B12 Solipsism

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Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Corporate news from all over

Google Exposed User Data, Feared Repercussions of Disclosing to Public

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Expanding the Parameters
Expanding the Parameters

WSJ:

Google exposed the private data of hundreds of thousands of users of the Google+ social network and then opted not to disclose the issue this past spring, in part because of fears that doing so would draw regulatory scrutiny and cause reputational damage.

A software glitch in the social site gave outside developers potential access to private Google+ profile data between 2015 and March 2018, when internal investigators discovered and fixed the issue, according to the documents and people briefed on the incident. A memo reviewed by the Journal prepared by Google’s legal and policy staff and shared with senior executives warned that disclosing the incident would likely trigger “immediate regulatory interest” and invite comparisons to Facebook’s leak of user information to data firm Cambridge Analytica.

(click here to continue reading Google Exposed User Data, Feared Repercussions of Disclosing to Public – WSJ.)

The cover-up is always worse. Google could have admitted to this during some Trump-Tweet-Tempest, and nobody would have paid much attention. 

Written by Seth Anderson

October 8th, 2018 at 12:28 pm

Posted in Business

Tagged with , ,

Emanuel, aldermen block attempt to cut hours of troubled North Side scrap shredder

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Cans HDPE Pet

Chicago Tribune:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration and a group of aldermen vigorously defended a clout-heavy scrap yard on Tuesday, brushing aside neighbors who shared stories about noxious pollution and loud noises from one of the last industrial operations in a fast-gentrifying corridor along the North Branch of the Chicago River.

One of the neighborhood’s elected representatives, Ald. Brian Hopkins, 2nd, introduced a measure months ago to revoke a special waiver that allows General Iron Industries to collect flattened cars, used appliances and other scrap metal around the clock and operate massive shredders from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

City rules normally restrict scrap yards to operate from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

(click here to continue reading Emanuel, aldermen block attempt to cut hours of troubled North Side scrap shredder – Chicago Tribune.)

If I lived near here, I’d be really pissed too. 5 in the morning is way too early to be making such a racket. 

The place sounds like a menace anyway. 

After Hopkins forced colleagues to call his measure for a vote, Tuesday’s long-delayed hearing quickly devolved into heated personal attacks from a former federal prosecutor hired by the company’s owners, and repeated interruptions of neighborhood residents by Ald. George Cardenas, 12th, chairman of the city’s Health and Environmental Protection committee.

Hopkins, Ald, Michele Smith, 43rd, and community groups in Lincoln Park and Bucktown contend the scrap shredder is a menace to the public, citing clouds of metallic pollution that routinely waft into nearby residential areas and three crackdowns on General Iron by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the latest of which came in July.

Georgia Nicholson, who lives across the street from General Iron, says she hoses metallic particles off her patio several times every day. “I don’t know why the city doesn’t see these things,” she said.

“My job is to represent the people of my neighborhood who have been telling me since before I got elected about the explosions, about the noise, about the dust, about the oily film that they find on their cars, on their sidewalks, on their wading pools,” said Hopkins, who along with Smith and Ald. Scott Wauguespack, 32nd, is calling for the city to turn the site into a new park. “There is absolutely no question that General Iron is a nuisance and is a health hazard to the neighborhood.”

Metal Only - Slayer

Written by Seth Anderson

September 20th, 2018 at 7:57 am

Lawsuit Over billboard killed a Fulton Market hotel project on Randolph Street

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Arizona heat sounds good about now
Clear Channel billboard at 600 W Randolph St

John O’Brien of Chicago real estate website, The Real Deal reported back in April:

AIC Hotel Group is suing MCZ Development, saying the developer didn’t disclose an air-rights deal for a billboard when the two made a Fulton Market land transaction.

The failure cost the chain an opportunity to build a hotel, according to the suit.

AIC in December bought a parking lot at 600 West Randolph Street from MCZ for $7 million, with plans to build a hotel on the land, the lawsuit contends. But after the deal closed, AIC learned that Clear Channel had an air rights deal that guaranteed a billboard on the building next door would not be obstructed, the suit said.

The billboard deal runs through 2042. The suit claims MCZ didn’t tell AIC about the billboard agreement before the Randolph Street land deal closed, nor was the air rights agreement ever recorded with Cook County.

