Thursday, September 19, 2019

Google's Fenced Garden

In the wake of Lina Khan's masterful January 2017 Yale Law Journal article Amazon's Antitrust Paradox, both anti-trust investigations of the FAANGs and anti-trust remedies have been consuming extraordinary numbers of pixels. Although the investigations cover all the major platforms, the discussion of remedies has tended to focus on Facebook and Amazon. Below the fold, I ask whether, assuming any of the multifarious investigations lead to anything other than cost-of-doing-business fines, any of the proposed remedies would be effective against Google. I apologize for the inordinate length of this post; it seemed that the more I wrote the more there was to write.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Interesting Articles From Usenix

Unless you're a member of Usenix (why aren't you?) you'll have to wait a year to read two of three interesting preservation-related articles in the Fall 2019 issue of ;login:. Below the fold is a little taste of each of them, with links to the full papers if you don't want to wait a year:

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

The Optimist's Telescope: Review

The fundamental problem of digital preservation is that, although it is important and we know how to do it, we don't want to pay enough to have it done. It is an example of the various societal problems caused by rampant short-termism, about which I have written frequently.

Bina Venkataraman has a new book on the topic entitled The Optimist's Telescope: Thinking Ahead in a Reckless Age. Robert H. Frank reviews it in the New York Times:
How might we mitigate losses caused by shortsightedness? Bina Venkataraman, a former climate adviser to the Obama administration, brings a storyteller’s eye to this question in her new book, “The Optimist’s Telescope.” She is also deeply informed about the relevant science.

The telescope in her title comes from the economist A.C. Pigou’s observation in 1920 that shortsightedness is rooted in our “faulty telescopic faculty.” As Venkataraman writes, “The future is an idea we have to conjure in our minds, not something that we perceive with our senses. What we want today, by contrast, we can often feel in our guts as a craving.”

She herself is the optimist in her title, confidently insisting that impatience is not an immutable human trait. Her engaging narratives illustrate how people battle and often overcome shortsightedness across a range of problems and settings.
Below the fold, some thoughts upon reading the book.