Apple promises third-party payment options in iOS for South Korean users - The Verge

Apple says it will introduce third-party payment options for the first time ever in iOS apps, following South Korean legislation designed to open up the perceived monopolies of Google and Apple’s app stores. The alternative payments will only be available in South Korea and follows the announcement of similar changes by Google last November.

I'll believe it when I see it.

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The Supreme Court appears more afraid of Joe Biden than it is of Covid-19

The bottom line remains that Congress wrote expansive language when it passed the OSH Act, and OSHA relied on its expertise when it handed down a broad vaccination-or-test rule.

But neither the will of Congress nor the considered judgment of an expert agency appear to matter when five justices oppose a rule

🤬

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Big ISPs fight to save exclusive wiring deals that limit choice in apartments | Ars Technica

The new public notice seeks to "refresh the record" in an FCC proceeding on competition in multi-unit buildings that began in 2019 under then-Chairman Ajit Pai. Several groups told the Pai-led FCC that exclusive wiring deals are used as an end run around the prohibition on exclusive service deals. But cable companies that benefit from the deals urged the FCC to reject calls to regulate or ban them and are continuing that argument with the Biden-era FCC.

Comcast, Charter, Cox, and NCTA–The Internet & Television Association (the cable industry's primary lobbying group) met with FCC staff to discuss the topic on September 2, according to an ex parte filing submitted last week by NCTA. During the meeting, NCTA "described the benefits of continuing to allow providers to enter into exclusive wiring agreements with MTE owners. Exclusive wiring agreements do not deny new entrants access to MTEs. Rather, exclusive wiring agreements are pro-competitive and help ensure that state-of-the-art wiring will be deployed in MTEs to the benefit of consumers," the filing said.

It's no wonder broadband in America, especially in rural part, is inadequate.

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How Republicans and gas lobby block city climate solutions using preemption

While many answers to climate change require national and even international action, cities often have the unilateral power to craft local rules like building codes. But before the city of Tucson could even look at possible building reforms, the Republican-led state legislature took away its power to do so — by passing a state law that natural gas utilities are “not subject to further regulation by a municipality.”

Supporters of the Republican bill were trying to beat climate advocates to the punch and “preempt” restrictions on fossil fuels. “We wanted to get ahead of what we viewed as an economically damaging trend, and stop it before it could gain a foothold here,” says Garrick Taylor, a spokesperson for the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, one of the lobbying groups that supported the bill.

With those few lines of text, Arizona blocked a path for cleaning up a significant source of Tucson’s climate pollution — even as nations around the world are racing to transition to cleaner energy and slow disastrous climate change.

Tobacco, NRA, ISPs, oil and gas conglomerates. This is not a group you really want to be associated with.

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Omicron is not mild and is crushing health care systems worldwide, WHO warns | Ars Technica

Of particular concern are the rising hospitalizations among children. More than 4,000 children are currently in the hospital with COVID-19, an all-time high in the pandemic, according to tracking by The Washington Post. The current number of hospitalized children is nearly double that from two weeks ago, when fewer than 2,000 were hospitalized. Several doctors and health experts have anecdotally reported seeing higher levels of COVID-related croup and bronchiolitis in children.

I continue to be emotionally drained and if I'm honest really numb to it.

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Supreme Court to Weigh Vaccine Requirements for the Workplace - WSJ

1905 case, Jacobson v. Massachusetts, the justices upheld the state’s authority to require that individuals vaccinate against smallpox. “The liberty secured by the Constitution…does not import an absolute right in each person to be, at all times and in all circumstances, wholly freed from restraint,” Justice John Marshall Harlan wrote for the court.

Pretty clear and precise.

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Supreme Court: The stakes in the Covid-19 vaccine cases are bigger than they seem

I don’t want to minimize the significance of the policies at issue in Missouri and NFIB. In creating these policies, the Biden administration determined that its fundamental duty to preserve human life overrides many individuals’ interest in refusing medical treatment. This is a weighty decision, placing the collective health of the nation before the individual liberties of many of its citizens.

You may not like it. You don't have to. But that is functioning democracy, the elected decision to preserve human life for the public good, over the individuals' interest.

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PG&E found responsible for yet another devastating fire

The Dixie Fire raged for more than three months last year, burning over 1,300 structures and killing one person. In perhaps its most traumatic episode, the blaze tore through the town of Greenville one August evening — growing explosively overnight. By morning, it had decimated most of the historic Gold Rush town. “We lost Greenville tonight,” local Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) said as he held back tears in a video posted to Facebook on August 5th.

