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Current Topic: Miscellaneous

a clash of ideas about how safe the world is
Topic: Miscellaneous 8:57 pm EST, Jan 15, 2015

Lindsay Cohen:

Public transit in Seattle has gone to the dogs.

Commuters in Belltown report seeing a Black Labrador riding the bus alone in recent weeks.

"She gets on in front of her house and she gets off at the dog park, three or four stops later," said Jeff Young, who owns the dog. "She knows what she's doing."

This American Life:

Lulu Miller tells the story of Daniel Kish, who's blind, but can navigate the world by clicking with his tongue. This gives him so much information about what's around him, he does all sorts of things most blind people don't. Most famously, he rides a bike.

Donna St. George:

It was a one-mile walk home from a Silver Spring park on Georgia Avenue on a Saturday afternoon. But what the parents saw as a moment of independence for their 10-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter, they say authorities viewed much differently.

Danielle and Alexander Meitiv say they are being investigated for neglect for the Dec. 20 trek -- in a case they say reflects a clash of ideas about how safe the world is and whether parents are free to make their own choices about raising their children.

Andrew Keatts:

The idea is to identify people likely to commit serious crimes, and create an opportunity to arrest them for something else before that happens.


affecting our entire economy in ways that are extraordinarily significant
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:37 am EST, Jan 15, 2015

James Comey:

In 2003 there were 6.3 billion human beings on the earth and 500 million devices connected to the Internet. In 2010 there were 6.8 billion people on the earth and 12.5 billion devices connected to the Internet.

Brian Solis:

By 2020, the number of devices connected to the Internet is expected to exceed 40 billion.

Doc Searls and David Weinberger:

An organ-by-organ body snatch of the Internet is already well underway.

Barack Obama:

If we don't put in place the kind of architecture that can prevent these attacks from taking place, this is not just going to be affecting movies, this is going to be affecting our entire economy in ways that are extraordinarily significant.

Straw Man:

Money for me, databases for you.

Diego Gambetta:

We need to consider two questions about the rationality of this mindset: the first concerns the process of arriving at it; the second concerns the consequences of adopting it.

Nicholas Kristof:

Torture a single chicken and you risk arrest. Abuse hundreds of thousands of chickens for their entire lives? That's agribusiness.

Andrew Keatts:

When does smart policing become a police state?

Douglasville Deputy Chief Gary E. Sparks:

It's better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.


terms of impairment
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:38 am EST, Jan 13, 2015

Chris Betz:

Forces often seek to undermine and disrupt technology and people, attempting to weaken the very devices and services people have come to depend on and trust.

Molly Wood:

Think twice about what you connect to your network.

James Comey:

My goal is to urge our fellow citizens to participate in a conversation as a country about where we are, and where we want to be, with respect to the authority of law enforcement.

David Cameron:

In our country, do we want to allow a means of communication between people which ... we cannot read?

David Cole:

It is disappointing, if not surprising, that they see a need for public debate only when new technologies may impair their ability to monitor us, and not when such technologies enhance their monitoring.

Poul-Henning Kamp:

The reason HTTP/2.0 does not improve privacy is that the big corporate backers have built their business model on top of the lack of privacy.

Maciej Ceglowski:

Surveillance as a business model is the only thing that makes a site like Facebook possible.

Metafilter Wisdom:

If you are not paying for it, you're not the customer; you're the product being sold.

Steven Johns:

Gogo Inflight Internet seems to believe that they are justified in performing a man-in-the-middle attack on their users. It was [recently] revealed through the FCC that Gogo partnered with government officials to produce "capabilities to accommodate law enforcement interests" that go beyond those outlined under federal law.


with blindfold removed
Topic: Miscellaneous 5:01 pm EST, Jan 10, 2015

Teju Cole:

It is necessary to understand that free speech and other expressions of liberté are already in crisis in Western societies; the crisis was not precipitated by three deranged gunmen.

