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Tagging posts, posts by category, next/previous post indicators, and other post-2003 design innovations are incrementally being tweaked/kludged/melting.
Above email address currently deprecated! Use gary underscore farber at yahoodotcom, pliz! Sanely free of McCarthyite calling anyone a traitor since 2001!
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I've a long record in editorial work in book and magazine publishing, starting 1974, a variety of other work experience, but have been, since 2001, recurringly housebound with insanely painful sporadic and unpredictably variable gout and edema, and in the past, other ailments; the future? The Great Unknown: isn't it for all of us?
I'm currently house/cat-sitting, not on any government aid yet (or mostly ever), often in major chronic pain from gout and edema, which variably can leave me unable to walk, including just standing, but sometimes is better, and is freaking unpredictable at present; I also have major chronic depression and anxiety disorders; I'm currently supported mostly by your blog donations/subscriptions; you can help me. I prefer to spread out the load, and lessen it from the few who have been doing more than their fair share for too long.
Thanks for any understanding and support. I know it's difficult to understand. And things will change. They always change.
I'm sometimes available to some degree as a paid writer, editor, researcher, or proofreader. I'm sometimes available as a fill-in Guest Blogger at mid-to-high-traffic blogs that fit my knowledge set.
If you like my blog, and would like to help me continue to afford food and prescriptions, or simply enjoy my blogging and writing, and would like to support it --
you are welcome to do so via the PayPal buttons.
"The brain is wider than the sky, For, put them side by side,
The one the other will include With ease, and you beside"
-- Emily Dickinson
"We will pursue peace as if there is no terrorism and fight terrorism as if there is no peace."
-- Yitzhak Rabin
"I have thought it my duty to exhibit things as they are, not as they ought to be."
-- Alexander Hamilton
"The stakes are too high for government to be a spectator sport."
-- Barbara Jordan
"Under democracy, one party always devotes its chief energies to
trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule --
and both commonly succeed, and are right."
-- H. L. Mencken
"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom.
It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."
-- William Pitt
"The only completely consistent people are the dead."
-- Aldous Huxley
"I have had my solutions for a long time; but I do not yet know how I am to arrive at them."
-- Karl F. Gauss
"Whatever evils either reason or declamation have imputed to extensive empire,
the power of Rome was attended with some beneficial consequences to mankind;
and the same freedom of intercourse which extended the vices, diffused likewise
the improvements of social life."
-- Edward Gibbon
"Augustus was sensible that mankind is governed by names; nor was he deceived in his
expectation, that the senate and people would submit to slavery, provided they were
respectfully assured that they still enjoyed their ancient freedom."
-- Edward Gibbon
"There exists in human nature a strong propensity to depreciate the advantages, and to magnify
the evils, of the present times."
-- Edward Gibbon
"Our youth now loves luxuries. They have bad manners, contempt for authority.
They show disrespect for elders and they
love to chatter instead of exercise.
Children are now tyrants, not the servants, of their households. They
no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents,
chatter before company, gobble up their food, and tyrannize
"Before impugning an opponent's motives, even when they legitimately may be impugned, answer his arguments."
-- Sidney Hook
"Idealism, alas, does not protect one from ignorance, dogmatism, and foolishness."
-- Sidney Hook
"Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson
"We take, and must continue to take, morally hazardous actions to preserve our civilization.
We must exercise our power. But we ought neither to believe that a nation is capable of perfect
disinterestedness in its exercise, nor become complacent about particular degrees of interest
and passion which corrupt the justice by which the exercise of power is legitimized."
-- Reinhold Niebuhr
"Faced with the choice of all the land without a Jewish state or a Jewish state without all the
land, we chose a Jewish state without all the land."
-- David Ben-Gurion
"...the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him
an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this
or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages
to which, in common with his fellow citizens, he has a natural right; that it tends also
to corrupt the principles of that very religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing,
with a monopoly of worldly honours and emoluments, those who will externally profess
and conform to it;[...] that the opinions of men are not the object of civil government, nor under its jurisdiction; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion
and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty....
-- Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, Thomas Jefferson
"We don't live just by ideas. Ideas are part of the mixture of customs and practices,
intuitions and instincts that make human life a conscious activity susceptible to
improvement or debasement. A radical idea may be healthy as a provocation;
a temperate idea may be stultifying. It depends on the circumstances. One of the most
tiresome arguments against ideas is that their 'tendency' is to some dire condition --
to totalitarianism, or to moral relativism, or to a war of all against all."
-- Louis Menand
"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis."
-- Dante Alighieri
"He too serves a certain purpose who only stands and cheers."
-- Henry B. Adams
"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the
poor to beg in the streets, steal bread, or sleep under a bridge."
-- Anatole France
"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."
-- Edmund Burke
"Education does not mean that we have become certified experts in business or mining or botany or journalism or epistemology;
it means that through the absorption of the moral, intellectual, and esthetic inheritance of the race we have come to
understand and control ourselves as well as the external world; that we have chosen the best as our associates both in spirit
and the flesh; that we have learned to add courtesy to culture, wisdom to knowledge, and forgiveness to understanding."
-- Will Durant
"Glimpses do ye seem to see of that mortally intolerable truth; that all deep, earnest thinking is
but the intrepid effort of the soul to keep the open independence of her sea; while the wildest
winds of heaven and earth conspire to cast her on the treacherous, slavish shore?"
-- Herman Melville
"The most important political office is that of the private citizen."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"It is an error to suppose that books have no influence; it is a slow influence, like flowing water carving out a canyon,
but it tells more and more with every year; and no one can pass an hour a day in the society of sages and heroes without
being lifted up a notch or two by the company he has kept."
-- Will Durant
"When you write, you’re trying to transpose what you’re thinking into something that is less like an annoying drone and more like a piece of music."
-- Louis Menand
"Sex is a continuum."
-- Gore Vidal
"I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should
make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state."
-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to the Baptists of Danbury, Connecticut, 1802.
"The sum of our religion is peace and unanimity, but these can scarcely stand unless we define as little as possible,
and in many things leave one free to follow his own judgment, because there is great obscurity in many matters, and
man suffers from this almost congenital disease that he will not give in when once a controversy is started, and
after he is heated he regards as absolutely true that which he began to sponsor quite casually...."
-- Desiderius Erasmus
"Are we to have a censor whose imprimatur shall say what books may be sold, and what we may buy? And who is thus to dogmatize religious opinions for our citizens? Whose foot is to be the measure to which ours are all to be cut or stretched? Is a priest to be our inquisitor, or shall a layman, simple as ourselves, set up his reason as the rule of what we are to read, and what we must disbelieve?"
-- Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to N. G. Dufief, Philadelphia bookseller, 1814
"We are told that it is only people's objective actions that matter, and their subjective feelings are of no importance. Thus pacifists, by obstructing the war effort,
are 'objectively' aiding the Nazis; and therefore the fact that they may be personally hostile to Fascism is irrelevant. I have been guilty of saying this myself more than once. The same argument is applied to Trotskyism. Trotskyists are often credited, at any rate by Communists, with being active and conscious agents of Hitler; but when you point out the many and obvious reasons why this is unlikely to be true,
the 'objectively' line of talk is brought forward again. To criticize the Soviet Union helps Hitler: therefore 'Trotskyism is Fascism'. And when this has been established, the accusation of conscious treachery is usually repeated.
This is not only dishonest; it also carries a severe penalty with it. If you disregard people's motives, it becomes much harder to foresee their actions."
-- George Orwell, "As I Please," Tribune, 8 December 1944
"Wouldn't this be a great world if insecurity and desperation made us more attractive? If 'needy' were a turn-on?"
-- "Aaron Altman," Broadcast News
"The great thing about human language is that it prevents us from sticking to the matter at hand."
-- Lewis Thomas
"To be ignorant of what happened before you were born is to be ever a child. For what is man's lifetime unless the memory of past events is woven with those of earlier times?"
"Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it."
-- Samuel Johnson, Life Of Johnson
"Very well, what did my critics say in attacking my character? I must read out their affidavit, so to speak, as though they were my legal accusers: Socrates is guilty of criminal meddling, in that he inquires into things below the earth and in the sky, and makes the weaker argument defeat the stronger, and teaches others to follow his example."
