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There are great benefits to connectedness, but we haven't wrapped our minds around the costs.

oh, the possibilities
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:39 am EST, Dec 19, 2014

Michael Lewis:

Perhaps now more than ever, clever people are habituated to being paid to ignore the spirit of any rule -- which is one reason they have become such a problem on Wall Street. Upon seeing a new rule they do not think, "What social purpose does this serve, and how can I help it to do the job?" They think, "How can I game it?"

Darius Rejali:

Nothing predicts future behavior as much as past impunity.

Peter Pomerantsev:

If nothing is true, then anything is possible.

George Friedman:

The tough part of national self-determination is the need to make decisions and live with them.

how they have been tested
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:42 am EST, Dec 18, 2014

Thomas Wadlow:

Whatever components or services you choose, consider how they have been tested for trustworthiness. Consider these principles attributed to Auguste Kerckhoffs, a Dutch linguist and cryptographer, in the 19th century:

* The system should be, if not theoretically unbreakable, then unbreakable in practice.

* The design of a system should not require secrecy, and compromise of the system design should not inconvenience the correspondents.

David Sanger:

What is remarkable in this case is that after three weeks of pressure, the attack forced one of Hollywood's largest studios, and Japan's most famous companies, to surrender.

Brooks Barnes:

Once the hackers threatened physical violence, the film's cancellation became almost inevitable, even though Sony spent a day steadfastly maintaining its plans for the release and premiere. The incident is likely to be remembered as a failure of Hollywood leadership.

Hackers claim to have taken at least 100 terabytes of Sony data.

Bruce Schneier:

Nobody noticed that 100 TB, yes T. of data was moving thru the pipes? Really?

Eriq Gardner:

The massive hack by the so-called Guardians of Peace and ongoing leaks could raise unprecedented legal issues for Sony for years to come. Now that eyes are open, it might be hard to shut them.

Alain de Botton:

The primary error ... lies in overlooking a central fact about people in general ... that everyone has something very substantially wrong with them once their characters are fully known ... We can't yet know what the problems will be, but we can and should be certain that they are there, lurking somewhere behind the facade, waiting for time to unfurl them.

Kevin Mandia:

Ninety five percent of networks are compromised in some way.

Jane Austen:

What are men to rocks and mountains?

Li Po:

We sit together, the mountain and me,
until only the mountain remains.

bad idea jeans
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:14 am EST, Dec 17, 2014

William Petroski:

Iowa is already one of more than 30 states that allow motorists to show electronic proof of insurance during a traffic stop. Rather than digging through clutter in your glove compartment for an insurance card, you can simply hand the law enforcement officer your mobile phone.

Joshua Brustein:

Cellcrypt and Verizon both say that law enforcement agencies will be able to access communications that take place over Voice Cypher, so long as they're able to prove that there's a legitimate law enforcement reason for doing so. Seth Polansky, Cellcrypt's vice president for North America, disputes the idea that building technology to allow wiretapping is a security risk. "It's only creating a weakness for government agencies," he says. "Just because a government access option exists, it doesn't mean other companies can access it."

Guy #2:

Normally I wear protection, but then I thought, "When am I gonna make it back to Haiti?"

the most difficult deception
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:14 am EST, Dec 17, 2014

Charles Darwin:

Looking back, I think it was more difficult to see what the problems were than to solve them.

Caterina Fake:

Much more important than working hard is knowing how to find the right thing to work on.

David Hilbert:

A perfect formulation of a problem is already half its solution.


It's important to understand that it isn't Congress that must change -- it is us.

Joan Didion:

Most of our platitudes notwithstanding, self-deception remains the most difficult deception.


Life is too short to spend 2300 hours a year working on someone else's idea of what the right problems are.

Colin Powell:

Be careful what you choose. You may get it.

Kyle Steiner:

You know, I didn't have to do shit. I didn't have to go in the army. I didn't have to become airborne infantry. I didn't have to do any of that. But I did, you know?

