A visit to Roberto di
Cosmo's web site will give some interesting insights into Micro$oft's
antics. Those who can't read French might benefit from buying one of his books,
CyberSnare or The Planetary Hold-Up instead.
Bruce Schneier on the common
falacy that alleges a conflict between privacy and security.
Amita Guha's account, Fingered by the
movie cops, of how the DMCA can cause someone to be punished for being
falsely accused. This article is a perfect illustration of the common fallacy
that law-abiding folks have nothing to fear from being snooped on: when
the snoop makes a mistake, law-abiding folks can get punished for things they
didn't do; and, in this case, there is no means either for them to obtain
compensation or even to oblige their accuser (and the ISP who punished them) to
acknowledge their innocence.
tax rate proposal, in which a quite straightforward tax system would, in the
U.S.A., raise the same total revenue as the existing one while reducing the
taxes on all but the insanely rich – while making it way easier to map
pre-tax income to tax paid. I discuss Hoke's proposal in comments
blog post, via which I found a link to it.
of how a meritocratic elite, by wealth the top 10% except for the top
0.1% of America's wealth, has held onto roughly 60% of the nation's wealth
throughout the last century, albeit declining slightly (to around 55% now) to
the benefit of the bottom 90% in the post-war era. The top 0.1%, meanwhile, has
now recovered to about 20% (where it was around 1930, having been a little
higher in the late 1920s) after dropping down to less than 10% in the late 1970s
(a state of affairs Reagan managed to fix, at the expense of raising the
national debt to unprecedented highs, millions of millions of dollars). The
9.9%'s share has bumbled along roughly steady in the mid-50s% since then, while
the top 0.1% has dragged the bottom 90% down from the 35% they had in mid-1980s
to barely 20% now. The top 0.1% and the bottom 90% have roughly half each of
the mid-40s% that the intervening 9.9% doesn't own. That 9.9% is the bulwark
that protects the 0.1% from the 90%, while ever striving to join the former and
living in fear of falling into the latter.
Brian W. Vaszily's assorted articles discussing some scary
truths about marketing.
engineering and the new world order, a fine diatribe against the culture of
distraction our media peddles; 'though the author associates all morality and
virtue with religion, and I have some disagreement on what constitute morality
and virtue, the general thrust is sound. If you want to find the cause of moral
decline in our culture, look to the corporate media, not your political
beginings of the history of making folk feel bad about themselves in order
to con them into buying products they didn't need; insecurity sells !
… higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate
with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD
infection rates, teen pregnancy, and abortion in the prosperous democracies
William Dalrymple casts a critical eye over the history of
India Company and pokes the obvious parallels with contemporary corporate
to both sides
of a debate on over-population.
save lives (and don't have the scary side-effects that were claimed by a
As context to the recent transition in public attitudes towards and the
legal status of gay marriage, XKCD 1431
contrasts its history to those of interracial marriage. The public seems to
have become broad-minded faster than legislatures.
Apparently Randal shares my suspicion
that financial analysis is less scientific than its proponents claim. (The
hover text on this is an insightful quote from 1984, too. James Tobin rather
The Doonesbury comic
strip is full of insightful satires on politics; unfortunately, it's now on a
site which only gives you the latest month without a premium
subscription, so I can no longer offer you a link to their page for the
1993/Nov/29th strip which begins Trudeau's excellent take on the conspiracy
theorists … but (oh, irony) I can link to the images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12.
Trump's lies are legendarily common: when his supporters ask for evidence,
the hard part is chosing which and finding good explanations. Here's some
and politifact.com's false
on fire categories.
Lawrence of Arabia foreshadowed the modern Iraqi
situation. He was an expert on guerrilla insurgency – having fomented
one, among the arab peoples of an area including much of what is now Iraq.
To announce that there must be no criticism of the president or
that we are to stand by the president right or wrong is not only unpatriotic and
servile, but is morally treasonable to the American
If you run into someone who desperately needs
to prove something about
himself (and this is usually him; I guess there may be exceptions),
it's because: it isn't true, he knows this and he
doesn't want to face up to that. Read pretty much any biography of a
prominent Nazi on Wikipedia and you'll see this pattern played out with
(sickeningly) comic clarity. It's not just the Nazis:
the Brigatte Rosse
desperately needed to prove their alleigance to the working classes; the
September 11 mass-murderers despertately needed to prove to other Muslims that
they weren't spoilt Europe-raised children of well-to-do families.