In most discussions of the nuclear accord, the Iraq War never comes up. That’s insane.
smart people may offer smart explanations for why the demand for capitulation that proved so disastrous in America’s dealings with Iraq is well-suited to America’s dealings with the country on Iraq’s eastern border. My point is merely this: These people should be required to offer those explanations
Source: Why Is the Iraq War Never Mentioned in Debates About the Iran Deal? – The Atlantic
Advertising is making the mobile web almost unusable by clogging up our bandwidth … This is the tragedy of the commons. It’s your bandwidth, and you’re paying for it, but everybody else is clogging it up with stuff you never asked for or wanted.
it’s a function of misaligned incentives.
When it comes to the economics of online publishing, the first thing to remember is that job No 1 isn’t to get the news to you. Rather, it is to monetise you, by selling you off, in real time, to the highest bidder. This happens every time you click on a link, before the page has even started to load on your phone. Once upon a time, if you and I both visited the same web page at the same time using the same web browser, we would end up seeing the same thing. Today, however, an almost unthinkably enormous ecosystem of scripts and cookies and auctions and often astonishingly personal information is used to show you a set of brand messages and sales pitches which are tailored almost uniquely to you.
That ecosystem raises important questions about privacy and just general creepiness – the way that the minute you look at a pair of shoes online, for instance, they then start following you around every other website you visit for weeks. But whether or not you value your privacy, you are damaged, daily, by the sheer weight of all that technology.
Source: Ad tech is killing the online experience | Felix Salmon | Media | The Guardian
the price of efficiency for advertisers is the user experience of the reader. The problem for publishers, though, is that dollars and cents — which come from advertisers — are a far more scarce resource than are page views, leaving publishers with a binary choice: provide a great user experience and go out of business, or muddle along with all of the baggage that relying on advertising networks entails.
More: Why Web Pages Suck – Stratechery by Ben Thompson
imagine if you could travel back in time and offer to show one of those Boeing engineers what air travel would look like in 2014, fifty years on.
What might he have expected to see? … Consider what that engineer had seen happen in his own lifetime. The first attempts at powered flight took place right around the time he was born.
I submit to you that the last thing that Boeing engineer would expect to see in 2014 is what actually happened. … Unless you are an airplane nerd, you would be hard pressed to distinguish the 787 from its grandfather.
It’s not that the technology failed. … But it wasn’t worth it! Because the technologies we had were good enough.
Today I hope to persuade you that the same thing that happened to aviation is happening with the Internet. … the devices we use are becoming ‘good enough’, to the point where we can focus on making them cheaper, more efficient, and accessible to everyone.
So despite appearances, despite the feeling that things are accelerating and changing faster than ever, I want to make the shocking prediction that the Internet of 2060 is going to look recognizably the same as the Internet today.
We can store incredible amounts of information, but we can’t really move it around. So the world of the near future is one of power constrained devices in a bandwidth-constrained environment. It’s very different from the recent past, where hardware performance went up like clockwork, with more storage and faster CPUs every year.
Source: Web Design – The First 100 Years
Many say school choice is a dangerous idea because it turns parents and students into customers and teachers into something like service providers. In my experience, the absence of school choice turns parents and students into captives with no ability to make decisions that would improve educational opportunities.
Being sick all the time was hard enough, but it was nearly unbearable to be sick in a school where the vast majority of the teachers and school administrators thought I was fabricating the illness because it was officially undiagnosed. My parents had followed all the proper guidelines for ensuring the school would continue to make reasonable accommodations for my education. They took me to countless doctors and received documentation from each indicating there was a real medical problem. They also ensured I was signed up for the 504 Plan, a set of policies established by federal law mandating public schools continue to offer sick and disabled students an education, and they met with school officials constantly to try and keep them on-track.
There was no one willing to hold these teachers and administrators accountable for breaking federal law, and there were no other public school options available.
