One night in 1989 while I was watching my favorite show (America’s Funniest Home Videos), my Dad explained to me that before Bob Saget was on TV, he had an unsuccessful musical career and in an effort to escape his past he had changed his name from “Bob Seger” to “Bob Saget”.
7 or 8 years later, I’m 15 and flipping through a box of records at my friend’s house when I come across a Bob Seger album. Wouldn’t ya know it, I had a super fun trivia fact about Bob Seger! So I proudly shared it with the room.
My friend’s dad laughed until he cried. At me, not with me.
Amazon Prime started putting surprise advertising jump scares into movies that used to be completely free with a membership. This is the last thing I watched, and Prime just dropped to the last place I’ll check for movies.
This may surprise you, but electricity is a pretty clutch utility, and not having it for three days in February during record below-freezing weather is a real challenge to say the least.
I had been reading about how stressed the grid was getting during the cold snap, and at 2am when the power went out I got up and hung up blankets over the windows to try and keep in the heat in case the power didn’t come back on for a while. Sealing them with plastic like people used to do in drafty houses would’ve been better, but cling wrap wasn’t gonna do it.
Power didn’t come back on for three days. By the end of the power saga it was dipping below 40º in my house… and that is too cold.
At first, it was kinda fun. I’ve been in Austin for thirteen years and I like the heat less and less each year (not to mention each year it seems to be getting worse), so any time we get any sort of inclement weather and the locals flip out I’m usually loving it. So getting a real winter in this town? What a freakin’ dream.
Losing power for days, though? No so much a dream. At the 48 hour mark we lost our damn minds, and just at the right moment my brother’s neighbor lent us a generator which powered a tiny heater, which was just enough heat to thaw out our patience.
Spin Doctors shorts, designer unknown. Birkies and Shaka to complete the look.
A friend gave these shorts to me in 2002 or so, and I have no idea where he got them from. Despite their appearance, they’re not made for water activities and I never wear them because they’re so heinous. But I’ve kept them all these years because they they feel like a precious artifact from another time and the mystery of how they got here is intriguing.
Who green-lit this project? Did the designer intentionally make the pockets comically tiny as a tip of their hat to the album we all know? When I came down the stairs in these shorts was my girlfriend laughing at me or with me?
This is in the same vein as Sincerely, Linda Wilson, but owning a wolf didn’t fit into Linda’s character. Nonetheless, this was fun to write and I can’t quite believe the legitimate responses. (I do not own a wolf)
Ed Snowden does a good job of explaining the other side of the argument regarding modern privacy, namely the line of “Sorry, if you want security, privacy has to go a little bit. It’s the price we pay to keep this country safe”
The interview was mainly around the Windows vulnerability that was discovered by cyber attackers causing worldwide damage, but the twist being that the NSA knew about this vulnerability and had been using it to their advantage for a long time. The debate being: was that right?
Paraphrased transcript below regarding some meaty bits of this interview.
Privacy and security improve together. They are actually tied to each other. When one is reduced, the other is reduced. Surveillance and privacy are the contradictory factors. When surveillance increases, privacy decreases.
And unfortunately…when surveillance increases security typically decreases. Now that might not seem obvious at first glance, but when you think about how surveillance actually functions it becomes quite clear, particularly in the computer security context. Surveillance operates by observing, witnessing, and exploiting vulnerabilities. Whether that’s you walking out on the street where you can be observed, rather than within the four walls of your home, that’s exploiting a property where you are insecure, and using that for the interests of whoever runs the surveillance thing.
This interview was pretty interesting/terrifying and hey maybe it’d be easier to not even think about this and just la la la la la continue on like nothing is happening and wow new season of bojack horseman is coming out soon? So exciting.
SCHNEIER: Surveillance is the business model of the internet. Everyone is under constant surveillance by many companies, ranging from social networks like Facebook to cellphone providers. This data is collected, compiled, analyzed, and used to try to sell us stuff. Personalized advertising is how these companies make money, and is why so much of the internet is free to users. We’re the product, not the customer.
GAZETTE: Should they be stopped?
SCHNEIER: That’s a philosophical question. Personally, I think that in many cases the answer is yes. It’s a question of how much manipulation we allow in our society. Right now, the answer is basically anything goes. It wasn’t always this way. In the 1970s, Congress passed a law to make a particular form of subliminal advertising illegal because it was believed to be morally wrong. That advertising technique is child’s play compared to the kind of personalized manipulation that companies do today. The legal question is whether this kind of cyber-manipulation is an unfair and deceptive business practice, and, if so, can the Federal Trade Commission step in and prohibit a lot of these practices.
GAZETTE: Why doesn’t the commission do that? Why is this intrusion happening, and nobody does anything about it?
SCHNEIER: We’re living in a world of low government effectiveness, and there the prevailing neo-liberal idea is that companies should be free to do what they want. Our system is optimized for companies that do everything that is legal to maximize profits, with little nod to morality. Shoshana Zuboff, professor at the Harvard Business School, invented the term “surveillance capitalism” to describe what’s happening. It’s very profitable, and it feeds off the natural property of computers to produce data about what they are doing. For example, cellphones need to know where everyone is so they can deliver phone calls. As a result, they are ubiquitous surveillance devices beyond the wildest dreams of Cold War East Germany.