This Week in Tech Episode 865 Transcript

Please be advised this transcript is AI-generated and may not be word for word. Time codes refer to the approximate times in the ad-supported version of the show. 

Leo Laporte (00:00:00):
It's time for TWiT This Week in Tech. I really don't need to say much about this show except tell you who's on Brianna Wu is here. Alex is here, Alex Wilhelm from TechCrunch, Cory Doctorow, the FF. And of course sci-fi novels galore. I think this is gonna be an amazing show for you. We'll talk about Russia versus Ukraine. Of course, why I can, should not shut down the Russian internet, an optimist playbook for our clean energy future will debate nuclear versus solar power. We'll talk about Elden Ring and chess and Audible gate in the history of the standard oil company and the Carter phone is and well, it's just a wide ranging conversation and I think you're gonna love it. Stay tuned. Twit is next.

... (00:00:53):
Podcasts you love from people you trust. This is TWiT.

Leo Laporte (00:01:06):
This is TWiT This Week in Tech episode, 865 recorded Sunday, March 6th, 2022. Safety Orange. This Week in Tech is brought to you by Nureva traditional audio conference. A systems entail lots of components. Installation can take days and you might not get the mic coverage you need. That's complex expensive, but Nureva audio, easy to install, easy to manage, no technicians required and you get true full room coverage. That's easy, economical, learn and by no unlike other programs, Noom weight uses a psychology based approach to help people better understand their relationship with food and gives them the skills and knowledge they need to build long lasting positive habits. Sign up for your trial at and by podium. Join more than 100,000 businesses that already use podium to streamline their customer interactions. Get started for free at ORP. Sign up for a paid podium account and get a free credit card reader restrictions apply and buy line node. Get cloud support experience you deserve with Lineo. No tears, no handoffs get $100 in credit when you visit It's time for TWiT This Week in Tech to show we cover the week's tech news, Dan back put on your thinking caps. This is gonna be a powerhouse episode. Brianna Wu is back. Her voice is still a little gravel, but you're feeling fine. You had some nodes removed from your larynx or something.

Brianna Wu (00:02:58):
I actually, I tore my vocal courts while I was running for Congress. I gave so many speeches and spent so many hours on the phone fundraising that I had pain when I would talk for a long period of time. You can actually listen to old episodes of TWiTand you'll hear towards the end. I sound really, really rough. Yeah. Rough. Yeah. And you, I went to an ENT and they're like, well, you've got this giant hole that you tore in your vocal chords. So I had to go under like full OES. They got a laser and just you know, lasered it, it closed, but it's it takes a while for the tissues to calm down after that.

Leo Laporte (00:03:36):
So, but you're not in any pain you just sat. No,

Brianna Wu (00:03:38):
No, no.

Leo Laporte (00:03:38):
I feel sound like Patty and Selma smoke, but you don't. Yeah. You're not a heavy smoker. It's just, no. Anyway, great to have you

Brianna Wu (00:03:46):
Thanks for having me back.

Leo Laporte (00:03:47):
Great to have you back. And people don't know, but you were scheduled on TWiT a few weeks ago and I actually kicked you off. I was mean saying I, I cuz your voice. I, I

Brianna Wu (00:03:56):
Sounded really bad. I really did.

Leo Laporte (00:03:58):
I just knew that anybody listening would, would just be in pain for you. Yes. And so I hundred percent, I didn't want them to suffer, but I think we can. We'll be fine now. Anyway, it's I needed you because I need intellectual heft and you'll see why I'm Al I'm bringing in all the top guns here. Alex Wilhelm is here a, a humble reporter at tech crunch. Hello Alex.

Alex Wilhelm (00:04:18):
Hey, I just wanna point out in the, I think for the first time on TWiTter and of everyone on the panel, I have the least Twitter followers and I'm peeved about that.

Leo Laporte (00:04:26):
How many? Well, just how many Twitter followers do you have?

Alex Wilhelm (00:04:29):
I like 92,000 or something. Apparently it's not, not enough. Yeah. I'm a babe in the woods compared to this crew, like Corey's got like 430 thousands over a hundred. Leo's got like a billion don't know,

Leo Laporte (00:04:40):
Half million,

Alex Wilhelm (00:04:42):
Half million, but

Brianna Wu (00:04:42):
The more you get the worst Twitter is. People don't understand this. Like that's

Leo Laporte (00:04:48):
Really, that's actually really true. Cuz I talk to people say, oh I love TWiTter. I'm going, you do. It's awful. And I think it's because you just I'm too enmeshed in it or something. Anyway, I'm not a fan. I'm not a fan. Uand third party, the one we are gearing up, our intellectual Hef, four science fiction author,ueff spokesperson all around a man about town. Cory Doctorow is also in the house and it's so great to have you Corey plural, pluralistic, dut net is your new website, newish new, new, you know, two years old. Yeah. It feels new since the pandemic, but you gotta show us this shirt. Tell us what you wearing.

Cory Doctorow (00:05:30):
Yeah, it's what you're wearing. It's gosh. And I've just blanked on the creator's name, but I'll find it it's someone's grad project. It it confuses automatic license plate readers and reads as like 20 cars. But the license plates spell out the fourth amendment. And then they have very cleverly arranged it. So, and effects is here so that it says Andy FFF in the middle of your chest, it

Leo Laporte (00:05:54):
Looks likes a bit of eff promo, but it's not it's that's,

Cory Doctorow (00:05:57):
Right's a

Leo Laporte (00:05:58):
Graduate project.

Cory Doctorow (00:06:00):
I should point out that I'm not an FF spokesman. I am an FF like special advisor. But I think, unless I say so please don't assume I'm speaking ex catheter on behalf of the EF

Leo Laporte (00:06:10):
Thank you for the correction. We

Cory Doctorow (00:06:12):
Have people whose job that

Leo Laporte (00:06:13):
Is. Yeah. But now, now there's other people, but definitely you're involved the FF. Yeah, yeah,

Cory Doctorow (00:06:18):
Yeah. So before we start years last

Brianna Wu (00:06:20):
I wanted, I wanted to tell a funny story before we start the show today and I wanna get back to the magical year. I think it was 2007 where my husband gets a call from Corey and Corey asked him to do the cover to one of his books. So I sit there and I watch Frank painting this picture of Corey, Dr. Oh,

Leo Laporte (00:06:43):
I love it.

Brianna Wu (00:06:44):
Slowly being assembled by dinosaurs week after week after week after week after week for Corey, it just gets weirder and weirder. The further he goes. So, and like we're hanging out with Corey and Frank is like, Hey, do you wanna buy the original painting? And Corey's like, yeah, I'm good. So that's

Cory Doctorow (00:07:08):
No, I think I said, I wanna, I wanna raise money for it. I don't think I said I wanna

Brianna Wu (00:07:12):
Own it.

Cory Doctorow (00:07:13):
I mean, I love that work.

Brianna Wu (00:07:14):
Oh, it's great. I buy it.

Leo Laporte (00:07:15):
That's great. I'll buy it. Let's get the,

Brianna Wu (00:07:18):
I don't even, I don't even know where it is. It

Leo Laporte (00:07:20):
Was like it sold,

Cory Doctorow (00:07:22):
It was at an auction. And I think Frank said, do you want buy it before we put it up?

Brianna Wu (00:07:26):
Oh, that's right. You're

Cory Doctorow (00:07:27):
Right. And I said, no, we should auction it. Yeah.

Brianna Wu (00:07:30):
But I had to stare at pictures of your face as he was deciding how to paint it nonstop for so long. So it's weird seeing you in person today.

Cory Doctorow (00:07:39):
My apologies having spent the last two years on zoom, I know how horrible it is to look at my face all the time.

Leo Laporte (00:07:46):
We all know that layer self-esteem yeah. We all know what that's like now. We should also mention Corey's book unauthorized bread, a radicalized Noella is gonna be the subject of Stacy's next book club in our club. It, yeah. So that's pretty cool. Too. So it's it all. And it's

Cory Doctorow (00:08:04):
Being adapted for as a graphic novel by Jen Doyle and it'll be out I think next year.

Leo Laporte (00:08:09):
How exciting?

Cory Doctorow (00:08:11):
Yeah. From first second,

Leo Laporte (00:08:12):
That's really cool. What's your late, most recent book.

Cory Doctorow (00:08:17):
It's how to destroy surveillance. Capitalism's short book about,

Leo Laporte (00:08:21):
It's just a few pages. Doesn't take

Cory Doctorow (00:08:22):
A long, I have a copy over here.

Leo Laporte (00:08:24):
Unionize everything. Yeah.

Cory Doctorow (00:08:26):
Yeah. And it's basically like antitrust and interoperability. And and you know, there's a whole bunch coming. I write when I'm anxious. So I have eight books coming up between now and the end of 2025

Leo Laporte (00:08:39):
COVID is good for the for the

Cory Doctorow (00:08:41):
The next one, the next one's cryptocurrency heist novel coming up from tour called red team blues at the start of 20, 23.

Leo Laporte (00:08:50):
Cool. How exciting

Cory Doctorow (00:08:52):
Actually the next, next one is now that I think of it, sorry, there's another one in between there a book called choke point capitalism, which I co-wrote with Rebecca Gilan which is about creative labor markets. And why just giving artists who are in highly concentrated markets, more copyright won't get them paid anymore. Cuz the all that'll happen is that the people they're trying to sell their work through will just demand and that they sign over whatever copyright you give them. It's like giving your bullied kids more lunch money bullies. Just take that too. And we have like 20 proposals for really shovel, ready stuff you can do that will actually put more money in artist's pockets instead of giving them something else to complain about.

Leo Laporte (00:09:28):
Love that Brianna and I were feeling bad because both Corey and Alex have pure huge bookshelves loaded with books behind them. There is a difference. Corey wrote all the books behind him. Yeah. So, so there, there is a difference there. I

Cory Doctorow (00:09:47):
Mean books, books are like pubic lights or Tris, you know, they just kind of

Leo Laporte (00:09:50):
Accumulated. I agree. Yeah. I mean not like pubic lights, but okay. Yeah. I get the, I make

Cory Doctorow (00:09:55):

Leo Laporte (00:09:57):
I get the point just don't food, food just don't feed 'em after midnight. That's all right. Yeah.

Cory Doctorow (00:10:01):

Alex Wilhelm (00:10:01):
I, I have gotten to the point when my spouse, whenever I get new books in the house, she just kind of looks at me like, what is wrong with you? You are broken inside, sir. Stop.

Leo Laporte (00:10:09):
No, you're not. You're saving the independent bookstore. You are doing a good thing. Does Providence still have bookstores?

Alex Wilhelm (00:10:16):
Yes we do. We try to order through books on the square actually now famous in Providence because when Kamala Harris came to town for like 14 minutes, once she did go to books on the square and they have a picture of all the books she bought, cuz they were so proud. Nice. So now my little bookstore was once famous. Nice.

Leo Laporte (00:10:30):
And we should nice. We should mention before the show we were talking about I was lamenting the death of the independent pot and Corey brought up the fact that BBC is taking all of its podcasts, which were formally open on RSS and putting them behind a sound wall probably pay kind of it's a pay wall. Is that right? No,

Cory Doctorow (00:10:49):
It's a reg wall. It's like, it's a special app. It's basically, it's basically like what Spotify's done.

Leo Laporte (00:10:54):
You don't have to pay, you can listen for free, but you do have to, to use their app.

Cory Doctorow (00:10:58):
Yeah. You, you, so it's basically saying you have to fragment, you're listening across more and more apps. Right. And they get to control how the app is presented a bail.

Leo Laporte (00:11:08):
It's like if trended podcasting, it really is. It's

Cory Doctorow (00:11:10):
Like if BBC TV could only be received on a special BBC television and you have to have a different television for sky, you know,

Leo Laporte (00:11:16):
That'd be great. Ian Thompson, who's watching and we'll actually be on TWiTter a few weeks, all credited to doctor row for calling out BBC sounds podcast. It's a shameful situation. He's a Brit. So yes,

Cory Doctorow (00:11:29):
As am I

Leo Laporte (00:11:31):
Now I tell I was gonna ask cuz of course the top story this week is all top stories are all about Ukraine. I, I seem to remember, are you Russian or Ukrainian? Both. Both.

Cory Doctorow (00:11:42):
Yeah. No. I'm I'm Russo Ukrainian, Polish, Belarusian and Romanian, but my passports are Canadian and British and I have a us green card,

Leo Laporte (00:11:51):
But by heritage, by heritage you're Eastern European, I guess. Really? Yeah. All, all of that is kind of a mishmash.

Cory Doctorow (00:11:58):
And, and formally, I guess I'm half Asian cuz my dad was born in oar, Bajan. Wow. But of, of Russian parentage. Okay. Russian and polo, Belarusian parentage.

Leo Laporte (00:12:09):
When you're watching what's going on in Ukraine are you horn?

Cory Doctorow (00:12:14):
No. Well, no, I know what side I'm on. Yeah. What's really awful is getting email from my family in St. Petersburg who are terrified and completely demoralized. And also who've just had their savings wiped out. And who are looking at political destabilizing event that has no good result. Russia wins. It's terrible. Russia loses. It's terrible. There, there is nothing good that will come of this for Russian people.

Leo Laporte (00:12:43):
It's already terrible for your family. Yeah. it didn't take long and of course that's due to sanctions from the west. And yet, you know, I mean, we don't have much we can do about snow. I don't think, although I'm surprised, but the number of people I hear saying, oh, we should definitely create a no-fly zone over Ukraine as if that is not an action of war

Cory Doctorow (00:13:07):
That would, yeah.

Leo Laporte (00:13:07):
That's begin. Will

Cory Doctorow (00:13:09):
Air battles between the us and Russia. That will, that will definitely calm the, a situation then. Yeah. I mean, you're right. You know, there's there's an old joke from Ireland as opposed to an Irish joke. An old joke from Ireland that whose punchline is if you wanted to get there, I wouldn't start from here. And you know,

Cory Doctorow (00:13:28):
Like neoliberal shock thought therapy after the wall came down, created the conditions that brought Putin to power the DEC decision to bring Putin into the world based order because we wanted his you know, his, his gas wealth, his fuel, his fossil fuel wealth increased the presence of oligarchs around the world and they're corrupting influence and also made it harder to effectively sanction them because now the wealth is spread at every where and you know, there's just like a series of missteps and some things that weren't missteps and some things that are definitely the fault of Russian elites. And you know that I'm not one of those people who says, well, it's definitely NATO's fault for, for showing up on Russia's doorstep, but that didn't help either. Right? Like I, I think you'd have to be a weirdo to say no, no, no.

Cory Doctorow (00:14:13):
One of the things that really stabilize that reach was, was bringing NATO up to the, the Russian border that, that definitely calmed things down a lot. You know? So it's, it's it's a horrific situation and we are kind of like 20 years too late to have prevented it from happening. But you know, as with trees, the best time to have planted a tree was 20 years ago and the second best time is now. And the best time to actually confront some of the geopolitical choices that we've made that produced this outcome, would've been when we were making them. And the second best time is right now. Yeah.

Leo Laporte (00:14:48):
Yeah. I mean, I, it be, it's great in hindsight to say, well, this, you know, this was, could have been avoided, but I, all of life is like that. I mean, you, you know, you, you do things 20 years ago that you had no idea would get you to be a, for instance, a podcaster in the midst of the worst time ever for podcasting. And if I had only thought better at 20 years ago, it's, it's foolish to even say that because no, you don't.

Cory Doctorow (00:15:14):
I wanna quibble a little because I think that 20 years ago, a bunch of people did say this what happened? Right. It wasn't like, you know, who

Leo Laporte (00:15:20):
Did Richard Nixon of all people predicted this

Cory Doctorow (00:15:24):
That's, that is not what I thought was gonna come outta your face right

Leo Laporte (00:15:26):

Cory Doctorow (00:15:26):
That is not the two words I thought were coming at. All right. I'll bite. Is it, why did Nixon call this? Or when did he call it?

Leo Laporte (00:15:33):
He wrote a book in 91. I'm gonna see if I could find it. I, I saw this fleeting

Cory Doctorow (00:15:41):
Man was the subtitled Noam. Chomsky was right about everything or

Leo Laporte (00:15:43):

Brianna Wu (00:15:45):
Was this the one he wrote with Monica Crowley when he was trying to kinda,

Leo Laporte (00:15:49):
Let me see if I can let see if I can find this now because I think I saw it on TWiTter, which means it's, you know, long it's long gone down the stream, but,uessentially he predicted the rise of the oligarchs,uuat the fall of the Berlin wall of the Berlin wall. I mean, it was that long ago and he had a fairly similar chain of events to what you just described, Corey. Uit doesn't, you know, look, Nixon probably had a pretty good handle on geopolitics and, and uand you know, I'm not surprised that he had some insight into that. Henry Kissinger probably did too. Doesn't make them wonderful people. Yes. But

Cory Doctorow (00:16:30):
Really important copy out there.

Leo Laporte (00:16:31):

Cory Doctorow (00:16:32):
Like all those people who read cyberpunk novels and say, this sounds like a great idea. We should do this.

Leo Laporte (00:16:38):
Yes. You've missed the point. 

Brianna Wu (00:16:42):
I, I do have to say, I, I really respect all the people on TWiTter that, you know, over the course of getting their epidemiology degrees and becoming experts

Cory Doctorow (00:16:51):

Brianna Wu (00:16:51):
Virology have managed to get a war college and become,

Leo Laporte (00:16:55):
It's amazing, isn't it? The experts. Yes.

Brianna Wu (00:16:58):
It's I really, I do. I don't disagree with the premise Corey that we should have taken stronger actions of the last 20 years. I think there's very strong argument that generally speaking or strategy has been app easement at the same time in it's. You know, I, I think you look at something like, I, I just can't help, but feel there's a large contingent on, on TWiTter that is, and, and in the press overall, that's really minimizing the risk that a no FL zone,uwould create if America involved with,ukind of reinforcing that. And I, I speaking for myself every time the subject foreign in the United States comes up, people don't know this, but mil Mississippi, my home state has more people serving per capita than any other state in America. I like every other Mississippi know plenty people that served in Iraq and Afghanistan. I have specific friends that did not make it home. And it's, it's really hard cuz I do agree that our strategy has been appeasement overall at the same time. I'm freaking war weary. I mean, we look at the outcome of Iraq and if Afghani stand and it's really hard to see what concretely that we accomplished. And I just have to be honest and say, I read the New York times, I read WSJ, I read Washington post. It just seems like an epic cluster in every way. It could possibly be a cluster.

Cory Doctorow (00:18:24):
Oh, you know, we are in vigorous agreement. I grew up in the anti-war movement. Know I was arrested for blockading and arms bizarre in Ottawa. I have important feelings about why it shouldn't be easier to arrest people who are protesting in Ottawa. And I I completely agree. No, the, the app abusement I'm talking about is doing things like saying, well, we should, we should bring Russia to the WTO and then we should integrate it system with our banking system. And we should allow reliance on Russian gas to become significant factor in European politics. And if we discover that all of our tax havens are being used by Russians to launder their money too, as opposed to just our own homegrown oligarchs, we should forbear from acting on it and to protect our own homegrown ALO GARS instead of using that as the basis for shutting down tax havens all over the world and ending the kind of financial secrecy that a bets corruption so that we can strike at their oligarchs and ours at the same time.

Leo Laporte (00:19:21):
Here's I found the tweet. This is actually a, how many, how many conversations have begun that way? I found the, I like,

Cory Doctorow (00:19:30):
I, I like it. Richard Nixon's TWiTter account. I think it's completely let his memes are so on point,

Leo Laporte (00:19:36):

Cory Doctorow (00:19:37):
Is a letter it's loaded and, and just starts like posting excerpts from his like tapes of conversations

Leo Laporte (00:19:42):
With his, let me tone

Cory Doctorow (00:19:44):
Piece of staff. This

Leo Laporte (00:19:44):
Is a letter Nixon wrote to the first George Bush George Herbert Walker Bush in 91 in 92, arguing to put more money into aid for European, for Western liberalism, lower case, L the west Nixon says has failed so far to seize the moment to shape the history of the next half century. If Yeltsin fails, the prospects for the next 50 years will turn grim. The Russian people will not, this is one he's ready, will not turn back to communism, but a new, more dangerous despotism despotism based on extremist Russian nationalism will take power. If the new despotism prevails, everything gained in the great peaceful revolution of 91 will be lost. War could break out in the former Soviet union as the new despots used force to restore quote historical borders of Russia and quote, that was actually pretty, of course, even a broken clocks, right. Twitce a day, but that's pretty astute actually. I think we

Alex Wilhelm (00:20:42):
Could see that. And I think what Corey rightly points out is that there have been enormous financial incentives to kind of whitewash exactly what going on in Russia. Yeah. And it's amazing to watch kind

Leo Laporte (00:20:52):
She, oil is still buying Russian gas, you know, I mean, yeah.

Cory Doctorow (00:20:56):

Alex Wilhelm (00:20:56):
Well, no one looks to oil companies to be moral arbiter

Leo Laporte (00:20:59):
Of our time. Sure. Let's move it to tech though. We can certainly talk about what's going on in Ukraine in a tech context. In fact, it's really interested to see how, I mean, you're seeing the Ukrainian vice prime minister Michalo feather off used TWiTter. He's using Facebook to call on hackers to step forward and help the Ukrainians in the fight against Russia. Uyou're seeing,uyou know, all sorts of Bitcoin transfers, cryptocurrency transfers to Ukraine. It is, it is a war and a different era. One of the things people have been very worried about is cyber warfare. Uthe fear that Russia would start to attack us,uand that we would attack back. Uthere was a report which has been denied by,uuBiden's,uteam that he was offered some options to,ubring cyber warfare,uto Russia, take Russia off the internet. In fact, some have suggested to ICAN that they remove Russia from the DNS,uservers, which would effectively take it off the internet. Uit's a fair, a different time even than 20 years ago.

