random quotes ... to amuse, inspire, enrage:
  We believe most of what we believe about the world because others have told us to. Reliance upon the authority of experts, and upon the testimony of ordinary people, is the stuff of which worldviews are made. In fact, the more educated we become, the more our beliefs come to us at second hand. A person who believes only those propositions for which he can provide full sensory or theoretical justification will know almost nothing about the world; that is, if he is not swiftly killed by his own ignorance. How do you know that falling from a great height is hazardous to your health? Unless you have witnessed someone die in this way, you have adopted this belief on the authority of others. This is not a problem. Life is too short, and the world too complex, for any of us to go it alone in epistemological terms. We are ever reliant on the intelligence and accuracy, if not the kindness, of strangers.

This does not suggest, however, that all forms of authority are valid; nor does it suggest that even the best authorities will always prove reliable. There are good arguments and bad ones, precise observations and imprecise ones; and each of us has to be the final judge of whether or not it is reasonable to adopt a given belief about the world.

tagged: religion, faith, belief, knowledge, authority
  —Sam Harris, The End of Faith, Chapter 2 "The Nature of Belief", pp. 73-74, Norton paperback 2004 edition..

Archive for the 'privacy' Category

outing the snoopers

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

Иконописиконографияиконимека мебелRosalind Picard, a co-inventor of software that can assess people’s expressions, is marketing the software for people with autistic spectrum disorders, and other users. However, she notes that: Affectiva, Dr. Picard said, intends to offer its technology as “opt-in only,” meaning consumers have to be notified and have to agree to be watched online […]

Google just cries out for Tom Lehrer

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

Or rather, the phenomenon that is Google cries out for Tom Lehrer. Come out of retirement, Tom! Political satire is not obsolete, notwithstanding Kissinger’s Nobel …. A colleague posted on a listserv a brief note about an article on “Google’s planes”. I thought, no, really? Google is buying planes? for streetview, I imagine — holy […]

celebrity sex tapes: tell us something we don’t know

Monday, May 31st, 2010

Broadsheet @ salon.com is usually a pretty fair source for recycled news and commentary about women, gender, and sexuality. But Tracy Clark-Flory’s recent commentary about yet another celebrity sex tape — Kendra Wilkinson, who I had to look up after reading this article — is possibly one of the most pointless articles on the phenomena […]

Speechless

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Just like Maddow after Jindal, I am rendered speechless by the DOJ memos released on Monday. Most were by my former Con Law professor; among the notable exceptions was the repudiation of these policies last October. Holy Constitutional Law, Batman. * DOJ – Office of Legal Counsel memos * NYT (3/3) * LAT (3/3) * […]

data privacy day — no, i did not know

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

Someone twittered today, “Did you know today was Data Privacy Day?” No, I did not know. But indeed it is. Behold! On January 28, 2009, the United States, Canada, and 27 European countries will celebrate Data Privacy Day. One of the primary goals of Data Privacy Day is to promote privacy education and awareness among […]

yaay EFF & Georgia senatorial candidate

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

Of course, it’s never surprising when the EFF takes on the most challenging issues in technology law, but it was particularly gratifying to see them arguing to overturn the odious telecommunications immunity passed last year. The Machinist at Salon — a blog I’ve been appreciating more and more lately — has a great summary & […]

shades of the Pinkertons

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

In Burger with a Side of Spies (editorial, NYT 5/7), Eric Schlosser calls for legislation to protect people from private entities, á la the Bill of rights. The article discusses a number of incidents, including spying and infiltration – by HP on journalists; – by a private security firm on Greenpeace & other environmentalist groups; […]

internet privacy (NJ edition)

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

New Jersey’s Supreme Court has recognized that people have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their email communications — thus, law enforcement has to get a search warrant or grand jury subpoena. This was under the New Jersey Constitution and applies only to New Jersey. It’s the first major case finding a state constitutional privacy […]

of penumbral emanations and scholarly trends

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

Speaking of penumbra yet again (1, 2) , I had previously blogged about a Circuit split on laws banning sex toys — it was Valentine’s Day, and I was feeling a bit whimsical, so I wished for a “penumbra” that would strike down stupid laws. LawPundit “ha[s] an opinion” on my wish for a penumbra […]

