30 thoughts on “Best thing I’ve read all week”

  1. If you read SV-related media for more than a few minutes you realize it’s basically nothing but business development for a few VC firms. It’s quite odd. Why should anyone think Marc Andreessen is some sort of guru to be worshiped? OK, he was there for the founding of Netscape. That was 25 years ago! The fact is that these jokers pretty openly admit they are TERRIBLE investors, their failure rates for picking companies is very close to 1. You happen to invest in Facebook at an early stage, and your career is made. Look at the Theranos con, how much was raised by what was obviously a fraud, and how much kept being raised even after the world knew about it.

  2. The minds of the kind, that wrote the code everything runs on, are not usually interested in business much. Especially when they were young and conquering the world. A world you might find a little opaque.

    Mike, I doubt the internet’s built in resiliency and self healing nature care much about things other than router feedback and traffic shaping. ;)

  3. If any company or economic sector becomes overtly or covertly hostile to a diversity of political persuasion or any other human characteristic that is not an essential value to its core purpose, it is domed to be displaced by those who are not willing to exclude the brilliant, talented who hold the full range of values and opinions. My experience is that the innovation and disruptions come from across the ideological spectrum.

    Commercial or other competitive success brings the real challenge of avoiding the idea that whatever brilliant insights lead to that result implies that all of the values of the creators are validated beyond improvement. Zuck (and the rest of his kind) obviously believes that all of his ideological bents are integral to his product’s success and that he is now empowered and compelled to infect the rest of us with all of them, like it or not. I consider the culture of Silicon Valley to be seriously diseased. To the extent I learn of alternatives to such intrusion and manipulation I will bypass it and all of its tentacles. There need be no agreement for it to be bypassed. People vote with their choices.

    This is how the big tech social media will fall. This could be helped greatly by a simple law prohibiting the sale or access of third parties to personal information without the explicit permission of the individual on each occasion. I view this as both a privacy and a security issue.


  4. Penny: I hesitate to ask, do you even know who Marc Andreessen is? He’s a VC, has been for decades. All he does is sell himself as a know-it-all businessman.

  5. Death 6 is the most optimistic take I’ve seen – and I hope the wisest. Zuckerburg seems to think the world is a comic book place where he can do “good” and eliminate “evil”. This is unattractive since pretty much the American version of the Enlightenment doesn’t seem to have entered his thinking but also because it is silly.

  6. PenGun – Are you really looking to argue against the very old (and widely accepted) proposition that the Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it? Because all that Prof. Reynolds did was to restate it and substitute Silicon Valley (which is discovering the joys of being the censor) for the generic concept of censorship. Is the Internet’s anti-censorship feature built into the protocol stack or was it always a feature of a specific culture rampant in the engineers who created the thing and gone along with those engineers?

  7. TM I just explained how it works. Censorship has to impact the router’s scheme to make a difference. Its not impossible that would happen, but not a given. Prof Reynolds eh’, what’s his degree?

    Sure I know who Marc Andreessen is. What has that got to do with the price of eggs in China? He wrote some browser code and was so bad he ended up in management. That may be an unfair slam. ;)

  8. PenGun – Yes, censorship is impacting routing via DNS database political manipulation. Haven’t you noticed?

    The canaries in the coal mines are the Nazis these days (which I find somewhat funny) and the shift to censorship of center-right people is going very fast.

    You’re taking a literalist interpretation of the statement. I think that Glenn Reynolds is more metaphorical as are most people these days. For the record, he teaches law and is an expert in space law. He’s also been hip deep in the whole blogger movement from pretty much the beginning. You might have clicked the link.

  9. “DNS database political manipulation.”

    You will have to explain that one.

    “he teaches law and is an expert in space law”

    So no degree, I’m a terrible credentialist. ;)

  10. PenGun – Here’s something from back in 2011 that might inform you regarding the problem.


    Since that was written, it’s only getting worse


    And it’s things like this that make it relevant to Silicon Valley


    It’s not bad enough (yet!) to fork the DNS system and have alternate roots adopted by a significant part of the net but if things don’t change, that’s where I see us going.

  11. TM that’s not about DNS. You are just wining about censorship, a good idea, I agree.

    Anyone can set up their own DNS server. Anyone can use any DNS server that want, or even just use the IP. Its not a real problem.

  12. PenGun – You’re either missing an h or an n in wining. The h makes more sense so I’ll go with that.

    Since the whole thread is about censorship, I’m not entirely sure where you’re going with your last comment.

    The large economic players on the Internet simply assume that DNS will not fork in any meaningful way. They are making significant bets in terms of branding based on that assumption. They would disagree that it is not a real problem. They would find it a very large problem indeed that their investment in domain names could randomly be devalued by any sufficiently large group of upset people on the net.

    If the government forces me to put a particular IP address into my database entry when the input query is ibm.com, has the government committed a taking and need to pay me for my trouble? Up to now, that hasn’t come up. A large portion of the reason why that hasn’t come up is that the DNS system was pretty much unitary (though alternate roots have been put up in the past) and was done under government contract by a government disinclined to do that sort of taking. That hasn’t been true for two years now so it’s a question that is less theoretical than it used to be.

  13. Beyond the issues on the internet proper, there is the very real and growing censorship issue of the internet within the internet, i. e. Facebook, Utube, etc. The network effects of the multi-service social media giants have not only made them billionaires, but allow for them to impose subtle but effective algorithms for blocking content that has been subscribed to or paid for based on their judgement of “safety” with little transparency.


    Bill Whittle has a good video on the effects of this campaign to make Facebook and Utube great (safe?) again. I suppose we must give China some credit for putting their shoulders into similar efforts years ago.


  14. “They would find it a very large problem indeed that their investment in domain names could randomly be devalued by any sufficiently large group of upset people on the net.”

    Cry me a river. My domain don’t care about branding, which is a form of marketing, which itself is a fork of lying. ;)

    My investment in carnagepro.com has value only in the name. Which is not insubstantial actually.

    It would be trivial to write a program to take care of resolving DNS as the world gets jiggy with it anyway. The actual domain server code is pretty simple and having that access whatever you want as your DB is again, trivial.

  15. Cry me a river. My domain don’t care about branding, which is a form of marketing, which itself is a fork of lying. ;)

    The problem is that if Google or MSFT or Apple or any other big portal or browser maker doesn’t like you they can blacklist your DNS server or serve your visitors a “safety warning” to persuade them not to look. If prospective visitors to chicagoboyz.net have to type instead, most of them won’t do it and this blog is effectively hidden.

    Of course the censorship always begins with groups that most people don’t like, and progresses to mainstream sites that partisan censors don’t like.

  16. I get very little traffic from any of those … institutions. I could fire up a nice webalizer type traffic display deal against my ISP’s records of my site, but I don’t really care. If you depend on traffic from Google et al, then I agree they have power over you. I don’t think much of your traffic comes from that though.

    You are right I’m not supportive of corporate efforts to push their image and make money off, basically traffic analysis. But hey, they gotta eat too. ;)

    If actually they come for your DNS, just set up another one and give your users that option. This is not a game they can easily win.

  17. As well the ‘nslookup’ command works on windows and the slightly more informative ‘host’ *nix program works on Macs.

    So anyone can get your IP from your name. It would be a shame if it came to that though.

  18. LOL. To make the alternate DNS thing work transparently you need an app to add DNS servers to your list. That should not be very hard to do, a Mac or *nix machine just needs a text file updated and I doubt windows is much more complicated.

    You want to get that out there before it gets too weird. ;)

  19. One more thing. You can run your own DNS server right on your own machine. I have done that when I had flaky primary DNS, and you get the advantage of having your own cache, with all the places you normally go right there in it. Its fast.

  20. PenGun – You started off disparaging the quote, and ended up explaining how it would be implemented if things get “too weird”.

    The only thing left to talk about is if you recognize that you’ve changed your mind.

  21. Dear TM–

    Am responding here to your comment on PowerLineBlog about sequence of parties on ballot in NY re Cuomo re-election. PowerLineBlog keeps promising to convert commenting system to Disqus from Facebook, but seem to be dragging their feet in the matter, and I have always resolutely refused to join FB–a decision more than justified by recent events.

    Anyway, you are correct about the law and the goodies distributed to the two top parties. You might recall the 1990 gubernatorial election in which the GOP offered Pierre Rinfret (who??!) to run against Mario Cuomo, and the Conservative party nominated NYU professor Herb London. As Rinfret’s candidacy sank further into the ooze, there was widespread panic among top GOP brass that he might come in behind London and consequently that the Republicans would lose all their election board representation. Fortunately for them, Rinfret squeaked by London and they could then breathe easier.

    Twelve years later the Dems nominated state Sen. Carl McCall to run against incumbent Gov. George Pataki. McCall vowed to put the NY State Liberal Party on ice once and for all. The Liberal candidate that year was none other than Andrew Cuomo, who disavowed the nomination. He got about 16,000 votes on the Liberal line, well below the 50,000 threshold required to retain ballot status, and so the Liberal Party was relegated to history. At the time I thought they would regroup and try again in 2006 to regain party status with an independent candidate for governor, but they have not done so since.

  22. Oops, I meant EIGHT years later, 2002. In 2006 the Dems ran Elliot Spitzer, and we all know how THAT turned out.

  23. Gawd, I can’t count at 4 AM. Was right the first time: twelve years between 1990 and McCall 2002, sixteen between 1990 and Spitzer 2006. Pataki’s 1998 was NYC council speaker Peter Vallone, who almost won despite having practically no funding and campaign infrastructure. Shows you how nearly extinct the GOP is in NY these days.

  24. “Shows you how nearly extinct the GOP is in NY these days”
    Somehow they’ve maintained control of the state Senate until now, but that appears likely to change this fall. As tragic as the last few decades have been for the rest of the state outside of NYC, it can and will get much, much worse once the Dems take complete control. Upstate will look like something from the Dust Bowl, with entirely depopulated towns.

Comments are closed.