Thursday, April 30, 2020

Is Sony abusing the DMCA takedown system with respect to "Last of Us"?

Here’s another story about copyright. “Is Sony Using the DMCA to Muzzle ‘Last of Us’ Leaks?”  Short title is “Sony: Abusing the Law?

Sony, remember, owns Columbia Pictures and was the victim of North Korea’s 2014 hack.

Several issues.  One is takedown notices of “discussion of leaks” from the “plot” of the game "Last of Us" (as if the game were an interactive animated movie where the user could choose the ending – Netflix has already experimented with that idea). (A few high profile sites like Variety have been sued for disclosing the leaks.  There is a separate area of law regarding non-compete and non-disclosure for employees.  Sometimes it may be "misappropriation" for a journalist to report a leaked trade secret (Justia).  There have been questions as to whether amateur bloggers can claim "reporters privilege or, conversely, be liable for misappropriation in cases like this;  details will have to be explored at another time.)

Hoeg Law points out that this gets around “fair use” – but then in Europe, for example, after the Copyright Directive, maybe Fair Use doesn’t exist.  This is leading to YouTube “copyright strikes” and “copyright school”, but that would not even be correct legally.

Hoeg points out that the DMCA safe harbor takedown can lead to a copyright strike even if the material is not legally infringing in US law.

I’ve wondered about movie review blogs where the blogger discusses “the ending”.  Arguably (at least prior to Covid) that could have discouraged ticket sales. Now a lot of the films I review are documentaries (where the historical ending is known) or short films.  Some of them may be older films where (if like a Hitchcock mystery, say “Vertigo”) the ending is known. I’ve never had a complaint, but maybe there is always a first time. I have never felt deterred from seeing a movie if I "know the ending" because my own psychological reaction to suspense is more individualized than most people's (my "schizoid" personality?) 
At 11:30 or so Hoeg discusses that a video’s or blog post’s discussion of major plot points or ideas is not a violation of copyright as the law is written.

Hoeg points out that bogus takedowns don’t risk “loser pays” unless Youtube or the original owner “knowlingly” violates the law (at about 18:30).

Hoeg emphasize that some of the takedowns are on material that is not copyrighted.
Electronic Frontier Foundation has often made these points in the past. 
There is another problem that has surfaced: as David Pakman has often said, other major media companies have used third parties to issue bogus DMCA takedowns of his own commentaries (on Youtube or Twitch) to get rid of low-cost competition.
At least there is some non-covid news that is important to report.

Update: May 1

Ryan Kinel describes his own copyright strikes for merely "talking about" the Sony material. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

YouTube seems serious about taking down videos that contradict health department guidance on COVID, even when the medical establishment waffles on its own recommendations

Matt Christiansen (I guess the libertarian from Montana) has a video this morning “Susan Knows Best” very critical of YouTube takedowns of material, even from doctors and local television questions, that seem to question the edicts on the lockdowns and extreme social distancing, out of fear that some na├»ve people will go out and violate the rules.

The case in point concerns two emergency room doctors in California who questioned whether the lockdowns go to far.  They made the point that when people stay inside and are hyper hygienic, they actually lose immune function of their own for other common germs, and that is probably true.  “Slobs” are often healthier when by themselves because they’re immune, as adults, to their own germs. But what happens when they have to interact with other people more vulnerable in public.  
That’s a dilemma.

Christiansen talks about the fallacy of “listen to the experts” and provides a series of links proving that experts, even peer-reviewed, have changed their minds several times:  WHO has reversed itself before, and recently the establishment reversed itself on masks.
He also provides (Bakersfield CA) 23abc’s (affiliated TV station) reaction to the takedown   and a Bitchute link to the original press conference.  (I don't know whether this station belongs to Sinclair, but Sinclair as a "conservative" owner is likely to question the "Democratic corporate establishment" on a lot of things that impact the economy downstream.) 

There have been some speculative criticisms of the doctors, including lack of peer review and possible financial incentives.

