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Blown to Bits

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the read-all-about-it dept.

Book Reviews 91

Ray Lodato writes "Few people would deny that the world has changed significantly since the explosion of the Internet. Our access to immense volumes of data has made our lives both easier and less secure. Hal Abelson, Ken Ledeen, and Harry Lewis have written an intriguing analysis of many of the issues that have erupted due to the ubiquity of digital data, not only on the Internet but elsewhere. Blown to Bits: Your Life, Liberty, and Happiness After the Digital Explosion, published by Addison-Wesley, digs into many of the ramifications of making so much information available to the world at large. As I read through the book, I was alternately fascinated and horrified at what information is available, and how it is being used and abused." Keep reading for the rest of Ray's review.While the subject matter is primarily about a technology that many people may still not comprehend, the book is written at a level permitting most people to understand how it affects them. There is sufficient tutorial information on how the Internet functions to allow all to follow the reasoning. For those more web-savvy, there are many references to web sites illustrating the authors’ points. The reader is encouraged to check them out as you go. While there is a natural flow from one chapter to the next, each one is sufficiently encapsulated so that you can read chapters in any order you like.

The first chapter of Blown to Bits sets the tone of the book by providing examples of how the new technology is both a boon and a menace. As an example of the former, Tanya Rider, who was trapped in her car after an horrific crash, was rescued days later by using the technology behind her cell phone to pinpoint the location of the cellular tower it was “pinging”. In contrast, 13-year-old Megan Meier committed suicide after “Josh” (a fabricated personality) tormented her on MySpace. In each case, the law had a significant role to play. For Tanya, her right to privacy delayed the acquisition of her cell phone location records. In Megan’s case, no law was found to prevent someone from fabricating a MySpace “friend” and saying what they wanted. As the book continues, the clash between the current set of laws and the new capabilities in the digital world is continually spotlighted.

Two chapters are devoted to the vast amounts of data collected on our personal habits, and how the processing power of computers is making it easier for us to extract information that used to be difficult to determine. Most of the information gathered by various companies is permitted by us in the name of convenience. How many of us have signed up for store rewards cards, just to save a few buck here or there? The authors detail how those companies track our purchasing profiles for their own benefit, and sometimes share that information with others. In most cases, they point out that the use in innocuous enough, but the potential exists for damage to us in the form of invading our private lives. In the past, collecting this vast amount of data would require a large investment in people and processing power to extract useful information. The chapter “Needles in the Haystack” shows how the new computers we can purchase today make that power available to anyone with the desire to know. It is made very clear that this data mining is available to anyone with an Internet connection and the desire to explore.

Two other chapters dig into how information can be hidden in files, both deliberately and unknowingly. For example, the metadata that describes a document is stored along with the actual content, and that metadata may not be something you want shared. Another example is how sensitive information in an official document was supposedly redacted (censored with a black bar) yet, unknown to the document owner, the underlying document contained the entire text which was easily retrieved. Data encryption by the general public is a subject of great concern to governments around the world. The chapter on data encryption explains how the FBI attempted to hamper independent efforts to create a strong public encryption algorithm in the name of national defense. Abelson, Ledeen, and Lewis weigh the pros and cons of unbreakable encryption in the hands of the general public with the need of the government to insure terrorist plots cannot be hidden from the Defense Department. This chapter ends with a discussion of how anyone using a browser to purchase goods on the internet uses encryption, and how that’s principally the only use of encryption by the average user.

The final three chapters explore the legal ramifications of the digital age, and how the judicial system has lagged behind. Many news stories have described the fight for ownership of media, especially in the case of the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) suing many individuals for allegedly sharing songs. Blown to Bits goes into depth describing the issues on both sides of this case. RIAA’s filing of over 26,000 lawsuits in five years is given as a chilling example of how a large organization can abuse the legal system that has not yet adjusted to the new realities of the ease of copying original works. The concerns surrounding free speech on the Internet include the availability of pornography and inflammatory messages. How do you rationalize protecting those who do not wish to be subjected to certain text or images against the rights of those who wish to make them available? No clear answers are provided, but many facets of the discussion are revealed.

Blown to Bits is a fascinating read which will get you thinking about how technology is changing our lives, for better and for worse. Each chapter will alternatively interest you and leave you appalled (and perhaps a little frightened). You will be given the insight to protect yourself a little better, and it provides background for intelligent discussions about the legalities that impact our use of technology.

You can purchase Blown to Bits: Your Life, Liberty, and Happiness After the Digital Explosion from amazon.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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Too much private data (3, Informative)

RandoX (828285) | more than 5 years ago | (#24859733)

See also: Iowa Land Records [google.com]

Re:Too much private data (3, Insightful)

thedonger (1317951) | more than 5 years ago | (#24860537)

Forget about private data. Far more threatening is the amount of unchecked information. People use blogs who post blog posts from blogs who reference editorial pieces. Little fact-checking happens. Misinformation and mis-education spread like wildfire.

Example: I read a story about how harmful the production of the Prius is to the environment. Every post on blogs and actual news web sites I found all came from the same source: a kid from a CT college writing an editorial using some out-of-date though not totally untrue and unbelievable information. Had I only waded through the first few layers I might have been convinced at all the hits.

Re:Too much private data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24860669)

Forget about private data.

No.

Re:Too much private data (2, Funny)

Beale (676138) | more than 5 years ago | (#24860815)

Do you have a source for that?

Who's censoring now!? (4, Funny)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 5 years ago | (#24861009)

You just want to silence the conservative blogging world by forcing us to do "fact checking" so we won't be able to say anything that's too controversial and might conflict with your precious "reality."

Stupid liberals are all in a tizzy when we don't let the mainstream media get away with turning the Superbowl into a hardcore fuckfest in front of millions of innocent children, but then they want us to fact check everything we say. No hypocrisy there, nope.

Re:Who's censoring now!? (4, Funny)

tha_mink (518151) | more than 5 years ago | (#24861417)

Stupid liberals are all in a tizzy when we don't let the mainstream media get away with turning the Superbowl into a hardcore fuckfest in front of millions of innocent children, but then they want us to fact check everything we say. No hypocrisy there, nope.

