Science Fiction

What's SHE Doing There?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 02/04/2020 - 9:34am in

Mowin' the Lawn

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 31/03/2020 - 12:14am in

The Coronavirus and the Death of the Dream of a Disease-Free Future

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 30/03/2020 - 10:13pm in

There has been one other consequence of the Coronavirus, apart from the immense toll its taken in tragic deaths, its disastrous impact on economies and social life around the world as trade and personal contact has been reduced to a minimum as countries go into lockdown. I doubt few people have noticed it, but I believe that the pandemic has finally killed the sixties dream of the conquest of disease.

It was an optimistic decade, and although the high hopes of technological, social and economic improvement and expansion ended with the depression of the 70s and its fears of overpopulation, ecological collapse, and the running out of resources, coupled with global terrorism, labour unrest and the energy crisis, some of that optimism still continued. And one of the sources of that optimism was the victories that were being won against disease. Before the introduction of modern antibiotics, diseases like tuberculosis, polio, diptheria and cholera were common and lethal. In the case of polio, they could leave their victims so severely paralysed that they had to be placed in iron lungs in order to breathe. Their threat was greatly reduced in Britain and the West through the introduction of antibiotics, as well as the improvements in housing, working conditions and sanitation. And these advances appeared to be global. Yes, there was still terrible poverty in the Developing World, but these emergent nations were improving thanks to the efforts of charities and the United Nations. The UN was helping these nations become educated through schools, setting up wells and other sources of clean water, teach their peoples about the importance of sanitation. Most importantly, it was actively eradicating disease through immunisation programmes.

The UN and the charities are still doing this, of course, often working in hostile conditions in countries wracked by dictatorship, corruption and civil war. But in the 1970s the world won a major victory in the struggle against disease: smallpox was declared extinct in the wild. Humanity had overcome and beaten a major killer that had taken the lives of countless millions down the centuries. Cultures of the disease still remain in laboratories, just in case it returns. But outside of these, the disease was believed to be finally extinct.

It was the realisation of the optimistic ideas contained in Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek. The series envisaged a future in which humanity had set aside its national and racial division, and become united. It had joined other extraterrestrial races in a benign Federation, a kind of UN in space, and embarked on a wave of space colonisation and exploration. It sent out ships like the Enterprise ‘to seek out new life and new civilisations’, and boldly split infinitives which no-one had split before. And part of that optimistic future was the victory over disease. It was still there, and there were instances where it ravaged whole planets. But by and large humanity and its alien partners were conquering it. That optimism continued into the subsequent series, like Star Trek: The Next Generation and the films. Serious diseases, which now regularly afflict humanity would be easily treatable in this future. In the third Star Trek film, The Voyage Home,  the crew of the Enterprise journey back to the 20th century to save the whale and thus the Earth of the future from an alien spaceship that somehow causes advanced technology to shut down. Entering a hospital to rescue Chekhov, who has been captured by today’s American army, McCoy finds an elderly lady awaiting dialysis. ‘What is this!’, he characteristically exclaims, ‘the Dark Ages!’ And gives her a pill. When next we see her, She’s fit and well and raising her walking stick in thanks to McCoy as he and the others rush past. Around her two doctors are muttering in astonishment about how she has grown a new kidney. And in the Next Generation pilot episode, ‘Encounter at Far Point’, McCoy is shown as an elderly man in his 120s.

Now medical progress is still being made, and people in the West are living much longer, so that there is an increasing number of old folks who are over 100. And some scientists and doctors believe that advances in medical science, especially geriatrics, may eventually lead to people attain the age of 400 or even a thousand. The last claim appeared on a BBC 4 panel game over a decade ago, in which various scientists and doctors came before the writer and comedian Andy Hamilton and the Black American comic, Reggie Yates, to argue for the validity of their theories. And one of these was that the first person to live to a thousand has already been born.

But such optimism has also been seriously tempered by the persistence of disease. Just as humanity was eradicating Smallpox, SF writers were producing stories about the threat of new killer diseases, such as in the films The Satan Bug and The Andromeda Strain, as well as the British TV series, Survivors. I think public belief in the ability of humanity to conquer disease was seriously damaged by the emergence of AIDS in the 1980s. This was so devastating, that some viewed it in terms of the Black Death, though mercifully this wasn’t the case. And after AIDS came bird flu, swine flu, and now the present pandemic. And unlike these previous health emergencies, the world has been forced to go into lockdown. It’s an unprecedented move, that seems more like a return to the response to the plagues of the Middle Ages and 17-19th centuries than the actions of a modern state.

The lockdown is necessary, and this crisis has shown that states still need to cooperate in order to combat global diseases like Coronavirus. Medicine is still improving, so that it’s possible that some people, the rich elite who can afford it, may enjoy vastly extended lifespans. But the current crisis has also shown that serious diseases are still arising, illnesses that now spread and affect the world’s population as a whole. And so the 60s dream of a future without serious disease now seems very distant indeed.

Pluralistic: 29 Mar 2020

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 30/03/2020 - 2:08am in

Today's links

  1. Announcing Story Club: A short story reading group, kicking off with me and Masque of the Red Death.
  2. Alex Jones's one-two punch: Conspiracy is a credulity-detection system.
  3. Andrew Cuomo is not your woke bae: Teen Vogue has a timely reminder.
  4. Cozy Catastrophes: Time to revisit Jo Walton's 2009 essay.
  5. California's missing medical stockpile: Balanced budgets vs 50m N95 respirators, 2400 portable ventilators, and 21,000 patient beds
  6. A better way to visualize exponential growth: What matters is the rate of new infections.
  7. Don't worry about groceries: They're safe, mostly.
  8. This day in history: 2005, 2010, 2015, 2019
  9. Colophon: Recent publications, upcoming appearances, current writing projects, current reading


Announcing Story Club (permalink)

Short Story Club is a new online reading group where you read a story together then talk live with the author over Zoom.

Its inaugural meeting is April 7 at 5:30PM, and I'm the first guest, with The Masque of the Red Death, from my book Radicalized.

https://www.shortstory.club/

It's pay what you can ($0-5) and when you RSVP you get an ebook of the story.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/short-story-club-live-qa-with-cory-doctorow-on-masque-of-the-red-death-tickets-101122801020

Proceeds donated to Match Mask to send N95 masks to healthcare workers at the frontlines of COVID-19.

You can also listen to the story as a free audiobook, read by the amazing Stefan Rudnicki, courtesy of Macmillan Audio:

https://craphound.com/podcast/2020/03/13/the-masque-of-the-red-death/

I hope you'll come!


Alex Jones's one-two punch (permalink)

Yeah, I saw that Alex Jones's app had been yanked from the Google Play store for covid disinfo, but I hadn't paid attention. Grifters gonna grift, after all. But this Wired/Ars story about the specific claims that got Jones banned…woah.

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2020/03/google-bans-infowars-app-over-coronavirus-claims/

"Everybody dies under the new world order except maybe one 0.01% that believe they're going to merge with machines and have made deals with this inter-dimensional thing that gave them all the technology…You can't make a deal with these aliens, OK, that the Bible tells you about and ever get off the planet."

The thing is, Jones isn't merely a deluded babbler. He's a huxter. "Earlier this month, NY AG Letitia James sent him a cease and desist notice for saying that his DNA Force+ supplements, Superblue toothpaste, & SilverSol gargle could protect against or treat coronavirus."

I normally maintain such distance from Jones that I forget just how unhinged his claims are and start to think that they're merely over-the-top right-wing nonsense, but when I reestablish contact with his work, I remember anew that he's filtering for mental vulnerability.

"Nigerian 419 letters" are deliberately obvious scam to anyone with active critical faculties. They're multistage scams that are time-consuming for their perps, so filtering out those who will bail partway through the dance is good business practice.

https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/82814/secretly-smart-reason-scam-emails-are-poorly-written

Jones is also a multistage scammer who controls his cost-centers by pre-filtering anyone who has a smidgen of critical thought. That way he doesn't have to process return requests for his snake-oil, or fend off AG and FDA investigations.

You really see the one-two punch in this skirmish: first he weeds out anyone who recoils at the idea that covid is a transdimensional plague sent to hasten the Singularity and murder Bible-readers, then he sells the remainder silver-doped toothpaste ($20/5.5oz)


Andrew Cuomo is not your woke bae (permalink)

An important consequence of being trapped in an abusive relationship is that it makes less-terrible (but still awful) suitors look wonderful by comparison.

That's why Monica Klein's Teen Vogue op-ed on Andrew Cuomo is so timely.

https://www.teenvogue.com/story/andrew-cuomo-coronavirus-crush-record

Yes, Cuomo is a billion times better than Trump, but that doesn't make him worthy of being your coronavirus crush, or as Molly Jong Fast put it in Adult Vogue, "the closest thing we have to an FDR."

https://www.vogue.com/article/andrew-cuomo-why-we-love-him-now-coronavirus

Cuomo is not FDR.

He represents "a wing of the Democratic Party that abandoned its New Deal roots to please big donors," and not because he's in a perilous, marginal office where he has to compromise to attain re-election. He sells out because he wants to.

Cuomo is the governor who blocked single payer healthcare, opposed protections for low-wage workers, and starved public housing and public schools of funding, and gutted homelessness programs.

New York's terrible coronavirus problems are largely Trump's fault, but the lack of protection for workers, combined with inadequate housing and public health are not helping. Those were Cuomo's doing, his mistakes to make and own.

Wisdom: "The Democratic Party was once the party of government for the people. The party used to embrace a well-funded, powerful federal government that protected working people and provided robust support for Americans in need during national crises like, say, a pandemic. Corporate centrist Democrats like Cuomo have spent years actively blocking funding and legislation that could materially improve the lives of working Americans."

