Not drowning, waiving
  • Them:We have reviewed your case and are prepared to wiave 50% of your overdue amount, so that you now only owe the balance of $29 on your account.
  • Me:Thank you so much for your generosity, let's lock that in. Now, how are you going with my previous request to waive the entire amount?
  • Them:As I said earlier, we cannot remove the entire amount from your account. I have checked the records and confirm that a phone line was installed to your premises. These works did occur.
  • Me:I am not debating that they occurred. Just like I am not debating whether you installed gold taps in my kitchen with continuously flowing Coca-Cola. But just as I didn't ask for gold taps with continuously flowing Coca-Cola, I did not ask for a phone line. Your firm installed the phone line because they said it was necessary to activate the ADSL2 service that I requested.
  • Them:The line is necessary to enable the ADSL2 service.
  • Me:And how is that service going?
  • Them:As we have already advised you, we have identified that ADSL2 is not available in your area.......would you mind holding for a few minutes?
  • Me:OK
  • five minutes later
  • Them:Are you there? Yes. Aaah. We have checked the records and confirm that we can waive the entire fee on your account.
  • Me:Thank you so much for your generosity, let's lock that in. Just for the record, I no longer have an account.
  • dial tone

These stunning images of sunrise and sunset will make you want to explore America’s public lands: http://on.doi.gov/1yvGeRd

To celebrate the start of National Park Week, all national parks are waiving entrance fees on April 18-19.

Captions from top to bottom:

The calm after the storm is truly beautiful. This photo of Crater Lake National Park in Oregon was taken from Discovery Point just at sunrise just as a storm was clearly the park. Photo by Greg Nyquist (www.sharetheexperience.org).

Established in 1932 as a migratory bird refuge, Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge encompasses a 22-mile segment of the southeast Atlantic coast. This South Carolina refuge consists of 66,287 acres of barrier islands, salt marshes, intricate coastal waterways, long sandy beaches, fresh and brackish water impoundments, and maritime forest. Photo by Ben Sumrell.

The sky is ablaze with color during sunset at Warner Wetlands. The 52,000-acre Warner Wetlands is home to lakes surrounds by the high desert along the base of Hart Mountain in southeastern Oregon. Photo by Roman Iacobucci, BLM (mypubliclands)

The Island in the Sky mesa – at Canyonlands National Park in Utah – rests on sheer sandstone cliffs over 1,000 feet above the surrounding terrain. Every overlook offers a different perspective on Canyonlands’ spectacular landscape, like this stunning vista seen from Green River Overlook. Pic by Rowena Trapp (www.sharetheexperience.org).

Sunsets are amazing at the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. Randy Langstraat captured this pic from Cape Royal — a point that provides a panorama up, down, and across the canyon. With seemingly unlimited vistas to the east and west, it is popular for both sunrise and sunset. Photo from www.sharetheexperience.org.

As the cost of college skyrockets, one school has a radical new plan: a free education.

Stanford recently made news by expanding its program, waiving tuition fees for students from families making less than $125,000.

In addition, students from families making less than $65,000 per year will receive free room and board.

This comes as the cost of attending the highly touted California university creeps past $60,000 per year.

It’s great news for students who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford Stanford. But the school’s admissions criteria is extremely selective (accepting around just 5% of applicants).

The school is only able to offer such deep discounts because:

  1. The more financially well-off students’ fees help offset the cost of those in need.
  2. And the school’s $21 billion endowment fund (compared to the average private-college endowment of around just $26 million).

But what about the rest of us who can’t (or don’t want to) attend Stanford? What can we do?

Well, here are a few ideas being tossed around now.

Paypal, what the heck does your user agreement even mean?

Carla Speed McNeil alerted me to this Paypal images license change which goes into effect on June 1st. WHAT THE HECK?

“When providing us with content or posting content (in each case for publication, whether on- or off-line) using the Services, you grant the PayPal Group a non-exclusive, worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, sublicensable (through multiple tiers) right to exercise any and all copyright, publicity, trademarks, database rights and intellectual property rights you have in the content, in any media known now or in the future. Further, to the fullest extent permitted under applicable law, you waive your moral rights and promise not to assert such rights against the PayPal Group, its sublicensees or assignees. You represent and warrant that none of the following infringe any intellectual property right: your provision of content to us, your posting of content using the Services, and the PayPal Group’s use of such content (including of works derived from it) in connection with the Services.”

