt. He was thrown from the carriage, and one of the wheels ran over his leg, breaking his foot. He says that he yelled at the woman to “get out of here” several times before she actually spooked the horses.

The horses weren’t injured, and neither were the carriage’s passengers.

Proud of the way his horses reacted, the driver said, “Perhaps she did not realize what a threat that appeared to be to my animals, but they responded remarkably well. Any animal, you included, are entitled to your flight response, the key is how quickly do you come back under control. If I throw a snake on you and you jump, you’re entitled to that, but if you can come back and get in control really quickly, that’s the key to emotional control and both of the animals demonstrated that.”

After spooking the horses, the woman ran to a parking garage and drove away. She turned herself in the following morning, though, and faced charges of disorderly conduct and for violating laws that prohibit wearing a mask or disguise in public.

What Do You Think?

Do you think the charges were harsh enough for the woman, or do you feel that purposely scaring animals that way deserves a tough sentence? I’d love to hear your opinion, so please feel free to share it on my Facebook page or on Twitter.

Carlos Gamino

Goat Yoga: Yes, It’s a Thing

Goat Yoga - Carlos GaminoBy Carlos Gamino

Vegetarians and health nuts have long touted the benefits of goat’s milk, cheese, and all the other stuff that goes along with it, but there’s a new exercise fad in town.

Make way for goat yoga.

Yes, goat yoga is a real thing, and it’s happening in New Hampshire right now. (Strangely, there aren’t any goat yoga studios in Milwaukee yet, so if anyone opens one, let me know.) It’s actually been a “thing” for more than a year.

What is Goat Yoga?

Goat yoga is the practice of doing yoga in the same room with a handful of baby goats. Goats climb on you when you’re doing the downward dog, dart between your legs when you stretch, and occasionally stop to nibble on your ear while you’re perfecting your poses.

Peter Corriveau, the guy who owns one of the most popular goat yoga studios in the country, said it surprised him that it took off so quickly.

“This was really kind of a fluke,” he said. “We did this dry run, posted some pictures and really hadn’t thought that far ahead. And it’s just exploded. The phone is ringing continuously for people wanting to sign up for classes.”

Classes are about $22 each, and instructor Janine Bibeau says that the goats make class a lot more fun.

“It brings a lighter and more joyful energy to a class,” Bibeau said. “They make a nice energy in the room. It brings everyone together.”

It does look like a lot of fun.

What Do You Think?

Would you try goat yoga? If you’re not already into yoga, would baby goats encourage you to give it a shot? I’d love to hear your take, so please share your thoughts on my Facebook page or on Twitter.

Carlos Gamino

 

Nacho Cheese from Gas Station Sickens Five in California

Nacho Cheese Lands Woman in Hospital - Carlos GaminoBy Carlos Gamino

A woman from Walnut Grove, California, spent nearly a month in intensive care after eating gas station (read: top-quality) nacho cheese.

The woman, Lavinia Kelly, hit up the gas station’s nacho cheese pump to add a little adventure to her run-of-the-mill bag of Doritos in late April. She ate the chips and cheese, went home, and had a normal life.

But the next day, things weren’t going so well. She went to the emergency room near her home to be treated for double vision, but they sent her home. Just a few hours later, she began having trouble breathing and started vomiting.

The cause?

Botulism.

It’s a rare, paralytic illness that’s often the result of food poisoning. It’s caused by a nerve toxin that bacteria produce, and it usually comes from eating improperly preserved or improperly canned foods.

The symptoms of botulism include:

  • Drooping eyelids
  • Slurred speech
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dry mouth
  • Muscle weakness

It’s a medical emergency, and it can be fatal.

Kelly isn’t the only one who’s been hospitalized for the same problem, either. Officials are investigating four other cases that may have come from the same gas station, as well. State officials stopped the gas station from selling food on May 5, two weeks after Kelly was hospitalized.

As for Kelly, her family is hopeful she’ll recover.

