Posted by: Michael D. Austin | January 19, 2016

Stories – Making Them for Prosperity

“What question could change my life?,” from Mary Alice Arthur at TEDxKielUniversity. I found Mary Alice at Findhorn’s 2014 New Story Summit. I streamed it live. This woman has skills, “The stories that have yet to be told need you.”

Posted by: Michael D. Austin | January 17, 2016

Seeing Earth


T.S. Eliot circa 1955, from Columbia University's website

T.S. Eliot circa 1955, from Columbia University’s website

“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

Through the unknown, unremembered gate

When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree”

~ from t.s. eliot’s “Little Gidding”

This morning, one of my best friends ever, Laila Selk, watched this video, “Overview,” from her computer. I heard its surprising dialogue in the background. About this vid she wrote, “When I’m feeling down, watching/contemplating this lifts me right back up.” Thank you, Laila!

“Overview” is a wonderful vid by people whose work deserves our attention, but not because they’re technological wizards. Instead, because they’re awakened humans. The biggest reason our war-loving species needed to go to into space is to appreciate Earth so we’d have the choice to preserve it. In the context of an ailing, suffering Earth, and an ailing, suffering humanity, the billions we spend on the space program make it a fool’s errand.

Humans will comparatively soon be the most endangered species toward the end of this Sixth Extinction. We need lots more heroines and heroes whose quotidian activities give us lots to look forward to, and less emotionally-stunted cretins like those poster boys for willful greed, the Koch brothers, and their political sideshow-distractions.

Posted by: Michael D. Austin | December 17, 2015

Love Song to the Earth

Vocal performances include those by Jon Bon Jovi, Paul McCartney, Sheryl Crow and Fergie. In watching and hearing this, I’m reminded about Dr. Leonard Shlain’s lecture on, “The Alphabet vs. The Goddess,” the internet might tend to counteract our trend to violence since the invention of written language. Via LinkedIn, I receive notices from people like Candice Gaukel Andrews and groups like National Wildlife Federation. That’s how this one arrived in my inbox.

Posted by: Michael D. Austin | December 1, 2015

The American Oligarchy: Follow the Money

"A Flood of Money," via the NY Times article, "A Wealthy Governor and His Friends are Remaking Illinois," on 11-29-15

“A Flood of Money,” via the NY Times article, “A Wealthy Governor and His Friends are Remaking Illinois,” on 11-29-15

As the money goes, so goes both conservation and consciousness. Robert Reich wrote about this NY Times article linked below:

“There are now four classes in America: an underclass, an anxious class in the middle, an overclass, and an oligarchy at the very top.

The underclass is the bottom 20 percent with family incomes under $26,000 this year, who live in marginal neighborhoods, whose kids attend lousy schools, and whose families are in continuous danger of hunger, homelessness, or serious and unattended medical problems.

The anxious class is the old middle class — 75 percent of Americans, with family incomes between $26,000 and $80,000 a year, whose jobs are becoming less secure and who are living paycheck to paycheck, and most of whose children will not live as well as they do.

The overclass is the top 5 percent, earning between $80,000 and $300,000 a year, who still feel pressured and worry about the future but can afford to live in good neighborhoods and send their kids to good schools.

The oligarchy is the top 0.1 percent, most earning over $1 million a year and sitting on over $15 million of wealth, who now possess almost all the power. Through their political contributions, lobbying, ‘think tanks,’ and media, they essentially rule America – influencing politicians and organizing the market to get most of the economic gains.

It’s a vicious cycle. The only way to reverse it is through a political revolution of the sort Bernie has been advocating.

What do you think?

(PS: If any of you still harbor doubts that America is being taken over by an oligarchy, you might take a look at what’s happening in Illinois, via article below).”

Here’s the article, “A Wealthy Governor and His Friends are Remaking Illinois,” at the NY Times, 11-29-15.”


