Month: December 2010

This post is censored, part 2

We’ve talked about censorship before. But the topic is a rich one, and we can periodically revisit it for fun and insights. You may have heard that the U.K. government is drafting an interesting plan. To combat porn, the government (more specifically, Ed Vaizey, the communication minister) is going to ask all the major ISPs to essentially filter out porn sites by default, unless the subscriber specifically asks to have access to the forbidden sites. The rationale for this? Well, the government is convinced that porn causes problems, and is now a “health issue”. As a result, it feels...

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The Price(s) of Manipulation

This blog entry is not about the impact of manipulation (see the post about milk product manipulation for that!). Rather, it is manipulation of prices that I wanted to touch upon today. Price is a strange thing to drive manipulation, because it is frequently the most well-known and understood thing about an object or a service. You may not know much about perfume or electric components or televisions, but you will know (or can find out pretty easily) the price of these things. And unlike traffic light durations, which is hard to focus on, people are usually quite focused on the price of something. So how can someone manipulate others through price? Fairly easily, it turns out. Let’s take some examples: Let’s start with some power cables. A power cable usually connects a stereo or a television to the power plug in the wall. It is usually bundled in with the appliance that you buy, or you can get one at your favorite electronic retailer for $5-10 or so. What you cannot easily get at your neighborhood retailer are these: Why? Well, according to Furutech, they contain, in very specific quantities, “nano-sized ceramic particles”, “insulating acetal copolymer”, “Alpha pure Copper conductors”, and “powdered carbon”.  All of these ingredients presumably help do something to the power before it’s fed into your high-end audio gear, and that something should be worth...

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