Monthly Archives: December 2015

WHAT NET NEUTRALITY IS ABOUT

ATTEMPTS TO CHANGE NET NEUTRALITY IS ABOUT ISP CONTROL AND NEW REVENUE STREAMS

Net-neutrality-300x172Do you want to know what net neutrality is about? Net neutrality (also network neutrality, Internet neutrality, or net equality) is the principle that Internet service providers and governments should treat all data on the Internet equally, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or mode of communication. (Citation 1)

Here is an analogy in hopes to clarify what implications would arise if Net Neutrality was not enforced.

Imagine the taxi cab business.  Let’s assume all people are required to travel by taxi everywhere.  There are only a few companies to choose from but they do have an abundance of vehicles to get you where you need to be. Let’s also assume the taxi cab companies actually own the physical roads and are also required to keep them smooth and ensure the traffic flows without congestion.

If you want to go somewhere you are required to hire one of the taxi cab companies.  There is no other method of travel.

Businesses, schools, communities all have buildings that are only accessible by these roads which are owned by the tax cab companies.

People really enjoy travelling on the roads and getting to their destinations on time and without congestion.  People are happy to pay the fee in order to get where they need to go.

The taxi cab companies are public companies trading on the stock exchange and are required to provide their earning results to the public.  Year after year after year they make great profits, often record breaking.

Now imagine as more and more people begin to use the roads and the taxi cabs, the roads become more and more congested and slow and bumpy.  People are delayed, they don’t always get where they want to be on time, however the prices stay the same.

Now lets suppose the taxi cab companies begin to make upgrades to the roads.  These are new roads but many of the roads are not yet open the the public.  In fact they have plans to make major upgrades but there is one difference.

THEY PLAN TO ADD MORE REVENUE STREAMS TO THEIR BUSINESS MODEL

Now the taxi cab companies want to make fast lanes. (But we were already travelling at fast rates weren’t we? But that is not the case if they don’t continue to make upgrades) They continue to charge the customer to use the taxi service though they are not necessarily allowed to use the FAST lanes.

They begin to charge the owners of the business an extra fee.  If they pay the extra fee then their customers who are traveling to their store get to travel in the fast lanes.

This is double dipping.

First they were charging people to gain access to businesses, now they want to also charge businesses to allow their customers access their store.

You own a business and then one day someone lays ice in front of your store and says pay me on a continual basis or I won’t remove the ice.

If the businesses wish to make their stores more easily accessible to their customers they would be required to pay a premium to the taxi cab companies just so the customer can ride in the cab, in the fast lane.

It seems dirty to me. A business starts, they get a great location right in the middle of town, easily accessible by everyone but then they find out that they will need to begin paying the taxi cab companies extra money to allow their customers to arrive in an acceptable time frame, when previously they were already doing this? Does this seem acceptable to you?

What if you are a major mall with lots traffic? Imagine the cost just so your customers can arrive in an acceptable time frame when before they were already doing that for no extra cost.

Imagine if you are Walmart.  You might think, ya lets stick it to these big box stores, why not charge them more.

Let’s evaluate the implications of this.

1. It’s not just Walmart being charged, it’s everyone who wants to compete with Walmart for the business.

2. The businesses including Walmart don’t want to lose profit so immediately you will see an increase in the price of everything.

3. The bigger, more profitable business’s will most likely be able to buy taxi traffic in bulk, at a lower price, which will give yet another competitive advantage.

4. New businesses will immediately be at a disadvantage starting out trying to compete.

There would be much more implications, and I welcome your input to add more in the comment section.

Here is another interesting point.  Imagine you are a big building company.  You sell very large pieces of equipment to customers (Youtube, Netflix).  As the industry changes and the Taxi service begins charging extra for fast roads your large pieces of equipment end up failing to reach the customers home on time. The customers are already paying the Taxi company for delivery.  The customer gets one part one day and then the next part the next day and on and on. This is unacceptable to the customer because the thing they purchased is required to arrive all at the same time.

Suddenly your business no longer even works on the slow roads. You are forced simply because of the business you are in, to pay the fee.

What happens when you are forced to pay an extra fee to send your customer what they need in an acceptable way that the customer can use the product?

