All of us now occupy an information space blazing with signals. We have had to evolve coping strategies. Not merely the ability to heed simultaneous cues from different directions, cues of different kinds, but also—this is important—to engage those cues more obliquely. When there is too much information, we graze it lightly, applying focus only where it is most needed. We stare at a computer screen with its layered windows and orient ourselves with a necessarily fractured attention. It is not at all surprising that when we step away and try to apply ourselves to the unfragmented text of a book we have trouble. It is not so easy to suspend the adaptation."
---John Updike reports from the future:
"Students have trouble grasping the high value placed upon mobility even in the early decades of the Computer Revolution. `Why would anyone want to go anywhere else,' they ask me, `when the same information-gathering terminals were present at every geographical point?' The primitive catch-phrases that permeated not only the twentieth century but earlier eras on the North American continent--`starting over,' `heading west,' `leaving it all behind,' `fresh faces,' `new horizons'--ring hollowly for those who have from birth let the world come to them, in the form of computer-generated instruction, entertainment, and virtual experience. The need to `go out'--out to shop or to work or just to walk around the block--seems as arcane and absurd to them as, say, Victorian family prayers or bloody Aztec sacrifices."
---the new mood of online openness:"Mr. Brooks, a 38-year-old consultant for online dating Web sites, seems to be a perfect customer. He publishes his travel schedule on Dopplr. His DNA profile is available on23andMe. And on Blippy, he makes public everything he spends with his Chase Mastercard, along with his spending at Netflix, iTunes and Amazon.com.“It’s very important to me to push out my character and hopefully my good reputation as far as possible, and that means being open,” he said, dismissing any privacy concerns by adding, “I simply have nothing to hide.”This new world owes its origin to the rampant sharing of photos, résumés and personal news bites on services like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, which have acclimated people to broadcasting even the most mundane aspects of their lives.To Silicon Valley’s deep thinkers, this is all part of one big trend: People are becoming more relaxed about privacy, having come to recognize that publicizing little pieces of information about themselves can result in serendipitous conversations — and little jolts of ego gratification."
I looked at the footage, and the blow-ups of the footage. There are people with cameras who were mistaken for guys with guns. There appear also to be guys with guns. There was a van -- an insurgent wagon to some, a makeshift ambulance to others -- and two kids inside who were wounded. I read the rules of engagement posted on a variety of web sites that used the video.
So was any of the killing justified? War is a dizzying, murky, hyper-adrenalized maze. In the field of battle, there are facts to be had and truths to be revealed. But even with the magic of digital revelations sling-shot across all bandwidths, the answer has to be: depends. Depends on some things even second-by-second video can't uncover.
Soldiers snickering while shooting journalists and kids looks bad, no question. My favorite quote of the week was from the refreshingly blunt General Stanley McChrystal about civilian deaths in Afghanistan: "We have shot an amazing number of people, but...none has ever proven to be a threat."
---cities as software (via Boing Boing)
---Craig considers Mark Harris' book about (in part) the making of Bonnie and Clyde
---Manohla Dargis profiles David Bordwell
---an interview with Greil Marcus
---Sheryl Sandberg and Facebook
---Naomi Wolf on happiness and feminism
---Chris Ware's subversive Fortune 500 cover
---Out of the Past
---summer movies looming ominously on the horizon
---lastly, "Stone on Stone"