Options Techtonic with Mark Hurst: Playlist from February 22, 2021 Options

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Conversations with creators and thinkers who are charting the way forward in a tech-saturated society. Tech, community, video games, and whatever else is next.

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Options February 22, 2021: Annie Jacobsen, author, "First Platoon"

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Tonight: Annie Jacobsen, author, "First Platoon"


First Platoon: A Story of Modern War in the Age of Identity Dominance, by Annie Jacobsen

@AnnieJacobsen (Twitter)

AnnieJacobsen.com (author site)


Techtonic reading list, from listener Cris: a chronological list of the books featured on past shows.

• Re the consequences of mis-identification (unintentional or possibly intentional), here's past guest Jack Poulson commenting (Feb 16) on the recent Palantir Q4 earnings call:

"Palantir in every missile... or drone" - or perhaps both: Palantir controlling a drone with a missile.

• On drones, listen to the Sept 9, 2019 Techtonic: Arthur Holland Michel, author, Eyes in the Sky: The Secret Rise of Gorgon Stare and How It Will Watch Us All.

• On Palantir, listen to the recent Jan 18, 2021 Techtonic with Sarah Brayne, author, Predict and Surveil: Data, Discretion, and the Future of Policing.

• Chris Gilliard, past guest, quoted in OneZero (Feb 16): "Amazon is essentially selling fear... They're selling the idea that a more surveilled society is a safer one."

• See also Chris Gilliard (Feb 16): "When people point out that surveillance, no matter its ostensible use, is inevitably going to be used against Black folks, this is what they mean." The LAPD Asked Ring Owners to Hand Over Footage of BLM Protesters (Gizmodo, Feb 16), which quotes this Intercept piece by Sam Biddle (Feb 16).

• See also the original emails between Amazon Ring and the LAPD, courtesy the EFF: "Ring’s in-house law enforcement liaisons were helping officers use an interface that would allow them to send bulk video requests to specific neighborhoods or broader geographic areas."

• And see also Vice (Aug 5, 2019): Amazon Is Coaching Cops on How to Obtain Surveillance Footage Without a Warrant.

• Below, law-enforcement partnerships with Ring, courtesy that same EFF piece:

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Artist Track Images Approx. start time
  Annie Jacobsen discusses her book "First Platoon: A Story of Modern War in the Age of Identity Dominance"
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  Mark's intro  
  Interview with Annie Jacobsen  
0:04:11 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
  Mark's comments after the interview  
0:35:10 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
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0:54:52 (MP3 | Pop‑up)

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Listener comments!

Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:00pm Handy Haversack:

Mark and the Techyon Drives!

The Techgin is poured, and from the look of today's topic, we're gonna need it!

I might be cooking during parts of the show, but I will be listening. Who could ear-look away?!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:00pm ultradamno:

Mark! Techtontenants!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:00pm listener james from westwood:

How do, Mark and all!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:01pm tim from champaign (now washington):

Lay it on me, Mark!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:02pm melinda:

hola techtons
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:02pm Doug in JC:

Oops, I poured tech cider. Hope that's ok. I had a fancy mushroom dinner and it seems appropriate to follow
  6:02pm TIGER:

Hello World!
  6:02pm David in London:

Hello Technoids! Greetings Mark.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:02pm Carmichael:

Heya Mark and tech heads.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:03pm Handy Haversack:

ultradamno, James, Tim, Melinda, Doug, David, Carmichael, good to see you, Techpals!

Doug, what kind of cider?
  6:04pm David in London:

Handy, ultradamno, Tim, Doug, Melinda, Carmichael. Hello groovesome folk.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:04pm ultradamno:

In other tech failures, Daft Punk have broken up. They are programmed for an insincere, disappointing reunion tour cash grab in seven years, though.

