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January 23, 2014


"the advantages will be perceived to outweigh the disadvantages."

Absolutely. There is always going to be trade offs that people, and societies, make. But I think there is a large difference between a blanket "post-privacy society" and targeted trade-offs, for example in monitoring the elderly and infirm.

I can't speak to Japan (although I will read the paper).

My point it there isn't really something that is special about google, or nest, or facebook. It's not a stretch that another company could come along and offer similar functionality for money, or even one-time costs, without the privacy implications.

Not saying there are swarms of them out there. But the barriers to entry are small for many of these "nest" like ideas. And that should be concerning to google.

In which case, they are basically harassing American citizens who are engaged in activism the government does not approve of.

Leaving Snowden and his buddies aside, I'll just add that this is a not-uncommon occurrence.

Federal, state, and local law enforcement quite often screw with folks who engage in dissent. Environmental activists, folks in the Occupy movements, people involved in the WTO protests, etc., have been the subject of spying and general being-f***ed-with.

There are also numerous efforts to get folks involved in plain old First Amendment-protected dissent classified as terrorists. Occupy folks (again), environmental activists (again), folks opposed to the Keystone pipeline, all have had folks try to have them classified as terrorists. Which they are not.

A database containing a record of every phone call made, by every person in the US, for the last five years, is a lot of information to hold. Especially about a population containing, more or less by definition, about 99.999% people who are not of interest for any good reason.

As the law stands, today, the feds are not allowed to collect metadata about phone calls made between parties who are US persons, where both are in the US, and where neither is the subject of an intelligence or terrorism investigation, unless the folks who want to do the collection can demonstrate how that is relevant to an active investigation approved by the FISC.

That's the law, it's in the US Code, I cited it in the other thread, if you want you can go read it.

It's true that Congress has re-authorized the USA Patriot Act since it's passage but part of that re-authorization was adding the specific limitation I just named above. It wasn't in the original language of the law, and now it is.

It's also true that FISC has approved the metadata collection, but of the many thousands of requests presented to that court from 1979 to 2012, a grand total of eleven have been denied.

So the fact that the FISC has allowed it does not tell us much.

I don't really give a crap what google or target or ebay or amazon know about me, because they aren't going to declare me a terrorist if I engage in acts of dissent that they don't like and f***k with my life.

The party that is most likely to do that is the government. And that is so no matter whether a (D) or an (R) follows the president's name.

Federal, state, and local law enforcement quite often screw with folks who engage in dissent. Environmental activists, folks in the Occupy movements, people involved in the WTO protests, etc., have been the subject of spying and general being-f***ed-with.

I'd be interested to know what your basis in fact is that this has happened "quite often" on a federal level since Obama's been in office. Links or anything?

Also, what's your answer? Be specific. Abolish the NSA, the CIA - what else? Do you want to conduct personal oversight?

Sorry if it sounds like paranoia to me.

Also, russell, I don't know how many people you've known (but I've known quite a few) who lived through, and escaped from, totalitarian regimes. It's a scary and real phenomenon. It requires the buy-in of a large percentage of the population, or at least fear in a large number. I don't get that vibe here in the U.S.

I know people who travel a lot, who go ballistic over security lines, TSA agents (in what I consider to be routine security checks), etc. I'm not convinced that anyone who complains about being "messed with" isn't just really sensitive to the status quo of travel. I, myself, travel a good deal. My experiences vary. I usually have a good attitude, whereas sometimes I've traveled with people who don't - and being an a**hol3 to the people at security doesn't help.

Just to say, I don't necessarily trust personal testimonials.

It requires the buy-in of a large percentage of the population, or at least fear in a large number. I don't get that vibe here in the U.S.

Do you remember fall 2001? I remember fall 2001. Our society is not nearly as resilient as it might look on the surface. People are people.

Not sure what you mean by that, Nombrilisme Vide. Of course, people were anxious to defend against those who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks, and rightfully so. It was the largest loss of life on US soil by a foreign threat since the War of 1812.

