URLs du Jour

2006-01-19

  • Civil-libertywise, I've argued that bugging the communications of suspected terrorists is eminently defensible, even if the calls have a domestic component; but subpoenaing the Google for "1 million random Web addresses and records of all Google searches from any one-week period" isn't. The rationale, such as it is:
    The move is part of a government effort to revive an Internet child protection law struck down two years ago by the U.S. Supreme Court. The law was meant to punish online pornography sites that make their content accessible to minors. The government contends it needs the Google data to determine how often pornography shows up in online searches.
    The administration should either give the DOJ something better to do, or downsize them.
  • If you're feeling in a philosophical mood, Max Borders at TCS has a article contrasting "natural rights" with "rights by agreement." He prefers the latter; the article is in response to a previous one by Ed Feser, which takes the opposite tack. Both very smart, and if you're into this sort of thing, they are excellent introduction to the issues.

    I am, as always, deeply persuaded by the last thing I read. (My motto: "seems reasonable to me!")

  • Over at Big Lizards, and semi-related to the above item, an interesting post from Dafydd about those who pick political positions from a "Ideological Crazy Quilt" as opposed to deriving them from sound, core, bedrock principles.
    If a person has no animating principles, he can simply pick one position from column A and two from column B, selecting them based upon expediency, the nature of the Now. The ideological sampler becomes an ideological crazy quilt, "a thing of shreds and patches" hastily stitched together, the banal seascapes sewn right up next to the hellish glimpses of a Hieronymus Bosch painting.

    In this mad worldview, the position du jour is the primary source, and any "principles" must simply be deduced from what the subject does. Sensationalism, sensualism, solipsism, and nihilism are the four main branches of this epistemology; its followers comprise adrenaline junkies, decadent dilettantes, ultimate egoists, and visionaries of the Void. Nowhere is coherence. All is higgledy-piggledy:

    And then he quotes Yeats. Damn fine writer, that Dafydd fella.

    I tend toward a more prosaic idea: nearly all real-world politicians have a primary core "animating principle" of obtaining and wielding political power. It's not that they choose principles from a crazy quilt; it's that their other principles can easily be trimmed or jettisoned in service to their primary desire of getting elected, or otherwise making decisions for other people.

  • In the sysadmin universe, when an unexplained network outage occurs, it's common to quip: backhoe musta cut the fiber. But according to a recent Slashdot story, it's not a joke, it's actually pretty common: The Backhoe, The Internet's Natural Enemy.

Last Modified 2006-01-24 12:11 PM EST