Posted by: Michael D. Austin | November 7, 2015


I’ve been meditator a loooong time. A couple of years back as I interviewed David Lynch in front of the media wall at a celebrity-rich event, I stood next to many whom most of the world would reflexively ask for an autograph. I was there as a journalist, and to be happily calm. I interviewed Thomas Jane and Stephen Collins, and then I talked with David. I asked him, “When did you first know you were onto something with TM?” He seemed mildly surprised, and quickly replied, “You know, that’s a good question,” and he then answered with a version of the story which opens this vid. I didn’t hear anyone else asking him a similar question that night. Which makes me wonder how often he has told it. You would find very interesting the sorts of people who meditate. A few of the better known ones are mentioned here.

Posted by: Michael D. Austin | October 22, 2015

Patron Saint of the Altar of Obscene Wealth

Saint Murdoch

Saint Murdoch

Posted by: Michael D. Austin | October 20, 2015

David Koch, An Environmentalist for the 21st Century

David Koch, America Loves You

David Koch, America Loves You

Posted by: Michael D. Austin | October 20, 2015

Rupert Murdoch, We Love (Not) Your Editorial Policies

Sociopath of the Year

Sociopath of the Year

Posted by: Michael D. Austin | January 21, 2015

Declaration to Restore Mother Earth

Declaration to Restore Mother EarthAlthough it’s gonna get worse before it gets better, at least you can be one of those who notices and speaks what’s happening. A personal and collective Declaration to restore the Earth from the destruction created by modern society is at the link, inspired by the Elder Brother’s message.

Via Declaration to Restore Mother Earth:

“Mother Earth’s rights are equivalent to Human Rights. The reactivation of sacred places and sacred sites is vital for the reconstitution of a healthy and balanced life on Earth.

In this task, restoring and reactivating the neglected and injured sites of Mother Earth is urgent. It is necessary to carry out this task on a global level in all biocultural regions of the earth and to revitalize the sacred elements of life: Air, Water, Earth and Fire.

The Natural Rights of Mother Earth should be upheld and endorsed by the United Nations System and by national and regional laws.”

Posted by: Michael D. Austin | January 18, 2015

Letters to Gaia™

This post marks a new direction in which I’m taking Blue Planet Almanac™. Experience, intellect and intuition all show me, on a regular basis, that everything we notice has an effect on us and everyone else. And I’m anything but the only person who can support this with facts. What comes after this are my thinkings aloud, They’re not meant as sound bites so don’t expect them in that context, but they’re instead meant to to connect joyous and important things. This is also letting the ghosts out so they can move on.


Most of you reading this probably won’t know who Anita Moorjani is. But you can look her up. The abbreviated version of her experience is:  She was mere hours away from a death by a cancer that was four years in the making. From a seemingly unconscious coma she heard her doctor, who was out of Moorjani’s earshot, say just that. Then, for reasons which she explains in her books and teaching, she recovered fully. Within only the western paradigm no western medical professional will ever be able to fully explain why. Western professionals will be either speechless or speculative.

Although Moorjani’s experience is very unusual, it’s anything but without precedent. Neurosurgeon Eben Alexander is another famous one. I’ve met and talked with him, including having sat at his luncheon table. I’ve also heard him speak at length but haven’t yet read his books. Since around 1980 I’ve had many very unusual friends who do research on consciousness or who have had such experiences as Moorjani and Alexander. There must be at least hundreds thousands of people who have had experiences of inexplicably spontaneous healings, many of whom have documented them. Probably more like hundreds of millions. But you won’t always hear about them in the U.S. because the American Medical Association, giant pharma and their kissin’ kin never bank on them. Those sort of institutions will try to dissuade you that such experiences won’t help you because they can’t sell you anything and instead have policies which make money on you by keeping you ill.

As I listened to Anita Moorjani’s webinar, as one caller discussed how she had mysteriously gotten lupus several months after her marriage (without other coincidences) I began paying even closer attention to that session than I had at first. There was something important in the caller’s presence which wanted my attention besides my clear sense that she’s a wonderful person. But I’d yet to identify it. Sweet and intelligent, the caller was casting around in the open for causes of her dis-ease with Moorjani, looking for solutions. The caller had helped herself significantly with diet and medical advice, but she still didn’t feel she was healing to her full potential. She asked the kindly-voiced Moorjani what she might notice and suggest.