Unfortunately, we had an incompetent president at the time, and people were willing to rally round. People who pretend that competent and incompetent governments yield the same results aren't being thoughtful about what's possible. The good news is that after eight years, Bush was history. The bad news is that once Obama was elected, a lot of people thought their work was done, and two years later Congress fell.

People have to be vigilant about whom they elect to office, sure. russell believes that D or R - it's all the same - the gubmint will "f**k with his life". Really? Looks like paranoia to me.

"Looks like paranoia to me. "

This is from someone that was worried about Target kidnapping him and imprisoning him in a foreign country? And I quote:

"And maybe Target can cause me to be put in jail if Target wants to work with a government, not necessarily the government of the United States."

sapient, you're a fairly authoritarian guy. You want and advocate for a strong, benevolent, central government. I disagree, and that's fine.

But someone saying the government is going to mess with them?

That's history. The government has messed with people since the beginning. Again and again. There has been corruption in every party. There has been abuse in every administration.

It's fine if you think the way to fix it is different than how I think to fix it.

But calling someone paranoid because they have observed abuse and corruption occurring throughout the history of this country and saying, yeah, that could happen again?

That's disconnection from reality.

I'll post a video, one of many examples. Of course, you'll probably come back with how the police action was justified.



Thanks for the paper. Very interesting, but it left me wanting to know more.

Can you speak more on social privacy in Japan? The paper seemed to take it as implicit that the Japanese culture simply doesn't value privacy socially.

I'm wondering how that plays out in social interactions with friends and family?

Do people generally have personal space, physical or mental (like a personal room or journals)? Do children have no lives that their parents don't know about? Are there things that are invasions of privacy? Could I, say, look through someone's medical cabinet if I was invited over for dinner?

I'm not trying to be clever here, I'm just curious how deep this goes. Do people hide things? Does lack of privacy lead to people being very open about everything, or very closed (eg, never say or write anything, because you have no physical privacy).

This is a foreign concept (har har) to me, and I'd like to learn more.

People have speculated that we are going to enter a "post-privacy society" in the US. I just can't see it happening until people are less judgmental. In other words, I can't see it happening.

If Japan is already there...how do they deal with people who deviate from the norm? Increased acceptance or does everybody fall in line?

Hey thompson, no worries, good questions. I'm not really sure if I have a handle on it, but it seems like you are viewing a single dimension of public vs. private and for Japanese, a lot of things are orthogonal.

First of all, this pdf, an article entitled "Perspectives on Privacy, Information Technology, and Company/Governmental Surveillance in Japan" might give some more background. That paper notes that while most Japanese have no problem with increased government monitoring, they really don't like being monitored at their job. This paragraph describes a possible reason why that is.

At first glance, it might appear then that one of the findings from this study is refuting the claims of theorists who have contended that the Confucian and Buddhist inspired culture of Japan that does not recognize individual privacy is nurturing an acceptance of electronic monitoring and data collection by those in authority positions. After all, the participants clearly expressed disdain at the notion that a company would conduct electronic surveillance on its employees. When closely analyzing the narratives, however, it comes to light that it is not really a concern with invasion of privacy that is driving this disdain. First of all, when asked about the concept of privacy, the participants provided interpretations that were more at the personal level of keeping secrets from those who were close to them. The interpretations lacked any societal meaning or implications. The concept of privacy did not come across as holding a true intrinsic value. Second, the derision toward the notion that a company would electronically monitor employees was not being derived from a concern with privacy rights. Rather, it stemmed from the idea that they felt the monitoring was signaling to the employees a sense of distrust the company had in its employees.

You might look at the legal framework that has been established and argue that it looks the same, but this article details the actual status of many of the complaints about privacy and how the system is 'comprehensively opaque'. The article has several examples of various complaints, of which this is typical

A list broking company encouraged students sitting a university entrance exam to provide copies of their class lists, in return for a voucher worth about US$30. NCACJ considered that, although a company is prohibited from disclosing third party personal data, an individual is not so prohibited. They said it was a matter for argument whether acquiring such information from minors might constitute obtaining personal information by fraudulent or dishonest means, but did not give an opinion.

