- Quote of the day: “You start with a random clump of atoms, and if you shine light on it for long enough, it should not be so surprising that you get a plant.” Jeremy England of MIT, in A New Physics Theory of Life, by Natalie Wolchover in Quanta.
- David Brin in Bloomberg: What If the 21st Century Begins in 2014?
- Andrew Sullivan: Devoted to Intention. Deep in my archives dwells a photo of a sculpture — something atop a low column in a grotto, I think, somewhere in Paris — depicting Heloise’s hand wrapped around Abelard’s penis. Far as we know he kept that tool, but not the rest of his manhood. Unrelated bonus link: Coffee and the Brain.
- Dan Blum: The End of the Free Internet. It’s about neutrality, among other concerns.
- 418 of my photos are now on Wikimedia Commons, and most of those are also in Wikipedia. Most are of natural sights, or at least outdoors.
- Stacy Finz in SFGate: California Drought: Farmers, Ranchers Face Uncertain Future. We’ve had no rain in Santa Barbara since November, I am told, and Winter is the rainy season. There is none in sight. The hills, normally green as Ireland by now, remain brown as July. Fire season is now year-round and the risk of fire is far worse. Falling reservoirs are exposing formerly drowned towns and other curiosities. Ski areas live on artificial snow alone. If this keeps up, water use for all but essentials will be outlawed. Formerly irrigated lawns and gardens will turn to kindling. Among industries, cattle ranching will collapse first, followed by other agricultural sectors.That’s just this year. If the drought persists for another year or two, the consequences for the rest of the economy, and the livings of many people, will be dire. Given the fact of global warming, expect a new normal, at the very least.
Patrick Minnis, Atmospheric Sciences, NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia and J.Kirk Ayers, Rabindra Palikonda and Dung Phan, Analytical Services and Materials, Inc., Hampton, Virginia: Contrails, Cirrus Trends, Climate.
Surveillance vs. Privacy
- Data Privacy Legal Hack-a-Thon. New York, London, Mountain View. Go here for more.
- Andrew E. Kramer in The New York Times: Ukraine Tracks Protesters Through Cell Phones.
- BBC: Report: NSA ‘collected 200m texts per day’
- Tom Curry and Michael O’Brien at NBC News: Advisory Panel says NSA Surveillance Program Should be Ended.
- Academics Against Mass Surveillance.
- Crooked Timber: The Liberal Surveillance State