Archive for April, 2010

Shaw « Deep Packet Inspection

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

Shaw « Deep Packet Inspection.

I do believe that DPI and related technologies will be abused by ISPs and media conglomerates if they are allowed to do so – and also that they should not have the option to arbitrarily favour one technology over another (as eg when Shaw says that internet delivery is “not a substitute” for cableTV). But technologies like bittorrent and skype do create speed by using extra bandwidth, and this does give the ISPs an opening to claim that they sometimes need to throttle certain kinds of traffic. However that claim is only valid becuse their chosen pricing model does not increase the cost for high bandwidth users. If we do not want to give the ISPs the authority to manage traffic volumes based on content-type (which they will certainly abuse) then we need to accept that bandwidth is a commodity in limited supply and should be paid for on a usage basis. This would have the effect of allowing market pressure to favour technologies which have less impact without giving anyone the power to arbitrarily favour their own technology or content.

Vaisakhi parade risky for MP Ujjal Dosanjh and MLA Dave Hayer: organizer

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

Vaisakhi parade risky for MP Ujjal Dosanjh and MLA Dave Hayer: organizer.

I have often enjoyed the Vaisakhi parade, but  the criteria for a parade permit are based largely on the possibility of ensuring public safety.  I wouldn’t want to see this used as an excuse for withholding permission for expression of controversial views, but when the organizers of an event explicitly deny their capacity for or interest in protecting all members of the public then . . .

LRB · Joseph Stiglitz · The Non-Existent Hand

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

LRB · Joseph Stiglitz · The Non-Existent Hand.

One comment in particular rang a bell for me.

Often the use of a mathematical model is considered  as giving predictions greater credibility when all it really does is ensure that they are consistent with the assumptions of the model.

In areas of technology based on well established assumptions this may actually justify some faith in the predictions, but in scientific practice the role of the mathematics is more often not to establish the prediction but rather to pin down the blame for its failure, and so to discredit the faulty assumptions of an inadequate theory.

Perhaps more emphasis on this aspect in our instruction would help to diminish the mystified acceptance of arguments to the effect that “mathematics predicts that…”