- Privacy and the Fourth Amendment – Our laws, or at least, our interpretations of them, desperately need to be updated to deal with information and privacy in a computer mediated world. What will be the framing cases, and how will they shake out? Apparently the warrantless wiretapping wasn't a big enough scandal to get us paying attention. Terrifying to imagine what it will take. (tagged: privacy law security technology )
- Moyers on America . Is God Green? – Bill Moyers (himself very Christian) investigates the recent emergence of green evangelicalism… (tagged: religion sustainability green christianity moyers environment )
- Vast Spy System Loots Computers in 103 Countries – NYTimes.com – Asian cyberspies, able to watch and listen through your computer's camera and microphone, even if you work in an embassy? And they somehow leave the dashboard for their giant cyberspyring out in the open, on a website, with no password? Are you kidding? Is it just me, or does this reek of Neuromancer? (tagged: security internet technology espionage china tibet nytimes )
- The Quiet Coup – A withering op-ed by Simon Johnson on the policy disaster that is our financial sector. But he's still not willing to re-evaluate the underlying premise of perpetually debt fueled exponential economic growth. How, exactly, was this all supposed to work out? (tagged: politics economics finance bailout crisis policy banking imf )
- MASHSF – Fixies gone wild. Not my kind of riding, but hey, someone's having a good time! Looks like they're making a movie. (tagged: bicycle fixie video cycling )
I just finished reading Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins. It’s his personal account of working as an economic forecaster for an international infrastructure engineering and consulting company called Chas. T. Main during the 1970s (it’s since been purchased by Pasadena’s very own Parsons). If I remember correctly, I got this book from Arjun.
It was widely criticized when it came out as being the rantings of a conspiracy theorist, and I think that by the end of the book, it definitely takes on that tone. This is unfortunate, because a lot of the problems that Perkins points out really do exist, and it actually doesn’t matter much whether they’re the result of a shadowy global conspiracy, or a structural problem with our international economic and development system. But most good conspiracy theories contain a grain of truth, and at the very least they can provide a useful lens into how the same situation and facts can be interpreted differently by people in different positions, with different experiences, and different incentives. In that light, the book is asking the reader to consider what debt-based foreign development aid looks like from the point of view of the poor people living in the countries receiving the aid. This is actually a really interesting thing to think about right now, because our current financial and economic crisis has been described by some as similar in many ways to the kinds of crises which the IMF and World Bank have historically been called on to deal with in “developing” economies.
- Simon Johnson of the IMF on the ongoing financial bailouts – Simon Johnson works for the IMF, and what he sees in the US approach to its financial crisis is much more similar to say, Indonesia or Russia, than a "normal" developed world economic mess. He sees a clash between the government, and an oligarchy, in which currently, the oligarchy is winning. Hopefully we'll get our act together here… as the IMF isn't going to be stepping in anytime soon. (tagged: financial economy pbs moyers crisis economics politics geithner imf )
- Bicycling's Into the Wild – Screw school, ride your bike into the forest and disappear. Almost sounds like me! Except instead of racing, I got into… grad school. Uh, hmm. (tagged: bicycle nytimes touring wilderness )
- Roubini, Taleb, Marx, Lenin, and Python – Indeed, asking Taleb and Roubini for stock tips is like asking Karl Marx who won the English Football Cup in 1949. (tagged: roubini taleb montypython krugman economy blackswan finance )
- The Orange Line Bike Path Buck Stops…Where? – Apparently there's a bikeway that parallel's the Orange Line bus rapid transit in the Valley. Who knew! Not the contractors who were paid $160,000 to maintain it, as it turns out. (tagged: ladot bike bicycle transportation bureaucracy )
- Whither the War on Drugs under Kerlikowske? – Wouldn't it be nice to have a sane drug policy? Seattle's notoriously reasonable police chief has been nominated to the position of Drug Czar. I wonder if the Senate will confirm him? (tagged: drugs marijuana obama politics war seattle kerlikowske czar )