circuit split on sex toys

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

Well, the 5th Circuit (Texas) has just said that Texas’s anti-sex-toy-law (memorably mocked by Molly Ivins in this video, available at youtube via pandagon) is unconstitutional, relying heavily on Lawrence (or so I hear, via pharyngula); I haven’t read the case yet). This looks like a pretty clear Circuit split with the 11th Circuit (Georgia, […]

something old, something new

Monday, June 18th, 2007

natch.net posts an old entertainment industry license — a patent license on a 1906 recording. and encryption awesomeness: firegpg. works beautifully in gmail. if you’re a mac user you’ll have to specify the gpg path in firefox tools > gpg > options; the default install is /usr/local/bin/gpg . (joe hall who pointed it to me […]

riveting

Friday, May 18th, 2007

James Comey’s testimony Tuesday before Congress was riveting.

data mining & online information

Sunday, December 25th, 2005

Today is a beautifully misty day, perfect for leisurely procrastination from holiday tasks like installing back-up hard drives for the mom-in-law. (Well, “in-law” if we were in Mass.; everywhere else in the US, “mom-in-out-law”.) So naturally I found myself doing a little backlog reading of blogs that I don’t read every day, and was fortunate […]

Reader, I married fafblog.

Saturday, December 24th, 2005

It was the only thing to do, after such postings as: There’s No “War” in “Warrant”1 (12/17): So George Bush secretly authorized the NSA to spy on Americans without warrants or judicial oversight. Oh, it violates your civil liberties, oh, it illegally breaks the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, oh, that tape of you and your […]

war on us

Wednesday, December 21st, 2005

oh happy day! The war on us is progressing nicely and soon we will have won the war against ourselves. Phones are being tapped willy-nilly and surely some of them will generate some useful information to allow us to be held without trial or access to the courts indefinitely under the president’s powers. The government […]

morning tea round-up

Saturday, October 29th, 2005

Yahoo!’s historically less-than-stellar track record of protecting user privacy is made much, much worse by this news: Yahoo! turned over a user’s identity information to the Chinese government, and now journalist Shi Tao has been sentenced to ten years for “e-mailing a government’s plan to restrict media coverage around the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen […]

zealous cooperation with the state

Tuesday, August 9th, 2005

Follow-up on the seizure of IndyMedia servers from a few months (a year?) ago: Apparently, when Rackspace claimed that they were seized by the FBI, what Rackspace should have said is, “We seized them for the FBI.” Volokh Conspiracy [7/31] takes the opportunity to issue a gentle ‘i told you so’: the FBI was right […]

owning photographs

Thursday, July 21st, 2005

In the fourth & final entry in Salon.com’s series on ‘ex-gay’ therapy ministries ['True confessions'], the writer describes how one ex-ex-gay’s attempt to control photographs of him is thwarted by copyright: On the front page of the Exodus International Web site is a photograph of several dozen men and women. The allegedly changed homosexuals, or […]

hearing on federal prosecution of artist

Wednesday, May 18th, 2005

Federal prosecutors responded yesterday (5/17) to a motion to dismiss federal wire fraud charges against artist Steven Kurtz (Critical Art Ensemble). This bizarre & ridiculous prosecution continues against all common sense, which I can only guess is par for the course for the Ashcroft/Gonzalez DOJ. derived from: ap 5/17 and caedefensefund.org press release 5/17 2008/4/25 […]

ip/tech news & really stupid & annoying republicans

Thursday, April 28th, 2005

wiretaps increased last year: Wiretaps in U.S. Jump 19 Percent in 2004 [sfgate 4/28] i’m pondering whether the wiretappers’ efficiency also increased? can they scan information more quickly now? did governments take cops off the streets to put them in surveillance vans? or did the governments hire a bunch of new wiretappers? hmm, all sorts […]


Warning: require_once(/home/lquilter/lquilter.net/blog/wp-content/themes/LQnineshadesgreen/footer.php) [function.require-once]: failed to open stream: Permission denied in /home/lquilter/lquilter.net/blog/wp-includes/template.php on line 501

Fatal error: require_once() [function.require]: Failed opening required '/home/lquilter/lquilter.net/blog/wp-content/themes/LQnineshadesgreen/footer.php' (include_path='.:/usr/local/lib/php:/usr/local/php5/lib/pear') in /home/lquilter/lquilter.net/blog/wp-includes/template.php on line 501