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Hate speech, hate crimes and the illusion of plausible deniability

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On Saturday Richard Collins, III, came to the University of Maryland to visit friends and celebrate being commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army. He was going to graduate from Bowie State on Tuesday.

Early Sunday morning he was stabbed to death by Sean Urbanski, a UMD student and member of a Facebook group called Alt Reich Nation.

Court documents obtained by News4 say Collins was waiting for the university’s shuttle bus with his friends when they realized the shuttle bus had stopped running for the night. The three decided to call an Uber and were waiting for one to arrive when they heard Urbanski screaming nearby, the documents said.

Collins and his friends watched Urbanski has he approached them. According to court documents, “Urbanski said, ‘Step left, step left if you know what’s best for you.’

“Collins said ‘No’ as Urbanski continue to approach,” the documents said.

One of Collins’ friends noticed Urbanski was holding a knife with a 3- to 4-inch silver blade as the suspect stabbed Collins once in the chest area, documents said. The friend ran toward Baltimore Avenue as she called 911 and asked the Uber driver to call 911. Other witnesses stayed with Collins and tried to help him until police and medics arrived.

Two Prince George’s County police officers found Urbanski sitting on a bench at a bus stop about 50 feet from where Collins had collapsed. Witnesses identified him as the suspect and he was taken into custody at the university’s police department, documents said.

Urbanski faces a number of charges including 1st and 2nd degree murder. The FBI is investigating to determine whether it was a hate crime.

The the chief of UMD’s police department noted that he wasn’t aware of any increase in threats on campus. I’ll take his word for it, but note there has been an increase in threatening activity.

Soon after tRump was elected white supremacist flyers started appearing on the campus and in nearby neighborhoods. A couple of weeks ago someone  placed a noose in the kitchen of one of the frats.

Is there a direct connection between the flyers or the noose or the Facebook group and Urbanski stabbing Collins in the chest? Unless Urbanski says so, that will remain an unknown known. Even if he says he was influenced by one or more of these things, it would fit the pattern that assists the spread of supremacist terror.

Marginalized groups know that soon or late the fire of violence will follow the smoke of hate speech. No matter how many people or organizations speak about the criminal brown savage or the Sharia spreading Muslim, slut and their non-stop abortions, or the gay man who wants to assault kids, the act of violence against marginalized people is always attributed solely to the individual. Where was he radicalized? people ask semi-ironically. Not here! And don’t try to take our guns! screams every human septic tank that’s been spewing filth everywhere.

Meanwhile the speech continues and keeps the potential victims nervous and miserable.

This ill-defined space between the speech acts and violent acts is also the headquarters of The Grand Brotherhood of Pundits and Tut-tutters who are deeply saddened when people protest the on-campus appearance of people like Charles Murray or Anne Coulter or Milo Y-didtheycancelmybook, because anything that hinders the Free and Open Exchange of Ideas is Bad.

I think inviting someone like Murray to take a nap in the path of a steam roller is a fine example of the free and open exchange of ideas, but that doesn’t count for some reason.

More importantly, these protest recognize that no matter how much someone might like to pretend, the interplay between speech and violence exists. Protesting the speech is one of the few ways people can prevent violence without resorting to violence themselves.

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wmorrell
2 hours ago
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Oakland Landlords Evict Tenants, Allegedly Destroy Their Stuff, Hang Trump Banner

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Oakland Landlords Evict Tenants, Allegedly Destroy Their Stuff, Hang Trump Banner The landlords deny any wrongdoing, and say that the building was in tear-down shape and that they offered relocation assistance to the tenants. [ more › ]
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wmorrell
6 days ago
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Christ what a couple of assholes…
acdha
6 days ago
This reads like the villain in some leftist satire. The ugliness doesn't surprise me but the complete disinterest in hiding it does.
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That’s my secret, Captain …

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Anger, we're told, will eat you alive and make you unhappy. And that can be true -- depending on what it is that you are angry about, and why. But if, like Benjamin Ferencz, you get angry and stay angry at the right things -- angry at injustice, and cruelty, and inhumanity, angry on behalf of others -- then that anger will keep you churning.
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wmorrell
8 days ago
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★ Dropping Tech Giants

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Great interactive feature by Farhad Manjoo for The New York Times:

Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and Alphabet, the parent company of Google, are not just the largest technology companies in the world. As I’ve argued repeatedly in my column, they are also becoming the most powerful companies of any kind, essentially inescapable for any consumer or business that wants to participate in the modern world. But which of the Frightful Five is most unavoidable? I ponder the question in my column this week.

But what about you? If an evil monarch forced you to choose, in what order would you give up these inescapable giants of tech?

Great question. I love thought exercises.

My order (from first dropped to last):

  1. Facebook. I love Instagram, but could live without it. I don’t use anything else Facebook offers.

  2. Microsoft. The only Microsoft product I use regularly is Skype, for podcasting, and I suspect I could find another solution. (If I couldn’t, I might have to rethink my answer here.)

  3. Amazon. I buy stuff from Amazon almost every week. I just counted — 11 orders so far in 2017. My wife buys stuff from Amazon even more frequently. But just about anything we buy at Amazon, we could buy elsewhere. It’d be painful to replace, but not irreplaceable. There are a couple of shows exclusive to Amazon Prime that I enjoy, but none that I love.

  4. Alphabet. I already use DuckDuckGo as my default search engine, so giving up Google search would be frustrating at times, but not a deal breaker. I use a few email accounts backed by Gmail, but I actually dislike Gmail, and have been procrastinating on moving all my mail to FastMail for years. I despise Google Docs. I don’t use any Android devices other than as a curiosity. I greatly prefer Safari over Chrome. YouTube, however, is irreplaceable, and so essential that it pretty much singlehandedly catapults Alphabet to #4 in my list.

  5. Apple. I mean, come on. If not for Apple I’d be stuck using computers I don’t like and a phone that I consider a distant second-best. With all the other companies on the list, what I’d miss most are certain of their services — Instagram, Skype, Amazon’s store, YouTube — but Apple is only company in the world whose hardware I consider irreplaceable. And you need the hardware to make best use of the services from any other companies.

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wmorrell
10 days ago
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My ordering was identical to the NYT author: Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Alphabet, Amazon. Though my reasoning included everything that depends on AWS; if it's just buying stuff and Kindle and Prime, then it's way easier to give up Amazon. Most service alternatives to the other four will have some dependency on AWS.
rtreborb
6 days ago
Amazon has silently made AWS an indispensable product, one likely used by most of the other 4 companies
popular
10 days ago
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5 public comments
toddgrotenhuis
4 days ago
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Switch 4 and 5, and you've got me.
Indianapolis
internetionals
9 days ago
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My order would be: Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Aphabet, Facebook

The reason is pretty simple: you can go all Apple, all Microsoft or all OSS. Sure you might miss out on some fronts, but none of those options is unrealistic. Apple is clearly the easier to drop as lots of people I know use none of their products at all.

Amazon and Alphabet are trickier to avoid alltogether. For a large part because all the cloud offerings. But between those two Amazon is the easier to drop, because you can do everything they offer using Alphabet provided services, but not the other way around.

Interestingly, for me at least, dropping Facebook would be the hardest relatively speaking and I dont't actually use Facebook. The main reason, for me, is them owning Whatsapp. Staying in touch and sharing things with multiple persons would be a lot harder and you would have to convince them all to a specific other service.
Netherlands
jheiss
10 days ago
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My ordering was Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon.

I could easily live without or find alternatives to Microsoft, Facebook, and Google. Alternatives to Apple are less pleasant, but tolerable. Amazon would be hard for me to live without.
onepointzero
10 days ago
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I believe DuckDuckGo uses Bing behind the scenes. Microsoft may be more useful than he thinks.
Brussels, Belgium
gglockner
10 days ago
Yandex - see bottom right corner
onepointzero
10 days ago
Indeed. My bad. It used to be Bing.
evaryont
9 days ago
It's both. Lately it seems to rely on Yandex more often than not, but it uses a melding of a bunch of providers and it's own limited scraping.
martinbaum
10 days ago
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"5. Apple. I mean, come on, I'd be unemployed."
duerig
10 days ago
Hahaha. So true.
mareino
10 days ago
Sadly, that is why I'd drop Microsoft last. I tried to use non-MS products a couple years ago as a test, and it was the closest I ever came to getting fired.

I Don’t Mean to be Reviewer #2, But…

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Academic peer review is supposed to be a form of professional quality control, filtering out the silly or severely flawed research and only letting the good stuff get through.  Sometimes it even achieves that.  But as a system founded on small numbers and anonymity, it can fall prey to some predictable pathologies.  