Hi Strawman, my name is Slippery Slope. How's things?

Re:Who's censoring now!? (4, Funny)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 5 years ago | (#24861531)

I'm alright. Have you seen Get a Sense of Humor or Loosen Up recently? Oh and Woosh! wanted me to say hi to you. You know that guy's always on the move! Hahaha...

Re:Who's censoring now!? (0, Troll)

tha_mink (518151) | more than 5 years ago | (#24863391)

I'm alright. Have you seen Get a Sense of Humor or Loosen Up recently?

Yeah, he just went right over your head with Johnny Sarcasm.

Oh no you didn't ... !? (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 5 years ago | (#24868887)

"Hi Strawman, my name is Slippery Slope. "

If I were you, I wouldn't be calling myself slippery slope ... especially on Slashdot ;-)

Re:Who's censoring now!? (1)

not-my-real-name (193518) | more than 5 years ago | (#24863339)

Stupid liberals are all in a tizzy when we don't let the mainstream media get away with turning the Superbowl into a hardcore fuckfest in front of millions of innocent children, but then they want us to fact check everything we say. No hypocrisy there, nope.

Can't be worse than football.

Re:Who's censoring now!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24863871)

Good luck with that growing up thing. It's going to hurt after all that Kool-aid you've drunk.

Re:Who's censoring now!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24868733)

>You just want to silence the conservative >blogging world by forcing us to do "fact >checking" so we won't be able to say anything >that's too controversial and might conflict with >your precious "reality."

Facts and reality are certainly anathema to most conservatives.

Re:Who's censoring now!? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24871787)

Stupid liberals are all in a tizzy when we don't let the mainstream media get away with turning the Superbowl into a hardcore fuckfest in front of millions of innocent children,

For starters, the goddamned superbowl is nothing but a national festival of ritualized violence in its most basic form. The goddamned Republicans have the balls to run a fucking war that's approaching a trillion dollars pissed way (with another one or two trillion to go, just in proper care for the returning vets), get over 4,000 Americans (and God only knows how many tens of thousands of innocent Iraquis) killed, then quail (or should that be Quayle) at a two-second tit shot. You sons of bitches should be ashamed to show your faces in polite society. Better you should use lots of lube and force your heads back up your assholes where you pulled them out of.

Jesus Holy Christ -- do you not understand that you've foisted off on the nation a President so stupid that he actually said, in the state of the union speech, in mid-war, that the two biggest problems in america were athletes using steroids and Janet Jackson flashing a tit at the sacred superbowl?

I say let the overpaid bastard athletes stuff themselves so full of steroids that they turn their nuts into raisins. At least that way, they won't be doing any breeding. Except for the dumb chicks they take back to their hotel rooms to rape.

As for JJ's tit, I can see a hell of a lot better on the beach or even in my own house. Malfunction my ass -- the publicity whore would likely have gone down on on all fours for both teams if it would have gotten her another two days in the press.

In case anyone's interested, the people who make tivos, and can track all replays, said that the nip flash was the most-replayed clip for the entire year. Doesn't it make you wonder what kind of country we're living in?

And as for "the innocent children", when I hear third graders in local schools telling each other to go fuck themselves, I am disinclined to think that a hooter shot will do much to damage their tender psyches.

Re:Who's censoring now!? (1)

Raenex (947668) | more than 5 years ago | (#24876463)

What does fact checking have to do with conservative or liberal?

Re:Too much private data (1)

BraksDad (963908) | more than 5 years ago | (#24866307)

Those aree public records and you have a right to see them with a trip to the state or county seat. They just published that which is by law public. I agree though, perhaps it is now too easy to find information. I used similar data to see who owns the empty lots near my house. I wanted to know if it was likely to be developed any time in my life time. Very useful, but there was enough information there that I could sign up for all sorts of junk mail and have it sent to their house. Since I am in Florida, all the land is owned by New Yorkers.... well almost all. Lat 1970's land grabs. Buy a piece of Paradise for just dollars and acre. It can only go up in price. Well, it didn't because Florida changed all the land from residential to Agro immediately after the land grabs happened. Now all these 1/5 acre plots are useless to the owners since you cannot build on agricultural land unless you own at least 5 whole acres. anywa.... off my horse now.

Re:Too much private data (1)

RandoX (828285) | more than 5 years ago | (#24891917)

Do public land records usually come complete with SSNs? (I genuinely don't know).

Re:Too much private data (1)

BraksDad (963908) | more than 5 years ago | (#24894527)

Sorry, I posted incorrectly, I replied to my own message. Please read my reply to the parent of your comment.

Re:Too much private data (1)

BraksDad (963908) | more than 5 years ago | (#24894487)

I would expect that to be a state by state thing, but Florida, the answer is yes. Even though the owners live in other states, their SSN is public record on their land deeds. I laugh at the idea that we should shred our junk mail, it is simply too easy to get more and better identity information from public records. You can walk up to the county clerks office and get them to hand this kind of info to you. You can really twist the screws on a neighbor you do not like. Should you decide it suits you. You do not even need the internet to do so anonymously. You can do it with the help of government employees. Personally, I vote for LESS GOVERNMENT. This is one reason why.

Wake up. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24859819)

Anyone who is "horrified" at the amount of personal data available has not been paying any attention for the last decade or so.

Who needs privacy when people are so predictable? (1, Interesting)

Kohath (38547) | more than 5 years ago | (#24859913)

I was alternately fascinated and horrified at what information is available, and how it is being used and abused

Congratulations on being hysterical and full of yourself. Your heightened groupthink skills are a cautionary example to media consumers. You are "fascinated" and "horrified" exactly on cue. Your interests are exactly as required by the media leaders and the Slashdot editors.

It's like back in high school when everyone wanted to show his individuality by dressing and acting exactly like everyone else. I don't understand why you people are so interested in privacy when you are all carbon copies of each other.

Re:Who needs privacy when people are so predictabl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24860009)

In soviet russia, you copy carbon.

