The U.S. National Security Agency knew for at least two years about a flaw in the way that many websites send sensitive information, now dubbed the Heartbleed bug, and regularly used it to gather critical intelligence, two people familiar with the matter said.
1. “Real magic can never be made by offering someone else’s liver. You must tear out your own, and not expect to get it back.” ― Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn
2. “When I was alive, I believed — as you do — that time was at least as real and solid as myself, and probably more so. I said ‘one o’clock’ as though I could see it, and ‘Monday’ as though I could find it on the map; and I let myself be hurried along from minute to minute, day to day, year to year, as though I were actually moving from one place to another. Like everyone else, I lived in a house bricked up with seconds and minutes, weekends and New Year’s Days, and I never went outside until I died, because there was no other door. Now I know that I could have walked through the walls. (…) You can strike your own time, and start the count anywhere. When you understand that — then any time at all will be the right time for you.” ― Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn
3. “I am what I am. I would tell you what you want to know if I could, for you have been kind to me. But I am a cat, and no cat anywhere ever gave anyone a straight answer.” ― Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn
4. “Marveling at his own boldness, he said softly, “I would enter your sleep if I could, and guard you there, and slay the thing that hounds you, as I would if it had the courage to face me in fair daylight. But I cannot come in unless you dream of me.” ― Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn
5. “Whatever can die is beautiful — more beautiful than a unicorn, who lives forever, and who is the most beautiful creature in the world. Do you understand me?” ― Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn
6. “You pile of stones, you waste, you desolation, I’ll stuff you with misery till it comes out of your eyes. I’ll change your heart into green grass, and all you love into a sheep. I’ll turn you into a bad poet with dreams.” ― Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn
8. “I always say perseverance is nine-tenths of any art — not that it’s much help to be nine-tenths an artist, of course.” ― Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn
9. “Wonder and love and great sorrow shook Schmendrick the Magician then, and came together inside him and filled him, filled him until he felt himself brimming and flowing with something that was none of these. He did not believe it, but it came to him anyway, as it had touched him twice before and left him more barren than he had been. This time, there was too much of it for him to hold; it spilled through his fingers and toes, welled up equally in his eyes and his hair and the hollows of his shoulders. There was too much to hold — too much ever to use; and still he found himself weeping with the pain of his impossible greed. He thought, or said, or sang, I did not know that I was so empty, to be so full.” ― Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn
10. “The moon was gone, but to the magician’s eyes the unicorn was the moon, cold and white and very old, lighting his way to safety, or to madness.” ― Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn
11. “The magician was studying her face with his green eyes. “Your face is wet,” he said worriedly. “I hope that’s spray. If you’ve become human enough to cry, then no magic in the world — oh, it must be spray. Come with me. It had better be spray.” ― Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn
12. “Only to a magician is the world forever fluid, infinitely mutable and eternally new. Only he knows the secret of change, only he knows truly that all things are crouched in eagerness to become something else, and it is from this universal tension that he draws his power.” ― Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn
“A free public library is a revolutionary notion, and when people don’t have free access to books, then communities are like radios without batteries. You cut people off from essential sources of information — mythical, practical, linguistic, political — and you break them. You render them helpless in the face of political oppression.”—The wise and wonderful Anne Lamott, who turns 60 today, in Robert Dawson’s altogether fantastic photographic love letter to libraries. (via explore-blog)
“according to Wilk, the automobile and the elevator have been locked in a “secret war” for over a century, with cars making it possible for people to spread horizontally, encouraging sprawl and suburbia, and elevators pushing them toward life in dense clusters of towering vertical columns.”—Leon Neyfakh quoting Daniel Levinson Wilk in How the elevator transformed America for The Boston Globe. (via blech)
SEATTLE—April 10, 2014—(NASDAQ: AMZN)—Amazon.com today announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire comiXology, the company that revolutionized the digital comics reading experience with their immersive Guided View technology and makes discovering, buying, and reading comic books and graphic novels easier and more fun than ever before.
“ComiXology’s mission is to spread the love of comics and graphic novels in all forms,” said David Steinberger, co-founder and CEO of comiXology. “There is no better home for comiXology than Amazon to see this vision through. Working together, we look to accelerate a new age for comic books and graphic novels.”
