good links

here’s a curation of links to good stuff I didn’t make.

articles

graeber, “dead zones of the imagination: on violence, bureaucracy, and interpretive labor”, 2006

here’s the link to a paper i’ve found myself going back to again and again.

abstract

The experience of bureaucratic incompetence, confusion, and its ability to cause otherwise intelligent people to behave outright foolishly, opens up a series of questions about the nature of power or, more specifically, structural violence. The unique qualities of violence as a form of action means that human relations ultimately founded on violence create lopsided structures of the imagination, where the responsibility to do the interpretive labor required to allow the powerful to operate oblivious to much of what is going on around them, falls on the powerless, who thus tend to empathize with the powerful far more than the powerful do with them. The bureaucratic imposition of simple categorical schemes on the world is a way of managing the fundamental stupidity of such situations. In the hands of social theorists, such simplified schemas can be sources of insight; when enforced through structures of coercion, they tend to have precisely the opposite effect.

why is this graph in a lecture about bureaucracy? read it and find out!

aldrich and karatzogianni, “postdigital war beneath the sea? the stack‚Äôs underwater cable insecurity”, 2020

this is it!!! this is the paper that i agree with!!!

abstract

This article addresses the problem of undersea cable security, arguing that for almost a century undersea cables have been the playground of major states that have enjoyed the practice of cable interference as part of international conflict. Over the last two decades, it has been a major source of intelligence for organisations like NSA and GCHQ, and so there has been a reluctance to advance international legalisation in this area. Nonetheless, the effect of this has been a failure to protect the digital global commons, and as a consequence, the level of risk to critical infrastructure is growing. The use of cables for intelligence gathering has resulted in a legal regime that is patchy and piecemeal, reflecting a general conspiracy of silence amongst major states about intelligence and its interplay with international law, very much raising questions about the interplay of hardware and software sovereignty with the declining sovereignty of states in modern geopolitics defined by the additional problem of the emergency of the looming ecological disaster. Ultimately, we argue that the end of the digital, through its dependency and risk to the Earth layer, poses critical questions regarding emergent postdigital battlefields, right at the heart of the deep materiality of computation.

newsletters

the hunt for tom clancy

oh god the love i feel for this fever dream of a newsletter/blog is insurmountable. it is probably the strongest recommendation on this list, yes, higher than lawfare.

it’s like someone conjured this newsletter out of thin air with the sole purpose of making me happy. assorted writings on intelligence and military stuff (mostly) from a man who unironically (?) believes in aliens and tallies pyramids? inject this straight into my veins please. and thank you.

even though all of it is amazing, i am particularly smitten with Fear and Self-Loathing with the Merchants of Death – Or, Tripping Balls at AUSA, the largest Weapons Trade Show in North America

it is INSANE how good this man’s writing is. matt farwell, you absolute genius.

but here it is not only the writing that won me over – the choice of topic resonates with me particularly deeply. I have sent this link to multiple friends begging them to read it. it is spectacular. i wish i could give it a prize more meaningful than my approval.

podcasts

the rational security podcast (nonfiction)

look, i know, a law podcast! but it’s so good. it’s so funny. and it’s on a weekly basis, so it’s not as overwhelming as its older sibling, the lawfare podcast (daily episodes? what am i, a time millionaire?)

also, in general, big fan [TM] of lawfare. this is not an endorsement of everything they have ever said or written, but they are smart and witty and always very interesting.

the truth? i was hooked the day ben wittes challenged putin to a judo fight.

welcome to night vale (fiction)

everybody already knows about night vale. and if you don’t, well, there’s a reason why everybody knows about it.

but maybe, finding yourself on the show page, you might think: 244 episodes? that is a lot of hours. what am i, a time millionaire?

all i will say is: it’s not too late. start from the beginning. take your time. it’s a place you will be happy to have visited.

within the wires (fiction)

nobody knows about within the wires, even though it’s made by the same people behind night vale. wild!

and to be fair, it’s infinitely weirder, but not in a bad way, in a strange way. the way you look through a glass door and see the interior and the world and yourself in it, and it’s almost like your reflection is less out of place than you are. if it makes sense. (it doesn’t. it’s still very good. particularly recommended on planes!)

darknet diaries (nonfiction)

it’s a classic for a reason! cool stories from the world of cyber.

episodes 99 and 100 are a certified banger.

song vs song (nonfiction)

do you really want a guy named “todd” to dictate your pop music taste?

yes. you do. how else will you know how to spend your time pennies wisely?