The objective of the United States National Security Agency is to eliminate privacy around the world, the American writer who helped expose the NSA’s far-reaching surveillance powers said on Tuesday.
Glenn Greenwald of the UK’s Guardian answered questions about the ongoing NSA leaks and his source, the now notorious former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, during an online question-and-answer session held Tuesday on the website Reddit.
5:21 pm • 1 October 2013 • 25 notes
Ever Wonder How … the Internet is Changing Your Typing?
Take a look at your inbox and pay attention to the number of ellipses (“…”) in your personal emails. Notice a lot of them?
Slate’s Matthew J.X. Malady did, and wanted to understand this “ellipsis overkill.” It seems, he writes, to be an influence of the immediacy of communication technology on the written language. Now, written language mimics speech, not the other way around. From Malady’s talk with Clay Shirky:
“[M]uch of what is typed is for swift delivery and has more the character of speech, where whole, unbroken sentences are a rarity,” Shirky says. “Speech is instead characterized by continuous flow, with lots of pauses, repeats, false starts … and pauses to indicate changes in direction. We’re living in a moment a bit like Alexander the Great’s time, when he adopted the altogether remarkable habit (or so Plutarch reported) of reading silently. The relationship between the alphabet and talking was progressively broken as people learned to sound things out in their heads. Now we’re seeing a moment of reversal, where people are trying to use alphabets like we’re talking, and it’s … hard. So we reach for the ellipsis.”
See what he did there, with the … ellipses?
Other explanations posit that the ellipsis is merely a lazy man’s punctuation mark, a shortcut in simplifying complex conversation, or a tool for concise writing. Read the whole essay here, and watch your ellipsis footprint!
Related: Other tech-influenced linguistic trends, including "slash" as conjunction, gendered Tweeting behavior, and the rules of texting.
Image: Graphic from Slate
12:43 pm • 2 August 2013 • 126 notes
The Manning verdict’s central message, aside from this obvious hypocrisy and the injustices underlying it, is this: if you are a whistleblower in this country, do what Edward Snowden did (and what Daniel Ellsberg suggests): flee America, and fast.
However, if you commit crimes in the name of the state? Bulk up your profile.
There’s a microphone waiting.
— As Manning Faces Life in Jail, Architects of Torture & Extrajudicial Murders Face Talk Show Circuit (via wilwheaton)
1:23 pm • 31 July 2013 • 798 notes
“Oh, very. Just as we predicted. I can assure you, one hundred percent, that there will be scandals.”
— Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), in response to the question, “How worried are you about the current campaign-funding environment?” (The New Republic)
12:12 pm • 31 July 2013 • 7 notes
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning was front and center on Page One today, after a military judge declared him guilty of leaking government documents, but not guilty of aiding the enemy. Front pages handled the mixed verdict in mixed ways — some focused on the guilty verdict; others on the acquittal. The Beaufort Gazette focused on “Manning’s Fate,” noting that he “could face 136 years in prison.”
The WSJ cover is solid as well, showing a sharp contrast by simply listing the “not guilty” versus the “guilty.”
12:10 pm • 31 July 2013 • 167 notes
digesting the espionage act
Once again, working through my thoughts - this time on the Manning verdict. Once again, a disclaimer: no legal experience, very little technical knowledge, merely interest in Manning’s dilemma and its broader consequences. I want to hear corrections/comments on this!
I began by trying to figure out whether Manning’s stealing the information was a crime. After all, he had security clearance and plain access. It wasn’t his job to encrypt the data - he just found it and took it. Ultimately it seems to me that stealing information was not the crime; the crime was leaking the information - to anyone. And Manning plead guilty to that, so it’s (unfortunate, but) right that he is convicted for that.
The problem is with his intentions. He is going to be convicted for a misinterpretation of his INTENTIONS, which were ultimately good. He did not mean to tell the enemy - he meant to tell Americans what their own government was up to. So what exactly does the Espionage Act warn against - how could he be prosecuted for this?
The 1917 Espionage Act criminalizes “obtaining information respecting the national defense with intent or reason to believe that the information to be obtained is to be used to the injury of the United States.” (The Free Legal Dictionary)
I think the question is: Which United States are we talking about? Did Manning/Snowden’s actions affect the United States that is the state and all its actors and objectives, or did they affect the people of the United States?
In both cases, there was no discernible intention to aid the enemy. In both cases, in the leakers’ eyes, they were not injuring the US at all but helping it by giving information to US citizens so that they may better influence the actions of their leaders. The learkers’ problem is that the government sees itself, not the citizens, as “the US”. When you leak information, you may be helping the US people but you are hurting the US government. (Unfortunately, the courts are on the government’s side.)
4:37 pm • 30 July 2013 • 1 note
Renowned Rights Watchdog to Downgrade United States in Freedom Rankings
If you thought the astounding (and ongoing) revelations about the NSA’s PRISM regime were going to hurt America’s reputation, it appears you were right. Freedom House just made it official.
In an exclusive statement to Future Tense, the internationally renowned rights watchdog said it’s going to downgrade the U.S. in its annual Internet freedom rankings.
“The revelation of this program will weaken the United States’ score on the survey,” the organization told me in an email.
Freedom House ranked the United States 23rd overall in its 2013 Global Press Freedom Rankings (PDF) and second overall behind Estonia in its 2012 Internet Freedoms report (PDF).
12:44 pm • 13 June 2013 • 137 notes
Raymond Avenue: Rightsizing Improved Safety and Pedestrian Experience
4 → 2 Lane Configuration + Roundabouts and Pedestrian Infrastructure
Raymond Avenue borders Vassar College, residences, the Arlington Business District, open space, and an elementary school in the Town of Poughkeepsie. It is also known as Route 376, and was converted into a four lane minor arterial in the 1960s. This rightsizing project reconfigured 1.5 miles of Raymond Avenue to two lanes, calmed a previously unsafe corridor, and added a range of pedestrian and aesthetic improvements.
In 1999, Project for Public Spaces was hired by Vassar College and the Arlington Steering Committee to study the Arlington Business District. Recommendations for the area included traffic calming, which prompted a redesign of Raymond Avenue by the New York State Department of Transportation (NYS DOT). Phase I, which was completed in 2007, installed two roundabouts and a mid-block crossing on the southern portion of the street in front of Vassar College. Phase II included street landscaping and the installation of third roundabout that serves as a gateway to the business district. Several blocks of Raymond Avenue in the business district itself were also redesigned.
The project succeeded at improving the pedestrian experience and safety, increasing aesthetic appeal, and supporting a vibrant business district.
Vassar’s Disney-esque redesign of Raymond Ave in 1999. Such a creepy & subtle way to shape college experience.
10:28 pm • 11 May 2013 • 10 notes
Jon Stewart taking Fox “News” to task for picking and choosing their Constitutional amendments is textbook evisceration of a right-wing propaganda machine.
Watch it and share it.
3:46 pm • 26 April 2013 • 1,054 notes
The Official White House Tumblr: The White House, Tumbling Things
We see some great things here at the White House every day, and sharing that stuff with you is one of the best parts of our jobs. That’s why we’re launching a Tumblr. We’ll post things like the best quotes from President Obama, or video of young scientists visiting the White House for the science…
The White House is Tumbling!
Ohhhh this is going to be so interesting. The voice they use here is so strange and friendly - completely different from what I’ve seen online from the WH before.
3:41 pm • 26 April 2013 • 2,890 notes