Someone who comes to Japan and watches the news might note that faces and license plates and house numbers are often blurred, and they may think that there is some real concern about privacy and that people want their privacy, but it's not really the case, I think. For example, this is from an article about a Japanese TV documentary about LGBT people.

The show was basically an appeal for understanding, filled with testimonials from LGBT people about their loneliness and inability to function normally in a society that won’t acknowledge their situation. It was a passive appeal. The LGBT people who spoke out are waiting for society to change. One participant said LGBT should come out only when they were in a positive frame of mind, since doing so out of anger or frustration might create negative feelings. The advice was mostly about being respectful of other people’s — i.e., straight people’s — feelings. Even the example of the lesbian couple who made a point of not hiding their relationship from the neighbors was presented cautiously. The two women would walk through the streets hand-in-hand greeting everyone they met, and after a year or so people accepted them. However, on TV their faces were blurred out, as were many of the other LGBT participants’. They were not scared for themselves; they just didn’t want to take the chance of making friends and family uncomfortable.

Now, you may argue that it doesn't matter what reason someone has for wanting to stay private, but I hope you can see that it is an strange kind of privacy that is motivated because you don't want to make friends and family uncomfortable. I'm sure there are examples where people don't want to be revealed even though their spouse or family is familiar with whatever it is, but a western definition of privacy starts, I think, with the notion of a personal private space for the individual. In Japan, privacy starts with protection of the group, which automatically makes it different than what we think of in the US.

I often have to explain to exchange students about these different notions and I'm often left with giving examples because there aren't any explanations. One example is the genkan, an entryway where you take off your outside shoes. That area has traditionally been quasi-public space and if you don't want people coming in, you have to lock the door. If you don't lock the door, it's essentially your fault if someone comes in there. This is changing somewhat, but still, it is common enough that Japanese can't get angry at someone when they do that. I warn students that they shouldn't think of their dorm room as their personal space, because anyone from the university could enter it.

When I first came to Japan, when you moved in to a new place, two police men would come to visit you, and you were supposed to invite them in for a cup of tea, chat with them a bit and thank them. Again, that has declined, but is still the norm in small towns if someone new moves in. Maybe I've watched too much Law and Order, but that entrance to the house is something that police have to negotiate. I probably could have refused entry, and I don't think that police would be able to enter if I wasn't there unless they had a compelling reason, but if you are in a culture where entry to your house is something that requires explicit consent, you are in a different place than here.

When my mom passed away 5 years ago and again when my Dad did in Nov, immediately after I informed the office, not only was a notice posted on the faculty bulletin boards, but this time, an email went out to all the teachers. I wasn't upset, but things like that always remind me this ain't Kansas.

One way to look at it, Japan has a pre-industrial village vibe, where one wouldn't expect privacy. However, the narrative that somehow, Japan is going to 'evolve' to have the level of privacy that one seems to expect in the US seems a bit ethnocentric.

I think a better way to look at it is might be that Japanese equate public=formal, while private=not formally announced. You get a similar sort of thing in the UK, so all the broadsheets are legally enjoined from posting about a football player's affair, but have it as the trending topic on Twitter.

I hope that might explain a bit but it's probably not really enough. I'm happy to try and take another run at it.

Links or anything?

No links for you.

Also, what's your answer? Be specific.

Don't break the law.

Sorry if it sounds like paranoia to me.

No skin off of my back buddy.

Also, russell, I don't know how many people you've known (but I've known quite a few) who lived through, and escaped from, totalitarian regimes.

At most single digits. If your question had any relevance to the topic, that might matter.

But you are sapient, which means any freaking issue you want to drag in to obscure the topic under discussion is fair game.

But calling someone paranoid because they have observed abuse and corruption occurring throughout the history of this country and saying, yeah, that could happen again?

That's disconnection from reality.

What it is, is an ad hominem argument intended to distract attention from the substance of the issue.

