The air in the room is heavy with the argument. He doesn’t understand where she’s coming from. He wants only a little it won’t even be noticeable if he uses just a dab. She is adamant. No he cannot at all ever use it under any circumstances. He crosses the room to take the little box it’s kept in from her hand. She warns him that he better not dare to remove it from its safe place nestled among the satiny fabric. He ignores her, placing the box down before reaching his hand in to grab it. Smack. His fingers jerk away from the tiny bottle of cologne as if he’s been burned. He turns to face her, indignation showing clear on his face.

The cologne contained in the bottle really wasn’t all that special in its early days. Just one of many mass-produced copies of the same liquid in the same bottle. Her grandmother, however, saw it as more than that. She saw it as a part of her husband. It was the cologne he had used all through the many years of their marriage, and this was the last bottle of it she had ever bought for him.

The little bottle had always been there throughout most of her childhood, tucked away into a little box that she had painted herself. It usually went unnoticed. The box containing it was generally hidden somewhere in a draw, and her hand would brush it slightly as she grabbed clothes. That was the way it usually was, just in the periphery of her mind. Except for the times when she was all alone and her sister wasn’t in their shared room. On these rare occasions, she would carefully take the box from its draw. She would open it lovingly and take out the tiny little bottle, smiling at the opaque yellow liquid within. Gently unscrewing the cap, she would take a deep breath. She would let the familiar scent wash over her, a delicate reminder of days past with a grandfather that she adored until his passing. It was like a magical charm. If she closed her eyes and tried hard enough, she could almost feel his big hands lifting her up into the air the way they had as a toddler. She could nearly hear his deep voice rumbling, and her mind’s picture of his face lost some of the blurriness it acquired over the years.

“This Machine Kills Secrets”

This Machine Kills Secrets,” a novel by Andy Greenberg, gives an account of historical events that led to the creation of WikiLeaks. The novel discusses concepts, such as privacy and civil liberties, which were the reason the site was started in the first place. The novel also goes into the advanced technology, which makes WikiLeaks possible.

One of these technologies is a program called Tor, which allows leakers to the site to remain anonymous. Tor, and other similar encryption technologies, is only in use today thanks to people battling the government for the right to use them. The fight made in order to use these technologies took place in the 1990’s in what were called the crypto wars. The crypto wars weren’t really wars in the usual sense of the word, and were really more debates and discussions than anything else. These debates happened on online forums where Julian Assange was both a reader as well as a contributor.

Although encryption technologies have made it possible for leakers to remain anonymous, sites like WikiLeaks still face many problems. In order for people to be willing to leak, the site must appear trustworthy to would be leakers. If potential leakers don’t know who is behind the site, they won’t leak information in case the government runs it. This creates a problem because once the site is no longer anonymous it faces issues like spies joining the staff and threats to its online presence.

The ability for leakers to remain anonymous is also being threatened in ways that encryption can’t prevent. Companies who face leaks are, in some cases, able to learn the identity of the leaker by seeing who accesses the information on their network. There is also a new mandate that all employees in federal intelligence agencies who take lie detector tests are to be questioned about leaking.

Personally, I can’t decide whether or not WikiLeaks is a good thing or a bad thing. On the one hand, it creates a lot of danger by allowing the whole world access to sensitive information. Some of the information on the site could very well cause a rise in tensions between countries, which, at the best may cause problems with international relations and at worst, the outbreak of wars. The site also has the potential to cause problems with military activity and may place soldiers in even more danger than they originally faced. On the other hand, WikiLeaks really does do a lot of good. Governments will, hopefully, respond to the knowledge that secrets are no longer all that safe by increasing their transparency. The threat of sensitive information becoming public also encourages governments to stop activities and such that their people would disapprove. The site also helps expose corruption, and therefore limit corruption.

What is your opinion on the site, WikiLeaks? Do you think that it is harmful? Do you think that WikiLeaks is more beneficial than anything else? Do you think that people have a right to know their government’s secrets?

Where I live…

I live in the things I love, or rather, through them. They follow me in different ways throughout my life and shape the world around me.

This is my dog.

His  name is Oliver and he is my little angel. He literally follows me around  like a puppy whenever we’re together. I can’t even be in the bathroom for a minute before he starts whimpering at the door. It’s nice though, having a creature so attached to you, when he’s around I’m never lonely and I live in a state of perpetual company. His presence gives me the energy to go out and experience the world in a way I never bothered to before I had him. When I still lived at home, I would take him for an hour long walk every night. It was really nice to have an excuse for going outside after dark. I get restless at night.

This is my best friend, Becca. I haven’t known her very long, but we are inseparable and I’ve never had a friendship like the one I have with her. During the last few weeks of summer, I literally saw her every single day. And when she was out for the day, I’d ask her when she was coming home, referring to my house, or when she was going to take me home, meaning her house. It’s really lovely, to have two homes. I’ve experienced so much that I otherwise wouldn’t have thanks to her. She has a driver’s license, so I experienced the freedom to go wherever I wanted over the summer (Where I wanted to go was wherever she was). I live through music, my ipod provides almost constant noise to me as I go through my daily life. I love music with every fiber of my being and she does too. We have similar tastes and she has introduced me to some artists that are now part of my identity. She also accompanied me to multiple concerts that I couldn’t have gone to otherwise (Concerts are one of my favorite things and a huge part of my life. They’re how I meet new friends and get really close with one sI already have). We went to the Blackout Forever Tour, Bamboozle, and Warped Tour.

The Blackout Forever Tour and Bamboozle bring me to my next picture.  The lovely man in that picture with me is Eliot Lorango. He is the bassist for a band called Matt Toka, who I first saw on the Blackout Forever Tour. I met him after the show and he was super sweet. A few months later, when we were at Bamboozle, Becca recognized him walking along one of the streets in the concert and we wound up talking to him again. He remembered us, probably due to my pink and blue hair, and we wound up befriending him. The next day we made a sign for him and were at front for his set. We talked to him after the show and he asked if he could keep it. It was apparently his first sign ever! (We unfortunately misspelled his name though.) We hung out with him and the guitarist, John, on and off for the rest of Bamboozle. We also spent some time with them at their tent during Warped Tour. Eliot, and the band Matt Toka, are now an important part of my life. I can always get excited when I know I’ll be seeing them again and I constantly check to see if they are touring nearby. The really funny thing about Eliot, is that he represents one of the things that brought me and Becca so close together in the first place. The Blackout Forever Tour, which he was on, was the first concert I went to with Becca, and very much responsible for my very intimate friendship with her. So my friendship with Becca, circles back to Eliot, who circles back to my love of music. My dog, my best friend, and my music are all a big part of my life and I live in them and through them.


Liz Fields

Hi I’m Liz. I used to live in Mahopac but I’m dorming in Manhattan right now. I really love going to concerts and crowd surfing and moshing. I also have a passion for hair dye and some of my friends refer to me as the human rainbow. I love exploring and trying new things and I’m really looking forward to the next four years.