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  • Aug 10th, 2019 @ 8:12am

    Re: It's past time for EVERYONE to boycotte Elsevier

    Oh, and TAC is free, free to publish in, free to users who want to download copies of the papers.

  • Aug 10th, 2019 @ 8:05am

    It's past time for EVERYONE to boycotte Elsevier

    It's not just time for ALL libraries to boycott Elsevier, it's way past time for everyone in academe to boycott Elsevier. Don't publish in their journals, don't serve on their editorial boards, don't referee for their journals, don't buy their journals.

    Some of us have already started. The Cost of Knowledge boycott has 17654 signatories.

    Libraries boycotting them might have more of an effect since it will hit their medical journals -- the signatories of the boycott mostly mathematicians and computer scientists -- but we've made a start.

    What is really needed to fix academic publishing now that beautifully typesetting and distributing scientific papers can be done from a laptop, rather than requiring a specialized typesetting equipment, printing presses, binderies and mailing infrastructure, is for every academic discipline to do what my own field of mathematics, category theory, has done: gather a goodly number of the éminences grises in the field as an editorial board, find a university willing to donate server space in perpetuity and start a free, peer-reviewed online journal that only requires authors sign over the right to maintain an online copy and create a few print copies of the paper.

    Theory and Applications of Categories is the flagship category theory journal, and operates on such a model. The online copies are on a server provided by Mount Allison University in New Brunswick and every issue has two copies printed, one for the MAU library and one for the National Library of Canada.

  • Aug 9th, 2019 @ 5:07am

    The Cost of Knowledge

    There is a reason of all the abusive commercial academic publishers Elsevier was selected by Fields Medalist Timothy Gowers for the Cost of Knowledge boycott.

    Any academicians who want to join can publicly do so at http://thecostofknowledge.com/ as some 17654 of us already have.

  • Jul 27th, 2019 @ 12:04pm

    One thing Gabbard may have on her side that most others don't:

    campaign finance laws.

    Gabbard may be able to argue that unequal treatment of her ads vis-a-vis her opponents' ads functions as an in-kind contribution to her opponents' campaigns. Rightly or wrongly (I'm inclined to think the latter) we have stronger laws governing the distribution of political speech/writing in the context of campaigns for elective office than in general debate.

  • Jun 27th, 2019 @ 9:13am


    Sorry, misread your comment.

    Why should Twitter be required to host white supremacist content? Because once you give them the right to suppress legal content, you can't put a bound on it. First it's white supremacist content, then the posts from feminists who object to transwomen competing in women's sport, then classical liberal critiques of affirmative action, then advocacy of some policy the management of Twitter fancies is bad for their bottom line, then when some right-wing billionaire gets a controlling interest all posts from queergender advocates, pro-abortion posters, etc.

    Twitter is a natural monopoly that purports to be an open platform. Regulate it to make it open.

  • Jun 27th, 2019 @ 9:04am


    If Twitter is a publisher, then it shouldn't have Section 230 protection. The whole basis for Section 230 was that the platform (note, platform, not publisher) is not responsible for the content posted by others.

    So, no Twitter should need to publish white supremacist content, but if it's a platform, not a publisher, I would suggest as a way forward on the issue of censorship by internet platforms it should be required to allow its users to publish any legal content they want.

  • Jun 25th, 2019 @ 2:16pm

    Re: 'You shut up when I'm talking for you!'

    Yup. Hawley has not taken the obvious approach of conditioning Section 230 protections on the platform mirroring the First Amendment's free speech/free press (and for that matter freedom of religion) stance, but instead is empowering bureaucrats to judge lack of bias in the political sphere (only).

    Conditioning Section 230 protections on commitment to First Amendment standards does not violate anyone's free speech or property rights, since Section 230 protections are a grant by the government of an unusual protection from liability, which the government can condition on whatever it likes -- anyone (individual or corporation) who wants to control what's on their servers is free to not accept and to control what's on their servers in any way they like.

  • Jun 21st, 2019 @ 6:23am

    Bullies only pick on smaller folks

    I see no mention in the article of Caterpillar going after Target for having a line of children's clothing sold under the Cat and Jack brand.

  • Jun 20th, 2019 @ 7:52am

    A simpler approach

    The same thing can be accomplished more effectively without empowering bureaucrats by making Section 230 protections dependent upon non-removal and equal treatment with regard to offers of revenue streams from advertising of all legal content.

    Yes, you can take down content that prima facia meets the definition of a true threat, yes you can take down child porn (in each of those cases reporting the matter to appropriate authorities), yes, you can perform DMCA takedowns, but if it's legal to publish, if you want to have Section 230 protections it stays up, and the host can't demonetize it because they don't like the content (if they offered users/subscriber a way to earn ad revenue in the first place). Let hosts comment on content (e.g "Goggle content monitoring believes this blog contains Holocaust denial," or "Facebook content monitoring thinks this post is false and over-the-top rude.") but not censor, edit or otherwise control user/subscriber posted content.

