Here’s what a friend calls some pretty scary shit, what I call James Risen’s weird hems and haws, what Sam Harris calls the reality of Islam, what Doug Ireland calls threats to press freedom on both coasts, what David Ehrenstein calls fait divers à la Cronenberg, a history of violence, plus the continuation, what Filmstrip International calls American Civics Volume II (a video) and, finally, what Current TV calls The Battle for America (also a video).
Postscript: Uh, dint mean to forget popcult maven Ryan McGee’s running nitpick on last night’s 2006 Grammys (a marathon shitfest I had the wisdom to avoid).
PPS: Regarding the first link above (“some pretty scary shit”), a military and intelligence analyst I know with statistical expertise writes: “After reading the first few paragraphs of US plans massive data sweep — ‘Little-known data-collection system could troll news, blogs, even e-mails. Will it go too far?’ — I wondered whether it has occurred to any of the (rightly concerned or alarmed) observers that these systems may well be worthless for their advertised purpose?” He continues:
Numerous supporters [of data mining] babble such things as “we have to ‘connect the dots.'” Data-mining systems do not connect the dots. They create more dots, probably 99.99% of which do not belong. The resources wasted trying to eliminate the bum “dots” is potentially enormous.
The intelligence failure that was memorialized with “a failure to connect the dots” was addressing the “dots” the FBI and CIA already had. More “dots” that in fact belonged might have helped but probably not. The failure — and it was huge — is analytical incompetence throughout top management at both agencies. Wholesale, automated data mining is more of the same. Both the country and the false positives are likely to pay a high price for the unabated analytical incompetence.