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Current Topic: Miscellaneous

be a little sadder, sometimes
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:42 am EDT, Apr 20, 2015

Liz Ryan:

Know what you want so the universe can bring it to you.

Bruce Schneier:

I'd upgrade to something newer and better [than Eudora], but there isn't anything newer and better. Sooner or later a new Microsoft OS will break it, and I will be very sad.

Oliver Burkeman, on David Brooks:

Recently, one student told him that, since taking the course, he was much sadder than he used to be. "That's a high compliment!" says Brooks. "He was a phenomenally bright and successful student. But, you know -- you should be a little sadder, sometimes."

this is not a pipe
Topic: Miscellaneous 12:09 pm EDT, Apr 19, 2015

Dan McWhorter, VP of threat intelligence at FireEye:

Advanced threat groups like APT 30 illustrate that state-sponsored cyber espionage affects a variety of governments and corporations across the world.

James Lewis:

You can say these guys see spies everywhere, but the problem with that is spies are everywhere.

Paul Krugman:

The [FitBit] spies on me all the time ...

Prime Minister Manuel Valls:

There will be no mass surveillance ... this is not a French Patriot Act.

Rene Magritte:

Ceci n'est pas une pipe.

Hillary Clinton:

Everyday Americans need a champion. And I want to be that champion.

Lauren French:

Hillary Clinton wiped "clean" the private server housing emails from her tenure as secretary of state, the chairman of the House committee investigating the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi said Friday.

Nate Freier, research professor at the U.S. Army War College:

It really is every man for himself.

a world where nothing can be deleted
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:20 am EDT, Apr 17, 2015

Chris Riley and Jochai Ben-Avie:

Once we accept the principle that the government has a right to force records to be held onto so they can effectively go into the past, where does that stop? What's the limit? Or are we paving the way to a world where nothing can be deleted just in case the government might want to look at it?

David Lynch:

So many things these days are made to look at later. Why not just have the experience and remember it?

Anna Slomovic, lead research scientist at the Cyber Security Policy and Research Institute at George Washington University and a former chief privacy officer at Equifax and Revolution Health:

All of a sudden, everything you do and everything you eat, depending on which bits of the information they collect, is sitting in someone's database.

A Very Convincing Sales Man:

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 ...

WCSH-TV, via Portland Press Herald:

Police departments in midcoast and northern Maine said they have paid ransom to hackers to keep their computer files from being destroyed.

David Brooks:

It seems probable that cops would be less likely to abuse their authority if they were being tracked. But I've been surprised by how many people don't see the downside to this policy. Most people don't even seem to recognize the damage these cameras will do both to police-civilian relations and to privacy.

David Cole:

The fact that parts of our government wanted to kill, without a trial, a citizen who, even if convicted, will face a maximum of fifteen years in prison, illustrates the dramatic divide between the military and law enforcement models for addressing terrorism. Remote-control killing without trial away from battlefields should be disturbing regardless of the passport the victim holds.

David Graeber:

The most powerful way to represent power has always been to refuse to represent it. The way to show that something is truly powerful is to hide it, to render it invisible, ineffable, unknowable, utterly featureless and abstract.

Space Caviar:

Does your home have an airplane mode?

an entire world of previously unavailable data
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:36 am EDT, Apr 16, 2015

Trevor Timm:

Facebook is extremely meticulous about what content the public should see. Close watchers of the social media site know that most of the time you only see around 6 percent of what your friends post. For organizations who want their followers to see their posts, it's even less. But most users don't know this is happening. As Alexis Madrigal explained, more than 60 percent of users in one study "had no idea that there even was a filtering algorithm, let alone one that looks at more than a thousand data signals to determine what to show a user."

Leo Mirani:

11% of Indonesians who said they used Facebook also said they did not use the internet.

An exchange:

David Sanger: There's a lot we miss every day. I go to work every day convinced that I've got a handle on fully 3% of what's going on, okay?
Stewart Baker: [laughing] The key is [that] you can persuade us it's the most important 3%.
David Sanger: [laughing] That's right. [laughing] That's right.

Nick Halstead:

For the first time, aggregate analysis is enabled across the entirety of Facebook users -- not just the public profiles. Access to topic data opens up an entire world of previously unavailable data that includes Non-Public Posts such as status updates, Page Posts, plus Comments, Likes and Shares on posts with demographics.