Re:Who needs privacy when people are so predictabl (3, Insightful)

name*censored* (884880) | more than 5 years ago | (#24860313)

... Privacy isn't about being different, and it isn't necessarily about being unpredictable (although that can help). The idea is to protect yourself from things like stalking, identify theft, targeted telemarketers, and even just the idea that someone you don't even know can have so much information about you. I don't consider myself overly interested in privacy, but I can see how someone might be.

Besides, even if they are carbon copies of one another (which technically you shouldn't be able to know, since the thing these people have in common is they hide their lives well), I don't see how that would diminish their point.

Re:Who needs privacy when people are so predictabl (2, Interesting)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 5 years ago | (#24860395)

I don't understand why you people are so interested in privacy when you are all carbon copies of each other.

And what about the people who aren't carbon copies of each other?

Re:Who needs privacy when people are so predictabl (1)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 5 years ago | (#24864181)

Yeah, I'm silicon-based, you insensitive clod!

Re:Who needs privacy when people are so predictabl (4, Interesting)

lyapunov (241045) | more than 5 years ago | (#24860617)

Not to be a paranoid freak, but the subject of the parent comment made me think of Asimov's Foundation Series, in particular the concept of psychohistory.

Campaigns, marketing and political, could be guided by statistical analysis of trends, frequency of ideas being introduced, etc... When this data is coupled with demographics it would be a very powerful tool.

Applications of this would be the guerrilla advertising methods that I first heard described in "Pattern Recognition" by William Gibson. Key people could introduce key ideas or augment existing ones in certain enclaves of people that in the past have initiated trends. Much like Locke and Voltaire in Orson Scott Card's "Ender's Game".
 
The truth is that is almost impossible to do this. Most people voices on the internet are muted by the shear volume of voices out there. Also, most people are not using the internet to engage in serious intellectual activity.
 
By serious intellectual activity I mean challenging and expanding one's own ideas. I really detest a majority of the media, Fox News, provides a particular easy example of people wanting to hear what they already believe. It provides affirmation that they are smart because people on the tv are saying what they believe. I am sure it occasionally offers extended nuances to their own belief system but rarely challenges it.
 
I took am guilty of this to a certain extent, but I recognize it as a weakness and try to address it. Between the Bush/Gore election and 9/11 I swore off network news. Now I read "The Economist" because it has non-US centric view of the world and listen to NPR on my way to work. It helps. But I must admit that I do not read books are articles defending "intelligent" design, when I am convinced of evolution. Maybe people believe their ideology so thoroughly that they choose not to challenge it...
 
Damn, sorry for going off into the weeds and getting a little off topic.

Re:Who needs privacy when people are so predictabl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24860969)

Demosthenes, not Voltaire.

Re:Who needs privacy when people are so predictabl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24861129)

Pattern recognition is an amazing book.

Most peoples lives are very uninteresting individually. As part of large sample sets with more data points than any individual can think of... that's when it gets scary.

Re:Who needs privacy when people are so predictabl (3, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 5 years ago | (#24861217)

You might want to rely less on science fiction books when explaining to the rest of us how uninformed and ignorant we are. It reminds me of the guy yesterday who was complaining about the quality of science education, as evidenced by his neighbors not knowing who the Borg are.

Re:Who needs privacy when people are so predictabl (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 5 years ago | (#24862377)

It reminds me of the guy yesterday who was complaining about the quality of science education, as evidenced by his neighbors not knowing who the Borg are.

That, is hilarious. Knowledge of the Borg as a yardstick for science education. :-P

I trust you informed him of the error of his ways?

Cheers

Re:Who needs privacy when people are so predictabl (1)

LrdDimwit (1133419) | more than 5 years ago | (#24875569)

Yeah. Sounds like someone hasn't been getting enough melange.

Re:Who needs privacy when people are so predictabl (1)

jprupp (697660) | more than 5 years ago | (#24870641)

Maybe the neighbors ARE Borg after all

Re:Who needs privacy when people are so predictabl (1)

hellop2 (1271166) | more than 5 years ago | (#24871007)

Resistance is futile. You will be educated. Beep. Bork.

Re:Who needs privacy when people are so predictabl (1)

badkarmadayaccount (1346167) | more than 5 years ago | (#24871221)

ROFLOL!Mod up!

Re:Who needs privacy when people are so predictabl (3, Interesting)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 5 years ago | (#24861273)

It's Locke and Descartes in the Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow series of books, IIRC.

If you don't think the media already loves trend setters just for being trend setters, you haven't paid much attention to Us media for, well, your whole life.

Sean Combs and Paris Hilton pitch burgers for cash. Do you really think it's because Paris Hilton eats thick burgers or because Sean Combs cares that Burger King is open late?

Stars who made their names as actors and musicians are brought forth to endorse or oppose candidates. Alec Baldwin and Eddie Vedder both quipped that they'd leave the country if Bush was elected, but neither held up their end of the deal. I like both of them as artists, but this makes me think less of them as people.

Jerry Seinfeld has been recruited to make Vista seem cool. His show moved nearly every product the show mentioned in dialogue off the shelves, so it might just work.

People listen to pundits and political shills because the TV, radio, and web outlets make them famous for ... what? They're famous for saying things and getting people to pay attention. So they get more readers, viewers, and listeners because they have readers, viewers, and listeners.

If you convince Oliver Stone of a conspiracy, he'll make a film and convince a million more people. If you get George Noory or Matt Drudge to briefly mention something as an outside possibility, you'll have some people convinced of it.

Even repeating the same things in completely fictional works enough times forms public opinion. People watching shows like Dalls, The OC, and Friends tend to think all Americans live in big, comfortably appointed homes in trendy areas and drink $5 a cup coffee all day long.

Re:Who needs privacy when people are so predictabl (1)

tha_mink (518151) | more than 5 years ago | (#24861653)

Even repeating the same things in completely fictional works enough times forms public opinion. People watching shows like Dalls, The OC, and Friends tend to think all Americans live in big, comfortably appointed homes in trendy areas and drink $5 a cup coffee all day long.

