2 months ago in Quotes
Discussion of Apple topics here on HN almost always gets reduced to the argument that Apple is not a monopoly, so what they are doing is OK. I want to present an alternative viewpoint. It's not a monopoly issue, it is an anti-competitive issue.

In Canada, we have three major cell carriers. None of them has a monopoly, or anything close to it. None of them has even 50% market share.

You can have a 10 GB smartphone plan with Rogers for $75. If you don't like that, you can switch to Bell's 10 GB plan for $75. If you don't like Bell, of course you can switch to Telus's 10 GB plan for, wait for it, $75.

The Big 3 operate smaller brands with fewer bells and whistles and lower costs. You can get a 4 GB cell plan from Koodo (Telus subsidiary) for $50, or from Fido (Rogers subsidiary) for $50, or from Virgin Mobile (Bell subsidiary) for $50.

Sometimes one of them has promotional pricing, like $45 instead of $50 for 4GB. The other two offer the same pricing for the same duration. Sometimes one of them increases their prices by $5 a month citing reasons such as infrastructure investments, lower Canadian dollar value, or inflation. The other two increase their prices by the same amount a couple of days later.

And none of this is collusion in the legal sense. They don't gather in smoke-filled rooms and decide how to screw over their customers. There is not back-channel communication whatsoever. And it is not because the competition is so perfect the prices have been commoditized. In fact, Canada has some of the highest cell plan prices in the world, even adjusting for factors such as population density and GDP.

It's just that the big companies have decided to stop competing. If you live in, say Alberta or Ontario or BC, you have three options and they are all the same overpriced crap. Cell carriers in Canada are not a monopoly, but you don't have to be a monopoly to harm customers with anti-competitive behaviour. Apple and Google, Android and iOS do not have a monopoly or a collusion agreement. But they are harming the customers all the same.
 2 months ago in Quotes
The difference between a theory, a conspiracy theory and the truth are best described by varying levels of evidence. A theory is not currently accepted as the truth, but it might be the truth. A conspiracy theory is something that has been proven to be untrue, but people still believe it and pass it on. The truth is the internally consistent and fact supported state of the world as it was and as it is.

There were many people who were going out on a limb with the assertion that the NSA was probably vacuuming it all up, they had means, motive and opportunity handed to them on a golden platter, on top of that it corresponded with what we would expect to do ourselves when in that position (not that there was any such temptation). The hacker community was well capable of seeing this as a theory, rather than as a conspiracy simply for absence of proof. That didn't stop others from labeling the hacker community as a bunch of conspiracy theorists simply because they could not imagine it to be the truth, but a lack of imagination is not the same as proof and the output of such a process is better described as wishful thinking than rational thought.
 2 months ago in Quotes
It's surprising to me how people consistently try to discourage traits in children which they at the same time glorify in adults.

I suppose considering how much effort society puts into raising meager people, it's only right we glorify those who manage to manage to grow as a person regardless.
 2 months ago in Zitate
Der Grundsatz des »geringeren Übels« ist der Grundsatz der Verzweiflung. Meist zieht es die Sache nur solange hinaus, bis das größere Übel den Sieg davonträgt. Wenn man das zu tun wagt, was recht und menschlich ist, und wenn man an die Macht der Stimme der Humanität und Wahrheit glaubt, dann geht man ein geringeres Risiko ein, als wenn man sich auf den sogenannten Realismus des Opportunismus verläßt.

[..]

Ich glaube, daß es für uns heute nur eine entscheidende Frage gibt: die nach Krieg oder Frieden. Der Mensch kann leicht alles Leben auf unserer Erde vernichten oder alle Zivilisation und alle Werte bei den Übriggebliebenen zerstören und eine barbarische, totalitäre Organisation aufbauen, die den Rest der Menschheit beherrscht. Sich dieser Gefahr bewußt zu werden und die Doppelzüngigkeit zu durchschauen, deren man sich überall bedient, um zu verhindern, daß die Menschen den Abgrund sehen, auf den sie sich zubewegen, ist unsere einzige Verpflichtung, das einzige moralische und intellektuelle Gebot, das wir heute zu respektieren haben. Tun wir es nicht, so sind wir alle zum Untergang verurteilt. Sollten wir alle bei einer atomaren Massenvernichtung umkommen, so wird das nicht daran liegen, daß der Mensch nicht fähig war, menschlich zu werden, oder daß er von Natur aus böse ist; es wird daran liegen, daß der Konsens der Dummheit ihn daran hinderte, die Wirklichkeit zu sehen und sich dementsprechend zu verhalten.
 2 months ago in Quotes
Free speech and anti-corporate attitudes are traditionally liberal values. Nowadays, you see arguments from bigots that oppose corporate power over free speech. We shouldn't be forced to withdraw our positions on free speech or corporate power just because they're associated with bigotry now.
 2 months ago in Words and Phrases

Torches of Freedom

To expand the number of women smokers Hill decided to hire Edward Bernays, who today is known as the father of public relations, to help him recruit women smokers. Bernays decided to attempt to eliminate the social taboo against women smoking in public. He gained advice from psychoanalyst A. A. Brill, who stated that it was normal for women to smoke because of oral fixation and said, “Today the emancipation of women has suppressed many of their feminine desires. More women now do the same work as men do. Many women bear no children; those who do bear have fewer children. Feminine traits are masked. Cigarettes, which are equated with men, become torches of freedom.”

