Links for the Week – Jan. 7/05 – The Tech & Politics Edition

Some interesting new technologies, and some new insights into politics, highlight this week’s list:


For Sale By Owner: At last, a challenge emerges to the North America Wide MLS monopoly and the ludicrous (in today’s inflated housing market) flat 6% commission on all housing sales. For Sale By Owner is only established in one or two places, but it’s poised to take off. It was either this — FSBO’s flat rate $150 commission by a cooperative — or else eBay or Google was going to do it. My prediction: This model will have 80% of the market in five years.

Gambling Peer-to-Peer: Also on the get rid of the expensive middleman front, BetBug allows you to wager with other gamblers for a maximum flat-rate $20 commission, instead of the high variable percentage that both government-sponsored gambling (casinos, racetracks, lotteries) and most Internet-based gambling businesses charge.

Free Storage of Your Video & Audio: OurMedia offers it. Apparently a bit slow at times, but what do you want for nothing? Anyone used it for their podcasts or vlogs? I want to do blog-hosted conversations but Radio Userland won’t store my .mp3 or video files.

Free Skype Voice Messaging: Orb offers it. It lets you access your messages (and other media on your ‘home’computer) from any computer anywhere. Thanks to Dale Asberry for the link.


Alito Supports Gerrymandering: The NYT’s Adam Cohen points out one more reason to reject this reprobate.

Microsoft joins Yahoo in Toadying to Chinese Censors: Microsoft has sucked up to Chinese government censors by shutting down the leading Chinese blogger from its MSN Spaces blog without notice and deleting all his files. He’s a freelancer for the NYT. Not quite as bad as Yahoo turning in the names of people on its Chinese network so they could be imprisoned or worse, but still despicable. Glad to see Robert Scoble speaking out about this. As long as China keeps getting away with all this shit, and gets a free ride from the mainstream media, we’ll keep trading with them and making them even stronger.

Mangroves Saved Lives in Tsunami: Just as the destruction of wetlands has made the US Gulf Coast much more vulnerable to hurricane damage, new research from the World Conservation Union indicates the destruction of mangrove forests in Asia has made its coasts much more vulnerable to tsunami damage. When will we discover that the ‘first, do no harm’ Precautionary Principle isn’t left-wing politics, it’s life-saving common sense? Thanks to Dale Asberry for the link. Dale also points out a new US tap water database will tell you what poisons you’re drinking.

GE Workers Sue Monsanto for Killing Them, and GE Backs Monsanto: If you ever had any doubts about the true stripes of corporatists, this article by Carey Gillam for Reuters should put them to rest. GE has been trying to greenwash itself by spending millions cleaning up a mess at one of its upstate New York facilities that has been poisoning thousands of workers. The mess was caused by Monsanto, who says when GE took over the facility they assumed any liability, and besides, they say, Monsanto spun off their toxic chemicals division as Solutia years ago and then put it into bankruptcy, so there’s no point suing a defunct entity. Pfizer Pharmacia, which owned Monsanto but then spun it off because the legal liability was too high, says it’s no longer theirs so don’t look at them. And GE, worried that its shareholders might have to pay once it gets known that they knew they were putting workers into a toxic site, is denying that the epidemic of illnesses at the plant has anything to do with the toxic soup all around them, essentially supporting Monsanto in the lawsuit. What a disgusting and irresponsible bunch.

Dog photo from Crazyshin’s Flickr pages, just because it’s so adorable.

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3 Responses to Links for the Week – Jan. 7/05 – The Tech & Politics Edition

  1. Bruce Winter says:

    Dave:Re Our Mediacheck this’d rate it 6.5 out of 10. Had some permalink issues a couple of months ago. However working well since. Video loads slowly, however that could be my machine. It’s so far behind the curve it is coming around the other side, which suggests with current technology storage and retrieval should not be a problem.

  2. Check out this challenger to MLS, started in the Maritimes:

  3. Max Baker says:

    We have a lot of “For Sale By Owner” listings in Ottawa: my blog at I posted comments about “Realtor Death Watch” and “Realtors’ bubble may be bursting”I think gorilla companies can start to play in this game too in comming years.

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