A brief gallivant about the marketplace of ideas.

Tag: power

Read : 2020-06-06

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. The long reach of racism in the U.S.” by Orlando Patterson (Wall Street Journal, 2020-06-05). Patterson cites failed racial integration in private life, poverty disproportionately high among blacks, “a hard core of racist Americans”, and “mass incarceration in America”. He observes that from the beginning, American law codified “the exclusion of slaves [and later free blacks and other “undesirables”] from any recognition as legitimate members of the community”. “Those who are thought not to belong are too often viewed as an enemy”, Patterson writes. See MLK’s comments about the enemy and the brother in “Beyond Vietnam” (below).
  2. Violent protest and the intelligentsia” by Barton Swaim (Wall Street Journal, 2020-06-05). Russian literature professor Gary Saul Morson observes cautious (and, he admits, quite possible concocted) similarities between America’s educated young today and Russia’s educated young in the early 1900s. Reading this article after MLK’s speech “Beyond Vietnam” (see below), I noted two statements: (1) “the rationalization…of violence” and (2) individuals and groups who “did not condone terrorism…[b]ut they refused to condemn it”. These statements cut both ways — all ways. Are not individuals within “the state” and “the establishment” as capable of rationalization and silent consent as the “left-wing elite” chastised in the article?
  3. Beyond Vietnam” by Martin Luther King, Jr. (1967-04-04). Audio and transcript.


Articles on narcissism:

  1. How to tell if your friend is a narcissist“, by Christina Carè (Medium, 2018-11-15).
  2. 5 early warning signs that you are dealing with a narcissist“, by Jessie Monreal (Pysch Central, 2018-10-08).
  3. Narcissistic personality disorder“, by Melinda Smith (2019-06).
  4. 3 steps to identifying a narcissist“, by Bill Eddy (Psychology Today, 2018-08-01).

Read : 2019-09-28

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Harvard EdCast: Understanding immigration“, by Jill Anderson (Harvard Graduate School of Education, 2019-09-18). An interview with Harvard Professor Roberto Gonzales.
  2. Now-ranked Rice Owls volleyball enjoy signature win” (KHOU News, 2019-09-25).
  3. Exercise is medicine“, by Lindsay Peyton (Houston Chronicle, 2019-09-26).

Articles on multiplication (multiplication? yes, multiplication!):

  1. On your mark, get set, multiply“, by Patrick Honner (Quanta Magazine, 2019-09-23). A look at the Karatsuba algorithm.
  2. Mathematicians discover the perfect way to multiply“, by Kevin Hartnett (Quanta Magazine, 2019-04-11). Clocking multiplication algorithms.

Selected articles about Trump, Ukraine, and American politics:

  1. The impeachment inquiry: Off and running but with some key blind spots” (OZY, 2019-09-25). An interview with former CIA Deputy Director John McLaughlin.
  2. Pelosi announces impeachment inquiry, says Trump’s courting of foreign political help is a ‘betrayal of national security’“, by Rachael Bade, Mike DeBonis, & Karoun Demirjian (Washington Post, 2019-09-24).
  3. Today may be the most important day of Trump’s tenure“, by Jennifer Rubin (Washington Post, 2019-09-24). An opinion piece that captures well the prevailing politicized sentiments. “Pelosi likes to say public sentiment is everything.” This fiasco is not solely about morality, abuse of power, etc. It is also political warfare, assertion of power, and total domination.
  4. Whistleblower alleges White House effort to conceal details of Trump call with Ukraine“, by Dustin Volz, Warren P. Strobel, & Siobhan Hughes (Wall Street Journal, 2019-09-26).
  5. Whistleblower complaint” (Wall Street Journal).
  6. Donald Trump urged Ukraine to investigate the Bidens“, by Lexington (The Economist, 2019-09-25).
  7. The move towards impeachment marks a dangerous shift” (The Economist, 2019-09-26).
  8. Trump call transcript summary shows he pressed Ukranian president to probe Biden“, by Grace Segers, Katrhyn Watson, Clare Hymes, & Emily Tillett (CBS, 2019-09-25). This article embeds the five-page call transcript.
  9. 2016 Democratic National Committee email leak” (Wikipedia). CrowdStrike is one of the cybersecurity firms cited as having “reviewed the DNC servers” and alleged that the source of the DNC hacks was two Russian intelligence groups. Wikipedia also cites Comey as stating that CrowdStrike gave the FBI “copies of the [DNC] servers and all the information on them, as well as access to forensics”.

Read : 2019-07-17

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Elon Musk’s Neuralink shows off advances to brain-computer interface“, by Daniela Hernandez & Heather Mack (Wall Street Journal, 2019-07-17).
  2. Tech hearings: Congress unites to take aim at Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google“, by Steve Lohr, Mike Isaac, & Nathaniel Popper (NY Times, 2019-07-16). What is the goal of the people in government with these attacks? Really, what is really their goal? When viewed in the framework of a struggle for power, for dominance, for challenging versus preserving the status quo, for redirecting disappointment and anger against a common external “enemy”, these staged hearings (“I may remind you, sir. You are under oath.” — barf) make sense. This isn’t to say such frameworks tell the whole story, but they seem consistent with telling at least part of the story. Out of your own mouth will I judge you, you wicked public servants. “I may remind you, madams and sirs. You are under social contract to serve the people. Under your service did these companies acquire the power and commit the acts you now make a show of condemning. You speak of trust. Do Americans trust their government? Do Americans trust you?”