YOU RAISE YOUR PRICE TO OFFSET THE COST. 

Who ends up paying more in the the end?

THE CUSTOMER!!!

I hope my analogy helped to clarify what this Net Neutrality Debate Is About.

It is about Internet Service Providers, ISP’s trying to gain more control over Internet traffic which will create new revenue streams ultimately at the expense of the customer.

SOME OTHER POINTS TO KEEP IN MIND REGARDING WHAT NET NEUTRALITY IS ABOUT

You as a customer are required to pay monthly for access to websites and you pay for speed and a max data amount. The ISP is required to provide the speed and access you pay for. All website owners including Netflix and YouTube are also required to pay for bandwidth to upload that data to you.  They are already paying internet fees to run their business.

A change in Net Neutrality would actually add another cost they and ultimately you would be required to pay and for no reason.

Even though we are currently in a state of Net Neutrality many ISPs are already playing games behind closed door with sites like Netflix. You pay for fast service so Netflix streams properly.  All other sites work fast but the ISP actually slows the access specifically to the Netflix site because it costs a lot to send all that data (WHICH YOU AND NETFLIX ARE ALREADY PAYING FOR) so they can charge Netflix more for fast lanes.

For further reading about this topic please see this link about ISPs playing Chicken.

Here is a quote from Level3.com 

“Chicken” | A Game Played as a Child and by some ISPs with the Internet – Beyond Bandwidth

Please leave a comment on your opinion of Net Neutrality.  Did this post help you learn what net neutrality is about?

If you see any mistakes I’ve made or wish to help edit or advance the quality of this post please comment.

HOPE IN A BOTTLE—-MINUS THE HOPE

HOPE IN A BOTTLE

hopePeople who know me well are aware I’m a skeptic.  I’m not pessimistic, negative or cynical.  Some assume those adjectives go with skepticism, but they don’t.  I withhold belief until I’m convinced. I’m skeptical of many things including,

Get rich quick schemes.

Loose weight fast schemes.

Alternative medicine,including

Acupuncture

Chiropractic

Homeopathy

Herbal remedies

Cleansing

Antivaxxers

AntiGMO

And more.

So when I read the article below, I have to laugh at the circumstance we are in as a culture.  Our lack of critical thinking and false understanding of justified true belief has lead us to an interesting point in society.

http://www.ag.ny.gov/press-release/ag-schneiderman-asks-major-retailers-halt-sales-certain-herbal-supplements-dna-tests

There is already no scientific proof herbal supplements do anything they claim to do. It’s a 60 billion dollar industry selling hope to the hopeless.  An expensive bottle of vapid alternative help that we volunteer our hard earned money to buy. I tend to think of it figuratively as a bottle of nothing.

That’s not the crazy part.  Get this,

The FDA did a test of the herbal supplements that Walmart, Target, Walgreen’s and GNC sell and in many cases, more often than not,

THE INGREDIENCE ON THE LABEL WAS NOT EVEN IN THE BOTTLE.

Is it really enough for me to just shake my head and laugh?

It isn’t even crazy enough that a business is allowed to sell something at a pharmacy with claims to help heal or make you feel better and that there is no scientific evidence it does anything to help you.  No on top of that the ingredients that is claimed to help

ISN’T EVEN IN THE BOTTLE.

HOPE-IN-A-BOTTLE-150x150It just goes to show you the level of deception and the level of their bullshit. The major retail companies know they are selling false hope in a bottle.  So why not go one step further and remove the more expensive ingredients that they already know does not do anything and replace it with cheap filler that has the same effects.

We have to be smarter and we need to voice our opinion when we see the failure of thought in this way.

Let’s start to withhold belief in hope in a bottle until there is justified belief based on evidence.

THE WOO THAT IS DEEPAK CHOPRA

DEEPAK CHOPRA IS NOT EVEN WRONG!!

Deepak_Chopra_2013The woo that is Deepak ChopraYears ago after a hard days work I sat down to get my daily dose of Opera Winfrey. Of course I expected an educational, well vetted, interesting show where I would learn something new about the world.

