Right To Repair Act - Grandparent Tire Time

Since we are on the subject of passing big laws to save our soldiers, African children, or UK's circular eddy current economy from lost strategic metals, here's a reminder of another big law out there.  EFF and IFixit remain the champions of protecting consumers from "copyright" and "patent" laws taking away their right to tinker with their cars, electronics, and other stuff.

This was a major battleground - in my mind - in the 1990s.  I was raised (here in the Ozarks, where I'm visiting for an unrelated EOL issue with a relative) that the smartest farmers knew how to fix stuff, and could save their family a lot of money by buying broke stuff from rich people who didn't know how to repair (or just wanted "elective upgrade").  Every summer my grandpa had me under a car or truck, showing me how they were making the spark plugs harder and harder to replace.  "Why in the world would they design this motor so that you need hydraulic motor hoist to change he spark plugs!?!?"  His suspicion was that they did it on purpose.

Copyright and patent laws entered into a gray area with software.  The right to own and copy some software that an author wrote was protected by different laws than protect the consumer's property rights and warranty rights under the Magnusum - Moss Act of 1975. Below is a rare "5-mod-up" comment of mine on the subject of Right to Repair on Slashdot /. which is a forum I started following at MassDEP when the internet was new, and I was researching electronics repair.

I've written about that law because when I first went to college and  Minnesota PIRG had a negative-check-off to add a fee to my Carleton College tuition bill, I wanted to know who PIRG was.  I read up on it at the library (nothing online then), and saw they were associated with consumer rights advocate Ralph Nader, who I learned about in high school when "planned obsolescence" and Vance Packard came up in class.

Trends of Peace and Urbanization

Urbanization is making humans peaceful. Terrorists generally come from non-urban areas. Look it up. It makes sense. And we are getting safer and safer, statistically, because humans are becoming more and more urban.
Journalism reports on crimes, and urban people have more access to journals.
So while people are becoming safer and safer to be around, more and more of us are reading about the danger.

SEERA, HR 917 - A New Protectionist Message?

First let me say that there are several paying members of the Coalition for American Electronics Recycling (CAER) who I really respect.  We use several of them as subcontractors for our company. (My hunch is that they wouldn't want to be thanked here individually).

They haven't reached out to me directly, but appear to have taken serious note of admonishment on the blog.  They have dropped references to the "80% Dumping" claim (which was still on their website after Basel Action Network disavowed it).

The "perception - reality" logo, featuring the African guy carring a 1977 white Magnavox at Agbogbloshie is gone from the website.  "Primitive" Africans no longer feature in the press releases for the legislation that CAER was formed to promote...

But their interest is the same as any other heavy industry.  "Big Shred" are the companies with multi-million dollar investments in big heavy machines to automate electronics recycling.

Hans Rosling of Gapminder Recognized

A few years ago my son, then a student at United World College, sent me a link to "The Best Statistics You've Never Seen", a TED talk by Swedish doctor and statistician Hans Rosling.  I shared it pretty widely.  In recent years, Dr. Rosling (who still seemed quite young) was increasingly turning over presentations to his own adult son.  Last Friday, we learned Rosling had died of cancer [NYT Obituary]

Over Facebook and Twitter, Rosling has not exactly been a celebrity like Prince or Bowie, but you start to observe really really smart people are all noting his passing.

Here's a short 2015 interview with Rosling with Engish subtitles.   If you haven't seen it yet, go to one of his longer 2006 TED Talk video in English.

It isn't the 1970s.  It has not been the 1970s for over a decade.  The talk about "third world" and "lesser developed nations" and "primtive" and dystopian descriptions are being kept alive by a type of white nostalgia that seeks to leverage exoticism into a kind of nuture-instinct currency.  I do it even now - returning from Africa I find far more photos on my card of grass roofs than of metal ones.  We are attracted to documenting poverty, leveraging schadenfreude, gaining a fantasy of heroicism in the process.

 "Herrschaftskritischer Ansatz" is another good German expression to describe it.

Here is my observation about how Rosling's Gapminder can bring us together.  Yes, this is political.  The wealthier blue state democrat demographic and blue collar red state demographic are both guilty of portraying the rest of the world as seriously far more "other" than it is.