Tag: internet

Is This The End of Alex Jones?

By Spencer Kellogg | @Spencer_Kellogg

Somewhere in Austin, there is Alex Jones. The guttural, raving anti-globalist madman is sneering into a piping hot microphone and he is mad. Of course.

Jones is sweating and red-faced. His unseemly beard is desperately trying to mask the ineffectiveness of the newest unregulated testosterone pill he is hawking between calculated breathes and well-coordinated advertisements.

Continue reading “Is This The End of Alex Jones?”

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True Detective 3 Was The Best One Yet

By Spencer Kellogg | @Spencer_Kellogg

It’s almost as if True Detective 2 never happened.

Back From The Dead

What a season and what a comeback for True Detective. The belabored moans and groans of a drunken Colin Farrell that had dotted and plagued the second season are gone. In their place has returned the quiet and subtle terror that painted the familiar canvas of the original True Detective 1. What’s more, the newest True Detective builds on an unmistakable emotional element not so easily spotted in previous seasons. Continue reading “True Detective 3 Was The Best One Yet”

Why Blockchain and Bitcoin Are Becoming a Part of Life

Mason Mohon |@mohonofficial

The Bitcoin naysayers live their life in glee these days, happy that cryptocurrency is finally dead! Well, dead again. Clearly, if something can die multiple times, its death carries far less weight. Cryptocurrency, along with Bitcoin, is in a continuous cycle of death and resurrection. In the short term, this makes it a scary investment. In the long term, though, Bitcoin has a lot of potential and is likely to become a part of the dominant social order. It will do this along with its underlying technology: blockchain.

Continue reading “Why Blockchain and Bitcoin Are Becoming a Part of Life”

Property Rights in the Digital Paradigm

By Atilla Sulker | United States

Earlier this year, I published an article on Lewrockwell.com in which I discussed social media sites, free speech, and “digital property rights”. In this piece, I came to the conclusion that social media sites and blogs are very much like physical buildings and firms. The property owner may set his own rules within his property, so long as these rules don’t involve violence. He may grant, limit, or completely revoke my right to free speech, and may expel me from his property if he wishes. Social media sites ought to operate in this same way.

What my investigation underscored, however, was something more fundamental. Not only did it shed light on the fact that free speech stems from property rights, or that property rights can be applied to the internet, but it also highlighted that private property rights are an excellent tool in combating disputes over speech, among other issues, and are the final arbitrator in such disputes. I am currently working on a paper in which I seek to give a more than superficial analysis of the internet through property rights, but for the scope of this article, I shall try to summarize my argument extending digital property rights beyond social media sites.

If social media sites are like private firms in the physical realm, then networks and ISPs are like private roads and road managers, respectively. The internet is comprised of multiple networks, each connected to form the aggregate. This conglomeration of networks allows the user to explore what we refer to as the internet, a set of connected networks.

Suppose that we lived in a society in which all roads were privatized and road managers could collect money for the use of roads through various different mechanisms. A given road manager could charge a fee per mile, a fee every time someone entered their road, a larger year-long pass fee, etc. Regardless of how the fee would be collected, competition would encourage the most convenient system, and so a one time fee covering a longer term of usage would probably become popular.

Now just as buildings and land are private property, private roads are as well. If a private road manager were given full access to his property rights, he would be able to curtail the entry of certain people, limit certain speech, etc. This could be very practical, as the majority of society would demand that certain people such as criminals not be let in, this demand being backed by their willingness to give the road manager their money. Roads could also prevent overflow by not permitting the entrance of people beyond a certain limit. We now see that roads are bound by the same property rights as houses and restaurants, given that they are privatized.

Since ISPs own a certain portion of the internet, their respective network can in many ways be likened unto road managers owning certain roads within the whole conglomeration of roads and highways. For one to own property, they must either homestead “common property” (property not owned by anyone, for example, a chunk of undiscovered land), purchase it from someone else, or steal it. Public property is another interesting phenomenon. No one owns it, but everyone uses it and funds it.

Many claim that the internet is “open” or public, but this defies the fundamental nature of how property works. “Common property” does not exist in the digital realm since bandwidth, which can be likened unto lanes in a road, is created by ISPs, hence they claim the original ownership. Henceforth, they have the exclusive right to use the property as they wish. In this sense, the idea of net neutrality is rebuked, for it is a violation of digital property rights, the equivalent to the property rights of the private road owner.

These roads lead the way to websites, which can be put into two categories. The first one is the one I discussed in my previous article- social media sites and blogs. Again, these websites are like physical property in which the owner may expel people. The second type of website would be simply meant for reading information, not including any accounts (for example, an informational site). These websites can be likened unto privately owned land/ landmarks not meant for letting people in, but meant simply for viewing as one drives down a road.

