Zuckerberg and Musk can save their reputations by acquiring newspapers

: sfchronicle – excerpt

When you don’t know whether to laugh or cry…

Both of you are suffering through self-inflicted public relations crises. Mark, growing alarm about social media’s health effects and about how Facebook’s self-serving policies polarize society have turned you into a lightning rod.

Elon, your bizarre behavior — attacking financial analysts, crying during a New York Times interview (which included the revelation that you use Ambien and recreational drugs), tweeting yourself into a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation, and appearing to smoke pot during a podcast — have you over a barrel.

I don’t expect you to clean up your acts — you are who you are. But why haven’t you taken advantage of the obvious way to launder your reputations and improve your media relations?

Buy your local newspaper!

There’s no better balm for a billionaire’s press clippings than saving a newspaper… (more)

 

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Can Silicon Valley workers rein in big tech from within?

In our undemocratic digital world, people have little power to shape the tools that affect their lives. But tech workers could change that

An unprecedented wave of rank-and-file rebellion is sweeping Big Tech. At one company after another, employees are refusing to help the US government commit human rights abuses at home and abroad.

At Google, workers organized to shut down Project Maven, a Pentagon project that uses machine learning to improve targeting for drone strikes – and won. At Amazon, workers are pushing Jeff Bezos to stop selling facial recognition to police departments and government agencies, and to cut ties with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice). At Microsoft, workers are demanding the termination of a $19.4m cloud deal with Ice. At Salesforce, workers are trying to kill the company’s contract with Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

The media has been following this story closely. But so far it has missed an important part of the picture. Journalists have largely described these campaigns as examples of “employee activism”. That isn’t quite right. The reason these campaigns have gotten traction isn’t because they’re led by activists. It’s because they’re led by workers. They’re labor actions, in other words – and that’s what gives them their power… (more)

What would happen if workers in other industries were inspired to take similar actions to push back against injustice where they find it on the job? Please read this amazing article. Comments and ideas and thoughts on conscientious objections are welcome here.

Elon Musk’s Flamethrowers Have Arrived

By Joe Kukura : sfweekly – excerpt

If case anyone doubts the human race (or at least the leadership) has gone maad, here is the proof you need along with a personal request. Please send us some of fictional (so far) scenarios for what could happen if you mix drones, auto-pilot cars, and flamethrowers with the criminal element on our streets. (In San Francisco we have regular mail and package thefts. Due to the lack of parking, delivery services just throw packages on the sidewalk and people comes along and grab them up. That could be the opening scene.)  Cartoons welcomed and encouraged. We promise to post if you want to share.

The first batch of Musk’s $500 flamethrowers are here, just in time for California wildfire season.

Maybe it provides some comfort to the 3,500 people just laid off at Tesla that their CEO has been engaged in a goofy flamethrower side project for the last four months. The first 1,000 of Elon Musk’s Boring Company handheld fire-shooting contraptions were distributed Saturday at Tesla Design Center in Hawthorne, CA. A total of 20,000 of these flamethrowers have been sold altogether, according to the product’s website

Musk claims on Twitter that regulations would not allow him to ship a product called a flamethrower, so he labeled it Not A Flamethrower. Others have labeled it a “cool toy for man-children with way too much disposable income.”… (more)

Thanks to all my talented readers and followers for inspiring me to go off on this site. It is a good respite from the political nightmares I am dealing with. To make it easy, if you have anything to share, just post it in the comments.

 

 

 

Protesters in San Francisco dumped a huge pile of scooters in the street and blocked 11 tech buses — and then things got tense

By Rachel Sandler and Katie Canales : businessinsider – excerpt

 

Activists piled scooters in front of buses and unfurled signs that said “Techsploitation is toxic.”

  • Anti-tech demonstrators in San Francisco blocked tech buses with piles of electric scooters.
  • They told Business Insider they were protesting tech companies’ using city streets to experiment and city officials’ increasing use of sweeps to force homeless people off the streets.
  • In total, a full intersection, 11 buses, and several cars were blocked for about two hours.