There is another overriding observation.  Conservatives and libertarians are not as willing to go out of the way to protect more vulnerable people from themselves, as is the authoritarian side of the Left. 

 But of course, one covert infected person walking in a crowd may be analogous to a camper throwing cigarette butts in a tender dry forest (most of all in California).
There have been some YouTube takedowns that sound more legitimate, like a few channels that have promoted chelation or other miracle “cures” for the coronavirus.
Picture:  Near US 50, west of Sacramento, my trip in Sept 2018, after a smaller wildfire.  I did see some small areas of wildfire damage on the trip. I think I was most recently in Bakersfield in 2002. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Disney Star Wars creates a temporary copyright and license panic on Twitter (meanwhile it can't reopen yet because of health crisis)

Hoeg Law today gets into something that I thought was obvious, but it’s subtle: “No, Disney Doesn’t Own Your Star Wars Tweets”.
The controversy occurred because of this tweet from Twitter’s Disney+ account. 

Hoeg does go into Twitter’s terms of service, and explains how reuse by retweeting or commenting fits into copyright law “as is”.

All platforms generally state that you own your own content as far as your right to reuse them.  If you took a photo (with some possible issues of “panorama” issues in some countries with artwork) you own it for reuse (and it’s a lot safer otherwise to use scenery photos you actually took).  But various providers or platforms will need the right to reuse some of what you post for their own legitimate business purposes, and that is the case with Disney (Star Wars attraction intro).
This gets to be more interesting when you think of the trends in social media now, to try to coerce more introverted users and content providers to help run “other people’s” fundraisers, given the polarized social climate and now going against coronavirus needs.
Picture:  Disney Epcot, Italy, my visit, July 2015 

Saturday, April 25, 2020

YouTube, in sensitivity about COVID posts, takes down video that explains Trump's metaphors when he "seemed" to suggest people treat themselves at home harmfully

A (“conservative”) Youtuber named Styx---666 had a video taken down by YouTube when the video had purported that Trump was “hardly wrong” in making suggestions about “light therapy and ingested disinfectant”.

He makes the point that Trump is not a wordsmith, being more like a cheerleader (or huckster or salesman) and phrases things in ways that his political enemies can exploit. 

The video is also on Bitchute.

Unfortunately, some of his followers or base did take him “literally” and wind up in the hospital.  OK, as David Pakman said in February 2019, many people online in the US (and elsewhere) are stupid and easily manipulated.  Some of these people wound up in the hospital through their density, as the New York Daily News reported.

This sounds like an issue we’ve seen before with radicalization.

Update: Tuesday, April 28, 4 PM EDT

Hoeg Law has a detailed video about YouTube's attempted implementation of deferral to "authoritative sources".  At 28:00 he talks about this issue with respect to WHO's mistakes, and then the flipflop on masks. 

(Picture: Grandfather Mountain, NC, 2013, mine.) 

Friday, April 24, 2020

Does YouTube's self-certification program set a trap?

Richard Hoeg, in Michigan, with Hoeg Law, talks about the risks of YouTubers signing up for YT’s self-certification program of advertiser-friendliness.

Despite a particular user’s good-faith belief that their content is advertiser-friendly, even for most advertisers, YT’s robots could decide that some topics are unusually sensitive and could result in demonetizing the entire channel or, in some extreme cases, completely removing it.

Hoeg seems to have run into an issue where he discussed a conspiracy theory linking coronavirus to 5G wireless technology (and soon we may have 6G).  To most of us, the theory sounds absurd (like Trump’s playing games with drinking household cleaners for coronavirus, which caused a real flap online Thursday).
Advertisers and social media platforms indeed are getting concerned with the intellectual immaturity  (or general factual illiteracy) of “average users” when they encounter conjectural content. 
Another concern to keep in mind is that the EU Copyright Directive is so strict (in theory) that YouTube has started thinking about precertifying content creators, at least in Europe, before they can post at all.  YouTube had warned about this possibility in the fall of 2918 

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Justice Department works with web hosts and domain registrars to shut down sites illegally exploiting coronavirus crisis with various fraud schemes (but a bit like FOSTA? like post-Charlottesville?)

