Archive for the ‘ethics’ Category
Andrew Leonard, writing for Salon, unmasks a blatantly corrupt Wikipedia editor:
The mind boggles. After years of styling himself as someone who specializes in scrubbing Wikipedia pages clean of “conflicts of interest,” Qworty/Young admitted to editing “the Wikipedia articles of writers with whom I have feuded.” How can Wikipedia possibly allow this man to keep his editing privileges? And how are we, the general public, supposed to trust Wikipedia, when Qworty’s record shows how easy it is to work out personal grudges and real-world vendettas in this great online encyclopedia for years without anyone taking action?
Source: Daring Fireball
Third paragraph from Jungah Lee’s report for Bloomberg, “LG Display Profit Misses Estimates on Stalling Apple Sales”:
“Apple is losing dominance and will likely delay launching a successor to the iPhone 5 until at least September,” Harrison Cho, an analyst for Seoul-based Samsung Securities Co., said before the earnings release. “LG Display might have to wait until the third quarter to see strong profits as Apple’s new devices are mostly expected to be out in the second half.”
[People it really is that bad. And again. Think about how topics this kind of fact checking is *not* performed for… how often is the news biased without disclaimer or just plain old wrong? A lot more than people think.]
Source: Daring Fireball
The best case scenario of ceramic bearings in a wheelset is 1 watt at 30 miles and hour. We sell ceramic bearings and they’re $1000, but we’re honest: “guys, it’s 1000 bucks for a watt”. Tony Martin, at the worlds, rides thousand dollar ceramic bearings. For the consumer, you can buy a better tyre and you’ll save twice that. You put latex tubes in there you’ll save 6 times that amount. A new chain on your bike can be as much as 6 watts compared to a worn chain. Just cleaning your drive chain is a couple of watts. 1 watt of ceramic bearings is about 3 seconds per 40 kilometres. I can find you a minute for the 40k for very little money.
[It would be nice if more people in the industry were this honest about where the gains can be found.. great article!]
I also got to the point where I knew that I couldn’t get any further without doping. After years of dealing with suspected dopers internationally, I finally had to deal with it at a national level. I, however, never felt like I didn’t have a choice. I knew I wouldn’t dope, so I made the tough decision: I quit. Yes, I’m sometimes bitter, but I have never regretted my decision. I can look back at my entire cycling career and know that everything I accomplished was clean, and I’m proud of that. That means more than any title or medal.
[A different perspective. I was thinking about the "give back the money to sponsors" part and disagree. The sponsors received the value they expected. And they all know the risks when they go down the endorsement road. But I know how she feels.]
At this very moment you’re using a magnificent outcome of this kind of “common good” approach that I’m talking about—the Internet. Yes, yes, I’ll pause for you to crack an Al Gore joke here, but let’s not miss the point. The Internet exists the way it does because no private or state actor owns it, right? The reason no private or state actor owns it is because of explicit decisions made by both its creators and funders to treat it as a common good. From TCP/IP up to higher-level protocols like HTTP and electronic mail, no company or government agency has the power to declare “from this point in time forward, things using this protocol will be different.”
Those protocols are open infrastructure. Sometimes they have nominal owners but control has been relinquished to a standards body; sometimes they’re true public domain. Businesses can build on them, governments can try to spy on them, and of course vice-versa—but they’re public roads, not private ones. Everybody can use whatever web browser they want or email client they want or MP3 player they want. People can (and do) build businesses on top of those protocols, just like businesses in the physical world are built on top of physical infrastructure that those businesses only pay for indirectly.
[Interesting thinking. But spot on in the above.]
Source: Coyote Tracks
The same people lining up to brand Lance Armstrong a cheater will worship a pitcher who undergoes Tommy John transplant surgery to save his career. The Oakland A’s Bartolo Colon will be missing 50 games for taking testosterone, but what about the batters he’s faced who have had their eyeballs surgically refabricated with Lasik so they can read his pitches better?
Is the rule that it’s OK to enhance your performance by scalpel but not by hypodermic needle? Then let’s discuss that and establish exactly what the grounds are for the distinction. Until we clear that up, along with why caffeine isn’t on the banned list but marijuana is, athletes will try anything they can to beat their records, thrill the masses and make money. And why not?
