sdoconnell

Recent notes

Tue 2020-06-02 18:18

While I absolutely and without equivocation believe in the need for the immediate and full-scale demilitarization of municipal police departments, I think our lawmakers are missing the point if they think preventing the transfer of military hardware to police is going to address our current problem of widespread police brutality. Derek Chauvin didn't kill George Floyd with a surplus M16 or roll over him with a surplus armored vehicle. He put a knee to Floyd's neck and held it there until the man was dead - while onlookers begged him repeatedly to stop.

Our problem in the United States is that we have police departments across the country hiring and retaining fascists and psychopaths. Officer Friendly has been marginalized and replaced by Officer FuckYou. If we want to solve the problem of police violence, perhaps we need to start with psychological evaluations of every police officer and administrator in every major metropolitan police department. Maybe while we're at it we could quiz them on the Bill of Rights and assess their positions on the subject. Let's find these bad actors and get them out of the police force. We also need to demand a full-scale effort to change the culture in these major police departments, and restore the historical notion of protect and serve.

I want to be clear about something: the problem isn't every cop. There are good cops in our nation's police forces. I've met some and talked to them. And you know something? They are just as pissed about this shit as the average person. But they feel like the current system is rigged against saying or doing anything about the problem. Bad cops watch out for other bad cops. We need to support the good cops by finding and firing the bad ones.

Thu 2020-05-28 16:22

I think the timing may come off as petty, but I'm in support of Trump's move to have the FCC re-assess Section 230 protections for social media companies. I think it's a measure that is long overdue. The online platforms have concentrated huge amounts of social and political power in the hands of a few Silicon Valley executives, and those companies are wielding that power (in my opinion) to the detriment of society at large. I firmly believe that social media has had a net-negative impact on our collective mental health and on the state of modern political discourse. It's clear that something has to be done.

As I've mentioned previously, my preferred solution would be to simply strip Section 230 protections from any ad-supported platform. The algos are the problem and it's not accidental. Divisiveness, fear, anger, conflict - they all drive "engagement" (read: clicks and views) which directly translates to ad revenue for companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The more time a user spends on a social media platform, the more money that platform makes from the user. That model incents the social platforms to use any means (good or bad) to keep their users engaged.

So drop the ads and remove the problem! Force the social media companies to adopt a subscription model with a clear, direct form of payment (currency) rather than their sneaky surveillance-capitalism "pay-by-seeing-ads" model. This creates a dynamic where per-user revenue is fixed at the monthly subscription rate, and the platform has no incentive to manipulate the user (who now becomes the customer). Whether a customer spends five minutes a day or five hours a day on the website or in the app, the platform makes the same revenue. The platform's only incentive at that point is to provide value to their customers to keep people subscribing.

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redball million dollar bug 2019-11-21 04:46
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