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Links and Notes for September 24th, 2021

Published by marco on

Updated by marco on

Below are links to articles, highlighted passages[1], and occasional annotations[2] for the week ending on the date in the title, enriching the raw data from Instapaper Likes and Twitter. They are intentionally succinct, else they’d be articles and probably end up in the gigantic backlog of unpublished drafts. YMMV.

[1] Emphases are added, unless otherwise noted.
[2] Annotations are only lightly edited.

Table of Contents

Economy & Finance

Dark Pool Sold Some Order Flow by Matt Levine (Bloomberg)

“[…] the wholesaler does not, as a general matter, go out and “front-run” your order by buying it at the real price and turning around to sell it to you at a higher price. (The wholesaler runs a book, trades with you out of inventory, has its own model of the correct price, tries to trade at some spread around that, etc.) But people do get really mad about payment for order flow, even though it gives retail customers better prices than they would get on the public stock exchange, and it is worth understanding that position. If you start from “well, of course, but the prices on the public stock exchange are for rubes, nobody pays those,” it becomes pretty understandable.”

“If people call you up and say “I want to buy the stock” and you write down their names on a piece of paper and put it in your pocket, you can go to the client and say “I have a $10 billion book of demand for your stock,” and the client will be like “wow you are amazing, our hero, here’s a $20 million fee to pay for your expertise and hard work and market knowledge and investor relationships.” Whereas if people type their orders on a website and the client looks at the website and sees $10 billion of demand for the stock and you are standing next to the website looking important the client will say “could you move please, you’re blocking our view of the website.”

“Just putting all this stuff on a computer demystifies it a bit, which is probably not great for margins. Or maybe it’s great for margins insofar as it allows the bank to replace highly paid high-touch professionals with scalable apps; it’s just not great for banker compensation. And my other basic theory is that the goal of an investment bank is to maximize banker compensation.”


Crypto Regulators Aren’t Very Sympathetic by Matt Levine (Bloomberg)

“Or in social media, as Byrne Hobart put it, “Facebook wants to be regulated, as long as everyone is regulated based on a standard set by the worst things that happen on Facebook, because that’s a world where Facebook is the only company in the world with the technical capability to host a legal comments section.””
Back when cryptocurrency was incredibly scruffy and every Bitcoin exchange was basically in the business of facilitating drug trafficking for six months before pivoting to stealing all of its customers’ money, starting an exchange whose mission was like “we will return regulators’ phone calls, do know-your-customer checks and not steal customer money” was a real differentiator.”
“Crypto industry executives have said they suspect rival firms in the traditional finance industry, such as large banks, are responsible for pushing regulators.”

Obviously! You’re entering their market and poaching their customers by offering better deals because you’re not regulated. People are going to get hurt, are going to lose a ton of savings, and are going to end up burdening the system. That’s literally why we have regulations and apply them to everybody.

““We have to work twice as hard because these guys have the largest lobbyists working for them at both at the state and the federal level,” Mashinsky said. “We’ll prevail. The fight is over all the money in the world, right?””

He’s not even pretending to be offering a useful service. This statement shows the true goal: to collect money, not to generate value of provide a useful service to society.

“Crypto executives say they’re frustrated that regulators are threatening to sue them, rather than giving them guidance on how they can stay within the law.”

Translation: Criminals are upset that police are arresting them rather than offering advice on how to properly work the gray side of the law.

“The crypto industry thinks that literally no cryptocurrencies should be subject to U.S. securities law; U.S. securities regulators think that almost all cryptocurrencies should be subject to U.S. securities law. It’s a big gap!”


Evergrande Borrowed From Everyone by Matt Levine (Bloomberg)

“If you are buying your pixel things to get rich in a meaningless speculative game then, uh, not everyone is going to get rich in the meaningless speculative game? In the long run, people get rich by creating economic value. If some people are just trading nonsense among themselves, it is hard to see how they can all get rich.
“That is why NFTs are interesting: They are a sandbox for building financial tools that can represent the real world in the crypto system. Early on, though, no one is going to use these tools for real-world applications. They’re going to use them for trivial digital pictures of toads and stuff; if the tools work, someone will find a way to apply them to real economic activity. I think that is interesting, and there is at least some chance that the tools and protocols and mechanisms will turn out to be valuable.


