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Net Neutrality Nightmare - Illustration by Alex Castro

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Hello All

December has been a busy month as 2017 draws to a close. There are several themes in this week’s UXD Weekly Inspired Reads: Net Neutrality, BitCoin, and Personal Care. I wanted to draw attention to these topics as they have certainly shaped a large portion of our attention. Net Neutrality has been a very hot topic and the repeal of the rules governing access is potentially highly damaging to the rights of individuals. Pay attention here folks, the rules of the game are changing.

While I personally believe the BitCoin market is in the midst of a huge bubble of speculation, the underlying Blockchain technology is potentially transformative on a scale that we may not fully realize yet. But if the market swells and contractions are any indicator, the space is highly volatile.

Lastly we look at several articles covering personal care. From memory, to deep sleep, to the age old debate about when to shower, my hope is that we all take more moments to ourselves away from our devices, screens, and to-do lists. Savor the moment as it happens, the rest can wait.

Happy Festivus. Happy Holidays. Happy New Year.


0. Why Net Neutrality Was Repealed And How It Affects You
“Many consumer advocates have argued that if the rules get scrapped, broadband providers will begin selling the internet in bundles, not unlike how cable television is sold today. Want to access Facebook and Twitter? Under a bundling system, getting on those sites could require paying for a premium social media package.”

1. If Portugal Is A Net Neutrality Nightmare, We’re Already Living In It
“A few weeks ago, as it seemed more and more likely that FCC chairman Ajit Pai would successfully dismantle US net neutrality rules, California Congressional representative Ro Khanna tweeted an alarming-looking screenshot from Portuguese mobile carrier Meo. “In Portugal, with no net neutrality, internet providers are starting to split the net into packages,” he wrote.”

2. What If You Couldn’t Access This Page?
“Net neutrality is called the First Amendment of the internet for a good reason. Obama-era net neutrality rules classed telecom giants, such as AT&T, as “common carriers,” de facto public utilities like water and electricity companies. This status prohibits corporate bosses from abusing control over network infrastructure to stifle rivals or favor subsidiaries. Under net neutrality rules, a company like Comcast, which owns NBC, cannot throttle data flows carrying Netflix’s competing TV shows, any more than General Electric, once a majority stakeholder in NBC and corporate parent to Jay Leno’s “Tonight Show,” could have cut the power to David Letterman’s “Late Show” studios at CBS. These content-neutral safeguards apply to political speech as much as to “Orange Is the New Black.” They enshrine a basic American value: that diverse opinions, from diverse sources, are a pillar of public welfare. Eliminating net neutrality allows corporations to tamper with data flows on their networks without public oversight or accountability. If a connection is slow for MSNBC but not for Fox News, you may never learn why.”

3. FCC Repeals Net Neutrality Rules Amid Protests, Lawsuit Threats
“By vote of 3-2, the agency rolled back a set of net neutrality regulations. Internet providers will no longer be prohibited from from blocking or throttling content, or dividing the web into paid “fast-lanes” in which content companies can get speedier access to consumers.”

4. Disney To Buy 21St Century Fox Assets For $52.4 Billion In Historic Hollywood Merger
“But the sale reflects rising uncertainty about the economics of traditional media outlets as digital technology forces massive change in the way people consume their news, movies and TV programs. In a world of tech giants such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Google with global reach, conglomerates like 21st Century Fox became small by comparison, despite the strength of its brands and content-producing expertise.”

5. The Bitcoin Boom: In Code We Trust
“Yet as Bitcoin continues to grow, there’s reason to think something deeper and more important is going on. Bitcoin’s rise may reflect, for better or worse, a monumental transfer of social trust: away from human institutions backed by government and to systems reliant on well-tested computer code. It is a trend that transcends finance: In our fear of human error, we are putting an increasingly deep faith in technology.”

6. I Used To Be A Bitcoin Bull—Here’s Why That Changed
“Now we’re in the midst of another big bitcoin bull market, and I’m much more worried that the market is getting into unsustainable territory. At the beginning of the year, bitcoins were worth $1,000 apiece, and all bitcoins in circulation were worth around $15 billion—still quite small as global financial assets go. Today, each bitcoin is worth $17,000, and all bitcoins in circulation are worth a much more substantial $280 billion. That seems like a lot for a payment network that only processes about four transactions per second.”

7. Bitcoin: The Big Short Is Coming
“Bitcoin’s (COIN) (OTCQX:GBTC) price has surged over the past few months. In fact, the price has roughly tripled just in the last month alone. It is up by a staggering 2,000% over the last year, and has increased by a mind-bending 34,000,000% from its price of just $0.05 in 2011. However, despite the seemingly endless run-up in price, certain fundamental elements are clearly materializing that suggest the current price level may be extremely difficult to sustain. These underlying elements coupled with the advent of Bitcoin futures trading suggest that a significant price correction exacerbated by short selling may ensue in the near future.”

8. As The Bubble Bursts: 3 Things You Should Know About Bitcoin
“But, first off, the background on how we got here. It all started with the development of the blockchain, the underlying code allows for users to transfer digital assets directly to other users, in a secure and verifiable format. In an ever-digital world, blockchain is truly revolutionary and, as such, investors are piling into blockchain-type investments.”

9. This Is What Happens When You Reply To Spam Email
“Suspicious emails: unclaimed insurance bonds, diamond-encrusted safe deposit boxes, close friends marooned in a foreign country. They pop up in our inboxes, and standard procedure is to delete on sight. But what happens when you reply? Follow along as writer and comedian James Veitch narrates a hilarious, weeks-long exchange with a spammer who offered to cut him in on a hot deal.”

10. The Brain Benefits Of Deep Sleep — And How To Get More Of It
“There’s nothing quite like a good night’s sleep. What if technology could help us get more out of it? Dan Gartenberg is working on tech that stimulates deep sleep, the most regenerative stage which (among other wonderful things) might help us consolidate our memories and form our personalities. Find out more about how playing sounds that mirror brain waves during this stage might lead to deeper sleep — and its potential benefits on our health, memory and ability to learn.”

11. Simple Ways To Be Better At Remembering
“He said there are two main kinds of memories: explicit, which are created through conscious experience, and implicit, which form when past experiences affect us, sometimes without our knowledge, as in reacting with fear in dangerous situations or getting sweaty palms when you see a dog if you were once bitten.”

12. Should You Shower In The Morning, Or At Night? Yes.
“Dr. Goldenberg says that for most people, there’s nothing inherently wrong with showering in the morning, at night or both.”

13. Pat DiNizio, Smithereens Singer, Dead At 62
“He channeled the essence of joy and heartbreak into hook-laden three minute pop songs infused with a lifelong passion for rock & roll,” band writes.