And coronavirus hasn't made Cuomo stop cuomoing: "Rather than ask millionaires and billionaires in NY to pay their fair share as our state economy collapses, the governor is pushing for unilateral power to slash government services throughout the year."

And yeah, he's issued a moratorium on mortgages for homeowners, but there's no sign of a rent freeze.

"Long before Trump was elected, Democrats spent decades destroying the idea that we are the party that protects working people rather than corporate interests."
(Image: Pat Arnow, CC BY-SA, modified)


Cozy Catastrophes (permalink)

There's never been a better time to read Jo Walton's 2009 essay on "cozy catastrophes" where "a bizarre calamity occurs that wipes out a large percentage of the population, but the protagonists survive and thrive in the new world that follows. "

https://www.tor.com/2009/10/14/who-read-cosy-catastrophes/

Walton traces the root of the cozy catastrophe to a British middle-class readership whose postwar fortunes were reduced, and whose sensibilities were offended by the intrusion of working class people on their traditional enclaves.

Cozies exterminated these inconvenient proles by a variety of means, comets, bees, even giant walking plants: "the people who survive are always middle class, and have rarely lost anyone significant to them. The working classes are wiped out in a way that removes guilt." The survivors wander the empty streets of London, missing good restaurants and string quartets, but not football matches or carnivals.

These were mainstream bestsellers in the UK in the 50s: explicitly sold as "not-SF" (Penguin Day of the Triffids: "Wyndham decided to try a modified form of what is unhappily called 'science fiction'").

Teens like cozies because teen cozies usually do away with all the adults, which is basically what teens spend a lot of time wishing for. But 50s middle-class Britons liked cozies because they did away with the welfare state.

"Nevil Shute complains in Slide Rule that his mother couldn't go to the South of France in the winters…but she and the people who waited on her in shops had access to free health care and education to university and beyond, and enough to live on if they lost their jobs."

"Britain was becoming a fairer society, with equal opportunities for everyone, and some people did suffer for it. They couldn't have their foreign holidays and servants and way of life, because their way of life exploited other people."

Cozies weren't British sf's only reaction to postwar reforms, as Walton points out, and her subsequent columns have good examples of this:

https://www.tor.com/2009/10/20/the-red-menace-constantine-firzgibbons-lemgwhen-the-kissing-had-to-stoplemg/

https://www.tor.com/2009/10/28/no-catastrophes-here-william-tenns-lemgof-men-and-monsterslemg/


California's missing medical stockpile (permalink)

The coronavirus crisis isn't separate from the 2008 financial crisis: it's the continuation of that crisis. The 2008 crisis and its finance-friendly, people-destroying bailout led to the election of idiotic strongmen who are totally incapable of containing it.

And it also triggered waves of austerity that starved public coffers of the resources that produce resilience to subsequent crises, as we've seen in 10+ years of inadequate response to climate crises like floods, hurricanes and fires.

Austerity also stole our pandemic preparedness. California dismantled all three of its 200-bed mobile hospitals and its emergency medical stockpiles in 2011, flushing the $200m investment for want of $5.8m/year for upkeep

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-03-27/coronavirus-california-mobile-hospitals-ventilators

Gone: 50m N95 respirators, 2400 portable ventilators, and "kits to set up 21,000 additional patient beds wherever they were needed."

They were jettisoned to help Jerry Brown balance the $26b deficit he inherited after the 2008 crisis, largely given away, then sold overseas."These supplies were exactly for this scenario" -Dr. Howard Backer, former head of California's Emergency Medical Services Authority (Backer created the program in 2006).


A better way to visualize exponential growth (permalink)

Exponential curves can be misleading: it's a rare exponential phenomenon that doesn't reach a hard limit and slow, taper, flatten or even drop. When you're in the "knee of the curve" it's hard to tell if it's going to keep going up, or turn S-shaped.

This video from Minute Physics makes a compelling case that a log scale that plots new cases relative to cases is better at informing our intuition when it comes to coronavirus infections.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54XLXg4fYsc

His chart does not represent time with the Y-axis: instead, it uses animation to show infections over time.

You can explore this technique here:

https://aatishb.com/covidtrends/


Don't worry about groceries (permalink)

Harvard assistant professor of exposure and assessment science Joseph Allen does excellent work explaining why the deliveries and groceries you bring home are pretty safe, despite the ability of covid to persist on surfaces for days.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/03/26/dont-panic-about-shopping-getting-delivery-or-accepting-packages/

It's true that there are "detectable" levels of covid-19 on surfaces for days after exposure, but "detectable" isn't the same as "contagious": the halflife of covid on plastic is 5.6h (metal: 6.8h). So if your delivery driver is sick, and sneezes on their hands, and then carries the box to your door, it still won't necessarily satisfy the "Sufficient-Component Cause model" for transmission.

That would require "sick driver, sneezing/coughing, viral particles transferred to the package, a very short time lapse before delivery, you touching the exact same spot on the package as the sneeze, you then touching your face or mouth before hand-washing."

You can break the chain with simple steps. Maintain distance while shopping. Don't touch your face. Wash your hands after. Wash them again after you eat your groceries. If you're really worried, wait a couple hours before eating them.

It's similar to the advice from food microbiologist Don Schaffner:

https://pluralistic.net/2020/03/27/just-asking-questions/#germophobes


This day in history (permalink)

#15yrsago Photos of Grokster demonstrators: DON'T TOUCH MY TIVO! https://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/grokster/

#15yrsago del.icio.us gets funded, Schachter goes full-time https://web.archive.org/web/20050406040205/http://lists.del.icio.us/pipermail/discuss/2005-March/002554.html

#10yrsago Upcoming.org gets an API https://web.archive.org/web/20050405212612/https://upcoming.org/news/archives/2005/03/28/huge_cha/index.php

#10yrago Tim O'Reilly defines "the Internet operating system" http://radar.oreilly.com/2010/03/state-of-internet-operating-system.html

#10yrsago ACLU prevails: US Fed Judge invalidates gene patent https://www.aclu.org/cases/association-molecular-pathology-v-myriad-genetics

#10yrsago Leaked doc: EU wants to destroy and rewrite Canada's IP laws http://www.michaelgeist.ca/2010/03/ceta-demands/

#10yrsago UK record lobby has vehement feelings on Digital Economy Bill debate, won't say what they are https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2010/mar/29/digital-economy-bill-bpi-doctorow

#5yrsago Stephen King versus Maine's lying governor https://www.rawstory.com/2015/03/stephen-king-hammers-maine-governor-for-doubling-down-hes-not-man-enough-to-admit-he-made-a-mistake/

#1yrago After the Parkland shooting, NRA official reached out to Sandy Hook denier to discuss possibility that it was an anti-gun conspiracy https://www.huffpost.com/entry/exclusive-nra-sandy-hook-hoaxer-parkland-shooting_n_5c8aa54de4b03e83bdbe59eb

#1yrago New York State goes after the Sackler family's opioid fortune, claims they funneled their Oxy millions through offshore laundries https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/28/health/new-york-lawsuit-opioids-sacklers-distributors.html

#1yrago The Chinese Communist Party's newspaper has spun out an incredibly lucrative censorship business https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/03/29/business/tech/censorship-pays-chinese-communist-party-newspaper-expands-lucrative-online-scrubbing-business/

#1yrago War criminal and snowflake Erik Prince cancels Beloit College talk after student protests, threatens lawsuit http://beloitcollegeroundtable.com/2019/03/28/scheduled-speech-from-erik-prince-shut-down-after-protests

#1yrago Oklahoma Republicans introduce bill forcing doctors to warn abortion patients about the existence of an imaginary "reversible abortion" https://theintercept.com/2019/03/29/oklahoma-bill-abortion-reversal/

#1yrago Jones's deposition over his role in the harassment of Sandy Hook parents is a total shitshow https://www.huffpost.com/entry/we-got-alex-jones-deposition-video-it-was-a-predictable-disaster_n_5c9d06fae4b03218ee1ca133


Colophon (permalink)

Today's top sources: Naked Capitalism (https://nakedcapitalism.com/), Wired (https://wired.com), JWZ (http://www.jwz.org/blog/).

Currently writing: I'm getting geared up to start work my next novel, "The Lost Cause," a post-GND novel about truth and reconciliation.

Currently reading: Just started Lauren Beukes's forthcoming Afterland: it's Y the Last Man plus plus, and two chapters in, it's amazeballs. Last month, I finished Andrea Bernstein's "American Oligarchs"; it's a magnificent history of the Kushner and Trump families, showing how they cheated, stole and lied their way into power. I'm getting really into Anna Weiner's memoir about tech, "Uncanny Valley." I just loaded Matt Stoller's "Goliath" onto my underwater MP3 player and I'm listening to it as I swim laps.

Latest podcast: Data – the new oil, or potential for a toxic oil spill? https://craphound.com/podcast/2020/03/23/data-the-new-oil-or-potential-for-a-toxic-oil-spill/

Upcoming appearances:

Upcoming books: "Poesy the Monster Slayer" (Jul 2020), a picture book about monsters, bedtime, gender, and kicking ass. Pre-order here: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781626723627?utm_source=socialmedia&utm_medium=socialpost&utm_term=na-poesycorypreorder&utm_content=na-preorder-buynow&utm_campaign=9781626723627

(we're having a launch for it in Burbank on July 11 at Dark Delicacies and you can get me AND Poesy to sign it and Dark Del will ship it to the monster kids in your life in time for the release date).

"Attack Surface": The third Little Brother book, Oct 20, 2020. https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250757531

"Little Brother/Homeland": A reissue omnibus edition with a new introduction by Edward Snowden: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250774583

This work licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. That means you can use it any way you like, including commerically, provided that you attribute it to me, Cory Doctorow, and include a link to pluralistic.net.

