Category Archives: Items of Interest

Battle for the Net

According to this scorecard, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has not picked a team in the Net Neutrality fight. This form letter* seems like an attempt to appear like Tom Wheeler is leaning toward the side of goodness and light:

Thank you very much for contacting us about the ongoing Open Internet proceeding. We’re hoping to hear from as many people as possible about this critical issue, and so I’m very glad that we can include your thoughts and opinions.

I’m a strong supporter of the Open Internet, and I will fight to keep the internet open. Thanks again for sharing your views with me.

Tom Wheeler
Chairman
Federal Communications Commission

While it is reassuring to have independent confirmation that my comment was registered with the FCC, I did notice the use of “Open Internet”, not “Net Neutrality”. Call me cynical, but I’m slightly concerned that Chairman Wheeler’s definition of an “Open Internet” is not the same as our definition of “Net Neutrality”.

*I have a [bad] habit of publishing any correspondence I receive, particularly of the form variety, from government officials that do not pertain to my tax liability.

Both these drawings are better than my drawings of a whale

Kiddie Arts by Telmo Pieper (All Rights Reserved; Used with Permission)

There are two things that I love about digital artist Telmo Pieper recreating drawings from childhood. One is that the images are beautiful and fantastically odd in the uninhibited way children capture so well. The second is that Pieper’s childhood drawings look like any other kid’s drawings (or my drawings as an adult). Continue reading

Science for The People: Coffee & Cigarettes

sftpThis week Science for The People is learning about some of the legal chemicals that regulate the moods of millions of people every day. Journalist Murray Carpenter joins them to talk about his book “Caffeinated – How Our Daily Habit Helps, Hurts and Hooks Us.” And science blogger Dr. David Gorski explains the state of research on the effects of e-cigarettes.

A LEGO Odyssey

Some stories are so good they can inspire us for thousands of years, which is good news for those of us who need, NEED, to see Homer’s Odyssey captured in LEGO bricks, which have only existed since 1949.

*Hat tip to The Brothers Brick.

Saving Net Neutrality

The FCC has extended its deadline for public commentary on proposed new rules regarding Net Neutrality, because their website crashed. Why did it crash? Because it was not prepared to handle the outpouring of support in favor of an open internet and opposition to a system where the few remaining ISPs are able to control what you see and how quickly you can see it.

We’ve got a few more days to make our voices heard. Please join me in voicing your support for Net Neutrality.

Here is one of my comments, dashed off and submitted through the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s web tool (feel free to reuse the last paragraph if you wish). There are other avenues to submitting a comment too. Be aware that your comment will be included in the public record and will be viewable online. So, limit your cursing. If you don’t feel like writing, there is a petition based submission platform from Fight for the Future.

Dear FCC,
I’m Joshua Witten and I live in Hartsville, SC.

Net neutrality, the principle that Internet service providers (ISPs) treat all data that travels over their networks equally, is important to me because without it users may have fewer options and a less diverse Internet.

A pay-­to-play Internet worries me because new, innovative services that can’t afford expensive fees for better service will be less likely to succeed.

The Internet provides a unique way to broadly connect our society in a way that fosters communication and creativity. A failure to guarantee Net Neutrality sacrifices the benefits to creativity and economics of an open Internet to protect a select few from the natural process of having to adapt to a changing business environment. A loss of Net Neutrality will disadvantage the most innovative segments of our society. It is the responsibility of the FCC to define and protect a communication environment that benefits the country, not a select few interests.

Sincerely,
Joshua Witten