-- Socrates, via Plato, The Republic
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, represents, in the final analysis, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children."
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower
"The term, then, is obviously a relative one; my pedantry is your scholarship, his reasonable accuracy, her irreducible minimum of education, & someone else's ignorance."
-- H. W. Fowler
"Rules exist for good reasons, and in any art form the beginner must learn them and understand what they are for, then follow them for quite a while. A visual artist, pianist, dancer, fiction writer, all beginning artists are in the same boat here: learn the rules, understand them, follow them. It's called an apprenticeship. A mediocre artist never stops following the rules, slavishly follows guidelines, and seldom rises above mediocrity. An accomplished artist internalizes the rules to the point where they don't have to be consciously considered. After you've put in the time it takes to learn to swim, you never stop to think: now I move my arm, kick, raise my head, breathe. You just do it. The accomplished artist knows what the rules mean, how to use them, dodge them, ignore them altogether, or break them. This may be a wholly unconscious process of assimilation, one never articulated, but it has taken place."
-- Kate Wilhelm
"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed."
-- Albert Einstein
"The decisive moment in human evolution is perpetual."
-- Franz Kafka, Aphorisms
"All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."
-- Samuel Beckett, Worstward Ho
"First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you."
-- Nicholas Klein, May, 1919, to the Third Biennial Convention of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (misattributed to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, 1914 & variants).
"Our credulity is a part of the imperfection of our natures. It is inherent in us to desire to generalize, when we ought, on the contrary, to guard ourselves very carefully from this tendency."
-- Napoleon I of France.
"The truth is, men are very hard to know, and yet, not to be deceived, we must judge them by their present actions, but for the present only."
-- Napoleon I of France.
"The barbarous custom of having men beaten who are suspected of having important secrets to reveal must be abolished. It has always been recognized that this way of interrogating men, by putting them to torture, produces nothing worthwhile. The poor wretches say anything that comes into their mind and what they think the interrogator wishes to know."
-- On the subject of torture, in a letter to Louis Alexandre Berthier (11 November 1798), published in Correspondance Napoleon edited by Henri Plon (1861), Vol. V, No. 3606, p. 128
"All living souls welcome whatever they are ready to cope with; all else they ignore, or pronounce to be monstrous and wrong, or deny to be possible."
-- George Santayana, Dialogues in Limbo (1926)
"If you should put even a little on a little, and should do this often, soon this too would become big."
-- Hesiod, Work And Days
"Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free."
-- Eugene V. Debs
"Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself."
-- Lois McMaster Bujold, A Civil Campaign
"All that we have to do is to send two mujahidin to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written "al-Qaida," in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits for their private companies."
-- Osama bin Laden
"Remember, Robin: evil is a pretty bad thing."
Gary Farber is now a licensed Quintuple Super-Sekrit Multi-dimensional Master Pundit.
He does not always refer to himself in the third person.
He is presently single.
The gefilte fish is dead. Donate via the donation button on the top left or I'll shoot this cutepanda. Don't you lovepandas?
Current Total # of Donations Since 2002: 1181
Subscribers to date at $5/month: 100 sign-ups; 91 cancellations; Total= 9
Supporter subscribers to date at $25/month: 16 sign-ups; 10 cancellation; Total= 6
Patron subscribers to date at $50/month: 20 sign-ups; 13 cancellations; Total= 7
...writer[s] I find myself checking out repeatedly when I'm in the mood to play follow-the-links. They're not all people I agree with all the time, or even most of the time, but I've found them all to be thoughtful writers, and that's the important thing, or should be.
-- Tom Tomorrow
I bow before the shrillitudinousness of Gary Farber, who has been blogging like a fiend.
-- Ted Barlow, Crooked Timber
Favorite.... [...] ...all great stuff. [...] Gary Farber should never be without readers.
I usually read you and Patrick several times a day, and I always get something from them. You've got great links, intellectually honest commentary, and a sense of humor. What's not to like?
-- Ted Barlow
One of my issues with many poli-blogs is the dickhead tone so many bloggers affect to express their sense of righteous indignation. Gary Farber's thoughtful leftie takes on the world stand in sharp contrast with the usual rhetorical bullying. Plus, he likes "Pogo," which clearly attests to his unassaultable good taste.
