Wise Guys on WHO Radio - February 13, 2016
Please note: These show notes may be in various stages of completion -- ranging from brainstormed notes through to well-polished monologues. Please excuse anything that may seem rough around the edges, as it may only be a first draft of a thought and not be fully representative of what was said on the air.
In the news this week
Congress sends ban on taxing Internet access to the President
It's not a ban on putting sales taxes on things purchased on the Internet, just a ban on taxing the Internet access itself
Banning holiday exchanges in schools?
Sure, you want to avoid hurt feelings or undue burdens. But you also can't escape the corrosive effect on social cohesion and trust when we nix everything always instead of finding workarounds. There are real costs, even though they're hidden.
India bans Facebook's "Free Basics"
Reasonable people don't want to see anyone cheat their way into dominance of the Internet, but banning Facebook's offerings in the name of "net neutrality" seems like it goes too far
Twitter to offer an algorithmic news feed
A strange take on what makes Twitter special. Some users are not amused by the idea. Meanwhile, the company is having trouble attracting new users. It may simply be at its saturation point.
Google pushes "AMP" project to keep people off Facebook and other rivals
Google has a vested interest in people staying on WWW pages, not within "walled gardens" like the Facebook app. So, acknowledging that people are doing a lot of their Internet use from mobile devices, Google is pushing its "Accelerated Mobile Pages" project to encourage fast website delivery using their tools.
The Director of National Intelligence worries most about homegrown terrorists
As rightly he should -- they don't have to pass through borders and aren't subject to the kind of scrutiny we can place on known foreign terrorists. And it should also be noted that domestic terrorists can come from any racial, ethnic, or religious background and have a wide variety of political motivations. Terrorism is a method, not a philosophy.
Obama Administration proposes $4 trillion Federal budget with deficit amounting to 3.3% of GDP
A deficit smaller than the rate of real growth in the economy can be sustainable -- 3.3% is absolutely not
Xiaomi says no mobile phone sales to the US
The dynamics of mobile-phone manufacturing collide with international relations
Running Google is worth $200 million in stock, apparently
$199 million in stock is a huge amount for Alphabet to pay the CEO running Google. For perspective, the US spent about half that amount chasing loose nuclear fuel from Russia about a decade ago.
Your role in cyberwar
Should the government have special privileges to break encryption?
The "pro" argument would say that the risks of terrorist attack are so great that the government needs to have backdoor tools to get in. But the "con" argument would remind us that it's never wise to demand powers when you're in control of government that you wouldn't want your opponents to have when you're out. And the power to have special access to break encryption is a very, very significant one. It's also worth noting that putting back-door access into legitimate software will do nothing to control access to illegitimate software. Bad guys can write code, too.
$3.1 billion cybersecurity revolving fund proposed
A loan program for Federal agencies to upgrade their IT infrastructure
An incomplete cybersecurity strategy
We can't win cyberwarfare by accident
Street-smart social media
France challenges Facebook's data-collection practices
If you don't know the terms and other policies that apply to Facebook use, then you should click no further on it until you educate yourself
Gadget of the week
Using Xbox technology to make reliable assessments of MS
Kinect can measure with more accuracy than human beings can observe
You ought to follow...
Dispatches from the flying-car future
NHTSA takes step towards accepting self-driving cars
In a letter to Google, the agency basically agreed to call the self-piloting system a "driver", equivalent to a human driver. Ultimately, the less humans control about our cars the better. Everyone thinks they're better than average behind the wheel -- but the almost 10% increase in traffic deaths in the first 9 months of 2015 and the fact that humans are responsible for well over 90% of crashes suggests otherwise. We are the weak link in the chain.
MidAmerican will get 57% of retail electric load from wind next year
Iowa is way ahead of the pack when it comes to wind-energy generation
Tesla to hit regular-car prices with an electric vehicle
Tesla's strategy of aiming for the high-end market first certainly looks wise; they were able to turn electric cars into an aspirational item while spending whatever they needed to spend in order to make the cars work. Now, they can take what they learned and move it down-market.
Brian's Big Picture
"There just aren't enough people who are prepared to pay for printed news"
The editor of the UK's "The Independent" writes an editorial basically saying "We had to kill it [the print edition] in order to save it [the institution]".
British newspaper "The Independent" to cease print publication soon
Times are brutal for newspapers everywhere
Politics of technology
Smuggling entertainment content into North Korea via USB drives may be a powerful way to undermine a criminally authoritarian regime -- one that just executed its army's chief of staff
Now it's the SecDef under scrutiny for personal e-mail use
Senator Chuck Grassley, acting as Judiciary Chair, sent a letter to the Secretary of Defense asking for clarifications on his use of personal e-mail to conduct Defense Department business. As a country, we are way behind the curve on getting to grips with making sure our leadership has the right access to secure means of communications wherever they need it.
Senate committee approves bill requiring White House to prepare social-media anti-terrorism strategy
A companion bill made its way through a House committee. Now the two need to be approved by the full Senate and House.
From Mike: "I recently bundled 3 cell phones and a hot spot in a cellular plan. The plan has 15g of monthly use. They also threw in 2 iPads. It's all Android. Could you give me some general advice on staying within my alloted plan."
Listen again on-demand
- Podcast of this episode - segment 1 (we're running out of time to make our cyber-priorities a part of the Presidential debate)
- Podcast of this episode - segment 2 (as the digital world becomes more important to everyday life -- especially for kids -- off-line social experiences become more important)
- Podcast of this episode - segment 3 (NHTSA takes a big step towards making self-driving cars a reality)
- Podcast of this episode - segment 4 (technology news speed round)