Cory Doctorow (00:22:11):
So I don't think that it's really true that removing the root servers would take rush off the internet. The way that the time to live on those 13 roots work is it would take about well, several days for that to happen and Russia could make accommodations, right. They could set up their own root of trust and they could, you know, with friendly, large friendly powers, like China could figure out how to get around it. So I think mostly what it would do is just establish a future in which I can had even less credibility than it does now, but it does now even more as an agent of, of American foreign policy than it is now, which, you know, to the extent that that's true, it's not great. And to the extent that it's perceived as true, I think that it exceeds the extent that it is true. It robs into the credibility that we actually need an internet governance. So I, I'm kind of on the right side of this. Like if it gains you nothing and costs you a lot, you shouldn't do it. Symbolism just isn't worth it.

Leo Laporte (00:23:01):
I can't said our mission does not extend to taking punitive actions, issuing sanctions or restricting access against segments of the internet, regardless of the provocations. I think that's fair. Of course it was Federoff who asked I can to yeah. Take, take, rush

Cory Doctorow (00:23:15):
Off. I get it. Yeah. Yeah. If you're, if you're like if you're, you know, at the pointy end of a, of, of a war of aggression, obviously like the, these fine distinctions are not the things that are top of mind. I don't think we should blame them for it. But I also think that one of our jobs as people who aren't in the fog of war is to you know, listen, and then not paternal ally, but, but, you know, taking into account the factors that you get when you're not in imminent danger, try and think through some of the second order consequences and whether or not this is worth doing. And I say that as someone who wants freedom for Ukrainian people, an end to Russian aggression, the, the Russian troops out of Ukraine, right. I, I just think that it's the wrong way to get that.

Cory Doctorow (00:24:01):
I, I don't think it would get that. And I also think would cause one of the requests fed off made that was responded to, was that apple and Google removed their stores from Russia. And they did yeah. Shortly thereafter. Is that a bridge too far? I'm okay with that because they're not an NGO that is in charge of the internet. Right. I, and you know, I do think that there are some unexpected consequences. Like, you know, the, I think if your rush your, your Russian relatives in St. Petersburg yeah. And the standard app. Yeah. And, and, and not just them, but like the standard app that's used in the region for a private communications is signal as telegram, rather, which has some deficits. Apparently they do have an end 10 encryption for group chat, but like, I, I couldn't find it.

Cory Doctorow (00:24:45):
And neither could some call leagues of mine at FF. Well, it's also roll your own encryption. It's not, it's not standard encryption. We just, we just published a guide to using telegram more safely in, in Russia and in Ukraine, one of the things that, or no, it isn't that they have end to end encryption a bigger pardon. And they say that they have disappearing messages for group chat, which we couldn't figure out how to turn on. And they say they turned it, they started it last summer. But you know, one of the things that you really want, if you're in a politically sensitive environment, is the ability to have messages just delete themselves after a relatively short period of time. So that if you're forced to unlock your phone, as Russians are now being forced to do on the checkpoint on the streets, the, that, that, that they're not exposed to that.

Cory Doctorow (00:25:25):
And so, you know, if you, if you can't side load, as you can't with, with iOS and you wanna switch to something that does have better disappearing messages and end to end and other features that would help you not just protect yourself, but protect your counterparties. The other people you talk to that's now beyond your grasp. And so it, it, it's not without its costs. I I'm, I think that I am more comfortable with cutting off the app stores, but, you know, for the record, I also think that it's completely wrong. That apple won't let you side load out. So, you know, there you go, amen

Brianna Wu (00:25:58):
Bridge. I, I do think that if you look at the history of how, you know, Putin rose to power in Russia, people don't know this, but, you know, he went to, he had when he first rose to power, he had the television stations that were really not treating him very kindly. They actually had a, you know, the scene in V for vendetta with a puppet that's kind of mocking mocking the, the fictional president there that actually happened to Putin in in Russia, they had one of their television shows with the Putin puppet kind of mocking he, him, and what ended up happening to the person in charge of that television station is they did what they do to many people. They're part of political opposition in Russia. They brought him forward and they charged him with crimes. And then as he's in jail, they went to him and said, look, if you hand over the television station to this, person's a lot more friendly to us.

Brianna Wu (00:26:49):
All of this is gonna go away. So I think you can't look at the legacy of how, you know, Putin rose to power in Russia and not understand that very tight control over state media is part of that. You know, for all the things we've critiqued the internet for many times here on TWiTter, I do think that giving,upeople access to information is something the internet is obviously good for. So any move to kind of limit that, it just,uit, it, it feels, it feels like it's symbolic, but it also feels is gonna aggravate problems more than it's gonna actually solve it.

Leo Laporte (00:27:26):
Here's the video from Kevin Rothrock tweeted of political police officers in Moscow, stopping people. This is a terrifying video to, to see their phones and read their messages. Just a, this is,

Cory Doctorow (00:27:40):
This is, I mean, it's not new in, in Syria, there were militia checkpoints that would force you to unlock your phone and look at your messages to figure out who you,

Leo Laporte (00:27:46):
This doesn even look like a checkpoint. This is on the street, as people are walking by and terrifying. I mean, just terrifying. Here's the E F article that you talked about that you worked with on the E Galin,

Cory Doctorow (00:28:00):
Right? Eva, Eva wrote it. I didn't work on it. I just wrote a TWiTter thread about it. This is the gal. Paren is,umy, my colleague, she's our head of,uusecurity research. She's done amazing work on,uparticularly in defending women who are being attacked with stalker wear. She's the reason that the app stores have removed stalker wear from their app stores now,uand she's from the region,uuyou know, I believe she was actually born in Russia. Uinstead of like me, whose father was born in the region. And so she has a lot of family ties and she understands the local context pretty well. And she wrote that guide to using it more safely. Like it isn't, there is no, you know, absolutely safe way of doing it, but there are some things you should do. I mean, one of the risks to Ukrainians using,ugroup chat and channels is,uaccount takeovers,uwhere, you know, one of the things that,uRussia really perfected as part of their propaganda strategy under Sarov, who was, who was,uPutin's, you know, sort of minister for information for a long time was,umaking it so that there was just so much wrong information, flooding the zone that people gave up on knowing what was truthful altogether, like Erko for many years funded many opposition groups that were extremely effective at,uraising,uuopposition to Putin.

Cory Doctorow (00:29:20):
And then he announced after several years of this, that some of the opposition groups that were opposing Putin were actually really funded and controlled by him. And didn't say which ones so that everyone who is in any opposition group now did not know whether they were on the right side. And the whole idea is to just make it so that you give up on knowing what is truthful. You just assume that it's unknowable

Leo Laporte (00:29:41):
Some like the strategy they've been using in the United States. Yeah, it's a very nihilistic strategy. It is. Well, the whole thing is somewhat nihilistic. I mean, there's no, it's, there's no solution. There's no good solution. It seems we don't want to go to war against another nation with Nokes. We don't, we sanctions harm everybody. I mean, as you point out, if they had access to the app store, they could download signal instead, they've gotta figure out how to use telegram securely. Yeah, it's it doesn't seem like there's any good solution, especially it it's it, you know what? This brought home to me. I was watching a video of, I think it was a, a drug store in Los, in Los Angeles where somebody just went behind the counter and started taking stuff. And they're like, what are you doing, dude?

Leo Laporte (00:30:31):
They just took stuff. And then he went and he left and he's got a mask on you can't, he didn't have a gun or anything he didn't need to. He could just, he, he intimidated. And I realized how important norms are that we think we think we're safe. You know, we think, well, I've locked my door. I'm safe. No, that's a norm. It's easy to kick down a door, a door or break the glass. And that's just a, that's just a statement. Don't come in, please. It's a norm. And we rely on norms. And when somebody like Putin is completely willing to bypass norms, we're like those drugstore clerks who go, I, I don't know what to do. Now. You don't to kick down the door, speaking of norms, right. There you go. He's got a bump key in his hands. So just, yeah, a rake spend five, 10 minutes with some videos from the tool, the open organization locks are meaningless locks. Yeah. Yeah. I's not, Hold on. Let me, cause I, I interrupted Brianna, you go and then we'll get Alex.

Brianna Wu (00:31:28):
Sure. I was just gonna say, I'd love to know what y'all think of this. I, you were talking about sanctions Leo. I had a tweak of fairly viral last week and I buy all of my knives through through Russia. Actually, it's this guy in Russia, he's a traditional blacksmith. And he, he goes through and he, he hammers the in, gets by hand and, and refines it and carves the handle out with a, it's just absolutely beautiful process. And, and his whole living is making these hand build knives and selling them Mon Etsy. And I got this really, really emotional letter from him along with all customers did last week. And he was saying, look, I know what these sanctions that are about to be announced in Russia, that my entire business that I built here is about to be abs destroyed and dismantled.

Brianna Wu (00:32:27):
You know, we, we, we get by on this on basically sales to the rest of the world and, you know, he begged everybody to go ahead and place orders while they could. So he would be able to basically use all of that money and send basically a bunch of rations to the Ukraine. He talked about how he felt tremendous guilt because one of his workers had actually supported even though as a teenager, the annexes annexation of Caria a few years ago. And, you know, just really, he talked about how he'd been arrested for that and how he himself expected to be arrested any, any day now. And I wanted to know what y'all think, like, how do we feel about, you know, companies like PayPal, like facilitating stuff with that seed to kind of not get around these sanctions, but how, you know, the individual Russian people that are going to be inadvertently harmed, but these sanctions, no matter how we do it, like if these sanctions are gonna be harsh enough to actually, you know, have consequences. Yeah.

Leo Laporte (00:33:32):
I don't know. The end

Brianna Wu (00:33:33):
Is like Kim are gonna

Leo Laporte (00:33:34):
Be caught maybe the AR Lagar finally gets so upset about losing their yachts that they go take down Putin. I don't know. Yeah. And certainly your, your family in St. Petersburg, isn't gonna go out to Putins Dasia and take him out. That's not, that's not a viable option. Go ahead, Alex. You, you, you, you can respond to, if you want to Brianna, or you can say what you're gonna say, and then we'll give you a chance to respond to.

Alex Wilhelm (00:33:57):
Yeah, well, just going briefly back, I mean, you were talking, talking about norms and their importance. And one thing that I, that I've been thinking a lot about is kind of American political journalism in the era of Trump and how norms based reporting standards were to be complete crap in, in the context of someone who was willing to break through all norms. And so we're not in fact, we're not in fact

Leo Laporte (00:34:15):
People who break the norms win because we are so ill prepared. We're so caught off guard. Somebody like Trump just, you know, nobody's stopping him. Yeah.

Alex Wilhelm (00:34:27):
But, but to what Brianna just said about sanctions and their impact and so forth, I, I, I, the, the lens, the rich, I'm trying to view individual decisions by companies and governments when it comes to sanctions, is whom does it impact and then how much? And so in the case of the internet, the core was talking about earlier. I, I agree with him. I don't think it would be useful to try to disconnect Russia from the internet because it would be ineffective and it would also harm individuals much more than the state. So that's kind of how I'm trying to think about what's effective versus what is essentially kind of political greenwashing, but in a, in a political context versus a an ecological context, something like

Leo Laporte (00:35:00):
EA saying no more Russian teams in our FIFA game.

Alex Wilhelm (00:35:03):
Yeah. I don't really care what, well, one EA is like the evil empire of the video game world. It's like, good job guys. You're slightly less evil this year. But like, to me that that's just posturing versus taking actual action. So the PayPal decision has much more weight to it. Yeah. Right. So that matters more impact more people. And then therefore we should really think about but just to make sure that I'm clear about this here for, for Ukraine, Ukraine, opposed to Russia get 'em out and so forth. Oh, I'm not trying to be sympathetic.

Leo Laporte (00:35:29):
Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Be honest. I don't think this needs to be said, but you know, believe me, if I could figure out how to get these lights to be you know, the right blue and gold I would we're all in FA in supportive Ukraine, but it's also reasonable to say, you know, we're certainly, there's this knee jerk reaction of let's just get these ruskis, which comes very naturally to Americans anyway. But let's also, let's also try to do something that's effect. And I really wonder what is effective? Would you have a guy like Putin who doesn't really suffer any consequences?

Cory Doctorow (00:36:03):
Again? I, you know, I would say that if you wanted to get there, I wouldn't start from here, you know, think about how,

Leo Laporte (00:36:08):
But that doesn't help Cory. That means it's too well. I get it.

Cory Doctorow (00:36:11):
I get it. But again, the right time to have done this was 20 years ago and the second best time is now. And if you think about how many different regions domestically and abroad that pose these kind of chaotic problems for a, a decent caring pluralistic solidaristic society are also places whose economy is, is, is defined by a hole on the ground, surrounded by guns, which is, you know, oil and natural gas mineral extraction. And so on. You know, there, there, I think that there is a political current that runs through economies that are defined by extraction because they don't really need to have everybody kind of pulling their weight in order to enrich the richest people like you, you don't need, you know, if you think about, say Finland, right, where, where, you know, when they switched from, from like a, a pretty, you know, rural resource based, low, low intensity economy to a high tech economy, and Nokia went from making rubber boots to making phones.

Cory Doctorow (00:37:16):
They suddenly, in order to like thrive as a nation needed to have a lot of educated people who could, who weren't just chasing their next meal and who could stop and think, and be creative and do all that other stuff. Whereas if all you're doing is digging holes in the ground and then shooting anyone who comes too close to the hole while you get whatever was in the hole out again, you just don't need everybody to come along for the ride. Yeah. And you know, there are exceptions, you know, Norway doesn't look like that. Scotland doesn't look like that, but the, the at home in abroad, so many of our resource extraction regions are, are really politically sick and we are on the buy side of what they're selling. Right. And so we have delayed a, a green transition, a renewable transition for a long time. It's been really bad news just for, you know, our children's future and our own future, but it's also been really bad news geopolitically, right. Like, and, and it's not like it's a surprise that, you know, the Saudis are aren't great political allies to have, you know and, and we could have, we could have done something about the necessity of making Saudi Arabia happy 20 years ago. And we should have to save the planet, but also to like, save our politics.

Alex Wilhelm (00:38:35):
Yeah. Cory, are you trying to say that a theocratic monarchy based on oil extraction is not a stable form? I'm,

Cory Doctorow (00:38:42):
I'm actually going in the other, I'm going in the other direction. I'm saying the reason the theocratic monarchy was able to sustain itself yes. In that country is because all you need to do to make the base, the base rich is to suck black gold outta the ground and, and sell it abroad that it's not the, the, like the I'm saying that the theocratic Mon monarchy is downstream of the oil pump,

Leo Laporte (00:39:03):
Right? Yes,

Cory Doctorow (00:39:04):

Alex Wilhelm (00:39:04):
No. I was just trying to make a joke to

Cory Doctorow (00:39:06):
Be no, no, I was, you know, by the same token, just to be really clear, I think Putin style strong man politics are downstream of a, of a, of a oil too.

Alex Wilhelm (00:39:15):
Yeah, yeah, yeah. This is why I find,

Brianna Wu (00:39:17):
Add on, oh, go ahead.

Alex Wilhelm (00:39:19):
No, go ahead on, please. I've been talking a lock. You go for it.

Brianna Wu (00:39:22):
No, no, you really haven't. I'll just go quickly. I, I just wanted to add on to what you were saying, Corey. I, I saw a stat that really, really surprised me coming out of Russia. And I think it's linked to those kinds of extraction economics that you were talking about. You know, Putin is currently 69. The average age that many Russian men live to is basically a little bit north of 60, which really surprised me. And a lot of Putin's base of power actually ends up being women a little bit north of 55 because you look at prudent as somebody who will basically ensure stability, whereas, you know, their husbands or the society around them because of those extraction economies, you know they fell into alcoholism or they didn't get healthcare and died of a preventable disease. And, you know, it's that extraction economy has literally taken the stability of their, their relationships and their lives away.

Brianna Wu (00:40:23):
And I think that that's part of Putin's success in staying in power is kind of reinforcing and saying, look, stay with me. I will give you stability. I have order, you know, I won't share your pension will stay in place. So think that that's kind of the flip side of this, you know, even today, as we're recording this visa, MasterCard have come out with some really, really strict aggressive policies in regards to Russia. They're undoubtedly going to, you know, it's gonna disrupt that kind of social order that is keeping him in power. So I, I do that, maybe some of these actions by the tech companies can basically disrupt his, his basis of support

Cory Doctorow (00:41:05):
Alex. I think you're right. That's oh, my big pardon in Alex? Go ahead, Alex. I'm sorry. I forgot you were in,

Leo Laporte (00:41:09):
I'm trying to get, this is, I knew I wouldn't be able to, but I'm gonna try Alex

Alex Wilhelm (00:41:16):
In the old days to was just shouting Alex.

Leo Laporte (00:41:18):
One's like, oh please.

Alex Wilhelm (00:41:19):
No, no, please. Like, I feel like the whole TWiT, like like, like gas rotation is like matured and we're also nice, man. I I'll just say that I, that I was gonna kind of go towards where Brianna was going on the sanctions point and the, the stability point. And I do think that for the under 30 fives in Russia who were living in kind of the dual world of having access to Western technologies and so forth and media, and kind of, and then now kind of being shown on the other side of the coin and what happens with their, their stagnant leadership. I, I think it does destroy the myth. And so I wonder if some of the dynamic dynamics that she was discussing will become unspool by what's going on today. And, and that's why I am not trying to say, you know, notice sanctions, no, to aggressive corporate actions just let's make sure that they're targeted at what matters versus just kind of what looks good on TWiTter. There's

Leo Laporte (00:42:03):
A fairly brief period though, in Russian and I'm no expert on this strikes me. There's a very brief period in Russian history, going back 500 years where you, where the normal person has had any say in what's going on, has had any prosperity. Even after the fall of the Soviet union, there was at least a decade of intense poverty and and difficulty. I remember being in St. Petersburg, talking to somebody saying, you know, wasn't so bad when I didn't have to worry about the rent. You know, I, yeah, sure. I couldn't, I had no choices about work or anything, but at least I didn't have to pay the rent and, you know, stuff was provided for me. I think there is some nostalgia for the Soviet state. It's only a brief period of time. And then my wife was saying, well, okay, pre Soviet's, what was it said, well, it was czars. It was, it was surfed them. There's only, yeah, there hasn't been a long history of of people being able to, to live their lives without being under the boot in, in Russia.

Cory Doctorow (00:42:59):
And, you know, in that period of, of kind of neoliberal shock therapy after the wall came down, the mortality among men was so high you know working age men was so high and it was mostly alcohol and violence related. It's really hard to overstate how destabilized the country became. And of course there have been multiple crashes of the Rubal as well. So whatever wealth people did manage to save was wiped out repeatedly. And then there was just rampant gangsterism. So my great uncle and aunt, my great uncle ran was the curator of the popup museum, which was the, it's the equivalent of the computer history museum. And they got a little money for, from my grandmother and opened a dry cleaner. And one day they literally got a phone call from a guy who said, hi, this is the crime gang, the mafia your location is very good.

Cory Doctorow (00:43:47):
It's now ours. And if you ever show up there again, we'll murder you and then they didn't have it anymore. Wow. Wow. And so that kind of instability combined with, you know, massive wipe outs of, of whatever wealth you saved and completely you know, unstable and, and unreliable pension system really, I mean, has people in a, in a bad place and, you know, it is one of the things that paves the way I think for strong man politics, you can see para allows to the rise of Trump and people's concern about instability and, and the insufficiency of the social safety net and just feeling insecure and feeling like their kids in their own lives are bad, you know, and

Leo Laporte (00:44:27):
It's a vicious circle. I mean once the rule of law starts to fail, it fails fast and be people become it. It's, it's a terrible vicious circle. And that's why it's so important that we have this sense of fairness and of the impartiality of the courts and all this stuff. And when you start to undermine that, it's all downhill from there. So I want

Alex Wilhelm (00:44:50):
Were another concert here, which is living standards. And I'm thinking about the United States into the, the Trump era, if you will, as Corey just pointed out Russia into this current era, and then also China in the last 15, 20 years what happens when living standards start to plateau? It does seem to be that you end up with a strong man type person, either getting to power or taking advantage of a true to try to distract from what's going on. And so we've seen an enormous crackdown in China in the last couple years, as they're dealing with population issues and a lot of other problems as well, Russia kind of capped out cause their oil economy didn't have legs to grow forever. And so now we're here having put and kind of shake things up. And then we had Trump in the United States based on what Corey pointed out earlier. So there's a there's parallels here that we should have applied it's

Leo Laporte (00:45:32):
Happening globally. Absolutely. It's happening all over the world. It's

Cory Doctorow (00:45:36):
And I would say I would, I would tweak Alex, your, your formulation there and say that where you have systems that are parochial and, and aren't interested in, in the common public good, but just in the good of, of elites, which you end up having is you have these windows in which you are generating wealth and in which your, you know, money is coming in, be from your oil or whatever, but instead of reinvesting it in capacity, right, instead of turning Nokia from a rubber boot company into a phone company, you're just letting billionaires buy yachts with it, which when the oil runs out, you know, and that, I think like Brun, I would be a really good example of this, right? Where the, the Salton, like at one point owned an aircraft carrier with 150 Supercars on it that all rusted out because he forgot that if you put all your cars out to see that they'll all rust to nothing, you know,

Alex Wilhelm (00:46:27):
He never lived in Boston. Apparently would've learned some about Salton,

Cory Doctorow (00:46:30):

Leo Laporte (00:46:31):
But, but there is a positive note here, which I mean, if, if anything positive comes out of this, it does. And some have said Putin has awakened Western liberalism with a lower case L which he had, yeah. Already said was, was dead. Trump mistook that for something else. But we'll, that's another story. And, and maybe we will adjust our energy policy. This might be an for us to say, Hey, yeah, maybe that was a bad idea funding all these holes in the ground, maybe we should look at renewables, you know, maybe we'll do it for the strategic purpose of not being dependent on others. For whatever reason. Maybe there'll be a positive outcome yeah.

