|There are great benefits to connectedness, but we haven't wrapped our minds around the costs.|
||likely to be remembered as a failure | A Noteworthy Year
|| 7:43 am EST, Dec 31, 2014
The vulnerability, nicknamed "Shellshock," ... affects the Bash shell versions 1.14 through 4.3, which means that it has been around for more than 20 years.
Significant vulnerabilities can go undetected for some time. In this case, the buggy code is at least 19 years old and has been remotely exploitable for the past 18 years.
The Internet is the most dangerous parking lot imaginable.
By preying on the absolute worst fears of administrators and parents across the country, technology companies are earning millions of dollars selling security "solutions" that do not accurately address the threat model these tools claim to dispel.
Let's face it -- most of today's so-called "cutting edge" security defenses are either so specific, or so brittle, that they really don't offer much meaningful protection against a sophisticated attacker or group of attackers.
The massive hack by the so-called Guardians of Peace and ongoing leaks could raise unprecedented legal issues for Sony for years to come.
The incident is likely to be remembered as a failure of Hollywood leadership.
||who has the power? | A Noteworthy Year
|| 7:43 am EST, Dec 31, 2014
There are two kinds of big companies in the United States. There are those who've been hacked by the Chinese and those who don't know they've been hacked by the Chinese.
Some of the biggest companies in the world have security that is only as good as a minimum-wage phone support worker who has the power to reset your account. And they have valid business reasons for giving them this power.
Andrea Peterson and Craig Timberg:
In an era of soaring national investment in cyber-security, the weakest link often involves the inherent fallibility of humans.
It's prudent to assume that anything on your phone is potentially at risk.
There is a reason why BlackBerrys and iPhones are not allowed in the White House Situation Room.
We've migrated so much of our economy to computer networks because they are faster and more efficient, but there are side effects.
Ninety five percent of networks are compromised in some way.
Most of the devices exposed on the internet will be vulnerable. They will also be prone to unintended consequences: they will do things nobody designed for beforehand, most of which will be undesirable.
The recent attacks on the financial firms raise the possibility that the banks may not be up to the job of defending themselves.
Cyber threats pose one of the gravest national security dangers to the United States. The FBI stands ready to assist any US company that is the victim of a destructive cyber attack or breach of confidential business information.
There is undeniable evidence that our dependence on interconnected technology is defeating our ability to secure it.
Lillian Ablon, a security researcher at the RAND Corporation:
The ability to attack is certainly ... [ Read More (0.2k in body) ]
||tell the world about yourself | A Noteworthy Year
|| 7:42 am EST, Dec 31, 2014
Washington Post Editorial Board:
This is an important moment in which technology, privacy and the rule of law are colliding.
Surveillance as a business model is the only thing that makes a site like Facebook possible.
Sam Lessin, the head of Facebook's Identity Product Group:
The more you tell the world about yourself, the more the world can give you what you want.
Big Data always stands in the shadow of the bigger data to come.
The wolf's not at the door, the wolf's in the living room.
In a world controlled by algorithms, sometimes the most apparently innocuous of processes can have unintended consequences.
Time was, all these things we said in passing were ephemeral. We could conveniently pretend to forget. Or actually forget. Thanks to the way our lives have changed, we no longer have that option.
I've come to believe that a lot of what's wrong with the Internet has to do with memory.
We have acquired an irrepressible eagerness to watch the lives of others. We pay to be the spectators of our own loss of privacy.
In all my years as a parent, I've mostly met children who take it for granted that they are always being watched.
During the past 15 years, video cameras have been placed in a vast number of public and private spaces. In the future, the software operating the cameras will not only be able to identify particular humans via facial recognition, experts say, but also identify certain types of behavior, perhaps even automatically alerting authorities.
Your bag of potato chips can hear what you're saying.
