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Joel Meyerowitz was the only photographer with regular access to Ground Zero in the weeks and months following 9/11. As part of our Commemorative 9/11 issue, TIME commissioned Meyerowitz to venture back to Ground Zero and document the rapid changes at the site since late 2010. Meyerowitz was able to reflect on and even re-photograph many of the locations in his seminal work, Aftermath: World Trade Center Archive.

To see TIME’s 9/11 Commemorative issue visit Beyond 9/11:Portraits of Resilience.

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On September 11, 2001, photography editors across the world, overcome with a deluge of devastating imagery, faced the daunting task of selecting photos that would go on to define a catastrophe like no other. A decade later, TIME asked a wide variety of the industry’s leading photo editors, photographers, authors, educators, and bloggers to tell us which image moved them most—and why.

Some couldn’t choose one single image. Vin Alabiso, head of photography at the Associated Press on September 11, 2001, said, “Of the thousands of images that were captured, I thought only a handful would truly resonate with me. I was wrong. As a document of a day filled with horror and heroism, the collective work of so many professionals and amateurs leaves its own indelible mark on our memory.”

Holly Hughes, editor of Photo District News, said she was moved most by the photographs of the missing people that blanketed the city in the days after 9/11. “The images that can still move me to tears are the snapshots of happy, smiling people looking out from the homemade missing posters that were taped to signposts and doorways and mailboxes,” she said. “How those posters were made, the state of mind of the people who stood at Xerox machines to make copies, it’s too painful to contemplate. Those flyers stayed up around the city for weeks, through wind and rain, and became entwined with the sorrow and anxiety we carried with us day after day.”

Alabiso added, “A decade later, I could only wish that the most memorable photo of September 11, 2001, would not have been memorable at all…simply two towers silhouetted against a clear azure-blue sky.”

To visit TIME’s Beyond 9/11: A Portrait of Resilience, a project that chronicles 9/11 and its aftermath, click here.

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autopen.jpg

As noted here on Boing Boing yesterday, the US has renewed three key provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act that were to have expired last night at midnight, granting four more years of overly broad surveillance of Americans. After the Senate and House rushed the extension with only a few lawmakers drawing attention to civil liberties concerns, the bill went before President Obama, to be signed into law.

What makes this news even more depressing? The president, who is on tour in Europe, didn't even sign it in person. According to a White House spokesperson, Obama used a device called an autopen, which mechanically reproduces a human signature.

This was an act so important that it must be signed into law at once to protect us from what Harry Reid suggested could be immediate terrorist acts, but not so important that the president might be inconvenienced during a foreign trip to return to Washington, D.C.

A Reuters item is here. Gawker has a timeline of Great Moments in Autopen History here, and links to this video (animated gif, Flash-ified?) of an autopen device in action. Over at the New York Times, Michael Shear notes that it's unclear whether president Bush ever used an autopen to sign a bill into law.

ABC News examines the constitutionality of using an autopen here, but that isn't enough to comfort conservative Georgia Republican congressman Tom Graves, who sent an email to reporters today:

I thought it was a joke at first, but the President did, in fact, authorize an autopen to sign the Patriot Act extension into law. Consider the dangerous precedent this sets. Any number of circumstances could arise in the future where the public could question whether or not the president authorized the use of an autopen. For example, if the president is hospitalized and not fully alert, can a group of aggressive Cabinet members interpret a wink or a squeeze of the hand as approval of an autopen signing? I am very concerned about what this means for future presidential orders, whether they be signing bills into law, military orders, or executive orders.

I don't know that I agree with Graves' fears (a wink! a squeeze!). But something just seems wrong about automating the process of signing this particular bill into law, given its far-reaching implications for the privacy and liberty of all Americans, and all the secrecy this law entails.

Maybe I'm having a Bill Keller moment: maybe the technology doesn't matter, and the analog ceremony of a human hand and a pen and a piece of paper is just familiar theater. But in this case, could the president have been any more detached?

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The Pakistan Taliban launched a brazen attack on a Pakistani naval base, killing at least 11 people and destroying two spy planes provided by the United States. Not only did the melee last through the night, the terrorists appeared to call on the power of the Dark Side of the Force to press their assault.

