I’ve been doing research since returning from our conference up in the Northeast about the details underlying Big Data. This is scarier stuff than I ever imagined and it has already led to a world where people can be targeted for either failure to report income or spending that is unusual – or both.
Yes, picture a world when a government near you can inspect literally every aspect of you income and spending to see if things are within “acceptable norms” and if not? Something serious to begin considering.
The prospect of living in a society where everyone is constantly under a real-time audit may seem absurd, but I can tell you how it’s being done and how to write the code to do it.
So that’s coming up for Peoplenomics subscribers and as a kind of lead-in to that we’ll do an update tomorrow on Digital Tulips – those upstart digital currencies.
A number of my acquaintances have in the past chided me (even called me a fool) for reporting every single dime of income I have and paying tax on it. Not even trying to use available tools to “structure” a low tax situation because those can become contentious and any tax money saved in the short-term can come around and bite in the long-term both in terms of tax counsel and then, if not successfully defended, back taxes and penalties.
All of which was proven more or less right yesterday when a source told me they data files exist on every American and now, as data is being linked in (even if in meta data form) that can begin to sketch out you personal cash flow statement.
Example: If the sum of your checking account checks plus your credit card charges equals more than the reported income on your most recent tax filing, you might become “interesting” in the world of Big Data since such arithmetic is trivial and instant.
I’m sure one of our readers down in Ecuador (yes, you, Bruce) will send me a “Ha! Told you so, Ure!” but I’m not yet prepared to abandon America yet, although living in a country where cash flow outlier people can be targeted is, admittedly, a whole other kind of “police state.”
And maybe even that label isn’t quite right. After all, tax laws are on the books, incomes are easily tracked, expenses are easily tallied…but what becomes interesting is how government approaches the problem of squeezing money out of us turnips.
To be sure, such a system could just automatically, once per month deduct taxes due, but that wouldn’t be any fun, would it?
In a world where there are no jobs (negative job growth in actual goods production/manufacturing) we need jobs, even if they are government jobs.
Consequently, as the new data tools arise, rather than automate the taking of a government cut of our labors directly, a system of bureaucracy and – for extreme cases, jurisprudence and prison, can be maintained as well – ensuring almost unlimited employment opportunities in government.
Well, like I said….digital tulips tomorrow and deeper discussion of the mechanics of how this works on Saturday but even if you don’t like paying taxes (*and I don’t particularly enjoy giving away 30% either) the systems are being cobbled up now that will facilitate real-time financial monitoring of all Americans.
You know all those “FEMA camps” being supposedly built in America? What IF such camps were where people who lied about their incomes (as outed by their spending records) were going to be put which the big switch is turned on and enforcement using the computers begins on a massive level?
I’m starting to idly think about converting myself into a corporation and offshoring myself. Maybe have a corporate development center in East Texas, but move all banking and hard assets out. But, of course, even that doesn’t work.
Remember Cyprus? Offshore banks seem to be worse than our own. And besides, the US authorities claim 10-years of authority to collect taxes from expats even if you make it out the exits. Not to mention there goes Medicare and Social Security income, too.
So how to play it? I’ve thought about moving back onto a serious offshore sailboat, but DHS marine patrols have gone nuts…and in states like Washington which have decriminalized marijuana use, the feds are still enforcing draconian weed laws which (Whoa! is that a roach?) allows for confiscation of boats or whatever.
Government confiscations of cash almost never work out for the little guy, either. It’s a very asymmetric relationship.
In the end, we may all be forced into a kind of governmental “honesty” by the evolution of Big Data. But what’s scary is the logic which says it’s all “legal” because tax laws and such are on the books already.
As my source pointed out: ” ‘Bout the only thing you can do is move further back in the woods.” We only have a block to go before services end already…not even cell phone coverage…
The haunting question from all this?
Can a government-run surveillance society – where “honesty” is computer-monitored really be considered a “free” society?
Proponents of Big Data answer “Of course!” They wrap it up in a flag and with a side order of anti-terrorism.
Proponents of a Constitutionally protected right to privacy, unreasonable search and seizure, and other antiquated notions (including me) disagree.
Social maps, cross references to all major purchases, and a real-time view of everything you spend: The fact is you’ve already been digitized. Right down to keying in what food you eat in those grocery store discount card programs.
All that remains to be seen is how “Honesty enforcement” is rolled out. Just a little more CAT-6 cable and a terrorism event is all that’s needed and almost sure to come.
See the Frontline page about “Two American Families” if you missed it.
Says tipster Charles: read a bit.
I second that and scroll down to the comments section and read the first entry from Mikeguru completely. Very good perspective on things.
And speaking of which, tipster Anthony says Paul Craig Roberts discussion of how the corpsncrooks have seized power is worth a read, too.
Something in the Air?
Maybe this is related to HAARP being off the air, or maybe it’s just how the stars have lined up this week… But whatever the cause a number of readers have been reporting trolls, outbursts among former sane people, and all kinds of odd behaviors of late. Like since Saturday.
Seems like something may have slipped but not sure what. If you notice an uptick in people acting crazy, though, please let me know.
(Spouses don’t count…looking more at the general weirdness levels.)
Eight Second Ride, Dept.
A sure sign of my aging is that I have no interest in jumping out of an airplane in what skydivers call the “Horny Gorilla Exit” and then trying to ride the back of a partner in free-fall like a cowboy on a bull in the arena.
I will admit, I was impresses to see the clenched fist/open hands being used for fine vertical speed adjustments…and his break-away and landing (at the end) was good.
