YOu said:

Holstein 20:00

We’re at a disadvantage, because of the gap between our private sector and our public sector… [Among other things] our critical infrastructure is owned by the private sector. Electricity, communications, water, food, nearly all that is owned by private sector companies who have to make a profit and increase their profits every quarter, hopefully.

So when government knocks on their door and says, Can you add capacity? Can you add protections? Can you add resiliency to your systems? The private sector says to government: that’s not our responsibility. If this is a national security interest, why shouldn't the government be paying for it?

And Starlink is owned by a single person, Elon Musk, who has used it to counter our help to the Ukrainians.

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Sep 10, 2023·edited Sep 11, 2023Liked by James Fallows

-as a subscriber, I am concerned about the new substack platform called Notes

-This was launched in April 2023

-Someone can follow you, then that allows them to track your activity. I do not see where you can block a follower. This seems to be similar to the twitter platform where followers can see your activity across the web

-I don't know anything about social media, I have very little interaction with it. So I would appreciate any input!

-The follower can see "your reading activity" when following your profile, in addition to seeing any Notes posting. That is the concern, in addition to the fact that it does not appear that followers can be blocked. Some of us are not signed onto other social media sites and do not have "followers" esp ones that we do not know, want or approve.

- Here is the description of Notes from the Substack website about substack notes and "following" :

-"Where do my Substack notes appear?"

- "Substack Notes is available on the web and the Substack app."

- " How do my subscribers see my Notes?"

Your notes will appear in the Home and Subscribed tab on Notes.  Notes activity such as your restacks and interactions with other notes will also appear in these tabs.

If your subscribers have missed any Notes activity, they may receive a notes digest via email.

To interact with your notes, subscribers will need to be signed into their Substack account.

-What are Substack Notes? On April 11, 2023, Substack launched Notes, allowing writers on the platform to post short-form content and share ideas with their readers and other writers. Similar to Tweets, Notes will allow users to publish small posts, such as comments, quotes, links, and images.

-Notes are short-form posts published to your Substack profile and shared with subscribers in their own notes feed. In Notes, writers might: Write short-form posts (like microblogging) Restack posts they enjoyed and think others might like.

-Posts can be user generated or System generated. But notes are only user generated. POST something that you would always need to keep updated and also allow your colleagues to take notice.

-Substack Notes is available on the web and the Substack app.

If you're in the Notes space, you may notice "subscribe" on a note or "subscribe" when clicking on someone's Substack profile.

-If a writer has a publication and you click "subscribe", you'll be automatically subscribed to their publication and also see their notes in the Notes feed.

-If a reader doesn't have a publication, you can follow them on Substack. Following a profile means that you'll see their notes and reading activity such as likes in the Notes feed. " end of Notes description by Substack on their site

-I would welcome input from anyone about this thanks!

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Thank you. I have not fully engaged in notes. I will check out what you are referring to and report back.

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Sep 11, 2023·edited Sep 11, 2023

-thank you!

-I gather that it is very similar to twitter, such as when someone follows you and can see what you are posting for favorite sites

- In my case, someone followed me only to build their own subscription list. So now I am just getting random spam followers trying to generate followers.

-I do not see where you can block someone following you

-The follower can see "your reading activity" when following your profile, in addition to seeing any Notes posting. Some of us are not signed onto other social media sites and do not have "followers" esp ones that we do not know, want or approve.

- Those who are on twitter and other sites are used to having followers.

-I unsubscribed temporarily to fix this but Substack is still keeping my account open which means I cannot prevent followers from following me on substack. The only solution is not to sign in as far as I can tell

-Having grown up in the 60's and 70's with a very healthy paranoia of privacy invasion, we always just assumed Big Brother was watching us all the time and nothing was private.

-We should just assume everything is being tracked and information stolen, it is just the way we live now. Fight the power ;)

- I really do not know anything so I welcome any input ! Thank you to all, thanks JF for the access even if we do not subscribe. I don't mind being a subscriber but I feel this is sort of an unwanted upgrade through Notes. More info needed ! :) thanks!

Have a great fall and foliage season! :)


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Sep 9, 2023·edited Sep 10, 2023Liked by James Fallows

Jim I just posted a sizable historical analysis of China and the West a few minutes ago on Heather Cox Richardson’s Substack. [Available by clicking Keith Wheelock, Notes. Also I have posted WIZARD OF OZ/LIZARD OF OOZE, which has a different timbre.] We have just bought a condo and are in the ‘moving process’ including fixing up and selling our home of 26 years.

To be brief: I consider China is at war with the West and also seeks to dominate in Asia.

In 1750 China had the largest economy in the world. The following two centuries were not good for China, as the West exploded with technology and imperial push.