The US Department of Justice has reported that it has worked with web hosting companies and domain name registrars to shut down sites commit fraud related to COVOD-19. Most of these efforts involved phishing activities or offering various kinds of miracle cures or preventatives against the novel coronavirus SARS-Cov2.  Some sites tried to collect personal information illegally or install malware.
Most legitimate web hosting companies prohibit running “online pharmacies as part of their terms of service.

Section 230 would not protect hosts (or social media platforms) if they know or are told that certain users or customers are actually doing something breaking federal law. This is a bit parallel to what might happen with FOSTA (Backpage).

The Washington Post has more details in a story by Joseph Marks.   The FBI is particularly wary of sites that try to scam stimulus relief payments.  Other sites have posed as legitimate charities and tried to collect donations.
This report does remind me of increased takedowns of domains by private companies for content related to white supremacy shortly after Charlottesville.
I found a YouTube video promoting coronavirus domain name flipping for profit, rather shocking, probably against YT’s rules (especially after the DOJ announcement April 22).  But it does note that domain names on this problem have been around since 2011, rather odd (SARS happened in 2003). What did people overseas (like in China) know years ago?

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

DMCA hampers medical technicians repairing equipment in emergency circumstances during COVID outbreak

Reason has a video and writeup of an issue where medical technicians need to fix equipment (especially ventilators) during the COVID-19 epidemic, and basically have to violate copyright law, especially the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, to do their jobs and save lives.  A medical technician named Justin Barber (in Houston, TX) is featured. Like the doctors and nurses, he has to wear protective equipment and scrub.

Electronic Frontier Foundation has often written about the “fix it yourself” issue and the DMCA provisions that try to prohibit this.
There are sites like “I Fix It” and especially Frank’s “Hospital Workshop” with compendiums of manuals on how to service medical equipment.  But HW has gotten DMCA takedown notices.
Furthermore the medical equipment trade association Advamed has lobbied for strict enforcement of DMCA, on the theory that expertise is needed. But with COVID there is not enough time.
The video traces the history of the DMCA, where the fear of video piracy drove it (and led to a close call with the defeat of SOPA in early 2012).
In 1998, I benefited from a new medical device for an acetabular hip fracture (at the University of Minnesota) and it worked and healed perfectly.

Monday, April 20, 2020

CNN is showing anti-lockdown protests in Harrisburg (and other places); is it illegal for non-corporate media to violate stay-at-home to film these?

In various states (today its in Harrisburg PA) protesters are assembling to challenge stay-at-home orders and business closures.  True, the protests come mostly from conservative groups.

CNN has been showing the protests all day, and it raises a serious question: Can a corporate news media outlet legally break stay-at-home rules because it is an essential business, to film a possibly (right now illegal) protest (First Amendment challenges sound plausible, to me at least)?  

Presumably, an independent journalist may not, even if “they” make a living doing this. 

This video (above) was apparently filmed independently, and independent producers do license footage to each other in other states;  that is common.  The filmmaker here may be someone who lives near Harrisburg and who didn’t face any state-line travel quarantines.

Yet this sounds like a serious question in principle, given YouTube’s idea of “commercial viability” that came up last December.

I don’t intend to film protests right now because of the orders and personal safety, and I don’t make a living from it – but I can see how the latter phrase can become even more important now in tech platform policy.
It is common that only corporate media outlets have press passes to the White House and other sensitive locations, although sometimes independent journalists have been allowed – and we all know corporate media is trying to get rid of low cost competition – and YouTube seems to be trying to shed independent journalism because of advertiser preferences.
Adi Robinson in the Verge reports that Facebook is banning announcements of protests that violate social distancing rules (and I guess it stops livestreams of them – I wonder about the Harrisburg protest).

