The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Art Imitating Life or Vice Versa?

Do any of you watch "Person of Interest"?  I do, it's one of my favorites. Well, it seems like it isn't all fiction. The other day, I (and millions of others) learned that the NSA was collecting quite a bit of data on people.

The premise of the TV show is that the government has a computer which sorts all the data from all kinds of sources (not revealed but hinted at: traffic cams, ATM cams, cell phones, etc) and determines threats to the general public. The computer also finds people who are personally at risk, or are a risk to others. The government doesn't bother with these but a reclusive billionaire (who built the system) named Harold Finch and his associate, a former CIA operative named John Reese, do. Each week, we see how Harold (Michael Emerson) and John (Jim Caviezel) figure out how to save them or their victim(s). 

But that's not what the NSA does. It just collects as much data as it possibly can, mashes it with a bunch of supercomputers, and tries to figure out what the "bad guys" are up to and who they are. Presumably, the NSA is that government entity which  ignores the individuals that Harold and John care about.

Do I worry about all this spying on us? Not a whole lot. Philosophically, of course, I am opposed to it but a part of me is impressed by it.

A number of years ago I decided that nuclear power plants were not all that good a thing. That came after I looked around at my peers and remembered all the people I had known over the years; realized that almost all cut corners and routinely ignored safety precautions and decided that these people would eventually be the ones operating such plants. I became less confident in the concept of nuclear powered electricity.

That thinking is now popping up in my head regarding the NSA and the intelligence apparatus in the U.S.

Where are Harold Finch and John Reese now that we need them? 

Today is December 7, "a date which will live in infamy." What a different world we live in today than the one in 1941.

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