“Amazon and comiXology share a passion for reinventing reading in a digital world,” said David Naggar, Amazon Vice President, Content Acquisition and Independent Publishing. “We’ve long admired the passion comiXology brings to changing the way we buy and read comics and graphic novels. We look forward to investing in the business, growing the team, and together, bringing comics and graphic novels to even more readers.”
Founded in 2007, comiXology offers a broad library of digital comic book content from over 75 of the top publishers as well as top independent creators. Following the acquisition, comiXology’s headquarters will remain in New York.
Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Subject to various closing conditions, the acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of 2014.
About comiXology ComiXology has revolutionized the comic book and graphic novel industry by delivering a cloud-based digital comics platform that makes discovering, buying, and reading comics more fun than ever before. ComiXology’s Guided View™ reading technology transforms the comic book medium into an immersive and cinematic experience, helping comiXology become a top ten grossing iPad app in 2011 and 2012 and the top grossing non-game iPad app in 2012 and 2013. Offering the broadest library of comic book content from over 75 publishers – and independent creators as well – comiXology will not stop until everyone on the face of the planet has become a comic book fan. ComiXology is based in New York City, with offices in Los Angeles and Paris.
About Amazon.com Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), a Fortune 500 company based in Seattle, opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995 and today offers Earth’s Biggest Selection. Amazon.com, Inc. seeks to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices. Amazon.com and other sellers offer millions of unique new, refurbished and used items in categories such as Books; Movies, Music & Games; Digital Downloads; Electronics & Computers; Home & Garden; Toys, Kids & Baby; Grocery; Apparel, Shoes & Jewelry; Health & Beauty; Sports & Outdoors; and Tools, Auto & Industrial. Amazon Web Services provides Amazon’s developer customers with access to in-the-cloud infrastructure services based on Amazon’s own back-end technology platform, which developers can use to enable virtually any type of business. Amazon Fire TV is a tiny box that plugs into your HDTV for easy and instant access to Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, SHOWTIME, low-cost video rentals, and much more. Kindle Paperwhite is the world’s best-selling and most advanced e-reader. It features new display technology with higher contrast, the next generation built-in light, a faster processor, the latest touch technology, and exclusive new features designed from the ground up for readers. Kindle, the lightest and smallest Kindle, features improved fonts and faster page turns. The new Kindle Fire HDX features a stunning exclusive 7” or 8.9” HDX display, a quad-core 2.2 GHz processor, 2x more memory, and 11 hours of battery life, as well as exclusive new features of Fire OS 3.0 including X-Ray for Music, Second Screen, Prime Instant Video downloads, and the revolutionary new Mayday button. The all-new Kindle Fire HD includes an HD display, high-performance processor and dual speakers at a breakthrough price.
Forward-Looking Statements This announcement contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Actual results may differ significantly from management’s expectations. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that include, among others, risks related to competition, management of growth, new products, services and technologies, potential fluctuations in operating results, international expansion, outcomes of legal proceedings and claims, fulfillment and data center optimization, seasonality, commercial agreements, acquisitions and strategic transactions, foreign exchange rates, system interruption, inventory, government regulation and taxation, payments and fraud. More information about factors that potentially could affect Amazon.com’s financial results is included in Amazon.com’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and subsequent filings.
“A dining table of [the Bauhaus] might have a top, well proportioned in glistening white marble, the legs carefully nurtured for maximum strength with minimum materials in gleaming stainless steel. And the first reaction on encountering such a table is to lie down on it and have your appendix extracted.”—Design for the Real World, Victor Papanek
“I think the simplest answer for why George W. Bush started painting is because he has nothing else to do. Bush is toxic and unemployable as a political figure. He can’t campaign for Republicans, can’t talk on television about anything important, can’t give speeches for money, can’t write memoirs, can’t travel to certain countries where he runs the hypothetical risk of getting arrested for war crimes. Painting is a harmless and respectable pursuit that offers an aura of cultured acceptability.”—Art Of The Bush School | greg.org: the making of, by greg allen (via iamdanw)
“Hallucinations merge with reality in wartime. Your eyes and memory play tricks on you. You experience things and then wonder if you experienced them. Morality is turned upside down. Killers prey on the weak, the vulnerable and the innocent in the name of God or the state or some twisted ethnic loyalty. Murderers and assassins are rich and powerful statesmen. American soldiers blow up houses on a whim, obliterating entire families. Death is a lucrative industry. You lose your footing. You peer in the terrifying possibilities of human evil. You struggle to give words to it.”—Chris Hedges (via azspot)
<blockquote>Yesterday the Raspberry Pi Foundation announced a new addition to their hardware family, the Compute Module, which is targeted at business and industrial users. Designed from the outset to be incorporated into larger designs, this is packaged in an extremely compact SO-DIMM form factor.</blockquote>
The SO-DIMM plugs into a companion IO board for connectors and prototyping. Very, very interesting for production or industrial work, especially as the module costs $30 each (when ordering 100 or more).