Picture: Near Harrisburg: July 2019, my trip 

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Do bloggers (and sci-fi novelists) create their own realities, that they will then have to live under? The virus seems to say that

A couple of thoughts about user-generated content, mine at least.

One of these concerns has to do with my novel manuscripts and sci-fi screenplays, which use material from the DADT books retrospectively.

The novel, in fact, has a “virus” in the plot (it turns out there are some prescient similarities to COVID, even though I started thinking about this around 1999) and there is also an cadre of people from varied backgrounds (with particular attention to a few characters and families) who will escape from Earth, to Titan, and then (in a sequel) to another star system in an O’Neill Cylinder that “aliens” (or “angels”) have built.  Likewise, in the screenplay, the characters are already on the Cylinder;  some will return to a (ruined) Earth for a while before reboarding and going to another home for good.  (As for the virus, I saw what was happening by late January, but I thought the contact tracing and testing would be more effective than it turned out to be.)

A colony living in a “High Frontier” artificial world and transporting over generations to a new home would need an authoritarian political setup. Whole generations might be born and live on the ship and never have the reward of landing.  Individualism would be gone, and people’s heads would have to be oriented only toward the future of the tribe and its comradeship.  Procreation would be mandatory. If that sounds like communism, even Maoism, well, maybe it is.

Science fiction writers indulge in these fantasy plots believing they will never have to live inside their own mental creations.  The coronavirus from China (Red State calls it “Wuhan Virus”) has certainly turned some of us upsidedown, finding ourselves threatened with living the rest of our days (and at age 76 they could be limited) under a system we had imagined on paper.  Is that karma?  Witchcraft means, you create your own reality, and may one day have to live under the products of your own imagination.  Maybe I am living in a simulation.
There is also a potential concern about speech (videos and blog posts) debating the coronavirus issues. Some, even in tech, may rightly fear that these gratuitous content items will give some visitors the impression that, for example, following social distancing rules is a “debate” and not a necessity to save (other people’s) lives.  It is very difficult for someone who is already used to working alone to imagine the kind of solidarity expected down the road.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Tech still doesn't have a good idea on how journalists should be compensated

Daniel Tovrov has an interesting article “Dropshipping Journalism” about Newsweek, and how journalists are compensated. 
It’s disturbing because it implies that writers have been compensated by number of unique (unduplicated) viewers and views, and that such practice encourages clickbait.
This also suggests to me, at least, that the tech industry views analytics as a way of judging your influence on “the system” is someone questions your intentions for how you run your presence online.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Ted Talk from Baylor University and Helena Group warns of dangers to power grids

Tedx organized a talk at Baylor University in Texas (I presume with empty seats) on April 10, 2020 "A Catastrophic Blackout Is Coming, Here’s How We Can Stop It".

The speaker was Samuel Feinburg from the Helena Group.

He said that we are very bad at heeding warnings about coming catastrophes, as COVID 19 proves (the idea of exponential chain reactions). He gives an example of a member of the Titanic crew in 1912.
There are four major ways to lose the grid: Cyber attack (Ted Koppel’s book). Solar storm with big coronal mass ejections (Carrington in 1857, Quebec in 1989), EMP (he mentions a threat from North Korea two weeks ago which I didn’t hear about) and physical attacks (like one in San Mateo CA in 2013) which might include flux devices near transformers (the Popular Mechanics story in 2001).
I believe Taylor Wilson is a member of Helena and has proposed decentralized underground fission reactors as a solution.
Feinberg (in the talk, toward the end) urges some activism, contacting Congress, organizing. 
Note my own Medium essay is linked on a post here Aug 30, 2018.  It seems logical to me that an enemy could use our disruption now as an opportunity to try particularly the last kind of attack.
Update: May 13, 2020
I see when looking at the notes that the talk had been given in Sept. 2017, and an audience is there (pre-social distancing by two+ years). Samuel would certain say now that Covid provides an example of what he said, how terrible we were at seeing this pandemic coming at us and how its paradigm would work. I hope we hear more from the Helena Group publicly now. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Yes, the virus partially fooled me until mid March, and I should have seen some of this sooner myself

I wanted to note today how indeed I, as was “everybody else” for a long time, fooled by the menace of coronavirus Sars-Cov2 before it “exploded” in the U.S. essentially in mid March 2020. 

