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How did you manage to finish that piece? I started to read it because I wanted to see how he was going to put down technology (again), but stopped because it was incredibly uninteresting. If anything, The New Yorker should be criticized for publishing him. And if I was Medina, I would be embarrassed by any connection to Morozov.
5 days, 9 hours ago on Evgeny Morozov did not “plagiarize” in the New Yorker, but what he did was almost as bad
@kalium Wait, you said "40k is livable. It just wouldn't be comfortable, fun, or particularly healthy", which I interpreted as you thinking that 40K is not healthy. What did you mean if not that? I took it literally, that it's difficult to live not just a comfortable, but also a healthy, life on that income.
I base my opinion on a healthy wage is on what things cost. Everything is expensive up there (as it is in SoCal). As Sir Charles said, I might be wrong, but I doubt it.
I wasn't suggesting that all workers get paid the same, just enough to enjoy a 21st century American standard of living. I do think FB would keep paying for buses if they cost 40% more, it's just not a big expense for them. If the average cost per RT per employee is $8 (probably not that high), and the average employee who rides the bus rides it 200 days a year, and 25% of the employees use the bus, that's $400 per employee (weighted) per year. If paying their drivers a little more so that don't have to work 15 hours to get paid for 8 increases the cost per RT to $11, then it would bring the cost $550 per employee per year. This is for employees that average over $100K/yr already, so it's not a big incremental expense. I have no doubts they can afford it, and still not suffer.
1 week, 6 days ago on From Amazon warehouse workers to Google bus drivers, it’s tough working a non-tech job at a tech company
@kalium Okay, you're admitting that income (for 15 hrs/day) is not healthy, that's good. We should strive for a society where everyone who is willing to work can have a healthy standard of living.
I would suspect that all direct employees of FB are paid well. I think the ones they don't care about get outsourced to a third party, where they can get them hired for as little as possible. Because contractors aren't employees, so they don't count. That's the attitude, and that should change. I doubt if it would impact their profits by 1% if they made sure that their outsourced workers who work FT on FB's behalf earn enough to afford health care.
FB (and Amazon, who I think are worse offenders) don't have to pay everyone, just the people who work for them.
@kalium I won't debate whether $20/hr is livable in the bay area (I don't think it is), but one point in the article is how much time the drivers have to spend to get an 8 hour shift - as much as 15 hours. Which even if you reduce it to 12 hours to get paid for 8, they're only effectively getting $13.33/hr, and having to work a lot of overtime.
I don't live in the bay area, but I visit often. There is no way $40K/yr (most likely w/o benefits) is remotely near middle class.
My initial point is that Facebook could change this, and set a trend, without great cost to them. If they paid more, their bus contractor could attract better employees, and increase competition for drivers. A big reason we have an income distribution problem is that there is a race to the bottom when it comes to most forms of labor. Companies pay as little as they can get away with. This ultimately reduces demand for most companies' products, because consumers overall are earning less. At some point in the last 30 years or so, it became acceptable to many Americans for people to get paid as little as possible. It's not a good thing, it's a declining standard of living. Facebook and other wildly profitable valley companies (like Apple) can help reverse this trend.
@kalium Is that all that matters? That they are happy with their deal? If the drivers were only getting paid $1/hr, would it still be okay for FB to be happy with the deal? I'm guessing you would say no, so then the question is at what price and terms should FB care how their contractor treats their employees?
Would I be happier if FB didn't have those services and those drivers didn't have those jobs? I don't know, but I don't like governments having to subsidize businesses who pay their workers less than a iivable wage (yes, they get $20/hr, but you can't work 8 hours straight - plus even if you could, $40K/yr is not a livable wage in the valley). Anyone who isn't paid a livable wage essentially gets subsidized by the government, and profitable companies do not need that kind of subsidy, either directly or indirectly.
I was being sarcastic with my comment about FB being smart, because they always get accused of being smart (an opinion that I don't subscribe to), and this is a solvable problem. If they care about solving it.
I don't mean what you think I do. I believe the distribution of income in the U.S. can not sustain a healthy economy, nor a standard of living for many of its citizens that most people believe should be the bare minimum, and Facebook has an opportunity to do something about it, but chooses to sweep it under the rug, or in their case, dump it in a subcontractor's lap.
@kalium The story is a little misleading, but actually leaves out the damning part of the whole issue - the drivers only get paid for the time while they are driving, but it's not practical for them to get work in-between shifts, so they are forced to spend 15 hours to get 8 hours of paid time in. While that is a problem for the drivers and their employer, just because FB doesn't want the headache of hiring drivers and managing a fleet of buses, doesn't mean it's okay to not care about the problems they cause. It's like US companies that have products made in sweatshops in Asia - you don't evade responsibility just because you're not directly hiring the workers.
The people at FB are allegedly smart people, they should be able to come up with a solution that makes everyone who contributes to their success reasonably happy.
@kalium If they have contracted out with a bus company, that is different, but that's not what the article states or implies. If they have contracted out with bus companies that they know exploit their drivers, all they are doing is sweeping the issue under the rug. Knowingly hiring a company that will underpay workers because you can't do that yourself doesn't absolve you of responsibility.
Also, tech companies have been known to hire contractors for things like maintenance and food service, even though the workers are essentially captive.
All large tech companies have workers that perform tasks that are not directly related to the product or service that they sell, and they don't contract out that work. They're not getting into the busing business, it's a support service for their employees.
@kalium That's not what they are doing. Hiring contractors is not the same as sub-contracting out the entire service to a bus company, who would have to treat their employees better. Maybe they could just contract out the service with Uber drivers.
I didn't call them evil, or even allude to that. I called them petty and absurdly cheap. Evil is reserved for far worse than cheap.
Yes, tech companies have driven change, but in these cases, they're being very selective about who wins the lottery. It's almost punitive what they do to this non-material percentage of workers.
You're wrong, there is NO excuse for treating those employees so poorly. The fact that Facebook and other SV companies are so cheap with their bus drivers is pathetic - I doubt if those drivers comprise even 0.1% of the companies employee compensation (it may not even be 0.01%). The cost of giving them more benefits and even paying them for a full day (rather than just for the time they drive) would be in the noise. They might defend this practice by saying "we have an obligation to our shareholders", but that's absurd. They also have an obligation to their employees, and besides, unhappy employees (or contract workers - see Edward Snowden) in the long term are bad for shareholders. it's petty and absurdly cheap, and exposes their true attitudes towards people.
As for Amazon not paying workers for the time they are in line to get scanned, that is theft. If they require workers to be at their facility (or anywhere else, for that matter), it doesn't matter if they are packing boxes or standing in line. Employees should be compensated for all company required activities. The amount it would cost Amazon would also fall in the noise, and could probably be covered by increasing the cost of Prime by $1/year.
Technology is the embodiment of change. If tech companies cannot drive change for employees, then what companies will?
Carly Fiorina wasn't a founder of anything, except maybe howtodestroyanicon.com.
2 weeks ago on Forget “the perfect hoodie.” I’ve found my soul mate in a new muscle T.
@BobStenger Yeah, lets have a talk about the "theory" of evolution, you can put up a straw man for that.
2 weeks, 1 day ago on What possible reason can eBay have for standing by ultraconservative climate change deniers at ALEC?
In the 1980s, the famous LA Times cartoonist, Paul Conrad had a great cartoon. It was a picture of Saint Reagan, with his arm around the devil who was holding a sign saying "I am an anti-communist" (or something like that). The caption had Reagan saying about the devil "Frankly, I think he's gotten a bum rap".
For many of the tech firms that had previously bankrolled ALEC and even donated to anti-knowledge conservatives' political campaigns, the devil here is holding a sign that says "Let us hire more foreign engineers". That's it, they were willing to sacrifice all of their principles and beliefs, just so the pool of qualified engineers would be larger. These firms redefined prostitution and brought it to new lows.
The main goal of ALEC is to maximize short term profits for a small group of incredibly wealthy people. Sure, they get lots of less than wealthy people to side with them, but those people are tools, too ignorant to realize it.
To many people, prostitution is considered a vice. It's only natural a company named vice would sell their corporate body.
2 weeks, 1 day ago on The new site Collectively is all the proof we need to declare punk rock VICE part of the establishment
Goldman is advising HP to split into two companies, no doubt for a big fee, plus fees from advising and brokering deals for shares in both companies for their private wealth clients. In a few years, they will probably be advising both companies to merge with each other or someone else. Because that's how they make their money - churn.
Yes, HP is a giant, unmanageable (at least by Meg Whitman) company, but really, both new companies will still be giant and unmanageable, especially by Meg Whitman. But at least Goldman will get fees out of these deals. I guess this is what their CEO once referred to as them doing "God's work".
2 weeks, 2 days ago on May the strong survive: Why spin-offs are the new go-to play for struggling Wall St. boards
The amount that founders get when they have a liquidity event shouldn't be conflated with executive pay, which is the real problem. The insane amount that Koum received from FB doesn't really impact the compensation of anyone else, unlike CEO salary and bonuses, which consume real dollars, and not just shares that are issued without consuming any capital.
The real problem is the nature of publicly held companies, which are allegedly managed for the benefit of shareholders, but in reality are operated to maximize the compensation of executives. Executive compensation is determined by the boards, and the boards are typically comprised of executives of other companies, who have big incentives to jack up the average compensation of executives, because it will ultimately be in their best interest. The executives can get away with this because there is no transparency nor accountability in the compensation setting process.
It would be logistically and constitutionally difficult to create laws that limit executive pay, so the best way to address this issue is to change the tax system so that there is more accountability for executives of publicly owned companies. Because such a small percentage of profits are returned to shareholders, management performance is usually based on share price, which is an inefficient and ineffective tool for that task (not to mention it distorts corporate strategy and planning). Ideally, performance should be measured on metrics that reflect how well companies have met their goals, and for most mature companies, those goals would be profitability (for the websites that are covered here, I have no idea how to measure their performance, but they are a small fraction of all publicly owned companies).
