Reviving pre-enclosure glory.

EFF’s ‘public interest internet’ illustration: a 2.5-D gamelike image of a tile with a piece of city-grid on it including a train, a public square, a playground, a cellular tower, a library, and sports fields, floating on a background of a stylized circuit board.
EFF’s ‘public interest internet’ illustration: a 2.5-D gamelike image of a tile with a piece of city-grid on it including a train, a public square, a playground, a cellular tower, a library, and sports fields, floating on a background of a stylized circuit board.

I met Danny O’Brien on 9/11/01, at a surreal dinner we pressed on with despite (or really, because of) the intense terror of the day. He was wearing a t-shirt from NTK, his seminal digital newsletter, bearing its slogan: “THEY STOLE OUR REVOLUTION. NOW WE’RE STEALING IT BACK”

Online culture has its roots in a strange swirl of hobbyists, the military, corporate misfits fooling around with their employers’ vast computer labs and students and academics dabbling in the early digital world.

It was no garden of Eden. There was plenty of fighting and plenty of difference, but…


Why we can’t have nice things.

The IRS logo, captioned ‘It’s too costly to audit the rich, so look out you working stiffs. Image: Mike Licht/notionscapital.com https://www.flickr.com/photos/notionscapital/48857033957/ CC BY: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
The IRS logo, captioned ‘It’s too costly to audit the rich, so look out you working stiffs. Image: Mike Licht/notionscapital.com https://www.flickr.com/photos/notionscapital/48857033957/ CC BY: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

John Steinbeck diagnosed an important American pathology in 1966 when he called the US a nation of “temporarily embarrassed capitalists” — people who see themselves as the wealthy-in-waiting and therefore fight policies that reduce the power that comes from wealth.

It’s a restatement of Engels’ idea of “false consciousness,” and it’s the result of a deliberate strategy on the part of wealthy people — many of whom believe that they were literally genetically destined to be wealthy — to convince the rest of us that “anyone can succeed.”

Part of the false consciousness program is the money story that goes…


2001, 2011, 2016, 2020

#20yrsago Excellent history of weblogs http://www.rebeccablood.net/essays/weblog_history.html

#20yrsago Having “sex” in your surname gets you into trouble with profanity filters http://bissex.net/paul/profanity.gif

#10yrsago Scalzi’s Fuzzy Nation: a masterful, likable reboot of one of the great sf classics https://memex.craphound.com/2011/05/16/scalzis-fuzzy-nation-a-masterful-likable-reboot-of-one-of-the-great-sf-classics/

#10yrsago Piracy sends “Go the Fuck to Sleep” to #1 on Amazon https://www.baycitizen.org/go-the-f-to-sleep-the-case-of-the-viral-pdf/

#5yrsago Lumberjanes: ground-breaking, wonderful, hilarious comic about adventurous girls https://memex.craphound.com/2016/05/16/lumberjanes-ground-breaking-wonderful-hilarious-comic-about-adventurous-girls/

#5yrsago The Intercept begins publishing Snowden docs https://theintercept.com/snowden-sidtoday/

#1yrago Google faces antitrust blitz https://pluralistic.net/2020/05/16/labor-investors/#big-goog

Cory Doctorow (craphound.com) is a science fiction author, activist, and blogger. He has a podcast, a newsletter, a Twitter feed, a Mastodon feed, and a Tumblr feed


Socializing risk and privatizing gain for fun and profit.

A key idea from sf is “all laws are local, and no law knows how local it is.” Prisoners of our own time and place, it’s hard not to feel like we’re living in the only possible world, is if everything around us is inevitable and natural — and any change is “unnatural.”

But anyone who’s ever dabbled in multi-agent modeling (sims where “individuals” each have their own goals and aversions) knows there are lots of stable configurations that a big, complex system can fall into, and re-rerunning the same sim produces wildly different outcomes.

14 months ago, we hit…


Ghost-writing memos for GOP “public servants.”

The Earth, floating in space, with its southern hemisphere in flames; it is being irradiated by a beam-weapon fired by a Death Star-style coronavirus molecule, bearing the Pfizer logo.
The Earth, floating in space, with its southern hemisphere in flames; it is being irradiated by a beam-weapon fired by a Death Star-style coronavirus molecule, bearing the Pfizer logo.

Last week, the Biden administration broke with decades of US policy when it supported a patent waiver on covid vaccines. It was the first time in generations that the US Trade Rep acted on behalf of the people, rather than corporate greed.

https://pluralistic.net/2021/05/10/comrade-ustr/#vaccine-diplomacy

Taking steps to make vaccines universally and immediately available isn’t just the right thing to do — vaccine apartheid is slow-motion genocide — it’s also the smart thing to do. Billions of unvaccinated people present quadrillions of chances for the virus to mutate.

