Notes for Tuesday, October 26, 2021

The Mac Book Pro arrived today, got my apps and data migrated from the Mac mini so it’s now my single Mac for use at the desk and around. Initial impression is that its solid, big and very fast.

Looking at ways of scripting the Zettelblogging process, but I’ve begun building a bit in Tinderbox, but convinced I’ll probably keep the output for the site in Ulysses.

Another photographer who pre-visualizes in camera is Phil Penman. He was using a Leica SL, which is the big , heavy mirrorless but switched to the rangefinder M, but using the screen at the back or a Visoflex accessory electronic view finder so that he sees what the camera will record. I’ve used the display on my M a good bit, but don’t really like focusing using the peaking function which detects image edges by contrast.

Tax on unrealized capital gains that’s been proposed seems to me to be just a way to redistrubute some money from a dozen extraordinarily wealthy stock holders to the Federal Government which aims to further redistribute to people. I’m not really convinced that’s a public good, which should be the function of government.

On the other hand, many Americans are used to paying taxes on unrealized gains when they pay real estate taxes to their local government. Your house is appraised by the government and every year they take a small percentage of that appraised value for the public good to provide services like sewer, schools and local roads. A wealth tax like that which included private businesses, stock holdings, bonds, real estate, art and other wealth seems more reasonable as a way to provide for the public good other than just taxing income rather than investment and ownership gains. There’s also an argument that a Value Added Tax, used through much of the rest of the word, is a better way to tax commerce to provide for the public good.

What if you created a monster?

Dave Winer writes

Re Facebook and hate speech, every online system is a haven for all kinds of speech. No one knows how to control it, and esp not at the scale that Facebook operates.

It’s not that Facebook needs to control it. The hate and lies on the internet reflect the bad impulses that people have. We’re socialized to moderate these behaviors and use our impulses for good to keep control. The internet environment is permissive and the evil that people harbor comes out.

We don’t hold manufacturers of printers responsible for what’s printed and we don’t hold phone carriers responsible for what’s said on their networks. In fact, for the most part, no one criticizes the internet infrastructure for enabling this bad behavior.

The difference is that Facebook, Twitter and other platforms employ algorithms that amplify bad behavior because content that gets attention is good for selling advertising. The algorithms may be independent of moral values and only distinguish activity, but they create an environment where hate and lies thrive.

Sure it’s an unintended consequence, but if you own the machine that’s doing harm, even though you never wanted that outcome, its sensible that you’ll be held responsible for the results of your attention driven system full of hate and lies.

From a simple moral perspective, if I created a monster that caused harm, I’d pull the plug or at least take action to moderate the injury even if it cost money. We couldn’t sell a drug which caused that kind of injury along with the good, but of course pharmaceuticals is a highly regulated industry for just that reason.