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Entries from September 2011

Why Sting?

September 30th, 2011 · 9 Comments

A bit of shameless speculation about why the FBI expends so much time and energy setting up goofballs like Rezwan Ferdaus, who it seems hard to believe would manage to translate their angry fantasies into serious threats without outside help. The relative paucity of sophisticated, coordinated plots not enabled by the FBI over the past […]

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Tags: War

Heisenberg, “Harmless Torture,” and Cyberbullying

September 25th, 2011 · 6 Comments

A typically insightful post from danah boyd examines why campaigns against “bullying” and, perhaps especially, “cyberbullying” so seldom manage to accomplish much. Part of the trouble, boyd argues, is that teens are reluctant to see themselves either as victims or aggressors, and therefore define as mere “drama” much behavior that adults are prone to class […]

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Tags: Moral Philosophy · Sociology

“Hypocrisy” and Government Largesse (A One-Act Play)

September 23rd, 2011 · 7 Comments

Scene: Friday evening, 9 p.m., a group of friends are gathered around a living room table for poker night. Harry: OK, folks, snack time. I’m thinking we should order a couple pies from that new gourmet pizza place. Darrell: What, Mama Solyndra’s? That place is so overpriced! Let’s just go with some chips and salsa […]

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Tags: Economics · Horse Race Politics · Journalism & the Media

CEOs in Comics: Villains Earn, Heroes Inherit

September 21st, 2011 · 66 Comments

While the ruthless corporate CEO as villain is pretty much a stock character in modern pop culture, superhero comics have always conspicuously placed successful businessmen on both sides of the hero/villain divide. Yet an interesting, and perhaps counterintuitive, pattern recently occurred to me. Just off the top of my head, here are some of the […]

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Tags: Art & Culture

Ronald Dworkin: Heartless Libertarian?

September 21st, 2011 · 25 Comments

Ronald Dworkin is probably the most prominent living liberal political philosopher in the United States. Unsurprisingly, he favors a national system of universal healthcare. But at a philosophical level, Dworkin also very clearly holds exactly the same position a lot of viewers seem to regard as not simply wrong, but self evidently monstrous when it […]

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Tags: Moral Philosophy

Why Yahoo’s “Occupy Wall Street” Block Actually Matters

September 20th, 2011 · 2 Comments

Yahoo found itself at the focus of some brief fuss today, after their e-mail service’s spam and malware filters started blocking many emails that contained the phrase “Occupy Wall Street” or linking OccupyWallStreet.org in connection with an ongoing protest that had attracted some 3,000–5,000 people over the weekend, with a few hundred die-hards remaining on […]

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Tags: Tech and Tech Policy

Living High and Letting Die

September 19th, 2011 · 16 Comments

I’ve seen plenty of outraged online discussion over past week concerning this exchange—and especially the audience reaction to it—from the recent Tea Party debate: “A healthy, 30-year-old young man has a good job, makes a good living, but decides: You know what? I’m not going to spend 200 or 300 dollars a month for health […]

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Tags: Moral Philosophy

He’s My Favorite Fictional Character!

September 19th, 2011 · 30 Comments

As a young boy, I was an avid reader of a series of biographical picture books called ValueTales, which illustrated such virtues as confidence, kindness, and imagination through lightly fictionalized accounts of the lives of historical worthies ranging from Confucius to Louis Pasteur and Harriet Tubman. At the same time, I was enamored of ancient […]

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Tags: Art & Culture · Religion

Quick Thought on the Netflix Split

September 19th, 2011 · 9 Comments

As the Internet scratches its Hydra-head over Netflix’s announcement that it’s splitting off its DVD-by-mail rental service under the unlovely heading of “Qwikster,” Tim Lee tweets that Bill Gurley’s speculation is the most plausible explanation he’s seen for a move consumers seem to be universally panning: So here is what I think happened with Netflix’s […]

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Tags: Art & Culture · Economics

Wiretap Law Online: A Second Look at Paxfire

September 14th, 2011 · 2 Comments

A few days ago, Ars Technica asked me to comment on a class action lawsuit against Paxfire, a company that partners with Internet Service Providers for the purpose of “monetizing Address Bar Search and DNS Error traffic.” The second half of that basically means fixing URL typos, so when you accidentally tell your ISP you […]

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Tags: Privacy and Surveillance · Tech and Tech Policy