Then, Moorjani asked her caller a couple of questions about time of onset of her symptoms. They discussed that the caller had left her home country to be married and start a new life, and that she felt significant, unspoken loss of her old lifeways and friends. Moorjani is unusually accurate as an intuitive, and asked her caller how she felt about that. The line went silent for a moment, and those of us open to empathetic presentiment started to feel her response even before she spoke. The caller was deeply sad about the loss of bits of her old life, about her former self. She wept gently.

But thus her healing had started. Moorjani next described the caller’s real opportunity in healing as one to acknowledge and heal the deep, deep pining she felt for her old life. Telling the caller to continue following the advice of her doctors, she also told her she’d have the best results in healing from walking herself through that to joy. As above, so below. As a man thinketh, so he becomes. Whatever you think, you are that. Examples of this come from every field and great teacher.

The caller’s experience is a microcosm of Earth, of Gaia. As Bruce Lipton would point out, each of us alive can be likened to a single cell in a planet of billions of human cells. Every human has around 50 trillion to 70 trillion living cells. And when you add the cells of all the other organisms on the planet, even scientific notation wouldn’t ever give you an accurate number. That’s why something like a Gaia theory becomes supremely useful. And in a symbiosis which is millions of years in age, scientists are now finding that we have another 2/3 of that amount of cells which are bacteria, living both in and on each one of us. We’re mini-ecosystems unto ourselves and always have been. There are many things we are yet to understand, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be amazed and awed by them, right?

As Moorjani’s and her caller’s conversation unfolded, I was nearly overcome with the unresolved feelings I’ve had about Gaia. You’ve heard of Gaia theory. I’ve written about it in a peer-reviewed research essay, and spoken about it on Blue Planet Almanac™ broadcasts as yet another voice in its clear support. I’ve seen where Gaia has been and seen where she’s bound. The facts about what humans have done are anything but pretty. My readers who most appreciate this will be familiar with many things on the list we’ve done to the planet. The Sixth Extinction, chemical agriculture, runaway overpopulation, psychopathic geoengineering, habitat destruction and climate change  –  anthropogenic causes one and all.

If we save our own bacon it’ll be nothing short of a miracle. And although I see miracles every day, I don’t see clearly how an aggregation of them would bring Gaia back to healthy homeostasis. But that doesn’t mean it can’t happen, only that I can’t yet see it. I feel that miracles must occur for us to survive and prosper in the ways I’d prefer, living in the same ways virtually all of you would prefer.

But now that we know what’s happening. What are we doing about it? How do we live in joy, health and prosperity? Who has to tell us it’s OK to live those ways? You know the answer to that if you stop and think about it. It’s you.

Posted by: Michael D. Austin | July 15, 2014

Save Lives and Make a Super Bowl Champ Cry

How many times in person have any of us seen a 300 lb., 6’4″ Super Bowl Champion cry? Last week I saw it my first time.

Roland Williams is my personal friend, but our friendship began as I consulted with him about how to actualize his many brilliant plans on how to inspire and motivate people. The very first time we talked for a half-hour meeting, it turned into two hours and surprised us both. He’s also an author. What footballer writes? And many times he has been a featured sports analyst on TV networks which include CBS Sports Network, ESPN, MTV, NBC, NBC Sports Network, Nickelodeon, NFL Network, CNBC, Fox, Fox Sports Net, CBS and ABC.

You’d expect someone of his stature and accomplishments to be successful and tough. He is both of those things. And he’s also unusually articulate and smart. The man does amazing financial spreadsheets, for example. And, how many times have you heard a tough footballer quote anthropologist Margaret Mead to focus his audience? He has. Yet, besides the occasional clean tackler who caught him before he scored touchdowns, there’s one thing I now know which will bring him to his figurative knees.

