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Current Topic: Miscellaneous

a central part of the struggle | A Noteworthy Year
Topic: Miscellaneous 9:20 am EST, Dec 27, 2015

Horace Dediu:

The data under scrutiny is, as usual, the data that can be gathered. Unfortunately the data that can't be gathered is where the insight into what is happening may lie.

Alex Peysakhovich:

The things we can measure are never exactly what we care about.

Konstantin Kakaes:

The central claim of data proponents is that data always has some positive value. This premise is false.

Dominic Brown:

On average, 69% of an organization's data is has no business, legal, or regulatory value.

Freeman Dyson:

Science is not concerned only with things that we understand. The most exciting and creative parts of science are concerned with things that we are still struggling, to understand. Wrong theories are not an impediment to the progress of science. They are a central part of the struggle.

Josh Dzieza:

We're building systems the full repercussions of which we don't yet understand, and the idea of opting out of them is a myth.

Sue Halpern:

Business, of course, is self-interested and resists regulation. We, the people, are on our own here -- though if the AI developers have their way, not for long.

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.


the very idea of war | A Noteworthy Year
Topic: Miscellaneous 8:48 am EST, Dec 27, 2015

James Fallows:

As a country, America has been at war nonstop for the past 13 years. As a public, it has not.

Peter Beinart:

Almost one-third of those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Svetlana Alexievich:

I ask myself what kind of book I want to write about war. I'd like to write a book about a person who doesn't shoot, who can't fire on another human being, who suffers at the very idea of war. Where is he? I haven't met him.

Phil Klay:

It's only during frightening times when you get to find out if your country really deserves to call itself the 'home of the brave.'


they think we can win the war | A Noteworthy Year
Topic: Miscellaneous 8:47 am EST, Dec 27, 2015

Ian Bogost:

Fifty years' worth of attempts to turn software development into a legitimate engineering practice have failed.

Michael Mann:

If it hasn't been targeted, that's only because somebody hasn't bothered to yet.

Adriel Desautels:

The vast majority of vulnerabilities are exploited within days of them becoming known.

Economist:

The average time between an attacker breaching a network and its owner noticing the intrusion is 205 days.

TrapX Security:

Our scientists believe that a large majority of hospitals are currently infected with malware that has remained undetected for months and in many cases years.

Steven Bellovin:

There's good evidence that people are playing serious malicious games with the routing table.

Dan Kaminsky:

Some companies think we should be stopping all hackers. Others think we should stop only the other guy's hackers -- they think we can win the war ...

Eugene Kaspersky:

It is not possible to be the champion in every game.

a draft report jointly compiled by the Estonian authorities and Microsoft:

It became clear that no matter how ready you think you are, you are never ready enough.

Howard Schmidt:

What we can do, we can expect done back to us.

Jane Harman:

Be wary of writing code you wouldn't want thrown back against your own networks.

Whit Diffie:

There are lots of people who want you to be secure against everyone but them.


humility is endless | A Noteworthy Year
Topic: Miscellaneous 3:14 pm EST, Dec 26, 2015

Lee McIntyre:

The real enemy is not ignorance, doubt, or even disbelief. It is false knowledge. When we profess to know something even in the face of absent or contradicting evidence, that is when we stop looking for the truth.

Maria Konnikova:

Even when we think we've properly corrected a false belief, the original exposure often continues to influence our memory and thoughts.

Niels Bohr:

An expert is a person who has found out by his own painful experience all the mistakes that one can make in a very narrow field.

Mark Danner:

We translated our ignorance into their pain.

Douglas Adams:

There's nothing easier than getting a human mind to ignore something it doesn't want to see.

Louis Menand:

We would rather find more reasons for believing what we already believe than look for reasons that we might be wrong.

Josh Wills:

The human capacity for post-hoc rationalization is basically infinite.


struggle is all we have | A Noteworthy Year
Topic: Miscellaneous 3:12 pm EST, Dec 26, 2015

Eric Holthaus:

New York City -- and every other coastal city on the planet -- may only have a few more decades of habitability left.

Katie Moussouris:

One must never waste a good crisis.

Ta-Nehisi Coates:

Perhaps struggle is all we have.

John Oliver:

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

James Bessen:

The root of the problem is the corrosive influence of money in politics.

Joe Biden:

I believe the huge sums of unlimited and often secret money pouring into our politics is a fundamental threat to our democracy.


the data they collected | A Noteworthy Year
Topic: Miscellaneous 3:11 pm EST, Dec 26, 2015

James Comey:

The haystack is the entire country.

Anna Slomovic:

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.

Maciej Ceglowski:

Data collection is a trade-off.

It hurts the people whose data you collect, but it also hurts your ability to think clearly.

Make sure that it's worth it!

Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl:

I want them to be worried that we're watching.

David Graeber:

If you see a policeman and you feel more safe, rather than less, then you can be pretty sure you're middle class.

Seth Stoughton:

Fear is ubiquitous in law enforcement.

Emrys Westacott:

What we should fear is not so much the technology as those who who are willing to misuse it.

Radiolab:

Once we realize what we can do, we wonder whether we should.

Jane Harman:

The CIA should remember that just because it can do something doesn't mean it should.


the life you have right now | A Noteworthy Year
Topic: Miscellaneous 3:08 pm EST, Dec 26, 2015

Eric Schmidt:

Technology doesn't work on its own, after all. It's just a tool. We are the ones who harness its power.

Sherry Turkle:

Even a silent phone disconnects us.

Philippe Verduyn et al:

Passive Facebook usage undermines affective well-being.

Sherry Turkle:

Some of the most crucial conversations you will ever have will be with yourself.

Sean Parker:

The moment anyone begins to worry about what the establishment thinks, it's probably an indication that they've become a part of it.

