“The second issue with the venture-backed service economy is the Amazon problem – specifically, the practice of selling goods at or near a loss creates a deeply unfair competitive terrain for regular businesses. A start-up can sell a $10 lunch for $8 because it has money in the bank and investors who will rush in with more when the supply runs low. But if my local sandwich shop tries to do the same thing, it won’t make next month’s rent. The same goes with non-retail service businesses. Taxi companies had a decent chance of competing with UberX in its early days. But now that UberX and Lyft are both slashing prices to the bone with the assistance of millions of dollars in venture capital, the fight simply isn’t fair.”—The Problem With Profitless Start-ups
“Few of them are profitable on a corporate level. And together, they’ve formed the backbone of a strange urban economy: one in which massive venture-capital injections allow money-losing start-ups to flourish, while providing services that no traditional, unsubsidized business can match. It’s an economy built on patience, and the hope that someday, after the land grab is over and the dust has settled, a better business model will emerge.”—The Problem With Profitless Start-ups
The Home Office mulled whether to add extremism – and Brokenshire’s “unsavoury content” – to something called the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) list.
The list was supposed to be a collection of child abuse sites, which were automatically blocked via a system called Cleanfeed. But soon, criminally obscene material was added to it – a famously difficult benchmark to demonstrate in law. Then, in 2011, the Motion Picture Association started court proceedings to add a site indexing downloads of copyrighted material.
And something else curious was happening too: A reactionary view of human sexuality was taking over. Websites which dealt with breast feeding or fine art were being blocked. The male eye was winning: impressing the sense that the only function for the naked female body was sexual.
It was a staggering failure. But Downing Street was pleased with itself, it had won. The ISPs had surrendered. The Washington Post described it as “some of the strictest curbs on pornography in the Western world” - music to Cameron’s ears. Suddenly the terms of the debate started shifting. Dido Harding, the chief executive of TalkTalk, was saying the internet needed a “social and moral framework”.
The filters went well beyond what Cameron had been talking about. Suddenly, sexual health sites had been blocked, as had domestic violence support sites, gay and lesbian sites, eating disorder sites, alcohol and smoking sites, ‘web forums’ and, most baffling of all, ‘esoteric material’. Childline, Refuge, Stonewall and the Samaritans were blocked, as was the site of Claire Perry, the Tory MP who led the call for the opt-in filtering. The software was unable to distinguish between her description of what children should be protected from and the things themselves.
At the same time, the filtering software was failing to get at the sites it was supposed to be targeting. Under-blocking was at somewhere between 5% and 35%.
“Where is reality then? Out there, beyond the white cube and its display technologies? How about inverting the claim, somewhat polemically, to assert that the white cube *is* in fact the Real: the blank horror and emptiness of the bourgeois interior.”—Hito Steyerl, The Wretched of the Screen. (via juhavantzelfde)
“Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge was getting the power right. Over the winter, I only had four solar panels, and they didn’t generate nearly enough energy to keep up with the demands I was placing on the system. I have webcams running 24 hours a day, and the batteries were sucking up all the available power. I also needed to charge my laptop, wifi, mobile phone, and camera. I got two extra panels, but with the longer spring days, I now have an excess of energy. If I were to do this project again, I would want to use wind power too.”—Stephen Turner’s Amazing Exbury Egg House Tour | Apartment Therapy
From the outset, it’s clear that this is the London that Getty are most interested in selling to their customers, the London with all the big glass buildings and shimmering water, the one that girl from your school has as her Facebook cover photo, the one on the opening titles to The Apprentice. Not the one where there’s three Paddy Powers on a single high street, or the one of food banks, pigeons cannibalizing fried chicken bones and crack squirrels.
But this one, the nice one by the river with the big buildings.
Over two years of negotiations with community groups, Givas agreed to buy a plot on nearby Shotwell Street for the city to develop 40 units of affordable housing, dwarfing the 14 units that would have been required within the Vida building. He was already on the hook to pay $1.4 million in city-mandated impact fees, yet the community got him to agree to much more. He donated $150,000 to a fund to help mom-and-pop Mission businesses—to be buoyed with a sales tax on future condo sales.
