In the 90s and into the early 2000s, I sometimes wrote about ways to avoid using social security numbers. Going without an ssn (as many of you know from having tried it, as I did for many years) was always challenging. It also put the un-numbered in the position of being an outsider in society. Still, back in the day, you could do quite a few common things without using a universal government ID number.
Since 9-11 that challenge has become much harder, well-nigh impossible for anyone desiring to live a semi-normal 21st century life. Some succeed. Joel’s a perfect example. But he’s also an example of the extreme sacrifice and creativity it requires. Joel’s existence is as precarious as it is gratifying, and can’t in any way be called even “semi-normal.”
Me? As I got older, I eventually found being numberless more than I wanted to live with.
Several times a year I get messages from people who are trying to live numberless or, even more laudable, trying to keep their children unnumbered. They want my advice on how to overcome this problem or that. I got one of those messages the other day. This is my reply and will be the only reply I ever again make to such requests.
… for the long, idle post-celebration hours ahead.
In The Atlantic James Fallows writes about “The Tragedy of the American Military”. How we can reflexively say, “Thank you for your service” and claim that all soldiers are heroes — precisely because most of us are so removed from the realities of their lives, their missions, and the management of military matters.
Think your way to stronger muscles. (No doubt has a lot of applications beyond muscles, too.)
(Formerly) dying man says adopted stray dog — that he didn’t even want — helped cure his cancer.
It’s not really news that religious people are happier than us non-religious. Question is, are they happier because of something about their religion or are they happier because they’re the sort of people who don’t poke and prod at every extraordinary claim, the sort who just accept the word of their chosen authority and get on with life?
Yes, Christmas Eve was quite a time for that embarrassing data dump, wasn’t it, NSA? Kevin D. Williamson has some sharp words about that — before winding toward some very naive and foolish words. (Williamson is frustrating. He’s one of those guys who almost, alllllmost, gets it, then turns away.)
Shocked. Simply shocked. Guess which political party is “the party of the rich.” (Yeah, you knew, didn’t you? The real question is why will millions of supposedly informed people be genuinely shocked — and in denial — about this?)
I still owe some thanks to some Santas! Right now, I gotta go walk the dogs in the rain, but I will get to that. I think I’ve already thanked the Santas themselves, in person or in email, but I had to guess on matching some of the packages up with their mystery givers. And here I really wasn’t expecting anything for Christmas this year.
Hope Santa was great to you, as well.
Am also reaching the end of my two-months hermitude and need to write a wrapup on that. A wrapup would be easier if I actually knew what I’d accomplished during these months, but surely even a failure to find what I didn’t know I was looking for is … something.
News avoidance lurches right along. Mix of nooz and think pieces today.
New software (so far W*nd*ws only) aims to help activists detect and foil government surveillance. Get it here. Can’t say how effective it’s going to be, but it’s endorsed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Amnesty International, and other big-timers in the field. (H/T MJR)
Along the same lines, Let’s Encrypt aims to bring SSL/TSL to the masses by taking the difficulties and mysteries out of those pesky web site certificates. (Remember: Encryption is subversive! Or so our masters claim. Which is, of course, all the more reason to do it.)
If you were talented enough to play in the NFL, would you quit to become a farmer? Jason Brown did.
Holleee freakin’ cr*p! The shooter who did this was lucky he didn’t (in the famous words of Ralphie’s mother) “put his eye out.” His (or her) eye. Or face. Or hands. Or parts of the guys standing next to him at the range. Just looking at that photo is mind boggling.
Which dietary supplement claims are backed by evidence and which aren’t? Interesting chart. But also not the be-all and end-all of truth. Much is still unknown.
First great reason I’ve seen to consider a smart phone: The iPhone 6 locks out the NSA.
And look how upset it’s got some lawbreaking authoritarians! The FBI director seems to think that, historically, it’s been okay for the feds to snoop randomly on everybody and verboten for us to have secrets from them. Apparently that’s what it means to be a “country of laws.”
While this article asks the irrelevant-to-most-of-us question of why billionaires get depressed, the solution it presents is one for anybody who feels stuck.
Wouldn’t you just know it? Wouldn’t you just? As soon as domestic drones even start looking like they could be a nuisance, somebody comes up with this: Drone Shield.
Yes, indeedy, you to can keep the paparazzi and other airborne vermin away. Fancy that! But look who all is in the list of potential clients — a veritable roster of the crony capitalist police state. Pity.
People laughed earlier this summer when big-time columnist Maureen Dowd tried her first cannabis, did it unwisely, and wrote about feeling like she was dying. They thought she was making a ridiculous big deal out of a pot experience.
I didn’t laugh. I had an experience like hers. Edible pot. Not for some of us, no, no, not ever. Turns out even the Emperor of Pot, Willie Nelson won’t touch edibles for that very reason.
In more mundane news, I had to pull a tick off the base of my cat’s ear tonight. We don’t usually get ticks and though I’ve yanked a few off dogs, I’ve never tackled a kitty.
I figured that “tackle” might be the operative word. But Kitsu is such a mild-mannered little thing that after a few token twists to keep her head out of my hands, she sat still for the procedure. She was very offended, and demanded out immediately afterward, but the only one harmed by the experience was the tick.
Um … I’m really not sure why various news media keep presenting this as amusing. I know socks often go mysteriously missing. But 43 (and a half!) … you’d think the family would have wondered. (Tip o’ hat to S.C.)