Category Archives: other

General Organa, Hero of the Alliance

Leia Organa: A Critical Obituary

While detailed, I’m deeply troubled that there is no mention of the General being an avowed anti-Wookiee bigot. While influential in Alliance to Restore The Republic, her frequent use of anti-Wookiee slurs such as referring to the members of the enslaved species as “walking carpets”, troubled many. As was her pointed refusal to acknowledge the contributions and sacrifices made by Wookiee members of the Alliance. Due to her bigotry and influence on the Alliance Cabinet as the sole daughter of one of the rebellion’s founders, it is believed that liberation of Kashyyyk was delayed by at least three years.

One of the few Wookiees that knew the General well — who agreed to only be interviewed on background in order to speak freely — characterized her relationship with him as “frequently strained” to the point of being “barely tolerated”. When asked if he ever spoke up about her treatment, he said, “She was Bail Organa’s daughter. Everyone in the Alliance knew her. Senator from Alderaan. Early leader in the Alliance. She had her allies. Me? I wasn’t exactly known, and what was known wasn’t exactly a sparkling reputation. But what it really came down to was loyalty. Loyalty to my friend. That and the harsh pragmatism that we were going to need her if we were to have any hope to overthrowing the Emperor, and his regime. So I put up with it. When I couldn’t, I’d make my remark, but she never got it, because he never did bother learn to understand me, but my friend, he knew. She though. She became a real source of friction between me and my friend, so we just kind of stopped talking about it, just to stay friends you know? But after the war, I made it clear I wasn’t going to be in the same room with her.”

Springfield Mayor Pals Around With Terrorists

Springfield, Illinois’s Mayor Mike Houston presents Cobra Commander, the operational head and founder of a ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world, with the key to the city. This is just like giving the key to Osama Bin Laden.

Upon receiving this gift, this tribute, Cobra Commander said, “Springfielders near and far, I accept your mayor’s generous gift. And let it be known that I, too, bring a gift for every man, woman and child of this city that is so near and dear to my heart; an invitation to join with me. Join Cobra!”

Of course we shouldn’t be surprised. Springfield has long been associated with Cobra

Antipope’s 19 Theses

Charlie Stross has written what he termed a new cluetrain manifesto, although it bears no relation to the original except in form. Instead of talking about businesses and marketing, his is about the relationship of labor, capital, and government in the early 21st century.

I don’t think most of his points are all that controversial, with notable exception of 14. I find the idea of mass civil unrest in the Western democracies laughably absurd. For the United States, it’s doubly absurd when it’s supposed to be the outgrowth of a populist economic revolt. As John Steinbeck put it, “[America’s] poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat, but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”

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When Charity Isn’t

Quartz recently reported that “Millions of Facebook users have no idea they’re using the [I]nternet”. Specifically, in southeast Asia and Africa, there are more self-identified “Facebook users” than there are “Internet users.” Most of the Internet basically just said “Ha! Ha! Look at those stupid people!”, but that misses what’s really going — and explained in the Quartz article.

In the developing world, most people don’t have computers, they have phones, and those phones aren’t even smartphones, they’re feature phones. When they browse Facebook, they aren’t using an app, or even m.facebook.com, they’re using what’s called “mbasic“. Additionally, the bandwidths are limited — say 2G — and the data rates are relatively expensive. In a very real sense, trying to surf the modern web is nigh-unusable. So Facebook experience is in certain sense not the Internet. The trouble comes in from the fact, that’s how Facebook wants it.

FB is a walled garden. It always has been. It’s a walled-garden with a billion users on a 7 billion person planet. There’s just not that much growth in the wired world available beyond population growth… unless you increase the number of potential users. And that’s where Internet.org comes in. Internet.org is a corporate partnership between Facebook and various feature phone manufactures that is “dedicated to making affordable internet access available to the two-thirds of the world not yet connected.” It sounds like a charity. It talks about the good works it does. But in reality, it’s just a ploy to increase the number of Facebook users. One of Internet.org’s main tactics is “zero-rating“. Zero-rating is a network-biased approach where telcoms or ISPs don’t charge customers for packets exchanged between them and the zero-rated site, thereby biasing user behavior.

There’s nothing altruistic with Internet.org, it’s all about increasing advertising revenue. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, that’s how the company makes money, and hell it pays my bills. And yeah, Facebook is primarily user generated content, and yes it is possible to do your own things on it, but the thing that bothers me about Internet.org is the whole mission from God rhetoric about it. “Is Internet connectivity a human right?” Well maybe, maybe not, but spouting this while promoting a walled garden is bullshit.