Google forced to admit that fake web traffic is costing advertisers real money.

Google forced to admit that fake web traffic is costing advertisers real money. I’ve always thought that the ad revenue generated by Facebook, Google, and most other big Internet companies are mostly fake. Unless they publish the code for how they calculate clicks it’s all just secret sauce.

Google is issuing refunds for ads that ran on websites with fake traffic, people familiar with the situation said, as the web giant develops a tool to give marketers more transparency about the ads they buy through its platform.

In the past few weeks, the Alphabet Inc. unit has informed hundreds of marketers and ad agency partners about the issue with invalid traffic, known in the industry as “ad fraud.” The ads were bought using the company’s DoubleClick Bid Manager over the course of a few months this year, primarily in the second quarter.

Google’s refunds amount to only a fraction of the cost of the ads served to invalid traffic, which has left some advertising executives unsatisfied, the people familiar with the situation said. Google has offered to reimburse its “platform fee,” which ad buyers said typically ranges from about 7% to 10% of their total purchase.

From the Wall Street Journal

ISS transiting the Sun during the eclipse is way cooler than the eclipse itself

ISS (International Space Station) transiting the Sun during the eclipse is way cooler than the eclipse itself.  Seeing how fast it shoots across the sky is kind of mind boggling. To know there are people in there is one thing but seeing it whiz by is way cooler and knowing where to go to view it is way geekier than just viewing the eclipse.

Reaction to the total eclipse of the Sun shows how far we haven’t come

This country’s, and the entire world’s, reaction to the total eclipse of the Sun that occurred on Monday shows how far we haven’t come as a species. It’s not that a total eclipse isn’t cool but it’s our over reaction and gushing over what is essentially a shadow that has me disturbed.

We know what causes an eclipse. In 2017 there is no mystery to it. Also, a total eclipse occur around every 18 months but because the Earth is mostly water no one is standing there to see it. There is no reason to gush, cry, or other crazy hysterics when viewing a total eclipse.

How about next time we just view it and say, “Hmmmm. That was cool.” Then move on with our lives.

Everything you need to know to view tomorrow’s solar eclipse.

Everything you need to know to view tomorrow’s solar eclipse… if you happen to be in that type of thing.

 

Defending the Indefensible

We are living in dangerous times. It’s been brewing for about three decades now and, to me, it started with the “self esteem” movement. This was followed by the anti-bullying movement. Which was followed by the “safe space” movement. Culminating in the current push to white wash (pun intended) the history of The Confederacy in this country.

When my kids started school in the early 1990’s I was struck by what one of the teachers told me as the reasoning why they were changing from letter grades to some amorphous language that took its place. She told me that it was an effort to not cause sadness. I think I physically recoiled when she said it because the look on her face showed she was shocked by my reaction. The following year I pulled both my kids out of public school and moved them to a private school where they were more concerned about making sure my kids were learning something than concerned about causing them sadness.

The anti-bullying crowd came about shortly after that. Almost suddenly any kind of teasing or slight by one kid got characterized as an assault. The old teaching of, “sticks and stones may break my bones but names can never hurt me”, went right out the window., Parents looking to shield their children from any kind of criticism, right or wrong, malicious or not, was the cause du jour. No longer was it proper to just stand up to some asshole, and dare I say maybe even punch him in the mouth, but instead to seek counseling and go to conflict resolution meetings with your peers. Bullying is part of life and American parents were looking to excise it from existence.

More recently the “safe space” movement that swept across the nation’s college campi had to be the crowning achievement of the anti-bullying movement. But this was the moment when the anti-bullyers became the bullies. So-called “safe spaces” weren’t safe for all thought and speech. They were only safe for certain types of speech. God help you if you were a heterosexual white man. Your opinions weren’t wanted or needed because of your “white privilege”. These safe spaces were only safe for the so-called oppressed minorities. If you didn’t tow that line you were immediately shouted down. No speech for you.