Alex Wilhelm (00:47:09):
To this.

Leo Laporte (00:47:10):

Alex Wilhelm (00:47:10):
Can I, can I ask a question about this Brianna and Corey and the auto everyone's view on this nuclear power? Where do we stand on that? Cause I'm on the prop camp, but I do understand that amongst RT, there is a dissension in the ranks. So I'm curious where we stand on that because I'm really off that people are like, oh, oil is a problem in Russia. Let's drill more oil. Are we

Cory Doctorow (00:47:26):
Gonna do Israel

Alex Wilhelm (00:47:27):
After this?

Leo Laporte (00:47:28):
Yes. I'm a, let's say first I'm a, again, it I'm a, again, it all you have to do is look at that fire in Ukraine that almost created another chin noble to know that nuclear power is not designed to survive everything. Okay. Problem. Number one second, we get a huge amount of power from the sun. Every day are very good technologies for converting that into every bit of energy we will ever need. I don't think there's any reason to flirt with something that is potentially dangerous when there is, there are so many good choices in renewable energy. Right now I understand nuclear has the one benefit of zero emissions, but I don't think that makes it the, the right way to go. That's just me talk me out of it. That's fine. I okay. I'm the smartest guy on this panel by any means

Alex Wilhelm (00:48:14):
We have one pro from me and one con or one negative from, from Leo. So Corey, Brian, what have we got

Cory Doctorow (00:48:21):
I'm generally

Alex Wilhelm (00:48:22):
I'll I wanna grab that potato.

Brianna Wu (00:48:24):
I I'm generally pro I think that yeah, one of the things I saw running from Congo is I was really surprised that there were a contingent of people that were really, really, really anti nuclear power. Just, just as a blanket statement and would not vote here in Boston, based on any other issue. And, you know, to me, I think it, you really, Dr. Drill deeply on enter G policy, all of it, except for renewables gets really, really messy, very, very quickly. Do you know, who's opposed to fracking in a really aggressive way Putin, because so much of the,

Leo Laporte (00:49:02):
It undermines is getting natural gas money. Exactly.

Brianna Wu (00:49:05):
Yeah. A hundred percent. So, you know, I think the reality is sometimes when we talk about politic, we wanna wave our magic wand to pretend we can create these systems from the, from the ground up. I think rather than that, it's a series of singles and doubles that kind of move us in the policy direction that we want to go. So to me, the question is, you know like care in Massachusetts, we use a ton of natural gas to heat. Our homes would moving to something, be be a step forward from an admission standpoint. I think so. So I'm in favor of anything that moves us in that direction though. Obviously as Leo was pointing out a pure green energy policy would be much better.

Alex Wilhelm (00:49:45):
That was great. Have you ever run for office Brianna

Leo Laporte (00:49:48):
Because yes, I

Brianna Wu (00:49:49):
Have. Yes,

Alex Wilhelm (00:49:50):
I have. You had that off had Corey, sorry, go to you.

Cory Doctorow (00:49:53):
Yeah, I guess I would say that I feel a lot I feel a lot the same about nuclear as I do about GMOs in that I, I don't see anything wrong with the, I, I don't think that it's insurmountable to build a system to manage and regulate them safely. I just don't trust the system. We have to manage and regulate it safely. And in part it's about when the case of nuclear about the actual history of nuclear, like, so the, the recent and long run history of how nuclear is managed,

Leo Laporte (00:50:22):
All, you have to look at three mile island Fukushima Or noble and say, oh yeah, this is a good thing. Let's do more of that.

Cory Doctorow (00:50:29):
There's, there's a lot of like privatized privatized gains and socialized losses in nuclear power. And there's, and there's a lot of too big to fail. Like let's not you know, where inspectors are kind of subor because the, you, can't not running the new, so would

Leo Laporte (00:50:45):
You be in favor of it if it were, were a perfect system?

Cory Doctorow (00:50:48):
So if, if the, yeah, if it were perfect. Sure. I mean, I'll say this, if you believe in carbon sequestration, which I don't, I think that it's nos a pipe dream, but if you do believe in carbon sequestration, you should believe in, in nuclear power, at least as far as the waste is concerned, because carbon sequestration means storing billions of time of something for as long as we would have to store like swimming pools worth of nuclear waste. And so if you think we can do one, then you, you necessarily think you, we can do the other there's a book by David K called sustainable energy without the hot air, which is it's not popular science book, it's a popular engineering book. So it presents all of these things as engineering parameters. Like here are the number of photons that strike the earth every day.

Cory Doctorow (00:51:32):
That is your maximum theoretical solar budget, right here are the URGs exerted by the moon on the earth. That is your maximum title budget. And then here's how much carbon we think we can ma have. And here's what we think happens with each half degree in how much carbon gets you. And like here is the most theoretically perfect airplane and how much energy it needs. And so on. He's like, you just need to move the sliders around. You have to decide what your priorities are and then you come out with an answer. Is it

Leo Laporte (00:52:00):
Conceivable? You could do it with just the with renewables entirely.

Cory Doctorow (00:52:03):
So I'll, I'm gonna paste a link into the chat. Maybe you guys can put it up here. Saul Griffith, who, you know, lovely chap he's he won the MacArthur prize. He wrote a book called electrify that came out last year about a clean energy transition. And although he favors nuclear, he says that it's politically too hard to, to make happen. And so we should do a green energy transition without it. And then he says, it's possible. So he says it easier with, with nuclear except for the political hurdles. And he says that, you know, as between like convincing people that they're wrong about nuclear and saving the planet from catching fire, we should just focus on saving the planet. And we don't need to convince people about nuclear to save the planet. So it's a, it's a very, very good book.

Leo Laporte (00:52:44):
What's the name of it again,

Cory Doctorow (00:52:46):
It's called electrify an optimist play playbook for our clear and energy future. And I, I past it into the chat. I don't know if you can get that, which from

Leo Laporte (00:52:53):
That chat, did you past it into that zoom chat? No, the zoom chat. I have no access to that. Oh, I can't see it either. I, I IRCs the only chat you could paste to, but I can, I can find it. That's fine because you can,

Cory Doctorow (00:53:06):
I'll, I'll tweet it. I'll just tweet

Leo Laporte (00:53:08):
It with now we've, now we're reduced to tweeting. This is it it's over.

Cory Doctorow (00:53:12):
And it's like, I TWiTlive, right?

Leo Laporte (00:53:14):
I'm gonna, I'm gonna take a break and and we'll figure it out, but we will post we'll post in the show notes. Anyway, I am so thrilled to have you guys. There's still lots more to talk about. In fact, we've really barely scratched the surface, but this was a great conversation and actually something that I've been trying to understand myself. So I'm glad we could talk about this. Cory, Dr. O is here his his website. You've got to subscribe to his newsletter, It's a lot of fun. It's great reading at Dr. Rowe on the TWiTter. UAlex,uwill helm from a tech crunch at Alex on the TWiTter. And, hf course, Brianna, woo. Who's no longer space cat gal. She's actually using her name on the TWiTter, like a grownup executive director of rebellion, Eldon ring speed runner.

Leo Laporte (00:54:04):
We'll talk about that later. Our show today brought to you by ne Reva. We're getting back to work. It's so cool. In fact, in a couple of weeks, we're gonna have an all in studio TWiTfor the first time in, I think a couple of years, maybe you're starting to get back to work. You've got your, your video conferencing room, but there's still some concerns. You, you wanna have good audio for your comfort thing, cuz there's still some people working from home probably always will be. Maybe you still wanna have some social distancing. So you could put in a traditional conferencing system. First of all, hugely expensive. Why is it expensive? Well, you gotta have, you gotta design it. You gotta bring in engineers to measure and design it. There's all these mics and speakers. You gotta put in DSPs. It is a complicated thing to do a traditional conferencing room.

Leo Laporte (00:54:54):
And by the way, even after you install it, it costs you cuz you've gotta have it recalibrated all the time. Look, the industry's been ready for some time for a better way of doing your conferencing. A better way of audio and conferencing and that Nureva Nureva created the revolutionary microphone missed technology. It's it's like a soundbar. In fact, you can see it on the screen. If you're watching the video, it looks like a soundbar. It's got one or two integrated microphones and speaker bars. You put in one or two integrated microphones, speaker bars in a room depending on, on the size of the room. And then the microphone missed technology, fills that room with virtual microphones, thousands of them, which means there's no dead zone. You can face any way you want. Everyone can be heard clearly everywhere in the room meeting and class participants.

Leo Laporte (00:55:44):
Just talk, move naturally, socially distanced. If they want, there's no microphones to clean wires. Everybody's hearing everybody and actually transforms the conference call and thanks to continuous auto calibration. Your rooms are always ready with optimized audio. Nobody has to come in with a decibel meter and measure or anything and the installation you could do yourself. If you wanted to, it's a 30 minute DIY job. If you ever put sound bar, it's that easy. That means big savings on time and cost. We just have Burke do it. That's that's all. And the management you'll love this. Your it department will love it. Anyway, you get an RVA console, which gives you the power to monitor, manage and adjust the system. Anywhere you don't have to go to the room. You don't have to go from room to room. So if you have many rooms, this, it will love it. Look, ask yourself, do you want to go with that old school system that really doesn't work that well and is very inflexible? Or do you want to try something modern? Do you want to go with a costly, complicated traditional system or make the leap to simple and economical? You gotta take a look at Nureva, save money, get better sound. Everybody's happier. And you are E a It's so easy to do. Go look at the website. You'll see Nureva. We thank Nureva so much for supporting our show this in tech,

Leo Laporte (00:57:13):
I was I was telling you before the show, Brianna, I, I wanted, wanted into Michael, our 19 year old's game room and he's playing Eldon ring on the play station five. I'm looking at, I go, is that El ring? He said, yeah. I said, if you beat the boss, he said, no, but he's played all the dark souls games. So I know he's really, really good at that. I set it up on my system. I didn't even, I didn't even get past the character design stage, cuz it, it wants you to use one of those things that kids use

Alex Wilhelm (00:57:43):
Trollers to

Leo Laporte (00:57:44):
Controller. Is that what they call it to play the game game? I believe so. It's just, it's all thumbs. I can't, I don't want, I wanna use a keyboard, a mouse, like a human being.

Brianna Wu (00:57:53):

Alex Wilhelm (00:57:53):

Brianna Wu (00:57:55):
There. Oh my goodness.

Alex Wilhelm (00:57:58):
All right. Look, Brianna. I know in the background of your shot, there are a, a, a number of classic gaming consoles. I think I can see them. Yeah. There's like an SNY. A that's yes. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I, I respect that, but pay

Leo Laporte (00:58:09):
No attention. The shark coming over the sofa though. That's not part of it.

Alex Wilhelm (00:58:12):
I'm trying to be very

Brianna Wu (00:58:13):
Shark. That's Sharko

Alex Wilhelm (00:58:17):
I'm just saying that everyone knows that controller complexity matters for in game kind of control. And I have a PlayStation and I have the, an Xbox and they're both fine, but when it comes to granularity, you

Leo Laporte (00:58:28):
Need a keyboard. Thank you

Alex Wilhelm (00:58:30):
Very much keyboard. Yes. And also if you want to aim, a mouse is great. And so to me, we've already invented the wheel. Everyone's trying to make crappy kind of like worst wheels and I'm not here for it. So

Leo Laporte (00:58:40):
Dark soul keyboard is at its heart, a console game. I think that's really the truth of

Brianna Wu (00:58:43):
It. Yeah. I think, I mean, if you're playing in FPS, I'm a hundred percent there with you. Like that should be keyboard mouse native. It's just, I put so many hours into this and I'm trying to,

Leo Laporte (00:58:55):
Are you gonna speed? Run it. Are you gonna, I know you, oh,

Brianna Wu (00:58:58):
A hundred percent. Are you really? Yeah. What's it figure out how to break?

Leo Laporte (00:59:02):
How many years is it gonna take you?

Brianna Wu (00:59:04):
Oh no. You figure out the exploit. Someone right now is figuring out some luck, stat booster that will let you one shot everyone in the game. I'm just gonna let them figure out.

Leo Laporte (00:59:15):
Is that gr head running behind you?

Brianna Wu (00:59:17):
What is it? No, this is, this is dark stalkers. So it's a very famous CPS CPS two Capcom game. It's

Leo Laporte (00:59:23):

Brianna Wu (00:59:24):
PGA Mister. Nice. I don't know if you know this as field programmable Gatorade, they've actually figured out how to accurately recreate the original arcade hardware on a little $300 box. But no, I was just, I was just gonna say, I don't think that I I'm, I'm open to alternate kinds of input. I just don't think that would be ideal for this particular game, cuz it's not about precision aiming. Yeah. Yeah. It's about precision timing.

Leo Laporte (00:59:52):
It's like roll duck and roll and jump and all that stuff at the right time. Yeah. Cause the, because the bosses have their rhythm and you have to understand and interact with the

Cory Doctorow (01:00:01):
It's basically guitar

Leo Laporte (01:00:02):
It's guitar hero for video games, right. By the way, here's, here's the book electrify by Saul Griffith MIT press an optimist playbook for our clean energy future. And I will absolutely buy a copy and I hope that that people in the corridors of power read it. I despair frankly, since they seem to be more interested in nitpicking over ridiculous issues like, oh, I don't even wanna bring it up.

Alex Wilhelm (01:00:31):

Leo Laporte (01:00:31):
SI like Dr.

Alex Wilhelm (01:00:33):
Before we get onto serious things, can we stay an old and ring for one second question, please

Leo Laporte (01:00:37):
Pre Hey. Right. Never say, let it be said loud and ring is not serious.

Alex Wilhelm (01:00:42):
Look I'm, I'm a gamer big fan. I'm mostly a strategy computer or PC guy, but like I have console. So on a question I, I have the, the littler Xbox, the new one, the white one, the not, not, not the good one, no one has them and trying to play Eldon ring on the, the crappier current Xbox

Brianna Wu (01:00:57):
A hundred percent don't even stress it. It's not, this is not a game where you are like graphically. I understand. It's impressive. That's not the point of the game. Just prioritize it for frame rate. You're gonna have a great experience.

Leo Laporte (01:01:11):
It's from a person with a 1992 Capcom game running an track mode on her TV, behind her. Okay. Fine for

Alex Wilhelm (01:01:18):
Enormous television. I think of like my apartment in San Francisco.

Cory Doctorow (01:01:22):
I, I live with a very, very, very serious gamer. My, my wife used to play quake for England and really

Alex Wilhelm (01:01:29):
That's the coolest thing I've heard of. There was

Cory Doctorow (01:01:31):
An English

Leo Laporte (01:01:31):
Team. There was

Cory Doctorow (01:01:32):
An all

Leo Laporte (01:01:33):

Cory Doctorow (01:01:33):
Oh yeah. Tour the world. So she has fallen down the back for blood rabbit hole. It's left for dad, but harder. Ooh.

Leo Laporte (01:01:40):
And she's

Cory Doctorow (01:01:41):
Got a crew of three friends that she play is with and she just, she, she plays with a headset, but she just screams into the headset, you know, encouragement and curses and whatever takes over our living room every night. And it's how she's been socializing. She's really very good at it, as you would imagine, but it it's pretty fun to watch. It's it's I don't know that I would ever actually play it. But speaking of someone with a lot of experience watching someone else play a lot of video games, I, I give it, I give it top marks

Leo Laporte (01:02:10):
Actually. That's a question we've been asking of late is why has an eSports taken off, especially during this time of COVID. Ah, and, and, and when will there be, when will there be that game that everybody wants to watch? Maybe it's back for blood. The neat thing about these zombie games is the co-op mode, right? You're playing with a group of other people. You're doing it together. You're living through this experience together. She's playing with people who are not in the room, right? They're

Cory Doctorow (01:02:41):
Yeah. Yeah. She's playing against friends who are remote, but,

Leo Laporte (01:02:43):
But it's co it's. Yeah. I mean, I think this is, I, I think that's a good start towards a game that you'd wanna watch. There's a team. Yeah,

Cory Doctorow (01:02:51):

Alex Wilhelm (01:02:51):
Yeah. For sure. On your eSports point, I think we've already reached the point of kind of eSports maturity, because one thing people kind of forget is how old of legends is now legal legends is a game that I played in college and now I'm going bald. So like it's been around for a minute. And and the way, the way that I think about it is it's kind of like the NBA, like the NBA is an enormous deal. I have friends who watch basketball, religiously I'm on group chats with them. They send memes that make no sense to me. And they're rabid fans about it. And if you don't, don't watch basketball, you have no idea. And somebody it's kind of established, some people know about it, but like no one watches it, if you don't.

Leo Laporte (01:03:24):
No. If you had, if you had to, somebody had to sit down and explain the rules of baseball to you, three hours later, you'd stand up befuddled and say, well, I don't know why anybody watches that game. I feel that way about cricket. I'm sure your wife doesn't Corey, but 

Cory Doctorow (01:03:37):
It's not a cricketer, but, but I just had to explain baseball to my daughter who was born and raised in the UK and moved here when she was seven and just never had anyone explain baseball to her. And she came home from like target with a plastic baseball bat in a ball and said, let's go hit it out in the backyard. And I was like, okay, do you know how to play? Like, do you know? She's like, okay, here are the bases. And I'm like, okay, explain how the bases work. She's like, I'm not sure

Alex Wilhelm (01:03:59):

Leo Laporte (01:03:59):

Cory Doctorow (01:03:59):
An out is, you know? And it was, it was pretty fun

Leo Laporte (01:04:02):
Actually. It was like me and a wicket. I don't understand. Yeah. Yeah. And, and I really don't understand a game that could go on for days it's beyond, beyond me. So

Brianna Wu (01:04:12):
I think if you're looking at you know, the most serious eSports, which would be fighting games, you know, we've had fighting in communities since yeah. 1992 and street fighter

Leo Laporte (01:04:22):
Two come, but do people watch it like, would they sit in an arena and watch it? Well,

Alex Wilhelm (01:04:26):
This is,

Brianna Wu (01:04:26):
This is kind of my point that if you look at fighting games, the problem with fighting games is they've gotten more and more and more complex over the years. And if you ever watch an eSports broadcast of Evo, which is essentially the, you know, it's the super bowl of fight fighting games. It's like, who's the best player that year. You almost have to have a PhD in fighting games to understand what they're talking about when it comes to like frame advantage and things like that. One of the things on TWiTch that I think,ueSports have really missed the bar on is that the most popular people, that stream games on TWiTch are very interesting personalities. So it tends to be less about this very, very high level play. And it's more about these interesting personalities or, you know, girls in hot tubs in some cases, but more about the people that are actually bringing you the content.

Leo Laporte (01:05:20):
So, so that's one form of eSports would be TWiTch or the let's play content on YouTube. That kinda thing, right? Here's a picture of Evo being played in front of a live audience, right. For some reason, this to me seems more like what, you know, in an arena, what an e-sports, but I guess it doesn't have, have to be that way. Does it, I mean, we wa by far more NFL hours are watch, spent watching in the NFL, on, at home, on, on a screen than in, but

Brianna Wu (01:05:45):
The difference in the NFL and Evo is like, Eva just had to be acquired by Sony because it, it's not doing super well financially. Right. Fighting games have gotten so in. So with these skills, it takes to play them successfully.

Leo Laporte (01:06:00):
That's the problem, I think with eSports in general is it's so stratified. It's so niche oriented, it looks like the mobile games, like league of legends or Dota two seem to have a very, they seem to be well suited to eSports, I guess, cuz you have teams who can compete and you can the teams and you can have personalities. But the thing I think Strat Together. Yeah. Sorry

Cory Doctorow (01:06:23):

Leo Laporte (01:06:24):
Well, I just, I think that that's the problem with the gaming in general is that the console gamers, you know, the keyboard guys, don't like the, what do they call us controllers? Is that what they call them?

Alex Wilhelm (01:06:34):
Handset. Okay. But like, think about it this moment, but isn't this the,

Cory Doctorow (01:06:39):
I'm sorry, go ahead.

Cory Doctorow (01:06:40):
I, I was gonna say just isn't this the, the normal life cycle of a game, like I'm just thinking of Dungeons and dragons. Right. Which just went through this, you know, period of, of increasing complexity, increasing complexity. And then it kind of collapse when they refactored the rules because they just realized that it's too hard. You had to, the only way to be a D and D player was to have been a D and D player for 20 years. And they, they, they were starving their pipeline. And I just wonder if that's not you know, in the nature of, of all of this stuff, that it just gets more esoteric a bit like, you know, if snowflakes are falling down on a, on a snowbank, you know, little bits of complexity and each snowflake is no big deal, but eventually the whole thing becomes so unstable that you have an avalanche and then you get a new stable configuration in the form of something very simple again, you know, so

Leo Laporte (01:07:26):
Here's the, here's the counter argument chess hasn't changed in a thousand years.

