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Microsoft Chose Profit Over Security and Left U.S. ...

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Microsoft Chose Profit Over Security and Left U.S. Government Vulnerable to Russian Hack, Whistleblower Says.

Aber nicht doch, mein Herr!1!!

Ist aber egal. Ich bin inzwischen überzeugt, dass es nichts gibt, was Microsoft ihren Kunden antun würde, um die dazu zu bewegen, woanders zu kaufen.

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mkalus
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Thread by @RnaudBertrand on Thread Reader App

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These have undoubtedly been the wildest 72 hours in French politics in my lifetime. Pretty incredible stuff.

A 🧵

So after losing big time in the EU elections to Le Pen's Rassemblement National (RN), Macron decided to dissolve the National Assembly, calling the French to elect new MPs on the 30th of June 👇

This started what can only be called a movement of total panic throughout the French political class, because parties only have until this weekend to present candidates, and therefore decide on a strategy, who to ally with, etc.

The left got their shit together fairly fast, almost immediately announcing the creation of a "Popular Front" that gathers all the left-wing parties 👇

Hilariously, Raphael Glucksmann, the head candidate of the Socialist Party for the EU elections, tried to prevent the alliance by going on TV to list some ridiculous pre-conditions for it, but literally no-one listened to him and they went forward with it.

Many memes on Glucksmann effectively putsching himself out of the French left (he was never actually on the left anyhow)...

It's on the right that things really started to go wild after Éric Ciotti, the president of Les Républicains, the party of Chirac and Sarkozy, announced that they would do an alliance with Le Pen

Almost immediately top officials in his own party started saying that Ciotti was speaking in his own name only and said he needed to resign from the party's presidency.
Image
Image

Ciotti reacted by literally shutting down party headquarters to prevent his destitution. This is Aurélien Pradié, a Républicain MP in front of the closed doors of the headquarters saying they'll get emergency services to break open the door for them 😅

So many memes around this on French twitter 😅

Finally, the general secretary of the party @AnnieGenevard, who had spare keys, got to the party headquarters and managed to open the doors.

The "political desk" ("bureau politique") of Les Républicains announces that they've met, decided to fire Ciotti as President of the party and that he is not a member of Les Républicains anymore.

Ciotti begs to differ and says that the meeting that fired him didn't conform with the rules of the party so he in fact "is and remains president of [the party]"...

The infighting in Les Républicains continues, it's still completely unclear who actually manages the party at this stage and whether they'll ally with Le Pen. Ciotti claims that 80 Républicain MPs are with him and ready to campaign under Le Pen's banner...

One thing is sure though, Ciotti still controls Les Républicains' twitter account: "The President of the Républicains is and will remain Éric Ciotti."

https://x.com/lesRepublicains/status/1801015163685834819

He also has the Vice-President of the party @GuilhemCarayon on his side: "With Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella, we share 90-95% of the same ideas."

All in all, the party seems extremely divided and is imploding in real time...

Further right, things are pretty wild too. Marion Maréchal (granddaughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen who had joined Zemmour instead of her family), announces on live TV that she wants to ally with the RN, next to a Zemmour whom apparently hadn't been consulted.

Later that day, Marion Maréchal announces that she met with the RN and heavily hints that the condition they set for an alliance is to get rid of Zemmour... Bear in mind that the party Reconquête that Maréchal and Zemmour are part of was founded by Zemmour

Zemmour goes on TV and calls Marion Maréchal's behavior "the world record of betrayals" and says she's surrounded by a team of "betrayal professionals"

Zemmour decided to not to go for an alliance and to present his own candidates. Marion Maréchal calls it "a triple mistake" and calls on everyone to vote for those candidates that did ally with the RN.

In short Reconquête just imploded...

Meanwhile Macron shoots at the newly formed "Popular Front", essentially saying that those who join it are antisemites🤦 Because LFI (Mélenchon's party) campaigned a lot for Palestinians so obviously that makes them and everyone with them antisemites...

In other wild news, Alain Finkielkraut, one of France's foremost Jewish intellectuals says he might be "obliged" to vote for Le Pen in order "to block antisemitism".

As a reminder Le Pen's party was co-founded by Pierre Bousquet, a former Waffen-SS... Image

There you go, 72 hours in France's political life... And that's not even half of it!

No doubt that this circus show will continue for the next 2 weeks until the elections. It's widely entertaining but obviously shows just how dysfunctional and lost France is right now...

Interesting late addition to the thread on what voters actually want.

Huge majority of voters on the left favorable to the "popular front" alliance (97% of LFI voters want it, as well as 86% of Socialist voters and 77% of Greens)

Les Républicains voters about half split on an alliance with Le Pen (53% agree so presumably 47% disagree).

Overwhelming support among Zemmour voters for an alliance with Le Pen (89% want it) so it looks like Marion Maréchal represents voters' will more than Zemmour with her move.Image

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Und jetzt zu den "KI"-Nachrichten.Pulumi, deren letztes ...