Personally, I think sapient is a sock puppet. I suspect he has some connection with federal agencies or private contractors that are involved in intelligence gathering, and he is here pretending that he's an otherwise uninterested ordinary citizen, just sharing his opinions.

I say that because I've dealt with sock puppets before, online and elsewhere, and his comments on this topic and his style and method of argument have exactly the flavor of theirs. Looks like a duck, walks like a duck, etc.

My sense is that, in reality, sapient is here as the stooge of folks who are involved in this kind of intelligence gathering, either for pay or because his own interests align with theirs.

sapient says I'm paranoid, I say he's a shill and a lackey for the feds and/or their contractors. My grounds for making my statement are exactly as strong as his are for making his. Maybe stronger.

"single dimension of public vs. private and for Japanese, a lot of things are orthogonal."

You're right, I was expressing it as such, but I do realize how these things are orthogonal. The difficulty I was having was with the blanket assertion in the first link that Japan doesn't value privacy. The truth is much more complex, of course.

The links were quite informative. To me, it seems like there is a desire for secrecy, and a desire for trust. I guess where I get lost is how that's distinct from 'privacy.'

At the non-government level, it seems without a concept of 'privacy', privacy is basically enforced by (a) desire for secrecy (b) a desire for trust and (c) respect for others desire for secrecy and trust.

If I had to describe my concept of privacy, it wouldn't be far off.

Although clearly I extend that to my dealings with the government, which isn't the case in Japan. Although its not entirely the case in the US. There isn't exactly 0 support for the US, so perhaps this conversation would be better informed with a more average "american voice" contributing.

Then I read the rest of your post, and that's when the differences became more apparent. It's not something I fully grasp at the moment, but I'll mull it around in my head.

My final question, I suppose, would be about the boundary between secret/private and non-secret/public. In the US, that's a pretty diffuse line:

If you stop by someone's house unannounced that can be anywhere from rude to a welcome surprise.
Some people are pretty open about their medical problems, others are pretty guarded.
Etc etc.

Which seems to result in the default assumption of: you take the a broadest sense of privacy so you don't end up stepping on someone's toes.

It seems that Japan doesn't lack a sense of 'privacy' in the sense of a secret/personal space, but several of the examples you had just wouldn't fly in the US. But it seems like if I were to go through someone's diary or their medical cabinet, they would still be offended. Right?

So, and maybe I'm wrong, but is a component of the difference maybe that in a more culturally homogeneous society, the line between private/non-private is firmer?

Also, I wasn't (and still am not!) trying to imply:

"Japan is going to 'evolve' to have the level of privacy that one seems to expect in the US seems a bit ethnocentric. "

And I hope I didn't give that impression.

ugh, I meant to say:

"There isn't exactly 0 support for broad surveillance in the US"


"There isn't exactly 0 support for the US"

I think sapient is a sock puppet.

It is possible but seems a bit unlikely. And sapient's obsessive contrarianism on this issue is reasonably consistent with other sapient-induced thread explosions, like their insistence that now that gays can get married, we should abolish civil marriage, for equality. Or something.

I think the more likely explanation is that sapient is just an authoritarian who gets totally irrational when people question the national security state, as long as it is being run by someone they like. Remember when they were going on and on about how awful it was for people on the internet to criticize editors in the publishing industry because we commoners are far to ignorant to even imagine criticizing our noble elites?

When considering privacy, perhaps we should distinguish between what people are willing to say they want and what their revealed preferences are. If you phoned up random Americans and asked them how important porn was to their lives, you'd probably come to a very different conclusion than if you looked at how much porn was actually consumed by Americans. Just because people may think that they're not entitled to privacy or that people will think poorly of them for saying they desire privacy, does not mean that they actually don't care about privacy at all.

Nombrilisme Vide:

I noticed you referred to sapient as "he" a bit up thread, which I believe is a mistaken assumption, given various hints sapient has provided here over the years, plus I hacked into his/her state-of-the-art networked food processor which she/he controls remotely via her cellphone and managed to manipulate the "macerate" button on the processor to induce his/her cellphone to click a picture of her/him and send it my cellphone for verification.