The scenes were reminiscent of the most destructive blaze the state has seen to date, the Camp Fire in 2018. Investigators pointed to PG&E power lines as the cause of that disaster as well. Camp Fire nearly wiped out the town of Paradise and nearby communities, killing 85 people and scorching more than 18,800 structures. In a case brought against it by Butte County, PG&E ultimately pleaded guilty to 84 felony counts of involuntary manslaughter and another felony count of unlawfully causing a fire.

I really struggle to understand how, after causing the state's 2 largest fires in history in a 3 year span, burying 10% of lines and rolling blackouts are an adequate plan to prevent it from happening again.

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ISPs spent $235 million on lobbying and donations, “more than $320,000 a day”

ISPs also focused heavily on the Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act, which would have spent $80 billion to deploy future-proof broadband infrastructure nationwide, directed the FCC to collect and publicize data on broadband prices, and eliminated state laws that prevent the growth of municipal broadband, among other things. The bill prioritized fiber by requiring federally funded ISPs to provide low latency and speeds of at least 100Mbps for both downloads and uploads and by defining "unserved" areas as those lacking access to 25Mbps speeds on both the download and upload side.

Six of the 15 ISPs and trade groups reported lobbying on the bill, including AT&T, Charter, NCTA, T-Mobile, USTelecom, and Verizon, Common Cause wrote, adding:

The Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act seeks to address the digital divide, and ISPs want to define both the divide and its solutions to their benefit. Industry lobbyists have persistently disseminated talking points at the federal and state levels advocating for lower speed requirements and "technology neutrality," both of which aim to limit the preference given to fiber-optic broadband in publicly funded deployment, despite the clear superiority of that technology. ISPs have also been incredibly effective over the years, lobbying at the state level to prohibit municipal broadband and cooperatives from serving communities that have been abandoned by existing providers. Further, the industry has resisted calls for price transparency... and in part owing to the successful efforts of ISP lobbyists, the Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act did not even receive a vote in the House or Senate during the 116th Congress.

In the United States we do not have fast, reliable, competitively priced broadband because current providers have a vested financial interest in the status quo.

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Much has changed since the start of the pandemic. But the nation’s public health system remains fractured. - The Washington Post

with little more than 60 percent of the U.S. population fully immunized with two mRNA shots or a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson product, the vaccines are providing huge benefits to individuals while failing to fulfill their public health potential of protecting the entire population.

For anybody who trusts science, this is “vastly different than March 2020,” said Francis S. Collins, who in December stepped down as director of the National Institutes of Health, the nation’s medical research agency. But those who don’t trust science and haven’t been vaccinated are in a vulnerable place, he said, endangering everyone around them.

“People should ask themselves which group they want to be in,” Collins said.

Indeed.

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CDC draws criticism for shorter COVID quarantine, isolation as omicron bears down | Ars Technica

But, while other public health experts generally agreed with Ting's point, they were frustrated that the CDC's new guidance did not also require negative test results. Dr. Michael Mina, a Harvard epidemiologist and long-time advocate of rapid testing, called the new guidance "reckless."

He noted that while some people may be infectious for only three days, some may be infectious for longer periods, even up to 12 days. "I absolutely don’t want to sit next to someone who turned [positive] five days ago and hasn't tested [negative]," Mina wrote on Twitter. Requiring a negative test result to leave isolation early is "just smart," he concluded.

I wonder why the CDC did not also require a negative test?

Gounder and others pointed out that the CDC may not have included testing requirements in their update because the country is currently seeing shortages of rapid tests and long lines at testing centers. "CDC's isolation policy is being driven by a scarcity of rapid antigen tests," she concluded. But, Mina pushed back on this excuse, calling it an "artificial" problem stemming from a failure to fortify testing capacity earlier in the pandemic.

Oh, that's right. Because testing in America is an absolute disaster at every level.

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Judge Overturns Purdue Pharma’s Opioid Settlement - The New York Times

The ruling said the company’s owners, members of the Sackler family, could not receive protection from civil lawsuits in return for a $4.5 billion contribution.

The Sacklers did not file for personal bankruptcy protection, but they had made the condition an absolute requirement in exchange for contributing $4.5 billion to the settlement agreement.

🤔 I absolutely agree with this ruling.