This brings me to Charlottsville and the protest by white supremacists, neo-nazis, and other racist organizations. Google, Facebook, Twitter, GoDaddy, Cloud Flare, Airbnb, and other tech giants started campaigns to remove these groups from their services. The reasoning given is that these groups violated the tech companies’ terms of service and so they had the right to remove them. Before this controversy I’ve never heard of any of the names of these white supremacist organizations. I don’t know what they put on their web sites. But, as far as I’m concerned, as long as they’re not promoting murder or genocide or any other act that is blatantly illegal they have the right to say what ever the hell they want to say. If they want to believe that they are superior beings to the rest of the population that is their right.

How the hell did things get so bad where someone has to defend neo-nazis and white supremacists? I’m not part of this group. I don’t want to defend them. In fact, I’m in all likelihood someone they would hate. I’m half Asian so I’m about as impure as it gets. But the point of all of this is to say what is next? Who’s thoughts are incorrect next? It’s easy to be against neo-nazis and those that think the “white race” is superior. But what happens when public opinion turns on your beliefs? What then?

What if you believe in God but those in power decide that God is a figment of your imagination and that religion has caused the death of millions of people over the last couple thousand years. You can’t believe in God because it’s oppressive to those who don’t. Who are you to tell me that I’m going to Hell? What if Google, Facebook, Twitter, GoDaddy, and Airbnb moved to prevent you from using their services because you’re openly preaching the gospel? You don’t have the right to a domain name or a web site because you’re trying to evangelize people into your religious cult.

Don’t think that can’t happen? This is the path we’re on and until someone in power stands up to this anti-American squelching of speech we’re doomed. Unpopular and even incorrect beliefs are natural rights. These are thoughts and ideas that exist in the brain. No matter what anyone does they can’t be legislated or otherwise removed from existence. They exist and they always will exist. The power we have as a nation founded on individual liberty is to argue and debate these ideas and thoughts openly. Don’t shout down the one you don’t agree with instead argue with them and debate the merits, or lack thereof, of their ideas. That’s how you defeat racism and bigotry. The alternative only takes us to another civil war and armed conflict.

Did anyone actually hear what President Trump said? Or, are they only getting their information from media reports?

Did anyone actually hear what President Trump said? Or, are they only getting their information from media reports? I ask these questions because after all the sensationalist headlines I expected to see President Trump wearing a Nazi emblazoned jacket with his hand extended at a 60 degree angle pointed towards the sky. So, I went back and looked at President Trump’s speeches on Charlottesville and I’m having difficulty seeing the same thing that’s being reported.

Here are the speeches, in order from his first statement to his statement yesterday.

August 12, 2017

August 14, 2017

August 15, 2017

His remarks weren’t that long so anyone can invest a small amount of time to get it from the source. At the risk of sounding like a Trump supporter, I honestly don’t see anything wrong with anything President Trump said. I just don’t see it.

If you want to take the perspective that his first speech wasn’t strong enough that’s fine. But after the second speech it should have put the issue to bed. The third speech Trump was just plainly pissed off at what he perceived as a mischaracterization of what he said.

I think what’s happening here is that since the invention of TV a President hasn’t talked back to the press with such force as does President Trump. The media is used to shouting the questions and making the public figure cower. Trump doesn’t cower he talks back.

It’s hard to watch or read the news because virtually all news media hates Trump. He could help an old lady across the road and they would scream that he’s ageist and should have let her go across on her own.

We live in interesting times.

 

Cook County Pop Tax is 1,422% Higher than the Beer Tax.

Let them have beer! I just learned today that the Cook County Pop Tax (Soda Tax outside the Midwest) is 1,422% higher than the tax that’s charged for beer. I guess drinking pop is the bigger sin.

Cook County Illinois charges $0.09/gallon tax on beer while charging $0.01/ounce for pop. One gallon is 128 ounces. So we’re paying an extra $1.28 per gallon of pop while only paying an extra $0.09 per gallon for beer. I wish I liked beer.

In fact, liquor taxes are also much less providing it’s under 20 percent alcohol. Under 14 percent alcohol the Pop Tax is 533.33% higher and if the alcohol is between 14 percent and 20 percent the Pop Tax is 284.44% higher. Only when we get to more than 20 percent alcohol is the alcohol tax higher by 195% over the Pop Tax

Section 74-352(a)(4) shows the relevant beer tax.

