Mammon category archive
The Inky tells the tale of a long and twisted tour through the wilds of the Amazon(.com).
Reacting to a column by Robert Reich, Mike ponders what the meaning of “left” in an era of oligarchs. (Warning: Language.)
Paul Krugman explains the con:
This was always, however, a case of bait-and-switch. Free markets, in which private businesses compete for customers, can accomplish great things, and are indeed the best way to organize most of the economy. But the case for free markets isn’t a case for private business where there is no market: There’s no reason to presume that private firms will do a better job when there isn’t any competition, because the government itself is the sole customer. In fact, studies of privatization often find that it ends up costing more than having government employees do the work.
Much more at the link.
Ronald E. Riggio explains why the rich, the powerful, and the famous believe that they are above the law. (And if you don’t recognize that many of them do, you just aren’t paying attention.)
The current epidemic of rental electric scooters is not a public service.
It’s a get-rich scheme by tech bros who are swooping into cities to drop scooters so they can rent them out, even as they and their customers ignore local laws and public safety. It’s one more example of Silicon Valley’s doing something just because they can get away with it, and it’s causing problems here and in other cities. And, according to a trauma doctor who writes at The Seattle Times, it’s hazardous to your health and the health of others. Here’s an excerpt from his piece:
The surface appeal of these toylike forms of transportation is undeniable; scooters appear simple to operate, fun to ride and represent an environmentally friendly form of transportation. However, in cities that currently allow scooter rentals both users and pedestrians are getting seriously injured. Published data and physician accounts show the correlation between the rise in scooter popularity and serious and sometimes fatal injuries.
In scooter-filled cities, kids and adults alike are riding them in the street, on sidewalks, pedestrian trails … everywhere. The rules of e-scooter riding are clear, but they are not followed. Riders ignore age requirements. Most do not wear helmets. They double-up and ride in areas not conducive to scooters or public safety. Even if rules are followed, riders are crashing due to user error, device malfunction or simply the nature of scooter design.
The city of Austin and the CDC published a study describing injury patterns and rates for e-scooter users. This study, and another in California, clearly show the incidence of head injuries as alarming; nearly half of injured scooter riders sustained serious head trauma.
Indeed, I think I wrote in these electrons about being buzzed by two scootering bros weaving amongst pedestrians while at the beach front last summer.
David Evans, writing at Psychology Today Blogs, comments on the monetization of anger. A nugget:
Marketers, representing a wide variety of different corporate and political backgrounds, want potential customers or followers to click on their sites. And they’ve discovered that the best way to guarantee a click is to make sure their site arouses emotion.
And the best emotion for guaranteeing a favorable click is anger.
So, marketers, political organizations, and corporations have a financial stake in getting you angry!
It makes them money. The more people who click on their site, the more they can charge the advertisers who advertise with them.
And the things they post on their sites don’t even have to be true!
Follow the link for the rest.
David questions how Youtube’s algorithm works.
I pay no attention to Youtube’s “recommendations” and routinely turn off “autoplay.” The recommendations are always wrong and autoplay is evil.