Don’t listen to the unscientific claims that viruses “tend to become less virulent” over…


The best way to rob a bank is to own one.

A panel from Alison Bechdel’s ‘Dykes to Watch Out For’ strip #90 (1990), ‘The Solution,’ in which a character rants ‘…Richard Nixon opens a library as if he’s some big heroic statesman or something…and all these Savings & Loan swindlers go merrily about their business, while…’ https://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3908728&userid=99998&perpage=40&pagenumber=10
A panel from Alison Bechdel’s ‘Dykes to Watch Out For’ strip #90 (1990), ‘The Solution,’ in which a character rants ‘…Richard Nixon opens a library as if he’s some big heroic statesman or something…and all these Savings & Loan swindlers go merrily about their business, while…’ https://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3908728&userid=99998&perpage=40&pagenumber=10

When the Great Financial Crisis hit, suddenly there was a lot of talk about the Savings & Loan crises of the 1980s and 90s. I was barely a larvum then, and all I knew about S&Ls I learned from half-understood dialog in comics like Dykes to Watch Out For and Bloom County.

As the GFC shattered the lives of millions, I turned to books like Michael W. Hudson’s THE MONSTER to understand what was going on, and learned that the very same criminals who masterminded the S&L crisis were behind the GFC gigafraud:

https://memex.craphound.com/2011/03/07/the-monster-the-fraud-and-depraved-indifference-that-caused-the-subprime-meltdown/

Hudson’s work forever changed my views…


100gbs symmetrical to every home in the state or bust!

An illustration of three isolated buildings in an empty field, with fiber lines streaming towards them and a wifi icon hovering over them.
An illustration of three isolated buildings in an empty field, with fiber lines streaming towards them and a wifi icon hovering over them.

This morning, California Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled an audacious budget whose crown jewel is a plan to pump $7b into medium-haul fiber links that will link every community in the state, no matter how remote or rural.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2021/05/governor-newsoms-budget-proposes-historic-investment-public-fiber-broadband

If passed — it needs a simple majority in the legislature — this will make California home to America’s most extensive state broadband network, and reverse decades of ISP lobbying against the provision of modern telcoms infrastructure to replace 20th century copper lines.

The plan uses state money to bring fiber to the town limits, then creates a pool of low-cost, long-term…


2016, 2020

#5yrsago Infested: an itchy, fascinating natural history of the bed bug https://memex.craphound.com/2016/05/14/infested-an-itchy-fascinating-natural-history-of-the-bed-bug/

#5yrsago Banker implicated in one of history’s biggest frauds says boss beat him with a tiny baseball bat https://www.ibtimes.co.uk/barclays-banker-accused-rigging-libor-rate-hit-assistant-baseball-bat-1559792

#1yrago Facebook’s “backfire effect” junk science https://pluralistic.net/2020/05/14/everybody-poops/#backfire-effect

#1yrago Restaurants won’t let gig drivers pee https://pluralistic.net/2020/05/14/everybody-poops/#gotta-go

Cory Doctorow (craphound.com) is a science fiction author, activist, and blogger. He has a podcast, a newsletter, a Twitter feed, a Mastodon feed, and a Tumblr feed. He was born in Canada, became a British citizen and now lives in Burbank, California. His latest nonfiction book is How to Destroy Surveillance Capitalism. His latest…


Your pension is funding the destruction of the real economy…and itself.

A US $100 bill in which Ben Franklin has been replaced by a nuclear mushroom cloud, in the center of which is a dancing version of Monopoly’s ‘Rich Uncle Pennybags,’ his cane replaced by the Grim Reaper’s scythe.
A US $100 bill in which Ben Franklin has been replaced by a nuclear mushroom cloud, in the center of which is a dancing version of Monopoly’s ‘Rich Uncle Pennybags,’ his cane replaced by the Grim Reaper’s scythe.

Some things are hard to understand because they’re complicated.

Some things are complicated so they’ll be hard to understand.

The harder you look at the finance industry, the more evident it becomes that the complexity is deliberate, a means of baffling with bullshit.

Private equity is one of those baffling and mysterious phenomena that only gets worse with scrutiny: how is it possible that a handful of companies are able to borrow vast sums to buy up and then destroy successful businesses? Can that really be their business-model?

Yup.

“Private Equity at Work,” Eileen Appelbaum and Rosemary Batt’s 2014 analysis…

Cory Doctorow

Writer, blogger, activist. Blog: https://pluralistic.net; Mailing list: https://pluralistic.net/plura-list; Twitter: https://twitter.com/doctorow

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