vord's recent activity

  1. Comment on Healthcare Rant Thread in ~health

    vord
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    Late to my own thread...go figure. So, let's start with some context. By most accounts, I have amazing health insurance by USA standards. I only pay 5% of my wage, and I have better health...

    Late to my own thread...go figure.

    So, let's start with some context. By most accounts, I have amazing health insurance by USA standards. I only pay 5% of my wage, and I have better health insurance than many of my peers who make 50% or more than I do, let alone anybody making less. I have $20 co-pays for any visit, $40 for specialist visit, $50 for urgent care, $100 per hospital visit. I don't need to get referrals from a primary doctor to see a specialist. No deductible, well sort of. We'll get to that.

    After reading all of the other stories posted so far…I don't have a fraction of these problems, and I'm sorry that you're all stuck with that shit. I've decided cut this rant much shorter...and it's still too damn long. I still hate my health insurance and would give it up in a heartbeat for M4A. Not because of costs, or general lack of care, but because of the insane mental load that is caused by this broke-ass system.

    I pay a tiny percentage of drug prices. But if I get a scrip for the same med and dose too many times, it gets declared as a 'maintenance medication' and will no longer be covered unless it's a 90 day scrip and fulfilled by CVS… no other pharmacy. I have 3 other pharmacies much closer to me than CVS, and 1 is a small family business. Sorry, can't go to the mom-and-pop pharmacy for most of my drugs, gotta go to the mega-corp or my costs skyrocket, especially if I dare to take a medication that isn't a generic.

    In network vs out is the biggest scam of all time. It's basically a lottery of whether a doctor is covered in network, especially if you find yourself in a hospital. The best was when we got sent a bill for over $5,000 for a doctor who saw me for about 10 minutes in an in-network hospital, but that particular doctor (who I didn't get to choose) was out-of-network, so therefore I obviously chose wrong and was liable for a $5,000 bill. Luckily was able to dispute, but again: stupid bullshit that shouldn't ever happen. Speaking of out of network, I have no deductible unless it is out of network. Then it's $500.

    So, I go to a hospital where I see one of my doctors. I need a blood test. But I can't get a blood test at the hospital, because my insurance only covers blood tests by LabCorp, which means I have to make a separate appointment on a different day, in a different nearby town in order to go in, wait for 20 min or more, and spend 30 seconds getting a needle stuck in my arm and have to wait for them to send the results back to my doc.

    My coworker told me the best one for our particular insurance plan. His doc recommended a routine test. Insurance company does require pre-approval for this test,and naturally they deny the request. So he starts shopping around to find the best cash price. First place quoted at $500. Second place quoted at $600, but they did inform him of a major loop hole that almost nobody tells you:
    If you go to get an uncovered treatment and say you're paying cash, they will charge the full price. However, if you go to the treatment and have them try to bill your insurer, and the insurer denies, then you only have to pay the price that your insurer would have had to pay out instead. In this case, that dropped the price by almost $300.

    My one doctor and I talk about his problems dealing with insurance companies frequently. He bills at $200 per hour. If he wants to accept his patient's insurance, they will negotiate down, but their first offer is often take it or leave it. The company he was trying to work with used the phrasing "we'll allow you to get paid $160 per hour," which really shows how much hubris they have regarding dictating their payouts. This process must be repeated for every single insurance company, and possibly for different tiers of plans within those companies. He is a solo practice, but he has to hire a dedicated biller because of the sheer complexity and time required. He wants M4A, because even if he only gets paid at medicare rates, it'll still be a net win.

    Even in a best case scenario, dealing with a medical insurance company is roughly as pleasant as trying to buy a used car with cash from a payday loan company for every single thing you try to do.

    2 votes
  2. Comment on In smart apartments, is tenants’ privacy for rent? in ~tech

    vord
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    Point taken, although I would say 'change code in app' is a hell of a lot quicker and easier, don't even need to be on-site or pay someone else to do it.

    Point taken, although I would say 'change code in app' is a hell of a lot quicker and easier, don't even need to be on-site or pay someone else to do it.

