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

the ones who harness its power
Topic: Miscellaneous 5:58 am EST, Dec  9, 2015

Eric Schmidt:

The Internet is not just a series of tubes transmitting information from place to place, terminal to terminal, without regard for those typing on their keyboards or reading on their screens. The people who use any technology are the ones who need to define its role in society. Technology doesn't work on its own, after all. It's just a tool. We are the ones who harness its power.

Andrew Keane Woods:

I recently attended a conference for purveyors of surveillance software -- an event unofficially known as the "Wiretappers' Ball." I asked one vendor if he was aware of law enforcement's frustrations with American tech firms. The salesman grinned and told me that police departments now buy his malware precisely because they're tired of waiting for evidence through established diplomatic channels.

Jessica Stern:

I think we have to do everything we can.

Is that going to solve the problem?


Is it important?


Could we go further?


Josh Earnest:

We are going to resist the urge to trample a bunch of civil liberties.

Peter Baker:

While it would be a worrisome intelligence failure if the government missed obvious warning signs, William McCants, a former State Department official who worked on countering violent extremism, said the alternative -- that there were no signs at all -- would be worse.

Danny Yadron:

To grow sales, FireEye's Dave DeWalt has to say he can stop the hackers. But for sales to keep growing, the hackers can't actually stop.

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.

a study in contradictions
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:37 am EST, Dec  2, 2015

Charles Dunlap, in March:

Some of those [non-uniformed] people might not realize it, but they are belligerents, they are targetable, and they are targetable in the same basis as active duty military.

David Sanger, in November:

Over the past month, Iranian hackers identified individual State Department officials who focus on Iran and the Middle East, and broke into their email and social media accounts, according to diplomatic and law enforcement officials familiar with the investigation. The State Department became aware of the compromises only after Facebook told the victims that state-sponsored hackers had compromised their accounts.

Zeynep Tufekci:

Almost every week, we read about another spectacular data leak. It seems that, simultaneously, a set of technologies exist that defy all attempts, including by well-resourced governments, to spy on private messages, and yet our data is so unprotected that even CIA directors can't keep their files secure.

Danny Yadron:

To grow sales, FireEye's Dave DeWalt has to say he can stop the hackers. But for sales to keep growing, the hackers can't actually stop.

Samantha Power:

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

the habit of winning
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:34 am EST, Dec  2, 2015

Seth Godin:

Get in the habit of winning, of shipping, of having customers that can't live without you. Then go after the windmills.

said one marketer, of Yahoo's prospects, via Kara Swisher, in April:

Maybe they will surprise me. But I doubt it.

Clay Shirky:

Nothing will work, but everything might.

Caterina Fake:

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

Ezra Klein:

The implicit assumption of these arguments about strategy is that there is, somewhere out there, a workable strategy.

Rick Carew, Douglas MacMillan and David Benoit, this week:

The fate of troubled Internet portal Yahoo Inc. may be decided in a marathon series of board meetings this week.

Richard Holbrooke:

Only with hindsight can one look back and see that the smartest course may not have been the right one.

there goes the neighborhood
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:24 am EST, Nov 30, 2015

Timothy Walsh:

All the key players are now in place to make the post-antibiotic world a reality.

Christina Xu:

When it comes to identifying problems in entrenched systems, external perspective is absolutely necessary.

Kim Stanley Robinson:

Space science is an Earth science. The solar system is our neighborhood.

Michiru Hoshino:

Oh! I feel it. I feel the cosmos!

nihilistic lizard-brain sensationalism
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:23 am EST, Nov 30, 2015

P. J. O'Rourke:

I wonder, when was the last time a talk show changed a mind?

Matt Taibbi:

What we call right-wing and liberal media in this country are really just two different strategies of the same kind of nihilistic lizard-brain sensationalism. The ideal CNN story is a baby down a well, while the ideal Fox story is probably a baby thrown down a well by a Muslim terrorist or an ACORN activist. Both companies offer the same service, it's just that the Fox version is a little kinkier.

When you make the news into this kind of consumer business, pretty soon audiences lose the ability to distinguish between what they think they're doing, informing themselves, and what they're actually doing, shopping.

And who shops for products he or she doesn't want?

