Tech giants Google, Samsung and Facebook are in a hasten to generate the most elaborated workplace environments
From the fifth-floor putting green of Samsungs Silicon Valley headquarters, looking out at a rolling range of sun-scorched mountains, its quite easy to forget youre at work. An manager is practising tai chi by the cactus plot, while another shakes in a robotic massage chair nearby. A volleyball match is in full swing in the lush-planted courtyard below, while raucous screechings of counter football originating from the Chill Zone, next to a row of space-age nap husks. Meet by the ping-pong counters, reads a sign stuck on the window. Todays revolving class will be on the terrace! 🙂
With its brand-new $300 m office block, which stands like a stack of glistening lily-white hard drives at an intersection northward of San Jose, the South Korean electronics monstrou is throwing headlong into the holiday clique workplace culture of the Bay Area tech scene.
We wanted to introduce more of a startup vibe to the company, supposes Jim Elliott, Samsungs vice-president of recall commerce, a responsibility designation as otherworldly as the building he works in. We were all separated in our different departmental islands before, but this building is about raising people together and encouraging fortune encounters. We want to get beings out of the boardroom.
Samsung has had a base here for 30 years, housed in a assemble of nondescript molts, but this 10 -storey beacon is designed to change its brand portrait in Northern america from purveyor of fridges and soaking machines to powerhouse of cutting-edge semiconductor innovation.
If you like science fiction, I can recommend a show for you—The Expanse. It takes place in the not-so-distant future all right here in our own solar system. There are no pew-pew lasers or faster-than-light space travel. When humans are on a spacecraft, they either "float" around or use magnetic boots (except when the spacecraft is accelerating). There are no "inertial dampeners" in The Expanse. Not only that, but it has interesting characters and a compelling plot. I like it.
As it turns out, The Expanse has three seasons all on the SyFy Network—but they did not renew for season 4. My plan was to write a physics piece about The Expanse to encourage another studio to pick it up. It seems my plan might have already worked—as Amazon Studios might be taking over. Hopefully.
OK, now for some physics. Let's look at this flash back scene that shows the invention of the Epstein drive. The basic idea is that the space craft use some type of nuclear fusion rockets and this dude figured out a way to make them more "efficient"—I guess that means more thrust with less fuel. But why can't the pilot move his hand during this acceleration?
Let me start with a seemingly completely unrelated experiment. Here are two cars on a low friction track. They are just sitting there. The track is level and they are not moving and not accelerating. Boring, but important.
I should point out that there are magnetic bumpers on these two cars. These magnets can push the cars apart when they get close—but right now they are far enough apart that there is no force. You can think of this magnetic bumper like a spring. In fact, I would have used a spring but I didn't find a suitable one.
These two cars represent parts of a human's body. There is no "compression" between these two body parts so the human would feel "weightless." This human is in deep outer space far away from any large gravitational objects so that the human is indeed actually weightless.
What about a human standing on Earth? Here are the same two cars with the track inclined a bit. There is a large block that prevents the red car from moving (this would be like the floor on Earth).
There is really only one difference in this case in that the two cars are closer together. The "magnetic spring" has to be compressed some (which you can see with my paper-scale) in order for the red car to push "up" on the blue car. The human in this case would not feel weightless. The human would feel normal.
Hopefully it's clear that I am trying to make a human feeling model. The distance between these two cars is a measure of how a human "feels"—at least in terms of weight.
Are you ready for the next case? What if I put these two cars on a level track and then push one of the cars with my finger so that it accelerates? Here's what that looks like.
I'm pushing the blue car to the right so that it accelerates. But what about the red car? It also accelerates to the right, but I'm not pushing it. Instead the red car accelerates from this "magnetic spring" between the two cars.
This is what happens when you have human in a car (an actual car) that is speeding up. The seat pushes forward on the human and then the internal parts of the human push on each other. I'm sure you've been in an accelerating car before, right? You know what it feels like. It feels sort of like the car is leaning back. This acceleration feels exactly like gravity because both compress that spring between your body parts. And there you have Einstein's Equivalence Principle: an accelerating reference frame is equivalent to a gravitational field.
And here is your answer to the crushing acceleration of the Epstein drive. The acceleration of the spacecraft is just like a super high gravitational field. On the surface of the Earth, the gravitational field pulls mass down 9.8 Newtons for every kilogram (9.8 N/kg) and we call this "1 g" since the gravitational field uses the symbol "g." This would be equivalent to an acceleration of 9.8 m/s2. So, if you feel 8g's that would be the same as a planet in which you weigh eight times as much on Earth. That means your hand that normally has a weight of 5 Newtons would feel like it's 40 Newtons (1 pound to 8 pounds).
Of course you have to lift more than your hand to turn off an accelerating spacecraft (especially when you disable the voice commands). The whole arm might have a normal weight of 35 Newtons (8 pounds) such that it would feel like 284 Newtons (64 pounds). While some people might be able to lift a 64 pound dumbbell, a man that was living on Mars probably couldn't. The gravitational field on the surface of Mars is only 3.8 N/kg—you don't have to be quite as strong to move around on Mars as you do on Earth.
But wait! I have one more case to point out how humans feel weight. Let's go back to the two cars on the track. What would happen if I let them accelerate by rolling down an incline? Here's what that would look like.
Here both cars are accelerating close to the same value as when I pushed one of them. However, the magnetic spring is not compressed. This situation represents a human in a gravitational field without a floor—such as a person in free fall or an astronaut in orbit. In both cases there is a gravitational force on the human but this gravitational force causes the human to accelerate. There is a big difference between acceleration due to gravity and an acceleration due to some other force. For the two cars, the gravitational force pulls on both cars to cause them to accelerate. There is no need for a compressed magnetic spring to make the other car (remember these cars represent body parts) to accelerate. Since there is no spring compression, you (the human) would feel weightless. And yes, this is why astronauts feel weightless in orbit even though there is indeed gravity in space.
OMG, you guys. Today is already a great day. Nick Jonas’ “Find You” music video is eventually here, and it’s certainly, really good. Nick Jonas, the international serviceman of sexy, is always surprising us with brand new music, and this time it’s something entirely, utterly stylish. Jonas’ new ballad, “Find You, ” is the sort of soothing carol to get you in the mood to dance on the beach with a knot of attractive strangers. Jonas does that in the music video, and it is truly invigorating for me. Can I do that? Is that what a beach day with Jonas is like? If so, sign me up.
Jonas fell “Find You” on Sept. 14, 2017, and the entire world started bobbing their foremen. We know where to find you, Nick Jonas. You can find him on the radio until forever because this song is catchy AF, y’all. So what does this music video really intend? Who is it about, and why is he driving an expensive vehicle so close to the liquid? Watch out, buster! One of the words speaks, “I look for you in the center of the sun.” I have no clue what that could symbolize, but do not seem directly at the sunbathe, beings. It’s not worth it to merely find a riddle girl that continues concealing from you. No way.
