Doug’s Techdirt Profile


About Doug

Doug’s Comments comment rss

  • Jan 12th, 2018 @ 11:49am

    Hypocrisy is An Accepted Tactic

    I feel Mike's discouragement at the blatant hypocrisy. And it is totally worth pointing out. However, I don't share is apparent surprise. Hypocrisy seems to be the most accepted political tactic these days. Most of politics to me seems to be *based* on hypocrisy. It's the best way to keep our deep them-vs.-us divisions in place.

    The real problem is how ready people are to accept this hypocrisy when it is in their favor. I'm not outraged at the hypocrisy. I'm outraged at the lack of bipartisan outrage over any hypocrisy.

    There's so many layers to this onion. No wonder I'm always crying.
  • Oct 24th, 2017 @ 7:16am

    About tokens/blockchain/ICO

    IEEE Spectrum has some good intro articles in the October 2017 edition.

  • Sep 7th, 2017 @ 5:09am


    So, did our support cover the costs, or are you behind?
  • Aug 17th, 2017 @ 11:15am

    Net Neutrality Is Not New

    “network neutrality,” the two-year-old experiment

    The internet has always been neutral. We've only recently been forced to defend neutrality. What's new is the attacks on it.

  • Jul 21st, 2017 @ 10:47am


    Oh Vino, don't know what came over me
    I wrote with such haste I just couldn't see
    That to eat at our joint
    Is kind of the point
    Of your whole blog and your joie de vivre
  • Jul 14th, 2017 @ 1:07pm

    Country that Tries to Kill You

    Oh, Australia *is* a country that tries to kill you, it's just the animals that do it. So much venom, so few humans. Also this: Drop Bears
  • Jul 14th, 2017 @ 10:57am

    Laws are so ... flexible

    Next week on "This Australian Life":

    > The laws of Australia prevail in Australia, I can assure you of that,

    And then: "The laws of nature are commendable, but here in Australia we just passed a law that all mammals must, henceforth, follow the Kangaroo's lead and include pouches on all newborn animals. Marsupials drive Australia's tourist economy, and this new measure will promote tourism and lead to rising social welfare across all walks of Australian life, human or otherwise."
  • Jun 8th, 2017 @ 7:23am


    That's the kind of behavior that would go a long way towards solving problems like these if more people held companies to such a high standard. Problem is they don't, for reasons discussed at length elsewhere, but including a) people don't read the TOS, b) people assume they'll never be in conflict with the company and thus any arbitration clause is not relevant to them, etc.
  • Jun 7th, 2017 @ 6:35pm

    Re: The problem is no consumer protection

    I heartily agree. A consumer protection agency that is truly responsive to the needs or wants of consumers. The point about all the power and information being on one side is the key point.
  • Jun 7th, 2017 @ 6:30pm


    This is a nice suggestion. The hurdle is: where is the requirement to do something like this going to come from? The market hasn't caused it to happen. The gov't should be the ones representing us and ensuring an even playing field, but they don't.

    My opinion is that we need to reform our political system so that the government represents the citizens (the way it should), rather than deep-pocketed corporate interests.

    Short of that, I keep imagining some third option like some sort of "collective consumer" bargaining unit, so that large groups of customers can band together to get enough bargaining power to stand up to companies with terms or practices they don't like, but whose main product they do like.
  • Jun 7th, 2017 @ 6:23pm

    Re: Re:

    Ditto to AC's earlier post (4:43pm).

    Also, customers do have it good at first blush. We are the beneficiaries of all kinds of stuff we want enough to pay for it and we benefit from innovation. However, it is all the stuff that is unlikely to affect any one customer but is almost sure to hit the company where they get no resistance from the market. This is where the market fails.

    So, yes, you want mobile phone service, but do you want binding mandatory arbitration? No, but the average customer is unlikely to feel they will be affected by that, so on average the market doesn't resist it. At least not by denying themselves mobile phone service.

    The market also fails to stop the gradual creep of unwanted changes. How many of us *want* commercials when we go to the movie theater. I'll bet none. But it's a minor enough annoyance that few enough people actually forgo the enjoyment of a movie out of protest. So, we have commercials. The market is not looking after customers.

    How many of us *want* to be put on someone's marketing list every time we communicate with a company about anything. Yet, the best we can get is the (often phantom) chance to opt out.