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Und jetzt zu den "KI"-Nachrichten.

Pulumi, deren letztes Geschäftsmodell mit kaputter "KI"-halluzinierten "Dokumentation" die Projektleiter und Autoren der echten Dokumentation gegen sich aufgebracht hat, die dann in Suchmaschinen von dem Pulumi-Spam verdrängt wurden und das Supportaufkommen vervielfachten, hat ein neues Geschäftsmodell. Jetzt wollen sie mit ihren Halluzinationen eure Codebasis vergiftet, nicht bloß eure Dokumentation.

Außerdem kam jetzt raus, womit OpenAI ihre Codeassistenz-Produkte trainieren will. Mit dem toxischen Klärschlamm von Stackoverflow. Geniale Idee! Finde ich gut. Falsche Stackoverflow-Antworten sichern mir die Altersvorsorge. Sehr schön (für mich), dass "KI" das nicht ersetzen sondern fortführen will!

Und die letzte Meldung: Payoff from AI projects is 'dismal', biz leaders complain. Ach. Ach was. Was Sie nicht sagen! Im Goldrausch wird gar nicht der Goldgräber reich sondern Nvidia? Das ist ja unglaublich, Bob! Hätte uns noch jemand vorher gewarnt!!

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Uber, Skip the Dishes and other gig workers in B.C. to make at least $20.88 an hour under new rules | CBC News

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British Columbia

Gig workers in B.C. to be paid minimum of $20.88 an hour

British Columbia has become the first province in Canada to provide a minimum wage and other protections for people who work through gig-based apps like Uber, DoorDash, Skip the Dishes and Lyft.

Uber, Skip the Dishes say price increases will decrease demand, premier says they can 'suck it up'

British Columbia has become the first province in Canada to provide a minimum wage and other protections for people who work through gig-based apps like Uber, DoorDash, Skip the Dishes and Lyft, according to B.C.'s Ministry of Labour.

Starting Sept. 3, the province says that anyone who accepts work through these and other gig-based apps, such as ride-hailing and delivery services, must receive $20.88 an hour from the time they accept an assignment to the time it is completed.

Under the new rules, this is known as "engaged time." The pay standards are not applied to time spent waiting between jobs.

The $20.88 figure is 20 per cent higher than B.C.'s minimum wage of $17.40 an hour in order to address the gaps between gigs, the government says. Like the minimum wage, it will be adjusted annually to keep up with inflation.

WATCH | How B.C.'s new rules will work compared to other jurisdictions: 

B.C. gig workers to make more than minimum wage under proposed law

Proposed legislation in British Columbia aims to ensure gig economy workers, including Uber and DoorDash drivers, make more than minimum wage when they are on a call.

Tips from people receiving the service do not count toward earnings, and platforms will be required to pay for any gaps in earnings that impact workers.

"Too many workers in this industry are putting in long hours and being paid less than the minimum wage," Janet Routledge, the parliamentary secretary for labour, said in a release. "At the end of a shift, after paying their vehicle expenses, these workers are barely ahead of where they started. The new protections are going to change that."

The change is being introduced after the province held a series of meetings with gig workers across B.C. to hear about their experiences and concerns — and after several gig workers threatened to strike if improvements weren't made.

The government says it also consulted with the platforms behind the services, as well as business and labour associations and members of the public.

WATCH | No job protection, no benefits, no overtime for B.C. gig workers: 

Without protections, B.C. gig workers warn they could walk off the job

Following an attack on an Uber driver in Abbotsford, some gig workers in B.C. say they are prepared to strike if the province does not improve labour protections.

Uber, Skip push back

However, in written statements to CBC News, both Uber and Skip the Dishes expressed concerns with the new policy, saying it would drive up consumer costs.

"In the middle of an affordability crisis, a ridesharing expense rate that is over 50% higher than the comparable rate in California is unreasonable — and we encourage the government to reconsider the consequences for British Columbians who rely on rideshare and delivery," emailed Keerthana Rang, the Canadian communications lead for Uber.

Skip the Dishes communications manager Melanie Fatouros-Richardson had a similar response, calling the rules "government overregulation," arguing "these measures will only put more pressure on Canadians, exacerbating the cost-of-living crisis across the country."

Uber, a publicly traded company headquartered in California, reported a net income of more than $1 billion US in 2023, with CEO Dara Khosrowshahi's earnings reported at a $1 million base annual pay, up to $24 million after factoring in stock options and other compensation, following continued growth in 2022 and 2023.

Skip the Dishes is headquartered in Winnipeg and is a subsidiary of the Dutch multinational Just Eat Takeaway, the largest food delivery company in Europe, valued at more than $2 billion.  According to Reuters, the company is expected to post profits in 2024 after a break-even year in 2023 and has recently pulled out of several international markets following a slump in demand for food delivery services following a COVID-19 pandemic lockdown boom.

