The Internet is forever. Your private communications don´t need to be. Wickr® is a free app that provides:
·military-grade encryption of text, picture, audio and video messages
·sender-based control over who can read messages, where and for how long
·best available privacy, anonymity and secure file shredding features
·security that is simple to use
Technology concentrates power.
In the 90’s, it looked like the Internet might be an exception, that it could be a decentralizing, democratizing force. No one controlled it, no one designed it, it was just kind of assembling itself in an appealing, anarchic way. The companies that first tried to centralize the Internet, like AOL and Microsoft, failed risibly. And open source looked ready to slay any dragon.
But those days are gone. We’ve centralized the bejesus out of the Internet now. There’s one search engine (plus the one no one uses), one social network (plus the one no one uses), one Twitter. We use one ad network, one analytics suite. Anywhere you look online, one or two giant American companies utterly dominate the field.
And there’s the cloud. What a brilliant name! The cloud is the future of online computing, a friendly, fluffy abstraction that we will all ascend into, swaddled in light. But really the cloud is just a large mess of servers somewhere, the property of one American company (plus the clouds no one uses).
Orwell imagined a world with a telescreen in every room, always on, always connected, always monitored. An Xbox One vision of dystopia.
But we’ve done him one better. Nearly everyone here carries in their pocket a tracking device that knows where you are, who you talk to, what you look at, all these intimate details of your life, and sedulously reports them to private servers where the data is stored in perpetuity.
I know I sound like a conspiracy nut framing it like this. I’m not saying we live in an Orwellian nightmare. I love New Zealand! But we have the technology.
When I was in grade school, they used to scare us with something called the permanent record. If you threw a spitball at your friend, it would go in your permanent record, and prevent you getting a good job, or marrying well, until eventually you’d die young and friendless and be buried outside the churchyard wall.
What a relief when we found out that the permanent record was a fiction. Except now we’ve gone and implemented the damned thing. Each of us leaves an indelible, comet-like trail across the Internet that cannot be erased and that we’re not even allowed to see.
The things we really care about seem to disappear from the Internet immediately, but post a stupid YouTube comment (now linked to your real identity) and it will live forever.
And we have to track all this stuff, because the economic basis of today’s web is advertising, or the promise of future advertising. The only way we can convince investors to keep the money flowing is by keeping the most detailed records possible, tied to people’s real identities. Apart from a few corners of anonymity, which not by accident are the most culturally vibrant parts of the Internet, everything is tracked and has to be tracked or the edifice collapses.
What upsets me isn’t that we created this centralized version of the Internet based on permanent surveillance.
What upsets me, what really gets my goat, is that we did it because it was the easiest thing to do. There was no design, forethought, or analysis involved. No one said “hey, this sounds like a great world to live in, let’s make it”. It happened because we couldn’t be bothered.
Making things ephemeral is hard.
Making things distributed is hard.
Making things anonymous is hard.
Coming up with a sane business model is really hard—I get tired just thinking about it.
So let’s take people’s data, throw it on a server, link it to their Facebook profiles, keep it forever, and if we can’t raise another round of venture funding we’ll just slap Google ads on the thing.
"High five, Chad!"
"High five, bro!"
That is the design process that went into building the Internet of 2014.
And of course now we are shocked—shocked!—when, for example, the Ukrainian government uses cell tower data to send scary text messages to protesters in Kiev, in order to try to keep them off the streets. Bad people are using the global surveillance system we built to do something mean! Holy crap! Who could have imagined this?
Or when we learn that the American government is reading the email that you send unencrypted to the ad-supported mail service in another country where it gets archived forever. Inconceivable!
I’m not saying these abuses aren’t serious. But they’re the opposite of surprising. People will always abuse power. That’s not a new insight. There are cuneiform tablets complaining about it. Yet here we are in 2014, startled because unscrupulous people have started to use the powerful tools we created for them.
We put so much care into making the Internet resilient from technical failures, but make no effort to make it resilient to political failure. We treat freedom and the rule of law like inexhaustible natural resources, rather than the fragile and precious treasures that they are.
