On his Big Questions blog, Steven Landsburg (author of a new book called The Big Questions
) discusses a partially blind gamer's lawsuit against Sony. The gamer wants Sony to makes its games more accessible for partially blind people.
Here's the first part of Landsburg's thoughts on the issue:
This raises the question: Exactly what does Sony owe to Alexander Stern (and others like him)?
A similar issue comes up in Chapter 20 of The Big Questions, where Mary the landlord won’t rent to, say, Albanians. Ought we force her to?
In The Big Questions, I make two separate (but closely related) arguments on Mary’s behalf. I was about to write a blog post offering the same arguments on behalf of Sony when I realized that only one of them applies. So I am forced to conclude that I should be a little less sympathetic to Sony than I am to Mary.
My first argument is that Mary never had any moral obligation to rent to anyone in the first place–and if she has no general obligation to rent to anyone, then she can have no specific obligation to rent to Albanians. Likewise, Sony has no moral obligation to provide anyone with video games–and if there is no moral obligation to provide me with a video game then there is no obligation to provide one to Alexander Stern. Fine so far.
But my second argument is that Mary, appearances to the contrary, is actually doing some good for Albanian apartment seekers. By renting rooms to non-Albanians, she takes a little pressure off the housing market, driving down rents and making it easier for Albanians to find apartments elsewhere. Sure, she could be doing even more for them, but she’s already doing more for them than I am, since I don’t rent apartments to anyone at all. How can she be at fault for doing small amounts of good when I’m given a free pass to do no good at all?
Read the rest
at his blog.
Two years ago, the NoPhone launched to rave reviews as the most minimalist yet secure handset on the market. The NoPhone Selfie is the long-awaited follow-up, adding the ability to picture the user themselves without adding significantly to the unit’s price. At $18, the NoPhone Selfie remains among the cheaper options. Mine has a problem, […]
reMarkable’s 10.3″ tablet has an e-ink display with a paper-like texture, a digital pencil with 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity, and promises to finally replace all that paper in your workspace. The pitch: read, write and sketch, all on one gadget. Unlike traditional paper, reMarkable connects to the digital world when you need it to. […]
Here’s this year’s complete Boing Boing Gift Guide: more than a hundred great ideas for prezzies: technology, toys, books and more. Scroll down and buy things, mutants! Many of the items use Amazon Affiliate links that help us make ends meet at Boing Boing, the world’s greatest neurozine. Gadgets / Books / Toys and Trivia
Holiday shopping is in full swing, and the Striiv Touch is one of the best gift ideas I’ve landed on. Its simple design works for females and males, and its wide range of features makes it suitable for even the non-fitness enthusiasts in your life.Unlike traditional fitness trackers, the Striiv Touch also acts as a smartwatch. It […]
The Pocket Tripod PRO had massive Kickstarter success in 2013, raising almost $85,000 in a single month. But this isn’t just another case of pre-release product hype. This ingenious little device folds out from a credit-card-shaped plastic slab into a sturdy stand with a surprisingly wide range of motion. In portrait orientation, your phone slides […]
Loot Crate is a totally different kind of subscription service that mails subscribers monthly boxes filled with curated geek, pop culture, and gamer paraphernalia. Its cult following awaits a box every month filled with everything from bobble heads to T-shirts to special edition collectibles. But nothing gets Loot Crate fans as excited as the limited […]