If we changed the tax laws so that foreign profits could be repatriated and distributed to shareholders without taxation at the corporate level (but taxing it as ordinary income at the individual level), and also allowed dividends to be deducted from corporations' taxable income (and also taxed at the individual rate for ordinary income), then managers would be less able to game the markets and their compensation. It would be easier for directors and shareholders to measure the performance of management. Profits would also be more often recycled and re-used, directly or indirectly. Compensation would not have to be based on share price, but on dividends, and maybe companies would stop borrowing money while they hoard their profits.
2 weeks, 2 days ago on WhatsApp CEO will pay himself a $1 salary like Zuck… but that won’t fix America’s sickening CEO wage gap
Zero revenue for snapchat? Haven't you heard of their proposed business model? It's like the neutron bomb for chat: the messages disappear but the ads stay forever. Because every advertiser knows how often teenagers look at ads.
2 weeks, 5 days ago on This is not 2005 and investing in Snapchat is the last thing Mayer’s Yahoo can afford to do
Those sensors aren't for when you are at home, they are for when you are not at home. If you have left town for a few days and your door sensor sends you a message that your door is open, I think you will greet that message with more than just boredom. If you get a message from your moisture sensor indicating a high level of moisture outside your bathroom door, it might be of some interest (yesterday, one of the toilets in the bathroom outside my office flooded, and if I wasn't around to notice it, I sure would have liked to receive a message about it). Even if your landlord will fix the leak, he probably won't take care of drying and/or replacing things that got wet or damaged.
The smart lock? I don't need it to unlock the door for me, I want it to unlock the door when someone needs to fix something in my house and I don't want to have to be there to unlock it (or leave it unlocked). The smart thermostat? It saves a lot of energy, and allows you to remotely do what should have been done before everyone left the house.
3 weeks, 5 days ago on I turned my apartment into a smart home… and all I got was bored
I thought VCs are supposed to be a little ahead of the curve, spotting trends before they are trends. But in this case, of over-funded start-ups burning cash way too fast, they seem to be a little slow to figure that out.
Better late than never.
3 weeks, 6 days ago on Andreessen: High burn rates risk more than just running out of cash
So people would prefer a stiffer phone, where the glass breaks instead of the phone bending?
4 weeks ago on Mad that your new iPhone is bendy? Then don’t buy an Apple product the first week it launches
I think this post is what's called Inside baseball, or something like that. Do you think the average speculator cares whether or not a company is listed on the NYSE or NASDAQ? I'm guessing no. But maybe now some readers can talk like they are expert on the differences between the two exchanges, and how NASDAQ messed up so badly. I've never heard anyone say the exchange affected their buy or sell decision. So while it might matter to the CFO of the listed companies, and only when they go public, how many is that and how often does it happen? Not many and not often.
But even if this is a story worth telling, why back it up with an anecdote from Thiel, who is way too smart (allegedly) to make such a junior high school comparison between 4 year olds and computers? Sure, anyone can distinguish between cats and non-cats, but can they do it at 100 per second? Can they do it 24 hours a day, 365 days a year? The more important point is not that computers are used instead of 4-year-olds to filter cat videos, but rather that anyone cares about cat videos.. If that mention was a thinly veiled pitch to get readers to buy Thiel's book, it won't work.
But at least you busted the NYSE guy on space.com, letting us know he was just another kool-aid drinker.
4 weeks, 1 day ago on After nearly a decade, the NYFSE’s comeback is finally complete. (Suck it, NASDAQ)
In regards to CarPlay, your comment that they are lying is not necessarily true. You are assuming Apple servers are analyzing their data, and not the local device (whatever computer is in the car). Google uses its servers to analyze user data, but that doesn't mean Apple will. With the CPU they put in a car, they could easily have software run on it that would look at the messages stored on it to make suggestions, and that data does not need to be shared with Apple.
Suggesting that Apple cannot encrypt messages because it was hard for a tiny start-up to do it is a bit of a stretch. It isn't difficult to encrypt text messages between two devices, if you control the software on both ends. I have no doubt that a company like Apple or Google can accomplish that kind of task, but I would not be surprised at all if WhatsApp couldn't do that.
The fingerprint scanner on the iphone is used just for the iphone. If you have lost that device, your security is already compromised, and that's not Apple's fault.
1 month ago on Apple publishes huge accountability report on privacy and security. But does it go far enough?
wow, a reference to Spy magazine. If you're going to resurrect their targets, how about a way to bring up the short-fingered vulgarian?
1 month ago on Workpop is not your father’s job site
@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.
2 months 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.
2 months 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.
2 months, 3 weeks 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.
2 months, 4 weeks ago on State of Pando: Exploding traffic, surging revenues… but some mistakes too
Wow, Pando must be getting wider readership, as this post has attracted a lot of trolls. well beyond Pando's most regular troll.
3 months 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?
3 months, 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.
3 months, 1 week 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.
3 months, 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.
3 months, 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.
3 months, 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
3 months, 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.
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'.
3 months, 3 weeks 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.
4 months, 3 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.
4 months, 3 weeks 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.
5 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.
5 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.