Bitcoin explained

I saw someone explain bitcoin something like this:

Imagine keeping your car idling 24/7 produced sudokus. That you could then trade for drugs.

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Tsundoku (Japanese)- buying books and not reading them; letting books pile up unread on shelves or floors or nightstands

This is definitely something I have been guilty of, and still am to a degree. I think it a mixture of procrastination and not taking that same procrastination seriously.

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How to appear like a villain – and the Sanders response

Jeff Bezos, not wanting to just appear like a Bond villain, has been in the news recently, due to reports on the state of the work conditions in the Amazon storehouses. These stories are not new; back in 2012 I wrote about ambulances parked outside one of their storehouses where they were just waiting to pick up workers that would collapse. Back then I was surprised that Bezos would accept that.

Since then I have realized that I should have been surprised that I was surprised. Working conditions in the storehouses are now famously bad, even if Amazon did hire a bunch of people to tweet happy messages about the company.

Bernie Sanders has introduced an act to counter some of the practices that Amazon, among others, use to lower wages and remove benefits. The act is called Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies – or, in the American tradition of naming, STOP-BEZOS. I wonder how long they took to find that name.

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Homeopathics again

This was actually my point last time I wrote about it:

One of the greatest criticisms pharmacists face is the ranging of homeopathic products in pharmacies. It is difficult to deny that ranging homeopathic products provides a level of legitimacy to these products that they do not deserve.
Conclusive evidence now exists that homeopathy does not work. This is different from a lack of evidence for an effect; this is specific evidence that shows that this modality cannot and does not provide any of the purported benefits or mechanisms of action.
This evidence for lack of effect is important, due to the ethical responsibilities of pharmacists to provide evidence-based medicine
— Jarrod McMaugh, “Clinical tips: Non-evidence-based medicine“, referenced here

Homeopathy does not work. By selling homeopathic products pharmacies show that they are willing to sell products that do not work. Why should you then trust a pharmacist?

See also Edzard Ernst’s “German pharmacists fail their customers when advising them on homeopathy“, and his summary on a vote a couple of days ago at the 78th FIP World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, where

[…] two thirds voted for the motion and against homeopathic products remaining on sale in pharmacies. The vote has, however, no binding effect on FIP policy. It is nevertheless likely to determine the direction in which FIP will decide.
— Edzard Ernst, ““Pharmacists should not sell or dispense homeopathic products”

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I think he practiced beforehand

Making the rounds these days, this old BBC clip features the best timed 13 seconds, starting from 44 seconds in:


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Paywalled retellings

I dislike paywalls but accept that they are the choice of the publisher. It is however something else when a paywalled story is merely a retelling of someone else’s published story, and that story isn’t behind a paywall. Then it feels like fraud, at least morally.

This happens quite a lot at news sites and it is fairly trivial to find the original articles with a search.

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Hvad jeg skrev til parlamentet

SaveYourInternet har et redskab til at skrive til Europaparlamentets medlemmer om forslaget til ophavsretlig reform, specifikt artikel 13.

Teksten de foreslår på dansk ligner der er oversat af en der ikke helt forstår dansk, så jeg skrev min egen. Jeg skrev følgende:

Kære MEP [recipient last name will go here],

Jeg skriver til dig fordi jeg er oprigtigt bekymret over parlamentets afstemning om ophavsret, specifikt artikel 13.

For at citere den kloge Cory Doctorow,
“There are plenty of people out there saying that everyone who opposes Article 13 is a shill for Google.
Those people are idiots.”

Selvfølgelig vil de store tech-virksomheder foretrække så lidt regulering som muligt, men det er lige så selvfølgeligt, at disse virksomheder, der har en tilnærmelsesvis monopolposition, derefter vil foretrække en regulering som gør det umuligt for konkurrenter at komme ind på markedet.

Som en der faktisk ved noget om IT kan jeg med sikkerhed sige at “effektive indholdsgenkendelsesteknologier” ikke kan undgå at udløse mange falske positiver, og dermed forhindre upload af indhold. Samtidig er det klart, at når en af verdens største tech-virksomheder, Google, bruger hundreder af millioner af kroner på at udvikle det nok bedste og til stadighed censurerende filter (ContentID), så vil artikel 13 understøtte deres monopol.

Vi har allerede ophavsret og den ophavsret giver muligheder og rettigheder til rettighedshaverne.

Venlig hilsen,

[your email address will go here]

Må jeg tillade mig at undre mig over hvordan det er lykkedes at overbevise de liberale og de konservative partier at de skal støtte artikel 13? Jeg ved at Rohde synes at al modstand mod artikel 13 er udtryk for kommunisme, og det er ikke til at vide hvor det kommer fra.

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Hyrum’s Law

I didn’t know someone had named it as a law and I had forgotten that xkcd, of course, had covered it. But I am very aware of the reality of this law:

Hyrum’s Law:
With a sufficient number of users of an API, it does not matter what you promise in the contract: all observable behaviors of your system will be depended on by somebody.

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Yeah, I’m OK

This very short video analysis of Ericsson’s crash at the free practice before the Formula 1 GP at Monza, followed by his “Yeah, I’m OK”, shows the incredible safety of those cars:


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If you agree with this

If you agree with Julia Reda on EU copyright reform, Danish MEP Jens Rohde will call you a communist, again.

I don’t like being called a communist, as I consider it a horrendously dangerous and inhumane ideology.

On the other hand, Rohde isn’t exactly an authority on a lot of stuff, if any.

I may not agree with everything Reda does, but I support her work to protect our freedoms of expression.

As you may have heard, Article 13 would establish “censorship machines” that surveil all your posts on internet platforms and scan them for supposed copyright infringement. If these filters don’t approve your upload, it will never go online.

Upload filters would prevent any video using even the shortest snippets of sports broadcasts from seeing the light of day: Commentary, supercuts, sports-related memes (like Neymar rolling) and other valuable fan works will be blocked automatically.

Filters can’t tell whether your use of such a snippet (e.g. a 3 second video of a particularly interesting goal) is permitted under a copyright exception – such as the one for quotation or parody – or not. To avoid legal responsibility, platforms will err on the side of caution and block everything that may be an issue. You’ll need to manually fight through an appeals process for even the most perfectly legal posts.

But it’s in combination with a new, extra copyright, which some in the European Parliament are pushing for, that upload filters could really get nasty:

A new copyright for sports events?

Without any prior discussion of the issue, the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament narrowly voted to demand that a new article be added to the reform bill:

Article 12 a
Protection of sport event organizers
Member States shall provide sport event organizers with the rights provided for in Article 2 [reproduction] and Article 3 (2) [making available] of Directive 2001/29/EC and Article 7 [fixation] of Directive 2006/115/EC.

In plain English:
In the EU, sports event organizers shall have exclusive rights to reproduce, make available or record their events.

This new right would make it illegal to take snapshots of or film e.g. a football match from the audience, with your own phone or camera. Fan vlogs, selfies in the stadium, documenting choreographies would all be caught by this proposal.

This right would give clubs and leagues an unprecedented amount of control over what fans can do in the stadium. They could choose to selectively enforce this right to e.g. suppress reports of protests or bully inconvenient fans.

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