Premier says companies can 'suck it up'

At an unrelated news conference Friday, B.C. Premier David Eby said despite complaints, regulations will not change.

"These companies can suck it up. They'll be alright,. They'll be fine," he said. 

Eby said British Columbians will use the service that is most cost-competitive.

"And that may be any of those companies, or it may be some entirely different company that starts up in this province."

Eby said he doesn't want to see someone going further into debt because they have a car to pay for that isn't supported by their employer, "which are these app-based companies that have billions of dollars in revenue."

Drivers lack freedom to set hours, prices: Statistics Canada

Despite the criticisms, the province says the new rules represent "balanced solutions" that will keep app-based services in B.C. while providing better protections for workers.

The B.C. government estimates there are about 11,000 ride-hailing drivers and 35,000 delivery workers in the province.

According to a March report from Statistics Canada, approximately 3.6 per cent of workers between the ages of 15 and 69 took on gig work as their main job. 

Across Canada, an average of 871,000 people aged 15 to 69 did gig work as part of their main job in the final three months of 2022, according to Statistics Canada. An additional 1.5 million people completed gig work at some point during the previous 12 months.

While companies like Uber and Skip the Dishes emphasized the flexibility and freedom given to their drivers, the Statistics Canada report found self-employed gig workers are often dependent on a single company for their jobs, with very little freedom to set their own hours or prices and without access to key benefits and protections.

Worker's compensation, job transparency also coming

Minimum pay is one of several new measures coming into effect in B.C. Other rules being introduced include:

  • All ride-hailing service and delivery workers will be covered through WorkSafeBC.
  • Companies will be required to see the location and estimated pay for a job before it is accepted.
  • If workers are suspended or deactivated from an app, companies must tell them why.
  • Companies must ensure 100 per cent of the tips paid by customers go directly to the worker responsible for the service.
  • Establish a 35- to 45-cent minimum per-kilometre vehicle allowance to help workers cover expenses.

The announcement was welcomed by UFCW Canada, a private-sector union representing Uber drivers across the country.

In a release, the union said it wants every province in Canada to introduce legislation aimed at ensuring rights and protection for people who work using gig-based apps.

With files from the Canadian Press

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mkalus
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He's right. But I have a feeling the "get everything delivered" addicts will not like it.
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sarcozona
2 days ago
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Fuck yeah NDP
Epiphyte City

Pluralistic: The health industry's invisible hand is a fist (13 Jun 2024)

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A male figure with a doctor's scrub-cab and forehead mirror holds another male figure, head swaddled in bloody bandages, by his bunched collar. The doctor's arm is pulled back to punch the patient. The doctor's fist is translucent, revealing his jacket and tie. They are posed on a chalkboard background. Written on this chalkboard, in chalk handwriting font, is endless lines of cryptic medical billing-codes.

The health industry's invisible hand is a fist (permalink)

The US has the rich world's most expensive health care system, and that system delivers the worst health outcomes of any country in the rich world. Also, the US is unique in relying on market forces as the primary regulator of its health care system. All of these facts are related!

Capitalism's most dogmatic zealots have a mystical belief in the power of markets to "efficiently allocate" goods and services. For them, the process by which goods and services are offered and purchased performs a kind of vast, distributed computation that "discovers the price" of everything. Our decisions to accept or refuse prices are the data that feeds this distributed computer, and the signals these decisions send about our desires triggers investment decisions by sellers, which guides the whole system to "equilibrium" in which we are all better off.

There's some truth to this: when demand for something exceeds the supply, prices tend to go up. These higher prices tempt new sellers into the market, until demand is met and prices fall and production is stabilized at the level that meets demand.

But this elegant, self-regulating system rarely survives contact with reality. It's the kind of simplified model that works when we're hypothesizing about perfectly spherical cows of uniform density on a frictionless surface, but ceases to be useful when it encounters a messy world of imperfect rationality, imperfect information, monopolization, regulatory capture, and other unavoidable properties of reality.

For members of the "efficient market" cult, reality's stubborn refusal to behave the way it does in their thought experiments is a personal affront. Panged by cognitive dissonance, the cult members insist that any market failures in the real world are illusions caused by not doing capitalism hard enough. When deregulation and markets fail, the answer is always more deregulation and more markets.

That's the story of the American health industry in a nutshell. Rather than accepting that people won't shop for the best emergency room while unconscious in an ambulance, or that the "clearing price" of "not dying of cancer" is "infinity," the cult insists that America's worst-in-class, most expensive health system just needs more capitalism to turn it into a world leader.