Jaysus. I saw him do something like this before, on a thread about Israel. It was pretty brutal. It's like watching one of those old WWF wrestlers grab an opponent's
face and grind away until the guy starts crying. I mean that in a nice & admiring way, you know.
-- Fontana Labs, Unfogged
We read you Gary Farber! We read you all the time! Its just that we are lazy with our blogroll. We are so very very lazy. We are always the last ones to the party but we always have snazzy bow ties.
-- Fafnir, Fafblog!
Gary Farber you are a genius of mad scientist proportions. I will bet there are like huge brains growin in jars all over your house.
-- Fafnir, Fafblog!
Gary Farber is the hardest working man in show blog business. He's like a young Gene Hackman blogging with his hair on fire, or something.
-- Belle Waring, John & Belle Have A Blog
Gary Farber only has two blogging modes: not at all, and 20 billion interesting posts a day [...] someone on the interweb whose opinions I can trust....
-- Belle Waring, John & Belle Have A Blog
Isn't Gary a cracking blogger, apropos of nothing in particular?
-- Alison Scott
Gary Farber takes me to task, in a way befitting the gentleman he is.
-- Stephen Green, Vodkapundit
My friend Gary Farber at Amygdala is the sort of liberal for whom I happily give three cheers. [...] Damned incisive blogging....
-- Midwest Conservative Journal
If I ever start a paper, Clueless writes the foreign affairs column, Layne handles the city beat, Welch has the roving-reporter job, Tom Tomorrow runs the comic section (which carries Treacher, of course). MediaMinded runs the slots - that's the type of editor I want as the last line of defense. InstantMan runs the edit page - and you can forget about your Ivins and Wills and Friedmans and Teepens on the edit page - it's all Blair, VodkaP, C. Johnson, Aspara, Farber, Galt, and a dozen other worthies, with Justin 'I am smoking in such a provocative fashion' Raimondo tossed in for balance and comic relief.
Who wouldn't buy that paper? Who wouldn't want to read it? Who wouldn't climb over their mother to be in it?
-- James Lileks
I do appreciate your role and the role of Amygdala as a pioneering effort in the integration of fanwriters with social conscience into the larger blogosphere of social conscience.
-- Lenny Bailes
Every single post in that part of Amygdala visible on my screen is either funny or bracing or important. Is it always like this? -- Natalie Solent
People I've known and still miss include Isaac Asimov, rich brown, Charles Burbee, F. M. "Buzz" Busby, Terry Carr, A. Vincent Clarke, Bob Doyle, George Alec Effinger, Abi Frost,
Bill & Sherry Fesselmeyer, George Flynn, John Milo "Mike" Ford. John Foyster, Mike Glicksohn, Jay Haldeman, Neith Hammond (Asenath Katrina Hammond)/DominEditrix , Chuch Harris, Mike Hinge, Lee Hoffman, Terry Hughes, Damon Knight, Ross Pavlac, Bruce Pelz, Elmer Perdue, Tom Perry,
Larry Propp, Bill Rotsler, Art Saha, Bob Shaw, Martin Smith, Harry Stubbs, Bob Tucker, Harry Warner, Jr., Jack Williamson, Walter A. Willis, Susan Wood, Kate Worley, and Roger Zelazny.
It's just a start, it only gets longer, many are unintentionally left out.
And She of whom I must write someday.
WORKING THE MINE-SHAFTS. Could people please quit talking about "wire-tapping"? "Eavesdropping," if that's the only aspect you want to talk about. What's most important there is the switch-compromising, and compromising of the satellite-relays, and that isn't "wiretapping."
It's a heck of a lot worse. (Or, if you prefer, better; whichever, it's vastly more massive than a guy tampering with the wire on a pole outside your house, or in the basement of your apartment building.)
A small group of National Security Agency officials slipped into Silicon Valley on one of the agency's periodic technology shopping expeditions this month.
The tools they were looking for are new, but their application would fall under the well-established practice of data mining: using mathematical and statistical techniques to scan for hidden relationships in streams of digital data or large databases.
