Review: Google Chrome has become surveillance software. It’s time to switch. – Silicon Valley

Lately I’ve been investigating the secret life of my data, running experiments to see what technology really is up to under the cover of privacy policies that nobody reads. It turns out, having the world’s biggest advertising company make the most-popular web browser was about as smart as letting kids run a candy shop.

It made me decide to ditch Chrome for a new version of nonprofit Mozilla’s Firefox, which has default privacy protections. Switching involved less inconvenience than you might imagine.

My tests of Chrome versus Firefox unearthed a personal data caper of absurd proportions. In a week of web surfing on my desktop, I discovered 11,189 requests for tracker “cookies” that Chrome would have ushered right onto my computer, but were automatically blocked by Firefox. These little files are the hooks that data firms, including Google itself, use to follow what websites you visit so they can build profiles of your interests, income and personality.
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Contrasting Views of Evil: ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’

Douthat hints at a larger point for which Tolkien has been criticized: an alleged oversimplification of evil. In LOTR, no ambiguity or drama exists in the determination of who is good and bad in Middle-earth; we never learn exactly why Sauron is evil, nor exactly what he did to earn the status of chief antagonist. The intrinsic nature of Sauron’s evil may even strike modern sensibilities as mildly unjust or at least arbitrary. Fantasy writer Michael Moorcock mused that as readers “we are not sure . . . if Sauron and Co. are quite as evil as we’re told.” This is because, as another author, Fritz Leiber, put it, Tolkien “does not explore and even seems uninterested in exploring the mentality and consciousness and inner life of his chief villains.”

Bradley Birzer observes in his wonderful book, Sanctifying Myth, that Tolkien refrained from probing the depths of his evil characters by design—since the reality and, indeed, the banality of evil does not require elaborate fictionalization:

The monsters of fiction and nightmares are merely manifestations of the true, original evil—the perversion and mocking of God’s creation. In its essence, evil is and always will be merely derivative and perverse.

Rather than contriving Sauron’s particular evil actions, Tolkien portrays evil as a force, one that is “outright ominous, for it seems to be everywhere, pervading the entire landscape of Middle-earth, surrounding the Fellowship of the Ring on all sides.”
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A heritage of liberty | The Dayton Jewish Observer

Sadly, many of today’s increasingly secular Western societies have begun to embrace elements of totalitarianism as well. As they lose touch with their biblical roots, these nations are also surrendering a foundational value of Western civilization: liberty.

Well-versed in the Bible, America’s founders certainly understood the notion of liberty. Recognizing the connection between Exodus and Sinai, they saw liberty as the individual exercise of free will and freedom from coercion, but constrained by virtue, explains history professor Bradley Birzer.

In a memorable analogy, John Adams captured the same sentiment, “Liberty can no more exist without virtue and independence than the body can live and move without a soul.”
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“The Hanging God”: Poet as a Bridge of Great Magnificence ~ The Imaginative Conservative

Of our living poets—to my mind—no greater one exists than James Matthew Wilson. A prominent and energetic professor of the humanities at an Augustinian university by day, Wilson edits and writes poetry with equal prominence and energy by night. Not only does he write excellent (make that brilliant) verse, but he also encourages the art of others.

His latest book of poetry, The Hanging God, brings together more than thirty of his poems, all of which were originally published elsewhere but none of which appeared in precisely the form they do in this collection. In other words, context matters, and Wilson understands this more than most. Not surprisingly, given Wilson’s vast interests, the topics of the poem range from pure love to diabolical Nietzsche. Some of the poems take place then, and many now. Some never. Some take place here, and others elsewhere. Some nowhere.
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the gilbert highet society

The Gilbert Highet SocietyPublic group · 224 membersJoin GroupWe try to stay true to the spirit of the late Gilbert Highet. Gilbert Highet was a patriot, an educator, critic and writer. Before WWII he served in M…

We try to stay true to the spirit of the late Gilbert Highet. Gilbert Highet was a patriot, an educator, critic and writer. Before WWII he served in MI6 while visiting Nazi Germany with his wife who had an MA in German. Highet himself was fluent in German and several other languages. During WWII he was a Colonel in British Intelligence (his true role has never been completely revealed but I surmise he contributed to interpretation of ULTRA intelligence). He may have been an agent for MI6 (military intelligence during the war and even before the war). Therefore his true contribution to the Allies has never been publicly acknowledged. He and his wife, author Helen MacInness were naturalized Americans -Americans by choice-having emigrated from Scotland. Their son Keith Highet was a veteran of the US Marines who served in Korea and a noted legal scholar. Highet is best known for his book “The Classical Tradition,” a generous, lucid survey of the Western Canon.He also was the translator of PAIDEIA by Werner Jaeger, one of the best books ever written on Greek culture and literature. In the 1950’s he had a radio program on WQXR and later turned his radio scripts into books of essays (still outstanding reads). His book MAN’S UNCONQUERABLE MIND still makes compelling reading; many have called him the Scottish-American Cicero. But beyond all of this, his writing was jargon-free and confident. It is a style and manner that is sorely missed. Gilbert Highet. wrote Robert Ball, “taught the classics for 40 years, also believed in the importance of great books, which he brought to life in class and in print through a humane form of scholarship. He concen­trated on those aspects of the classics that he thought made them worth studying—their truth, beauty, and wisdom, and the imagery and language that inspired him—without burying the texts under a technical, theoretical superstructure.”

