Tech at Night

Sometimes the cronys win, sometimes the cronys lose. They’re reportedly winning on STELA, the bill that scared entrenched, well-connected TV broadcasters because it as going to make them compete for cable dollars in a way that they never have had to in 70s-era winners-and-losers regulations. It’s still likely a good bill, but just not the pro-market bill it could have been.

The good news is the cronys are reportedly losing in Colorado, as entrenched taxi services are feeling the threat from new, innovative competitors. Let the customers decide, not government.

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So the Russians in Crimea will have a referendum…

On March 6, 2014, in General, by Neil Stevens
I found a picture of the ballot they’ll use. Stimmzettel-Anschluss
Tech at Night

ACU and other normally small-government types have bafflingly come out against the satellite TV bill STELA, and Steve Scalise’s efforts to enact Retransmission Consent reform, a cable idea first proposed jointly with Jim DeMint. This is wrong, and this is a strange supporting of laws that pick winners and losers.

You see, back in the 70s when Cable TV started to take off, broadcasters and socialists alike freaked out. Broadcasters because they were faced with competition for eyeballs where they previously had a monopoly, and socialists because it offended that someone might actually pay for TV. So they teamed up to rig the system, passing laws and regulations that prevented an open market for many broadcasts, instead creating territorial monopolies for broadcasters. These regulations have let the broadcasters get fat and happy (see also Aereo).

Pass retransmission consent reform. Supporters say without reform we “simulate” a free market, and to reform would harm “content producers.” This turns the truth on its head. Broadcasters are overpaid, underworked middlemen with government-manufactured monopolies. They produce nothing but just happen to hold a government license to spectrum. Make ‘em compete. And certainly never make satellite providers buy from a propagandist like The Weather Channel.

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Permit me to complain about my morning

On March 5, 2014, in General, by Neil Stevens

The morning started off nice. I’d set my alarm back 15 minutes so my mornings could start that much slower. It worked, I woke up leisurely, I got ready, and in fact I had time this morning to swing by my post office box before taking the train.

That’s when things started to go wrong.

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Tech at Night

Remember during the height of the Edward Snowden media frenzy, how his defenders would dutifully parrot every word RT said about him? Here’s your great Snowden defender now. RT and Snowden are the enemies of liberty, peace, and the United States of America.

Bitcoin is the fantasy tool of ideologues, the 21st century version of Goldbuggery, but there turns out to be a group even more ridiculous than the Bitcoin zealots: TSA agents.

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Tech at Night

Started a new job officially this week, which means I personally have a new day to day schedule. This is going to be an adjustment. I’ll hopefully have a minimal disruption of Tech, but we’ll see at first.

Remember how Edward Snowden kept claiming that he was just protecting American privacy and exposing NSA overreach? That’s a lie. The fact is, Snowden is not reliable and it’s a shame NSA mistakenly trusted him.

Yet another Bitcoin site has shut down due to the rampant theft in the Bitcoin community.

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Tech at Night

Have you heard about The Weather Channel trying to force Dish Network to buy its programming? Yes, they actually want the Obama administration to force that to happen. They claim it’s a public service, except ratings are falling and they don’t even do exclusively weather anymore. Guys, it’s 2014: People get the weather on the Internet and on their phones. Nobody needs to watch cable TV for weather anymore. We must not use government to subsidize this buggy whip manufacturer.

Bitcoin continues to be used for crime, and leading Bitcoin groups are clouded by scams, so it’s no wonder Joe Manchin wants to ban the whole thing.

I can’t really blame him. I can’t support it – we already have money laundering laws – but I understand it.

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Tech at Night: Netflix does the right thing.

On February 24, 2014, in General, by Neil Stevens
Tech at Night

It’s very interesting how effective Edward Snowden’s pro-Russian propaganda has been in some countries. In some countries WhatsApp is being fled in favor of a Russian app. I guess the world is more worried about NSA than “gay rights” or political prisoners, eh? That’s an effective scam, right there.

Netflix uses a lot of bandwidth, and if they start broadcasting 4k movies, then that amount is going to go up. It’s a lot of one-way bandwidth, too. There’s no interchange of data going to and from users. It’s all being piped out. So the traditional concept of ‘peering’ where two Internet companies connect for free to send data both ways, really doesn’t make sense. Thus, Netflix is owning up and making deals to cover that bandwidth. More deals are likely coming. This is good news, as it means realistic investments in Internet infrastructure to make sure we all have enough room for the data we download. The fact that the Net Neuties are shrieking hysterically about this just proves what I was saying all along: Net Neutrality was all about trying to socialize the Internet.

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Tech at Night: FCC overreach begins to get noticed.

On February 21, 2014, in General, by Neil Stevens
Tech at Night

I’ve been talking about FCC overreach in this space for a long time, but now the Obama FCC is trying so hard to go so far, everyone’s noticing now. Yes, the FCC’s plan to attack free speech got so much unkind attention that it’s been pulled, for now. Don’t count on it being gone forever, though.

Because they still haven’t given up on Net Neutrality. Commissioner Michael O’Rielly points out that Chairman Tom Wheeler’s plans are wrong and an overreach, however just as importantly, Commissioner Ajit Pai calls it “Groundhog Day” because this will make at least the third attempt to grab this power.

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NSF Science Poll: Americans compartmentalize Science

On February 18, 2014, in General, by Neil Stevens

So a headline like “1 in 4 Americans doesn’t know Earth circles sun” is a kind of headline designed to attract a certain crowd. You know the ones I’m talking about: the ones who think they’re just better than you, but at the same time are so insecure about it they’re itching for a debate, after which victory will be claimed regardless of events.

Naturally, a careful study of the poll doesn’t come up with the results the Smug Set is assuming. But to see that requires a curious mind, and not the kind of rigid ideological reflexes that the Smug Set is full of.

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The actual story here is one revealed on Page 7-4 of the NSF release:

A survey experiment showed that 48% of respondents said they thought it was true that “human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals,” but 72% gave this response when the same statement was prefaced by “according to the theory of evolution.” Similarly, 39% of respondents said that “the universe began with a huge explosion,” but 60% gave this response when the statement was prefaced by “according to astronomers.”

Talking about burying the lede. It turns out that the polling isn’t at all revealing what kind of raw book knowledge that Americans possess. It was finding out what subset of Americans both knew the answers and believed them to be the true explanation of the world around them. The poll measured worldview, not just knowledge.

So we actually find that sold majorities know the answers to these questions, but many who know the answers reject a purely science-based explanation of the world. Sure, many Christians see no conflict between science and their beliefs. Others do, at least in some aspects. But this poll shows that they do know what they’re talking about. They just reject it anyway.

That explanation though doesn’t fit the storyline written in the press about Christians, and Americans in general. They’re supposed to be ignorant, so the headline must be written accordingly, so that incurious leftists can smile and nod, feeling good about themselves. Those insecure about themselves need that reinforcement, because what are they going to do? Question authority? Naaaah.