This is Jonas’ second song to come out the summer months, and we aren’t mad about it. The hymn, “Remember I Told You” was the catchy theme released after May. It featured Mike Posner and Anne Marie, and it showcased Jonas’ sultry voice. Mama like. Both songs are completely different, but both are sensual.
One thing is for certain, Jonas knows how to connect with his devotees. In October of 2016, he told
Heartbreak is a theme that a lot of people relate to — the challenges of the next steps in your life, and when some doorways open, and how you approach the next ones opening … I attended pretty quickly that it was a lot of what my fans could relate to. It’s nerve-wracking when[ the affections] are as personal as the ones that I shared were. But I appear allayed when I use my writing as a space to process — it’s exceedingly therapeutic.
Jonas is getting deep, and I like it.
Here are more melodics to deeply analyze 😛 TAGEND
I took a capsule but it didn’t help me numb I see your face even when my sees are shut But I never certainly know where to find you
I taste the words that keep falling out your mouth If I could love you I would never put you down But I never actually know where to find you
Where to find you Where to find you But I never genuinely know where to find you Try, try, try Try, try, try Try, try, try But I never really know where to find you
I’m guessing, based on the music video, Jonas is stumbling through a sweltering, steamy desert all alone, and finally notes the beautiful California coast. Although one would assume the first stop “wouldve been” directly into the monstrous body of water, Jonas instead jigs with all the beautiful women on the beach. Hey, we all have our priorities. Is he looking for that special woman “hes losing” long ago? Is he searching for himself? Oh, Jonas. You are a mysterious man.
At the end of the video, Jonas jump-start into a Lyft on the beach and leaves. Yes, he gets into a freakin’ Lyft. I couldn’t believe it either, but it happened. Does that have implication, or is it ingenious make placement? Probably a little bit of both, honestly. Although Jonas never seems to find who he’s looking for, the music video is a delicious treat.
Now, let’s all get out there and shake our hips to this sexy little song and find our inner move! Afterall, we’re all looking for something.
Check out the entire Gen Why series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV .
A 15 -year-old girl lost controller and crashed a stolen SUV Friday on a New York highway, killing three of the teenage fares, police alleged.( New York State Police/ Facebook)
Three adolescents were ejected and killed from a plagiarized SUV on Friday when an underage motorist lost self-control of the speeding vehicle on a New York highway and it wheeled over several times, authorities said.
Nine adolescents and an babe were carried within the Chevy Trailblazer as it erratically sped and swerved in and out of congestion on Long Island’s Meadowbrook Parkway just before noon, New York State Police pronounced at a news conference.
The driver was a 15 -year-old girl from Uniondale, a Nassau County suburb about 30 miles from Manhattan, FOX 5 New York reported.
Elle Gibbs-Murray, from Bridgend, said she was stuck in traffic on the Severn Bridge for 45 minutes as drivers were unable to pay the toll by card.
Adam, from Manchester, is a on a canal boat holiday with his girlfriend, Rach, and he was unable to use his card.
The 26-year-old said: “We have spent all day boating to moor up at a riverside pub in Kidlington for a birthday meal only to find the visa payments are not working. Having only £20 between us we have had to opt for a birthday drink instead.
“[There is] no cash point for miles around and no car as we are on the canal boat.”
In Berlin’s Alexanderplatz, customers at Primark complained of having to queue for 20 minutes to pay and staff there could not explain the reasons why transactions were failing.
Deborah Elder, from Glasgow, was unable to pay her restaurant bill while she was waiting at Frankfurt airport to fly back to Toulouse.
She said: “I was so embarrassed. I gave the waiter the 14 euros I had left.
“I’m worried I won’t be able to get home when I land in Toulouse as I have no cash for a taxi.”
Supermarket Tesco said chip and pin payments were not affected, but contactless payments were.
Sainsbury’s also said it had experienced problems.
Imagine that pesky tabby cat has been pooing in your backyard again. Unbeknown to you, it has transposed some of the parasite spores “its been” carrying onto your herb plot. Unintentionally, while preparing a appetizing salad, you forget to bath your hands and infect yourself with the Toxoplasma gondii spores. For months you display no evidences, then after six months you are driving your vehicle more aggressively, taking possibilities in street junctions and generally filled with more road rage as you angrily gesticulate with fellow drivers. Could all this be linked to that tasty salad?
T. gondii is a fascinating protozoan parasite which, like numerous same creatures, needs to move between several different emcee species in order to fully develop and photocopy. As such, it appears to have evolved cunning means to see transmission between legions most likely. For speciman, surveys have found that once rats intermediate hosts are polluted they display less forethought towards cats the final stage hosts and so the parasite is more likely to be passed on.
Not so cute when you know what theyre carrying. Shutterstock
Chicken or egg ?
Very often criticisms of these studies come down to a chicken and egg inquiry. Connect doesnt required mean causality. Are those aggressive, fast-driving people or those with behavioural modes more likely to catch the parasites, or does the parasite cause these behavioural traits? Many of the studies were done retrospectively rather than looking at people behaviour before and after they grew infected with the parasites. So for now, we cant was sure whether your road rage certainly was linked to your salad.
What we do know is that there are plenty of examples in wildlife where parasites can manipulate the sex, increment, maturation, habitat and behaviour of their legions. “Hairs-breadth” worms, for instance, ended their lifecycle in a flow or torrent and appear to make their multitudes crickets attracted to irrigate.
The effects of the parasite dont stop there, either. The hapless crickets can provide fish with alternative solutions food generator to their usual diet of aquatic invertebrates and, for parts of the year, can form a substantial part of their food. So manipulating parasites can be important to insisting healthy ecosystems.
Some ant species polluted by trematode flukes are manipulated in a way that establishes them cling to the crowns of blades of grass, which means theyre more likely to be chewed by sheep. This permits the fluke to complete its life cycle in the sheep.
A type of barnacle parasite known as a rhizocephalan, which gobbles its crab host from the inside out, is known to feminise its male legions by castrating them. Scientists have suggested they are then more likely to look after the parasite sac that abounds through their abdomens, often like a female would tend to her eggs.
Switching on genes
Through advances in molecular biology, we are increasingly works out how these parasites can change behaviour by altering gene show the method genes can be turned on or off. For instance, work in our laboratory at the University of Portsmouth is trying to uncover existing mechanisms that permits a newly discovered species of trematode parasite making such a shrimp-like( amphipods) hosts more attracted to the light.
