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@DanMitchell Just because only a small percentage of comments are meaningful doesn't make accountability and feedback "made up". It just means the system is not 100% efficient. Maybe it's 10% efficient (i.e., where 1 in 10 comments are relevant and contribute to the debate), but so what? It doesn't take very long to reject a useless comment. It's just like mining, when most minerals are extracted from the ground, I would bet there's far less than 10% of the target substance.
The very fact that you responded to my comment demonstrates the value of comments. Also, if there were no comments on this page, maybe a lot of the readers would leave believing that most people are in agreement with the post, and I don't think they are. While that might be more convenient for the publisher and writer, and maybe more profitable (I don't buy that, lots of people avoid sites where there are no comments), the product (i.e., the content) is what the readers care about. Almost all of Goldberg's argument is about how comments are bad for business, which exposes his underlying belief in not caring about the product he is pushing, but only about the profits it generates.
1 week ago on Comment sections are on their way out
A big difference between print and web opinions is that the former were one way platforms that allowed little or no feedback. Many readers just went along with the opinions, which is why "journalists" could influence elections with nonsense that wasn't challenged. The web, with comments, provided some accountability for opinions, as there was a direct feedback path for all to see. If we rely on twitter and facebook for feedback, we will only see the feedback from our circles, which is limited in scope and breadth. It is a big evolutionary step backward, but good for guys who want to speak their piece and not be challenged.
Better for users? Better for business? Hardly. There is no case for either statement. It's just better for the writers, who can't easily be called out.
Maybe Google realized these two guys have no better idea about how to spot the next big thing than anybody else.It's not like they did anything before that job that demonstrated that skill set.
1 week ago on What the hell is happening at Google Ventures?
@Alexander Fulks I don't live in San Francisco, it's presumptuous of you to assume that I do, or that I'm a liberal, and I said nothing about voter dynamics or anything to do with elections. I was only referring to the original commenter's estimate that Pando has lost half of their readers because of posts like this one.
And your grammar is at about the sixth grade level. "..demonstrate both close minded intolerance with a remarkable ignorance of voter dynamics"? Do you mean both "intolerance" and "ignorance"? If so, shouldn't that "with" be an "and"?
Now you'll be assuming I'm an English teacher.
1 month ago on State of Pando: Exploding traffic, surging revenues… but some mistakes too
@Alexander Fulks What makes you think it's half? I'm guessing it's about 10-15%, and it's worth losing them.
Wow, Pando must be getting wider readership, as this post has attracted a lot of trolls. well beyond Pando's most regular troll.
1 month, 1 week ago on The techno-libertarians of Silicon Valley should think twice about aligning with climate deniers
Aereo didn't "embrace its position as a cable company". They were told by the SCOTUS that they were a cable company. Maybe a minor point, but you're painting them as opportunists, and it's not fair. They're just trying to work within the confines established by the U.S. government, which are driven more by lobbyists than by logic.
So, if instead of their current hardware system, they just had warehouses full of Slingboxes that they rented out, along with shelf space, electricity, and bandwidth, and then offered a cloud-based UI for managing all of that, would they be allowed to operate?
1 month, 1 week ago on Mixed signals: After Supreme Court calls Aereo a cable company, US Copyright Office says it’s not
But what happens when self-driving cars are available? Having a network of drivers becomes irrelevant, and what's more important is access to low cost debt to build fleets, access to airports, ecosystems that involve other travel industries (like hotels and airlines), and consumer-friendly practices where companies don't gouge you just because they can (okay, that doesn't exist in many places in the U.S.). At that point, Uber's head start and popularity with a relative sliver of the total population won't be able to overcome bigger brand names with more money, more brand recognition, and a bigger ecosystem.
Uber has a valuation that is higher than many companies with far more revenue, because people like Gurley believe they can grow wildly. That may be true, but that growth will have a cost, which will most likely be funded by debt, and when they take on that much debt, their valuations will be limited just like car rental companies and airlines. But Hurley won't care at that point, because he will have already sold his stake in Uber for a huge gain.
