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Nicholas Cole
Historian of American Politics and Political Thought
Historian of American Politics and Political Thought

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From the founder of Rocketboom. 
Did YouTube kill the online video economy?
In case you missed this, yes!

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This is the big story in tech today: 


I'm just going to post my thoughts on this. Standard disclaimer: They are my own thoughts, and not those of my employer.

Fuck these guys. 

I've spent the last ten years of my life trying to keep Google's users safe and secure from the many diverse threats Google faces.

I've seen armies of machines DOS-ing Google. I've seen worms DOS'ing Google to find vulnerabilities in other people's software. I've seen criminal gangs figure out malware. I've seen spyware masquerading as toolbars so thick it breaks computers because it interferes with the other spyware.

I've even seen oppressive governments use state sponsored hacking to target dissidents.

But even though we suspected this was happening, it still makes me terribly sad. It makes me sad because I believe in America. 

Not in that flag-waving bullshit we've-got-our-big-trucks-and-bigger-tanks sort of way, but in the way that you can looked a good friend who has a lot of flaws, but every time you meet him, you think, "That guy still has some good ideas going on".

But after spending all that time helping in my tiny way to protect Google -- one of the greatest things to arise from the internet -- seeing this, well, it's just a little like coming home from War with Sauron, destroying the One Ring, only to discover the NSA is on the front porch of the Shire chopping down the Party Tree and outsourcing all the hobbit farmers with half-orcs and whips. 

The US has to be better than this; but I guess in the interim, that security job is looking a lot more like a Sisyphus thing than ever. 


Also of note, this article from September may call some recent technical decisions into relief:

#nsa   #surveillancestate  

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From Mike Knell. Worth a read. 
Any of this sound familiar? Here's the question as put to the House of Commons for the third (i.e. final) reading of the original National Health Service bill, 1946, and the opposing amendment. The NHS was born despite vociferous, well-funded and determined opposition from the BMA, the Tories and any number of other vested interests. The eventual division was roughly along party lines. To start with, Nye Bevan's final words in the debate immediately before the vote. After that, the text of the question that was being voted on.

Now we have come to Third Reading, and what we hope now is to leave controversy behind us, and to get the cooperation of the great medical profession, and of all health workers in the country; because without that cooperation this scheme is bound to fail. The House of Commons only passes Bills; but it is the men and women outside who can make them living realities. Now that we are reaching the conclusion, let me hope that the echoes of controversy will die down, and that what will reach our ears will not be the declamations of partisans, but the whispers and the piteous appeals of sick people all over the country, of the weak and distressed, who are reaching out their hands to this House of Commons to give them succour and assistance in their difficulties. I believe that, eventually, it will be that small voice that will be heard, and that will be most influential, and not the raucous declamations of controversialism.

HC Deb 26 July 1946 vol 426 cc415-76 415
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."

Amendment proposed, to leave out from "That", to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof: this House, while welcoming a comprehensive Health Service, declines to give a Third Reading to a Bill which discourages voluntary effort and association; mutilates the structure of local government; dangerously increases Ministerial power and patronage; appropriates trust funds and benefactions in contempt of the wishes of donors and subscribers; and undermines the freedom and independence of the medical profession to the detriment of the nation.

Question again proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

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Just don't read the comments. Alright? Don't. Last time I looked they were talking about the Nazis. This is all you need to know. (In the interest of excessive honesty I did watch again to check that there isn't any number-bending in the graphs or figures - nope, all looks pretty honest, mostly based on %GDP, and one graph is even not just in dollars but purchase parity adjusted dollars.)

Here's the description boilerplate to save you even having to risk exposure to the comments by clicking through:

In which John discusses the complicated reasons why the United States spends so much more on health care than any other country in the world, and along the way reveals some surprising information, including that Americans spend more of their tax dollars on public health care than people in Canada, the UK, or Australia. Who's at fault? Insurance companies? Drug companies? Malpractice lawyers? Hospitals? Or is it more complicated than a simple blame game? (Hint: It's that one.)

For a much more thorough examination of health care expenses in America, I recommend this series at The Incidental Economist:
The Commonwealth Fund's Study of Health Care Prices in the US:
Some of the stats in this video also come from this New York Times story:

This is the first part in what will be a periodic series on health care costs and reforms leading up to the introduction of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, in 2014.

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Liked this. 
From dreaming to achieving with weekly goals
It’s actually quite simple: if you don’t set well-formulated goals and act on them – you don’t move in the direction you want. Life is like a current that just takes you places whether you want it or not and the only control you have over your future is action. We react more to what happens to us than we would like to admit so the only way to stop drifting is act, not react. 

Goal setting is everything, you point yourself in the direction you want to go and you force yourself, make yourself move towards that direction. Floating through life is something we can all do, just take one day at a time and see what happens. If you don’t like these odds, well, make a plan, break it down into chunks and stick to it - on a weekly basis. 

A goal without a deadline is a dream and we all know how futile that is. The problem with life-long goals that they tend to never really happen since the deadline is so stretched. A goal that lasts a year is a good one providing you can stick with the schedule and dedicate yourself to it completely but if you can’t make such a commitment, think in terms of a smaller time frame. Week-long goals are manageable and a lot easier to track and follow through. 

The best part, you don’t have to move mountains each week, you just have to be consistent. Set four or five goals for every week, it doesn’t matter what they are but make them doable. Like, for example, if you want to learn a new language set it as a goal to learn 14 words by the end of the week. That’s just 2 words a day – completely manageable. Keep a reminder at your desk, or better yet use a calendar with a pop-up reminder to do just that, pick two words and learn them every single day. Or, if your goal is to write a book, your goal would be to write just 5 pages by the week’s end. Five pages isn’t difficult, is it? And you don’t even have to write every day – as long as you can produce these five pages. You can be done in a year without pushing yourself too hard. 

Small things, they matter. It’s crucial that you take these small steps on a regular weekly basis. Take your time to formulate your weekly goals and then stick to them. You will end up doing things you have been postponing and delaying for years. Set a goal today, just one, to try it out and get it done until the week is over. Make sure you are always aware of your goal so write everything down and place it somewhere it can be visible to you at all times then set up an alert  on your calendar or phone to be reminded about it every so often during the day. Sometimes, that’s all it takes, slowly moving forward but moving nonetheless in the direction you set for yourself. 

#meanrat   #goalsetting   #weeklygoals  

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So this is very neat. I'm having difficulty coming up with use cases, but it's a fantastic work of engineering regardless!

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Minister for Europe, David Lidington, today gave a speech on the potential impact of independence on Scotland in relation to foreign affairs. Read the full speech here:

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The power of choosing your own destiny. Inspiring story!
Wow, what a great way to start this Friday. Beautiful story of how one girl changed an entire village.
#inspirational   #videooftheweek   #viralvideo   #girlpower   #videooftheday  
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