These amphipods would prefer to be hiding under seaweed on our shores, escaping their bird piranhas as the tide recedes. By chemically mapping the brains of polluted shrimp, scientists have discovered that parasites somehow adapted the shrimps’ serotonin, a humor neurotransmitter find throughout the animal kingdom. Our recent analyses have revealed that infected prawns have subtle modifications to their serotonin receptors and the enzymes that create serotonin.
Other contemplates have shown amphipods hosting similar parasites are over 20 periods more likely to be eaten compared to non-infected specimens. Again, this highlights the often-overlooked importance of brain-bending parasites in the natural order of food webs.
We often think we must have discovered all the species possible in well-studied spots such as the UK, but many mesmerizing new manipulating parasites are yet to be discovered on our doorsteps. Our knowledge of how these brain-bending parasites interact with human species will no doubt develop more strongly over the next decade.
N.J.’s eyes are dark and deep as he kneels in the garden, hands wrapped gently around the kale seedling.
We line peas on either side of the fencing I’ve brought, and I show him how to press each one down to the first knuckle on his index finger and then pat the soft dirt over the hole. The tomato plant doesn’t want to come out of the container. It’s root-bound, clinging to the pot; I tap the edges to loosen it and pull slowly on the stem.
“Plants are tough,“ I say, as I slice the roots with the edge of the trowel and then let him do the same thing to the other side. We wiggle the tangly, knotted white roots loose, and then he sets it in the hole we dug, snuggling it in and combing the soil with his fingers. Finally, we dot the front of the box with onion starts and poke them in, some of them already sprouting little green shoots from their tops.
It’s May. We are working together in a garden boxhis parents built in their backyard the previous summer. All the seeds they planted had washed away in a hard rain. They hadn’t had time to do any more with it, because Mary, N.J.’s mother, was undergoing chemotherapy after a diagnosis of Stage IV colon cancer.
N.J., out of frame, waters his garden. All photos courtesy of the author, used with permission.
Now, a year later, treatment has ended, and Mary is in her last days.
She won’t get to see her son in his garden, though she is only steps away. Breathing slowly and steadily, nodding and smiling softly — these are the things she is doing with the energy she has left. She looks at pictures on my phone, though, of N.J. with his hands on his plants, proudly shepherding his garden along, smiling her same soft smile. His eyes are her eyes.
Before Mary was diagnosed, we were friends, but not close friends. We lived down the road, attended the same church, chatted here and there in passing. I have two girls; she had two boys. She would bring N.J. and his older brother to play as soon as he could walk on his own.
N.J. would toddle through the rows of my garden, stuffing cherry tomatoes into his cheeks, tugging on fat pea pods, and eating cucumbers like you eat an ear of corn. He seemed to delight in the magic of growing things the way I do. We are born gardeners, part of that secret society of people for whom weeding is not a chore, but a pleasure.
After Mary was diagnosed, I never really knew what to say. But I did learn, over time, to just be there, with vegetables, with bread, with myself.
I saw the washed-out garden box in the backyard that summer, but I didn’t yet feel confident enough to suggest planting it again or to just go ahead and do it.
Over the winter, though, Mary let me be one of the people who took her to chemo and other appointments. We grew close, closer than we had ever been. We both had strong opinions, we both swore a lot, we both liked Thai food. I would get a spread of things to nibble on together while the medicine dripped into her port, while she got hot and then chilled and then dried out and thirsty.
And then, when it was over and she was exhausted, I’d bring the car around, and we’d drive, the winter sun setting behind us as we headed home from the cancer center.
A parent’s first worst nightmare is something happening to their child; the second worst nightmare is something happening to themselves, because the loss of a parent leaves children vulnerable to danger, to pain.
Mary said to me once, on one of our many slow walks up and down our road, “At least it’s not one of the boys. I couldn’t handle that.”
But they, of course — and Mary’s husband — have to handle that it was her.
Some of Mary’s flowers remain in the author’s own garden.
When it became clear that treatment was no longer working and that it would be days or weeks rather than months, the new growing season was just beginning.
On one of my last visits to the house while Mary was still alive, before I knocked on the door in the garage, I walked around back to see the garden box.
Mary had covered it with a tarp the previous summer, and I pulled back a corner. Just a few weeds here and there. The soil needed turning, but it was soft and loose and rich, I could tell, full of good lobster and blueberry compost from the coast of Maine.
I had some extra pea fencing and plenty of seed, and a grower at the local farmers market had donated kale, tomato, and cucumber seedlings. I brought N.J. out to the patch of land and, together, we started to work.
When I whispered to Mary how good the box looked and how pleased N.J. was with his garden, she smiled, eyes closed. “Take a picture for me,” she said.
Someone brought a sunflower in a pot; N.J. planted it in a corner of his box. He carefully tended his vegetables all summer after his mother died, pulling every other onion plant for scallions so the remaining onions would bulb up nicely, weeding around the kale, training the peas as they climbed.
His eyes are dark and deep and full of pain, but kids, like plants, are tough.
Donald Trump has granted a posthumous pardon to Jack Johnson, boxings first pitch-black heavyweight champion
Donald Trump has granted a uncommon posthumous pardon to boxing’s first black heavyweight endorse more than 100 times after what Trump supposed many appear was a racially motivated injustice.
” It’s my reputation to do it. It’s about time ,” Trump said during an Oval Office ceremony, where he was joined by former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis, current WBC heavyweight title-holder Deontay Wilder and actor Sylvester Stallone, who has sucked awareness to Johnson’s cause.
Johnson, who captivated the deed in 1908 and defended it with a far-famed 1910 victory over former endorse James J Jeffries in a contest dubbed the Fight of the Century, was regarded as a master of defense and echoing generalship.
In 1913, Johnson was imprisoned by an all-white jury of contravening the Mann Act for moving a woman across country cables for” vile purposes” in a emphatically shaky case.
Duly convicted, Johnson told:” They executed Christ, why not me ?” He then hop-skip bail and went to Europe. In 1920, he returned to the US and provided almost a year in jail.
Known as the Galveston Giant, Johnson is a famed figure in boxing, who swept over into popular culture decades ago with biographies, drama and documentaries in accordance with the civil rights period.
Johnson died in a gondola accident in North Carolina in 1946, at the age of 68. He has been widely celebrated since, stimulating a seminal jazz stone book by Miles Davis and works and cinemas including a 2004 documentary by Ken Burns, Unforgivable Blackness: the Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson.
His great-great niece had been pressing for a posthumous pardon.
Senator John McCain and former Senate majority leader Harry Reid had also pushed Johnson’s case for years.
” Johnson’s imprisonment forced him into the shadows of bigotry and racism, and continues to stand as a stain on our national reputation ,” McCain has said.
Posthumous excuses are rare, but not extraordinary. President Bill Clinton pardoned Henry O Flipper, the first African-American officer to lead the Buffalo Soldiers of the 10 th Cavalry Regiment during the Civil War, and Bush pardoned Charles Winters, an American voluntary in the Arab-Israeli War convicted of transgressing the US Neutrality Acts in 1949.
