January 2014 Links

It’s been a busy month, both in the news and in the world. Here’s a few things I’ve almost had time to read.

 

Nuclear and Disaster

“Almost Everything in Dr. Strangelove Was True,” Eric Schlosser, The New Yorker.

The DSM-5 is the worst.

So are polar vortexes.

The state of emergency in West Virginia and its long term effects.

Literary destruction.

XKCD on the weather.

 

The NSA

NSA has a backdoor into your computer and to your iPhone.

Everything we know the NSA can do.

Continue reading

NSA Related Stuff From Late-2013

I have been relatively inactive on the blog the past few months, and a number of interesting things have happened or been reported. So to celebrate the end of 2013—what I think could easily be called the Year of the National Security Agency, a year that saw perhaps a decisive shift toward the world Dave Eggers recently imagined in The Circle (2013)[1]—I have posted a number of links on recent stories involving the NSA and the national security state below. To address other stories I have neglected over the past few months, I will be posting more general links tomorrow.

A few days ago, Adam Liptak and Michael S. Schmidt reported for The New York Times that, “A federal judge [William H. Pauley III . . .] ruled that a National Security Agency program that collects enormous troves of phone records is legal, making the latest contribution to an extraordinary debate among courts and a presidential review group about how to balance security and privacy in the era of big data.” This comes only eleven days after a ruling issued on 16 December 2013 “by Judge Richard J. Leon in Washington, who ruled that the program was ‘almost Orwellian’ and probably unconstitutional.” This latter story was reported by Ellen Nakashima and Ann E. Marimow on 16 December 2013 in The Washington Post. Amy Davidson has written two fairly interesting and incisive pieces for The New Yorker analyzing each ruling: “Judge Pauley to the NSA: Go Big” and “The Domino’s Hypothetical: Judge Leon Vs. the NSA.” (The New Yorker actually has a number of articles addressing the NSA.)

In August the White House commissioned an independent report on the National Security Agency’s activities, and the report, Liberty and Security in a Changing World: Report and Recommendations of the President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies (the link is to the actual 304-page report), was issued on 12 December 2013. Michael Morell, one of the report’s authors, has written an opinion piece in The Washington Post, “Correcting the Record on the NSA Report.” And John Cassidy has an article in The New Yorker on the report, “Inside the White House NSA Report: The Good and the Bad.”

Continue reading

The Flood This Time: Some 2012 Weather Links

2012, by all accounts, was the warmest year on record. Among many other responses to the disastrous 2012 (w/r/t weather) both The New Inquiry and Jacobin: A Magazine of Culture and Polemic have published some excellent pieces on climate change, disaster, and our contemporary sense of an ending. Among them are Alyssa Battistoni’s excellent, “The Flood Next Time: Life After Emergency” at Jacobin. The New Inquiry has devoted an entire issue to weather , including a nice editorial, and an essay from the incomparable Gerry Canavan, “Après Nous, le Déluge.”  (This is all also coming in the wake of this nonsense.) These magazines, along w/ my good friend Alexander Provan’s Triple Canopy, also just had a very nice writeup in The Guardian. Enjoy.