1 month, 2 weeks ago on Bill Gurley schools NYU professor: Uber will be 25x bigger than you think
If I owned an ad-funded website, I wouldn't accept ads from oil or coal companies or right-wing politicians (just to start the list). I don't have a problem with Google not accepting some ads. It's not censorship, it's just them deciding who they want to do business with. I would think you want companies to have principles, and not just take money from whoever is willing to buy stuff from them (see weapons dealers and terrorists). Economic boycotts are the best tool that people have to deal with big companies that use their profits for things consumers are opposed to.
By implying google should accept ads from anyone, you're suggesting companies have an obligation to sell to anyone who wants to buy, which is an extension to the fallacy that companies must maximize short term profits. That's not behavior we should encourage.
1 month, 2 weeks ago on Even if you hate porn, Google’s ban on adult ads is nothing to celebrate
Aereo doesn't agree with the ruling that it is a cable company, but if the court is going to insist they are, they have only two choices: act like one or shut down. The networks sued Aereo because they said they were just like a cable company, and now that they got what they wanted (the government agreeing with them that Aereo is a cable company), they are upset that Aereo wants to be treated as a cable company.
Aereo did not act like a cable company - cable companies do not have an antenna for every subscriber and do not re-transmit signals over the internet. But if the industry and the government wants them to behave like a cable company, they shouldn't whine when Aereo complies.
1 month, 2 weeks ago on Aereo finally agrees it’s a cable company in a last-ditch effort to survive
@Bitcoin_Assets And I wasn't criticizing bitcoin, just the attitude of Draper, the libertarian, hero-producing legend in his own mind, heir who was born on third base.
1 month, 3 weeks ago on Digital currency utopia: Tim Draper wants to use his 30,000 new bitcoins to boost emerging markets
@Bitcoin_Assets If you're going to make a statement like that, you really should back it up by pointing out what I said wrong.
Mining difficulty? Anyone with a PC can mine bitcoin. The amount that can be created per CPU cycle is arbitrarily set by an algorithm (sounds like fiat), and not the state, but it still has no intrinsic value, just like dollars. The value it fetches on the open market is irrelevant, as all currencies (evne a fiat currency) are subject to the market's whims.
How does anyone attend an event at the "University of Heroes" without vomiting?
And doesn't Draper realize that bitcoin is essentially a fiat currency? Instead of being isused by a government, they are created by a computer algorithm, basically just transforming energy into currency (I think the Fed does this, too, for dollars that aren't printed but just loaned to banks). At some point, it could cost more to produce them than they are worth, which makes them a worse investment than the currency he scorns.
@BackyZoo Read Jaron Lanier's comment on it: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/01/opinion/jaron-lanier-on-lack-of-transparency-in-facebook-study.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=c-column-top-span-region®ion=c-column-top-span-region&WT.nav=c-column-top-span-region&_r=0
1 month, 3 weeks ago on Facebook’s science experiment on users shows the company is even more powerful and unethical than we thought
@Keith Binkly They haven't been doing that by modifying personal communications. If they were placing ads on a facebook page, it would be different, but they are altering the stream of posts to measure the impact on people, without their knowledge. Not the same as running an ad.
1 month, 4 weeks ago on Facebook’s science experiment on users shows the company is even more powerful and unethical than we thought
I read about this and the words that came to mind to describe Zuckerberg (he had to sign off on this) were cynical and arrogant.
It's bad enough when they sell your personal info to advertisers and data miners, but this is messing with people's heads, without telling them (read the terms and conditions? that's their defense? It's a boilerplate excuse to do anything they want).
I don't know why anyone continues to use that time wasting narcissistic fountain of minutiae. I place some of the blame on giant companies that have made most jobs so mind-numbingly boring so that people need a distraction from it (which often results in mistakes on simple tasks), but still.
You know, we fought on the same side as Stalin against Hitler. It's not like we were endorsing any of his beliefs, and when Germany was defeated, the Soviet Union became our #1 enemy. I have no doubt that outside this battle, Greenepeace and the EFF are completely opposed to this fringe group that most people have never heard of.
