|Current Topic: Miscellaneous|
||We've Got The Best Fence Money Can Buy
|| 7:41 am EDT, Jul 5, 2012
Patrick Radden Keefe:
Michael Braun, the former chief of operations for the D.E.A., told me a story about the construction of a high-tech fence along a stretch of border in Arizona. "They erect this fence," he said, "only to go out there a few days later and discover that these guys have a catapult, and they're flinging hundred-pound bales of marijuana over to the other side." He paused and looked at me for a second. "A catapult," he repeated. "We've got the best fence money can buy, and they counter us with a 2,500-year-old technology."
Shawn Henry, FBI executive assistant director:
We're not winning.
I don't see how we ever come out of this without changes in technology or changes in behavior, because with the status quo, it's an unsustainable model. Unsustainable in that you never get ahead, never become secure, never have a reasonable expectation of privacy or security.
Your clicks have consequences.
James A. Lewis:
There's a kind of willful desire not to admit how bad things are.
If they were that good, they wouldn't have got caught.
The median number of days between the start of an intrusion and its detection was 416.
Antibiotic-resistant infections kill more Americans annually than AIDS.
||Those Deeper, Tangled Problems
|| 7:23 am EDT, Jul 3, 2012
If a pattern can't be observed, it probably just means you haven't looked long enough.
There are no silver bullets to solve essential complexity. Trying to abstract away essential complexity only makes things more complex.
Tell me what you know.
Tell me what you don't know.
Then tell me what you think.
Always distinguish which is which.
Their numbers were better than ever. Their lives were hell.
Our addiction to speed is backfiring on us.
Speed becomes a form of denial. It's a way of running away from those deeper, tangled problems. Instead of focusing on questions like who am I, and what is my role here, it all becomes a superficial to-do list.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi:
JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI is the story of 85 year-old Jiro Ono, considered by many to be the world's greatest sushi chef. He is the proprietor of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a 10-seat, sushi-only restaurant inauspiciously located in a Tokyo subway station. ... For most of his life, Jiro has been mastering the art of making sushi, but even at his age he sees himself still striving for perfection, working from sunrise to well beyond sunset to taste every piece of fish; meticulously train his employees; and carefully mold and finesse the impeccable presentation of each sushi creation.
Lots of people offer the notion that parenthood will make them happy. Here the evidence is, sadly, against them. Research shows that people who have children are no more satisfied with their lives than people who don't. If anything, the balance tips the other way: parents are less happy.
We regard pleasure and pain differently. Pleasure missed out on by the nonexistent doesn't count as a harm. Yet suffering avoided counts as a good, even when the recipient is a nonexistent one.
||A Hedge Against Emptiness
|| 7:09 am EDT, Jul 3, 2012
We expect everything. And we expect it on our own terms.
The biggest mistake we make in life is that we end up spending most of it trying to be who we are supposed to be instead of who we want to be.
Bart, don't make fun of grad students! They just made a terrible life choice.
Life is too short to be busy.
As part of the 2011 Full Year Scorcard Analysis, INRIX has analyzed the most congested corridors in the United States by metro for the year. Here, we present the analysis of the 150+ most congested corridors with reports of traffic congestion during peak periods as well as in the worst hour of the week. In addition, there are comparisons and trends from 2010 to 2011.
2012, the iconic Alpine A110 turns 50. To celebrate the event, Renault has designed a concept car: Renault Alpine A110-50. dedicated to performance and driving pleasure.
It isn't generally people pulling back-to-back shifts in the I.C.U. or commuting by bus to three minimum-wage jobs who tell you how busy they are; what those people are is not busy but tired. Exhausted. Dead on their feet. It's almost always people whose lamented busyness is purely self-imposed: work and obligations they've taken on voluntarily, classes and activities they've "encouraged" their kids to participate in. They're busy because of their own ambition or drive or anxiety, because they're addicted to busyness and dread what they might have to face in its absence.
Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day. I can't help but wonder whether all this histrionic exhaustion isn't a way of covering up the fact that most of what we do doesn't matter.
The Editors of n+1:
Systems of accreditation do not assess merit; merit is a fiction created by systems of accreditation. Like the market for skin care products, the market for credentials is inexhaustible: as the bachelor's degree becomes democratized, the master's degree becomes mandatory for advancement. Our elaborate, expensive system of higher education is first and foremost a system of stratification , and only secondly -- and very dimly -- a system for imparting knowledge.
||more popular among those doing the tracking than those being tracked
|| 7:49 am EDT, Jul 2, 2012
Traffic is the most dangerous thing that most of us ever encounter.
The increased automobile deaths due to people deciding to drive instead of fly is 500 per year.
Look around you. Bikes are everywhere: in glamorous ads and fashionable neighborhoods, parked outside art galleries, clubs, office buildings. More and more city workers arrive for work on bikes. The future is visible in the increasing number of bikes you see all over the urban landscape.
Manhattan streets are full of cars cruising around, looking for cheaper on-street parking, rather than pulling into a lot. The waste includes drivers' lost time and the costs of running those engines. By contrast, San Francisco has just instituted a pioneering program to connect parking meter prices to supply and demand, with prices being adjusted, over time, within a general range of 25 cents to $6 an hour.