    1 vote
  3. Healthcare Rant Thread

    So I don't know about all of you, but I'm pretty sick of terrible healthcare in the USA. So I'm starting this thread for all of us to rant about our personal issues with healthcare. I'll be...

    So I don't know about all of you, but I'm pretty sick of terrible healthcare in the USA.

    So I'm starting this thread for all of us to rant about our personal issues with healthcare. I'll be writing my rant into it's own reply later (it's a bit of a long one), but I wanted to start the thread now to give others a chance to start venting.

    Rules of Rant Thread:

    1. Don't argue a rant
    2. Thread is likely going to be incredibly USA-centric. USA healthcare is assumed unless stated otherwise.
    3. Rants should involve people no more than 2 degrees of separation from yourself. This thread is to vent about your personal experiences, not hearsay from total strangers.

    In order to foster further discussion, and include those without a rant: Here are some things I personally would appreciate and expect for replies, but others might not.

    • Explanation of how things would work out for you if you were in a similar situation
    • Advice for dealing with any ongoing or future problems
    23 votes
  4. Comment on 22 studies, across ideological differences, agree: Medicare for All saves money in ~news

    vord
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    Agreed, here's my take on it: Even if it cost far more than current care, well over a third of the entire population would have far better access to good medical care. The fact that it also will...

    Agreed, here's my take on it:

    Even if it cost far more than current care, well over a third of the entire population would have far better access to good medical care.

    The fact that it also will save money over the current system means that there is 0 legitimate reason to oppose it.

    I am somewhere in the middle of the top 20% of wage earners, and I currently have pretty good health insurance. It is still terrible by any measure (Keep an eye out for a rant thread I'm going to start soonish). If Bernie's M4A gets implemented as-is, it will be 8% more cash in my pocket, after taxes....and I'm still paying way above anybody making less than me. I would be able switch employers far easier since my family's health care would be assured even if it took a bit to get back on my feet.

    8 votes
  5. Comment on 22 studies, across ideological differences, agree: Medicare for All saves money in ~news

    vord
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    Freedom in the USA is such bullshit. You are free to work or die. Everything else (including your birth and disposal of your body) has a price tag, and someone is usually profiting from it.

    Freedom in the USA is such bullshit.

    You are free to work or die. Everything else (including your birth and disposal of your body) has a price tag, and someone is usually profiting from it.

    8 votes
  6. Comment on What did you do this weekend? in ~talk

    vord
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    Wife and I took our fairly young child to their first rock concert. Amazing 10/10 experience for whole family. For you parents who are horrified right now... It was a rock concert specifically...

    Wife and I took our fairly young child to their first rock concert. Amazing 10/10 experience for whole family.

    For you parents who are horrified right now... It was a rock concert specifically designed for children: Volume stays well under 70 db, no strobe lights, they engaged with children, including one song with a parachute overhead (Sidebar: wtf other parents holding the parachute....a toy parachute is meant to be waved at least a little, not held steady like a tent). Best of all show was cheap, in the afternoon, and about 1.5 hour long.

    And this wasn't children's songs. Each event they have a cover band performing real songs from that band (although some lyrics changed for family friendlyness).

    TBH better than some other concerts I've attended, if only because my ears weren't ringing after.

    4 votes
  7. Comment on She wanted a 'freebirth' with no doctors. Online groups convinced her it would be OK. in ~life

    vord
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    So, here's the deal: Midwifery is not inherently anti-science. I see many people taking that stance, and this is drastic mis-information that hurts the practice and science as a whole. As I don't...

    So, here's the deal: Midwifery is not inherently anti-science. I see many people taking that stance, and this is drastic mis-information that hurts the practice and science as a whole. As I don't have unlimited time, I'm going to provide a reasonably quick breakdown and some starting points for further research.

    First, cases like in the article certainly do happen, but it's not inherently because midwifery is anti-science. The issue is threefold:

    1. Many people seeking to avoid hospitals tend to be anti-science, and mistrust of the medical community is a huge problem. There are many reasons for this, and some are legitimate.
    2. Internet forums easily foster anti-science and groupthink. We are all susceptible to this.
    3. A lack of good regulations surrounding midwifery are the cause of a lot of these problems. Regulations would be far better if people didn't instantly dismiss it as quack science.