When it's all said and done, there's no such thing as a "free" app -- and the real cost is measured in ... [ Read More (0.1k in body) ]
|| 7:48 am EST, Dec 29, 2014
Here's the thing: in order for airline fees to work, there needs be something worth paying to avoid. That necessitates, at some level, a strategy that can be described as "calculated misery." Basic service, without fees, must be sufficiently degraded in order to make people want to pay to escape it. And that's where the suffering begins.
Besha Rodell, on Outback:
And the steaks? The steaks aren't very good. But they're big as hell and cooked right and incredibly cheap for something as inherently decadent as steak. They aren't thin and gray; they're big and meaty. They just have no tang or depth. And maybe it's just me, but sometimes I feel as though I can taste the barely perceptible flavor of misery in a piece of meat. The cow's misery? The cook's misery? I've declared more than once that you can taste love in food, so why not misery?
For some reason, knowing tomorrow won't be so bad doesn't make today pass any faster. In my experience. But that awful day was Monday, and now it's Friday and I don't remember how bad I felt. Now that is a genuine blessing, because I do remember how bad I hated all the misery I can't remember.
Jules Dupuit, in 1849:
It is not because of the few thousand francs which would have to be spent to put a roof over the third-class carriage or to upholster the third-class seats that some company or other has open carriages with wooden benches ... What the company is trying to do is prevent the passengers who can pay the second-class fare from traveling third class; it hits the poor, not because it wants to hurt them, but to frighten the rich ... And it is again for the same reason that the companies, having proved almost cruel to the third-class passengers and mean to the second-class ones, become lavish in dealing with first-class customers. Having refused the poor what is necessary, they give the rich what is superfluous.
||to dull the searing impact
|| 7:36 am EST, Dec 29, 2014
As Martha Nussbaum puts it, The Bacchae teaches us that "any reasonably rich and complete life, sexual or social, is lived in a complex tension between control and yielding, risking always the loss of order." How to live inside this tension, how to manage intoxication, is one of the hardest lessons that mark adulthood. It's also one of the richest.
I want to be writing the ideas people read late at night, with a glass of wine, to dull the searing impact of the life they've already chosen.
Samuel Johnson, 1751:
Many need no other provocation to enmity than that they find themselves excelled.
||it's easier not to think about it
|| 3:56 pm EST, Dec 27, 2014
In the past some anthropologists have fetishized cultural purity, fretting over the introduction of modern technology. But cultures evolve opportunistically like species -- the Plains Indians of North America picked up their iconic horses from the Spanish -- and strong traditional cultures will privilege themselves, making the accommodations they think will ensure their futures. We can question whether a man dressed in a parrot feather headdress and penis sheath is more valuable than one in a Batman T-shirt and gym shorts. But who can be blind to their knowledge of forest plants and animals or to the preeminent values of clean water, untainted air, and the genetic and cultural treasure of diversity itself?
In the 1960s and before, it was totally fine to give out something you'd made yourself. But once people got it in their heads that maniacs were out there trying to kill their children with Halloween treats, everything homemade was suspect. After all, you didn't know whose hands had touched that cookie and what scary ingredients might be hidden under the chocolate chips. Same for unwrapped candies and off-brand candies: If it wasn't sealed in a recognizable, major brand factory label, then it was guilty until proven innocent. National advertised candy brands were familiar and trusted, unlike that spooky neighbor who just might be an axe murderer. It's one of the huge successes of processed food marketing, to make us trust and feel good about the factory food, and to distrust and denigrate the homemade and the neighborly.
Now, you might say that anyone who eats chicken sashimi is engaging in high-risk behaviour; but eating is always an intimate act, and, like most acts of intimacy, it requires you to trust your partner. Somebody -- more often than not a stranger -- has created something that will end up inside you, part of you.
It's easier not to think about where our food comes from, or the risks it carries.
In the last 40 years, the Arctic has warmed by about 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit, more than twice the overall global rise in that same period. Already grizzly bears are tromping into polar bear territory while fish like cod and salmon are leaving their historic haunts to follow warming waters north. One tangible result of the migration, scientists report, is that animals will learn to live with new neighbors. But polar biologists worry that animals could get a little too friendly with each other.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is weighing an environmental group's request to set aside 110,000 square miles for grizzly bears in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado.