Impostors on the Due Diligence Call by Matt Levine (Bloomberg)

“In his apology to Goldman Sachs and in an email to me on Friday, Mr. Watson attributed the incident to a mental health crisis and shared what he said were details of Mr. Rao’s diagnosis. “Samir is a valued colleague and a close friend,” Mr. Watson said. “I’m proud that we stood by him while he struggled, and we’re all glad to see him now thriving again.” He added that Mr. Rao took time off from work after the call and is now back at Ozy. Mr. Rao did not reply to requests for comment.”

Try a scam, get caught, hand-wave “mental illness”, “take a few weeks off”, back to work, profit. This is a thing now.

“The guy impersonated a YouTube executive to trick someone into investing? You’re just not going to get an easier securities fraud case than that, and neither “it didn’t work” nor “he was having a tough time” nor “it only happened once” are generally defenses to fraud charges! Ozy’s board “did not formally investigate”! The CEO of the company gave a potential investor a fake email address for a big customer, and then the COO digitally altered his voice to impersonate that customer on a call with the investor, and the board decided not to investigate because … they were satisfied that this was just a one-time thing, a little oopsie, everything else that the company does is completely aboveboard, and anyway no harm no foul?”
“Once you’ve been tricked into investing in a high-flying startup, the only rational move is to hope that they succeed, clean up their act and go public at a higher valuation. You’d never go around saying “we were tricked”; that just destroys value.

You’re now complicit, though. You are partially responsible for the other suckers who invest. This is why this system doesn’t work. It incentivizes fraud and Ponzi schemes. It disincentivizes principles.

“Misinformation can put democracy at risk, threaten public interest in the environment, and undermine public health. These threats could be prioritized at a PBC, even if doing so sacrificed financial return. The vast majority of our diversified shareholders lose when companies harm the economy, because the value of diversified portfolios rises and falls with GDP. While a concentrated holder may profit when the Company inflicts costs on society by emphasizing viewership over accuracy, diversified shareholders internalize those costs.”
“Engine No. 1 said things like “ExxonMobil has significantly underperformed and has failed to adjust its strategy to enhance long-term value” and “a lack of successful and transformative energy experience on the Board has left ExxonMobil unprepared and threatens continued long-term value destruction,” not, like, “you probably own real estate too, and if Exxon keeps drilling oil the rising oceans will flood it” or whatever. “You own other stocks, so vote your shares of this company to maximize the value of your overall portfolio” is still a weird thing to say, directly, to shareholders. But it makes sense, and it’s becoming less weird.
“The way a lot of U.S. market structure works is that an exchange will pay traders to create liquidity (by posting bids and offers on the exchange), and will charge traders for taking liquidity (by sending market orders that execute against those posted bids and offers). This creates incentives for traders to post orders on exchanges, which makes those exchanges better places to trade: If you want to buy a stock on the exchange, you can do so instantly, because the exchange is paying people to provide liquidity (and charging you for it). This is sometimes called “maker-taker” pricing […]”


Whether it’s homes or jobs, our dreams are moving further out of reach every year by Mark Blyth (Guardian)

“Pre-crash, this model was simply too time consuming and small scale to interest asset managers. But after 2008, thousands of homes were sold off in foreclosure as people struggled to pay their mortgages. This created an opportunity for asset managers to bulk-buy many homes at once. Aided by new websites such as Rightmove and Zillow – which allowed buyers to evaluate properties en-masse – companies were now able to survey, estimate, buy and then rent out tens of thousands of properties.
“[…] this story of inequality is incomplete. A political economist named Herman Mark Schwartz recently explained why. If it’s the case that high profits allow the payment of high wages, what happens if the “knowledge economy” is really just the concentration of profits among a really small number of firms?
“Apple, for example, is worth more than many countries, yet it employs only 147,000 people. Many of these employees are retail workers who are not high earners, despite Apple making $24bn in just the second quarter of 2021. Further down the food chain, many of the suppliers to such firms still employ a fair number of people and pay reasonable wages, but most of them are under pressure to reduce their costs. So the majority of jobs being generated, even in growth cities, are in low-profit firms whose business models are based on squeezing as much as they can out of workers and paying them low wages.
“[…] those at the top continue to pull away, in part through their ability to turn the basic necessities of life into assets that generate their incomes.