Read : 2019-06-14

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Telegram hit by DDoS attack! Blames China” (Ciso Mag, 2019-06-13). The attack coincides with political protests in Hong Kong against the mainland government; protestors reportedly use Telegram to coordinate, and Telegram founder Pavel Durov claimed the attack came mainly from IP addresses in China. The article clearly explains a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack.
  2. ‘Brave like Gabe’: Remembering the runner who never gave up in the face of an unbeatable opponent“, by Tim Layden (Sports Illustrated, 2019-06-11). What a rousing end to the story, how fitting given Gabe’s foundation, and how lovely the parallel to athletics, were this once unbeatable opponent taken down by team effort in the (near?) future.
  3. The U.S. is purging Chinese cancer researchers from top institutions“, by Peter Waldman (Bloomberg Businessweek, 2019-06-13).
  4. How Washington learned to love debt and deficits“, by Kate Davidson & Jon Hilsenrath (Wall Street Journal, 2019-06-13).
  5. Facebook’s new cryptocurrency, libra, gets big backers“, by AnnaMaria Andriotis, Peter Rudegeair, & Liz Hoffman (Wall Street Journal, 2019-06-13).
  6. Who ‘deserves’ to go to Harvard?“, by Heather Mac Donald (Wall Street Journal, 2019-06-13). One extreme, as told by the other? Power imbalances exist; systemic inequities exist; feelings of entitlement exist. Each can be protected against, exploited, mitigated, exacerbated. As for the “capitalist ethos”,…what’s described sounds more like a “meritocratic ethos”, no?
  7. The Engadget staff on ‘Neon genesis evangelion’“, by Daniel Cooper (Engadget, 2019-06-14). Netflix is set to release the 24-year-old Japanese series on its platform 21 June.

Read : 2019-02-14

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Google workers lost a leader, but the fight will continue“, by Liz Fong-Jones (Medium, 2019-02-13). An 11-year engineer at Google reflects on power, responsibility, and the changing corporate dynamic at Google.

Read — 2018-09-23

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. The patriarchy will always have its revenge“, by Jennifer Weiner (NY Times, 2018-09-22). Do we want revenge, or do we want progress? The two are not mutually exclusive. But their essences are at loggerheads: Revenge stems from the desire to make someone else feel our pain; progress stems from the desire to spare someone else our pain. Which we seek speaks our motives more loudly and truly than any words we might say.
    The sentiments in this article cry out to me. My heart resonates with their plea. We want progress, we “swallow our pain”, we suppress our desire for revenge,…but the progress does not happen. How long must we wait? How many others must suffer as we have?
    Waiting for those “in power” to fix things for us may be part of the problem. Do those in power have sufficient incentive to change or dismantle a system that has put them “on top”? Seeking revenge is one way of seizing the power of change for ourselves. But it is not the only way. And it may not be the best one.
    Be chary of stereotyping. There are egregious examples of men who refuse to accept responsibility or to apologize. This does not mean that men as a group do not know how to be sorry. Stereotyping in any sphere or debate tends to the same results: artificial boundaries, oversimplified analysis, and avoidable resentment.
  2. Tech thinks is has a fix for the problems it created: blockchain“, by Nathaniel Popper (NY Times, 2018-04-01).
  3. Web application security: understanding the browser“, by Alex Nadalin (freeCodeCamp, 2018-09-19). An overview of how a web browser works. This explanation sets the stage for subsequent articles on security.

Read — 2018-08-15

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Finding it hard to focus? Maybe it’s not your fault“, by Casey Schwartz (NY Times, 2018-08-14). Then again, maybe it is your fault. Don’t you control the power switch? The article does raise a distinction between “bottom-up” (involuntary) and “top-down” (voluntary) attention.
  2. ‘Tenants on our own land’: New Zealand bans sale of homes to foreign buyers“, by Eleanor Ainge Roy (The Guardian, 2018-08-15). Practical, prudent, protectionist, or xenophobic?
  3. $100 million was once big money for a start-up. Now, it’s common.“, by Erin Griffith (NY Times, 2018-08-14). Deluged with money from private investment firms and sovereign wealth funds, start-ups that decline risk being steamrolled by those that accept, and start-ups that accept risk doing too much, too soon.
  4. Elon Musk tweets send Tesla board into damage control mode“, by Andrew Ross Sorkin, Jessical Silver-Greenberg, Kate Kelly, & Neal E. Boudette (NY Times, 2018-08-14).
  5. Cryptocurrency market plumbs new depths in 2018“, by Steven Russolillo, Paul Vigna, & Akane Otani (Wall Street Journal, 2018-08-14).
  6. Review: ‘Crazy rich Asians’ is a party with a first-rate guest list“, by A.O. Scott (NY Times, 2018-08-14).
  7. Calving season: Coming of age on a Montana cattle ranch“, by Nathan Reich (NY Times, 2018-08-14). Documentary film (16:38).

