On July 23, 2012, two giant plasma clouds, known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs) erupted from the sun creating an epic solar storm. As luck would have it, the CMEs weren’t directed at the Earth, but if it had happened one week earlier the point of eruption would have been Earth-facing and would have resulted in trillions of dollars of damage to the planet, mostly due to the widespread blackouts, damage to satellites and general interruption of and damage to various electrical systems on Earth.
If you worship money and things — if they are where you tap real meaning in life — then you will never have enough. Never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you. On one level, we all know this stuff already — it’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, bromides, epigrams, parables: the skeleton of every great story. The trick is keeping the truth up-front in daily consciousness. Worship power — you will feel weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to keep the fear at bay. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart — you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out.
Everyday, millions of innocent children are unwillingly part of a terrible dictatorship. The government takes them away from their families and brings them to cramped, crowded buildings where they are treated as slaves in terrible conditions. For seven hours a day, they are indoctrinated to love their current conditions and support their government and society. As if this was not enough, they are often held for another two hours to exert themselves almost to the point of physical exhaustion, and sometimes injury. Then, when at home, during the short few hours which they are permitted to see their families they are forced to do additional mind-numbing work which they finish and return the following day.
This isn’t some repressive government in some far-off country. It’s happening right here: we call it school.
— When he was in the ninth grade, open-access champion Aaron Swartz, who took his life last month, stood up in front of his school assembly and read this, affirming the need to change educational paradigms away from the factory model of schooling. (via explore-blog)
When I was a kid, I thought a lot about what made me different from the other kids. I don’t think I was smarter than them and I certainly wasn’t more talented. And I definitely can’t claim I was a harder worker — I’ve never worked particularly hard, I’ve always just tried doing things I find fun. Instead, what I concluded was that I was more curious — but not because I had been born that way. If you watch little kids, they are intensely curious, always exploring and trying to figure out how things work. The problem is that school drives all that curiosity out. Instead of letting you explore things for yourself, it tells you that you have to read these particular books and answer these particular questions. And if you try to do something else instead, you’ll get in trouble. Very few people’s curiosity can survive that. But, due to some accident, mine did. I kept being curious and just followed my curiosity.
Open-access champion and RSS co-creator Aaron Swartz, who took his own life last week at the age of 26, echoes Neil deGrasse Tyson, Isaac Asimov, and Sir Ken Robinson. A heartbreaking loss in innumerable ways.
Some thoughts on Aaron’s legacy in digital culture from Stanford’s Jennifer Granick.
“I think Aaron’s story is compelling for lots of different reasons. My previous film We Are Legion followed hackers and activists, so I was following Aaron’s story right from when he was arrested. He was so deeply engaged in so many issues that are really relevant about information, our relationship with information, the way the Internet is changing, and the freedoms of the Internet. And then I was struck by how much his story resonated with people far beyond the communities in which he was a celebrity—people that didn’t even know him.”
—Brian Knappenberger, director of The Internet’s Own Boy, on Aaron Swartz. Read the rest of the Q&A and watch the new trailer, over here.
(Top Left to Right and Down)
1. Aaron Swartz - Internet activist and critic of internet censorship. Outspoken against the US government’s involvement with cyber surveillance Found dead in apartment; ruled suicide.
2. Michael Hastings - Journalist, writer and critic of the US government’s involvement with cyber surveillance. Investigated by US Dept. of Justice. Died in a bizarre, one-car, high speed crash.
3. Barrett Brown - Internet activist and writer opposing US government’s involvement with cyber surveillance. Arrested and awaiting trial. If convicted he could receive 100 years in prison.
4. Bradley Manning - Convicted for leaking military documents including the US government’s involvement with cyber surveillance. Awaiting sentencing that will most likely result in life imprisonment.
5. Edward Snowden - Former CIA and NSA agent who leaked documents pertaining to the US government’s involvement with cyber surveillance. Political exile in Russia.
6. Will you be next?
Paranoia is associating random events into a conspiracy despite any logical connection or evidence.
This is not paranoia.