How could a virus that many people have almost no symptoms from, create such a catastrophe?  Of course, we know the answer is simply in the exponential mathematics:  extreme contagion (apparently) before or without symptoms, quickly builds up a pool of “infected” persons, and enough of them have severe disease in a short time in a larger city to overwhelm the health care system.  
Even as late as early March (I am in DC area) I had hoped that contact tracing "containment" would work alone, and that one could simply be careful about where you went but live normally (but avoid air travel, as well as probably train and Metro if possible). 
Furthermore, we don’t know what secondary phantom menace exists.  We’re not sure how completely some people recover, given all the info of long term damage to other organ systems, especially kidney and central nervous system. Will the virus become one that can hide and reactivate in some people?  (Washington Post story  There is also other evidence that the virus causes clotting in lungs and heart and that anti-coagulants may be of more help than we had thought (Peak Prosperity).
I had written about other menaces that could radically change society over the last few years.  The main one that caught my attention was EMP, partly with the incentive from a few books (by Forstchen and Ted Koppel, especially, as well as papers from Oak Ridge)  

At this point, we don’t know how well vaccines and herd immunity will work, and we keep our fingers crossed.  The potential exists for a virus like this to have a profoundly and permanent negative impact on people (like me) whose values are highly individualistic and global, who don’t form strong personal bonds locally, or who don’t have a lot of hands-on practical skills needed in more localized, communal living (with intentional communities today being the extreme example).  This indeed migrates to new views of personal morality.

But the “jury” is not back yet on this. And it is a shameful pity if we loose the neoliberal system we have now to this.  China is an adversary. The virus appears to occur naturally (from the evidence) but China was certainly reckless (with its lab and wet markets) and hid the data for a while.  And then the Trump administration clearly was blindsided and incompetent (with the test kit fiasco and denials). 
Here’s a link on mask-making (from Jack Andraka at Stanford).  Fortunately the masks I ordered are arriving.  I have to say, however, that I feel that seeing everyone (that's not quite happening yet where I live) walking around with a mask makes me feel that the whole country has been contaminated by war. 

(Illustration: The mask above is NOT N95.  I got three of them to use.  I have some cloth masks on order (two different companies, one of them is Custom Ink). They can all be washed easily for reuse.)  

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Tim Pool for President (sorry Ford Fischer, Jack Andraka, or Cameron Kasky): the need for youth in office (and not just on social media)

OK, Tim Pool is, I think, six weeks too young to be inaugurated president of the United States on January 20, 2021. Biden is slipping and looks tired.  Maybe Bernie could come back, but he had a heart attack. If you can’t accept a “President Cameron Kasky” (Twitter doesn’t, at age 19), well, maybe Andrew Cuomo will get the nod.  He acts like a president already. (And he quoted my books  once.) 
Or, Stanford Graduate Student Jack Andraka (of NatGeo's film “Science Fair” with his pancreatic cancer test invented at age 15) may be “only” 23, but had he been president as 2020 started, the COVID threat would not have been missed.  Jack would have jumped right on the intelligence from China. He’s right in the middle of all the research right now.
We do need much younger people in politics.  We need brains. Maybe we need an M.D. in the White House some day, to fix health care financing once and for all and provide universal care.
Seriously, let’s look at while Pool thinks his position in social media is so precarious now.  Adam Crigler is there, as is Emily (from Subverse) remotely.
I think Ezra Klein’s book “Why We’re Polarized” (which I reviewed on Wordpress recently) speaks to this dilemma.  Yes, Ezra Klein is a reasonable candidate for president. 
At one point he talks about “epistocracy” where individual speakers (like Pool, or Ford Fischer, or David Rubin, or Sargon of Akkad, or me, for that matter (even though my style is quite different from the others).  My idea, especially before perhaps 2010 especially, was simply to be found passively by search engines, without much interaction from readers, except occasionally and sporadically. That was unusually effective with an issue like gays in the military and the don’t ask don’t tell policy (repealed in 2011 under Obama).  It is somewhat effective with some of the Internet speech issues (like understanding Section 230-like problems).  It is much less effective with issues perceived as remediable by class or group solutions – intersectionality.
The antonym, of course, is goading everyone into joining groups and pimping and raising money for them (my notorious “Dangerous Thought Experiment”).  Klein talks about this late in the book, where he compares corporate donation to political (and issue) campaigns and large non-profits, to individual donations.  The latter, when they are funneled to specific PAC campaigns, tend to correlate to narrow, sometimes extreme and not well-thought-out ideas.  So the idea of being expected to “join up” does not work very well either. 
You need some kind of systemic reform, he thinks, which sounds undoable.