    As I detailed somewhat in a more personal story, our birth center was incredibly pro-science. If you are within 50ish miles of the Philadelphia metro area and a pregnancy is in your future, go there. Full stop. Even if you choose a hospital birth, get a midwife to work with you there.

    Here are some of our experiences:

    • Midwives in our state are required to also be registered nurses.
    • Every single appointment (aside from the ultrasounds at the hospital) was a minimum of 45 minutes, they were careful and would actively participate in conversations to insure we understood everything that did and would happen, and answered every question in excruciating detail, no matter how trivial.
    • One of the very first things they said to us: 'Stay off the internet, and especially internet forums. Here is a list of curated sources where we have vetted the information for accuracy.' I don't remember all of them, but here's two:
    • They repeatedly and consistently stressed the importance of vaccines, especially in group classes. In private, they didn't ask us twice since we said right off the bat 'Yes please, and also can you force them on the others?' They said something to the effect of 'we can't legally force people to take them yet, but we really wish we could.'
    • We had substantial homework. We were expected to be active participants, and not just patients.
    • They dismantled so many myths about childbirth I can't even remember them all. Here are the big ones I can:
      • The commonly understood timelines of labor and birth are very, very wrong, and are influenced by hospital's profit motives and desire to have quick turnover. A 0 complication natural labor and childbirth can done in well under a day at a birth center, from leaving home to arriving home. It can also last days with 0 risk unless the water breaks. They advocate for Medicare for All to remove this profit motive and encourage science to take front row to profits.
      • Eating and moving is totally fine for childbirth. In hospitals you can't because they are afraid of very, very rare edge cases because of fear of malpractice.
      • Painkillers can drastically hurt the process of natural childbirth
      • Recovery from a C-section is often far more painful than a natural childbirth, even with 0 painkillers for natural and tons of opioids for C-section.
      • Water birth is not nearly as risky as many fear, and offers substantial benefits (our state doesn't currently allow them, but they explained why they are trying to change the legislation)
      • They partner with nearby hospitals so that when medical intervention is neccessary, admission and care is swift and seamless.

    Finally, I'm doing this big callout to everyone who replied to this topic (no matter which stance you took) to help stop the spread of mis-information. Odds of my wife or child dying during childbirth would have been much higher without the midwives help. @mrbig, @Eylrid, @DanBC,@NoblePath, @GRzmot, @ibis, @AnthonyB, and @cfabbro

    7 votes
  8. Comment on Policy vs Technology in ~tech

    vord
    Link Parent
    I'll concede that point in part. Yes, it's entirely possible that things have changed substantially in 7 years...that was an old source. However, this does not negate that it was indeed possible...

    I'll concede that point in part. Yes, it's entirely possible that things have changed substantially in 7 years...that was an old source.

    However, this does not negate that it was indeed possible and incredibly trivial, and that the time of that article's publication Snapchat was already valued at over $70 million, and 5 billion snaps had been sent so far.

    The company was founded on a lie to the tune of millions in valuation. They perpetuated that lie for years, even if it has since been fixed. Even now, with substantial banning and detection methods in place, it's still relatively easy to bypass Snapchat's security. It shows that technologists are still right, but that the skill ceiling is raised. If Snapchat genuinely solved this problem, they would be lauded as heros of our generation. Turns out, it's mostly just smoke and mirrors DRM with substantial banning. A motivated user can still cause problems.

    https://www.techjunkie.com/snapchat-saver-apps/

    Here's an iphone app someone made.

  9. Comment on She wanted a 'freebirth' with no doctors. Online groups convinced her it would be OK. in ~life

    vord
    Link Parent
    I'll toss my hat into the ring for this one. We went to a birth center for our child. My wife was generally low risk, but with a few medium-high risk factors. The midwives did a medical evaluation...

    I'll toss my hat into the ring for this one.

    We went to a birth center for our child. My wife was generally low risk, but with a few medium-high risk factors. The midwives did a medical evaluation and brought us on.

    The midwives explained everything carefully. We attended many classes explaining almost everything about childbirth and the first several weeks of caring for a newborn. Including breastfeeding lessons, importance of skin to skin contact, and safety videos.

