URLs du Jour


  • Dan Geer, a very smart computer guy, used to give must-attend talks at the LISA sysadmin conferences. For some reason, he stopped attending a few years back. But he's still around, and still smart, and Bruce Schneier has posted links to both the text and video of a recent talk he gave in Boston. I also like the two paragraphs Schneier quoted, so I will too:
    At the end of the day, however, we are facing a much bigger, more metaphysical question than the ones I have so far posed. That I can pose many others is of no consequence; either you are sick of them by now or you are scribbling down your own as I speak. The bigger question is this -- how much security do we want?

    A world without failure is a world without freedom. A world without the possibility of sin is a world without the possibility of righteousness. A world without the possibility of crime is a world where you cannot prove you are not a criminal. A technology that can give you everything you want is a technology that can take away everything that you have. At some point, real soon now, some of us security geeks will have to say that there comes a point at which safety is not safe.

    A lot there to mull, both for computer geeks and the general citizenry.

  • Matt Welch reacts to today's E. J. Dionne column on "the true meaning of patriotism." E. J. quotes extensively and favorably from the book The True Patriot by Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer. For example:
    … [Liu and Hanauer] offer rigorous standards for what patriotism should be. "True patriots," they write, "believe that freedom from responsibility is selfishness; freedom from sacrifice is cowardice; freedom from tolerance is prejudice; freedom from stewardship is exploitation; and freedom from compassion is cruelty."
    Apparently patriotism-questioning will be all the rage this campaign season. As long as they get to define it (with "rigorous standards"), progressives will be all too eager to slap the "unpatriotic" label on dissenters. Whee.

    Welch is even less enamored with the tactic:

    Lord, how I despise every inch of this conversation. There is something juvenile yet creepy−not unlike watching Uncle Todd wave his penis−with the spectacle of people who wake up in the morning dreaming up new ways to draw the precise boundaries around what it means to be sufficiently patriotic. Especially when the definition of patriotism is in opposition to enumerated freedoms.
    No, this wasn't a sleazy attempt to sneak the word "penis" into our PG-13 rated blog.

  • I bet you were asking yourself: what's Jimmy Carter's granddaughter up to these days? UNH's own Shawn Macomber will tell you:
    … she sees her grandfather’s goofy-smiled carousing with terrorists and parries back with a small solo exhibit of paintings at Fake Estate in Manhattan entitled Casualties of Beauty, described in an accompanying press release as a “provocative collision of buoyant breasts, carnivorous plants, topographic flesh, oil slicks, and roadside IEDs” which “simultaneously depict phoenix totems of creation and destruction with a hint of irony.”
    Just a hint. Wouldn't want to overdo the irony.

  • If you're like me—you're probably not, but just in case—you'll want to preorder Neal Stephenson's new book, Anathem, due out September 9, 2008.

Last Modified 2008-09-30 1:56 PM EST