August 2010

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

The backlash against Obama’s blackness

Dan Kennedy: “You literally cannot understand the current moment without watching the political satirists Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.”


Monday, 30 August 2010

The Full-On Assault On Cable Is Underway

TechCrunch: “And in that regard, the cable companies have positioned themselves fairly well because many of them are among the largest ISPs in the country now. But it’s their core business, cable television, that is facing this assault.”


Friday, 27 August 2010

How habitable is the Earth?

Charlie Stross: “There are elaborate and fascinating competing theories to explain why it took so long for oxygenation to take off: even the Moon gets blamed (the huge 50 metre tides that churned the anoxic early oceans and would have sucked premature photoautotrophs to their doom deep below: oxygenation had to wait for the moon to migrate out far enough for the tides to die down, permitting photosynthetic organisms to thrive near the surface).”


Thursday, 26 August 2010

Because you made a phone call

Lee Maguire: “Presumably he implies that you’ll also need to recuse yourself from your existing social groupings in order for this to work, like entering a witness protection programme.”


Tuesday, 24 August 2010

A letter to my students

Michael O'Hare: “The budget deficit that’s paralyzing Sacramento is about $500 per person; add another $500 to get back to a public sector we don’t have to be ashamed of, and our average income is almost forty times that.  Of course we can afford a government that actually works: the fact is that your parents have simply chosen not to have it.”


Monday, 23 August 2010

Millions of Americans are furious about the ‘Ground Zero mosque’. But it doesn’t exist

The Guardian: “Sixty per cent said they learned it from the media. Which means it’s time for the media to give up.”


Malware implicated in fatal Spanair plane crash “Some of the most likely ways are through third party devices such as USB sticks, Yaneeza said, which were responsible for the International Space Station virus infection in 2008, or through a remote VPN connection that may not have the same protection as a computer within the enterprise network.” - why are airplanes not air gapped?


Sunday, 22 August 2010

Consumers Are Clamoring for Elizabeth Warren “if he chooses anyone but her, he will be widely seen as helping the banks at the expense of the rest of us ”


Friday, 20 August 2010

Iris Scanners Create the Most Secure City in the World. Welcome, Big Brother

Fast Company: “When you get masses of people opting-in, opting out does not help. Opting out actually puts more of a flag on you than just being part of the system.” […] “You can start to track from the point a person is browsing on Google and finds something they want to purchase, to the point they cross the threshold in a Target or Walmart and actually make the purchase.”


There is no ‘Ground Zero Mosque’

Olbermann: “Because this is America, dammit. And in America, when somebody comes for your neighbor, or his Bible, or his Torah, or his Atheists’ Manifesto, or his Koran, you and I do what our fathers did, and our grandmothers did, and our founders did – you and I speak up.”


Thursday, 19 August 2010

Condemning mosque, Gingrich echoed Mussolini

Ben Smith points out:


There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia.

Which looks a lot like:


There will be a mosque in Rome … only when a Roman Catholic church is permitted in Mecca.

Which reminds me of:


The mythology of conquest is remarkably uniform - or, less charitably, banal.


Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Last full U.S. combat brigade pulls out of Iraq


Monday, 16 August 2010

Take the Money and Stand Still “The problem is that in the intervening decades since its introduction, the industry has spent all of its energies on things far more superficial, complex and useless: derivatives, credit default swaps and making ATMs look like Transformers among them.”


Friday, 13 August 2010

Google, Just Cut The BS And Give The Gordon Gekko Speech Already

MG Siegler: “And what’s amazing is that nearly all of them are in agreement. There’s no clear consensus as to why Google is selling us out, but the consensus is that they are. And I have to agree.”


Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Why We Need An Inflation Target

Krugman: “Oh, and the invisible bond vigilantes continue their invisible attack: nominal 10-year bonds at 2.71%.”


