Inconveniences

New York State Department Website Inexplicably Only Online During Business Hours [UPDATED]

(Photo: Freakonomics)

From searching crime records to mailing a package, you can do almost everything government-related online these days, which is a major bummer for people who love waiting to be helped by an aloof woman with amazing nails as she gabs on her cell phone. But the best part about the Internet (besides GIFs)? It’s open 24/7.

Well, most of the Internet is at least. Turns out that the New York Department of State Division of Corporations shuts down its website during non-business hours. Betabeat is actually writing this while on hold with the department, hoping to get the attention of a customer service rep whom we can ask why on earth they would unplug their entire website during times when their office is unreachable and New Yorkers probably need to use it most. Read More

Math

Freakonomics: Piracy Costs the Economy $200 B. a Year? ‘These Figures Were Made Up Out of Thin Air’

illegal_downloading

Anti-piracy rhetoric holds that online piracy is a devastating force on the U.S. economy, responsible for the theft of between $200 billion and $250 billion per year and the loss of 750,000 good American jobs. “These numbers seem truly dire: a $250 billion per year loss would be almost $800 for every man, woman, and child in America. And 750,000 jobs – that’s twice the number of those employed in the entire motion picture industry in 2010,” write the economists over at Freakonomics.

But those numbers are wrong, the authors say, citing a breakdown by the Cato Institute’s Julian Sanchez.  Read More