Any sincere theory of property rights would bankrupt the energy sector

If you believe in the sanctity of property rights, you believe that the law should entitle you to compensation if someone damages your property; the energy sector has knowingly, willfully destroyed some of the most valuable property on earth, in large coastal cities, and if libertarians and right-wingers were sincere in their belief in private property (as opposed to mere oligarchic consolidation of wealth and power), they would be baying for the liquidation of every energy company's fortunes to compensate the owners of all that property. After all, only 25 companies are responsible for more than half of the planet's emissions. Read the rest

Vinod Khosla, Beach Villain

Billionaire investor Vinod Khosla has spent years trying to block public access to a public beach in California adjacent to property he owns. He's not only tarnished his reputation, but become a focal point for Americans' growing fear that the ultra-rich are buying the country from under our feet.

A New York Times profile conducted at his invitation, then, threatens to be its least appealing article since the lavish fluffing it gave Ohio Nazi Tony Hovater. But Nellie Bowles' low-key lighting of the path to the sand is perfect. They shiv him with the headline of the year—"Every Generation Gets the Beach Villain it Deserves"—and she lets his monumental narcissism bleed out underneath it.

“I’ve never claimed people can’t come in from the ocean,” he says, seeming to suggest they swim around a rocky promontory. (“No, not death,” he says, when I call later to clarify. “Boats.”)

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“I mean, look, to be honest, I do wish I’d never bought the property,” Mr. Khosla says. “In the end, I’m going to end up selling it.”

“If this hadn’t ever started, I’d be so happy,” he adds. “But once you’re there in principle, you can’t give up principle.” He frames the struggle in the Silicon Valley patois of contrarianism. “I’d rather do the right hard things now that I’m in,” he says, “than the wrong easy things.”

Khosla's complaining at Bowles after the article went up is a good example of the Musk Coefficient: the gap between the carefully-cultivated Silicon Valley entrepreneur monopersona and its bathetic "Trump with another 10 IQ points" failure state on Twitter. Read the rest

EFF's PlayStation 3 PSA: jailbreaking shouldn't be a crime

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is petitioning the US Copyright Office for a DMCA exemption legalizing "jailbreaking" -- modifying the devices you own so that they can run software of your choosing. The Copyright Office holds hearings every three years on DMCA exemptions and these need to be renewed at each hearing.

To highlight the need for a jailbreaking exemption, EFF has made this video showing how Sony shipped its PlayStation 3 with the promise that users could run GNU/Linux on it, a promise that was taken up by many purchasers, including the USAF, who used a room full of PS3s running Linux to make a clustered supercomputer. But Sony changed its mind and revoked the feature after the fact and began to actively pursue legal penalties against researchers who attempted to restore it.

However, in April 2010, Sony’s mandatory firmware update -- version 3.21 -- removed the ability to install "Other OS" -- meaning no more Linux on your PlayStation. To add legal muscle to its firmware, Sony sued several security researchers for publishing information about security holes that would allow users to run Linux on their machines again. Claiming that the research violated the DMCA, Sony asked the court to impound all "circumvention devices" -- which it defines to include not only the defendants' computers, but also all "instructions," i.e., their research and findings.

This means you can set your PlayStation on fire, but you can’t run Linux on hardware you own. To illustrate how ludicrous this is, we made a video illustrating what an owner can do with a PlayStation -- and what Sony contends they can’t.

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