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Total number of comments: 14 (since 2013-11-28 15:55:18)


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  • Has NSA Spying Killed US "Cloud" services, Email in Europe, Brazil?
    • To the extent possible, we need to get away from the model of handing someone our data and trusting them to keep it safe. Trusting any company to keep your secrets for you means trusting that they will refuse demands from their government, who almost certaily has vast power over the company and its employees. It also means trusting that the company will not get hacked. Whereever possible, it's a lot better to just encrypt the data before the cloud company sees it. (That doesn't work for search, but it works very well for dropbox/skydrive like functionality.).

  • FBI Violated Constitution by Branding Peaceful Occupy Wall Street as Terrorist threat
    • Few Republicans will try to hold him to account for that, because we're only spying on dirty hippies, not someone important.

      Few Democrats will try, because he's a Democrat in a Democratic administration that's constantly under partisan attack by Republicans.

      And so, we get another bit of bipartisan consensus that it's okay for the feds to spy on peaceful protesters and political movements.

  • Morsi Emerges as Key Power Broker in Gaza Conflict
    • This is surely a dumb question, but why does Egypt go along with the embargo on Gaza? They have a border with Gaza--why not let them buy and seell whatever they like via Egypt? That wouldn't stop the current bombing, but it would surely make the people loving in Gaza a lot better off.

  • SNL Spoof of Second Presidential Debate (Video)
  • Walsh (Republican): No Pregnancy Ever threatens a Mother's Life (Young Turks Video)
    • i don't think many people consider ectopic pregnancies (where there is no chance of the baby surviving) in quite the same moral category as abortions. Medically, they may be about the same thing, but I imagine Walsh and his followers would simply not think of these as being in the same category.

  • Al-Tamimi: The Norway Attacks and the Paranoid Mindset
  • Cole on Goodman & CIA Surveillance
    • So, I guess this is one way to know that your blog was having an effect, right? ISTR that Art Buchwald used to say, half-seriously, that the great disappointment of his life was finding out, years after the fact, that he hadn't made it onto Nixon's enemies list?

  • Top Ten Green Energy Good News Stories
    • Another impact of solar and wind energy, at least for some countries, will be economic. Instead of having to come up with hard currency to buy oil from overseas, you can generate the power locally.

      And on a different level, it seems like solar and wind plus good batteries or gas turbine backups have the potential to change the world in the same sort of way as cellphones--in a lot of countries, it's hard to build large-scale infrastructure because of corruption or incompetence or instability or whatever. But if you can buy a solar installation once, put it into your village, and have power for the next ten or twenty years, you no longer have to talk or bribe someone into hooking you to the country's power grid, and you're no longer vulnerable to that power grid's unreliability.

  • Obama right not to Release Usama Photo
    • I guess my biggest qualm with this point is that it has been used to excuse shielding US misbehavior in the past. For example, the decision not to release torture photos, and the aggressive pushback by the administration against the Wikileaks releases, seems at least as focused on controlling what the American people see as what potential Al Qaida recruits see.

      Now, US media has been pretty compliant with the Bush and Obama administrations' desire not to show the ugly side of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan in the US. So maybe it's consistent not to put these pictures out. But it's also part of a pattern of keeping disturbing images out of sight of Americans whose votes and support keep these wars going on.

  • Top Ten Myths about Bin Laden's Death
    • Juan,

      Do you have any opinion of whether the worry about OBL's grave becoming a shrine made any sense? My understanding was that that was more a Shia than Sunni thing, but I'll admit I don't know enough to be entitled to an opinion.

    • Just for the sake of avoiding euphemisms, that "intense interrogation" done by the US and our allies would properly be called "torture" if done by, say, the Syrians or Iranians or North Koreans or Chinese.

    • I'm curious whatever happened with respect to Bin Laden's widely reported kidney ailment. The three choices are that he was on dialysis, he got a transplant, or he wasn't really that sick. It seems like that would tell us something about how much of a footprint he left in Pakistan--I assume it would be much harder to keep a low profile if you were under the kind of medical care required for a dialysis patient. (Presumably, he'd have had his own machine there, but this still requires technicians and supplies and spare parts, right?) By contrast, if he got a transplant, that would also say something about his level of support and assistance. (Was the courier bringing in cyclosporin along with the messages from Al Qaida each month?)

      Conspiracy theories are inevitable in this kind of case, but dumping the body at sea, seeing the story change soon after the initial reports, and especially the long history of psyops directed against the American people (see Pat Tillman) leave me skeptical that I've seen the full story. The usual pattern for this kind of event is that the initial story on the front page is very clean and heroic, and then revisions to the story come out slowly on page A-13, over the next several months.

  • Mystery of Iranian Nuclear Scientist and the Duelling YouTube Videos
    • I'm looking forward to the civilian nuclear weapons programs of BP, Haliburton, and Xe.

  • I want My Country back from Big Oil
    • I'm trying to imagine the kind of political change necessary in the US for us to, say, price the environmental and military costs into oil through some kind of tax. I just can't see it. I can't see either party proposing, say, an extra dollar or two a gallon of gas to cover the damage--it's too easy to attack anyone who proposes such a thing, and those attacks actually seem to work pretty well for getting elected. For the same reasons we're not going to get our budget deficit under control (accepting pain today to avoid possible disaster tomorrow is bad politics), we're not going to sensibly address global warming (accepting even more pain today to avoid a bigger possible disaster tomorrow).

      In some fundamental way, our political decisionmaking mechanisms are broken. I don' t know how to fix them; most obvious things we might try would probably make them worse. But there are a lot of issues like this that I just don't see us tackling.

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