homeaboutarchivepodcastnewslettermembership!
aboutarchivepodcastmembership!
aboutarchivemembers!

kottke.org posts about terrorism

PopTech day 2 wrap-up

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 21, 2006

Some notes from day 2 at PopTech, with a little backtracking into day 1 as well. In no particular order:

The upshot of Thomas Barnett’s entertaining and provacative talk (or one of the the upshots, anyway): China is the new world power and needs a sidekick to help globalize the world. And like when the US was the rising power in the world and took the outgoing power, England, along for the ride so that, as Barnett put it, “England could fight above its weight”, China could take the outgoing power (the US) along for the globalization ride. The US would provide the military force to strike initial blows and the Chinese would provide peacekeeping; Barnett argued that both capabilities are essential in a post-Cold War world.

Juan Enriquez talked about boundries…specifically if there will be more or less of them in the United States in the future. 45 states? 65 states? One thing that the US has to deal with is how we treat immigrants. Echoing William Gibson, Enriquez said “the words you use today will resonate through history for a long time”. That is, if you don’t let the Mexican immigrants in the US speak their own language, don’t welcome their contributions to our society, and just generally make people feel unwelcome in the place where they live, it will come back to bite you in the ass (like, say, when southern California decides it would rather be a part of Mexico or its own nation).

Enriquez again, regarding our current income tax proclivities: “if we pay more and our children don’t owe less, that’s not taxes…it’s just a long-term, high-interest loan”.

Number of times ordained minister Martin Marty said “hell” during his presentation: 2. Number of times Marty said “goddamn”: 1. Number of times uber-heathen Richard Dawkins said “hell”, “goddamn”, or any other blasphemous swear: 0.

Dawkins told the story of Kurt Wise, who took a scissors to the Bible and cut out every passage which was in discord with the theory of evolution, eventually ending up with a fragmented mess. Confronted with this crisis of faith and science, Wise renounced evolution and became a geologist who believes that the earth is only 6000 years old.

The story of Micah Garen’s capture by Iraqi militants and Marie-Helene Carlton’s efforts to get her boyfriend back home safely illustrates the power of the connected world. Marie-Helene and Micah’s family used emails, mobile phones, and sat phones to reach out through their global social network, eventually reaching people in Iraq whom Micah’s captors might listen to. A woman in the audience stood during the Q&A and related her story of her boyfriend being on a hijacked plane out of Athens in 1985 and how powerless she was to do anything in the age before mobiles, email, and sat phones. Today, Stanley Milgram might say, an Ayatollah is never more than 4 or 5 people away.

Lexicographer Erin McKean told us several interesting things about dictionaries, including that “lexicographer” can be found in even the smallest of dictionaries because, duh, look who’s responsible for compiling the words in a dictionary. She called dictionaries the vodka of literature: a distillation of really meaty mixture of substances into something that odorless, tasteless, colorless, and yet very powerful. Here an interview with her and a video of a lecture she gave at Google.

Meet Hasan Elahi

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 20, 2006

Hasan Elahi ran into some trouble with the FBI in 2002 (they thought he was a terrorist) and ever since, he’s been voluntarily tracking his movements and putting the whole thing online: photos of meals, photos of toilets used, airports flown out of, credit card receipts, etc. His goal is to flood the market with information, so it devalues the information that the authorities have on him.

Bruce Schneier: “It’s time we calm down

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 24, 2006

Bruce Schneier: “It’s time we calm down and fight terror with antiterror. Our job is to think critically and rationally, and to ignore the cacophony of other interests trying to use terrorism to advance political careers or increase a television show’s viewership.”

Faces are now being searched at US

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 18, 2006

Faces are now being searched at US airports for suspicious microexpressions. Psychologist Paul Ekman helped set up the program and was previously one of Malcolm Gladwell’s subjects in The Naked Face and Blink.

What if 9/11 never happened?

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 15, 2006

Haven’t read it yet, but New York magazine has a ginormous feature called What If 9/11 Never Happened? “Without 9/11, would the London plot have been foiled? Without 9/11, would there have been an Iraq war? Without the Iraq war, would there have been a London plot?”

Bruce Schneier on the liquids ban at

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 14, 2006

Bruce Schneier on the liquids ban at the airport and “the difference between effective security and security theater”. “And if you want to know what you can do to help? Don’t be terrorized.”

“If there was any doubt about where

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 08, 2006

If there was any doubt about where the contemporary art market is going, they were dispelled this morning at Christie’s Baghdad, where the US Government paid a record-setting $286 billion for this portrait of the dead Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

“If you see something suspicious, welcome to

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 24, 2006

“If you see something suspicious, welcome to how New York got started.” (via gothamist)

Bruce Schneier on the sorry state of

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 02, 2005

Bruce Schneier on the sorry state of airport security. “Exactly two things have made airline travel safer since 9/11: reinforcement of cockpit doors, and passengers who now know that they may have to fight back. Everything else…is security theater.”