After almost a hundred years in which driving has remained essentially unchanged, it has been completely transformed in just the past half decade.
BMW estimates that one-pedal driving increases by 20 percent the amount of energy reclaimed when the electric drive motor switches into generator mode and pumps juice into the battery pack.
With Driving Safely, users enter their children's phone numbers, and the app automatically begins gathering information. A parent then sees the information from a car's dashboard, like how fast it is traveling or how much gas is in the tank. The system can be set to send alerts, so that users will be notified instantaneously if drivers they are tracking brake suddenly after sending a text, or are driving without seat belts.
The app also collects data over time to give what Mr. Dar described as a driver's "DNA score," showing how safely someone is driving. He pulled up a prototype app, showing two children from a fictional family side by side; one sibling was a slightly safer driver than the other.
Mr. Dar acknowledged that this sort of monitoring will most likely be more popular among those doing the tracking than those being tracked. So the system builds in a rewards system for drivers. If a driver maintains a certain DNA score over a period of time, for instance, his or her account would be credited with an extra allotment of text-messaging capability. Testing on the app is set to begin in June with a group of AT&T employees in Atlanta and their children.
|| 7:49 am EDT, Jul 2, 2012
According to Congressional testimony last week, 94 percent of companies served by the computer-security firm Mandiant were unaware that they had been victimized.
By failing to act, Washington is effectively fulfilling China's research requirements while helping to put Americans out of work.
Erica Newland, of the Center for Democracy and Technology:
Can export controls be meaningfully extended in ways that reduce the spread of ... 'weapons of mass surveillance' without diminishing the ability of dissidents to connect and communicate?
In a statement released Thursday, Reza Taghipour, the Iranian minister for Information and Communications Technology, announced the setting up of a national Intranet and the effective blockage of services like Google, Gmail, Google Plus, Yahoo and Hotmail, in line with Iran's plan for a "clean Internet."
Most of us leave Wi-Fi on by default, in part because our phones chastise us when we don't. (Triangulation by Wi-Fi hotspots is important for making location services more accurate.) But you probably didn't realize that, using proprietary new "nodes" from Navizon, any device with an active Wi-Fi radio can be seen by a system like Navizon's.
People tend to believe that Web operators will keep their data safe in perpetuity. They entrust much more than poetry to unseen servers maintained by system administrators they've never met.
Lloyd's Risk Index, on cyber insecurity:
Even large businesses need to ask if they really understand the nature of the risk to which they are exposed.
The simple reality is that in Washington, national security trumps everything.
Military cyberpower, once invisible to all but a few defense specialists, is slowly becoming visible. In some ways the current wave of commentary on Stuxnet is simply a delayed reaction to what should have been apparent once the electromagnetic spectrum was utilized by Abraham Lincoln to command the American Civil War: ... [ Read More (0.2k in body) ]
||Just A Few Swallows, And You're Living The Dream
|| 7:49 am EDT, Jul 2, 2012
Bernardo Huberman and Christina Aperjis:
Why not pay individuals for their data?
You know that dream where you suddenly realize you're stark naked? You're living it whenever you open your browser.
Cyrus Rangan, director of the toxicology bureau for the county public health department and a medical toxicology consultant for Children's Hospital Los Angeles:
All it takes is just a few swallows and you have a drunk teenager. There is no question that it is dangerous.
The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads.
Even as Facebook has embedded itself into modern life, it hasn't done that much with what it knows about us. Its stash of data looms like an oversize shadow. Everyone has a feeling that this resource will yield something big, but nobody knows quite what.
Yahoo had a chance to buy Google in 2001 but then-CEO Terry Semel didn't pull the trigger. I don't think Instagram is the next Google, but Zuckerberg sure as shit doesn't want Facebook to be the next Yahoo.
When talking about Zuckerberg's most valuable personality trait, a colleague jokingly invokes the famous Stanford marshmallow tests, in which researchers found a correlation between a young child's ability to delay gratification -- devour one treat right away, or wait and be rewarded with two -- with high achievement later in life. If Zuckerberg had been one of the Stanford scientists' subjects, the colleague jokes, Facebook would never have been created: He'd still be sitting in a room somewhere, not eating marshmallows.
||An Impossible Question, But Not A Trivial One
|| 7:49 am EDT, Jul 2, 2012
Robert Skidelsky and Edward Skidelsky:
What is wealth for? How much money do we need to lead a good life? This might seem an impossible question. But it is not a trivial one.
Oracle Corp. CEO Larry Ellison has reached a deal to buy 98 percent of the island of Lanai from its current owner, Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie said Wednesday.
A report issued last month said two-thirds of adults in the US were overweight or obese.
The "helicopter parents" who hover over nearly every choice or action of their offspring have given way to "snowplow parents" who determinedly clear a path for their child and shove aside any obstacle they perceive in the way.
David H. Freedman:
A report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development projected that two-thirds of the populations of some industrialized nations will be obese within 10 years.