Unfortunately, one of her/his major appliances, probably her side-by-side fridge/freezer, wirelessly intervened by launching a small drone and directing it to hover in front of sapient's face, thus blocking identification.

That we can't ascertain sapient's sex here on the internet is a slightly funny adjunct to our collective privacy fears.

Very slightly funny.

Turb wrote:

"I'm usually pretty sensitive to privacy and data sharing concerns, but the worries over data sharing for nest devices has me totally stumped. Can someone explain to me: why would anyone care whether google knows when my smoke detector goes off? Or what my thermostat is set to?"

"The internet of everything" is a developing stock market investment fad, I've learned recently in my research, and there have been cases of major appliances being remotely hacked, to what effect I've no idea.

Sorry, I don't have a link to that article.

But I think the idea of the material world of objects becoming "smart" and linked wirelessly plays into fundamental fears of losing individual sovereignty, despite the enabling of convenience advertised by the technologies' purveyors.

One can imagine, and Hollywood has and will, one's IRobot vacuum cleaner and floor polisher conspiring with one's thermostat, perhaps the electric toothbrush (loaded remotely with toothpaste), and the home security system to, at the very least, play practical jokes on a person as they arrive home after a hard day at the office, perhaps ambushing a person, like Kato used to lie in wait in a cupboard for Inspector Clouseau.

The conspiracy becomes darker if some outside party is able, a person or a server in the cloud, to control one's world. Even the name "NEST" gives me some comical, but goose-pimply pause.

Add in the pacemaker that communicates remotely with the nearest hospital and your various interfacing vehicles and the plot thickens and probably coagulates.

What happens if your washing machine, commandeered by diabolical outside forces, or of its own smarty-pants volition, is able to hack wirelessly into your tablet and go to your OK-Cupid account and alter your profile and you start receiving messages from lonely major appliances in your commuting area, who nevertheless want to confirm, like their human counterparts, that you have a job, a car, and you don't live in your mother's basement.

Worse, you'll rue the day when your IPod, your self-activating waffle maker, and your furnace take a joyride together, commandeered remotely, in your car while you sleep.

I draw the line at my hair dryer booby-trapping my Orgasmatron.

And, what happens when objects begin to talk with each other online:


thompson wrote:

"Imagine a hospital where surgeries, desks, bathrooms, chairs, sheets, blankets, etc...all resist bacterial colonization."

Yet one more reason for staff not to wash their hands.

Also, thompson, you wrote somewhere up thread, regarding privacy becoming moot in society, whether, for that to happen, would people have to become less judgmental, I think is how you put it.

It seems that the internet, facebook, twitter, and such have fostered and amplified a tendency to hyper-judgemental behavior and criticism, rather than tamping down that normal human tendency, which might have been socially controlled in past times, but now the anonymity of the internet unleashes in full reality TV torrents of abuse.

The shy person anonymously torpedoing a restaurant opening on YELP, for example, with a virulent, over-the-top review.

For what it's worth, lj, this sock puppet really enjoyed your comment on Japanese notions of privacy. Maybe I'm Japanese, because the notions of trust (and autonomy) in the workplace, but also protecting family from experiencing the fallout of one's personal eccentricities - those things make sense to me. (It's possible that I misunderstood a bit but, according to my understanding, that's how I felt about it.)

If the NSA is truly monitoring telephone metadata in order to "mess with people" whose views they don't like, that's an intolerable abuse. I haven't read anything that leads me to believe that any such thing is going on. The fact that it "could" happen? If the FISA court system isn't enough, there should be more safeguards implemented.

A lot of people agree with russell's view that the NSA data collecting program doesn't accord with the enabling statute it cites as authority. Maybe the courts, someday, will agree with him. So far, the FISA court doesn't. Accusing the NSA of doing something illegal when it has followed the correct procedures (which involve the three branches of government) is inappropriate, even if the law (or the interpretation of the law) is not to one's liking. Congress can address this. In fact, it has to do something in 2015.

like their insistence that now that gays can get married, we should abolish civil marriage, for equality.