Public Policy & Politics

The False Premise of Healthcare Hotspotting by Rishab Chawla (CounterPunch)

“A hyper-focus on heatmaps of high-usage patients elides the fundamental reason that the US spends twice the average OECD nation on healthcare (but still has worse health outcomes). Healthcare costs are astronomically high in the US because the unit prices of healthcare are high, not because of high aggregate utilization. Costs = Prices × Volume. When reading Gawande’s famous “Cost Conundrum” in retrospect, he was wrong not because he could not predict the outcome of the RCT study; he was wrong because he failed to acknowledge that vital fact and the false assumptions he adopted as a result.”
“[…] if a family lives in a dilapidated neighborhood or is homeless, then housing becomes healthcare, and the government has an incentive to invest in safe public housing. If a family lives in a food desert and can only access unhealthy fast food, then all of a sudden food becomes healthcare, and the government has an incentive to invest in accessible grocery stores with fresh produce. And so on with air pollution, lack of transportation, etc. Makeshift hotspotters need not apply.”


America’s Fate: Oligarchy or Autocracy by Chris Hedges (ScheerPost)

“The alliance of Republican and Democratic oligarchs exposes the burlesque that characterized the old two-party system, where the ruling parties fought over what Sigmund Freud called the “narcissism of minor differences” but were united on all the major structural issues including massive defense spending, free trade deals, tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, the endless wars, government surveillance, the money-saturated election process, neoliberalism, austerity, deindustrialization, militarized police and the world’s largest prison system.”
The oligarchs embrace a faux morality of woke culture and identity politics, which is anti-politics, to give themselves the veneer of liberalism, or at least the veneer of an enlightened oligarchy. The oligarchs have no genuine ideology. Their single-minded goal is the amassing of wealth, hence the obscene amounts of money accrued by oligarchs such as Bill Gates, Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos and the staggering sums of profit made by corporations that have, essentially, orchestrated a legal tax boycott, forcing the state to raise most of its revenues from massive government deficits, now totaling $3 trillion, and disproportionally taxing the working and middle classes.”
“Loyalty is more important than competence. Lies and truth are irrelevant. The statements of the autocrat, which can in short spaces of time be contradictory, cater exclusively to the transient emotional needs of his followers. There is no attempt to be logical or consistent. There is no attempt to reach out to opponents. Rather, there is a constant stoking of antagonisms that steadily widens the social, political, and cultural divides. Reality is sacrificed for fantasy. Those who question the fantasy are branded as irredeemable enemies.
It is, ironically, the oligarchs who build the institutions of oppression, the militarized police, the dysfunctional courts, the raft of anti-terrorism laws used against dissidents, ruling through executive orders rather than the legislative process, wholesale surveillance and the promulgation of laws that overturn the most basic Constitutional rights by judicial fiat.”


The Elizabeth Holmes Line by Rafia Zakaria (The Baffler)

“Choosing these particular attributes was a brilliant calculation, banking on the prejudices of mostly white Silicon Valley. Venture capitalists had seen many young white men peddling fantastic ideas, but Holmes created new excitement: her woman-ness just different enough, her whiteness just re-assuring enough to raise the hundreds of millions of dollars.
“Just as Holmes constructed a persona that aligned with investors’ mental image of the next great prodigy, she is now creating a persona that is meant to play on the sympathies of a jury—that she was Sunny Balwani’s abused girlfriend, not a driven marketer for a fraudulent product.”
“One way to look at United States v. Elizabeth Holmes is as an illustration and an indictment of a society where everything has become a representation to the extent that millions of people only do things to create shareable content. An image master like Holmes could only exist in such a society where the impression of doing something original and groundbreaking is happily embraced based on how well it meets aesthetic expectations of what such a person, such a company, would look like.