(click here to continue reading AIC Hotel Group | Randolph Street Hotel | Lawsuit.)

wow. As an interested observer of this parking lot, I was curious as to why nothing had been built here in the hot Fulton Market area, year after year. Perhaps this is this reason? Presumedly, Clear Channel could sell the rights to AIC Hotel Group for some fee, but perhaps they want more than AIC Hotel Group is willing to spend. 24 years, 12 months a year, how much revenue could one billboard generate? If Clear Channel got $5,000 a month1, that would be $1,440,000. If AIC offered Clear Channel $800,000 cash, would they accept it? I bet this is a solveable issue.

Kick Off Your Shoes…

As a parenthetical thought, I miss the website, EveryBlock, as I would have heard of this story before today…

Footnotes:
  1. a number I’m totally guessing at, btw []

Written by Seth Anderson

September 14th, 2018 at 9:49 am

Drug executive Nirmal Mulye: It’s a ‘moral requirement’ to charge patients the highest price

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Social Media Drug Mart

LA Times reports:

In the category of saying the quiet parts out loud, consider this statement by Nirmal Mulye, the chief executive of drug company Nostrum Laboratories:

“I think it is a moral requirement to make money when you can … to sell the product for the highest price.”

Mulye was responding to questions posed by the Financial Times about his quadrupling the price of an essential antibiotic to $2,392 per bottle. The drug, nitrofurantoin, is used to treat urinary tract infections. It has been on the market since 1953 and is listed by the World Health Organization as an essential medicine for “basic healthcare systems.”

In his interview with the Financial Times published Tuesday, Mulye defended Martin Shkreli, the former drug company CEO who became the face of the industry’s profiteering in 2015 when he jacked up the price of a generic anti-parasitic drug needed by HIV patients by more than 5,000%.

(click here to continue reading Drug executive: It’s a ‘moral requirement’ to charge patients the highest price.)

Strange definition of morals. This douchenozzle might want to check a dictionary.

Merriam-Webster’s definition of moral:

a : of or relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior : ethical moral judgments

b : expressing or teaching a conception of right behavior a moral poem

c : conforming to a standard of right behavior took a moral position on the issue though it cost him the nomination

d : sanctioned by or operative on one’s conscience or ethical judgment a moral obligation

e : capable of right and wrong action a moral agent

 

(click here to continue reading Moral | Definition of Moral by Merriam-Webster.)

So which definition of moral were you referring to, Mr. Mulye? I think the moral response would be for the federal government to start regulating the price of drugs such as this one. 

The 23rd Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Scott Gottlieb, responded

Written by Seth Anderson

September 12th, 2018 at 8:05 pm

Wirtz-linked Breakthru Beverage invests $9.2 million in Canadian marijuana producer

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Truck full of Cannabis

 Chicago Tribune:

Breakthru Beverage Group, the alcohol wholesale business co-led by Blackhawks Chairman Rocky Wirtz, announced plans Monday to invest $9.2 million in CannTrust, a Canadian marijuana producer.

Breakthru has signed a letter of intent to become the exclusive distributor for CannTrust as recreational marijuana is set to become legal in Canada on Oct. 17. In doing so, Breakthru joins a growing number of major alcohol companies to recently invest in the global potential of the burgeoning marijuana industry. Giant beer companies such as Molson Coors — parent company of Chicago-based MillerCoors — and Constellation Brands, which bases its beer business in Chicago, are planning to develop and sell cannabis-infused drinks in Canada.

(click here to continue reading Wirtz-linked Breakthru Beverage invests $9.2 million in Canadian marijuana producer – Chicago Tribune.)

The great Green Rush of 2018 continues, unabated. 

Secret Smile 

From the CannTrust press release:

The cannabis sales brokerage operation will reside in a newly-formed subsidiary of Breakthru Beverage Group and will be entirely separate from its beverage alcohol brokerage, Breakthru Beverage Canada. It will however leverage the company’s North American business insights, strategies, technology and analytic tools to be a differentiator in the marketplace.

“CannTrust has made significant investments in both capacity and innovation with the next generation of products such as edibles and cannabis-infused beverages expected to launch in 2019. We have a nano-technology that enables us to produce cannabis infused beverages neutral in taste, and clear as water. This technology will position us to be a leader in Canada, and in future markets globally.” Rogers added.

