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Current Topic: Miscellaneous

We Own The Crumbs of Bearded Purists
Topic: Miscellaneous 6:59 am EST, Feb  8, 2011

An exchange:

Andrew Keen: So why are you so popular?

Seth Godin: I notice things.

Sue Gardner:

Everyone brings their crumb of information to the table.


The "everything bagel" really only has like three things.

Just what I want for breakfast.


Joe Biden:

I think it's hilarious.

Greg Knauss, from April 2000:

If you need some color in your life, look into fingerpaints.

Steven Poole:

Won't you please join me in declaring a War on Chrome?

Sebastian Anthony:

Bearded purists will be interested to hear that the Debian 6 kernel is, for the first time, completely free.

Josh Harris:

Everything is free, except the video that we capture of you. That we own.

Devlin Barrett:

Hackers have repeatedly penetrated the computer network of the company that runs the Nasdaq Stock Market during the past year, and federal investigators are trying to identify the perpetrators and their purpose.

James Verini:

The officer didn't know why Jonathan James and his companion, a man named Christopher Scott, were sitting in a car with laptops and a giant radio antenna, but she suspected they weren't playing World of Warcraft.

An exchange:

Someone once accused Craig Venter of playing God.

His reply was, "We're not playing."

Sweeping The Nation
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:53 am EST, Jan 27, 2011

Ralf-Philipp Weinmann:

I will demo how to use the auto-answer feature present in most phones to turn the telephone into a remote listening device.


The unavoidable conclusion is that you are spying on me.

Mike Cardwell:

When you visit my website, I can automatically and silently determine if you're logged into Facebook, Twitter, GMail and Digg.

Video Professor:

Try my product!

Chris Palmer, EFF:

Web application providers undermine their business models when, by continuing to use HTTP, they enable a wide range of attackers anywhere on the internet to compromise users' information.

Keith Alexander:

The Internet is fragile.

Sherry Turkle:

A behaviour that has become typical may still express the problems that once caused us to see it as pathological.

Ben Johncock:

People are starting to suspect that the internet connives against us. It sells us the lie that it's better to click or flick in idle spare time than it is to read a book. But after half an hour -- after you've exhausted your regular websites and blogs, and everyone on Twitter and Facebook is in bed -- you get the same feeling as you do from eating chocolate all day.

Joseph Perla:

Facebook is a Ponzi Scheme.

Discover HIP HOP:

Discover Hip Hop is sweeping the nation!

Everyone else is doing it! Now you can too!!!!!

Get With The Program!

Robin Wauters:

Remember Firesheep?

I'm currently at the DLD Conference in Munich, Germany, which is host to a whole lot of tech luminaries, executives, startups, press and investors alike. The organization has provided every attendee with access to a public WiFi network dubbed DLDpublic, and lo and behold, looks like many of them haven't taken any measures to prevent the above-described hijacking from happening.

Next time you're at an event with an open WiFi network, you might want to consider using a secure VPN to connect to the Internet anyway -- you never know who's sniffing.

Alex Rice:

Starting today we'll provide you with the ability to experience Facebook entirely over HTTPS.

Like Tiny Chainsaws
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:12 am EST, Jan 24, 2011

Dr. Walker Brown, the director of the Center for Canine Cognition:

It's entirely conceivable that a dog could learn simple computer functions. Word processing, e-mailing, even surfing the web: for many dogs, the future is already here.

Julia Young:

I'm getting older, and I'm not always gonna be around the house to explain stuff to you. I know you have a lot of questions, and I want us to be open with each other. So, I think it's time you learned where blogs and tweets come from.

When a person loves a funny video very much, he or she may want to share it with someone special to them. This is called linking and if done properly, it can bring people together in a very special union of love: usually the love of sneezing animals, or bed intruders, or Bill O'Reilly having a temper tantrum. But it's important to be sparing when you send your links. You don't want to become the neighborhood outbox, constantly forwarding yourself around. Nobody wants that kind of reputation.

