Category: Rhetoric

Rhetoric is the art of persuading people with words

All secrets leak sooner or later. Ozzie’s Clear proposal does not limit damage when they leak.

Ray Ozzie, of Lotus Notes fame and more recently a Microsoft executive, has made a proposal–called Clear–to allow governments to get access to the contents of encrypted phone handsets and other mobile devices. It tasks the device manufacturers with operating a key escrow system and responding to government warrants to give out keys to individual devices. His proposal has been… Read more →

Good News or Fake News? Theology of the cross, or theology of glory?

Katelyn Beaty, a former editor of the self-styled “evangelical” publication Christianity Today, wrote a summary of a meeting at  Wheaton College in Illinois about whether their movement should distance themselves from the present (2018) leader of the Republican Party. They couldn’t figure it out. Maybe they should read the Barmen Declaration. It asks the question of whether the church should… Read more →

State religion, ritual, and faith

Journalist Molly Worthen wrote an interesting piece for the New York Times headlined How to escape from Roy Moore’s evangelicalism.  She makes an interesting point about ritual and its effect on the human psyche, on my mind and yours. The habits we follow every day shape us as much as, or more than Sunday worship, even for those of us who turn… Read more →

Social media and René Girard’s memetics

OK, among people who’ve heard of anthropologist turned radical theologian Dr. Girard, I’m probably the last guy to realize this. But the big social media outfits (FB, Twitter, Instagram, the usual suspects) make their money by exploiting the “I’ll have what he’s having” streak in human nature. The old joke: Russian waiter: What would you like, sir? Diner: Tilting his… Read more →

Mondo Bizarro … FBI Director uses Pastor Niebuhr’s name for a twitter name

An investigative reporter at Gizmodo has found the FBI director’s twitter account.  He’s using the pseudonym Reinhold Niebuhr. Pastor Niebuhr was a twentieth-century theologian and ethicist.  Among his many books is The Irony of American History, analyzing how USA exceptionalism is a tremendous temptation to arrogance and contains the seeds of its own destruction. That title pretty much sums up… Read more →

Tales from the Tech Support Crypt

This post is dedicated to everybody who’s ever worked in tech support. When a packet hits a pocket. http://thedailywtf.com/articles/Some_More_Tech_Support http://thedailywtf.com/articles/Support-Should-Never-Be-Necessary http://thedailywtf.com/articles/radio-wtf-presents-quantity-of-service http://thedailywtf.com/articles/Its-the-Only-Way-to-be-Sure http://thedailywtf.com/articles/Could-You-Explain-Programming-Please http://www.techtales.com/techroom.php     Got any more? Please put them in the comments. Read more →

When (not if) software requirements change

A young acquaintance asked me this question. How is it best to handle mid-project changes from clients? Are there times when a project is beyond the point of some kinds of changes? How is it best to resolve such issues? Every project experiences specification changes; it’s a normal occurrence and a part of the business of software. It’s important to… Read more →

Ethics: slippery subject because people have different stances.

Ethics is a slippery subject. Different people have different ethical stances, so if I were to say “that’s unethical” to you, you’d be likely to misunderstand me. One common ethical stance is utilitarianism. This stance purports to optimize collective welfare. I don’t know any NSA people, but it seems likely that they share a utilitarian approach to ethical decision making,… Read more →