Command and Control

Command and Control

Heard author Eric Schlosser at the entirely fitting National Museum of Nuclear Science & History last evening. Schlosser’s Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety was published September 17th.

It was an informative, sobering talk with balanced doses of anecdotal history, criticism, praise and rant. Human beings create these devices and weapons systems. They are not perfect, the improbable happens, the result could be beyond our imaging.

Looking forward to reading my inscribed copy of the book.

Schlosser is the author of Fast Food Nation and Reefer Madness.

Best line of the this or any day

“Because what I really believe is, Let’s spend a little more time leaving everybody alone. These people who are making a big deal out of gay marriage? I don’t give a fuck about who wants to get married to anybody else! Why not?! We’re making a big deal out of things we shouldn’t be making a deal out of.”

Clint Eastwood quoted in GQ interview

Best lines of the day

“This is an industry that demands payment from summer camps if the kids sing Happy Birthday or God Bless America, an industry that issues takedown notices for a 29 second home movie of a toddler dancing to Prince. Traditional American media firms are implacably opposed to any increase in citizens’ ability to create, copy, save, alter, or share media on our own. They fought against cassette audio tapes, and photocopiers. They swore the VCR would destroy Hollywood. They tried to kill Tivo. They tried to kill MiniDisc. They tried to kill player pianos. They do this whenever a technology increases user freedom over media. Every time. Every single time.”

From a piece by Clay Shirky.

As Shirky says, there is a reasonable discussion to be had here. The problem with SOPA/PIPA isn’t that the bills attempt to limit the unauthorized use of copyrighted material. The problem is that they are entertainment industry written and sponsored legislation ($100 million in lobbying) that give the industry vigilante rights.

Wikipedia to go dark

“On January 18, 2012, in an unprecedented decision, the Wikipedia community has chosen to blackout the English version of Wikipedia for 24 hours, in protest against proposed legislation in the United States — the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and PROTECTIP (PIPA) in the U.S. Senate. If passed, this legislation will harm the free and open Internet and bring about new tools for censorship of international websites inside the United States.”

Press releases/English Wikipedia to go dark – Wikimedia Foundation