I've been thinking about that exact point quite a bit lately in the context of "big governement". I had the opportunity to work with some city forensic computer guys lately and was surprised at how little they can actually do. "Phone Dumps" and other monitoring type stuff is actually a bitch for them to get their hands on, while all the while I assumed it was like Law and Order. (ok not really but still, I think most people do) That leads me to wonder how many people really think that all the stuff that the "government" can do on television and in the movies is really true. Youtube is full of really paranoid people who think really paranoid thoughts based on television shows and movies. Kinda funny really.

Re:Who needs privacy when people are so predictabl (2, Interesting)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 5 years ago | (#24863445)

I had the opportunity to work with some city forensic computer guys lately and was surprised at how little they can actually do. "Phone Dumps" and other monitoring type stuff is actually a bitch for them to get their hands on, while all the while I assumed it was like Law and Order.

The last two times I was called for jury selection, both attorneys felt compelled to belabor exactly this point. Both Law and Order and CSI were mentioned by name.

In one case (real-life case now), a woman who was known to work as a prostitute had been physically assaulted by an alleged client (stabbed). Now, already someone who is a self-admitted prostitute and drug abuser is not the ideal defendant to inspire sympathy in a jury. Imagine, then, if the jury is also expecting to see DNA evidence and digitally enhanced fingerprints that prove that the lock of hair and the scrap of paper found on the victim's coat actually belonged to the defendant.

Unfortunately, this is exactly the type of thing that modern juries have come to expect, and it just Ain't Gonna Happen in your average real-life trial. Attorneys and judges alike have begun crafting explicit boilerplate to remind potential jurors of this fact.

Re:Who needs privacy when people are so predictabl (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24861687)

Locke and Demosthenes...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demosthenes
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Locke

Both pseudonyms chosen for a reason as the OP alluded too. I guess no one actually bothered to understand that part of the story.

Re:Who needs privacy when people are so predictabl (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 5 years ago | (#24864173)

You're right. I knew it wasn't Voltaire, but I still got it wrong.

How the hell do you assume that I didn't understand the choice of the names at the time, when it's been months since I've even seen the covers of those books? Do you recall every detail of every work you've ever read?

Re:Who needs privacy when people are so predictabl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24867209)

Last time I read them was probably at least 8 years ago, arguably it was my favorite book as a kid.

And you didn't understand the choice of the names because you either are not a history buff or were not curious enough to look up obvious pseudonyms and find the significance of them to the story. Pew pew spaceships!

A big part of the book is about Peter and Valentine and Peter's eventual rise to power. The twist is that Peter the "psychotic" is the calm, thoughtful one, Locke, and Valentine the "caring nurturer" is the rabble rouser, Demosthenes.

I hope you are familiar with John Locke as he is rather famous and was one amazing person (and you got that one right as did the OP).. but Demosthenes is famous for (see wikipedia article)... rabble rousing! In fact the word philippic is directly related to his actions of... rabble rousing!

Here's the definition of philippic in case you were curious: a discourse or declamation full of bitter condemnation.

That describes pretty accurately how "Demosthenes" acts in Ender's Game toward the Warsaw Pact...

I understand though, if you had spent 30 seconds googling (try: ender's game locke) any of this the information overlords may trendspot you and soon all you will see is sparknote ads... ready and waiting to assist with your literary analysis skills!

And you make it sound like a bad thing to have a good memory. It sure comes in handy when I am trying to remember the differences between Descartes, Voltaire and Demosthenes.

But hey, don't let any of this get in the way of your self righteous indignation!

Re:Who needs privacy when people are so predictabl (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 5 years ago | (#24869503)

Well, Descartes was an ardent nationalist and a monarchist. He eschewed empiricism in favor or rationalism. He was a bit of a coward who canceled his publications if they would be ill-received. He was interested in slowly and subversively overthrowing the ideas of Aristotle so as not to have his ideas rejected. He believed no vacuums could exist, and that something would always fill one.

That might not be the exact opposite of Locke that Card had in mind, but the description fits very well with someone trying to convince a former empire to take back its place on the world stage through alternating force and deception.

Who said I was angry? Can't a person ask a question without being angry? I just misremembered a part of a fictional work.

Oh, and there are several deep topics in those books besides Locke and Demosthenes being the two faces of Peter on the Net. It's not just lasers and spaceships besides that one fact. How about training children to lead armies? What about the nature of sentience? The disparity between nearly instant communication and much slower physical travel? Using genetic alteration to control a population like in Children of the Mind? Speaking of genetic manipulation, what about Anton's Key? Religion in the age of space travel and alien life forms is a good one. Loyalty, like Ender's to his mission, Bean's to Ender, and Suriawong's to Bean? Marriage and reproduction when a parent has a genetic issue deep enough for you? The effects on the Netherlands from being an open-border global nation? The very fact that Ender brings back his brother and sister as teenagers when one's been dead thousands of years and the other is beside him as an adult? The decisions of the Wiggin parents to have a third child knowing what he's supposed to do, to allow Peter to do what he does, and to protect Bean from Achilles? To say there's only one deep issue in the whole series is a real insult to the author.

Re:Who needs privacy when people are so predictabl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24872125)

Your comments are interesting because you start with something rational, "You're right. I knew it wasn't Voltaire, but I still got it wrong." or your discussion about Descartes in this post but then you move immediately to the attack.

"How the hell do you assume" seems like an angry tone... Especially when immediately after that comes an excuse "it's been months since I've even seen the covers of those books" and then a personal attack, "Do you recall every detail of every work you've ever read?".

Yes, it would have be an insult if I had said there was "only one deep issue in the whole series". Instead I actually said "A big part of the book is..." which I know sounds like "THE ONLY DEEP ISSUE OF THE SERIES IS..."

Good job posting various major and minor themes that are a part of the series. Not really relevant to the discussion at hand or really appropriate for this thread on Slashdot.

Good luck, and try to be more confident in yourself. Baseless attacks on someone else do not a argument help. :)

Re:Who needs privacy when people are so predictabl (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 5 years ago | (#24873171)

I'm not attacking you. You misread my questions as hostile when that was not their intent.

You did start making references to whiz-bang little kid topics like spaceships, which are only the setting of the story, as soon as you decided I was too simple to understand anything else. I'd call that the attack.