Clear Away the Hype: The U.S. and Australia Signed a Nuclear Arms Deal, Simple as That by Vijay Prashad (CounterPunch)

“What was the need for a new partnership when there are already several such security platforms in place? Prime Minister Morrison acknowledged this in his remarks at the press conference, mentioning the “growing network of partnerships” that include the Quad security pact (Australia, India, Japan and the United States) and the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing group (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the United States). A closer look at AUKUS suggests that this deal has less to do with military security and more to do with arms deals.


Angela Merkel Was Bad for Europe and the World by Yanis Varroufakis (Jacobin)

“[…] under Mrs Merkel’s reign, Germany made a Faustian bargain: by restricting investments, it acquired surpluses from the rest of Europe, and the world, that it could then not invest without forfeiting its future capacity to extract more surpluses.
“That’s when Angela Merkel’s team came into their own, finding a way to bail out Germany’s bankers a second time without telling the Bundestag that this was what they were doing: They would portray the second bailout of their banks as an act of solidarity with Europe’s grasshoppers, the people of Greece. And make other Europeans, even the much poorer Slovaks and Portuguese, pay for a loan that would go momentarily into the coffers of the Greek government before ending up with the German and the French bankers.
“In March 2020, in a fit of harmonized panicking following our EU-wide lockdowns, thirteen heads of EU governments, including France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, demanded from the EU the issue of common debt (a so-called eurobond) that would help shift burgeoning national debt from the weak shoulders of member states to the EU as a whole, so as to avert massive Greek-style austerity in the post-pandemic years. Chancellor Merkel, unsurprisingly, said nein and offered them a consolation prize in the form of a recovery fund that does precisely nothing to help shoulder the rising national public debts — or to help press German accumulated surpluses into the long-term interests of German society.”
She casually engineered a humanitarian crisis in my country to camouflage the bailout of quasi-criminal German bankers, while turning proud European nations against one another.”
“And yet watching the pack of faceless, banal politicians jostling to replace her, I very much fear that I shall miss Angela Merkel. Even if my assessment of her tenure remains analytically the same, I suspect that, before too long, I shall be thinking of her tenure more fondly.”


The Left Case Against the 1619 Project — James Oakes (Full Interview) by Jacobin (YouTube)

At 43:00:

“I can’t tell you how many people I know—even people in my own family—who voted for Trump and have a deep, abiding resentment of the coastal elites, who continually refer to them as racists. And I know these people—’cause they’re in my family—that they’re not racists. That they can’t stand being called racists.

“I watched Ted Cruz, two days ago, interrogating a group of witnesses before a Congressional committee, about whether or not the Voter ID laws were racists. And the three Democrats, they said that they’re racist and two others said they weren’t racist.

“And he just skewered the Democrats because they should have said, no, they’re not explicitly racist; they’re part of a Republican Party project that goes back decades designed to overthrow democracy in a variety of different ways. It’s a power-grab, right? And he could get them on the racism charge, but if they’d turned it around and said, you know, you guys are systematically, you know, reapportioning legislatures so that the Republicans will stay in control and Democrats lose.

“You’re systematically reapportioning congressional districts, you’re taking over the judiciary, you’re doing everything you can to ensure that your party wins permanently, and the Democrats lose. And part of that is Voter ID laws and a whole bunch of other things—that will disproportionately affect blacks—but are basically part of a much larger power-grab. The racism argument…it’s not going to work, if you see what the Republican party has been up to for the last 40, 50 years.”

Journalism & Media

Russiagate, More Like Watergate by Matt Taibbi (TK News)

“The fact that the accompanying program of illegal surveillance was effected by lying to obtain FISA authority instead of a “third-rate burglary” and a bug doesn’t improve the situation. If the target had been anyone but Donald Trump, no one would bother even trying to deny how corrupt all this was, and continues to be.