In 1929 Bernays decided to pay women to smoke their “torches of freedom” as they walked in the Easter Sunday Parade in New York. This was a shock because until that time, women were only permitted to smoke in certain places such as in the privacy of their own homes. He was very careful when picking women to march because “while they should be good looking, they should not look too model-y” and he hired his own photographers to make sure that good pictures were taken and then published around the world. Feminist Ruth Hale also called for women to join in the march saying, “Women! Light another torch of freedom! Fight another sex taboo!”
 2 months ago in Stuff

wat

Bill Gates weaving the end of freedom and democracy into a conversation about Covid and social media. That in itself is interesting, as are the gatekeepers rushing out to complain how "uninteresting" it is.
 2 months ago in Favourite Demos

Black Hole

by nesnausk!
(click image to load video)
 2 months ago in Stuff

Rowan Atkinson on free speech

by Rowan Atkinson
(click image to load video)
 2 months ago in Quotes
Given the track record of institutional science and the ever-growing list of regulatory failures, moral failures and outright abuses pushed in the guise of scientific expertise, why do so many people seem to think that simply doubling down and bullying the general population into compliance with expert consensus will ever work? What if institutional science in the US has a legitimacy crisis because it has failed to police its own corruption and failed to address its own limitations and vulnerabilities? What if everyday people can see this more clearly than those striving on the margins of these institutions?

Personally, as a scientist, I am comforted that there are enough others out there who doubt the entire notion of a scientific establishment that the population should "trust" to make decisions without oversight. Our numbers are growing, and I know many people who fight every day to ensure we will never be ruled by unquestionable expert consensus. Anyone who has been inside these institutions knows exactly how petty and arbitrary the hierarchical structures can be. I'd rather be ruled over by elite families than squabbling, territorial, overconfident scientists who can be bought off for nothing and blackmailed easily.

I think the constant stream of these articles just illustrates the massive social blind spot that comes from training STEM professionals solely for careers rather than for citizenship, communication and community membership. STEM training itself has sadly become a hierarchical, cult-like, anti-intellectual system that deprives students of critical thinking skills.
 2 months ago in Stuff

A Truly Fucked Up Industry

by Jim Sterling
 2 months ago in Quotes
I cannot see any implementation of UBI working any better than things now unless the predatory nature of those in power is put in check.
 2 months ago in Quotes
I'm sick of reading internet arguments about polymorphism and browser monoculture and borrow checking and static linking. Someone please tell me where I can go on the internet to read biologists arguing about their favorite animals.
 3 months ago in Quotes
Many students, especially those who are poor, intuitively know what the schools do for them. They school them to confuse process and substance. Once these become blurred, a new logic is assumed: the more treatment there is, the better are the results; or, escalation leads to success. The pupil is thereby "schooled" to confuse teaching with learning, grade advancement with education, a diploma with competence, and fluency with the ability to say something new. His imagination is "schooled" to accept service in place of value. Medical treatment is mistaken for health care, social work for the improvement of community life, police protection for safety, military poise for national security, the rat race for productive work. Health, learning, dignity, independence, and creative endeavor are defined as little more than the performance of the institutions which claim to serve these ends, and their improvement is made to depend on allocating more resources to the management of hospitals, schools, and other agencies in question.
"Deschooling Society"
 3 months ago in Quotes
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.’ We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we subconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
"A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles"
 3 months ago in Favourite Demos

Back by Popular Demand

by bitshifters collective & Torment
(click image to load video)
 3 months ago in Zitate
Polizeigewalt betrifft alle. Auch wenn es Minoritäten zuerst trifft.
 3 months ago in Zeug

Europas dreckige Ernte

(click image to load video)
 3 months ago in Quotes
Today we live in a society in which spurious realities are manufactured by the media, by governments, by big corporations, by religious groups, political groups... So I ask, in my writing, What is real? Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudo-realities manufactured by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated electronic mechanisms. I do not distrust their motives; I distrust their power. They have a lot of it. And it is an astonishing power: that of creating whole universes, universes of the mind. I ought to know. I do the same thing.
Philip K. Dick