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No jab, no job: Google will fire unvaccinated employees | Ars Technica

Google’s memo came three weeks after a federal court declined to lift a stay on President Joe Biden’s executive order that directed large companies to require vaccination for their employees. The Supreme Court is expected to take up the matter, but Google's recent memo suggests that the company will proceed with its requirement regardless of the outcome of any future rulings.

“As we’ve stated before, our vaccination requirements are one of the most important ways we can keep our workforce safe and keep our services running,” a Google spokesperson told Ars. “We’re committed to doing everything possible to help our employees who can get vaccinated do so, and firmly stand behind our vaccination policy.”

More like this please.

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GitHub - nektos/act: Run your GitHub Actions locally 🚀

Running GitHub Actions locally ?!? Awesome. I can not tell you hake often I've wanted this. The biggest lift to creating runnable actions is the super long feedback cycle just to find out that your yaml is not formatted correctly. 🤦‍♂️

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California wants to copy Texas abortion tactics for gun control - Vox

The proposed California legislation, however, would be the first measure to use a SB 8-style enforcement mechanism for a different goal. Newsom’s proposal would empower private citizens to sue the manufacturers of assault rifles and so-called ghost guns — firearms made from kits, which are difficult to track because they don’t have serial numbers like those that come from licensed companies and are sold by licensed dealers. Ghost gun kits are sold online, are easy to assemble, require no background check to buy, and are impossible for authorities to trace, as the New York Times’s Annie Karni explained in April.

I mean, turnabout is fair play, no? 🤷‍♂️

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Stripped of power, Missouri health depts abandon COVID health measures | Ars Technica

One local agency, the Laclede County Health Department, northeast of Springfield, announced that it has ceased all COVID-19-related work, including case investigations, contact tracing, quarantine orders, and public announcements of current cases and deaths.

"While this is a huge concern for our agency, we have no other options but to follow the orders of the Missouri Attorney General at this time," the department wrote in a Facebook post on December 9.

WTF

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Schools Confront a Wave of Student Misbehavior, Driven by Months of Remote Learning - WSJ

Schools have seen an increase in both minor incidents, like students talking in class, and more serious issues, such as fights and gun possession. In Dallas, disruptive classroom incidents have tripled this year compared with pre-pandemic levels, school officials said. The Albuquerque, N.M., superintendent sent a letter to parents warning of a “rise in violence and unacceptable behaviors posted to social media” that have disrupted classes. The National Association of School Resource Officers said it has seen a rise in gun-related incidents in schools.

Some schools are responding to the disciplinary problems by dispatching more staffers to patrol school grounds or by hiring more counselors. Others are reducing student suspensions, or in Dallas, eliminating them altogether in favor of counseling. Some districts have enacted what they call mental-health days, closing schools around holidays to give students and administrators a break. Peoria, Ill., is planning a special school that would be dedicated to students with issues caused by the pandemic.

I don't think any of us really understand just how these last few years will resonate with kids as they grow up, and for a lot, the rest of their lives. 🥺

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Epic v. Apple ruling put on hold after appeals court grants a stay - The Verge

An appeals court has paused one of the most consequential parts of the Epic v. Apple ruling, placing a stay on the enforcement of the injunction issued by the lower court. As a result of the stay, Apple can maintain its IAP system as the sole source of in-app payments on iOS, despite the district court’s earlier ruling that the exclusive arrangement is illegal.

The stay, issued Wednesday afternoon, does not reverse the earlier ruling but puts enforcement on hold until the appeals court can fully hear the case, a process that will likely take months.

Months? 🤨 Likely years if ever. This is the type of thing that just gets buried in litigation for eternity.

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Sony drops first look teaser trailer for Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Part One) | Ars Technica

The teaser trailer is light on plot specifics, but has some amazing visuals. We open with Miles (Shameik Moore) chillaxing at home—actually, he's grounded—after successfully saving the multiverse and becoming his world’s Spider-Man. Then Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld) unexpectedly opens a portal to pop by, having figured out how to communicate with Miles across dimensions at the end of the first film. I mean, she could have called first so he could clean up his room a bit. But Gwen only teases him a little when she sees Miles' drawing of her. ("I missed you too.")

Absolutely love this series.

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WTA Suspends Tournaments in China Over Treatment of Peng Shuai - The New York Times

The suspension comes just two months before the start of an Olympics that makes Beijing the first city to host both the summer and winter Games. The I.O.C. has not indicated that the Peng controversy would affect the Games, with Richard W. Pound, a Canadian lawyer and the organization’s longest-serving member, saying that the committee prefers “quiet and discreet diplomacy.”

