Category Archives: Technology

Cartelizing The Internet

Internet, Regulation, Technology

The regulators have declared net neutrality to be “a triumph of ‘free expression and democratic principles.’” This is a contradiction in terms. A “tiny group of unaccountable bureaucrats operating with the support of the executive lame duck” and in cahoots with a cartelized industry: This is despotic, not democratic.

Jeff Tuckers unpacks the dynamics of net neutrality and regulation, in general, as one whereby “… an elite group of insiders manipulat[ates] the regulations for their own benefits, a left-wing intelligentsia … is naive enough to believe platitudes about fairness, and a right wing … is mostly ignorant and for sale to the highest bidder.”

… Here’s what’s really going on. The incumbent rulers of the world’s most exciting technology have decided to lock down the prevailing market conditions to protect themselves against rising upstarts in a fast-changing market. To impose a new rule against throttling content or using the market price system to allocate bandwidth resources protects against innovations that would disrupt the status quo.

What’s being sold as economic fairness and a wonderful favor to consumers is actually a sop to industrial giants who are seeking untrammeled access to your wallet and an end to competitive threats to market power. One person I know compared the move to the creation of the Federal Reserve itself: the creation of an industrial cartel in the name of improving the macroeconomic environment. That’s a good comparison.

Let’s back up and grasp the position of the large content providers. Here we see the obvious special interests at work. Netflix, Amazon, and the rest don’t want ISPs to charge either them or their consumers for their high-bandwidth content. They would rather the ISPs themselves absorb the higher costs of such provision. It’s very clear how getting the government to make price discrimination illegal is in their interest. It means no threats to their business model.

By analogy, let’s imagine that …

MUST READ.


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Evocative Ad That Wouldn’t Wash At The ‘Toilet Bowl’ Halftime

Aesthetics, Art, Business, Film, Music, Technology

It’s a beautiful and evocative ad, which explains why you didn’t see it during the ‘Toilet Bowl’ halftime.

Music makes an event, an ad, a movie, even a marriage. Who among us oldies can forget the sound track to the French film “A Man And A Woman,” directed by Claude Lelouch? Not me. This dates me—both as an oldie and an incorrigible romantic.

The fact that I identified the voice and song of Edith Piaf in “The Daring: No Regrets,” a new ad for the 2016 Cadillac CT6, dates me too. The text is good, the sound track beautiful—I can’t believe I used to mock Edith Paif’s overly emotional delivery. I guess it takes decades of Beyonces, Jay-Zs, Madonnas, Iggy Azaleas, Katy Perrys, and Coldplays; a Nicki Minaj, a Kanye West, and a Missy Elliott to make one appreciate a tune, a voice, instrumental proficiency; chord progression and composition, in general, to say nothing of the emotion music is meant to evoke.

Enjoy the music and the message. Steve Wozniak makes an appearance to drive it home. A shame that the slogan, “Dare Greatly,” comes courtesy of statism by FDR. To be expected, I suppose.

As expected, Cadillac has taken the next step in rebuilding its image by releasing a new ad entitled The Daring: No Regrets. First airing during the 87th annual Osca

BRAVO.


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‘Commies Cars,’ I.E. Electric Cars, Trash The Environment

Bush, Energy, Pseudoscience, Republicans, Science, Technology

“The benefits [of electric cars] to the consumer are few, much less to the environment, unless a steady discharge of lead, cadmium, and nickel—the byproducts of batteries—is a blessing in disguise.” So I wrote in “Commie Cars,” in 2002. Another pesky matter about the junk science undergirding electric cars, alluded to in the same piece, concerns the source of energy. This leftist blockheads (including so-called right wingers) have proven incapable of tracing in their minds:

Perhaps the biggest obfuscation in the gimmick-car racket—which President Bush has fallen for, if to judge from his energy plan—has to do with the source of the energy. Whether a vehicle is propelled by hydrogen-powered fuel cells or electricity, both electricity and hydrogen don’t magically materialize in the vehicle. They must first be generated. Be it coal, natural gas, nuclear or a hydroelectric dam, these cars are only as clean as the original source of energy that generated the vim that powers them.

