Weekend Reading LI

by uber

NSA Computer Science Recruiting Video

I remember being quite surprised to see adverts for Three Letter Agencies in the back of the student journals from the USA. It makes sense, where are you going to hire people otherwise?
I wonder how those people feel right now, I am sure that the furore over the NSA leaks has done enormous harm to, and that there is a lot of misrepresentation of the facts, but there does also seem to be evidence of activities by the US Govt. which are very hard to justify. I feel like the truth will be the only thing not revealed in the clamour.


Working for the Wealthy

I’ve observed myself that wealth is a multiplier of personality, like power. They both remove barriers from people, so that otherwise strange decisions become desirable choices. If $10,000 dollars really isn’t an amount of money that you need to worry about, then super-luxury flights make perfect sense. It’s also why some people are apparently oddly parsimonious.

But what would you get such a person for Christmas?


Financial services is the “concierge of money” for the plutocrat class. We were suit-and-tie-wearing mandarins of their largesse who knew the details of clients’ finances better than they did; it was our job to anticipate their needs before it even occurs to them.

Establishing, managing, and amending clients’ investments and trusts were the obvious and most easily described portions of the work.

Less obvious was the political and relationship-management aspects of dealing with individuals whose Crocean fortunes can bestow upon them colossal egos and entitlement mentalities; managing a massive personal fortune often means managing their dirty secrets.

US Senate Monorail

But is there a chance the track could bend?


Senators received priority in boarding the cars, and the front seats were reserved for them at all times. One operator commented that he never waited for other passengers when there was a senator aboard, “unless it’s the Vice President.”

Christmas Shopping in Germany in 1939

When everything is rationed, what can you get as a gift? The UK was two weeks from rationing meat, and already feeling serious existential threat at that time.


The war has had a peculiar effect on Christmas shopping. Money is being freely spent, for two reasons; firstly there are people who feel that in war-time there is always a danger of inflation, and that there is no point in saving, and then there are others who are buying up all they can outside the rationing schemes in order to provide against a possible scarcity in the future. And in any case more money changes hands during the Christmas season than at any other. This year, however, one is at a loss to know what to buy as Christmas presents for one’s friends. Articles made of cloth, handkerchiefs, and the like, or anything for which one requires a certificate, are completely out of the question. I am told that sales of books have already reached record figure