No other sports organization has followed the WTA’s lead.

Everyone should follow their lead.

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Big Tech firms should pay ISPs to upgrade networks, telcos in Europe claim | Ars Technica

"Big Tech has been enjoying a free ride on our Internet infrastructure while skipping out on the billions of dollars in costs needed to maintain and build that network," Carr wrote. Carr made his claim that Big Tech gets a "free ride" without mentioning any of the large network projects that Big Tech companies have undertaken themselves, such as Google building data centers and direct connections to ISP networks around the world. Carr urged Congress to "enact legislation that ensures Big Tech contributes an equitable amount" toward federal broadband-deployment grants that will pay ISPs to expand networks in unserved and underserved areas. Carr also urged the FCC to raise money for the Universal Service Fund by "shifting a fair amount over to Big Tech."

Absolute garbage.

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Helping developers build powerful, installable web apps - Chrome Developers

Earlier this year, we launched Richer Install, an extended install UI on Chrome on Android that allows developers to add screenshots to their manifest. Developers can also add a description, which is recommended but not necessary. Due to this newer UI, we saw an install rate for some PWAs double, showing that users have greater confidence in installing web apps when we give more context and richer experiences.. The desktop version of this UI is currently a work in progress.

It would be really great to see something akin to Richer Install for iOS. But unless regulated to do so. I have no hope that Apple would ever give the web the standards it deserves.

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Google employees sign manifesto against widened Covid vaccine mandate

The manifesto within Google, which has been signed by at least 600 Google employees, asks company leaders to retract the vaccine mandate and create a new one that is “inclusive of all Googlers,” arguing leadership’s decision will have outsize influence in corporate America. It also calls on employees to “oppose the mandate as a matter of principle” and tells employees to not let the policy alter their decision if they’ve already chosen not to get the Covid vaccine.

Their "personal choice" is easy. Start looking for new work. 👋

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Child COVID cases are on the rise, jumping 32% in latest surge | Ars Technica

Children accounted for just over 25 percent of all COVID-19 cases in the week ending on November 18. However, children make up only about 22 percent of the US population. As more adults have gotten vaccinated, children have made up larger shares of infections.Throughout the whole pandemic, children have made up nearly 17 percent of all cases. Almost 6.8 million children are known to have been infected since the pandemic began.

If you're physically able, it is your responsibility to get vaccinated. Period.

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Samsung to Choose Taylor, Texas, for $17 Billion Chip-Making Factory - WSJ

The Taylor factory is expected to serve as an advanced chip-making facility for Samsung’s contract-manufacturing operations that make semiconductors designed by other firms. Such high-end manufacturing is attracting the bulk of semiconductor industry investment. The types of chips with the longest backlogs tend to be lower-priced and haven’t been the focus for massive expansion.

I don't foresee any real relief to the massive chip shortage we are currently facing. As the article notes, the chips with the longest backlog are not the focus of expansion. And rightly so, building a new factory to produce legacy chips is not a sound investment. The need for legacy chips for everything from automobiles to general consumer products will likely have to simply level out over time as demand and supply comes back into alignment. What do they call it? "Market Correction" 🤷‍♂️

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Improving public infrastructure helps people keep doctor appointments - Vox

They found a meaningful reduction in the number of no-show appointments among patients who lived near the Green Line, with the no-show rate dropping by 4.5 percent compared to the baseline. The effect was particularly profound for Medicaid patients, who saw their no-show rate decline by 9.5 percent compared to the baseline.

Improving public infrastructure helps with ALL aspects of life for the general public. The examples continue to pour in.

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Why Netflix never goes down - The Verge

“The reason that Netflix had to build a CDN is because America’s ISPs are garbage,” Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Katharine Trendacosta tells The Verge. “And what they knew was that their customers don’t want an endlessly buffering screen or degraded quality.”

Pretty much sums it up right there.

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The secret of the macOS Monterey network quality tool | DanPetrov

➜ networkQuality -s
==== SUMMARY ====
Upload capacity: 174.183 Mbps
Download capacity: 143.084 Mbps
Upload flows: 20
Download flows: 20
Upload Responsiveness: Medium (940 RPM)
Download Responsiveness: High (2981 RPM)

Nice to get a quick speed check from the command line. networkQuality -s

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