Friday, June 06, 2014

A short word on Net Neutrality

Sorry I've been away. Working on...stuff. I'll be back shortly. Frankly, though, I would rather be back tall-ly, since I'm short enough as it is.

And with puns like that, it's a wonder this blog gets any readers.

In the meantime, you may want to read this piece about the use of astroturf to create bogus opposition to net neutrality...
Another group leading the charge is the American Consumer Institute. The organization recently filed a letter with the FCC opposing reclassification, and argues that ISPs should be left alone. "The fact is that the broadband market is competitive and becoming more so," wrote ACI, which claims that consumers currently enjoy "increased choice." In January, ACI called the Verizon lawsuit that struck down the original FCC net-neutrality guidelines, "a victory for consumers."

Why would a self-professed consumer advocacy group not only oppose moving toward net neutrality but claim that America's broadband market—one of the slowest, most expensive in the industrialized world with fewer than three choices in many parts of the country—is so great?

Perhaps because ACI, like Broadband for America, is financed by an ISP lobby group. Annual tax returns show that a foundation controlled by lobbyists from the cell phone industry, called, has contributed to ACI since 2010.
And guess who is getting in on the act? Our old friends at the Heartland Institute. You pay Heartland enough dough, and they'll shill for anything. They were the main people, for example, promoting the view that second-hand smoke doesn't cause any deleterious health effects...
Leaked documents from the Heartland Institute, a conservative think tank famous for shilling on behalf of corporate donors, show major funds from Comcast, AT&T, and Time Warner Cable.
I may have more to say about Heartland soon...
As much as I despise the Heartland Institute, they are not wrong about second hand smoke studies. As someone who has a science background and knows how to read any scientific study and tell how reasonable it is, there are zero second hand smoke studies worth their weight, something most non-biased scientists agree with. All the ones I have ever seen basically ask, "Were you exposed to second hand smoke?" and "Do you have cancer?" and that's as far as they go. Without taking into account lifestyle choices, employment history, and exposure to other cancer causing chemicals, every single study is actually worthless. Now while cancer has been linked to cigarette smoke (and possibly the radioactive soil it is grow in), second smoke has been demonized to the hilt with little science to back it up.
All I have to say is see if you want the TRUTH.
That TRUTH you speak of is nothing of the sort. I have read many of these same studies and they are woefully inadequate when it comes to linking cancer with second hand smoke. Now I would agree that sitting in a smoke filled room night after night might cause cancer, but these studies suggest that minuscule amounts are causing cancer which they have no evidence to back that up. We can see this is wrong from observational studies, which no one seems to do anymore. If second hand smoke does cause cancer, then we should be seeing a significant drop in lung cancer rates as less and less people are smoking. Unfortunately, lung cancer rates are increasing past the population growth models, meaning it is less and less likely that second hand smoke is the cause. Much like everything that comes out of the government or even science lately, caution should be used before believing anything you hear anymore without a serious look at what they are saying.
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