Linda E Haywood, the great-great niece, missed Barack Obama, the nation’s first pitch-black chairman, to excuse Johnson, but Justice Department policy says” processing posthumous pardon applications is sanded in the sentiment that the time of the officials involved in the mercy process is better spent on the amnesty and commutation requests of living persons “.
The Justice Department obligates decisions on potential forgiveness through an application process and generally makes recommendations to the president. The general DOJ policy is to not accept applications for posthumous acquittals for federal sentences, according to the department’s website. But Trump has shown a willingness to work around the DOJ process in the past.
In March, Ajit Pai, the 45 -year-old chair of the Federal Communications Commission, took to the internet–a community he joyfully inhabits and grudgingly regulates–to pay tribute to his favorite movie. “It’s not only, like, my views, gentleman: 20 years ago today, #TheBigLebowski–the greatest cinema in its own history of cinema–was secreted, ” Pai wrote on Twitter. “Decades on, the Dude still stands and the movie really ties us all together.” And sure enough, the response to Pai’s joyous tweet was united.
You’re out of your ingredient Ajit . –@ JohnsNotHere Yes, Ajit. Stop trying to mingle with humen . –@ Douche_McGraw
I hope you enjoy watching that movie alone since you have zero pals –@ aseriousmang
No one likes you dork –@ chessrockwell_
The insults, hundreds upon hundreds of them, accumulated in his replies. Some took the form of distrustful Jeff Bridges GIFs, others mimicked famed ways of Lebowski dialog.( “Shut the fuck up, Ajit.”) People debated whether Pai was more like one of the movie’s nihilist kidnappers or its corporate stooge.
The WIRED Business Issue
The competition is potent, but Pai may be the most vilified serviceman on the internet. He is despised as both a bumble rube, trying too hard to prove he gets it, and a adroit rogue, out to destroy digital freedom.( As one lampooning headline placed it: “Ajit Pai will not rest until he has killed The Big Lebowski, too.”) The anger flows from his move, soon after being appointed by Donald Trump, to abolish Obama-era net neutrality regulations. He called his program the Restoring Internet Freedom Order, an Orwellian signature in the opinion of his commentators, who see it as a mortal threat.
In the simplest expressions, the rules of the net impartiality impedes internet service providers, such as Verizon or Comcast, from manipulating system commerce for discriminatory roles. Defenders are saying that, without such rules, those companies could exert nefarious strengths. They might slow down Netflix, clearing movies like The Big Lebowski unwatchable, in order to push captive subscribers to their own owneds, a prospect that becomes more plausible as telecoms like AT& T and Verizon expand into material. They could accuse tech companionships extra costs to reach customers, demonstrating a competitive edge to those that remunerate. They could deprive a startup or curb a expres of disagreement. Pai rejected such scenarios, announcing them “hypothetical impairments and hysterical revelations of doom, ” and pointed out that there was little evidence of such action before the Obama administration enforced the regulations in 2015. But the resist, depicting intensity from the broader anti-Trump fight, was not coaxed by his reassurances. “If you’re not freaking out about net neutrality right now, ” the activist group Fight for the Future forewarned its partisans last year, “you’re not paying attention.”
Pai sought to defuse surmises by presenting himself as an affable geek, lowering conspicuous references to Star Wars and comic book heroes. But the internet wasn’t buying it. Last May, after satirist John Oliver delivered a scathing sermon humiliating what he announced Pai’s “doofy,’ Hey, I’m just like you guys’ persona”–he focused on Pai’s habit of booze from a giant novelty coffee cup at meetings–and announcing on viewers of Last-place Week Tonight to stand up for net impartiality, the FCC’s website received an onslaught of comments against the abolish. Most simply spoken is supportive of Obama’s policy, but some spat racist vitriol at Pai, who is a child of Indian immigrants, or even warned their own lives. Trolls tracked down examine sheets for his wife’s medical pattern and crowded them with abusive one-star refreshes. Perhaps unwisely, Pai prevented trying to fight back on the internet’s own terms. He jousted with luminaries and nothings on social media. He staged self-conscious stunts, like appearing in a video entitled “7 Things You Can Still Do on the Internet After Net Neutrality, ” in which he posed as a Jedi and moved to “Harlem Shake” with a bunch of young conservatives. But the video only exacerbated the internet. On Twitter, Mark Hamill–Luke Skywalker himself–jeered at Pai, calling him “profoundly unworthy” to swing a lightsaber. Person else swiftly linked a young woman moving next to Pai as a right-wing scheme theorist who had helped spread “Pizzagate, ” a deception gossip from the lunatic fringe that associated Hillary Clinton to a child-abuse ring.
On December 14, as that sight of Pai cavorting with the extreme right was zipping around the world, the FCC commissioners converged to consider the fate of net neutrality. Demonstrators rallied outside the agency’s headquarters, but Pai sounded unperturbed as he and his four fellow commissioners filed into a fluorescent-lit chamber. By Washington tradition, the FCC’s membership is subdivided, with two sits picked by the opposition’s congressional captains. His two Republican peers spoke in favor of the cancel, while the two Democrats offered stern differences. The chair had the final word. “The internet has ameliorated my working life immeasurably, ” Pai responded. “In the past few days alone, I’ve set up a FaceTime call with my parents and kids, downloaded interesting podcasts about blockchain engineering, I’ve ordered a burrito, I’ve oversaw my playoff-bound imagination football squad. And–as many of you might have seen–I’ve tweeted. What is responsible for the prodigious developed at the internet? Well, it surely wasn’t heavy-handed government regulation.”
As Pai spoke, there are still furtive hubbub in the back of the chamber. A hulk armed sentry stepped forwards. “On advice of security, it is also necessary take a brief recess, ” Pai added hurriedly, and then stood up and hastened out a side entrance. A murmur went through the gathering: missile threat .
The room was evacuated and researched. Eventually everyone rendered and Pai called for a referendum. The abolish passed, 3-2. Pai took a satisfied swallow from his much-maligned coffee mug.
People who know Pai assert that his nerdy persona is genuine. And even his adversaries will admit that he’s an anomaly in the Trump administration: a skillful practitioner of the Washington game. Pai has wasted his entire professional life in the capital, acquiring influential patrons( Mitch McConnell, Jeff Sessions) and insider expertise. As Harold Feld, a fervent reviewer who works for “consumers interests” advocacy radical General knowledge, deplores, “Why was my area of plan the one that got the person who really knows what he’s doing? ”
Behind Pai’s brainy, technocratic disguise, though, is an alter ego: ruthless republican ideologue. In this sense, “hes about” emblematic of Trump’s Washington, where all debates–even the bone-dry bureaucratic ones–have become so searing because this is crusaded like matters of life and death. Pai’s competence has allowed him to stir quick drive of undoing the Obama administration’s gift at the FCC. But his polarizing politics assure that the battle over internet regulation will retain fury. “I like Ajit Pai personally, although I don’t want to defend him in public, ” admits another net neutrality follower. “But you’re not allowed to try to destroy the internet and then be treated well by the internet. The internet should dislike him.”
