Thursday, July 02, 2015

I'm sure this will work out well for Chicago - 9% Cloud Tax targets Netflix - What I am reading 7/2/2015

The Verge - Chicago’s 'cloud tax' makes Netflix and other streaming services more expensive -
Today, a new "cloud tax" takes effect in the city of Chicago, targeting online databases and streaming entertainment services. It's a puzzling tax, cutting against many of the basic assumptions of the web, but the broader implications could be even more unsettling. Cloud services are built to be universal: Netflix works the same anywhere in the US, and except for rights constraints, you could extend that to the entire world. But many taxes are local — and as streaming services swallow up more and more of the world's entertainment, that could be a serious problem.
This will in no way hinder Chicago's economic vitality, I am absolutely sure of it.

Hacker News - Scientists have increased Fiber Optic capacity nearly 20 times -

Wideband frequency combs allow them to increase signal power while simultaneously decreasing crosstalk.  Note how e can accomplish this but climate change will kill us all because we won't be able to figure out how to move to dry land or build a roof.

NY Times - A Quick Puzzle to Test Your Problem Solving -

Remarkably, 80 percent of people who have played this game so far have guessed the answer without first hearing a single no. A mere 8 percent heard at least three nos — even though there is no penalty or cost for being told no, save the small disappointment that every human being feels when hearing “no.”
...
In this exercise, the overwhelming majority of readers gravitated toward confirming their theory rather than trying to disprove it. A version of this same problem compromised the Obama administration’s and Federal Reserve’s (mostly successful) response to the financial crisis. They were too eager to find “green shoots” of economic recovery that would suggest that the answer to the big question in their minds was, just as they hoped and believed: “Yes, the crisis response is aggressive enough, and it’s working.” More damaging was the approach that President George W. Bush’s administration, and others, took toward trying to determine whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction a decade ago — and how the Iraqi people would react to an invasion. Vice President Dick Cheney predicted in 2003, “We will, in fact, be greeted as liberators.”

I have to admit that I was one of those 80%, but in my defense I thought that was the goal, another version of confirmation bias I guess.  I saw the puzzle and thought I knew the rules.  This is something I try very hard to avoid in real life, but this puzzle makes me think maybe I need to try a little harder.

CNN - White House crackdown on for-profit colleges begins today -
 Schools will have to show that a typical graduate's estimated annual loan payment does not exceed 20% of his or her discretionary income, or 8% of his or her total earnings. Programs that go over these levels risk losing federal funding, which makes up 90% of revenue at for-profit institutions, according to the DOE.

The effects of the new rules could topple the for-profit industry, since roughly 1,400 programs serving 840,000 students would not pass the accountability standards today, according to the Department. About 99% of those students are at for-profit colleges. 


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What I am reading (or maybe watching) 10/18/2017

DefCon - ICS Village: Grid Insecurity and How to Really Fix This Shit - I tried to see this talk while at DefCon, but the room they ...