Tag: Technology

How Do You Watch TV?


As the fall television season ramps up, I’m excited to catch up with all of my favorite shows. In most cases, that means watching their most recently completed season.

For at least the last three years, my wife and I have watched almost all of our TV through streaming services over our Apple TV. Outside of a hotel room and my parents’ house, I don’t think I’ve watched a show live in all that time. Heck, I don’t even know how to get broadcast TV on our system (and don’t particularly care, either).

Technology and Super-National Affiliation


In a recent essay, Henry Kissinger noted the potential of economic globalization to upset traditional paradigms of nationality and statehood.

The clash between the international economy and the political institutions that ostensibly govern it also weakens the sense of common purpose necessary for world order. The economic system has become global, while the political structure of the world remains based on the nation-state. Economic globalization, in its essence, ignores national frontiers. Foreign policy affirms them, even as it seeks to reconcile conflicting national aims or ideals of world order.

The GOP, Behind Again


shutterstock_120145924I’d be interested to hear what Rick Wilson and the other political professionals here at Ricochet have to say about this, but this observation from a friend who works in high tech seems to me to ring only too true:

It is remarkable to see the number of high quality agencies, technology providers, and firms who can offer testimonials for the work they’ve done for the Obama for America 2012 campaign team. I have never seen a single testimonial from a member of the Romney team. It may be survivorship bias (the winner is glad to write a satisfied testimonial, the loser remains silent or badmouths the provider).

But to my eyes, in the digital campaign game, Romney didn’t just lose, he wasn’t even on the field!

What Is HealthCare.gov For?


Healthcare.gov was hacked. Of course it was. The website’s lax security has been known since before the launch date (if you can call it that). HHS tells us the “website was not specifically targeted,” so I guess we’re supposed to be reassured that those responsible didn’t mean to break into the website, they just happened to stumble across it on a stroll through IP address space.

Forcing the entire population to buy health insurance is a massive task, a job which sounds like something a broadly functional website might be well-suited for. However, its failure was inevitable from the moment of its conception: it was created for compliance with the law and its subsequent enforcement, not to provide a helpful and secure service to customers, any more than self-driving cars were created to finish your crossword puzzle.

Member Post


I can’t figure it out.  I want to send a private message…I used to go to a member bio and it said “send a private message.”  Now, I can’t find it.  My send message draft will only let me send to people I’ve sent to before-I can’t type in a new name.   Is it […]

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Texting Is Destroying America


Teen-TexterI like texting. For conveying short bits of information, it is much more convenient than having a conversation over the phone and there are numerous situations in which texting is an ideal means of communication.  For example, if you’re giving someone an address or asking them to pick up milk on the way home from work, it is easier and more convenient to text than it is to call.

For someone my age I was fairly slow to adopt texting.  I steadfastly refused to text at all until I bought an iPhone in 2007.  Since then, I’ve come to realize texting can be a valuable medium of communication and I believe that it has generally made me more efficient person.  Nevertheless, two recent experiences have led me to conclude that texting is destroying America.

The first experience was two weekends ago when I was in the (novel for me) situation of having houseguests, one of which was my friend’s 13-year-old daughter.  Now, like any reasonable adult, I do my best to limit my interaction with adolescents and teenagers to the absolute minimum, so I was completely unprepared for the way texting dominates the lives of America’s youths.

Member Post


In case you missed it, Amazon recently announced their own take on the smartphone, which turns out to be pretty much like everyone else’s take on the smartphone. It’s called (brace yourself for this one) the Fire phone and it does come with a little flair. Two pieces, to be exact. The first consists of […]

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I’ve been researching Stingrays the past few days. Have you heard of these? Generically called “IMSI Catchers” for technical reasons I won’t get into here, the name “Stingray” is the tradename for a product sold by the Harris Corporation. A Stingray is a device that poses as a cell tower to any phones in the […]

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A Better Way Forward on Climate Change


PethWarmingThe EPA’s new carbon emission rule, which environmental activists are praising as historic and momentous, is built on three big assumptions: First, global warming is happening, and human activity is playing a key role. That even though Earth’s surface air temperature has unexpectedly been flat for 15 years while greenhouse-gas emissions have continued to rise. (As I have written, however, the data seem compelling enough to warrant action.)

