Just another ghost in the machine.

This tumblr is science, world affairs, video games, technology, cinema, electronic & rock music, art, nature, writing, language, and introspection. Summary: the profound to the absurd.

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Kredu tiujn, kiuj serĉas la veron. Dubu tiujn, kiuj trovas ĝin. -André Gide

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smartpeopleposting:

Glenn Greenwald: Why privacy matters

Glenn Greenwald was one of the first reporters to see — and write about — the Edward Snowden files, with their revelations about the United States’ extensive surveillance of private citizens. In this searing talk, Greenwald makes the case for why you need to care about privacy, even if you’re “not doing anything you need to hide.”

(Source: youtube.com)

Today, the basic prerequisite to being taken seriously in American politics is to accept the legitimacy of the new national security state. It is difficult to recognize the limits a society places on accepted thought at the time it is doing it. When everyone accepts basic assumptions, they don’t seem to be constraints on ideas. That truth often only reveals itself in hindsight. The new basic American assumption is that there really is a need for a global war on terror. Anyone who doesn’t accept that basic assumption is considered dangerous and maybe even a traitor. The crackdown on leaks by the Obama administration has been designed to suppress the truth about the war on terror. What the White House wants is to establish limits on accepted reporting on national security and on the war on terror. By launching investigations of stories outside the mainstream, the WH is trying to build a pathway on which journalism can be conducted. Stay on the interstate highway of conventional wisdom with your journalism, and you will have no problems. Try to get off and challenge basic assumptions, and you will face punishment.

— James Risen, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for the NYT, in a series of tweets on 8 Oct 2014.

(Source: twitter.com)

wildnkc:

escapekit:

Gun Country

Artist Michael Murph has created Gun Country, a site specific installation that consists of 130 toy guns for the open art competition ArtPrize this year.

im obsessed

(Source: mymodernmet.com, via estando)

The size of the Moon relative to the United States

The size of the Moon relative to the United States

(Source: twitter.com)

wannajoke:

The Walking Debt

wannajoke:

The Walking Debt

(via teemingturtles)

kateoplis:

"The Wilderness Act was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on September 3, 1964. But to understand the genesis of the act, you have to go back another three decades, to the 1930s. During the Great Depression tens of thousands of Americans were put to work by the federal government in national parks and forests. They cleared trails, erected shelters, and laid down mile after mile of pavement. The Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park was opened in 1933, Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park in 1939. The new highways opened up the parks to millions more visitors.

But the very success of these efforts troubled many conservationists, who worried that the country’s most majestic landscapes were being turned into so many roadside attractions. A group of them, including Aldo Leopold, got together to defend the national parks and forests against overuse. They called themselves the Wilderness Society, and their first mission statement denounced the roadbuilding “craze.”

“The fashion is to barber and manicure wild America as smartly as the modern girl,” it said. “Our duty is clear.” In 1924, while working with the Forest Service in New Mexico, Leopold had persuaded his superiors to designate 755,000 acres of the Gila National Forest as roadless wilderness. The challenge was to persuade Congress to give that idea national scope.

The Wilderness Act went through more than 60 drafts before it finally passed. It created a new category of federal lands that could be overlaid on the old like a transparency on a map. Congress—and only Congress—could place land in the new category. Once designated as wilderness, a tract would be off-limits to commercial ventures like logging and new mines. It would be available for humans to explore, but not with mechanized vehicles. Horses and canoes are allowed; mountain bikes have been ruled out.

“A wilderness,” the statute observed in surprisingly lyrical terms, is “an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” The 1964 act set aside 54 such areas.

“If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt,” President Johnson said after signing the act, then “we must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it.”

Since Johnson signed the act, the number of wilderness areas has increased to more than 750. They range from the tiny Pelican Island Wilderness in central Florida, which is just 5.5 acres, to the immense Wrangell–St. Elias Wilderness, which at nearly 9.1 million acres is bigger than Belgium. All told, officially designated wilderness covers 5 percent of the U.S., an area larger than California. The newest wilderness area, part of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore on Lake Michigan, was added just this past March.”

