Bits: 06.25.13

• June 25 is George Orwell's 110th birthday! Let's celebrate with a look at the architecture of spying, news that sales of the Centennial Edition of Orwell's 1984  skyrocketed by 7000 percent in the days following leaks about the NSA's domestic surveillance programs, and a look at ZXX, the OCR-defying typeface my colleague and former NSA contractor Sang Mun made as both a piece of protest art and an homage to activists and artists fighting for civil rights online and off.

• Artist/experimental geographer Trevor Paglen on Edward Snowden and the threat of "turnkey tyranny":
...Politicians claim that the Terror State is necessary to defend democratic institutions from the threat of terrorism. But there is a deep irony to this rhetoric. Terrorism does not pose, has never posed and never will pose an existential threat to the United States. Terrorists will never have the capacity to “take away our freedom.” Terrorist outfits have no armies with which to invade, and no means to impose martial law. They do not have their hands on supra-national power levers like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. They cannot force nations into brutal austerity programs and other forms of economic subjugation. But while terrorism cannot pose an existential threat to the United States, the institutions of a Terror State absolutely can. Indeed, their continued expansion poses a serious threat to principles of democracy and equality...
• Istanbul-based artist Erdem Gündüz's protest against the Turkish government's crackdown on dissenters last week--in which he stood stock still, intent on doing so for a full month--has drawn the attention of police and a spate of silent protests across the country in solidarity.

• Ai Weiwei's first rock album, The Divine Comedy, is now available on iTunes, or you can listen to it at Soundcloud or on his website.

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