Two opinions – One Sea Level Rise Study

In the constant back and forth over “climate change” (I still so hate that term as it is so nebulous as to be totally meaningless) and the rate of rising seas nature.com posted an article with the headline, “Satellite snafu masked true sea-level rise for decades“.  The headline alone leads you to believe that water has been rising up on the shorelines in an accelerated pace for decades. But a prominent climate scientist who is not one of the so-called “97% of climate scientists” that are alarmist over “climate change” had a different take once he bothered to read a little deeper.

Here’s an excerpt from the article on nature.com.

The numbers didn’t add up. Even as Earth grew warmer and glaciers and ice sheets thawed, decades of satellite data seemed to show that the rate of sea-level rise was holding steady — or even declining.

Now, after puzzling over this discrepancy for years, scientists have identified its source: a problem with the calibration of a sensor on the first of several satellites launched to measure the height of the sea surface using radar. Adjusting the data to remove that error suggests that sea levels are indeed rising at faster rates each year.

Dr. Roy Spencer, a climate research scientist at the University of Alabama, saw the headline and at first drew the same conclusion. But then he thought to read the rest of the story and look at the supporting documents.

When I read that, I (like everyone else) assumed that corrections to the satellite sea level data since 1993 have now led to a revised trend toward faster (not slower) sea level rise. Right?

Wrong.

During the satellite era (since 1993), the trend in sea level rise was revised downward, by almost 10%, from 3.28 mm/year to about 3.0 mm/year. (For those concerned about Miami going underwater, these numbers equate to a little more than one inch every 10 years). This result was published back in April in Geophysical Research Letters, and the new Nature study looks at the wiggles in the revised data since 1993 and makes ominous pronouncements about sea level rise “acceleration”.

I’m calling “fake science news” on the Nature reporter who covered the story. The headline was technically correct…but misleading.

Here’s the conclusion from the paper on which both opinions are based.

The new approach based on the GMSL budget indicates a drift of 1.5 ± 0.5 mm/yr, in agreement with the preferred value of Watson et al. [2015] but lower than Zawadzki et al. [2016]. Applying this correction over the first 6 years of the altimetry record leads to lower GMSL rate (of 3.0 ± 0.15 mm/yr) over the altimetry era than previously assumed. More importantly, the GMSLrise since the mid-2000s shows significant increase compared to the 1993–2004 time span. This contradicts conclusion of previous studies [e.g., Cazenave et al., 2014] that reported slowing down of about 30% of the GMSL rise during the years 2000s (without TOPEX A drift correction), attributed to La Niña events. Here we show that in spite of the several temporary sea level drops caused by La Niña events, the GMSL rise has increased during the last decade.

It’s funny how all this controversy is about 3mm over 6 years. We need an analog to Chicken Little for rising seas because the sky was not falling and our continents are not drowning.

Here’s the article on nature.com

Here’s Dr. Roy Spencer’s opinion on his blog

Here’s a link to the study

The Republican Party is all show and no go.

The Republican party is all show and no go. What a disappointing first 6 months with President Trump in office. These knuckle heads kept passing Obamacare repeal bills while President Obama was still in office. They did so knowing he would veto every single one if they made it to his desk. Now, they have a President that doesn’t really care what bill they pass. All he wants them to do is pass one so he can declare victory and these numb-nuts  can’t get out of their own way to get something passed.

This shows me that they are more worried about the next election cycle than they are about the country. It shows me that all their bluster about President Obama’s policies were just that… bluster. If they can’t pass legislation now that they have wanted to pass for the last 6 years then it tells me they never really wanted to pass this crap in the first place.

The Affordable Care Act was anti-American from the start. With its insurance purchase mandate (which was disappointingly upheld by the Supreme Court because they created language that didn’t exist in the law by calling the mandate a “tax”), mandatory coverage of pre-existing conditions, and the truly anti-competitive insurance exchanges this abomination should have never passed through Congress. But it did. And it did with ONLY Democrat votes. Not a single Republican voted for it.

Now, the Republicans having a majority in both the House and Senate, with a President that will SIGN ANYTHING, and they are incapable of, at the very least, fully repealing this anti-American law.

How pathetic!