We may not be able to attend to each outrage in every corner of the world, but we should at least pause to consider how it is that mainstream opinion so quickly decides that certain violent deaths are more meaningful, and more worthy of commemoration, than others.

ADM Mike Rogers:

The entire world is watching how we as a nation are going to respond to this.

Jean-Charles Brisard, head of the French Center for Analysis of Terrorism:

It's a problem of resources.

James A. Lewis:

The real issue is lack of trust in the government.

Mike Loukides:

In the future, we will be increasingly reliant on systems that we can't necessarily trust to do our bidding, and that fail in nondeterministic ways.

David Foster Wallace:

What if we decided that a certain baseline vulnerability to terrorism is part of the price of the American idea? Have we actually become so selfish and scared that we don't even want to consider whether some things trump safety? What kind of future does that augur?

Dr. Laura Elizabeth Pinto and Dr. Selena Nemorin:

The purpose of this article is to explore theoretical and conceptual concerns about the popularity and widespread educational use of The Elf on the Shelf in light of the contemporary literature on play and panoptic surveillance.

Peter Gray:

One game of their own devising was modeled after the camp's daily roll call and was called klepsi-klepsi, a common term for stealing. One playmate was blindfolded; then one of the others would step forward and hit him hard on the face; and then, with blindfold removed, the one who had been hit had to guess, from facial expressions or other evidence, who had hit him. To survive at Auschwitz, one had to be an expert at bluffing -- for example, about stealing bread or about knowing of someone's escape or resistance plans. Klepsi-klepsi may have been practice for that skill.

Robert Pogue Harrison:

In his Letter to the Romans, Saint Paul wrote of the malaise of the earth: "the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time." That creaturely groaning has gotten a lot louder of late, and if God indeed loves his creatures enough to open heaven to them, it is highly likely that, when our pets get there, they will find themselves on their own.

Sjon:

Maybe we lost something when we started classifying nature by the difference between things rather than what we have in common.


a form of speculation
Topic: Miscellaneous 5:53 am EST, Jan  9, 2015

Roger Scruton:

Pre-emptive kitsch is the first link in a chain. The artist pretends to take himself seriously, the critics pretend to judge his product and the modernist establishment pretends to promote it. At the end of all this pretense, someone who cannot perceive the difference between the real thing and the fake decides that he should buy it.

Christopher Glazek:

The collector class has traditionally come from the very top of the wealth spectrum and has included people looking to trade money for social prestige by participating in the art world's stately rituals. Over the last few years, though, a new class of speculators has emerged with crasser objectives: They are less interested in flying to Basel to attend a dinner than in riding the economic wave that has caused the market for emerging contemporary art to surge in the past decade.

Paul M. Barrett:

The Burford investment -- a form of speculation known as litigation finance -- was the wave of the future, he argued. Hedge funds were putting millions into major litigation in exchange for shares of recoveries.


a vast lawn with billions of mole-holes
Topic: Miscellaneous 5:52 am EST, Jan  9, 2015

James Comey:

In 2003 there were 6.3 billion human beings on the earth and 500 million devices connected to the Internet. In 2010 there were 6.8 billion people on the earth and 12.5 billion devices connected to the Internet.

Steven Levy:

The Internet is a vast lawn with billions of mole-holes.

James Comey:

The Internet is the most dangerous parking lot imaginable.

Mark Foulon:

It has become clear that Internet access in itself is a vulnerability that we cannot mitigate. We have tried incremental steps and they have proven insufficient.


the dream of progress turned out to be a fantasy
Topic: Miscellaneous 5:52 am EST, Jan  9, 2015

Mitch Kapor, in 1993:

Life in cyberspace seems to be shaping up exactly like Thomas Jefferson would have wanted.

James Comey:

The first thing to do though is adopt an attitude of humility. I think we stand in the single greatest transformation in human history and anybody who stands here and says, "I know what five years from now looks like, I know what 10 years from now looks like, and therefore the FBI should be deployed and equipped in the following way," is arrogant and, in my view, foolish.

