Category Archives: Web/Tech

An open letter to Mark Zuckerberg

Dear Mark, Like the Bob Marley song of yore, we continue to wait in vain for Facebook to introduce a “dislike” button. Although it’s your website, it’s very patronizing that you refuse to give us this choice. Nevertheless, instead of endlessly debating … Continue reading

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Which occupations are “robot-proof”?

Take the quiz here. (Hat tip: the amazing Tyler Cowen.)

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Taxing robots (Pigovian beard tax edition)

Microsoft billionaire and quasi-monopolist Bill Gates recently proposed that we should tax robots. But should we really tax robots? Why not impose a tax on every line of computer code instead? Or why not tax computer programmers who sport beards? … Continue reading

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Class No. 6 (The Law of Ideas)

During the previous two weeks, we have surveyed two major areas of business law: contracts and torts. In summary, the law of contracts tells us when our promises are legally enforceable, while the law of torts tells us when we … Continue reading

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Facebook’s birthday

Facebook was launched from Mark Zuckerberg’s dorm room 13 years ago today (it was called thefacebook back then), yet there is still no DISLIKE button after all these years. But when should the billionaire CEO celebrate Facebook’s birthday: when he … Continue reading

Posted in Culture, History, Web/Tech | 1 Comment

Captcha arms race update

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The Ethics of Facebook Live

What legal or ethical obligations, if any, do social media companies like Facebook owe to the public at large? Last year, for example, at least 57 violent or illegal acts—including shootings, burglaries, and beatings—were transmitted via live-video platforms like Facebook Live. According to Mary Anne Franks, a law … Continue reading

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What was your first computer?

Anil Dash put this nostalgic question up on Twitter, a question that has been posed many times before. (See here and here, by way of example.) Ours was a Macintosh SE, like the one pictured below, which our parents purchased for us as a graduation gift during … Continue reading

Posted in History, Questions Rarely Asked, Web/Tech | 6 Comments

How are big box stores like Wells Fargo?

Lots of big box retailers like Walmart and Home Depot are ramping up their use of self-scanners in order to reduce their labor costs. That is, instead of waiting in a long line to have a cashier ring up your purchases, you can save … Continue reading

Posted in Bayesian Reasoning, Deception, Ethics, Game Theory, Law, Probability, Web/Tech | 5 Comments

“Sit with Us”

That is the name of a cool new App created by Natalie Hampton, a teenager from Sherman Oaks, California. Her App helps school kids navigate what one blogger (Maddy Myers) calls “the politics of the lunch table.” According to Ms Myers, “kids who … Continue reading

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