At times NobodyisFlyingthePlane will be a diatribe about the current state of affairs in the US and the world at large, at other times it will be an evidentiary discussion of the problem, and most of the time it will just be a collection of links I wanted to share.
There is too much good stuff to quote it all in this speech by Elizabeth Warren. Maybe she could be a pilot?
The central question America faces today is this: who does our government work for? Does it work only for giant corporations, for the rich and the powerful? Or does it work for everyone?
Access to health care, mental health services, and substance abuse treatment reduce crime.
Another example of how preventative costs are much lower than punitive costs.
We need to get better at accepting evidence based fixes to our societal problems. In this case providing more treatment up front will reduce crime and the need for jails.
One way to increase access to care is to open more treatment facilities throughout the country. Existing facilities often operate at capacity because of limited funding, so that those who want treatment cannot always find help.
The authors found that an increase in the number of treatment facilities causes a reduction in both violent and financially-motivated crime. This is likely due to a combination of forces: reducing drug abuse can reduce violent behavior that is caused by particular drugs, as well as property crimes like theft committed to fund an addiction. Reducing demand for illegal drugs might also reduce violence associated with the illegal drug trade. The authors estimate that each additional treatment facility in a county reduces the social costs of crime in that county by $4.2 million per year. Annual costs of treatment in a facility are approximately $1.1 million, so the benefits far exceed the costs.
It’s time to rework our ideas about technology. Consumers should demand better security built in up front, governments should hold companies accountable for the problems their technologies create.
If we don’t fundamentally change how we build and secure tech our problems will get much worse.
Modern computing security is like a flimsy house that needs to be fundamentally rebuilt. In recent years, we have suffered small collapses here and there, and made superficial fixes in response. There has been no real accountability for the companies at fault, even when the failures were a foreseeable result of underinvestment in security or substandard practices rather than an outdated trade-off of performance for security.
There are better ways to make systems more secure. For example, you can build more isolation and separation into our systems, moving security functions to properly audited hardware and away from software (which is always more vulnerable). Things cannot be hacked if they cannot be reached. This may mean that we have to sacrifice some speed for security.
As things stand, we suffer through hack after hack, security failure after security failure. If commercial airplanes fell out of the sky regularly, we wouldn’t just shrug. We would invest in understanding flight dynamics, hold companies accountable that did not use established safety procedures, and dissect and learn from new incidents that caught us by surprise.
And indeed, with airplanes, we did all that. There is no reason we cannot do the same for safety and security of our digital systems.
The Looming Digital Meltdown https://nyti.ms/2Ef8fkf
Conservatives will use any shield they can to keep the truth of their intentions hidden, except when they don’t need to anymore. The GOP is now nakedly grabbing more for the rich and willfully harming those less well off. The Republican party is the party of Me, Me, Me.
They act as though taxes and government are designed to deny them their due. Thankfully most people can see through this. Democracy was designed to shield against the rich exploiting the poor. Not the other way around.
In “Inequality and Democratization,” the political scientists Ben W. Ansell and David J. Samuels show that this demand for political inclusion generally isn’t driven by a desire to use the existing institutions to plunder the elites. It’s driven by a desire to keep the elites from continuing to plunder them.
It’s easy to say that everyone ought to have certain rights. Democracy is how we come to get and protect them. Far from endangering property rights by facilitating redistribution, inclusive democratic institutions limit the “organized banditry” of the elite-dominated state by bringing everyone inside the charmed circle of legally enforced rights.
Democracy is fundamentally about protecting the middle and lower classes from redistribution by establishing the equality of basic rights that makes it possible for everyone to be a capitalist. Democracy doesn’t strangle the golden goose of free enterprise through redistributive taxation; it fattens the goose by releasing the talent, ingenuity and effort of otherwise abused and exploited people.
Ultimately, it’s the integrity of democratic institutions and the rule of law that gives ordinary people the power to protect themselves against elite exploitation. But the Republican majority is bulldozing through basic democratic norms as though freedom has everything to do with the tax code and democracy just gets in the way.
The Tax Bill Shows the G.O.P.’s Contempt for Democracy https://nyti.ms/2DcZp72
It’s past time to hold Big Pharma accountable for the opioid addiction crisis. The staff here is pleased to see cities and states taking the lead.
The profits companies have made from these drugs needs to be plowed into mitigating the effects and helping people end their addictions.
This is a model we should consider for other corporate evils. How about suing the coal fired energy producers?
With Overdoses on Rise, Cities and Counties Look for Someone to Blame https://nyti.ms/2oXEKAJ
It’s harder to change the culture of harassment at corporations than they would have you believe. The story of Ford and their employees’ treatment of fellow female workers in the last twenty years is despicable. This is where culture change really needs to happen.
Women who work under these conditions who are told they are disloyal for speaking up have been failed by numerable organizations, not least of which: their unions.
The culture change we need is more than just fair treatment of women or even anyone other than white men. We need a culture change which says people are more important than profits. We have to embrace the belief that our citizens are our most important asset not our profit making entities. Along side this change will come an acceptance that marginalized groups like women and minorities cannot be mistreated in the name of capitalism.
much less attention has been focused on the plight of blue-collar workers, like those on Ford’s factory floors. After the #MeToo movement opened a global floodgate of accounts of mistreatment, a former Chicago worker proposed a new campaign: “#WhatAboutUs.”
How Tough Is It to Change a Culture of Harassment? Ask Women at Ford https://nyti.ms/2oMtVRY
Ted Chiang makes an impressive case for AI being an example of runaway capitalism which is the greater threat to humanity.
when Silicon Valley tries to imagine superintelligence, what it comes up with is no-holds-barred capitalism.
we are already surrounded by machines that demonstrate a complete lack of insight, we just call them corporations.
There’s a saying,popularized by Fredric Jameson, that it’s easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism.