skybrian's recent activity

  1. Comment on Why Amazon workers sided with the company over a union in ~finance

    skybrian
    Link Parent
    No, this isn’t how representative democracy works. The leadership represents the voters and they may or may not do a good job of that. When there is disagreement, there are always going to be...

    No, this isn’t how representative democracy works. The leadership represents the voters and they may or may not do a good job of that. When there is disagreement, there are always going to be people on the losing side of the vote, so it’s impossible to satisfy everyone.

    6 votes
  2. Comment on Why Amazon workers sided with the company over a union in ~finance

    skybrian
    Link Parent
    I don’t see how it’s a PR trick if they really are paying more than other businesses in the area.

    I don’t see how it’s a PR trick if they really are paying more than other businesses in the area.

    2 votes
  3. Comment on 5G: The outsourced elephant in the room in ~tech

    skybrian
    Link
    From a blog post about the situation in Europe: [...] [...]

    From a blog post about the situation in Europe:

    The assumed provider security model

    In the 5G discussion, the assumption is that national, large scale telecommunication service providers are currently in good (or even full) control of their networks. The idea is that these providers (think Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, Proximus, Orange, Telefónica, KPN etc) procure equipment, which is then shipped by the vendor to the operator.

    The provider’s employees would then get trained on this new equipment, unpack it, perform tests, configure it and use it to build new networks. Subsequently, other provider employees would operate and monitor the actual network.

    If the equipment behaves strangely, for example by sending data to outside servers, telco staff would be able to pick this up and investigate. Similarly, if software upgrades come in, these would be tested by the service provider to see if nothing bad is in there, and would then be installed on the network.

    Highly privacy sensitive areas, like call detail records, can then be used within the service provider to perform activities like billing or to resolve customer disputes. Similarly, if local government agencies show up with warrants, the data they need is then extracted from these locally operated systems under full service provider control.

    All this would then be possible because the provider has experienced staff with a lot of telecommunication expertise.

    Governments also believe in this model and require key personnel within national service providers to hold security clearances, so that police and intelligence agencies can ask questions and be sure their interest does not leak to third parties.

    In this model, the 5G discussion is then framed as one where picking the wrong vendor upsets this model of good local control. Suddenly things would change.

    The reality

    I n reality, most service providers have not been operating on this model for decades. Driven by balance-sheet mechanics and consultants, service providers have been highly incentivised to outsource anything that could possibly be outsourced, and then some.

    In a modern telecommunications service provider, new equipment is deployed, configured, maintained and often financed by the vendor. Just to let that sink in, Huawei (and their close partners) already run and directly operate the mobile telecommunication infrastructure for over 100 million European subscribers.

    The host service provider often has no detailed insight in what is going on, and would have a hard time figuring this out through their remaining staff. Rampant outsourcing has meant that most local expertise has also left the company, willingly or unwillingly.

    [...]

    any worries about “the Chinese” being able to disrupt our communications through backdoors ignore the fact that all they’d need to do to disrupt our communications.. is to stop maintaining our networks for us!

    [...]

    If we compare European telecommunication service providers, some are still holdouts that perform many of their operations in house, without wholesale outsourcing, notably in the UK. This shows it is certainly possible to still operate a network somewhat autonomously.

    Similarly, most American service providers have managed to retain far more expertise and are able to run their networks much more independently of their vendors. US providers may leak less customer data, but to compensate, they flat out sell it.

    5 votes
  4. Comment on Edward Snowden NFT sells for more than $5.4 million in ~finance

    skybrian
    Link Parent
    I’m guessing that in this case it’s really just charity. They donated to Snowden’s organization because they believe in the cause.

    I’m guessing that in this case it’s really just charity. They donated to Snowden’s organization because they believe in the cause.

    2 votes
  5. Comment on Book Review: Progress and Poverty by Henry George in ~finance

    skybrian
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    The book review author (who is anonymous until the contest is over) provides a pretty thorough and entertaining overview of the book and Georgism. A couple of bits of trivia I learned: The Labor...

    The book review author (who is anonymous until the contest is over) provides a pretty thorough and entertaining overview of the book and Georgism.

    A couple of bits of trivia I learned:

    • The Labor Theory of Value (which George opposed) wasn't originally from Marx, though it's associated with Marxism now.

