Studying software engineering, interested in web and mobile tech
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The Kim Dotcom film: How to avoid a trial for 5 years and counting

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Enlarge / Kim Dotcom in his youth. (credit: Boris )

AUSTIN, Texas—I've been reading about the copyright saga of Kim Dotcom for years now, both on Ars and elsewhere. So I didn't think I'd have much more to learn when I went to watch the new documentary Kim Dotcom: Caught in the Web by Annie Goldson. I was wrong.

More than a story about the Internet, more than a story about US law and copyright, Dotcom's story has become about New Zealand. The country's judges hold Dotcom's destiny in their hands. In an indirect way, New Zealand's citizens have weighed in as well, as Dotcom took the extraordinary measure of using politics and publicity to fight the US government.

His legal drama has dragged out for more than five years now. But the huge delay isn't a coincidence. Through the Dotcom case, New Zealanders are faced with a deep question: what kind of relationship do they want with the United States? Goldson's documentary, funded in part by the New Zealand Film Commission, makes a great contribution by putting the focus on the democratic and political contest rather than legal nitpicking.

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laza
68 days ago
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Belgrade, Serbia
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David Pogue’s AirPods Review: ‘You’re Worrying About the Wrong Thing’

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David Pogue:

They stay in snugly when you’re dancing, bopping, shivering. They stay in under conditions when the wired EarPods would have fallen out. In other words, here’s what most people miss: The weight and tug of the earbud cord add to the falling-out problem, rather than solving it.

So if that’s what you’re worried about, forget it.

What you do have to worry about is dropping the AirPods. They’re tiny and shiny-slick; Apple may as well have covered them with Teflon. In the three months I’ve been testing them, I’ve dropped ‘em a few times onto the floor of the commuter train or the bowels of my airplane seat, simply in the process of transferring them between their two homes: the case and your earholes. (A replacement AirPod costs $70, although of course you could always just forage in couch cushions in public places.)

Totally agree about this. After three months, I’ve never once had one fall out (your ears may vary, of course), but I have dropped them a few times.

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laza
151 days ago
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Point of this text is that Gruber sucks Apple d**k to have everything they make before us mortals!
Belgrade, Serbia
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NBC News: Obama Sat on Russian Election Hack Because He Thought Clinton Would Win Anyway

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NBC News:

The Obama administration didn’t respond more forcefully to Russian hacking before the presidential election because they didn’t want to appear to be interfering in the election and they thought that Hillary Clinton was going to win and a potential cyber war with Russia wasn’t worth it, multiple high-level government officials told NBC News.

“They thought she was going to win, so they were willing to kick the can down the road,” said one U.S official familiar with the level of Russian hacking.

The administration did take action in response to the hack prior to the election. In September, President Obama privately confronted Vladimir Putin about the hacks at the G-20 summit in China. He warned the Russian President of unspecified consequences if the hacks continued.

This is what I suspected, but it hurts to hear it. This is a profound stain on Obama’s legacy.

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laza
156 days ago
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Who is Comey?
Belgrade, Serbia
duerig
156 days ago
Comey is the head of the FBI who officially told the world that there were 'new Clinton emails' a week before the election. They were all duplicates of previous emails, but it was enough to cause a lot of bad press for her in the final days of the election and quite possibly ushered in Trump as president. Pulling out all the stops and using your official power to get 'your guy' elected as president is terrible misconduct. I'm glad that Obama did not do this.
popular
154 days ago
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2 public comments
mxm23
155 days ago
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"A profound stain on Obama's legacy, IF TRUE." There I fixed that for you Mr. Gruber.
San Rafael, CA
duerig
157 days ago
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No. This was the mark of a great man. We only have a democracy so long as the people playing the game care about the game more than they care about winning. That means not pulling out all the stops. That means not immediately playing up every bit of secret intelligence that may or may not pan out.

The difference between Comey and Obama is that Obama is a leader.
jhamill
156 days ago
Exactly.

Season three of Black Mirror

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The trailer for the third season of Charlie Brooker’s excellent Black Mirror just dropped. If you haven’t seen the first two seasons, I’d recommend catching yourself up. And did I spy Mackenzie Davis and Kelly Macdonald in the trailer? I did, I did. The new season starts October 21 on Netflix.