Two of the biggest pessimists in the

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 17, 2005

Two of the biggest pessimists in the business, Bill Joy and Ray Kurzweil, outline their case for not releasing the genome for the 1918 influenza virus. “The genome is essentially the design of a weapon of mass destruction. No responsible scientist would advocate publishing precise designs for an atomic bomb, and in two ways revealing the sequence for the flu virus is even more dangerous.”

Keith Olbermann wonders if there’s a correlation

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 13, 2005

Keith Olbermann wonders if there’s a correlation between the Bush Administration’s times of political trouble and the timing of terror alerts. (via rw)

The streets of Marin are slick with

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 28, 2005

The streets of Marin are slick with potatoes au gratin. Terrorist attack? If so, how long before possessing a bag of Yukon Golds wins you a free trip to exotic Guantanamo Bay?

Witold Rybczynski on perimeter security around prominent

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 26, 2005

Witold Rybczynski on perimeter security around prominent public and government buildings. “The problem is that huge hunks of reinforced concrete in city streets are not only an eyesore and an impediment to movement, they’re a blatant and unsightly expression of a siege mentality.”

The Onion: Police Search of Backpack Reveals

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 10, 2005

The Onion: Police Search of Backpack Reveals Explosive Bestseller. “The Union Square bestseller is the latest in a series of dramatic items discovered in New York since random subway bag searches began. On July 27, a hip-hop CD containing over 75 F-bombs led to the suspension of train service for 18 hours.”

“Al-Qaida is now an idea, not an organisation”

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 05, 2005

“Al-Qaida is now an idea, not an organisation”. “The terrorist attacks organised directly by al-Qaida, most of which took place between 1998 and 2002, had two aims. One was wounding the enemy, America and its allies, but another, equally important, was to use carefully choreographed acts to impress, amaze and inspire those in the Islamic world who had yet to heed the call to arms.”

Comparison of the power law in war

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 29, 2005

Comparison of the power law in war. Statistics show that fatalities in modern warfare trend toward non-G7 terrorism patterns rather than those of conventional warfare, independent of context.

A citizen’s guide to refusing NYC subway searches

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 27, 2005

A citizen’s guide to refusing NYC subway searches. “As innocent citizens become increasingly accustomed to being searched by the police, politicians and police agencies are empowered to further expand the number of places where all are considered guilty until proven innocent.”

Is searching bags in the NYC subway legal?

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 26, 2005

Is searching bags in the NYC subway legal?.

Ugh, riders on the NYC subway are

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 21, 2005

Ugh, riders on the NYC subway are going to have their bags randomly searched by the NYPD. “People who do not submit to a search will be allowed to leave, but will not be permitted into the subway station.” What the fuck?!?

More explosions in London on the tube and buses

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 21, 2005

More explosions in London on the tube and buses. Only detonators were used; minor injuries and damages.

Surveillance camera pic of the London bombers

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 17, 2005

Surveillance camera pic of the London bombers.

British security officials now believe the London bombers were British-born

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 12, 2005

British security officials now believe the London bombers were British-born.

The large number of surveillance cameras in

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 08, 2005

The large number of surveillance cameras in London may help identify the bombing suspects. “In all, there are at least 500,000 cameras in the city, and one study showed that in a single day a person could expect to be filmed 300 times.”

Daniel Gross on why the financial markets

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 08, 2005

Daniel Gross on why the financial markets reacted to the London bombings as they did. Stocks dropped (but not too much), oil fell sharply, and transportation and insurance stocks took a bigger hit than most.

And now, everything else

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 08, 2005

Despite the flurry of remaindered links yesterday morning about the London transport bombings, yesterday was a pretty slow day on kottke.org. Because of the time difference between New York and London, news about the bombings became more scarce around noon ET when the London workday was ending and I decided not to post about anything else for the remainder of the day. Today, I’m resuming the usual flow of frivolous links and commentary around here, but I’ll be keeping an eye out for news from London as well.

Final death toll from London bombing will

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 08, 2005

Final death toll from London bombing will be at least 50, but “unlikely to top 100”.

A Letter to the Terrorists, From London

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 08, 2005

A Letter to the Terrorists, From London. “We’re going to take care of the lives you ruined. And then we’re going to work. And we’re going down the pub.”

The Guardian has some links to the

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 07, 2005

The Guardian has some links to the blogosphere’s reaction to the London bombing.

BBC News has some eyewitness photos of

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 07, 2005

BBC News has some eyewitness photos of people evacuating the tube.

BBC reports that the death toll is

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 07, 2005

BBC reports that the death toll is up to 33 due to the London bombings.