Second, a cap-and-trade system is an effective way of reducing carbon emissions. While the Obama Administration plan doesn’t specify what action individual states must take to meet their carbon emissions targets, the new rule seems likely to nudge them into creating or joining cap-and-trade programs. But as the Breakthrough Institute has pointed out, “Cap and trade has repeatedly failed because it doesn’t address the main barrier to the widespread deployment of clean energy technologies: the technology-based price gap between new clean energy and mature fossil fuels.”

A recent New York Times piece on cap-and-trade outlines the troubled history of Europe’s Emission Trading System and notes that despite reform, emission permits are trading at just a fourth of the price level “many analysts believe is needed to spur investment in cleaner energy sources.” California’s trading system works better, but prices are still only around a third of the necessary level.

We’ve Got a Problem Here, Or, It’s the Culture, Stupid


shutterstock_137355674From a friend who wishes to remain anonymous but displays a particular knack for describing big problems in very few words:

I’ve been reflecting on this challenge for conservatives:

In the first internet boom, Lancaster, Pennsylvania (Home of Amish quilts and corn and crafts) was the global HQ of Mapquest.com, which was sold to AOL. There are no similar stories this cycle.

Is There Simply Too Little Creative Destruction in the US Economy?


051214brookings11-600x368The US economy may be exhibiting a long-term decline in business dynamism. One way to look at this issue is by measuring (a) how many firms are born and die, and (b) how much churn exists in the labor market. A recent Brookings study, “Declining Business Dynamism in the United States: A Look at States and Metros” by Ian Hathaway and Robert Litan finds a worrisome decline in both (charts above and below):

051214brookings2Economists tend to see business dynamism as a critical factor driving long-term economic growth. Hathaway and Litan: “Research has established that this process of “creative destruction” is essential to productivity gains by which more productive firms drive out less productive ones, new entrants disrupt incumbents, and workers are better matched with firms. In other words, a dynamic economy constantly forces labor and capital to be put to better uses.”

Or as I write in my The Week column: ” …  fewer startups means fewer disruptive new competitors to force big business to innovate or die.” And I then blame the lack of dynamism on government favoring incumbent businesses over startups.

The Knave Detector


bandwidthI recently read a comment that Marx is useful to us because his philosophy allows us to easily identify fools and knaves. I’ve personally observed that the net neutrality debate is useful for much the same reason.

The FCC is currently considering a proposal that has many up in arms. Consider this, from the activist group SumOfUs:

Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon want to control what we can and cannot do online — and they’re about to get their wish.

The Libertarian Podcast: Cell Phones, Privacy, and the Fourth Amendment


On this week’s installment of The Libertarian podcast for the Hoover Institution, Richard leads us through a conversation about the two cases heard by the Supreme Court yesterday on whether police can search a cell phone without a warrant in the course of an arrest. Just how far should the Fourth Amendment’s protections extend? What’s the right balance between law enforcement’s interest in providing security and the individual right to privacy? Professor Epstein is characteristically insightful in answering these and other questions.

Subscribe to The Libertarian podcast via iTunes here

Member Post


Dennis Prager on the NBA owner fiasco: When the media report private conversations that pose no threat of violence, they encourage more and more people to record and release private conversations. That, far more than the NSA’s trolling of billions of phone calls in order to identify terrorists, poses a real threat to privacy. Preview […]

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Dictation Bleg, Or, Rick Oh Shay


When, during a recent email exchange, Blue Yeti mentioned that I ought to blame all the words he misspelled on the new dictation software he was using, my mind sprang to attention.  For years now, I’d been search for an accurate, easy-to-use piece of dictation software with the same fervor the knights display in their search for the sacred object in Monty Python and the Holy Grail–and with results just as absurd. Maybe, I thought, the Yeti had discovered the dictation grail at last.

His reply to that query?  As follows:

Member Post


I’ve only just begun to peruse “The Sorcerers and Their Apprentices”, a book about MIT innovators recommended to me by other Ricochetti. And already my imagination is spinning with theoretical questions about future technologies. Chief among them: Is there any limit to what actions can be automated? What is 152 x 483? No need to “do […]

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Liberal Mob Claims Another Scalp — Jon Gabriel


Brendan Eich, a successful developer and tech legend, was recently named the CEO for Mozilla Corporation. The for-profit venture is most closely associated with their open-source Firefox web browser.

But after his appointment, a dark secret emerged about Eich’s past. Was it embezzlement or child endangerment? Terrorism or even murder? Even worse. Six years ago, he donated $1,000 to California’s Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriages in the state.