Seeing young boys and young men suffer, from exactly where he grew up and went to school, made him cry. Rochester, New York the lowest rate of high school graduates in the nation, an abysmal, depressing, astonishing 9%. Roland has three young boys of his own. When he cried over the destroyed human potential in Rochester, he saw the dimly let roads he avoided when he was young. It was painfully easy to imagine his own boys struggling. So, he got busy in a huge way, stretching his own resources past their limits to create successful change.

Roland Williams' Champion Academy

Roland Williams’ Champion Academy

Now, I don’t have to spell out for you what the cascading effect of a 9% high school graduation rate means. You already know and it’s anything but pretty. But what I could tell you is that we’re all less than six degrees of separation from anyone in the country. It’s vital that people show these young people who someone cares enough about them to support their success. Their lives depend upon it.

For the past eight months Roland put his shoulders and heart into solving the problem. He created an amazing, highly creative solution called the Champion Academy. He launched it in Rochester, and it’s happening right now. I ask that you right now navigate to its crowdfunding site, dig deep, and help his young charges achieve their dreams. Volunteer, donate, and dig deep to give. Then you might make him instead cry tears of joy, and you will have directly touched the first several hundred young boys and young men who deserve a break and a better chance than that through which they’re suffering. And depending upon your own level of commitment and involvement, it’s likely I’d bring him to your company to provide a rocket boost to your teams.

Roland has received many awards for his charitable efforts including the prestigious NFL Unsung Hero Award, he has twice been the Oakland Raiders Man of the Year, also the Press Radio Club Pro Athlete of the Year, and multi-year finalist for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award. His Champion Academy isn’t about the media limelight or athletic successes. It’s about saving lives.

Can you imagine the kind of amazing triumphal stories this man can tell? They’re big. But he doesn’t yet have one exactly like this, and it’s not about him. It’s about heart and compassion. Let’s make this about the young men he’ll gratefully save. They need us. They need you.

Posted by: Michael D. Austin | March 15, 2014

Some Work from Cartoonist Horst Haitzinger

This is my first time recognizing Horst Haitzinger’s wonderful work by his name. In the form of sericels I’d seen and sold some of Hans Bacher’s work, the artist who owns the site at which I found these Haitzinger examples. I spent 16 years on a large, Los Angeles animation fine art gallery.

One1more2time3's Weblog

HORST HAITZINGER , born 1939 in austria, is one of the best known political caricature artists in germany. already as a student he published his first drawings in the satirical magazine SIMPLIZISSIMUS, from the mid-sixties on he works for numerous publications. for daily newspapers he creates one or more drawings a day, about 15.000 so far. his unique robust brushstroke-style as well as his sarcastic irony are very well known in the german speaking parts of europe. his beautiful watercolors, oil-paintings and black/white drawings are in exhibitions and published regularly. following is a small selection of my favorite watercolors.

the illustrations are from the book HAITZINGER HIGHLIGHTS, 1998 bruckmann verlag, ISBN 3-7654-3355-1
© haitzinger / bruckmann verlag

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Posted by: Michael D. Austin | March 2, 2014

Bruce Lipton on Consciousness and Gaia

Bruce Lipton on consciousness and Gaia. If you want to find out where we’re going, here’s one of our sages. If you want just the bits on planetary consciousness, start watching at 44 minutes. Remember the word homunculus as you watch this and how it applies to your cells and the planet.

But the first 43 minutes are fascinating, as he sets the stage to talk at that point about the reflections of our bodies into the planet. Thank you Bruce Lipton and Iain McNay of

Posted by: Michael D. Austin | March 2, 2014

Is the Species Which Attacked You in the Courtroom Now?

Is the species which attacked you in the courtroom now, and can you identify it?

Is the species which attacked you in the courtroom now, and can you identify it?

Thank you, Dan Piraro :-) Surfers can visit for more.

