I have a number of friends and relations that have supported George W. Bush in the past. It’s pretty hard to admit you’re wrong, and these folks still support him. So I’m going to write this out in one burst, for fear that I won’t have the balls to click “submit” if I bother to make this a coherent argument.
I feel that if we return George W. Bush to office, we’re a bad people. While what the Bush administration is doing is not as bad as what the Nazis did, folks who work to keep Bush in power are doing the same thing in their turn as those who supported the Nazis when they knew what they were doing was wrong. This includes folks who have given a record $200 million dollars directly to Bush’s re-election cause and the untold more to soft money. If you honestly and thoughtfully disagree with me, ok. But failing that, support for Bush’s re-election is equivalent to support for keeping Hitler in power.
Ever wish you could go back in time, your knowledge of the present intact, and show ’em how it’s done?
There’s a new biography of Alexander Hamilton. Author Ron Chernow describes Hamilton as being a ”messenger from a future we now inhabit.” Even as he laid out a visionary model for the American economic system that we easily recognize today, Hamilton also set the fledgling political infrastructure firmly on a path towards today’s DC-centered
two parties + professional bureaucracy. And this disadvantaged immigrant did so while embroiled in great scandals. No wonder the American system succeeds so well in our time — it was created by someone who would feel right at home.
But this time-travel simile has hardened a feeling that’s been chilling me. I think we’ve pretty much gotten things working the way they were set up to. There are serious problems to be sure, but they are not problems that the American system was meant to overcome. So now what? Who from the past has acted as a messenger from our near future? What
prophet had tuned in on the needs and circumstances of the twenty first century? With Hamilton recognizably put in his place, I feel somewhat visionaryless for the future.
”Thus it is clear that the human race has at best a very limited capacity for solving even straightforward social problems. How then is it going to solve the far more difficult and subtle problem of reconciling freedom with technology? Technology presents clear-cut material advantages, whereas freedom is an abstraction that means different things to different people, and its loss is easily obscured by propaganda and fancy talk.”
Ted Kaczynsky, aka The UnAbomber, who was arrested on this date in 1996.
Happy birthday, Nick.
As fate would have it, another inpsiration had a child exactly two years later: Paris Michael Katherine Jackson
I was touched by this story in today’s Boston Globe.
I liked the human crafstmanship in the telling, and deeply moved by the dramatic yet universal tale of the failure to live up to our potential.
So I gave it to my 11 year old daughter to read. I asked her why she thought I wanted her to read it. “So I won’t take drugs. Duh.”
I said, “something like that, but there’s something else….” But she had already left the room, singing Avril Lavigne.
I’ve heard people wonder about what sort of artificial intelligence or biological system is involved in google. Web searches are really quite mechanical. Here’s an overview of what really goes on within Google.
(If you like this sort of thing, see my backgrounder on Baysian Filtering of Spam.
The Government Information Awareness project is intended to bring transparency to politically and socially relevent information. A major idea is to allow users to post and contest unchecked information while retaining anonymity. It involves some really hard information architecture issues.
The inspiration came from a plot to collect and relate info on US citizens, by a man convicted of attempting to run a shadow government. That man is Admiral John Poindexter, and his Total Information Awareness plot has actually been implemented as the the more marketable Terrorism Information Awareness program.
I haven’t heard about GIA since its launch. I’m not sure if this is an interesting experiment that didn’t pan out, or if the idea could have legs.
With Saddams capture last night, I’d like to know the implications for trial. If we turn him over to an international court for, say, gasing Kurdish forces, won’t he want to tell the court where he got his intelligence reports? Could that lead to a subpoena of previous US administrations? What happens at trial and in world opinion if he’s tried by us or by a US-controlled Iraqi “government”.
Where can one go to get the poop? Google isn’t current enough. CBS, ABC, and NBC (GE and Microsoft, my two least favorite corporations) are covering the story, but say nothing of relevence about trial. NPR has an audio report that hasn’t been transcribed yet, so I can’t search for the word “trial”. Slashdot and kuro5hin aren’t on to this yet. (I wonder if I should check Urban Legends.)
My regional newspaper has some coverage (go print media!), but the New York Times and the Washington Post want me to fill out forms before they tell me anything. (And besides, the stuff about trial at the NYT isn’t transcribed from audio yet. Odd, for a newspaper.)
The day after the last election, and on the moring of 9/11, I was at work and had the resources of a hundred well-informed people. While getting paid a lot of money to come up with technology to change the world, we had each other and the best broadband money could buy to get info throughout the day. Now we’re all isolated in our homes. Where do you go for the real deal?
Spam sucks, or at least, it used to. In less than two years, filters have been developed and made available for free that work as nice as you please. I may never now the whole story, but I find this little part of it to be a nice tale of good triumphing over evil on the Web.