Saturday, January 8, 2011

You Just Wait

Year to date statistics on Airport screening from the Department of Homeland Security

  • Terrorist Plots Discovered 0
  • Transvestites 133
  • Hernias 1,485
  • Hemeroid Cases 3,172
  • Enlarged Prostates 8,249
  • Breast Implants 59,350
  • Natural Blondes 3

Mirrored from Phil's Fun

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Approximate absolute sensitivities, expressed in everyday terms:

  • Vision – A candle flame seen at 30 miles on a dark, clear night
  • Hearing – The tick of a watch under quiet conditions at 20 feet
  • Taste – One teaspoon of sugar in two gallons of water
  • Smell – One drop of perfume diffused into the entire volume of a three-room apartment
  • Touch – The wing of a bee falling on your cheek from a distance of one centimeter

Via: Mind Hacks

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

We're in Debt, Why.

According to Germano, each mile of border fence costs US taxpayers about $4 million to build and will cost another $6.5 billion over the next 20 years to repair and maintain.

Kiewit is the contractor. (yeah, the same ones doing the Bay Bridge retrofit) In their defense, they actually have something in place. Boeing, of the virtual fence Boeings, is 1.2 Billion dollars into the contract and have produced a real nice report about why they need more money.

Dang, It's Another Year

Happy New Year. For those of us in the events industry it's usually a slow time. We'll see. I got a laugh from the news. Previously the story had been that a Navy Officer on the USS Enterprise was under investigation for tomfoolery. Facts stated, lead line pitched, story due to be deep sixed the next day. Suddenly a JOURNALIST found that some sailors had opened a Facebook page in the officer's defense. Suddenly, as if by magic, it morphed into a raunchy video, salacious innuendos tumbled out in abundance, and lots of play was given to the newsworthiness of Facebook and the current movie about the founder. One might say that the story became an infomercial about a product. No story about which members of the Board of Directors have a percentage of said product. As is always the case, keeping them honest is a slogan and newsworthy is a relative position. Seems to depend on who's dog is in the ring.

The first set of links are two views of WikiLeaks.

  • Stirling on Assange: Instead, he’s very like Jerome Kerviel, that obscure French stock trader who stole 5 billion euros without making one dime for himself. Jerome Kerviel, just like Bradley Manning, was a bored, resentful, lower-echelon guy in a dead end, who discovered some awesome capacities in his system that his bosses never knew it had. It makes so little sense to behave like Kerviel and Manning that their threat can’t be imagined.
  • Lanier on AssangeA sufficiently copious flood of data creates an illusion of omniscience, and that illusion can make you stupid. Another way to put this is that a lot of information made available over the internet encourages players to think as if they had a God's eye view, looking down on the whole system.

The next one I picked not so much for any political insight, but for the sheer fun the reviewer seems to be having in savaging the book.

  • Damn Right: Decision Points holds the same relation to George W. Bush as a line of fashion accessories or a perfume does to the movie star that bears its name; he no doubt served in some advisory capacity. from London Review of Books

Links To the full Report of the Bioethics Commission.

Next is an international story with local implications. SF's transportation system went on the clipper card system. In short, everyone that rides a bus, takes a train, or pays a toll can be tracked by a foreign (Israel) company. And just to put whipped cream on the pie, the local transportation companies have agreed to pay any shortfall. How do you think that will work out? Weak encryption here in hacker central. If you want to try your own hand at it, Fries sells card readers for under $110.

  • Smart Cards: Taipei’s EasyCard system has been in place since 2001, largely as a means of paying for the subway, bus, taxis and parking. It has also been widely known to use a smartcard system called MIFARE Classic, produced by NXP Semiconductors, the security of which was publicly demonstrated to be broken by CCC members at their annual congress three years ago. Note: S.F. started the Clipper Card System last year. An election year. I'm sure you know what I'm thinking.

Here's a lament for days gone by.

  • The Disneyland Dream: But, for all those inequities, economic equality seemed within reach in 1956, at least for the vast middle class. (Michael Harrington’s exposé of American poverty, “The Other America,” would not rock this complacency until 1962.) The sense that the American promise of social and economic mobility was attainable to anyone who sought it permeates “Disneyland Dream” from start to finish.

The last four are bunched together because they interest me, but don't have any common theme.

  • Don't Fear China: The belief that values like democracy and liberalism, rather than geo-strategic and economic factors, affect the competition between global powers tends to reflect a post-Enlightenment western bias that supposes the existence of an ultimate universal truth and assumes that history is a continuous ascent towards progress. That march towards progress manifests itself through conflicts between ideals–enlightenment and freedom vs. their opponents–and the people, groups, and nation-states that represent them. That has certainly been a crucial theme in the narrative about foreign policy advanced by neoconservative and liberal ideologues.
  • Mosque as Yesterday's News: There can be no single explanation for why a news story of this magnitude disappears. But, given the timeline here, it seems likely that the electoral calendar played a role. National Republicans who used Park51 as a bludgeon against Democrats suddenly were less interested in talking about the project after the election.
  • Dissidents and Foreign Policy: ...and it is possible that public hectoring of the Bahraini government would undermine such efforts by embarrassing the Bahrainis and forcing them to issue defiant demands that the U.S. mind its own business. What seems clear is that publicly denouncing a government’s crackdown will not end the crackdown, could intensify it, and might adversely affect U.S. interests in the process. Unless fruitless moral posturing that harms concrete American interests is the goal, I don’t see the point.
  • Shock and Waugh: Auberon Waugh hated war. He loathed the pomposity of Western politicians who thought they had a divine right to go around the world intervening in the affairs of sovereign states. Lots of people are calling for the arrest of Tony Blair for war crimes in 2010, but very few were doing so in 1999, when Waugh was. “The charge against Tony Blair is not so much that he took a very stupid decision … or even that his high moral pose may have been a front for ordinary self-importance and power mania, ....

Monday, January 3, 2011

Saturday, January 1, 2011

You Tell Me

Happy New Year. The above picture is a proto-VR module, a tele-(You know what I'm tring to say) unit, or a ....

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Seriously Deep

A section of the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route: Japan