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When live gives you SARS, you make sarsaparilla -Joey "Accordion Guy" DeVilla

Pluralistic: 28 Mar 2020

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 29/03/2020 - 7:33am in

Today's links

  1. Charter techs get $25 gift cards instead of hazard pay: No hand-san or PPE, either.
  2. The Pandemic Playbook: Trump won't rtfm.
  3. Boardgame Remix Kit: Make 26 new games out of Monopoly, Clue, Trivial Pursuit and Scrabble sets.
  4. McMansion Hell visits 1972: "Architecture store? I'd like one of everything."
  5. Free Cheapass Games print-and-plays: KILL DOCTOR LUCKY, GIVE ME THE BRAIN, LORD OF THE FRIES, UNEXPLODED COW and so many more!
  6. Trump officials killed Walmart opioid prosecutions: With help from Jones Day.
  7. United gets $25B stimulus and announces layoffs: The biggest corporate giveaway in history.
  8. FLICC vs denialism: A taxonomy of scientific denial, just in time.
  9. This Waifu Does Not Exist: Autogenned anime characters, with backstories.
  10. Fever cameras are garbage: It's the pivot-to-covid for grifty police enablers.
  11. Employers scramble to buy remote-worker spyware: Even if you're paying for the product, you're the product.
  12. Canada Reads Q&A on Apr 23: Unfortunately, it's on Facebook.
  13. Cowboy Economist on covid stimulus: Congress doesn't spend taxes, it spends and then taxes.
  14. 88 Names podcast: Talking VR, AR and gold farming with Matt Ruff.
  15. This day in history: 2005, 2010, 2015, 2019
  16. Colophon: Recent publications, upcoming appearances, current writing projects, current reading


Charter techs get $25 gift cards instead of hazard pay (permalink)

My local, unremittingly terrible ISP is Charter. You might remember them as the company whose CEO insisted that all workers, even those who could work from home, show up for work and give each other coronavirus.

https://pluralistic.net/2020/03/18/diy-tp/#sociopathy

But of course, many of Charter's employees can't work from home: they're coming to our homes, risking potentially lethal infections, to keep our internet running while we're all stuck indoors.

Now, Charter gets incalculable government subsidies (free/low-cost access to rights of way that could not be purchased on the open market) and got billions in tax breaks from Trump (pissed away on stock buybacks).

You'd think they'd have some dough to give to the workers risking their lives to keep the packets flowing.

Think again.

Those workers are getting $25 gift cards in lieu of hazard pay. They're not getting masks or gloves or hand sanitizer.

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/amberjamieson/spectrum-workers-coronavirus-gift-cards

Charter spokesapologist Cameron Blanchard insisted that field techs were really happy about this: "The response from the technicians to all our recent changes, along with the gift card gesture has been very positive."

He says they hope to have gloves, masks and hand-sanitizer in the next few weeks.

AT&T is paying techs 20% hazard pay. Charter is sending techs out even for "nonessential" house-calls.


The Pandemic Playbook (permalink)

In The Fifth Risk, Michael Lewis describes how the core US civil service is made up of extremely passionate nerds, people who are very smart about their domain of expertise, and work quietly and tirelessly to see policy that comports with evidence.

https://boingboing.net/2018/11/27/homework-vs-public-choice.html

This is what makes them "the reality based community," the term Karl Rove is said to have used to disparage those who claimed (correctly) that the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan would be a perpetual, destablizing quagmire.

The thing is, grifting is incompatible with objective truth. The job of a grifter is to tell you his building is ten stories taller than it actually is, that his inauguration crowd was larger than it actually was, that his infomercial service is actually a "university."

The grifter president is surrounded by a grifter upper echelon, sociopaths whose power and wealth derive from lying like crazy and stealing from people. To put it mildly, these people do not value expertise.

That explains a lot about the pandemic. Specifically, why therecommendations in the "Playbook for Early Response to High-Consequence Emerging Infectious Disease Threats and Biological Incidents" (AKA "the pandemic playbook") were not followed.

https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/25/trump-coronavirus-national-security-council-149285

This is a 69-page report created by the NSC in 2016. The Obama NSC chief briefed the incoming Trump official on the playbook in 2017, and that official seems to have wiped his ass with it and flushed it.

It literally explains, step by step, how to administer a crisis like this, from the earliest glimmerings that it might occur, right through a full-blown pandemic. It mobilizes resources, identifies shortages, and coordinates comms and strategy. It is, in other words, a meaningful set of steps that the US government could have taken to head off the virus. We taxpayers paid handsomely to develop it. Now we're paying again because Trump ignored it.


Boardgame Remix Kit (permalink)

It's been a decade since Hide & Seek released its absolutely brilliant "Boardgame Remix Kit": rules for new games using tokens and boards from Monopoly, Clue, Trivial Pursuit and Scrabble sets.

Now, the 26-part ruleset has been released as a free download for a world of locked-down families looking for ways to entertain themselves. These games are MUCH better than the originals!

https://bgrk.itch.io/


McMansion Hell visits 1972 (permalink)

It's always a great day when McMansion Hell does a new post – and it's a very good day when it's one of her long-ass posts, and it's a very very good day when it's a long post dunking on a shitty 70s McMansion.

https://mcmansionhell.com/post/613784020458913792/the-mcmansion-hell-yearbook-1972

Wagner is working her way through McMansions of the 1970s — proto-McMs, if you will. Last time, it was this rough beast shambling forth from 1971:

https://pluralistic.net/2020/02/26/pluralistic-your-daily-link-dose-26-feb-2020/#morriscounty

Now, she's moved one year forward, to a 4900sqft, $1.13m 4-bedroom in Denton County, TX. Though it's had some 2000s-era renos, there's a lot of 1970s McEnergy shining through in this monstrosity.

This house has got it all: oversized furniture that looks tiny in giant rooms, giant furniture that looks comical in tiny rooms, but best of all is the view from the rear. As Wagner writes, "Hello, Architecture Store? I'll take one of everything, please!"


Free Cheapass Games print-and-plays (permalink)

Back in 1995, James Ernest, a Wizards of the Coast games designer, quit to found his own company, Cheapass Games, whose philosophy was that gamers had plenty of dice and pawns lying around and all they needed to play new games was ingenious rules.

https://cheapass.com/

A quarter century later, Cheapass celebrated with "Cheapass Games in Black and White," a stunning retrospective hardcover with all of its many, many games:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cheapassgames/cheapass-games-in-black-and-white

In celebration of the book, the company released its original games as free, print-and-play downloads: KILL DOCTOR LUCKY, GIVE ME THE BRAIN, LORD OF THE FRIES, UNEXPLODED COW and so many more!

https://cheapass.com/free-games/originals/

This is a serious bounty!


Trump officials killed Walmart opioid prosecutions (permalink)

From 2006-2014, Walmart was America's number one opioid distributor, dispensing millions of lethal doses in response to prescriptions from doctors so obviously crooked that every other pharmacy in America had blacklisted them.

Walmart's own pharmacists begged HQ for permission to blacklist these docs, but these pleas were refused by top execs who told them they should focus on "driving sales."

The DEA was all set to criminally and civilly charge Walmart, a one-two combo that took account of the fact that the company has gigantic cash reserves that would be barely scratched even by a very large fine.

Walmart, in turn, hired the notorious enablers of Jones Day, a giant corporate lawfirm whose partners were hired in great numbers to serve in Trump's DoJ. Walmart's internal and external legal teams are well-stocked with ex-DoJ top officials.

Trump appointees, working with these revolving-door types, killed the criminal charges against Walmart, despite the massive trove of evidence showing that the company deliberately – and for years – knowingly peddled opioids to people whose lives were at risk from them.

Top Trump DoJ brass refused to help prosecutors force Walmart to comply with subpoenas, then ordered prosecutors to drop the criminal charges, and kept setting up long delays for civil court cases, allowing the statute of limitations to run out for many of Walmart's murders.

Now the civil suit is in "negotiations" for a wrist-slap. The DoJ lost prosecutors whose stinging resignation letters reveal that they were disgusted with impunity for well-connected corporate murderers.

The coverage in Propublica is amazing: they have the receipts – internal Walmart, DoJ and Trump administration memos – even Ivanka's work laundering Walmart's reputation even as prosecutors were trying to wring settlements out of the company.

https://www.propublica.org/article/walmart-was-almost-charged-criminally-over-opioids-trump-appointees-killed-the-indictment


United gets $25B stimulus and announces layoffs (permalink)

The covid stimulus is gonna put cash in the hands of people reeling from economic collapse, which is important, but it's also putting trillions into corporate coffers, which is why AOC called it "shameful."

https://thehill.com/homenews/house/489863-ocasio-cortez-blasts-22t-coronavirus-stimulus-package-as-shameful-on-house

AOC: "One of the largest corporate bailouts with as few strings as possible in American history. Shameful! The greed of that fight is wrong for crumbs for our families."

Congress is politely asking the bailed out companies to forebear on layoffs, but if the companies renege on that, their public-money gift turns into a super-low-interest loan, and their workers are out on their asses.