Tags: Black Mirror   Charlie Brooker   Netflix   trailers   TV   video
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laza
227 days ago
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Belgrade, Serbia
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maise
227 days ago
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First two seasons are amazing....
Jersey City

Earth Temperature Timeline

15 Comments and 64 Shares
[After setting your car on fire] Listen, your car's temperature has changed before.
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laza
249 days ago
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Belgrade, Serbia
popular
250 days ago
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15 public comments
tedder
245 days ago
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Keep arguing about parking spaces, XKCD edition.
Uranus
sjk
250 days ago
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Proof that painting, pottery, rope, and bows and arrows cause Global Warming. All we need to do, is revert our technology to those halcyon days and all will be right with the world.
Florida
srsly
251 days ago
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All these likes and shares, even Samuel can't pull this attention!
Atlanta, Georgia
tante
251 days ago
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XKCD's brilliant visualization of global warming.
Oldenburg/Germany
DerBonk
252 days ago
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Munroe is on the top of his game with this web comics essay. Very disturbing. Summer is coming.
Germany
gangsterofboats
252 days ago
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Fossil fuels will solve the problem.
MaryEllenCG
252 days ago
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Yeah, we're fucked, because too many people believe climate change is a hoax.
Greater Bostonia
kazriko
252 days ago
I'd say it's because of doctrinare belief that the only way to stop climate change is to stop emitting carbon. I believe you'd make far more headway if you said that instead of a carbon tax, you had to transfer money to those who design and maintain carbon sinks. That would give people more incentive to create the technology to remove CO2 from the air, and to not cut down forests, etc.
stefanetal
250 days ago
@kazriko Your proposal is about as sensible as letting everybody take your stuff and then hiring people to look for it after a week. It will create costs and employment for looking. But you won't end up with much stuff. Not using the 100x more expensive technology isn't doctrinaire.
kazriko
249 days ago
You're not going to make any headway with the idea that everyone must immediately stop all of the things that make them healthy, prosperous, and happy though. The technology is only expensive because nobody has put money into the research and development of it. Even the drastic step of stopping emissions does nothing whatsoever for the problem because you have to do something about what is already in the air. If you want to actually solve the problem, then funding this research is the only way to actually do it.
stefanetal
249 days ago
Ahm, it's a carbon tax, like a sales tax, it won't 'stop all of the things that make [people] healthy, prosperous, and happy' any more than current sales taxes do. You might as well suggest people not be allow to take all the stuff they see that makes them happy. It's only expensive since property is theft. And if people could take what makes them happy, companies would do research on how to make more cheaply. Maybe the gov should fund research on that instead of wasting it on police. On a less sarcastic note, your view just does't work if you try to write out any basic cost functions based on any input-output technologies. There may be an escape if we get really cheap non-carbon energy, but that's about it. Paying people to put carbon back in the ground if you don't tax others as least as much to take it back out is about as reasonable as say Venezuela buying gasoline on the open market to sell it to 'users' at 10 cents/gallon (who then sell it right back). It may be how the politics play out (see your first sentence), but it doesn't end well (or it needs to be sustained by rationing -- which is where any implementation of your proposal is going).
stefanetal
249 days ago
Also, on 2nd thought, If you want to discuss cost functions and physical constraints on them, I'd be happy to do so non-sarcastically. Writing a good and realistically model of this might help clarify why we disagree and who is right/wrong, under which kinds kinds of assumptions. For instance, sometimes other costs (transportation costs?) do function as the near equivalent of Pigouvian taxes, so things can work out at times for other reasons. I don't see that here.
stefanetal
249 days ago
Real issue is that the climate change 'cost' part is still pretty much all in the future, due to the very very high heat capacity of the ocean and the ocean's slow turnover. Lots of future warming is already fully baked in and many people aren't willing the see it as real yet. And I do expect that using taxes to control carbon emissions is going to look very gentle compared to methods that at least some groups are going to try 50 years from now (say, biological methods to control energy demand by reducing the customer base). So concern about taxes making people unhappy is going to look very pre-crisis quaint.
kazriko
249 days ago
That's quite the wall of text there. I'm not talking about the carbon tax. I'm talking about all of the environmentalists who say that the only solution is the complete ceasing of all emissions, and won't take "nuclear" for an answer. You know, the ones you're referring to as "some groups are going to try." You would be taxing others through this scheme, but you would be then shifting that money to putting carbon back in the ground, instead of shifting it to governments to do... whatever... with. I just don't trust anyone who says that taxes only are a viable answer because it will neither decrease emissions enough, nor will it actually decrease concentrations whatsoever. It alone is not a solution. It is only an intermediate step towards banning all emissions.
stefanetal
249 days ago
You write: "I'm not talking about the carbon tax." I was responding to your 2nd initial sentense: " I believe you'd make far more headway if you said that instead of a carbon tax". And your arguement that carbon can't be in the tax base since taxes are bad is...well, we already have a tax base, just a economically and ecology less good one. Can't follow your other claims, but they strike me as incoherent as articulated (i.e. using word with different coverage in different parts of the argument as if they referred to the same thing, that is 'carbon tax' = 'crazy enviromenatlist", so lets discuss "crazy enviromentalists". You've not shown that carbon taxes are crazy or associated only with crazy enviromentalists. ).
kazriko
249 days ago
The main thing I don't want is for how all of the current taxation schemes seem to be doing it. Emitters are grandfathered in to a certain amount, and if they cut emissions they can sell those credits to others. This basically entrenches all of the existing interests and makes it impossible for new companies to make any headway. Any solution shouldn't give exemptions to the entrenched, only allow those who find ways of mitigating the issue to sell exemptions to others.
kazriko
249 days ago
*sigh* Yes, that sentence doesn't parse the way I was intending. I was meaning instead of ONLY a carbon tax. I didn't also mean "crazy environmentalist" = "carbon tax" but "crazy environmentalist" = "100% end of all carbon emissions" As I said just before, the problem with the tax schemes are that they just go to do whatever, and don't solve the problem, just slightly discourage things rather than solving them. Only a carbon tax will lead to the 100% end of emissions because it won't work, and if it doesn't work, by your own admission people will be doing less gentle methods.
kazriko
249 days ago
You can see what I intended to say by the "transfer money to" thing in the same sentence. That meant transfer money from those who emit carbon to those who remove it.
stefanetal
249 days ago
Ah, mostly a misunderstanging then...:-). We still disagree, but I can dial back to a much more manageable debate...need to run now. I do take the technocratic basline view that Pigouvian taxes are a good starting point, but there are political issues that are serious and hard to model. More later...
Ferret
252 days ago
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:-|
wreichard
252 days ago
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The power of visualization.
Earth
darastar
252 days ago
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This is legit. And also scary?
alt_text_bot
252 days ago
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[After setting your car on fire] Listen, your car's temperature has changed before.
drchuck
252 days ago
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Stonehenge!
Long Island, NY
emdeesee
252 days ago
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Fun fact: If laser-etched onto a 2x4 we use to hit people who say "...but the climate has changed before" over the head, it would be almost seven feet long.
Lincoln, NE
joeythesaint
252 days ago
And since the most common sizes you find 2x4s in is 6' and 8' long and you wouldn't want to truncate the graph, that means you've got more than an extra foot to extrapolate the data further. Or wrap it with a shirt and tape so you don't get calluses.
jscartergilson
252 days ago
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bookmarked
smadin
252 days ago
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Today in We're Fucked
Boston

