TO achieve unexceptionalism, the political ideal that would render the United States indistinguishable from the impoverished, traditionally undemocratic, brutal or catatonic countries of the world, do the following:
If you’re a justice of the Supreme Court, ignore the first sacrament of a democracy and suspend the counting of ballots in a presidential election. Appoint the candidate of your choice as president.
If you’re the newly anointed president, react to a terrorist attack by invading a nonterrorist country. Despite the loss or disablement of untold numbers of lives, manage your war so that its results will be indeterminate.
Using the state of war as justification, order secret surveillance of American citizens, data mine their phone calls and e-mail, make business, medical and public library records available to government agencies, perform illegal warrantless searches of homes and offices. […]
- How Modding Changes Art [Pajiba]
Take the recent furor over Mass Effect 3. When a movie trilogy has an ending that pisses off a bunch of fans, their blood boils and the Internet ripples with a flood of foaming fury. But that’s it. Maybe it gets Mysterious Science Theatre treatments, maybe some few enterprising fans make fan cuts once the DVD gets released. What you don’t see is people writing their own end to the movie, filming it, and releasing it such that it can be integrated with the original.
There’s a sort of community ownership going on that transcends copyright. It’s individuals saying that this piece of art belongs to the community and therefore the community can change it, tweak it, improve upon it. It’s a democratization of art that is only possible in a given field once the technology is such that anyone can do it on their own.
- Carriers Warn of Crisis in Mobile Spectrum — as David Reed says, “Yeah, right.”
Arguing that the nation could run out of spectrum is like saying it was going to run out of a color, says David P. Reed, one of the original architects of the Internet and a former professor of computer science and engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He says electromagnetic spectrum is not finite.
Mr. Reed, who is now senior vice president at SAP Labs, a company that provides business software, explained that there are in fact newer technologies for transmitting and receiving signals so that they do not interfere with one another. That means separating the frequency bands would not be required — in other words, everybody could share spectrum and not run out.
The reason spectrum is treated as though it were finite is because it is still divided by frequencies — an outdated understanding of how radio technology works, he said. “I hate to even use the word ‘spectrum,’ ” he said. “It’s a 1920s understanding of how radio communications work.”
- Let the Nanotargeting Begin — for some privacy nightmares:
Advances in the speed of computers and constantly improved software have created, in just over a decade, the development of a new political industry, nanotargeting — microtargeting to the nth degree. There has been excellent reporting on the innovative work of this industry, along with debunking of excessive claims.
Parsing data gives politicians and their campaigns ways to identify and communicate with segments of the electorate that would have been out of reach not long ago.