In the 1980s, Reagan's court sorcerers decreed that they could fix health care with something called "Prospective Payment Systems," which would pay hospitals a lump sum for treating conditions, rather than reimbursing them for each procedure, using competition and profit motives to drive "efficiency." The hospital system responded by "upcoding' patients: if you showed up with a broken leg and a history of coronary disease, they would code you as a heart patient and someone who needed a cast. They'd collect both lump sums, slap a cast on you, and wheel you out the door:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4195137/

As Robert Kuttner writes for The American Prospect, this kind of abuse was predictable from the outset, especially since Health and Human Services is starved of budget for auditors and can only hand out "slaps on the wrist" when they catch a hospital ripping off the system:

https://prospect.org/economy/2024-06-13-fantasyland-general/

Upcoding isn't limited to Medicare fraud, either. Hospitals and insurers are locked in a death-battle over payments, and hospitals' favorite scam is sending everyone to the ER, even when they don't have emergencies (some hospitals literally lock all the doors except for the ER entrance). That way, a normal, uncomplicated childbirth can be transformed into a "Level 5" emergency treatment (the highest severity of emergency) and generate a surprise bill of over $2,700:

https://pluralistic.net/2021/10/27/crossing-a-line/#zero-fucks-given

The US health industry is bad enough to generate a constant degree of political will for change, but the industry (and its captured politicians and regulators) is also canny enough to dream up an endless procession of useless gimmicks designed to temporarily bleed off the pressure for change. In 2018, HHS passed a rule requiring hospitals to publish their prices.

Hospitals responded to this with a shrewd gambit: they simply ignored the rule. So in 2021, HHS made another rule, creating penalties for ignoring the first rule:

https://www.cms.gov/priorities/key-initiatives/hospital-price-transparency/hospitals

The theory here was that publishing prices would create "market discipline." Again, this isn't wholly nonsensical. To the extent that patients have nonurgent conditions and the free time to shop around, being able to access prices will help them. Indeed, if the prices are in a standards-defined, machine-readable form, patients and their advocates could automatically import them, create price-comparison sites, leaderboards, etc. None of this addresses the core problem that health-care is a) a human right and b) not a discretionary expense, but it could help at the margins.

But there's another wrinkle here. The same people who claim that prices can solve all of our problems also insist that monopolies are impossible. They've presided over a decades-long assault on antitrust law that has seen hospitals, pharma companies, insurers, and a menagerie of obscure middlemen merge into gigantic companies that are too big to fail and too big to jail. When a single hospital system is responsible for the majority of care in a city or even a county, how much punishment can regulators realistically subject it to?

Not much, as it turns out. Kuttner describes how Mass Gen Brigham cornered the market on health-care in Boston, allowing it to flout the rules on pricing. In addition to standard tricks – like charging self-pay patients vastly more than insured payments (because individuals don't have the bargaining power of insurers), Mass Gen Brigham's price data is a sick joke.

See for yourself! The portal will send you giant, unstructured, ZIPped text files filled with cryptic garbage like:

ADJUSTABLE C TAPER NECK PLUS|1|UNITED HEALTHCARE [1016]|HB CH UNITED HMO / PPO / INDEMNITY [34]|UNITED HEALTHCARE HMO [101604]|75|Inv Loc: 1004203; from OR location 1004203|52.02|Inpatient PAF; 69.36% Billed|75|Inv Loc: 1004203; from OR location 1004203|56.87|Outpatient PAF; 75.83% Billed

https://www.massgeneralbrigham.org/en/patient-care/patient-visitor-information/billing/cms-required-hospital-charge-data

These files have tens of thousands of rows. As a patient, you are meant to parse through these in order to decide whether you're getting ripped off on that HIP STEM 16X203MM SIZE 4 FEMORAL PRESS FIT NEUTRAL REVISION TITANIUM you're in the market for (as it happens, I have two of these in my body).

Kuttner describes the surreal lengths he had to go through to prevent his mother from getting ripped off by Mass Gen through an upcoding hustle. By coding her as "admitted for observation," Mass Gen was able to turn her into an outpatient, with a 20% co-pay (this is down to a GW Bush policy that punishes hospitals that charge Medicare for inpatient care when they could be treated as outpatients – hospitals reflexively game the system to make every patient an outpatient, even if they have overnight hospital stays).

Kuttner's an expert on this: he was national policy correspondent for the New England Journal of Medicine and covers the health beat for the Prospect. Even so, it took him ten hours of phone calls to two doctors' offices and Blue Cross to resolve the discrepancy. The average person is not qualified to do this – indeed, the average person won't even know they've been upcoded.

Needless to say that people in other countries – countries where health care is cheaper and the outcomes are better – are baffled by this. Canadians, Britons, Australians, Germans, Finns, etc do not have to price-shop for their care. They don't have to hawkishly monitor their admission paperwork for sneaky upcodes. They don't have to spend ten hours on the phone arguing about esoteric billing practices.

In a rational world, we'd compare the American system to the rest of the world and say, "Well, they've figured it out, we should do what they're doing." But in good old U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!, the answer to this is more prices, more commercialization, more market forces. Just rub some capitalism on it!