Cory Doctorow (01:07:32):
You don't play three dimensional battle chess.

Leo Laporte (01:07:35):
Okay. I take it back. I have it. Wasn't good. Some games have I don't know cuz they're perfect or what, but they it's interesting. I thought chess was gonna be over 20 years ago when a computer beat the world champion shortly thereafter, there, there, it was easy to find on your phone, a chess game that no human could beat. I mean, it's really gotten to that point. There are now just, you know, chess games with ratings. Well over 3000 and no human is that high, even Magnus Carlson. So and that has not killed the game. Interestingly, we found a way to coexist with the robots. We let them coach us and we work with them. Yeah.

Brianna Wu (01:08:18):
I think that's closer to like super Mario the original SS SMB on NES, you know, like this is a good game, but it's still religiously played today by speed runners because of the historical importance.

Leo Laporte (01:08:31):
Yeah. But you made it a new game, but the speed running, right. That's a different a hundred percent. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. So you're playing the same game, but it's a different goal.

Cory Doctorow (01:08:40):
I, I think that in chess, what has happened, I'm not, I'm not a chess expert, but I, what I've heard is happen in chess is there is a new kind of play, which is when a human and a and a, a machine learning system play against another human and a machine learning system. They call it the center or play, you know, where you're half person, half machine. And that, that apparently makes for a really challenging and interesting game.

Leo Laporte (01:09:02):
That's a I, I have not seen that. I mean, you know, I, we just had the world chess championship, which was between two humans a couple of months ago and that was played. So in fact, there's very strict rules and it's a real problem in chess, cheating with a guy, goes up and goes to the bathroom and looks at his phone and comes back in place. But so they have very strict rules to, to prevent that from happening. Nevertheless, a lot of the preparation, almost all the preparation and a German play and stuff is done with the kind of human machine interface. The machines are very, very good at finding the best move, but it's not often not, it's often not an intuitive move or a move a human would make. It's, it's really interesting actually to watch this happen. And it might give us some insight into what the future holds for AI in general and an AI human interaction in general. It's interesting.

Alex Wilhelm (01:09:54):
Yeah. I think Magnus Carlson the, with his excellent hair has also, he

Leo Laporte (01:09:58):
Does have very good hair. Yeah, yeah,

Alex Wilhelm (01:10:00):
Yeah. Kind, kind of a boost if you

Leo Laporte (01:10:02):
Much better than any computer. Yeah. Yeah.

Alex Wilhelm (01:10:04):
No computers ever had good hair in the history of computers. But he brought personality, brought pizazz to it if you will. And I think that's helped chess grow because personalities combined with SN hear me out personalities combined with skill-based sport are what drives. 

Leo Laporte (01:10:18):
You're exactly right.

Alex Wilhelm (01:10:20):
I critically, the NFL had up

Leo Laporte (01:10:22):
Close and personal is the phrase. It's how they make the Olympics at all. Interesting. Especially the winter Olympics where it's not head to head competition, you get the athletes up close and personal so that you care about the person riding the piece of metal down.

Cory Doctorow (01:10:36):
I have to say, I beg to differ on what of their computers have ever had good hair. So back in my, in the, I

Alex Wilhelm (01:10:41):
Knew it days

Cory Doctorow (01:10:42):
In the old days, you know, when, when I was a smoker and my ex had a long hair, main, and all of that was ingested into my mat by the, I would open it up once a month and remove a kind of nicotine stiff and dread. That was an inverse mold of the inside of my computer.

Alex Wilhelm (01:11:02):
Disgust God for certain

Cory Doctorow (01:11:04):
Values of good hair. That was pretty good hair.

Alex Wilhelm (01:11:07):
All right. So first of all, we've all switched to vaping now. So like no one smokes inside. What is this? The 14 hundreds, but I wanna, I wanna circle back all the way to the point of complexity and the's

Leo Laporte (01:11:16):
Such a horrible, horrible image.

Alex Wilhelm (01:11:18):
Leo can't let it go.

Leo Laporte (01:11:20):
It's like a mullet in your computer. Yeah.

Alex Wilhelm (01:11:24):
The nicotine mullet, Leo it's even better.

Leo Laporte (01:11:25):
Well, all mullets are nicotine soaked. I think that's that's

Alex Wilhelm (01:11:28):
Okay. Yeah. It's it's fair enough. I, on the points about rules getting more complex and side of the game and having that make it less fun. I think the NFL's a great example of this because now whenever a player makes a catch, they run 48 game players to see where crazy

Leo Laporte (01:11:41):
It's so boring.

Alex Wilhelm (01:11:42):
Yeah. So yeah,

Leo Laporte (01:11:44):
Actually that has happened. That has happened. I think there is a tendency in that direction. I don't know why chess hasn't that hasn't happened a chess.

Alex Wilhelm (01:11:51):
Ah, it's not a judge to sport. That's the thing. It's not ref

Leo Laporte (01:11:55):
There's no referee central light. So the referees,

Alex Wilhelm (01:11:57):
No, one's making value calls. Yeah. Essentially, if you make value calls, the sport's very different. So like an extreme example, this is like competitive drifting, which is all just judged, kind of like how well you did and like skating and so forth. Chess is kinda the, the other end of that. It's just, I

Leo Laporte (01:12:09):
Would say playing chess and competitive drifting are about as far apart as you can get

Alex Wilhelm (01:12:14):
And yet both make great sports on TWiTch. Hey,

Cory Doctorow (01:12:18):
Do you know? I, once I once saw an actual chess boxing match bringing it back to Russians I was at a science fiction convention.

Leo Laporte (01:12:26):
Clearly there was vodka involved as well. Okay.

Cory Doctorow (01:12:28):
And so, yeah, non France. And they had these, these Russian guests who were competitive chess, boxers, and the way that chess boxing works is you have one little skinny guy. Who's a great chess player and a great big bruiser. Who's an amazing boxer. And you play one one VO of speed chess, and then you get up and you do one round of boxing and then you do one VO of speech chess and you do. And it's basically a race to see whether the big guy can, can concuss the little guy before the little guy can mate him.

Alex Wilhelm (01:12:59):

Cory Doctorow (01:12:59):

Alex Wilhelm (01:12:59):
A, it was

Cory Doctorow (01:13:00):
Definitely the sport of Kings.

Alex Wilhelm (01:13:02):
This is amazing Blon. This is like the Blon you're gonna ski. And then we're gonna hand you in a assault rifle,

Leo Laporte (01:13:08):
They played chess, and now they're getting up and they're gonna punch each other. This

Brianna Wu (01:13:14):
Is like, and L get, look at

Leo Laporte (01:13:16):
This. It is like something somebody made up. It really is,

Alex Wilhelm (01:13:20):
Oh my God. As opposed to chat, switch

Cory Doctorow (01:13:22):
Came down off a mountain on two stone

Alex Wilhelm (01:13:23):

Leo Laporte (01:13:25):
I think so. I, I don't wanna say anything, but I think so the chat room is telling me that that Magnus Carlson's rating is about 28 45. And so stock fish, which you can download it's free. It's open source is about 3,500. So there's a big,

Alex Wilhelm (01:13:41):

Leo Laporte (01:13:42):
Difference effectively stock. You can't beat no human alive can beat stock fish at chess. It's quite interesting. Meanwhile, the boxers are, are still finding it out. I don't wanna get a huge YouTube take down by the chess boxing council. So I'm gonna conclude this is, this is the world chess boxing championship, a match. No one will ever forget, by the way, I just wanna point out two and a half million people have watched this video on YouTube.

Alex Wilhelm (01:14:12):
That's because they're all like us. They're like, wait a minute. This is the thing. This can't be no, no, no. I think it's

Leo Laporte (01:14:16):
Mostly used as kind of a eLog during family holidays. Just have running in the background. Yeah. Yeah. You,

Brianna Wu (01:14:24):
I have a great new show. I want pitch you some

Leo Laporte (01:14:27):

Brianna Wu (01:14:28):
We can do this every week.

Leo Laporte (01:14:29):
We could have speed run boxing. It'd be great. I love it. Oh, wow. 

Alex Wilhelm (01:14:35):
Where were we?

Leo Laporte (01:14:36):
So we were in Ukraine. There's still so much more and I, I don't want to kind of belabor it. We've certainly been talking about it for the last two weeks. 

Brianna Wu (01:14:44):
I, I do have a serious question. I wanna ask and, and, and really get you guys to weigh in on this, cuz I have, I've really only been struggling with this. So if you look at democracy, overall democracy is really struggling worldwide. And there was an Atlantic piece that really went into detail about kind of the tools that authoritarians are using around the world to kind of you know, subvert democracy and slowly it over and a real commonality with those tools is they all involve the tech industry to some degree, whether it's, you know, manufacturing consent or, or propaganda or mass surveillance or, you know, all these different tricks. And I, I'm going to ask you guys, like, do you think that I have long been of the opinion that we should have to get to? Corey's like we should have done this 20 years ago, theme here, but we should have had discussions about how the things we were built were going to affect the society around us 20 years ago. And I kind of think what's going on in Ukraine right, right now is, is really an ultimate example of, of how the lack of foresight in the tech industry is, is fundamentally putting democracy at risk.

Leo Laporte (01:16:03):
It's pretty human. I mean, back in 1920, when we were still using electric cars, we might have considered the consequence of changing the fossil fuels. But you, you know, I mean,

Alex Wilhelm (01:16:16):
Are you willing to give up that's, that's my question like cuz Leo you're describing, we could have stuck with electric cars and they had very short ranges and electricity was expensive or more expensive back then. And also that power has to come from somewhere and we would've burned quite cold to generate more power for it. So would that have helped? And also the, the internal engine is incredibly useful bit of technology that we've gotten a lot of benefits from costs. Yes. And so when Brianna raises her very, very fair point and I think was well said, my, my fear is that if we began to be more cautious, there's a risk of becoming overly cautious. And I know that I'm taking that the capitalist side of this. So I'll take the stick for that. But like one, I don't think we can look far who really see two, I don't think society will slow down enough in a capitalistic democracy setup, which is the only way that I can kind of think to run things. And three, I think you wouldn't be able to kind of figure things out. So no, it's very

Leo Laporte (01:17:05):
Easy to do so in hindsight, I mean, you know, Corey did a great ch you know, cause and effect chain of over the past 20 years, but that's an all in hindsight. We there's no Harry Seldon out there yet. Who could say, well, I, I see where this is going. And even if there were the political will to forego the benefits of the, you know, the, of fossil fuels or whatever certainly is like, we don't have the political will to do hardly anything. Yeah. We know the world is about to be engulfed in flames. The latest IPCC report is dire. There'd be no action. And, and people are saying we should frack more. Yeah. As a solution, Russian you'll be literally no response. No, no rational response to that. I've this is why I tried to end the last segment with something positive, like the return of Western liberalism and, and The greening of America. But I guess you guys really want to go down that the remit,

Cory Doctorow (01:18:08):
I, I think Brianna raises really excellent point. And, and I, I think that the only way to, to tackle it is to, to break it up into different subquestions cuz like the, should we, should we have thought harder about what we were doing with tech? Obviously the answer is yes, but like which parts and what role does tech play in the disintegration of democracy is something that I think you can't just use the unitary phenomenon of tech to, to analyze that you have to actually break down different functions. So like, well

Leo Laporte (01:18:36):
Let's say social media let's say Facebook is that no, but even with social media, it's

Cory Doctorow (01:18:41):
Not. So I would say that like, there are three questions about Facebook and other forms of social media. So the first one is what does targeting do? The second one is what about group formation? And third one is what about persuasion? And persuasion is the one that I think we lean on the most and is the least credible, the least plausible. So the tech giants go out there and they say, we have invented a mind control Ray to sell your nephew fidget spinners. If you pay the premium that we charge for surveillance advertising, we promise that we can change people's minds and bypass their critical faculties. And then there's a certain kind of tech critic who goes, yeah, that mind control rate that they invented to sell your nephew a fidget spinner, guess what? Robert Mercer stole it and made your uncle a QAN on.

Cory Doctorow (01:19:21):
And, and I don't think that there's much evidence for it. You know, I think we see Facebook doing things like they did this experiment where they, they exposed 60 million people to a stimulus. They predicted Reese voter turnout. They got 300,000 people to vote, which sounds very impressive more than they thought would. And it sounds very impressive until you realize that it's a 0.39% effect size and elections are not decided by 0.39% margins. But even though that's not a very convincing piece of evidence that Facebook can alter our, our conduct. It is in fact, very compelling evidence that Facebook is run by the kind of donkey that performs non-consensual psychological experiments on 60 million people and they shouldn't be running a lemonade stand. So I'm not all that worried about the persuasion part, which leaves this other question, which is if it's not persuasion, if it's not that we're bypassing people's critical faculties, how is it that anti-democratic and other ODS ideas spread.

Cory Doctorow (01:20:17):
And I think that that is the function of targeting that you can find people who are because of their material conditions, predisposed to believe and curatorial accounts of the world. And so I don't think that that's like that they're like genetic fools. I think that it's like if you've, if you've lived in a region that has been heavily destabilized, you've experienced serious losses, you're traumatized, you don't trust the institutions that were supposed to protect you because they failed you. Then you are in fact disposed to hear explanations for what what's going on. That don't include a necessity that you believe that those institutions are well run when, you know, for a fact that they aren't. And so I think targeting is a thing that you get with advertising. And I think that it, it is a way that, that all of this stuff has been very salient in our politics.

Cory Doctorow (01:21:05):
And then the final piece is group formation, which is kind of, of like targeting. We are now at this moment where if you have a minority or fringe view, you can find other people who hold that minority or fringe view. And in many ways, that's amazing, right? We, we live now in a moment in which things that were illegal and living memory are, it's now considered a shame and a stain on our moral character that at we ever thought that they were wrong, right? Like homosexuality or smoking pot, or, you know, a whole long list of things that, that we've had a complete reversal of our views. And the way that we got there was not by people who held heterodox views, standing up and demanding to be counted. It was by people being able to speak their truth quietly to, to other people who they thought would listen and forming groups quietly in private so that they could then stand up and speak their truth together.

Cory Doctorow (01:21:57):
And you know, if you're a kid who's never heard the word trans, but you know, there's something different about you. You can type some search terms into your favorite search engine and you can find the words for who you are, right. And you can acquire the vocabulary and the community to describe it and you can go out and do it. Now, the same thing is true. If you believe that Jews secretly run the world, you can also find the words for that and join those people. Right. And so that has also been incredibly salient to our political fortunes, but in a different way. And in a way that I think is more of a mixed bag. And so I would say like, you know, in, in terms of like the Mary keep kill of these three things I would kill targeting, I would basically just make fun of persuasion. And I would really lean into understanding and refining group formation and, and trying to figure out ways to put your thumb on the scales for forming groups that are socially beneficial.

Leo Laporte (01:22:51):
I honestly feel like persuasion is just a, is just another way of saying targeting and is equal. It's equally UN ineffective. I'll grant you on the group. Formation. What about algorithm though? You leave that out? It seems

Cory Doctorow (01:23:03):
That's, that's persuasion is that part of that's we, we, we, we sped on you for two years. We built a profile using all those junk signs that doesn't reproduce like so that's personality types

Leo Laporte (01:23:14):

Cory Doctorow (01:23:15):
Whatever yous. Yeah. And then we just feed, like we feed fidget spinner into it and it pops out the message that makes you wanna buy a fidget spinner. We feed white national, but that's

Leo Laporte (01:23:23):
That's algorithm in the context advertising. What about algorithm in the context of, I mean, what, what algorithm is really designed to do is increase engagement later on we'll, we'll advertise to you, but we just want, you wanna be sticky, but the consequence of unfettered algorithm, unattended algorithm, both on YouTube and Facebook seems to be extremism seems to be persuasion in the form of moving you towards

Cory Doctorow (01:23:48):
Extreme. I guess there there's something to that, but, you know, I don't know how you distinguish that from like, I'm really interested in carpentry. So I watch a carpentry video and then I discover that the kind of carpentry I'm interested is in joinery. So I watch one of his suggested joinery videos and pretty

Leo Laporte (01:24:01):
Discover. Then you're building bonfires.

Cory Doctorow (01:24:03):
Well, it's pretty soon. You're like looking at Japanese nail as joinery and then this one kind of joint, and then you join an esoteric community of people who just care about this one joint. Like I don't see how that's very different from any of the other so-called radicalization

Leo Laporte (01:24:15):
Type. That's fairly benign though. I mean, but

Cory Doctorow (01:24:17):
It's the same thing, right? It's all it's doing is it's directing you down on esoteric pathway from a very broad category to the narrow one that you're more in. And I don't know that it's persuading you so much as exposing you. Okay. Fair. I

Brianna Wu (01:24:31):
Flat out. Don't agree with that, but go ahead, Alison please.

Cory Doctorow (01:24:34):
No, no, no. Brianna please.

Brianna Wu (01:24:35):
No, no, no, no. It's well, I was just gonna say, I think that generally speaking, not talking to you specifically, Corey, but I think there's a kind of idealism that has, has really Perme the tech industry where we kind of tell ourselves that these things we build are neutral and that it's not having long term consequences and kind of wash our hands of it. And I, I really did used to believe that and I just I've I've really come to believe that we've, we've been information idealist when we need to be information realist the whole time. And I, I feel like what is going on right now is a really solid example of that. You talk about like perhaps regulating or tweaking the, the edges around the algorithm. I don't know what, you know, what institution is supposed to bring those changes to the forefront.

Brianna Wu (01:25:30):
I think the core thing that's kind of rotten here. If you really wanna get down to centrality is, is the culture of the tech industry where we, we don't have a, a sense of morality or ownership over the things that we build. I do think the engineers, we don't have ethic. We think about the same way that a lawyer or a doctor might tend to think about that. It's good in many ways, you know, you can go out, you can build an app, you can ship it. You don't have to worry about with and licensing that opens many doors. I think the dark flip side that we've really kind of just said, we don't wanna think about or hold ourselves accountable with, is that there's the things that we have built are increasingly really destabilizing the world is certainly destabilizing the democracy here in the United States. And I, I just, I, I wish we had thought about this much more.

Leo Laporte (01:26:25):
It's clear. Twitter's a lot more fun without the Russian troll bots.

Cory Doctorow (01:26:29):
Yeah. You know, I think we're mostly in agreement there, you know, I'm all for thinking through ethical precepts when it comes to your, your technological choices. What I'm specifically saying though, is if you like me think that the tech giants are cor of pathological liars, that it would be pretty weird to assume that the only time they're telling the truth is when they claim that their products work really well. And given how thin the, the evidence is for, for that those products working well. Right. For persua, for persuasion working well, P and G dropped its hundred million dollar Google ads spend and saw a 0% change in their sales. Wow. So if that's the case, right? If that, if, if, if it's just a con, which I think it, it is. And I think one of the ways in which the tech giants are corrosive is that they're con artists. Then it, it is not doing the tech industry's job for them to discount the power of algorithmic persuasion. It, in fact is striking at the heart of their business because all of their money comes from the faith-based belief among advertisers that they can do algorithmic persuasion.

Leo Laporte (01:27:39):
Well, I think it's time to do a little add before we go, okay, go ahead. And then I'll do some awesome algorithm persuasion coming up. I

Brianna Wu (01:27:46):
Just wanna say, I don't agree with you, Corey. And this is why one of the big projects we did rebellion pack over the last year is we went out, we got the voter list and we did a project where we wanted to get people to go vote. People that had not voted before in a primary people that only registered to vote for, for Donald Trump. And we went out and we specifically targeted them. We found out really excellent information on what motivated them to get to the polls. We showed them pictures of schools in their neighborhood, and we really precisely and algorithmically tailored what they saw about the issues and, and, and serve them ads that were just really, really dialed down and created to appeal to them. I then ran those ads to them with the control group and an experiment group. And then I went and saw who actually ended up going and voting and election. And while, I don't know specifically who they voted for, I have actual data. I can show you this that shows repeating those ads to people over and over objectively made them far more likely to go out and vote. So I just don't agree with your summation of the data and the studies there

Leo Laporte (01:29:05):
And, and no, to be fair, I'm not sure I would stipulate that the tech giants are corrosive. What did you call 'em or forces for evil or something for evil? I mean, again, I, I, I don't think that we entirely disagree cuz I think it's different to find out what people care about and tell it to them versus asking a computer to tailor ads to them. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. And, and, and honestly, I think they're just a bunch of guys like you and me and you know, maybe they went down the wrong path at one point, but I don't think they're, they're, they're the same mediocre sociopaths that tried to corner the globe for, you know, Commodor and, and Alta Vista and Dak. The only difference is that we didn't enforce antitrust law, antitrust law for them. And, and, and we did against all those other companies. So they weren't able to corner the market. Yeah.

Alex Wilhelm (01:29:51):
And Microsoft just spent 20 billion buying nuance and just got approved. So

Leo Laporte (01:29:55):
Cool. Oh, nuance went through, we learned as the DOJ waved it through. I thought they hadn't.