(“Commie Cars.”)

This understanding is finally catching on: “Business World Columnist Holman Jenkins Jr. reports on a new study that shows electric cars pollute far more than gas-powered vehicles.” Via Wall Street Journal comes this terrible transcript of a video segment worth watching:

The National Academy of Sciences has a new report out with some surprising revelations … about battery powered cars & their environmental impact … business World Columnist Holman Jenkins Junior stays with us now … battery powered cars are good for the environment right? … unfortunately the whole … environmental impact from cradle to grave of these that are being manufactured … that they are more than gasoline powered cars might wake … well … for one thing … hidden dangers toxic materials … or is that in a forty percent from the scene is actually comes from coal … these are all burning cars the net … and open title of worst pollution especially in articulates in the metals … and at the gasoline motor or so basically you’re just trying to turn the location of pollution and making it better making words … all men … the falling oil prices causing some of these academics to reconsider the economics of green … in color arts … consumers to be considered the economics of it it’s intimate to government subsidies on the cards look even more ridiculous … what really undercuts the political … according to county records is reports like this one which says that the … environmental impact worse not better … all the people who bought these cars now as tokens of virtue are going to have to live under that … the number of this … report is that you not helping and burning hurting at … all … let’s say you are an environmentalist if you cannot … buy a battery … powered car and Tesla are ever … in what should you be doing … well if you’re concerned about global warming is due to the network … American cars anyway … they’re tiny fraction of the problem we should focus on power plants and … or replacing coal with nuclear if you really believe that global warming is a threat that’s the only realistic solution … the major source of the problem is our plants in the … end of major solution to … the renewal Wallace or wind or solar extended the nuclear button … a lot of great people don’t like nuclear it there’s this stock and bond when they haven’t faded away … it … plays out like the Obama administration that’s their declaring war on coal and power plants … but that subject for another day business World Columnist Holman Jenkins Junior thank so much.


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The Fourth Estate (Media) Moving Country Into Third Dimension

Hollywood, Journalism, Media, Neoconservatism, Objectivism, Technology

Being part of major US media—the Fourth Estate—means moving into a Third Dimension of your own making and taking the country with you. What was it that the Bush neoconservative Karl Rove once asserted at the heights of that regime’s manipulation of reality?

“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

As was suggested over these pixelated pages, the “Hollywood hack hysteria” was a media event, not a journalistic investigation, as all news reporting should be. Accordingly, “the moron media shared speculations but not much credible evidence as to the source of the hack.”

It was left to an unconventional citizen-journalist-cum-blogger using conventional journalistic methods to uncover Jonathan Gruber’s utterances. Ditto the Sony hack attack. A blog called North Korea Tech by Martyn Williams did the digging. It

details inconsistencies in the Sony attack and past attacks by North Korea.
“Computers at Sony displayed a message threatening the release of internal documents if undisclosed demands were not met. North Korean hackers have never made such public demands,” Williams writes.
He also notes that little is known about Guardians of Peace, the group that claimed responsibility for the attack. No group has claimed credit in past North Korean hacks.
Williams said that the hackers stole sensitive information about movie stars, staff, and Sony management. In an apparently personal attack, the hackers posted a message on the Twitter accounts of Sony employees. This gives credence to the growing theory that the attack was an inside job.
Tommy Stiansen, the chief technology officer for Norse, a hacker-tracking company, told Bloomberg that he plans to approach the FBI and Mandiant, the private company researching the attack, with information that implicates a disgruntled Sony employee in Japan in the attack.

MORE.


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Hollywood Hack Hysteria

Film, Free Speech, Hollywood, Private Property, Technology, Terrorism

From their citadels of stupidity, the US mainstream media went into full St. Vitus mode over an attack by hackers on Sony Pictures. The Apoplectic Press tell those they gull on a daily basis that North Korea is behind the hack, “which,” by BBC News’ more measured report, “exposed embarrassing emails and personal details about some of the world’s biggest movie stars,” escalating “after the supposed hackers made threats against cinemas showing the film.”