That's where companies like Multiplan come in: this is a middleman that serves other middlemen. Multiplan negotiates prices on behalf of insurers, and splits the difference between the list price and the negotiated price with them:

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/04/07/us/health-insurance-medical-bills.html

But – as the Arm and a Leg podcast points out – this provides the perverse incentive for Multiplan to drive list prices up. If the list price quintuples, and then Multiplan drives it back down to, say, double the old price, they collect more money. Meanwhile, your insurer sticks you with the bill, over and above your deductible and co-pay:

https://armandalegshow.com/episode/multiplan/

The Multiplan layer doesn't just allow insurers to rip you off (though boy does it allow insurers to rip you off), it also makes it literally impossible to know what the price is going to be before you get your procedure. As with any proposition bet, the added complexity is there to make it impossible for you to calculate the odds and figure out if you're getting robbed:

https://pluralistic.net/2022/05/04/house-always-wins/#are-you-on-drugs

Multiplan is the purest expression of market dynamics brainworms I've yet encountered: solving the inefficiencies created by the complexity of a system with too many middlemen by adding another middle-man who is even more complex.

No matter what the problem is with America's health industry, the answer is always the same: more markets! Are older voters getting pissed off at politicians for slashing Medicare? No problem: just create Medicare Advantage, where old people can surrender their right to government care and place themselves in the loving hands of a giant corporation that makes more money by denying them care.

The US health industry is a perfect parable about the dangers of trusting shareholder accountable markets to do the work of democratically accountable governments. Shareholders love monopolies, so they drove monopolization throughout the health supply chain. As David Dayen writes in his 2020 book Monopolized the pharma industry monopolized first, and put the screws to hospitals:

https://pluralistic.net/2021/01/29/fractal-bullshit/#dayenu

Hospitals formed regional monopolies to counter the seller power of consolidated Big Pharma. That's Mass Gen's story: tapping the capital markets to buy other hospitals in the region until it became too big to fail and too big to jail (and too big to care). Consolidated hospitals, in turn, put the screws to insurers, so they also consolidated, fighting Big Hospital's pricing power.

Monopoly at any point in a supply chain leads to monopoly throughout the supply chain. But patients can't consolidate (that's what governments are for – representing the diffuse interests of people). Neither can health workers (that's what unions are for). So the system screwed everyone: patients paid more for worse care. Health workers put in longer hours under worse conditions and got paid less.

Kuttner describes how his eye doctor races from patient to patient "as if he was on roller skates." When Kuttner wrote him a letter questioning the quality of care, the eye doctor answered that he understood that he was giving his patients short shrift, but explained that he had to, because his pay was half what he needed, relegating him to a small apartment and an old car. The hospital – which skims the payments he gets for care – sets his caseload, and he can't turn down patients.

The answers to this are obvious: get markets out of health care. Unionize health workers. Give regulators the budgets and power to hold health corporations to account.

But for market cultists, all of that can't work. Instead, we have to create more esoteric middlemen like "pharmacy benefit managers" and Multiplan. We need more prices to shovel into the market computer's data-hopper. If we just capitalism hard enough, surely the system will finally work…someday.


Hey look at this (permalink)



A Wayback Machine banner.

This day in history (permalink)

#15yrsago Soviet-era punks https://englishrussia.com/2009/06/11/soviet-punks/

#15yrsago Junk science and cocaine scares https://www.badscience.net/2009/06/this-is-my-column-this-is-my-column-on-drugs-any-questions/

#10yrsago The Return of Zita the Space Girl https://memex.craphound.com/2014/06/13/the-return-of-zita-the-space-girl/

#10yrsago Bot alerts you every time the Supreme Court silently alters its rulings https://web.archive.org/web/20140613031445/http://gigaom.com/2014/06/12/clever-piece-of-code-exposes-hidden-changes-to-supreme-court-opinions/

#10yrsago Academic publisher tried to stop publication of paper on price-gouging in academic publishing https://www.techdirt.com/2014/06/12/academic-publisher-fights-publication-paper-criticizing-publishers-price-increases-profits/

#10yrsago How Hayek bred a race of elite monsters https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/06/bill-black-hayek-helped-worst-get-top-economics-ceos.html

#10yrsago Snowdenbot performs tele-diagnosis and offers aid to reporter who had first epileptic seizure https://www.tagesspiegel.de/kultur/he-is-not-alone-4821781.html

#10yrsago Apple adds privacy-protecting MAC spoofing (when Aaron Swartz did it, it was evidence of criminality) https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2014/06/umbrella-hurricane-apple-limits-mobile-device-location-tracking

#5yrsago Couture fashion company Vetements is selling an unauthorized €800 Pirate Bay hoodie https://torrentfreak.com/red-hot-vetements-fashion-brand-is-selling-a-845-pirate-bay-hoodie/

#5yrsago In Alabama, it’s traditional for sheriffs who lose their elections to steal and waste money, destroy public property https://www.propublica.org/article/alabama-sheriffs-undermine-successors-after-losing-reelection

#5yrsago After American juvenile offenders are released, they can be re-imprisoned for failing to make restitution payments https://www.themarshallproject.org/2019/06/11/punishing-kids-with-years-of-debt