I have a feeling I'm being subtly trolled. You have won, I guess. HAND.

Re:Who needs privacy when people are so predictabl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24861757)

It's Locke and Descartes in the Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow series of books, IIRC.

Try again - Locke and Demosthenes.

Re:Who needs privacy when people are so predictabl (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 5 years ago | (#24861785)

Jerry Seinfeld has been recruited to make Vista seem cool. His show moved nearly every product the show mentioned in dialogue off the shelves, so it might just work.

The product references on Seinfeld were effective because they came across as a sincere part of Jerry Seinfeld's persona. (Maybe I'm just a sucker and Junior Mints and Jujubes simply bought their way onto the show, but given the lack of any other advertising on their part over the last few decades it seems unlikely.) The Vista ads are completely different.

Jr. Mints & Jujubes... (2, Insightful)

UncleGizmo (462001) | more than 5 years ago | (#24864105)

IIRC, Jr. Mints were chosen as a backup - the candy was going to be M&M's but the writers couldn't get permission from Hershey to use the brand name. Jr. Mints was more than happy for the free pub and got millions worth of free advertising (and a resulting sales bump).

Although many if not most actual products in shows these days are paid product placements.

Re:Who needs privacy when people are so predictabl (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 5 years ago | (#24865655)

I've read about Seinfeld's writing style and his endorsements of products on the show quite a bit. The character he plays is himself, and generally represents the real person only slightly more neurotic. His character's likes and dislikes were often his own tastes.

The very fact that other people bought them because Jerry Seinfeld -- the man or the character he and Larry David based on him -- proves that people will follow a trend, though. Even if it was his real tastes and no money switched hands, he still had that effect. Even if people weren't buying them to be more like Seinfeld but just reminded of how much they liked the products because of the show, the show mentioning them still started that trend.

What if Elaine liked muffin bottoms for some odd reason? What if her childhood dream bike was a Huffy instead of a Schwinn (I know, bad choice). What if George worked for the Mets or Neuman was a FedEx driver?

The movie ET used Reese's Pieces and not M&Ms, and the sales of Reese's Pieces shot through the roof. What if they had used Mike & Ikes instead?

Re:Who needs privacy when people are so predictabl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24861907)

Do you really think it's because Paris Hilton eats thick burgers

Thick burgers? No.

Re:Who needs privacy when people are so predictabl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24865651)

It's Locke and Demosthenes.

Re:Who needs privacy when people are so predictabl (2, Interesting)

tha_mink (518151) | more than 5 years ago | (#24861563)

I really detest a majority of the media, Fox News, provides a particular easy example of people wanting to hear what they already believe. It provides affirmation that they are smart because people on the tv are saying what they believe.

That coupled with this...

I took am guilty of this to a certain extent, but I recognize it as a weakness and try to address it. Between the Bush/Gore election and 9/11 I swore off network news. Now I read "The Economist" because it has non-US centric view of the world and listen to NPR on my way to work. It helps. But I must admit that I do not read books are articles defending "intelligent" design, when I am convinced of evolution. Maybe people believe their ideology so thoroughly that they choose not to challenge it...

could be argued as great hypocrisy. You listen to NPR because it affirms what you already believe. Plus, I know lots of people that consume the Fox News product so that they can continue to be disgusted by "the other side". NPR is no different than network news. It's people with an agenda. It's human nature. With a powerful platform, come powerful opinions. It's unavoidable. So, as you said, people migrate to what they believe. (for whatever reason)

Re:Who needs privacy when people are so predictabl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24862721)

NPR is actually slightly worse than the commercial stations when it comes to bias. Commercial stations have a buffer between themselves and their audience through advertisers. They can get away with annoying parts of their audience by reporting the truth without worrying about losing funding. Granted this is limited, annoy their audience too much and ratings will go down so advertisers will leave, but it's a buffer that NPR or PBS simply don't have (well, to the same degree - both have advertisers). Generally these news sources can ride out those little bumps without having to worry about receiving no funding.

NPR and PBS, on the other hand, receive most of their funding by their audience. The rest they get from advertisers and taxes, so they do have a slight buffer, but it's nothing like commercial news sources. They either tow the party-line of their audience, or they get no donations. So, not surprisingly, NPR and PBS are both biased towards upper-middle class snobs, since they're the type of people with the will and the money to blow on public broadcasting.

Now someone is sure to say "but they're not beholden to advertisers!" and they'd be wrong. Something like a half of public broadcasting's funding comes from advertisers. Only a quarter comes from the viewers, and the remaining quarter is your tax money (both state and federal).

But that quarter is more than enough to ensure that public broadcasting will never dare challenge their audience's biases.

Your point? (1)

nobodyman (90587) | more than 5 years ago | (#24863421)

Your third paragraph contradicts your first paragraph. First you say that they have no advertising buffer, then you claim that half of their funding comes from advertisers. Which is it? While I don't disagree that everyone has a bias, I would argue that the varied funding NPR receives makes it less vulnerable to certain types of bias. For example, NPR was able to run pieces that were far more critical of the war at a time when this was a very unpopular thing to do. They were able to do this because they didn't have to worry (as much) about advertisers pulling out or ratings taking a nose dive (which they did - everybody wanted happy happy news about the war).

Re:Who needs privacy when people are so predictabl (1)

Mr Z (6791) | more than 5 years ago | (#24864263)

Commercial stations have a buffer between themselves and their audience through advertisers. They can get away with annoying parts of their audience by reporting the truth without worrying about losing funding.

Hmmm.... I don't buy it. Why else would Arbitron [wikipedia.org] ratings matter so much to the commercial radio stations? It wouldn't be because listener share determines how much the station can charge for ads, now would it? And advertisers DO pull out of programs when there's too much controversy. Remember Michael Savage? [google.com]

NPR and PBS, on the other hand, receive most of their funding by their audience. The rest they get from advertisers and taxes, so they do have a slight buffer, but it's nothing like commercial news sources. They either tow the party-line of their audience, or they get no donations.