It’s all well and good to say the goal of the anti-doping system is to ensure that sports stay clean, and it’s certainly true that clean athletes have every reason to resent having to compete against cheaters.
But we’ve created a strange way to uphold these principles — a system that writes its own rule book, moves the goal posts at will, lies and fabricates to get the score it wants and fiercely resists playing before an objective umpire. Whatever you choose to think of Lance Armstrong, his case is just one more indication that the supposed guardians of honesty and integrity in sports are among the filthiest players of all.
[Excellent points all. The only part of these proceedings that make sense is the "don't cheat" stuff.]
Don’t Steal Ideas, It Is Discouraging
As the dust is settling from the Svbtle vs Obtvse debacle, I’m left feeling a little discouraged. The reason I feel this way is because a consensus had been made between part of the community that communicates: “It’s okay to steal and duplicate an idea as long as you write your own code.” If you don’t already know the story, read the summary below and check out some of the discussion on Hacker News.
[What I find discouraging is the knee jerk reaction. in the end it's just another blogging tool. As the proof that it is commodity item, for the most part, something extremely similar was written in no time. And even then, I don't deny that subtleties matter, and that the thinking behind Svbtle changed the way the he thought about writing, it was just that. the technique, whether reinforced or not can be applied to many tools that are already out there. Don't title, don't publish seem like the core initial impulses. So with that in mind, why all the upset because this code wasn't released? Yet another subtle bit. In the original post about it, there's an implication that he was about to release it, and then he pulled it back in order to create an invitation only blogging network. So he pushed the buttons of a community that demands openness in code with this bit. If he was looking for attention, this might have worked, although I suspect it is more tempest in a teapot than viral explosion… in the end, the visual design similarity is troubling to me. It flies in the face of what he was trying to do in the end, which is create a network where the visual sues stand for quality. Making it hard to discern by making use of the design is what I find unfortunate here.]
And that’s how I feel about links in general: the source author creates something worth linking to, and the rest of us can link as we see fit, regardless of how we found it.
The proper place for ethics and codes is in ensuring that a reasonable number of people go to the source instead of just reading your rehash.
Codifying “via” links with confusing symbols is solving the wrong problem.
[True true. Which is why I try to rarely quote so much of an article that you're not interested in reading the original.]
Morin has been receiving backslaps on Twitter today from other industry insiders. Never mind that he only really apologized “if you were uncomfortable” and said Path would “continue to be transparent,” when Path’s prior lack of transparency is precisely the issue here.
No, what seems to count in Silicon Valley is that Morin has mastered the one-two step of breaking the rules to get ahead, claiming to be sorry when caught, and then charging ahead, often right back into another ethically shady area of behavior. It’s a move right out of Mark Zuckerberg’s playbook, or Airbnb’s, or Zynga’s.
Two-faced behavior like this is turning the tech business into an ethical cesspool. Or as Winer put it more than a year ago, “the tech industry is a virus.” If you’re comfortable in your affliction, by all means believe Morin and leave Path installed on your phone. If you’ve finally had enough, trash the thing. If protecting your privacy isn’t worth deleting the latest mobile check-in whatever, then it’s not worth much.
[And a big yuck in the general direction of unethical people, especially those who mask their unethical behavior with a veneer of apologia.]
My bet is that breaking these norms feels totally outrageous, that your heart races a little when you do it. That’s the feeling of acting differently. Then, when the rush passes, your head has the chance to process how glib you often are with that extra $20, but right here and right now, at the hot dog stand, handing over a $20 bill for your $5 hot dog – and not getting the change back – feels ludicrous. Let the introspection begin.
One reason to give this whole thing a try is as an exploration of the norms and limits you’ve set around your life and your actions. They may be just right for you. Or your generosity experiment might afford a glimpse into how you could behave differently all the time – whatever “differently” means to you.
[Generosity Day is about the practice saying yes to every request for help and by being generous. Not something to be locked up into a single day, but not a bad start either.]
Source: Sasha Dichter’s Blog