Pai may be a creature of Washington, but he still presents himself as a state at heart. He grew up in the small town of Parsons, Kansas, where his mothers, both Indian-born doctors, practiced at a district hospital. Pai’s connections to the wider world were AM radio and his family’s satellite television dish. Today many rural communities are without broadband internet access, such issues Pai often addresses publicly. “I’ve been to numerous, many towns around home countries, and I’ve accompanied how people are on the wrong side of that digital divide, ” Pai told students at his old high school in Parsons last-place September.( He declined to be interviewed for this article .) He told the assembly about a momentous occasion: meeting Trump in the Oval Office for the first time. “You walk out and you see the splendour of the White House and you think about the fact that you just met the most powerful party in the world, and I couldn’t help but think about a kid I used to know 30 years before, ” Pai enunciated. “He was a shy boy, wiry mustache, bushy hair, really awkward talking to beings, simply didn’t quite know what was going on. He was, candidly, a dork.”
Pai could argue, though, that dorkiness was his ticket out of Parsons. He was a top-flight debater in senior high school and, afterwards, at Harvard. He arrived in Cambridge as a Democrat, but under the influence of a professor, Martin Feldstein, who had advised Ronald Reagan, he adopted a conservative free-market ideology. Pai was also put off by the racial politics on Harvard’s campus. After the 1992 hasten riotings in Los Angeles, his residential house invited students to post their notions on a wall–a literal, brick-and-mortar one. Though a minority himself, Pai was skeptical of radical identity politics, and he wrote that “the real problem” when it came to race at Harvard was “voluntary segregation.”
“Pai are quite throwing his batch with this Trump revolution.”
Pai graduated from Harvard in 1994, a year in which two increases emerged that would influence the course of his professional life. That October, Netscape liberated the firstly commercially successful web browser, reopen the route for the modern internet. A month afterwards, the Republican Party won domination of Congress. The flavour of Newt Gingrich’s “Republican Revolution” was strong at the University of Chicago, where Pai had just started constitution institution. He belonged to the Edmund Burke Society, a vocal conservative group, but too considered with Cass Sunstein, a brilliant liberal academic of administrative law.( Gigi Sohn–a Democrat and net impartiality propose who worked at the FCC when Pai was there–told me that after a contentious poll, she saw Pai vehemently debating with a person who had criticized his knowledge of administrative law on Twitter. Explaining his anger afterward, he told her: “I got an A in Cass Sunstein’s administrative law class! ”)
When Pai later moved to Washington, he met a cohort of young republicans “whos” impassioned about curtailing regulation. “Ajit was a type, as were a lot of his pals from Chicago, that they are able to geek out about the differences in originalist logic of Scalia and Thomas, ” pronounces a sidekick from the time, Ketan Jhaveri. “And how to employment that to get the government to do less.”
In 1998, Pai assembled the Justice Department as a junior advocate in the antitrust disagreement. He was assigned to a task force overseeing the telecommunications industry, which was going through a period of convulsion. Deregulation had contributed to a thunder in dot-com capitals, big investment in broadband, and a ripple of telecom unitings. In 2000, Pai took part in an investigation that eventually blocked the proposals of the uniting of WorldCom and Sprint, partly because it stood to give one company a prevailing percentage of the internet’s “backbone” infrastructure.
The concern, then as now, was that the company that owned the pipes could also operate the flow of data. For practical purposes, some traffic administration was requisite, but the professors and architects who pioneered the internet could already foresee how that authority could lead to abuses such as stymie access to websites and “throttling”–or intentionally slowing–the connections of certain purchasers. In 2002, a young principle prof called Tim Wu wrote a short newspaper that he entitled “A Proposal for Network Neutrality.” He framed the issue in modest terms, recommending a standard that regulators could use to decide which methods of network management should be permitted( for the valid is the subject of targeting transaction) and which should be banned( for distorting the fundamental rights openness of the internet ).
“I was sure it was a complete waste of time, ” Wu echoes of the working paper. But the term “net neutrality” caught on. Over day the concept has come to mean something far more sweeping, invoked to protect not only chips of data but free speech, personal privacy, innovation, and most every other public good associated with the internet.( Pai has called it “one of the more seductive commerce mottoes that’s ever been attached to a public policy issue.”)
The world of telecommunications law is tiny, and Wu says he swept tracks with Pai around the time he came up with the concept of net neutrality. “Back in the day, he used to throw pretty good defendants, ” Wu answered. Pai was active in the Federalist Society, the intellectual middle of the conservative legal panorama, but he was a bipartisan networker. He used to arrange big happy hour events, sending out mass email invitations that took the form of cunning limericks. “Everyone knew his politics, but it was kind of like a gag, ” does Jhaveri, who worked with Pai at the Justice Department and is now a tech entrepreneur. “A lot of our close friends were liberal and would give him a hard time about it, but all in good fun.”
After the Justice Department, Pai went to work at Verizon as a corporate lawyer, but his foray into the private sector organizations lasted precisely two years. He went on to Capitol hill as an aide-de-camp to two of the most conservative members of such Senate: first Periods, from Alabama, and then Sam Brownback, who represented Pai’s home state of Kansas. Unlike his leaders, Pai was not a fire-breather on social issues, but he could see who was on the ascent in Washington during George W. Bush’s presidency. Finally, in 2007, Pai located his natural target at the FCC, taking a midlevel slot in the general counsel’s office.
Established in 1934 to oversee radio airwaves and the Bell telephone monopoly, the FCC is one of those government institutions that obstructs the great importance behind an impenetrable layer of boringness. The organization has consistently had a dynamic of symbiosis–to employ it politely–with the companies it supervises. FCC staffers deal chiefly with lobbyists, and often become lobbyists, shuttling back and forth between K Street and the “8th Floor, ” as the commissioners’ suites are known in Washington.
As Pai connected relevant agencies, activism was starting to stir around the issue of net neutrality. On a basic rank, the problem related an ambiguity in accordance with the rules the existing legislation dealt with internet service providers. The ones that started as phone companies were regulated in Title II of the Telecommunications Act and classified as “common carriers.” The cable companies, like Comcast and Time Warner Cable, were governed by the more lenient Title I, which incorporates “information services.” During the Bush administration–after much lobbying, litigation, and a Supreme court decision–the FCC reclassified all ISPs under the looser designation of information services.