At its heart, breeding animals represents the industrialization of mutations.
Whereas in 1957 a typical dairy cow produced between 500 and 600 pounds of milk over a post-natal lactation period, she now produces close to 20,000 pounds. Consequently, today's burnt-out dairy cow survives just over two lactations, compared to between 10 and 20 lactations in earlier years.
||count yourself among the richest
|| 3:09 pm EST, Dec 27, 2014
Fifty-plus years into the Antidepressant Age, it's still not clear that drugs are better than placebos. Universal financial security is probably the single best countermeasure to the depression epidemic.
Over the past thirty years, reports CAP, "average tuition for a four-year college has increased more than 250 percent" -- accounting for both public and private schools -- while average family income increased only 16 percent.
The Economist Espresso:
Wealth is so unevenly distributed that you need just $3,650 (less debts) to count yourself among the richest half of the world. A mere $77,000 puts you among the wealthiest 10%. And $798,000 places you in the wealthiest 1%.
Maybe the problem isn't that international development doesn't work. It's that it can't.
Is work -- and the link between work and the earning of an income sufficient to live on -- so important to society that we should want millions of people to function as meatware: doing jobs sensors and computers could and would do if only there were not an excess supply of humans needing to work in order to afford food and shelter?
||a situation that rapidly devolves into storytelling
|| 2:58 pm EST, Dec 27, 2014
Repulsive as the practice of hacking cell phones is, it relies to some extent on our well-nigh universal failure to grasp that there is simply no such thing as secure telecommunication.
It's quite possible the media are guilty of inspiring the hacker's narrative, since it was only after news reports tying the attack to the Sony film that GOP began condemning the movie in public statements. This week the hackers have pounced on that narrative, using it to escalate the stakes.
It's easy to fake, and it's even easier to interpret it wrong. In general, it's a situation that rapidly devolves into storytelling, where analysts pick bits and pieces of the "evidence" to suit the narrative they already have worked out in their heads.
DiFonzo says crazy North Korea rumors are often an expression of us telling ourselves, "We are different from them; our way of life is better than their way of life or his way of life."
The threats and subsequent cancellation will become a nightmare with a very long tail. Let's just say the last few weeks in the American political and cultural narrative have been miserable.
Jeb Bush, a few weeks ago:
In the coming months, I hope to visit with many of you and have a conversation about restoring the promise of America.
||we were not pretending at all
|| 9:33 am EST, Dec 24, 2014
Children who believe in Santa Claus invest real emotions in a fiction. We who have ceased to believe have only fake emotions to offer. But the faking is pleasant. It feels good to pretend, and when we all join in, it is almost as though we were not pretending at all.
Oh! I feel it. I feel the cosmos!
It's exciting to chase things and exciting to try to guess answers. But you have to be disciplined about not letting your hypotheses harden into anything more.
Look around you. Ideas are everywhere.
Either you care, or you don't. There's no in-between. And if you care, then go all of the way.
It's good to have a plan, but if something extraordinary comes your way, you should go for it.
|| 9:19 am EST, Dec 24, 2014
I've gotten old enough that I now understand why adults seek to escape reality.
I think that there's an extraordinary value to escapism. It's not always about escaping from something. You can be going for something -- reaching for this other world.
Iwan Rhys Morus:
It was only around the beginning of the 1800s, as new attitudes towards progress, shaped by the relationship between technology and society, started coming together, that people started thinking about the future as a different place, or an undiscovered country -- an idea that seems so familiar to us now that we often forget how peculiar it actually is.
Part of the power of travel is that you stand a good chance of being hollowed out by it. The lucky come back home complaining about crooked rug merchants and dishonest taxi drivers; the unlucky never come home at all.
If Julian Schnabel is a surfer in the sense of knowing how to skim existence for its wonders, he is also a surfer in the more challenging sense of wanting to see where something bigger than himself, or the unknown, will take him, even with the knowledge that he might not come back from the trip.