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You’ve probably heard by now that Google is changing its privacy policy as of March 1, 2012. But have you read the new policy yet?

Google explains the new policy as an integration of all of their policies and products into one, so as to better be able to serve their users. I am one of those people who lets Google run my life. I have an Android phone, jumped on the Google+ bandwagon and I use Google products for just about everything possible. Like many of you, I have become pretty dependent on Google. Fortunately when I read their policy I didn’t think it actually looked so terrible as it has been made out to be. Especially because you can opt out of ads and set preferences to not save your search history. I’m not sure what the big deal is about these changes.

Yes, there are a few things that sound scary at first, but then I remember that Google already has all of my information (the new policy doesn’t give it access to more) and they do a pretty good job of keeping it safe.

This video, sent by a dear friend, sums up the issues pretty nicely:

(Note to Google: If you ever want to hire me to write content for you, y’all should know how to find me as you have my email address, phone number, GPS location, etc…)

“I can’t answer that yes or no, unless you give me time for a long speech on it” -Ayn Rand in her HUAC testimony

I have very nearly completed reading Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. It was on our bookshelf while I was growing up, but I never paid much attention to it. My mother suggested I read it, which was probably why I didn’t touch it for so many years. When my super cutie-pie niece was born in March, my mom came to visit. Along with the baby gifts for my sister, she brought me some books. Deciding to be open minded for a change, and knowing that many of my friends had read the book and enjoyed it, I gave it a try.

At first I thought it was such an interesting story. I liked the characters and their relationships, and I didn’t mind the wordiness too much. But then the story didn’t end. It still hasn’t, eight months later. It just keeps getting worse. Now I hate the characters and I hope they all die tragically. (I’m not done yet so if that’s not what happens, don’t tell me!) It’s true that I believe most novels would be better off as short stories, but this book takes the cake in terms of being preachy and repetitive. We get it, Ayn Rand! You think government should stay out of business and personal affairs and also that people are stupid. The concept of writing philosophy in the form of a novel is so wonderful and it really could have been amazing, regardless of how I feel about her crazy, unrealistic, extremist philosophy.

But that is not what most upsets me about Ayn Rand (who was actually named Alisa Rosenbaum). Her books may be wordy and preachy, but at least she had conviction, right? Wrong. Ayn Rand was a hypocrite. She spent thousands of pages writing about Objectivism: “the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.” One who lives according to this philosophy should strongly object to any attempt to directly stifle another’s productivity.

Yet Ayn Rand was a member of the Motion Picture Alliance for the preservation of American Ideals, which stated: “…As members of the motion-picture industry…we refuse to permit the effort of …totalitarian-minded groups to pervert this powerful medium into an instrument for the dissemination of un-American ideas and beliefs. We pledge ourselves to fight…to divert the loyalty of the screen from the free America that give it birth.”

Really, Ayn? It’s ok to prevent someone who has different beliefs than you from “productive achievement” (ie publishing books or producing movies)? Rand was active in several anti-Communist groups aimed at stifling free speech. That’s all well and good if you believe that nobody else is entitled to have a different opinion than yours. But if you believe that everyone is entitled to “reason as (one’s) only absolute”, HOW DARE YOU try and stop someone from pursuing his “noblest activity” by participating in these groups and testifying in HUAC?!

Even Ayn Rand can’t live up to her own ridiculous extremist philosophy. I think Atlas Shrugged is best left as a long-winded novel, not a philosophy book. In an article recently sent to me, Atlas Shrugged was described as such: “Out of a lifetime of reading, I can recall no other book in which a tone of overriding arrogance was so implacably sustained. Its shrillness is without reprieve. Its dogmatism is without appeal.”

Last week my dad mentioned that it’s been a while since I last posted on my blog and my readers at home were asking about me. It’s true I haven’t written in a while, and so much has happened in that time. I got a job, which I love even though it’s over an hour and a half commute each way. Then there was passover. Our small apartment was crammed full of guests, just as we like it. My mom came, which was an absolute pleasure. I have a new little baby niece. She’s a super cutey and I can’t stop making her headbands and looking at pictures my sister sends. These aren’t really excuses for not blogging, but I just wanted you to know that I didn’t forget about you, I’ve just been fantastically busy, fortunately only with good things.

I quickly adjusted to the workload at work, but the commute really takes a lot out of me. By the time I get home I’m drained of all energy and creativity. Last week I finally got a smart phone. I was perfectly content with my semi-intelligent phone, but with my daily phone calls throughout my lengthy commute my husband was becoming less content with our phone bill. Our service provider also noticed the change and called to offer us a better plan (that happened to come with a better phone).
I was never one of those people who must check her email every spare second. In fact, I’m the kind of person who often avoids checking email for up to a week, so I’m not really sure what to do with a smart phone. I got some advice from friends, but I’m still exploring all the features and options and apps my new, shiny, brilliant phone offers me. It didn’t take me long to discover the wordpress app. Now I can write while I’m on the bus to/from the office. So as I sit in the terrible traffic in Jerusalem I can share my thoughts with my family, friends and online community. This is still new and exciting and I’m still figuring it out, but hopefully I’ll be able to write more frequently (and play lots of Angry Birds).

Today is my first day unemployed in a long time, and I’ve decided to take advantage of it.

After going for a run in the rain, I came home to apply for jobs and write a bit. I’m looking for a job in writing. I don’t care so much what kind of writing; marketing materials, correspondence, blogs or articles. Anything involving writing or editing will do. If you hear of something, message me, please!

There is really nothing as inspiring or exhilarating as running in the rain. It’s quite beautiful. As I dried off and sipped my hot chocolate, it occurred to me that I can use this time to write about whatever I want, to explore WordPress and learn HTML. These are things that I have wanted to do for a while, and I’m excited to have the opportunity. Suggestions are, of course, welcome. I figure I will start with Google and see where it takes me.

I also decided to pay a visit to my former Boss (some of you may have heard of her). My old office is fairly close to home, and when I left about a year ago I promised I would come visit. She was thrilled to see me, and after showing me some pictures from her daughter’s wedding, informed me that she does not know of any openings in the university but she will let me know if she hears of anything.

My lesson of the day is that a good place to start looking for work is through connections from previous jobs, and in the meantime I can work on my skills and improve my marketability. Hopefully something will come of any of the friends and former coworkers who offered to pass on my resume. If you keep reading, you may find out…

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