Ryan Jones Blog – dotCULT.com Ryan Jones Blogs About Internet Culture, Marketing, SEO, & Social Media

May 26, 2008

How America Will Fall

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 10:27 pm

If you don’t think we’re headed toward recession right now just wait – it’s going to get a lot worse. There’s 2 very critical economic effects happening right now that will ultimately topple the American economy: Gas and milk prices are rising.

Here’s how it works: If oil hits $200/barrel then it’s selling for $4.75/gallon by itself. That means gas prices will rise to about $7/gallon. At that price, going to work becomes unprofitable for many people. Most notably, truckers. A great deal of truckers are responsible for owning and gassing up their own rigs – and at $7/gallon it actually makes more sense for many to sit at home instead.

As gas rises and truckers cost more the prices of everyday goods goes up as well. Take a look at milk; it’s gone up faster than gas over the last 6 months. Milk prices aren’t just affected by transportation costs, they’re also affected by farming costs.

In our attempt to shift away from gas we’ve created a grain shortage. Less grains mean that animal food goes up which means that milk (and gasp! beer) goes up as well. Think I’m kidding? Bud Light has gone up an average of $0.75/pitcher in the last 6 months across the nation.

If you think that gas companies are gouging now, consider this: In the last 6 months the price of crude oil has gone up 76% – gas has only gone up 15%. Expect prices in the $6 – $7 range by the 4th of July weekend.

Hold on America, we’re in for a really bumpy ride this summer.

On a brighter note though, gas is going for $2.50/gallon right now in Mexico. It’s almost worth it to rent a tanker for a day trip.

May 16, 2008

Are We All Dangerous Hackers?

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 11:13 am

By now I’m sure that everybody is familiar with the story of Megan Meier – the girl who committed suicide after getting bullying notes from a parent posing as a teenager on MySpace.

If you watched the Today Show today, they had the girl’s mother on the show talking about how a 20 year prison sentence wouldn’t be enough for Lori Drew – the mother who posed as a teen on MySpace and started a friendship with Megan only to end it badly.

Now, I understand your daughter killed herself. It’s very sad and unfortunate and it doesn’t deserve to happen to anybody. I also understand the grief and sadness and confusion and anger you’re going through – but everybody needs to separate these feelings from their actions. Justice is about the law – not revenge.

I say that because Lori Drew didn’t actually break any laws. It’s not illegal to tell somebody how you feel. In this case, Lori said “the world would be a lot better place without you.” That’s not a crime, that’s an opinion. It’s a terribly wrong and misguided opinion, but an opinion nonetheless. Ms. Drew shouldn’t be thinking like this, but her thoughts are not a crime – even if she expresses them. We’re not living in 1984 yet.

I hate to bring it up, but there was obviously something not stable going on with Megan if a MySpace comment can cause her to commit suicide. Somebody should have noticed the signs earlier and gotten her some help.

So why am I going off on this? Because of the charges they flied on Ms Drew. After local police couldn’t find anything to charge her with, the Feds stepped in and charged her with conspiracy and felony hacking. Yes, that’s right, hacking. They’re claiming that since she lied about her age to MySpace she “hacked” them.

There’s a big problem with that interpretation. It means anybody who provides a fake email, fake name, or fake phone number to any website is also a felony hacker. Just think how many times a day you refuse to give your information out. It can be downloading something that wants your email address, or your cell phone number on a checkout page. If this interpretation holds up it means that over 90% of internet users can be charged with felonies. That’s a serious problem.

Now, I’m not saying they’d go around charging people for not giving a proper email address, but what’s to stop them from using it against somebody when they can’t make other charges stick; like in the Drew case?

Don’t get me wrong. Megan’s death is a sad tragedy that could have been prevented if somebody had noticed her warning signs. Ms. Drew’s actions were horrible, immature, and pathetic – but not illegal. She deserves tons of guilt, shame, and ridicule. She should probably go get some mental help too based on what I’ve read, but she doesn’t deserve to be behind bars.

May 13, 2008

Trapped in Detroit

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 12:20 pm

If you need to go anywhere in the Detroit area today – you probably can’t get there. There’s nothing in town to cause extra traffic, it’s just that the state has totally fucked up every major roadway there is.

Detroit has 2 major arteries. I-75 and I-94. One goes north and south, the other east and west. They both go through downtown Detroit, and intersect at a 30 degree angle somehow just near the city limits. They’re the main route into, out of, through, or around the city – as well as the only path for truckers going to and from Canada.

