Live Nation stole millions in Federal aid meant for independent venues

Congress wrote a pandemic relief law that excluded Live Nation and companies like it. But the Small Business Administration gave nearly $19 million to Live Nation subsidiaries or companies in which it has a significant investment.

"When we wrote this, we specifically didn't want these publicly traded companies -- Live Nation foremost among them -- to get their hands on this money," said Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), a key co-sponsor of the relief legislation. "I did not want Live Nation getting a nickel."

Live Nation as a parent company did not directly receive any money from the program, but the government relief to its subsidiaries still protected its investments and improved its long-term outlook [...] One of the companies that received funds from the SBA borrowed money from Live Nation and its other owners in the first months after covid hit, showing how the parent company played an active role in its survival. [...]

Live Nation initially sought to shape the bill so it could qualify for the funds [...] Live Nation ramped up its lobbying in the fall of 2020, seeking to make it easier for the company -- and its many subsidiaries, large and small -- to access the money. They specifically opposed language barring aid to publicly traded companies [...]

The amount that Live Nation spent on lobbying the federal government on a variety of issues, including the grants, more than doubled in 2020 from the prior year to more than $1 million, and increased again in 2021.

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Right to Repair!

"Apple shipped me a 79-pound iPhone repair kit to fix a 1.1-ounce battery. I'm starting to think Apple doesn't want us to repair them."

The thing you should understand about Apple's home repair process is that it's a far cry from DIY. I expected Apple would send me a small box of screwdrivers, spudgers, and pliers; I own a mini iPhone, after all. Instead, I found two giant Pelican cases -- 79 pounds of tools -- on my front porch. I couldn't believe just how big and heavy they were considering Apple's paying to ship them both ways. [...]

But I wasn't done yet. The single most frustrating part of this process, after using Apple's genuine parts and Apple's genuine tools, was that my iPhone didn't recognize the genuine battery as genuine. "Unknown Part," flashed a warning. Apparently, that's the case for almost all of these parts: you're expected to dial up Apple's third-party logistics company after the repair so they can validate the part for you. That's a process that involves having an entirely separate computer and a Wi-Fi connection since you have to reboot your iPhone into diagnostics mode and give the company remote control. Which, of course, defeats a bunch of the reasons you'd repair your own device at home! [...]

Yeah, none of that surprised me. What surprised me was the price tag.

  • $69 for a new battery -- the same price the Apple Store charges for a battery replacement, except here I get to do all the work and assume all the risk.
  • $49 to rent Apple's tools for a week, more than wiping out any refund I might get for returning the old used part.
  • A $1,200 credit card hold for the toolkit, which I would forfeit if the tools weren't returned within seven days of delivery. [...]

Apple can say it's giving consumers access to everything, even the same tools its technicians use, while scaring them away with high prices, complexity, and the risk of losing a $1,200 deposit. This way, Apple gets credit for walking you through an 80-page repair, instead of building phones where -- say -- you don't need to remove the phone's most delicate components and two different types of security screws just to replace a battery.

To me, those giant Pelican cases are the proof. It would cost Apple a fortune to ship 79 pounds of equipment to individual homes all over the country, even with corporate discounts. [...] It would cost us upwards of $200 just to return those cases to their sender. Yet Apple offers free shipping both directions with your $49 rental.

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Today in Ono-Sendai News

It's nice to see in-depth profiles of minor characters, or in this case, this barely-seen computer prop from Loki.

TVA Multifunctional Computer:

Update: Apparently it's not from the show, but a fan render.

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OutHorse Your Email


Types fast, but might take a nap.

Assertive. Efficient. Shiny hair.

Friendly, trained in corporate buzzwords.

But how did they do all this work and not register a .horse domain?

The Bartender, dumbstruck, gazes into the endless depth of the Horse's eyes, and asks him, "Sir, I beg you say, do you finally have your Emacs setup just how you like it?"

The Horse replies, "Neighhhh..."

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Non-Fungible Trident

NON-FUNGIBLE TRIDENT Weapon (trident), artifact (requires attunement) You gain a +3 to attack and damage rolls made with this magic weapon. Whenever you score a critical hit on a creature with this weapon they instantly die. In addition, the Non-Fungible Trident can be used to cast the Wish spell 3 times per day. Curse. You may never actually wield the Trident in a physical sense. You may never touch the Trident, or attune to it at all. Yes, you may have purchased it, and you do own it, however it must stay sealed within the ancient vaults of Tyr'Ygsol. Instead of welding it, you may carry a fine painting of the trident* and official papers of authentication to confirm that you do technically own the Trident, and show just how special you are. *other creatures can make a convincing copy of this painting with a DC 10 tool check.

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DHCP antics

Dear Lazyweb,

Raspberry Pi4B, Raspbian 10.10. Behavior I want: if ethernet is available use that, otherwise use wifi. Behavior I get: both are up, each with its own IP. How do I make it not bind wifi if eth is working?

