[Plura-list] Ghost flights over Europe, Patagonia joins Right to Repair, EU's R2R showdown with Apple

Cory Doctorow doctorow at craphound.com
Sun Mar 8 11:41:01 EDT 2020

Today's links

* EU airspace is full of empty planes: Flight slots are use-em-or-lose-em.

* European Right to Repair for phones is finally on the horizon: Will
the EU finally defy Apple?

* Patagonia offers tutorials and supplies to fix your clothes: Companies
that guarantee their products for life have different incentives.

* This day in history: 2005, 2015, 2019

* Colophon: Recent publications, current writing projects, upcoming
appearances, current reading


🔐 EU airspace is full of empty planes (permalink)

In the EU, airlines that do not fly at least 80% of scheduled flights
risk losing their spots to competitors, so Europe's skies are filled
with largely empty "ghost planes," burning tons of fuel for no reason.


Covid-19 has crashed aviation demand, but not flights themselves.
Miraculously, UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps – an otherwise useless
idiot – has led on this, asking British aviation regulators to relax the
80/20 rule.



🔐 European Right to Repair for phones is finally on the horizon (permalink)

The EU has led the world on Right to Repair, with extensive regulation
mandating both easy-to-repair designs and manufacturer cooperation with
the independent repair sector. But there's been one glaring omission in
EU rules: smartphones. Though the official reasoning for not mandating
Right to Repair for phones – which are universal and a major source of
e-waste – is that the sector is too fast-moving to regulate, it's far
more likely that the EU shied away because were scared to pick a fight
with Apple.

Apple, after all, is the most repair-hostile manufacturer in the world.
It's official reasoning on this is laughably terrible and transparent.


Especially when considered in light of its investor disclosures, which
make it clear that the company views the tendency of customers to fix
and keep their phones (rather than buying new ones) as *the* major
threat to its profitability.


Apple is a one-company environmental apocalypse, with the industry's
worst practices for old/broken electronics. Others fix systems, re-use
parts, and keep parts available. Apple literally orders its partners to
shred it all and turn it into landfill.


This has the major advantage (for Apple) of curtailing the used
equipment market, which means that potential customers are herded into
buying new. It also means that those new devices have a hidden drain on
their value, because they have no aftermarket commercial life. It's no
wonder, then, that Apple led the industry coalitions that killed all
twenty state-level Right to Repair bills in 2018.

Which brings us to today, as the EU is contemplating a new set of Right
to Repair rules, including rules for electronics, including – possibly –
phones. The new rules will be published this week, and Apple has lobbied
heavily against this outcome.


If the new ecodesign directive covers mobile phones, the Commission will
finally be addressing one of the great e-waste sources worldwide. If
they do, though, expect Apple to squawk, as they did when the EU
mandated a single charger for smartphones, which Apple publicly freaked
out about as though it was an extinction-level event.


🔐 Patagonia offers tutorials and supplies to fix your clothes (permalink)

People buy Patagonia not just because it's long-wearing, but because it
comes with what amounts to a lifetime guarantee.


Companies that offer lifetime guarantees want their customers to be able
to effect their own repairs and maintenance – unlike companies whose
profits depend on you throwing away and replacing your purchases every
18 months.


So it's delightful (but not surprising) that Patagonia have partnered
with iFixit to produce detailed repair and maintenance documentation for
its products.


The official Product Repair Guide fits right in with the company's
longstanding ethic and messaging (after all, these are the people who
ran an anti-consumerism campaign called "Do Not Buy This Jacket!").



🔐 This day in history (permalink)

#15yrsago Waxy and his mom trying to save journalism program in SoCal's
Oxnard College https://waxy.org/2005/03/my_mom_fights_t/

#5yrsago Stomach-churning details of CIA waterboarding crimes

#5yrsago Imaginary ISIS attack on Louisiana and the twitterbots who
loved it https://render.betaworks.com/media-hacking-3b1e350d619c

#1yrago The media company paid by the EU Parliament to make a video
promoting a copyright law it stood to make millions from once sued a
photographer for complaining that they'd ripped him off

#1yrago Thanks to audiobooks, reading's popularity still strong in

#1yrago Millions of Americans have left Facebook, led by young people
aged 12-34

#1yrago A machine-learning system that guesses whether text was produced
by machine-learning systems http://gltr.io/

#1yrago Towards a general theory of "adversarial examples," the bizarre,
hallucinatory motes in machine learning's all-seeing eye

#1yrago Chelsea Manning has been jailed for refusing to testify at a
grand jury about her whistleblowing


🔐 Colophon (permalink)

Today's top sources: Slashdot (https://slashdot.org) and Naked
Capitalism (https://nakedcapitalism.com/).

Hugo nominators! My story "Unauthorized Bread" is eligible in the
Novella category and you can read it free on Ars Technica:

Upcoming appearances:

* Museums and the Web: March 31-April 4 2020, Los Angeles.

* LA Times Festival of Books: 18 April 2020, Los Angeles.

Currently writing: I'm rewriting a short story, "The Canadian Miracle,"
for MIT Tech Review. It's a story set in the world of my next novel,
"The Lost Cause," a post-GND novel about truth and reconciliation. I'm
also working on "Baby Twitter," a piece of design fiction also set in
The Lost Cause's prehistory, for a British think-tank. I'm getting
geared up to start work on the novel afterwards.

Currently reading: Just started Lauren Beukes's forthcoming Afterland:
it's Y the Last Man plus plus, and two chapters in, it's amazeballs.
Last month, I finished Andrea Bernstein's "American Oligarchs"; it's a
magnificent history of the Kushner and Trump families, showing how they
cheated, stole and lied their way into power. I'm getting really into
Anna Weiner's memoir about tech, "Uncanny Valley." I just loaded Matt
Stoller's "Goliath" onto my underwater MP3 player and I'm listening to
it as I swim laps.

Latest podcast: Disasters Don't Have to End in Dystopias:

Upcoming books: "Poesy the Monster Slayer" (Jul 2020), a picture book
about monsters, bedtime, gender, and kicking ass. Pre-order here:

(we're having a launch for it in Burbank on July 11 at Dark Delicacies
and you can get me AND Poesy to sign it and Dark Del will ship it to the
monster kids in your life in time for the release date).

"Attack Surface": The third Little Brother book, Oct 20, 2020.

"Little Brother/Homeland": A reissue omnibus edition with a very
special, s00per s33kr1t intro.

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