An affiliate of Breakthru Beverage Group will be purchasing 902,405 common shares of CannTrust at a purchase price of $10.23 per share for gross proceeds of $9,231,600. In addition, the affiliate of Breakthru Beverage Group will have options to purchase from CannTrust up to an additional 2,000,000 common shares in the aggregate at a price per share equal to a 15% discount of the 5-day volume-weighted average price on the TSX immediately prior to the date the applicable option is exercised, if CannTrust exceeds certain sale thresholds.

(click here to continue reading CannTrust and Breakthru Beverage Enter Exclusive Partnership in Recreational Cannabis Market in Canada | CannTrust.)

 Mustache Rider

CannTrust About Us page:

CannTrust is a federally regulated licensed producer, who brings more than 40 years of pharmacy and healthcare experience to the Medical Cannabis industry. We apply this expertise to produce 100% pesticide free standardized Medical Cannabis for patients in need.

At CannTrust™ we are committed to research and innovation, as well as contributing to the growing body of evidence-based research regarding the use and efficacy of cannabis. Our product development teams along with our exclusive pharma partner Apotex are diligently innovating and developing products. CannTrust has been granted a Section 9 License by Health Canada under the Narcotic Control Regulations. This allows us to expand our product development and research to include pharmaceuticals in an effort to make it easier for patients to use Medical Cannabis today and in the future.

Our onsite laboratory with advanced technology and equipment for testing and research on the medical use of cannabis provides CannTrust with the ability to develop and rigorously test our products at any point.

We continue to evolve our patient and medical practitioner education program about Medical Cannabis, and have an industry leading compassionate use program to support patients with financial needs. We continue to expand to ensure we have a continuous supply of quality standardized products and superior customer service.

Our original 50,000-square foot state-of-the-art hydroponic facility is home to cultivating, processing extracts and our distribution center.

Our second facility is a 430,000-square foot greenhouse in the heart of the Niagara region. The facility is the first of its kind in the Canadian Cannabis industry to be designed and engineered using advanced perpetual growing technology. This facility is one of the largest in North America, with Phase 1 completed and Phase 2 to come on-stream in mid 2018.

 

 

(click here to continue reading About Us | CannTrust Medical Cannabis Producer Toronto.)

Written by Seth Anderson

September 11th, 2018 at 10:28 am

Posted in Business,Food and Drink

Tagged with ,

Trump says Canada not needed in NAFTA deal, warns Congress not to interfere

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The Road to Socialism In Canada

Reuters reports:

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Saturday there was no need to keep Canada in the North American Free Trade Agreement and warned Congress not to meddle with the trade negotiations or he would terminate the trilateral trade pact altogether.

Lawmakers on Friday warned that a deal with Mexico could struggle to win approval from Congress unless Canada was also included. Support from Democrats would be needed to pass a purely bilateral deal, they said.

(click here to continue reading Trump says Canada not needed in NAFTA deal, warns Congress not to interfere | Reuters.)

I realize it is a fool’s errand to attempt to decipher the Orange Dotard’s reasoning about any particular topic, but I don’t understand why he’s so antagonistic towards Canada. Is it that Canada is too multi-cultural for Stephen Wormtongue Miller’s taste? Or was Trudeau too nice to Trump in person, so Trump thinks Trudeau, and Canada by extension, is a little sweet?1

Perhaps the only answer is to ask what is Putin’s motive for destroying cordial relations between Canada and the US.

The AP reports:

 

A senior Justice Department lawyer says a former British spy told him at a breakfast meeting two years ago that Russian intelligence believed it had Donald Trump “over a barrel,” according to multiple people familiar with the encounter.

 

The lawyer, Bruce Ohr, also says he learned that a Trump campaign aide had met with higher-level Russian officials than the aide had acknowledged, the people said.

 

The previously unreported details of the July 30, 2016, breakfast with Christopher Steele, which Ohr described to lawmakers this week in a private interview, reveal an exchange of potentially explosive information about Trump between two men the president has relentlessly sought to discredit.

 

They add to the public understanding of those pivotal summer months as the FBI and intelligence community scrambled to untangle possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russia. And they reflect the concern of Steele, a longtime FBI informant whose Democratic-funded research into Trump ties to Russia was compiled into a dossier, that the Republican presidential candidate was possibly compromised and his urgent efforts to convey that anxiety to contacts at the FBI and Justice Department.