Rustin Cohle:

The world needs bad men. We keep the other bad men from the door.

a sense of scale
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:14 am EST, Dec 17, 2014

Caleb Garling:

Twelve hours -- half a day -- of new audio are posted to Soundcloud every minute.

A Google spokeswoman:

In 2014, 300 hours of video per minute were uploaded to YouTube, triple the amount in 2013.

Peter Thiel:

Google makes so much money that it is now worth three times more than every U.S. airline combined.

Tim Bradshaw and Richard Waters:

Apple's valuation this year has grown by almost as much as Google's entire market capitalization.

Danny Hakim:

Revenue at Maersk, publicly traded but family controlled, equals more than 14 percent of Denmark's gross domestic product.


"Wow," Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said, The Hill reported.

the objective function
Topic: Miscellaneous 10:39 pm EST, Dec 15, 2014

Tony Mendez, Moscow Rule #7:

Lull them into a sense of complacency.

Martin Chulov:

For ISIS, the relatively quiet years between 2008 and 2011 represented a lull, not a defeat.

Amy Davidson, on Dick Cheney and John Brennan:

Neither man would call what the CIA did torture. Each, in his own way, suggested that American torturers have not faced a reckoning so much as a lull in their business.

Dick Cheney:

I have no problem as long as we achieve our objective ...

One of Colin Powell's Rules:

Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.

Graeme Wood:

"Is the boy a Talib?" I asked. "Future Talib," he said.

Abu Ahmed:

I underestimated Baghdadi. And America underestimated the role it played in making him what he is.

There are others who are not ideologues. People who started out in Bucca, like me. And then it got bigger than any of us. This can't be stopped now. This is out of the control of any man. Not Baghdadi, or anyone else in his circle.

Peter Beinart:

The wisest thinkers have reconciled the national desire to feel special with the knowledge that Americans are just as fallen as everyone else.

an act of attentiveness and devotion
Topic: Miscellaneous 10:40 pm EST, Dec 14, 2014

Errol Morris:

Does the world really have to be this way? Why can't it be just a little bit better?

Odyssey Works:

"When I Left the House it Was Still Dark" (2013) was a long durational, ephemeral performance made for an audience of one. The creative process for this performance, as with other Odyssey Works projects, is an act of attentiveness and devotion. The team spends several months studying the participant before beginning to compose a set of experiences designed to move him or her in a profound way. By immersing themselves in the life of an individual and creating fully participatory experiences, Odyssey Works establishes a new paradigm for the relationship between artist and audience. Traversing theater, literature, visual art, music, dance, dream analysis, web hacking, and a myriad of other forms, Odyssey Works has been creating performances for an audience of one for more than a dozen years, inserting themselves into the lives of individuals, hoping to change one life at a time.

Ursula K. LeGuin:

Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art.

Jose Saramago:

If only all life's deceptions were like this one, and all they had to do was to come to some agreement ... Were it not for the fact that we're blind this mix-up would never have happened, You're right, our problem is that we're blind.

David Foster Wallace:

The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day. That is real freedom.

Alan Jacobs:

Often we may find that the modes of attention we prefer are in tension with the environments of attention in which we find ourselves.

the hierarchy of obligations
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:09 pm EST, Dec 14, 2014

Bruce Schneier:

That we live in the world where we aren't sure if any given cyberattack is the work of a foreign government or a couple of guys should be scary to us all.

Ben Elgin:

Experts worry that America's rivals may have found the sweet spot of cyberwar -- strikes that are serious enough to wound American companies but below the threshold that would trigger a forceful government response.

John McCain:

Our enemies act without conscience. We must not.

T. Christian Miller and Jonathan Jones:

All aim to make money. All must weigh, to one degree or another, their hierarchy of obligations -- to their shareholders, to their foreign workers, to their host countries, and to their own sense of right and wrong.

Bill Gates:

Different doesn't mean less than.

Zeynep Tufekci:

Systematic study aimed at removing our biases is crucial to understanding the world.

Michael Hobbes:

The point is, we don't know what works, where, or why. The only way to find out is to test these models -- not just before their initial success but afterward, and constantly.

