Sunday Linkdump: Find the lady of the light


Only a few things, but some big stuff.

  • This is all over the place already but it’s such a wtf moment that it’s worth reposting: The NSA, in the name of “national security”, has engaged in a massive conspiracy to hack into private information and weaken digital security across the globe. These people are master criminals in all but name. If there was any pretense that they were subject to the rule of law in any form, that should be all over and done with now.
  • Along those lines: The very idea that the US – or any state wishing to appear to be powerful – is subject to the rule of law is a farce. Not only that, but by definition the system is constructed in such a way as to make it practically impossible. We’re seeing that in the president’s decisions re: Syria, but it’s always been true.

    If American foreign policy is anything, it is not even-handed and impartial, and international law is the least of its concerns. It is selfish, interested, aggressive, petty, and vindictive. It is a state arrogating to itself the right to make arbitrary choices, to make the rules while other countries only follow them. And to prove that distinction—to demonstrate that while the US and its allies can behave according to one standard, other nations can be stripped of that privilege, at will—the US must not only establish “red lines,” and enforce them, but it is the very arbitrary nature of those red lines which allows them to function as signs on the international stage. Lawlessness is how a state proves itself sovereign; submission to law is the sign of the weak.

  • Philadelphia’s public schools are doomed, and the end is ugly. The end is also the work of callous, cruel, wicked men. I’m an educator, and Philadelphia is my home. This enrages me to the point of tears, to the point where I have to just not think about it anymore.

    This crisis, and the ultimate downfall of Philadelphia public schools, could have been avoided through proper financial management. At the end of the last budget year, the state of Pennsylvania had a modest surplus but Governor Corbett chose to allocate money towards building new prisons. Helen Gym, a public school parent and the founder of Parents United for Public Education, told the Washington Post, “Pennsylvania is one of three states in the nation without a funding formula for schools (based on enrollment, population, or other metric). The funding of districts is basically determined in back room deals among party leadership, with little consideration of need or even actual enrollment.”

  • I threw my oar into the #DiversityinSFF discussion with a post linking digital dualism to the boundary policing of science fiction.

    One of the things that’s going on here is sexist cultural conventions being produced and reproduced regarding women being bad at science, the devaluing of “feminine” things like emotion and relationships, which are being bolstered and which are bolstering our assumptions about technology as somehow disconnected from the reality of those things. Relationships begun and maintained via social media aren’t “real”. Emotion elicited and transferred via digital technology isn’t “real”. There are feelings and relationships and humanity and interiority, and then there’s technology.

  • And one final plug: I’m giving away a copy of We See a Different Frontier right over here. You have until the 18th to enter. Winner will be drawn at random.

Nightmares shifted in their sleep, in the darkness of the lake.

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