Mike Rogers, House Intelligence Committee Chairman:

If anybody in the federal government tells you that they've got this figured out in terms of how to respond to an aggressive cyber attack, then tell me their names, because they shouldn't be there.

Mike Loukides:

Whatever the future holds, it will be impossible to hold it back. And it won't be the modernist fantasy of the Jetsons. It might be unfortunate that the dream of progress turned out to be a fantasy, but we're better off building for a harsh reality than pretending that our fantasies will save us. Postmodern computing is about creating the tools for that disenchanted reality.


there's a lot of nodding
Topic: Miscellaneous 5:52 am EST, Jan  9, 2015

Mike Loukides:

We used to say that a computer only did what you told it to do, and exactly what you told it to do. While that's still true, to an extent, we're now building systems that are massively distributed, that run on hardware that we don't control and, in many cases, we can't even locate. Our older model of computing -- you tell the computer what to do, and if there's a bug, it's your fault -- now strikes us as naive, and possibly the last gasp of futuristic optimism.

Nicholas Carr:

Seeking convenience, speed, and efficiency, we rush to off-load work to computers without reflecting on what we might be sacrificing as a result.

FBI:

During remarks at the International Conference on Cyber Security at Fordham University in New York City, Director James Comey reiterated that North Korea was responsible for the cyber attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Comey cited the recent intrusion against Sony as proof of the seriousness of the cyber threat facing the U.S. and said the FBI and the intelligence community have a "very high confidence" that North Korea was responsible for the hack. He added that the Bureau and its partners were using a range of sensitive tools and techniques to arrive at that conclusion.

Diego Gambetta:

In the inscrutable case, the overall truth about a state of affairs is not known by anyone.

James Comey:

I find that in all things cyber there's a lot of nodding and I worry there's not a lot of understanding behind the nodding at times.

Sjon:

I think the myths are coming back, because they exist in that field of human experience, where the real and the unreal simply exist together, and in a way you can only explain the real through what is supposed to be unreal.

Mark Danner:

We're in this surrealistic world, in which ... we're seeing a public effort at disinformation spreading throughout the country, through all the media outlets ...


real relation
Topic: Miscellaneous 6:27 am EST, Jan  7, 2015

David Sedaris:

It's ridiculous how often you have to say hello on Emerald Isle. Passing someone on the street is one thing, but you have to do it in stores as well, not just to the employees who greet you at the door but to your fellow-shoppers in aisle three.

Liliana Segura:

The truth is, yes, even "hello" can feel like an unwelcome demand.

Jonathan Franzen:

When you stay in your room and rage or sneer or shrug your shoulders, as I did for many years, the world and its problems are impossibly daunting. But when you go out and put yourself in real relation to real people, or even just real animals, there's a very real danger that you might love some of them.

And who knows what might happen to you then?

John Wood:

The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.


lost in translation
Topic: Miscellaneous 5:56 am EST, Jan  7, 2015

Diego Gambetta:

The effect on military and political strategy caused by the shock and emotions after 9/11 have been underestimated, while it is highly plausible to think that they colored the cognitive processes that led to the new strategic mindset. The cocktail of notions that were chosen -- evil, war, global, unprecedented, unknown unknowns -- does not strike me as the product of cool reflection.

Mark Danner:

The use of these [torture] techniques let [us] alleviate [our] own anxiety. And [our] anxiety was based on complete misinformation. We translated our ignorance into their pain. That in a nutshell is the story the Senate report tells. Our ignorance, our anxiety, our guilt, into their pain.

Eric Fair:

Most Americans haven't read the report. Most never will.

Marc A. Thiessen:

Despite the best efforts of Holder and Feinstein, the CIA has been cleared both by the Department of Justice and by the court of public opinion.

Ta-Nehisi Coates:

Power, decoupled from responsibility, is what we seek. The citizen who needs to look away generally finds a reason.


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