PHEW! Now that the holiday season is behind us, many of us can take a collective sigh of relief ... at least, until next year.
Winter has my area in a deep freeze grip. Temperatures through the New Year's is supposed to stay below freezing for much of the foreseeable future. At some points, and on successive days, we're expecting temperatures below 0° F (-18° C) for the low temperature at night. The wind chill (or "Real Feel") temperatures are expected to be as low as -27° F (-33° C).
Brrrrrr! There's no doubt that winter has arrived, and in full force. It was only a couple of weeks ago that the kids were playing outside in light jackets, with temperatures in the 50s and 60s (degrees Fahrenheit). Since Ryan is home for holiday break -- and they can't go outside on account of the frigid temperatures -- they are getting "cabin fever" already.
Meanwhile, mom and dad keep working incessantly. The "influenza season" has hit at the hospital, with Missouri being one of the hardest hit areas in the U.S., up to this point. Lots and lots of sick patients in the hospital, with little relief in sight. This year's quadrivalent seasonal flu vaccine missed the mark -- again -- targeting the WRONG strains of the flu. There is still value in the mismatched flu vaccine, however, as it is likely to minimize the symptoms and severity of influenza, should you be so unfortunate to be infected. There has been progress in the past several years in development of a "universal" influenza vaccine. I, for one (since I work on the "front lines" with patients being treated for influenza), can't wait until the work on this universal vaccine bears fruit.
Recently, the United States FCC repealed the net neutrality laws that were enacted just a few years ago. This has the potential to affect internet users across the globe, and not in a good way. Basically, by repealing net neutrality, it allows ISPs to throttle content that they don't think you should have access to (think torrent downloads of the PCLinuxOS ISOs), and allowing them to charge content providers (think Netflix and Google) "premiums" for preferential data speeds. The latter will allow ISPs to essentially set up high speed, "pay-for-play" fast lanes to the internet. Everyone else -- nonprofits, small startups, individuals, Linux distributions, etc. -- will be relegated to using the internet "slow lanes," unable to pay the toll for one of the preferential fast lanes. Even Netflix has come out in opposition to the repeal of net neutrality. It makes sense, as a repeal will mean that they will have to pay the toll to be in the "fast lane," thus costing them more to do business.
This is not a discussion of the political aspects of the repeal of net neutrality, despite how it has the potential to affect internet users world wide. Read on for what I think is the most disturbing aspect of the net neutrality repeal.
As you might imagine, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai has been in the news a lot lately, trying to explain the U-turn on net neutrality. Pai, who's former employer was Verizon Wireless, has been overwhelmingly in favor of repealing the young net neutrality rules. Yeah. Sure. There's no conflict of interest there, coming from one of the largest ISPs!
He has had to endure somewhat of a hot seat in the interviews he has given, especially since net neutrality has broad popular support across all political spectrums. Over the course of those interviews, Pai's "story" changes, depending on what aspect of net neutrality he is discussing. Check out this video (7 minutes, 37 seconds), for example.
The first time I viewed the video, I felt that something was amiss, but couldn't put my finger on it ... at least right away. So, I watched it again. And then, it hit me: Pai was LYING!
Check out this article from Business Insider. It describes 12 things to look for to know how to tell if someone is lying to you, just by looking at their face. If you're not familiar with the "signs" that someone is lying to you, this article should help. Also, if you feel like people are often lying to you, then learning these signs could help prevent you from being a victim, yet again.
Almost immediately on the second time through the video, I noticed Pai shaking his head -- ever so slightly -- in a "no" pattern as he was making his case for repealing net neutrality, and again later when talking about "throttling" by ISPs in the past. This indicates that even he doesn't believe the words he is speaking. In short, he's lying. It's a cue from the subconscious mind when we lie that is nearly impossible to hide. I also noticed him blinking excessively as he talked in favor of the net neutrality repeal. This is another cue from the subconscious mind when we lie that is nearly impossible to hide. The average person blinks every six to 10 seconds ... or about six to 10 times per minute. Humans tend to blink more when they are lying. There may have been other signs of lying, but those were the two that immediately stood out to me.
Why anyone would put an "industry insider" in charge of the government agency that oversees the very industry that the "insider" just worked for, is way, way beyond my level of comprehension. Just common sense tells you that the interests of consumers and everyday users won't be at the forefront of their decisions. Rather, the industry that person just left will receive the lion's share of attention, with decisions favoring the industry over common users and consumers. This is a classic case where the interests of consumers (fair access for all) and the interests of the "industry" (greed) are polar opposites. And sure enough, that was demonstrated in this case of repealing net neutrality. Fortunately, the battle for net neutrality isn't over yet despite the FCC's repeal, so we'll have to see how this eventually plays out. Proponents for net neutrality are requesting Congressional review of the repeal.
So, until next month, I bid you peace, happiness, serenity and prosperity.