Firefox (finally) fights back against ads: Needless to say ads are getting really insidious on the Net. Way back in the dark ages when people were debating about how to finance the Net naturally ads became the dominant idea and now we’re seeing the consequences of that. So Firefox finally stepped up to at least cut some of the more obnoxious tracking. Now for a website to demand some form of compensation and therefore throw ads at me, OK, I get that. But all this tracking really is insidious and I suspect that if ads don’t make enough money something even worse will be done with this tracking. But, of course, as people ignore ads and get better tools for blocking them, the ad crowd will just find some (and more obnoxious) way to overcome our resistance. So, naturally, we see this effect, that they won’t even honor the Do-Not-Track system they set up. So much for integrity and honesty by advertisers, the second worst (next to Wall Street’s economically useless (and harmful) “traders”) aspect of capitalism.
Amazing, this is what “moderate” Repugs advocate: This article was billed as breakthrough in Repug thinking of how to recapture the presidency. The words are there (stop being party of the rich, stop immigrant bashing, go silent on gay issue) but the policies are still the same and more important the philosophy is the same. These guys go beyond the simple-minded PR campaign (new ways of lying) or rebranding and are proposing a whole new campaign of deception. The only positive thing, which I certainly won’t hold my breath for, is the call to break up the TBTF banks (what about the rest of Dodd-Frank folks, just picking on Citi and BofA is way way not enough). In fact, all this article calls for is more smoke and mirrors to claim Repug obnoxious statements are really dictates of principle and somehow good for the rest of us. These authors get that they can’t be labeled as against the 47% (they ignoring the whole 99% argument, so they miss by a lot how much the Repugs are the plutocrats) but their answer is to merely argue they’re for opportunity but not outcomes (just another up-by-the-bootstraps argument). And they totally duck the racism and sexism that is the core of the Repug party. Well, maybe this slick marketing efforts will do the trick but as long as Repugs continue to try to find ways to obscure their true beliefs they will ultimately fail or just have to become the dictatorship SCOTUS will create through yet more campaign spending. And then add in this article and it gets really scary. The article is such a mishmash I can’t really tell what it’s saying (other than Repug party will survive forever despite its stupid ideas and recent ticket) but I do think it’s on the purity side of the current GOP war.
Farmers Insurance’s reality doesn’t quite match their cute ads: As usually reality doesn’t quite match the fantasy ad people put on TV, but rather than this fraud being a core issue it’s just another inside-sales and commissions fight but fraud none the less.
Rush backtracks and lies: Big surprise, of course. The only way this statement, “[T]he left … have created far more low-information, unaware, uneducated people than we’ve been able to keep up with.”, can be true is that Rush is jealous he hasn’t done enough to promote low information and unawareness. Given the core of the Repug party is now redneck uneducated white males it’s really insulting, even more than most other Limbot slurs, to listen to the implication that the Repugs are the educated, aware, and high-information voters. For a party that totally rejects science and secular education, this is really a laugh.
Remember Sargeant Schultz, “I see nothing”: The big banks seem to be using this excuse as they assist paycheck loan sharks and just happen to cause lots of fees to be generated for themselves. Scumbags!
Hold firm, Barack: Don’t let the fear of the terrible damage the Repugs are causing in the economy to knock you off your game. Let them bleed and finally realize they have to have some balance. The blame game is all they really care about because the Repugs are so blinded by their gut urge for power they don’t even care about issues any more, just winning is everything. Don’t let them get away with it or you’ll just see fake crisis after crisis.
Nutrition management I agree with: I whine about a lot of the nutrition “advice” but this is one I believe, that is, that labeling will work. Either it works because people don’t know and when they find out they make better choices, or it works because it shames people. I think the menu labeling, plus all the talk about obesity, will slowly have a positive effect. But, as usual, it will be a lot like smoking or drinking or other “vices” where the more educated and quite frankly, “liberal” people will be the main ones to respond to this. We already see a pattern that red states are fatter than blue states and I expect that gulf, like education, like income, like religion to widen. The U.S. is dividing itself in smart states and stupid states and the stupid states are the Repug base. So Sarah Palin will tell parents to feed their kids cupcakes and huge sugary drinks just to spite the blue state people and the idiots will do it and then they’ll be spending all the Obamacare money that they denounce so much and blue states will be paying the bills of the red states. But rant aside, any improvement is an improvement and so let’s keep the pressure up on labeling.
A well-documented study: One complaint about getting nutrition information from the web is that most reports are just the popular press, often inaccurate, summaries and the actual studies are buried behind paywalls. This is an exception. First the primary press article (the link in the title) is more complete than the usual popular press articles. But second, the full paper is available here, in a real journal. But even better supplementary information (details of how study was run) are available here. And as a bogus the organization running the study has a website here. So there is a ton of data and a lot of reading to do, but the conclusions seem sound AND show only a minor effect, although the control group was put on a “good” (but the conventional definitions of food fanatics) and the main difference was in fact just the olive oil (for instance, fruit/vegi consumption was the same for all three groups). Like any good study they report incidental stuff (like there were more dropouts in the control group and these tended to be the less healthy people which made the control groups results (less cardiac events) look better, which is a bias that reduces the measured benefit of the Mediterranean diet, not increases it). This study was focused on cardiac events and doesn’t really mention weight, but all of the participants were old and fat, plus carried risk factors for cardiac events, but also seemed to be well medicated for those risk factors. Too bad they didn’t report weight outcomes because all three groups probably were eating “better”. But it gets better – a HuffPo nutrition quack (selling books, naturally) disputes the study because, of course, the control group didn’t do what he believes is a “low-fat diet” and therefore any improvement in the Mediterranean group is an illusion only due to the terrible diet of the control group. He just barely quotes any facts to support this and frankly I’ll take the word of actual scientists instead of someone pushing a fad diet of their own.
A new virus platform: I’ll easily predict this initiative will fail for multiple reasons. First, there is no way an unfocused and more importantly lightly funded open source effort can fight a war, at least anywhere but the fringes, will powerful and well-found rivals, who, also just happen to already be well established (if Microsoft and RIM can’t break in, how does a no money contender stand a chance, sorry, even if somehow the technology were fabulously better (no chance) it wouldn’t matter – do you really think people buy iPhones due to the technology? Or maybe it’s just the incredible spending on marketing buzz.). But, second, and the reason for my scorn, is that any unregulated platform like this will instantly become the paradise for malware apps. This has been a major problem for Google as it is with Android because their “store” is about as full of disease as a really old street hooker. What magic do you think exists to prevent malware with no cops on the beat (and even then malware proliferates). And, third, you remember the “fragmentation” issue with Android, that there are so many variations of devices and so few standards that apps look terrible on all but a few and have lousy performance on most. Sorry, rigorously controlling the hardware and software is only way to build a good app platform.