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Monday miscellany

Having already posted my whoo-hoo news, I’ll keep today’s miscellany short.

  • More on the ringing declaration on the failure of the drug war from those most authoritative medical and public-health sources. Some insights into why such a vital statement is being resoundingly ignored.
  • Still … there’s progress. For the first time, a federal agency is condoning medical cannabis. Well. Kinda, sorta. (Via Freedom’s Phoenix.)
  • Speaking of progress … Over how many years and how many times has somebody announced that encrypting our phone calls would soon be as easy and cheap as encrypting our emails? Maybe it’s finally happening.
  • “Thinking poor.” It can be a good habit.
  • The other day I was googling to nudge my memory of a great old term the Finns use to describe their famous stubbornness, resistance, and fortitude. Instead, I found this story of one Finn’s incredible feats with an iron-sighted rifle. And here’s the Wikipedia entry on the man they called “The White Death.” Whatever you think of his achievements and his attitude … that’s some remarkable shooting skill.
  • BTW, that great old Finnish term I was looking for is “sisu.” It’s so peculiarly Finnish that it can’t truly be translated into another language. It’s been called, “the word that explains Finland.” Yet at the same time it’s a great term for adverse times and tough people in any language.
  • Quote for the day: “We can forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” — Plato


  1. Bill St. Clair
    Bill St. Clair July 26, 2010 10:18 am

    Just learned about Zfone? It’s been around for a long time. The ZRTP protocol is supported by Twinkle, a Linux SIP client, among others. Zfone itself relies on intercepting packets on your computer and retransmitting them. It has always been a little flaky on my Mac. Twinkle is much more stable.

    For Android phones, in the US, you can use Whisper Systems RedPhone and TextSecure.

  2. Victor Milan
    Victor Milan July 26, 2010 4:52 pm

    Let me propose an even simpler explanation for why overwhelming evidence of the Drug War’s failure is overwhelmingly ignored: the War on Drugs is by no means a failure.

    The purpose of the War on Drugs is to provide massive power as well as profits to the oligarchy from both directions: from enforcement of anti-drug laws and from the importation and distribution of drugs.

  3. Claire
    Claire July 26, 2010 5:20 pm

    Yup. Once again you’ve said a mouthful, Victor. The war on drugs has “failed” in exactly the same way government schools have “failed” — in the exact way that best serves our masters (for now). Sigh.

  4. Claire
    Claire July 26, 2010 5:27 pm

    Yep, Bill. Just heard of it, I’m afraid.

    I used to religiously follow all announcements about upcoming phone encryption products. But I haven’t for many years. Partly it’s because so much of the new good stuff is for VOIP and you can’t do VOIP with satellite Internet. Or it’s for expensive hand-held devices I otherwise have no need for.

    But it also has to do with the last “soon to be released latest thing” encryption product I eagerly followed. That was back in the days when we were still anticipating encrypted hardware devices, not software for our computers or cellphones. The product (whose name I no longer bother to recall) was supposed to come out at a price of $100 per unit — making it very realistic for a handful of friends to have encrypted chats with each other. I’d been in regular touch with the company’s PR department. They kept sending me happy BS. I kept reporting it.

    Waited … waited … waited … The thing, whatever it was called, suddenly came out at $900 per unit with no prior warning from the PR flacks. And after one big WTF????, I quit waiting for phone encryption. And far as I know the very forgettable product immediately disappeared into history, as it surely deserved to. Glad to know how much things have progressed since then. Maybe when I’m back in civilization and off satellite ‘Net, I’ll give one of the new things a try.

  5. Ellendra
    Ellendra July 26, 2010 8:33 pm

    I like that word, sisu. Thanks Claire!

  6. daagar
    daagar July 31, 2010 8:07 am

    Sisu simple means guts. There seems to be a popular myth (among Finns) that it can’t be translated but in reality it’s not that dramatic 😉

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