Joe Rogan, Parody of the Open Mind by Freddie DeBoer (SubStack)

“[…] if Murphy actually does speak for a wider group of people who are unheard of in the national conversation, that means it’s more important that she be allowed to speak, not less. Part of the problem with liberal censoriousness is that it has badly deluded them about the popularity of their beliefs. It’s hard to imagine a more dangerous scenario for any political movement than to be lulled to sleep by the impression that their ideas are much more widespread than they are, and the social justice movement’s odd colonization of media and academia means that they look out at the world and see only themselves.
“Rogan is under no obligation to have any particular range of viewpoints on his podcast at all. But rigorously cultivating a reputation for an open-mind strikes me as a bit disingenuous if you hardly ever invite over people who might pour left-wing opinions into that open mind. This is my issue with Rogan: this and other ways in which he has his thumb on the scale.”
“So since we’re talking about many years of fundamentally misunderstanding what Marxism is while complaining about Marxism constantly, we’ve got two possibilities. The first is that he’s been informed that his take is incorrect and has refused to correct it, which is bad. The second option, and the more likely one, is that he simply hasn’t interacted with anyone who could correct him or was willing to. And that’s worse!”
“It would offend many of Rogan’s fans to call him incurious, given that his curiosity is so widely acclaimed. But life has taught me that curiosity and incuriosity can live very comfortably together, that in fact often the former fuels the latter, as one’s voracious desire to learn everything new keeps them too busy to invite complications into what they already know.
“There used to be space for people to just be things, in an organic way, without being symbols of everything other people despise. But then they invented the internet, and we’ve been living in hell ever since.

Science & Nature

The Record-Breaking Failures of Nuclear Power by Linda Gunter (CounterPunch)

“[…] of the 30 reactors the industry planned to build 15 years ago with the so-called nuclear renaissance, only two are still being built. (Those two, at Plant Vogtle in Georgia, are years behind schedule with a budget that has more than doubled to $27 billion.)”
““Nuclear energy is the most expensive way ever conceived to boil water and Bellefonte just shows once again how unreliable this technology really is in terms of projecting what it will cost and how long it will take to build these power plants,” Gunter told the newspaper.”

Philosophy & Sociology

There is No Such Thing as “Punching Up” or “Punching Down” by Freddie DeBoer (SubStack)

“People desperately want to believe that the world is simple, that good and bad are easily sorted, and that they are always on the right side of that ledger. I write at length here about the meaninglessness and lack of direction that compel people to define themselves in reductive ways. Well, no self-definition is more reductive and childish than defining yourself as good and righteous, and our culture has created an exquisitely intricate set of constructs to enable people to think of themselves as the good guys. Why do figures like Glenn Greenwald inspire greater anger in liberals than conservatives like Bill Kristol, despite the fact that the liberals share objectively more in politics and policy with Greenwald than with Kristol? Because people like Greenwald, who do not slot comfortably into binary culture war antagonism, trouble the moral simplicity of Good vs. Bad. They force people who wander around through life convinced that they are the good ones to consider the possibility that they can never rest easy in Good because human life defies such a simplistic status.”
“They wanted to be permitted to partake in a Manichean struggle between MAGA and the righteous progressive forces, or if you prefer between MAGA and the hypocritical self-righteous liberal snowflakes. And Bernie’s acid critique of the Democratic party upset that simplicity, so they hated him. They hate anyone who threatens their sense that the entire world is a movie of their life in which they are the white knight who slays the dragon.


Covid Is Boring by Justin E.H. Smith (Hinternet)

