Rick Smolan: Who is the Enemy of the State?
Rick Smolan is a photographer who used to work for National Geographic and Time and the creator of the Day in the Life series.
Rick Smolan: So, you know, whenever people ask me what my favorite spreads are in the book, it’s a little like which are your favorite children. You sort of love them all for different reasons. One of the ones that has kind of emerged in the course doing the project is someone just anecdotally was in our office one day and showed me a presentation they were giving, and in the presentation was this picture of the old FBI filing system from the 50s.
Of the women with little files, card catalogues in this vast sort of warehouse. I thought it was such a cool picture and so much the opposite of our idea of how we store data today. And then someone showed me a picture of Julian Assange’s data center, a hundred feet underground in Sweden, which had similar shapes. So I thought this is really cool; these are file catalogues, and here are these huge data servers.
And then I thought I wonder if there’s some story about J. Edgar Hoover that Time Magazine did as a hero back then. And we found this wonderful Time Magazine cover and, of course, back then he was a hero; he was the head of the FBI, saving the free world. And now found out that in fact he was using a lot of this information for his own personal purposes. Then we found a Time Magazine cover with Julian Assange, basically being very critical of him and saying he was destroying. It’s very interesting to me; I wonder if 50 years from now we'll look back, maybe Julian will be the hero and J. Edgar Hoover will be the enemy of the state.
The time changes the way that we understand perspective. So I thought that the way that page evolved was interesting and the last thing that I thought about was really fun was that someone made a comment that, in fact, the data center where the WikiLeaks data is stored is actually much more vulnerable to attack than the FBI filing system, which you could've gotten in there and if you did get in then there was no Xerox machine and there was certainly no thumb drives. So the fact that all this data actually ended up in WikiLeaks was basically snuck out on a CD-ROM or on little thumb drives, would’ve been impossible back in the '50s. So that was actually more secure, even though it was much less accessible.
The page has this wonderful sort of echoes back and forth through technology and space and time and politics and history. And it’s one of my favorite spreads in the book.
Directed/produced by Jonathan Fowler and Dillon Fitton
Rick Smolan: I wonder if 50 years from now we'll look back, maybe Julian Assange will be the hero and J. Edgar Hoover will be the enemy of the state.
By working together, and learning from one another, we can build better systems.
- Many of the things that we experience, are our imagination manifesting into this physical realm, avers artist Dustin Yellin.
- People need to completely rethink the way they work together, and learn from one another, that they they can build better systems. If not, things may get "really dark" soon.
- The first step to enabling cooperation is figuring out where the common ground is. Through this method, despite contrary beliefs, we may be able to find some degree of peace.
Great ideas in philosophy often come in dense packages. Then there is where the work of Marcus Aurelius.
- Meditations is a collection of the philosophical ideas of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius.
- Written as a series of notes to himself, the book is much more readable than the dry philosophy most people are used to.
- The advice he gave to himself 2,000 years ago is increasingly applicable in our hectic, stressed-out lives.
The periodic table was a lot simpler at the beginning of the universe.
- Michelle Thaller's "absolute favorite fact in the universe" is that we are made of dead stars.
- The Big Bang, when it went off, produced basically three elements: hydrogen, helium, and lithium. Every atom more complex had to be formed inside a star. Over time, stars such as the sun produce things like carbon and oxygen.
- They don't really get much more far off the periodic table than that. If you want to go any farther than the element iron, then you actually need a very violent explosion, a supernova explosion.
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