“And so the will to fight begins, or dies, very young. It dies when you tell your little girl to be quiet and well-behaved. It dies when pretty and sweet are how we praise and opinionated is how we chastise. It dies when a girl is called bratty and argumentative where a boy is brave and strong-willed. It dies when you compliment nice and condemn difficult.”—
what would a network look like if it was designed for marginalized people. maybe less capitalistic quantification, less obsessive UIs that cultivate status and reinforce competition between marginals. safety and privacy vs. the system that outs trans people, helps stalkers find their victims, and forces people to use dead names.
It would have to not be funded by advertising. Advertising requires the identification and profiling of the members of the network
“I spent 20 years as a foreign correspondent, 15 of them with The New York Times. I interviewed numerous individuals deemed by the U.S. government to be terrorists and traveled with armed groups, including units of al-Qaida, labeled as terrorist organizations. When I reported the statements and activities of these individuals and groups, U.S. officialdom often made little distinction between them and me. This was true during the wars in Central America. It was true in the Middle East. And it was true when I covered global terrorism. There was no law at the time that permitted the government, because of my work as a reporter, to order the military to seize and detain me. Now there is. This law, if it is not struck down, will essentially replace our civilian judiciary with a military one. Those targeted under this law will not be warned beforehand that they will be arrested. They will not have a chance to get a lawyer. They will not see the inside of a courtroom. They will simply vanish.”—Chris Hedges (via azspot)
“When the President signs the NDAA act which allows for “indefinite detention” of citizens without formal charges or without the right to a lawyer, it should be utterly clear that the boot of Soft-Core Tyranny is now on our neck. And that unchecked and almost unnoticed power continues to grow at an obscene pace. Examples of this are the militarization of small town police departments, the unending malignant growth of the Department of Homeland Security and the cessation of Posse Comitatus which keeps the military from being used as a domestic police force. But even though our career politicians only represent the rich and the powerful, and even though they abet the steady erosion of our constitutionally ordained rights, it is even worse! That’s because despite making a mockery of democracy at home, they trumpet its virtues abroad. This is shameful Hypocrisy with a capital H.”—In the US, democracy is now a sham (via azspot)
“Be aware that anytime today when you read something, hear something or see something you should take a second to remind yourself that the odds are it is a fabrication, one that is either so brazen and titanic in its scope that you cannot believe anyone would expect you to fall for it (thus giving it a weird kind of credibility) or so plausible in its larger details that you fail to notice that certain less significant aspects of it are full of falsehood. These lies, both large and small, aim to take advantage of the innate trust we are all born with as human beings and somehow maintain even as we wend our way through a world riddled with deceit and prevarication. They use our basic decency as a Trojan horse, and once they are welcome inside our heads they do what they can to manipulate us, to make us follow the rules they give us and buy the things they want us to buy and go about our miserable lives without the hope or realization that everything could—and should—be better. Do not forget: Every single thing you see today is a lie. Also it is April Fools’ Day, so there’s gonna be a lot of other stupid shit cluttering things up too.”—Everything You See Today Is A Lie (via azspot)
A well-educated time traveller from 1914 enters a room divided in half by a curtain. A scientist tells him that his task is to ascertain the intelligence of whoever is on the other side of the curtain by asking whatever questions he pleases.
