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2018-12-06 09:25 by Karl Denninger
in Company Specific , 164 references
[Comments enabled]  

This is damning:

(Reuters) - Facebook Inc (FB.O) gave some companies, including Netflix (NFLX.O) and Airbnb, preferential access to user data in 2015 as it limited services for most others, according to company emails and presentations released by a British lawmaker.

 Using a dominant market position (which Facebook has in online, social-media advertising) in concert with others with the intent or outcome of limiting competition is a felony under 15 USC Chapter 1.

Every person who shall monopolize, or attempt to monopolize, or combine or conspire with any other person or persons, to monopolize any part of the trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, shall be deemed guilty of a felony, and, on conviction thereof, shall be punished by fine not exceeding $100,000,000 if a corporation, or, if any other person, $1,000,000, or by imprisonment not exceeding 10 years, or by both said punishments, in the discretion of the court.

It is undisputed that preferential access to user data, granted to some firms and not others in similar lines of business, which appears to have been intentional on the part of Facebook and undertaken with the knowledge of and at direction by Zuckerberg himself, appears to run afoul of this law.

Dating app Badoo and Lyft were among the other companies 'whitelisted' for access to data about users' friends, the documents here showed.

Collins also alleged that Facebook took aggressive positions against competitor apps by denying them access to any user data.

Bingo.

Assuming these allegations are proved as factual this must be brought forward and adjudicated.  There is simply no excuse for not doing so and every executive at Facesucker with knowledge and involvement must face the music.

At the point you obtain market power, which Facebook had established well before this date, this sort of preferential activity undertaken to assist one party while harming another for their and your mutual beneift is simply not permitted under US Federal Law -- period.

And it's not just a civil (you get sued) matter either -- it's not only properly the matter for a lawsuit it is also a criminal felony under which you can and damn well should be indicted and prosecuted.

Where are the handcuffs?

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2018-11-29 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Company Specific , 128 references
[Comments enabled]  

It's really not all that complicated, and it would put a stake in the greenie game while at the same time being a sop to them that they simply cannot argue with.

It's this:  If the engine goes into (1) a passenger car or light truck, (2) is primarily designed to burn gasoline as a fuel, (3) is spark-ignited on an exclusive basis (e.g. it is not a hybrid design that can run in compression mode such as the new Mazda HX engine) and cannot obtain 50mpg on the highway when operated in the vehicle for which it is installed at a constant 65mph on flat, windless land then it must accommodate and operate properly on flex-fuel containing any percentage of ethanol between 0-85%.

I own such a vehicle right now; it was made in 2002.  There are lots of them on the road today.

Why?

1. Ethanol is, of course, a 100% renewable fuel.  Therefore if used in an 85% blend it reduces allegedly(*) non-renewable fossil oil extraction for powering said car to 15% of its former amount.  This essentially removes the requirement to "drill drill drill" and when it gets more difficult (or expensive) it won't matter much.

2. It retains the "any range, any time, less than 5 minute refueling" characteristic of liquid hydrocarbons.

3. It has no cold-weather operational concerns.

4. It's cheap to implement; the only requirement beyond a modern ECU (which all such vehicles have) is a fuel density sensor, which is inexpensive and already in mass-production since flex-fuel vehicles already exist and use same.

At the same time zero all so-called "renewable" vehicle credits, no matter who gets them.  No more for Tesla, GM, or anyone else for making "battery" cars which are not green, have severe range problems and in addition it stops the gaming that both GM and Tesla have engaged in.

Anyone who's actually interested in the environment ought to love this, since a vehicle running on nearly-straight ethanol produces almost zero net CO2, very low emissions of any other sort and the fuel is both renewable and trivially sourced.

I said allegedly up above because there is no such thing as an exhaustible hydrocarbon -- there is only the reality economically of producing it when you have to do all of the chemical activity required and provide the energy input to do so.  For more on that you can read this articlebut for now -- this is an easy and near-zero change that would radically alter the facts related to CO2 -- whether you happen to believe in the Globullcrap warming nonsense or not (I don't, but it doesn't matter; if you do you still can't argue against running a nearly-100% renewable, zero-carbon-emission resource!)

(PS: It would also screw Elon soyboy right up the ass....)

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2018-11-25 11:59 by Karl Denninger
in Company Specific , 976 references
[Comments enabled]  

It seems those who have been buying glowbullcrap Tesla cars hadn't considered a few basic facts about lithium chemistry batteries vis-a-vis that vehicle's power source -- especially if they don't live in Silly Valley or similar climates.

Specifically, those who live where the temperature goes below freezing (0C, or 32F).

If you own a cellphone you might have run into this.  You go outside in the winter, you expose the phone to cold weather for a while, and suddenly it shuts down, claiming it has no power.  You bring it inside and suddenly, without being charged, it starts working again.  What happened?

