A Reading List - December 22, 2013

     Though the great blogging experiment may have failed me thus far, I recently posted a number of articles I'd stumbled upon in the past few months to various social media outlets. Clearly my own space is much better for this sort of thing (the ability to add hyperlinks to text, for instance), so maybe my blogging endeavor might be revived as a self-proclaimed curator of various goings-on in our modern day.

     Once that NYC cold really set in, I stopped biking and started taking the subway to work. I quickly realized, though, that I had a whole bunch of time to read the many articles I'd saved for later but to which I'd never found my way back. Since our modern transportation systems are still without modern connectivity I set aside the the good ones to share later, and so here's some "recommended readings," in no particular order.

     You can find all of the articles listed below as My Recommendations over at Readability. Oh, and if any of this piques your interest, you think my mini-analyses are way off the mark, or you just want to chat about thus stuff, get in touch and we can do a guest post or dialog or any of those bloggy things.

Exclusive: Secret contract tied NSA and security industry pioneer

The payoff of RSA provided the NSA with an incredibly effective distribution method for attacking encrypted data. RSA is done, all for a measly $10 million.

Pay-as-You-Go Solar Energy Finds Success in Africa

Building Africa's electricity infrastructure through a pay-as-you-go model. The real beauty here is leveraging the cellular infrastructure as a means of payment; as described in this source article, solar customers authenticate their electricity bill through banks, and then set their phone next to their solar kit. The phone then sends a series of tones that unlocks the solar kit for a certain volume of usage.

Book review: How To Wreck A Nice Beach: The Vocoder from World War II to Hip-Hop

The Vocoder: not just Daft Punk's trademark sound, but actually an elegant technique for voice encryption in WWII and beyond. That's right - analog audio encryption.

Ambient Computer Noise Leaks Your Encryption Keys

In hacking digital encryption through its physical dependencies (i.e. a power supply, a cooling fan), we get a fascinating reminder of the synthesis of digital and physical in which all our systems still operate.

I Got Myself Arrested So I Could Look Inside the Justice System

Two ways to look at it: 1) a scathing indictment of racism and inequality in the US justice system; 2) oh wait the justice system is actually quite cruel to me, a white male, once I get arrested. Whoops.

Here's How Chinese Censorship Works

Or rather, "Here's How We Think Chinese Censorship Works, Given Statistical Analysis on What's Really A System of Fickle, Variable Human Censors Rather than Computers or Something Like That, So Good Luck"

How an Unfalsifiable Counterterrorism Strategy Makes Us Less Safe

No surprises here. Secrecy not only prevents meaningful debate on the legitimacy of counterterrorism practices, but makes us entirely incapable of determining which methods are effective and which simply don't work. Transparency thus furthers the legitimacy of our State twofold, in enabling the liberty and security of citizens.

Blackwater Founder Erik Prince: War on Terror Has Become Too Big

(Political joke alert, please do not be alarmed) Libertarians are strange aren't they (again, only a jest). In fact, I would very much like to read his book.

Problems with the FISC’s Newly-Declassified Opinion on Bulk Collection of Internet Metadata

A bit heady (appropriately for law blog that published it), but ultimately a rewarding read that reminds us we really need to work toward more concrete laws, guidelines, and attitudes towards these questions lest we establish precedence and practices based on haphazard estimations of necessity and the will of empowered individuals rather than society.

Give Snowden Asylum in Germany

German politicians publicly announce it, perhaps its time some of us admit it? Snowden has arguably done more to advance the debate and meaningful dialog concerning surveillance and counterterroism than any one person or event. Isn't this a good thing?

Stuxnet's Secret Twin

Quite a long read, but absolutely fascinating description of stuxnet, what came before it, and what the design of these cyberweapons says about the strategy and motives of the US government.

The First Image Ever of a Hydrogen Atom's Orbital Structure

C'mon, you know you wanna see it.

Art Criticism in the Age of Yelp

Not sure what I think about this one, couldn't really get on board with the thesis. Still, important questions to ask about our Digital Age.

Using Metadata to Find Paul Revere

Though I don't particularly like the way this article is written, it still deserves a recommendation for the content alone. Depicts what context as metadata can actually say about behavior.

Questlove: Trayvon Martin and I Ain’t Shit

Would also love to read his book.

Rope-a-dope: The strategy of Egypt's puppet masters

The revolution continues.

Advice From the Master: Thelonious Monk Scribbles a List of Tips for Playing a Gig

Lesson #1 - make the drummer sound good

CIA Releases Analyst’s Fascinating Tale of Cracking the Kryptos Sculpture

I actually haven't read this yet, but it looks too awesome not to mention while I'm here.

Riverside Park West - September 9, 2012

     Or rather East, but Coltrane's classic certainly feels right. Taking that first step off Broadway pulls me away from the hum-drum Columbiana, into something which I can only assume is more what its like to really live in this city. This new Riverside Drive apartment is (mostly) furnished, the kitchen is (mostly) stocked, and as Trane's immaculate note choice graces both my wall and my ear drums, I'm a little more content to call this home. My flatmate Max unleashes holy hell on the walls, in the form of America's Next Top Acupuncture, but its nothing Columbia's trademark white plaster walls can't handle. The bath was clogged, the doorbell broke, the outlets shorted and the windows jammed; hey, it is still NYC after all.

     In more melodic news, our newly formed Columbia ElectroAcousitc Ensemble just had its first meeting, gearing up for rehearsal tomorrow. This all-star gang of rowdy electrician/acousticians is all gangbusters to make some noise. Stay tuned for updates and recordings on this front.

A Place to Put Things - August 21, 2012

     I've never really been much of a blogger. I think I had one once upon a time, some terrible combination of colors with silly cat gifs I'm sure. This will be, إن شاء الله‎, something a little more meaningful. The last few years have shaped me in ways I could never have imagined, and as my opinions and ambitions change with the seasons, I think now that a space to put things, a reservoir of different selves identified not by name but by time, is a worthwhile thing.

     So stay tuned for almost anything and everything that might be rattling around my head at any given time. I won't promise much, but it will be more interesting than this.