The traveller’s queries are answered by a voice with an accent that he does not recognize (twenty-first-century American English). The woman on the other side of the curtain has an extraordinary memory. She can, without much delay, recite any passage from the Bible or Shakespeare. Her arithmetic skills are astonishing—difficult problems are solved in seconds. She is also able to speak many foreign languages, though her pronunciation is odd. Most impressive, perhaps, is her ability to describe almost any part of the Earth in great detail, as though she is viewing it from the sky. She is also proficient at connecting seemingly random concepts, and when the traveller asks her a question like “How can God be both good and omnipotent?” she can provide complex theoretical answers.
Based on this modified Turing test, our time traveller would conclude that, in the past century, the human race achieved a new level of superintelligence. Using lingo unavailable in 1914, (it was coined later by John von Neumann) he might conclude that the human race had reached a “singularity”—a point where it had gained an intelligence beyond the understanding of the 1914 mind.
The woman behind the curtain, is, of course, just one of us. That is to say, she is a regular human who has augmented her brain using two tools: her mobile phone and a connection to the Internet and, thus, to Web sites like Wikipedia, Google Maps, and Quora. To us, she is unremarkable, but to the man she is astonishing. With our machines, we are augmented humans and prosthetic gods, though we’re remarkably blasé about that fact, like anything we’re used to. Take away our tools, the argument goes, and we’re likely stupider than our friend from the early twentieth century, who has a longer attention span, may read and write Latin, and does arithmetic faster.
The time-traveller scenario demonstrates that how you answer the question of whether we are getting smarter depends on how you classify “we.” This is why Thompson and Carr reach different results: Thompson is judging the cyborg, while Carr is judging the man underneath.
Nestled in the latest annual report from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is a line that underscores just how much the world’s largest general merchandise retailer and its shareholders have depended on public assistance programs in recent years.
“Either way, no matter who wins out, it was never about the rendering. All four of these visions have one thing in common: the servers. It’s about who owns the servers. The servers that store your metrics. The servers that shout the ads. The servers that transmit your chat. The servers that geofence your every movement. It’s time to wake up to the fact that you’re just another avatar in someone else’s MMO. Worse. From where they stand, all-powerful Big Data analysts that they are, you look an awful lot like a bot. The real race isn’t over the client — the glasses, watches, phones, or goggles. It’s over the servers. It’s over the operating system. The one that understands countless layers of semantic tags upon every object on earth, the one that knows who to show you in Machu Picchu, the one that lets you turn whole visualizations of reality on and off.”—Musings on the Oculus sale (via azspot)
I claim that home automation is an EasyHard problem. The engineer in all of us assumes it is going to be simple: walk in a room, turn on the lights. What’s the big deal? Now, I’ll admit, this rule does indeed work most of the time, but here are series of exceptions that break down:
Problem: I walk into the room and my wife is sleeping; turning on the lights wakes her up. Solution: More sensors — detect someone on the bed.
Problem: I walk into the room and my dog is sleeping on the bed; my room lights don’t turn on. Solution: Better sensors — detect human vs pets.
Problem: I walk into the room, my wife is watching TV on the bed. She wants me to hand her a book, but as the the room is dark, I can’t see it. Solution: Read my mind.
Any time you think, “oh, that should be easy,” reflect on this. And then shut up.
The Plutocracy’s beatific vision for the mass of Americans is wage servitude: a fearful, ever-busy, and cheerfully abject pool of human resources. Rendered lazy and recalcitrant by a half-century of mooching, American workers must be forced to be free: crush labor unions, keep remuneration low, cut benefits and lengthen working hours, close or narrow every avenue of escape or repose from accumulation. If they insist on living like something more than the whining, expendable widgets they are, reduce them to a state of debt peonage with an ensemble of financial shackles: mortgages, credit cards, and student loans, all designed to ensure that the wage slaves utter two words siren-sweet to business: “Yes, boss.” It’s the latest chapter in the depressing story that David Graeber relates in Debt: debt as an especially insidious weapon in the arsenal of social control. “There’s no better way to justify relations founded on violence … than by reframing them in the language of debt,” he writes, “because it immediately makes it seem that it’s the victim who’s doing something wrong.”
When people speak of the future and all of the things humans will be able to create, rarely do they consider all of the things humans have already created which need constant upkeep and maintenance in order to not fail critically.