“That deal certainly was: You won’t be regulated like a phone company–which they hate, it’s very expensive–as long as you expend and dish the country, ” reads Michael Powell, Bush’s firstly FCC chair. “And what did the companies do? Over a decade, it was the fastest-deploying technology in the history of the world. They endowed over a trillion dollars.” Of track, putting broadband in the less governed category intended the FCC would have fewer superpowers to police anticompetitive rehearses. In 2004, Powell, a Republican, set off voluntary principles. “It was consciously and purposely meant to be a shot from all the regions of the bow of the ISP industry, ” Powell suggests. He was telling them to react or else the rules could return.
Powell’s approach seemed frail to net neutrality campaigners, “whos” backed by an emerging financial and political army: Silicon Valley. Fellowships like Google suspected–not unreasonably–that the internet service providers, which had expended all that capital in broadband, resented them for skating on their networks for free. The providers were rumored to be interested in accusing tech business for fast delivery, a practice known as “paid prioritization, ” and if they have begun to manipulate their middleman post, it could potentially upend the economy of the internet. “I’m not said today Google doesn’t act out of self-interest, ” enunciates Andrew McLaughlin, who helped start Google’s public policy operation in Washington. “But that self-interest was the sense that the long-term future of the internet is better off if it’s free and open.”
The new billionaires of Silicon Valley cuddled Barack Obama when he guided for president in 2008, as did many of their employees like McLaughlin, who became a White House technology adviser. “The Democrats won the fight about who was going to hang out with the cool boys, ” articulates Randy Milch, who was then general counsel at Verizon. “Then they carried the liquid for the cool teenagers. That’s how this became a partisan battle.”
Obama took up the sources of net impartiality, and his first FCC chairman, Julius Genachowski, cut a deal with the telecom companies to accept following regulation. This incensed congressional Republicans. If Obama favored net neutrality, congressional Republican were opposed, and the formerly technocratic question became a right-wing bugaboo. On Fox News, Glenn Beck sucked crazed charts on his blackboard associating White House aides who favored net neutrality to Marxist professors and Mao. With encouragement from its allies on Capitol Hill, Verizon sued the FCC. This was much to the consternation of the rest of the industry, which considered Genachowski’s conventions preferable to the hardcore alternative of common-carrier regulation.
In 2011, when a Republican accommodate opened up on the FCC, Mitch McConnell made Pai forward for the upright. During his confirmation hearing, when Pai was asked about net impartiality, he said he’d hinder an open recollection as the courts considered Verizon’s lawsuit. Net impartiality advocate Harold Feld wrote an approving blog berth, announcing the nominee a “workhorse wonk.”
“Boy, was I incorrect, ” Feld says today.
After McConnell and the Republican leadership mailed Pai to the commission in 2012, he disclosed himself to be a fierce partisan. He reportedly offended FCC staff with the militantly republican hyperbole of his very first difference, over a small-bore decision about the Tennis Channel. Pai will continue to be skirmish bitterly with Tom Wheeler, the Democrat who led the FCC during Obama’s later years. “Pai was ranging haloes around him, ” supposes Craig Aaron, president of the advocacy radical Free Press, who watched Pai maneuver in league with Republicans on Capitol hill. So when a federal tribunal surfaced with Verizon in early 2014, expecting the FCC to find a brand-new net neutrality approach, Pai was ready. “He was just going struggle, ” Aaron says.
The court decision appeared to leave the FCC merely one route: classify service providers under the restrictive conventions that enveloped phone companies as common carriers. This was the outcome the ISPs had dreaded. In 2014, in a move Pai denounced as White House meddling, Obama secreted a YouTube video endorsing such an approach. Pai fought against what he called “President Obama’s plan to regulate the internet.” But the rules and overtook, and in June 2016 a court preserved them. The issue appeared determined. Then, in a reversal no one ascertained starting, Trump won the presidential election.
Pai never explicitly related himself with his party’s “never Trump” faction, but as an scholastic conservative and the son of immigrants, he has little sympathy for the president’s crass nativism, does a sidekick who talked to him throughout the 2016 expedition. “I would be very surprised if he voted for Trump, ” this friend lent.( An FCC spokesperson mentions Pai voted for Trump .) Still, when Trump won the election, Pai, like numerous Republicans in Washington, recalibrated his ideological plan. “I knew formerly Trump met him and listen his life story, Trump was going to like him, ” articulates Christopher Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax Media and a confidant of the president’s. It helped that Pai’s age-old boss Sessions was, at that time, one of Trump’s most trusted advisers. When offered the FCC chairship, Pai eagerly accepted the post.
When Trump won the election, Pai, like numerous Republicans in Washington, recalibrated his ideological agenda.
As the nation’s top telecommunications regulator, Pai’s unofficial duties include presiding over an annual Chairman’s Dinner, also known as the “telecom prom, ” a Washington hotel gala filled with inside puns about cable retransmission disputes and the like. In last year’s lecture, Pai offered gratuities for his newly powerless Democratic colleagues( “Tip# 1: Divulge … frequently”) and played a skit in which he poked fun at his own honour as a corporate shill. It illustrated a young Pai, circa 2003, conspiring with a real-life Verizon executive. “As you know, the FCC is was arrested by industry, but we think it’s not captivated enough, ” she alleged. “We wishes to brainwash and groom a Verizon puppet to install as FCC chair. Think Manchurian Candidate . ”
“That resounds breathtaking, ” Pai responded enthusiastically. All that was missing was “a Republican who will be able to win the presidency in 2016 to constitute you FCC chairman, ” the Verizon executive read. “If merely soul could yield us a sign.” The twangy bass wrinkle of the Apprentice theme played, and Trump’s face crowded the screen.
It is difficult to serve Trump without getting muddied in the mayhem of Trumpism–as Sessions and many others have discovered. Last-place sink, when Trump propelled a Twitter attack on NBC, suggesting it might be “appropriate to challenge” its program license for reporting “Fake News”–that is, word he didn’t like–the FCC chair hindered quiet for dates before meekly declaring that the FCC would “stand for the First Amendment.” Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democratic commissioner, says: “Maybe it was horror. But history won’t be kind to silence.”
For the most part, though, Pai has been left to run the FCC with little intervention. Trump may love video, but he doesn’t care about the dry arcana of telecommunications regulation. At Pai’s sole Oval Office meeting, last March, Trump mainly wanted to talk about triumphing and their shared ardour of football, Pai told others, and gushed about the programme his buddy, Patriots manager Bill Belichick, had employed to stage a Super Bowl comeback against the Falcons. Insofar as the White House has an mind on net impartiality, it was adjusted early by Steve Bannon, Trump’s political adviser, who declared that the “deconstruction of the administrative state” would be one of the administration’s core priorities.
