The Phone Company Knows What You Did Last Summer

posted in: Ape Con Myth, Maps 0

Did you hear the one about the German politician who sued the phone company to see how much they knew about him?  Turns out his cell phone recorded his location 35,000 times over 6 months.  That’s once every 7.5 minutes.  In response, he released the data, and Zeit Online has mapped it out:

CellPhoneTracking_Zeit(click and then press play to live the life of Malte Spitz)

Technically, this information is part of the service.  Most days you get pissed if your phone doesn’t know where you are.  The funny part is that they aren’t willing to admit they have this level of information and are storing it.  It makes for a pretty sketchy lead-in to considering what else they might be doing with it.

[Zeit Online via Gawker]



Yeah, you’re right, if aliens visited us, this would be one of the countless embarrassments humanity would have to endure.  (Taking ACM’s assumption that the aliens’ first question will be, “What are you people doing?!”)

If 884 million people lack access to safe water and it costs $25 to provide one of these people water for life*, the total price tag for taking care of the problem is $22.1 billion.

Is that a lot of money or a little?  As with everything else, it depends.  Considering averaged $4M in program spending the last two years and that adding in 4 more top-rated water charities doesn’t get us up to $20M, $22.1B is a daunting sum.  On the other hand, in the United States we spend over $50B a year on footwear.

If 4.5% of the world’s population can spend that on shoes, then the 87% of people on the planet with clean water should have no trouble in getting that figure up to 100%.  The only question is how.  Ape Con Myth will continue to explore the subject.

For now though, here’s five 4-star-rated water charities according to Charity Navigator:, Water for People, Water Missions International, WaterAid America, and Lifewater International.  Please note, however, that Givewell evaluated all five and currently does not recommend any water charities, though* got their stand-out nod.

For more information on the global water situation, visit UN-Water.

Happy Sad World Water Day!.

[Related Posts at 00093 – Water]

Things We Should Have Already Known About Radiation

In today’s society, you can read the newspaper to keep up and send your kids to school so they have half a chance, but you might not get much perspective on radiation’s presence in your life unless you follow webcomics…

radiation(click for xkcd post)

Or if you happen to keep up with the Health Physics Society.  Of course, the HPS is going to provide you with far more information than you want, and none of it is meant to entertain, scare or relieve you.

[Viz via xkcd]

Millennium Development Goals

“Adopted by world leaders in the year 2000 and set to be achieved by 2015, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) provide concrete, numerical benchmarks for tackling extreme poverty in its many dimensions.

The eight MDGs break down into 21 quantifiable targets that are measured by 60 indicators.”

[Check MDG progress and learn more at the United Nations Development Programme MDG home]

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