    • Although Henry George is not the "Rent Is Too Damn High" meme guy, he did have a fancy beard.

  6. Comment on Edward Snowden NFT sells for more than $5.4 million in ~finance

    skybrian
    Link Parent
    The Freedom of the Press Foundation seems to be located in San Francisco, so I don't think it matters how they're paid? I would guess that legally, it has some protection because the Foundation...

    The Freedom of the Press Foundation seems to be located in San Francisco, so I don't think it matters how they're paid? I would guess that legally, it has some protection because the Foundation isn't Snowden, but rather a separate organization.

    Having control of a Foundation seems useful, but they would probably need to worry about getting audited, so it would make sense to be careful about how they spend.

    It's also not clear whether Snowden actually has the money from his book proceeds. There's a court order, but he's in Russia so it might be hard to enforce?

    1 vote
  7. Comment on Misinformation about Permissions Policy and FLoC in ~comp

    skybrian
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    It seems like instead of calling that other post “misinformation” you could do the “yes, and” thing by clarifying that if you’ve locked down content security policies against third-party...

    It seems like instead of calling that other post “misinformation” you could do the “yes, and” thing by clarifying that if you’ve locked down content security policies against third-party JavaScript, it guards against a lot of other things and you don’t need that header. Maybe the author of that other blog post would be willing to add that if you wrote to them?

    2 votes
  8. Comment on Edward Snowden NFT sells for more than $5.4 million in ~finance

    skybrian
    Link
    From the article: Previously: Court orders Snowden to pay U.S. government $5.2 million from book sales

    From the article:

    The profits won’t go to America’s most famous exiled whistleblower, however. Instead, the sale is meant to benefit the Freedom of the Press Foundation, where Snowden is the president. Its board includes actor John Cusack, whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, and the writer Glenn Greenwald.

    Previously: Court orders Snowden to pay U.S. government $5.2 million from book sales

    3 votes
  9. Comment on Drug cartel now assassinates its enemies with bomb-toting drones in ~tech

    skybrian
    Link
    From the article: [...] [...] [...]

    From the article:

    A civilian self-defense militia in the city of Tepalcatepec, in Mexico's southwestern Michoacan state, reportedly recovered two dozen explosive-laden quadcopters from a car that a team of sicarios – cartel hitmen – had apparently abandoned, possibly after a failed or aborted hit, on July 25, 2020. The bombs attached to the drones consisted of Tupperware-like containers filled with C4 charges and ball bearings to act as shrapnel.

    [...]

    As of July, American authorities estimated that CJNG was responsible for the movement of approximately one-third of all drugs from Mexico into the United States. It has also been working to expand its operations into Europe and Asia.

    [...]

    There were reports in April that CJNG had been dropping improvised explosive devices from small, conventional manned aircraft in attacks on members of the Tepalcatepec self-defense militia. The cartel apparently dropped this tactic quickly after Mexican authorities stepped up aerial surveillance in the region and has since shifted to using the diminutive drones.

    [...]

    It's not surprising at all that CJNG, especially, has turned to small unmanned systems as a means of carrying out its various violent campaigns throughout Mexico. Mexican cartels, among other criminal groups, have already been using them to carry drugs over walls and past other barriers, as well as conduct surveillance. There have been more sporadic reports of other cartels using small explosive-armed drones since at least 2017, too.

    3 votes
  10. Comment on NASA picks SpaceX to land next Americans on Moon in ~space

    skybrian
    Link Parent
    I think it makes sense to let SpaceX take the financial risk. They want to do it anyway. That's probably another reason they bid low.

    I think it makes sense to let SpaceX take the financial risk. They want to do it anyway. That's probably another reason they bid low.

    4 votes
  11. Comment on Weekly coronavirus-related chat, questions, and minor updates - week of April 12 in ~health.coronavirus

    skybrian
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    Lateral-flow tests: What are the risks and benefits? (Lateral flow tests for COVID are sometimes called "antigen tests" or "rapid tests." This technology is also used in home pregnancy tests.)

    Lateral-flow tests: What are the risks and benefits?

    Millions of people in England are being encouraged to take two free rapid Covid tests a week. The Lateral Flow Device (LFD) kits can be picked up from testing sites, pharmacies or sent through the post.

    They give results in about 30 minutes compared with around 24 hours for PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests, which are more sensitive and have to be processed in a laboratory.