In the academic twitterverse, there’s a running joke about “reviewer #2.”  This is the reviewer who trashes a perfectly good piece because it isn’t the piece he would have written.  In reading Richard Florida’s new book, The New Urban Crisis, I felt some reviewer #2 coming on.  The book outlines a serious issue well, takes a few bold and thoughtful positions, and, as always with Florida’s stuff, makes its case in an uncommonly readable way.  But I still came away frustrated, because it isn’t the book I wanted it to be.  I admit freely that this says more about me than it does about Florida.

The New Urban Crisis, as Florida sees it, is that superstar cities are becoming victims of their own success.  Cities like Boston, New York, and Seattle have gone from struggling to wildly prosperous in the last thirty years, due in no small part to the economic advantages of talent clustering that the creative economy generates.  In fact, they’ve become so prosperous that they’re pricing out many of the middle and working class people who form the civic backbone of cities -- police officers, teachers, nurses.  Florida draws openly on the work of Jane Jacobs, who famously argued that the life of cities derives from mixed-use, mixed-income, mixed-background neighborhoods at pedestrian scale.  When a city’s success brings such rapid upscaling that mixed-use neighborhoods become canyons of skyscrapers of luxury condos owned by global elites who only stay there a few months per year, the pedestrian life of the city suffers.

Florida notes, correctly, that the 70’s and 80’s image of cities as gritty and suburbs as sylvan is looking dated in the major metros; now, the cities are aspirational and often unaffordable, and suburbs are dealing with levels of poverty and economic struggle that they were built, in many ways, to escape.  The most prosperous cities are often the most segregated, even as they’re the “bluest” politically; this won’t come as news to anyone who knows Boston or New York well.  I was struck by a passage, buried mid-paragraph, addressing the politics of contemporary suburbia:

“Economically distressed suburbs in red states are the ones that swing blue, while economically distressed suburbs in blue states are the ones that swing red…” (165)

Another:

“[T]he metros where the middle class is largest are whiter, have a larger working class, and have higher levels of political conservatism --- all features of economically declining places.  Furthermore, the metros that had bigger middle classes in 2000 are the ones that saw the largest middle-class declines by 2014.”  (99)

Florida does a real service in noting the persistent ironies about demography and politics.  Political theorists (hi!) have been known to write entire books about such things.

Florida lands on an intriguing mix of policy prescriptions for dealing with the new urban crisis.  He mentions NIMBY (not in my back yard) groups disparagingly, preferring to call them urban luddites.  By making housing scarcer than it could be, he suggests, they drive up costs for new people, generating windfall gains for existing owners.  He resurrects Henry George’s (!) idea of taxing land, as opposed to property, with the idea that taxing land instead creates a positive incentive for development.  If a given lot has the same tax bill whether it’s surface level parking or a fifty-story apartment tower, the economic argument for apartment towers gets a lot stronger.

Florida is honest enough to admit, though, that those same economic incentives lean towards building high-cost housing, rather than something that teachers and cops could afford.  That’s where he turns to politics.

Here he draws on the work of the late political theorist Benjamin Barber to argue that we should devolve power to the municipal level whenever possible, on the grounds that local leadership is more in tune with local needs than national leadership could be.  Let Boston be Boston, and make Washington matter less.

Which is where I become reviewer #2.

First, and most basically, letting Boston be Boston also involves letting Lynchburg be Lynchburg.  Given America’s racial legacy, any argument for devolution has a serious burden of proof.  (And even Boston is hardly innocent when it comes to racism…)  The sleight of hand in the argument shows itself whenever Florida refers to “metros” rather than “cities.”  Metros are regions that include other political entities, usually called suburbs.  But they have their own political representation.  Grosse Pointe is part of the Detroit metro, but it is not part of Detroit, and it has no intention of becoming part of Detroit.  Arguments from devolution, like arguments from home rule, often quickly become arguments reinforcing segregation.  Conceptually, they don’t have to, but on the ground, they do.  Invoking “metros” as the unit of analysis simply defines segregation away.  On the ground, it does not work like that, and it will not work like that.

At a different level, the major urban crisis in America isn’t in the Bostons or Seattles.  It’s in the Springfields, the Uticas, and the Scrantons.  Those cities aren’t suffering from affluenza; they’re suffering from declining tax bases, poverty, and an economy that’s shifting away from them.  These cities go almost entirely unmentioned in the book, and his proposed solutions are almost entirely irrelevant to them.  St. Louis’ major struggle isn’t with NIMBYism or international elites owning condos they only use seasonally.  Milwaukee may be segregated, but it’s not prosperous.  These urban crises aren’t “new,” but they’re severe, and they’re largely ignored.  A municipal leader in one of these cities looking for answers in Florida’s book will come away empty-handed.

