Category Archives: philosophy

Moral cryptography

Phillip Rogaway, professor of computer science at the University of California, interviewed in The Atlantic about the failure of the cryptographic community to address moral implications of universal surveillance:

Waddell: What led you to understand the political implications of your own work?

Rogaway: I myself had been thinking increasingly in these terms when the Snowden revelations came out. Those revelations made me confront more directly our failings as a community to have done anything effectual about stemming this transition of the Internet to this amazing tool for surveilling entire populations.

$5 chess game, best-of-three, Zuccotti Park

David Hill for McSweeney’s:

Zugzwang is a term used in chess to refer to a position where every move you have is a bad one. Once you’re in zugzwang, things like having more pieces than your opponent doesn’t matter anymore. If you can’t use them to attack you may as well not have them at all. Often players who find themselves in zugzwang simply resign.

A growing number of people in America know what it feels like to be in zugzwang. For some of them their whole life has been one long zugzwang, they can’t remember ever having any good options.

Inexcusably bad

Tim Bray nails the appalling media focus on nuclear paranoia in tsunami hit Japan:

The real story in Japan, by any objective measure, is the sustained post-tsunami desperation among those whose lives were swept away, and the narrative about the rescue and cleanup workers all over the Northeast. Read much of that? Me neither.

Phones at dinner

I’m this guy’s mum - put it away. We had a family dinner where the topic of how British Parliament worked (Lords, MPs, etc.), and it was much a more entertaining discussion trying to work it out via brain power rather than lazily looking it up. This tweet┬áhas it right:

My new standard of cool: when I’m hanging out with you, I never see your phone ever ever ever. (via Daring Fireball)