China, for 1000s of years had an imperial country—long before the Roman Empire. The Chinese Civil Service Exam System functioned well for 1600 years before England and the United States had a rudimentary civil service system.

From the Opium Wars in 1840s, the Boxer Rebellion in the 1890s, the collapse of the imperial government, and further humiliations, including the Japanese invasion in the 1930s, China has been treated badly by the West and others.

Mao was a major change—authoritarian rule with the loss of tens of millions of Chinese lives. Then came Deng/Zhou economic reformers. For well over a generation, China experienced the fastest economic growth of any country in world history. With some reluctance, China entered some international organizations.

The West ‘thought’ that China would be a junior partner in Western organizations. NOT. Especially under Xi, an overriding rule from the top has re-emerged. I consider Xi’s China at war with the West and intent to dominate in greater Asia.

Tik Tok is simply one aspect of this war. The Chinese are intent to subvert, steal, and ‘cheat’ in a struggle in which they see Chinese ascendency and Western dependency.

There is virtually nothing on which I would trust ‘common self interest’ agreements with China. My fear is that, if internal matters go badly fort China, the nationalist shibboleth will take center stage—Taiwan and against its major Western enemy—the United States.

I recall the Cold War where the US had dicey relations with the Soviet Union. We didn’t trust them and, certainly with Stalin, vice versa.

That’s where I think we are with China. In dealing with them, at least we should back into the room so that we can only be front stabbed, while our back is protected.

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A Cold War, but war all the same.

What gnaws at me are two things:

(1) Is China looking for world domination or Asia domination? Historically China was focused on controlling Asia, receiving tribute, etc. Has the leadership moved to a broader ambition, whether because of lingering universalist sentiment from the period of Communist orthodoxy, or technological ability, or just realizing that there is more out there available to dominate past the steppes?

(2) Has China now permanently morphed into an authoritarian regime as opposed to a Confucian regime? My understanding is that historically China was as much ruled by a bureaucracy, with its aversion to risk taking, as by an emperor. If we are to now face a succession of emperors, with limited lifetimes, that would present a risk because it would render moot the comfortable myth that China acts on plans measured in eons rather than fiscal quarters. If each successive emperor has to make their mark in a brief lifetime, we can face a lot of crises. On the other hand we can comfort ourselves with the other myth that authoritarian regimes dissolve within three generations (unless they become monarchies such as North Korea).

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Keith, thank you, have been offline for a day or two so just catching up. I will go read your other posts and reply.

Like most people who have lived in China and dealt with a range of Chinese people through the past few decades, I am vividly aware of its diversity, its range from tender to cruel, its vast number of connections with the US and other outside countries, and so on and so on. And when we were living there in the "Golden Age of Hu Jintao" that ended about a dozen years ago, it seemed plausible to believe that the forces-for-opening were, year by year, gaining force over the forces-for-repression. But things are clearly headed in a different direction now.

Were they "fated" to head this way? Would the past decade of crackdown and tightening have happened even without the fateful (in a bad way) measures from Xi Jinping? I don't know. But it is a sobering prospect ahead.

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Sep 9, 2023Liked by James Fallows

condo living is awesome: good luck and have fun!

great tips online about moving and organizing :) the Pod system is awesome, pack yourself

good luck!

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-great insights, thanks!

-For my college english requirement, I was able to study Chinese literature for a full 3 years with a well-known Chinese scholar and writer.

-We read literature from the earliest days.

-Chinese art and culture is a deep window into how the people of that country think. For those interested, try Cao Xueqin, The Story of the Stone, or The Dream of the Red Chamber, and a superb translation of the 16th century story, Monkey, by Arthur Waley (Wu Cheng'en, Monkey: A Journey to the West)

-We don't hate the people of China, so why are we allowing the world to be hijacked once again by the war mongers, in an endless , very expensive cycle?

-Imagine the resources being spent daily on the worldwide wars, that should be spent on trying to have some kind of future on our changing planet. Imagine the losses.

-anyone in academia from 1967 on saw the devastation caused by the right wing commitment to endless war and therefore endless profit for some...

-"war is good for business," was a common vietnam theme...


-“What you must do," said Monkey, "is lure the monster from its hiding place, but be certain it is a fight you can survive.”

-“If a man has been your teacher for a day, you should treat him as your father for the rest of his life.”

― Wu Cheng'en, Journey to the West

-“When grief for fiction’s idle words

More real than human life appears

Reflect that life itself’s a dream

And do not mock the reader’s tears.”

― Cao Xueqin, The Story of the Stone: The Dreamer Wakes

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Sep 8, 2023Liked by James Fallows

The comments about China and TikTok make eerie reading alongside today's Washington Post article:


The "brain drain" seems to involve multiple siphons and could already be a flood as the sucking systems get integrated with AI.

