Thursday, August 21, 2008

some psa's i can get behind.

It's no secret that I love NPR (which stands for National Public Radio, you silly philistine!). Unlike the rest of talk radio, they are both objective and eclectic, and though they supposedly don't have a partisan bias, my little liberal heart could not love them more if I tried.

My favorite show is their news round up, All Things Considered, which, true to name, really considers ALL things.

Today, All Things Considered ran these two interesting stories one after the other, which you can listen to (and read transcripts of) for free online at

1. "Computing On The Cloud: Who Owns Your Files?"

I don't know about you, but I'm all about social networking/online file sharing websites (known as cloud computing). Flickr, Gmail, Twitter, Myspace, Facebook; you name it, I love it. The idea that you can put your files online to be accessed from anywhere in the world is so practical that some laptops are now being designed to RELY on this practice by having tiny hard drives. Unfortunately, people (myself included) fail to understand the limits of their rights to these files (user agreements are long and boring). According to this story, if a company like Google is told that you have posted some kind of file that violates the law (copyright or other), they have the freedom to delete your account WITHOUT PROOF, which is much easier than doing any kind of investigation. Facebook also has the right to distribute all of your private information to the public. Kind of scary, right?

I'm not saying we shouldn't use these innovative online applications. But after hearing this story, I can only further emphasize the importance of backing up your important files, either on an external hard drive or your own computer. Don't I sound like a very tech-savvy nagging parent?

2. "Condom A Capella Ringtone Fights HIV In India"

In sharp contrast to the evil that is Jill Stanek, the BBC World Service Trust is trying to fight the spread of HIV in India by PROMOTING condom usage. Through a free ring tone! Who knows if it will work, but the song is catchy (and has been downloaded by .02% of the cell phone uses in India, which is actually a huge number) and the promotion of condom use is at least way better than the counterproductive message that condoms are evil. Listen here.

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