#5yrsago Majority of American millionaires support a wealth tax on American millionaires https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/06/12/even-1-know-they-arent-paying-their-fair-share-new-poll-shows-60-millionaires

#5yrsago Facebook execs are worried that Zuck’s emails show he never took his FTC privacy obligations seriously https://www.wsj.com/articles/facebook-worries-emails-could-show-zuckerberg-knew-of-questionable-privacy-practices-11560353829

#5yrsago Hong Kong’s #612strike protest movement: a million strong, leaderless, wireless and smart as hell https://memex.craphound.com/2019/06/13/hong-kongs-612strike-protest-movement-a-million-strong-leaderless-wireless-and-smart-as-hell/

#1yrago Saving the news from Big Tech with end-to-end social media https://pluralistic.net/2023/06/13/certified-organic-reach/#e2e


Upcoming appearances (permalink)

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A screenshot of me at my desk, doing a livecast.

Recent appearances (permalink)



A grid of my books with Will Stahle covers..

Latest books (permalink)



A cardboard book box with the Macmillan logo.

Upcoming books (permalink)

  • Picks and Shovels: a sequel to "Red Team Blues," about the heroic era of the PC, Tor Books, February 2025

  • Unauthorized Bread: a middle-grades graphic novel adapted from my novella about refugees, toasters and DRM, FirstSecond, 2025



Colophon (permalink)

Today's top sources:

Currently writing:

  • Enshittification: a nonfiction book about platform decay. Today's progress: 788 words (10551 words total).

  • A Little Brother short story about DIY insulin PLANNING

  • Picks and Shovels, a Martin Hench noir thriller about the heroic era of the PC. FORTHCOMING TOR BOOKS JAN 2025

  • Vigilant, Little Brother short story about remote invigilation. FORTHCOMING ON TOR.COM

  • Spill, a Little Brother short story about pipeline protests. FORTHCOMING ON TOR.COM

Latest podcast: Against Lore https://archive.org/download/Cory_Doctorow_Podcast_469/Cory_Doctorow_Podcast_469_-_Against_Lore.mp3


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

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Pluralistic: An end to the climate emergency is in our grasp (12 Jun 2024)

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A windfarm at sunset. In the foreground at the bottom are the silhouettes of a Victorian crowd of spectators watching the turbines. On the left of the image is a carmine-skinned Satanic figure dressed in business casual, jerking his thumb at an oilwell that is gushing crude all over the scene.

An end to the climate emergency is in our grasp (permalink)

The problem with good news in the real world is that it's messy. Neat happy endings are for novels, not the real world, and that goes double for the climate emergency. But even though good climate news is complicated and nuanced, that doesn't mean it shouldn't buoy our spirits and fill our hearts with hope.

The big climate news this past week is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's clarion call about surging CO2 levels – the highest ever – amid a year that is on track to have the largest and most extreme series of weather events in human history:

https://www.noaa.gov/news-release/during-year-of-extremes-carbon-dioxide-levels-surge-faster-than-ever

This is genuinely alarming and you – like me – have probably experienced it as a kind of increase in your background radiation of climate anxiety. Perhaps you – like me – even experienced some acute, sit-bolt-upright-in-bed-at-2AM anxiety as a result. That's totally justifiable. This is very real, very bad news.

And yet…

The news isn't all bad, and even this terrible dispatch from the NOAA is best understood in context, which Bill McKibben provides in his latest newsletter post, "What You Want is an S Curve":

https://billmckibben.substack.com/p/what-you-want-is-an-s-curve

Financiers and their critics should all be familiar with Stein's Law: "anything that can't go on forever will eventually stop." This is true outside of finance as well. One of the reasons that we're seeing such autophagic panic from the tech companies is that their period of explosive growth is at an end.

For years, they told themselves that they were experiencing double-digit annual growth because they were "creating value" and "innovating" but the majority of their growth was just a side-effect of the growth of the internet itself. When hundreds of millions of people get online every year, the dominant online services will, on average, gain hundreds of millions of new users.

But when you run out of people who don't have internet access, your growth is going to slow. How can it not? Indeed, at that point, the only ways to grow are to either poach users from your rivals (through the very expensive tactics of massive advertising and sales-support investments, on top of discounts and freebies as switching enticements), or to squeeze your own users for more.

That's why the number of laptops sold in America slowed down. It's why the number of cellphones sold in America slowed down. It's why the number of "smart home" gizmos slowed down.

Even the steepest hockey-stick-shaped exponential growth curve eventually levels off and becomes an S-curve, because anything that can't go on forever will eventually stop.

One way or another, the world's carbon emissions will eventually level off. Even if we drive ourselves to (or over) the brink of extinction and set up the conditions for wildfires that release all the carbon stored in all the Earth's plants, the amount of carbon we pump into the atmosphere has to level off.

Rendering the Earth incapable of sustaining human civilization (or life) is the ultimate carbon reduction method – but it's not my first choice.

