1. In medieval times, they said city air was freer because that’s where they destroyed the shackles of feudalism," he said. "Working together, we can help cities do that again.

    — Bloomberg discusses an international future, gives thanks for Olympics failure | Capital New York

  2. My guess is that most encryption products from large US companies have NSA-friendly back doors, and many foreign ones probably do as well. It’s prudent to assume that foreign products also have foreign-installed backdoors. Closed-source software is easier for the NSA to backdoor than open-source software.

    — How to remain secure against NSA surveillance | Bruce Schneier | World news | theguardian.com

  3. What we see now is a surreal imitation of the suburban industrial parks and commercial spaces of yesteryear. They’re built atop the past’s mistakes, erasing them from our maps and eyes.

    And yet, as the humans eat dosas and climb fake mountains and learn acupuncture and buy lap dances, beneath the asphalt and concrete, the microbes eat toxic waste sweetened with molasses, cleaning up our mistakes.

    A revolution began here. And this is what’s left over.

    — Not Even Silicon Valley Escapes History - Technology - The Atlantic

  4. “My theory is that, just as young people don’t have to buy a whole album on iTunes and can pick and choose just the songs they like, they can customize their political views — and they do,” said Kristen Soltis, a Republican pollster who is the communications adviser to Crossroads Generation, a new pro-Romney “super PAC” aimed at young voters.


    Young Republicans Erase Lines on Social Issues - NYTimes.com

    Then why in hell do we have to have a two party system? If I want to aline myself with particular values, do I really have to choose between the right and the left?

  5. Turning to the audience of mostly MIT students, Stephenson said “maybe some of you people need to go into the insurance industry instead of writing code.”

    — Neal Stephenson on Science Fiction, Building Towers 20 Kilometers High … and Insurance - Technology Review

  6. Good points from Tim Bray on Google. “Something that occurred to me over the weekend is that Google’s name suggests that this is a major initiative from Google. “Google” has always meant two things: the company, and its flagship product, the search engine at google.com. Google offers many products, but its main product has always been search. Adding a “+” — not the word plus but merely the punctuation character — strikes me as perhaps the most aggressive way that Google, the company, could attempt to redefine what “Google” means to the public at large. If it works out as they hope, the result is that we’ll wind up thinking of this social network at least as much as we do about web search when we think of “Google”.”

    — via Daring Fireball