“In fact I think much of the current theater, much of the current profiteering of the sort the private labs in London are now enjoying, and much of the aggressive implementation of new mechanisms of social control and surveillance, are the consequences, intended or unintended, of states being unwilling to infringe on their citizens’ supposed right to remain unvaccinated. The uncertain vaccination status of any particular person in a public space has enabled governments to treat each of us as if we were, individually, in need of constant monitoring and shakedowns […]”
“Stopping anywhere short of a mandate, I believe, serves the state’s interest in making the current theater into a perpetual regime, just as it has evidently done with the security theater of the post-9/11 era. This is a regime of social control through tech: we won’t require you to get vaccinated, but we will require you to have an app that monitors everything you do, and that could be adapted in the near future to serve as the basis of a system, explicit or euphemized, of social credit. And meanwhile so many of my friends and peers, heels dug in so deeply on the side of anti-anti-vaxx signaling, refuse to acknowledge anything worrisome about the new high-tech hygiene regime, about how hard it might be to dismantle it once it has outlived its purpose, about how it might sprout new purposes that are inimical to human thriving.”
“it is my contention that the singular problem in contemporary debate about anything at all is the rise of a form of thinking among human beings that apes the patterns to which we have all become so habituated in our daily human-tech interface: it is quantitative, STEMified, “outcomes”-oriented, and philistine. It is a betrayal of human-centered inquiry and critique.
“One fears that the closest thing we have to intellectuals today are so disengaged from even the ideal of an avant-garde that they know only how to scan a work for its manifest content, and thus today’s descendants of Brecht are deemed good because they are “on message”, while today’s descendants of Beckett, if there were any, would be deemed irresponsible for failing to state explicitly enough their commitment to antiracism.


Sceptical Credulity by Marco D'Eramo (Sidecar)

“Scepticism towards authority is the basis of modern enlightenment rationalism. The anti-vaxxers, one must concede, are enacting the very process which permitted science to develop: refusing the principle of authority, rejecting the ipse dixit (ipse here no longer referring to Aristotle, but to the titled and legitimated scientist), upholding the principle that a theory is not in itself true just because it is espoused by an expert at Harvard or Oxford.”
“If magic is a shortcut which covers great distances by way of an easy path (press a button and darkness disappears, press another one and you speak with people far away, yet another and you see what’s happening on the other side of the world), then the entirety of scientific and technological civilisation amounts to sorcery, even more so given that the vast majority of humans are unaware of the mechanisms by which this magic operates.
“The result is that it’s more and more difficult for non-specialists to distinguish between science and pseudoscience – or between scientists and salesmen. This is because the latter very often mimic the former, but also because of the proliferation of ‘heterodox’ scientists – figures who possess all the trappings of scientific legitimacy (a PhD, publications in authoritative journals, membership of illustrious faculties) but who end up on the community’s margins, or even excommunicated.”
“These pariahs of the scientific community present themselves as new Copernicans facing an old Ptolemaic orthodoxy. They’re masters of all the formalisms of scientific research: bibliographies, diagrams, tables, footnotes. It’s understandable how they might sound convincing to those observing the commercialisation of the scientific-media complex from the outside.
“perhaps there is a more prosaic reason for Russian reticence towards the vaccine: Sputnik has not been recognized by Western (American and European) health organizations, invalidating it as a means to travel abroad. Many Russians maintain that if Sputnik permitted them to travel, there would be long queues to get vaccinated. Therein lies the power of bureaucracy, and of pharmaceutical companies’ commercial wars.”


Whither Tartaria? by Scott Siskind (Astral Codex Ten)