“It was sort of knee-jerk in the White House, ” alleges a Republican net neutrality backer who discussed the issue with both Pai and Bannon last year. “Bannon enunciated,’ This is Obama’s rule and we should throw it out.’ ” Though Bannon has since been expelled, the deregulatory safarus processions on. Beneath the fireworks exhibition of angry tweets, Russia investigations, and sex and bribery gossips, Trump has been replenishing the judiciary and federal agencies with appointees determined to curtail bureaucratic power.
Even before he was mentioned chair, Pai said he wanted to take a “weed whacker” to FCC regulations, and it was inevitable, imparted his and his party’s hostility to net impartiality, that he would reverse Obama’s common-carrier appointment. But Pai’s order led far out of range. It allowed ISPs to do what they miss with transaction, so long as they disclose it to patrons in the fine print, delegating enforcement dominance to another bureau entirely: the Federal Trade Commission. “I suppose most people thought he would take the rules and wheel them back in a modest practice, ” Rosenworcel does. “This was radical.” Effectively, he has defined the industry free of the FCC.
Pai has also made decisions favorable to other business, like Sinclair Broadcast Group, the owner of practically 200 neighbourhood tv station, which is vehemently supportive of Trump’s agenda. Among interesting thing, the FCC eased owned patterns that limited Sinclair’s growth and is evaluating a contentious merger that would enable it to control another 42 terminals, returning it a existence in 70 percent of the US. Progressive priorities, meanwhile, ought to have flogged. The FCC has moved to curtail Lifeline, a program that subsidizes phone and internet acquaintances for poor people. If the cuts follow out, some 8 million shoppers could lose their Lifeline connections.
“Pai is very much throwing his slew with this Trump revolution, ” speaks Aaron of the advocacy group Free Press. Pai has addressed Free Press’ net impartiality criticisms by calling different groups “spectacularly misnamed, ” characterizing one of its founders as a revolutionary socialist. He is even more unsparing behind closed- door. A former employee of a public interest group tells of being berated by Pai for an offending press release. “When you were talking with him privately, he used to seem genuinely interested in understanding, ” says someone who has discussed net impartiality with Pai on several occasions. Now, however, his attention is closed to contrary remembers. Beings who work at the FCC say that the agency is roiled by internal conflict. “It is unbelievably partisan, ” Democratic commissioner Mignon Clyburn told me in December. “I’ve been there for nearly nine years, and I’ve never seen it to this degree.” In April, she resigned.
How to Speak Net Neutrality
Net neutrality is the principle that internet service providers( ISPs) should not speed up, slow down, or control system transaction for discriminatory intents. It needs its own glossary.
Blocking and Throttling
The crudest the different types of net neutrality contraventions. Impeding means exactly what it is just like, while throttling referred to as intentionally slackening the flow of data.
Without net neutrality, ISPs could prioritize–that is, speed up–the flow of data from particular areas, yielding an advantage to companies that pay tolls.
Title I and Title II
ISPs want to be covered under Title I of the Telecommunications Act, which is fairly lenient. But net neutrality preaches prefer Title II, which would treat ISPs as “common carriers” and allow tougher regulation.
A law thought that responds particular entities–like railroads and phone companies–are so important that government needs to ensure they are open to everyone equally.
Gloria Tristani, a former Democratic FCC commissioner who now represent the National Hispanic Media Coalition, went to visit Pai last-place June, up on the 8th Floor. Sitting in armchairs in the chair’s spacious suite, Tristani tried to broach the topics in net impartiality and the Lifeline cutbacks, but Pai contributed her a nippy reception. She says that she tried to be diplomatic, saying that, despite their defendant differences, she still felt Pai was motivated by his view of the general interest. “He goes up from his chair, goes to his table, and comes back with a sheet of paper, ” Tristani recalls. Pai thrust the paper at her. “He says something of the implications of,’ You really dare say that to me? ’ ” On the paper was a tweet she had written in favor of net neutrality. Posted beneath it was a picture of Tristani at a rally, pointing toward a “Save the Internet! ” banner. It was next to a odious representation “ve been meaning to” symbol corporate money, from which Pai and Trump hung on puppet strings.( An FCC spokesperson articulates Pai recalls a little confrontational encounter .)
Pai’s rivals manufacture no apologetics for demonizing him, given the bets they say are committed. Without net impartiality, they prophesy, shoppers could end up paying more money for less bandwidth, while tech firms that have come to depend on fast associates could be faced with a shakedown: Pay up or choke. The service providers scoff, saying they have no incentive to alienate their customers. But if Pai’s enemies and allies agree about one thing, it’s that his programme aims are about something larger than the rush at which packets of data traverse the cables and swaps that make up the physical infrastructure of the internet. “I don’t think this fight is really fundamentally about net impartiality, ” articulates Berin Szoka, founder of the libertarian advocacy group TechFreedom, who is well acquainted with Pai. “It’s really about people who, on the one mitt, want to maximize the government’s permission via the internet, versus people who don’t trust national governments and want to confine its authority.”
A decade from now, it’s possible that the net impartiality polemic will look like the first feud in a much larger conflict–one with shifting confederations and interests. For years, the service providers have been telling Silicon Valley to be careful about what they wished for. Earlier this year, Powell , now the top lobbyist for the cable manufacture, told me: “They are going to lose the battle, because they are acclimating the world to regulation. They’re going to be next.” And for sure, over the past few months of gossips over Russian bots and Facebook data-harvesting, and the following congressional hearings, the idea that the government might seek to expand its regulatory purview over Silicon Valley has started to seem conceivable. The tech business are suddenly friendless in Washington, facing pres is not simply from the left, which now witnesses them as no less evil than the ISPs, but too the claim, which complains that its express are being muffled by communication restrictions.
It is no coincidence that last year, as the FCC prepared to repeal net neutrality regulations, Silicon Valley’s reply was notably subdued. The republican antiregulatory dogma might represent the industry’s good hope for an flee route for an industry that now fears government restrictions. And besides, the large-hearted tech business are no longer so sure that net neutrality is crucial to their business patterns. Even if service providers start charging tolls, the dominant internet firms will have negotiating position. Reed Hastings, the chief executive of Netflix, relinquished at an industry consultation last year that net impartiality is “not our primary combat at this point” because his busines is now “big enough to get the treats we want.” The demise of the regulation could even have an upside for a now-established incumbent like Netflix, protecting its position from upstart opponents. “I think there is a originating consensus, ” pronounces psychoanalyst Craig Moffett, “that while it’s nice to be able to talk about how an issue like paid prioritization will suffocate the next Google before it’s born , no one will benefit from asphyxiating the next Google before it’s born more than Google.”
it is impossible to say whether Pai has killed net impartiality or whether, in the long term, it will return, either through a change of supremacy in Washington, a court decision–appeals are ongoing–or even legislation. It is safe to predict, though, that there will be no peace between Pai and the internet. Over the past year, as he has been parodied and plagued by trolls, Pai has expended a lot of time in real life, on the road leading, driving rental autoes through rural states and have committed themselves to return broadband to the heartland. He has targeted billions in funds to close the “digital partition” while nominating an advisory committee to link regulations that slow down deployment. Even on his signature topic, though, “theres” troubles. The committee is stacked to favor corporate interests, critics answer, and Pai’s choice for its chair, the chief executive of an Alaska telecommunications company, established an flustering scandal. She quitted last year and was eventually detained on federal forgery accusations related to that telecom business.