For the past few months I-75 has been shut down for 5-10 miles near the bridge to Canada. The detour has been to take 94 and then hop onto 75 north of the construction. As I found out today on my way to the eye doctor though, the detour is closed. The new detour is to get off on Warren Avenue – only Warren Avenue is under construction too.

So let’s recap. Freeway closed. Detour closed, and the Detour to the Detour is closed. This left me driving in circles for nearly an hour before I found a way to get back on the freeway and head home.

That’s just going northbound. Going south is a whole new can of worms. Since 94 only hits 75 north of Detroit, the southern detour is currently to take 94 west (out of the way) to southfield. Get off, drive 3 miles along the street in front of my house, and then get onto 75 where there’s no construction. This detour has been in effect for about 2 months now, and already it’s impossible for me to get out of my subdivision between the hours of 8am and 7pm. The road is constantly full of trucks and it’s impossible for me to drive anywhere.

Worse yet, the 75 construction is going to be this way for 2-3 more years. They’re redoing the whole thing with no plans of opening it. Worse yet, the current detour (southfield, the main street by me) is scheduled to be renovated DURING the 75 shutdown. Yes, that’s right, they’re shutting down another detour.

Does anybody at MDOT talk to each other? Why can’t you do one project at a time? Is it really necessary? What idiot decided to shut down the detour of the detour of the detour? This morning I managed to lose track of what I was actually detouring from. At one point, my GPS actually just said “stop at closest gas station and ask where the fuck you are.”

I can’t wait until the Southfield construction starts – at that point I will have no way to get to Detroit or anywhere north of there without turning a normal 15 minute drive into a 2 hour side street fiasco.

May 9, 2008

Your Car Is Illegal

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 11:43 am

While playing Mario Kart Wii with a cop friend of mine the other day we started getting into a discussion of the legalities and illegalities of automobiles. Don’t ask how, but it had something to do with him petitioning to get Waluigi disqualified from the race.

Did you know that the vehicle you’re driving right now is most likely illegal. In fact, most cars drive off of the dealership lot already in violation of the law.

In Michigan (and at least 20 other states that he knows of) it’s illegal to place advertising on or around the license plate. That means the little frame with the dealership name on it is reason enough for a cop to pull you over and write you a ticket. It’s also illegal to cover up any part of the plate with writing on it. This means that all the nice new Ford and GMC SUVs that have steps in the back are in violation – as the step on most of these cars covers up part of the word Michigan on the plate.

Clear covers that go over the plate? Also illegal. The same goes for those lights that go on around or near it.

My friend said he’d never stop anybody for this, which then raised the ethical question of “doing your job and following the law to the letter” but that’s another discussion.

Has anybody ever seen anybody stopped for one of these infractions? And if somebody is, how long until there’s a class action suit against all the dealerships who illegally modify cars on their lot?

May 7, 2008

I can see clearly now – and it’s raining.

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 3:08 pm

It’s raining outside, and I CAN SEE IT WITHOUT MY GLASSES!!!

I had LASIK on Monday and it’s great!

For those who don’t know me I recently developed an allergy to my contacts, and wearing glasses to play hockey or softball was just awkward. It’s only been 2 days since I had it, and already I can see 20/25 and have no pain. The first day, my eyes felt like there was something in them all day and everything looked like I was underwater. After sleeping on it (with these awkward goggles) I woke up to seeing very clearly.

If anybody’s considering LASIK, don’t let the videos they show you scare you. It’s all really quick and painless. I got there at about 1:45 and by 1:50 they were already checking my vision to make sure I was ok with how they were going to correct it. I was then given a valium (great stuff!) and led into the laser room.

The whole procedure took less than a half hour and was very painless. It’s a weird feeling to feel a razor cut your eye, and the machine puts a LOT of pressure on you when it’s working – but no pain. Afterwards everything looked like I was underwater, but still better than without my glasses. My eyes even felt very dry and burned a bit similiar to when you get chlorine in them.

Within a few hours my left eye was great while my right eye remained blurry. This really threw off my depth perception and I became really bored without being able to drive, watch tv, or read. I listened to the entire works of Charlie Robinson before going to the bar and putting up with all the “Bring it here Ricky” comments due to my weird looking goggles.

All in all I’m happy. It was a bit expensive, but if I don’t have to wear glasses or contacts until I’m 40 it will pay for itself. My right eye is still 20/25 but she said it can take up to a week to fully clear up.

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