I could imagine several possible responses.  Will those cities follow in the wake of the major metros?  Will they gradually shrink into provincial outposts?  Are they doomed to become backwaters?  I recently lived for several years in a suburb of Springfield, Mass.  I did not see any signs of hipster millennials selling artisanal pickles in Springfield.  Instead, I saw city leaders grasping desperately for a casino, and I saw my neighbors in the suburb being utterly clear that they were not part of Springfield.  It was only 90 miles away from Boston, but economically, it was on another planet.  What should Springfield do?

An attempt to answer those questions would have to deal with issues of political economy that cannot be understood, let alone addressed, taking the municipality as the unit of analysis.  Those issues are national or global.  London’s standing as a global capital of finance is at risk not because of NIMBYs but because of Brexit, which is what devolution looks like in practice.  Historically, movements for inclusion have favored socializing conflicts, rather than privatizing them, and there’s a reason for that.  I understand the temptation to give up on Washington -- really, I get it -- but we’ve had a confederacy before, and we know what happened.  No, thanks.

My “beat” is community colleges, so I’ll just note here that the shift in the physical distribution of wealth in the US from relatively spread out to relatively concentrated puts community colleges in a tough spot.  Community colleges are spread out, by design, and they’re almost always defined by geography.  Half of them were built in the 1960’s, at the high point of suburbanization.  Community colleges in expensive places deal with the issues Florida notes -- good luck affording a nice Boston apartment on a Bunker Hill CC salary -- and the ones in the Youngstowns of the world deal with the dilemma that sometimes they serve the community by acting as a springboard for talent to escape.  When your funding and political support are local, that’s a problem.  The entire system was built on the assumption of a sort of spatial equality that is fading into history.  It’s hard to prepare a middle class for an economy that no longer wants one.

To some extent, the critique isn’t entirely fair. Florida set out to write about superstar cities, and he did it well.  But they can really only be understood in contrast to all of the other ones, the ones where most of us live.  Abetting what Christopher Lasch called, over twenty years ago, “the secession of the successful” isn’t likely to help anyone but the successful, and they don’t need it.  Yes, it would be nice to create more affordable housing in New York City; I’m on board.  It would be nicer if other places offered more options for a decent life.  That’s the book I’d like to read.
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wmorrell
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Silicon Valley: A Reality Check

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The nation has spoken: weird pointless $400 wi-fi enabled juicer company Juicero is the perfect symbol of Silicon Valley.

So says the Washington Post: Juicero Shows What’s Wrong With Silicon Valley Thinking. So says TechCrunch, which calls Juicero “the absurd avatar of Silicon Valley hubris”. So says Newsweek, which renames the area Silly-Con Valley in its honor. And of course there’s Deadspin, which calls it “the best story ever written about Silicon Valley… a stupid libertarian dystopia where investor-class vampires are the consumers and a regular person’s money is what they go shopping for.”

In case you missed it, Juicero was a startup that got $120 million in funding to manufacture high-end juicers which were supposed to be the bleeding-edge in juice-related technology. Then Bloomberg View did some investigative reporting and found that you could actually make juice equally well by skipping the $400 juicer and just squeezing the juice packets with your bare hands.

This is, admittedly, pretty silly. But I want to take a step back and suggest a reality check.

While Deadspin was busy calling Silicon Valley “awful nightmare trash parasites”, my girlfriend in Silicon Valley was working for a company developing a structured-light optical engine to manipulate single cells and speed up high-precision biological research.

While FastCoDesign was busy calling Juicero “a symbol of the Silicon Valley class designing for its own, insular problems,” a bunch of my friends in Silicon Valley were working for Wave, a company that helps immigrants send remittances to their families in East Africa.

While Vox was busy writing about how Juicero “says a lot about the state of Silicon Valley right now”, Silicon Valley was leading a revolution in solar power that’s resulted in a 1500% increase in cell installations over the past few years.

While Slate was busy telling us that Silicon Valley companies “repackage familiar ideas and sell them back to us as exemplars of Groundbreaking Disruptive Innovation”, Silicon Valley was shooting a fifteen-story rocket a hundred miles into the air at 4,100 mph, then landing it gently on a 300 foot platform in the middle of the ocean.