Well, about a third of NPR's money comes pledge drives, [wikipedia.org] and those occur only a couple times a year. The rest comes from grants and from corporate underwriting. In those pledge drives, only about 1 in 10 listeners to NPR donates. That's 90% of their audience that underwriters are trying to reach that aren't picking up the phone during the pledge drive. So, I don't think the effect is as stark as you think.

That said, people are going to tune into stations that fit their bias, whether commercial or public. I think NPR tends to shoot down the middle more than it shoots to the left. Compare this to, say, WBAP [wikipedia.org] here in D/FW. You can't tell me that their current lineup is less biased than NPR. Quoting Wikipedia:

After Davis's show ends, the station relies on syndicated programming for the rest of the day, carrying the standard Citadel lineup of Paul Harvey, The Rush Limbaugh Show, The Sean Hannity Show and Mark Levin, all in their entirety and live. Jerry Doyle is broadcast on a tape delay after Levin, followed by The Greg Knapp Experience.

Re:Who needs privacy when people are so predictabl (1)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 5 years ago | (#24865877)

Bias is one thing. Being wrong is quite another. Is the US winning in Iraq? Who were the best and worst presidents of the US? Those are very difficult questions. Even figuring out what constitutes victory is tough. The 2nd one can't ever be absolutely answered either, but we do have some consensus. Very hard to address such questions without bias. But another question, the casus belli, did Iraq have WMDs? Thanks to the specificity this is a much easier question to answer, and the answer is "no".

Another easy one is Creationism. Despite attempts to stir up debate, there's nothing debatable about that one. Creationism is flat wrong. Talk of "bias" on an "issue" like that makes as much sense as a debate over whether 2+2=4 or 2+2=5.

I know of Mark Davis of WBAP. I wish the Dallas Morning News would stop wasting precious editorial space on his columns. The man can't be bothered to educate himself, or he'd know better than to advocate for such trash as the teaching of Creationism in public schools.

Please stop feeding trolls of that sort by granting them this debating point. Their "bias" is not at all the same thing as NPR's bias. NPR is biased. WBAP is beyond biased, they are wrong, wrong, wrong! They are Flat Earthers. They flub easy questions. Letting people think that their wrongness is no different than NPR's bias grants them legitimacy they don't deserve. Choosing what subjects to discuss is bias. Being wrong about a chosen subject isn't bias, it's just wrong. Refusing to debate fairly, as they do, is dishonest. Deep down most know they're wrong, but they want so badly to believe, and they've made a confused and incorrect link between faith and Creationism, so they can't see anywhere else to go but towards self delusion and the sad, pathetic, ridiculous positions they take. Paved by good intentions.

Re:Who needs privacy when people are so predictabl (1)

tha_mink (518151) | more than 5 years ago | (#24872971)

Despite attempts to stir up debate, there's nothing debatable about that one. Creationism is flat wrong. Talk of "bias" on an "issue" like that makes as much sense as a debate over whether 2+2=4 or 2+2=5

Hello? How can you say it's just flat wrong. It's still not able to be answered absolutely. Here's the thing I think most people confuse. People that believe in creationism, I am *not* one of them but I get it, don't necessarily believe that that means there is no evolution. They just believe that the evolution was kicked of by a deity. Even if you can prove that life was kicked off by the big bang and evolved from there, you still can't prove that a deity wasn't involved in the process. You *can* prove that all the accounts about creation in the bible are false, at least the time lines and such, but you still can't prove that god didn't create the materials and situation that started the big bang.

I don't believe it, but still, you can't prove it didn't happen so to say that the *theory* is "flat wrong" shows your bias.

Re:Who needs privacy when people are so predictabl (1)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 5 years ago | (#24929817)

No, sorry. You have not demonstrated that I am biased on this issue, you have demonstrated that your education and understanding are lacking. You are correct in that Creationism can't be proven. Same as the existence of God can't be proven. But that is what disqualifies Creationism. Creationism Science is what is flat wrong. Its very name is wrong. It is not science. It is not a theory. For an idea to qualify as a scientific theory there must be ways to test it and disprove it, and Creationism can't be tested. We could all be living in a supernaturally perfect simulation, superior to those in The Matrix or the Truman Show. A deity such as the Flying Spaghetti Monster could have created the universe anytime, perhaps only 10 minutes ago. A supernatural being could have started life on Earth billions of years ago, could have caused the Big Bang some 13 billion years ago. There is no way to test any of these ideas, as they all involve the supernatural. That this has to be explained shows how crucial good education is, and demonstrates how lacking it has been. School children are thrown into the details of science, memorizing a bunch of facts, and too often never really grasp science. The scientific method is mentioned once or twice, and quickly forgotten. If people understood it, we wouldn't have these repeated assertions given in all seriousness that "science is just another religion". People would know better than to say "evolution is just a theory" scornfully, as if a theory was not much of a standard. And there would be fewer of these basic logic errors such as the "god of the gaps" one.

As you pointed out, the accounts in the Bible do make some assertions that, taken literally, can be formulated as testable hypotheses. Most of those are wrong. I have heard many hypotheses in support of Creationism, and all of them are wrong. For instance, is the Earth approximately 10000 years old, as hypothesized in Young Earth Creationism? Of course not. We have many, many different radioactive dating techniques, and they are all in agreement that the Earth is about 4.5 billion years old. Other, less precise methods also agree. Could the rate of radioactive decay have been much faster in the past, and the speed of light much slower, so that an assumption of a constant rate of decay would make the universe seem older than it is? No! We have thousands of years of annual tree rings and annual sedimentary deposits (most often in lake beds), and glacial ice which we have cross checked. The glacial ice alone demonstrates that Earth is older than 10000 years. Core samples go back 760,000 years. The rate of radioactive decay has not changed. For further back in time, we can look at stars. To check conditions at any time in the past several billion years, we need only examine a few stars that are the desired number of light years away. We know that the speed of light has not changed. While all these ideas are worth checking, they are all rather trivial to check. It becomes painfully obvious that the Creationists are really reaching. They have no reason to think their assertions might be true-- no observations, no data. When they do present some data, they tend to be blatantly selective. Their methods are intellectually dishonest and their ideas are formulated solely to support their questionable interpretations of the Bible.