Posted by: Michael D. Austin | February 23, 2014

Crowd Sourced Conservation™ at TEDxBerkeley

In this vid are Hardshell Labs’ Internet-controlled rover, the Raven Repel conservation game demonstration on the audiences’ iOS and Android smartphones, and new ideas about how to save and grow Earth’s life-support systems using games.

The rover’s video is from Roy Haggard’s iPhone. As he pilots the rover through the UC Berkeley Air Bears WiFi net, he’s sitting downstairs in a dressing room with a hand-held controller. Christopher Smith is standing in the shadows of stage left with Haines, AK high school engineering student Eli White.

The Raven Repel game demo is still available for Android and iOS at this time at The current team scores are shown at The standing ovation the audience gave Tim’s talk doesn’t show in this cut.

Posted by: Michael D. Austin | February 23, 2014

Live Manta Ray Worth $1M. Dead Manta Ray Worth $500.

Conservation International’s Dr. Mark Erdmann about the new Indonesian marine sanctuary to protect rays and sharks, in his article, “Indonesia Gives Mantas A New ‘Ray of Hope’.”

Assigning monetary units to Manta rays.

Assigning monetary units to Manta rays.

Posted by: Michael D. Austin | February 22, 2014

Fresh Deaths from Dow, Monsanto and Syngenta. Carry On ;-)

"End stage renal disease deaths... plotted against %GE corn & soy planted... and glyphosate applied to corn & soy

“End stage renal disease deaths… plotted against %GE corn & soy planted… and glyphosate applied to corn & soy”

If you can fog a mirror or have a family, you’d find this noteworthy. This graph comes from a paper that friend Aram Shumavon mentioned. Among other projects, Aram’s with DECA Power. John Knox of Earth Island Institute introduced him when Tim Shields and I asked John who had fresh, vibrant ideas about topics environmental.

This isn’t the only chart and the full paper, “Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases II: Celiac sprue and gluten intolerance,” is available with plenty of graphs like this.

Now we can go back to eating our GMO plants while we patiently await the surreptitious destruction of our childrens’ bodies by the socially destructive Dow (Roundup/glyphosate) and Monsanto (GMO corn and soy). Each time you assume you can do nothing, a small part of your will to live dies, and you accelerate your slow death by a thousand cuts.

Or, you could also do something.

Posted by: Michael D. Austin | February 11, 2014

Internet Rover and Game Demos Rock TEDxBerkeley

Shields faces the rover, both on all fours.

Shields faces the rover, both on all fours.

This Saturday past, Tim Shields of Hardshell Labs™ premiered his new talk, “Playing for Keeps,” at TEDxBerkeley’s 2014 event, “Rethink. Redfine. Recreate.” Shown are two photos taken by TEDxBerkeley’s volunteer photographers. The vid of Shields’ talk will be released within a few weeks with the presentations of the other 19 TEDxBerkeley speakers.

Central to Shields presentation was his idea that in order to save Earth and its irreplaceable life, conservation must be made into fun. He discussed his experiences of 35 years as a desert field biologist, his first-hand encounters with endangered species including the California desert tortoise, mentioned the formation of his new conservation technology company, Hardshell Labs and its Hardshell Games, and debuted his concepts about Crowd Sourced Conservation™.

A robot rover, controlled remotely over the Internet by the team of Chris Smith, Roy A. Haggard and Eli White was demonstrated on stage as a proof of concept for use in remote field work and conservation video games. Using Haggard’s iPhone as a remote video camera, Haggard and Smith designed a telephone interface they mounted in the rover.

The rover used on stage was a second iteration of a first one, design and construction of which was directed by Mark Fontenot and his students in his Fall 2013 Haines High School class from Alaska. Fontenot’s team included White. The team’s rover is discussed and shown at Trillium Learning’s America Bridge Website, and was christened the Leafcutter Ant.

Shields’ TEDxBerkeley audience also participated in a rousing, two-minute mobile game demonstration of a Crowd Sourced Conservation™ game for iOS and Android, titled, “Raven Repel.” The game demonstration was designed and released by Arshad Tayyeb and Jason LeBrun in under five weeks.