I don't mean to threadjack, but since it came up, let me clarify something. I support marriage equality. I support equal rights under the law for LGBT people, and always have. But another belief of mine (which, ironically, thompson might have a similar feeling about - don't know, and don't mean to speak for him) is that government has no legitimate interest in sponsoring one domestic arrangement over another. People should be able to make families as they wish, and define them as they wish. If the state wants to facilitate domestic arrangements (such as next-of-kin relationships) by registering households, there are plenty of completely neutral, non-discriminatory ways to do that. In the meantime, since marriage seems to be an institution that's not going away any time soon, it should definitely be inclusive of LGBT people. That's my view. It's held by a lot of people, including some LGBT advocates and feminists. Don't distort it.

"Yet one more reason for staff not to wash their hands."

I was thinking more along the lines of less need for antibotics and less MRSA. But yeah, prolly that too...

"fostered and amplified a tendency to hyper-judgemental behavior and criticism"

True. One of the reasons I don't think we are heading to post-privacy. But more in general, I think we need privacy as a way of balancing social conformity and deviation.

Social pressure is very important to maintaining a functioning society, IMO. Without privacy, however, pressure tamps down on deviation and society stagnates.

Remember when they were going on and on about how awful it was for people on the internet to criticize editors in the publishing industry because we commoners are far to ignorant to even imagine criticizing our noble elites?

Just another self-defense, off-topic, note: It's a pet peeve of mine for people to criticize (generally) workers whose professions they know nothing about. The publishing industry is currently in a state of massive transformation. There are "editors" of many kinds who work in publishing (at least, there used to be - most were laid off). Most people who don't work in publishing have just about as little idea of what editors do as I have about what Turbulence does. The difference is that I'm much more aware than he seems to be about my areas of ignorance.

It's a pet peeve of mine for people to criticize (generally) workers whose professions they know nothing about.

What's your level of professional exposure to designing, building, or operating large-scale "big data" systems?

What's your level of professional exposure to designing, building, or operating large-scale "big data" systems?

Zero. And if you find me criticizing people as being "unprofessional" who do that for a living, please find the quote. Honestly, I don't know where that's even coming from. My issue with "big data" systems is that private accumulation of data can probably used for nefarious purposes just as public accumulation of data can.

I have been informed by Turbulence that if the NSA has access to all the data that they collect under the phone metadata program, plus the criminal records data, tax records, etc., then we need to worry about the NSA being able to blackmail people. I agree. But it's my impression (not knowledge) that there's plenty of data in private hands that could be used for blackmail.

Maybe your point is something else? Whatever it is, I'm not getting it.

But it seems like if I were to go through someone's diary or their medical cabinet, they would still be offended.

I meant to answer your question about that and got sidetracked. It's tricky.

First of all, Japanese homes are really small. This means that it is very strange to invite people over to your house. Now (and here is where it gets really bizarre) a lot of Japanese people want to invite people over to their house because they watch a lot of overseas dramas and they have this idea that overseas, foreigners often have 'home parties'. My students often write that they want to go overseas so they can go to a 'home party'. So they feel like this is what you do. The ramifications of inviting someone 'into your home' aren't really explored, so I'm not sure how they would feel if they invited someone over and they started rummaging thru their medicine cabinet. But then, the other tricky part is the Japanese toilet is usually in a separate room from their bath and shower, and at any rate, Japanese normally don't have a 'medicine cabinet' in their 'bathroom', so it would be like going to someone's house, getting told where the bathroom is, accidentally (or not) opening the wrong door and then going in there and rummaging around. (That also implies a private sleeping space, whereas in Japan, traditionally, you roll out futon in the living space and sleep on floor)

It's not that privacy doesn't exist in Japan or that Japanese people are not giving the right answers when quizzed, it is that lines of where this is drawn are different, which then maps to a different space as to who has responsibility for what. If I were to try and draw a line (one that I don't always see), I'd suggest that in Japan, if you want to be private, you have to take the steps to make yourself private. You lock your door, you don't invite people over, you decide what you give out. If you are in a service and you want to opt-out, and the company says you need to mail a copy of your passport in order to verify you are the person opting out, that doesn't seem strange until someone says wait a minute, you are asking for more private information for me to protect my privacy and then a long dance goes to sort it out. On the other hand, from what I gather, most of the folks here think privacy is something you have unless there is some compelling reason that can be shown.