Whatever other qualifications there are, a worthy candidate should have the education and intelligence to understand that Creationism is not real science. I'm very disappointed with McCain's VP pick. When we fill high positions with people who do not understand this, and worse, don't think understanding is important, and who surround themselves with like-minded people who are blindly loyal, there's no knowing where we'll be lead. We have already been led into an expensive and unnecessary war, convinced to do it for reasons our leaders couldn't be bothered to care were right, and which turned out to be wrong.

Re:Who needs privacy when people are so predictabl (1)

nobodyman (90587) | more than 5 years ago | (#24863699)

Good point. I suppose that the best thing to do (if your truly are looking for truth rather than validation) is to acknowledge that all news sources have a bias, and use their biases against each other. That is, watch both Fox *and* NPR. If you see an event from multiple angles you'll be better able to form your own opinion.

Here's my bias: I tend to prefer NPR, if for no other reason than the fact that it strays away from celebrity gossip. I think in the past year I've heard only one mention of Paris Hilton, and that was in reference to the anti-Obama "Celebrity" ad. With that in mind, I suppose I'm just as guilty of creating an augmented reality by choosing not to hear about these things.

Re:Who needs privacy when people are so predictabl (1)

AP31R0N (723649) | more than 5 years ago | (#24871839)

*sigh* i never have mod points when i really want them. Objectivity is a rare gift.

+1 Insightful

Reminds me of my old saying:

"Voting is the act of supporting the person whose bullshit smells the most like your own."
- Apeiron, 2004

Public Relations industry (1)

Burz (138833) | more than 5 years ago | (#24861583)

...already uses those methods (such as the survey and the focus group), and they are employed by various degrees to control populations through their desires and fears. We're talking about propaganda masters who have a working relationship with government psy-ops. This Adam Curtis documentary [archive.org] on this subject is excellent.

Re:Who needs privacy when people are so predictabl (1)

Temujin_12 (832986) | more than 5 years ago | (#24862207)

By serious intellectual activity I mean challenging and expanding one's own ideas. I really detest a majority of the media, Fox News, provides a particular easy example of people wanting to hear what they already believe. It provides affirmation that they are smart because people on the tv are saying what they believe. I am sure it occasionally offers extended nuances to their own belief system but rarely challenges it.

Which is why I've come to love NPR (especially their podcasts as I have a long'ish commute). I regularly listen to discussions/debates on topics I either have never even thought of before or hear opinions which I disagree with. However, those opinions are almost always presented in a very eloquent, thorough, and respectful manner (something which rarely occurs in mainstream media since it requires more than 30 seconds to do).

I like the quote from Robert Frost:

Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.

Re:Who needs privacy when people are so predictabl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24865245)

Of course many people believe so thoroughly you knitwit. That's what belief/faith is. You don't need to constantly 'challenge' your beliefs if they make you whole, bring you peace, or whatever. If you feel the need to constantly challenge your beliefs, its more than likely because on some unconscious level you know that they're suspect.

Re:Who needs privacy when people are so predictabl (1)

tcstoehr (844891) | more than 5 years ago | (#24865723)

You don't watch Fox cuz you think it's biased, so you go listen to NPR? And you're accusing Fox and their viewers of preaching to the choir? Unbelievable.

Maybe here.... (1)

BitterOldGUy (1330491) | more than 5 years ago | (#24860767)

I don't understand why you people are so interested in privacy when you are all carbon copies of each other.

Maybe on /. we're all "carbon copies" and even then I'm sure there are folks who, let's say, make adjustments to their point of view when posting here out of fear of being moderated down.

Out in face to face personal interactions, I keep much of my life close to my chest. Part of it is fear of the reactions of my neighbors and potential employers. I wonder how many kids have lost job opportunities because of what's on their Facebook page? WTF does having a video of yourself partying have anything do with being a good employee? But it hurts in some cases. The same goes for Gays, Jews, Catholics down here in the Bible Belt (I have no idea why!), etc...

I feel really bad for folks of color because you can't keep that private.

Re:Who needs privacy when people are so predictabl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24861975)

I don't understand why you people are so interested in privacy when you are all carbon copies of each other.

I'm a silicon-based lifeform, you insensitive clod!

Well, Gort... (2, Interesting)

ElboRuum (946542) | more than 5 years ago | (#24862889)

Seeing as you are just visiting our little world here from another, clearly more enlightened civilization where everyone is so purposefully iconoclastic as to be wearing a philosophical uniform, allow me to discuss with you to the nuances of the big blue marble on which you find yourself.

You make the presumption that privacy is wasted on the predictable. However, the reality is that a lack of privacy encourages predictability.

Let me know... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24859937)

Let me know when I can read it for free on the web. Dead trees give me the heebiest of jeebies.

Re:Let me know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24862183)

When it does, I'll buy two copies of the book.

Explosion of the Internet (4, Funny)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#24859991)

Who else was thinking of exploding batteries in ATT neighborhood boxes? Be honest.

Re:Explosion of the Internet (2, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#24860193)

To be honest, I was wondering what kind of Sony hardware is used as a critical component for the internet...

Re:Explosion of the Internet (1)

soulfury (1229120) | more than 5 years ago | (#24860419)

The Internet's hot bits have been blown by RIAA. Of course it would explode!

Re:Explosion of the Internet (1)

Paul server guy (1128251) | more than 5 years ago | (#24860773)

I was. :(
Hangs head in shame...

Really makes you wonder.... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24860197)

Without the internet, no "fake but accurate", and all the fauxtography we've seen would have been unnoticed.

Makes you wonder what lies have been successfully fed to everyone prior to having immediate access to a lot more information.

Re:Really makes you wonder.... (1)

Anonymous Monkey (795756) | more than 5 years ago | (#24860351)

Even still, lies abound. If it weren't for lies we would not have politics. Also, how many faked cell phone popcorn popping videos have been circulated in the past 12 months? Unlock a car with a tennis ball any one? The information on the internet is only as accurate as the people who post it. Most people are lairs. Look at me, I don't post under my real name.