Alex Wilhelm (01:30:00):
I, I did on Friday. Oh, maybe I think it got final a I had a busy day. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. I mean, gosh, you

Leo Laporte (01:30:06):
Need to pay the bills. This is not algorithmic. It's not targeted. I don't want you to take this personally, but I just wanna say I'm fat. And I have found a way to not be so fat. I think, I think Brianna have been doing something too. I wanna say you look, you look really, really good. I,

Brianna Wu (01:30:25):
I lost 80 pounds with this particular 80

Leo Laporte (01:30:28):

Brianna Wu (01:30:29):
Oh God. I can show you the chart right here. I put on so much weight when I blew out my knee last year. Cause

Leo Laporte (01:30:35):
You couldn't exercise

Brianna Wu (01:30:36):
Suddenly. I couldn't exercise at all. Why I was waiting over COVID to get surgery to actually go do it. I lost 80 pounds with this sponsor. I've kept it off now for about five months,

Leo Laporte (01:30:47):
I've lost about 20. How much have you lost Lisa? My wife,

Speaker 6 (01:30:49):

Leo Laporte (01:30:50):
15. But it's not about the pounds. Yeah. It's actually about reeducating yourself about why you eat, how you eat because honestly, no diet is ever gonna work long term for you. You no. And that's what we're talking about is really about education now. Of course God, you're constant. And I would understand if you go, oh, not another diet. We're constantly bombarded by this. This is not a diet, right? Lisa, Lisa's done this. It's

Speaker 6 (01:31:20):
Not a diet.

Leo Laporte (01:31:20):
She swears by it. You started doing it. Cuz I was it to support me as a good wife, cuz you don't need to lose weight. Like I do

Speaker 6 (01:31:27):
Well with the pandemic and having a lot of fun the first year with cooking and drinking. Yes, I, we were

Leo Laporte (01:31:33):
Doing a lot sour, lose

Speaker 6 (01:31:34):
A few. I need to get back in alignment with where I wanna be.

Leo Laporte (01:31:38):
So what happens is that eating is there's a lot of psychology in why you eat. It's not always for hunger. It's not always for energy. It is often. And it's certainly in my case for emotional satisfaction I do a lot of what they, what Noom calls, fog, eating. So Noom is a psychology based approach that helps you change the way you think about food. Think about health. It doesn't say change your lifestyle. In fact, the weirdest thing when I first started doing it, I told my coach, you have a coach, you have an app by the way, love the app. You have little lessons. There's a, there's a a food log, which is a very important part of it. You also have a group, so there's to support around it. But I told my coach, I had a hot dog last night and I was so surprised. And my coach said, that's great. I said, wait a minute, that's a bad foodie. She said, Tia, I love you Tia. She said, that's, there's no bad foods in. No, it's all just food. Right? And that was huge for me.

Speaker 6 (01:32:36):
Well, that's the best part when I joined it with you, the number one thing that hooked me in was I saw a candy maker in a commercial say he eats candy every day and he's maintaining the way he wants you. Like, and I like my sweets. So I went, okay, so what's bad for me. Nothing's bad for you. Everything is moderation. It's your personal choice. You get to

Leo Laporte (01:32:54):
Choose knowing why you're overeating.

Speaker 6 (01:32:57):

Leo Laporte (01:32:57):
For me, maybe see, that's the thing. Everybody's a little different.

Speaker 6 (01:32:59):
Well, for me it's like stress eating, ghost eating. Yeah. I tend to be less mindful when I'm stressed out. But for the most part, mindfulness

Leo Laporte (01:33:06):
Is a big part. I'm not aware of it. I just stuffed my mouth. Right?

Speaker 6 (01:33:09):
Yeah. But this is it's easy and nothing's off limit. So everything is your choice. You get to make choices every day. And I have been maintaining my weight for a year now and I I've told everyone it's easy. I have like 10 friends that have lost weight on Noom and they love it. That's amazing. And I don't think I'll ever stop just because it keeps me accountable.

Leo Laporte (01:33:28):
Noom does not believe in restricting what you can or can't eat. What noms doing is, is giving you the knowledge and wisdom. You need to make informed, underscore informed choices that help get you closer to reaching your goals. They're using psychological principles like cognitive behavioral therapy. So you can better understand your relationship with food, build sustainable habits. And this is there's ups and downs. That's why Noom says it's it's about progress, not perfection seven. The good news is 75% of Noom users finish program. Not everybody's gonna lose 80 pounds like Brianna did. But boy, when it, I mean it's the, it works. It really works. It's it's completely grounded in science. They have published more than 30 peer reviewed scientific articles to inform users and parti practitioners and scientists about what they're doing, how effective it is. It's empowering. It's not stress inducing. It's not guilt. There's no guilt. There's no feeling bad. Cuz that just makes you eat more. You know that we all know that. You no fear of ruining your whole program with one off day. Noom helps you get back on track. Do you decide how Noom weight fits into your life? Not the other way around the, the readings are quick 10 minutes a night. I got more than you. I don't know why Lisa you'd be done and I'd still be doing my

Speaker 6 (01:34:50):
Well that's cuz I'm on maintenance. So I get like one article a

Leo Laporte (01:34:52):
Day. That's that's why I just love this. I love the I'm about knowledge. I love knowing why I'm doing it. And that helps me eat more healthily. I and I have really changed my habits. Start building better habits, sign up for your trial. I don't know how else to say it. You you're bombarded with these, you know, diets and so forth. This is not that this is something very different. N O O M up for your trial at N O om, get Lisa to come in cuz she's my my poster girl for this, but now I have to say Brianna. Woo you're. You're a poster child too. That's pretty impressive.

Brianna Wu (01:35:32):
What, what I love about this is, you know, I grew up in Mississippi. That's not, not really a place where you have a

Leo Laporte (01:35:38):
Lot different

Brianna Wu (01:35:39):
French baby education, man.

Leo Laporte (01:35:40):
It's not puppies.

Brianna Wu (01:35:42):
I had all these bad habits that I didn't have to think through. Cuz I I'm pretty active through my twenties and my thirties and yeah. Then your forties come and you're like, oh well I actually need to think about how, what I eat affects my body. Yes. This would is really resetting things. And the, the thing I love the most about this is I, it's not that it's saying you can't eat pizza or chicken wings or things like that. But once you kind of understand how, what you eat affects your body, you crave other things. That's

Leo Laporte (01:36:17):
Right. That's right. You

Brianna Wu (01:36:19):
Don't even, it's not like Frank aid a pizza the movie the other day. And I, I just had no desire to eat that whatsoever. Yeah. It's it's just, it's it's it's building a habit and changing the way, the things that you hunger for

Leo Laporte (01:36:33):
You look great. And that sustain you really do. I appreciate that. Yeah. yeah. We, when I knew that it was not bad to eat a hot dog, I ate less hot dogs. Actually. When you, when you're told no hot dogs for you, that's when you crave, I must have a hot dog. We went out last night. Lisa said you could have a hot talk tonight. Did I?

Speaker 6 (01:36:52):

Leo Laporte (01:36:52):
Yes, no. I didn't have a hot dog.

Speaker 6 (01:36:54):
Oh no, no. That's right. You had chicken par.

Leo Laporte (01:36:56):
Well, that's not, it's almost, that's

Speaker 6 (01:36:59):
An improvement. Garlic fries and fried

Leo Laporte (01:37:01):
Bruss. She had garlic fries, but we, but we wrote it down. Right? We put it on Noom. I

Speaker 6 (01:37:05):
Didn't go over my calories. That's all I gotta say.

Leo Laporte (01:37:08):
Anyway that's a long ad for something that a few of us are pretty excited about Thank you Noom. All right. Speaking of rapacious tech giants, we're only out to take our money. Apple's gonna have a big event on Tuesday.

Alex Wilhelm (01:37:26):
I I'm already max cause I, I have an iMac with an M one chip in it and I know they're gonna drop a new one with a better ship and I'm gonna have iMac envy. And I hate how they do this

Leo Laporte (01:37:35):
Me. Oh man. I am. I am sitting here saying, take my money. I am such a sucker for this. If they announce the Mac mini I'm already, I've got 'em down for three. I think Lisa wants one. I'm gonna get one. John, you want one? Oh Micah needs one. We got four I'm down for four pro and you want a pro well that's coming later in the year. We don't know. What's gonna be announced on Tuesday. Rumor says iPhone se with 5g, a new iPad air kind of more pro model. What everybody will be looking for is other stuff in the invitation seems to imply something more than just an iPhone and an iPad. The 10 a line is peak performance and it's spelled P E E K. Like you're gonna peak at something. And the lately all of their invitations have had an AR component. The AR component looks like you're kind of wandering down. There's something around the corner that apple. So I'm starting to think maybe this is where they announce what they have long been rumored to be working on some sort of VR or AR headset. Some of the rumor I have to

Alex Wilhelm (01:38:46):
Say peak performance sounds like they're launching

Leo Laporte (01:38:48):
An only fans competitor. No that's peak performance. That's another thing either one

Alex Wilhelm (01:38:56):
Peaking. Can I just, I'm very excited about this because I, I was actually at Microsoft's campus when they first let people play with hollow lens, which is a project that I seemed to be slowly losing steam at Microsoft, but there's even

Leo Laporte (01:39:08):
Room to cancel. The third edition

Alex Wilhelm (01:39:10):
Makes me so sad because when I wore those dorky goggles and had my first like re AR experience, that was good. It was awesome. Like I had such a great time and I was so impressed with that. And I was like, ah, the future is here. Fantastic. And then all the companies that were doing AR kind of pivoted to industrial uses and it kind of fizzled out. And so if anyone's gonna be able to pull this off, I think it's probably gonna be apple. And so like as a nerd, who's been looking forward to AR and VR becoming more mainstream in general for some time, bring it on. I I'm gonna retain 10% optimism here. And 90% credit card fear,

Leo Laporte (01:39:45):
I will we'll make out, we'll make some bingo cards and we could put AR VR as one of the entries on the, on the bingo card. It'll be interesting. We're gonna live stream it as we always do mic Sargent and I will do it at 10:00 AM on Tuesday, that's 1:00 PM Eastern 1800 UTC. We do that mystery science theater, 3000 kind of thing, where, you know, Tim will be talking and we'll be talking behind him in the background snaring, having fun, getting excited, bringing out our checkbooks all of that. It's, it's hard, not when you're watching these events not to get sucked into what used to be called the reality distortion field.

Brianna Wu (01:40:23):
Can I give you a little bit of a wake up on this?

Leo Laporte (01:40:25):
Oh, please.

Brianna Wu (01:40:26):
Point of view. Yes. So this is, this is what really concerns me about this particular technology. It's not that I don't think apple can do drop dead sexy hardware because I do it's it's that Apple's 3d ecosystem is so limited and MYOP myopic compared to the tools, the rest of the industry

Leo Laporte (01:40:50):
Used. You're talking about a unity versus say the unreal engine.

Brianna Wu (01:40:55):
I, I, I specialize in unreal. Let's take that.

Leo Laporte (01:40:58):
Unreal is amazings.

Brianna Wu (01:41:00):

Leo Laporte (01:41:00):
Really great, but unreal is from epic. And as you know,

Brianna Wu (01:41:03):
But they've got some problems

Leo Laporte (01:41:05):
There. Epic and apple is don't mix. Yeah.

Brianna Wu (01:41:08):
A hundred percent on top of that. If you're going to use 3d modeling soft, where you're using max, you're using Maya, you know, no one's gonna go use you know, like the freeware versions of it that you can,

Leo Laporte (01:41:21):
You use Maya, a Mac can't you,

Brianna Wu (01:41:23):
You can, but the problem is it's so poorly maintained. It just is not a good, oh, that's

Brianna Wu (01:41:29):
Interesting. So, so my point here is we all agree. Apple can do the hardware for this. But as far as getting 3d professionals to bite the bullet and, and, and go all in and develop things for apple, this is a really big lift. You're asking them to know swift. You're asking them to go through and start earning apples, like graphical APIs, which are, it's just not a workflow. That is the rest of the industry standard workflow. You're really asking people to move over into apples, waled garden and ask yourself how successful that has been with the games. Apple is bringing to market. Go look at apple arcade. They've got some cute stuff there. It's fun. It's a certain floor of quality. I'm happy to pay for it every month, but there's nothing there. That's gonna compete with Eldon rings, right. Which is built using a more traditional work.

Leo Laporte (01:42:29):
Is it on unreal? What is it? Or does it have its own engine?

Brianna Wu (01:42:32):
I, I would guess it's unreal. Just looking. I don't, I don't know offhand. My, my point here is Apple's wall garden is going to be a barrier to getting widespread adoption from the very professionals they need to build content for. This

Leo Laporte (01:42:47):
Is, so that explains something we've been asking a lot, which is why is gaming? So lad on on apple devices, it's really it owns casual gaming, but AAA titles like Eldon ring are just not gonna appear on the apple platform. Is that why

Brianna Wu (01:43:07):
There's just no money to be made in translating it over to apple sell con, but currently there's just, it's just not like people would try it. They're a lot of max out there, right? If you could make money doing this, I'm sure people would do it. You know, as it is, we can barely get shadow of the tomb rate, which came out a long time ago at this point. So, you know, I

Leo Laporte (01:43:29):
That's, by the way, El ring runs on their own from software has their own bloodborne, dark souls, secure and engine that they use that

Brianna Wu (01:43:38):
That makes a lot band dynamic co published it though. So that's very,

Leo Laporte (01:43:41):
There's a look, there's a look to it. It's a little desaturated. It has a certain it's very, feels like the details are very fine. It's a very, it's a distinct look on, on the Mac point though, with

Alex Wilhelm (01:43:50):
Gaming, like I, I have a gaming PC that's medium and I have a recent iMac and the old gaming PC can run Chris Kings three with no issues whatsoever on my very new iMac. It is a complete catastrophe. And I think that that's because the systems are not designed, do do games and there's not. And so, you know, until apple decide, well, that's the question serious us about,

Leo Laporte (01:44:10):
Is it that the systems are not designed to do games or is it more that developers aren't willing to live in Apple's wall garden? And it's maybe it's both. Well,

Alex Wilhelm (01:44:18):
I mean, I was writing, I'm writing steam on the iMac, which is the same steam that I run on PC. So like you, yeah,

Leo Laporte (01:44:23):
But there are very two steam games. I mean, Hey, I love Civ six as much as the next guy, but there're very few steam that run on, on Macintosh. You know, what's really interesting. The steam deck is starting to come out. Now. I know Corey, you're a big Linux fan as I am that's Linox it's arch Linox. And as a result a lot of developers are now tweaking their games to run on Linnux Linux is actually beating Macintosh as a game platform.

Alex Wilhelm (01:44:51):
My brother-in-law so happy, isn't it?

Leo Laporte (01:44:55):
Well, I've been playing Val Heim on Lennox. It's Lennox first. It was written on Lennox and then poured to windows and it runs beautifully. It runs great. 

Alex Wilhelm (01:45:05):
What what's Val Heim.

Leo Laporte (01:45:08):
Oh, you don't want to know. It's just this it's a Viking survival game. It's a, I'm a little weird. It's just a weird

Alex Wilhelm (01:45:13):
That, that I played frost punk, which is just the same thing, but you're against ice instead of Vikings. And I played that for like a hundred hours. No,

Leo Laporte (01:45:20):
You are a Viking in this don't don't don't get it wrong. You are a Viking. You you're you've you've died. Your Viking warrior who's died. And Oden has brought you back from VAHA to conquer the evil forces that are taking over this world. You've got a big, the big IIL tree is over you at all times, hovering over you. Oden appears once in a while to check in on you. And mostly you're just build, but the things you can, it's amazing what you can build in Val Heim. It's kind of like a grown up kind of Minecraft a little bit. So there's there's

Alex Wilhelm (01:45:53):
What about, this is strange though, because the number one show on Netflix is Vikings VHA. And so like, I think you're describing the

Leo Laporte (01:46:00):
Time is of the show. The time is right for me. I, quarantine was Val Heim and animal crossing Is kind pathetic. The stuff,

Cory Doctorow (01:46:10):
The stuff that's got me very interested in, in Lennox hardware, a on the one hand is the rise of super repairable open

Leo Laporte (01:46:17):
Framework, baby,

Alex Wilhelm (01:46:18):

Cory Doctorow (01:46:18):
Framework laptop. It's the best laptop I've ever owned me too.

Leo Laporte (01:46:22):
Now. That's interesting. Cause you were a Lenovo fan

Cory Doctorow (01:46:25):
Was a think pad guy. Yeah. But

Cory Doctorow (01:46:27):
The think pads became impossible to fix. So I'm like way more interested in fixing it than a thing that doesn't break. Cause I can break anything. And I do. So, you know, I had, I had think pads and I would like just, you know, hit the keys too hard habitually and wear out my key switches and have to replace the keyboard. And you know, for the first 10 years it was that you'd move two tabs and you'd look the keyboard out and you put the new one and you were done. And then, you know, I got one and I wanted to swap the keyboard and it turned it, you had to remove every single component you needed like five special tools. It was basically you took, you opened it up in the back and you removed everything between the back and the keyboard. Then you took the keyboard out and then you rebuilt the laptop. So this framework, you know, I got the first batch, so it had a couple of like hardware glitches. So I had to replace the, the hinges. And I did it after the day after my hip replacement. Only, only sitting up 45 degrees stoned out of my go on on, on Oxys. And it took me 11 minutes.

Leo Laporte (01:47:23):
He can replace his keyboards stone of Oxy in 11 minutes, ladies and

Cory Doctorow (01:47:28):
Gentlemen. Yeah, it was, I mean, it is remarkable. So on the one hand, I'm really interested in those things. And on the other hand, I'm just interested in all the like raspberry pie and like micro micro controller based tiny, weird 3d printed, one off like cyberspace decks and Palm tops and just these

Leo Laporte (01:47:46):

Cory Doctorow (01:47:46):
Homemade computers. There's one, if you Google like ch chunky Palm top C H O N K Palm top, and you'll get a, a GitLab site for Daniel Norris. It's I, I think it's the, the coolest looking computer. I don't know if I could ever use it, but it is the coolest looking computer I've seen since, you know, I looking

Leo Laporte (01:48:05):
At the keyboard is a little chunky. Did it get melt?

Cory Doctorow (01:48:08):
It is a, was it microwave

Leo Laporte (01:48:09):
It's funky

Cory Doctorow (01:48:10):
Palm top. That is, that is a Palm top. That is very chunky.

Leo Laporte (01:48:14):
You know what I just got and I'm kind of excited. I got a pine phone pro, which is a Linox phone as you know Cory running Manja with KDE and I bought the keyboard for it. And now I, it is now a clamshell, tiny little clam shell computer with L E it's very intriguing to me. Yeah, I agree with you a hundred percent. The, what was, you know, a industry dominated by beige boxes and, and, you know, if you were a little weird, a Mac has now really exploded into so many different and interesting things. A guy called me a yesterday on the radio show, he wanted to do a smart frame. And he said, you know, I have this windows, no that I could use with a monitor, but the only software out there I have to pay a subscription for. I said, what are you trying to use a windows PC for this? Get a raspberry pie. There's a hundred different ways to do a smart mirror or smart frame for free. And I

Cory Doctorow (01:49:13):
Just, I love that these are all custom builds. One-Offs I had a friend over for dinner and drinks last night, a guy, a couple Tom Jennings who created a thing called phyto nap.

Leo Laporte (01:49:22):
I know TOMM very well. I was a pH net SYOP in 94,

Cory Doctorow (01:49:26):
You know, absolutely lovely fell. And one of his long running hobbies, his rebuilding

Leo Laporte (01:49:31):
Four, sorry.

Cory Doctorow (01:49:31):
Oh yeah. Rebuilding Nash Ramblers. And he has just like customized Nash Ramblers in so many different ways. And he's got one that he built a, a high performance Nash rambler, hot rod. That's got like two micro controllers in it to control the fuel injection. And he's just, you know, the one he showed up with last night had like a Mobious paint job down the side. Wow. And a rebuilt engine. And I just love this, this you know, maybe it's the Walter Benjamin in me, but you know, this, these, these one off Handbuilt idiosyncratic, you know, the no two alike kind of gadgets and the thing, the fact that can get a thing that looks like the chunky Palm top that has the fit and finish of a thing that looks like he came off an injection molding line, but is actually just a thing one person made. And there's only one of them is, is really cool.

Leo Laporte (01:50:19):
Give me, I, I am thrilled to hear that Tom is around and active is what is he besides doing Ramblers? It's

Cory Doctorow (01:50:28):
Like, semi-retired

Leo Laporte (01:50:29):

Cory Doctorow (01:50:30):
You know, he and his boyfriend have a dog. The dog is old. They're having a nice time.

Leo Laporte (01:50:35):
He's, you know, he's roughly my age. So he's an old timer, but Tom, so this kids there was before the internet, there was this thing called BBSs bulletin board systems and the, and the best you, you wouldn't even remember this Alex the best. Oh no, no. This is before my time. Yeah. Way before the best of them was Fido Fido net. I ran a Fido BBS with not one but two phone lines in the in the mid eighties. And and in fact we were doing a early version of a a global messaging system called echo net on top of pH net where it was kind of store and forward mail system. And it was really interesting, exciting times. I like that ethic, that, that kind of thing.

Cory Doctorow (01:51:19):
And fi nets, fi nets, you know, it's killer app was that each pH net BBS would call other ones that were nearby and exchange messages with them.

