Early 2015 Links

A new semester has begun and I have a lot of exciting projects for 2015 that I am eager about, some of which I hope to report soon. But in the meantime, here are some links that have accumulated while the semester was beginning, while I was in Vancouver for MLA, and since. (Also, in mini-hyperarchival news, I just received in the mail today a 32 gigabyte USB drive to replace my almost full 4 GB drive. It feels good to be moving up in the world with regard to how much textual data I have/can produced/store.)

 

Environment

Trent Moore, “This Is the Final Video CNN Plans To Air When the Apocalypse Eventually Arrives.”

Out of the Woods, “Klein vs. Klein.”

Rebecca Solnit, “Everything’s Coming Together While Everything Falls Apart.”

Emily Atkin, “A Nuclear Plant Leaked Oil into Lake Michigan for Two Months Straight.”

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May Links

Digital Culture

Conor Friedersdorf, “The Strangest Interview Yet With the Outgoing Head of the NSA.”

And here’s John Oliver’s interview with General Keith Alexander, outgoing head of the NSA.

Adam Kirsch, “Technology is Taking Over English Departments: The False Promise of the Digital Humanities.”

Nilay Patel, “The Internet is Fucked.”

Mark Sample on torture in videogames, “Sites of Pain and Telling.”

An interview with Brian Tomasik, who thinks killing videogame characters is immoral.

On work in videogames: Steven Poole, “Working for the Man.”

Rey Junco, “Beyond ‘Screen Time’: What Minecraft Teaches Kids.”

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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.”

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