Today is the third anniversary of Aaron Swartz's death, and it was marked by the publication of an anthology of Aaron's writing, The Boy Who Could Change the World: The Writings of Aaron Swartz with an introduction by Lawrence Lessig (I wrote an introduction to one of the sections).
Chelsea Manning's insightful review, written from prison, is a must-read:
The most powerful and idea-provoking section — contained in new material introduced by this book — is a lengthy multi-part essay on the way the U.S. Congress works. He carefully, yet humorously, analyzes every single step of our profitable, gridlocked, an intractable political process.
I feel like the world abandoned Aaron in his time of need. I feel like the world — myself included — took Aaron for granted. He intelligently and thoughtfully challenged everything and everyone: software companies, corporations, multimedia conglomerates, governments, and even modern school systems! Yet, in his final challenge — we only stood on the sidelines and rooted for him, waiting for him to win again. Instead, he lost. Then, we lost.
If Aaron had lived even a few decades longer, he really have could have changed the world, far surpassing the ways in which he already has. All is not lost though. With a little faith and a little luck, we still can.
So… what are we going to do?
Remembering Aaron Swartz [Chelsea Manning/Medium]
Revenger, a fast-paced space opera by Alastair Reynolds with strong women as protagonists and few surprises certainly took my mind off things for a bit. Worldbuilding galore takes place in Revenger’s galaxy, a place littered with the detritus of humanity and other species. Kind of steam-punky and certainly the baubles offer a lot of ‘Roadside […]
Dale Maharidge is a journalist and J-school professor who is dear old friends with the muckracking, outstanding political documentarian Laura Poitras. Jessica Bruder (previously) is a a writer and J-school prof who's best friends with Maharidge. When Laura Poitras was contacted by an NSA whistleblower who wanted to send her the leak of the century, she asked Maharidge for help finding a safe address for a postal delivery, and Maharidge gave her Bruder's Brooklyn apartment address. A few weeks later, Bruder came home from a work-trip to discover a box on her doormat with the return address of "B. Manning, 94-1054 Eleu St, Waipau, HI 96797." In it was a hard-drive. The story of what happened next is documented in a beautifully written, gripping new book: Snowden's Box: Trust in the Age of Surveillance.
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