Infrastructure & Planning student in the Netherlands.
Sometimes make things like this:
And I write here:
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- Cable TV greatly improved access to television content compared to over-the-air broadcast, with more and more channels and packages available year after year.
More and more packages - for more and more money, with the good ones of course spread over multiple packages. Check out that graph! It rises 3 times faster than inflation since 1998.
My argument is that the same cost hiking is bound to happen with internet if the FCC is gonna do this. The airline industry might serve as a good corollary to this. Airline seat pricing is time-dependent and, if the airlines had their way, customer-dependent. Do you know the concept of willingness to pay? It's the bread and butter of airline pricing: each person has a dollar value in their head that represents what they are willing to pay for a service: anything above and they won't buy a ticket. The only goal that shareholders want an airline to pursue is to get every person in every single seat to pay as close to that price as possible.
The most lucrative passengers are people who fly for business reasons, since the cost/benefit calculation is nearly always positive. If airlines could charge you more for traveling as a business-passenger they would, but they're not allowed to directly discriminate like that. But pretty much all business passengers want to be home on Friday or Saturday, so one of the best ways for airlines to figure out if you are a tourist or a businessman is to offer a cheap ticket that has your outbound flight before Saturday night and the inbound after. This is called the saturday-night stay, and while good competition can destroy it, the airline industry in the US has consolidated so much that it is pretty much standard now.
My "nightmare" scenario is that price-practices like this will also be adopted by ISPs. They have your internet history anyways, so they can totally figure out how rich you approximately are. Net neutrality also prevents discrimination between customers, if I understand it correctly.
Infrastructure costs are important, but it's not like cable companies aren't making plenty of money - the problem is that they let the customer pay for that kind of stuff, because capitalism. Also, wouldn't it be an argument for net neutrality if internet penetration is larger than TV cable penetration?
OMG DAT TABLLLE
Man, it totally sucks when you do the friend rate and it just becomes a shitshow like that. I've had some design projects like that go south, but never a "you're infuriatingly insulting" kind of going south. I think the only way forward is to sternly let him know that you will never do that again because you can't save the Titanic by calling in a friend. Maybe there's a slim chance he'll understand where you're coming from...
- It's not the final document, but a 90%-done document that determines whether you can graduate or whether you need to put more work into it. That meeting is next week
It went well! My committee thought that the core of my thesis is incredibly good but that I really need to streamline the shit out of my thesis. My goal was to strive for comprehensiveness, but they argued that it is much better to have a concise main story and leave the comprehensive details for the appendices because I was boring them to tears. Fair enough - I'm rewriting most of it anyways because I'm porting it all to LaTeX. I found a neat thesis template that, after some fiddling around, checks all the boxes.
The one downside is that I won't be graduating December 21st like I had planned because one of my thesis councilors will leave the country a few days before that. The next available date is halfway through January, which means that I didn't achieve my goal of graduating this calendar year. A bit of a bummer, but also a blessing in disguise because it gives me the breathing space to polish and perfect my thesis. Like, it gives me the time to have my thesis printed as a softcover 7x10.5" book, circulation of ~8. Partly because it'll make a splash, but mostly because it is cool af. (Especially because LaTeX allows me to format everything in Garamond beautifully.)
After some more job conversations I think I finally have a great answer to the age-old "so what do you want to do" question. It's a long answer, but the short version is a crossover between business development & innovation, data science, and urban planning. The great thing is that I can do that at all three companies that I'm in serious talk with. Tomorrow I'm gonna discuss details with my so-far-favorite. (I count my blessings that it's a close race though!)
Aldi and Lidl are know for temporarily selling random, cheap stuff in between the rest of the groceries. I found a 10-hole harmonica for like €4. I couldn't resist its sillyness. So if life ever blows I can blow that.
edit: I forgot to mention that that Punch Brothers album I posted in the music thread is really growing on me. It's eccentric and creative and I love it.
I have to admit, part of me also wanted that simple answer. My tiny roadtrip from San Diego to LA and back felt like a long-ass drive. And in that six hours, I got cut off by an asshole in a BMW thrice. But it's not like the rest of the world are saints: the Dutch are known to drive selfishly, rarely making room when you want to merge for example. Germans are nicer but are worse at tailgaiting.
What I did find worrisome was that driving in the U.S. and Canada was way easier (in terms of mental energy needed) than I expected. I did not feel like I needed to pay attention as much as I do over here, like once I'm on the right avenue I just have to follow the guy in front of me and not run a red light, even in dense urban areas. It was tempting to check my phone because driving was legitimately more boring than I was used to. My impression is that distracted driving is a much bigger issue over there than here.
Trainer's point is also that were it not for Trump, this backlash against harassment would never be as strong as it is. She also worries about what the backlash against #metoo might be, and now I kinda worry about that as well. Let's hope this resetting the bone doesn't break even more.
To put some numbers behind it, the theoretical capacity for a regular roundabout is 20-25k vehicles/day, whereas the above can process up to 40k/day, mostly dependent on where the largest flows come from. (A regular intersection with traffic lights can handle between 20-35k.)
Alright, let's talk plans. I consider them not-bad partly because of my frame of reference. Another thing is that they are far removed from my imagined 'worst nightmare' non-neutrality situation. I'm sure you've encountered this argument before, but I'm gonna bring it up anyway: what if internet is going to go the way of cable tv?
In this imagined world, companies have slowly persuaded people to get bundles for their most popular apps (like the kinda good deals in the Portugal example). Because people don't want to increase their internet fees too much (or at all), they downgrade their base bundle. So most customers then have a few bundles and a small base bundle. Each bundle has a data limit (because fair use).
There's a bunch of things I don't like about that scenario, which I think is likely to happen. Most notably, it is a world that heavily favours incumbents. You're not going to make it with your film streaming site Flatnix if Netflix is already in a popular bundle. The ISPs would probably ask a nice fee from each company that wants to join a bundle, one that will only make it harder for David to beat Goliath. Hubski would never be in a bundle, so that means I can only 'ski with that smaller bundle.
Secondly, with more bundles to keep in check, there will be more overcharge fees, which are probably super lucrative for ISPs. My mom is on social media all the time, and I had to explain to her that she really needs to turn off LTE and turn on wifi whenever she is at home or at work. Her bill almost double her actual plan for multiple months when I found that out.
Neither of those things are better at satisfying customer demand than our current, net neutral world.
- They already provide the very minimum (measured by cost to provide) that they can get away with, before too many customers switch to alternatives.
This is a good point and I don't have a good comeback to it. But as the above kinda shows, if profit is the main motivator (which we both agree on) customer demand is not the driving force. I think that the current local optimum of value per dollar offered to customers is higher than what we would end up with in a world where all ISPs would do a bundle-like thing like I described. I would much prefer ISPs increasing the price for all customers a little, instead of them increasing the price of visiting sites that they don't care about or don't favor.
- I don't think that without "grab 'em by the pussy" that we'd have people like Glenn Thrush and Charlie Rose being suspended.
I found Ezra Klein's conversation with Rebecca Trainer very enlightening. She remarks that the whole awakening we're going through now is not just about unearthing the sexual harassment itself, but probably more about finally seeing repercussions for that harassment. As in, the difference between Chris Rock and Harvey Weinstein is that only one of those two careers is destroyed because of the awful things they've done to women.
What people hoped was that Trump's sexual harassment would have repercussions on his political career and that it didn't says a lot about how far we still have to go.