    They are very pro-science, and have a partnership with the hospital close by.

    Natural childbirth is much safer than most think. Yes, the mother and child should be monitored, with doctors nearby if needed. However, a lot of the current state of childbirth in the USA is driven by profit motives and fear of malpractice lawsuits.

    Many actions are taken to prepare for very rare worst case scenarios, which disrupt natural hormone responses to childbirth, breaking a positive feedback loop and replacing it with a negative one. I won't go into all the details at this hour....but considering that a typical hospital birth in the USA has much higher odds of both infant and maternal fatality than any other deveopled nation, I'm glad we went the path we did.

    We went to the birth center after my wife's water broke. They monitored her and our child, and due to a relatively weak heartbeat from our child, we went to the hospital. The midwife stayed with us the whole time and acted as the medical equvalent of a lawyer and mentor. My wife labored for about 10 hours total until she was 8 cm dilated with no drugs, very close to pushing. However our child's heart rate kept dipping, and an ultrasound revealed that the umbilical cord was around their neck. It was only then that my wife was prepped for a C section, and thankfully everything went smoothly. I was terrified while I was all alone while she was prepped.

    Although, due to the drugs, my wife could only remember the words to 'I wanna be sedated' by the Ramones and a few songs from Rocky Horror Picture Show. So those were the first words sung to our child as we took turns holding them on our bare chests. I'm a proud father. Does suck that we weren't able to follow through with our birth plans, we had a whole thing planned out including DragonForce and Steven Lynch songs. I was wearing my 'Let me stop everything and work on your problem' T-shirt. We had it planned perfectly, and my suicidal baby ruined it. 😉

    That being said....we definitely met our share of the crazies at the birth center. I won't go into specifs, but we're talking 'go 50 or more miles into the wilderness' or ' vaccines cause autism" types.

    The midwives hard discouraged all that nonsense, but so many people mistake midwivery for anti-science it is disgusting.

    12 votes
  10. Comment on What do I need to know about switching to a vegetarian diet? in ~health

    vord
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    Disclaimer: I am not a vegetarian, but I am a science nerd. https://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/how-to-eat-a-plant-based-diet-a-scientific-look-at-going-vegan-safely/ Nerd fitness is amazing. Tons of...

    Disclaimer: I am not a vegetarian, but I am a science nerd.

    https://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/how-to-eat-a-plant-based-diet-a-scientific-look-at-going-vegan-safely/

    Nerd fitness is amazing. Tons of phenomenal, scientific explanations regarding how to keep healthy with any diet...Vegan, Carnivore, or anything in between. I binged a ton of their content the first day I found it.

    The TL;DR:

    • Eat real food, not processed food. Oreos are vegan, but they are not food.
    • Beans and rice is a solid go-to. Covers all proteins well. Otherwise eat variety and if your body is craving a particular food it might suggest a missing nutrient.
    • A multivitamin is probably a good idea, no matter what diet.
    15 votes
  11. Comment on Policy vs Technology in ~tech

    vord
    Link Parent
    Maybe if said person never tried to search for "recover Snapchat from phone." The technique used is roughly on par with hiding inappropriate photos in a folder labeled 'Taxes.'...

    Maybe if said person never tried to search for "recover Snapchat from phone." The technique used is roughly on par with hiding inappropriate photos in a folder labeled 'Taxes.'

    https://www.digitaltrends.com/social-media/you-can-find-old-snapchat-picture-data-on-your-phone-according-to-new-research/

    Also regarding CIA: Read this and then really ask yourself if what I said is outside the realm of possibility? Especially since JFK was a more decent person than many recent politicians.

  12. Comment on Policy vs Technology in ~tech

    vord
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    But it's not that it shouldn't work, it's that it largely can't. I did some quick research, and noticed that pictures are now supposedly encrypted end to end (not sure how that would works with a...

    But it's not that it shouldn't work, it's that it largely can't. I did some quick research, and noticed that pictures are now supposedly encrypted end to end (not sure how that would works with a one to many share, but ok), but text messages and group chats explicitly are not.