And what these two organizations are doing is nowhere near as bad as Zuckerberg's fwd.us, which provides financial support for anti-knowledge, anti-science, anti-rights politicians, or Google's support for ALEC, which lobbies for the same positions Those companies are not "finding common ground", they are actively helping to elect politicians whose stated goals totally contradict all but one of the two companys'.
2 months ago on Why are Greenpeace and the EFF working with extremists who want to nullify welfare programs and the EPA?
I didn't know Google ever denied this.
Most of their workforce is technical, so if 17% of their technical workforce is female, and 30% of the overall workforce is female, it means that probably more than half of their non-technical workforce is female. Nobody is complaining or even talking about that.
I advertise for engineers often. I would say that less than 10% of the responses are from women. That Google is able to have 17% of their workforce be female means either women are more interested in working for Google than the tiny start-ups I have been involved with, or they go out of their way to hire a larger percentage of their female applicants. Either way, the 17% number is not their fault.
That 61% of their workforce is white doesn't sound like they are favoring whites, for according the the US Census Bureau, almost 78% of the U.S. population was white in 2012.
If anything, I would say (and that the statistics back it up) that Google hires a disproportionately larger percentage of women and non-whites. I think that's great, but they shouldn't be criticized for not having too many white male employees. If you want more diversity in the technical workforce, it starts in education - there really needs to be more women and minorities attending engineering schools.
If you want to criticize Google, there are lots of better targets than their workforce diversity, like their support for ALEC and fwd.us, or their intrusive marketing of your search and browsing history.
2 months, 4 weeks ago on Google finally admits its workforce is overwhelmingly white and male
@TedRall "The example you cite, if I'm not mistaken, came out due to WikiLeaks. Obviously you're right, remarks like that don't help diplomacy. But it's not journalists' duty to ensure the smooth transaction of diplomacy, or secrecy."
Yes, that was the source. Most of the newsworthy information that came out of it was embarrassing, and not incriminating. Just throwing all of that out there, without distinguishing between the two (shoot them all and let god sort them out) is irresponsible. You don't stop a handful of violent protesters in an otherwise orderly larger group by tossing a grenade in the middle.
3 months ago on By agreeing to redact name of CIA chief, 6000 journalists reveal themselves as pathetic, cowardly hacks
@TedRall You're basically saying those kinds of conversations should only be verbal, and in person. Because anything electronic is fair game for anyone who is able to obtain them, by whatever method necessary?
@TedRall Why are you excluding Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan from wars? They certainly cost a lot of lives of American soldiers, not to mention trillions of dollars of debt, and qualifies as a war for all of those who paid for it..
The example I was referring to was a private email between two state department officials (I can't remember if one was Clinton), where a foreign official was discussed. When you're a diplomat, you have to deal with idiots and unreasonable people sometimes, but you can't call them that, either to their face or publicly. But in a private discussion, with people you work with, frank assessments are necessary. It's their job, as diplomats, to judge the abilities, intelligence, trustworthiness, etc. of the people they need to negotiate with. Publicly acknowledging that some counterpart is a liar or moron is not a good, and rarely successful, negotiating tactic. It doesn't need to be made public.
Governments are enterprises that are owned by (and, theoretically, accountable to) the public. Owning a stake doesn't give everyone the right to know of every internal discussion. I don't think any organization, public or private, could survive that kind of exposure. We're talking about humans, with all of their flaws, not machines. I wasn't referring to home addresses (I think they are mostly available, anyway), but rather private conversations. Not being able to say anything in confidence will severely limit what people are willing to say, to anyone.
@TedRall Yes, it was Scooter, after I wrote it, I remembered it was an aide of Cheney's that got in trouble for it.
So do you believe there should be no secrets in government? That all conversations of politicians and government employees should be public? And that if a State dept. official privately expresses an opinion that a foreign government official is an idiot, it should be made public, if a reporter finds out?
Reporters that curry favor with the government are not to be trusted, but why should that mean their job is to uncover private discussions and disclose them? Is there a difference between secrecy and privacy, and does the government deserve any privacy?
