… to New York City readers. (Wikipedia)
“…North Carolina legislators are now tossing around bills that not only protect themselves from concepts that make them uncomfortable, they’re DETERMINING HOW WE MEASURE REALITY.” (Plugged In, Scientific American Blog Network).
A thoughtful debate between Sam Harris and Bruce Schneier. In the end, Schneier succinctly summarizes what is wrong with racial profiling:
“There are other security concerns when you look at the geopolitical
context, though. Profiling Muslims fosters an “us vs. them” thinking
that simply isn’t accurate when talking about terrorism. I have always
thought that the “war on terror” metaphor was actively harmful to
security because it raised the terrorists to the level of equal
combatant. In a war, there are sides, and there is winning. I much
prefer the crime metaphor. There are no opposing sides in crime; there
are the few criminals and the rest of us. There criminals don’t “win.”
Maybe they get away with it for a while, but eventually they’re caught.
“Us vs. them” thinking has two basic costs. One, it establishes that
worldview in the minds of “us”: the non-profiled. We saw this after
9/11, in the assaults and discriminations against innocent Americans who
happened to be Muslim. And two, it establishes the same worldview in
the minds of “them”: Muslims. This increases anti-American sentiment
among Muslims. This reduces our security, less because it creates
terrorists—although I’m sure it is one of the things that pushes a
marginal terrorist over the line—and more that a higher anti-American
sentiment in the Muslim community is a more fertile ground for terrorist
groups to recruit and operate. Making sure the vast majority of
Muslims who are not terrorists are part of the “us” fighting terror,
just as the vast majority of honest citizens work together in fighting
crime, is a security benefit.
Like many of the other things we’ve discussed here, we can debate how
big the costs and benefits I just described are, or we can simplify our
system and stop worrying about it.
One final cost. Security isn’t the only thing we’re trying to optimize;
there are other values at stake here. There’s a reason profiling is
often against the law, and that’s because it is contrary to our
country’s values. Sometimes we might have to set aside those values,
but not for this.”
I think I’m good with my commas. It just seems intuitive to me. Punctuation errors have a close relationship to imprecision of thought, but people are not given permission to use their common sense when they are taught grammar and punctuation. There is also, as the article points out, a relationship with voicing a sentence internally while you are writing it. Notice your pauses. Here’s a rundown of how to think about some comma decisions. (Ben Yagoda, NYTimes)
“The US Department of Homeland Security has released a list of the keywords and phrases the agency monitors online to find potential threats. Obviously posting “Al Queda” and “dirty bomb” online will get the government to start looking at you real closely, but “pork” and other oddly normal words are also on the list.
In response to a freedom of information request, the department posted its Analyst’s Desktop Binder (a manual for the agency’s security analysts) containing this hotlist. The keywords cover domestic security, HAZMAT and nuclear, health concern, infrastructure security and other threats.
According to the Daily Mail, the Department of Homeland Security says it only uses this keyword list to look for genuine security threats, not signs of general dissent. Nobody wants Big Brother looking over her shoulder—and you shouldn’t have to feel like you need to censor yourself in this way—but if you’re particularly paranoid about the government spying on you, you might reconsider using too many of these keywords together when you post something online. Here’s the full list.” (Lifehacker).
‘On April 25, somewhere in the ocean off Great Britain, a remotely operated video camera near a deep sea oil rig caught a glimpse — at first it was just a glimpse — of an astonishing looking sea creature. It was a green-gray blob of gelatinous muscle, covered with a finely mesh-like textured skin, no eyes, no tentacles, no front, no back. It moved constantly, floating up to the camera, then it backed off and disappeared. The camera operator tried to find it, and then, suddenly, out of the darkness, back it came.’ (Krulwich Wonders… )