Leo Laporte (01:51:27):
Yeah. That was echo net

Cory Doctorow (01:51:28):
When, yeah. When the, when the long distance rates were lowest and so on and build it out. And, you know, the, I, the, I met Tom at a conference that my friend John Gilmore helped start FF was at. And John started the first BBS, our first inter is P rather was thing called the little garden in San Francisco. Yes, I remember. And, and his CTO was a guy called Tim PZA and Tim and

Leo Laporte (01:51:51):

Cory Doctorow (01:51:52):
Yep. And yeah, and Tim and John and, and, and, you know we, we're reminiscing about pH net with, with Tom and about the day that they bridged FIY net and to Usenet. And like they wrote a little software to bridge the two in. And I remember cause I was on a pH net bulletin board and to Toronto, as you know, a Callow youth with an amigo 1000. And I remember the day that the internet arrived on my local BBS, right. This suddenly Usenet had been imported WHOIS bolus into my local BBS. And then listening to these three dos, just talk about like writing the code to do it. It was really amazing was like, it was like Eves hopping on, you know, God and his angels describing how they hung the stars in the firmament or something. It was really wild.

Leo Laporte (01:52:38):
Tim was the chief engineer of the radio station I was working at. He introduced me to Tom and the rest is history. And wow. So there's a, there's a full circle story.

Alex Wilhelm (01:52:50):
Can I just throw in one thing here because I'm a little bit younger. And so my first internet experience was dial up on windows 95, more or less, maybe it's 98. I feel like I missed something very interesting. Just listen to you guys talk this through and with when the technology world was, was, seems to be smaller and more like nascent, you know? Yes. Now people are

Leo Laporte (01:53:08):
Hobbies more. Yeah. Do it yourself kind of.

Alex Wilhelm (01:53:12):
Now, now that the kids are doing NFTs and it doesn't seem you have the same ethos to it.

Cory Doctorow (01:53:18):
Tom has this incredible story. He tells about these arguments that used to happen on fi net all the time. And the way that the shape of the argument was that someone would say, how dare you come into my living room and talk to me that way. And he would have to cool people out like it was before bill Gibson coined the term cyberspace. Right. And he would just have to explain that, like, although the conversation is happening in your living room for you, the person who is having that conversation with you is not in your living room. Like you, you just need to think re back to norms. You need to rethink your normative framework for this discussion that we're having.

Leo Laporte (01:53:53):
I'm just looking through, somebody has published, I guess it's, I guess there's still Fido locations around, this is the Fido net node list, which,

Cory Doctorow (01:54:02):
Oh, that's great. Yeah. Oh

Leo Laporte (01:54:03):
My God. These are these, the most of these, you know, us are down, but the sum, the surprising number are still around.

Alex Wilhelm (01:54:12):
When the apocalypse comes, this is going to be the internet by the way, but you just saw it right there. That's gonna be what we have left.

Cory Doctorow (01:54:18):
Those might be the last landline still in use.

Leo Laporte (01:54:24):
I'm sure somebody has created a a back it in effect. It looks like there is a back end of the internet so that sure. Some of these don't have phone number. A lot of these don't have phone numbers, but some do some do. I've

Brianna Wu (01:54:35):
Often thought about creating a video game that would be eighties hacker. It would bring back those haze commands

Leo Laporte (01:54:43):
And like the way TT, the

Brianna Wu (01:54:45):
Way you had to sign on the bulletin boards and download things like back

Leo Laporte (01:54:49):
In the early I was waxing, no nostalgic about my early coding days back when I Hady net, it was so hard to get in with only two phone lines. I wrote a demon dialer for the Macintosh, cuz it was a Macintosh board Macq 85, 86, early days of Mac. I wrote a demon dial and I I'm still convinced it was the first multitasking program ever written for the Mac. I used the vertical blank interval when the electron gun goes from the bottom to the top of the screen to start daring it again, there's a brief few milliseconds that the computer can't do anything that you can grab and say stuff. The at DT command into the motor one character at a time. So it'd stuff, the command and it'd stuffed the phone number in, and then it would stuff, the dial command. And then every vertical blank, 60 times a second would check to see if it was a busy signal or if it was ringing. And there was a haze command for I got through and then it would make a big, when it got through, it was called Q dial. It was purpose built. It would only dial my BBBS. But 

Alex Wilhelm (01:55:53):
What's a

Leo Laporte (01:55:54):
Hay's nevermind. Forget you don't. So let's talk about the framework, laptop. This poor kid here. You never heard of a

Alex Wilhelm (01:56:00):
Guys I'm 32. Like I know there person on the show, but like I'm not exactly 17. Like I'm not cool either. And I'm, I'm just saying like this stuff sounds awesome. I'm not even trying to be Peor, like no, no. I'm curious about what I missed.

Leo Laporte (01:56:11):
Hey, Dans were, it's a, it's a great story, right? It was a proprietary, it was a proprietary command set to control modems that then became a de facto standard. And there was, you know, there was saber rattling, stop making modes are compatible with my command set and so on. It was one of those early fights that looks a lot like some of the fights we've had since about, about whether like, I mean, I think if you follow the Oracle API lawsuit, you know, the haze command set story would, would seem pretty familiar to you. Yeah, no kidding. What goes around, comes around. You're not that old though. Corey, I'm surprised you were member all this stuff. I'm 51, almost 50 and a half. You must have been a, a mere child when all this, but so my dad was a computer scientist who brought home a teletype in 1977 with an acoustic coupler. There you go. And so, yeah, that was my first, my first dial up was PDPs and it was basic interpreters, Eliza and cat program with have another people who could dial into that mainframe. Did you ever play colossal cave? Sure. Yeah. Oh yeah. I spent hours. You did all the nostalgia computing. Yeah. You have to put the handset in the rubber yeah. Suction cup. And then if anybody picks up the phone while you're in the colossal cave, mom, get off the phone.

Alex Wilhelm (01:57:23):
I'm sorry. Acoustic coupler sounds like science fiction. Are you telling me this is actually backwards technology cause that's

Leo Laporte (01:57:29):
Awesome. Yeah, you had to. So you know how, when you get on your modem, it goes E Oh yeah. And then it goes, then it turns off cuz you don't want to hear that actually is analog a sound that's can be translated into ones and zeros. That's how phone lines send data and acoustic coupler worked with your standard telephone. Here's one and you would, it had a mic and a speaker. Yeah. And you just hung the phone up in it. So this is a motive you've never seen. It would turn the sound into and it would set it down the phone line. It sound so if you let, that's what you'd hear.

Alex Wilhelm (01:58:07):
I I'm in awe of how cool it's that's like, so that feels a very DIY hackers like in that cool. And, and in a kinda cool way.

Brianna Wu (01:58:16):
Yeah, no, that that's all it was for me. I was a little, I'm a little younger than than Leo and Corey, but you know, I saw war games and I'm like, I want to know how to do all of this. Like I, I, I had to learn that instantly. So I got my parents to go get me. Acoustic couplers were out by that time it was like a 2,400 bot mode that you would plug in, but like writing a program to go through and like auto dial BBSs and there was no security back then. None, if you just hit the jackpot, it would be something. So,

Leo Laporte (01:58:49):
Oh, I had all sorts of stuff on there, man. I'd love. Oh,

Cory Doctorow (01:58:52):
Was great. So

Leo Laporte (01:58:53):
I'm gonna pull a Corey here. This goes back to the Carter phone decision

Cory Doctorow (01:58:58):
Because I was just gonna say, this is Carter phone. You and I are on the same wavelength there I'll bite what's that I'll let Corey explain. So in the old days, so this is actually really relevant to the discussions we have about things like Facebook today, about whether we should like break them up or just try and make them behave themselves. So for 68 years, the FTC and the DOJ tried to break them at and T and at and T kept putting these new leases on life by offering to try and solve the problems they created. So they would like do universal service to make up for all the co-ops and small businesses that they put at a business with predatory conduct. And, and one of the things that, that that would happen is every time they would become more central to safety and security is they would get more power to control their competitors.

Cory Doctorow (01:59:46):
And one of the things they got was the right to decide who could plug things into the bell system. So the, the first layer of this was they had the right to control mechanical coupling to the bell system. And they went after a company that sold, it was called Hua phone. And they all these cups that went over the receiver of your phone. So they took a talking to them like this, and people couldn't read your lips or hear you. And they argued that by making a plastic cup that fit over your phone, you were endangering the bell system and thus America's public safety and security apparatus. They lost that case, but they retained the right to control electric coupling to the system until Carter phone came along and Carter phone was a gadget for ranch hands. And what it would let you do is plug a walkie talkie into your phone with an acoustic coupler.

Cory Doctorow (02:00:31):
And when your phone rang, it would transmit it to a walkie talkie on your belt when you were out in the barn or out on the range. And they argued that the electric coupling of the because there was a way to detect to hack that it was ringing and take it off hook that the electric coupling was itself. Another danger to the system. And once again, the, the courts told them to go to, to buzz off. And that opened the door for modems answering machines, PBXs, just like all kinds of things that we plug in the sports, sports illustrated, complimentary football phone, all of those things, because prior to that, their subsidiary Western digital was the only company able to make phones. And they were able to do all kinds of really abusive things. Like you couldn't buy a phone you could only lease it.

Cory Doctorow (02:01:16):
And then over the course of your lease, you might pay for that phone a hundred times. And as late as the 2010, there were still customers like old people who were still leasing a Western digital phone that they'd had for 60 years and paying like $10 a month to lease a phone whose retail value at that point was less than $1, you know? And, and, and they were still making money on, on this. So yeah, it was Carter was this turning point that ended all kinds of predatory scams that were endemic to having a regulated monopoly instead of you know, breaking it up and making it weaker so that other firms can compete with it.

Leo Laporte (02:01:54):
It was actually broken in 84, I think 2 80, 2 80, right before I set up that BBBS. Yeah. Yeah.

Cory Doctorow (02:02:02):

Leo Laporte (02:02:02):
I mean, that's, there's no, wouldn't been able to do a BBBS without it. Well, yeah.

Cory Doctorow (02:02:06):
So fi net wouldn't have existed if they hadn't broken up the bells and, and made them have long distance competition. Yep.

Leo Laporte (02:02:12):
Right. Cause

Cory Doctorow (02:02:12):
There's long distance competition that made fi net possible.

Leo Laporte (02:02:14):
Here's something, none of you remember, maybe you will, Corey, you might be old enough. You get on a long distance call and you go, I gotta make this quick. It's costing a lot of money.

Cory Doctorow (02:02:25):
A hundred percent

Leo Laporte (02:02:26):
Nowadays, eh, you call around the world for nothing. Nothing. Yeah.

Alex Wilhelm (02:02:31):
There's no historical parallels whatsoever to Cardone and closed op ecosystems at all. It sounds, oh,

Leo Laporte (02:02:37):
No, not at all. Yeah. Not at all. Google versus circle goes right. Straight back,

Alex Wilhelm (02:02:40):
Essentially. Yeah. Welcome to TWiTwhere time is a flat circle and we go

Leo Laporte (02:02:44):
Down and round, meanwhile, back to the framework laptop. Yeah. Actually let's take a break and then we'll get back to the framework laptop. Cause I do wanna, you know, I want to give 'em a big fat plug cuz we really want this to continue on is more than just people on Oxy trying to change their keyboard. They really that's a lot of stuff, but this is something hinges, hinges, hinges, hinges. That's right. Actually I, I was the second batch and I have had zero problems. I've been hoping to have a problem just so I can, I can get stone on Oxy, but I, but nothing. This is something you're gonna know about Alex, because fact you told me, you know, these guys podium, right? Yeah. This is how another way the world has changed. And it finally fits into my introvert lifestyle. I hate calling people.

Leo Laporte (02:03:33):
I hate calling for dinner reservations. I hate, I don't wanna call anybody any time. If I can text message. I'm happy camper. Well, it turns out, I guess I'm not alone. Text messaging is. And maybe it's cuz of COVID all of a sudden the way to communicate from a business to a customer. And that's what podium is all about. The ultimate text messaging platform. You know, the open rate on text message is well over 90%, it's the best way to get to a customer. What can you do? You can say, Hey, how did you like that? Hot dog? Leave a review on Yelp, text him a message. Give 'em a link. The, the chances are you're gonna get that review. You wanna, I get a text message every other week from the local ice cream shop says, haven't seen you in a while.

Leo Laporte (02:04:23):
Here's a 30% off coupon. It really works. You can use podium to collect payments. You can use them for a whole variety of interactions. Imagine I used it the other day. I needed a, I had a window broken. I, I, I looked up a bunch of different glazers. That's the name of somebody who fixes your windows? I, I texted them first one to respond. First one to get the job using podium with podium of closed deals with customers before the competition even has a chance to haul them back. And you're, you're gonna love it. Your staff is gonna love it because it all goes. However they contact you. You can put podium on your website, you can do it in any way. However they contact you. It goes into one inbox. It's easy for you to respond. You don't have enough hours in the day to play phone tag with your customers. And frankly, this is what your customers, that's why so many businesses, more than 100,000 businesses streamline their customer interactions with podium. You can get started for free right now. P O D I U M, or sign up for a paid podium account. You'll get a free credit card reader. Some restrictions apply that's Brandon Sanderson.

Alex Wilhelm (02:05:42):
Oh, ah.

Leo Laporte (02:05:45):
Know that. Yeah. Corey, I don't know. Do you feel jealous or, you know, I really following your footsteps. Yeah. Yeah. Well,

Cory Doctorow (02:05:54):
He had done another one. He did this with a limited edition, hard cover before he's done a series of these limited edition hard covers that did extremely well over a million dollars. And then he, then he decided to do a, a fully self-published book. I think it's great. I think he's doing amazing stuff and showing how we can get around it around the, the choke points in the system. I'm, I'm really glad to see him. It you know, I sure

Leo Laporte (02:06:21):
Beats a $50,000 upfront and 5% of the net. Sure.

Cory Doctorow (02:06:29):
I mean, I hope he does. I hope he, he, and I'm sure he is thinking on these lines. I hope he does the kinds of things that George Martin did, which is roll a bunch of money into arts funding. Yeah. and into, you know, platform building. And so on that, that, you know, whether that's like Meow Wolf for the cocktail theater or the other things that George has done, where, you know, you take some of that money and you turn it into a lasting legacy.

Leo Laporte (02:06:50):
Didn't know that I didn't good for him. Oh yeah. Good for George

Cory Doctorow (02:06:52):
Is great. George has done amazing things with, with his his HBO money. Well,

Leo Laporte (02:06:57):
I'll stop yelling at him to finish the,

Alex Wilhelm (02:07:00):
Yeah. Can you finish that book? I'm waiting for a long time now I would like to read it. I, I actually, I think I have to go back and read all of 'em again, it's been so long, which is because

Leo Laporte (02:07:10):
Yeah. You guys start

Alex Wilhelm (02:07:10):
Over of the swords was so long.

Leo Laporte (02:07:13):
So I started Brianna,

Cory Doctorow (02:07:14):
What were you trying to

Alex Wilhelm (02:07:14):

Brianna Wu (02:07:15):
No, no. I was just gonna say, I'm really torn on this one. You know, I knew Brandon, he really you know, got the wheel of time series and really kind of went to the next plane.

Leo Laporte (02:07:25):
He got to finish

Alex Wilhelm (02:07:26):
Of author success.

Leo Laporte (02:07:28):
Yeah. Robert Jordan's began the 15 volume series and passed away before he finished it. Brandon Sanderson was nominated to finish it. And did I think did a very good job by the way. Yeah,

Brianna Wu (02:07:37):
He did. He did a great job. He's a really nice person like in real life. I'm I could not say a single bad sentence about him. I, I do think it's worth pausing and thinking about what the consequences of this are for the rest of the industry. And we have authors here. So I don't wanna like explain how the book industry works, but for the audience, you know, you have really big names that sell a ton of books, right? You've got the Stephen Kings, you've got the James essay. Corey's they are the tent pole, people that put out a product and you know, it's gonna make enough money that the, the publishers and the editors and all the other people that work in book publishing are able to, you know, make more bets on smaller books, most of which are gonna fail to make any money whatsoever.

Brianna Wu (02:08:34):
And at the core, or what you have here is one of the, the most independent names here. One of the most successful names here, that's saying, you know what, I'm gonna get around the whole publishing industry. Part of this here. I'm gonna, you know, I'm gonna print the books myself. I'm gonna pay for the warehouse. I'm gonna ship it myself. And I'm just going you the entire, you know, I'm going to vertically integrate the entire process and get this out and keep more of the money. Yeah. The truth is that the Brandon Sanderson's of the world are able to negotiate a much better deal than someone who may not have a successful track record in, in publishing already. And I just worry that in a future where everyone does this, what does this mean for the entire publishing industry overall? I think it would be very bad for it.

Brianna Wu (02:09:30):
So, you know, where read like authors on Facebook that are just really bitter towards Brandon, it comes across as it's sour grapes. He's a, he is a fantastic author that delivers for his audience and deserves all the success in the world. I just think it's worth saying that the, the people that work in publishing, which are overwhelmingly women, you know, this is an industry that Amazon's been wildly successful at, you know, stripping the profits from more and more people are working from lower wages. And, you know, the advances for starting authors are getting lower and lower. And I think this trend is gonna accelerate that

Leo Laporte (02:10:08):
I I'm gonna get Cory's comment on this, but before we do, I should explain, cuz I don't think we've explained Brandon Sanderson during COVID was busy, scribbling away and wrote four novels in the last two years, went to Kickstarter started a Kickstarter to buy copies of these books and various swag boxes planned to get a million dollars over 30 days within a day, he had 15 million he's up to 24.8 million and 24 days to go. And of course, except for the cut, the kick start takes that all goes into his pocket. So that's a well

Cory Doctorow (02:10:46):
Minus his production cost

Leo Laporte (02:10:48):
By what he cover cost to print the book and so forth. So it's a pretty into interesting thing. But what about Brianna's contention that, that undermines that the, if these tent poles pull out the whole thing collapses

Cory Doctorow (02:11:00):
Course. So I, I mean, I, I think that there's, it's definitely the case that large publishers benefit from having these winner take all authors under their, under their wing. But you know, as an author, I think the thing that presents the largest risk to negotiating leverage and our ability to, to do well is, is not whether or not large publishers have access to 10 pole books, it's concentration in the industry overall and, and up and down the supply chain. So there there's one distributor left, right? They, they bought out their, their major rival. So it's just Ingram. There's one major on online bookstore. There is one major national brick and mortar chain. There are only four major publishers left. And then in other parts of the sector, for example, in, in screenwriting, there's, there's four major super agencies that all decided that they were gonna start taking big chunks out of their writers and using something called packaging fees that sparked a four year writer strike that just just ended successfully with, for the writers.

Cory Doctorow (02:11:58):
And I think it's that lack of competition. That means that you just can't shop around. I mean, definitionally, when you have a a buyer's market, right? When there are more sellers than buyers, buyers, don't have to work as hard to attract the sellers and acquire what they want. And it's true that those 10 poll authors can write ticket. And it's always been the case that those temple authors can write their own ticket. I mean, nominally, all writers get the same royalty rights. They are standardized across the industry and across publishers. But the reality is that big name writers will often get paid in advance that is impossible to earn out. So they're being paid in advance against the royalties they'll eventually earn, but the, a publisher understands that they will never earn out that advance. And what they're effectively doing is a backdoor higher royalty rate for those, for those writers.

Cory Doctorow (02:12:44):
So it's always been the case that those big writers have had extra negotiating leverage, but for little writers, I think the thing that that gives the most negotiating leverage is just having more places to sell your books. You know, there is some empirical basis for this. So my co-author on this book, choke point capitalism that beacons publishing in September is a great Australian scholar called Rebecca Gilan. She's a copyright scholar and she worked with the Australian author society to do the largest ever empirical analysis of, of publishing contracts, where she got anonymized publishing contracts for some really low, large appreciable fraction of all the books published in Australia in kind of in modern history and was able to use those as a data set to really empirically trace the change in authors advances and in the royalties paid out and in, you know, things like how many other rights you have to sell to sell your books, or whether you get to keep your audio rights and sell them separately, or what have you. And she found, you know, that, that the strongest correlate of declining fortunes for authors is market concentration, not, you know, the profitability of the firms. In fact, the profitability of the firms is moves inverse to author compensation because as the firms become more concentrated, they become more profitable and they pay lower advances. So it's it. I, I don't think that simply making the firms more profitable gets authors a better deal. If we're gonna get authors a larger share of that money, the firms have to be competing for the authors.

Leo Laporte (02:14:08):
Well, that's really the case, not just in Paul, but across the board. Absolutely. Whether there's Starbucks or anybody else, you know, you say, well, if these guys could make more money, we could pay better. It seems to be quite the opposite. As a matter of fact,

Cory Doctorow (02:14:22):
The, the word, the word you're looking for here is Monomy, which is when there's a concentration in sellers rather than buyers that's right. And, you know, doctrine for 40 years is then that we don't have to worry about mono. We just have to worry about monopoly. Ande effects are much more sharply felt. The models show that when, when there's a buyer, that accounts for as low as 10% of a single sector, that they can start distorting the, the whole structure of the sector. And so, you know, when you think about Amazon with, with 40 to 50% of trade book sales and 90% of audiobook sales through audible, they really are able to squeeze everyone. I mean, Audible's embroiled in this audible gate scandal now where the independent authors that had signed up for audible and in many cases were locked into not selling anywhere, but audible now, because one of them is a forensic accountant. It got sent some real royalty statements by accident and not the fake ones that they've been sent. They reckon that more than a hundred million dollars has been stolen from independent authors, that way

Leo Laporte (02:15:17):

Cory Doctorow (02:15:19):
Just in wage theft, pure wage theft, just, just MIS accounting for royalties. Wow. Cause you have to take their word for it. That's right. If you look up audible gate, it was trending on TWiTter, audible

Leo Laporte (02:15:29):
Gate.Com. They actually I guess they've got a class action that they yeah. They're, they're starting up. Why's the one I'm shocked that Amazon was behaving poorly

Cory Doctorow (02:15:39):
Well and, and abusing its, its workforce and suppliers. Right. I mean, that is Amazon's Amazon's promise has always been, we will give you lower costs and please just don't look very closely. Right. And how we're achieving that cost basis because it's by commiserating the people in our supply chain, whether they're warehouse workers or drivers peeing in bottles or authors who are having their royalties stolen

Leo Laporte (02:16:01):
Cory's books are not an audible they're on what Right?