That's where McKibben's latest newsletter comes in. He cites a new report from the Rocky Mountain Institute, which shows a major reversal in our energy sources, a shift that will see our energy primarily provided by renewables, with minimal dependence on fossil fuels:

https://rmi.org/insight/the-cleantech-revolution/

The RMI team says that in this year or next, we'll have hit peak demand for fossil fuels (a fact that is consistent with NOAA's finding that we're emitting more CO2 than ever). The reason for this is that so much renewable energy is about to come online, and it is so goddamned cheap, that we are about to undergo a huge shift in our energy consumption patterns.

This past decade saw a 12-fold increase in solar capacity, a 180-fold increase in battery storage, and a 100-fold increase in EV sales. China is leading the world in a cleantech transition, with the EU in close second. Cleantech is surging in places where energy demand is also still growing, like India and Vietnam. Fossil fuel use has already peaked in Thailand, South Africa and every country in Latin America.

We're on the verge of solar constituting an absolute majority of all the world's energy generation. This year, batteries will overtake pumped hydro for energy storage. Every cleantech metric is growing the way that fossil fuels did in previous centuries: investment, patents, energy density, wind turbine rotor size. The price of solar is on track to halve (again) in the next decade.

In short, cleantech growth looks like the growth of other technologies that were once rarities and then became ubiquitous overnight: TV, cellphones, etc. That growth isn't merely being driven by the urgency of the climate emergency: it's primarily a factor of how fucking great cleantech is:

https://rmi.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/05/the_incredible_inefficiency_of_fossils.pdf

Fossil fuels suck. It's not just that they wreck the planet, or that their extraction is both politically and environmentally disastrous. They just aren't a good way to make energy. About a third of fossil fuel energy is wasted in production and transportation. A third! Another third is wasted turning fossil fuels into energy. Two thirds! The net energy efficiency of fossil fuels is about 37%.

Compare that with cleantech. EVs convert electricity to movement with 80-90% efficiency. Heat pumps are 300% efficient (the main fuel for your heat pump is the heat in the atmosphere, not the electricity it draws).

Cleantech is just getting started – it's still in the hockey-stick phase. That means those efficiency numbers are only going up. Rivian just figured out how to remove 1.6 miles of copper wire from each vehicle. That's just one rev – there's doubtless lots of room for more redesigns that will further dematerialize EVs:

https://insideevs.com/news/722265/rivian-r1s-r1t-wiring/

As McKibben points out, there's been a lot of justifiable concern that electrification will eventually use up all our available copper, but copper demand has remained flat even as electrification has soared – and this is why. We keep figuring out new ways to electrify with fewer materials:

https://www.chemanalyst.com/NewsAndDeals/NewsDetails/copper-wire-price-remains-stable-amidst-surplus-supply-and-expanding-mining-25416#:~:text=Global%20Copper%20wire%20Price%20Remains%20Stable%20Amidst%20Surplus%20Supply%20and%20Expanding%20Mining%20Activities

This is exactly what happened with previous iterations of tech. The material, energy and labor budgets of cars, buildings, furniture, etc all fell precipitously every time there was a new technique for manufacturing them. Renewables are at the start of that process. There's going to be a lot of this dematerialization in cleantech. Calculating the bill of materials for a planetary energy transition isn't a matter of multiplying the materials in current tech by the amount of new systems we'll need – as we create those new systems, we will constantly whittle down their materials.

What's more, global instability drives cleantech uptake. The Russian invasion of Ukraine caused a surge in European renewables. The story that energy prices are rising due to renewables (or carbon taxes) is a total lie. Fossil fuels are getting much more expensive, thanks to both war and rampant, illegal price-fixing:

https://www.thebignewsletter.com/p/an-oil-price-fixing-conspiracy-caused

If not for renewables, the incredible energy shocks of the recent years would be far more severe.

The renewables story is very good and it should bring you some comfort. But as McKibben points out, it's still not enough – yet. The examples of rapid tech uptake had big business on their side. America's living rooms filled with TV because America's largest businesses pulled out all the stops to convince everyone to buy a TV. By contrast, today's largest businesses – banks, oil companies and car companies – are working around the clock to stop cleantech adoption.

We're on track to double our use of renewables before the decade is over. But to hold to the (already recklessly high) targets from the Paris Accord, we need to triple our renewables usage. As McKibben says, the difference between doubling and tripling our renewables by 2030 is the difference between "survivable trouble" and something much scarier.

The US is experiencing a welcome surge in utility scale solar, but residential solar is stalling out as governments withdraw subsidies or even begin policies that actively restrict rooftop solar:

https://twitter.com/curious_founder/status/1798049929082097842?s=51

McKibben says the difference between where we are now and bringing back the push for home solar generation is the difference between "fast" and "faster" – that is the difference between tripling renewables by 2030 (survivable) and doubling (eek).

