The felony murder rule, with vague and ancient roots in the English common law, has in the past century been snuffed out in most of the Anglophone world, from India to Canada to the United Kingdom. But this medieval atavism flourishes in forty-three of the United States, including New York, where it means instant second-degree murder charges carrying a penalty of twenty-five years to life. The felony murder rule leads to harsh grotesqueries. In Florida, this rule led to a twenty-year old, Ryan Holle, being sentenced to life without parole for lending his car to his roommate, then going back to sleep. The friend drove off and murdered someone in the course of a drug robbery — enough to get the car owner, even though he was not otherwise involved, life without parole.
As is true for most issues of excessive and abusive policing, police militarization is overwhelmingly and disproportionately directed at minorities and poor communities, ensuring that the problem largely festers in the dark.
Glenn Greenwald, The Militarization of U.S. Police: Finally Dragged Into the Light by the Horrors of Ferguson, The Intercept.
It turns out that aimless engagement in an activity is a great catalyst for free association, but introducing a pen and paper can sterilize the effort.
Nick Stockton, What’s Up With That: Your Best Thinking Seems to Happen in the Shower, Wired.
[M]any current and former U.S. officials have come to see Singapore as a model for how they’d build an intelligence apparatus if privacy laws and a long tradition of civil liberties weren’t standing in the way.
Today, young programmers and entrepreneurs in the valley are encouraged to drop out of college, or not pursue higher education at all, so they can focus all their attention on writing code or learning how to run a company. What value is Shakespeare, Beethoven, or Manet to someone who spends twenty hours a day on a computer? Apple’s products are beautiful to many because they are not only useful, but strive for something transcendent in their design and concept.
Rod Bauer, What Silicon Valley refuses to learn from Steve Jobs, VentureBeat
Modern surveillance is not primarily about an evil big brother figure watching from above. Modern surveillance is about classifying and sorting people. It is about ‘statistically rational’ automated discrimination, nudging and enforcement of norms. Modern abuse of power is not a cop beating someone up. It is about your life chances being determined by some correlation and that doesn’t show up on video.
An open letter to Glass explorers attending the canberra #GLASSMEETUPS event, Stop The Cyborgs.
There’s youth, and there’s youthfulness.
In the longer term, victory in the disk-drive industry appears to have gone to the manufacturers that were good at incremental improvements, whether or not they were the first to market the disruptive new format. Companies that were quick to release a new product but not skilled at tinkering have tended to flame out.
Jill Lepore, What the Theory of “Disruptive Innovation” Gets Wrong, The New Yorker.
The cultural effect of all these laws is to encourage a kind of hypervigilance that’s simultaneously paranoid and arrogant. It encourages armed citizens to seek confrontations and escalate them, confident that they can end them definitively.
Technology leadership is not defined by patents, which history has repeatedly shown to be small protection indeed against a determined competitor, but rather by the ability of a company to attract and motivate the world’s most talented engineers.
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