Cory Doctorow (02:16:05):
Sure. Yeah. And, and on downpour and Google play down basically anywhere that doesn't require you to have DRM, cuz they, the other thing about audible is that they will only with DRM, even if the author doesn't want it and then they won't allow, even if the author authorizes it, they won't allow their customers to remove the DRM. So once you buy audible, you're stuck with audible forever. It's a bit like the BBC, hoping that you will have a separate BBC app for all your podcasts. Audible has achieved a situation in which if you wanna listen to audio books from someone else, you have to have a second app. You can't just take your audio books and put them in another app. The, the way that you could it'd be like if you had to have both pages and word on your Mac in order to read word files, you know,

Leo Laporte (02:16:48):
Choke point capitalism comes out this fall, Rebecca Gilan Cory Doctorow from now you're publishing this with pen penguin, random house. Have you done? You've done self-publishing too though. Right?

Cory Doctorow (02:16:58):
I have. Yeah. So that's actually it's from beacon, but penguin random house distributes that. Oh, okay. I've I've self-published, I've published with, I think now all of the big four and MCIL is my main publisher and I've done a, with a bunch of small presses, including some great ones like MC Sweeney's, which is the one that David started. Yeah,

Leo Laporte (02:17:16):
Yeah, yeah.

Cory Doctorow (02:17:17):
I love to. So yeah, I've got a lot of experience up and down the board, you know, more than 20 books and you know, I, I, I really think that the hardest thing for an author right now, and this is something my agent says every time I, I talk to 'em is there's just not that many places to sell your books. And so if you don't like the terms that are being offered by your publisher, chances are they're the same as the other three publishers, the other three major publishers. But if they're not and the other, the other publisher has slightly different terms, won't take your book is an interested you're out of options. And you know, there's a bit of solidarity opportunity here because if you're a, an editor and you don't like your working conditions, there's only three other employers for you too. And so, you know, the there's, there's a degree of solidarity here between writers and editors.

Leo Laporte (02:18:01):
What do you get from using a publisher that you don't get self-publishing? Is there something it used to be they'd get you in bookstores. I don't think that matters anymore.

Cory Doctorow (02:18:10):
I think that matters a lot. There's a lot of hand

Leo Laporte (02:18:12):
Selling. It does.

Cory Doctorow (02:18:12):
Okay. Yeah. And then the publicity and PR and just the best use of my time. So I did a short story collection called with a little help that Frank did the cover for that did pretty well. I mean short story collections are not going commercial concerns. Most short story collections draw advanced of, you know, a couple thousand dollars and sell a couple thousand copies. They're not, they're not a big deal. It's not a major money maker. Although it's a thing I quite love and buy a lot of and, and read a lot of. And so with this one I made about $30,000. But it took me as much time as I would've spent writing a novel that would've made me mid six figures. Right. So it just wasn't, it wasn't worth it. Right, right. It, it would, it was a, it was a lot of work for a modest amount of money, whereas I could have done the same amount of work and gotten a much larger amount of money and, you know, paid for a year. My kid's college tuition.

Leo Laporte (02:19:05):
That's a, that's a little disappointing to me cuz you know, one of the promises of the internet rev revolution was to eliminate the gate HES to give everybody their, the chance to publish whether it's a blog, a book, a record. Yeah.

Cory Doctorow (02:19:19):
Well, you know, the, I think back to what Brianna was saying earlier, I think the people who were early advocates for internet freedom get a lot of stick. Some of it fair, some of it not about not pondering, whether just connecting everyone to the internet would be good for it. Yeah. I, you know, I think people like people don't start organizations like eff, if they, if they think it'll all be fine. So I think that, you know, there were certainly some people who were worried about the long term consequences, but what I think we all did miss that antitrust law was dead. You know, that, that Reagan the last, the last Hirah antitrust law was breaking up at and T in 1982, Microsoft with 95% of the operating system could not be broken up. And you know, it, it, it just went downhill from there.

Cory Doctorow (02:20:02):
And now, you know, the web is five giant websites filled with screenshots of text from the other four. And it's, it's not, it's not because that was inevitable. It's because we took a policy choice to allow firms to grow by buying their competitors. And by using access to the capital markets to do predatory pricing, to prevent third parties from entering the market. And as a consequence, they were able to build up these things that venture capital is called the kill zone, which is all of the businesses that big tech is in and all of the businesses next to those businesses. And no one will invest in those.

Brianna Wu (02:20:36):
I, I do think it's worth saying, it's not just, you know, it's not just the internet where you've seen this tech idealism come forward and you know, say, oh, like, look at, look at, you know, the open internet, right. Something I strongly believe in, but you know, you're like, oh, this is gonna democratize information and kind of look at things today and it's worse. And you know, we said this about the financial industry and oh, once we get these brokerages out of the way and you know, people can buy stocks one on one, it's gonna be so much better. We're gonna wealth creation across the world. And you look at, you know, the way they do it with buy to what is it called? Robinhood flow. Yeah. Robinhood, all these forces, wage inequalities came worse. You look at the game industry.

Brianna Wu (02:21:23):
It's like, when steam came out, you're like, oh, now we're not gonna be tied to these publishers. And you can buy game for wherever and Indy people can come forward and make games whenever they want. And we'd look at how much, you know, smaller B level games are made our making today, as well as indie publishers and oh, actually the entire system's getting worse. So I'm just saying, there's a pattern of us moving oh yeah. Into things. And thinking about very fast forward, 10 years later and everything the kitchen's on fire. So I'm just saying, and

Cory Doctorow (02:21:57):
What I would say is that's completely right. And I would go even further and say that it's not just that we failed to understand that this would happen in tech, but that it would happen across the board as a result of not enforcing antitrust law, which is why there's four giant shipping companies who no one can regulate. Which means that when they just try to realize economies of scale, by building bigger and bigger ships, eventually one of them gets stuck in the Sue as canal. And when that happens, they socialize the losses and they privatize those gains. And, you know, we have one company that makes all the eyeglasses in the world and they also own every eyeglass retailer and the largest lens manufacturer, which makes more than half the lenses and the largest insurer. It's a, an Italian, French conglomerate called Lux exotica Eure.

Cory Doctorow (02:22:38):
And there's like one cheerleading league that is price gouging, every cheerleader. And there's one wrestling league and there's to brewers and there's two spirits companies and there's, you know, four giant finance companies that are able to structure whole economies it's across the board. And so, you know, I, I, again, back to this thing, what did tech miss? I think the thing that tech missed is the thing that a lot of us missed, which is that when we removed the when we removed the things that stopped firms from growing, by access to the capital markets, we created a dynamic where I, if rich people would give you money you could just end up owning a whole market and no one would compete with you and rich people like that idea, because once you did own the whole market, you could extract monopoly, rents from your customers and mono monopoly concessions from your suppliers,

Alex Wilhelm (02:23:26):
Monopoly, rinse is every economist's favorite phrase,

Leo Laporte (02:23:29):
By the way. Yeah. Yeah. You kinda, when at crunch base, we're covering all of this any thoughts?

Alex Wilhelm (02:23:39):
I mean, I got, I got a, I got a barrel of thoughts. Yeah. Because it kind where, where to start. I mean, I, I think that most, I agree with what our FICO panelists are saying. I do think that centralization of corporate power is an issue. The thing that I get sad about is just the fact that there seems to be absolutely no redres for it. Yeah. Because Congress effectively owned by different corporate interests and it's an embarrassment to the system. However at all, I'll just say this again. I, I am a capitalist and I don't see a better way to organize things other than fighting back as best we can against centralized corporate power and against the perversion of democracy by money. In

Leo Laporte (02:24:17):
Fact, if you are a capitalist, that's what you want, right?

Alex Wilhelm (02:24:22):
No, I don't think so. I, I think that wanting to have a market based economy doesn't inherently make you over rapacious as hat. Can I say that on the show? I was gonna

Leo Laporte (02:24:31):

Alex Wilhelm (02:24:32):
I, I, sorry.

Leo Laporte (02:24:33):
You can absolutely say rapacious as hat. Say it again.

Alex Wilhelm (02:24:37):
No, you did it for me. And Cory earlier said Mary keep kill, which I thought was a really good form of self there. That was fantastic. The, the issue is we have, we have done a good job describing the problem that impacts a lot of how our world works, but I don't think any of us have a way of, of breaking the log jam of power that we would need to, to actually, for example, break AWS off of Amazon. Yeah. Right. That should be a relatively easy one. It, it is a distinct business that is supportive and related, but distinct, and yet it's never going to happen. And so, so I, that will allow them, I

Cory Doctorow (02:25:10):
Think you've missed the main event. We've got Lena con, we've got Tim woo. We've got changes to the DOJ, you know, canter and, and we have got more trusts busters in positions where they can do stuff than ever before. And we have a, a, a, a somewhat bipartisan consensus on this. Admittedly I think the Republican side of this is pretty selective and instrumental. Right? I think that like, if they would just promise that algorithms would promote, you know, Trump content forever then, then, you know, they would lay off Facebook and TWiTter and they'd be done with it. But, you know, the, the, the, there is like their six amazing focused structural reform bills going through Congress. The best one is the access act, the digital markets act and the try logs and the European union,ueven the Chinese cyberspace law,ubreaks up big companies, requires them to allow interoperability also prohibits them from blocking interoperability,uwhich is also something in the DMA. Uit's, it's pretty dope. I'm going to a, I'm going to a conference in Brussels that Charles R associates is putting on at the end of the month that,uwith a bunch of these people, including like V Daher, who's running this in Europe and,uyou know, they're Charles river associates, 900 pound gorilla, the monopolist, if you will, of providing economic support to antitrust cases. And, you know, they're, they've figured out which way the wind is blowing is pretty amazing.

Alex Wilhelm (02:26:33):
Yeah. And, and to be clear, like, do I want to have cautious optimism? Absolutely. Am I encouraged by the, what you've said? Yes. Am I watching similar things? Absolutely. I I've met Tim. Lovely. Yeah. Do I think went to element

Cory Doctorow (02:26:44):
Preschool together. Did you really, are you serious? We played DMD together when we were like 10 years old,

Leo Laporte (02:26:48):
The author of the kill switch. What is Tim's role now in the Biden administration?

Cory Doctorow (02:26:52):
He's running antitrust for the white house. Wow. Tech antitrust for the white house. And

Leo Laporte (02:26:54):
Of course, Le con is the chair of the FTC 32 years old, only a little older than Alex. It's pretty impressive. And

Alex Wilhelm (02:27:01):
Well, yeah, Alex, I think, well, I just wanna point that Lena con's the 32 Taylor swift is 32 and I'm 32. And that makes me wanna cry in my sleep.

Alex Wilhelm (02:27:10):
But while, while I agree with everything, Corey is saying about there being positive changes at the regulatory level in terms of staffing and so forth. And there's good momentum, I'm pessimistic, because I also know a lot of the people who run these major companies, how they think, and they really don't, that there's any issue with how they do business and they're gonna fight like hell to hold onto ability to extract monopoly routes. And I think they're gonna win. And I, I, I'm not happy about that. I'm not trying to be like a woo pessimist, but I'm, that's where said based on my view of the money,

Cory Doctorow (02:27:39):
I wanna plug a book called the history of the standard oil company by ADA and Tarbell, who I to Harel was the first woman to get a science degree in America. She was a self-taught muck ranking journalist, the daughter of Pennsylvania oilman, who is ruined by John D Rockefeller and who serialized a two volume history of the standard oil company, which is Rockefeller's oil monopoly in the early part of the century that led to the breakup of standard oil. And if you wanna get a historic perspective, she's brilliant writer. If you wanna get a historic perspective on what it takes to to actually like change the direction of that kind of industrial policy and what it looks like to live in that moment, Tarbes book is amazing. And there's, there's a really good Livox free recording if you like audio books of it just a volunteer Reddit and it's in the internet archive as well.

Cory Doctorow (02:28:30):
And I also advised looking at the editorial cartoons because at the time Rockefeller hated Tarbell called her tar. And there were all these editorial cartoons of, I Harel and like a dress with a bustle with her hair up. And, and John D Rockefeller is a mighty tree and she's got an ax and she's chopping the tree down. It's there. It's, it's, it's amazing. Like we've been here before almost exactly a century ago. And, and you know, it's not a lost art. It's not like building pyramids with without, without power tools, right? Like we know how to build an antitrust system. And I tell you what the, the, the people who fancy themselves industry giants today compared to Rockefeller they're PIRs. And if we brought him down, we can bring them down.

Leo Laporte (02:29:13):
Well, and Alex, the thing you liked about the good old days of computing was very much that there were, there were, there was competition, there was a variety there innovations. There weren't any big dominant companies shutting it down. And that's what was so exciting about it, right?

Alex Wilhelm (02:29:29):
We need to have a list. Eventually someone needs to do a blog of all the books. Corey is recommended because each time he brings up a book, I'm like, oh, we'll

Leo Laporte (02:29:37):
Put this and then show notes. We'll put links, Libra,, the history of stand hundred oil volume, one and two Ida M Tarbell. That's the latest, yeah, let's take a little break. I'm exhausted.

Alex Wilhelm (02:29:50):
And then we should

Cory Doctorow (02:29:50):
Talk about the framework and

Leo Laporte (02:29:51):
Then we're gonna give the framework a, the plug it deserves. So great to have you on Corey. Pluralistic.Net is his website. You've gotta read all of his books. We are gonna be doing, as I mentioned, unauthorized bread in the club tweet book club, Stacy Higginbotham. We actually had a vote, Corey you and several other, very, very good books, pluralistic. I mean unauthorized bread won Handly everybody wanted to do that. Oh, so that's lovely. We're very excited about that. And I think everybody went out and bought a copy on No, they didn't. No, they didn't actually, as a matter of fact also with this from tech crunch, wonderful to have a young person's perspective, little Alex Wilhelm,

Alex Wilhelm (02:30:38):
We gotta, we gotta go naturally young person up. Cause

Leo Laporte (02:30:42):
We got mic. We got Micah he's too 29. How old's

Alex Wilhelm (02:30:45):
That's not young enough. You need a Zoomer who can tell you about TikTok. Like I'm serious. Like I'm not even really kidding. Like if I count as young guys, we have a Harley Davidson problem.

Leo Laporte (02:30:54):
Alright. Both

Cory Doctorow (02:30:54):
Kinds country and Western

Leo Laporte (02:30:57):
We'll look for a young person. If I can find one, I'll see you in my Rolodex. Taylor swift, not no also with us, Bri woo. Always glad to have the ageless Brianna woo. On the show. Executive director rebellion pack does what?

Brianna Wu (02:31:17):
We work on gang progressive candidates, elected to office and helping the democratic party reach voters that we don't talk to enough.

Leo Laporte (02:31:25):
Nice. I guess they have to be Democrats. I

Brianna Wu (02:31:30):
I'm not, I'm not really interested in the Republican party.

Leo Laporte (02:31:33):
No, I guess you need a third, maybe a third way. I don't know. Maybe that's maybe Corey,

Brianna Wu (02:31:39):
Can you please list 500 books to explain why third parties

Leo Laporte (02:31:42):
Don't work. OK. OK. That's good. Why doesn't Corey run

Cory Doctorow (02:31:46):
For office?

Leo Laporte (02:31:47):
There we go. Fair point.

Cory Doctorow (02:31:48):
I'm not a us citizen.

Leo Laporte (02:31:50):
He can't, he can't fix that first. He can't vote folks.

Cory Doctorow (02:31:53):
I'm also, I'm also more

Brianna Wu (02:31:55):
Of a, one is listed as the person that runs the, the

Cory Doctorow (02:31:59):
President of OA. Yeah. But, but no, I'm, I'm more of an outside the 10 end guy than an inside. The 10 pu out guy. I'm the last one you want running for office.

Leo Laporte (02:32:09):
Yeah. Same. Yeah. Same. Yeah. Our show today brought to you by Lineo with Lineo you get 100% human free telephone support available worldwide twenty four seven three sixty five. I start with that right out of the box because so many cloud services cloud providers, there's no one home. It's a Python script line nodes, the real deal. And they've been around for a long time. I, I got my first line node server must be more than 10 years ago, their award. And I've the support has always been great. Their award-winning support team, just a highly trained team of service professionals dedicated to finding solutions while providing an unparalleled customer experience say no to bad customer service experience, the Lineo difference, proudly independent. Their mission drives them to a different standard. The customer is the driving force behind everything they do. If you are looking for a cloud, I, Hey, you get onto this cloud.

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Speaker 7 (02:35:56):
Was just flop it around. PC lifts, her phone up. She's just gonna top over it all over.

Leo Laporte (02:36:04):
She's a little whisper of ALA

Speaker 8 (02:36:06):
Previously on TWiTter tech news weekly.

Speaker 9 (02:36:09):
What if you could have a Nintendo switch that is also a PC. And so that is what this steep deck is. And I almost just hit myself in the face with

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It, which would make you difficult, cuz it's gigantic. It's big

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Rosemary orchard. And I walk you through a bunch of apples, health and safety features on all sorts of apples devices.

Speaker 10 (02:36:33):
On our first episode of this week in space TARC Mallek for and myself rod pile talk about atomic rockets. You know, when you compare these to chemical rocket engines, the longest the, the rockets ever ran in the Apollo program were a matter of minutes. Atomic engines could run for hours and this would cut transit times to Mars by as much as possibly 50%,

Speaker 8 (02:36:55):
It learn something new every day and what it means

Leo Laporte (02:36:58):
There should be plastered to the seep. That is our newest show launched Friday this week in space with rod pile and TARC Malik. And I'm thrilled to have it on cuz there is a, there has not been a more exciting time to talk about space. They are audio only. They are audio only. We showed you some video, but don't get your hopes up. Honestly it was a huge mistake to do video it's ridiculously expensive. The facelifts alone have cost me a mint. So we're just gonna we're from now on it's all audio for anything new old shows, we can't take away the video cuz you'll get mad at us. Right? framework, framework, framework, framework, framework I just, I just, this is kind of part of a right to repair thing. A DIY thing. These are laptops look inside.

Leo Laporte (02:37:55):
They have QR codes on all the parts. So you scan 'em, it brings you the website. You can buy a replacement. You can also do your own one of our club TWiTmembers Golia has clear key caps, which make me crazy. Cuz how do you know what key is? What, but she likes it. You can add Ram. I decided these modules, these little, you see them here. These little modules are really just USB type C. There are third party making modules. I decide I bought an HTMI module and I first got it and I thought I'm never gonna use this. So I bought a, a terabyte SSD for backup on it. It's they're and it, and Corey, I think it's interesting that you say given that you've been using these, you know, great Lenovo keyboards, that this is the best laptop you've ever used.

Cory Doctorow (02:38:41):
Yeah. I mean, I miss the track point. I, I, I won't lie and I miss having hardware buttons and I've actually because I, because I've learned on hardware buttons where, and so I, my that's how my fingers remember where they are. I can never find them. So I've actually used a little piece of Subaru to make a middle button on my track pad so that I can always find my, my, my track pad. So I got a little like it's like Fimo dough, right? A little, little clay stuck on bit. So I can always find my middle button. Otherwise I, my middle click are all my stuff.

Leo Laporte (02:39:12):
That's circle that's.

Cory Doctorow (02:39:13):
But apart from that, I love this machine. So it's, it's the size of MacBook. In fact, you know, I, I, I had the,

Leo Laporte (02:39:23):
Which is actually better than a MacBook. I like the aspect ratio,

Cory Doctorow (02:39:28):
But yeah, I had mark Felder over for, for you know, gathering the backyard. And he was like, have you switched back to a Mac? Cuz it's been 15 years since I switched to Lennox. And I was like, no, this is my new, you know, easily opened, easily updated. So there's six captive screws on the bottom. It, it ships with this little budger screwdriver tool. You open the six captive screws and then the, the back just peels off and then your, your, the entire machine is exposed as you can see there and the screen. And like honestly, I, so I swapped the hinges super easy. I ins you know, it came as a bag of parts when I bought it, cuz that was the fastest way to get it. So I had to install the Ram, the wifi card, the hard drive. It was all dead easy. There's no,

Leo Laporte (02:40:14):
The only thing tricky was that antenna for the wifi card.

Cory Doctorow (02:40:18):
Yeah, the wifi antenna connectors. Yeah, the, the there's a no tool battery replacement procedure. So like when your battery dies, you just, it's like a 10 minute thing. I love the bezel is ally clipped on. So as you can see there in that video, you just literally just press the be into place and it's done. Yeah. and so I, I, I got the safety, orange replacement BELE, and I've got

Leo Laporte (02:40:40):
That on there. I

Cory Doctorow (02:40:42):
Actually it's got, it's got a hardware cutoff switch for the mic and camera that also acts as a shutter cover. Love

Leo Laporte (02:40:49):
That slide. Yeah. Yeah.

