The End of America

Lisa recommended this chilling lecture by Naomi Wolf. She makes a very strong case. The only problem is, if you're willing to listen to what she says, you're probably already part of the choir. If you know anyone who's on the fence on this, though, it's worth sending it their way, or at least worth watching yourself to help you organize your own arguments.

Ten steps to start a dictatorship:

  1. Invoke an internal or external threat (real or not)
  2. Create a secret prison system and military tribunal system outside the rule of law
  3. Create a paramilitary force
  4. Create a surveillance apparatus against ordinary citizens
  5. Arbitrarily detain and release citizens
  6. Infiltrate citizen's groups
  7. Target key individuals
  8. Restrict the press
  9. Recast criticism as espionage, and dissent as treason
  10. Subvert the rule of law / declare martial law



The graphic above asks "What's this?" The correct answer to the question is "a stupid user interface."

I'm seeing this on more and more sites. Double-click on a word and up pops a definition or a link to more information. Like on this page:

This isn't bad information, but it's bad UI design.

Double-clicking may or may not be how a user starts making a selection, but it certainly isn't how most users have learned to signal that they're done selecting text.

For instance, when reading the news story above, perhaps you want to learn more about Judicial Watch. You might double-click on "Judicial," drag your cursor over the second word, then release the mouse button to indicate that you've finished highlighting. Afterwards, you'd use your favorite method of searching for highlighted text.

Or maybe you'd do it differently. You have that choice. Just not on this site. On this site, double-clicking indicates that you're done selecting text. That's totally contrary to every mousing habit you've ever learned. This "feature" assumes we all have the same mousing habits as the designer, or what the designer thinks we should have, and if we don't we're shit out of luck.

I don't particularly want to have one site react differently to how I use my mouse than other sites do. It's akin to disabling my right-click menu or my browser's Back button. It's not a feature, it's a non-standard UI that users may or may not want to deal with.

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