Telling people what to do is lazy. Instead, try to convince them with argument. This is how humans interact when there's no artificial authority structure and it works great. If you can't convince people through argument then maybe you shouldn't be doing it.
If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place.
"Mobutu Sese Seko":
When Obama makes an enemies list, there are footnotes. This is a baccalaureate committee, and some lucky Muslim is about to graduate a threat level.
||An Accelerating Contradiction
|| 7:49 am EDT, Jul 2, 2012
Today, more than fifty per cent of U.S. residents are single, nearly a third of all households have just one resident, and five million adults younger than thirty-five live alone.
What matters is not whether we live alone, but whether we feel alone. There's ample support for this conclusion outside the laboratory. As divorced or separated people often say, there's nothing lonelier than living with the wrong person.
In a world consumed by ever more novel modes of socializing, we have less and less actual society. We live in an accelerating contradiction: the more connected we become, the lonelier we are. We were promised a global village; instead we inhabit the drab cul-de-sacs and endless freeways of a vast suburb of information.
Solitude used to be good for self-reflection and self-reinvention. But now we are left thinking about who we are all the time, without ever really thinking about who we are.
To restore ecosystems to acoustic health, researchers must determine, to the last raindrop, what compositions nature would play without us.
In the United States, more than 80 percent of land is within two-thirds of a mile of a road.
They say silence is golden -- but there's a room in the U.S that's so quiet it becomes unbearable after a short time.
The longest that anyone has survived in the 'anechoic chamber' at Orfield Laboratories in South Minneapolis is just 45 minutes.
It's 99.99 per cent sound absorbent and holds the Guinness World Record for the world's quietest place, but stay there too long and you may start hallucinating.
|| 6:50 am EST, Feb 14, 2012
The central paradox of the machines that have made our lives so much brighter, quicker, longer and healthier is that they cannot teach us how to make the best use of them; the information revolution came without an instruction manual.
The tendency of mass democracy to produce mediocre politicians is what worries me. The vast majority of human beings today are simply not competent to protect their own interests.
Our serious problem today is not simply that many people routinely tell lies. As I have noted, people have departed from the truth for one reason or another all throughout human history. The problem now is that we seem to be reaching a dysfunctional tipping point in which an essential commitment to truthfulness no longer seems to be assumed in our society. If this is indeed the case, the danger is that the bonds of trust important in any society, and essential for a free and democratic one, will dissolve so that the kinds of discourse required to self-govern will become impossible.
In 1972, altogether 22,887 tax returns were filed with today's equivalent of $1 million in income. By 1985, the number had expanded to 58,603. And in 2009, the most recent year for figures, this bracket had multiplied to 236,893.
While real earnings for the overall workforce have risen only 7 percent since 1985, professions like physicians and professors have done several times better. Incomes of lawyers and executives, for their part, have soared much further than anyone would have forecast a few decades ago.
Today, immaterial labor is hegemonic in the sense in which Marx proclaimed that, in 19th-century capitalism, large industrial production was hegemonic: it imposes itself not through force of numbers but by playing the key, emblematic structural role. What emerges is a vast new domain called the 'common': shared knowledge and new forms of communication and co-operation. The products of immaterial production aren't objects but new social or interpersonal relations; immaterial production is bio-political, the production of social life.
The proletarianisation of the lower salaried bourgeoisie is matched at the opposite extreme by the irrationally high remuneration of top managers and bankers (irrational since, as investigations have demonstrated in the US, it tends to be inversely proportional to a company's success). Rather than submit these trends to moral... [ Read More (0.2k in body) ]
||12:52 pm EST, Nov 11, 2011
Chinese and Russian intelligence services and corporate hackers are using cyber attacks to steal hi-tech American research and development data, a US government report has said.
US officials have complained quietly for years about cyber attacks originating from China but this report offers the first such detailed public accusations from US officials.
The record came out to little to no fanfare earlier this summer on Drag City, and an awesome clip of "Fist Fight" can be heard on the label's site. The band also released an interview it supposedly did with Stabber fanzine back in 1984 that's well worth a read, especially for anyone with an interest in Black Flag, Minor Threat, or being 16 and mad.
In recent weeks, news stories quietly announced that major labels are making plans to discontinue the recording and sales of music CDs in late 2012. Yet, as MP3s have taken over the market as the prevailing way to record and purchase music, there are still many - millions even - who purchase and listen to CDs on a daily basis.
Vice president Dmitri Alperovitch, a highly regarded threat researcher whose work at the company helped give it a reputation for conducting cutting-edge research on hacking, quietly left last month, without the company issuing any announcement.
Alperovitch led a research team that produced several high-profile studies on suspected Chinese-government backed hackers during his tenure at McAfee.
About a month ago, Microsoft quietly announced that it would stop making Zunes.
Late last week, as the world was getting ready for its Fall weekend, Google quietly announced it was shutting down Google Code Search, Jaiku, the University Research Program for Google Search, Google Labs, iGoogle's social features and, ... [ Read More (1.1k in body) ]