As the histrionics about NSA spying continue, the important question remains untouched.
Tech types have been aware for decades that NSA monitors everything. Everything means everything. Every fucking thing. Not everything legally permissible. Don't be silly. NSA doesn't use laws. Just everything.
Every electron, photon, wave and molecule that moves information from one place to another is susceptible to NSA. They may not succeed in catching everything, and they don't have the time or manpower to decipher or analyze everything, but they are making a thorough and exhaustive effort to catch everything.
This is parallel to the idiocy surrounding human genetics. We have an endless series of "studies" claiming to indicate that some particular skill or tendency is innate or learned. None of these "studies" are needed, and most are flat wrong. The separated twins studies back in the '50s already gave us all the info we need. Every human taste, talent and tendency is partly innate. Every single one, from strong legs to weak math skills to preferring red-haired females with slightly crossed eyes to hating clocks that represent 4 as IIII instead of IV. No need to "study" tiny pieces of a broad and simple fact that has already been determined.
In both cases the MEANINGFUL question is elsewhere.
With genetics, the MEANINGFUL question is how we USE these tastes and talents to maintain a strong civilization. We can deal with destructive tendencies or deficient skills more effectively and efficiently if we understand DEEPLY AND FIRMLY that they are mainly innate. We shouldn't waste time on "education" that can't possibly educate. We shouldn't waste time on "punishment" that can't possibly punish.
With spying, the MEANINGFUL question is how government USES its unlimited knowledge. Does it use the information to catch terrorists? No. Does it use the information to help citizens? No. (Quick example: the Romneycare website wouldn't have any problems if it could pick up the NSA's data stream. You wouldn't need to enter any facts about your life or health or income.) Does it use the information to assist local police in catching criminals? Obviously not. Local police are still on their own.
Strikes me that we can learn from the old video of a Brazilian pianist that UK Telegraph has been mysteriously presenting this week. After realizing that the orchestra is not playing the same concerto she had prepared to play, she goes through all sorts of dramatics and hysterics..... then at the moment where the piano enters, her HANDS know exactly what to do. Her HANDS hit the keyboard and proceed through a flawless performance because her HANDS were not participating in the weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Stop the histrionics. Don't worry about facts and epistemology. Just let your HANDS do what they're ready to do. You might be surprised.
Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.