Friday, June 30, 2006

Late Night Update: Net Neutrality, Alternative Energy, and Other Fun Stuff

Net Neutrality: The net neutrality amendment failed to be added to the telecommunications bill on its way to the Senate. This older Slate article does a great job of breaking down the competing interests, some of the problem's ideological puzzles, as well as what it all means for the consumer. While many aspects of this issue have been discussed extensively, many people don't mention (or realize) that the reason why the telcos are in their position is because of regulation establishing their status as a "common carrier." This basically means that they are subject to different laws and regulatory models -- for example, they aren't liable for the nature of the content that is being transmitted. This is why its hypocritical for them to talk about leaving everything to free market system -- they are benefiting from entitlements that other content providers don't get! If they can trample on net neutrality they shouldn't be able to keep their status as a common carrier either, because in a true "free market" system they wouldn't be able to have it both ways.

Alternative Energy: According to the CS Monitor, lawmakers are scrambling to remake our energy policy to address environmental concerns and reduce our dependence on oil. Still, The Guardian asserts that U.S. cars account for almost half the CO2 pumped into the atmosphere from exhaust pipes, because our cars are less fuel-efficient and are driven for longer distances. The full report from Environmental Defense can be accessed here.

Media: Eric Alterman disputes the notion of a "bounce back" for Bush as being hailed by the punditocracy. Alterman does a great job of comparing last week's message to... reality.

Electronic Voting: Andrew Gumbel explains why electronic voting systems could cause massive complications in Ohio's gubernatorial race. Elsewhere, it turns out that one person with the right technical know-how could swing an entire Presidential election.

Odds and Ends: Finally, Juan Cole takes a break from the usual in a neat little piece on recent attempts to slander "Kos" of DailyKos. It normally pisses me off whenever bloggers go at great lengths emphasizing their own importance, but he does a great job of explaining what differentiates a distributed form of communication from what we're used to, and how that plays into the attacks we're starting to see.


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