The result of liberalism and conservatism

Every great achievement, every great leap, every great advance we have made as a species is the result of small-l forces of liberalism and heterodoxy braving new ideas and new shores. AND it is the result of small-c conservatism and the successful institutionalization of orthodoxy around those new ideas alongside those that came before that worked.

A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention

In an information-rich world, the wealth of information means a dearth of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.

— Herbert Alexander Simon
“Designing Organizations for an Information-Rich World” in: Computers, Communication, and the Public Interest, by Martin Greenberger, Baltimore. MD: The Johns Hopkins Press. pp. 40–41.

A Cartoonist’s Advice

Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive. Ambition is only understood if it’s to rise to the top of some imaginary ladder of success. Someone who takes an undemanding job because it affords him the time to pursue other interests and activities is considered a flake. A person who abandons a career in order to stay home and raise children is considered not to be living up to his potential. As if a job title and salary are the sole measure of human worth. You’ll be told in a hundred ways, some subtle and some not, to keep climbing and never be satisfied with where you are, who you are, and what you’re doing. There are a million ways to sell yourself out and I guarantee you’ll hear about them. To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy, but it’s still allowed, and I think you’ll be happier for the trouble.

— Bill Watterson
cartoonist, author of Calvin & Hobbes

Source: A Cartoonist’s Advice

Securing Consumers’ Credit Data in the Age of Digital Commerce

Source: Securing Consumers’ Credit Data in the Age of Digital Commerce – Energy and Commerce Committee

Are you telling me that, unbeknownst to a bunch of American citizens, that companies like Equifax are actually having signs out on their personal information and using it and making money off of it, unbeknownst to the average American?



The Law of Continued Failure

The law of continued failure is the rule that says that if your country is incompetent enough to use a plaintext 9-numeric-digit password on all of your bank accounts and credit applications, your country is not competent enough to correct course after the next disaster in which a hundred million passwords are revealed. A civilization competent enough to correct course in response to that prod, to react to it the way you’d want them to react, is competent enough not to make the mistake in the first place. When a system fails massively and obviously, rather than subtly and at the very edges of competence, the next prod is not going to cause the system to suddenly snap into doing things intelligently.