Dismissing Google Fiber (GOOG) as a failure is the same mistake we made bringing electricity to rural America — Quartz

It’s too expensive. No one wants to buy it. Laying cables is unprofitable. The government is overreaching. Objections to high-speed fiber broadband today sound like those facing rural electrification during the 1900s. History suggests they’ll prove wrong today as well.

Source: Dismissing Google Fiber (GOOG) as a failure is the same mistake we made bringing electricity to rural America — Quartz


Are there still enough people in rural areas?

The Rural Electrification Administration (REA) was created by executive order as an independent federal bureau in 1935, authorized by the United States Congress in the 1936 Rural Electrification Act, and later in 1939, reorganized as a division of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.

Rural electrification – Wikipedia


  • 1930 US rural population = 54M, 43.9% of total
  • 1990 US rural population = 61M, 24.8% of total
  • 2010 US rural population = 59M, 19.3% of total

Population: 1790 to 1990 – US Census Bureau
US Census Bureau – Frequently Asked Questions
So although the percentage of the population in rural areas has dropped about in half, the total number is actually about 10% more.


Is rural netification much more expensive than electrification was?

Before the establishment of the Rural Electrification Administration the reported cost of rural lines, depending on consumer density and on terrain, ranged from $1,500 to $1,800 a mile. The average total cost of R.E.A.-financed lines is now less than $800 a mile. The average estimated construction cost of these Unes has been declining each year, from $904 in 1936 to $858 in 1937, $768 in 1938, and $583 in 1939.

– “Rural Electrification” by Robert T. Beall, Economist, Rural Electrification Administration – US Department of Agriculture
$1,800 in 1934 = $32,430 in 2016
$583 in 1939 = $10,126 in 2016
CPI Inflation Calculator – US Bureau of Labor Statistics


According to data compiled by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the per-mile costs on all new projects in the United States from over the past 15 years have ranged from $6,800 to as much as $79,000.

– “What is the real cost of fiber networking?” The Firetide Blog


Broadly speaking, the total cost per home ranged from more than $20,000 per location to about $5,000 per location, for densities of up to about 2.5 homes per linear plant mile.

Broadly speaking, when a telco can pass five to 65 locations for every mile of outside plant, the cost per home ranges between $4,000 and $5,000 per location.

– “How Much Does Rural Fiber Really Cost?” Performant Networks Blog
So, actually, 1930s rural electrification and 2016 fiber look to be approximately as expensive after accounting for inflation.

I would hope and expect that a wireless solution (e.g. microwave / WISP internet) should be even cheaper for rural netification (much less digging, much less physical material to produce, move, and place… how could it possibly be significantly worse?). I couldn’t find good numbers though.


Do rural areas even want greater connectivity and the jobs it would enable?

while they’re suspicious of big government, more than three-quarters of the respondents supported a government role in job training, renewable energy, and loans and grants to jumpstart economic development

Only 18 percent of the respondents said they rely on agriculture, farming or ranching for the bulk of their household income.

Nearly 90 percent of the respondents backed job training for the working poor, and loans, tax credits and training to help small businesses and farms prosper.

Seventy-eight percent said they strongly support developing wind, solar and other renewable electric generation in rural areas through tax credits, and investing in new transmission lines.

– “What does rural America want?” Illinois Country Living
. source: The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA)
. survey: conducted for the Nebraska-based Center for Rural Affairs by the bipartisan team of Lake Research Partners and The Tarrance Group

Brexit and Trump – How the hell did we get to this point?

We got here by failing to ensure that enough demographics of people enjoyed the benefits of globalization and the continued progress of technology. Which is a little depressing since about 75% of the global population has done quite well – but that last 25% are relatively concentrated geographically and they are becoming concentrated politically.


Source: Milanovic, B., Lead Economist, World Bank Research Department, Global income inequality by the numbers. Annotations by James Plunkett.

The Story of Globalization in 1 Graph | The Atlantic


The ideological divide in the years to come will be the one May staked out this week: for openness to the world, or against it.

We aren’t “left” or “right” any more; we are either for globalization or against it | Quartz

Hillary Clinton as Presidential Nominee

The Left’s enthusiastic embrace of these tropes and rhetoric props up the narrative that, for a woman to have reached the upper echelons of power in her field, she could only have done so through depravity and deception.

Source: Your Gleeful Liberal Takedown of Hillary Clinton Is Affirming Institutional Sexism


This aura of avoidance adds to a perception that she’s dishonest and secretive. Whether or not she’s hiding something, avoiding the press provides another reason to think that she is hiding something.

Source: The Deeper Reason Many Intelligent Progressives and Independents Will Not Support Hillary Clinton


Hillary Clinton is a generationally talented politician — albeit across a different set of dimensions than men tend to be talented politicians.

Source: It’s time to admit Hillary Clinton is an extraordinarily talented politician

Continue reading Hillary Clinton as Presidential Nominee

The case for disarming America’s police force — Quartz

America is moving more and more rapidly toward a garrison state, and soon we will not find solace by repeating to ourselves: ‘Ours is a democratic society’

Paul Takagi, American criminologist, 1974


Guns aren’t just a danger in and of themselves. They enable a policing philosophy built on violence and forced compliance, rather than one founded on respect, trust and consent. That philosophy affects every police interaction, even those that don’t involve actual shooting.

Source: The case for disarming America’s police force — Quartz


I’ve thought that for years. Equipping the majority of police with lethal armaments and military-style dress and equipment (body armor, armor helmets, armored vehicles, black motif, etc.) is not helping them ” to serve and protect” society, which I’d argue is the more fundamental purpose of police than “law enforcement”.
We have thousands of laws which should not be enforced by a death sentence, and “resisting arrest” or “being scary” should not themselves be sufficient cause for a death sentence.
SWAT, drilled daily in both accurate use of firearms and restraint against resorting to using them too quickly in tense/stressful situations, can keep its guns. They are the ones sent after organized crime and active shooters anyway, not normal officers. Normal police dealing with vehicle traffic, tickets, fines, parole violations by non-violent offenders, etc. do not need to be armed.
I could see a special exception for Alaska and Yellowstone National Park officers to be suitably armed against grizzly bears.

FBI Harassment | Patterns in the Void

Source: FBI Harassment | Patterns in the Void

Everyone knows you don’t talk to the police.

Is my family safe in the US? Should I worry about the FBI raiding my parents’ house and shooting our family dog? Should I worry about FBI agents stalking and harrassing my mother?


Is there currently a branch of government at any level in the US which a large majority (75%, 3/4ths) of Americans nation-wide would recognize as the government and instinctively/intuitively expect to serve and protect them without caveat or wary reservation? EMS (emergency medical services)? Firefighters?

How about any law enforcement? FBI, CIA, NSA, state police, local cops – are there any that you think most people would be content to see show up at their home (in person or communication by mail or telephone) and communicate with them freely, without extenuating circumstances (e.g. actively reporting a crime, recent natural disaster, legal counsel present), under the assumption that they aren’t personally at risk?

In U.S., Confidence in Police Lowest in 22 Years | Gallup News

*** It is a problem if the populace is afraid of bad-apple law enforcement to the point that it complicates the job of the good people trying to actually protect average people from actual criminals. There needs to be more active self inspection, more active removal of bad apples (sorry, but even the optics matter; they only have to *look* like bad apples to a moderately/passingly informed outsider to be a problem!), and much less crying wolf (if everything is a SERIOUS THREAT to NATIONAL SECURITY, then nothing is).