Earlier today the New York Times announced that they were hiring Quinn Norton to be their new opinion columnist on “the power, culture and consequences of technology”. Before long, her friendship with neo-Nazi weev had been pointed out to the NYT, along with her history of using homophobic and racist slurs online. By nighttime, she was unhired. The TL;DR here is that being friends with literal Nazis is a career-limiting maneuver.
New York Times: “You can hear voices, you can operate under intermittent delusions, you can see rabbits in the road that aren’t there and still be legally sane [by New York standards].”
New York Times via RISKS digest: A drive by the Federal Aviation Administration to cut the number of air traffic controllers nationally by 10 percent below negotiated levels, and even more sharply at places like the busy radar center here, is producing tension, anger and occasional shows of defiance among controllers. Most of the changes have had little effect on the public. But one in particular may have safety implications, controllers and some outside experts said.
A great many words have been written on the subject of e-mail spam. Effort has been poured into all kinds of technological measures against it. In my view, many of these efforts have been a waste of time, because they have failed to address the fundamental problem of spam.
To explain my thinking, I’ll start with some basic statements:
Your attention is a valuable resource. If you doubt this, you need only look at the amount of money spent on advertising in an attempt to acquire your attention.
Therefore, your inbox is a valuable resource. Many people, perhaps most people, now check e-mail multiple times a day. In fact, according to some surveys college students spend more time on the Internet than watching TV. They check their e-mail inbox more than they look at ad breaks.
SMTP e-mail allows anyone to send mail. There’s no centralized registration required in SMTP; there’s no control over the growth of the SMTP e-mail network. While some servers restrict which SMTP clients may connect to them, there’s essentially no control over who sends mail, as it’s always possible to open a new web e-mail account, buy a new ISP dial-up account, or whatever.
SMTP e-mail is free for the sender. Sure, many people pay for their Internet access; but once you have an Internet connection, sending e-mail basically doesn’t cost you anything—it has marginal cost.
Now, let me re-cast those four statements:
We have unrestricted access for anyone in the world to use arbitrary amounts of a valuable resource.
Can you think of any case where there has been a system like that, and it has worked? I can’t. The canonical example is the tragedy of the commons, but there are plenty of others, including the Cambridge ‘Green Bike’ scheme and the overfishing of cod.
In order to avoid a “tragedy of the commons” situation, we need to alter the situation so that one of the statements above is no longer true. Let’s go through them again and consider our options.
New York Times: Democrats and civil rights advocates condemned the Justice Department today for barring a gay pride event planned by department employees, and called on Attorney General John Ashcroft to reverse the decision. […] A group of several hundred gay and lesbian Justice Department employees, called DOJ Pride, had budgeted $600 to hold an awards ceremony on June 18 at the department’s Great Hall to celebrate Gay Pride Month. The group has held similar events at the department each of the last six years, members said, and Mr.
In New York City in August, businessman Herbert Black sued socialite Denise Rich (ex-wife of the Clinton-pardoned Marc Rich) for nonpayment of fees he said he earned by saving her nearly a million dollars annually as a personal financial adviser. Included alleged savings were: $125,000 in flowers (by having fewer deliveries to her apartment when she wasn’t at home); $30,000 by changing the payment plan for her yoga instructions; and $52,000 in “dog maintenance” (mostly by giving away her two oldest dogs, which were so feeble that they had to be pushed by sitters around Central Park in an $8,000 baby carriage).
Having already gone from boom to bust, many dot-commers are coming to something worse. Unable to make payments, they are selling luxury cars, canceling home renovations and returning jewelry by the box. Indeed, unable to make payments, some former dot-commers, and others whose income swelled with the bubble and shrank when it burst, are selling Porsches and BMW’s on consignment. They are unloading second homes and canceling renovations. —New York Times