When people ask me how I found my way into the pro-liberty movement, the honest answer is that I was pushed into it. I didn’t learn much about calculus or physics in high school, but I received a priceless lesson in how bureaucracies work, how teachers unions protect their own at the expense of schoolchildren, and why giving parents and students the freedom to make educational choices should be a universal right, not a privilege reserved for the few.
Source: How High School Nearly Destroyed Me, and Why School Choice Matters | The Freedom Pub by Justin Haskins
Our culture is rich with esteem-boosting platitudes for young dreamers, but the assurances are dishonest and dangerous
Passion doesn’t lead to purpose but rather, the other way around. People who get really good at something that’s useful and that the world values become passionate about what they’re doing.
Source: How feeding children’s ambition only sets them up to fail | Aeon Essays
Advertising is a natural resource extraction industry, like a fishery. Its business is the harvest and sale of human attention. We are the fish and we are not consulted.
What is needed is an effective property-rights regime that gives individuals the right to control where we direct our attention, and thereby bring the market price of this modern commodity in line with its true market value. Advertisers should pay us, not third parties.
As long as either our attention or our personal information is traded by third parties in markets that do not incorporate their value to us, they will tend to be underpriced and used in ways that are both against our wishes and detrimental to our well-being. That meets the definition of exploitation. Things that we find valuable and are quintessentially our own are being stripped away from us without our consent or adequate compensation.
Source: Is Advertising Morally Justifiable? The Importance of Protecting Our Attention – Opinion – ABC Religion & Ethics (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
The war against genetically modified organisms is full of fearmongering, errors, and fraud. Labeling them will not make you safer.
Here’s what I’ve learned. First, it’s true that the issue is complicated. But the deeper you dig, the more fraud you find in the case against GMOs. It’s full of errors, fallacies, misconceptions, misrepresentations, and lies. The people who tell you that Monsanto is hiding the truth are themselves hiding evidence that their own allegations about GMOs are false. They’re counting on you to feel overwhelmed by the science and to accept, as a gut presumption, their message of distrust.
there are valid concerns about some aspects of GE agriculture, such as herbicides, monocultures, and patents. But none of these concerns is fundamentally about genetic engineering
it makes no sense to avoid GMOs based on standards that nobody applies to non-GMO food
By making cropland more productive, with less output lost to weeds and insects, GMOs reduce the amount of land that has to be farmed and the amount of water that’s wasted.
Pesticide vs. pesticide, technology vs. technology, risk vs. risk—it’s all relative. The best you can do is measure each practice against the alternatives.
Source: Are GMOs safe? Yes. The case against them is full of fraud, lies, and errors.
A signal received from the New Horizons spacecraft shows that it survived its historic encounter with Pluto.
Source: New Horizons: Spacecraft survives Pluto encounter – BBC News
When the Cascadia fault line ruptures, it could be North America’s worst natural disaster in recorded history.
When the next very big earthquake hits, the northwest edge of the continent, from California to Canada and the continental shelf to the Cascades, will drop by as much as six feet and rebound thirty to a hundred feet to the west—losing, within minutes, all the elevation and compression it has gained over centuries.
Source: The Earthquake That Will Devastate the Pacific Northwest
the original goals of making the database may have been relatively innocent [but] the data suddenly took on a totally different meaning when the ownership of the data changed
You don’t have to have any dark secrets in order to to value your privacy.
If you really strongly feel that you have nothing that you consider private ask yourself this: Even if you have done nothing wrong, are you willing to publish your pin code, a high resolution scan of your signature, your passport, your SSN, your passwords, your photographs (naked, preferably), your medical records, the conversations with your attorney, the amount of money you currently have, your criminal record (if you have any), your bank statements, your tax returns for the last 10 years, your license plate and a copy of your driving license, your sexual orientation, your infidelities, the names of the people that you love, the names of the people you despise, the contents of your diary, all the emails you ever wrote and received, your report cards, your entire credit history, all the stuff you ever bought, all the movies you’ve ever watched, all the books you ever read, your religion, your home address and so on for all the world to see?
Source: If you’ve got nothing to hide… · Jacques Mattheij