Shields received a standing ovation after his 18-minute presentation. Twitterite Kara DeFrias commanded via her @CaliforniaKara feed, Tim Shields on internet-enabled, #gamification, crowdsourced conservation. Must-see talk from #TEDxBerkeley.” Facebooker and TEDxBerkeley audience member Michele Swanston was effusive about Raven Repel: “I absolutely love the app! Played all day on and off with my 10 year old. The whole time she shared with people saying, “we’re saving baby tortoises.’ Fantastic!”

Thanking the members of his team who helped propel him toward the TEDxBerkeley stage, Shields acknowledged their invaluable contributions in writing: “Even the words from my mouth and my actions onstage were the result of countless suggestions from you… You were talking through me- one voice but many minds. I want all of you to know that I will not forget… your contributions. This is an example, in miniature, of crowd sourcing, of tapping different pools of talent and experience for a common goal.”

TEDxBerkeley has its facebook page here. Links to Shields’ TEDxBerkeley presentation will be posted on Blue Planet Almanac, and its subscribers will receive a notice when its published.

Shields: "I began to see all living things as my family."

Shields: “I began to see all living things as my family.”

Posted by: Michael D. Austin | February 6, 2014

SRO Debut of Hardshell Labs at TEDxBerkeley This Saturday

One of this coming Saturday's surprises

One of this coming Saturday’s surprises

During biologist and fine artist Tim Shields’ TEDxBerkeley presentation this coming Saturday, 2-8-14, our new conservation technology company, Hardshell Labs will lob its first public appearance. Tim and 18 other brilliant speakers and performers, including Guy Kawasaki, will present to a packed, sold-out house of over 1,500. Two very playful surprise demonstrations are planned by Hardshell Labs, one involving the TEDxBerkeley audience, and one technology demonstration. Intrigued? Good, because it’s going to be not only worthwhile, but also fun.

The theme of this year’s TEDxBerkeley is, “Rethink. Redefine. Recreate.” Although tickets are sold out, you can still watch the event live on Livestream. Tim is slated to speak somewhere between 1 PM and 2:15 PM Pacific time.

Hardshell Labs is developing products producing both profits and environmental conservation. Our three product lines will include games, educational products and sunrise technologies.

My friend of 44 years, Shields is, “…a new entrepreneur and founder of a new conservation technology company. I’m also a public radio host for popular music, an educator in wildlife ecology and fine artist. But many of the most valuable things I’ve learned about Earth and biology have come by walking thousands of desert miles as a biologist – searching for tortoises. I think ‘Outside the Box’ because I have spent so much time outside boxes discovering the astounding complexity and beauty of the wild world.

The desert tortoise is a ‘canary species,’ giving us vital clues and strategies to preserve Earth’s health. Having witnessed the steep decline of the desert tortoise over 35 years as a field biologist, I am working to weave together the four main strands of my professional life – conservation technologies, biological research, art and teaching – to pass on what I have learned to as many people as I can. Knowledge only becomes wisdom when it is shared.

With my new company, Hardshell Labs, I’ve begun exciting work with inventors, educators, technologists, entrepreneurs and funders of cutting edge conservation innovations, distilling what I have learned in a lifetime in the field into forms that will engage a wide audience in exploring and preserving their home planet. To know Earth is to love it, my job is to help people know it.

Periodically I’ve been interviewed by news media as an expert in biology or wildlife ecology. I’ve been interviewed by CNN and the Los Angeles Times, among other media outlets. When not walking the Mojave I’ve also worked to develop my skills as a fine artist. For years I have shared my passion for biology and art by teaching others.”

Posted by: Michael D. Austin | January 25, 2014

AT&T Overcharging You & America. God Bless America!

ATT Overcharge 1-25-14

ATT Overcharge 1-25-14

Here’s the bottom line for all of you who have little time or a short attention span: AT&T and other big data companies make it a point to regularly overcharge you. And I could show you how they did it on my iPad. And I can show you how to successfully argue about it with them, so they’ll stop their cow manure.