Everyone tries Facebook at least once in their life. It usually starts in college.

I hope this wasn't too embarrassing for you. We'll talk about what a meme is when we get to Grandma's. I don't want to have to explain it twice.


As a 13-year-old boy, Benny probably did not relish the idea of wasting an entire day entertaining us. But he was a good-natured young man, and he had agreed to help keep us out of trouble, so he reluctantly asked us what we wanted to play.

Us: "Wolf pack!"

Benny: "How do you play 'wolf pack'?"

Us: "We're the wolves and you're the deer. We close our eyes and count to twenty and you run away. Then we try to find you and catch you!"

Benny: "Okay. Where do you want to play?"

Us: "In the forest!"

Benny probably would have tried harder if he knew that losing the game involved so much biting. But he did not expect that the game would be so true to life. I'm sure it was quite painful for him, but that was a necessary casualty for the game to feel convincing and fun.

The psychological torment of waiting to be attacked was almost worse than the attacks themselves. We darted around in the shadows, snapping twigs and making strange growling noises. We sounded like tiny chainsaws.

Have you seen Teeth?

Here's The Thing
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:25 am EST, Jan 19, 2011

Decius on Wikipedia, in 2003:

I've found myself using this more and more recently.

Matthew Ingram:

Most people will never edit a Wikipedia page.

Jimmy Wales:

A lot of people are literally afraid.

Monster Supply Store:

The shop was established in 1818, and ever since then has served the daily needs of London's extensive monster community. Step inside, and you'll find a whole range of essential products for monsters. You can pick from a whole range of Tinned Fears, a selection of Human Preserves, and a variety of other really rather fine goods.

Chuck Klosterman:

What if contemporary people are less interested in seeing depictions of their unconscious fears and more attracted to allegories of how their day-to-day existence feels?

Chuck Klosterman:

It's a present-day problem: There's just no escaping the larger, omnipresent puzzle of "reality." Even when people read fiction, they want to know what's real. But this, it seems, is not Franzen's concern. He disintegrates the issue with one sentence.

"Here's the thing about inauthentic people," he says on the train, speaking in the abstract. "Inauthentic people are obsessed with authenticity."

Nick Smyth:

One of the pesky things about real life is that you cannot really "opt out" of the picture, choosing to view it from the sidelines passively. For this is itself a choice, a decision with character and consequence. In real life, there are no audiences, only actors.

An Insufficiency Of Will
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:06 am EST, Jan 19, 2011

Mandy Brown:

No civilization has ever saved everything; acknowledging that fact does not obviate the need to try and save as much as we can.

The technological means to produce an archive are not beyond our skills; sadly, right now at least, the will to do so is insufficient.

Let's hope that doesn't last forever.

Rita King:

If people thought about dying more often, they'd think about living differently.

Jason Brand:

I think you want to look back on the way you were, and not the way you wanted to be.

Penelope Trunk:

Stop talking about time like you need to save it. You just need to use it better.

Freeman Dyson:

It's very important that we adapt to the world on the long-time scale as well as the short-time scale. Ethics are the art of doing that. You must have principles that you're willing to die for.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky:

I want to talk to you about hope. Hope -- the main thing in life.

Alas, this hope too has yet to be justified. Stability has come to look like stagnation. Society has stopped in its tracks. Although hope still lives.

It is not possible to reconcile oneself with the notion that people who call themselves patriots so tenaciously resist any change that impacts their feeding trough or ability to get away with anything.

I am not at all an ideal person, but I am a person with an idea. For me, as for anybody, it is hard to live in jail, and I do not want to die there.

But if I have to I will not hesitate. The things I believe in are worth dying for. I think I have proven this.

And you opponents? What do you believe in? That the bosses are always right? Do you believe in money? In the impunity of "the system"?

Your Honor!

