http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2013/04/boston_bomber_photos_the_marathon_bombing_shows_that_we_need_more_security.html – I think that this is one of the most important arguments that can come out of the Boston terrorist attack.
A few weeks have passed, and little has amounted to calls for more surveillance. Good for us in my opinion – when we rush to judgment, rarely do we make good and measured decisions on what is truly right.
Terrorism as a form of warfare does not leave us many options that are not in them selves constraining. As the Patriot Act and other actions in the wake of 9/11 demonstrated, there is a sliding scale between individual freedom and the security that can actually prevent events like this from occurring. In order to become more safe, we must sacrifice the freedom (more importantly the privacy) that we also consider very important.
Interestingly enough, this meshes well with the story that I wanted to cover on drone spying. A few weeks ago, Eric Schmidt of Google warned on the proliferation of drones, and how it threatens privacy, among other concerns. http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/apr/21/drones-google-eric-schmidt. Technology today allows us to be constantly aware and chronicle that which happens in the public sphere. Police cars can track and store every license plate that they pass as they patrol around a city, creating a database of where each car has been. Drones could see every inch of the country every second of the day, putting more of the world into storage at near real time. Google and its streetview have been the trailblazers in this regard – interesting to see Eric Schmidt speak out.
Already, the internet and its connectedness are offering us new ways to interact with our world. A quick search for the drone article above led me to http://www.diydrones.com/, a site devoted primarily to amateur drone instructions and ideas. Within the last month, a fully plastic 3d printable gun was created. It is crude and nearly disposable, but designs will get better over time. One wonders how we have any chance to control gun violence, while simultaneously leaving these new areas of innovation untouched.
A few other articles that I wanted to point out:
http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2005/01/lost-in-the-meritocracy/303672/ – Rather incredible long read. Not sure I have a lot to say about it, but is an amazing critique of some of the pressures in higher education, and the balancing of life with “achievement”, whatever that actually is.
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/05/14/america-s-new-oligarchs-fwd-us-and-silicon-valley-s-shady-1-percenters.html – An article that I don’t necessarily fully agree with, but certainly expresses some of the changing landscape of business, and how that is affecting most of us. As we do more with less labor, and only the educated seem to be able to truly contribute, where does that leave us? Bertrand Russell’s In Praise of Idleness comes to mind. http://www.zpub.com/notes/idle.html
http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/05/green-lifestyle-choices-dont-change-the-systems-that-make-fossil-fuels-attractive/275575/ – I disagree with the main premise of this article that a carbon tax is a good or required thing, but acknowledge that it might be a more effective tool if replacing carbon is the goal.
http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/05/why-left-and-right-economics-cant-just-agree.html?mid=google&google_editors_picks=true – Speaking of “many economists believe”, as the previous article on green energy does, this article speaks to the fact that economists have been heavily politicized. You can find any research on any topic that serves any purpose, all of it claiming a great deal of confidence that supposes that it is qualified on which to base important policy. Great.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/04/17/student-debt-is-dragging-down-the-u-s-economy/ http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/03/30/will-self-driving-cars-solve-all-our-energy-problems-or-create-new-ones/ – Two good recommended thought pieces on economics and policy.
I’ve been neglectful, so I wanted to get a few thoughts down on digital paper.