I don’t often blog about political issues, but the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is just too despicable and infuriating for me to stay silent.
The Keystone XL pipeline is a proposed 1700-mile long pipeline that would carry diluted tar sands from Alberta, Canada to Texas. Tar sands (also called oil sands) are a mixture of sand and bitumen, a type of gooey petroleum that resembles tar. Tar sands can be processed into crude oil, and then refined into petroleum products like gasoline (aka. petrol), propane, and motor oil. TransCanada, the oil company who wants to build the pipeline, plans to process the tar sand in Houson, Texas, and from there will likely ship the product overseas. This plan would be extremely lucrative for TransCanada, but devastating to the US and global environments.
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Last month, Google rolled out its new “Google+” social networking platform, and it enjoyed an enthusiastic reception among metaverse residents, tech bloggers, and others. Google+’s “Circles” feature, which gives you more fine-grained control over who you share with, seemed to be an indication that Google+ would be more privacy-conscious than its established competitor, Facebook.
Unfortunately, the appeal of Google+ quickly wore off, as it became apparent that Google was suspending accounts judged to be using a pseudonym or other “not real” name. The first highly-visible case among the Second Life crowd was Opensource Obscure being suspended, but hundreds more Second Life users were suspended within a week. And it wasn’t just Second Life residents: pseudonymous accounts of all types were being suspended en masse, along with accounts representing companies and organizations. Official statements from Google employees confirmed that Google+ users are required to use what Google calls “common names” or “real names”.
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