Clearance To Fly
Topic: Miscellaneous 8:10 am EST, Jan 18, 2011

Jean-Henri Fabre:

Behold them entering upon their promised land, their reeking paradise. Eager to arrive, do they drop from the top of the wall? Not they! .... The newborn worms, thanks to a slight viscidity, cling for a moment to the wire gauze; they swarm, wriggle, release themselves and leap into the chasm. It is a nine inch drop at least.... This confidence in the unknown factor of the precipice, with no indication but that of smell, deserves fuller, investigation. From what height will the flesh fly dare to let her children drop?


At the surface of the soil, exposed to the air, the hideous invasion is possible; ay, it is the invariable rule. For the melting down and remolding of matter, man is no better, corpse for corpse, than the lowest of the brutes. Then the fly exercises her rights and deals with us as she does with any ordinary animal refuse. Nature treats us with magnificent indifference in her great regenerating factory: placed in her crucibles, animals and men, beggars and kings are one and all alike. There you have true equality, the only equality in this world of ours: equality in the presence of the maggot.

Paul Seabright:

There are important lessons to be learned from the crisis. But we'll learn them better if we realize that the intellectual and political architects of the system that failed us were not naive at all, but immensely clever and subtle; it was their cleverness and subtlety that undid them. And that is bad news for all of us, for naivete can give way to learning, but cleverness has no obvious higher state.

Above all, like historians assessing the Maginot Line, we must avoid comforting ourselves with the judgment that the system's architects were naive and that therefore we might hope to do much better. Far more important is to be aware that defenses are vulnerable precisely where they are strongest and to be prepared to respond creatively and calmly when they fail, as they surely will again.

Feilix Salmon:

For better or worse, the computers are now in control. Over the past decade, algorithmic trading has overtaken the industry. From the single desk of a startup hedge fund to the gilded halls of Goldman Sachs, computer code is now responsible for most of the activity on Wall Street. (By some estimates, computer-aided high-frequency trading now accounts for about 70 percent of total trade volume.)


The Miami-Dade Police Department recently finalized a deal to buy a drone, which is an unmanned plane equipped with cameras. Honeywell has applied to the FAA for clearance to fly the drone in urban areas.

Like Dogs In A Run
Topic: Miscellaneous 8:10 am EST, Jan 18, 2011

Michael Chabon:

"Tom Sawyer" is exciting and funny and often surprisingly tender, even capital-R Romantic, and the classic bits -- the fence, the Bible study tickets, the cave, the murder -- appear to have lost none of their power to delight and scare children who dwell in a world of childhood so alien from that of Tom and Huck, half-feral in their liberty, alongside whom my own children seem like dogs in a run, no longer even straining at their cable.

Charles Murray:

When my eldest daughter, then perhaps eight years old, came home with her first Maryland standardized test scores, showing that she was at the 99th percentile in reading and the 93rd percentile in math, her mother's first words -- the very first -- were "What's wrong with the math?"

Michael Chabon:

To attempt to live up to your children's expectations -- to hew to the ideals you espouse and the morals that you lay down for them -- is to guarantee a life of constant failure, a failure equivalent with parenthood itself.

Shaun Ellis:

I moved to the wild. The first time I got up close to a wolf, within around 30 metres, any fear I had quickly turned to respect. I stayed in a den area, a remote spot where wolves look after their young, and very soon one pack began to trust me. I lived with them day and night, and from the start they accepted me into their group. I ate what they ate, mostly raw deer and elk, which they would often bring back for me, or fruit and berries. I never fell ill and my body adapted quickly to its new diet.

I stayed with the same pack for over a year, watching pups grow to adulthood. I never missed human contact during that time.

I felt a tremendous sense of belonging with the wolves.

Bill Murray:

You show me an actor doing a shit movie, I'll show you a guy with a bad divorce.

Never Entrust Your Fake Data To Crazy People
Topic: Miscellaneous 8:10 am EST, Jan 18, 2011

Paul Krugman:

By all means, let's listen to each other more carefully; but what we'll discover, I fear, is how far apart we are.