Monday, 9 August 2010

Translating the Verizon-Google Legislative Framework Proposal

With apologies to John Gruber:

Verizon-Google Legislative Framework Proposal

Google and Verizon have been working together to find ways to preserve the open Internet and the vibrant and innovative markets it supports, to protect consumers, and to promote continued investment in broadband access. With these goals in mind, together we offer a proposed open Internet framework for the consideration of policymakers and the public.

Remember Friday, when we denied we were having these talks? We were lying through our teeth and have been in talks for ten months. But now that we’ve come to an agreement, you should trust us.

We believe such a framework should include the following key elements:

Consumer Protections: A broadband Internet access service provider would be prohibited from preventing users of its broadband Internet access service from—

(1) sending and receiving lawful content of their choice;

Don’t worry — the contract for your Internet service will specify the content from which you can legally choose.

(2) running lawful applications and using lawful services of their choice; and

(3) connecting their choice of legal devices that do not harm the network or service, facilitate theft of service, or harm other users of the service.

We pledge not to waste shareholder dollars losing Hush-A-Phone again.

Non-Discrimination Requirement: In providing broadband Internet access service, a provider would be prohibited from engaging in undue discrimination against any lawful Internet content, application, or service in a manner that causes meaningful harm to competition or to users. Prioritization of Internet traffic would be presumed inconsistent with the non-discrimination standard, but the presumption could be rebutted.

We don’t want to make Comcast’s mistakes, either, so let’s just classify those as not being mistakes.

Transparency: Providers of broadband Internet access service would be required to disclose accurate and relevant information in plain language about the characteristics and capabilities of their offerings, their broadband network management, and other practices necessary for consumers and other users to make informed choices.

Users would have a wide variety of choices. For example, a user could choose to use the monopoly services we offer, or instead could choose to do things that don’t require the Internet.

Network Management: Broadband Internet access service providers are permitted to engage in reasonable network management. Reasonable network management includes any technically sound practice: to reduce or mitigate the effects of congestion on its network;

We like what Comcast was doing with P2P traffic.

to ensure network security or integrity; to address traffic that is unwanted by or harmful to users, the provider’s network, or the Internet;

We don’t like what the RIAA is doing with P2P users, but don’t come crying to us when we use DPI and let them decide what you can choose.

to ensure service quality to a subscriber; to provide services or capabilities consistent with a consumer’s choices; that is consistent with the technical requirements, standards, or best practices adopted by an independent, widely-recognized Internet community governance initiative or standard-setting organization; to prioritize general classes or types of Internet traffic, based on latency; or otherwise to manage the daily operation of its network.

When we were criticizing Apple for their closed platform, it was only because it wasn’t our closed platform.

Additional Online Services: A provider that offers a broadband Internet access service complying with the above principles could offer any other additional or differentiated services. Such other services would have to be distinguishable in scope and purpose from broadband Internet access service, but could make use of or access Internet content, applications or services and could include traffic prioritization.

Sure, IPv6 won’t be beholden to any limitations, but we’ll continue to offer token levels of IPv4 service after IPv4 runs out of addresses next year and the parts of the Internet anyone cares about switch to using IPv6.

The FCC would publish an annual report on the effect of these additional services, and immediately report if it finds at any time that these services threaten the meaningful availability of broadband Internet access services or have been devised or promoted in a manner designed to evade these consumer protections.

We’ve always wanted the FCC to report to us. We will then use these reports to make colorful origami with which to entertain and delight.

Wireless Broadband: Because of the unique technical and operational characteristics of wireless networks, and the competitive and still-developing nature of wireless broadband services, only the transparency principle would apply to wireless broadband at this time.

Google has agreed to give Verizon whatever it wants so long as the government doesn’t look too hard at Google’s WISP business or Google’s mobile Internet moves.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office would report to Congress annually on the continued development and robustness of wireless broadband Internet access services.

Congress should also take up origami.

Case-By-Case Enforcement: The FCC would enforce the consumer protection and nondiscrimination requirements through case-by-case adjudication, but would have no rulemaking authority with respect to those provisions.