Hiya Handy, DiL!!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:04pm Handy Haversack:

(Or I guess what cider OS are you on?)
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:05pm tim from champaign (now washington):

Hey DiL!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:05pm Doug in JC:

Doc's. something something small batch. Great place to visit if you get a chance!
Avatar 6:05pm DjLorraine:

Hi Mark, Olivia, Scott and Annie Jacobson
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:05pm PaulRobeson1920:

Warm greetings one and all!
  6:05pm Davefrom Brooklyn:

Thanks Mark for all you bring to our table. Last weeks authors book was fantastic
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:06pm Rich in Washington:

It's a crucial stage of a modern band's revenue stream, ultradamno - the 'break-up'.
  6:06pm Roland from Australia:

Hello from Rainbow Beach, Australia, one never knows what’s on the menu, but I think FB have stepped over the line agains all Australians and I suspect this Austaliann news ban this will go down as a tipping point in FB’s well deserved future. I learned from this show, that FB negotiate discuss and embrace and then at the last minute pull away from the negociation with an aggressive slap and well planned attack and here we have it right in front of us but at a Continental scale.
Avatar 6:06pm sbw:

Hi, Mark and everybody, from Venice, California!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:06pm Doug in JC:

Also, hello everyone!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:06pm Mark Hurst:

Hi all, thanks for joining in!
Avatar 6:07pm Bas NL:

Hi Mark, all!
Avatar 6:07pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:07pm -Ken:

oooh I just realized I read Annie's Area 51 book.. Hi everybody. Drinking Techquila, myself
  6:07pm David in London:

Daft Punk won’t be playing at my house.
Avatar 6:07pm Claire from Montclair:

Hi all!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:08pm Mark Hurst:

@Ken this story is definitely one to enjoy a favorite beverage with...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:08pm Doug in JC:

@David Everyone has their price...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:08pm -Ken:

Spoiler! Spoiler! Reveal what it is!
  6:08pm headcleaner:

@roland - goes to show that we're probably all better off just ditching FB altogether
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:08pm melinda:

Ready for informative and shocking!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:09pm ultradamno:

Hiya Rich, it is all part of the trajectory
Avatar 6:10pm HyperDose:

Uh oh, we have chicken pox...again.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:11pm Ken From Hyde Park:

Good evening, Mark and bio-units.
Avatar 6:12pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

'Changed @ the speed of ScienceFiction.'
Oh - this thing I'm feeling is that Future Shock I used to hear about...
Avatar 6:12pm herb.nyc:

And tv crime shows can biometric-ize us. Like yesterday's "the equalizer" (dumb show, I can't turn away)
  6:12pm ?:

is there a way on wfmu to post anonymous comments with tor browser
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:12pm melinda:

@Ken I'd like to check out her Area 51 book. I read another book about Area 51 but disappointed as it was sort of geared towards aircraft nerds, which I am not.
  6:12pm Cris:

Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:13pm Handy Haversack:

Though "panopticon" means that we modify our behavior to conform because of the idea of being observed -- actual observation is not necessary if we all assume all of this is being observed. I wonder when we'll hit that point -- or if we already have.

tl;dr: Don't take the coffee the cop offers you!
  6:13pm David in London:

When the inevitable scandal emerges about the misuse of gait-related biometric data, will it be Gaitgate?

I’ll get my coat...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:14pm PaulRobeson1920:

Oh I’ll be Glistening alright! Putting 51% of the responsibility for listening on the receiver.

Jesus! War is the enemy of all common people everywhere! Horrible horrible war.

Panopticon concept coined by Foucault
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:14pm melinda:

@David in London hehe
  6:14pm yip:

biometrics sounds greek to me
Avatar 6:15pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

War is the Opposite of Civilization.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:15pm PaulRobeson1920:

The lessons from the Vietnam war are as fresh and poignant today as 50 years ago... Horrible horrible war.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:17pm ultradamno:

Let Canada have the biometric system, I'm sticking to good old bioinches.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:17pm tim from champaign (now washington):

@David - That's a step too far.
Avatar 6:17pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

War is Foggy, is what I have heard...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:18pm PaulRobeson1920:

19 teen years old was average age of the American solider in Vietnam. WWII average age was 26
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:18pm melinda:

holy shit
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:18pm Mark Hurst:

@melinda it gets worse
Avatar 6:18pm Bas NL:

Follow the money.
Avatar 6:19pm herb.nyc:

Our constitution protects us from casual collection of our biometrics? Those lousy terrorists have no constitutional rights, however, sez Bill Barr (I think)
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:19pm Uncle Michael:

I'm going to have to listen to this on the archive.
  6:20pm Ed:

I wonder if the DOD is getting biometric data from Google's FIT band Data?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:20pm chris in the redwoods:

nininininineteen. nineteen. (thanks Hardcastle)
also timid greetings Mark and folks. this whole subject turns my stomach (defense spending *and* dystopian present).
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:20pm full_english_breakfast:

should i be a shit-stirrer or a chillionaire today
Avatar 6:21pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

We're Bringing the War Back Home
...nothing new there...
Avatar 6:22pm herb.nyc:

Next week, Abbi Jacobsen of Broad City, plz.
  6:22pm Robby:

I am really not shocked or surprised by this. Don’t know what special information I have, but I kind of assumed that this was long happening.
Avatar 6:24pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

Bill of Digital Rights slips an ocean even further away - hohum...
  6:24pm Cris:

31,587,910 People was viable for the gov
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:24pm ultradamno:

...and Disenchantment, she'd have to plug her current project.
Avatar 6:24pm Fredericks:

This predictive policing is exactly what's happening in Pasco County Florida.
Avatar 6:25pm DjLorraine:

DaveinLondon, Gaitgate hehe
  6:25pm david:

i think in the west is even worse since we have google and facebook following us everywhere through our phones. and many people are now giving them access to their living rooms through alexa and whatnot. we don't need soldiers scanning us house by house, we blindly give them all this data
Avatar 6:25pm Fredericks:

  6:25pm headcleaner:

@mark: this unnamed president = Obama?
  6:27pm Dano:

Both important and scary.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:31pm chris in the redwoods:

going for a walk, but will catch the remainder in the archives. thanks, Mark.
Avatar 6:31pm herb.nyc:

"Throw a bowl of spaghetti at the wall" our guest says. I say "watch the movie The Odd Couple w Lemon and Matthau”.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:31pm Megaroni:

This author is so brave and I am grateful to you Techtonic to be hearing it on your show rather than YouTube!
Avatar 6:32pm HyperDose:

War is totally bunk, man.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:32pm PaulRobeson1920:

A sense of Tribe. Sebastian Junger
Avatar 6:32pm Folsom:

@herb.nyc "Now it's garbage!
Avatar 6:34pm Fredericks:

This part reminds of what I heard people saying about Trayvon Martin after he was shot. It's criminalizing the victims of violence after the fact.
Avatar 6:36pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

What Malcolm X said about the power of a Medium to brand the Oppressor & the Oppressed.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:37pm full_english_breakfast:

what does Annie Jacobsen think about the JFK assassination?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:37pm PaulRobeson1920:

A loving society is our goal. To bring about a loving society and create not merely “peace in our time” but peace in all time. For all men and women. We are not helpless before this task or hopeless of its success...

But we shall also do our part to build a world of peace where the weak are safe and the strong are just. We are not helpless before that task or hopeless of its success. Confident and unafraid, we labor on--not toward a strategy of annihilation but toward a strategy of peace.
Avatar 6:37pm Fredericks:

Yes, Rev.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:38pm ultradamno:

There was a nice montage of media people declaring they went to Harvard on John Oliver last night (off the graphic)
  6:40pm David in London:

Gorgon Stare. Ye Gods. The clue’s in the name.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:41pm PaulRobeson1920:

95% of the worlds Poppy is grown in Afghanistan (2010)
  6:41pm Spence in Baltimore:

Actually, the surveillance plane in Baltimore was grounded. Thanks to the new mayor, the contract was ended.
Avatar 6:41pm TDK60:

Hi Mark, and thanks.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:42pm PaulRobeson1920:

One of main principals of journalism is follow the money? Right
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:45pm PaulRobeson1920:

“War Is A Racket”

The Vietnam war 1954-1975 Cruel horrible war. Why? Why!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:45pm ultradamno:

@DiL there are loopholes to that stare issue though, it seems twitter.com...
  6:46pm Ed:

The whole episode recalls most of the music Jello Biafra wrote with the Dead Kennedys, Like "I am the Owl" or almost all of his spoken word albums.
Avatar 6:46pm coelacanth∅:

i'm pretty sure most trump/bush supporters would say a few innocent afganis getting killed is a small price to pay for "our" "safety"
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:48pm tim from champaign (now washington):

Palantir sounds like the tech Blackwater.
  6:49pm headcleaner:

coelacanth∅ - so would obama/biden/clinton, but with a lot more obfuscation. (No, I'm not saying they're equivalent to trump/bush. But we're far from out of the woods, as far as this stuff goes)
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:50pm Ike:

@David@6:25, oh, the Chinese govt. definitely has its own versions of all of our social networks: www.dw.com...
Avatar 6:50pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

Problem w/ War politically is the Republican Party beats its chest as Patriotic Nationalists - & escalating Military Spending &tc.
...then the Democratic Party 'has to' show it is 'Patriotic' too by being Militaristic. Military spending in the USA is the largest thing the human race has ever engaged in. Is this for Peace?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:51pm Ken From Hyde Park:

News of the Future™: "North Korean hackers successfully tapped the Palantir database."
Avatar 6:52pm HyperDose:

That's it, I'm getting a typewriter
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:52pm Megaroni:

Greedazon is thee most evil ever! Please continue to call them out Mark!
Avatar 6:53pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

& as a Tolkien fan - resent the lift of the word 'Palantir' - when a distinct Tolkien theme was the evil of military-industrial technology against humanity... Also ironic - as the Palantiri enabled people to perceive things @ a distance - & often as not screwed up their judgment &/or morale by doing so...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:53pm PaulRobeson1920:

“Handsome Johnny with a rifle In his hand and here comes the guided missile...”

we will live together as brothers or perish together as fools.

I choose brotherhood. <3
  6:54pm Cris:

Selling insurance policies
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:54pm Ken From Hyde Park:

Also from Vice: John Deere not implementing right-to-repair policies that they promised. www.vice.com...
  6:54pm Cris:

Without any insurance
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:55pm tim from champaign (now washington):

This is not very eloquent nor original but Amazon sucks major ass.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:55pm PaulRobeson1920:

A loving society is a worthy goal. Good for one and good for all!
Avatar 6:56pm Bas NL:

Thanks Mark, Annie!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:56pm Handy Haversack:

A great and necessary show tonight, Mark! Thanks so much.

Hey, Tech pals, we're all wearing masks. Carry paint along, and if you happen to notice an Amazon Ring, well ... nature abhors an identity vacuum.
Avatar 6:56pm HyperDose:

Vice's tech coverage is great. I miss the Cyberwar show. Riveting television.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:56pm melinda:

@tim it does
  6:56pm wendy del formaggio:

Your show is a mitzvah, Mark Hurst!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:56pm listener james from westwood:

Many thanks, Mark!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:56pm melinda:

Thanks Mark!
Avatar 6:56pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

Has been observed that you keep your Police & your Military separate because - one protects the People - & the there defends against Enemies - & if you bring them together - the People become the Enemy.
This has been catastrophic enuff w/ guns & standard soldier equipment
- but here is the tale of A.I. involved in the same...
  6:57pm headcleaner:

we miss you daniel!
  6:57pm Roland from Australia:

Loved the show, thanks
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:57pm listener james from westwood:

hah, I was telling someone over the weekend who'd ask me WTF was going on in Australia that I'd have a better sense of it after listening to this show! Looking forward to the scoop next week!
  6:57pm David in London:

Thanks Mark.
Bedtime for me, night all.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:57pm Mark Hurst:

Thanks, everyone, appreciate your comments tonight.
Avatar 6:58pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

* the OTHER defends...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:58pm Mark Hurst:

@DiL good night and may you dream of many puns.
Avatar 6:59pm HyperDose:

Take care David
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:00pm tim from champaign (now washington):

Thanks, Mark!
Avatar 7:01pm coelacanth∅:

Thanks Mark
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