17.58, Monday 3 Jan 2011

There's been a lot about WikiLeaks recently: the leaked diplomatic cables, the discussion of the cables, the discussion of the ethics of releasing the cables, and news about the editor-in-chief Julian Assange and his way with women.

Bruce Sterling on WikiLeaks and Assange is a must-read: The Blast Shack. Not just because he digs into the sources of power, and not just because he always sees the human in the systemic (the fact Assange is a geek is not separable from the behaviour of his organisation) and vice-versa, but because Sterling's metaphor and language is incisive and heady, and reading it creates a feeling like eating too much monosodium glutamate. Get more of Sterling on his blog.

Assange's politics are themselves interesting. Aaron Bady unpacks them in Julian Assange and the Computer Conspiracy: he describes the state as authoritarian, and says that this necessarily produces conspiracy, a network of people who need to operate in secret. Then by attacking the internal information flows of the conspiracy (ie, releasing confidential diplomatic cables), you can provoke the conspiracy to act against itself.