Among the things Ohr said he learned from Steele during the breakfast was that an unnamed former Russian intelligence official had communicated that Russian intelligence believed “they had Trump over a barrel,” according to people familiar with the meeting.

 

 

(click here to continue reading AP sources: Lawyer was told Russia had ‘Trump over a barrel’.)

Headed To Ward's Island

There was also this bit of news about the negotiation from The Toronto Star:

 High-stakes trade negotiations between Canada and the U.S. were dramatically upended on Friday morning after inflammatory secret remarks by President Donald Trump were obtained by the Toronto Star.

 Trump’s comments were viewed by Canadian negotiators as evidence for their suspicions that the U.S. was not making a legitimate effort to compromise. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s officials confronted the president’s officials with the leaked quotes at a high-level meeting on Friday morning.

Trump made his controversial statements in an Oval Office interview with Bloomberg News on Thursday. He said, “off the record,” that he is not making any compromises at all with Canada — and that he could not say this publicly because “it’s going to be so insulting they’re not going to be able to make a deal.”

“Here’s the problem. If I say no — the answer’s no. If I say no, then you’re going to put that and it’s going to be so insulting they’re not going to be able to make a deal … I can’t kill these people,” Trump said of the Canadian government.

In another remark he did not want published, Trump said that any deal with Canada would be “totally on our terms.” He suggested he was scaring the Canadians into submission by repeatedly threatening to impose tariffs on imports of Canadian-made cars.

“Off the record, Canada’s working their ass off. And every time we have a problem with a point, I just put up a picture of a Chevrolet Impala,” Trump said. The Impala is produced at the General Motors plant in Oshawa, Ont.

Bloomberg agreed to Trump’s request to keep the comments off the record. But the Star, which obtained the quotes from a source, is not bound by any promises Bloomberg made to the president, and it published the quotes after they became part of the critical negotiations.

Trump, of course, is known for both dishonesty and for bragging about his own greatness, and he regularly utters dubious boasts about how he is supposedly dominating the feeble people on the other side of the bargaining table. When he claimed to have made no compromises, it is possible he was making a false claim to impress the Bloomberg journalists.

There was no apparent evidence on Friday for his claim that he has wielded a photo of an Impala as a negotiating tactic.

(click here to continue reading Donald Trump confirms Star story on his secret bombshell remarks about Canada | The Star.)

Footnotes:
  1. Manigault Newman suggests that the president’s views of his own staff are often less than flattering. When Ivanka Trump first started dating Jared Kushner, she asked her father what he thought of Kushner. She writes: “’He seems a little sweet to me,’ he said, using his phrasing for ‘gay.’” []

Written by Seth Anderson

September 1st, 2018 at 2:07 pm

Posted in Business,politics

Tagged with , ,

Google and Mastercard Cut a Secret Ad Deal to Track Retail Sales

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Google 500 error 

Bloomberg reports:

For the past year, select Google advertisers have had access to a potent new tool to track whether the ads they ran online led to a sale at a physical store in the U.S. That insight came thanks in part to a stockpile of Mastercard transactions that Google paid for.

But most of the two billion Mastercard holders aren’t aware of this behind-the-scenes tracking. That’s because the companies never told the public about the arrangement.

Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Mastercard Inc. brokered a business partnership during about four years of negotiations, according to four people with knowledge of the deal, three of whom worked on it directly. The alliance gave Google an unprecedented asset for measuring retail spending, part of the search giant’s strategy to fortify its primary business against onslaughts from Amazon.com Inc. and others.

(click here to continue reading Google and Mastercard Cut a Secret Ad Deal to Track Retail Sales – Bloomberg.)

Google has more efficient PR teams than Facebook, even though the two companies seem equally as cavalier about vacuuming up personal information without informed consent of consumers.

Google Express
Google Express

Written by Seth Anderson

August 31st, 2018 at 9:37 pm

Macy’s looks to sell Medinah Temple, relocate Bloomingdale’s store

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Commercial Temple
Commercial Temple

Chicago Tribune reports:

Macy’s is putting the historic Medinah Temple building in River North up for sale as the retailer continues cashing in on its valuable real estate portfolio.

Cincinnati-based Macy’s will market the landmark building at 600 N. Wabash Ave. to potential buyers, with plans to move the Bloomingdale’s home furnishings store out of the space, Macy’s spokeswoman Andrea Schwartz said.

