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Showing posts from March 3, 2019

What the Speed of Life Means for Security and Society

ESSAY March 6, 2019 Rand.org Kathryn Bouskill, a social scientist at RAND Photo by Diane Baldwin/RAND Corporation The envelope arrived with no explanation but a New York City postmark.  Kathryn Bouskill  tore it open and shook out a small, silvery coin. It was stamped with a “20,” she saw as she turned it over in her hand—not 20 cents, or 20 dollars, but 20 minutes. Bouskill studies health and human behavior as an anthropologist at RAND. She and another researcher,  Seifu Chonde , teamed up to examine our scramble for new technology, our headlong rush to make everything go a little faster. We are hurtling toward a time of transformation, they concluded, without asking what all this speed means for our society, our security, and our sanity. She knew the value of that coin right away. Do We Have "Hurry Sickness"? There's a word in German for that discombobulated feeling that life is just racing by:  Eilkrankheit , “hurry sickness.” It means rushing home from work

Skripal anniversary

  This week marks a year since two GRU-linked Russian assassins travelled to the English town of Salisbury, posing as hapless  tourists keen to view  the 123-metre spire of Salisbury Cathedral, and smeared a deadly, military-grade nerve agent on the handle of ex-spy Sergei Skripal’s front door in a botched attempt to fatally poison him. The operation not only failed to kill Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, but its mishandling and public aftermath reaped spectacular humiliation for the Kremlin and the Russian intelligence services.   Naturally, the pro-Kremlin disinformation machine has  pursued  frenetic damage control since news of the attack first broke,  churning out  all manner of denials, fabrications, and feverish conspiracy theories to obscure Russia’s responsibility for the poisoning, cast doubt on the findings of the British investigation, and find a scapegoat (or fifty) to blame for the attack. Here’s a look back at the (d)evolution of the pro-Kremlin media’s mendacious co

A world and web divided

AXIOS Media Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios   2019 has seen massive shifts in the way big countries reckon with the future of the web, a departure from years of optimism. Why it matters:  The next version of the internet could be balkanized by two emerging trends. Autocratic regimes  are looking to increase censorship. New internet tech , such as blockchain and 5G, is heating up conflicts between the U.S. and China. Driving the news:  India recently announced a  proposal  that would install a Chinese-style of internet censorship ahead of its elections. The move brings India, which has the second-largest internet population, farther from other democratic republics around the globe. Elsewhere,  nations are using election security risks and geopolitical threats as a means to introduce heavy-handed censorship rules. Russia  is considering a plan to temporarily disconnect from the internet as a way to  test its cyberdefenses . President Vladimir Putin has indicated that the cou

Negative energy: Berlin’s Trumpian turn on Nord Stream 2

ECFR.EU European Council on Foreign Relations Note from Berlin Gustav Gressel  @GresselGustav 27th February, 2019 Berlin's handling of the controversial Nord Stream 2 project reveals double standards and neglect of the pipeline's security repercussions.  Berlin has handled the dispute over the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline with unilateralism and clumsiness worthy of US President Donald Trump. On 8 February, the EU Committee of Permanent Representatives was to vote on a proposal to tighten the rules of the common energy market – which have thus far enabled states and companies, particularly Germany and Gazprom, to circumvent EU law. Paris signalled on 7 February that it would support the proposal, igniting debate among European policy analysts and prompting hasty diplomatic interventions from Berlin. Although this eventually led to a Franco-German compromise of sorts, the incident reflected Germany’s increasing isolation on the issue. While it loves to rant about Trump’s d