Full changes to license here.

OK, what I think they are trying to get at is that if one of your images in embedded in a Paypal button (or something) then you give them the right to do that. Which they’d probably have the right to do through fair use anyway.

But this gives Paypal ridiculously broad rights beyond that, and it is something creators should be aware of.

Also, it occurs to me that someone selling art they did not do, say a dealer, is violating this agreement because they do not create or own the intellectual property rights to the art they sell.

How is Paypal going to be used to sell anything? A book, a manuscript, a painting, etc. But…you don’t own a book you are reselling, you don’t own the IP of a picture you are selling. You’re just selling a physical item you own. IP rights do not convey.

IP rights also should not convey to what is basically a money changing service.

Paypal’s response to me on Twitter.

If Paypal merely wants the right to retweet, then their user agreement should say “we have the right to retweet or to post a letter you write us!” instead of making a broad statement about how they also get things like trademarks in anything you “post” or “provide”. The user agreement is too broad and needs a rewrite.

UPDATE: Some excellent commentary on the language of the user agreement. Not going to grab your rights, but the language of the agreement is still lousy.

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All US National Parks Are Waiving Their Entrance Fees This Weekend!

In honor of the National Parks Week, all US parks are making it completely free to frolic on their premises. Whether your cuppa nature comes in the form of mountains, lakes, canyons, volcanoes, deserts, sand dunes, beaches, meadows, wildlife refuges, magical forests or historically meaningful sites, you can see it all free!

All parks participating can be found here! - More posts like this here

$$$ advice

I’ve been in banking almost a decade, and someone recently asked me what my top 10 financial tips are. So…here you go. If you like this then I’ll write more, specified by topic (building a budget, paying off debt, saving up, etc.)

  • If you get an overdraft fee, ask to have it waived. Be polite about it. Explain that it won’t happen again, and then don’t let it happen again. If it does happen again, offer to open another product in exchange for the fee waiver(s). Open a savings account and ask if it can be set up as overdraft protection.
  • Not paying your bills will only affect your credit score if they’re sent to debt collectors after several months of not being paid. The things that affect your credit score the most are your employment history (three consecutive years of employment), the amount of debt you have in comparison to your annual income (debt to income ratio), etc. (There’s a lot of factors in a credit score.) The number of times your credit report is pulled is also important, so be wary of applying for credit unless you need it.
  • If you see fraudulent charges on your debit/credit card, call the number on the back and have them disputed.
  • Figure out how much money you make on average and how much money you spend on average by tracking all of your finances over the span of three months. Build a budget based on the difference between these two figures. Keep your spending within this number.
  • Pay down all debt above 8% interest before focusing on savings. Pay down everything less than 8% interest in even increments. 
  • Direct deposit 10% of your total pay into a savings account you don’t touch. If you live in an economic surplus, you have to pay yourself first. 
  • If the company you work for offers a matching 401k, TAKE IT. IT’S FREE MONEY.
  • The difference between checking accounts and savings accounts is that savings accounts generally accumulate interest and don’t let you have a debit card or checks. Don’t let large sums of money sit in checking accounts because money loses value over time (the way we perceive inflation is that everything gets more expensive, but really the value of a dollar just decreases). Putting it in a savings account, even with a meager interest rate, will keep your money from losing value. This is also the reason you shouldn’t keep large sums of cash on you or in your house.
  • If you can save up a few grand and know you’re going to be staying in the same place for five years, consider purchasing a house instead of renting. The real estate market is such right now that the market will likely be much better in five years, and you can accumulate equity on property, then sell it later for profit. Buying a house and getting a mortgage isn’t nearly as scary as people make it out to be, and there are government programs that will keep your down payment at 5% of the total value of the house (as opposed to standard 10%).
  • Get a credit card with a good reward system and no annual fee, and put all your purchases on it, but be sure to pay it off every month. This way, you’ll get all the rewards but none of the interest charges, and it’ll boost your credit.