Cory Doctorow (02:40:51):
When you slide that over at it covers it. And then I managed to knock it over on its face so that I drove the shutter cover into the, into the webcam lens and broke the webcam. I break everything. And so I did, I got to do a webcam replacement, which again, it was like an $8 part and it took me three minutes. Doesn't

Leo Laporte (02:41:08):
It make you feel better to that? You could just, you just do that. It makes you feel so accomplished. So

Cory Doctorow (02:41:13):
I'm actually thinking of adding a bag of parts to my travel bag yeah.

Leo Laporte (02:41:17):

Cory Doctorow (02:41:17):
Case. And just like, if I break stuff, I'll just fix it on the road.

Leo Laporte (02:41:21):
Do they? So you're obviously in touch with these, where are they located?

Cory Doctorow (02:41:25):
I don't even know. I mean, mean, you know, they're located in their parts, arrive in my mailbox, so, you know, they're

Leo Laporte (02:41:31):

Cory Doctorow (02:41:31):
It on the

Leo Laporte (02:41:32):
Internet. Are they gonna upgrade for instance, the other board and maybe they say so. Yeah.

Cory Doctorow (02:41:37):
Yeah. They say that, you know, I mean, it's hard to, to know within the con confines of what processor vendors will do. But you know, looking ahead on the existing roadmaps, they think that they can just keep doing motherboard replacements until they, yeah. And, and, you know, for, for quite some time, like assuming the, the processor swaps keep working, I don't know why I would get another laptop. Yeah. You know, like I just, it's, it's high quality hardware. Like I might replace different parts of 'em. I turn into the ship of thesis,

Leo Laporte (02:42:07):
You know, I, yes, exactly. I mean, you'll get a new keyboard I'm sure. Soon.

Cory Doctorow (02:42:11):
Yeah. Well, and you know, maybe I'll get a new chassis if I managed to drop it high enough place, but then I'll keep all the parts inside the chassis. You know, I, I mean, that's that I, I have no qualms about replacing all the components in this and keeping it for over the long term and not having a stack of laptops that, you know, I've outgrown over the years instead just being able to upgrade and upgrade and upgrade.

Leo Laporte (02:42:34):
I am happy to give 'em a plug because I'm, I'm hoping that they do well. Yeah, because I do want them to continue to offer parts and, and pieces and so forth. It's a really good idea. You're, I've seen a couple of people in negative reviews, but 99%, very, very positive. And I, my experience, I love like yours. I love it. Every day I open it up. I go and I'm running Manjaro Linux on it. The key the fingerprint reader works out of the box with Manja Linux. It's wonderful. I type S U D O and I can use the, the key you know, the fingerprint reader to do my command. Oh, that's cool. Yeah, it's really nice.

Cory Doctorow (02:43:13):
I just saw today so that I, you have to run the latest. You had to run the latest dub Buntu, which is not the long term supportive version, a long term support version to get the fingerprint reader and the wifi card. And they just updated the LTS version so that if you get one of those LTS versions that are guaranteed for four years now, it just works out the box.

Leo Laporte (02:43:30):
My, when jar worked outta the box, I think I had to modify a config file or something, but that I don't I'm, I don't, I much prefer rolling releases, so I'm not an, a Buntu fan, but it worked beautifully and it's still working. I'm running BT RFS with that and time shift. So I get I little get little you know, cat snap app shot backups. And it's just, the thing is incredible. Incredible. Yeah. I love

Cory Doctorow (02:43:55):

Brianna Wu (02:43:55):
I'm an apple person I'm sitting here listening to this conversation.

Leo Laporte (02:44:00):
It makes you wonder why doesn't apple could do this.

Brianna Wu (02:44:04):
They will never do it, but they were lucky for the apple Silicon last generation. They actually made it thick enough that the keyboard works again. It

Leo Laporte (02:44:11):
Feels like, it feels like somebody has gotten into apple and said, you know, you really should have more ports on there. You really don't. Maybe

Brianna Wu (02:44:19):
You should keyboard break after a month. Yeah. So you should have

Leo Laporte (02:44:24):
That era is over of like glue everything in thinner and, and, and put in. Yeah. So maybe, maybe

Brianna Wu (02:44:32):
I hope so, but yeah, Hearing you guys talk about this, it just makes me realize everything that I've,

Leo Laporte (02:44:38):
This is how gear should be all gear should be like this and your battery dies 59 bucks. You take it out, put in a new one and you're done.

Cory Doctorow (02:44:47):
And you know, for the longest time, the story from, from apple was, well, we, we could make the, these things more environmentally sustainable, but then they'd be seven inches thick and they would weigh 16

Leo Laporte (02:44:57):
Pounds. Now we know that's not true. Yep.

Cory Doctorow (02:44:59):
The keyboard would be in so Relic or something and you know, like, it's just, it's just not true. Yeah.

Leo Laporte (02:45:05):
We know that. I didn't realize you could get a safety orange bezel though. That's tempting. Yeah. Why do you the best color?

Cory Doctorow (02:45:12):
Cause it's everything everything's better in safety orange. I've been trying to convince my wife to let me paint the bedroom safety orange. There's there's this, there's this British that,

Leo Laporte (02:45:23):

Cory Doctorow (02:45:24):
There's this, there's this British chain of emergency plumbers called Dino rod and they're vans are painted the most amazing safety orange. And I'm like a, any, any kind of clothing that is in DRO orange. I'm like, is it a, my size? Cause if it is, I'm buying it, you know,

Leo Laporte (02:45:39):
I have this is, you know, before the show Alex was saying, you know, just to let you know, I haven't read every story in the rundown. I have literally a hundred more stories that we could cover, but we're, we're up almost at three hours. I think this would be a good time to say goodnight to our esteem team. I would love to do this show all night, all day, but I know they have lives, so I'm gonna, I'm gonna let you go. You guys are fantastic. Brianna, woo. You look beautiful. You're getting better. Your throat. You sounded fine. I'm so thrilled. Rebellion, What do you plug something? Anything?

Brianna Wu (02:46:17):
Come listen to us on rocket. We actually, this week we had the dropout, which is the Elizabeth Holmes show. We got exclusive access, not exclusive, but we got advanced access to the entire series on Hulu which is about the Elizabeth Holmes saga. Y'all it is. It is so good. Is

Leo Laporte (02:46:40):
It a good show? Should I watch it?

Brianna Wu (02:46:41):
It is so good. So I watched inventing Anna and I did not really enjoy it because they just, it invented stuff when they needed to have like Hollywood drama. Yeah. This is the opposite of that. They had a show runner that acted like basically a like a journalist working with a journalist for Nightline. Nice. So the first episode starts off and he actually goes into Elizabeth Holmes' past. It goes into the trip where she met sunny Bawan for the first time. Wow. It goes into how they started their relationship and it's the acting is 10 out of 10. It is, it is all a hundred percent accurate. And I cannot recommend that enough. So

Leo Laporte (02:47:26):
It's kind of cool. It went full circle. It was a podcast first.

Brianna Wu (02:47:30):
Yes. It started as a podcast. And now it's a show. We actually interviewed a lot of the team behind the show on rocket this week. So go watch it. It's a, it's really good

Leo Laporte (02:47:42):
Episode. Episode 3 75, the dropout with Rebecca Jarvis EP and the podcast producer. I

Brianna Wu (02:47:48):
Think, yeah, that's the current one.

Leo Laporte (02:47:49):
Yeah. she was Warren Simon. Brian. I like saying that Brianna. Woo. Yeah. It's a great show. Rocket on And I am gonna watch the dropout tonight. You got me. It's

Brianna Wu (02:48:05):
Really good.

Leo Laporte (02:48:05):
It's really good. It's what a story. It's such a great story. Yeah. I loved inventing Anna, but it was a guilty pleasure. Cause I knew I was being suckered.

Brianna Wu (02:48:14):
Right. Because the entire time, like they literally have a, a template when the show's playing, it says everything here is real accessible. It's made up really made up. Yeah. Yeah. It's like, okay. I mean, I get how that's is trashy and fun TV, but I, I'm more interested in the facts of what happened you and you

Leo Laporte (02:48:32):
Know, great though, is Julia Garner is,

Brianna Wu (02:48:34):
Oh, she's 10 outta town. I

Leo Laporte (02:48:35):
Love such a great actor she made if it weren't for her, I think I might have been frustrated by the show, but she was on you couldn't stop watching. It was incredible.

Brianna Wu (02:48:44):
We had Rachel Deloche Williams also who Rachel on inventing Anna, that woman

Leo Laporte (02:48:50):

Brianna Wu (02:48:50):
Got scammed over, we love Amazon rocket and just watching the way they treated her on that show really upset me cuz she's a, she's a good, she's a better person than

Leo Laporte (02:49:00):
She got dumped on credit for. She got dumped on. It was not fair. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And I think that there was an only agenda cuz ne was the advisor. I think there was a little agenda going on behind the scenes and I knew that. And so it was a guilt. I enjoyed the show. It was a guilty pleasure. I can't wait to watch the dropout. Thank you. It's good. Love you. Glad you're doing so well. It's great to see you. Thank you for being here. My young friend will helm reporter at tech crunch. You're doing a podcast with tech crunch, right?

Alex Wilhelm (02:49:33):
Yeah. Actually equity. The little show that I helped put together is gonna turn five this month.

Leo Laporte (02:49:38):
Awesome. Happy birthday.

Alex Wilhelm (02:49:40):
Yeah. I, I

Leo Laporte (02:49:41):
Remember when we were five about 10 years ago. Something like that. Yeah.

Alex Wilhelm (02:49:46):
We, we just sent our founding producer off to a new job. Oh. And so it's kinda one of those like turning moments if you will. Yeah. So I I'm full of emotions and feels because podcasting is a very it's a very human thing. If

Leo Laporte (02:50:00):
Is if you know what I mean, that's what I think I might I'm inhuman, but the show itself is very human.

Alex Wilhelm (02:50:06):
You are in human because you manage to have no like people, people don't realize how hard it is to have like enthusiasm for multiple hours at a time. And I got here a minute early just to check my sound system. And Leo was finishing his radio show. Literally got up, changed rooms, sat down and did three hours with

Leo Laporte (02:50:21):
Us. I am losing my voice though. I'm starting started sound like Han. So

Alex Wilhelm (02:50:25):
I'm just very impressed. I can do that one care. Thank

Leo Laporte (02:50:29):
You Alex. I appreciate it.

Alex Wilhelm (02:50:30):
Look, I'm the only smoker on the show. So like

Leo Laporte (02:50:33):
Wait a minute. You smoke cigarettes.

Alex Wilhelm (02:50:35):
No, I will. I consume 15.

Leo Laporte (02:50:37):
You vape. Yeah. Yeah. My daughter I think finally quit look

Alex Wilhelm (02:50:42):
At that. I only do when I'm off camera, you can't put a screen shot of,

Leo Laporte (02:50:48):
Could figure that out. How'd that happen? All of a sudden he's vaping. We stole a screenshot. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. It's

Alex Wilhelm (02:50:55):
That? My mother-in-law's gonna find out.

Leo Laporte (02:50:57):
Oh my God. He's like a Puma smoke. His head is hidden in this cheese, Louise it cloud of glycerin and water and nicotine. Just all over you.

Alex Wilhelm (02:51:08):
I, I, I come on it to be, to be bullied, but I do have one final comment, which is about something Cory was talking about, which is him breaking everything. And I just wanna say that I thought I was the only cuts in the world of technology because I drop everything. I drop phones, laptops, monitors, my, my good camera that I'm not using today, falls off my desk all the time. I, I just break stuff and I thought it was just me turns. There's two of us, at least. So I feel a lot better.

Leo Laporte (02:51:32):
The tech industry. Thanks you. Yeah. Alex Wilhelm. I thank you. Have a great evening. Give my love to your beautiful wife. I will. And I hope you enjoy my childhood home

Alex Wilhelm (02:51:44):
As always taking

Leo Laporte (02:51:45):
Care of it. Yeah. Yeah. You are much better care than we took. Cory did, may not know this, but Al lives literally in my childhood home in Providence, I had gathered that from

Alex Wilhelm (02:51:55):
Remarks. I thought at first

Leo Laporte (02:51:56):
You were speaking poetically, but, and I literally to realize that he's built

Alex Wilhelm (02:52:01):

Leo Laporte (02:52:01):
He's built that silly building where I used to hang out in the backyard. There it's a weird story. It's a long, weird, just coincidence.

Alex Wilhelm (02:52:11):
Yeah. Coincidence. I, my, my spouse, Brianna is from Providence and we're here because she's a doctor and this is where her residency is. And we we live in the house that it turns out by freak of nature that it happens to be where Leo up it's it's, we've made some changes, but like it's the same yeah. Small world. Right. That's bizarre.

Leo Laporte (02:52:32):
You should have been here when we figured that out. Cuz Liz is here, Alex and Lizza were here and we were talking about Providence. And I said, I grew up in Providence. She said, where? I said the street, she said what? The, and I said the number. And she said, that's my house.

Alex Wilhelm (02:52:50):
Yeah. So generally there's, there's

Cory Doctorow (02:52:54):
Two Providences. Right? There's Hasbro Providence. And there's RD Providence. Which Providence?

Leo Laporte (02:52:59):
Providence. Oh no, no. The east side where all the old houses are, that house was built in the 1806. Yep. And we got it. It was a shell in 19. I wanna say 66 and my folks fixed it up. Made it nice. Got the plaque on it that you get. If you restore it to its original stage, which

Alex Wilhelm (02:53:20):
We still have. Yeah,

Leo Laporte (02:53:21):
Yeah. You still have the plaque. Oh good. Yeah.

Alex Wilhelm (02:53:23):
Well the plaques actually the dining rooms, we need to wait. There's just hearing about a, if our shutters are historically accurate, which I don't think

Leo Laporte (02:53:30):

Alex Wilhelm (02:53:31):
Told me what I

Leo Laporte (02:53:32):
Finicky. We had

Alex Wilhelm (02:53:33):
To have insane

Leo Laporte (02:53:34):
Paint from that era. 1806 paint. I mean the whole thing. Yeah. Very finicky, light paint

Cory Doctorow (02:53:39):
Or nothing

Leo Laporte (02:53:40):
That paint or nothing

Alex Wilhelm (02:53:41):
Wanna be. I wanted to have fluorescent orange house paint. Yeah. And I was told orange

Leo Laporte (02:53:45):
Is not, was not from that era. That is Cory doctor. Who's wearing the best shirt of the year of the decade. Cory is crap. Pound.Com still around. Yes. You still, yeah.

Cory Doctorow (02:53:57):
That's where you can buy my books and then, and get my podcast and then pluralistic dot nets where you find my stuff.

Leo Laporte (02:54:02):
Wait a minute. What's the podcast about,

Cory Doctorow (02:54:04):
Oh, it's just me reading my stuff. I've been doing it since 2006. Oh,

Leo Laporte (02:54:08):
You read your books. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Cory Doctorow (02:54:09):
I read my books and stories and essays and I recorded one this afternoon before I got on with you guys and actually uploaded it while we were talking. So it went live while we were talking here,

Leo Laporte (02:54:18):
The tax surface the most recent sci-fi book had to destroy surveillance capitalism. The most recent, this is one of the smartest guys in the world. And and,

Cory Doctorow (02:54:29):
And I would say that if you're looking for something for me to plug, I'm nearly done now the WEG Grove and Graber's rise of Dawn of everything. David, David,

Leo Laporte (02:54:39):
I'm reading that too. You love that. Oh my

Cory Doctorow (02:54:41):
God. It's so good. Yeah. I mean, Graber, he coined the term, you know, we are the 99% and he wrote jobs and he wrote debt the, for as 5,000 years, really incisive anthropologist anti-authoritarian and then WEG Grove, his, his collaborators are really accomplished. Archeologists. We, we lost grayer during the pandemic. He

Leo Laporte (02:55:02):
Just died after he finished the book.

Cory Doctorow (02:55:04):
Yeah. Just after finishing it, we were on a live cast together just a couple of days before he died. It went so fast for him. Oh. And, but it's what a, what a legacy that he's left. It is such a challenge to the idea that there are inevitable ways that humans end up living. And that really like the historic record really supports that there's every arrangement you can imagine has existed over extremely long time scales and relatively stable ways, including ones that would, you know, make you wanna take a bath and ones that would make you think that there's no way humans could be that good and egalitarian and kind, and, and anti authoritarian. And and that therefore it's voice, right? Like there's nothing inevitable about any of our social arrangements. We've had technology and then we've thrown it away. We've had technology, we've used it one way and had technology and used it a different way.

Cory Doctorow (02:55:53):
There's, there's no determination about living in cities or having agriculture or having steam power or having a certain kind of metallurgy or living close people who are different or living far from people who are different or living on a horizontal land mass or a vertical land mass, all these things that people have said, inevitably determine how we live. Just turns out that we live, however we choose to live. And that, that it's really like the human agency is the final determinant of the caliber of our society. And it's the most hopeful message for this moment, especially, and so beautifully written. They're so smart. So funny and so brilliant. So, so accomplished in their historic research.

Leo Laporte (02:56:34):
I couldn't agree more. It's just fascinating kind of an antidote to the Yuval Noah Harari 

Cory Doctorow (02:56:42):

Leo Laporte (02:56:43):
Kind of simply way of thinking and kind of, unfortunately there's a huge amount of bias and you UN undetected bias in how we think about things. And I think raver really, yeah. Somehow magically is able to abandon that and think about stuff in a new way. And the, the other good news is that modern archeology is really making some yes incredible stuff.

Cory Doctorow (02:57:06):
Really amazing. Yeah. Whole civiliz the regions that we thought never had settlements. We're finding evidence of, of settlements going back thousands of years, D multiple different distinct civilizations with different patterns. We're able to understand a lot about them. And, and that's a, I mean, that's a science and technology story, but it's also an anthropology story and an, and, and an archeology story. It's, it's

Leo Laporte (02:57:27):

Cory Doctorow (02:57:28):
Really amazing. And yeah, they take a lot of aim at, at UAL and they take a lot of aim at Steven Pinker and at Jared diamond and guns, germs, and steel. And they just say that these, these just so narratives that basically say we are in the world, that we were inevitably gonna be in and, and kind of, there's no there choice and really kind of, you should abandon hope of changing it. That those are that those are wrong. That like everything is changing. Everything is up for grabs. If you want a more perfect world and you could imagine it, we could probably make it happen. It's just a matter of figuring out how to get other people to buy into your vision, but there's no, there's no inevitable collapse or no inevitable fracture line that will tear it apart.

Leo Laporte (02:58:10):
Dawn the Dawn of everything. He also wrote debt the first 5,000 years, which I am is next on my list. You

Cory Doctorow (02:58:17):
Utopia rules, his little essay collection is so good. There's a great essay in it about how the title essay about how we used to say, oh, well, nobody wants to live in the Soviet union because there's only like one kind of store that sells one kind of merchandise and you have to stand in long lines and you have to fill in lots of paperwork. And he like fast forward to, you know, the mid 2010s where the same 15 stores are in every mall and on re high street where we are filling in more bureaucratic forms than ever. And where like even people who are way up the socioeconomic ladder are standing in three hour TSA lines. And, and tell me exactly what it was that was better about this society. It's pretty good.

Leo Laporte (02:58:56):
Yeah. Yeah. The Dawn of everything. Thank you so much, Corey. We're gonna put the together Corey's book list. It's about 400 volumes long it's. Okay. We'll put it in our show notes. I have, there are quite a few books that you mentioned that people should

Cory Doctorow (02:59:11):
Read. Well, thanks, Leo. And it was lovely to see both Brianna and Alex.

Leo Laporte (02:59:14):
Thank you. Thank you, Corey. A pleasure. Thank you, Brianna. Thank you, Alex. Wow. What a show, huh? Thank you for being here. You guys I got a very special episode. I think we do TWiTSunday afternoons about two Pacific may have two 30 Pacific five 30 Eastern, 2230 UTC. I mentioned the live time cuz you can watch us do it. Live, You get the first draft of TWiT. If you're watching live, you should chat live is open to all members of club TWiTter also get,utheir dedicated, Discord, which is a great place to hang. That's where our book club is. That's where our untitled Lennox show is. Uthe GIZ fizz. Uit's where we launch new shows like this week in space,u$7,ua month. But the most important benefit is not in theory anyway, not the disc hoard, not the special feeds.

Leo Laporte (03:00:05):
It's the ad free versions of all our shows ad free and tracker free. So if you don't wanna be part of the surveillance economy, you can, you don't have to be you can a mere $7 a month which is about what we estimate we make off of you. Just give us the money direct and eliminate the middle man, go to TWiT to join the club. We, we are very grateful to all of our club members and it's a great bunch of people in that discord. A lot of fun after the fact, everything we do is always available for free on our website, You can also there's a YouTube channel for every show where there's a link right there on the site for that. So if you wanna watch the video on YouTube, you can do that. You can also subscribe in your favorite podcast client. Yes. Anyone will work even Spotify. I don't think the BBC player works, but everything else does cuz it's an RSS feed and you subscribe, you get it automatically and you support independent podcasting. And I think that's very, very important. Thank you for being here. Have a wonderful week. We'll see you next time. Another TWiT in the can.

Leo Laporte (03:01:12):
Amazing on the, doing the baby, doing the, doing the baby.

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