Ravi Somaiya:

If Facebook pushes beyond the experimental stage and makes content hosted on the site commonplace, those who do not participate in the program could lose substantial traffic -- a factor that has played into the thinking of some publishers. Their articles might load more slowly than their competitors', and over time readers might avoid those sites.

Trevor Timm:

Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post for $250 million dollars two years ago, breathing new life into a paper that was struggling financially for years. Facebook, which bought WhatsApp for $19 billion soon after, could buy 76 Washington Posts for that amount.

literally selling sand to Arabs
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:33 am EDT, Apr 16, 2015

Steven Johnson:

The truth is California doesn't have a water problem. We all do.

The Economist:

The UN's latest World Population Prospects expects the world to grow from 7.2 billion people today to 9.6 billion in 2050. India will swell to 1.6 billion people; it is on track to overtake China in 2028.

Bob Work:

I tell you now, our technological superiority is slipping. We see it every day.

The Economist:

America's preeminence is over.

Steven Pinker:

We see the fossils of dead superlatives that our ancestors overused ...

William Ellsworth, a research geologist at the United States Geological Survey:

We can say with virtual certainty that the increased seismicity in Oklahoma has to do with recent changes in the way that oil and gas are being produced.

Wes Felter:

We're getting into interest-only adjustable-rate subprime technical debt.

Alissa Walker:

It is actually cheaper to ship alfalfa to Beijing than it is to truck it from one side of [California] to the other.

Vince Beiser:

Desert sand generally doesn't work for construction; shaped by wind rather than water, desert grains are too round to bind together well. Exporters in Australia are literally selling sand to Arabs.

nobody cares
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:24 am EDT, Apr 13, 2015


According to the NPD Connected Intelligence Consumers and Wearables Report, 36 percent of fitness tracker owners in the US are 35-54 years old, 41 percent had an average income of more than $100,000, and 54 percent were women. One-in-ten U.S. adults now own a fitness tracker.

Paul Krugman:

The [FitBit] spies on me all the time, and therefore doesn't let me lie to myself about my efforts.

Joan Didion:

Self-deception remains the most difficult deception.

Paul Krugman:

The truth is that nobody cares.

Liz Ryan:

Resist the urge to say more about yourself. No one cares.

Paul Krugman:

The rich already live in a kind of privatized surveillance state; now the opportunity to live in a gilded fishbowl is being (somewhat) democratized.

Danielle Kurtzleben:

Only 1 percent of Americans consider themselves upper-class.

David Graeber:

Today, in many municipalities, as much as 40% of the money governments depend on comes from the kinds of predatory policing that has become a fact of life for the citizens of Ferguson. Increasingly, cities find themselves in the business of arresting citizens in order to pay creditors.

The wealthiest Americans gain their wealth, increasingly, not from making or selling anything, but from coming up with ever-more creative ways to make us feel like criminals.

John Oliver:

No one cares. [Americans] don't give a shit.

I think they will say, "I definitely do not care."

you're free
Topic: Miscellaneous 8:29 pm EDT, Apr 12, 2015

George Lucas:

Look around you. Ideas are everywhere.

Akim Reinhardt:

We build ideas like large, intricate Rube Goldberg contraptions. We're desperate to know that we caught the mouse because we built a proper trap. We're distraught by the prospect that we are the mice and the mice are us and every living thing dies, whether in a trap or in an open field or in the talons of bird or in the wreckage of a car or in a hospital. Nothing matters.

Olivia Laing:

Faced with the knowledge that nothing we say, no matter how trivial or silly, will ever be completely erased, we find it hard to take the risks that togetherness entails.

Everyone is promoting, no one is listening.

Geoff Manaugh:

Los Angeles is where you confront the objective fact that you mean nothing; the desert, the ocean, the tectonic plates, the clear skies, the sun itself, the Hollywood Walk of Fame -- even the parking lots: everything there somehow precedes you, even new construction sites, and it's bigger than you and more abstract than you and indifferent to you. You don't matter. You're free.


I said, "How does a strapping young man like me get to be an old codger like you?" And he looked at me and said, "Do what you want to!" And at first I was thinking, this old man just made more sense to me than anything I'd ever heard in my life. It's just, do what you want to.

Steve Jobs:

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life.

John Givings:

Plenty of people are onto the emptiness, but it takes real guts to see the hopelessness.