While I agree with much of your analysis of this issue, does it mean you were okay with Karl Rove outing Valerie Plame?
@margsview My comment was not directed at you, it was for the writer of this post, Ted Rall. I'm not taking sides here, I just think it's amusing/great that Rall and Carr (his editor, I think) have polar opposite views on Greenwald.
On a somewhat related note, this post has the distinction of being the first time Dunning has not only not attacked my comment, but actually liked it. Of course, he may unlike it now that I pointed it out.
3 months ago on Michael Kinsley’s review of Glenn Greenwald’s book is the worst thing The NYT Book Review has ever run
Are you going to write a takedown on one of Paul Carr's anti-Greenwald rants? 'cause I think that would be fun to watch.
@paulcarr Okay, if you want to believe that this unit is roaming the halls of a valley tech giant, and that every employee there that has seen one is so cowed by the company email that threatens them with dismissal if they say anything about how they are being spied on by a robot that they won't mention it to anyone, that's your right. Because no non-employee of a company has ever seen a company email that say "Don't share this with anyone outside the company", especially about an intrusive program that many employees would be against.
And if you think visitors never, ever, drive into employee lots, you can believe that, too (as a visitor to many valley companies, I have often freely driven around their parking lots in search of a parking space for visitors). Gates are an exception, rather than a rule, unless you are talking about a military contractor, which was not implied in the article (although I do admit that employees of a military contractor would be very likely to remain silent about a product like this spying on them).
I guess I am being an idiot for interpreting " it's highly likely that, right now, a robot cop is being tested on a top-tier Silicon Valley corporate campus" to mean that Robinson didn't actually see the device in action, and that he was only taking the word of the company executive, and that no corroboration was necessary, because the executive was once a cop in Texas.
And pardon me for interpreting "Stephens insists that the secrecy is less about keeping the public in the dark and more because law enforcement and security agencies are notoriously shy about publicly endorsing any product" as BS, for this robot is supposed to be roaming the halls or parking lot of a major tech company, which has nothing to do with law enforcement or security agencies.
So excuse me for being an uncomprehending idiot, but I am still totally skeptical.
3 months ago on EXCLUSIVE: Robot cops secretly roaming Valley campuses, gagged by “the most strict NDA” the maker has ever seen
@paulcarr "Standing five-feet tall, the K5 looks like a cross between R2D2 and a washing machine, with the capability to roam outdoors autonomously, scanning its environment every 25 milliseconds through 360-degree video, able to recognize gestures, faces and run 300 license plates a minute."
that's the sentence I was responding to. If it's capturing license plates in the valley, it's outdoors. It implied it was roaming the outdoors autonomously. If it wasn't doing either of these things, then it's a PR piece for what it could do, not reporting on what it was doing.
I'd also would have liked to know what's in it for the companies that were allegedly using this robot to wander their halls.
Did Robinson actually observe the robot in action in any company? He didn't say so, he just repeated why the company founder claimed. Do those claims not need to be verified?
So this five foot tall autonomous devices roams outdoors, including parking lots, where visitors (including journalists) are free to roam without restrictions of an NDA, and nobody has taken a photo of one of these devices? I find this hard to believe. This sounds like PR for Knightscope.
I call BS.
3 months, 1 week ago on EXCLUSIVE: Robot cops secretly roaming Valley campuses, gagged by “the most strict NDA” the maker has ever seen
"But it sure is easy to find out about."
Not for long, once Google is forced to censor search results upon request. :-)
3 months, 1 week ago on Media shitstorms are now even shittier. Thanks, Internet
So it's okay to decide how Google should spend their money? What about Microsoft and Bing? or any other search engine? They have to hire 10,000 people a year in order to operate a search engine (you know that's over a billion dollars/year, right?)?
And why aren't the servers that offer the erroneous information forced to correct it? That would be even cheaper to implement, and then all that Google would be forced to do is refresh their cache. Or are you trying to create a jobs program? If that's the goal, there are far better and more deserving tasks than implementing a government-managed censorship system (what's next for Google, oh right, get rid of comments that criticize politicians. Or big companies).
