Daily Archives: April 23, 2011

Lew Binford is Dead

Archaeologist Lew Binford has died at the age of 79 at his home in Kirksville, Mo. He died of a a heart attack.

I knew Lew a little, having spent some time with him while I was in graduate school, and having met him at the occassional conference (he was famous for NOT going to conferences very often by the time the 1980s rolled around).

Lew was a dick, a very smart guy, and probably had as much influence on archaeology as any other individual. Those who have taken classes from me know that I’ve got a few stories to tell about him. But not now.

RIP Lew Binford. May your bones be dug up some day by someone with a strong grounding in Middle Range Theory.


iPhones know where they are, so they probably know where you are, and these data have been captured and maintained by the Apple devices and have been used by police in geoForensic investigations. Crushing civil liberties? There’s an app for that!

Apple came to international attention in 1984 when the upstart computer company bought Superbowl Halftime ad space to show how they could destroy Big Brother. I’m not sure who Big Brother was at the time (it may have been a combination of IBM and Microsoft) but this was a direct reference to Orwell’s book “Nineteen Eighty-Four”.

Ironically, or perhaps expectedly, there is little in the computer world more Orwellian than a widely used and much loved hand held device being distributed widely and lovingly, which secretly keeps track of your location, and secretly storing those data where they could later become available to The State. I wonder what else they are keeping track of? I wonder if we know where all the copies of these data are stored?

The Linux-based Android system also collects these data but does not send it to Big Brother unless you tell it to.

Following is a summary of recent posts and news reports on this and closely related topics to give you an idea of the nature and magnitude of this problem.
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