“We just don’t know how long or how much effort and, and we’ve got somebody here every single morning, every single day,” said Kelly’s sister, Theresa. The family filed a lawsuit against the gas station alleging negligence, product liability, and breach of implied warranty.

What Do You Think?

Do you trust gas station food? Have you ever known anyone who contracted botulism through food? I’d love to hear whether you think the gas station should be held accountable or if you believe this is something that could’ve happened at any gas station—and to anyone. Share your thoughts on my Facebook page or on Twitter!

Carlos Gamino

Ohio Cop Overdoses on Fentanyl During a Drug Arrest

Fentanyl Almost Kills Cop in Accidental Overdose - Carlos GaminoBy Carlos Gamino

Two suspected drug dealers were allegedly conducting business when Ohio police officer Chris Green of East Liverpool pulled them over to search their car. Police observed the pair engaging in behavior “consistent with a drug transaction,” according to NBC News, which ultimately nearly killed the police officer tasked with the search.

Green, a five-year veteran of the East Liverpool police force, wore protective gear—a mask and gloves—to conduct the search of the blue Chevy Monte Carlo. But when he returned to the station, another officer noticed a small amount of white powder on Green’s shirt; Green brushed it off with his bare hand, and that was nearly a fatal mistake.

The powder turned out to be fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid that’s 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, is sold under a number of street names, including:

  • Apache
  • China Girl
  • China White
  • Dance Fever
  • Friend
  • Goodfella
  • Jackpot
  • Murder 8
  • TNT
  • Tango and Cash

The drug binds to opioid receptors in the brain. The problem? In addition to hanging out in the areas that cause or control pain, those receptors are in the parts of the brain that control breathing. High doses of opioids can cause breathing to stop completely, and because fentanyl is so potent, the risk of overdose is extreme.

Green absorbed the fentanyl powder, which the two suspects had tried to grind into the carpet of the vehicle, through his hand. According to his police department, it took four doses of Narcan to revive green after he lost consciousness about an hour after brushing away the powder.

What Do You Think?

Did you know fentanyl was becoming a popular street drug? What can police do to curb the trend that’s harming so many communities? I’d love to hear your ideas, so please, share them on my Facebook page or on Twitter.

Carlos Gamino

Ransomware Courtesy of the NSA

NSA and Ransomware - Carlos GaminoBy Carlos Gamino

If you’ve recently received a threatening demand for money on your computer, you’re likely the victim of ransomware. Thousands of computers are vulnerable to this malicious software, and it spreads like wildfire. You can probably thank this latest round of hacking, the WannaCry attack, on the United States National Security Agency.

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is software that can either block system files through encryption, or lock you out of the operating system completely. Both forms of ransomware allow hackers to demand payment to grant you access to your own files. These online criminals will often set a deadline to their insistence, leaving victims helpless.

The cyber extortionists will usually only accept bitcoin, making the transaction virtually untraceable.

Why the NSA?

The NSA uses hacking tools to spy on foreign adversaries, and any holes discovered in software, are usually kept secret to make their job easier. If the flaws are leaked to hackers before the issue is fixed, anyone using the internet could be the next victim of ransomware.

A cyber group called Shadow Brokers is claiming responsibility for this attack, saying they stole this sensitive information from the NSA. They also gave warning to President Trump before making their move. It is believed this group has ties to Russia, and this may be the result of America’s airstrikes in Syria.

Who’s Targeted?

This particular infection is targeting businesses; however, a top cyber security company’s website states that the average home user is the most vulnerable for a ransomware attack. Most users think their information is safe because they are not a company, and they also fail to back up their data.

To keep safe, it is suggested that you upgrade to the latest versions of software, don’t click on unknown links, and perform regular backups of your files. It’s also a good idea to protect your computer with more than just an antivirus. You’ll want to be sure that you’re protected from malware too.

What Do You Think?

Should the NSA be held accountable? Have you been hit by one of these cyber attackers? I’d love to hear your thoughts on my Facebook page or on Twitter.

Carlos Gamino