In fact, many of those companies (the ones that sell bonds to the USG instead of getting loans) can use public money to pay dividends to shareholders, cash out top execs, and STILL lay off workers

https://twitter.com/MarcusMStanley/status/1243597976381120514

Would companies do that? Seems likely: "Over the past 2 years, corporate America has engaged in an unprecedented orgy of capital payouts to shareholders – S&P 500 companies paid out $2.6 trillion, or almost 7% of GDP, to shareholders over those two years" -Marcus Stanley

United didn't wait until the ink was dry. As soon as they were guaranteed $25B in government handouts, they announced layoffs effective after the Sept 30 penalty period is over.

https://twitter.com/matthewstoller/status/1243626367092219905

"Congress is full of a bunch of fucking morons." -Matt Stoller


FLICC vs denialism (permalink)

Since 2013, John Cook has been researching and speaking on countering scientific denial, using the FLICC model: "Fake experts, Logical fallacies, Impossible expectations, Cherry picking, and Conspiracy theories."

https://crankyuncle.com/a-history-of-flicc-the-5-techniques-of-science-denial/

Since then, the model has grown in sophistication, through collaboration with Cook's colleagues on a mobile game called "Cranky Uncle" where "cartoons and gameplay interactively explain denial techniques used to cast doubt on climate science."

https://crankyuncle.com/game/

The new, more granular version of FLICC comes together in a three-part, must-watch video series:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjtMDtA0N7Y

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fk4RyUUFxdE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtFGN6B8lfg

As right-wing strongmen have leaned into virus denial as a way of buoying up the stock market, risking lives at genocidal scale, we are locked in a new life-or-death battle over evidence, reality and expertise. This is very timely indeed.

https://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2020/march/brazil-undone


This Waifu Does Not Exist (permalink)

A recent addition to the genre of semi-lucid media created by Generative Adversarial Networks is "This Waifu Does Not Exist," which creates very plausible anime faces accompanied by much less plausible storylines for those characters.

https://www.gwern.net/TWDNE

The creator used the Danbooru2017/​Danbooru2018 corpus, "~2.5tb of 3.33m images with 92.7m tag instances (of 365k defined tags, ~27.8/image) covering Danbooru 2005-2018"

The images and text generated by the system are CC0.

https://www.gwern.net/Danbooru2019#danbooru2018

I can't stop hitting reload:

https://www.thiswaifudoesnotexist.net/


Fever cameras are garbage (permalink)

Grifters gonna grift, part MMMCCCLII: those "fever detection" cameras don't detect fevers, and also rely on super-dodgy facial recognition and other techniques to accuse people of having fevers.

https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/security/fever-detection-cameras-fight-coronavirus-experts-say-they-don-t-n1170791

Even if they did work, they'd only catch symptomatic people, and of course, the thing that makes covid so dangerous is that most people who have it are asymptomatic. Looking for fevers is the epidemiological equivalent of searching for your car keys under a lamppost because it's too dark to search where you dropped 'em.

The cameras are a covid-pivot for the scummiest CCTV/predictive policing/bootlicker/arms dealer companies serving American police forces, who generally get to buy this stuff without public notice or oversight.

And while covid makes the usual police procurement procedures (like lavish meals and free massages at trade shows) unavailable, I'll bet a testicle* that there are some high-dollar "incentives" changing hands with the cops writing the checks here.

*Not one of mine

(Image: Moses, CC BY, modified)


Employers scramble to buy remote-worker spyware (permalink)

Apparently we're all in this together, which is why your employer expects you to turn your home into a satellite office for free.

https://www.wired.com/beyond-the-beyond/2020/03/turn-quarantined-home-employers-remote-office/

But that solidarity is firmly unidirectional: your boss doesn't trust you to work from his rent-free satellite office (your spare room/kitchen/garage) without slacking, which is why employers are binge-spending on remote spyware:

https://www.latimes.com/business/technology/story/2020-03-27/coronavirus-work-from-home-privacy

These are tools that watch your every keystroke and peer endlessly at you from your webcam to monitor your activity, even as your browser traffic (on that internet connection you're paying for) is surveilled, analyzed and logged.

Naturally, the CEOs and top managers who require you to install this stuff don't have to run it on their computers for their Boards of Directors to monitor.

It's a neat example of two dystopian technological principles: first, it epitomizes the shitty tech adoption curve – the idea that our worst tech is perfected and normalized by imposing it on powerless people, and then new generations are visited upon ever-more-powerful people.

This kind of remote monitoring software started off as a way for parents to spy on their kids, then became a tool for educational institutions to use for remote-proctoring of exams, then a way for prospective employers to conduct job interview tests.

From little kids to university students to jobseekers — now it's white-collar workers. That's a pretty steep shitty tech adoption curve right there.

But it also illustrates the fallacy that "if you're not paying for the product, you're the product." The reality is, "If a corporation can turn you into the product, you're the product, even if you're paying."

The John Deere tractors that farmers have to pay huge fees to have authorized service for, even for repairs they could make themselves? They're not ad-supported freemiums: they're six-figure industrial equipment.

Likewise, Apple doesn't mine your Iphone data, but it sure as fuck extracts monopoly rents from you by selling access to you through its mandatory App Store to software developers, and forcing you to use authorized Apple service and parts.

The idea that "surveillance capitalism" is an epiphenomenon of "surveillance" and not of "capitalism" is a fallacy. Shareholder neoliberal capitalism is just sociopathy with spreadsheets. Companies spy on you because they can, not because you're not paying them.

Your employer expects rent-free facilities and free capex that comes out of your pocket and it expects to spy on you.

The reason they expect that is that you're not in a union and labor protection is weak and the job market is cratering, so they know you have no choice.

Anything we do to poor people and powerless people in this pandemic will be done to rich people within a decade. Remember that the next time you think, "Well, at least it's not happening to me."

(Image: Cryteria, CC-BY, modified)


Canada Reads Q&A on Apr 23 (permalink)

I'm a zuckervegan: No Facebook, Instagram or Whatsapp. But you gotta meet people where they are, not where you wish they were.

That's why I signed up to do CBC's Canada Reads Facebook live event, with some support from the CBC:

https://www.cbc.ca/books/canadareads/ask-the-canada-reads-authors-your-questions-live-on-facebook-1.5512394

On Apr 23 at 2PM Eastern, you can read into a pre-written Q&A with me about my Canada Reads finalist Radicalized on the Canada Reads FB group, and I'll be online from 2PM-3PM, on a phone-link with a CBCer who will relay your questions to me and post my answers to the forum.

I hope those of you who aren't yet zuckervegans will tune in, and then immediately resign from all Facebook products (or at least think about why you're using them). And don't worry if you ARE a zuckervegan: we'll post the Q&A on the actual internet afterwards.


Cowboy Economist on covid stimulus (permalink)

I love The Cowboy Economist, economist JT Harvey's drawling alter-ego who explains Modern Monetary Theory using hilarious old west metaphors:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCL9PHjlPQ5wq0CD6vAibxYg

He's just released a covid stimulus episode called "Paying COVID-19 to go away," explaining how Congress could find trillions in the sofa cushions without insisting that the money first be paid into its coffers through taxation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Uf6pMuDCwI

It's 3.5 minutes well spent. Tldr: Congress spends money first, then taxes it back. It doesn't need to tax us to pay for services any more than Starbucks needs to wait until you've cashed in your gift card before it can issue one to me.


88 Names podcast (permalink)

The brilliant writer Matt Ruff just published a new heist novel about gold-farming and MMORPGs called 88 NAMES that's like Snow Crash meets The King and I:

https://boingboing.net/2020/03/17/3d-gen-gold-farmers.html

Matt's doing a podcast about the book with Blake Collier, and I appeared in the latest episode:

https://www.riseupdaily.com/88namespodcast/2020/03/28/episode-3/

We cover a lot of ground: "the state of tech and how it influences everything from economics to the environment, how fiction shapes VR and AR tech and closed tech systems like Apple…We dive deep on some philosophical and technical ideas."

I hope you'll listen, but even more, I hope you'll read Matt's book. It's outstanding.

Direct MP3 link:

https://traffic.libsyn.com/secure/88namespod/88_Names_Podcast_–_Cory_Doctorow_mixdown.mp3


This day in history (permalink)

#15yrsago McD's will pay rappers for name-checking Big Macs https://web.archive.org/web/20050406032453/http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/294121p-251806c.html

#15yrsago Mark Cuban will fund Grokster's legal battle https://web.archive.org/web/20050601000000*/https://blogmaverick.com/entry/1234000230037801/

#10yrsago UK government wants to secretly read your postal mail https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/henryporter/2010/mar/27/intercepting-mail-stasi-tax-inspectors

#10yrsago UK government's smoke-filled room legislative process https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/mar/28/pre-election-parliamentary-wash-up

#10yrsago Douglas Adams lecture https://www.ted.com/talks/douglas_adams_parrots_the_universe_and_everything

#10yrsago Battlefield Earth screenwriter apologises https://web.archive.org/web/20100424024934/http://www.nypost.com/p/entertainment/movies/penned_the_suckiest_movie_ever_sorry_MdXedZpTMWJmfpw80Xc7aO/0

#5yrsago Prisoner escapes by faking an email ordering his release https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-32095189

#5yrsago What it's like to teach evolution at the University of Kentucky https://orionmagazine.org/article/defending-darwin/

#1yrago How hedge funds, Goldman Sachs, and corrupt executives used Gymboree's chaotic bankruptcy to cash out while destroying the careers of loyal employees https://theintercept.com/2019/03/25/gymboree-bankruptcy-severance-scam/

#1yrago AOC is going to Appalachia to talk to coal miners https://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/congress/article228488679.html

#1yrago Millennials are killing McMansions https://www.businessinsider.com.au/millennials-vs-baby-boomers-big-houses-real-estate-market-problems-2019-3

#1yrago Sting operation: the NRA explains to white nationalist Australian political party how to deflect gun control calls after a massacre https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/03/sell-massacre-nra-playbook-revealed-190325111828105.html


Colophon (permalink)

Today's top sources: Vinay Gupta (https://twitter.com/leashless, Kottke (https://kottke.org), Stefan Jones (https://twitter.com/StefanEJones), Slashdot (Slashdot), Naked Capitalism (https://nakedcapitalism.com/), Beyond the Beyond (http://www.wired.com/category/beyond_the_beyond/).