I’ve had an iPad 2 for around three years. Originally I got it because it made more sense for me to have a versatile tablet than just a hardware Kindle for the electronic books I wanted. Although I didn’t know it would at the time, the iPad became a fabulous boon for a news and culture watcher like me. Pulse news reader was followed by Flipboard and news Web browsing. Thus I’ve got lots of experience with this computer.

Yeah, yeah, I know enough about conflict minerals, rare earth elements and politics to know that my use of mobile technologies can easily be heard as completely dissonant with good treatment of Gaia. But there are some trade-offs I make to be technologically- and culturally-savvy in the Anthropocene.

Add that I’d also built and run a network. From scratch. From top-to-bottom. For 14 years. I know my way around networks, and when I need a tool I can find it and know how to use it. Around 15 months ago when my first iPad 2 was replaced (free) under warranty, I noticed a curious new behavior of my new iPad 2. It wouldn’t keep its WiFi connection to my home studio network, and kept defaulting to 3G cellular for data. Whether it was the new release of iOS software before I got the new iPad (6?) or a sloppy software bug or intentional mismanufacture I didn’t care. The new iPad 2 kept blowing past my modest 250 MB/month limit and I’m very good at managing data volumes.

So, like anyone else who’s thought about such a problem, I instantly suspected that either Apple had changed their policy for everyone  —  which directly affected me  —  or AT&T had, or both. I didn’t care who did it, but I won’t accept it when most other countries in the world – other than America – have much faster broadband at much lower costs. Why should you accept it? AT&T has the most to gain from overcharges. US$ 15 overage charges for each of 70M AT&T customers could equal US$ 1B. Per month. Even if a third of their customers paid an extra $15 monthly that would be $350,000,000. 10% of their customers going over would be $105M. Per month. That’s why they do it.

When I telephoned Apple to diagnose the problem with me, they claimed there was no issue. Although that’s completely inconclusive without some good testing and equipment and a trustworthy company, which I didn’t have at my disposal in that moment, I next rang up AT&T. It’s their SIM card in my iPad 2 which would be the next likely culprit. My studio router is managed by me so I knew it was kosher.

IMG_0227And when I called AT&T a very curious thing happened. When they were presented with my sensible question about how they should help me track the origin of my alleged data, they simply reversed the fishy overcharge. I asked them for the list of IP addresses from which the data came. If, for example, I was sitting in a restaurant, grazing my Pulse news, the data had to come from AT&T’s cellular tower, which in turn had to come from Pulse’s Internet servers. There’s always a trail. It’s not unheard of to have 30 or 40 hops across different IP addresses before your data get to you.

The AT&T rep I talked with in Fall 2012 declined to field my reasonable question – please provide me with the IP addresses which account for the extra xx MB of data for which you want to charge me. She just immediately credited the charge I was disputing.

And now at this writing, by these simple screenshots of my iPad 2’s current, alleged data use, AT&T is back to their old tricks. Fuck ’em. I regularly pay them around US$ 118 monthly for data and voice on my iPhone and iPad. They can’t have the extra $15 monthly because they have sloppy and surreptitious data policies designed to confuse their customers.

You could call ’em and ask them some simple questions. Ask them to show you the trail of their charges. If the NSA and corrupt governments can track us and our children anywhere and everywhere – then AT&T damn sure has the records showing how much you really used on your data plan.

Update, 1-28-14: After calling AT&T to again ask them to solve the problem of mysterious data overages, they said they won’t do it. Gee, and am I surprised, or what? ;-)

After I asked them to, they credited the new data overage charge. But also said they won’t provide any IP addresses to me to track the data. When I told them what was going on, they said for me to look at my account on-line, which shows when the data are transferred. They said the times of day would show there what was happening on my iPad. Except the times are they show are frequently inaccurate. Of course, the only way to stop the problem is temporarily turn off cellular data usage on the iPad.

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