Fudgee saying hi to everyone! #fudgeegurl #baby #toddler #waiving #destressor #lilamgel #bonding

No one likes a cheater.So you’d think plenty of people would be pleased to hear that educators in Atlanta, on trial for cheating on standardized tests, were found guilty of those charges and sentenced “harshly,” according to the New York Times.

As CNN reports, of the 12 educators who went on trial for “inflating test scores of children from struggling schools,” 11 were convicted of racketeering—a crime normally associated with mob bosses—and other lesser crimes. Of those who have been sentenced so far (one sentencing has been postponed), eight have been given jail or prison time and three will serve at least seven years. Only those who admitted guilt and waived appeals were spared.

read more

chinnery our art history class is hilarious because like the only reason the no one just skips it is because the professor is the sweetest old lady. Also there is the weirdest sense of solidarity because that’s when huddles in the back of the room to put together last minute bullshit scotch tape sculptures for an equally bullshit 3D Concepts class that’s right after looolll

you’ve got one swing. which male Utena character should you punch?
  • saionji: as you’re winding up your right hook to connect with his jaw, a thought flashes through your mind: “THIS IS CALLED KARMA, BILLY! DO BAD THINGS AND BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO YOU!” punching saionji is a solid choice, but remember - you’ve only got one swing to throw, at one character. saionji gets used as a series punching bag quite regularly. are there more deserving characters to punch?

  • touga: the answer is yes, there are more deserving characters to punch. punch touga. one swift crack to his smug pretentious face will down him. i will look the other way and waive the “one swing” rule while you rain a flurry of chun-li kicks on his crotch. i will hand you a baseball bat to finish god’s work. i will pay you to obliterate touga.

  • miki: oh, come on. what has miki done to you. yeah, he’s got that madonna-whore complex, but is that really worth wasting a punch on? or worth getting pushed down the stairs for?

  • mitsuru: that kangaroo beat you to it. remember how ohtori imports kangaroos for P.E. class? cause they do.

  • mikage: i think he’s like, a time-traveler? or like, the living consciousness of someone who died in a dorm fire? can you punch those?

  • ruka: man he’ll be dead soon anyway so why waste the punch?? corpses can’t feel punches.

  • akio: yeah, that’s fair. like, seriously, that’s fair. but can’t i convince you to wail on touga some more? look, i’ll just leave the keys to his car on this table and stare at this cool rock over here for a while. if i come back and you’ve got touga and akio hog-tied, and you’re dragging them behind the car on the highway, well, that’s just the natural progression of events. i’ll just sit and listen to the ominous invisible japanese choir while they sing you your personalized duel music.

In modern fantasy fiction there is always a crisis of the system: both of the economic order and of the auras of power – the magic – that emanate from it. There is, in literary theory, even a technical term for this critical point: “thinning”. In their Encyclopaedia of Fantasy, John Clute and John Grant define thinning as “the constant threat of decline”, accompanied by a pervasive mourning and sense of wrongness in the world. […]

What happened with feudalism, when kings found themselves in hock to bankers, is that – at first – they tried to sort it out with naked power. The real-life Edward III had his Italian bankers locked up in the Tower of London until they waived his debts.

But eventually the power of commerce began to squash the power of kings. Feudalism gave way to a capitalism based on merchants, bankers, colonial plunder and the slave trade. Paper money emerged, as did a complex banking system for assuaging problems like your gold mine running dry.

But for this to happen you need the rule of law. You need the power of kings to become subject to constitutional right, and a moral code imposed on business, trade and family life. But that won’t happen in Westeros

The Guardian

it isn’t cap mismanagement that JR was unable to predict that tanger, ehrhoff & pouliot would all be injured in the last ten games where you can’t use LTIR, and unable to predict that the only extra D we could call up would be injured. the league isn’t going to let the pens “cheat” and waive players to try to get cap relief, but fans don’t seem to understand it. we CAN’T waive adams or lapierre because the league would reject it. there is no way that JR should have left more room in the cap in case 11mil of the cap ended up injured in the last three weeks. that never happens. & if he had done it people would complain he didn’t use all of the cap. the penguins are in a shitty situation of really bad luck.