Currently writing: I'm getting geared up to start work my next novel, "The Lost Cause," a post-GND novel about truth and reconciliation.

Currently reading: Just started Lauren Beukes's forthcoming Afterland: it's Y the Last Man plus plus, and two chapters in, it's amazeballs. Last month, I finished Andrea Bernstein's "American Oligarchs"; it's a magnificent history of the Kushner and Trump families, showing how they cheated, stole and lied their way into power. I'm getting really into Anna Weiner's memoir about tech, "Uncanny Valley." I just loaded Matt Stoller's "Goliath" onto my underwater MP3 player and I'm listening to it as I swim laps.

Latest podcast: Data – the new oil, or potential for a toxic oil spill? https://craphound.com/podcast/2020/03/23/data-the-new-oil-or-potential-for-a-toxic-oil-spill/

Upcoming appearances:

Upcoming books: "Poesy the Monster Slayer" (Jul 2020), a picture book about monsters, bedtime, gender, and kicking ass. Pre-order here: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781626723627?utm_source=socialmedia&utm_medium=socialpost&utm_term=na-poesycorypreorder&utm_content=na-preorder-buynow&utm_campaign=9781626723627

(we're having a launch for it in Burbank on July 11 at Dark Delicacies and you can get me AND Poesy to sign it and Dark Del will ship it to the monster kids in your life in time for the release date).

"Attack Surface": The third Little Brother book, Oct 20, 2020. https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250757531

"Little Brother/Homeland": A reissue omnibus edition with a new introduction by Edward Snowden: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250774583

This work licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. That means you can use it any way you like, including commerically, provided that you attribute it to me, Cory Doctorow, and include a link to pluralistic.net.

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Quotations and images are not included in this license; they are included either under a limitation or exception to copyright, or on the basis of a separate license. Please exercise caution.

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When live gives you SARS, you make sarsaparilla -Joey "Accordion Guy" DeVilla

Nobody Runs Like This

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 28/03/2020 - 9:22am in

Pluralistic: 26 Mar 2020

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 27/03/2020 - 1:17am in

Today's links

  1. EFF's videoconferencing backgrounds: With a deep cut from the NSA's secret listening post.
  2. The ideology of economics: Economics doesn't have "laws" it has "policies."
  3. LoC plugs Little Brother: Open access FTW.
  4. Canada nationalizes covid patents: An Act respecting certain measures in response to COVID-19.
  5. Exponential Threat: Trump threatened to sue media outlets that aired this spot.
  6. Sanders on GOP stimulus cruelty: "Millions for plutes, but not one cent for workers."
  7. Record wind-power growth: Covid stimulus could start a Green New Deal.
  8. Social distancing and other diseases: Do we trust IoT thermometer companies, though?
  9. Badger Masks: UW Madison's open facemask design.
  10. This day in history: 2005, 2010, 2015, 2019
  11. Colophon: Recent publications, upcoming appearances, current writing projects, current reading


EFF's videoconferencing backgrounds (permalink)

Telework is a quiet reminder that we live, in some sense, in an age of wonders. As terrible as lockdown is, imagine it without any way to videoconference with your peers and colleagues.

But it's also a moment where we tremble on the precipice of cyberpunk dystopia, when calls for mass surveillance – both for epidemiology and stabilizing states that are bruised and reeling – meet a world where everything is online and amenable to "collection" by spooks.

This is, basically, the moment that EFF has been warning about for 30 years: the moment when the "digital world" and the "real world" fully merge, and where the distinction between "tech policy" and "policy" dissolves.

One way you can help keep this in your colleagues' minds is to use EFF's amazing, free/open graphics as your videoconferencing background (most of these are the creation of the brilliant Hugh D'Andrade).

Now, those are all great, but this one is Room 641A at AT&T's Folsom Street center, where the whistleblower Mark Klein was ordered to build a secret room so the NSA could illegally spy on all US internet traffic.


The ideology of economics (permalink)

Thomas Piketty's "Capital in the 21st Century" advanced a simple, data-supported hypothesis: that markets left to their own will cause capital to grow faster than the economy as a whole, so over time, the rich always get richer.

https://boingboing.net/2014/06/24/thomas-pikettys-capital-in-t.html

He's followed up Capital with the 1000-page "Capital and Ideology" – whose thesis is that the "laws" of economics are actually policies, created to "justify a society's inequalities," providing a rationale to convince poor people not to start building guillotines.

The first ideology of capital was the "trifunctional" system of monarchist France, dividing society into "those who pray," "those who fight," and "those who work."

After the French revolution, we enter the capitalist phase, then social democracies, and now, "meritocracies."

"Meritocracies" invest markets with the mystical power to identify and elevate the worthy, in a kind of tautology: those who have the most are worth the most. You can tell they're worth the most because they have the most.

("That makes me smart" -D. Trump)

In Piketty's conception, "Inequality is neither economic nor technological. It's ideological and political," where "ideology" "refers to a set of a priori plausible ideas describing how society should be structured" (think: Overton Window).

https://bostonreview.net/class-inequality/marshall-steinbaum-thomas-piketty-takes-ideology-inequality

The major part of the book seeks to explain how the post-war social democracies gave way to the grifter meritocracies of today, pulling together threads from across the whole world to tell the tale.

On the way, he described alternatives that were obliterated, and others that were never tried, and shows how "meritocracy" gave us Trump, xenophobia, Brexit, and the Current Situation.

In particular, he's interested in why working class people stopped voting (spoiler: they no longer perceive that elites will pay attention to them irrespective of how they vote) — and what it would take to mobilize them again.

The elites' indifference to working people is grounded in an alliance between the Brahmin Left (educated, well-paid liberals) and the Merchant Right (the finance sector). Notionally leftist parties, like the Democrats, are dominated by the Brahmin Left.

But more than any other, Macron epitomizes this alliance: proclaiming his liberal values while slashing taxes on the wealthy — punishing poor people for driving cars, exempting private jets from his "climate" bill.

Life in a "meritocracy" is especially cruel for poor people, because meritocracies, uniquely among ideologies, blame poor people for poverty. It's right there in the name. French kings didn't think God was punishing peons, rather, that the Lord had put them there to serve.

"The broadly social-democratic redistributive coalitions of the mid-twentieth century were not just electoral or institutional or party coalitions but also intellectual and ideological. The battle was fought and won above all on the battleground of ideas."

As Marshall Steinbaum writes in his excellent review, Piketty's work doesn't just highlight new ideas in economics: it highlights the intellectual poverty of the economics profession and its tunnel vision.

"Economists cannot be allowed to be the arbiters of the intensely political concerns Piketty takes up in the book, and the good news is that there is reason to believe they won't be."


LoC plugs Little Brother (permalink)

Honored and pleased to have my book Little Brother included on the Library of Congress's excellent collection of open-access ebooks in its collection, which you can always access gratis but which may be of especial interest during the lockdown.

https://blogs.loc.gov/thesignal/2020/03/more-open-ebooks-routinizing-open-access-ebook-workflows/

If you enjoyed Little Brother and its sequel Homeland, you might be interested in the third Little Brother book, Attack Surface, which Tor is publishing on Oct 12.

https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250757531

If you're looking for more topical reading, Infodocket's carefully curated list of coronavirus resources is here for you:

https://www.infodocket.com/2020/01/31/2019-novel-coronavirus-resources/


Canada nationalizes covid patents (permalink)

Canada's Parliament has passed Bill C13, "An Act respecting certain measures in response to COVID-19," amending patent law to create automatic compulsory licenses for any inventionused to fight covid, including diagnostics, vaccines, therapies or PPE.

https://www.parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/43-1/bill/C-13/third-reading

As E Richard Gold writes, it's an "important signal that Canada will not support IP delays…While most firms are helping find solutions, this will prevent those who try to take advantage-by raising prices or limiting supply-or those who cannot deliver to block what is needed."


Exponential Threat (permalink)

"Exponential Threat" is a remarkable – and factual – political ad, one that contrasts Trump's statements on coronavirus with the spread of the disease in America.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkMwvmJLnc0

More remarkable: Trump has threatened to sue the media for airing it, which is a totally cool and normal thing for someone who has sworn a solemn oath to uphold the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to do.

https://assets.donaldjtrump.com/2017/web/hero_images/Redacted_PUSA_Letter.pdf

"In case you needed more, here's an (admittedly incomplete) list of Trump statements on the novel coronavirus and COID-19"

http://www.joeydevilla.com/2020/03/25/exponential-threat-the-covid-19-themed-ad-that-the-trump-pence-campaign-doesnt-want-you-to-see/


Sanders on GOP stimulus cruelty (permalink)

This Bernie Sanders floor speech in the Senate on the GOP's relentless attempts to punish poor people in the covid relief package is a must-watch

https://www.reddit.com/r/SandersForPresident/comments/fp3my0/bernie_goes_full_sanders_on_the_republicans_for/

tldr: GOP Senators are freaking out because some people in line to get the pittances they're doling out actually earn EVEN LESS than $1k-2k/month, and so they might get a raise in the form of covid relief.

That is, rather than taking the fact that this bare-minimum subsidy package exceeds "normal" income as a wakeup call to raise the minimum wage for the first time since 2009, the GOP is calling for cuts to aid to the most vulnerable Americans.

As Sanders points out, these same Senators had no problem with the Tax Scam, which poured trillions into the accounts of the richest Americans, directly and indirectly through stock-buybacks, which also left US business vulnerable and in need of trillions more today.

Now those bailed-out plutes want workers to risk death to "restart the economy," and the GOP will ensure they'll starve if they don't.

