3 ISPs Have Spent $572 Million to Kill Net Neutrality Since 2008

Writer Andrew Jerell Jones also points out how Comcast-owned NBC News, CNBC and MSNBC can rarely be bothered to reveal their parent company’s lobbying on this subject, or in fact cover net neutrality in their news reporting much at all. Even purportedly “progressive” MSNBC has been frequently criticized for rarely talking about the subject.

Source: 3 ISPs Have Spent $572 Million to Kill Net Neutrality Since 2008 | DSLReports, ISP Information

Renewable energy is becoming so cheap the US will meet Paris commitments even if Trump withdraws

Globally, the price of solar panels has fallen 50% between 2016 and 2017, they write. And in countries with favorable wind conditions, the costs associated with wind power “can be as low as one-half to one-third that of coal- or natural gas-fired power plants.” Innovations in wind-turbine design are allowing for ever-longer wind blades; that boost in efficiency will also increase power output from the wind sector, according to Morgan Stanley.

Source: Renewable energy is becoming so cheap the US will meet Paris commitments even if Trump withdraws — Quartz

Giving perspective on systemd’s “usernames that start with digit get root privileges”-bug

So in order to trigger this behaviour, someone with root-level privileges needs to edit a Unit file and enter a “invalid username”, in this case one that starts with a digit.

But you need root level privileges to edit the file in the first place and to reload systemd to make use of that Unit file.

Source: Giving perspective on systemd’s “usernames that start with digit get root privileges”-bug

It’s an obvious bug (at least on RHEL/CentOS 7), since a valid username does not get accepted by systemd so it triggers unexpected behaviour by launching services as root.

However, it isn’t as bad as it sounds and does not grant any username with a digit immediate root access.

More than 40 ISPs Across the Country Tell Chairman Pai to Not Repeal Network Neutrality and Maintain Title II Enforcement

The 2015 Order famously outlined clear net neutrality rules. But those rules only passed muster because the Order also explicitly classified broadband service as a “common carrier” service, regulated by Title II of the Communications Act, rather than an “information service” regulated by Title I of the same Act. And that classification has several corollary effects, because Title II isn’t just about net neutrality. It is also meant to curtail the anti-competitive conduct from incumbent monopolists like Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon. In essence, as common carriers, they are not able to use their power to control the Internet experience, and they are not able to directly harm their competitors in the broadband market.

Source: More than 40 ISPs Across the Country Tell Chairman Pai to Not Repeal Network Neutrality and Maintain Title II Enforcement | Electronic Frontier Foundation

Google Fiber’s deployment ran into snags in Austin, Texas when those poles were owned by AT&T, because the surest way to prevent competition is to just physically prevent their entry into your market. If a company the size of Google could be stifled without the law supporting them, what hope does a smaller ISP have in entering into a market where the incumbent broadband provider owns the poles that are a necessary component to deploying the network? The FCC Chairman’s plan fundamentally ignores this problem and offers no clear solution to competitors. An incumbent broadband provider that owns a lot of the poles is going to have no federal legal obligation to share that access at fair market rates if broadband is no longer a common carrier service.

How to Call B.S. on Big Data: A Practical Guide

Mind the Bullshit Asymmetry Principle, articulated by the Italian software developer Alberto Brandolini in 2013: the amount of energy needed to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than that needed to produce it. Or, as Jonathan Swift put it in 1710, “Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it.”Plus ça change.

Source: How to Call B.S. on Big Data: A Practical Guide

Future of carbon fibre is here

The technology, developed by Carbon Nexus PhD student Maxime Maghe and Carbon Nexus General Manager Steve Atkiss, has the potential to reduce the energy used in carbon fibre production by 75 per cent and reduces the production process time from around 80 minutes to under 15 minutes.

In addition, the specialised carbon fibre production machinery required is expected to cost around 50 per cent less than current equipment.

Source: Future of carbon fibre is here : Deakin Invenio

Move Over, Bitcoin. Ether Is the Digital Currency of the Moment.

In a recent survey of 1,100 virtual currency users, 94 percent were positive about the state of Ethereum, while only 49 percent were positive about Bitcoin, the industry publication CoinDesk said this month.

Source: Move Over, Bitcoin. Ether Is the Digital Currency of the Moment. – The New York Times

Investors buying Ether are placing a bet that people will want to use the Ethereum network’s computing capabilities and will need the currency to do so. But that is far from a sure thing. And real-world use of the network is still scant.

Augmented reality lawsuit provides augmented view of 1st Amendment

“Texas Rope ‘Em is not entitled to First Amendment protection because it does not convey any messages or ideas. Unlike books, movies, music, plays and video games—mediums of expression that typically enjoy First Amendment protection—Texas Rope ‘Em has no plot, no storylines, no characters, and no dialogue. All it conveys is a random display of cards and a map. Absent the communicative features that invoke the First Amendment, Candy Lab has no First Amendment claim,” the county said. (PDF)

Source: Augmented reality lawsuit provides augmented view of 1st Amendment | Ars Technica

No plot, storylines, characters, and dialog describes the Academy Award winner for best picture last year.

The world’s largest floating solar power plant just went online in China

Floating solar farms are becoming increasingly popular around the world because their unique design addresses multiple efficiency and city planning issues. These floating apparatuses free up land in more populated areas and also reduce water evaporation. The cooler air at the surface also helps to minimize the risk of solar cell performance atrophy, which is often related to long-term exposure to warmer temperatures.

Source: The world’s largest floating solar power plant just went online in China