Perspective | Universities are also to blame for the GOP’s ‘grad student tax’

Source: Perspective | Universities are also to blame for the GOP’s ‘grad student tax’, by Sarah Arveson

Charging us tuition, only to waive it, helps to define us as students instead of the essential workers we are.

not making graduate students pay tuition reflects the material reality of graduate school: We do valuable research and teaching labor for the university. It would be preposterous to bill us for this — akin to asking medical residents to pay the hospital for the right to train there.

In the grant application, the professor proposes the budget for the laboratory, including equipment, supplies, and salary and benefits for whoever works in the lab — including graduate student researchers like me. Universities then take a huge amount off the top. Yale, for example, charges the public an additional 67.5 percent “overhead” fee on grants that faculty bring in.

While tuition looks mainly like an artifact of accounting for most graduate students in the humanities and social sciences (where the university just pays itself for tuition), in the natural and applied sciences, tuition is a way for the university administration to get more money out of the public. As the university bulletin explains, “for a standard [research assistant] appointment in addition to the salary, the grant pays half of the tuition.” … Again, this is money that the public pays universities for granting graduate students the privilege of working for them to create more wealth for those same universities.

DRM’s Dead Canary: How We Just Lost the Web, What We Learned from It, and What We Need to Do Next

Source: DRM’s Dead Canary: How We Just Lost the Web, What We Learned from It, and What We Need to Do Next | Electronic Frontier Foundation, by Cory Doctorow

DRM has nothing to do with copyright. DRM law … affords corporations the power to control the use of their products after sale, the power to decide who can compete with them and under what circumstances, and even who gets to warn people about defective products

Web standards are about “permissionless interoperability.” … A web in which every publisher gets to pick and choose which browsers you can use to visit their sites is a very different one from the historical web.

Until EME, W3C standards were designed to give the users of the web (e.g. you) more control over what your computer did while you were accessing other peoples’ websites. With EME — and for the first time ever — the W3C is designing technology that takes away your control. EME is designed to allow Netflix — and other big companies — to decide what your browser does, even (especially) when you disagree about what that should be.

Since the earliest days of computing, there’s been a simmering debate about whether computers exist to control their users, or vice versa … Every W3C standard until 2017 was on the side of people controlling computers. EME breaks with that. It is a subtle, but profound shift.

There is no shortage of businesses that want to be able to control what their customers and competitors do with their products. … Companies have discovered that adding DRM to their products is the most robust way to control the marketplace, a cheap and reliable way to convert commercial preferences about who can repair, improve, and supply their products into legally enforceable rights.

What to Worry About in This Surreal Bull Market

Source: What to Worry About in This Surreal Bull Market

We’re almost 10 years out from the financial crisis. Here, the pros share their thoughts on what could happen next.

Quant strategies are popular, and popularity is what makes a coordinated action, whether it’s a run on the bank or a crash, possible.

“some sort of cyber event.”


The debate on whether bitcoin is a bubble about to burst or a great investment continues to divide the financial world. … ­cryptocurrency derivatives, including options and ETFs, are risky because they legitimize assets with prices derived from unregulated exchanges subject to manipulation and fraud.


“Financial complexity brings prosperity but also increased fragility”

“In the long term, the EU is not stable as constructed; the essence of the problem is that you have a monetary union without fiscal union. If confidence is shaken in the European structure, markets will sell off, big time.”

Come mid-2018, just one entity—the Bank of New York Mellon Corp.—will be responsible for ensuring that almost $2 trillion of securities financed by so-called repurchase agreements are cleared and settled each and every day.