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March 9, 2013
nprfreshair:

For your weekend reading, Larissa MacFarquhar’s New Yorker profile of programmer and Internet activist Aaron Swartz, “Requiem for a Dream.” Much has been written about Swartz in the wake of his January suicide and you might well — and understandably so — be Swartz-ed out. That said, this piece illustrates him not as martyr figure or genius figure or any other kind of figure, but as a complicated, brilliant and difficult human being. MacFarquhar uses block quotes from the people closest to him and juxtaposes the quotes against one another to illuminating effect. This paragraph in particular struck me. It articulates so well the nature of writing online and what effect that can have on readers. I’ve been thinking about it all week:

Prose creates a strong illusion of presence—so strong that it is difficult to destroy it. It is hard to remember that you are reading and not hearing. The illusion is stronger when the prose is online, partly because you are aware that it might be altered or redacted at any moment—the writer may be online, too, as you read it—and partly because the Internet has been around for such a short time that we implicitly assume (as we do not with a book) that the writer of a blog post is alive.

-Nell
Image of Aaron Swartz via John-Brown/Flickr

Aaron Swartz’s suicide was a tragic bookend to a deeply amazing life, and this New Yorker article is appropriately shot through with complexity and feeling, relying in large part on varying accounts from Swartz’s friends, and from his own blog. A most worthy addendum to this man’s atypical life.

nprfreshair:

For your weekend reading, Larissa MacFarquhar’s New Yorker profile of programmer and Internet activist Aaron Swartz, “Requiem for a Dream.” Much has been written about Swartz in the wake of his January suicide and you might well — and understandably so — be Swartz-ed out. That said, this piece illustrates him not as martyr figure or genius figure or any other kind of figure, but as a complicated, brilliant and difficult human being. MacFarquhar uses block quotes from the people closest to him and juxtaposes the quotes against one another to illuminating effect. This paragraph in particular struck me. It articulates so well the nature of writing online and what effect that can have on readers. I’ve been thinking about it all week:

Prose creates a strong illusion of presence—so strong that it is difficult to destroy it. It is hard to remember that you are reading and not hearing. The illusion is stronger when the prose is online, partly because you are aware that it might be altered or redacted at any moment—the writer may be online, too, as you read it—and partly because the Internet has been around for such a short time that we implicitly assume (as we do not with a book) that the writer of a blog post is alive.


-Nell

Image of Aaron Swartz via John-Brown/Flickr

Aaron Swartz’s suicide was a tragic bookend to a deeply amazing life, and this New Yorker article is appropriately shot through with complexity and feeling, relying in large part on varying accounts from Swartz’s friends, and from his own blog. A most worthy addendum to this man’s atypical life.

14:44 // 1 year ago
January 26, 2013
Anonymous has observed for some time now the trajectory of justice in the United States with growing concern. We have marked the departure of this system from the noble ideals in which it was born and enshrined. We have seen the erosion of due process, the dilution of constitutional rights, the usurpation of the rightful authority of courts by the “discretion” or prosecutors. We have seen how the law is wielded less and less to uphold justice, and more and more to exercise control, authority and power in the interests of oppression or personal gain.
A message posted to the hacked website of the U.S. Sentencing Commmission • Decrying the death by suicide of internet pioneer Aaron Swartz, whose family and friends have suggested was hounded towards suicide by an especially harsh prosecution being brought against him, for a large-scale downloading and alleged free releasing of academic articles (he faced a possible 35 years in prison, and 13 felony counts). Now, hacker group Anonymous has threatened vengeance over Swartz’s tragic death, having hacked the U.S. Sentencing Commission site and issuing a further threat that they’ve obtained information from secret government networks that they may release in retribution. The incident is being viewed as a “criminal investigation,” according to an FBI executive assistant director, Richard McFeely: “We are always concerned when someone illegally accesses another person’s or government agency’s network.” source
15:08 // 1 year ago
January 12, 2013
23:08 // 1 year ago