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the counsel of hypothetical fears

Ambassador Sorin Ducaru, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges:

The cyber threat is not just a potential threat, it is daily reality.

ADM Mike Rogers:

This is not theoretical.

Michael Hayden and Michael Mukasey:

The sponsors of the USA Freedom Act prefer the counsel of hypothetical fears to the logic of concrete realities.

Ian Urbuna:

Rachel Malis's father fled Ukraine in 1980 when he was 28, and he vowed never to return. Even in America, old habits, like his KGB-induced skepticism of the police lingered. Malis said that during her childhood in Trumbull, Conn., near New Haven, he would close the living-room blinds whenever he wanted to discuss anything "sensitive," like summer travel plans or family finances.

Tony Mendez:

1. Assume nothing.
2. Never go against your gut.
3. Everyone is potentially under opposition control.
4. Don't look back; you are never completely alone.
5. Go with the flow, blend in.
6. Vary your pattern and stay within your cover.
7. Lull them into a sense of complacency.
8. Don't harass the opposition.
9. Pick the time and place for action.
10. Keep your options open.


a scientist who believes she has all the answers is not a scientist

Dougald Hine:

Switch off the infinity machine, not forever, nor because there is anything bad about it, but out of recognition of our own finitude: there is only so much information any of us can bear, and we cannot go fishing in the stream if we are drowning in it.

Ian Leslie:

The gap between question and answer is where creativity thrives and scientific progress is made. When we celebrate our greatest thinkers, we usually focus on their ingenious answers. But the thinkers themselves tend to see it the other way around. "Looking back," said Charles Darwin, "I think it was more difficult to see what the problems were than to solve them." The writer Anton Chekhov declared, "The role of the artist is to ask questions, not answer them." The very definition of a bad work of art is one that insists on telling its audience the answers, and a scientist who believes she has all the answers is not a scientist.

In a world awash in ready-made answers, the ability to pose difficult, even unanswerable questions is more important than ever.

Dan Saffer:

You future-proof yourself by ensuring that the kind of work you do cannot be easily replicated by an algorithm. In design, those skills are insights-gathering, problem framing, and crafting unconventional solutions.

Knowing the context, and being able to determine what the true problem is to solve (and not just fixing a symptom) is a key part of the designer's role (as it is now). Fortunately, the current present abounds with great examples of startups solving non-problems for us to learn from.


the things they measured

Ian Urbuna:

Observers disturb the things we measure.

Michael Glennon:

The government is seen increasingly by elements of the public as hiding what they ought to know, criminalizing what they ought to be able to do, and spying upon what ought to be private. The people are seen increasingly by the government as unable to comprehend the gravity of security threats.

Jordan Michael Smith:

In a new book, "National Security and Double Government," Michael Glennon catalogs the ways that the defense and national security apparatus is effectively self-governing, with virtually no accountability, transparency, or checks and balances of any kind. He uses the term "double government": There's the one we elect, and then there's the one behind it, steering huge swaths of policy almost unchecked. Elected officials end up serving as mere cover for the real decisions made by the bureaucracy.

National security policy actually bubbles up from within the bureaucracy.

The ultimate problem is the pervasive political ignorance on the part of the American people.

The people have to take the bull by the horns. And that's a very difficult thing to do, because the ignorance is in many ways rational. There is very little profit to be had in learning about, and being active about, problems that you can't affect, policies that you can't change.


its power seems inescapable

Ursula K. LeGuin:

We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable -- but then, so did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art. Very often in our art, the art of words.

Brendan Nyhan:

[That's] the problem with rumors -- they're often much more interesting than the truth. The challenge for fact-checkers, it seems, is to make the facts as fun to share as the myths they seek to replace.

David Jakubowski, Facebook's head of advertising technology:

We are bringing all of the people-based marketing functions that marketers are used to doing on Facebook and allowing them to do that across the web.

David Brooks:

Data-driven politics assumes that demography is destiny, that the electorate is not best seen as a group of free-thinking citizens but as a collection of demographic slices. This method assumes that mobilization is more important than persuasion; that it is more important to target your likely supporters than to try to reframe debates or persuade the whole country.

Decius:

It's important to understand that it isn't Congress that must change -- it is us.

Lawrence D. Freedman:

In the end, the lesson of 1914 is that there are no sure lessons. Yet there are always choices, and the best advice for governments to emerge from the story of 1914 is to make them carefully: be clear about core interests, get the best possible information, explore opportunities for a peaceful settlement, and treat military plans with skepticism.

Randall Munroe:

Is there an app for that?


 
 
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