    Legal cases have recovered 'disappeared' images form people's phones.

    A quick search revealed this: http://www.1mtb.com/5-ways-to-save-snapchat-snaps-permanently-without-the-senders-knowledge/

    Anybody who understands the tech knows Snapchat's privacy is largely a farce. I know this is borderline conspiratorial, but it would not surprise me if the CIA were archiving all of Snapchat for future blackmail potential. They've done far shadier things in the past, so being able to blackmail a popular young politician in the future may be high on their priorities.

    Snapchat isn't very secure at all. It sells the illusion, and people mistake it for a cure. Remember: If you are not paying, you're not the customer: you're the product.

    4 votes
  13. Comment on In smart apartments, is tenants’ privacy for rent? in ~tech

    vord
    Link Parent
    Best part of these for the landlords: trivial to lock out a tenant they want to kick out. Wait for them to leave (since they have cameras or door sensors now) for work or food, change the codes,...

    Best part of these for the landlords: trivial to lock out a tenant they want to kick out. Wait for them to leave (since they have cameras or door sensors now) for work or food, change the codes, toss their stuff and be done.

    No need to change the locks, or try to involve the police or even follow legal processes. They could do a cost/benefit analysis to see if the tenant will have the resources to take them to court and win substantially.

    5 votes
  14. Comment on In smart apartments, is tenants’ privacy for rent? in ~tech

    vord
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    Let me introduce you to this: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snap_gun It'll damage the lock internally, but if the resident is not present, and the criminal uses a modicum of protection (face...

    Let me introduce you to this:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snap_gun

    It'll damage the lock internally, but if the resident is not present, and the criminal uses a modicum of protection (face cover, gloves), it's virtually zero effort with low chances of getting caught.

    As an aside, I wonder if a savvy criminal could leave behind some drugs in a victim's place after ransacking, and add a non-zero chance the cops lock up the victim and confiscate their remaining possessions instead of trying to catch the thief.

    No idea if that would actually pan out, but I'd be kinda surprised if it didn't, at least once.

    4 votes
  15. Comment on Policy vs Technology in ~tech

    vord
    Link Parent
    Emphasis mine. Technologists are still 100% correct. Snapchat didn't make anything happen, not by a long shot. Sure, it provides the appearance of a transient picture, but the reality is that once...

    But young people really wanted privacy, and in particular to be able to send pictures that automatically disappear. Snapchat made it happen, as a side-effect of mobile phone OSes being locked down. Not completely reliably, but good enough to become very popular.

    Emphasis mine. Technologists are still 100% correct. Snapchat didn't make anything happen, not by a long shot. Sure, it provides the appearance of a transient picture, but the reality is that once it's out there, you still have to assume it's out there forever. Anybody can screenshot a sent picture, but that is a very minor issue.

    Unless Snapchat has developed a massive breakthrough in end to end encryption, it is trivial for them to archive and view every single upload indefinitely. I would wager good money that the US government at a minimum has the capability to tap into this archive. Potentially their cloud provider(s) as well.

    Anybody who think Snapchat is capable of actually doing what it markets is naive. It became so popular because the majority doesn't understand the underlying technology, so they believe Snapchat's marketing.

    People have argued that it will always get cracked, and there have been plenty of cracks, but it seems that in the end, Netflix (on behalf on the movie industry) got their way?

    Maybe, but not really. New Netflix-exclusive series pop up on torrent sites within a few days of being released, at most. Since Netflix began producing original content to retain users, you would think they would try harder to lock it down.

    Netflix still wins out for convenience though. That may change as more and more media companies segment the market, and legal streaming becomes as bad as cable was.

    Piracy continues to get exponentially easier. If the media companies get too greedy, they will kill the golden goose, and have to resort to the model the music industry had to for survival: Access to almost every video ever made for under $20 a month with 0 ads. Anything worse, and people will be able to trivially switch to illicit methods and the industries will hemorrhage money and collapse.

    Which may have way for new industries, or perhaps video production will be reborn as a medium for enthusiastic hobbiests. Honestly that sounds a bit refreshing from the current sequel-mania.