Anti-tech demonstrators in San Francisco on Thursday used piles of electric scooters to block shuttles ferrying Google and other tech company employees to work. The blockade was to protest what they see as the failure of the tech industry and lawmakers to address the city’s income inequality and sizable homeless population.

“What you’re seeing here is that scooters have more rights than people,” Chirag Bhakta told Business Insider. “Our priorities shouldn’t be people first, scooters second. We’re tired of being seen as an experimental playground for the tech industry.”…(more)

Gentrification and the corporate takeover of our cities by disruptive products and services is now complete. There is no product or service too dangerous or disruptive. Wait until Tesla’s flamethrowers get into the wrong hands. This seem like a bad idea at the start of fire season, but, the gun lobby likes them. A bill to restrict them was buried in committee.

Pick your conspiracy theory, but, you can’t ignore the takeover of our streets by Uber and Lyft. The day of the Tech v Tech bus protest, that received international coverage, we got news that Lyft is buying GoBikes. They are going head to head with Uber who just bought out another bikeshare Jump.

Tossing the tech scooters under tech buses was a brilliant statement about tech vs. tech. If you haven’t see this video yet you might want to watch this anti-gentrification direct action film, that covers SF and Oakland, among other cities around the globe, and share it with your friends and associates. https://sub.media/video/trouble-13-defend-the-block

RELATED:
Protesters toss scooters into street to block tech buses in SF

 

Former Google and Facebook executives are sounding the alarm about the pervasive power of tech. Will we listen?

By John Harris : theguardian – excerpt

Former Google and Facebook executives are sounding the alarm about the pervasive power of tech. Will we listen?

One source of angst came close to being 2017’s signature subject: how the internet and the tiny handful of companies that dominate it are affecting both individual minds and the present and future of the planet. The old idea of the online world as a burgeoning utopia looks to have peaked around the time of the Arab spring, and is in retreat.

If you want a sense of how much has changed, picture the president of the US tweeting his latest provocation in the small hours, and consider an array of words and phrases now freighted with meaning: Russia, bots, troll farms, online abuse, fake news, dark money.

Another sign of how much things have shifted is a volte-face by Silicon Valley’s most powerful man. Barely more than a year ago the Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, seemed still to be rejoicing in his company’s imperial phase, blithely dismissing the idea that fabricated news carried by his platform had affected the outcome of the 2016 US election as a “pretty crazy idea”. Now scarcely a week goes by without some Facebook pronouncement or other, either updating the wider world about its latest quest to put its operations beyond criticism or assuring us that its belief in an eternally upbeat, fuzzily liberal ethos is as fervent as ever…(more)

Now that the traditional media has been replaced by online content, online entrepreneurs are the news gatekeepers, and they could be more dangerous than the traditional media lords were as they have a broader reach. All media follows the same stories. There is very little difference between the channels

Younger minds more impressionable minds are being targeted in the race to spread influence, as very young children are given smart phones and are encouraged to “start learning” by playing games. How young is too young for impressionable minds? Are humans at risk for developing strange maladies from over-dosing on wireless technology?

As we write the new history of our creative society will our voices be heard or are we pushing our thoughts into a mirror in order to content ourselves that we tried to warn the world? Can our creative efforts make a difference?

Recent developments and stories like this on “mainstream” media sources like the guardian give us hope, as do stories by youthful journalists as they uncover the truth about how governments manipulate them. Here is the latest from the SF Bay View News. You may recognize a similar plan in your city that needs to be exposed. Transportation gentrification:  How Bus Rapid Transit is displacing East-Oakland/

Hacks review: Donna Brazile lifts lid on Hillary and the Democrats disaster

By Lloyd Green : theguardian – excerpt

Twice in the past five presidential elections, the Democrats won the popular vote only to meet defeat in the electoral college. In 2000, a mere 537-vote deficit in Florida and the US supreme court stood between Al Gore and the White House. Sixteen years later, Hillary Clinton garnered a 2.86 million vote plurality, only to see her ambitions dashed in the Rust Belt….

The former DNC chair’s memoir of election defeat has it all: Russian hackers, campaign drama and a reigniting of bitter internal feuds…(more)