Posts 21–25 of 48

  • Unfit for Work

    This story by NPR Planet Money's Chana Joffe-Walt shocked me and totally changed the way I used to think about our economy. What I didn't know, what most people probably don't know, is that the number of Americans who are collecting social security disability has increased tremendously since 1980. Every month, 14 million people now get a disability check from the government for around $1,000.

    Joffe-Walt spent 6 months exploring the disability program. As she reports, the story of the U.S. economy we normally hear is not the full picture, not by a long shot. Our federal disability program is only slightly caused by an aging workforce; it is primarily an increasingly expensive, relatively hidden safety net.

    The federal disability program, along with the associated health care benefits, costs about $260 billion a year. That’s not only eight times more than we spend on welfare, it’s more than we spend on welfare, food stamps, the school lunch program, and subsidized housing combined! And the worst part is that the disability program incentivizes people to stay on the program forever and never get off of it. You know, the opposite of what a welfare program should do.

  • Click to Play


    Even when think you are being safe, browsing the web can be a dicey affair. Websites use Flash to initiate “drive by downloads” or to track you sureptitiously. More worrisome is the constant stream of Java exploits (37 so far this year and it’s only March). Even mainstream sites can get hacked and end up serving malicious code to your browser. However, there is an easy solution supported by all major browsers and it’s called Click to Play.

    Click to Play temporarily disables all your browser plugins. When a website embeds a Flash file or a Java applet, you will see a grey, clickable rectangle. You can ignore it or click inside the area to enable the content on just that page.

    Not only does this keep you safer, but it will also speed up web browsing because Flash and Java contents are not loaded automatically. And you can stop worrying about a plugin crashing your browser.

    So here’s how to enable it in your browser of choice.

  • Delete anyone's eBay listing


    I was just the victim of an eBay fraud attack which resulted not only in my eBay listing being canceled but also of the entire listing being deleted with no way for eBay to recover it.

    I had listed my old iPhone and was happy to see people bid over $200 for it. The listing was eventually won by a certain shahid.quraishi. However, within 45 minutes of the auction ending, I received an email from eBay saying,

    Unfortunately, we had to cancel bids and purchases for the following buyer because they're no longer registered on eBay: shahid.quraishi

    What eBay didn’t mention is that they completely deleted my listing. It no longer shows up in the Selling section of My eBay and when I called eBay Support they said it was completely removed from the system with no way to get it back.