In addition to all this Professor Highet recorded many radio programs on general culture and some of these recordings are commercially available. This group celebrates the best in non-fiction writing, fiction, history, literature poetry and culture.”I believe that much of the maladjustment in our societies is caused, not by malevolence and corruption, but simply by ignorance.” GILBERT HIGHET We also post things that would interest Mr. Highet such as literature, history, poetry and Scottish things as well as aticles and pictures of HELEN MACINNES, his wife, the well-known 20th century suspense author whose books were made into well-known films such as THE SALZBURG CONNECTION.

The Unbought Grace of Life–Russell Kirk

“I mean by the phrase “the unbought grace of life” those intricate and subtle and delicate elements in the culture of the mind and in the constitution of society which are produced by a continuing tradition of prescriptive establishments, reflective leisure, and political order. I mean also the sense of duty, the feeling of honor, the concept of ordination and subordination, and the adherence to the classical definition of justice which grow out of the spirit of a gentleman. I mean all those super added ideas furnished from the wardrobe of a moral imagination. I mean the wife of imagination, harmony and generosity which sometimes flourishes in those societies commonly called “aristocratic.” More than this, I can hardly express lucidly, except by describing particular examples of this high grace, the meaning of “the unbought grace of life.” I do not say that this complex of sentiments and traditions, which Burke calls the spirit of a gentleman, is the only pillar of civilization. As Burke himself declares, the spirit of religion is the other great source and support of our social establishments and our culture. But the spirit of religion still retains many able defenders, and the spirit of a gentleman has few; therefore I am confining my remarks here to the unbought grace of life, as distinguished from that elevation of spirit which is the effect of religious belief. I do not think that the on bot grace of life, or the spirit of a gentleman, could subsist indefinitely without the animating power of religion; but, with Burke, I do not think that religious establishments, as we have known them for 1000 years and more, could endure along in a society which had discarded the last traces of the unbought grace of life.… Where ever the unbought grace of life withers, the church as a living force is much diminished, if not extirpated; and were ever religious establishments are broken or derided, the spirit of the gentleman has short shrift.”

–Russell Amos Kirk, “The Unbought Grace of Life,” Northern Review 7 (October-November 1954): 9-22.

The Mac no longer needs compatibility to thrive | Macworld

The end result will be a Mac that, in the 2020s, will be a bit more like the Mac of the 1980s—running Apple-only software on a processor architecture nobody else is using. The difference between now and the 1980s is the mobile revolution that has made developing for Apple’s devices more popular than ever and has also discouraged the creation of software and services that can only run on a single platform like Windows back in the day. In the 2020s, Apple can go it alone—and still play nice with others. You couldn’t write a better recipe for Apple, and the Mac, to succeed.
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Remembering Irving Babbitt ~ The Imaginative Conservative

While in print, Babbitt might appear stuffy to those who did not know him, even a few moments in his company would dismiss the pervasive criticisms as ludicrous. A huge bear of a man, Babbitt, the son of an infamous New-Age shyster (he sold crystals to be used as determinants of a baby’s sex while in utero), had lived with a somewhat tame gang in New York as well as in Wyoming as a ranch hand and cowboy. At the same time that Theodore Roosevelt and Owen Wister were falling in love with the American West, Babbitt found himself smitten with rattlesnake hunting. As a friend remembered, Babbitt would amuse “himself by pulling a retiring rattlesnake out of its hole by the tail and whirling it around his head.”[4] A health fanatic, Babbitt once found himself tackled by the Paris police late at night. He had gone for a run, but the Paris police assumed him a criminal. Who else would dash through the streets of that fair city at midnight? Further, he often held office hours with his Harvard students while taking his daily walks and runs. “One who wished to talk with him extensively had to walk with him extensively; thus he economized his time, killing two birds with one stone. Often I felt like one bird killed with two stones: physically and mentally exhausted I would totter home after parting from him, wondering whether I should be able three or four days later to keep our appointment for what he termed, euphemistically, ‘another little walk together.’ “[5] Babbitt usually walked or ran—at any time of day or night—two to three hours daily.[6]
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The Fine Art of David Gilmour’s Guitars, Transforming Rock History For Decades And Now Fighting Hunger And Poverty

 “For the last half century David Gilmour’s guitar work has become part of the sound track in our collected popular culture,” said Keane. “His solos, both lyrical and layered with color, are immediately identifiable to critics and pop music fans as readily as the brushstrokes of Monet’s water lilies are to art historians. These instruments are unique in that they are the physical embodiment of David Gilmour’s signature sound throughout his over 50-year career. Like palette and brush, they are the tools of the trade for an iconic rock guitarist.”
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Three Cheers for the Articles of Confederation ~ The Imaginative Conservative

Just as these three questions hung over Dickinson’s initial draft, three things must be noted about the final version. First, as to each question asked, state sovereignty won. The delegates from each state even went so far as to refer to the delegates from another state as an “embassy.” Second, while the states had individually argued over the power given to each state in each state’s own constitutional convention, almost no one argued for the federal government to have much power during the debates over the Articles. As historian Gordon Wood has explained: “Yet in marked contrast to the rich and exciting public explorations of political theory accompanying the formation of the state constitutions, there was little discussion of the plans for a central government. Whatever feelings of American nationalism existed in 1776, they paled before people’s loyalties to their separate states.”*  Third, the signers of the Articles represented an incredibly impressive array of revolutionary talent, including Sam Adams, Daniel Carroll, Elbridge Gerry, John Hancock, Henry Laurens, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas McKean, Gouverneur Morris, Robert Morris, Roger Sherman, and John Witherspoon.
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