Matt Drance:

It's always your friends who stab you in the back.

John Dvorak:

Facebook is actually the logical end-point of what AOL should have become.

Marshall Kirkpatrick:

Facebook isn't just photos like Flickr, it isn't just newsfeeds like Google Reader. It isn't just video like YouTube. It's a whole lot of everything ...

Fred Wilson:

25x to 50x EBITDA for one of, if not the premier Internet company in the world is not crazy.

Jameel Jaffer:

People used to be the custodians of their own records, their own diaries. Now third parties are custodians of all that. Everything you do online is entrusted to someone else -- unless you want to go completely off the grid, and I'm not even sure that is possible.

Matt Liebowitz:

Security experts say the solution is simple, if a bit confusing: Use fake information to fill in the answers to identity-challenge questions when setting up or changing an online account.

Going Swimmingly
Topic: Miscellaneous 9:54 am EST, Jan 12, 2011

Scott Rosenberg:

It's almost always better to correct than to unpublish.


In my experience the answer to bad speech has always been more speech.

Seth Godin:

Some say that the problem of our age is that continuous partial attention, this never ending non-stop distraction, addles the brain and prevents us from being productive. Not quite.

The danger is not distraction, the danger is the ability to hide.

Alex Pareene:

When this is the bed you make, you can't be too shocked when monsters hide under it.

Evan Williams:

In the beginning, it was like a million little islands, some of them were bigger islands. If you create something on the web, you're your own island and you try to get people to visit your island.

On the mobile phone, you don't have your own island. You're renting land.

Adam Honore, the research director at Aite Group:

[Unstructured data] is the next wave of trading.

Ruth Simon And James R. Hagerty:

23% of all mortgage borrowers in the US are underwater.


Imagine if they all walked.

Charlie Stross:

We're now on the threshold of truly understanding how little we understand.

David Foster Wallace:

There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, "Morning, boys, how's the water?" And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, "What the hell is water?"

Perfectly Reasonable People are Free to Doubt the Symptoms
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:36 am EST, Jan 10, 2011

Clay Shirky:

Bad discourse isn't a behavior problem, it's a design problem.

Douglas Rushkoff:

We are witnessing the beginning of the end of Facebook. These aren't the symptoms of a company that is winning, but one that is cashing out.

This week's news that Goldman Sachs has chosen to invest in Facebook while entreating others to do the same should inspire about as much confidence as their investment in mortgage securities did in 2008.

Matt Taibbi:

If America is now circling the drain, Goldman Sachs has found a way to be that drain.

Jeff Atwood:

I've been told many times that Google isn't a monopoly, but they apparently play one on the internet. You are perfectly free to switch to whichever non-viable alternative web search engine you want at any time. Just breathe in that sweet freedom, folks.

[But] Google, the once essential tool, is somehow losing its edge. Is the next generation of search destined to be less algorithmic and more social?

Marco Arment:

I doubt we'll see real progress. Instead, I expect Google's unwillingness to address this issue to create a critical-mass demand -- and hopefully, then, a supply -- of good content, reference information, and product recommendations.

Declan McCullagh:

Howard Schmidt stressed today that anonymity and pseudonymity will remain possible on the Internet. "I don't have to get a credential if I don't want to," he said.

Joel Rosenblatt:

Apple was accused in a lawsuit of allowing applications for those devices to transmit users' personal information to advertising networks without customers' consent.

Apple iPhones and iPads are set with a Unique Device Identifier, or UDID, which can't be blocked by users, according to the complaint.

The case is Lalo v. Apple, 10-5878, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).

Clarence W. Dupnik, the Pima County sheriff:

Pretty soon we're not going to be able to find reasonable, decent people willing to subject themselves to serve in public office.

Jerry Weinberger:

So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find a reason for every thing one has a mind to do.

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