The home store eventually will move to space within the existing Bloomingdale’s department store in the nearby 900 North Michigan Shops mall, Schwartz said. She declined to estimate when the store will move or how much the company expects to make in the property sale.

A buyer could redevelop the approximately 130,000-square-foot building into another use, such as offices or other types of retail.

The building is valuable because of its proximity to North Michigan Avenue, as well as its unusual architecture.

Plans to sell the building come 17 years after the former

(click here to continue reading Macy’s looks to sell Medinah Temple, move Bloomingdale’s store – Chicago Tribune.)

Medinah Remnant
Medinah Remnant

Chicago minaret  Polapan Blue
Chicago minaret – Polapan Blue

Urban droplet
Urban droplet

Written by Seth Anderson

August 29th, 2018 at 1:46 pm

Posted in Business

Tagged with

In China, Salmon is Salmon, Even if It’s Trout

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Fish Monger - Metra Market

The New York Times reports:

At issue for many is where the two fish swim. Most Asian salmon spend the bulk of their lives in saltwater. Rainbow trout are often cultivated in water tanks or ponds, which could expose them to freshwater parasites that could infect humans if the fish is eaten raw. The United States Food and Drug Administration warns of potential parasite hazards from eating freshwater fish. In Hong Kong, a Chinese city that operates under its own laws, serving freshwater fish raw is illegal.

“It’s not only the issue of rainbow trout being substituted for salmon, but whether freshwater fish should be used for sashimi at all,” Dr. Kevin Kwok, an assistant professor in the department of applied biology and chemical technology at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, said.

Fish is often mislabeled around the world in order to fetch higher prices, such as labeling yellowtail as mahi mahi or sea bass as halibut. Regulators in the United States label these substitutions as economic deception.

That goes for salmon, too. Officials in the United States forbid fish sellers from labeling steelhead trout — essentially, rainbow trout that swim in saltwater — as salmon. Generally, salmon spawn in freshwater but return to the sea.

(click here to continue reading In China, Salmon is Salmon, Even if It’s Trout – The New York Times.)

I wouldn’t be surprised if this and similar substitution happens frequently in the US as well. Budgets of regulatory agencies have been sliced over the last decade, so who really monitors what kind of fish gets delivered to restaurants?

Salmon House Caretakers Residence

Written by Seth Anderson

August 26th, 2018 at 2:12 pm

Sterling Bay buying ADM wheat mill in Fulton Market, eyes adding Metra station

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Storing Wheat  Agfa Scala 200
Storing Wheat – Agfa Scala 200

The Chicago Tribune reports:

Sterling Bay has a $25 million deal to buy an Archer Daniels Midland wheat mill in the Fulton Market district, and hopes to replace it with a project that would include the neighborhood’s first Metra station.

The busy Chicago developer has a contract to buy the 2.2-acre property at 1300 W. Carroll Ave., pending due diligence, ADM spokeswoman Jackie Anderson said in an email. She did not confirm the sale price, which sources said is about $25 million.

…Sterling Bay executives declined to comment on the deal with ADM, or on specific plans for the site, but people familiar with the firm’s plans say it wants to put a Metra station there. Erin Lavin Cabonargi, Sterling Bay’s director of development services, said the firm supports long-running efforts to create a Metra station, “further strengthening the expansion of the central business district and the job creation the neighborhood is promoting.”

It’s unclear whether the train station would be built into the base of a new structure, as seen in downtown skyscrapers, or if it would be a standalone platform. The estimated cost is unknown.

(click here to continue reading Sterling Bay buying ADM wheat mill in Fulton Market, eyes adding Metra station – Chicago Tribune.)

More public transit options are always more better, and traffic in this area is increasingly gridlocked even before all these new corporate HQs and new apartment/condo buildings come on line, so traffic is only going to get worse.

As an aside, Sterling Bay came of nowhere to become one of the biggest developers in the West Loop, and seemingly are targeting the entire city.  

Majestic Corn Silo Kodak Ultra Color 100UC
Majestic Corn Silo- Kodak Ultra Color 100UC

Ogden Avenue  1923
Ogden Avenue – 1923

I Doubt That Is True
I Doubt That Is True

Industrial Devolution
Industrial Devolution

ADM butt crack
ADM butt-crack

Written by Seth Anderson

August 24th, 2018 at 10:53 am

Kroger to Ditch Plastic Bags by 2025

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Bag Gyre
Bag Gyre

WSJ reports:

Kroger Co. plans to eliminate plastic shopping bags from its supermarkets, the latest retailer to address customer backlash against disposable packaging and utensils.

