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Archive for the ‘Politics and Policy’ Category

Open Source and Open Standards

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Open standards are motherhood and apple pie – they ensure a level playing field in which many implementations can compete against each other, keep the barrier to participation low for newcomers, will outlive any given company, and ensure that systems can communicate with each other with a minimum of fuss. In other words, open standards create efficient and durable markets.

Open standards also keep costs low for buyers, who have many options and a minimum of friction when they want to switch from one implementation to another. Because the standard is open, there is no danger of being locked into a single vendor since anyone can create a new implementation against the standard. Since open standards will always exist, there’s no danger of the standard disappearing, becoming unsupported, or being later made proprietary. An open standard will encourage these efficient, durable markets for as long as the standard is useful.

Written by gunnar

July 3rd, 2009 at 7:50 pm

Your New CIA Director

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Our Constitution defines the rules that guide our nation. It was drafted by those who looked around the world of the eighteenth century and saw persecution, torture, and other crimes against humanity and believed that America could be better than that.

– Leon Panetta, “No Torture. No exceptions.“

Written by gunnar

January 5th, 2009 at 9:20 pm

Pentagon v. al-Qaeda

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“If we ever want to kneecap al-Qaeda, just get them to adopt our procurement system. It will bring them to their knees within a week,” a former Pentagon official said.

[WaPo via Schneier]

Written by gunnar

October 2nd, 2007 at 7:17 pm

Schneier and Kip Hawley

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Bruce Schneier is one of the top computer security researchers in the world. Among many other things, he invented the term “security theater.” He interviewed Kip Hawley, the TSA Administrator. It’s a fantastic conversation. It’s serialized here:

http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2007/07/conversation_wi_4.html

Written by gunnar

August 1st, 2007 at 9:50 am

Project Posner

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How do you know you’ve made it to the big time? You get your own google.

Written by gunnar

October 9th, 2017 at 8:17 am

Computer In a Wall

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Sugata Mitra installed a computer in a concrete wall, facing an alley that local children used as a bathroom. In short time, these mostly illiterate children became computer-literate — downloading MP3s, drawing with MS Paint, and playing games on disney.com.

The children create their own metaphors to do this. To give you an idea of what I mean, a journalist came up to one of these kids and asked him, “How do you know so much about computers?” The answer seemed very strange to her because the kid said, “What’s a computer?” The terminology is not as important as the metaphor. If they’ve got the idea of how a mouse works and that the Internet is [like a wall they can paint on], who cares if they know that a computer is called a computer and a mouse is called a mouse? In most of our classes here at NIIT, we spend time teaching people the terminology and such. That seems irrelevant to me with these children.

Q: But most of the information on the Internet is in English and the people you’re talking about don’t speak English.

Written by gunnar

October 2nd, 2017 at 11:37 am

US Federal Budget, Visualized

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An outstanding visualization of the federal budget, complete with zoomy interface.

Budget Graph

Written by gunnar

September 19th, 2017 at 9:16 am

MPAA Pirates Movies

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Kerry Howley of Reason interviews Kirby Dick, who’s promoting his film This Film Is Not Yet Rated:

Reason: Has there been any retaliation from the MPAA since they saw your film and slapped it with an NC-17 rating?

KD: They pirated my film.

The attorney from the MPAA who makes the animated appearance in my film calls me up and says “Kirby, I have to tell you, we have a copy of your film. But you don’t have to worry, because it’s safe in my vault.” Well, you can imagine how reassuring that was.

The MPAA, this paragon of anti-piracy, has taken my film eight months before its theatrical release, and has copies circulating I don’t know where. Maybe the film is in Malaysia by now. I hope so.

Written by gunnar

September 15th, 2017 at 11:48 am

Cuba Killed Kennedy

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Interviewed for the film, Alexander Haig, then a U.S. military adviser and later secretary of state, quoted Johnson as saying “we simply must not allow the American people to believe that Fidel Castro could have killed our president.”

“And the reason was that there would be a right-wing uprising in America, which would keep the Democratic party out of power for two generations,” Haig said.

[Y!]

Written by gunnar

January 5th, 2017 at 11:10 am

DocuTicker

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A wonkalicious collection of government, think-tank and NGO reports.

Written by gunnar

December 3rd, 2016 at 5:35 am