    The market works to find us things that are good enough to buy. But once the market has found that, there is very little pressure to keep companies from trying to exploit their customers as much as possible.
  • May 30th, 2017 @ 10:23am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I literally can't tell if you are being ironic. But if so, well done.
  • May 30th, 2017 @ 9:58am


    I literally can't tell if you are joking. Trump supporters say those things. Yet you imply Pence is a worse choice, which is not so much a thing in the Trumpiverse.

    On the chance that you are serious, those are hardly the measures I'd want as the defining characteristics of the job of POTUS.
  • May 30th, 2017 @ 9:04am

    +1 Insightful for the Article

    I'd like to +1 Insightful for this article. This is something that needs to be said more and in more contexts.

    We, as a nation, appear to have lost all objective criteria for the jobs of those who represent us. It's all partisan. It seems like there is nothing we will not forgive in service of our own partisan agendas.

    Trump is the culmination of that. He won because he came to be seen as "for" what his supporters desired. But he has no history of working for those things, no history of delivering on what he promises, no real, tangible reason to believe he could deliver. His supporters *want* him to deliver, but they have no objective reasons to believe he can or will.

    Moreover, he has shown himself to be unqualified in so many ways that are so much more unforgivable than what has ever been tolerated before.

    I do not think this way of thinking is limited to Trump supporters. We are all guilty of it to some degree.

    There has to be some minimum level of qualification we demand as citizens out of those who represent us. The republican and democrat candidates, as much as they may differ on policy proposals, should be nearly indistinguishable in their ethical foundation and their proven experience in government operations.

    We are losing our entire moral and ethical foundation.
  • Mar 2nd, 2017 @ 11:01am

    Running a Tor node

    All this kind of stuff is chilling probably in exactly the way trolls want it to be. I have a desire to run a Tor exit node myself. It feels like the right thing to do for many reasons. But I don't because I don't want the hassle of dealing with any accusations like these, and because I absolutely can't afford the potential costs if the accuser gains traction in ways like DBC did in this article.
  • Feb 13th, 2017 @ 11:11am

    Re: Re: The Math

    ... egregious infringement of Constitutional rights .. should carry with it either a jail sentence or fine.

    I agree in principle. In practice this is very hard to get right and would essentially discourage anyone from serving in government at all. But we should move closer to your suggested end of the spectrum, for sure.

    Perhaps less extreme than that, I propose that there be some notion of impeachment for incompetence. That is, you're not jailed or fined, but if you demonstrate that you're incompetent at being a government official, then you should not be a government official. You should lose your job. That's also hard to define and easy to abuse, but doesn't have quite the deterrent effect for public service as jail or fines would have.

    What we kind of already have, but not really, is the notion of failure to be reelected due to incompetence. Voters should hold their elected officials accountable for incompetence. That hardly happens though, due to myriad failings of our electoral systems.

  • Feb 13th, 2017 @ 7:02am

    The Math

    The camera manufacturer has no liability if the cameras are deployed unlawfully.

    So the town is on the hook for the 35% they paid BLS. That works out to $477.23 per inhabitant. That's 5 speeding tickets per person.

    Sadly, the politicians who implemented this anti-tourism tax probably won't be held accountable.

  • Feb 9th, 2017 @ 8:18pm

    Re: Re: Good on Them

    It only applies to citizens...

    The preamble says the constitution was written by the citizens (the "people of the united states"). It doesn't say it was written only to apply to citizens.

    Paraphrasing, it says "We [citizens] wrote this constitution for these reasons."

    More specifically, Article II, Section 1, paragraph 5 says, "No Person except a natural born Citizen, ...". There'd be no need for the qualification "except a natural born Citizen" if 'Person' was already limited only to citizens.

    So it's certainly not the case that everything in the constitution only applies to or refers to citizens.

  • Feb 3rd, 2017 @ 9:28am

    Re: Corporate Governance

    Corporations should be forced to operate within a system that is designed for and serves the citizens it represents. What we have instead is a government that is heavily influenced by and operates to serve corporations. There is lip service given to how anything that benefits corporations indirectly benefits citizens, but too often it is just whitewash.

    We need to demand much more vociferously the government we're supposed to have: "government of the people, by the people, for the people" that Lincoln said shall not perish from the earth. It certainly seems to be fading if not yet perishing.
  • Feb 1st, 2017 @ 5:20am

    Re: Re: You can do that?!

    You mean decide if P == NP, right?

    If P = NP, then P == NP by definition, unless you're running in parallel and assignment is not atomic. Then if P = NP we still need to decide if P == NP. Maybe what you really meant was NP = P. That would/could be good.

More comments from Doug >>

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it