Author Archives: Mitch

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Cory Doctorow on Boing Boing:

Now that Indiana Governor Mike Pence has signed one of the most extreme anti-abortion laws in the country — which includes a ban on abortions based on race, sex and disability, requiring abortion doctors to ask invasive personal questions of women seeking to terminate their pregnancies — women in his state have decided that they will give him the intimate information about their reproductive health that he so obviously craves.

Stressful morning? The Walk of Life Project can help!

I woke up this morning to an abrupt noise in the bedroom, decided now that I was now up I might as well let Minnie out, went into my office and discovered she’d trumped all over the crate.

So I got the residue out of my office, hosed it down, and will finish cleaning that up later in the day. Not how I envisioned spending any part of my Saturday.

Fortunately, the Walk of Life Project is there to help reduce stress:

More here: The Walk of Life Project

 

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Cory Doctorow on Boing Boing:

On Wednesday, Fairfax and Huffington Post broke the Unaoil story, revealing that they had been leaked a trove of email from an obscure Monaco family business that had acted as a global fixer in bribery and bid-rigging that looted the treasuries and oil-fields of some of the world’s poorest countries, from Iraq to Yemen, acting on behalf of blue-chip companies like Rolls-Royce and Halliburton.

By week’s end, police in the UK, US and Australia announced criminal investigations against top executives, and the Monaco police raided Unaoil’s HQ.

And still not a word on bbc.co.uk.

Four days in, and the BBC hasn’t even mentioned the biggest bribery scandal in history [Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing]

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The H1-B visa program is badly flawed. It’s not just that foreign workers will work more cheaply to get a shot at American jobs. I’ve also heard a few stories over the years about employers who’ve threatened to get H1-B visas revoked if employees don’t do their bidding.

It’s hard to compete in the job market when the opposition are effectively indentured servants.

Tech Industry Rushes to Grab New H1-B Worker Visas [Miriam Jordan – The Wall Street Journal]

 

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If I’m reading this right, the lawsuit says Uber’s fundamental business model is based on illegal price-fixing.

Jonathan Stempel on Reuters:

Travis Kalanick, chief executive officer of Uber Technologies Inc, failed on Thursday to win the dismissal of an antitrust lawsuit accusing him of scheming to drive up prices for passengers who use the popular ride-sharing service.

U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan said Kalanick must face claims he conspired with drivers to ensure they charge prices set by an algorithm in the Uber smartphone app to hail rides, including “surge pricing” during periods of peak demand.

Passengers led by Spencer Meyer of Connecticut claimed that drivers conspired with Kalanick to charge fares set by the algorithm, with an understanding that other Uber drivers would do the same, even if they might fare better acting on their own.

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“In creating Uber, Kalanick organized price-fixing among independent drivers who should be competing with one another on price,” [Meyer’s attorney, Andrew Schmidt] said. “Today’s decision confirms that apps are not exempt from the antitrust laws.”

Uber CEO must face price-fixing lawsuit by passengers: U.S. judge [Jonathan Stempel – Reuters]

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Cory Doctorow on Boing Boing:

In early 2015, Reddit published a transparency report that contained heading for National Security Requests, noting, “As of January 29, 2015, reddit has never received a National Security Letter, an order under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or any other classified request for user information.”

Reddit’s Thursday update omits that section.

“Warrant canaries” are a response to the practice by governments of serving warrants on service providers that include gag orders forbidding the service from disclosing the warrant’s existence.

Service providers get around the gag order by “publishing regular transparency reports listing the number of secret warrants received to date as “0,” then omitting the section dealing with those warrants once the first warrant has been served.”

Reddit’s Warrant Canary just died [Cory Doctorow – Boing Boing]

 

Rebutting Jill Abramson’s assertion that “Hillary Clinton is fundamentally honest and trustworthy.”

Matt Welch at Reason:

“This may shock you,” runs the headline on Jill Abramson’s debut Guardian piece this week, but: “Hillary Clinton is fundamentally honest.” No, it’s not an April Fool’s Day joke.

Op-ed writers often don’t write or even approve their own headlines, so I skimmed downward, looking for confirmation that this was just clickbait atop a more nuanced take. After all, Jill Abramson used to be the executive editor of The New York Times. Serious newspaper journalists aren’t supposed to be eager to issue any politician—let alone someone who so blatantly lied (including after being mocked by eyewitnesses) about coming “under sniper fire” in Bosnia—a certificate of fundamental honesty

Sure enough, Abramson, oh wait a minute MY GOD SHE ACTUALLY WROTE THESE WORDS.

Welch makes a couple of good points here, most particularly on Clinton’s claims that she came under fire in Bosnia. It’s hard to defend that as the statement of a fundamentally honest person.

On the other hand, Welch looks at points where he disagrees with her on evidence, and brands those as lies. And he spends a lot of time on emailgate, which is such a load of bullshit that I can’t even bear to read about it. When there’s an indictment, I’ll start paying attention. And there won’t be an indictment, because Clinton’s opponents haven’t found evidence that law or regulations were broken.

Former New York Times Editor: ‘Hillary Clinton Is Fundamentally Honest and Trustworthy’ [Matt Welch – Reason]

Saudi Arabia plans a $2 trillion megafund to carry the country’s wealth past the decline of oil

The misogynistic, homophobic, terrorism-supporting medieval hereditary religious dictatorship has plans to extend its influence into the 21st Century, even after oil ceases to be all-important. Yipee!

Saudi Arabia Plans $2 Trillion Megafund for Post-Oil Era: Deputy Crown Prince [John Micklethwait, Glen Carey, Alaa Shahine, and Matthew Martin – Bloomberg]

How to use the predictive keyboard on iPhone and iPad

Call me a dope, but I never noticed the keyboard is trying to predict the next word as I type.

Also: How to get special characters, symbols, and diacritical marks when typing on the iOS keyboard. I’ve seen this instruction a few times before, and will probably forget it next time I need it.

How to use the QuickType keyboard on iPhone and iPad [Luke Filipowicz, Rene Ritchie, and Allyson Kazmucha – iMore]

Early Beatles gig featuring 18 “very bored” people

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It was 1961, and a friend booked the gig in the Palais Ballroom, Aldershot, Hampshire. The Beatles and their friend, Sam Leach, hoped to attract the attention of London record executives, but Leach didn’t realize Aldershot was a military town 37 miles outside London.

Also, the ad that Leach paid to have in local papers never showed up because Leach paid with a check instead of cash and didn’t provide contact information.

Dec. 9, 1961, the Beatles in Aldershot [Alex Q. Arbuckle – Retronaut]

Looks like Donald Trump’s campaign is self-destructing

At least that’s the impression I get skimming the news. I take it with a grain of salt.

It’s not surprising. Trump has been playing Russian roulette. A guy playing Russian roulette might get lucky for a while and dazzle onlookers. But eventually he’s going to blow his own head off if he keeps going.

I’m trying to remind myself that it’s better for America  – and the world – if Trump is stopped sooner rather than later. Part of me wants him to take the Republican nomination, which would open the door for the Democrats to win the White House and sweep all the way down the ballot, including both houses of Congress and state houses.

Not that I love the Democrats much. But they’re better than the GOP. It’s a step in the right direction.