Metafilter Wisdom:

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

the secret to human behavior
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:23 am EST, Nov 30, 2015

Amanda Ann Klein:

The success of "Candid Camera" was inextricable from postwar America's newfound obsession with unlocking the motivations behind why people do what they do. The trauma of the Second World War led to the hope that hidden cameras and carefully constructed scenarios might unlock the secret to human behavior, both good and evil. Voyeurism was to answer all of our questions; reality television would help us know the unknowable.

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.'

David Cole:

If the American people object long enough and loudly enough to an electoral system that allows the rich to run roughshod over the interests of the rest of us, the system will change. The answer, in other words, lies with us.


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

people sitting at keyboards
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:22 am EST, Nov 30, 2015

Chris Sistrunk:

Remember that attackers who want to breach your network are people sitting at keyboards, so it takes people to defend against them.

Steven Bellovin:

Remember, the United States has no monopoly on programmers.

Arthur Schopenhauer:

Remember that he who writes for fools always finds a large public.

once more into the murk
Topic: Miscellaneous 6:41 am EST, Nov 18, 2015

John Rapley:

Close study suggests that the power of statelets and other new political actors will be less transitory, more significant, and more resistant to intervention than is usually assumed.

An exchange:

"You can't talk sense to them," Bush said, referring to terrorists. "Nooooo!" the audience roared.

John McCain:

Never get into a wrestling match with a pig. You both get dirty, and the pig likes it.

Malcolm Gladwell:

If things go wrong with a puzzle, identifying the culprit is easy: it's the person who withheld information. Mysteries, though, are a lot murkier: sometimes the information we've been given is inadequate, and sometimes we aren't very smart about making sense of what we've been given, and sometimes the question itself cannot be answered. Puzzles come to satisfying conclusions. Mysteries often don't.

Nizar Qabbani:

Dive into the sea, or stay away.


Who then [in 2013] could have imagined that a movement founded by a man from a video store in provincial Jordan would tear off a third of the territory of Syria and Iraq, shatter all these historical institutions, and -- defeating the combined militaries of a dozen of the wealthiest countries on earth -- create a mini empire?

The movement now controls a "terrorist state" far more extensive and far more developed than anything that George W. Bush evoked at the height of the "Global War on Terror." Then, the possibility of Sunni extremists taking over the Iraqi province of Anbar was used to justify a surge of 170,000 US troops and the expenditure of over $100 billion a year. Now, years after the surge, ISIS controls not only Anbar, but also Mosul and half of the territory of Syria.

We now know more and more facts about the movement and its members, but this did not prevent most analysts from believing as recently as two months ago that the defeats in Kobane and Tikrit had tipped the scales against the movement, and that it was unlikely to take Ramadi. We are missing something.

It is not clear whether our culture can ever develop sufficient knowledge, rigor, imagination, and humility to grasp the phenomenon of ISIS. But for now, we should admit that we are not only horrified but baffled.

T. S. Eliot:

The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.

what a difference furniture has made
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:12 pm EST, Nov 15, 2015

Dominique Browning:

I am not done with living. I am not done with my things. I love them, in fact, more and more each year, as I recollect the journey that brought us together.

Jennifer Lawrence:

I can't believe what a difference furniture has made in my overall emotional well-being.

Rivka Galchen:

I prefer the taciturn company of my things. I love my things. I have a great capacity for love, I think.

a futile attempt to live in the world of the past
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:11 pm EST, Nov 15, 2015

Jon Talton:

Even with the baseline budget, the United States spends more on defense than the next seven nations combined.

John Hamre:

There are more people in the Army today with their fingers on a keyboard than a trigger.

John Spencer:

Global connectedness had altered almost every facet of a soldier's daily life. Some commanders view the new connected social environment as simply a leadership challenge that can be controlled, perhaps by limiting soldiers' access to social media. This is a futile attempt to live in the world of the past.

Michael S. Schmidt:

In the past day, the FBI has used specially designed computer programs to determine whether there were any social media connections between the assailants and people in the United States. The results of those inquiries are not clear.

Leigh Alexander:

Facebook is absolutely, indisputably creepy, a fungal colony of privacy violations fused helplessly to our human infrastructure.

Paul Barford:

Everybody assumes somebody knows, but after a while you find out nobody actually knows.

Robert Hannigan:

Something is not quite right here. What is also clear is that we cannot as a country allow this situation to continue.

E. B. White:

Although you can take a nation's pulse, you can't be sure that the nation hasn't just run up a flight of stairs.

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.

Samantha Power:

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

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