While Gizmodo was busy writing that this “is not an isolated quirk” because Silicon Valley investors “don’t care that they do not solve problems [and] exist to temporarily excite the affluent into spending money”, Silicon Valley investors were investing $35 million into an artificial pancreas for diabetics.

While Freddie deBoer was busy arguing that Silicon Valley companies “siphon money from the desperate throngs back to the employers who will use them up and throw them aside like a discarded Juicero bag and, of course, to themselves and their shareholders. That’s it. That’s all they are. That’s all they do”, Silicon Valley companies were busy inventing cultured meat products that could end factory farming and save millions of animals from horrendous suffering while also helping the environment.

Or maybe we should try to be more quantitative about this. I looked at the latest batch of 52 startups from legendary Silicon Valley startup incubator Y Combinator.

Thirteen of them had an altruistic or international development focus, including Neema, an app to help poor people without access to banks gain financial services; Kangpe, online health services for people in Africa without access to doctors; Credy, a peer-to-peer lending service in India; Clear Genetics, an automated genetic counseling tool for at-risk parents; and Dost Education, helping to teach literacy skills in India via a $1/month course.

Twelve of them seemed like really exciting cutting-edge technology, including CBAS, which describes itself as “human bionics plug-and-play; Solugen, which has a way to manufacture hydrogen peroxide from plant sugars; AON3D, which makes 3D printers for industrial uses; Indee, a new genetic engineering system; Alem Health, applying AI to radiology, and of course the obligatory drone delivery startup.

Eighteen of them seemed like boring meat-and-potatoes companies aimed at businesses that need enterprise data solution software application package analytics targeting management something something something “the cloud”.

And the remaining nine were your ridiculous niche Uber-for-tacos startups that we all know and love, including Cowlar (“FitBit for cows – it’s way smarter than it sounds!”); Origin (“Keurig for smoothies”), MoveButter, which compares itself to three different companies I’ve never heard of in its first sentence but seems to be grocery-related in some way; Mere Coffee, a better-tasting coffee machine for small businesses; and LitHit, a smart target for shooting sports. I’m sure somebody in the comments is going to tell me why FitBits for cows is actually a vital service that will revolutionize agriculture, but I’m trying to err on the side of caution here.

I’m concerned that Y Combinator might be so successful that they’re unique in going for status and do-gooding rather than being a real cross-sample of startups (and they also seem to recruit a lot of international startups from outside Silicon Valley). So I also looked at the first twenty startups in the portfolio of Andreessen Horowitz, a famous Valley venture capitalist firm. One of them seemed explicitly prosocial – some kind of science education partnership company. Four of them seemed high-tech or otherwise awesome – including the obligatory aerial-surveying-with-drones company. Twelve seemed to be some sort of enterprise data solution software application package analytics targeting management something something something “the cloud”. And only two of them seemed even a little vapid – eg this high-end photo sharing/printing site. Which is hardly that vapid – nobody would bat an eye at that if it were done by Kodak or Staples.

So although meat-and-potato business/software companies do outnumber really high-tech or altruistic ventures, there’s not a lot of evidence for silly Juicero-style startups being much of the Silicon Valley business community at all. So how come everyone thinks that they are?

Here’s my theory. If you’re an average well-off person, leading your average well-off life, consuming average well-off media and seeing ads targeted at the average well-off demographic, and going over to your average well-off friends’ houses and seeing their average well-off products, which are you more likely to hear about? A structured-light optical engine for cytological research? Or a juicer?

Or to put it another way: there’s a chapter in Unsong (spoiler!) where an archangel brings peace to the Middle East by splitting the Holy Land into two parallel dimensions. Any Jew who enters will find themselves in a united Israel; any Muslim who enters will find themselves in an independent Palestine.

And sometimes I wonder if the same archangel has gotten to Silicon Valley.

If a deeply good person crusading for a better world enters Silicon Valley, she’ll find herself surrounded by deeply good people crusading for a better world. She’ll see mobile apps that track tropical diseases, clean energy startups that fight global warming by directly sucking carbon dioxide out of the air, companies bringing microbanking to poor Nepalese villagers, and boutique pharmaceutical labs searching for cures for orphan diseases.

If a futurist enters Silicon Valley, she’ll find herself surrounded by futurists. She’ll see neural nets and deep learning, reusable rockets and flying cars, high-throughput genome sequencing and CRISPR, metamaterials and nanotechnology.