Pakistan’s humiliations compound. About twenty gunmen and suicide bombers successfully infiltrated what’s supposed to be a secure facility in the southern port city of Karachi, right as Pakistan is trying to project an image of martial strength in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s killing and a brief gunfight with NATO forces. Then the interior minister, Rehman Malik, made the bizarre statement that the terrorists resembled… Star Wars characters.

This is the second time in under two years that the Pakistani Taliban have struck deep and destructively into the heart of Pakistan’s military. The first, in October 2009, targeted the military’s General Headquarters in Rawalpindi. Like the Rawalpindi attack, the raid on Karachi’s PNS Mehran base — very, very far from the tribal areas — most likely involved operatives with knowledge of the facility. Not only were they able to infiltrate successfully, they found the hangars housing the P-3 Orion maritime surveillance aircraft, blowing them up like the Death Star.

Let’s pause for the message here. The Orions are supplied by the United States, something of a bribe for Pakistan’s counterterrorism aid. They play absolutely no role against al-Qaida: Orions hunt submarines — Indian submarines. It’s possible that the bin Laden killing prompted the Taliban to target any U.S.-supplied spycraft. But they attacked a navy base, not the Shamsi airfield used for the drone war. The Pakistani Taliban appear to be saying: Continue your alliance with the Americans, and your struggle with the Indians — Islamabad’s major strategic concern — will be a casualty.

It took Pakistani troops 15 hours to secure PNS Mehran. The newspaper Dawn reports that 11 Navy officials and a Ranger are dead, with 16 others wounded. Interior Minister Malik said that security officials recovered the head of a suicide bomber.

That wasn’t all he said. Not only did Malik appear to list far fewer attackers than Dawn reported, he said that they resembled Star Wars characters — although an AP reporter tweets that Malik, like so many, may have spaced and meant Star Trek figures instead. (Klingons?) So much for focusing on what matters.

What’s sad is now that I’m thinking WHICH Star Wars race would want to attack PNS Merhan and take out those military targets,” tweets writer Khaver Siddiqi. “4-6 Wookiee militants could easily take out an entire airbase,” contends @desmukh. Quo Vadis, Siddiqi wonders. (“Sullustans? Twi’leks? Wookiees? Hutts? Droids? Sand people?…”)

The judgment of al-Jazeera’s Evan Hill is more succinct: “Rehman Malik may have gone insane.”

Or Malik might have been freaked out. (Ask him about the attack yourself: he’s @SenRehmanMalik on Twitter.) PNS Mehran is just 15 miles from Pakistan’s largest air base — a likely repository of nukes. “Are Pakistani nuclear weapons safe, if the country’s military installations are vulnerable to penetration through force, stealth, or the exploitation of inside-information?” the Royal United Services Institute think tank wonders. Outside Mehran, Reuters finds passersby who wonder “how can any Pakistani feel safe” and suspect “India or the CIA could have been behind this.” Anger, fear, aggression: the Dark Side are they.

Update, 3:50 p.m.: As some commenters have noted, my friend Rob Farley of the University of Kentucky writes that he thinks the Orions were “were being used by Pakistan as COIN [counterinsurgency] patrol craft,” rather than for anti-submarine warfare, so the attack could have been meant to disrupt the Pakistanis’ campaign against the militants directly.

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vicious_cycles.gif

You know, I've never really thought about it before this but the ability to restart a game after you've died breaks immersion rather badly, doesn't it? I mean, things like that don't happen very often in the real world. The last time someone successfully utilized a checkpoint, we found ourselves with a new religion.

Politically incorrect humor aside, Vicious Cycles 2011 has me mesmerized. It's an experiment by the developer and a remake of a previous IF game that he had done, his attempt at having the original 'pared down to its most basic elements and interactions'. So, instead of text prompts and a lexicon of comments, we have instead hyperlinks and the player clicking through them.

It worked out surprisingly well. There's something elegant about Vicious Cycles 2011. You're apparently responsible for ensuring that a bomb does not go off within that section of the time line, a task easier said than done. Donning the body of a bystander, you go about your work and are sent backwards in time into someone else's mind if you don't succeed. See? Perfect explanation for a restart. The plot, I think, is reminiscent of Source Code (I haven't watched the movie myself but I'm told that comparisons have been drawn) but done in a more minimalist fashion.

I still haven't quite figured out how to beat the game yet but I'm enjoying the process. BloomEngine did not just make the game more accessible, he seems to have tightened the language as well.

Click here to play.

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