“Or maybe: since pop music is low status, if you want to write high status poetry, you need to make it as unlike pop music as possible, so people don’t accuse your poem of sounding pop-music-y. Or maybe: pop music fulfills what people want out of some poetry much better than the poetry itself does, so if you want an audience, you need to write poetry that fulfills some other kind of need. Maybe all the people who were looking for easy-to-enjoy things left poetry, gallery art, etc for easier-to-enjoy pursuits like superhero movies, computer games, and pop music, and so poetry and high art were left with disproportionately the sorts of people who were looking for more intellectual pursuits (or who wanted to pretend/signal that they were).
“With the invention of sewing machines, industrial dyes, rhinestones, etc, even poor people could dress like the Kangxi Emperor. With the invention of photography and printing, everyone could have realistic pictures of whatever they wanted. Actual rich people needed better ways to distinguish themselves.
“Maybe it’s arbitrary but self-consistent, the same way lots of features of English grammar (saying “was” instead of “be-ed”) are arbitrary but self-consistent and it’s reasonable to think of that as “good English” and various deviations as “grammatical errors”. Or maybe it’s all totally made up, and elite tastemakers randomly declare stuff that seems cool to them to be the new big thing, almost as a taunt (“look how socially powerful I am, such that I can make people fall in line and call any old garbage Art, even this stuff”).”
“It seems like premodern artistic elites and commoners were on the same page. Then something happened to put them on different pages. Why? How does that relate to the formation of classes in general? Is society better off if elites successfully win the support of commoners by patronizing art that they like, or win their respect by surrounding themselves in awe-inspiring trappings of wealth? Or is it better off if commoners are skeptical of elites, because they think elites’ tastes are stupid and they waste money on ugly things?”
“But humanities fields (or social sciences where experimentation is hard and wrapped in layers of interpretation) don’t have that defense. If their signaling incentives lean too far one way, they surrender to the public so cravenly that it’s pointless for them to have expertise at all. If they lean too far the other way, they become actively contemptuous of the public, ignore all criticism, and the whole edifice risks becoming vulnerable to any Sokal-style attack that uses the right buzzwords.”

Programming

HTTP/3 From A To Z: Core Concepts (Part 1) by Robin Marx (Smashing Magazine)

“These middleboxes are often more difficult to update and sometimes more strict in what they accept. For example, if the device is a firewall, it might be configured to block all traffic containing (unknown) extensions. In practice, it turns out that an enormous number of active middleboxes make certain assumptions about TCP that no longer hold for the new extensions. Consequently, it can take years to even over a decade before enough (middlebox) TCP implementations become updated to actually use the extensions on a large scale. You could say that it has become practically impossible to evolve TCP.
“The key takeaway here is that what we needed was not really HTTP/3, but rather “TCP/2”, and we got HTTP/3 “for free” in the process. The main features we’re excited about for HTTP/3 (faster connection set-up, less HoL blocking, connection migration, and so on) are really all coming from QUIC.
“QUIC is a generic transport protocol which, much like TCP, can and will be used for many use cases in addition to HTTP and web page loading. For example, DNS, SSH, SMB, RTP, and so on can all run over QUIC.
UDP is used by QUIC and, thus, HTTP/3 mainly because the hope is that it will make them easier to deploy, because it is already known to and implemented by (almost) all devices on the Internet.”
“The key takeaway here is that there is no such thing as a free lunch. HTTP/3 isn’t magically faster than HTTP/2 just because we swapped TCP for UDP. Instead, we’ve reimagined and implemented a much more advanced version of TCP and called it QUIC. And because we want to make QUIC easier to deploy, we run it over UDP.
“[…] newer versions of TLS (1.3 is the latest) reduce this to just one round trip. This is mainly because TLS 1.3 severely limits the different mathematical algorithms that can be negotiated to just a handful (the most secure ones). This means that the client can just immediately guess which ones the server will support, instead of having to wait for an explicit list, saving a round trip.
QUIC encrypts almost all of its packet header fields as well; transport-layer information (such as packet numbers, which are never encrypted for TCP) is no longer readable by intermediaries in QUIC (even some of the packet header flags are encrypted).”
“If we want to add new features to QUIC in the future, we “only” have to update the end devices, instead of all of the middleboxes as well.”
“Solving HoL blocking at the transport layer was one of the main goals of QUIC. Unlike TCP, QUIC is intimately aware that it is multiplexing multiple, independent byte streams. It, of course, doesn’t know that it’s transporting CSS, JavaScript, and images; it just knows that the streams are separate. As such, QUIC can perform packet loss detection and recovery logic on a per-stream basis.
“What really happens internally is that the client and server agree on a common list of (randomly generated) CIDs that all map to the same conceptual “connection”.”
“QUIC adds another parameter to the mix, called the connection ID. Both the QUIC client and server know which connection IDs map to which connections and are thus more robust against network changes.
“To make QUIC easier to deploy, it is run on top of the UDP protocol (which most network devices also support), and to make sure it can evolve in the future, it is almost entirely encrypted by default and makes use of a flexible framing mechanism.