As Washington seeks to surveil the globe from space, the world might well ask: Just how high is national sovereignty? Absent any international agreement about the vertical extent of sovereign airspace (since a conference on international air law, convened in Paris in 1910, failed), some puckish Pentagon lawyer might reply: only as high as you can enforce it.
— Ta-Nehisi Coates, on John Roberts and the color of money
While Warren’s rhetoric against civilian casualties was strong, she avoided the topic of drones completely — an omission that seemed calculated to avoid a conflict with the White House over a signature policy.
“The real point now is to take that lesson on up the chain of command,” Warren said. “This has to be something in my view that has to be absorbed into the military and into our leadership. We need to have this as part of our national conversation. That’s true for all of us, so I see this as a question of responsibility borne not just by those in the field, but responsibility borne by all of us”
A few months ago, I received an email from an old friend asking how I am and where in the world I am these days. When I replied that I live in Morocco, he said: “Holy crap, I can’t believe you live alone in Muslim-land, you’re much braver than I would be.”
I didn’t reply to that email. I was too upset. […]
This is my chance to explain.
— J.N. Salters on being white in Philly on St. Patrick’s Day weekend
— Libyan militia leader Abu Khattala says on the anti-Western sentiment, specifically directed to the United States, across the world
— Rolling Stone publishes a piece on Camden, New Jersey, a town they call “America’s most desperate town.”
A better way to compare public and private would be to consider the difference between public roads and toll roads. Some toll roads are owned and operated by state governments, and some by the private sector. But does the driver care who owns the road? I doubt it; the important thing is whether the road is free and open to all, or whether it can be used only by those who can afford to drive on it. The same is true of public and private universities: a university is “public” only if those who need to use it can do so.
In this sense, it seems to me that the malaise that afflicts our public universities is not really about about dollars and cents. If this country can build the world’s largest military and fight open-ended wars in multiple theaters across the globe, it can find a way to pay for public education, as it once did, in living memory. But doing so has ceased being a real priority. Affordable “public education” is no longer something we expect, demand or take for granted; to argue that public education should be free makes you sound like an absurd and unrealistic utopian. Meanwhile, we take it for granted that roads should be free to drive on, a toll-road here or there not withstanding. You provide the car and the gas; the state provides the road.
This used to be how we thought about our public universities, before they became exorbitant toll roads: if you had the grades and the ambition, there was a classroom open to you. But if every road was a toll road, no one would expect to drive for free. If every road was a toll road, the very idea that the government would build and maintain a massive system of roads and highways — and then let anyone use it (for free!) — would seem fantastical, ridiculous, even perverse. Anyone expecting the right to drive anywhere they pleased, for free, would be branded a utopian, a socialist, a deluded and soft-hearted liberal demanding a free lunch. That’s the world we live in when it comes to highways: when the roads that drive our economy and make modern life possible get too crowded or too congested, we expect the state to build new roads. When the old roads wear out, they are re-paved; when a tree or a landslide obstructs a thoroughfare, the state clears the way. When there are not enough classrooms, on the other hand, the state no longer builds new universities; it simply charges more.
— I’m a Millennial and I’m disappointed in Obama
Spying on video games. Spying on virtual worlds.
NSA and GCHQ collect gamers’ chats and deploy real-life agents into World of Warcraft and Second Life
The agencies, the documents show, have built mass-collection capabilities against the Xbox Live console network, which boasts more than 48 million players. Real-life agents have been deployed into virtual realms, from those Orc hordes in World of Warcraft to the human avatars of Second Life. There were attempts, too, to recruit potential informants from the games’ tech-friendly users.
Online gaming is big business, attracting tens of millions of users world wide who inhabit their digital worlds as make-believe characters, living and competing with the avatars of other players. What the intelligence agencies feared, however, was that among these clans of innocent elves and goblins, terrorists were lurking.
The NSA document, written in 2008 and titled Exploiting Terrorist Use of Games & Virtual Environments, stressed the risk of leaving games communities under-monitored, describing them as a “target-rich communications network” where intelligence targets could “hide in plain sight.”
Games, the analyst wrote “are an opportunity!”