Mental illness is linked to time and distraction. Time passing too fast, or too slow, all in bad ways. Time disconnected from the world, distracted by an interior landscape. It’s about time lost, time left, time that can be productive, time that is unproductive, the slow passing of painful time. It often precludes what people think of as useful time, all while life is passing and being lost forever.

Last time I tried normal corproate work like life was many years ago. I gained 30 pounds and became suicidally depressed. I quit that job after a nervous break down and…


“Beyond the age of information, there is the age of choices.”

― Charles Eames

Back in the early 2000s, I wrote a blog post (sadly now lost to the entropy of the web) asking when video games would have their Alan Moore moment. By this I meant the moment when video games would stop being low culture and pure entertainment and entered the realm of Capital L Literature, like comic books had two decades before. By the 1980s the comic book had evolved from “rotting kids’ brains” to Works of Literature, with titles like Moore’s V for Vendetta and Watchmen.


Covid news never stops coming, and it won’t stop coming until people stop getting Covid. Current talk is about boosters to deal with falling antibody levels in the vaccinated, and Mu. Mu is the latest in a mysterious parade of greek letters going through the media: a (newish) variant of SARS-CoV-2 spreading around the world.

Will Mu kill you? Do you need a booster if you’re fully vaccinated?

Probably not on both counts. What is more likely to kill you than Mu, or Delta, or a lack of a third shot, is letting the virus continue to evolve. Right now…


Politicians focusing on emissions during climate disasters are playing a deadly con game, whether they know it or not.

Last year, when California’s fire season was destroying homes and lives again, Governor Gavin Newsom responded by banning the sale of all new gas-powered cars by 2035.

This year, when parts of Germany, Belgium, and Luxembourg washed away, whole communities flooded to the point of destruction, EU President Ursula von der Leyen announced a proposal for a 55% emissions reduction by 2030, and also potentially banning the sale of new gas cars by 2035. …


This isn’t really about Afghanistan, it’s about us. Because the crazy things we do are always about America, all of our ridiculous wars are about us.

When I saw the Twin Towers fall on the TV in the early morning of 9/11 in Portland, OR, I had a single thought:

My country is going to go insane.

I wasn’t wrong. We lost our fucking minds in the years after 9/11.

President Bush’s approval rating shot up to 90%, or higher, depending on who you asked. But I still hated him, because he was awful and inept and only got elected…


I was locked out of Twitter for over a year. Partly this was my own stubbornness — when my account was frozen for hate speech, I had to give Twitter a phone number in addition to a working email, but that was in violation of their own terms of service. I opened tickets to this effect a lot of times, and they were always closed without response. I wasn’t going to, and never, did give them a phone number, because that wasn’t in their own rules.

I wanted to pursue this somehow, given one would hope a social media company…


It’s been a rough summer dealing with the Delta variant of Covid-19. The virus is spreading fast, kids are being hospitalized at higher rates than ever, and after everything we’ve been through, Delta just seems like a crowbar to the kneecaps. With a leaked CDC slide deck (which probably shouldn’t have been taken as seriously as it was) saying it should be treated like “a whole new virus” and that “the war has changed” it can seem apocalyptic. So, what has make Delta so different from anything that came before in the pandemic?

First off, it’s not a whole new…


Masks have been contentious and strange for the whole pandemic, but they’ve also been secretly wonderful. Not all masks, not ill-fitting masks without good filtration, not worn-out surgical masks which spent their lives as chin straps, not bulky and uncomfortable N95s, they weren’t great. But wearing a well-fitted-and-filtering mask out in public — that has been wonderful.

What Didn’t Happen

We didn’t catch Covid-19, which was great, obviously. We didn’t spread it if we had it, and we didn’t become accidental murderers. But it was more than that. We also didn’t catch any colds or flus, no sniffles, none of those mysteriously listless…


Serious Business for serious business white people.

Like many Americans, I learned that there was no point in giving AIDS drugs to Africans because they didn’t have watches from The West Wing, and therefore Africans can’t tell what time it is and take their ART (Anti-Retroviral Therapy) drugs appropriately. A waste of our generous help!

That idea was racist and ignorant when it aired, it was racist and conniving when the incident it was based on happened, and viewing it now is jaw dropping. It was so seductively shot, so convincing in its presentation, that I kind of believed it for a moment, even though I knew


Nah I’m kidding. But the title is true — why?

Infosec had a hilarious near-universal melt-down when a business school’s IT prof, Allen Gwinn, somehow got a security opinion piece published in an inside-the-beltway political blog. Ok I guess? It was… not wholly accurate.

Well, someone’s gotta take this one on — and really, who better to comment than a twice-canceled social pariah former-tech-journalist-slash-former-mediocre-sysadmin on what really causes breaches?

Breaches and bugs are not an inevitable part of everything complicated thing we make — no one has yet taken over a Mars rover for a joyride, or used the ISS to mine Bitcoin. But there’s a reason that when I…

Quinn Norton

A journalist, essayist, and sometimes photographer of Technology, Science, Hackers, Internets, and Civil Unrest.

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