"There are 758 so far in 44 states, covering 5 percent of the U.S.—a total of 110 million acres. Wilderness areas are in national parks or on other federal land, but they have added protection: In general no roads, vehicles (even bikes), or permanent buildings are allowed.”

50 Years of Wilderness | NG

You know that post going around Tumblr that says that libraries are one thing that we didn’t screw up? Well that applies to designated wildernesses, too!

fiftyshadesofmacygray:

This made tear up for real.

(Source: thechanelmuse, via teemingturtles)

Beyond Torture: The CIA's Shameful Kidnapping of a 12-Year-Old Girl →

President Obama is letting the CIA play a major part in censoring a report on brutal human-rights abuses perpetrated by CIA employees. This has always been self-evidently absurd: No possible arrangement would present a bigger conflict of interest. What many Americans might not know is that the CIA isn’t just intent on covering up torture. It’s also averse to the public knowing more about renditions, a euphemism for kidnapping people and handing them over to violent thugs.

A rendition victim is now speaking out to highlight this aspect of the controversy. Today, she’s a 23-year-old college student working toward a degree in the humanities. When her family was kidnapped she was a frightened 12-year-old girl.

Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi was in power at the time. For years, he’d been hunting opponents of his brutal regime, including the father of Khadija al-Saadi, the 12-year-old. Her family fled to the United Kingdom and later to China. Around this time, Tony Blair’s government and the Bush administration were both trying to cut deals with the dictator, hoping to make him an ally in the war on terrorism. And Dick Cheney was still insisting that America had to operate “on the dark side.”

That’s how the CIA and MI6, its British equivalent, happened to participate in this particular rendition. The family, including our 12-year-old protagonist and her two brothers, age 11 and 9, were kidnapped and forced onto a plane in Hong Kong.

jannabelle:

Watch America’s prison population explode over the course of 34 years

jannabelle:

Watch America’s prison population explode over the course of 34 years

(Source: washingtonexaminer)

The ‘actions speak louder than words’ line is probably referring to the fact that the United States is supplying Israel a lot of the ordnance used to ultimately kill civilians.

"We tortured some folks." — Pres. Obama, in a press conference earlier today, commenting on the impending release of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s "torture report", detailing CIA abuses during the Bush/9-11 era, which the CIA admitted very recently to actually trying to hack & spy on, after the CIA director said earlier this year they didn’t attempt to do so! #areyoufuckingkiddingme

The Leader of the Unfree World
Mass incarceration, perhaps the greatest social crisis in modern American history, is without parallel on a global scale 

"Although our level of crime is comparable to those of other stable, internally secure, industrialized nations,"the report says, "the United States has an incarceration rate far higher than any other country."
Some individual states like Louisiana contribute disproportionately, but no state is free from mass incarceration. Disturbingly, many states’ prison populations outrank even those of dictatorships and illiberal democracies around the world. New York jails more people per capita than Rwanda, where tens of thousands await trial for their roles in the 1994 genocide. California, Illinois, and Ohio each have a higher incarceration rate than Cuba and Russia. Even Maine and Vermont imprison a greater share of people than Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, or Egypt.

The Leader of the Unfree World

Mass incarceration, perhaps the greatest social crisis in modern American history, is without parallel on a global scale

"Although our level of crime is comparable to those of other stable, internally secure, industrialized nations,"the report says, "the United States has an incarceration rate far higher than any other country."

Some individual states like Louisiana contribute disproportionately, but no state is free from mass incarceration. Disturbingly, many states’ prison populations outrank even those of dictatorships and illiberal democracies around the world. New York jails more people per capita than Rwanda, where tens of thousands await trial for their roles in the 1994 genocide. California, Illinois, and Ohio each have a higher incarceration rate than Cuba and Russia. Even Maine and Vermont imprison a greater share of people than Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, or Egypt.