If a social-media-obsessed narcissist whose view of the world begins and ends with his own Instagram page enters Silicon Valley, he’ll find himself surrounded by social-media-obsessed narcissists whose view of the world begins and ends with their Instagram pages. He’ll see a bunch of streaming video services and Uber-for-hair-products apps and elite pay-to-play dating scams and people trying to disrupt the gymwear market.

And if one of those people who talks about “the cloud” all the time enters Silicon Valley, he’ll find himself surrounded by people who talk about “the cloud” all the time. I have no idea who these people are or what they’re doing, but they all seem really happy with each other and I’m glad they’re enjoying themselves.

They’ll all have their blind-men-and-elephant view of what kinds of things Silicon Valley “does”. And they’ll all be sort of right.

(thinkpiece writers: “Can you believe that Silicon Valley only makes products for shallow elites obsessed with the latest fads? It’s the strangest thing!“)

So I would recommend people stop talking about how Silicon Valley only makes ridiculous overpriced juicers. It’s not that it doesn’t make those. It does, just like everywhere else. A Facebook friend pointed out that QVC has been selling our parents ridiculous overpriced kitchen items since before we were born. Billy Mays pitched the EZ Crunch Bowl, which promised to “revolutionize your cereal-eating experience”. The unique thing about Silicon Valley isn’t that it’s got overpriced status goods designed to separate rich people from their money. The unique thing about Silicon Valley is that it’s got anything else.

I don’t want to downplay the problem. Anything remotely good in the world gets invaded by rent-seeking parasites and empty suits. Silicon Valley is no exception, and raising awareness of the infestation is certainly a public service. But for some reason, it’s hard for me to believe that – let’s say Deadspin – really believes in the spirit of Silicon Valley, really thinks that there was once somewhere that weird nerdy people could get together and produce amazing things for the good of everybody, and that to some degree this is still going on, and is a precious thing that needs to be protected. At its worst, some of their criticism sounds more like a worry that there might still be some weird nerds who think they can climb out of the crab-bucket, and they need to be beaten into submission by empty suits before they can get away. Or maybe that’s just paranoia. Fine, I admit I’m paranoid. But I still feel like people should lay off the criticism a little.

When Capitol Hill screws up, tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis get killed.

When Wall Street screws up, the country is plunged into recession and poor families lose their homes.

When Silicon Valley screws up, people who want a pointless Wi-Fi enabled juicer get a pointless Wi-Fi enabled juicer. Which by all accounts makes pretty good juice.

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wmorrell
10 days ago
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jsled
8 days ago
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«Here’s my theory. If you’re an average well-off person, leading your average well-off life, consuming average well-off media and seeing ads targeted at the average well-off demographic, and going over to your average well-off friends’ houses and seeing their average well-off products, which are you more likely to hear about? A structured-light optical engine for cytological research? Or a juicer?»
South Burlington, Vermont
duerig
10 days ago
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I often feel like Slate Star Codex starts out with some decent points contrary to the conventional wisdom and then goes too far and over-corrects.

For example, it is true that a lot of genuine innovation comes out of Silicon Valley. And it is important to remember that there have always been stupid ideas growing in the field alongside the good ones. And the fertilizer (BS?) of the valley helps both grow. So to that point, SSC is correct.

But by the end, he seems to want to trivialize the problems of SV and exaggerate problems elsewhere. And that is just too far for me to follow.

When SV companies screwed up and made it easy to spread fake news and game their publishing platforms (like FB and Google did), they helped get a senile, authoritarian rapist access to the button. We can only hope that this will not lead to tens of thousands or more getting killed.

When SV companies screwed up, they did so alongside wall street helping spur the last two big business cycle bubbles and the recession (including families losing their homes) that accompanied them.

And many of the SV's darlings are explicitly rent seeking. Creating fake marketplaces that scams both sides for extra nickels and still can't seem to make a profit. Either mostly scammy like Uber or completely scammy like the fake health care analysis company that recently folded.

So it is a bit much to say that Juicero is somehow emblematic of everything that is happening in SV right now. But it is also an important signpost. Because a single bad idea might be rotten when it comes to harvest and only hurt a few investors and customers involved. But a whole crop of bad ideas all at once can bring about another recession or even undermine many of our longer term institutions which are crucial to keep our society together. We shouldn't overstate how important a high end juicer is. But we shouldn't trivialize the trends that it represents either.
acdha
9 days ago
You nailed his shtick perfectly – too much in love with the contrarian image
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