Overlaid on this is the adoption of privacy codes that are based on Western notions and adopted in fits and spurts. At various events at my school and outside it, people want to take pictures to advertise the event but Japanese law says that people have to approve their images appearing, so concern for that has us cropping pictures or making these quick statements at the beginning of taking pictures which then devalues the whole process and makes the person who opts out a nail that sticks out.

I don't want to suggest that I 'know' how Japanese feel about privacy, but I hope the examples I've given suggest that it is different.

"Personally, I think sapient is a sock puppet."

I haven't read the whole thread, but saw that. I really doubt this. There are plenty of people who think like sapient in the comments section of other blogs--quite a few Obama supporters treat him with something like religious reverence and make the sorts of arguments one used to hear from Bush supporters in 2001-2008 when it came to the war on terror. Sapient wants party discipline and gets very angry at almost any criticism of Obama on any subject.

Try reading the comment section at Balloon Juice. Don't spend too much time--your brain cells will start dying. Unless it's changed drastically, you'll find a lot of commenters who fall into one of two categories --one group hates Obama on every issue and the other defends Obama on every issue. IMO there's a kind of Obama Derangement Syndrome--the funny thing is it has two completely different sets of symptoms.

On second thought, make that three types of symptoms. The people who hate Obama from the right hate him in a different way from those who loathe him in every respect from the far left. Lefties don't blather on about Kenya/socialist garbage.

Personally, I think sapient is a sock puppet.

russell doesn't think I'm a sock puppet. He's just trying to be mean. Surprisingly, he's pretty good at it. Sorry that I provoked his anger, yet again.

" I hope the examples I've given suggest that it is different."

You certainly have. I appreciate the responses, you've given me a lot to think about. I find the juxtaposition of publishing peoples picture being illegal with mailing your passport to opt out of some form of data collection...striking to say the least.


Thank you.

russell doesn't think I'm a sock puppet.


He's just trying to be mean.

No, I'm just giving you a turn at being on the receiving end of substanceless, beside-the-point, ad hominem horseshit, intended to distract from the point of the conversation.

If it feels like I'm being "mean" to you, perhaps you might like to take a lesson from it.

"Try reading the comment section at Balloon Juice."

So...yeah...that was disturbing.

I'm again reminded why ObWi is somewhere I felt it was worthwhile to comment.

Really, thompson? I just looked over there for a couple of minutes and found out about Leann Rimes.

Was worth the trip.

I'm actually aware Leann Rimes existed before Balloon Juice.

The comment sections, however, were particularly vitriolic.

Was worth the trip for me.

See anything you recognize?

Thompson (and anyone else interested)
A few blog posts by a professor who is doing student projects that focus on visual anthropology in Japan.

This blog post is part 7 of the guidelines and has links to the previous 6 parts along with lots of associated links.

The posts at Balloon Juice are okay--it's a group blog and they don't all think the same on issues like the NSA and so forth. It's a partisan Democratic site, so you may or may not like them depending on your views. It's the comment threads that are bad, at least when I've visited. Bad on both sides, for the most part (mostly liberal Obama lovers vs liberal Obama haters). It's like there's some scripted set of insults they all draw on.

Its a partisan Democratic site, true, but founded and run by gentle curmudgeon John Cole, all-around Republican apostate and, if I'm not mistaken, former Board member of Redstate.

They have a guy named Richard Mayhew who is very good on Obamacare. He works in the health insurance industry and seems to cut through the bullsh*t pretty well.

I rarely read the comments, though I used to participate occasionally.

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