You will have a different, more solitary Easter, alone together online. 
Picture: Pitman, NJ, original site of the Minds Conference Aug 31, 2019, moved to Philadelphia.  Those were the good old days now. 

Friday, April 10, 2020

No, if you're a bookworm who can't sew his own mask, you won't go to one of Chairman Mao's re-education camps -- but you need to do something....

Katie Conner writes for CNET, “Making your own face mask or covering at home isn’t for everyone, and that’s OK”.  Indeed, because otherwise some of us have an existential crisis: we become the mooches that are a threat to others (according to Maoist theory that China is gleefully passing around the world in criticizing our lax lockdowns).  
CNET recommends Custom Ink (in several locations in the DC area, although right now the website shows only Merrifield VA as open) as a supplier of simple cloth masks. 

The site says you can do expedited delivery but when I ordered it that option would not come up.  A set of 12 as $37.50 with normal delivery and tax.

(Please, understand, I don’t get sponsors for posts, and I am “reporting” on it, not advertising it;  however a similar product could very well show up in Adsense automatically.  Ordinary consumers should not intentionally order medical masks for this use, and advertisers should not display them on websites, blogs, or videos.  Getting up to speed on “citizen war responsibility” for masks is taking time.)

Washington DC and Montgomery County MD have, as of this writing, required shoppers in grocery stores to wear face coverings.  News reports said “masks”  The actual text of the DC order allows “mouth covering”.  Montgomery County says “face covering” (Dcist).
In a pinch, I am finding that a U-neck t-shirt tied behind the back will stay on if you anchor it to your nose with glasses (or tape), to free both hands. 
I have two orders for masks waiting for delivery (including Custom Ink just now), which is very slow.   

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

YouTube apparently demonetizing "non-Leftist" commentary channels (Scarcella; We Are Change)

Yesterday, Tim Pool and Adam Crigler discussed YouTube’s recent activity purging a few more major channels (I think he means “demonetizng” but then there is the backup idea of “commercial viability”), on Timcast IRL (which is Tim’s “higher production studio” series).

YouTube channels for Arielle Scarcella, a lesbian Brooklyn “hipster” supposedly venturing toward the right in some of her political views, and Luke Rudlowski (“We Are Change”) were demonetized.
I looked at them briefly.  Scarcella just seemed to be attacking the radical Left (and radical Right) while sometimes having modestly adult content.  Rudkowski simply was reporting the truth about coronavirus as it unfolded in earlier weeks and challenging reassurances from a major media and governments.  At one point, Italy encouraged local citizens (in Florence) to “hug” Chinese visitors.  Two weeks later their own pandemic blew up.  Yet YouTube called Luke's content "harmful" and spreading conspiracy theories and "racism".  
Pool reasons that YouTube offers so much (non-corporate) content that advertisers will no longer pay enough to support its business model.  That's one reason it wants to exit the world of encouraging users to post large volumes of their own content. 
Pool notes YouTube has told him not to mention certain items for at least two weeks after they have appeared in large corporate media (such as China's apparent culpability for allowing the coronavirus to get out of control and hiding the information at first). He is not allowed to mention the "whistleblower" even though conservative outlets have made the name public (and I may have met him).  