As ever, The Onion nails it:

https://politics.theonion.com/gop-urges-end-of-quarantine-for-lifeless-bipedal-automa-1842461351

"GOP Urges End Of Quarantine For Lifeless Bipedal Automatons That Make Economy Go"


Record wind-power growth (permalink)

As the world's wind-generation capacity increases, you'd expect annual growth to fall proportionately (it's easier to double a very small number than a very big one!), but this year should see the largest proportional growth ever, a 20% increase!

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/mar/25/worlds-wind-power-capacity-up-by-fifth-after-record-year

That number is uncertain (hello, coronavirus), but on the other hand, there's a massive stimulus package in the offing that could be used to restart the economy by saving the planet with renewable energy.

The non-adjusted, pre-virus projection for this year's total growth in wind power was an additional 76GW (to meet climate projections, that number has to rise to 100GW/year, and then to 200GW/year).


Social distancing and other diseases (permalink)

Though the evidence is a little shaky, it appears that social distancing has dramatically reduced the spread of other infectious diseases, like flu.

https://qz.com/1824020/social-distancing-slowing-not-only-covid-19-but-other-diseases-too/

The data comes from an Internet of Shit "connected thermometer" company that (allegedly) anonymizes its data and uses it for health surveillance; they report a massive drop-off in high temps relative to other years and pre-distancing levels.

The claims are plausible, but they're also an ad for an IoT company that sells a product no one needs, so take them with a grain of salt.

I'd be interested in STI transmission after weeks/months of government-recommended masturbation-over-hookups:

https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/doh/downloads/pdf/imm/covid-sex-guidance.pdf


Badger Masks (permalink)

A local hospital asked researchers at the UW Madison Engineering Design Innovation Lab to design them a field-expedient face-shield that could be mass-manufactured to protect its staff from coming cases.

https://www.wired.com/story/tinkerers-created-face-shield-being-used-hospitals/

Using hardware-store parts, the UW makerspace, and teleconferencing with self-isolating collaborators, the team designed an excellent mask, the Badger Shield:

https://making.engr.wisc.edu/shield/

They've manufactured and delivered 1,000 Badger Masks to the hospital and a Ford plant in MI is making 75,000 more this week for Detroit-area hospitals. Here's a technical spec you can follow if you have access to equipment and parts:

https://www.delve.com/assets/documents/OPEN-SOURCE-FACE-SHIELD-DRAWING-v1.PDF

It involves just 3 pieces: polyethylene sheets (laser- or die-cut), an elastic headband, and a 1" thick strip of self-adhesive polyurethane foam. For initial production, Midwest Prototyping used office-supply-store electric staplers for assembly.

The design process started with a teardown of an existing, approved mask, and the project lead, Lennon Rodgers, worked with collaborators to replicate it, sanity-checking successive designs with his wife, an anaesthesiologist.

They started hand-delivering prototypes to the hospital, who refined the design further, swapping in latex-free elastic and lengthening the shield. Tim Osswald from UW used his polymer engineering expertise to find a supplier who could create a custom die.

Now, more than 1M Badger Masks have been sought, with manufacturers like St Paul's Summit Medical tooling up to meet demand.

Other designs are popping up across America. San Francisco's Exploratorium is making 200+ shields/day using its own makerspace.


This day in history (permalink)

#15yrsago If the Constitution was a EULA https://web.archive.org/web/20050330012000/http://slate.msn.com/id/2115254/

#10yrsgo Discarded photocopier hard drives stuffed full of corporate secrets https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2010/03/18/hightech_copy_machines_a_gold_mine_for_data_thieves.html

#5yrsago TPP leak: states give companies the right to repeal nations' laws https://wikileaks.org/tpp-investment/press.html

#5yrsago Woman medicated in a psychiatric ward until she said Obama didn't follow her on Twitter https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/woman-held-in-psychiatric-ward-after-correctly-saying-obama-follows-her-on-twitter-10132662.html

#5yrsago Sandwars: the mafias whose illegal sand mines make whole islands vanish https://www.wired.com/2015/03/illegal-sand-mining/

#5yrsago Australia outlaws warrant canaries https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2015/03/australian-government-minister-dodge-new-data-retention-law-like-this/

#5yrsago As crypto wars begin, FBI silently removes sensible advice to encrypt your devices https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20150325/17430330432/fbi-quietly-removes-recommendation-to-encrypt-your-phone-as-fbi-director-warns-how-encryption-will-lead-to-tears.shtml

#1yrago Article 13 will wreck the internet because Swedish MEPs accidentally pushed the wrong voting button https://medium.com/@emanuelkarlsten/sweden-democrats-swedish-social-democrats-defeat-motion-to-amend-articles-11-13-731d3c0fbf30

#1yrago EU's Parliament Signs Off on Disastrous Internet Law: What Happens Next? https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/03/eus-parliament-signs-disastrous-internet-law-what-happens-next


Colophon (permalink)

Today's top sources: Slashdot (https://slashdot.org/), Naked Capitalism (https://nakedcapitalism.com/), Late Stage Capitalism (https://www.reddit.com/r/LateStageCapitalism/).

Currently writing: I'm getting geared up to start work my next novel, "The Lost Cause," a post-GND novel about truth and reconciliation.

Currently reading: Just started Lauren Beukes's forthcoming Afterland: it's Y the Last Man plus plus, and two chapters in, it's amazeballs. Last month, I finished Andrea Bernstein's "American Oligarchs"; it's a magnificent history of the Kushner and Trump families, showing how they cheated, stole and lied their way into power. I'm getting really into Anna Weiner's memoir about tech, "Uncanny Valley." I just loaded Matt Stoller's "Goliath" onto my underwater MP3 player and I'm listening to it as I swim laps.

Latest podcast: Data – the new oil, or potential for a toxic oil spill? https://craphound.com/podcast/2020/03/23/data-the-new-oil-or-potential-for-a-toxic-oil-spill/

Upcoming appearances:

Upcoming books: "Poesy the Monster Slayer" (Jul 2020), a picture book about monsters, bedtime, gender, and kicking ass. Pre-order here: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781626723627?utm_source=socialmedia&utm_medium=socialpost&utm_term=na-poesycorypreorder&utm_content=na-preorder-buynow&utm_campaign=9781626723627

(we're having a launch for it in Burbank on July 11 at Dark Delicacies and you can get me AND Poesy to sign it and Dark Del will ship it to the monster kids in your life in time for the release date).

"Attack Surface": The third Little Brother book, Oct 20, 2020. https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250757531

"Little Brother/Homeland": A reissue omnibus edition with a new introduction by Edward Snowden: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250774583

This work licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. That means you can use it any way you like, including commerically, provided that you attribute it to me, Cory Doctorow, and include a link to pluralistic.net.

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When live gives you SARS, you make sarsaparilla -Joey "Accordion Guy" DeVilla

Radio 4 Adaptation on Saturday of Verne’s ‘The Mysterious Island’

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 26/03/2020 - 5:01am in

According to next week’s Radio Times, Radio 4 next Saturday, 28th March 2020, is broadcasting an adaptation of Jules Verne’s ‘The Mysterious Island’ at 3.00 pm. The blurb for it runs

‘Drama: To the Ends of the Earth: the Mysterious Island

Three very different people escape the American Civil War by stealing a balloon – which crashes near a deserted island. But perhaps it is not quite as deserted as they think. Gregory Evan’s dramatisation of Jules Verne’s sequel to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.’

What struck me about this is that Captain Nemo is played by an Asian actor, Sagar Arya. There’s a bitter controversy at the moment over ‘forced diversity’, the term used for writers, directors and producers altering the gender and race of established characters in order to make traditional, or long-established stories, plays, films or TV series more multicultural, feminist or otherwise inclusive. It might be thought that this is another example, but it would be wrong.

In an interview with Alan Moore I found on YouTube a few months ago, the comics legend behind Watchmen, V for Vendetta and a series of other strips and graphic novels, explained why he made Nemo an Indian prince in The League of Extraordinary Gentleman. The comic, which was made into a film a little while ago starring Sean Connery, imagines a kind of late 19th – early 20th century superhero group formed by Alan Quartermain, the Invisible Man, Dorian Grey, Dr. Jekyll and his alter ego, Mr Hyde, and Captain Nemo. The group travels on their adventures in Nemo’s ship, the Nautilus. The strip was drawn by 2000 AD art robot, Kevin O’Neill, whose art back in the 1980s for an edition of the Green Lantern Corps was judged too horrific for children by the late, unlamented Comics Code. So far, however, I have heard of no-one being left psychologically scarred by his art on The League. Moore stated that he made Nemo Indian, with O’Neill’s art consequently showing the Nautilus’ interior decorated with Indian art and architectural motifs, because that is exactly how Verne described him in The Mysterious Island. He wasn’t at all like James Mason in the Disney movie.

Now I dare say that the Beeb may very well have chosen to adapt The Mysterious Island for radio in order to give this favourite Science Fiction character a new, multicultural twist. But it is faithful to Verne’s original conception of the character. It’ll be interesting to hear what it’s like.

Here’s the video from the AlanMooreVids channel on YouTube, in which Moore talks about the strip. It’s a segment from the BBC 4 series on comics, Comics Britannia. The video shows O’Neill’s art, and the artist himself working. Moore praises his collaborator on the strip, saying that he take the most disturbing of his ideas and make them two or three times more upsetting. But he admires his skill for the grotesque, which in Moore’s view places him up there with the caricaturists Gilray and Hogarth. It’s high praise, but I think Moore’s actually right. If O’Neill had become a caricaturist instead of a comics artist, I think he would be admired as the equal of such greats as Gerald Scarfe and Ralph Steadman.