The active malice of the Russian attacks is scary too, but may be more amenable to countermeasures.

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Yes, I didn't see that piece until after I had posted this item. But you're right, they really are in sync.

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Sep 8, 2023Liked by James Fallows

Scary stuff.

I am by nature a pessimist, and I am uninformed in the topic other than what is available in the press and my own experience with ransomware, so take what I say with a grain of salt.

I greatly doubt that any of the suggestions offered for individual action have any chance of being adopted on a scale that will have any impact. Education on cybersecurity is a nonstarter either because of the cost of adding that to the curriculum or because there is half of the country that will oppose it because they fear "Deep State" influence; indeed influential voices want democracy in the US weakened and see Russian influence as beneficial to the endeavor. Private businesses will not spend money expressly for the common good and Congress will not pay (subsidize) businesses to buttress their security infrastructure unless it is hidden in some reconciliation bill.

What I am more interested in is being reassured that there is a black budget for some sort of internet nuclear weapon that can offer mutually assured, internet enabled, destruction to keep our adversaries from taking an existential step toward wide-scale internet disruption. As for commercial technology theft, I think it is going to happen no matter what, and our response needs to be a commercial cold war with effective diplomacy, intergovernmental trade associations, and enhanced R&D funding to keep ahead of China.

And remember, I do not know what I am talking about.

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Thank you. And I agree with you about the scale gap between the problem being discussed, and the remedies suggested for us as individuals.

This is really something that can be addressed only by large-scale measures and solutions. I will try to learn more about how much is actually underway in this regard, as you suggest in your closing paragraphs.

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Sep 8, 2023Liked by James Fallows

-Thank you for your great articles!

-we are getting a master class, it is so much fun for your subscribers

-enjoy your weekend, all, and on to foliage season! :)

-for great foliage views https://www.mountwashingtonairport.com


-The Best Tech Quotes of the Year Wired, 2018

Nicholas Thompson

- " Fourteen memorable lines, from an ethicist ruing the use of CRISPR to edit a baby's genes, to Elon Musk's 'plan' to take Tesla private. "



- #1. “The red line is miles behind us now. It’s no longer in sight.”

—Helen O’Neill, Crispr expert, after the first Crispr’d babies were born. November 29

- “How long is the wait usually to, um, be seated?”

—Google’s AI-powered Duplex, in a jaw-dropping demonstration of just how far voice-recognition has come.

- “A sense of open-ended mystery in reality and in life is absolutely core to being a good scientist or a good technologist or, for that matter, a good writer, a good artist, or just a good human being.”

—Jaron Lanier, the creator of VR, and now one of the philosophers of the industry.

- “We are now facing not just a technological crisis but a philosophical crisis.”

—Yuval Noah Harari, surely the most-read author in Silicon Valley, in conversation with Tristan Harris, surely one of the most influential voices of the past year

- “Congressman, iPhone is made by a different company.”

—Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, explaining why he can’t explain notifications on a device made by Apple. December 11

- “Nothing is ever real until he sends the tweet.”

—A member of the Trump administration, natch. November 13

- “I would rather spend time with the people that are 100 percent aligned with what I want to do and the person that’s most aligned with what I want to do is me.”

—Chamath Palihapitiya, CEO of Social Capital, explaining the turmoil at his firm. September 20

- “I live with a beginner’s mind. I didn’t realize two weeks ago I was going to buy Time.”

—Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce and now the owner of Time. September 17

- “Avoid at ALL COSTS any mention or implication of AI. Weaponized AI is probably one of the most sensitized topics of AI—if not THE most. This is red meat to the media to find all ways to damage Google.”

—Fei Fei Li, an AI pioneer at Google, in an email to colleagues about the company’s controversial work on a Defense Department initiative called Project Maven. Published May 30

- “Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.”

—Elon Musk, tweeting while driving to the airport. August 7

- “Senator, we run ads.”

—Mark Zuckerberg, in congressional testimony, explaining what the company actually does. The phrase quickly became a punchline at Facebook.

- “While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.”

—Sanofi, the maker of Ambien, responding to claims by Roseanne Barr that the drug may have inspired a Twitter rant.

- “I sold my users’ privacy to a larger benefit. I made a choice and a compromise. And I live with that every day.”

—Brian Acton, founder of WhatsApp, on his regrets


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Diana, thank you. I really appreciate / look forward to your quotes and references.

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Sep 8, 2023Liked by James Fallows

thank you so much!

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Sep 8, 2023·edited Sep 8, 2023Liked by James Fallows

"Like" all comments in the comments section, it is great to hear from others!

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