It’s easy (for me) to become discouraged about the surveillance state the US (and lots of other countries) has become. How can you resist an entity like the NSA? Perhaps, in the long run, we cannot. But in a twisted way, stories like the one below give me hope.
In Cell to Cell: How Smuggled Mobile Phones Are Rewiring Brazil’s Prisons, Jonathan Franklin describes how Brazil’s prison gangs are using technology.
Wired prisoners change the entire concept of incarceration. Instead of being isolated and punished, the inmate with access to a cell can organize murders, threaten witnesses, plan crimes, and browse online porn to figure out which escort to order up for the next intimate visit. […] Brazilian organized crime leaders continued to have widespread ability to make calls, receive calls, organize conference calls, and even hold virtual trials where gang leaders from different prisons are patched in to a central line to debate the fate of gang members accused of betraying the group’s ironclad rules.
Yes, I get that the gangs are committing awful crimes. But then, so are oppressive governments. We can talk about Right and Wrong at Sunday School, this is about technology.
“Independent coffee shops are positive markers of a living community. They function as social spaces, urban offices, and places to see the world go by. Communities are often formed by having spaces in which people can have casual interactions, and local and walkable coffee shops create those conditions, not only in the coffee shop themselves, but on the sidewalks around them. [...] Coffee shops are unlike other community assets in that they enable us to mingle with strangers in ways that we might not in restaurants, to meet a wider range of people than we would in a bar, to linger in ways that we don’t at the grocery store, or to people-watch with an ease that would be awkward almost anywhere else.” – Washington Post
One of the many treasures unearthed while cleaning out my parents attic was my high school transcripts. I scanned, filed and then forgot about them but they popped up recently so I decided to add them to this record.
I was a little surprised to see I was 8th in a class of 152. I take that to mean lots of folks were having more fun than I was. My grades in math don’t reflect what I really took away from those classes. (Thank you John Robison for letting my copy your work).
I vaguely recall taking some of these tests, in preparation for college but I don’t think I ever saw the results. With an IQ of 121 (high average?) I probably should have tried harder in life. Next time.