Second: I would like the host to always have the same static IP, regardless of whether it chose ethernet or wifi. With a "real" DHCP server I was able to accomplish that like so:

host NAME-a { fixed-address NAME; hardware ethernet MAC-ETH0; }
host NAME-b { fixed-address NAME; hardware ethernet MAC-WIFI; }

But these days my DHCP server is a UniFi UDM Pro 1.11.4, and It seems to insist upon a 1:1 mapping between IPs and MACs. Is there any way to accomplish this eminently sensible thing?

As always, please note:

  • These are two extremely specific questions.
  • Your guesses are not helpful.
  • Your opinion that I should not want this, likewise.

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Today in Fermi Paradoxes

Asymptotic burnout and homeostatic awakening:

We propose a new resolution to the Fermi paradox: civilizations either collapse from burnout or redirect themselves to prioritizing homeostasis, a state where cosmic expansion is no longer a goal, making them difficult to detect remotely.

Their proposal seems to be that the Great Filter is that Capitalism is a death cult: either you reach for the stars and explode, or you get a little cottage in the country and don't bother disassembling Jupiter.

Also that the Kardashev scale is imperialist nonsense.

But most importantly, look at that illustration! Just look at it!

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SFPD Are Using Driverless Cars as Mobile Surveillance Cameras

I am shocked, shocked at this revelation about companies and organizations otherwise known for their scrupulous ethics.

"Autonomous vehicles are recording their surroundings continuously and have the potential to help with investigative leads," says a San Francisco Police department training document. "Investigations has already done this several times." [...]

"As companies continue to make public roadways their testing grounds for these vehicles, everyone should understand them for what they are -- rolling surveillance devices that expand existing widespread spying technologies," said Chris Gilliard, Visiting Research Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School Shorenstein Center. "Law enforcement agencies already have access to automated license plate readers, geofence warrants, Ring Doorbell footage, as well as the ability to purchase location data. This practice will extend the reach of an already pervasive web of surveillance." [...]

The use of AVs as an investigative tool echoes how Ring, a doorbell and home security company owned by Amazon, became a key partner with law enforcement around the country by turning individual consumer products into a network of cameras with comprehensive coverage of American neighborhoods easily accessible to police. Police departments around the country use automatic license plate readers (ALPRs) to track the movements of vehicles. The EFF has sued the SFPD for accessing business improvement district live cameras to spy on protestors.

Privacy advocates and researchers have long warned about the implications of increasingly sophisticated cars, but many of these warnings are essentially extensions of the privacy concerns of smartphones, where consumer technology tracks your movements and behavior, anonymizes it, and sells it to third parties in a manner that can be reverse-engineered to identify individuals. They rarely imagine a scenario where cars on the road are constantly recording the world around them for later use by police departments.

It is the combination of using fixed location camera networks with rolling networks of autonomous vehicle cameras and data that scares privacy advocates most. "The holistic outcome of these combined moving and fixed networks is a threat that is greater than the sum of its parts," Schwartz said. "Working together, [they can] more effectively turn our lives into open books."

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How to fix social media

What we need is this one simple trick:

A site that scrapes, collates, and de-dups your friends' posts on every social media site, and then shows you the union of all of those posts as one feed.

This is the only way to break Facebook's back: to allow your friends' transition from one social network's data silo to another to be so gradual and effortless that you don't even notice it happening.

The thing that makes this difficult, of course, is not the coding, but the fact that if you succeed at it in any meaningful way, the sky will blacken with lawyers, and the data silos' spending on technical countermeasures will absolutely smother you.

It is hard, intentionally so, for people to quit a social network because that's where all their friends are and you can't get them all to move at once. But if it were possible for someone to move to a new service in such a way that neither they nor you lose that connection, then the barrier to switching would much lower. The services would have to compete on their merits rather than on your sunk cost.

But by facilitating this, not only would you be in violation of the terms of service of every site, you'd also be posing an existential threat to almost every aspect of their business model. They live for the lock-in. Touch that in a way that actually turns the Eye of Sauron upon you, and it won't go well.

Many of you are already bouncing up and down in your eagerness to go into the weeds with designs of how this could work at a technical level, but -- stop. It's a Small Matter of Programming, and that part doesn't matter at all. Unless you have a plan that solves "lawyers and countermeasures" problem, there's no point. You're looking for your keys where the light is good instead of where you dropped them.

So yeah, I said that step 2 is "and then a miracle occurs". This project is absolutely impossible. It will never happen, and social media cannot be fixed. Surprise!

But that step 2 miracle does have a name, and it is "antitrust legislation". It needs to be illegal for these companies to monopolize and lock in your data. It needs to be illegal for their TOS to prevent entry into the market of the kind of inventions that I'm talking about here. Interoperability and federation would need to be a legal mandate.

Anyway, good luck with that.

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