And now, of course, it’s time to make the Internet of Things, where we will connect everything to everything else, and build cool apps on top, and nothing can possibly go wrong.
|—||An extract from Our Comrade The Electron, a talk from the Webstock Conference by Maciej Cegłowski, which is worth reading in its entirety. (via new-aesthetic)|
Exiled Kaiser Wilhelm II feeds ducks at Huis Doorn
thank you for conjuring Wilhelm gifs for us, always a treasure
General Ulysses S. Grant’s Civil War Presentation Sword as “General in Chief of the United States Army 1864”
- Ulysses S. Grant - 1864 (sword presented to him by citizens of Kentucky) - 1885 (his death)
- Grant Family - 1885-1960s
- Jay Altmeyer - 1960s-1989 (Altmeyer was a charter member of the American Society of Arms Collectors; the sword sold in 1989 for a then-world record price)
- Donald Tharpe - 1989-present (Since 1989, the sword has been part of the Tharpe Collection of American Military History)
- Virginia War Memorial Museum, 1999
- American Arms Collectors Semi-Annual Meeting (Best Single Weapon)
- Greater Baltimore Antique Arms Collectors Show, 1995 (Best in Show)
- The Liberty Heritage Society Museum
A "Magnificent Sword For General Grant!" read the headline in the Richmond Examiner on April 16, 1864. "The Most Beautiful And Costly Sword Yet Manufactured In This Country" proclaimed the St. Louis Dispatch.
Apparently a truly national treasure, this silver and gold jeweled presentation sword owned by General Ulysses S. Grant is one-of-a-kind, the only such example of precious craftsmanship and historical significance in private hands.
The sword was presented to the future 18th president of the United States by the citizens of Kentucky who gave this token of their esteem to General Grant upon his promotion to “General in Chief of the Armies of the United States” in 1864, a major turning point in the Civil War.
This was a historic event, as Grant was being elevated to the same level of command as only George Washington had ever achieved, prompting Kentucky patriots to raise money to purchase this unique and extremely valuable sword crafted by St. Louis silversmith and jeweler Henry Folsom.
Twenty-six mine cut diamonds compose Grant’s monogram “U.S.G.” set upon a large amethyst surmounted by a gold sunburst, the sword is crafted of pure silver and gold with the silver grip in the form of the goddess Victory. Over the goddess’ head is an American eagle with wings spread.
The sword is still in the magnificent original ivory mounted black japanned fitted presentation case. The 33-inch blade is intricately etched and engraved with battle scenes, which include a stand of arms, artillery firing, cavalry engagements as well as infantry scenes symbolizing Grant’s command of the entire United States armed forces.
- Grant was fresh from victories at Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge and was brought in from the West by President Lincoln and Congress to win the war that had torn the American nation apart for three long years.
- Within a year of Grant’s promotion to General in Chief of the United States Armies the Confederate Army led by Robert E. Lee surrendered and the war was over.
- This was the highest rank ever achieved by any American since the Revolutionary War when George Washington was appointed General in Chief.
There is a moment when each ultra-realistic prosthetic limb crafted by Sophie de Oliveira Barata transitions from a hunk of silicon into something more. “It happens around this point,” the artist explained, gesturing to a half-finished leg jutting mid-kick from her work bench. “I’ll know it’s happened when I handle a limb a bit roughly, and I find myself apologizing to it: ‘Oh, sorry!’”
It’s an easy mistake to make. With precision molding, hand-painted veins, and real human hairs, the limbs scattered around Sophie’s studio look uncannily real: legs on the verge of dancing and hands ready to burst into applause. With these prostheses, Sophie enables her customers to conceal their absences and blend in. But the artist also caters to another kind of clientele: amputees wanting to stand out. She works with these clients to imagine the missing parts of their bodies as fantastical works of art: an arm housing a motorized coiling snake, a jewel-studded leg with embedded stereo, a bird-wing arm with a metal hook for a talon. “Instead of seeing what’s missing,” she remarked, “you see what’s there.”
I met Sophie in her cozy London studio recently to discuss her work. After serving tea, the artist returned to the task of tenderly shaping a silicon calf as we spoke.
Read more. [Image: Roc Morin]
Another night has passed, another dawn broken…another day to ask yourself…”Why?” For Dope Rider, to whom the yesterdays seem endless and the tomorrows numbered, there is no easy answer…just a stale taste in his mouth and the weary eyes of one who has faced-down death a thousand times.
By Andy Khouri
We make a regular practice at ComicsAlliance of spotlighting particular artists or specific bodies of work, but because cartoonists, illustrators and their fans share countless numbers of great images on sites like Flickr, Tumblr, DeviantArt and seemingly infinite art blogs that we’ve created Best Art Ever (This Week), a weekly depository for just some of the pieces of especially compelling artwork that we come across in our regular travels across the Web. Some of it’s new, some of it’s old, some of it’s created by working professionals, some of it’s created by future stars, some of it’s created by talented fans, and some of it’s endearingly silly. All of it’s awesome.
ABOVE: Batman vs. Lord Death Man by Jiro Kuwata
in the bush. back monday.