Tom Kuebler

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The scourge of the surge

Driving for Uber and Lyft is like playing a video game.

It's terrifying to share the road with thousands of inexperienced drivers trying to get the high score in a bonus stage. Nobody should feel safe. Despite witnessing several accidents each shift, I'm often surprised there aren't more. And although I try to steer clear of those areas with the highest potential for disaster, even the most remote corners of The City aren't immune to mishap. [...]

It's at times like these that I like to play game called "Drunk Driver or Uber/Lyft Driver?" Which isn't very challenging since the answer is almost always the same. After all, why would anyone drive drunk now that you can get the same sense of excitement and reckless adventure with someone who can, conceivably, pass a breathalyzer test?

Besides the ones going the wrong way down one-ways, I regularly encounter drivers who mistake normal streets for one-ways, countless drivers at night without their headlights on, as well as plenty of others blinding me with their high beams. Then there are the speed demons and the slow pokes, the aggressive mergers and out-of-towners taking curves hesitantly, while hot-doggers tailgate anyone with a shred of self-preservation. Nobody seems to understand how to get up a hill, or grasp the basic concept of timed lights. And who can forget the drivers who stop wherever they please, block traffic with impunity and double-park as if you're the asshole for expecting to travel down the street free of obstructions.

San Francisco traffic is its own beast. It's certainly not for the faint of heart. Yet, every day, people from across the state stream into The City to work as taxi drivers, an occupation that once required a license, which one could only acquire through a week of intensive training, followed by an exam, an FBI background check and a drug test. Now, all you need is a pulse and a smart phone.

When Uber and Lyft enter a city, they decrease rail ridership by 1.29 percent per year and decrease bus ridership by 1.7 percent. Worse, the effect is cumulative.

This isn't the first study to make such findings, but it is one of the broadest, helping to explain why transit ridership has declined in almost every U.S. city over recent years. These declines could not be explained by service reductions or by maintenance issues.

Increased service could counter the trend, but it would not be enough to make up for the damage. Graehler and his co-authors estimated that San Francisco would have to increase bus service by 25 percent to offset the effects of Uber and Lyft in depressing ridership. [...]

"What appears to happen is that travelers divert from transit to [taxis], increasing congestion for everyone, including the buses."

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They are turning our atmosphere into their atmosphere.

Google, Facebook, and Microsoft Sponsored a Conference That Promoted Climate Change Denial:

All three tech companies were sponsors of LibertyCon, the annual convention of the libertarian group Students for Liberty, which took place in Washington, DC. Google was a platinum sponsor, ponying up $25,000, and Facebook and Microsoft each contributed $10,000 as gold sponsors. The donations put the tech companies in the top tier of the event's backers. But the donations also put the firms in company with some of the event's other sponsors, which included three groups known for their work attacking climate change science and trying to undermine efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

Among the most notable was the CO2 Coalition, a group founded in 2015 to spread the "good news" about a greenhouse gas whose increase in the atmosphere is linked to potentially catastrophic climate change. The coalition is funded by conservative foundations that have backed other climate change denial efforts. These include the Mercer Family Foundation, which in recent years has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to right-wing think tanks engaged in climate change denialism, and the Charles Koch Institute, the charitable arm of one of the brothers behind Koch Industries, the oil and gas behemoth.

In the LibertyCon exhibit hall, the CO2 Coalition handed out brochures that said its goal is to "explain how our lives and our planet Earth will be improved by additional atmospheric carbon dioxide." One brochure claimed that "more carbon dioxide will help everyone, including future generations of our families" and that the "recent increase in CO2 levels has had a measurable, positive effect on plant life," apparently because the greenhouse gas will make plants grow faster.

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Chrome will prevent any ad blockers that aren't AdBlock Plus

Which, coincidentally, allows advertisers to buy immunity from your desire to block them:

A new version of Chrome that will be released later this year will break a number of ad blockers according to a new bug report submitted Tuesday by Raymond Hill, the maintainer of the popular ad blocking service uBlock Origin. [...]

Instead, ad blockers will have to rely on an API called "declarativeNetRequest" which requires them to specify which types of network requests from ads they should block in advance, rather than allowing the dynamic blocking capabilities found in uBlock. The difference is like if you were charged with protecting a house, but could only pick a few of doors to protect in advance and hope your adversary chose those doors, rather than being able to move through the house and choose which doors to protect based on the ones an adversary was actually attacking.

This API was styled on the way that AdBlocker Plus blocks ads, which is far less robust than uBlock Origin. (Not to mention that AdBlock Plus also allows companies to pay to have their ads whitelisted, regardless of user preferences).

Sure, run a web browser developed by the world's largest advertising company.

What could go wrong.


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I miss LiveJournal.

How LiveJournal pioneered (then lost) blogging:

LiveJournal, or LJ, as its users lovingly called it, was a different kind of social media service, one that is almost unrecognizable in a world dominated by the anonymity-shattering power of a Facebook or Twitter. But, as many of its former employees attest, LJ ultimately had the opportunity to become one of these "second-generation" social behemoths. Instead, a stubborn userbase and questionable business decisions harried those ambitions. [...]

Every feature that Facebook has rolled out since I left LJ, we had it first: post by photo, post by SMS, we had those a million years ago. You could call a phone number and record a message, and the audio would get posted to your journal. We had custom friend groups so you could manage where you wanted to post. We had basically all the major features you see today, like a friends page. But we didn't quite figure out how to tell the story or keep people interested. We had every option, but nobody could get it to work. We had the robust privacy options that nobody understands how to use on Facebook. It was a less-public age of the Internet, and one that I sometimes wish we could go back to."

Even though LiveJournal remains all but dead and gone to these ex-employees, its Russified corpse still continues to trudge along, animated by whatever die-hards continue to inhabit the community.

Exhibit A:

Thanks to its US-based servers, LiveJournal had proven extremely popular in Russia since the platform's launch -- so much so that it became the country's standardized word for "blog," similar to Kleenex or Thermos. Eventually, all US employees were laid off in January 2009, and today LiveJournal continues on as a site run by Russians, for Russians.

Exhibit B:

Russia tries to force Facebook and Twitter to relocate servers to Russia:

The Russian government agency responsible for censorship on the Internet has accused Facebook and Twitter of failing to comply with a law requiring all servers that store personal data to be located in Russia. [...]

Russia previously threatened to block Facebook over its non-compliance with the data-storage law in both 2017 and 2018. [...] "But as users flocked to virtual private networks and proxy services to reach Telegram from their mobile devices and computers -- or resorted to building their own -- government censors added large swaths of IP addresses to the block list," we wrote at the time. "And according to multiple sources within Russia, ISPs there are now blocking large chunks of IP addresses associated with cloud services from Amazon and Google."

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Fashion Goals

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Ransomware infects bitcoin miners, makes them climb to top of very tall tree, wait patiently.

They can either pay a $36,000 ransom to remove the ransomware from the mining rig, or they can download a malicious firmware update that they have to apply to other mining rigs to further spread the ransomware.

I am hAnt! I continue to attack your Antminer. As long as you spread the infected machine, my server verifies that there are 10 new IPs and the number of antminers reaches 1,000. I will stop attacking you! Otherwise I will turn off your antminer's fan and overheat protection, which will cause you to burn your machine or will burn the house.

Click the 'Diwnload firmware patch' button to download the firmware patch with your specific ID. Just update it to your normal Antminer to get infected.

You can bring the machine that updated the patch to another computer room to complete the infection, or induce others to use the firmware patch in the network group.

Or support 10 BTCs, I will stop attacking.

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Outside the panel on Guillotine Industry Growth Strategies

Davos sniper

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