Facebook Executive Calls US Military Sexist and Shows Racial Bias

This seems a pretty bold and sweeping statement from someone who has never served in the military.  Until one of these critics advocates for equal physical fitness standards between male and female soldiers their criticism of bias against females has little creditability.  I don’t think there is a more fair organization for women and minorities than the US military:

Corporate America and the military are sexist and show racial bias, a leading businesswoman told cadets Friday at the Air Force Academy.

Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook and author of the book “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead,” told a crowd of nearly 3,000 cadets that society tells women they are less competent and capable. She described the military as one of “the worst” organizations for bias during a 30-minute speech.

“Women and minorities face barriers white men don’t face,” she said.

Sandberg has become a leading figure of modern feminism with arguments that women should fill half of corporate boardroom seats and men should do half the stay-at-home child rearing. Detractors have said that Sandberg’s Lean In pitch shatters traditional gender roles driven by biology and that her perspective is one borne of privilege, as a wealthy technology entrepreneur.  [The Gazette]

You can read the rest at the link.

Could Facebook Drones Be the Downfall of the Kim Regime?

I have for many years advocated for fighting an information war within North Korea since the early days of financing defector radio stations to broadcast into North Korea.  Challenging the Kim regime’s domestic propaganda should be a primary part of any strategy to counter North Korea.  Challenging the propaganda directly challenges the Kim regime’s legitimacy.  That is why the Kim regime has been so violently outspoken against the activities of defector groups that have launched balloons into North Korea to include even trying to assassinate the group’s primary leader, Park Sang-hak.  Recently when I read about Facebook’s new effort to use drones to give Internet access to remote areas of the world the first thing I thought of was North Korea:

Facebook started teasing its internet-beaming planes last year, but now we’re seeing one that it actually built. Pictured above is Aquila, a solar-powered, 140-foot unmanned plane that’s designed to deliver internet connectivity from altitudes of 60,000 to 90,000 feet. The UAV, which has the wingspan of a Boeing 737 and weighs roughly 880 pounds, will be able to circle a specific area for up to 90 days when deployed — a feat possible thanks to its dependence on nothing but solar energy.

The Kim regime has been very active in doing everything possible to stem the tide of outside information entering North Korea.  Excluding the border areas where most of the defectors come from, the Kim regime has been very effective with controlling information entering North Korea while expanding access to technology.  The Kim regime has expanded computer and smartphone use while simultaneously creating an its own cell phone network and Intranet to control the flow of information.  The fact that border areas can use cell phone towers in China contributes to the fact more defectors come from these areas.

Imagine if everyone in North Korea was able to access an outside information network like the border areas can do using Chinese cell phone towers?  That is what Facebook’s drones may be able to do. Facebook is not the only ones pursuing this technology; Google has their own program to provide Internet to remote areas using balloons. The drones and balloons fly at altitudes greater than any aircraft North Korea has can intercept, however right now it is unclear whether they can fly at a standoff distance greater than North Korea’s anti-aircraft missiles can target the drone or balloon with.  If the technology advances to where a drone or balloon could hover over the center of the Sea of Japan and beam Internet access into North Korea, the Kim regime would not be able to target it.  What effect over the long term would that have in North Korea if citizens could secretly access the Internet without the Kim regime knowing?

Mark Zuckerberg Visits With Samsung Leadership to Discuss New Business Ties

It looks like Samsung and Facebook may be trying to come up with some kind of partnership to take on their business rivals:

samsung image

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg visited Samsung Electronics Co. headquarters in Seoul on Tuesday, Samsung officials said, in an apparent bid to discuss new business models for the two firms.

A Samsung spokesman said Zuckerberg had visited the headquarters, without revealing other details including people he met with and the purpose of the visit. He is believed to have met with Samsung’s heir-apparent Lee Jay-yong, who was spotted entering the building shortly ahead of the spokesman’s remarks.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link, but I wonder if Samsung is trying to better integrate Facebook services into other Samsung products like their TVs or appliances? Anyone have any other ideas on what partnership they could be forging?

Facebook App Games Banned In South Korea

It looks like a trade barrier has been put in place to protect the Korean gaming industry from competition from Facebook games:

The Game Rating Board (게임물등급위원회 Geimmul Deung-Geub-Wiwonhoe) (GRB) has blocked Facebook games in Korea. While I’m not much of a game player, this seems a heavy handed tactic. A game developer must hop through some pretty demanding, Byzantine hoops in order to get a game evaluated by the reviewers so I wouldn’t anticipate much relief if you live in Korea and enjoy games on Facebook. It is especially vexing as I am not aware of any game apps on Facebook which would be blocked if they were evaluated. What would the rating be for games like Candy Crush? Perhaps Facebook will negotiate to get their games cleared en masse on behalf of the individual developers, or perhaps they will just write Korea off. It will be interesting to see how this develops.

To Facebook’s credit they have been refunding people who live in Korea who spent money in a game, retroactive to 15 July:  [Korea Noodles]

You can read more at the link.