Lies, Facts, and World-Views

PolitiFact’s decree is part of a larger journalistic trend that seeks to recast all political debates as matters of lies, misinformation and "facts," rather than differences of world view or principles. PolitiFact wants to define for everyone else what qualifies as a "fact," though in political debates the facts are often legitimately in dispute.

via Review & Outlook: PolitiFiction – WSJ.com.

Stuxnet: It’s the real thing, baby

At least four zero-day vulnerabilities were used. Remember, these were classified as "zero-days" once we found out about them back in June/July — which means the folks that discovered the vulnerabilities could have been using them/testing them for 12-24 months(?) before we even knew they existed.

via Stuxnet: It’s the real thing, baby | The Best Defense.

No More Secrets

[I]t’s certainly true that closed, secretive networks become less effective–but that doesn’t mean they become less effective at the things we dislike them doing. Stalin remained exceptionally good at purges and liquidations all through World War II, and that didn’t stop him from helping to win the war, and dominating half of Europe. It’s just that it took more dead Russian boys to do it, because being secretive and purge-oriented kind of hampered the efficiency of the economy, leaving them a little short of key items like guns. But since Stalin was running a super-secretive, centrally controlled regime, that insight didn’t really matter.

via No More Secrets – Megan McArdle – National – The Atlantic.

Should China Rethink High Speed Rail?

Prices are really useful. But in whole large sectors of the Chinese economy, particularly the banking sector, the government sets those prices. This means huge information loss, and the concomitant possibility that there is a vast misallocation of resources.

Don’t those things happen in markets? Hell yes: witness the housing bubble. On the other hand, witness East Germany. To get a really catastrophic misallocation of resources, it seems to take a government; corporations can only screw things up on an artisinal scale.

Emphasis mine. Via Should China Rethink High Speed Rail? – Megan McArdle – Business – The Atlantic.