Category Archives: other

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.

Invest in Pitchfork Futures

The Gaurdian:

With growing inequality and the civil unrest from Ferguson and the Occupy protests fresh in people’s mind, the world’s super rich are already preparing for the consequences. At a packed session in Davos, former hedge fund director Robert Johnson revealed that worried hedge fund managers were already planning their escapes. “I know hedge fund managers all over the world who are buying airstrips and farms in places like New Zealand because they think they need a getaway,” he said.

This fear that the unwashed masses will soon rise up and overthrow their betters is a reoccurring theme with the ultra rich. It never happens though. Why? As Marco Rubio famously said, “We have never been a nation of haves and have-nots. We are a nation of haves and soon-to-haves, of people who have made it and people who will make it. And that’s who we need to remain.” As long as that lie keeps getting believed, the 1% will remain safe on their piles of money.

There Can be Only One

According to KBS, when Kim Jong-un was anointed heir apparent, his father, like his father before him, issued the following order:

All party organs and public security authorities should make a list of residents named Kim Jong-un … and train them to voluntarily change their names. Authorities should make sure that there is no one making unnecessary complaints or spreading gossip … regarding this project.

via The Guardian