Melinda Gates:

Let your heart break. It will change what you do with your optimism.

Hillary Clinton:

Everyday Americans need a champion. And I want to be that champion.

Michiru Hoshino:

Oh! I feel it. I feel the cosmos!

a real grind
Topic: Miscellaneous 8:26 pm EDT, Apr 12, 2015

Amy Davidson:

Sane people or those not raised for it don't seem to want to be politicians anymore.

Rivka Galchen, on Austin Holland:

I had the impression of a man who loved science and was politely trying to endure waking up each day, after insufficient sleep, to discover himself in the role of a politician.

Leonard Mlodinow:

Newton never wrote a memoir, but if he had, he probably would have called it I Hope I Really Pissed You Off, or maybe, Don't Bother Me, You Ass.

David Runciman:

In a world of myriad possibilities, especially for those who have the technical abilities that bring lavish rewards in the private sector, politics looks like a real grind. True, successful politicians get to exercise real power now and then, which must be a thrill. But most politicians are not successful: they labour away, scrabbling for votes, striving for influence, only to find that someone has beaten them to it.

Hillary Clinton:

Everyday Americans need a champion. And I want to be that champion.

Roger Scruton:

It feels good to pretend, and when we all join in, it is almost as though we were not pretending at all.

imagine how appealing it will be
Topic: Miscellaneous 6:50 pm EDT, Apr 12, 2015

President Xi Jinping:

No internet safety means no national security. No informatization means no modernization.

Benjamin Dean, Fellow for Internet Governance and Cyber-security, School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University:

As we plough billions of dollars into intelligence agencies, supposedly to keep us all safe from 'cyber-attacks', it has the effect of further weakening the already low incentives for companies to invest in information security themselves.

Erich Schubert:

It's now pretty much mainstream to download and run untrusted software in your "datacenter". That is bad, really bad. Before, admins would try hard to prevent security holes, now they call themselves "devops" and happily introduce them to the network themselves!

Maciej Ceglowski:

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

John Herrman:

If Facebook publishing is attractive to healthy companies, imagine how appealing it will be to dying ones.

Nicole Perlroth:

The Great Cannon, the researchers said in a report published Friday, allows China to intercept foreign web traffic as it flows to Chinese websites, inject malicious code and repurpose the traffic as Beijing sees fit.

Jon R. Lindsay, Tai Ming Cheung, and Derek Reveron:

It is futile to hope to eliminate cyber exploitation across national boundaries. It is simply too essential a tool for China's economic development and political stability strategy and for the national security strategy of the United States, although neither state likes to admit it publicly.

While it might not be possible to completely eliminate cyberthreats through norms or formal agreements, we should be able to avoid making them worse through ignorance.

Taylor Swift:

I have to stop myself from thinking about how many aspects of technology I don't understand.

An engineer:

You would be underwhelmed by the technology.

David Ulevitch:

Like it or not, every business is a security company now. Whether you build technology or provide services to consumers or other businesses ... you are a security company. If there is information inside your company you would never want disclosed ... you are a security company. If your business collects and stores personal or confidential data of any kind regardless of your vertical ... you are a security company. It's a fact.

Thomas Fuentes:

'Keep Fear Alive.' Keep it alive.

Rebecca Brock:

People say to me, "Whatever it takes." I tell them, It's going to take everything.

compelling parochial interest
Topic: Miscellaneous 8:30 am EDT, Apr 11, 2015

Barack Obama:

I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America ... hereby declare a national emergency ...

Former FBI assistant director Thomas Fuentes:

You know, it's my opposite of Jesse Jackson's 'Keep Hope Alive' -- it's 'Keep Fear Alive.' Keep it alive.

James Comey:

The Internet is the most dangerous parking lot imaginable.

Evan Perez and Shimon Prokupecz:

One official says the Russian hackers have "owned" the State Department system for months and it is not clear the hackers have been fully eradicated from the system.

Anonymous official:

We have other ways of getting at you ...

Larry Summers:

The legitimacy of US leadership depends on our resisting the temptation to abuse it in pursuit of parochial interest, even when that interest appears compelling.

Nicole Perlroth:

Ultimately, researchers say, the only way for Internet users and companies to protect themselves will be to encrypt their Internet traffic so that it cannot be intercepted and diverted as it travels to its intended target.

Steven Bellovin:

We don't even have the right words.

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