Pluralistic: 24 Mar 2020

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 25/03/2020 - 2:47am in

Today's links

  1. This year's Nebula Awards will be held online: It's $150, and raising funds to bail out corona-shattered writers.
  2. Make America Well Again stamps: from the artist who brought you the Trump Zero Cents stamp.
  3. Data is the new toxic waste: It never was the "new oil" (my latest podcast).
  4. Stock Jump: A ski-game that lets you play the stock charts of cratered businesses.
  5. Murdering 20% of elderly Americans is bad strategy for the GOP: Terrified old people are the turkeys who vote for plutes' Christmas every four years.
  6. Join me on the Quarantine Book Club: April 1, 3PM Pacific.
  7. The Party of Death: It's a good time to buy exterminism futures.
  8. Financial stability vs economic stability: Debts that can't be paid, won't be paid.
  9. Quarantine reveals the falsity of the automation crisis: Augmentation isn't replacement.
  10. Bailouts and moral hazard: If we never teach big business, it won't ever learn.
  11. MIT's ingenious manual/automatic open source ventilator: Now in FDA testing.
  12. This day in history: 2005, 2010, 2015, 2019
  13. Colophon: Recent publications, current writing projects, upcoming appearances, current reading


This year's Nebula Awards will be held online (permalink)

This year's Nebula Awards weekend is moving online, thanks to decisive action from SFWA and Mary Robinette Kowal.

https://www.sfwa.org/2020/03/22/announcing-the-transformation-of-the-2020-nebula-conference-and-covid19-relief/

It'll include "panels, solo presentations, conference mentorships, workshops, forums, chats, and virtual room parties (including a dance party hosted by John Scalzi)." Part of the proceeds will go to relief for sf writers who are in covid-related financial distress.

It runs May 29-31, including a livestream of the Nebula Awards banquet. Registration is $150 and comes with a year of access to archived materials and the SFWA Bulletin.


Make America Well Again stamps (permalink)

I bought some of Ben Hannam's Trump No Cents stamps in 2017 and never looked back. I still put 'em on letters.

Now he's got a Make America Well Again stamp, which you can lick (if you dare) and stick for the duration. Remember, USPS is profitable and unsubsidized and Trump's swamp-dwellers want to shut it down and replace it with donors like Fedex and UPS!


Data is the new toxic waste (permalink)

My latest podcast is a reading of "Data – the new oil, or potential for a toxic oil spill?" — a column arguing that data was never "the new oil" – instead, it was always the new toxic waste: "pluripotent, immortal – and impossible to contain."

https://www.kaspersky.com/blog/secure-futures-magazine/data-new-toxic-waste/34184/

Data breaches are inevitable (any data you collect will probably leak; any data you retain will definitely leak) and cumulative (your company's data breach can be combined with each subsequent attack to revictimize your customers).

Identity thieves benefit enormously from cheap storage, and they collect, store and recombine every scrap of leaked data. Merging multiple data sets allows for reidentification of "anonymized" data, and it's impossible to predict which sets will leak in the future.

These nondeterministic harms have so far protected data-collectors from liability, but that can't last. Toxic waste also has nondeterministic harms (we never know which bit of effluent will kill which person), but we still punish firms that leak it.

Waiting until the laws change to purge your data is a bad bet – by then, it may be too late. All the data your company collects and retains represents an unquantifiable, potentially unlimited source of downstream liability.

What's more, you probably aren't doing anything useful with it. The companies that make the most grandiose claims about data analytics are either selling analytics or data (or both). These claims are sales literature, not peer-reviewed citations to empirical research.

Data is cheap to collect and store – if you don't have to pay for the chaos it sows when it leaks. And some day, we will make data-hoarders pay.

Here's the podcast:

https://craphound.com/podcast/2020/03/23/data-the-new-oil-or-potential-for-a-toxic-oil-spill/

Here's the MP3:

https://ia801406.us.archive.org/9/items/Cory_Doctorow_Podcast_334/Cory_Doctorow_Podcast_334_-Data-_the_new_oil_or_potential_for_a_toxic_oil_spill.mp3

And here's the link to subscribe to the podcast:

http://feeds.feedburner.com/doctorow_podcast


Stock Jump (permalink)

Last week, those of us lucky enough to have retirement savings joined the rest of the world, because our 401(k)s all cratered and all the promising stocks (teleconferencing, guillotines) are all way, way overpriced thanks to panic buying by Republican Senators.

But when life gives you SARS, you make sarsaparilla.

Enter Stock Jump, a ski-jump game whose courses are procedurally generated by the stock charts of shares from around the world.

It's really fun! If you can see through the tears.

http://stockjump.sos.gd/


Murdering 20% of elderly Americans is bad strategy for the GOP (permalink)

A thread by Patrick Nielsen Hayden on Making Light crystallized a thought that literally had me tossing and turning all night, about Trump's decision to risk the lives of ~20% of elderly Americans to goose the stock market.

https://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/016643.html#4402672

The thing I find baffling is how short-term this thinking is.

Not for Trump, of course, who is legendary for his view of life as a game of running across a river hopping from the back of one alligator to another before he can get his leg bitten off.

But for the right-wing establishment, whose whole schtick is "rationality" and "long-term thinking" and "self-control" (think of the gleeful repetition of the discredited Marshmellow Test and the rhetoric about the "poor life choices" that lead to single parenthood, addiction, and inadequate retirement savings or health insurance).

How is it that these self-congratulatory long-game-players can't see that murdering one in five American seniors is a self-limiting move when frightened old white people are the primary source of turkeys who can be counted upon to vote for Christmas every four years?

The right has an antimajoritarian, elitist agenda. Right-wing thought is essentially the belief that some people are destined to rule, and others are destined to be ruled over by their betters, and the world is best when the right people are atop the pyramid. Splits in the right are about who should rule: Dominionists want Christian men in charge; libertarians want bosses in charge, imperialists want America in charge, racists want white people in charge, etc.

Antimajoritarian projects struggle in democracies, for obvious reasons. When your platform is "only 1% of us should be making decisions" it's hard to win 51% of the vote. That's why the right focuses so hard on gerrymandering and voter suppression, and why the otherwise untenable coalitions — finaciers and young-Earth Creationists, say — persist.

But the biggest source of ballots in support of rule by elites is frightened people, especially frightened bigots who think that the elites will promote their interests ahead of the disfavored minorities (think: Dixiecrats).

So murdering 20% of the most reliable source of votes for elite rule is a farcically shortsighted thing to do.

I am terrified of a Biden candidacy not merely because I think his policies are poor, but because I think he is really bad at being a candidate, and will struggle to win.

But Trump murdering 20% of his base might just be enough to make him lose. It may be that while he could murder someone in the middle of 5th Ave and get away with it, he can't sentence 20% of US pensioners to gruesome deaths and get away with it.

I'm not gleeful at this prospect. I am totally aghast. I barely slept last night, waking up dozens of times with this genocide playing out in my imagination.

But I am incredibly surprised. How does the self-declared Party of the Long View not see that this is going to destroy it?

The stock market is circling the drain and obviously this is very distressing for the donor class, but almost no Americans own any significant stocks, because most Americans have NO savings. The idea that rescuing share prices by killing the elderly will get the turkeys out to vote for Christmas is clearly wrong.

For more on antimajoritarianism and the right, read Corey Robin's outstanding book, "The Reactionary Mind."

https://twitter.com/doctorow/status/1234117673316782082


Join me on the Quarantine Book Club (permalink)

I'm going participate in a session of the Quarantine Book Club on April 1 at 3PM Pacific, where we're discussing my book Radicalized. Tickets here:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/quarantine-book-club-cory-doctorow-tickets-100931360416

If $5 is a burden for you, you can get in free with the code ALLAREWELCOME.

Hope to see you!


The Party of Death (permalink)

In his 2017 book Four Futures, Peter Frase uses science fiction to sketch out four ways our society could go as capitalism ruptures, from communism to exterminism, this being the expression of bosses' fear and dependence on workers.

https://boingboing.net/2017/01/06/four-futures-using-science-fi.html

Frase posits a possible mass-automation event that makes workers superfluous (I'm skeptical of this: climate change guarantees 2-3 centuries of full employment, e.g., relocating every coastal city).

But in light of the Current Situation, he imagines a different form of exterminism.

https://jacobinmag.com/2020/03/coronavirus-economy-public-health-exterminism/

It's not just the GOP's willingness to murder 20% of seniors in the hopes of rescuing the Dow.

Plutes and their bootlickers have been calling for mass-deaths as a preferable alternative since the crisis first manifested, as when Tea Party founder Rick Santelli suggested "Maybe we'd be just better off if we gave it to everybody."

And of course, there was Boris Johnson and Dominick Cummings' plan to infect all of the UK to create "herd immunity." As Cummings said, "if that means some pensioners die, too bad."

Now Trump wants to potentially murder 20% of American seniors to rescue share prices, and the GOP is going along with him.

https://twitter.com/doctorow/status/1242444277264740353

The Republicans have become the Party of Death, with establishment figures like Thomas Friedman providing ideological cover (""let many of us get the coronavirus, recover and get back to work").

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/22/opinion/coronavirus-economy.html

Frase: "The ghoulishness of this strategy will become apparent when it is too late, when the hospitals fill and the health care system and the economy both collapse."

"Those in power will be held blameless, and those with wealth will sadly lament the foolishness of the lesser orders."

"Socialists have always insisted that human needs should take precedence over profit, that the stock market is not the economy, and that we need to utterly transform an economy that is immiserating working people and destroying the planet. That message will only become more urgent as our opponents across different parts of the ruling class come to the conclusion — mournfully for some, gleefully for others — that in the contest between loss of profit and loss of life, they choose death."


