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From User: possibly noteworthy

Current Topic: Society

Pay No Attention to Salary Parrot
Topic: Society 2:27 pm EDT, May 20, 2011

“I have friends with the same degree as me, from a worse school, but because of who they knew or when they happened to graduate, they’re in much better jobs - It’s more about luck than anything else.”

Pay No Attention to Salary Parrot

Ghost Story
Topic: Society 11:37 am EDT, Oct 28, 2009

Anne Frank:

Whenever you're feeling lonely or sad, try going to the loft on a beautiful day and looking outside. Not at the houses and the rooftops, but at the sky. As long as you can look fearlessly at the sky, you'll know that you're pure within and will find happiness once more.

Stefany Anne Golberg:

That's Anne Frank in a nutshell. A girl at a window, looking fearlessly at the sky.

Ghost Story

Lies We Tell Kids
Topic: Society 8:58 am EDT, May  5, 2009

Paul Graham:

Adults lie constantly to kids. I'm not saying we should stop, but I think we should at least examine which lies we tell and why.

I've gotten old enough that I now understand why adults seek to escape reality. Paradoxically, I think I was better at escaping reality when I was younger.

Lies We Tell Kids

Depression 2009: What would it look like?
Topic: Society 8:58 am EST, Nov 17, 2008

Most of us, of course, think we know what a depression looks like. Open a history book and the images will be familiar: mobs at banks and lines at soup kitchens, stockbrokers in suits selling apples on the street, families piled with all their belongings into jalopies. Families scrimp on coffee and flour and sugar, rinsing off tinfoil to reuse it and re-mending their pants and dresses. A desperate government mobilizes legions of the unemployed to build bridges and airports, to blaze trails in national forests, to put on traveling plays and paint social-realist murals.

Today, however, whatever a depression would look like, that's not it. We are separated from the 1930s by decades of profound economic, technological, and political change, and a modern landscape of scarcity would reflect that.

What, then, would we see instead? And how would we even know a depression had started?

Depression 2009: What would it look like?

The Fall of America, Inc.
Topic: Society 9:04 am EDT, Oct  8, 2008

Fukuyama does an excellent job of looking past the present crisis and into next era of American history.

The unedifying response to the Wall Street crisis shows that the biggest change we need to make is in our politics. The Reagan revolution broke the 50-year dominance of liberals and Democrats in American politics and opened up room for different approaches to the problems of the time. But as the years have passed, what were once fresh ideas have hardened into hoary dogmas. The quality of political debate has been coarsened by partisans who question not just the ideas but the motives of their opponents. All this makes it harder to adjust to the new and difficult reality we face. So the ultimate test for the American model will be its capacity to reinvent itself once again.

I think we're good at that.

The Fall of America, Inc.

Do Social Networks Bring the End of Privacy?
Topic: Society 2:48 pm EDT, Aug 27, 2008

There are certainly some thought provoking issues here. Do you have a right to prevent websites (particularly blogs, wikipedia, etc) from hosting embarrassing information about you? Slanderous accusations that are completely false? Video taken of you without your permission? True facts that you simply would prefer remained private? Can these things impact your ability to obtain a job (yes)? How would you balance rules about this against people's right to freedom of speech?

I think this is a very difficult matter that will take a long time to figure out.

Daniel Solove, in Scientific American:

Young people share the most intimate details of personal life on social-networking Web sites, such as MySpace and Facebook, portending a realignment of the public and the private

From the archive:

If you work in privacy or data protection either from a technology or policy perspective, you need to read this book and understand Solove's approach.

Praise for The Future of Reputation:

"No one has thought more about the effects of the information age on privacy than Daniel Solove."
—Bruce Schneier

More recently:

Noooooo problem ... don't worry about privacy ... privacy is dead ... there's no privacy ... just more databases ... that's what you want ... that's what you NEED ... Buy my shit! Buy it -- give me money! Don't worry about the consequences ... there's no consequences. If you give me money, everything's going to be cool, okay? It's gonna be cool. Give me money. No consequences, no whammies, money. Money for me ... Money for me, databases for you.

Do Social Networks Bring the End of Privacy?

South Ossetia, The War of My Dreams
Topic: Society 9:24 am EDT, Aug 13, 2008

War Nerd:

There are three basic facts to keep in mind about the smokin’ little war in Ossetia:

1. The Georgians started it.
2. They lost.
3. What a beautiful little war!

For me, the most important is #3, the sheer beauty of the video clips that have already come out of this war. I’m in heaven right now.

South Ossetia, The War of My Dreams

The Kindergarchy
Topic: Society 9:08 am EDT, Jun 16, 2008

In America we are currently living in a Kindergarchy, under rule by children. People who are raising, or have recently raised, or have even been around children a fair amount in recent years will, I think, immediately sense what I have in mind. Children have gone from background to foreground figures in domestic life, with more and more attention centered on them, their upbringing, their small accomplishments, their right relationship with parents and grandparents. For the past 30 years at least, we have been lavishing vast expense and anxiety on our children in ways that are unprecedented in American and in perhaps any other national life. Such has been the weight of all this concern about children that it has exercised a subtle but pervasive tyranny of its own. This is what I call Kindergarchy: dreary, boring, sadly misguided Kindergarchy.

This is an interesting, if long, perspective. It seems fogeyish sort of. We seem to be near the opposite end of the spectrum from 1970, when latch key kids were mostly left to their own devices. Both extremes produce bad results.

The Kindergarchy

The Great Seduction by Debt
Topic: Society 2:47 pm EDT, Jun 11, 2008

David Brooks:

The United States has been an affluent nation since its founding. But the country was, by and large, not corrupted by wealth. For centuries, it remained industrious, ambitious and frugal.

Over the past 30 years, much of that has been shredded.

I don't agree with all of this but the main thrust of the argument is sound.

The Great Seduction by Debt

No Torture. No Exceptions.
Topic: Society 9:34 am EDT, Mar 17, 2008

It is in the hopes of keeping the attention of the public, and that of our elected officials, on this subject that the writers of this collection of essays have put pen to paper. They include a former president, the speaker of the House, two former White House chiefs of staff, current and former senators, generals, admirals, intelligence officials, interrogators, and religious leaders. Some are Republicans, others are Democrats, and still others are neither. What they all agree on, however, is this: It was a profound moral and strategic mistake for the United States to abandon long-standing policies of humane treatment of enemy captives. We should return to the rule of law and cease all forms of torture, with no exceptions for any agency. And we should expect our presidential nominees to commit to this idea.

No Torture. No Exceptions.

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