Options Techtonic with Mark Hurst: Playlist from March 29, 2021 Options

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Conversations with creators and thinkers who are charting the way forward in a tech-saturated society. Tech, community, video games, and whatever else is next.

Mondays 6 - 7pm (EDT) | On WFMU | 91.1, 90.1, 91.9 FM & wfmu.org
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Options March 29, 2021: Disinformation and a stuck boat

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A giant container ship got stuck in the Suez Canal last week, messing up global commerce, around the time that three Big Tech CEOs went in front of Congress to explain how they messed up everything else in our lives.


House Hearing on Combating Online Misinformation and Disinformation (March 25, 2021): "The CEOs of Facebook, Google, and Twitter testified on their companies' efforts to combat misinformation and disinformation on their platforms. Lawmakers from two House Energy and Commerce subcommittees pressed the witnesses on various topics, including government regulation of social media content, each company’s policies on removing content, and protecting children on the internet."

What Can We Learn from a Big Boat Stuck in a Canal? (Matt Stoller, March 28, 2021): "Just make ships bigger, went the thinking, until a big boat got stuck in a canal, taking down global supply chains with it. It seems so dumb. And it is. ... It's a dumb way to organize a global supply chain system, just as it was dumb to build ships that are too big to fit into canals."

Artist Track Images Approx. start time
  Disinformation and a stuck boat: how Big Tech CEOs have us all stuck in a narrow canal
Tomaš Dvořák  Game Boy Tune   Options
  Mark's intro  
  Tim Maughan excerpt  
0:08:32 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
  Congressional hearing excerpts  
0:27:52 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
Angélique Kidjo  Once In a Lifetime   Options
0:55:41 (MP3 | Pop‑up)

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Listener comments!

Avatar Swag For Life Member 5:57pm Handy Haversack:

Mark and the Techyon Drives! Let me just get this Techgin poured ...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:00pm ultradamno:

Mark! Techsicologists!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:00pm listener james from westwood:

Good Monday evening, Mark and all!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:00pm ultradamno:

So, Elon Musk bombed Seattle this week....
  6:01pm Roland from Australia:

Here we go ... greeting all.
  6:02pm David in London:

Hello Technoids. Evening Mark and assembled groovers.
Avatar 6:02pm Bas NL:

Hi Mark! Techtonichords!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:03pm Ike:

Breaking news: Gov. Quid Pro Cuomo is trying to get attention off all his scandals by unilaterally declaring that everyone 30+ can get vaccinated starting TOMORROW. Apparently he's done this without warning anybody else in the city or state first, as he usually does, because he's a wannabe dictator. So I'm sure this will go well and not be totally chaotic at all: gothamist.com...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:03pm Rich in Washington:

Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:05pm tim from champaign (now washington):

Hey Mark and folks!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:05pm ultradamno:

King Kong, if you want to be current
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:06pm Rich in Washington:

@ultradamno: It was really visible in the Portland/Lower Columbia Basin area. There were even sonic rumblings when it went over.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:06pm Handy Haversack:

The Tech Gin joined this week by Tech Dry Vermouth, Sweet Vermouth, Triple Sec, and Orange Juice. Break up the monopoly!

I missed last week's but have not had a chance to go back ...
  6:07pm David in London:

Handy, ultradamno, tim, Bas.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:07pm ultradamno:

That must have been a nice surprise for you all 😬
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:07pm ultradamno:

Hiya DiL!
Avatar 6:07pm Bas NL:

Hi DiL!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:08pm Handy Haversack:

Hey, David, Ike, Rich, ultradamno, tim, Bas, James. Greetings from seventy miles norther than usual!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:08pm ultradamno:

Hey Handy!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:09pm tim from champaign (now washington):

Hey Handy!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:09pm Devin B.:

Here's an interesting piece about what may have happened to the Ever Given: www.ft.com...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:09pm DjLorraine:

Hi everyone and Great Scott
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:09pm Handy Haversack:

Infinite Detail was excellent. Strong recommend!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:09pm tim from champaign (now washington):

I'm still stuck on the fact that there a boat that's a goddamn 1/4 of a mile long.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:10pm Wendy del Formaggio:

Hi Mark! Hi friends!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:11pm Mark Hurst:

Hi Wendy! Hi all!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:11pm ultradamno:

Sure, the big ship was fun, but what about the giant, deteriorating nuclear waste cap? It's not going anywhere www.forbes.com...
  6:12pm Sam:

I dunno. How’d they do the supply chain 30 years ago?
  6:13pm Robm:

@Devin we have to be a subscriber to read that article
Avatar 6:13pm spodiodi:

hi Mark Hurst!
hi everyone!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:13pm Ken From Hyde Park:

Hi, Mark and supply chain techtonicians. I heard that one of Evergreen's trucks blocked a roadway in China in a similar manner as the ship. www.taiwanenglishnews.com...
  6:13pm David in London:

Hi Spod.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:15pm Wendy del Formaggio:

@Sam: Suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, et al, used to keep stock in warehouses and in the backs of stores. But, by keeping low or no stock on-hand and relying on an instantaneous supply chain, companies can take inventory off their balance sheets. It frees up their capital (aka money) and makes stockholders happy.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:15pm Devin B.:

@Robm: Ah sorry. I thought it was outside the paywall. Basically there's a phenomenon in hydrodynamics called the bank effect and there isn't good modeling for how it affects ships that big and consequently the world's economy just lost untold billions.
Avatar 6:16pm StringOFperils:

'Whatever floats your boat."...until it doesn't.
  6:16pm Sam:

Interesting, thanks Wendy.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:16pm listener james from westwood:

Best description I ever read of Thomas Friedman was "chin-stroking idea Muppet."
  6:17pm Robm:

@Devin b thanks for the gist of the story
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:17pm listener james from westwood:

Credit for SPY Magazine–like moniker for Friedman: gawker.com...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:17pm Handy Haversack:

James, a Taibbism?
  6:21pm milkis:

Don’t bigger ships crush push the price of shipping down? I mean, you can put a can on a ship from China to LA for $1000. How much was it 10yrs ago...100yrs ago? Small businesses from around the world surly benefit from this, no?
  6:21pm Sam:

The giant cruise ships are the worst. I cringe when I see one of those monstrosities sailing into a pristine cove, wondering how much pollution is coming out of that thing.
  6:21pm David in London:

Saw a nice meme of the stuck Evergreen boat with Thunderbirds 1 and 2 just coming into land beside it.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:21pm chris in the redwoods:

wasn't the stuck boat *another* indication of the problems with today's supply chain dynamics? April-May 2020 gave us the first indication that thinks could go stinky very fast?

also, hi, Mark and friends!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:21pm listener james from westwood:

@Handy, No, thankfully. Hamilton Nolan, per the Gawker byline.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:22pm Handy Haversack:

Gotcha, James!

Chris, if word gets out that that ship is full of toilet paper, things could get ugly!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:22pm ultradamno:

Well, Bill Gates n' wife have done well publicly advancing themselves as pro-philanthropists is probably why.
  6:23pm Sam:

I heard the Evergiven is full of WFMU swag. It had to be extra big this year.
Avatar 6:24pm ottovonbqe:

I can't believe people believe a group of people wearing viking costumes and taking selfies in the capitol merits the name "insurrection". It is just so silly.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:25pm ultradamno:

People did die.
  6:26pm yippie:

I like the wfmu random show algorithm
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:26pm chris in the redwoods:

ultrad, the Gates does *much* good in the world. it should be distinguished from Microsoft, where Bill G is no longer involved, day-to-day. mRNA vaccines were heavily funded by the Gates foundation for that last decade or so, iirc.
Avatar 6:26pm ottovonbqe:

not saying it was a good idea or that the people who did it were smart or that it was ok for people to die. just not a serious threat to the government by any stretch of the imagination.
  6:27pm Sam:

I have sometimes been amazed though at the very intelligent, honest stuff that YouTube suggests that I never would’ve found otherwise.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:27pm chris in the redwoods:

haha, Sam!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:28pm Carmichael:

An interesting article on facial recognition: www.huffpost.com...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:28pm chris in the redwoods:

that haha was directed @6:23, Sam. :)
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:28pm Devin B.:

We shouldn't have to rely on the largesse of billionaires to fund the public good.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:28pm Handy Haversack:

They learned not answering from politicians!
Avatar 6:29pm spodiodi:

at least dorsey trimmed the beard
Avatar 6:29pm ottovonbqe:

omg if you believe the congresspeople are interested in anything more than locking up their hold on power I don't know what to tell you.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:30pm Ken From Hyde Park:

PBS production about bias in facial recognition - www.pbs.org...
  6:30pm Sam:

Avatar 6:30pm spodiodi:

(or maybe i just saw an older pic. idk/c)
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:31pm chris in the redwoods:

ottovonbqe, the definition of insurrection doesn't speak to the chances of its success: noun: A violent uprising against an authority or government.
  6:31pm Sam:

Zuckerberg missed his calling, he should have done a show on NPR.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:32pm ultradamno:

MS benefits from the charm offensive whether Gates is involved in the company in a daily way or not, is my point.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:33pm chris in the redwoods:

ah, gotcha, ultrad.
  6:34pm mary:

Today Con Ed contractor Alcara(?)named Ken_arrived at our tenement apt floor to install the "smart meter". By chance we were not on his list so couldn't receive. We had good convo- he showed us the unit and where it would fit over the top of old meter. He explained that a con ed rep can read our meter from an ipad .Rep can read many meters on same visit to this street. I asked him many ques and he said He was not sure how safe this is-But the city and NJ are getting these things installed in 2021. Q, Ken, would the coned meter reader be able to hack anything in our apt? He was not sure He would not one in his apt. His meter is in his basement. He said Con Ed is disorganized in contacting tenants and installing. Customer can decline installation up to 3 times, then Con Ed can charge a penallty. (Ken also showed me how to read the old meter(read it R to L and then report it in the sequence of L to R. and other details. HELP
  6:34pm Sam:

Those guys in the capitol could have easily killed members of Congress if things had gone slightly differently, and they wanted to. That’s an existential threat to our entire system. It’s an attempted insurrection, 100%.
Avatar 6:34pm ottovonbqe:

big tech is such a legitimate threat to our freedom and liberties, but if you think partisan politicians grandstanding about an "insurrection" is where the fight is at, I just think you are way off script. Not trying to start a fight about it.
  6:34pm Gerald Fnord:

They can say such things with straight faces because they believe these things, and they believe these things because it is very convenient and comforting for them to believe so.

I try regularly to ask myself:
What is convenient and comforting for _me_ to believe?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:35pm ultradamno:

@chris (6:31) Yeah, you're guilty of conspiracy whether you go forward or not, similarly.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:35pm Mark Hurst:

@ottovonbqe how about listening to the excerpts before passing judgment on them
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:37pm Handy Haversack:

"I see a lot of things."

"But did you see *that*?"
  6:37pm Sam:

Did you kill Jimmy Hoffa?
Congressman, I have a busy schedule, I kill a lot of people...
Avatar 6:40pm ottovonbqe:

yes, the excerpts are convincing: Facebook and twitter care more about making money than about promoting civil discourse. But the fix is to have the government regulate what are essentially information publishers? Do you believe the politicians will ever use this power in a neutral way? It is so naive.
  6:40pm David in London:

I shudder every time he says ‘Congressman’.
Avatar 6:42pm spodiodi:

he sounded like willem dafoe
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:42pm chris in the redwoods:

mary, maybe another question to the Con Ed contractor would be, how can i connect to my meter and hack *it* :) sorry, i know you're asking a legitimate question, for which i really don't have a good answer here.
  6:42pm wendy del formaggio:

Give ‘em hell, Rep. Pallone!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:43pm tim from champaign (now washington):

I wonder if Iggy Pop uses an algorithm that takes him to Butt Town?
  6:44pm Manuel Laver:

The real solution is gun control.

Let people believe all kinds of stupid, weird, correct, nutty, and hateful stuff just so long as one of them can't kill twenty people in ten seconds.
  6:45pm Sam:

Exactly Manuel!
  6:45pm wendy del formaggio:

“Are you saying the Anti-Defamation League doesn’t know what it’s talking about?” Rock on, Congresswoman!
  6:45pm Sam:

Guns don’t kill people, people do. But only when they have guns.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:45pm DjLorraine:

I learn quite a bit from y'all. Thank you
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:45pm ultradamno:

I know if you start looking up Soft Cell videos on You Tube they will get you listening to Scraping Foetus Off The Wheel
  Swag For Life Member 6:46pm Erin in TO:

As a Canadian I don't totally understand the US system here, but are there no consequences for these guys when they spout lies and BS in these hearings?
  6:46pm Manuel Laver:

tim from champaign (now washington):
That depends on whether for him Butt Town is on the same route as Fun Time.
  6:46pm P-90:

She nailed it with her phrase about “amplification that leads to violence.”
  6:46pm Sam:

Hearty White!!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:46pm chris in the redwoods:

subpoenas should come with a pre-contempt clause. failure to answer any question either 'yes' or 'no' is contempt of congress and will cost $100M in fines, payable immediately.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:47pm Handy Haversack:

They probably have it in pocket change, Chris.
  6:48pm The Butterman:

Suckerberg is such a repellent person. I can’t stands him. Gives me violent feelings just looking at him.
  6:48pm Manuel Laver:

Not ONLY when they have guns, not at all, but guns (generally defined) are lots better at it than anything else relatively easy to carry and not a chemical or biological weapon.
  6:50pm Manuel Laver:

Handy Haversack
I forget who wrote, "A fine isn't a punishment, it's a business expense.".
Avatar 6:51pm spodiodi:

i hear you, The Butterman
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:51pm chris in the redwoods:

true, Handy, i meant to add, for each offense. that could add up to a bad day for any of these clowns.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:52pm Handy Haversack:

Mark, did Google Classroom and its sudden omnipresence in the pandemic come up at all? And Google's plans for the massive data dossiers they are compiling on almost all kids in the country?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:53pm Ken From Hyde Park:

New product coming soon: Instamagram for children.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:54pm Ike:

@ottovonbqe, you can say that about how the police enforce laws against murder as well. Should we make murder legal because police mistreat citizens so often? They're abusing *their* power. Guess we have to give up on society entirely, huh?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:55pm Handy Haversack:

@Ken: we had a crazier-than-anticipated hike in Minnewaska today. Lots of fun!
  6:55pm The Butterman:

As a teacher who has been forced to teach under google classroom for the past year I can say the data they’re collecting is that high school students are disinterested and ignore me.
  6:56pm David in London:

Handy, Google Classroom should be burned to the ground.
Avatar 6:56pm spodiodi:

thanks, Mark!
thanks, Skeleton Crew!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:57pm ultradamno:

This recalls Michael Che's joke about the Instagram for kids plan this Sat
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:57pm Ken From Hyde Park:

Fun, Handy! Nice, clear weather today. Julie on the Drummer Stream 9 - midnight tonight.
Thanks, Mark. Stay vigilant!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:57pm coelacanth∅:

Thanks Mark!
  6:57pm David in London:

Thanks Mark. Night all.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:57pm Handy Haversack:

(Big Data) school's out forEVER!

Thanks, Mark! Much appreciated.

Great to see youse all, Technoids!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:57pm ultradamno:

"An Instagram with just pictures of kids, what could go wrong?"
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:57pm tim from champaign (now washington):

@Erin - usually not. There might be some fines if things get really dire but money is just a mosquito bite. The best hope is breaking up the companies in the upcoming anti-trust hearings.
  6:57pm Sam:

And kill your television.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:58pm chris in the redwoods:

thanks, Mark and friends.
Avatar 6:58pm Bas NL:

Thanks Mark!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:58pm WR:

thank you for summarizing all. i can stomach wading through it. it is heartening to hear better questioning by the politicos.
Avatar 6:58pm StringOFperils:

My head is stuck up my narrow canal. Thanks capitalism.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:58pm tim from champaign (now washington):

Thanks Mark!!!!!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:58pm Mark Hurst:

Thanks, everyone!
  Swag For Life Member 6:58pm Erin in TO:

Thanks Tim, I appreciate the answer. It just seems crazy to me that there's no consequences to this
Avatar 6:58pm spodiodi:

night David!
  6:59pm Glistener MW:

Great version of during the marathon finale, Mark!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:59pm Mark Hurst:

Thanks, MW :)
  6:59pm Bea:

It’s Mark’s song! Thanks for a great show!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:00pm Handy Haversack:

Yeah, Mark, we had waited a long time for your version! Fantastic!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:00pm Mark Hurst:

Thanks, Bea :)
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:00pm Webhamster Henry:

Hi Mark I was doing my laundry and chuckling over the congressional hearings!
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