In a very real way, the role of technology, even simple technology, is to unstick menial tasks from the user’s experience of linear causality. Rather than start a fire to keep myself warm, I turn up the thermostat and warm air rushes through the heating vent – who knows how? When my car breaks down, I take it to a mechanic. I couldn’t tell you how to fix it any more than I could perform open-heart surgery. Bowing to the authority of auto mechanics isn’t superstitious, but it has elements in common with a belief in magic.
Sir James Frazier, author of the classic work on religion and mythology “The Golden Bough,” describes belief in magic in terms of a dissociation of cause and effect, something like that between my need for warmth and the turning of a thermostat. Frazier organizes this belief into two groups: the principle of Similarity and the principle of Contagion. “Similarity” involves the belief that if certain rituals are performed, a desired outcome will be achieved regardless of the line of causality between the two — like, say, performing a rite to a fertility god to have a good harvest. “Contagion” has to do with belief in the effect of magical objects.
In a way, both the “Similarity” and “Contagion” dynamics are relevant to the modern person’s relationship to technology. If a person can’t draw a line between “how something works,” his belief that it will work approximates “Similarity.” Likewise, a person’s belief that a given product will go on working, regardless of his ignorance as to how, gets into the realm of “Contagion.” —
Magical thinking in Silicon Valley | PandoDaily
This is just a small taste of this fantastic article.
NSA Warns of Rogue System Administrators 1991 -
A recently declassified document reveals that the NSA knew 23 years ago that a “Snowden”-type incident could occur (and did happen, on a much smaller scale, in 1994):
"In their quest to benefit from the great advantages of networked computer systems, the U.S, military and intelligence communities have put almost all of their classified information "eggs" into one very precarious basket: computer system administrators. A relatively small number of system administrators are able to read, copy, move, alter, and destroy almost every piece of classified information handled by a given agency or organization. An insider-gone-bad with enough hacking skills to gain root privileges might acquire similar capabilities. It seems amazing that so few are allowed to control so much - apparently with little or no supervision or security audits. The system administrators might audit users, but who audits them?"
The behaviours that make us human are not professional. — Allen Pike, Unprofessionalism (via 9-bits)
Taking Breaks--You're Doing It Wrong -
All work and no rest doesn’t only make you dull it also makes you less effective at your job.
Apparently, we’re doing breaks wrong. “So if you’re going to add a break to your day, it needs to be an actual lack of stimulation. Staring at your inbox isn’t rest, neither is BuzzFeed. What we need to do is learn how to actually relax—so neurons can get nourished, allowing us to spend our attention on getting the best work done.”
Iceland grieves after police kill a man for the first time in its history
December 5, 2013
It was an unprecedented headline in Iceland this week — a man shot to death by police.
"The nation was in shock. This does not happen in our country," said Thora Arnorsdottir, news editor at RUV, the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service.
She was referring to a 59-year old man who was shot by police on Monday. The man, who started shooting at police when they entered his building, had a history of mental illness.
It’s the first time someone has been killed by armed police in Iceland since it became an independent republic in 1944. Police don’t even carry weapons, usually. Violent crime in Iceland is almost non-existent.
"The nation does not want its police force to carry weapons because it’s dangerous, it’s threatening," Arnorsdottir says. "It’s a part of the culture. Guns are used to go hunting as a sport, but you never see a gun."
In fact, Iceland isn’t anti-gun. In terms of per-capita gun ownership, Iceland ranks 15th in the world. Still, this incident was so rare that neighbors of the man shot were comparing the shooting to a scene from an American film.
The Icelandic police department said officers involved will go through grief counseling. And the police department has already apologized to the family of the man who died — though not necessarily because they did anything wrong.
"I think it’s respectful," Arnorsdottir says, “because no one wants to take another person’s life. “
There are still a number of questions to be answered, including why police didn’t first try to negotiate with man before entering his building.
"A part of the great thing of living in this country is that you can enter parliament and the only thing they ask you to do is to turn off your cellphone, so you don’t disturb the parliamentarians while they’re talking. We do not have armed guards following our prime minister or president. That’s a part of the great thing of living in a peaceful society. We do not want to change that. "
can you even imagine if the u.s. mourned people killed by police
like a real national outpouring
that moment of silence should last for years
Do you agree? http://ift.tt/1bqS0OO
If I’d had children and had a girl, the first words I would have taught her would have been “fuck off” because we weren’t brought up ever to say that to anyone, were we? And it’s quite valuable to have the courage and the confidence to say, “No, fuck off, leave me alone, thank you very much. — Dame Helen Mirren (x)
(Source: fygirlcrush, via wilwheaton)
Meet “badBIOS,” the mysterious Mac and PC malware that jumps airgaps -
An interesting read. Feels more like something out of a cyberpunk nove,l than reality.
Well played. http://ift.tt/17R0l9N