Financial stability vs economic stability (permalink)

Michael Hudson is a fascinating thinker, an expert in the history of debt and debt-forgiveness. See, e.g., this:

https://pluralistic.net/2020/03/23/tacocat-vs-dog-prostates/#jubilee

In a new interview, Hudson delves into that history: interest-bearing debt was invented in the third millennium BCE, and quickly kings learned that they had to have periodic debt forgiveness, or compound interest would render all debts unpayable.

https://digitalfinanceanalytics.com/blog/debt-and-power-with-michael-hudson/

Greeks and Romans did away with the practice, and so had to live with six centuries of debt-revolts, as ever-larger fractions of their populace ended up in a form of debt slavery.

Greek Democracy was created to allow commoners to serve in government and so vote to cancel debts. Roman emperors conquered Greece and did away with debt-cancellation, creating an increasingly unstable oligarchy.

That's not far off from where we are today. 90% of debts are held by the richest 10%, and these oligarchs own the political process and refuse to countenance debt-cancellation.

Obama promised to write down mortgages, but instead he bailed out finance, who kicked us all out and bought our houses out from under us, and then rented back to us. Since then, the Fed "has created $4.5 trillion of credit to support prices for real estate."

"The aim has been to make housing more expensive, enabling the banks to collect on their mortgages and not go under. Credit keeps the debt overhead in place, thereby keeping the financial system afloat instead of facing the reality that debt needs to be written down."

Trump's gonna do it again, giving $50b to airlines/Boeing. Since 2008, Boeing has spent $45b on buybacks. Trump's message: "Spend 92-95% of your income to buy your own hares, and the government will print money so you can do it again, because our priority is stock prices."

"Financial stability" is incompatible with "economic stability." Financial stability means never writing down debts so that the bad loans oligarchs made never turn into bad debts. Economic stability requires debt write-downs so that people can be productive.

Obama's bailouts increased big banks' Too Big to Fail status. That's why since 2008, "GDP per 95 percent of the American population is actually shrunk. All the growth in America's GDP has occurred only to the wealthiest 5% of the population."

Today, plutes "hope to use the crisis not to revive the economy, but to just pound it into debt deflation, leaving the debts in place while bailing out the banks and the landlord class."

Here's what "financial stability" looks like: "you have to pay this exponential growth in debt, [and] have less and less to buy goods and services."


Quarantine reveals the falsity of the automation crisis (permalink)

Automation-based unemployment has always been overhyped. Any work that robots take over merely frees up human workers for the 2-300 year project of climate remediation, including relocating every coastal city in the world.

But automation is also vastly overhyped. Take the oft-repeated claim that "truck driver" is the most common job in America, and first in line to be automated. It's just wrong.

First, because the BLS "truck driver" category includes long-haul truckers, delivery drivers, couriers, and dozens of other subprofessions, most of which are far, far away from being automatable.

https://hbr.org/2019/09/automation-isnt-about-to-make-truckers-obsolete

(More importantly, though: the most automatable category is long-haul driver, and an automated long-haul truck in its own dedicated lane is just a shitty train).

The overhyped nature of technological displacement is on perfect display during the pandemic quarantine. As many "low skilled" (which is to say, "low waged") workers withdraw from the workforce, the economy has ground to a halt.

So much so that the right is now prepared to throw 20+% of seniors into the volcano to appease the market gods.

The category error committed by automation-fretters is to confuse "automating a job" with "augmenting a worker."

"We know that robots are great at repetitive work. they can do that forever. What's not so great is anything with a human-centered context, a cultural context." -Julie Carpenter

https://www.wired.com/story/robot-jobs-coronavirus/


Bailouts and moral hazard (permalink)

It's been barely a decade since the USG bailed out big businesses and the fact that we're here again reveals some of the glaring failures in the last bailout. Any new bailout should correct those errors by putting restrictions on bailed-out companies.

https://pluralistic.net/2020/03/19/gb-whatsapp/#peoples-bailout

There have been some good proposals on these lines, like those from AOC and Stephanie Kelton:

https://pluralistic.net/2020/03/21/most-dangerous-ghost/#peoples-bailout

(whenever I write about this in public, I'm inundated with angry tweets from sociopaths with "investor" in their bios)

We're running out of time to get this right. DC is so filled with money-hungry lobbyists that they can't practice adequate social distancing, and they're collectively seeking trillions in string-free public money for their paymaster.

https://www.ineteconomics.org/perspectives/blog/rule-number-1-for-government-bailouts-of-companies-make-sure-voters-and-taxpayers-share-in-the-upside

At a minimum, any bailouts should come in exchange for convertible corporate bonds that let the USG take an ownership stake in any business that fails to repay its public debts. That's a minimum, as is a ban on stock buybacks for bailed out companies.

We need very strict limits on lobbying by bailed out firms: "If we are not to finance our own bamboozlement, any company receiving bailouts must be required each month to file full reports on political contributions and lobbying expenditures to candidates and parties."

This goes for dark money contributions, including 527 funds, and corporate/exec contributions to trade associations and other lobbying fronts, think-tanks, and other political influence vehicles.

"Unlike last time, when Hank Paulson, Tim Geithner, and Ben Bernanke failed to give the public a serious share of the upside, the bailed out firms should be compelled to issue convertible bonds to the government."

"Those bonds should make the government the senior creditor to the firm for the value of the principal as long as the debt is unpaid…As firms and the economy recover, the shares can be sold on the open market, yielding a handsome return to the Treasury."

The right likes to harp about "moral hazard" as an excuse for cutting aid, to, say, single mothers ("It only encourages them"). But what about businesses that needed trillions in 2008 and now need trillions more? What lesson are we teaching them?

(Image: Alex Proimos, CC BY)


MIT's ingenious manual/automatic open source ventilator (permalink)

At the end of last week, a crowdsourced design for an open-source hardware ventilator entered testing with the Irish regulator, a week after work began on the project.

https://pluralistic.net/2020/03/20/pluralistic-20-mar-2020/#oshw-breathing

Now, hot on its heels, an MIT open source hardware ventilator team has submitted its design to the FDA for testing and approval, under the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) authority.

https://e-vent.mit.edu/

It eliminates many possible sources of failure by replacing an electric pump with a manual one, which can, in turn, be operated by a separate, very simple, Arduino-controlled system (which can be readily swapped out for a human hand if it fails).

As Hackaday points out, "Almost as interesting as the device itself is the comments people are leaving about the design."

https://hackaday.com/2020/03/23/mit-ventilator-designed-with-common-manual-resuscitator-submitted-for-fda-testing/


This day in history (permalink)

#15yrsago Record sales up, P2P sales up — RIAA's story doesn't add up https://web.archive.org/web/20050822053404/http://news.com.com/2100-1027_3-5631698.html

#15yrsago Octopuses dressed up as sea coconuts sneaking on two legs https://www.nature.com/news/2005/050321/full/050321-14.html

#10yrsago Pooh vs Alien: Webcomics realize their full potential at last http://godxiliary.com/alienvspooh/

#10yrsago Airport worker caught photographing screen as female worker passed through naked scanner https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2010/mar/24/airport-worker-warned-body-scanner

#10yrsago UK record lobby: democracy is a waste of time https://www.openrightsgroup.org/blog/2010/corporate-lobbyists-no-need-for-democracy

#5yrsago How medical abortion works https://www.ohjoysextoy.com/medical-abortion/

#5yrsago ACLU sues TSA to make it explain junk science "behavioral detection" program https://www.aclu.org/press-releases/nyclu-and-aclu-sue-tsa-records-discredited-behavior-detection-program

#5yrsago Randomized dystopia generator that goes beyond the Bill of Rights https://www.harihareswara.net/dystopia/

#1yrago Man stole $122m from Facebook and Google by sending them random bills, which the companies dutifully paid https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/lithuanian-pleads-guilty-to-stealing-100-million-from-google-facebook/

#1yrago Chelsea Manning is being held in prolonged solitary confinement, a form of torture https://xychelsea.is/?page_id=28


Colophon (permalink)

Today's top sources: Tor.com (https://tor.com), Naked Capitalism (https://nakedcapitalism.com/), Slashdot (https://slashdot.org/).

Currently writing: I'm getting geared up to start work my next novel, "The Lost Cause," a post-GND novel about truth and reconciliation.

Currently reading: Just started Lauren Beukes's forthcoming Afterland: it's Y the Last Man plus plus, and two chapters in, it's amazeballs. Last month, I finished Andrea Bernstein's "American Oligarchs"; it's a magnificent history of the Kushner and Trump families, showing how they cheated, stole and lied their way into power. I'm getting really into Anna Weiner's memoir about tech, "Uncanny Valley." I just loaded Matt Stoller's "Goliath" onto my underwater MP3 player and I'm listening to it as I swim laps.

Latest podcast: Data – the new oil, or potential for a toxic oil spill? https://craphound.com/podcast/2020/03/23/data-the-new-oil-or-potential-for-a-toxic-oil-spill/

Upcoming appearances:

Upcoming books: "Poesy the Monster Slayer" (Jul 2020), a picture book about monsters, bedtime, gender, and kicking ass. Pre-order here: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781626723627?utm_source=socialmedia&utm_medium=socialpost&utm_term=na-poesycorypreorder&utm_content=na-preorder-buynow&utm_campaign=9781626723627

(we're having a launch for it in Burbank on July 11 at Dark Delicacies and you can get me AND Poesy to sign it and Dark Del will ship it to the monster kids in your life in time for the release date).

"Attack Surface": The third Little Brother book, Oct 20, 2020. https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250757531

"Little Brother/Homeland": A reissue omnibus edition with a new introduction by Edward Snowden: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250774583

You Should Probly Put Something On That

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 25/03/2020 - 12:30am in

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