Tag Archives: Skeptic

iHypocrisy

The Washington Examiner calls out Apple on it’s hypocritical Cap and Trade stance. They point out that Apple is calling for Carbon Taxes that it will largely avoid paying due to it’s offshore manufacturing.

Shifting out of neutral

A three judge panel in Washington DC has ruled that the FCC does not actually have the authority to impose net-neutrality regulations. This is a big victory for the free market internet, but I have no doubt that the Obama administration will respond by trying to enact net-neutrality via legislation.

One wonders how we have managed survived so far without it.

Ghost in the machine?

When the Toyota Sudden Acceleration Syndrome circus was in full swing I had a strong sense of déjà vu. We have been here before. What’s ridiculous is that the obvious answer is staring us in the face and we don’t want to accept it.

All modern cars have brakes that have far more stopping power than their engines can deliver. If you jam both the accelerator and the brake your car will stop (although I don’t recommend actually doing it).

So there are really two explanations here:

1) Some mysterious fault causes the brakes to fail while the accelerator suddenly engages. This fault is both unreproducible under lab conditions and undetectable after the incident.

2) The drivers are stepping on the wrong pedal.

Why is this important to you? The government is talking about require “smart brakes” on all new cars that would cut off the accelerator when depressed.  Some cars apparently already have this feature.

But this won’t do anything to help the driver that is simply pressing the wrong pedal. If required for all cars, it will raise the price of your next car for a feature that you don’t really need.

How’s that working for you?

While most journalists blame the demise of traditional news media on the internet, there is another interesting side to it. Pew Research recently released it latest poll on how the public perceives media accuracy and the results are staggering. Only %18 percent of the public believes the media treats all sides fairly, only %29 believes it general gets its facts straight, and only %20 believe that the media is willing to admit mistakes.

These numbers have plummeted in the last couple of years and there is little evidence that they have bottomed out. In fact I predict that barring a change is strategy the numbers will be worse next year.

It doesn’t need to be that way. The media can recover the public’s trust, but it won’t be easy. The first step will be to fire most of the editors they currently have and bring in new blood committed to fair and objective reporting. That will never happen, of course, it’s much easier to keep blaming the internet.

How’s that working for you media?

54 million small dead animals later

In 2006 a lack of adult supervision allowed the EU parliament to pass an ill conceived initiative called REACH. The REACH program will require retesting for toxicity every chemical in use in the EU that predates the newer testing regimes.

Now there is a report that estimates it will cost industry 9.5 billion Euros and require 54 million test animals. All to test chemicals that are already in wide-spread use.

Scientific illiteracy is quite expensive.

The big kill switch

There is a troubling bill being drafted by Sen Rockefeller that would give the US government the power to essentially kill the internet (at least the US corner of it). The bill would give the government the ability to order all private systems deemed “critical” to be disconnected during an “emergency”.

I am simply not confident of the governments ability to properly define “critical” and “emergency”, much less make the proper decision as to whether or not throwing the big kill switch will make matters better or worse. I think the government needs to demonstrate much more core competency in the computer security space before they are entrusted with this kind of power.

Your doctor, the IRS, and you

One of the more unfortunate ramifications of the proposed healthcare reforms is that it will inject the IRS into your relationship with your healthcare provider. As John Stossel points out:

Cornell law school professor William A. Jacobson writes that under both the House and Senate plans, the IRS will serve as the enforcer of the rules against individual taxpayers. Doctors will have to report to the IRS the names, addresses, Social Security numbers and coverage periods of their patients.

Both current versions of the legislation slap a %2.5 percent tax on any not covered by medical insurance, so the IRS involvement seems inevitable.

Do you really want the IRS involved in your healthcare?

Top 10 cloud scares

This article lists 10 reason companies may resist adopting cloud services. There some good points here but number 6 is just silly. Even if you are a believer in anthropogenic global warming (as opposed to what is caused by the giant fusion reactor in the sky), you would sill be better off employing cloud services. Unless your company that has very sophisticated power management technology you won’t be able to run a service as efficiently on a per-user basis as a company that host services for a living. Power usage for that service is a much bigger cost item for them than for you and they have much more incentive to minimize it.

Number 7 is a good point but vastly understates the problem. It isn’t so important where the servers live but where your provider has a legal presence or does business. For example if your provider does business in China it will need to bow to their whims regardless of where the servers physically reside. Really US privacy laws (or the lack there of) are really the least of your worries in regards to your data.

Too good to be true

Robert Samuelson calls BS on the current health care reform:

The most misused word in the health care debate is “reform.” Everyone wants “reform,” but what constitutes “reform” is another matter. If you listen to President Obama, his “reform” will satisfy almost everyone. It will insure the uninsured, control runaway health spending, subdue future budget deficits, preserve choice for patients and improve quality of care. These claims are self-serving exaggerations and political fantasies. They have destroyed what should be a serious national discussion of health care.

It never hurts to remember that old saying “if it sounds too good to be true it probably is”. The current heath care reform promises the world. Everyone will get covered, you get to keep your current plan if you like it, and no one gets hurt by taxes (except for some rich folks you likely don’t know or care about). This is all based on the questionable assertion that the national health care system will be become more efficient with government oversight.

Sounds too good to be true.

More on the knife ban…

Reason magazine has this to say about the administrations ill-conceived expansion of the federal “switch-blade” ban:

Then there is the Obama administration’s plan to man our borders against the import of pocketknives that can be opened with only one hand. This builds on one of Washington’s more ridiculous gestures, the 1958 federal law against switchblades—which drew attention not because they were more dangerous than other knives but because they were immortalized in movies about teenage hoodlums. This knife, declared a Senate committee, is “almost exclusively the weapon of the thug and the delinquent.”

It was a silly idea at the time, and it doesn’t make any more sense in an age where gangs have a penchant for settling disputes with a hail of bullets. But that doesn’t stop administration officials from targeting even more knives to address “health and public safety concerns raised by such importations.”

Are they serious? Do they really think that if you deprive a violent criminal of one sort of pocketknife, it will never occur to him to use a different and equally lethal pointed implement?

Maybe there are criminals out there who are really that stupid. If so, they missed their calling in government, where the mental deficiency would never be noticed.

Clearly there must be no more other important issues deserving of our governments attention.