Tech by VICE

Letters: Bowie Love, Headline Hate, and the Continued Vagina Emoji Debate

"Be sure to double check all of your accusations before going to print."

by Kaleigh Rogers
Jan 15 2016, 8:45pm

Image: Ron Reiring/Flickr

New Year, new you, new bag of letters! We took a little break from our mailbag purges for the holidays, but now we're back to the grindstone. From remembering Bowie to discussing the merits of the taco emoji as vagina pictogram, here's what some of our readers wanted us to hear in the last few weeks:


Re: The 2012 Non-Retina MacBook Pro Is Still the Best Laptop Apple Sells — Jan. 14, 2016


There wasn't a comment section (or I couldn't find one) to give my comments, so e-mailing.

Jason's view & perspective on the non-retina Macbook Pro sales is absolutely true !

Apple's interest is to compete with themselves so they keep on retiring things that others still use or prefer to use in their future. Just to tell to the world that they are ahead of the tech-world, they do this act making the customers think they are not latest enough though they have purchased the Apple product just 6 months ago !

Personally, if I want to buy an electronic product, I prefer only the latest but yet when I decided to buy a Macbook Pro in early 2014, I closely observed which one suits the best of my needs for future and so, went and bought Macbook Pro 2012, the exact one in the picture of the article. Being a core laptop user, I guess I did the right thing till date going for that model.

One missing thing was a HDMI port, guess what, I bought a mini-to-HDMI cable and problem solved ! The other was Retina display, which I think is not that demanding for a normal eye on a 13-inch screen when compared to those things available in the 2012 non-retina version.

Cheers !

Sarath Kumar

Re: Here's Why We've Never Been Able to Tame the Great White Shark — Jan. 10, 2016

To whom it may concern:

Your article on great white sharks and the tragedy in Japan is well written and covered, but there is one error about the number of great whites held in captivity. You claimed that the SeaWorld specimen in 1981 was the first ever, and though it was at the time the record holder for time in captivity that is incorrect. The first was in 1955 at Marineland of the Pacific and the most famous up until 1981 was "Sandy" at the Steinhart Aquarium in San Francisco in 1980 (Ellis and McCosker, 1991). The site where I got this info is . Hope that helps!


Seth Segal (a shark enthusiast)

Re: People Are Paying $10 for an App Where You Tap a Cactus for LuckNov. 3, 2015

I would like to be refunded my $10 please.

Emily Reichardt

Re: How Big Pharma Hooked America on Legal Heroin — Sept. 18, 2012

Ms. Bourdet's article is, while fantastically written, completely marginalized by the absolutely and inarguably stupid use of the term "big pharma" in the title.

I know authors don't always write the titles for the final copy; whoever is responsible for this travesty should be ashamed of themselves. This drug abuse is a REAL problem, and it being blamed on such an inane, emotional buzzword is absolutely disgraceful and meaningless. You are doing all of your readers a violent disservice by accusing the mythical "big pharma" of anything, period.

You have been slacking HARD on your objectivity and fact-checking lately- I chalk it up to writers being human, because you've still done good work. Appallingly, you are now unabashedly fear-mongering with clickbait headlines.

This is the epitome of pathetic, and you have the obvious ethical responsibility to correct your harmful mistakes.

Thank you in advance for making right on your errors.

Chris B.

Re: The Internet of Things that Talk About You Behind Your Back Jan. 8, 2016

Mr. Schneier

I enjoyed your recent article on Motherboard about the internet surveillance economy. It raises some interesting questions that, as you so well stated, we need to have a conversation about. One point in particular, I believe, is at the crux of the matter, and that is the matter of who owns the digital construct of me.

In the future, no distinction will be drawn between my temporal and virtual self. This disjuncture, the idea that these two states somehow exist separate of one another, will seem absurd. Were my consciousness uploaded to my Facebook account, would they own it? It is ridiculous that even they might think so.

As a data hungry, life hacking optimizer, I relish these mother lodes of personal information. Readily I agree to every condition of use without thinking twice about it. The tools and efficiencies they provide me are well worth the cost. Is Google going to use this to serve up ads that I'm never going to click on? Of course they are. But I honestly believe this to be a passing phase. Because ultimately, I am my cyber self, and it is me. And who can own that, if I am free?

To be sure, the answer lies in response to your question, do we truly believe that we have no rights to see the data that's collected about us. Because that answer is no, we don't believe that. In our heart of hearts, we know that data belongs to us. Which is why we so readily agree to let Apple and MicroSoft collect and store it for the time being.

While I am never keen on regulation, I do wholly agree that there will come a time when we must claim responsibility for the actions of our virtual selves and assert our right to the record of these actions. But I think it foolhardy to ever consider the World Wide Web anything but a public forum, to which the right of privacy rarely extends.

Thank you for your efforts to highlight this important issue.

Cobey Williamson

Re: Oregon Militia Wants to 'Free' Occupied Land for Logging, But There Are No Trees — Jan. 4, 2016

Be sure to double check all of your accusations before going to print. The "militia" in Bend is made op of farmers, cattlemen and normal people. You sound like a democrat, socialist ready to say anything to crucify these people.


Re: T-Mobile's Binge On Indiscriminately Throttles All Video ContentJan. 4, 2016

Hi Jason,

Thanks for the insightful take on Binge On and T-Mobile yesterday. You and Motherboard have been great on net neutrality.

I work for Change to Win, and we recently released a report detailing the effects of T-Mobile not giving consumers accurate and complete info. We found a number of problems with the Un-Carrier platform, but many of them boil down to T-Mobile misleading consumers (and then sticking them in debt collection). Claiming consumers have no contract but in reality they are tied to TMO for two years is similar to the company claiming that it is "optimizing" video but really just throttling it.

Given this seems to be net neutrality issue, I was wondering if you think that the EFF's test (or the issues it exposed) as well as YouTube and the Internet Association's objections will influence the FCC's opinion of Binge On? Wheeler was favorable to it at first, but it seems harder to defend now.

Anyway, thanks again for your great reporting.

Matt Painter

Re: David Bowie's Death Itself Was a Science Fiction Masterpiece — Jan. 13, 2016

Thank you for your thoughtful article on Bowie's death. It is hitting all of us fans, who, not coincidentally, are also mostly appreciators of art or artists ourselves, in a very deep and resonant place. You are not alone in ruminating on it. Thank you for sourcing the term Blackstar for us and adding a piece to the significance of his final opus.


Thank you for sharing your piece on David Bowie. This has been such an odd few since he died.

You chose and wrote well about something that has cut a slice out of the universe. It feels like part of me is missing. Reading your article though gives some food for thought.

Again, thanks.

Will Sherman

Hi Brian Merchant,

Thanks for the Bowie death-as-sci-fi-masterpiece article in Vice. So many of the points you made are ones that I and friends have been talking about over the last 48 hours. I'm happy to see them laid out in a cogent piece, and you even pulled back a bit further than we had. You connected me to the idea of Bowie as almost Duchampian in the scope of his vision, and his life lived so ... is 'bravely' too strong a word? Facing fear. Over and over, almost like a scientist. Then performing its truths for all of us.

I used to write for VICE. Very happy to see that it still gets at the deeper stuff. Kudos.

Steve Lafreniere

Re: What's the Best Vagina Emoji?Nov. 6, 2015

Sorry, I hate the taco emoji, vulvas are soft and juicy not crunchy. Keep looking.

Pam Hollinde