walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

Debunkery: snow and net neutrality (unrelated)

On TRMS, they had a bit about some conspiracy bloggers in the south thinking that the snow that fell on Atlanta and its surrounding region maybe wasn't really snow at all, at least not in the sense of snow which falls in Northern places. Apparently, there's a little bit vloggers do that involves holding a lighter up to snowball held in a gloved hand (<-- that's important; I'll be coming back to that) showing no drips from the snowball and black appearing on the snow. The snow _does_ change shape. TRMS and my husband both did a good job of explaining what was happening. The black is soot from the butane lighter. The lack of drips is because the water is wicked up into the snow. I know it's TV, but there was a missed opportunity here to talk about how just because two things are entirely made up of the same ingredients DOES NOT mean they are at all the same. Coal. Diamond. Structure matters. The reason an _ice cube_ held in the hand drips is because the water doesn't have anywhere else to go, also, the thermal transfer from a naked hand to an ice cube is pretty huge, especially compared to the thermal transfer from a lighter to a snowball. If that snowball _wasn't_ held in a gloved hand, it would be dripping (well, unless the person had very cold hands, like they'd been holding snow for a while and had cold shunt effects, but I'm assuming that's kind of unlikely).

Second bit of debunkery: http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2014/02/verizon-could-be-throttling-netflix-and-amazon-but-theres-no-actual-evidence-of-it/

I'm not debunking the article. The _article_ is debunking another blogger. And it has the best subtitle ever: "The things customer service reps say probably shouldn't be taken as gospel." Beautiful!

In my ongoing effort to point out that failing to acknowledge the existence of children and families makes the world a tremendously confusing place -- much more confusing than it strictly speaking needs to be -- I'll also point this bit out.

"At around 4pm each day, Raphael's home Internet performance to AWS fell precipitously."

Now you and I and any other person aware of the existence of children and schools is going to think the same goddamn thing when presented with this statement: the kids got home and are streaming TV to their devices, or other video intensive stuff. But that's not where Raphael OR the author went. Raphael concluded Sinister Throttling of Teh Intarweb! And like every self-centered person, Raphael wants to rally the rest of the world to defending his right to an expected amount of shared resources, regardless of what everyone around him is (or is not) doing right that second.

"If everyone in the street is hammering their Internet connection to download Linux ISOs from BitTorrent, they're simply not going to get the 75Mbps that their connections notionally provide. They'll be limited to an average of 20Mbps."

Yeah, because that's what _everyone_ is definitely downloading on Raphael's street. Starting at 4 p.m., and definitely not earlier.

Maybe Peter Bright was making a joke and I just failed to get it. That happens a lot to me.

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