Did the battery actually shut off?  Well, not really.  The phone did, however, protect itself (and you) from exploding.

Let's start with the basics: Chemical reactions are temperature dependent.

That is, when its colder chemical reactions tend to occur more slowly.

Lithium chemistry batteries can deliver current below 0C (freezing) but as temperature drops so does their current-delivery capacity.  The same thing happens with the lead-acid battery in your car, by the way, which is one reason that a weak battery can't start the car in sub-zero temperatures (the other is that the oil is thicker, so it's harder to turn the engine over.)

At a certain point -- very cold -- the electrolyte in a battery freezes.  For a lead-acid battery this depends on the state of charge; a nearly-discharged battery will freeze at a much higher temperature than a fully-charged one.  In any case if a battery's electrolyte freezes it is almost-invariably ruined immediately because the case ruptures when that happens, and even if the case doesn't rupture the cathode and anode are severely damaged.

With lithium-chemistry batteries, however, there is a second problem which is far more-serious: They cannot be recharged below freezing temperatures without being destroyed and, even worse, rendered permanently and immediately dangerous.

Batteries work by using a reversible chemical reaction. When they deliver current the reaction runs one way, and when charged it runs the other.  When a lithium battery is charged the lithium ions leave the cathode return to the anode, and when discharged the reverse happens through a chemical reaction in which the electrolyte provides the transport.  The anode is a graphite compound and those ions intercalate, meaning they become intertwined into the anode's structure.  Because the anode is a layered material this causes the anode to actually expand in size (that's accounted for in the design of the battery and is normal.)

The problem is that below freezing (0C) most of the lithium ions fail to intercalate into the graphite.  They instead plate out as metallic lithium on the anode. This blocks access to the lattice of the anode and thus transport of the ions; the result of that is a permanent and severe capacity loss along with much higher internal resistance (inability to deliver the desired current.)

If the bad news ended there it would be bad enough but it doesn't.  What's much worse is that metallic plating is not even.  The introduction of lead-free solder saw a new phenomena show up in electronics called "dendrite shorts"; what happens over time is that the metal actually "grows" little spikes and if they grow far enough to reach another connection point you get a short circuit.

Metallic plating inherently forms these dendrites and they are sharp and uneven.

Recall that normal charging causes the anode to expand.  But now, instead of a nice even surface the anode has what amount to thousands of tiny little pins sticking out of it!

If mechanical shock or simply a high enough charge rate causes one or more of those "pins" to puncture the separator between the anode and cathode you get a direct short in the cell, the resulting short circuit causes the cell to heat, the electrolyte boils and bursts the case and the flammable electrolyte ignites.

In other words you get a battery fire.

Even one charge in a lithium-chemistry cell that takes place below 0C not only will do severe damage to its capacity it also renders the cell permanently unsafe.  There is no way to know how unsafe the event has made it; no cell of this chemistry that has been charged while below 0C is safe to use as it can catch fire at any time without warning.

So if you own a battery-powered car with such cells in it the vehicle has to prevent this from happening.  It thus must monitor the pack temperature and do whatever it can to prevent the pack from ever going below freezing, because not only will that cause the pack to be unable to deliver its full capacity it is prohibited to charge the pack while any cell in it is below 0C.  If the pack is charged in that state it is unsafe and may short internally, burst and catch fire without warning at any point in the future.

If a battery-powered car (e.g. a Tesla) is in your garage and plugged in then it has access to unlimited energy to prevent that from happening.  Of course nobody is talking about how stupid it is to have a vehicle that constantly must consume power simply because it gets cold in order to defend itself against becoming a firebomb. That's not very "tree-hugger", right?  Well, tough crap because that's exactly what the vehicle has to do due to the inherent reality of the chemistry in its battery system.

What's even worse, however, is if you drive said vehicle somewhere well within its range during below-freezing temperatures and then park it where it will go well below freezing and cannot be plugged in, or if you drive it under conditions that are cold enough that heat lost from the pack and its "cooling system" to the outside air becomes problematic.  In either case the car will be forced to consume its available power to keep the pack over 0C -- shortening its return-trip range.  If you operate or leave it out there for any material amount of time it will consume enough of that power that it is forced to shut down completely and in that state it cannot be charged until the pack is warmed with some source of external power or the car is towed somewhere warm and given enough time to warm up naturally!

Of course if it gets cold enough the pack will freeze and be destroyed anyway, but that temperature (for lithium cells) is unlikely in the ConUS to be reached on a sustained basis (no such bets are accepted for northern Canada and Alaska, however!)

Contrast this with a gas (or diesel, assuming gel-protected fuel) vehicle -- so long as you can reach minimum cranking speed required the vehicle will start.