    What struck me most was the intimacy and comfortable relationship each child had with the life and death of the animals.

  8. Pranked by Sacha Baron Cohen, he was as shocked as the rest of us“, by Sopan Deb (NY Times, 2018-08-13). In some ways, on multiple levels, this reminds me of the Milgram experiment from the 1960s. Mr. Roberts’s responses in the interview strike me as impressively sincere. The cynic inside me hopes the NY Times did not run this article in an attempt to sway subsequent legal proceedings. (“What right is there to legal proceedings?” you may demand. Would you want the media to do this to you? “I wouldn’t be so gullible and tractible!” you demand. See, again, the Milgram experiment from the 1960s.)

Read — 2018-08-13

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Dangerous discussions: voice and power in my classroom“, by Ursula Wolfe-Rocca (Medium, 2018-08-05). An honest appraisal. That “helpful discussion” you initiate can become a soapbox for the majority, the more powerful, the more eloquent. In conclusion, the author urges each of us to “deliberately design models of discourse that make [marginalized and underrepresented] voices impossible to ignore”.
  2. Amazon analysts are about to be wrong again“, by Michael Henage (Seeking Alpha, 2018-08-12).
  3. Responsible disclosure in the era of cryptocurrencies“, by Cory Fields (Medium, 2018-08-09).
  4. China’s state media defends Xingjiang Muslim crackdown” (Al Jazeera, 2018-08-13). “[P]eace and stability must come above all else”, the Party declares. According to Gay McDougall of the UN,

    More than one million Uighur Muslims are estimated to be in detention in “counter-extremism centres” in China’s far western region…

  5. An 11-year-old changed the results of Florida’s presidential vote at a hacker convention. Discuss.“, by Kevin Collier (BuzzFeed, 2018-08-11). Ironic that BuzzFeed uses the very title that a top cybersecurity official at the Department of Homeland Security cites as misleading.
  6. Uber drivers take riders the long way — at Uber’s expense“, by Greg Bensinger (Wall Street Journal, 2018-08-13). Passengers are charged up front based on the “ideal” route, so Uber foots the larger bill. (Though an economist would be quick to point out that that larger bill will be passed onto consumers down the road, e.g., in the form of higher rates.) Uber estimates that this practice of “longhauling” “occurs on less than 1% of trips in the U.S.”
  7. Some notes on ‘asshat’” (Merriam-Webster). Etymology of asshead’s up-and-coming cousin, and a cautionary tale of hyphens and spacing.

Read — 2018-08-11

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. ‘We’re a people destroyed’: why Uighur Muslims across China are living in fear“, by Gene A. Bunin (The Guardian, 2018-08-07).
  2. Teaching to get fired“, by Abe Moore (Medium, 2018-06-02). Some aspects of this article are concerning: trusting faculty (re)hiring decisions to an equally weighted majority vote including all students (prediction: from teach to the test, to teach to be liked); references to Survivor (sorry, fans, not sorry). Some aspects of this article are intriguing: its bold proclamation of acting on your convictions, regardless of its impact on your (current) employment status (that said, perhaps this is easier for people of some independent wealth, or in countries with generous welfare programs? which is not to say that the author falls into either of these categories); enacting policies that allow and foster student agency in their own learning (yes! yes! yes!).
  3. Teachers’ anger goes deeper than money“, by Amy Hempe (Medium, 2018-05-04). The author (a former teacher) raises a plaint heard across industries in America (and elsewhere) today: It’s not about the money, it’s about being respected, and doing meaningful work. “[T]eachers also want to be taken seriously”.
  4. The man who solved bitcoin’s most notorious heist“, by Justin Scheck & Bradley Hope (Wall Street Journal, 2018-08-10).
  5. What is PWA?“, by Mahesh Haldar (Bits and Pieces, 2018-08-01). Answer: Progressive web applications. Goal: Delightful user experience across a range of platforms (e.g., computer, mobile, tablet, etc.).
  6. The beginning of the end of WPA-2 — Cracking WPA-2 just got a whole lot easier“, by Bill Buchanan (Medium, 2018-08-07).
  7. Why blue light is so bad: the science — and some solutions“, by Amber Case (Medium, 2018-07-24).
  8. One man’s suffering exposed Monsanto’s secrets to the world“, by Casey Gillam (The Guardian, 2018-08-11). As mentioned in the article, the disgusting abuse of power of mid-20th-century tabacco companies, reprised. Certain corporations have failed. And certain governments have failed.
  9. 20 years of wisdom from Amazon’s Jeff Bezos“, by Brian Stoffel (The Motley Fool, 2018-08-04). For a deeper, less curated stroll, peruse Amazon’s repository of letters to shareholders.