Add in the chemical weapons storage depots, the bio-warfare weapons depots, the thousands of chemical plants, fertilizer plants, oil wells, refineries, nuclear research facilities, nuclear warships and nuclear waste storage facilities, and it becomes hard to fathom how a point won’t come when a large portion of human effort won’t be dedicated to merely maintaining what civilization has built while attempting to mitigate disasters caused by aging and dilapidated infrastructure. All of this while trying to grow a civilization and its technological capacity as fish stocks disappear from the rapidly acidifying oceans and top soil blows away from drought parched and poorly managed fields.
If you think about it, it’s not really surprising that all our political systems are suddenly trending towards total-surveillance police states. It’s a natural panic reaction to the fact that we have completely, utterly fucked up. Because when the magnitude of how fucked we are sinks in, people are going to go apeshit. And the police state will come down hard.
All of which would certainly not help us maintain the crumbling infrastructure holding our late-stage industrial global civilization together.
“The real test is this. Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out. Is one’s first feeling, “Thank God, even they aren’t quite so bad as that,” or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies are as bad as possible? If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils. You see, one is beginning to wish that black was a little blacker. If we give that wish its head, later on we shall wish to see grey as black, and then to see white itself as black. Finally we shall insist on seeing everything — God and our friends and ourselves included — as bad, and not be able to stop doing it: we shall be fixed for ever in a universe of pure hatred.”—C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, quoted in “Satanic baby-killers have destroyed American Christianity”
“He knows he’s better than those evil Satanic baby-killers. “They want to kill babies.” He does not want to “kill babies.” Therefore, he is better than them. Therefore, he is good. Therefore, his life must mean … something, something more than the torture of restlessness and vague desire, the quiet desperation, the receding echo of distant voices singing of a better self and a better world. He knows he doesn’t need a better self because he is already better — better than the Satanic baby-killers.”—Satanic baby-killers have destroyed American Christianity
“Compare yourself to Satanic baby-killers and you can think of yourself as being righteous without having to do anything at all. No need to do anything difficult. No need to love anyone. No need to seek justice or to risk anything in speaking out against injustice. You can just sit there, content, complacent, superior. You know you’re good because, after all, you’re so much better than the Satanic baby-killers.”—Satanic baby-killers have destroyed American Christianity
Not only is this, as one would expect from Curtis, an amazing stomp through everything that’s right and wrong with modern journalism (and society more generally) it also contains the most accurate and damning description of what went wrong with the Occupy movement I think I’ve read.
The Occupy movement absolutely astonished me. They had a brilliant slogan the 99 and 1 per cent – that was the first time I thought someone’s got it, but then they completely blew it. I went to their meetings and they have been completely captivated by this pseudo-managerial theory of a new kind of democracy where there are no leaders and everyone sits around gesticulating if they disagree. It was one of the most absurd ideas in modern politics. If you are dealing with questions of power you have to understand power, and you can’t pretend it doesn’t exist, either on your side or their side. The point about managerialism is it pretends power doesn’t exist; it’s a way of keeping you in your place. For them to buy into that was the most cosmically stupid ideas I have ever heard in my life. If you want to change the world you have to deal with questions of power: the power of the ones who don’t want you to change it, and the power of those assembled on your side who do want to change it. Humans are humans, and power is a really complicated thing and you can’t ignore it and by ignoring it they let everything go, so now there is a vacuum, an absolute vacuum.
“These kids were bubble-wrapped,” one team member recalled. “Every physical space in their life was curated, managed, or staged by an adult. Whereas children in the past used to find freedom and an appropriate level of danger on the streets, playing on sidewalks throughout the neighborhood or roaming free in the country, these children needed to find their freedom in virtual spaces through online gaming or in imaginary zones (like the box of magic mushrooms).”
“My [UberX] driver turned out to be a Google employee who said he drew the lucky H1-B visa straw to get out of Bulgaria … he told me he works at the company’s Mountain View campus, but started driving for UberX for two hours on Saturdays and Sundays to send money to a family of four kids he met on vacation, who couldn’t afford to go to school or even shoes. ‘I just calculated that if I work four hours of a week, I can clothe all of them,’ he told me. ‘For so little, it’s amazing what you can do.’”—