We’ll be making a habit of violating what feeble limits there are in these rules, so rather than risk getting slapped around for our behavior as a whole, we ask that the government ignore the forest and pick fights with some trees. Hey, it works with the FTC.

Parties would be encouraged to use non-governmental dispute resolution processes established by independent, widely-recognized Internet community governance initiatives, and the FCC would be directed to give appropriate deference to decisions or advisory opinions of such groups.

We’re upping the authority of our subservient standards bodies, so up yours.

The FCC could grant injunctive relief for violations of the consumer protection and non-discrimination provisions. The FCC could impose a forfeiture of up to $2,000,000 for knowing violations of the consumer-protection or non-discrimination provisions.

We won’t violate these rules unless it’s worth at least $2,000,000 to us. Don’t laugh — while Eric sometimes loses that much behind the couch, that’s almost an eighth of Ivan’s salary.

The proposed framework would not affect rights or obligations under existing Federal or State laws that generally apply to businesses, and would not create any new private right of action.

Regulatory Authority: The FCC would have exclusive authority to oversee broadband Internet access service, but would not have any authority over Internet software applications, content or services.

We don’t want the FTC paying attention to anticompetitive behavior on our parts, but we reserve the right to redefine the nature of our infraction so we can shop for a friendlier forum.

Regulatory authorities would not be permitted to regulate broadband Internet access service.

Regulatory authorities will not regulate. War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Best effort is QoS.

Broadband Access for Americans: Broadband Internet access would be eligible for Federal universal service fund support to spur deployment in unserved areas and to support programs to encourage broadband adoption by low-income populations. In addition, the FCC would be required to complete intercarrier compensation reform within 12 months.

The Federal Government should give us more taxpayer money to do nothing, and quickly, before anybody notices Verizon sold off its less-profitable rural wireline business.

Broadband Internet access service and traffic or services using Internet protocol would be considered exclusively interstate in nature.

We really don’t want to have to bribe state and local regulators separately.

In general, broadband Internet access service providers would ensure that the service is accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.

Not sure what this has to do with IP transport? Neither are we, but if we sound like we care could you not require us to provide closed captions on YouTube?


Saturday, 7 August 2010

Is LaGuardia the new Las Vegas?

Ruth Reichl: “Does it mean that people now expect to spend so much time waiting in airports that they’ve become dining destinations?”


Friday, 6 August 2010


n+1: “This is the real meaning of Chris Anderson’s latest book, Free: everything will be free, to those with purchasing power.”


Thursday, 5 August 2010

OMG Twitter is down arrrgh helllp whimper sob

Dave Winer


Tuesday, 3 August 2010

A Personal Comment Regarding Mayor Bloomberg’s Speech at Governor’s Island, Aug 3, 2010

I ❤️ New York


Mayor Bloomberg Stands Up For Mosque

New York Daily News: “Whatever you may think of the proposed mosque and community center, lost in the heat of the debate has been a basic question: Should government attempt to deny private citizens the right to build a house of worship on private property based on their particular religion? That may happen in other countries, but we should never allow it to happen here.”


Monday, 2 August 2010

Filibusters and arcane obstructions in the Senate

The New Yorker: “If you can engage public opinion in a way politicians can understand, public opinion can still blow away money and interest groups … But over the past few decades the reflex has grown in the Senate that, all things considered, it’s better to avoid than to take on big issues.”


To deal with the deficit, let the tax cuts expire

Fareed Zakaria: “We have one of the smallest governments among all the world’s rich countries. Yet we refuse to pay for it.”


Go Find Me the Peak of the Laffer Curve

Capital Gains and Games: “What do the experts on your staff tell you that the top marginal tax rate should be in order to maximize tax revenues, leaving everything else about the tax code the same?”


Defining Prosperity Down

Krugman: “The point is that a large part of Congress — large enough to block any action on jobs — cares a lot about taxes on the richest 1 percent of the population, but very little about the plight of Americans who can’t find work.”