Boy did I ever. Her guest that day was Deepak Chopra, the consciousness being, I know nothing about quantum physics but I pretend I do, guy. (Citation 1)

As he was speaking that day I remember thinking, I have no idea what he just said or what he even meant. It felt like he was simply saying words but not a coherent sentence.

It turns out I was right. There is a phrase used around the debate/argument circle and it goes like this.

What you just said WASN’T EVEN WRONG.

Or better known as IT IS NOT ONLY NOT RIGHT, IT IS NOT EVEN WRONG (Citation 1, 2).

What it means is there is literally no form or understood logic to the sentence you just said. In a logical format it would look like this.

4 + giraffe = homeopathy works

For more, check out the link WORD SALAD

When ever I see his books in a store or see him in an interview I die a little inside.

A fun website created in his honour is

http://www.wisdomofchopra.com/

Check it out just for fun, it will only take a few seconds.

Watch this video as critical thinking skeptics Sam Harris and Michael Shermer destroy Deepak on stage.

What spews from Deepak’s mouth is what can be called Woo (Citation 3).

Woo, in it’s most simple form is synonymous with BULLSHIT. However it often covers many specific characteristics which include

A simple cure to many problems often including disease. Homeopathy anyone?
A scientific sounding phrase for how something works but has no actual science behind it. We can insert the phrase pseudoscience here.
It may involve the paranormal or supernatural.
Insinuating scientific authority.
Spouts lots of anecdotal and testimonial evidence as opposed to actual science.
This is the woo that is Deepak Chopra. Next time you see Deepak interviewed relax and wait for it, wait for it, booooom!!!! Word Salad, Word Salad and remember it’s not that Deepak Chopra was right, Deepak Chopra wasn’t even wrong.

Using Wikipedia For Citation

In learning about critical thinking, science and skepticism I find myself reading Wikipedia all the time. It is a vast body of knowledge. I could not imagine taking a walk to the library every time I wanted to verify something I’ve read or seen in the news.

2014-09-26-09-46-03-1-1024x717

How can I just trust Wikipedia as the decider of all things. Well I can’t and I don’t have to. Every piece of information you read from Wikipedia they have a source or citation. Most often they are strong sources from reputable books, journals, new papers or websites.

Wikipedia thinks scientifically and skeptically about gathering data. (Citation 1).

The founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales has seen first hand the effects of woo woo bull and understands the importance of standards. You can read from his blog about a run in he had with a pharmacist pushing Homeopathy cures.

Did you just say hey, wait a minute homeopathy works doesn’t it? Sorry to tell you it doesn’t. I’ve spent hours upon hours reading all about it here

http://www.howdoeshomeopathywork.com

They have a very well written website about it. Please click that link above and take a quick read on how homeopathy works. They provide a brief description.

Here is a small video of the uses of homeopathy in our hospitals.

Change.org created a petition with over 8000 signatures in an attempt to present a case to Wikipedia to change policies on holistic approaches to healing and asked for fair minded referees on posts about “energy medicine” and the “emotional freedom techniques”. (Citation 2)

They explained that Wikipedia, a widely trusted source had misleading, out-of-date and misleading information about holistic healing.

Here is Jimmy Whales response,

“No, you have to be kidding me. Every single person who signed this petition needs to go back to check their premises and think harder about what it means to be honest, factual, truthful.
Wikipedia’s policies around this kind of thing are exactly spot-on and correct. If you can get your work published in respectable scientific journals – that is to say, if you can produce evidence through replicable scientific experiments, then Wikipedia will cover it appropriately.
What we won’t do is pretend that the work of lunatic charlatans is the equivalent of “true scientific discourse”. It isn’t.”

This response is a perfect example of why Wikipedia is widely used and trusted. They have strong standards of evidence. Do they get some things wrong? Yes. Did the Encyclopedia Britannica get things wrong? Yes.

I suggest that for quick reference Wikipedia is a great source for finding facts.

Therefore, as a laymen with no formal education in Science or critical thinking I generally feel safe using Wikipedia for my citation. It often requires specialized training in a specified field of study just to understand the specifics in scientific studies.

I don’t have the time to go get masters degrees for every topic I read on the internet.

Multiple reputable sources is best but Wikipedia is generally a very good source for information.