    Is this a violation of free market principles? Well the government is giving protection from liability that otherwise in an environment regulated only by case law would attach to the ISP or hosting platform, so the government can impose conditions on the grant of immunity.

  • May 24th, 2019 @ 6:09pm

    Re: Not a citizen of the United States

    Indeed that is a problem with this. The US government might be able to persuade the Australian government or the government of another allied nation in which Assange was located when the alleged conspiracy took place, provided that country has laws against espionage against not only its own government, but the governments of allies -- I'm not sure that status of such laws as an aspect of "Five Eyes" cooperation.

    The real question is whether we really like a precedent that says our laws can be applied to non-US-citizens outside the borders of the United States. If so, what's to stop Chinese, or Russian, or Iranian, or EU laws from being applied to American acting within the United States? Next thing you know Americans tried and convicted in absentia by courts in some unfriendly country will be being snatched while on vacation.

  • May 24th, 2019 @ 6:00pm

    Re: Re: You do realise Nixon was guilty as hell

    Of course Hiss was a spy. The Soviet archives released after the collapse of the Soviet Union tell us his code name was "Antenna".

  • May 21st, 2019 @ 5:51am

    Re: Novartis - Gleevec pricing victim here

    We recognize that natural monopolies (utilities) must have their prices regulated because they are not subject to market competition, but do not regulate the prices charged under government-granted monopolies (patents) even in circumstances where what is being sold is literally a matter of life and death, there are no effective substitute products to provide market competition, and thus demand is highly inelastic. Enforce laws against conspiracy in restraint of trade, and offer Big Pharma the choice for each newly patented drug between very short price-unregulated patents (say 3 years), or patents of double the normal duration, but with prices regulated in the public interest, and most of the problem with the pharmaceutical aspect of health care will be fixed.

  • May 21st, 2019 @ 5:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Actually both the inability of consumers to compare prices and the ease with which rampant corruption have flourished in this sector are both due to the fact that there is no effective market in health care services or in health insurance, on which fact the first poster was laying the blame.

  • Mar 5th, 2019 @ 6:51am

    An example of Assange, but an example of what?

    By all means throw the book at Americans who violated our statutes regarding the handling of classified information. But Assange?

    He's not a U.S. citizen. His activities were undertaken outside of the United States. If he can be prosecuted for violating our secrecy laws, the precedent is established. Americans violating the secrecy laws of the People's Republic of China or the Islamic Republic of Iran or the Russian Federation, despite never having set foot in those countries can be prosecuted by their governments, subject to arrest and extradition the moment they set foot in a country that would honor an extradition request from the PRC, Iran or Russia.

    Extraterritorial application of our laws to non-citizens should be a non-starter for reasons of international law.

  • Dec 14th, 2018 @ 5:32am

    Paging Jacob Rees-Mogg

    Yet another argument for a proper "no deal" Brexit.

  • Oct 2nd, 2018 @ 6:03am

    Irony (in the classial, not hipster sense)

    A Southerner is leading the charge against states rights!

  • Sep 11th, 2018 @ 5:28am

    Re: Re:

    Ah, but as we've seen with the Greek debt crisis "negotiations", the Brexit "negotiations", and the reaction of EU officialdom to elections in Poland, Hungary, and Italy, and most recently Sweden, the 500 million individual people don't really matter much, only the hive-mind in Brussels matters.

  • Sep 11th, 2018 @ 3:15am


    This is about authors rights, not proprietary trade secrets or secret military research. The only difference between this plan and what is now done is that an academic publisher (the biggest ones, Springer and Elevier are EU-based) doesn't get to collect monopoly rents on published papers the EU's tax-payers funded.

  • Aug 28th, 2018 @ 6:55am

    Actually, bias might not be that easy to recognize

    The difficulty is that if there is bias involved, it is harder to recognized than might otherwise be the case, because it is not bias on behalf of an extreme position, but bias on behalf of the normative political view in Silicon Valley, which is decidely center-left. That being the case there will be content deleted as beyond-the-pale both to the left of that normative view (e.g. posted by Black Lives Matter and affiliated movements) and to the right (not just the lunatic conspiracy-monger Alex Jones, but the temporary deletion of Prager U.), with a bit more being deleted from the right end of the political spectrum -- as an extreme example I strongly suspect on many social media platforms posts advocating mass executions and expropriation of property on the model of Stalin's and Mao's policies are much more likely to survive (for longer at least) than posts advocating mass deportation of people of color.

  • May 26th, 2018 @ 3:17am

    Re: Re: SO I'm right yet again. Thanks, minion.

    Ah, perhaps he's merely one of their minions, too. I recalled one of item from "Cellblock A" of the Evil Overlord list at http://www.eviloverlord.com/lists/dungeon_a.html :

    109.I will see to it that plucky young lads/lasses in strange clothes and with the accent of an outlander shall REGULARLY climb some monument in the main square of my capital and denounce me, claim to know the secret of my power, rally the masses to rebellion, etc. That way, the citizens will be jaded in case the real thing ever comes along.

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