Big companies often sue individuals for comments or criticism (even Oprah was sued because she said didn't eat meat). This system would just be the framework for eliminating criticism of big corporations. It's not just a slippery slope, it's made of teflon.
3 months, 1 week ago on Censor Google
AA, like most other big companies, has no idea how to earn loyalty from customers. Offering as little as possible while charging as much as you can get away with (which is the typical MO for most American airlines) does not inspire loyalty. In fact, it does the opposite.
So when you charge an astronomical price for a flight because you don't have any real competition on that route, don't expect customers will forget that when they have to book a flight where there are multiple options. When you charge $150 for changing your reservation to take a flight a few hours later than originally scheduled, don't expect loyalty. When your flight attendants abuse their 9/11-granted gestapo powers and kick you off the plane for taking photos, don't expect loyalty.
3 months, 2 weeks ago on Flight or faceplant? Why American Airlines is trying to win over early stage founders
@DocGordon Sorry, that was total sarcasm.
3 months, 2 weeks ago on EXCLUSIVE: Baker denies employment at General Catalyst. Pando finds 33 docs that say otherwise
You don't understand, taxes are too high, and there are too many regulations.
That's one way of looking at it. You could also say that Google wants to expand the Nexus line, and let mfrs build the products themselves, and is just establishing standards for it. It's not about controlling android, it's about getting more Nexus-level (i.e., stock android) products out there.
And in no way is the N5, nor was the N4, a "mid-range" product. It's as good as any flagship android phone introduced at the same time as it (phones seem to have almost 2 generations each year; it's not fair to compare the N%, which came out last fall, with a device that was just released).
4 months ago on With Android Silver, Google plans to steal its platform back from manufacturers
@worstall True, I lumped them in with Google and Facebook, because they do use a subsidiary in Ireland to shift profits and tax liability to, but not for U.S. sales. They do that for profits earned in other countries (like Australia), so I guess we can't be mad at them for that.. But Google is unapologetic about its tax avoidance scheme.
4 months ago on With all that cash, why is Apple borrowing to raise its dividend and buybacks?
I'm actually with you that profits earned outside the US should be allowed to be repatriated without being taxed (especially if they are going to be distributed as dividends, putting those profits back in circulation), but Apple and many other companies use creative bookkeeping to shift profits from US business to overseas subsidiaries. They are effectively avoiding taxes on their U.S. profits.
You shouldn't quote Farhad Manjoo unless you want to appear technologically illiterate. Smartphones last longer than two years, and he knows that. They don't even become obsolete, it's just that better devices are available (that is the essence of technology, something better is always down the road). While I usually have the latest smartphone (or two or three), one of my brothers still uses his many years-old pay as you go flip phone. I see plenty of people with old android phones and iphone 3's.
As far as making them last 10 years, it's hard to design products that will be compatible with network technology that doesn't even exist today, which is what Manjoo is asking for. I would bet that a quad core LTE phone purchased today will still be useful in 10 years (if it isn't broken), but also more likely there will be new features that a lot of people will want to use.
4 months, 1 week ago on Green Apple: Tim Cook continues his environmental PR push
@kpkpkp What about the cars and trucks that drive over the bus stop without stopping? I would think they cause as much wear and tear as the buses, as there are more of them.
Also, the wear and tear doesn't add up to anywhere even near $1/stop. Or are you kidding?
4 months, 1 week ago on “Google Buses Pay $1 per stop, but it costs me $2 to ride MUNI”: Logical fallacy explained
I think a shorter answer might be that it doesn't really cost anything to "operate" a bus stop, but it costs more than $1/passeneger to operate a bus.
@JVenator How do they get the new number? I don't know of any service that hasn't contacted me to "update my payment method" after I get a new credit card. Maybe you have to report it as stolen, not lost. Although, I don't use AMEX, maybe they just continue to accept old numbers.
4 months, 2 weeks ago on Dark Patterns: The Crimes and Misdemeanors of Design
This is what's great about one-time credit card numbers for subscriptions. They can't continue to bill you, as the number expires after one use.
