Wednesday, December 28, 2005


The irreplaceable Michael Crichton has another excellent speech up on his web site. Read it and savor it.
An important feature of complex systems is that we don’t know how they work. We don’t understand them except in a general way; we simply interact with them. Whenever we think we understand them, we learn we don’t. Sometimes spectacularly.


Michael Crichton has put up a nice index of his speeches. They used to be somewhat hidden on his web site. I'm looking forward to reading the 2005 ones.

NSA "domestic spying" non-scandal

In the comments on another post, a Buttle's World reader asked about "Bush spying on us", and referred to this when I mentioned that the NSA is not spying on "us".

The real scandal is that the New York Times has decided to compromise national security in the interest of selling some books. As for the non-scandal, it's best summed up here.
Every court of appeals that has considered the issue has upheld an inherent presidential power to conduct warrantless foreign intelligence searches; and in 2002 the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, created by the FISA statute, accepted that "the president does have that authority" and noted "FISA could not encroach on the president's constitutional power."