The largest U.S. grocery chain by stores and sales said Thursday that it would remove single-use plastic bags from its 63-store QFC chain in the Pacific Northwest next year and eliminate them from all 2,800 Kroger-owned stores by 2025.

“This is the way things are headed and we figured we should be in front of that,” said Jessica Adelman, Kroger’s group vice president for corporate affairs.

(click here to continue reading Kroger to Ditch Plastic Bags by 2025 – WSJ.)

Kudos to Kroger. My understanding is that Kroger was the first supermarket chain in the US to give away plastic bags instead of paper, back in the 1970s1

Footnotes:
  1. or 1960s, I forget the details []

Written by Seth Anderson

August 23rd, 2018 at 10:47 am

Posted in Business,environment

Tagged with

Google expanding space in Fulton Market, this time on Randolph St

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 All That False Instruction

Chicago Tribune reports:

Google is planning a two-level store in Chicago’s Fulton Market district, its first known location for a retail flagship.

The technology giant is close to finalizing a lease for almost 14,000 square feet on the first and second floors of several connected, two-story brick buildings between 845 and 853 W. Randolph St., according to sources.

If completed as expected, Google’s deal will represent another milestone in the evolution of the longtime meatpacking district west of the Kennedy Expressway, where Google already has its Midwest office headquarters and more than 900 employees.

To date, Google’s only retail spaces have been pop-up stores and small shops within other stores.

Google’s lease will include former spaces of longtime area restaurants Jaipur and Perez.

Behind the connected buildings, an alley forms a pedestrian walkway between Peoria and Green streets. The property is directly across the street from the Nobu Hotel that is under construction.

(click here to continue reading Google expanding space in Fulton Market, this time with a flagship store – Chicago Tribune.)

I am very curious as to what exactly Google wants with a storefront. Are they planning to launch some new product? Expand the Next line? A new phone? Obviously, Alphabet has plenty of cash to throw around, but I’m puzzled as to what the point of this new endeavor is, other than being in the Hot West Loop1

Stoic Delicacy

Urban Melodrama

Footnotes:
  1. a phrase I hear too frequently []

Written by Seth Anderson

August 21st, 2018 at 10:39 am

Posted in Business

Tagged with , ,

The Internet IS The Public Square

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Can t Remember What I Was Thinking Of
Can’t Remember What I Was Thinking Of

Brent Simmons writes about something I’ve been thinking about for the last few months:

My problem with Twitter remains the same: centralized social networking concentrates way too much power in one place.

Twitter is awful in other ways, sure, not just for that reason. (The issues with Nazis and harassment and abuse. The way it treats third-party Twitter developers.)

And Facebook, too, is awful in its own ways.

But, even if it were well-run, centralized social networking is still a deeply bad and unhealthy idea. Josh Marshall writes that we should be concerned about

…ceding so much of the public square to private platforms which really aren’t about free speech in any way and don’t have free speech in any way. They’re all ordered by algorithms designed to maintain time on site and service ad sales. In no sense are they open or free.

Twitter is not the public square. It just wants you to think it is. The web itself is the public square.

(click here to continue reading inessential: The Public Square.)

Ghosting all of my social media accounts is very, very tempting. Especially Facebook and Instagram which I care less about. I’ve already started the process of culling my interactions with both of those platforms. I only log in to Facebook using my Mac’s alternative browser, and since I have two-factor authentication turned on, it is even more time consuming to log on, thus I log on once or twice a month. I am considering removing most of the ephemeral contacts there as I have already done on Instagram. I deleted the Instagram app from my phone, and don’t miss it yet, and maybe never will. 

Defunct Tweets
Defunct Tweets

Twitter is slightly different, as I mostly use my Twitter account as a microblog. I’d guess that 90% of my posts contain URLs linking to a news story, or to my own photographs. If there was a quick, painless way to delete every Twitter post that didn’t contain a URL, I’d do that right away, but I’m not sure if that is possible, or tbh, even really worth it. I’m low profile enough that I don’t interact much with strangers on Twitter, nor do I seek out heated political arguments with the mouth breathers; so I’ve yet to encounter that toxic part of Twitter.