If you didn't have the ability to use such a device, I would suggest reporting your credit card as lost, get a new number, and let them cancel the subscription when they couldn't get paid. Sure, it's a hassle, but on average, at least one of my credit card numbers gets replaced at least once a year by the bank due to fraud (it's happened 3 times in the past 4 months), so I'm used to doing this anyway.
Your story sounds almost as bad as when I tried to cancel Verizon LTE service on a tablet I no longer used. I was stuck paying for that for about 3 extra months, and wasted a few hours on the phone with them.
I could almost buy that argument that cloud companies like DropBox need someone who knows how to talk to governments, except that most western governments, and probably all those of developing nations, do not trust anyone from the Bush administration. Bush's middle east wars were not received well by most of the rest of the world, and Rice was a leading sponsor of those wars.
Also, while other countries are mad at the U.S. for the NSA spying that was recently disclosed, a lot of it was initiated while Rice was national security adviser. How much credibility will she have with these people?
They won't drop Rice from the board because the recent money (debt and equity) that has poured into Dropbox probably came with strings attached.
4 months, 2 weeks ago on Why Dropbox won’t drop Condoleezza Rice from its board
@worstall That's the ENTIRE Republican party that is against a carbon tax and maybe 5% of the other side (who have zero influence on the elected Democrats in Congress) who are insisting on the overthrow of global capitalism. Not quite "just about everyone". The blame for not adopting a carbon tax lies solely with the Republican party.
4 months, 2 weeks ago on The boringly mainstream solution to climate change
@worstall I'll give you that, congratulations on what may be your first post that doesn't sound like it was written by the Church of Ayn Rand, or any Republican in Congress.
But please don't get into the false equivalence. The environmentalists are NOT against a carbon tax. It's all on the Republicans and their campaign supporters.
@worstall I didn't mean it literally, I was referring to your ideological brothers in arms in the U.S. House. And I certainly don't expect you to have much influence on them, or any other politician, as you are their parrot, not their muse.
"Why aren’t we simply doing this?"
Because all of the politicians that worship your economic religion are against it. You try to spread the blame everywhere, saying that green activists are also to blame for not having a carbon tax, but I don't know a single one (and I know lots of them) who would be opposed to a carbon tax. Go ahead, get your pals in the house to pass a $100/ton tax on carbon, or $1/gallon on gas, and see if the senate or the white house blocks it.
It's not mainstream opposition that is preventing the adoption of a carbon tax, it is the rank-and-file Republicans who are ideologically and economically opposed to it.
@robertogreen Yeah, I have stopped commenting on his posts, as they seem to be a job application for fox make-up-the-facts news, but didn't want to let that absurd comment go.
4 months, 3 weeks ago on Ezra Klein’s Vox.com launches but it’s a bit undercooked
@worstall "On ocean acidification their first page (I can't be bothered to go further) doesn't even mention the fact that the oceans are currently alkaline."
So if someone tells you that the amount of carbon dioxide in the part of the atmosphere that we breathe is increasing, are you going to say they don't even mention that it's still more than 75% nitrogen?
Ocean acidification is a real problem. That it is still alkaline is irrelevant, if the life in the oceans can't live in a less alkaline environment than they have evolved to live in. Let's pump up the CO2 level in your home to 5% and see how you like it, because it's still mostly nitrogen and oxygen.
While I don't totally disagree with you on the congressional productivity issue, repealing a bad law still requires legislation, which would be included in the calculation, and that's not happening, either.
What I don't understand is how any of the co-conspirators can be delusional enough to believe their actions didn't bring down engineers' salaries, especially when their emails essentially say they need to collude to keep engineers salaries from getting too expensive.
It's sad what happens to people's objectivity when they get to run big corporations. And please, no lectures about fiduciary responsibility. Those responsibilities do not give license to collude.
5 months ago on UPDATED: Google begged Steve Jobs for permission to hire engineers for its new Paris office. Guess what happened next…
@brfelix Fair enough, but I still feel Carr's use of the word is a bit disingenuous.
5 months ago on Revealed: Visitor logs show full extent of Pierre and Pamela Omidyar’s cozy White House ties