"The theory is that the automated tool that is conducting the search is not violating the law," said Mark D. Rasch, the former head of computer-crime investigations for the Justice Department and now the senior vice president of Solutionary, a computer security company. But "anytime a tool or a human is looking at the content of your communication, it invades your privacy."
When asked for comment about the meetings in Silicon Valley, Jane Hudgins, a National Security Agency spokeswoman, said, "We have no information to provide."
One such tool is Analyst's Notebook, a crime investigation "spreadsheet" and visualization tool developed by i2 Inc., a software firm based in McLean, Va.
The software, which ranges in price from as little as $3,000 for a sheriff's department to millions of dollars for a large government agency like the Federal Bureau of Investigation, allows investigators to organize and view telephone and financial transaction records. It was used in 2001 by Joyce Knowlton, an investigator at the Stillwater State Correctional Facility in Minnesota, to detect a prison drug-smuggling ring that ultimately implicated 30 offenders who were linked to Supreme White Power, a gang active in the prison.
Ms. Knowlton began her investigation by importing telephone call records into her software and was immediately led to a pattern of calls between prisoners and a recent parolee. She overlaid the calling data with records of prisoners' financial accounts, and based on patterns that emerged, she began monitoring phone calls of particular inmates. That led her to coded messages being exchanged in the calls that revealed that seemingly innocuous wood blocks were being used to smuggle drugs into the prison.
"Once we added the money and saw how it was flowing from addresses that were connected to phone numbers, it created a very clear picture of the smuggling ring," she said.
Privacy, of course, is hardly an expectation for prisoners. And credit card customers and insurance policyholders give up a certain amount of privacy to the issuers and carriers. It is the power of such software tools applied to broad, covert governmental uses that has led to the deepening controversy over data mining.
Although Congress abruptly canceled the program in October 2003, the legislation provided a specific exemption for "processing, analysis and collaboration tools for counterterrorism foreign intelligence."
At the time, Admiral Poindexter, who declined to be interviewed for this article because he said he had knowledge of current classified intelligence activities, argued that his program had achieved a tenfold increase in the speed of the searching databases for foreign threats.
While agreeing that data mining has a tremendous power for fighting a new kind of warfare, John Arquilla, a professor of defense analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., said that intelligence agencies had missed an opportunity by misapplying the technologies.
"In many respects, we're fighting the last intelligence war," Mr. Arquilla said. "We have not pursued data mining in the way we should."
Mr. Arquilla, who was a consultant on Admiral Poindexter's Total Information Awareness project, said that the $40 billion spent each year by intelligence agencies had failed to exploit the power of data mining in correlating information readily available from public sources, like monitoring Internet chat rooms used by Al Qaeda. Instead, he said, the government has been investing huge sums in surveillance of phone calls of American citizens.
"Checking every phone call ever made is an example of old think," he said.
He was alluding to databases maintained at an AT&T data center in Kansas, which now contain electronic records of 1.92 trillion telephone calls, going back decades. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital-rights advocacy group, has asserted in a lawsuit that the AT&T Daytona system, a giant storehouse of calling records and Internet message routing information, was the foundation of the N.S.A.'s effort to mine telephone records without a warrant.
An AT&T spokeswoman said the company would not comment on the claim, or generally on matters of national security or customer privacy.
But the mining of the databases in other law enforcement investigations is well established, with documented results. One application of the database technology, called Security Call Analysis and Monitoring Platform, or Scamp, offers access to about nine weeks of calling information. It currently handles about 70,000 queries a month from fraud and law enforcement investigators, according to AT&T documents.
A former AT&T official who had detailed knowledge of the call-record database said the Daytona system takes great care to make certain that anyone using the database — whether AT&T employee or law enforcement official with a subpoena — sees only information he or she is authorized to see, and that an audit trail keeps track of all users. Such information is frequently used to build models of suspects' social networks.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was discussing sensitive corporate matters, said every telephone call generated a record: number called, time of call, duration of call, billing category and other details. While the database does not contain such billing data as names, addresses and credit card numbers, those records are in a linked database that can be tapped by authorized users.