Capitalism stans who argue that we can survive the climate emergency with market tools will point to the good news on renewable and say that the market is the only way to transition to renewables. It's true that market forces are partly responsible for this fast transition. But the market is also the barrier to a faster (and thus survivable) transition. The oil companies, the banks who are so invested in fossil fuels, the petrostates who distort the world's politics – they're why we're not much farther along.

The climate emergency was never going to be neatly solved. We weren't going to get a neat novelistic climax that saw our problems sorted out in a single fell swoop. We're going to be fighting all the way to net zero, and after that, we'll still have decades of climate debt to pay down: fires, floods, habitat loss, zoonotic plagues, refugee crises.

But we should take our wins. Even if we're far from where we need to be on renewables, we're much farther along on renewables than we had any business hoping for, just a few years ago. The momentum is on our side. It's up to us to use that momentum and grow it. We're riding the hockey-stick, they're on that long, flat, static top of the S-curve. Their curve is leveling off and will start falling, ours will grow like crazy for the rest of our lives.


Hey look at this (permalink)



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This day in history (permalink)

#20yrsago Ian McDonald’s brilliant new novel, River of Gods: Bollywoodpunk https://memex.craphound.com/2004/06/12/ian-mcdonalds-brilliant-new-novel-river-of-gods-bollywoodpunk/

#15yrsago British cops deliver Catch 22 to photographers: you’re not allowed to know which areas you’re not allowed to photograph https://web.archive.org/web/20090616063717/http://www.bjp-online.com/public/showPage.html?page=861650

#10yrsago Duration of WWII vs duration of movies about WWII https://what-if.xkcd.com/100/

#10yrsago George Orwell’s National Union of Journalists card https://vintageanchorbooks.tumblr.com/post/88379861562

#10yrsago Thai shrimp industry runs on brutal slavery and murder https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/jun/10/supermarket-prawns-thailand-produced-slave-labour

#5yrsago It Feels Good to Be Yourself: a sweet, simple picture book about gender identity https://memex.craphound.com/2019/06/12/it-feels-good-to-be-yourself-a-sweet-simple-picture-book-about-gender-identity/

#5yrsago The latest popular uprising in Hong Kong is fighting to keep Beijing from dragging dissidents to mainland China https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/6/12/hong-kong-extradition-bill-debate-delayed-after-massive-protests

#5yrsago When you take a commercial genetic test, you opt your whole family into warrantless state genetic surveillance https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/11/opinion/police-dna-warrant.html

#5yrsago Mary Meeker’s 2019 Internet Trends: stalled growth, security dumpster-fires, more online education and fear of regulation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_dwZB5h56E

#5yrsago A deep dive into stalkerware’s creepy marketing, illegal privacy invasions, and terrible security https://citizenlab.ca/2019/06/the-predator-in-your-pocket-a-multidisciplinary-assessment-of-the-stalkerware-application-industry/

#5yrsago Amazon unveils a new Echo Dot surveillance device for children https://www.pcmag.com/news/all-new-echo-dot-kids-edition-launches-june-26

#5yrsago Twitter’s anti-Nazi policies result bans on pictures of anti-Nazi books https://www.thedailybeast.com/journalist-david-neiwert-twitter-suspended-me-for-displaying-book-about-far-right

#5yrsago In homeless LA, the families, retirees and working people who live in their cars are desperate for overnight parking https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-homeless-safe-parking-los-angeles-20190610-story.html

#1yrago Podcasting "Ideas Lying Around" https://pluralistic.net/2023/06/12/only-a-crisis/#lets-gooooo


Upcoming appearances (permalink)

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Recent appearances (permalink)



A grid of my books with Will Stahle covers..

Latest books (permalink)



A cardboard book box with the Macmillan logo.

Upcoming books (permalink)

  • Picks and Shovels: a sequel to "Red Team Blues," about the heroic era of the PC, Tor Books, February 2025

  • Unauthorized Bread: a middle-grades graphic novel adapted from my novella about refugees, toasters and DRM, FirstSecond, 2025



Colophon (permalink)

Today's top sources:

Currently writing:

  • Enshittification: a nonfiction book about platform decay. Today's progress: 874 words (9764 words total).

  • A Little Brother short story about DIY insulin PLANNING

  • Picks and Shovels, a Martin Hench noir thriller about the heroic era of the PC. FORTHCOMING TOR BOOKS JAN 2025

  • Vigilant, Little Brother short story about remote invigilation. FORTHCOMING ON TOR.COM

  • Spill, a Little Brother short story about pipeline protests. FORTHCOMING ON TOR.COM

Latest podcast: Against Lore https://archive.org/download/Cory_Doctorow_Podcast_469/Cory_Doctorow_Podcast_469_-_Against_Lore.mp3


This work – excluding any serialized fiction – is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. That means you can use it any way you like, including commercially, 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 life gives you SARS, you make sarsaparilla" -Joey "Accordion Guy" DeVilla

Read the whole story
mkalus
1 day ago
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iPhone: 49.287476,-123.142136
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