Pai says his rural initiative is intended to help forgot buyers, but his barnstorming has led to widespread speculation that he has one eye on Kansas. “He’s probably going to run for Senate one day, ” pronounces Roslyn Layton, a programme expert who dealt with Pai as a member of Trump’s FCC transition team. “He wants to be known as a person from urban America who cares about urban America’s concerns.”
Still, it’s difficult to envisage Pai running for place after his most recent knowledge in the combat. He’s proven to be a formidable infighter but a maladroit public figure. Though he tries to maintain an apathetic breeze in public, people who know him say he has been clanged. Jerry Moran, a Republican senator from Kansas, held a small reception for Pai at a Washington townhouse last spring. The attendees were old friends and colleagues, and Pai became psychological. “He broke down, ” recalls Wayne Gilmore, an optometrist who owns a radio terminal in Parsons. “His family was already getting death threats. It was real.”
“He broke down. His household was already get death threats. It was real.”
With the darkness, though, sees a bright side: Pai is now considered to be an hero by reactionaries. One Friday this past February, Pai went to a assembly core outside Washington to deliver a speech to CPAC, its significant annual meet for members of such conservative action. Out in the passage, many slim-suited young grievous with fashy haircuts were milling about, along with the status of women costumed as Hillary Clinton in prison stripes. Pai was in the unenviable position of following Trump, who had delivered a jogging stem-winder in which he joked about his whisker, reviled the ailment John McCain, and talked at length about arming teaches, his response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, the week before. By the time Pai took the stage for his segment, which was entitled “American Pai: The Courageous Chairman of the FCC, ” the schedule was running around an hour behind.
Pai walked onstage with Dan Schneider, one of the conference organizers. “Ajit Pai, as “youre supposed to” already know, saved the internet, ” Schneider pronounced, by way of foreword, as Pai laughed appreciatively. “And he spent a lot of hours preparing a wonderful lecture that he’s not going to deliver now.”
“OK? ” mentioned Pai, who was carrying a replica of the discussion in his inside coat pocket.
“As soon as President Trump came into office, President Trump requested Ajit Pai to liberate the internet and give it back to you, ” Schneider gone on. “Ajit Pai is the most courageous, gallant person that I know. He has received countless death threats. His property has been invaded by the George Soros crowd. He has a family, and members of their families has been abused.” Then Schneider ricochetted a stun. He created an official from the National Rifle Association onstage. She announced that the NRA, a meeting patronize, was committing Pai an award. “We cannot wreaking it onstage, ” she remarked. “It’s a Kentucky handmade long gun.”
Pai looked dumbfounded. It subsequently emerged that FCC staffers backstage had impeded the NRA from making out the “musket” for dread of infringing ethics regulations–and too , no doubt, wanting to avoid the spectacle of the opponent of net neutrality brandishing a firearm, the week after a deadly institution shooting that had erupted massive demonstrates. Acquaintances later used to say Pai was infuriated that his speech on internet discretion was preempted, but he smiled and made clumsy thanks. Afterward he was ushered downstage for a panel discussion. “Wow, ” he pronounced, unable to hide his befuddlement. Pai nonetheless managed to touch some of his usual memoranda, quoting Gandalf the Grey and praising his own decided not to take over the interests favoring net impartiality. “Some beings pushed me to go for relinquish bunts and singles, ” he read. “But I don’t play small ball.”
Pai had been blocked and throttled, but he was still winning.
Elon Musk has, as I imagine he often does during meetings or long car rides, come up with an idea for a new thing. Unlike the Hyperloop, which was cool, and various space-related ideas, which we know he’s at least partly expert about, this one is just plain bad. It’s basically Yelp But For Journalism.
Going to create a site where the public can rate the core truth of any article & track the credibility score over time of each journalist, editor & publication. Thinking of calling it Pravda …
He may as well have said, I found this great can marked “worms” and I’m going to open it, or, I’ve determined a new method for herding cats.
The idea of holding publications and people accountable is great. Unfortunately it is the kind of problem that does not yield to even the best of intentions and smart engineering, because it is quickly complicated by the ethical, procedural and practical questions of crowdsourcing “the truth.”
He agreed with another Twitter user, whose comment is indistinguishable from sarcasm:
My guess is Musk does not often use Yelp, and has never operated a small business like a restaurant or salon.
Especially in today’s fiercely divided internet landscape, there is no reliable metric for truth or accountability. Some will say The New York Times is the most trusted newspaper in America — others will call it a debased rag with a liberal agenda. Individual stories will receive the same treatment, with some disputing what they believe are biases and others asserting those same things as totally factual.
And while the truth lies somewhere in between these extremes, it is unlikely to be the mathematical mean of them. The “wisdom of the crowd,” so often evoked but so seldom demonstrated, cannot depend on an equal number of people being totally wrong in opposite ways, producing a sort of stable system of bias.
The forces at work here — psychological, political, sociological, institutional — are subtle and incalculable.
Enough of the public does care about the truth. I have faith in the people.
The origins of this faith, and of the notion that there is somehow a quorum of truth-seekers in this age of deception, are unclear.
Facebook’s attempts to crowdsource the legitimacy of news stories has had mixed results, and the predictable outcome is, of course, that people simply report as false news with which they disagree. Independent adjudicators are needed, and Facebook has fired and hired them by the hundreds, but is yet to arrive at some system that produces results worth talking about.
Fact-checking sites perform an invaluable service, but they are labor-intensive, not a self-regulating system like what Musk proposes. Such systems are inevitably and notoriously ruled by chaos, vote brigades, bots, infiltrators, agents provocateur and so on.
Not only needs to be botproof, but seek & unmask anyone operating a disinformation bot army
Easier said than done — in fact, often said and never done, for years and years and years, by some of the smartest people in the industry. It’s not to say it is impossible, but Musk’s glib positivity and ignorance or dismissal of a decade and more of efforts on this front are not inspiring. (Nate Silver, for one, is furious.)
Likely as a demonstration of his “faith in the people,” if there are any on bot-ridden Twitter, he has put the idea up for public evaluation.
Create a media credibility rating site (that also flags propaganda botnets)