The moron media have shared speculations but not much credible evidence as to the source of the hack. Still, the president and his press corp assure everyone, no evidence required, that the crazy communist regime is the culprit: “US media quoted anonymous officials as saying that the FBI had linked North Korea to the attacks.”

Well, that settles it, now doesn’t it?!

It’s quite possible, maybe likely, that North Korean hackers were set loose on Sony Pictures and employees for the impending release of the “satirical comedy The Interview, which involves a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.” But the onus is on the moron media to present the evidence.

The film’s New York premiere was cancelled and cinema chains cancelled screenings, leading Sony to announce that it had “decided not to move forward with the planned December 25 theatrical release”.

No great cultural loss. The same can be said of the decision by the Sony cowards to cancel the screening of yet another five of their crap products, among these Black Annie, a concept almost as alien as a white Kunta Kinte (of Roots fame).

So can anyone tell me what the histrionics are all about? Aren’t there clever, calm ways by which smart Americans can ward off hack attacks?


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Touting ‘Target Liberty’

Economy, Internet, libertarianism, Technology

If anyone can pull it off it’s Robert Wenzel, editor of Economic Policy Journal, and now of Target Liberty. Robert, to whose illustrious websites I contribute, decided to return EPJ to its economic roots, while at the same time designating and editing a new website for libertarian discussion.

At first, the move had the feel of a self-imposed antitrust bust. What was wrong with EPJ as it was? Had the premier libertarian site on the web become too big or too powerful for its own good? (If only.) Is not human action, or homo economicus in action, an all-encompassing proposition, as EPJ had become?

Then there were our dear editor’s idiosyncrasies: Target Liberty was severed from Economic Policy Journal. The new site’s presence on the established EPJ was initially reduced to a black spot (on the right, above the search window), conjuring the black spot of death handed to a condemned pirate, in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island.

Columnists at Target Liberty were without archives. Contributors would struggle to promote the site in the absence of clear links to their work. And our readers were overwhelmingly opposed to the move, pressing their case with an impressive array of arguments.

On the other hand, EPJ had become “multidisciplinary,” arguably the intellectual equivalent of multiculturalism.

“Intellectual disciplines,” historian Keith Windschuttle has written, “were founded in ancient Greece and gained considerable impetus from the work of Aristotle who identified and organized a range of subjects into orderly bodies of learning. … The history of Western knowledge shows the decisive importance of the structuring of disciplines. This structuring allowed the West to benefit from two key innovations: the systematization of research methods, which produced an accretion of consistent findings; and the organization of effective teaching, which permitted a large and accumulating body of knowledge to be transmitted from one generation to the next.” (The Killing of History, Keith Windschuttle, Encounter, pp. 247-250.)

The intellectual discipline is one of the signal achievements of Western Civilization. This explains why those working in the postmodern tradition have striven mightily—reflexively, at least—to dismantle disciplines.

Ultimately, nobody beats Robert Wenzel in providing excellent and abundant content. Still, here are some thoughts on increasing our traffic and making it easier for contributors to promote both sites on their respective websites:

• Continue to write guest columns on other sites. What about Peter Schiff’s Euro Pacific Capital?
• Create a link and archive for each regular contributor on Target Liberty, too.
• Place a link (that is not a black spot) to Target Liberty on Economic Policy Journal. (This has since been accomplished.)
• Put faces to the words: a picture for each of our columnists.
• Encourage columnists to reply to readers.
• Write even catchier headlines.
• Link internally: If a news story is about, say intellectual property, link to an EPJ or TL article on the topic.
• Create an email list and send out a weekly newsletter featuring the best of our contributors (provided I’m in it, of course).
• Promote stories and columns by Tweeting them as well as posting links to Facebook. Contributors can, in turn, share links on their own social media pages. Posts can be made to automatically propagate to social media with automating applications.
• Upgrade the sites so they are mobile- and tablet compatible.
• Explore making an app.


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