    Almost 50 million LFD tests have been taken and registered in England since October.

    (Lateral flow tests for COVID are sometimes called "antigen tests" or "rapid tests." This technology is also used in home pregnancy tests.)

    1 vote
  12. Comment on So, I just turned down my vaccination ... did I make a mistake? in ~health.coronavirus

    skybrian
    Link Parent
    I'm not going to give advice, but I wouldn't worry too much if mixing happened accidentally. It doesn't seem like health professionals are normally all that concerned about getting an accurate...

    I'm not going to give advice, but I wouldn't worry too much if mixing happened accidentally. It doesn't seem like health professionals are normally all that concerned about getting an accurate vaccination history before giving you another vaccine? They're more interested in any allergies you might have and other serious medical problems. Until recently, the CDC was recommending that people who have an allergic reaction to an mRNA vaccine get the J&J vaccine instead of a second shot, despite not recommending this for anyone else.

    On the other hand, immune systems are very complicated, common sense often doesn't apply, and I'm not an immunologist.

    4 votes
  13. Comment on There's nothing to do except gamble - NFTs, SPACs, and the future of money in ~finance

    skybrian
    Link Parent
    On second thought, I’m not sure what you mean by “join in.” I think small-stakes risky investments might be more fun than buying lottery tickets and it seems less likely to result in having...

    On second thought, I’m not sure what you mean by “join in.” I think small-stakes risky investments might be more fun than buying lottery tickets and it seems less likely to result in having nothing to show for it. But I think it might make more sense to consider most of that $6000 to be an emergency fund and maybe it shouldn’t be invested at all?

    My response to “what do you have to lose” is: okay, what would happen if you moved somewhere with a lower cost of living? Could you find a better job? What would you miss? That’s what you have to lose.

    But I have no real insight here so all I can offer is questions.

  14. Comment on A Finger Lakes power plant plans to ramp up energy-intensive Bitcoin mining in ~enviro

    skybrian
    Link
    From the article:

    From the article:

    A decade ago, the bankrupt owner of the Greenidge power plant in Dresden, New York, sold the uncompetitive coal-fired relic for scrap and surrendered its operating permits.

    For the next seven years, the plant sat idle on the western shore of Seneca Lake, a monument to the apparent dead end reached by the state’s fossil fuel infrastructure.

    But today, Greenidge is back up and running as a Bitcoin mining operation. The facility hums with energy-hungry computers that confirm and record Bitcoin transactions, drawing power from the plant’s 106-megawatt generator now fueled by natural gas.

    The mining activity is exceptionally profitable, thanks to an 800 percent rise in Bitcoin’s price since last April. Seeking to ride the boom, the plant’s new owners plan to quadruple the power used to process Bitcoin transactions by late next year.

    Environmental advocates view Greenidge’s ambitions, if left unchecked, as an air emissions nightmare.

    And they fear that dozens of other retired or retiring fossil-fueled power plants across New York could follow Greenidge’s example, gaining new life by repurposing as Bitcoin miners or other types of energy-intense data centers.

    2 votes
  15. Comment on There's nothing to do except gamble - NFTs, SPACs, and the future of money in ~finance

    skybrian
    Link Parent
    [...] While it captures the surreality of it, this is very silly. Some people getting lucky doesn't justify making stupid bets, or at least not with large sums. The point of investing...

    What’s the point of investing safely when Elon Musk can create and destroy millions of dollars of value with a couple of tweets?

    [...]

    The emperor is doing naked cartwheels and the only rational response is to join in.

    While it captures the surreality of it, this is very silly. Some people getting lucky doesn't justify making stupid bets, or at least not with large sums. The point of investing conservatively is to avoid losing too much money; isn't that obvious? An Elon Musk tweet isn't going to move an S&P 500 index fund all that much.

    Losing small amounts of money on gambling can easily be justified as entertainment, as long as you're not deluding yourself and know your limits. In the aggregate, those small amounts can add up, and then it gets weird, but it doesn't mean the world is coming to an end, any more than the existence of Disney World or Los Vegas does.

    When people are throwing money at scale, I don't know, try to catch some, if you can?

    Be prepared for it to come to a stop. The dot com bubble ended, and this likely will too. It might go on longer than you think, though. It's okay to have a little fun while it lasts.

    2 votes