Quotulatiousness

November 22, 2017

A damned odd canary in this particular coal mine

Filed under: Government, Media, Technology, USA — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

Megan McArdle on the imminent demise of the FCC’s “Net Neutrality”:

The internet will be filled today with denunciations of this move, threats of a dark future in which our access to content will be controlled by a few powerful companies. And sure, that may happen. But in fact, it may already have happened, led not by ISPs, but by the very companies that were fighting so hard for net neutrality.

Consider what happened to the Daily Stormer, the neo-Nazi publication, after Charlottesville. One by one, hosting companies refused to permit its content on their servers. The group was forced to effectively flee the country, and then other countries, too, shut it down.

Now of course, these are not nice people. Their website espoused vile hate. But the fact remains that what they were publishing was not illegal, merely immoral, and their immoral speech was effectively shut down by a small number of private companies who decided to exercise their considerable control over what we’re allowed to read. And what is to stop them from expanding this decision to other categories, forcing the rest of us to conform to Silicon Valley’s idea of what it is moral and right for us to see?

Fifteen years ago, when I started blogging, it was common to hear that “the internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.” You don’t hear that so often anymore, because it’s not true. China has proven very effective at censoring the internet, and as market power has consolidated in the tech industry, so have private firms.

Meanwhile, our experience of the internet is increasingly controlled by a handful of firms, most especially Google and Facebook. The argument for regulating these companies as public utilities is arguably at least as strong as the argument for thus regulating ISPs, and very possibly much stronger; while cable monopolies may have local dominance, none of them has the ability that Google and Facebook have to unilaterally shape what Americans see, hear, and read.

In other words, we already live in the walled garden that activists worry about, and the walls are getting higher every day. Is this a problem? I think it is. But that doesn’t mean that the internet would get better if Google and Facebook and Apple and Amazon were required to make every decision with a regulator hanging over their shoulder to decide whether it was sufficiently “neutral.”

JourneyQuest S03E02 – “A Beer Or Six”

Filed under: Gaming, Humour — Tags: — Nicholas @ 04:00

Zombie Orpheus Entertainment
Published on 21 Nov 2017

The Canadian version of the Sterling submachine gun

Filed under: Cancon, Military — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

The Canadian army kept the Sten as their standard SMG for several years after the war, but eventually had to come up with a replacement weapon. The selection committee eventually settled on Sterling SMG, which the British army had been using, with a few modifications. Historical Firearms has the details:

…in November 1956, the first Anglo-Canadian Submachine Gun Steering Committee meeting was held. The Canadians liked the Sterling and requested a manufacturing license. They did, however, wish to make some changes to the weapon before they adopted it.
These changes included a small bayonet boss and redesigned lug reinforcement for the L1A1 rifle bayonet, a simpler trigger mechanism designed by Sterling engineer Les Ruffell, a height adjustable front sight taken from the L1A1, an adjustable rear sight with wider sight protectors. In early 1957, these changes were encapsulated in a sample model assembled from Fazakerly-made L2A3s, these were re-designated the L2A4. Later changes were also made to simplify the Canadian Sterling’s end cap and a squarer brass deflector and hand stop.

The primary internal departures from Patchett’s original design were the decision to have a single rather than double return spring and to use a non-helically grooved bolt. Instead using an improved Sten breech block, this had a number of advantages including being able to use existing tooling, avoiding paying royalties for Patchett’s bolt and simplifying production. Compared to the Sterling-made guns the C1 was certainly simpler using stampings and spot-welding.

However, the C1 retained a surprising level of parts commonality with many parts interchangeable between both Canadian and British weapons. This commonality included magazines, however, the Canadians also simplified the magazine’s design. They dispensed with Patchett’s roller system and designed their own magazine which held 30, rather than 34 rounds, but could be used in all Sterling-pattern guns.

Two experimental suppressed C1s were made by Long Branch to replace the Sten MkII(s) and the MkVI, but the Sterling-Patchett L34A1/Mk5 was adopted instead. Canada purchased at least 5 L34A1s.

The Long Branch Arsenal was just west of Toronto along Lakeshore Road in what is now Mississauga (my cadet hall was adjacent to the former factory site):

I didn’t realize the site had been active that late … I’d assumed it was demolished shortly after the Korean War.

Why incompetent people think they’re amazing – David Dunning

Filed under: Health, Randomness — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 02:00

TED-Ed
Published on 9 Nov 2017

View full lesson: https://ed.ted.com/lessons/why-incompetent-people-think-they-re-amazing-david-dunning

How good are you with money? What about reading people’s emotions? How healthy are you, compared to other people you know? Knowing how our skills stack up against others is useful in many ways. But psychological research suggests that we’re not very good at evaluating ourselves accurately. In fact, we frequently overestimate our own abilities. David Dunning describes the Dunning-Kruger effect.

Lesson by David Dunning, directed by Wednesday Studio, music and sound by Tom Drew.

Thank you so much to our patrons for your support! Without you this video would not be possible!
Juan, Jordan Tang, Kent Logan, Alexandra Panzer, Jen, Ellen Spertus, Ryan Mehendale, Mary Sawyer, Scott Gass, Ruth Fang, Mayank Kaul, Hazel Lam, Tan YH, Be Owusu, Samuel Doerle, David Rosario, Katie Winchester, Michel Reyes, Dominik Kugelmann, Siamak H, Stephen A. Wilson, Manav Parmar, Jhiya Brooks, David Lucsanyi, Querida Owens.

The first rule of Dunning-Kruger Club is that you don’t know you’re in Dunning-Kruger Club…

QotD: Anti-smoking fanaticism

Filed under: Health, Liberty, Quotations — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 01:00

Whenever I am in Paris I stay near Père-Lachaise, the greatest cemetery in the world, and I always take at least one walk in it. It is, like life and literature, inexhaustible; and after all, the paths not only of glory but of journalism, too, lead but to the grave.

On the way there this time I was passed by a road-sweeping vehicle with an excellent advertisement on its side. It showed a vast pyramid of cigarette ends, with the legend “350 tons of cigarette ends per year”: the sum of such annual sweepings in Paris. This must equate to an awful lot of death.

On the matter of smoking I suffer not so much from cognitive as from emotional dissonance. On the one hand I detest the filthy habit, and whenever I see the slogan SMOKING KILLS on a discarded packet on the ground, I think, “Yes, but not quickly enough.”

On the other hand, I detest the antismokers, the Savonarolas of public health. I want people to spite them by smoking, though not in my breathing space.

Theodore Dalrymple, “Of grave concern”, Taki’s Magazine, 2016-04-02.

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