Google: Another Court Decision, Another Appeal, Rinse, Repeat

December 12, 2023

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

How long will the “loss” be tied up in courts? Answer: As long as possible.

I am going to skip the “what Google did” reports and focus on what I think is a quite useful list. The items in the list apply to Apple and Google, and I am not sure the single list is the best way to present what may be “clever” ways to dominate a market. But I will stick with what Echelon provided at this YCombinator link.


Two warring samurai find that everyone in the restaurant is a customer. The challenge becomes getting “more.” Thanks, MSFT Copilot. Good enough.

What does the list present? I interpreted the post as a “racket analysis.” Your mileage may vary:

Apple is horrible, but Google isn’t blameless.

Google and Apple are a duopoly that controls one of the most essential devices of our time. Their racket extends more broadly than Standard Oil. The smartphone is a critical piece of modern life, and these two companies control every aspect of them.

  • Tax 30%
  • Control when and how software can be deployed
  • Can pull software or deny updates
  • Prevent web downloads (Apple)
  • Sell ads on top of your app name or brand
  • Scare / confuse users about web downloads or app installs (Google)
  • Control the payment rails
  • Enforce using their identity and customer management (Apple)
  • Enforce using their payment rails (Apple)
  • Becoming the de-facto POS payment methods (for even more taxation)
  • Partnering with governments to be identity providers
  • Default search provider
  • Default browser
  • Prevent other browser runtimes (Apple)
  • Prevent browser tech from being comparable to native app installs (mostly Apple)
  • Unfriendly to repairs
  • Unfriendly to third party components (Apple)
  • Battery not replaceable
  • Unofficial pieces break core features due to cryptographic signing (Apple)
  • Updates obsolete old hardware
  • Green bubbles (Apple)
  • Tactics to cause FOMO in children (Apple)
  • Growth into media (movie studios, etc.) to keep eyeballs on their platforms (Apple)
  • Growth into music to keep eyeballs on their platforms

There are no other companies in the world with this level of control over such an important, cross-cutting, cross-functional essential item. If we compared the situation to auto manufacturers, there would be only two providers, you could only fuel at their gas stations, they’d charge businesses every time you visit, they’d display ads constantly, and you’d be unable to repair them without going to the provider. There need to be more than two providers. And if we can’t get more than two providers, then most of these unfair advantages need to be rolled back by regulators. This is horrific.

My team and I leave it to you to draw conclusions about the upsides and downsides of a techno feudal set up. What’s next? Appeals, hearings, trials, judgment, appeals, hearings, and trials. Change? Unlikely for now.

Stephen E Arnold, December 12, 2023

Citation Manipulation: Fiddling for Fame and Grant Money Perhaps?

July 24, 2023

Vea4_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_t[1]Note: This essay is the work of a real and still-alive dinobaby. No smart software involved, just a dumb humanoid.

A fact about science and academia is that these fields are incredibly biased. Researchers, scientists, and professors are always on the hunt for funding and prestige. While these professionals state they uphold ethical practices, they are still human. In other words, they violate their ethics for a decent reward. Another prize for these individuals is being published, but even publishers are becoming impartial says Nature in, “Researchers Who Agree To Manipulate Citations Are More Likely To Get Their Papers Published.”

7 22 rigging die

A former university researcher practices his new craft: Rigging die for gangs running crap games. He said to my fictional interviewer, “The skills are directly transferable. I use die manufactured by other people. I manipulate them. My degrees in statistics allow me to calculate what weights are needed to tip the odds. This new job pays well too. I do miss the faculty meetings, but the gang leaders often make it clear that if I need anything special, those fine gentlemen will accommodate my wishes.” MidJourney seems to have an affinity for certain artistic creations like people who create loaded dice.

A recent study from Research Policy discovered that researchers are coerced by editors to include superfluous citations in their papers. Those that give into the editors have a higher chance of getting published. If the citations are relevant to the researchers’ topic, what is the big deal? The problem is that the citations might not accurately represent the research nor augment the original data. There is also the pressure to comply with industry politics:

“When scientists are coerced into padding their papers with citations, the journal editor might be looking to boost either their journal’s or their own citation counts, says study author Eric Fong, who studies research management at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. In other cases, peer reviewers might try to persuade authors to cite their work. Citation rings, in which multiple scholars or journals agree to cite each other excessively, can be harder to spot, because there are several stakeholders involved, instead of just two academics disproportionately citing one another.”

The study is over a decade old, but its results pertain to today’s scientific and academia environment. Academic journals want to inflate their citations to “justify” their importance to the industry and maybe even keeping the paywall incentive. Researchers are also pressured to add more authors, because it helps someone pad their resume.

These are not good practices to protect science and academia’s’ integrity, but it is better than lying about results.

Whitney Grace, July 24, 2023

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