Facebook fires human editors, algorithm immediately posts fake news

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Enlarge / This morning, Trending promoted this as its top story related to the trending topic "Megyn Kelly." The story was up for several hours, and is completely false. (credit: Washington Post)

Earlier this year, Facebook denied criticisms that its Trending feature was surfacing news stories that were biased against conservatives. But in an abrupt reversal, the company fired all the human editors for Trending on Friday afternoon, replacing them with an algorithm that promotes stories based entirely on what Facebook users are talking about. Within 72 hours, according to the Washington Post, the top story on Trending was about how Fox News icon Megyn Kelly was a pro-Clinton "traitor" who had been fired... but she wasn't.

The original accusations of bias came from a disgruntled ex-editor at Facebook, who leaked internal Trending training materials to Gizmodo. The training package offered tips on, among other things, how to curate news from an RSS feed of reputable sources when the stories provided by Facebook users were false or repetitive. Though the human editors were always expendable—they were mostly there to train the Trending algorithm—they were still engaging in quality control to weed out blatant falsehoods and non-news like #lunch. And after Trending latched on to the fake Kelly scoop, it appears that human intervention might still be required to make Facebook's algorithms a legitimate source of news after all.

In a post about the changes, Facebook said the early move to eliminate human editors was a direct response to "the feedback we got from the Facebook community earlier this year," an oblique reference to the raging controversy unleashed by the Gizmodo revelations. Facebook explained that the new, non-human Trending module is personalized "based on a number of factors, including Pages you’ve liked, your location (e.g., home state sports news), the previous trending topics with which you’ve interacted, and what is trending across Facebook overall." Instead of paying humans to "write topic descriptions and short story summaries," the company said "we’re relying on an algorithm to pull excerpts directly from news stories." Which is why millions of Facebook readers this morning saw the "news" that Megyn Kelly is a traitor who has been fired.

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laza
266 days ago
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don't say i told you so 😂
Belgrade, Serbia
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