Then, in what the project’s attorney called an unprecedented move by a developer in the Mission, he donated $650,000 to 23 community groups, a strategy that drew sellout criticisms from purists in the nonprofit community and shakedown charges from pro-development forces worried that his philanthropic palm greasing would set a precedent. Next, Givas donated $1 million for the Texas-based Alamo Drafthouse Cinema chain to renovate the long-shuttered New Mission Theater next door into a five-screen dinner-and-a-movie cineplex. The Texans agreed to hire 50 percent of its staff from the neighborhood and to let nonprofits host at-cost benefits at the facility.
“Army Colonel James Pohl adjourned the troubled hearings until late Wednesday afternoon, a derailment caused by Monday’s revelation that the FBI attempted to get a classification specialist on co-defendant Ramzi bin al-Shibh’s defense team to become an informant.”—Guantánamo judge adjourns hearings again over FBI spying claims
Employees challenging unfair dismissal, sexual or racial discrimination in the workplace, or sackings arising from whistleblowing face higher charges: £250 to lodge a claim and a further £950 for a hearing.
The Ministry of Justice argues that the charges for the Employment Tribunal Service will save millions of pounds a year. The union Unison, however, launched a judicial review challenging the legality of the charges in October; the high court is owing to give judgment soon.
"We hacked an ATM to print wishes," she explained. See the video for it in action.
What a lovely reminder that in the Plantation Economy Gift Economy, you don’t get paid. Or at least, you don’t get paid anything you can use to buy beer and food. And don’t forget, dear taxpayers, that it’s real money going into the cash money. Your money. And dreams come out.
During 25 hours with a forensic psychiatrist, Mr Aamer spoke of severe torture and harsh prison conditions resulting in chronic physical ailments.
Mr Aamer also described psychological distress, the way interrogators alternated cruelty and kindness, threatened to rape his five-year-old daughter and refused to let him relieve himself.
The medical report concluded that Mr Aamer suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and paranoia.
The examiner said Mr Aamer’s conditions were impossible to treat in Guantanamo.
Dr Emily Keram, who assessed Mr Aamer at the military prison, said: “The length, uncertainty, and stress of Mr Aamer’s confinement has caused significant disruptions in his… ability to function. He is profoundly aware of what he has lost.”
“If Kelly’s got £7,000 per person for the best part of 2,000 people in the Cabinet Office, an 80 per cent saving is about £11 million a year. In the scheme of the amounts of money we spend on IT, that may not sound much, but that situation has ticked on for two years. I imagine they’re still chatting about it — that’s what the civil service does.”—Each cabinet office PC costs UK taxpayers £7,000 a year. Why? (Wired UK)
“They only know the world of the huge multinational SI and they’ve not seen anything else," he says. "People tend to gravitate towards organisations and like-minded people. So you have this big lumbering organisation like the civil service, which sits opposite a big lumbering organisation like Hewlett-Packard, EDS, Fujitsu or IBM, and there’s no difference between them. Then, all of a sudden, you have a small organisation of 20 or 40 people, perhaps 100, which comes in and sits opposite you and is ready to go today, right now. And that’s a very difficult cultural change for some in the civil service to make," he says. "They’ve not seen it before — and it’s not what they understand.”—Each cabinet office PC costs UK taxpayers £7,000 a year. Why? (Wired UK)
Why, Bracken asks, should the government escape the fundamental change the internet has brought to sectors from music to banking? Government is no different, Bracken says, because, in changing services for citizens — from how we apply for a new driving licence to how we claim benefits — the very organisation of government is disrupted too.
"As we transform transactions, we are inevitably transforming the organising principles of the state," he says. "That is a radical departure for government, particularly our government, which is old and set in its ways. Our systems of government are so well-established that these changes look like seismic shocks."