After many years I have stolen some time to pick a paperback copy of a magazine. I picked up Wired this summer and so far its been worth every flip of the page. So, what does a magazine that’s considered the “Rolling Stone of technology” got to offer? A wise and informed commentary on a wide vista of topics. Sometimes eye-opening and almost always informative and cutting edge. I skim through articles that don’t catch my fancy and linger on the stories that do.
Here are some of my favourites from the August 2016 issue.
I was fascinated by this article about Mars voyages. Did you know there is a tiny department in NASA that is the Office of Planetary Protection with a moto – “All of the planets, all of the time” ? They make sure that in the quest of discovering uncharted territory in space, we don’t end up messing with them. Organisms that can survive extreme temperatures, vacuum and other harsh climactic and pressure factors could very easily cling on spaceships and land up on space. Years later, Man might find one such lost species and claim its a Martian. A misinformed 2nd genesis. Doesn’t it feel like a story right out of a sci fi blockbuster?
From space, lets move to another endless space. Internet and wireless communication. Some months back I noticed a weird message on my WhatsApp chats. – “This chat is encrypted” . It was a minor annoyance and made little sense. Then I read about Marlinspike. This long haired renegade. Authority was and is his enemy. At one point, he was the director of product security at Twitter and owned $1 million in company stock. He went sailing, had a near death experience and walked away from it all to get closer to his life’s aim. His encryption technology is what WhatsApp uses to secure our messages. Any random listener (erhmm government agency) without authority cannot replay our messages. There is guarantee that verified sender and receiver are the only ones that are in the communication. His product Signal is used by celebrated whistleblowers like Edward Snowden. It’s a new generation of freedom fighters that are heralding free speech and thought.
Right after the above article is a much more serious and horrifying one. A journalist on the most important beat there is; Rukmini Callimachi is a correspondent for New York Times covering Terrorism. She comes highly recommended and awarded, with years of getting leads on jihadists. It was interesting how she put things in perspective. Paraphrasing what she says .. The world sees them in black.. Her job is to layer in the grey. The first time she covered something horrifying was the Gujarat earthquake and the devastation it left behind. Over the years she has seen many more atrocities and horrors. It is risky, but it is what she does. How does she get her information? Well, she has found Twitter a wealth of knowledge. Follow the right handles and you get privy to all the terrorist propaganda for new initiates. To think I joined twitter to fangirl!
And to think Marlinspike is trying to ensure privacy to internet users that include these hate festering terrorists. And add to that, we are fighting on little old earth. Struggling to not anihilate the human race. There is the entire universe out there with who know what life forms, and we are stuck preserving ourselves. The mind gets dazed taking it all in and figuring out what it could possibily mean.
All information credit Wired Magazine