Best of the Moment
Editorial | The Economist | 3rd August 2013
In defence of Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden. "Every democracy needs its secrets. But to uncover the inevitable abuses of power, every democracy needs leaks too". A change of posture was inevitable after 9/11, but "America still leans too far towards security over liberty". America's constitution "rests on the notion that the people in charge are fallible". Accountability and transparency are a necessary part of the process
Emin Gün Sirer | Hacking Distributed | 1st August 2013
"The numbers suggest that the US will emerge out of the Snowden debacle with a set of processes that prohibit the kind of domestic surveillance that Snowden exposed. But the forces are fairly close, and the victory will be a highly qualified one. We'll get the minimal set of changes such that a figurehead can say 'we do not perform domestic surveillance' with a straight face, for a specific definition of every word in that sentence"
Daniel Tammet | Slate | 31st July 2013
How different languages and cultures deal with numbers. "Four" in Icelandic is fjórir, if you mean the numeral four. But fjórar, if you are talking about sheep. And fjögurra if you mean a four-year-old child. "My friends in Reykjavík talk about birthdays and buses and pairs of jeans but, unlike in English, in Icelandic these things each require their own set of number words". In English, a number is a category; in Icelandic it is a quality
Sylvia Pankhurst | McClure's | 1st August 1913
One hundred years old, and still the most powerful thing you will read today: "I felt a steel instrument pressing against my gums, cutting into the flesh, forcing its way in. Then it gradually prised my jaws apart as they turned a screw. It felt like having my teeth drawn; but I resisted — I resisted. I held my poor bleeding gums down on the steel with all my strength. Soon they were trying to force the india-rubber tube down my throat"
Thought for the day:
"The most extraordinary discoveries are made when the artist is overwhelmed by what he has to say" — Boris Pasternak