New calls are entered into the database immediately after they end, the official said, adding, "I would characterize it as near real time."
According to a current AT&T employee, whose identity is being withheld to avoid jeopardizing his job, the mining of the AT&T databases had a notable success in helping investigators find the perpetrators of what was known as the Moldovan porn scam.
In 1997 a shadowy group in Moldova, a former Soviet republic, was tricking Internet users by enticing them to a pornography Web site that would download a piece of software that disconnected the computer user from his local telephone line and redialed a costly 900 number in Moldova.
While another long-distance carrier simply cut off the entire nation of Moldova from its network, AT&T and the Moldovan authorities were able to mine the database to track the culprits.
Much of the recent work on data mining has been aimed at even more sophisticated applications. The National Security Agency has invested billions in computerized tools for monitoring phone calls around the world — not only logging them, but also determining content — and more recently in trying to design digital vacuum cleaners to sweep up information from the Internet.
Last September, the N.S.A. was granted a patent for a technique that could be used to determine the physical location of an Internet address — another potential category of data to be mined. The technique, which exploits the tiny time delays in the transmission of Internet data, suggests the agency's interest in sophisticated surveillance tasks like trying to determine where a message sent from an Internet address in a cybercafe might have originated.
An earlier N.S.A. patent, in 1999, focused on a software solution for generating a list of topics from computer-generated text. Such a capacity hints at the ability to extract the content of telephone conversations automatically. That might permit the agency to mine millions of phone conversations and then select a handful for human inspection.
As the N.S.A. visit to the Silicon Valley venture capitalists this month indicates, the actual development of such technologies often comes from private companies.
In 2003, Virage, a Silicon Valley company, began supplying a voice transcription product that recognized and logged the text of television programming for government and commercial customers. Under perfect conditions, the system could be 95 percent accurate in capturing spoken text. Such technology has potential applications in monitoring phone conversations as well.
And several Silicon Valley executives say one side effect of the 2003 decision to cancel the Total Information Awareness project was that it killed funds for a research project at the Palo Alto Research Center, a subsidiary of Xerox, exploring technologies that could protect privacy while permitting data mining.
The aim was to allow an intelligence analyst to conduct extensive data mining without getting access to identifying information about individuals. If the results suggested that, for instance, someone might be a terrorist, the intelligence agency could seek a court warrant authorizing it to penetrate the privacy technology and identify the person involved.
With Xerox funds, the Palo Alto researchers are continuing to explore the technology.
It's almost as if I might know what I'm talking about.
Not particularly, unless you mean 'generalized paranoid Big Brother fantasies.' Which, if that's your deal, you should be advocating for the immediate shut-down of all internet, cable, satellite, and telephone (wired and wireless) systems. Those are the systems that generate the meta-data you're forever on about. I'm sure you know this.
And given your desire for universal health care, I would imagine you would be in favor of a government system that sent a nurse to your door if you hadn't picked up the phone in 24 hours, or your set-top box hadn't sensed movement in that time-frame.
That's just one imaginary example, and a fairly simplistic one, but I reckon you can see what I'm driving at. I'm pretty happy to live with what you seem to think is a bad thing -- governmental combing of metadata in the protection of American lives against a distinctly murky threat -- and I'm always left wondering how you, a man who has advocated for such as UHC, would square that (having access to my blood sugar levels, for one) with this current seemingly unsavory hehaviour (having access to my calling patterns).
"I would imagine you would be in favor of a government system that sent a nurse to your door if you hadn't picked up the phone in 24 hours, or your set-top box hadn't sensed movement in that time-frame."
You can imagine all you like, but I'm quite sure I've not voiced an opinion about it.
But since you ask, what you mention is technology, not social policy, let alone a framework of law, or a "government system." Since I can imagine quite a few "government systems" that could do do or forbid any number of uses of such technology, I can hardly take a position in "favor of" or opposed to such a large number of possibilities, many of them quite contradictory.
I haven't said anything about what kind of datamining what kind of government agency under what kind of circumstances I do or don't think should be legal or illegal under what sort of legal context and set of provisions, either.
Not once. No where.
If you think I have, you're confused.
So imagine all you like.