Ultimately, each ISP, like a private road would offer something to bring in more customers from other firms. Imagine that there is a Starbucks in the middle of nowhere and there exist two roads to get to it. Suppose one road is made of a material that drastically speeds up the cars using it, while another road is just a normal road. Assuming the price to use either road is near the same, the customer would choose the former as he would be able to get his coffee faster and get back to what he is doing. Customers could choose ISPs over each other in this same fashion. Certain ISPs could also limit internet traffic to prevent “overflow” and keep their networks efficient. Hence trying to homogenize each network is actually betraying the idea of consumer choice, despite the rhetoric of those supporting it.

My investigation has hopefully dispelled this notion that the internet is “free” or “open”. This is a common fallacy that ignores the hierarchical connection between property rights and free speech, the former being the apparatus which the latter stems from. If we treat the internet in the same way in which we treat the physical realm, it is seen that private property rights again become the final arbitrator of disputes. Domain owners own only their plot of “land” and ISPs own their “roads”. Taking this approach is not only moral but allows the market economy to properly function and bring on a plethora of competing firms and consumer choices.

References

Hoppe, Hans-Hermann. “Of Private, Common, And Public Property And The Rationale For Total Privatization.” Libertarian Papers 3, no. 1 (2011): 1-13.


This article was originally published on LewRockwell.com

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Elon Musk’s Bizarre Twitter Marketing Strategy

Nickolas Roberson | United States

Elon Musk is quite a curious and peculiar individual. The man has 120-hour work weeks and sleeps in his factories for days at a time, and he has also been seen insulting an analyst during a Tesla earnings call. Musk also appeared on Joe Rogan’s podcast, discussed his companies and smoked a blunt, and has been accusing the British diver, Vernon Unsworth, who helped save 12 members of a junior Thai soccer team trapped in a cave, of pedophilia; the investor and business magnate is constantly stirring up a storm. Yet there is one thing that is the most peculiar of them all: his Twitter account.

The utilization of Twitter by CEOs of major corporations is usually very limited; their posts and tweets are low in frequency and presence, yet high in rectitude. The Twitter account of Jeff Bezos, founder, and CEO of Amazon is a prime example of this, with his postings consisting of the political support, history, and news concerning Amazon.

These corporate executives have surrounded themselves with and have had their lives consumed with the professionalism that runs rampant in corporate culture, with its pressed suits and ties, firm handshakes, and lack of personalization. They refuse to relax, unwind, and have some fun in their lives. However, Elon Musk appears to be breaking the mold of this, with postings such as this:

That’s right, one of the brightest minds of this century, the CEO of multiple, billion-dollar corporations, and the man pushing humanity to the stars is asking his 23 million followers for memes. A meme, as defined by Dictionary.com, is “a cultural item in the form of an image, video, phrase, etc. that is spread via the Internet and often altered in a creative or humorous way.” They’re the iconic Grumpy Cat, the mocking Spongebob, and the “nothing but respect for MY president” phrases that are posted and flood all of our social media accounts.  Yet this meme Tweet is not the first, and most certainly not the last, bizarre Tweet that Musk has shared with the world. There are others such as this, where he compared major social media sights to popular video games:

Or when Musk confessed his love and passion for anime, and that he owns a Wolverine chibi:

… after which he was quickly locked out of his Twitter account:

There was even a string of Tweets where Musk talked about his presumed past life of being a sponge:

Social media plays a major role in everyone’s lives; in the year 2005, only 5 percent of Americans used a form of social media, but that figure increased to 69 percent by the year 2011.  Thus, by posting memes and bizarre Tweets in general, Musk is marketing himself and his companies to the individuals who are entranced by “meme culture.” He is marketing especially towards Generation Z, who are young adults and teenagers born between the mid-1990s to mid-2000s. Of people who are between the ages of 18 and 29, 88 percent of them use social media; these forms of social media include, but are certainly not limited to, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Snapchat.

These individuals utilize social media differently than past generations, spending much more time on it than any other generation and by using it mainly for entertainment, rather than connecting with friends. Vibrant pictures and videos garner the attention of these young people, especially memes, with nearly every teenager today being absolutely absorbed by and addicted to memes. This addiction was confirmed back in 2016 when Google Trends discovered that “memes” surpassed “Jesus” in the number of searches on Google platforms. That’s right, the central figure of the largest religion in the entirety of this Earth, with 2.4 billion religious followers, was deemed less searchable than funny and absurd images on the Internet by the tech junkies of the world.  

Thus, by marketing his Twitter toward this “meme culture,” Musk is also gaining the attention of these young people, allowing his companies to create a customer base which will last for years to come. His absurd tweets begging for memes and discussing the Precambrian era aren’t instances of insanity as suggested by his stockholders and major figures in politics and media, but are a strategic plan to further the longevity of his businesses: Tesla, SpaceX, SolarCity, and the plethora of other ventures that the billionaire has started.


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