Big Tech At War: Act 1, Scene 1.

This years started with a bang, and so much for all the hopes about 2021 as a better year than 2020.

You already know all about the riots in Washington DC; I bet that most of you are following the political downfall and the legal actions against the perpetrators. It looks like we have the start of the first war campaign made by the big tech companies, using Parler as the intended target.

Now, this is interesting for many different issues. This post of mine is intended to set some points together; I already know that there will be more to come. For a summary of all the related facts, I suggest reading this article (LINK). It’s from CNN, so you can drop all the bias against right-wing sources.

The first thing to be considered is the role of the app stores. Whatever your business is, you have to go through Google Play or Apple Store. The whole concept of gatekeepers was already discussed many times in the last ten years, so I will pass. Bear in mind that any app, no matter how successful, could be dropped (or suspended) from these stores any day.

BRITISH AIRSHIP PILOTS IN THE FIRST WORLD WAR (Q 67698) A British airman dropping a bomb. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:

The reaction of the Parler users has been defiant. You block the app? No problem, I will go thru a browser. Several tech-savvy posts about how to keep on your phone the Parler app are available, so a simple search will show you what to do. A word of warning, I haven’t tried any of such solutions (I’m not a Parler user), so be considered.

The second act of this little dirty war came later, with the decision from Amazon to zone out the Parler site from their AWS hosting service. For those who still don’t know, Amazon controls a huge share of the hosting market. They give a week’s notice, just the time needed for the news to circulate worldwide. So we have Google, Apple, and Amazon on the same side. Wow, it looks like overkill to me.

If you put yourself on the Parler side, business speaking, this is huge. The big players in the market just kick you out of the field, with many the media scene doing a standing ovation. I’ve lost count of the related posts on social media, not to mention hashtags and such. The message is quite clear: step out of the lines, you will be burned to the ground.

Now, I cannot predict the future. I know for sure many people will move to Parler and leave Twitter and Facebook for good. I also know a bigger number of good guys and gals who are ready to call for judiciary actions against Parler because it is “on the wrong side.” What I see here is another kind of polarization, with more fuel pumped on a fire that shows no signs of calming down.

Finally, we get another landmark. January 2021 will be marked as the start of internet-related corporate wars. Sorry, I’m not happy about that.

The Elephant in the Room

If you are following the ongoing debate about climate change, it’s easy to spot that many commentators are avoiding the biggest obstacle in our collective road for a better planet. As in the old say, there’s an elephant in the room.

The name of the elephant is expansion.

Continue reading

Deep Space Capitalism, here we come!

Sometimes, you have to love capitalism. I’m serious, this post is not a joke. For decades, science fiction fan and space enthusiasts like me dreamed about the first steps in the new space race, the colonization of our Solar System. A big part of this dream is related to the transformation of the asteroids in useful minerals sources, not to mention the chance to use some of them as bases in the Asteroid Belt.

There’s a beautiful site, aptly named Asterank (link here), where the available data about known asteroids are compiled and offered for public use. What amazes me the most is the purposed classification of the asteroids, something that speaks volumes about our possible future. “Most cost effective” or “Most valuable” may appear as bizarre right now, but are nonetheless an effective way to look at our rocky neighbors.

An example? The asteroid Bennu (that will be reached by the OSIRIS-REX mission for a sample-return mission) is listed at 669.96 million USD value for an estimated profit of 185 million USD. Not bad at all. Want more? The asteroid Ryugu, actually in the crosshairs of the Hayabusa2 mission for another sample-return mission, is listed at 82.76 billion USD  for an estimated profit of 30.07 billion USD. That’s much better! For many asteroids and other celestial bodies, there are not enough data so it will be pointless to estimate values. Others are too little or too far to be of any commercial interest.

Is there Capitalism in deep space? Not today. Not even tomorrow. It’s still something I hope to see in my lifetime.

France and Africa: a matter of money

The recent hush-hush between Italy and France about immigration from Africa stirred many discussions in the ‘net, with a whole lot of rage and indignation for the harsh words used by the French President and other people related to the French authorities against Italy.

When it comes to Africa and to the complex history between African countries and the former European powers the name of France stands out for a decision made in 1945, right after the Bretton Woods Agreements. They created two brand new currencies, named CFA Franc and CFP Franc, for their colonies with a fixed exchange with the French Franc. The former was created for the African colonies, the latter for the overseas territories (French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna). To add a layer of bureaucratic redundancy, CFA Franc was split in West African Franc and Central African Franc.

Continue reading

Italy and the Corruption Perception Index

You know, here in Italy we got a long and established relationship with the concept of corruption.

We could say that we set the whole stuff into a more organized machine back in the times of the Roman Empire and then carrying on such a damned tradition thru the Dark Ages and then to the modern world. I’m not exactly happy about that, let’s say that I’m trying to contain my rage in a box made of cynicism.

Continue reading

The new frontier of Cyber attacks – physical damage

We all know something about cybercrime and cyber attacks, right? Many experienced some kind of virus and/or had one of our accounts violated by some unknown wannabe hacker (the definition of hacker is something different, see below).
The goal of such crimes is about information and money, right? Grab some password, divert money to cryptocurrency account located in another country and so on. End of the story.

No. There’s more than that. Much more.

Continue reading

Gender equality is still far away

Today is about women, of course. Aside from celebrations and cultural events, the focus of this post will be about a simple concept – equal pay for women.

The year 2018 will be remembered for many different things, most still in the future of course, but one is absolutely pertinent for women. From the first day of this year in Iceland, a new law came into effect that will force firms with 25 or more workers to pay equal amounts of money to men and women. This law requires complying before the end of 2018 (link HERE).

No other country in the world got itself a similar law in effect. Let this fact sink in for a moment.

Continue reading

Cyber security, once again!

Title screen for the Betty Boop cartoon series.

Title screen for the Betty Boop cartoon series. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

All right, I’m a control freak when it comes to cyber security. I know it, you know it too. It’s no big surprise that I’ve just ended my last MOOC for this year and it’s related to this matter.

Once again I’ve used the FutureLearn platform, one of the best places to find free courses, to pick up a two-week course about the basics of cyber security for Small and Medium Enterprises. Yes, it’s about how to raise the awareness and about the understanding of this kind of risks. In the Trump-era the bar for the security has to be raised higher, no need to explain the reasons why.

Continue reading