Archive for November, 2010

Miraculous Magnetic Clowns

Monday, November 29th, 2010

James McGirk, writing in 3quarksdaily, repeats the widely stated claim that the Insane Clown Posse display inexcusable ignorance when they claim, in their song ‘Miracles’, to be mystified by magnets.

One line in particular snagged the world’s attention: “Water, fire, air and dirt, Fucking magnets, how do they work?” Magnetism being a staple of primary school science education, the line struck many casual listeners as spectacularly ignorant.

The explanation of magnetism is definitely NOT a “staple of primary school science education” and the widespread disdain for that line in the song shows greater ignorance than the line itself.

In fact, when one commenter on the youTube site asserts that  “33,316 people know how magnets work scientifically” (which would be about five people in a million worldwide), that actually sounds about right.

I would venture to suggest also that, of those of us that do understand how magnets work, most consider it a miracle only slightly less astounding than the fact that we can actually understand it.

One Bandwidth Rate for ALL Content

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

The concern expressed here, and here and here, is much more valid than that about usage-based billing. It is not the possibility of having to pay for bandwidth that is problematic, but that of being charged differential rates depending on who owns the content.

For each level of connection service quality (ie combination of speed, latency, reliability etc) there should be one bandwidth rate that applies equally to regular TV and internet. But I suspect that allowing infrastructure owners to also own or control content will always give rise to an irresistable temptation to favour their own material and to give inaccurate or misleading reports about relative costs so it may be necessary to force an arms-length separation of functions in order for the goal to be achievable.

The Inheritors of What?

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

A new book by Eric Kaufmann entitled Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?: Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century is Posted in biology, religion, sustainability | No Comments »

Letter to Tony Clement

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Here’s what I wrote re Net Neutrality and Usage-Based Billing:

The public internet has provided a wonderful stimulus to the economic and cultural life of our country and the entire world. But that stimulus depends on its equal accessibility to all users including small innovators as well as large existing corporations. Net “throttling” and other practices of the infrastructure owners threaten that equality of access and provide them with unfair economic advantage.

The introduction of Usage-Based Billing eliminates the argument about a few heavy users overloading the system at the expense of others, and so also eliminates the case for “throttling” of certain traffic types as well. So I urge you to continue on the path of eliminating that practice entirely.

But in addition to throttling certain parts of the internet relative to others, there is also a risk that utility companies will throttle the public internet as a whole in favour of their own privtely controlled content.

So protection of the internet requires also that the bandwidth cost rate that is applied to public internet traffic does not exceed that aplied to CableTV and other private traffic controlled by the owners of the infrastructrure (who are licensed to use public space and radio bandwidth for its implementation).

People must be able to buy video (and other content) from independent producers for the same delivery cost as they get it from the TV networks.

Please make sure to address this aspect in your supervision of the industry and the CRTC.

Thank you,
sincerely
Alan Cooper

What’s Wrong With Usage-Based Billing?

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

OpenMedia.ca wants to Stop The Meter On Your Internet Use. But if all kinds of bandwidth were charged at the same rate (so that the carriers couldn’t favour one type of content, such as cable tv over another, such as internet) then usage based billing would be perfectly fair and would undermine the arguments usually given for “throttling”. So why is this considered a problem (except for heavy users who want me to subsidize their bandwidth)?

The Myth of Separate Magisteria | Big Questions Online

Monday, November 15th, 2010

The Myth of Separate Magisteria | Big Questions Online.

The main problem (aside from its pretentious name) with Stephen Jay Gould’s concept of “Non-overlapping Magisteria” as a resolution of the “conflict” between science and religion is the fact that many religions fail to respect the purported boundary. Sam Harris (and followers like Susan Jacoby) would like to make a counter invasion, but they are wrong. (more…)

Personal Knowledge Management

Friday, November 5th, 2010

The #PLENK2010 topic for  discussion in Week 8 is PKM. (more…)

Worthy of Support?

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Telus CEO touts ‘Switzerland’ approach to content.

What’s Wrong With Usage-Based Billing?

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

The folks at OpenMedia.ca are concerned about the recent CRTC ruling to allw Bell to apply usage-based-billing to independent ISPs. But I don’t se the problem. So long as everyone gets the same speed of sevice regardless of data type it does not seem unreasonable to charge people in proportion to how much bandwidth they actually consume. What am I missing?