I never found a good method to integrate Twitter with my blog, perhaps I should look for a solution to that. My tweets1 are archived in a Google Doc spreadsheet; if I use Buffer, my tweets are also posted to my Tumblr, yet I’d rather there was a place on my own domain which hosted this running link history. 

Perhaps the microblog tool will work2.

I don’t miss the amount of fiddling Moveable Type required, Twitter’s main attraction for me is the ease with which I can create a link to something interesting I’ve encountered, Twitter is integrated into iOS and MacOS in a way that self-hosted WordPress blogs are not.

 Frostpocket Kitchen

To the bigger question, I miss the character of the web before Facebook et al existed. I doubt we can return to those days. It sort of reminds me of the back-to-the land movement of the last century: folks like my parents eschewing the technologies of the day to go to farms and communes and try to exist with one foot in the future and one foot in the past.

Footnotes:
  1. using the magic of IFTTT []
  2. though I’m unclear at the moment if I can quickly integrate it into this blog, and whether or not I’d have to pay for use for the tool []

Written by Seth Anderson

August 19th, 2018 at 8:37 am

Posted in Blogtopia,Business

Tagged with , ,

Death to The Bullshit Web

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Weaving Your Spells
Weaving Your Spells…

Nick Heer writes about a topic near and dear to our brains, albeit from the web developer side: why do websites load so slowly? And why is our personal data being sold without our informed consent?

The average internet connection in the United States is about six times as fast as it was just ten years ago, but instead of making it faster to browse the same types of websites, we’re simply occupying that extra bandwidth with more stuff. Some of this stuff is amazing: in 2006, Apple added movies to the iTunes Store that were 640 × 480 pixels, but you can now stream movies in HD resolution and (pretend) 4K. These much higher speeds also allow us to see more detailed photos, and that’s very nice.

But a lot of the stuff we’re seeing is a pile-up of garbage on seemingly every major website that does nothing to make visitors happier — if anything, much of this stuff is deeply irritating and morally indefensible.

Take that CNN article, for example. Here’s what it contained when I loaded it:

Eleven web fonts, totalling 414 KB

Four stylesheets, totalling 315 KB

Twenty frames

Twenty-nine XML HTTP requests, totalling about 500 KB

Approximately one hundred scripts, totalling several megabytes — though it’s hard to pin down the number and actual size because some of the scripts are “beacons” that load after the page is technically finished downloading.

The vast majority of these resources are not directly related to the information on the page, and I’m including advertising. Many of the scripts that were loaded are purely for surveillance purposes: self-hosted analytics, of which there are several examples; various third-party analytics firms like Salesforce, Chartbeat, and Optimizely; and social network sharing widgets. They churn through CPU cycles and cause my six-year-old computer to cry out in pain and fury. I’m not asking much of it; I have opened a text-based document on the web.

An actual solution recognizes that this bullshit is inexcusable. It is making the web a cumulatively awful place to be. Behind closed doors, those in the advertising and marketing industry can be pretty lucid about how much they also hate surveillance scripts and how awful they find these methods, while simultaneously encouraging their use. Meanwhile, users are increasingly taking matters into their own hands — the use of ad blockers is rising across the board, many of which also block tracking scripts and other disrespectful behaviours. Users are making that choice.

They shouldn’t have to. Better choices should be made by web developers to not ship this bullshit in the first place. We wouldn’t tolerate such intrusive behaviour more generally; why are we expected to find it acceptable on the web?

An honest web is one in which the overwhelming majority of the code and assets downloaded to a user’s computer are used in a page’s visual presentation, with nearly all the remainder used to define the semantic structure and associated metadata on the page. Bullshit — in the form of CPU-sucking surveillance, unnecessarily-interruptive elements, and behaviours that nobody responsible for a website would themselves find appealing as a visitor — is unwelcome and intolerable.

Death to the bullshit web.

(click here to continue reading The Bullshit Web — Pixel Envy.)

All that “surveillance” stuff and related files are an abomination, and pleases no-one. I’ve heard anecdotal reports that even marketing savvy companies don’t frequently use all the data that is collected on their behalf. So who wants it? Unclear to me. I guess the third party data collection industry is happy to vacuum up this data because they can subsequently re-sell our information to the highest bidder, but that’s not a good enough reason to continue making web pages cumbersome.

