My urge to save the world one post at a time waxes and wanes. Lately, it’s waned.
Its waning could be a response to the daffodils blooming:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
— William Wordsworth
But did you know that Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) strikes some of us in the spring or early summer, not in the dark days of winter?
April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
— T. S. Eliot
Life in itself
An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs,
It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.
— Edna St. Vincent Millay
But first, these messages:
Gravity was nominated for seven Oscars and 97% of the critics on Rotten Tomatoes liked it, but it’s not a good movie. They spent millions and millions making it look great but seem to have thrown the script together over a long weekend. One miraculous escape after another eats away at the suspense. And that capsule should have landed on a giant heap of corn.
it’s a simple fact of arithmetic that one person’s vote hardly ever matters. How many elections are decided by one vote? Since voting makes no sense from a practical perspective, we need to stop thinking of voting in practical terms. Instead, we should view voting as a democratic ritual. Ritual behavior doesn’t have to be practical. If everyone in this country – at least those of us who don’t have to wait in line for hours to vote – treated voting as a symbolic celebration of democracy, something that every citizen just does as a matter of course, we in the majority (those of us who favor less military spending, for example) could make a difference. Accepting that voting is impractical but doing it anyway would be a very practical thing to do.
Glenn Greenwald is one of the journalists selected by Edward Snowden to receive those secret National Security Agency files. Greenwald now has a website called The Intercept. The site includes links to “top secret” documents. For example, there’s a set of slides from the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) called “The Art of Deception: Training for Online Covert Operations”. It suggests ways to discredit people or organizations by applying “The 4 D’s: Deny / Disrupt / Degrade / Deceive” (apparently, the NSA and GCHQ don’t merely listen; they also manipulate). There are also some light-hearted internal blog posts, like this one from the NSA regarding SIGINT (Signals Intelligence):
So, SIGINT is downright cool! As much as we complain about our “Big Data Problem”, collection/processing issues, dismal infrastructure/outdated browsers/OS’s, our ability to pull bits out of random places of the Internet, bring them back to the mother-base to evaluate and build intelligence off of is just plain awesome!
In conclusion, please don’t expect too much from Gravity, remember to vote, and visit The Intercept. As for everything else, I’ve got nothing (as of now anyway).
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