Paul Saffo:

Never mistake a clear view for a short distance.

Tim Kreider:

At some point you ... have to consider the possibility that the life you have right now might pretty much be it.

Tosin Thompson:

Your future isn't predetermined, it already exists.


a bug, not a feature | A Noteworthy Year
Topic: Miscellaneous 3:06 pm EST, Dec 26, 2015

Jan Chipchase:

What does your learning curve look like? Where are you on the curve? And where do you want to be?

Jerry Seinfeld:

You wanna be on the water? How do you wanna be on the water? You wanna be on a yacht or you wanna be on a surfboard? I wanna be on a surfboard. I don't wanna deal with a yacht. Some people want a yacht to say "See my yacht."

Werner Herzog:

Always take the initiative.

Michael Lopp:

Busy is a bug, not a feature.

The Economist:

The so-called leisure class has never been more harried.

Omid Safi:

When did we forget that we are human beings, not human doings?


suffering is our capital
Topic: Miscellaneous 6:29 am EST, Dec 10, 2015

Steve Coll:

In 1945, many civil wars were concluded after about two years. By 1999, they lasted, on average, about sixteen years. And conflicts in which a guerrilla group could finance itself -- by selling contraband drug crops, or by smuggling oil -- might go on for thirty or forty years.

Pankaj Mishra:

As long as avid conformists and careerists reign over an impoverished public sphere, endless war will remain the default option. And the recourse to Westernism's self-congratulatory bromides after every new calamity will ensure that we continue to grieve together and grow stupid together.

Julian Barnes:

Anna Bikont's book is more than a book of memory. It is also a book about forgetting, about the pollution of memory, about the conflict between the easy, convenient truth and the awkward, harder truth. It is a work that grows from its journalistic manner and origins into the powerful writing of necessary history.

Svetlana Alexievich:

So what is it that I do? I collect the everyday life of feelings, thoughts, and words. I collect the life of my time. I'm interested in the history of the soul. The everyday life of the soul, the things that the big picture of history usually omits, or disdains. I work with missing history. I am often told, even now, that what I write isn't literature, it's a document. What is literature today? Who can answer that question? We live faster than ever before. Content ruptures form. Breaks and changes it. Everything overflows its banks: music, painting -- even words in documents escape the boundaries of the document. There are no borders between fact and fabrication, one flows into the other. WitnessđÁs are not impartial. In telling a story, humans create, they wrestle time like a sculptor does marble. They are actors and creators.

Suffering is our capital, our natural resource. Not oil or gas -- but suffering. It is the only thing we are able to produce consistently. I'm always looking for the answer: why doesn't our suffering convert into freedom? Is it truly all in vain?

I ask myself what kind of book I want to write about war. I'd like to write a book about a person who doesn't shoot, who can't fire on another human being, who suffers at the very idea of war. Where is he? I haven't met him.


there are wolves out there
Topic: Miscellaneous 8:00 pm EST, Dec  9, 2015

Mark Deming:

It's not at all surprising that Laurie Anderson would make a film dealing with grief and loss, especially as one of her first major projects after the death of her husband Lou Reed. But instead of offering a tribute to her late spouse, Anderson chose to make a film that dealt with another departed loved one: her dog. Heart of a Dog is loosely centered around her experiences with her dog Lolabelle. The soundtrack combines music, sounds effects, ambient noises, and Anderson's narration as she tells us stories about Lolabelle that lead into observations on a variety of other topics -- life in post-9/11 America, her uneasy relationship with her mother, harrowing memories from her childhood, her studies of Buddhism, and the nature of dreams.

Jonathan Self:

In Defence of Dogs, by John Bradshaw, is about the evolution of dogs and their relationship with humans. He begins by telling a lovely story about how when he was growing up, his grandfather had a dog who used to have a routine. Every day it used to walk into town and see people. They used to stop the traffic so the dog could cross the road, and later it would come home. There was much greater freedom for dogs. That's his starting point: He suddenly realized that nowadays dogs always have to be on the lead and there are all these rather strict rules about them. This got him interested in the relationship between dogs and humans. It's a fantastic book and really explores all sorts of things, like how dogs became domesticated and what happens within wolf packs, which is what everybody looks at because dogs and wolves are so closely connected. In particular, in training, you'll hear a lot of people say, "Oh the dog views the family as a pack and you need to be the alpha male, you need to dominate your dog. You mustn't let it get on the furniture, you mustn't let it go ahead of you through the door." In fact all that research was based on wolves that were being observed in zoos and wildlife parks. And of course those packs were not actually the same sort of pack that would exist in the wild. They were a made-up pack.

Once they started researching what wolves did in the wild, they discovered that the whole alpha male and alpha female thing is a complete misnomer. You've got a Mum and Dad and the next generation down are the previous year's cubs who stay with the pack to help bring up the third generation. It's a pass-through system. Then the new cubs stay on, and the teenagers go off and form their own packs and the wolves, far from fighting each other, are all very cooperative, because it's all about survival. There is very little fighting between wolves.

Ben Crair:

"How would you feel letting your kids outside to play, knowing there are wolves out there?" Annie Liverman, a waitress at the Columbia Crossing restaurant in Columbia, asked me on a recent visit. Never mind that red wolves have never actually attacked a human. In the farming town of Fairfield, Frances Cuthrell said she leaves Christmas lights on her home year-round, hoping they'll scare the wolves away.

An exchange:

Homer: Not a bear in sight. The "Bear Patrol" is working like a charm!
Lisa: That's specious reasoning, Dad.
Homer: [uncomprehendingly] Thanks, honey.

John Maynard Keynes:

In the long run we are all dead.


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