    3 votes
  16. Comment on In smart apartments, is tenants’ privacy for rent? in ~tech

    vord
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    I am not a lawyer. You should probably consult one. Depending on the wording of your lease, you might have options though. If nothing else, I would think such a substantial change should allow you...

    to delay the installation for my unit until my lease is up.

    I am not a lawyer. You should probably consult one.

    Depending on the wording of your lease, you might have options though. If nothing else, I would think such a substantial change should allow you to opt-out or otherwise renegotiate your lease or break it penalty-free.

    2 votes
  17. Comment on In smart apartments, is tenants’ privacy for rent? in ~tech

    vord
    Link Parent
    So on one hand, some smart functionality in an apartment would be awesome...accidental lockouts are a pain in the ass. That said, I wouldn't dare live in a place where I didn't have 100% control...

    So on one hand, some smart functionality in an apartment would be awesome...accidental lockouts are a pain in the ass.

    That said, I wouldn't dare live in a place where I didn't have 100% control over the installation and use of said smart features. The potential for abuse is extremely high, and privacy concerns are huge even when you can control it yourself.

    3 votes
  18. Comment on In smart apartments, is tenants’ privacy for rent? in ~tech

    vord
    Link Parent
    Most home security is an illusion anyway. Unless you've substantially fortified your home, anybody who really wants in isn't going to have much trouble, smart home or not. Somebody could spend...

    Most home security is an illusion anyway. Unless you've substantially fortified your home, anybody who really wants in isn't going to have much trouble, smart home or not.

    Somebody could spend substantial time and effort to try to hack their way in to a smart home...or they could toss a brick through a window, or kick in a door in a fraction of the time.

    It's much like locks on a car: it mostly just deters the lazy.

    7 votes
  19. Comment on How doctors die in ~life

    vord
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    Count me in on that motto. A family friend died of cancer at a fairly young age a few years ago. He didn't want chemo, he wanted to live the last few months of his life as best as he could, biking...

    Count me in on that motto.

    A family friend died of cancer at a fairly young age a few years ago. He didn't want chemo, he wanted to live the last few months of his life as best as he could, biking around and saying goodbyes. Instead he did chemo at the insistence of his parents, and ended up spending his last few months of life bedridden, unable to eat, and miserable.

    The saddest part of visiting him wasn't that he was close to death, but that he was dealing with a horribly more painful death to appease his parents.

    I want to be euthanized if that ever happens to me. I want to be able to say my proper goodbyes, then get stoned out of my mind, injected with the lethal dose, and drift away while embracing my wife and kid for the last time. Preferably with Pink Floyd playing in the background.

    8 votes
  20. Comment on Policy vs Technology in ~tech

    vord
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    I'm biased...I'm a techie and pretty anarchistic overall... but Technology trumps Policy almost 100% of the time. You can't legislate away scientific findings, you can't legislate away technology....

    Finally, techies know that code is law­ -- that the restrictions and limitations of a technology are more fundamental than any human-created legal anything.

    I'm biased...I'm a techie and pretty anarchistic overall... but Technology trumps Policy almost 100% of the time. You can't legislate away scientific findings, you can't legislate away technology.

    For a simple example, consider the hoops Linux distros have to jump through in order to distribute: Many fonts, media codecs, and drivers can't be included due to inane laws and EULAs. A user that values Policy > Tech cannot use a Linux system in the same capacity as a Mac or Windows system. A user who values Tech > Policy isn't encumbered at all, but has to take extra effort to do the work that distros could easily do if not for arbitrary legal barriers.

    Policy almost doesn't need to legislate technology as such. Many problems with tech today are a byproduct of some straight up bad (if not malicious) interpretations of the bill of rights:

    • First Amendment
    • Second Amendment (remember: encryption is considered a weapon)
    • Fourth Amendment
    • Ninth Amendment

    Other problems have less to do with technology, and more a byproduct of gutting antitrust: Microsoft, Amazon, Comcast, and Verizon (just to name a few) could not exist in their current form if not for severely crippled antitrust.

    And some of the worst problems are caused by the DMCA, which was one of the biggest attempts to give Policy an edge over Technology. This article does a great job of explaining in more detail.

    7 votes