Paul Graham:

[They] don't win by attacking. They win by transcending. There are exceptions of course, but usually the way to win is to race ahead, not to stop and fight.

Savas Dimopoulos:

Jumping from failure to failure with undiminished enthusiasm is the big secret to success.

the hardest thing to deal with
Topic: Miscellaneous 11:17 am EST, Dec 13, 2014

Christophe de Bellaigue:

It is a remarkable commentary on modern warfare waged by a democracy that a film like Korengal can be made, with the full cooperation of the US military, and without anyone getting into trouble for an excess of candor.

Dexter Filkins, on Phil Klay's "Redeployment":

The best thing written so far on what the war did to people's souls.

"The weird thing with being a veteran, at least for me, is that you do feel better than most people," one of Klay's characters says. "You risked your life for something bigger than yourself. How many people can say that? You chose to serve. Maybe you didn't understand American foreign policy or why we were at war. Maybe you never will. But it doesn't matter. You held up your hand and said, 'I'm willing to die for these worthless civilians.' "

Elizabeth Rubin:

It didn't take long to understand why so many soldiers were taking antidepressants.

Kyle Steiner:

For a while there, I started ... I started thinking that God hates me. And, like I said, I'm not religious or anything, but I felt like there was this hate for me. 'Cause I did ... sins, you know? I sinned.

And, although I would have done it the same way, everything the same exact way ... I still would feel this way, you know? I'd still ... And that's the terrible thing of war, you know?

You do terrible things. And then you have to live with them afterwards.

But you'd do them the same way if you had to go back. So what do you do? You know. It's like a fucking ... It's an evil, evil, evil thing inside your body.

It's like fucking good versus evil inside there, and... everyone tells you, you know, you did a honorable thing. You did all right. You're all right. You did... you did what you had to do.

And I just hate that comment. "Did what you had to do." 'Cause I didn't have to do any of it. And that's what the fucking thing is. That's the hardest thing to deal with.

You know, I didn't have to do shit. I didn't have to go in the army. I didn't have to become airborne infantry. I didn't have to do any of that. But I did, you know?

And, that comment, "you did what you had to do," just drives me insane.

Because is that what God's going to say? "You did what you had to do, good job"? Punch you on the shoulder and fucking say, "welcome to heaven," you know? I don't think so.

Lawrence D. Freedman:

There are no sure lessons. Yet there are always choices.

Topic: Miscellaneous 6:37 am EST, Dec 12, 2014

Joseph Stiglitz:

The typical American family is worse off than it was a quarter-century ago, adjusted for inflation; the proportion of people in poverty has increased. China, too, is marked by high levels of inequality, but its economy has been doing some good for most of its citizens. China moved some 500 million people out of poverty during the same period that saw America's middle class enter a period of stagnation. An economic model that doesn't serve a majority of its citizens is not going to provide a role model for others to emulate. America should see the rise of China as a wake-up call to put our own house in order.

Derek Thompson:

Since the Great Recession struck in 2007, the median wage for people between the ages of 25 and 34, adjusted for inflation, has fallen in every major industry except for health care.

Federal Reserve via Steven Rattner:

Inflation-adjusted earnings of the bottom 90 percent of Americans fell between 2010 and 2013, with those near the bottom dropping the most. Meanwhile, incomes in the top decile rose.

Steven Rattner:

In 1995, the 400 taxpayers with the biggest incomes paid an average of 30 percent in taxes; by 2009, the tax rate of those Americans had dropped to 20 percent.

Mohsin Hamid:

The America that boomed in the mid-20th century was a place where the state demanded that male citizens surrender years of their lives to national service, where the top income tax rate hovered between 70 and 94 percent, and where commercial banks were prohibited from investment banking. It was a veritable socialist paradise compared to the America of today.

Barack Obama:

No nation is perfect. But one of the strengths that makes America exceptional is our willingness to openly confront our past, face our imperfections, make changes and do better.

George Packer, on Germany:

No other country memorializes its conquerors on the walls of its most important official building.

Anne Frank:

As long as you can look fearlessly at the sky, you'll know that you're pure within and will find happiness once more.

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