"Universal health care" admits of quite a huge number of possible policies, as well, by the way; some I'd favor, some I wouldn't.
You can imagine all you like, but I'm quite sure I've not voiced an opinion about it.
That's kind of why I'm asking, Gary. Why I said "imagine." I'm quite sure you have voiced an opinion, but never mind what I think. What would you accept under UHC? What is otherwise objectionable? I'm trying to pin you down here, just this once, to get a reliable, usable grasp on your outlook on such theoretically personal meta-data. And how it might dovetail with your other views. It certainly is social policy or easily imaginable law, to, say, send a nurse, as I described. They send other functionaries when they see smoke in the skies, right?
You have indeed stated a personal proclivity about data mining by the government. Several of your linked posts display what I suppose to be your distaste for it. Maybe it doesn't really rise to the level of "opinon" in your eyes...who knows? If you'd like, though, I'll re-link them, but I reckon you know what I'd link to. I'm not imagining those.
Really, I'm just trying to get to where, exactly, you might consider drawing a line on governmental data mining. Or if there even is a line to be drawn, and whethere it's only drawable by you. Because that's what I fear more than such oddball historical intersections of the NSA and ATT and AQ -- unpinnable eggheads who waffle more than IHOP.
"What would you accept under UHC? What is otherwise objectionable?"
That's a book-length topic, and I don't have particularly strong views, either. I'd just like to see tremendously better results than we get today, basically. I'm really not all that fussy about the details of how to get there, though obviously there are things I'd object to. And plenty of sub-issues, such as efficiency, not excessive costs, privacy, etc. But there are any number of possibilities, and as I say, I'm not particularly prescriptive; I'm interested in results, and methodology primarily only insofar as it gets them. Sorry.
"You have indeed stated a personal proclivity about data mining by the government. Several of your linked posts display what I suppose to be your distaste for it."
Mostly great "concern" at this point. You could say "alarm," but mostly that's only insofar as most of what we know is guesswork and bits and pieces; I can't say whether I'd be alarmed or not or how much at the actual reality without a far greater sense and knowledge of what the reality actually is.
My main concern at this point is simply to a) try to find out what I can; and b) help people be aware of what we know; and c) help such awareness create political pressure for us all to be able to get as much of the facts as we reasonably can without compromising legitimate issues of national security/counter-terrorism. Obviously, reasonable people will disagree as to where the line should be drawn on the latter. I'd be content to leave a certain amount of that latter decision to elected representatives that I trusted, but there aren't so many around these days, and it's certainly fair to say that I don't repose a great deal of trust in the present ultimate authority in the Executive Office or in a fair number of his designates.
"Really, I'm just trying to get to where, exactly, you might consider drawing a line on governmental data mining."
I don't think I have a very clear line at present. It's a tricky issue. Up to some point, clearly a certain amount of simple collection and correlation of open-source information is reasonable, without doubt. When it starts crossing the line into information that we might want to retain some degree of privacy over, even though we don't, such as credit information, I become a bit more concerned, but obviously there's still some area where law enforcement/intelligence can reasonably go just on their own suspicion.
Eventually we then get to a point where probable cause and a warrant should be needed. Where exactly is that line? I don't have a precise definition; I'm open to arguments.
The fact is that I don't feel a particular need to make up rules and policies that I've not yet come to final conclusions on; and, hey, when I do, I reserve the right to change my mind if it seems warranted.
I realize this is unsatisfactory if you want to have a nice argument with me, but so it goes. When I have clear opinions about things, I do tend to get around to stating them, sooner or later. But if I haven't had them organically arise yet, I'm not going to make one up just because it would be nice to have one, I'm afraid.
"...unpinnable eggheads who waffle more than IHOP."
Life is hard (other times, soft-boiled). Fear me! Fear my egginess; it runneth on; sometimes I even yolk.
I like Vermont maple syrup on my waffleness, though. And sausage and Canadian bacon on the side, please. Lots of butter, too.
I don't. Just trying to better understand your POV about governmental use of that kind of meta-data, for future reading. UHC is only one issue where it plays, and I've read your posts where you mention a desire for it. Thought it tied in fairly directly. So, now I know. Thanks.