Re:Really makes you wonder.... (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 5 years ago | (#24861335)

We all know you're actually "Anonymous J. Monkeypants IV", but we thought we'd let you scrape by with shortening it until you brought it up.

As for no politics without lies, I'm a little skeptical. There would be a lot less politics, surely. Yet there would still be differing points of view and conflicting interests. People would be able to make value judgments on those points of view if the people presenting them were honest, though.

Re:Really makes you wonder.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24861879)

If it weren't for lies we would not have politics.

All you need is two groups of people with different interests who need to come together for a common good. No lies are needed to start politics. If human kind was homogeneous, you would not have politics, but we'd die out pretty quick if that was the case.

Let's just call it the /. book drive (1, Offtopic)

Awptimus Prime (695459) | more than 5 years ago | (#24860235)

If I write up a positive book review on a book about technology from a perma-noob perspective and submit it with a amazon link /. will make a nickel from, will it pass the green light no matter how bad of a read it is? I bet it would.

too many bits in this book review (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 5 years ago | (#24860319)

If someone cant succinctly describe a book in screenfull, then something is wrong.

Re:too many bits in this book review (1)

imashination (840740) | more than 5 years ago | (#24860707)

If someone cant succinctly describe a book in screenfull, then something is wrong.

You need a bigger screen.

The Paradox is Prevelent (1)

chazd1 (805324) | more than 5 years ago | (#24860853)

Doesn't anyone else see the irony? Information is not new. The distribution of information has changed and the ability to have infomration used directly by machines is new. The combining and mixing in the new media makes the information seem different.

This is a *Book* about new media. The book being *sold* is based on technology thousands of years old and it is about new information media that cannot be (is not) used for its own sale.

One of the few (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24861033)

I guess I am one of the few people who does not believe that our world has fundamentally changed since the explosion of the internet.

We still all reside on a big chunk of rock with a molten iron core revolving around a yellow star. People are still fundamentally divided by religion, language, and their own selfish needs and desires. Politics, religion, art, science, and the human condition really haven't changed all that much. We still have war, disease, poverty, etc.

The internet explosion may have slightly impacted the pace and flavor a bit, but the fundamental change isnt here yet.

what, this isn't about CERN? (1)

exabrial (818005) | more than 5 years ago | (#24861113)

Seriously did anyone else read the headline and think this was another article on how the Large Hadron Collider was going to end life as we know it?

When I saw the title... (3, Funny)

dontmakemethink (1186169) | more than 5 years ago | (#24861489)

I was expecting an indepth account of Data's encounter with Tasha Yar...

Its time ... (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 5 years ago | (#24862635)

... for me to go off the 'net and move into my cabin in Lincoln, Montana.

The internet exploded?? (1)

Peaker (72084) | more than 5 years ago | (#24862719)

Well, it was useful while it lasted.

Re:The internet exploded?? (1)

meta-monkey (321000) | more than 5 years ago | (#24863147)

...and nothing of value was lost.

Not to be confused with ... (1)

Richard W.M. Jones (591125) | more than 5 years ago | (#24863487)

Not to be confused with the other Blown to Bits [amazon.com] which seems entirely unrelated. But is also quite a good book, a readable but serious book about business strategy for companies finding their traditional business damaged by the Internet. Do skip the first chapter though, IIRC it was a bit dull.

Rich.

Reply to this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24863775)

A couple of points.
Parents need to be involved in their children' use of MySpace & etc and tell the kids to report to them if someone is giving them some trouble. If that happens, go to the local cops, whoever runs Myspace and file a report on the tormentor. They may not ever be able to do anything directly but if you've email records and what not you have a paper trail in case Jon or Judy turns themselves off because of it. At least then you can track the SOB down (maybe) and raise his misery index.

As to tracking 'habits' on line. Well don't have habits. Mix in a little rushlimbaugh.com with your aclu.org and factcheck.org. Visit the subgenius isite once a month. BEcome Unpredictable. This is the LAW OF CHAFF!. Who is the real you? (Gee what a great piece of OSS. A program that's called CHAFF and visit's random websites during the day.)

As to expecting the dweebs in congress to craft laws regarding the internet I will be nice and say they lack enough wisdom and are not competent to do this. The text of these laws must come from the savvy-citizenry.

I remain.

the anonymous coward

Fear mongering (1)

PingXao (153057) | more than 5 years ago | (#24863987)

The internet has not made us "less secure". That's claptrap propaganda designed to suck money out of our pockets for questionable security enhancements that enrich someone's cronies.

Count me as a non-customer for this book.

Deja Vu (1)

44BSD (701309) | more than 5 years ago | (#24864565)

I read this book when Simson Garfinkel wrote it eight years ago, as Database Nation [databasenation.com]

mo3 up (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24865549)

grandstanders, the ach1eve any of the

Social Changes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24871849)

It's a shame the book doesn't touch on any social changes caused by abundant information, and how the internet affects the minds of children.

I've had the privilege of growing up with the internet starting from the age of 11, when most people of my age started using the internet during early adulthood.

The internet was a strong factor in molding who I am as a person today. I was able to interact with people whom I'd never have the chance to interact with in real life (mostly due to age factors).

The most prolific change I can remember is my acceptance of homosexuality at a very young age, even though my school was extremely homophobic. This is solely due to interacting with people who were accepting of it. Without this, I would've been self hating until University or highschool.

Another notable change, was my rejection of Christianity. Despite my family and friends being Christian, I asked the headmaster personally if I could opt out of daily morning prayer and various religious activities (Muslims had the same privilege).

The internet allows individuals to interact with others outside their physical sphere of influence. No longer are our personalities and thoughts formed by our family, friends and physical environment. I guess the internet is helping to make society more individualistic rather than having to conform, but I'm only relying on anecdotal evidence.

Anyone reminded of Donnie Darko? (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 5 years ago | (#24871865)

Without reading anything yet, when I first saw the image on the cover of that book I thought I was looking at an orange version of the DVD cover of Donnie Darko [wikipedia.org]

Obviously, looking closer, the cover of "Blown to Bits" is a pair of orange forearms, while the Donnie Darko image is of a translucent demonic rabbit, but still...

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