As a US citizen, today while reading and thinking about an article on the FISA court, the NSA being dicks, surveillance, and freedom in general I had to ask my brother a question on gChat because I could not remember. I'll even quote it for you:
"me: what was the name of the al qaeda guy everyone was so obsessed with?
They made a movie about killing him"
I would have normally remembered, but my mind was blanking. At the same time I don't really care. This was not an important bit of information to me. Nor, really, should it be. <gasp> I know.
The Wikipedia article for just the death of Osama Bin Laden comes it at 15,000 words with almost 300 sources. It almost qualifies as a Novella. Add the 8,000 words and 200 sources from the main Osama Bin Laden wiki page and it is a Novela. Or a dissertation. People clearly find this topic important, but I don't. Why?
You have no doubt heard someone talk about or been asked where you were 'when the towers fell'; when the world changed. I remember where I was for the first one, but the second wasn't an event. It wasn't marked by a lie, or an invasion, or a piece of legislation, or a flag being raised in the air. It caused those things. The first was an explosion that happened on September 11th 2001. The second is a way of thinking that started on September 12th and continues to this day. I care deeply about the second. The first is just a thing that happened.
This is why Bin Laden is not important. Bin Laden is a thing. Things start and then stop. They are, and then they aren't. A belief is an impetus. It is a causes for other things to happen, and it persists after each of it's deeds are done. Bin Laden had a hand in killing thousands of people. The beliefs of righteousness that the US people adopted afterward killed literal hundreds of thousands. The belief that the ends justify the means has resulted in an unapologetic surveillance state in the US, UK, and many parts of the world. The belief that we aren't and must become safe has changed the world.
Oh god was I traumatized by The World Trade Center being destroyed. I was in Highschool and for years I refused to read or talk about the event. I avoided all contact with it. I didn't know anyone who died, nor friends of friends. But like a child witnessing abuse, I couldn't understand the transformation in the people around me but it frightened me deeply. I was a Boy Scout taught to respect our country and our flag, then to see so many people turn so ugly in it's name and in direct opposition to my morals made me angrier than I have ever been in my life. I couldn't handle it and so avoided all contact. I avoided thinking about it at all.
To see people advocating the taking of life, any life, and the justification thinly veiled over revenge... I can't articulate how emotional i'm getting writing that sentence. I have a couple personal morals which stands higher than the others: There is nothing at all in the world uglier than revenge, nothing more dangerous or wrong than righteousness; and why you do something is more important than what you do.
And eventually here I become; reading about a secret court in the US deciding by itself how much power it can have, gag orders so no one will know, surveillance with no end or tangible goal, and knowing that little of consequence will happen to change it. When Charles Manson told a crazy story, or Jim Jones made juice, or Ted Kaczynski blew up a van, people panicked but eventually returned to sanity. But the beliefs of last century were so strong and lasted so long, when the US institutionally decided that the ends really do justify the means, it became the defacto truth. Now when insanity has become normal there are too few people who feel outrage to convince lawmaker to make change.
We'll get token legislation, and oh so many speeches, and political platforms, but that's all we'll get. Surveillance project will shuffle around and change names and continue on. Because on September 12 2001 we adopted the belief that the ends justify the means.
Onenote was my favorite MS app.
Though if I were to hypothesize on the solution I think it would have to do with automation, surplus economic production and a society that provided for necessities while still rewarding those who create outsize value.
New car for me in 2015 :)
Trying this baby right now! I use the paid version of GA Datagrabber from Supermetrics, and it's a quality product.
<only somewhat tongue in cheek!Firstly, Monsanto is evil so what they are doing is likely heinous in some undisclosed way and will impoverish farmers while destroying our food supply. </>
However, speeding up the practice of cross breeding crops seems like a good application of science. We should be told what the crops are being selected for. Humans have generally evolved along with the crops we were cross breeding. But selecting for 'looks good in the store' over 'is healthy for you to eat' is quite important for consumers to know in making an informed choice.
- Product Manager, 2010 - present
- MicrosoftSenior Program Manager, 2001 - 2010
- Super food
- Rhodes UniversityBSc. Computer Science, 1997 - 2000
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