7 June 2013
The Internet Is a Surveillance State
The Internet is a surveillance state. Whether we admit it to ourselves or not, and whether we like it or not, we’re being tracked all the time. Google tracks us, both on its pages and on other pages it has access to. Facebook does the same; it even tracks non-Facebook users. Apple tracks us on our iPhones and iPads. One reporter used a tool called Collusion to track who was tracking him; 105 companies tracked his Internet use during one 36-hour period.
4 June 2013
The Facebook experiment has failed. Let’s go back.
I am signed into Facebook right now. At a quick glance, the entire list of posts on the first screen are irrelevant to me. If I scrolled down I can find 4 stories I actually care about, from a list of about 30. The most important page on Facebook has more than three-fourths of absolutely useless content.
Surprising. Facebook is a company with a very large number of talented people. They know a lot about me. Yet, their product looks like one of those spam filled mailboxes from the nineties.
3 June 2013
The Banality of Don’t Be Evil by Julian Assange
This book is a balefully seminal work in which neither author has the language to see, much less to express, the titanic centralizing evil they are constructing. “What Lockheed Martin was to the 20th century,” they tell us, “technology and cybersecurity companies will be to the 21st.” Without even understanding how, they have updated and seamlessly implemented George Orwell’s prophecy. If you want a vision of the future, imagine Washington-backed Google Glasses strapped onto vacant human faces — forever. Zealots of the cult of consumer technology will find little to inspire them here, not that they ever seem to need it. But this is essential reading for anyone caught up in the struggle for the future, in view of one simple imperative: Know your enemy.
28 May 2013
He loves her
17 May 2013
Einstein’s Theory of Relativity explained using words of 4 letter or fewer
Your bed is with you in the void. But not for long — it goes away from you. You don’t have any way to get it back, so you just let it go. But so now we have a body in the void with you. So does the bed move, or do you move? Or both? Well, you can see as well as I that it can go any way you like. Flip a coin. Who’s to say? It’s best to just say that you move away from the bed, and that the bed goes away from you. No one can say who’s held fast and who isn’t.
Now, if I took the bed back but gave you the sun — just you and the sun in the void, now — I’ll bet you’d say that the sun is so big, next to you, that odds are you move and not the sun. It’s easy to move a body like ours, and not so easy to kick a sun to and fro. But that isn’t the way to see it. Just like with the bed, no one can say who’s held fast.
7 May 2013
I was blinded and severely mauled by a grizzly bear and barely lived to tell about it. I’ve adjusted to blind life and gone on to earn my masters, marry the love of my life, write a book, raise two kids, and land my dream job. Ask me anything.
Q. I’m sure you get this all the time, but what do you see? Is it pure blackness, or does your imagination kind of take over considering that you at one point had sight? Thanks for doing this AMA, you’re an inspiration.
A. No, its not just blackness. First there are two answers to this question. In my worldview, I have a vivid image of what’s around me and what things look like in my minds eye. It may not be accurate, but its my world view and helps me move about and operate in the world. Its how I know where things are and how to interact with the environment. Most people are good looking and in good shape in this world view.:) I can see the room I’m in and its place in the larger building, where the doors are and so on. When fishing I see the river, the trees on either side of the river back just beyond the flood plain where the cranes nest. I see the mountains around us and the volcanoes across the Cook Inlet. I see the Eagles over head perched on the tree tops waiting for their meal to show itself and so on. One image I frequently think of is from a river kayaking trip on the Kenai river. I kayaked within feet of an eagle who was perched on a rock drying out its wings. As I kayaked past the eagle, it stood taller than I and stared at me suspiciously as I floated quietly past.
The second answer is I think more what you were asking about. When I try to see what I would have seen through my eyes and those neural pathways that use to be my eyes, I see what looks like the imagery you might see through the Hubble telescope. Its like looking into deep space and seeing galaxies, and billions of stars, and a super nova or something. I see billions of white specks on a black back drop with concentric circular shapes of iridescent blue and pink light on the foreground. Its actually quite beautiful itself when I take the time to focus on this which is usually not in the front of my attention any more.
30 April 2013
Clouds Over Cuba is an incredibly well designed (and webby-award-winning) look at the political atmosphere in Cuba from 1960s to the present.
23 April 2013
Mostar is a small town in Bosnia destroyed by the war, with a bridge from which generations of young men plunge to river below as a rite of passage.
Next Week’s School Shooting Victims Thank Senate For Failing To Pass Gun Bill
“Great job, guys,” said 14-year-old Jacob Miller, one of nine junior high school students who will be shot next week by a mentally ill gunman wielding a legally acquired assault rifle that was purchased at a gun show. “My classmates and I are really proud of you for cowering to the NRA and caring more about politics than my friends and I getting shot and killed. It totally makes sense. You’re the best.”
5 April 2013
What It’s Like to Be Kidnapped
There was a moment when it felt real. I wish I could tell you the exact time, but I was stuck in a frigid basement and they had taken my watch, along with everything else I was carrying when they grabbed me. I think it was around 3 a.m., but I’m only guessing. It felt like someone had torn open the minutes between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. and stuffed ten more hours inside. I was not on regular time. I was on Being Kidnapped time, which lasts far longer. Call it 3 (b)a.m.