The irony of all the tree-huggers buying a vehicle that must continually consume power that the tree-huggers claim to be worried about conserving when temperatures are below freezing in order to prevent catastrophic damage to itself, including turning into a firebomb, is utterly delicious.

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2018-11-19 11:42 by Karl Denninger
in Company Specific , 201 references
[Comments enabled]  

Over the weekend an outrageously-disturbing account of a Chipotle manager's firing came to light.

A group of "ethnic" people went into a CMG where they had dined and "dashed" -- that is, left without paying, in the past.  The employees demanded evidence of payment before making their food.

The group was taping the confrontation and uploaded it on Youtube, slandering the restaurant.

In response the company immediately, without investigation, fired the manager.

A while later they offered her job back to her -- after it came out that there were multiple posts on social media by the people who accused her stating not only their intent to steal but celebrating their previous acts of doing so.

The manager should refuse the "kind offer" of the company and sue for both slander and wrongful dismissal.

Take $10 million from these clowns and never work again.

But for those who are customers make yourself an ex-customer.  Now and forevermore.

See, a lawsuit by the manager is simply a cost of doing business for the company.  What needs to occur in these instances is a full-on revolt by the public -- a statement that if you pull this crap and play the racism card where no evidence of same exists, without doing the work to substantiate your action first your company will be destroyed.

No redemption, no second chances, you're done.

Racism is a terrible, ugly thing.  There's nothing one can do about individual racists because everyone has a right to be a prick, including a racist prick.

But nobody has a duty to associate with such a prick.  When racism is practiced on an institutional basis that firm should be destroyed outright. 

Racism is not only displayed when someone is mistreated because of their race.  It is also displayed when someone uses their race to obtain immunity or privilege to which they are neither entitled nor does anyone else enjoy, and especially when someone uses their race to harass or get someone fired when said person is simply doing their job..

In this case the people playing the "race card" were not only bragging about having stolen in the past and intent to do it again.  They had been caught and were convicted of theft.  The company fired the manager despite actual knowledge of the perpetrator's bragging about repeated theft-by-deception in restaurants by ordering food he had no intention to pay for, and in fact did not pay for.

Chipotle MUST BE DESTROYED; this is not the action of an individual manager, it is the action of corporate executives who intentionally slandered and terminated a manager despite actual knowledge that she was almost-certainly correct in her action taken to prevent loss to the firm.  Her actions were, quite-clearly and based upon the actual record, not in any way related to the skin color of the men present.

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2018-11-19 07:15 by Karl Denninger
in Company Specific , 106 references
[Comments enabled]  

Who do these clowns think they're fooling.

Obviously, several million US Citizens -- none of whom have risen up in revolt over the outrageous behavior and outright theft committed in the "HQ2" deal.

Let's be clear about this: Tax "incentives" mean that some entity does not pay the taxes everyone else does on the exact same activity.

Such actions by government officials are per-se unconstitutional since they violate equal protection under the law.

But more to the point they're theft from the rest of the taxpayers -- and there are always more of the latter than the beneficiaries.  This, in turn, means that in every case such an attempt should be met by an immediate revolt -- peacefully if possible and by whatever means necessary if not until said theft is reversed.

Several billion dollars is being siphoned off from everyone else in the area of these two "new" headquarters buildings and given to Amazon.  Couch such an action in any sort of flowery language you wish but the facts are that it is nothing more than raw theft from the least-able to afford it so Jeff Beelzebezos can have even more money.

Occasional Cortex actually spoke similarly recently -- the first intelligent political statement I've heard her make, ever.  When you're right, however -- you're right -- no matter how much of a lunatic you might be otherwise.  When someone like her "gets it" so must millions of others so why is everyone sitting on the couch instead of grabbing their pitchfork and torch?

The real question at-large is why the millions of people who will see no benefit from such a move -- and that's the majority folks, as unless you happen to own property in the immediate area (which will likely see housing prices, for example, rise precipitously) odds are the cost of this give-away will be dramatically more than the few billion handed out.

If you rent your housing you're likely to be particularly screwed; not only will you see rents rise in "gross" terms the property tax gift to Amazon will mean property taxes on everyone else will rise, and as a renter you will pay all of that as the landlord must and will pass that straight through to you when your lease comes up for renewal.  There is no offsetting "benefit" that you will obtain out of this transaction; that's going to be all cost, and it will hammer the living hell out of people of lesser means -- those below the median local income -- the worst.

There is literally no reason for anyone to contemplate "defending" this nation and the Rule of Law any longer; since the announcement I've seen exactly zero push-back of any form, peaceful or otherwise, among the several million residents of both New York and Northern Virginia that are going to take it up the chute as a result of this outrage.

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