Independent journalism and commentary no longer has integrity if certain topics that are in the public news domain already are off the table.  This is more a problem of how non-literate people react to getting news from non-"approved" sources, and (given the emergency situation that has exploded) believe that some public health matters are matters of debate now rather than necessity. 
I don’t have a problem, though, if YouTube wants to rent movies like Netflix or Amazon.  I rent them That’s just an older (non user-generated) line of business.

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

No, you don't need to be paranoid about the grocery store (WSJ)

Here is a sane advice on grocery shopping during the pandemic by Sumathi Reddy for the Wall Street Journal (paywall).
If you live alone, you probably don’t have to be super paranoid about contamination. It’s better to go early (after the store has done its nightly disinfection). If you’re a senior, it’s better to use senior hours (which are early, right after the store opens). Very large stores are safer because people can spread out. Cashiers should be protected by plexiglass.

On the masks, a tied and taped t-shirt will have to do until a set arrives by Amazon Thursday (it’s supposed to be non-medical). 

I personally question whether homemade masks do much good unless they are made well.  Oriental countries have enforced rules and have enough of them manufactured to certain standards for everyone.  I think this is something where small manufacturers can retool if they attract investors, which ought to be something business people are setting up.  In NYC, the garment district could make more of them.  I don’t know why this isn’t happening more.  I understand they are sold on Times Square, however.   The “real David Hogg” in North Carolina has some other little businesses as a teenager (sewing kits for potholders).  I can honestly imagine this “kid” forming a company to do this and do well with it. Mark Cuban (Shark Tank), take notice.

Saturday, April 04, 2020

How stable will tech companies remain during a prolonged pandemic?

David McCabe writes in the New York Times about the tech companies, as likely to somehow come out “ahead” in the coronavirus crisis.

It would be important that they can keep their servers running, capacity and bandwidth, and can handle support tickets with most workers at home.

Servers are located all over the country, usually in the exurbs or larger cities and their workforces are probably not exposed to the worst concentrations of infection.
It would also be important that there not be political pressure on hosts or platforms (which are already tightening up on misinformation and have had free speech battles since essentially 2017) to cut off “non essential” users according to somebody’s political (maybe Marxist) calculation. It would also be critical that the president's emergency powers don't interefere. 

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Plasma with antibodies from recovered COVID19 patients might help the very ill; trials are starting now; important research on buildings

Before the AIDS epidemic, it was common for some lower income gay men to donate plasma for income (although Hepatitis B was a threat).

Now the practice may come back with people who have recovered from COVID-19 and who have effective antibodies.  Some may make repeated donations.  The process takes blood out of one arm and returns it to the other, while the plasma and antibodies are filtered out. I watched it one time in downtown Dallas sometime in 1982.  It’s possible that more of these donors will be female, since women seem to have lower death rates and higher recovery rates (for younger adults that may not be as likely). 

The Atlantic has a detailed story by Sarah Zhang March 28, 2020.  The Verge has a story by Nicole Wetsman. 
There has been some talk that sometimes antibodies become a vehicle for viral reentry (Antibody Dependent Enhancement or ADE) but that now seems speculative.
Marcelo Gleiser has a striking op-ed on CNN this morning, “COVID-19 will change us as a species”, away from individualistic ideas of identity.  It could shift things toward the left, or toward tribalism everywhere.

Update: Later April 1

Stanford University and the University of Michigan discuss their work with wastewater examination for SARS-Cov2. Tonight there was transient discussion of ventilation in buildings on Don Lemon's show, as covered here in my Twitter thread (several posts). 

Update: April 6 

CNN story about a male plasma donor in Los Angeles. Some young men contemplating this possibility may back off social media for a while.  Ironically, however, single young adults who do keep to themselves a lot ("creative introverts") probably are (usually) at much less risk of getting infected before there is a vaccine.