He’s coming up on 50-jumps now, packs his own gear, and is quite accomplished for how long he’s been at this.
I just wish he’d taken up something just a bit more sane: Tightrope-walking the Grand Canyon or catching bullets in his teeth…
The Inventive Cat & Product Engineering Course
Our friend Bill (who sends in lots of cool observations about Life) noticed the reaction of Zeus the chicken/cat to the Roomba yesterday:
“FYI I snipped your little piece about the Robot Vacuum, with flowery credit added too I may say, and sent it around to some of my friends who have cats. All agreed, the idea of a Robot Cat Stalking Toy is a big winner. A million dollar idea. Now if I only had some financial backing and the know how to start a business I would be rich, and so would you…. “
Well, holder, Newt: Let’s run the numbers on this: Traditionally the inventor’s piece of the action is 2% of sales price. The rest goes into manufacturing.
Elaine’s figured that there are about 80-million cats in the USA, but as a marker, unless it’s as good as a pet rock, you’re only talking about 5% of the market buying…so that would be 4-million units.
Since both Bill and I want to make $2-million each on this, that means we need $4-million in royalties at 2%…which means a top line of $200-million.
Which means our price point needs to be (200-mil/4-mil units) or $50.
Now, if you haven’t done business with Big Box stories, you need to know that the BOM (bill of materials) for a product needs to be less than 33% or the retail price and 30% is even better. That way, the retailer can mark up 40% (or more) and make money to cover their costs (shelf space and inventory and portion of SG&A on their side).
Which means our price out of China (delivered here) needs to be $16.66 and then we only have a 1-2 year window. Set aside $50K for plastic mold costs…yikes!
Seems like too much work to me. How about instead I reveal that when Elaine’s not roboting, I use one of these to keep Zeus entertained:
Syma S109G Apache AH-64 3.5-Channels Mini Indoor Helicopter $21 bucks and no lead time. A bit of thread and a 1″ round styro ball optional.
Make sure you have the external load endorsement for rotorcraft in your logbook.
Yes, I may be an idiot when it comes to deer control, figures reader Dave:
“George, on the height of your deer fence – be aware that a standing deer can jump 6′ and a running one can clear a 10′ fence. Hope that 18” addition is enough!
Hmmm…another reader (Roberta) offers this:
“I built my new deer fence last year and it seems to be working- thanks to a guy on YouTube. He stated that deer can jump upwards, but can’t jump outward at the same time. So what he built would probably be only 5 feet tall if it were vertical, but since it is angled outwards it freaks the deer out. It has worked great for me so far. But I’ll still be replacing the dwarf orchard it protects, due to Japanese beetles. Back to the drawing board…”
Bill in California has an electrifying idea:
“Deer fences need to be at least 8’ tall to keep out the deer and other 4 legged critters or just to keep out the deer, electric fence with strips of aluminum foil with peanut butter on the alu foil. Deer lick the peanut butter, get shocked leave fence alone and the garden. This was told to me by an ag agent in TN as being the best way to deer proof a garden after the deer thanked my for their garden smorgasbord of over 100 x100 in size and all were 6” plus in height peas, corn and the list goes on….”
Someone else mentioned “blood packets” which some county ag offices have. They leave a smell of blood which the deer think is a predator kill, and so they won’t come near.
And says another Bill, t’ain’t just deer you will have problems with. Raccoons are a nightmare, too:
“George, In view of Weatherford’s “Parker County Peach Festival” last weekend, here’s my collision with Mother Nature..
Score: 8 to 1
In view of Weatherford’s “Parker County Peach Festival” this weekend, the late frost caught most peach trees in bloom…. causing a small crop, but still, Parker County Sweet. Following the ways of a lifelong Roscoe resident and gardener, my grandfather, X.B. Sanders, I have two peach trees I grew from seed. The frost caught one, but Trudy’s cabin project safely blocked the other. …Last week I counted 9 large peaches. In putting this week’s garage sale tables into storage using an upright two-wheel dolly, I knocked off one… Rare as they are, I stopped work instantly and quickly brought it into the house, to safely ripen, and awaited the tree ripened sweetness of those that remained….
This morning I saw my peach tree and my 2013 peach crop decimated…. Small limbs were snapped, hanging straight down. Only peach seeds, cleaner than a whistle, lay carefully arranged underneath in the morning shade. Raided by none other than a villainous masked bandit with a striped tail I’d caught eating out of our caged Woodpecker suet… So much for our backyard ” Peach Festival”. Yet for today’s noon meal, a sweet dessert. We divided the one I rescued, and the sweet slick slices were placed over servings of cold creamy vanilla ice cream as a small victory over a whap-sided contest with Mother Nature:
Raccoon 8….Owner: 1″
Right about here we stumble into one of those damn “political correctness” issues having to do with gun control. Folks in the big city seem to think that a deer eating your tomatoes is somehow “cute” or a ‘coon eating a peach crop (or in our case 28 stalks of corn a few years back) is somehow “cute.”
I suppose if you have a full freezer and a credit card the term “cute” could be applied. But out here in the outback occasional adjustments to the “balance of Nature” are required.
We tend to make these adjustments between 36 to 140 grains at a time delivered north of 1,000 feet per second.
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The “Grim Oiler”
With our detailed synthesis of the future from Capt. Midnight wrapped up this week, is it time to reconsider the lost spectre of Peak Oil? More important: Can we make (or save) a buck by timing our actions in response?
P.S. Don’t forget: Peoplenomics subscribers are what keep the lights on at UrbanSurvival….since subscriptions there offset the expenses of this site.
George Ure’s latest writings…
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