And as I’ve blabbed about repeatedly, I swear by the script-blocking capabilities of Ghostery, but that is a half-measure, and doesn’t apply to the web-surfing of the vast majority of the populace.

You should read Mr. Heer’s entire post, it is worthy of your time…

 

Un Deletable Cookies  Safari
Un-Deletable Cookies – Safari

Written by Seth Anderson

August 2nd, 2018 at 8:39 am

Trump’s trade war is hurting the dairy industry

without comments

CE Zuercher  Co Wholesale Cheese
CE Zuercher & Co Wholesale Cheese

As part of our continuing mocking of Trump-voting industries being screwed by Trump, Slate reports:

As the Wall Street Journal reports Thursday, Mexico and China have decided to target up to $986 million worth of American dairy exports with tariffs as retaliation for the Trump administration’s protectionist moves. Mexico is increasing its duty on cheese, while China is hitting cheese and whey. With their growing middle-class populations, both countries have become important markets in recent years for the U.S. dairy industry, which has found itself struggling with overproduction in the face of declining domestic milk consumption. Milk futures for July are down since Mexico announced its tariffs earlier this year—the last time the country imposed similar tariffs on U.S. cheese, shipments fell by 26 percent—and companies are already fretting. The president of Wisconsin’s BelGioioso Cheese called the situation “a nightmare.”

This is part of a larger pattern for the Trump administration, which the New York Times documents at length. So far, the administration’s efforts on trade and regulation have ended up hurting the very industries they claim to be helping. The 10 percent tariff Trump placed on aluminum, for instance, has made raw materials more expensive for most of the companies that actually produce aluminum products in the U.S., since they’re generally in the business of importing those raw materials and shaping them into more valuable upstream products. Steel tariffs have made pumping crude more expensive for oil companies by adding to the cost of building rigs and buying equipment. Soybean prices are crashing in response to Chinese tariff threats. Detroit’s car-makers are worried about potential tariffs on foreign autos, with executives warning about possible retaliation. The law of unintended consequences is playing out, or about to play out, in sector after sector of the economy.

(click here to continue reading Trump’s trade war is hurting the dairy industry..)

I would guess many dairy company owners and employees in Wisconsin are starting to regret voting for the Trump trauma train… 

Global Cheese
Global Cheese, Kensington Market, Toronto

WSJ:

 Cheese makers that rely on foreign sales are suffering as China and Mexico raise tariffs on U.S. mozzarella and provolone.

 BelGioioso Cheese Inc., a second-generation family company in Wisconsin, has seen sales to Mexico drop since officials there implemented tariffs of up to 15% in early June on most U.S. cheese. The levies were a response to tariffs the U.S. placed on Mexican steel and aluminum.

 On Thursday, Mexico was slated to raise its levy on most U.S. cheese to as much as 25%, while China on Friday is implementing tariffs on $34 billion of U.S. goods, including cheese and whey, a dairy byproduct often fed to livestock.

 “It’s a nightmare,” said BelGioioso President Errico Auricchio.

The Trump administration’s trade agenda is threatening that growth, dairies say. The Mexican tariffs affect as much as $578 million in U.S. dairy goods, while China’s duties could hit $408 million of cheese, whey and other products, according to U.S. Chamber of Commerce data.

July milk futures have dropped 12% since Mexico announced May 31 that it would strike back with tariffs. The price for a barrel, or 500 pounds, of white cheddar last week hit its lowest level since 2009. More cheese is in cold storage in the U.S. than any time since the U.S. Department of Agriculture began keeping track in 1917.

U.S. dairy exports last year totaled $5.5 billion, including $1.3 billion to Mexico, the top market, according to the Export Council. China, meanwhile, bought more than $577 million in U.S. dairy products last year, nearly half of it whey. (The recent tariffs don’t affect all dairy exports to Mexico and China.) Almost half of U.S. whey sales went to China last year, the Export Council said. The threat of the Chinese tariffs that take effect Friday has already hurt those sales. 

 

(click here to continue reading Take Our Cheese, Please: American Cheese Makers Suffer Under New Tariffs – WSJ.)

Written by Seth Anderson

July 5th, 2018 at 5:25 pm

Posted in Business,politics

Tagged with , ,