The first function of democracy is to enable the peaceful handover of power from one group to another. For this, all its myriad sins are forgiven. The peaceful handover of power from one group to another is not a sure thing. Historically, it’s something of an aberration. There are all sorts of reasons, when you…
Read More On Legitimacy
With three days to the US election, the outrage machines are running on all cylinders. It’ll be easier to stay happy if you remember to notice them. To be clear, I’m not using a metaphor. Websites from news to social media use data to drive stories. Twitter’s top tweets, Facebook’s timeline, your local newspaper, but…
Read More Notice the Outrage Machines
The Internet Society Open Letter Against Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act was published this morning. It’s an important and broad coalition to protect the ability of American companies to deliver security to their customers. I’m honored to be one of the signers.
Read More Internet Society Opposition to LAED Act
I generally try to stay on technical topics, because my understanding is that’s what readers want. But events are overwhelming and I believe that not speaking out is now a political choice. I want to start from this Chris Rock video: I hadn’t seen it before, but I have spent a lot of time studying…
Read More One Bad Apple
There’s an interesting article by Phil Bull, “Why you can ignore reviews of scientific code by commercial software developers“. It’s an interesting, generally convincing argument, with a couple of exceptions. (Also worth remembering: What We Can Learn From the Epic Failure of Google Flu Trends.) The first interesting point is the difference between production code…
Read More Code: science and production
A remote Hawaiian island, East Island, was destroyed by Hurricane Walaka. East Island was 11 acres. It was also a key refuge for turtles and seals. Read more in The Guardian. Maersk has sent a ship, the Venta Maersk, through the Northern Passage. The journey and its significance were outlined by the Washington Post, with…
Read More Change in the Weather
Lately, I’ve tried to stay away from the tire fire that American politics has become. I’m reasonably certain that I have more to contribute in other areas. But when the President tries to equivocate between those waving the Nazi flag and those protesting against them, we need to speak about what’s acceptable.
It ought to go without saying that when literal Nazis are on one side of a debate, the other side is in the right.
But apparently, that’s not obvious, so I felt I could share a plan for a march by the alt-left, under the ominous name of “Operation Overlord.” They were planning to overthrow the legitimate government all along the coast, and, through force, replace it with their own puppets.
More seriously, we can have disagreements about what’s best for the country, and it’s bad when we demonize those who disagree with us. Civilized society requires us to accept civil disagreement. It accepts that no one is privileged or disadvantaged by an accident of birth: “race, creed or color,” as the expression goes. But civil disagreement, by definition, precludes violence, advocacy of violence or threats of violence.
The Nazi flag is one such threat. Waving it has no purpose except declaring oneself outside society and at odds with the ideals and principles of good people everywhere.
If you’re in a crowd of Nazis, you should be asking why, and walking away.
If you have doubts about what a President should say, here’s a sample:
A Wednesday letter from the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity gives secretaries of state about two weeks to provide about a dozen points of voter data. That also would include dates of birth, the last four digits of voters’ Social Security numbers… (NYTimes story) Of this writing, 44 states have refused. I want to…
Read More Voter Records, SSN and Commercial Authentication