Yuletide 2009

Well, it's finally the Yuletide, and another year is behind us. I have a lot to blog about, but no energy left for blogging. We'll celebrate the passage of 2009 with friends tonight, watch the complete and uninterrupted Lord of the Rings movies tomorrow, and hope that 2010 is a better year.

17:22 /Home | 1 comment | permanent link

Aviation security mostly show?

Bruce Schneier weighs in - the money quote:

Our current response to terrorism is a form of "magical thinking." It relies on the idea that we can somehow make ourselves safer by protecting against what the terrorists happened to do last time.

It gets worse. In reaction to the the most recent case where the plot was foiled by a passenger who jumped up from his seat and extinguished the fuse, airlines tell passengers that new security rules will keep them in their seats. That should be productive!

Last week's attempted terror attack on an airplane heading from Amsterdam to Detroit has given rise to a bunch of familiar questions.

(link) [CNN.com]

15:18 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

Judge not lest ye be judged?

No kidding ...

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.
John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, first Baron Acton

The past year has been marked by a series of moral transgressions by powerful figures in political, business and celebrity circles. New research from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University explores why powerful people -- many of whom take a moral high ground -- don't practice what they preach.

(link) [EurekAlert!]

15:09 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

Bad glass delayed Apple tablet?

You've gotta love the way the Brits phrase things ...

While here in the States Apple-tablet rumors are churning the waters as turbulently as a pool of piranhas into which has been dumped a truckload of honey-dipped hamsters, over in Far East the iWhatever's impending release is being treated as a fait accompli.

(link) [The Register]

17:32 /Technology | 0 comments | permanent link

Exploring the Stone Age pantry

Perhaps agriculture itself is much older than presumed...

The consumption of wild cereals among prehistoric hunters and gatherers appears to be far more ancient than previously thought, according to a University of Calgary archaeologist who has found the oldest example of extensive reliance on cereal and root staples in the diet of early Homo sapiens more than 100,000 years ago.

(link) [EurekAlert!]

12:28 /Agriculture | 0 comments | permanent link

Sheep in the News - West Bank Edition

Collateral damage.

Shepherds in the West Bank see livelihoods dwindle.

(link) [BBC News]

12:27 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

Senate passes health care reform bill

Charles Johnson over at The Freeman sums this travesty up nicely:

What we have had is a system where pervasive government regulation, subsidy, and mandated captive markets corral workers into an industry driven by sky-high costs, managed by bureaucratic pencil-pushing and corporate economizing (often at the expense of innocent people’s health or lives), and owned by a handful of uncompetitive, well-entrenched incumbent corporations. No mainstream “reform” proposal will change anything about that. The proposals mainly concerned themselves with introducing new government subsidies and new captive-market mandates to force yet more workers and money into the broken system.

The Senate passed an $871 billion health care reform plan this morning, giving President Obama a victory on his top domestic priority.

(link) [CNN.com]

08:58 /Politics | 2 comments | permanent link

Arrow Trucking: Is this any way to lay off workers?

A sordid tale indeed - except for the actions of their fellow drivers, noted below.

Layoffs are a fact of life in this economy, but there are humane ways to do it. Then there's the Arrow Trucking method. The Tulsa, Okla., trucking company stopped payment on the gas cards of its drivers, leaving some of them stranded Tuesday around the United States, miles from home. No explanation on the website. No one at the company answering phones.

(link) [Christian Science Monitor ]

Drivers band together to help those dumped by Arrow

Mutual aid in action ... the labor movement may be dead or dying, labor itself is not.

The Owner-Operated Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) put together a Facebook page where truckers have been posting their routes in case they can pick up stranded Arrow drivers along the way. OOIDA has helped half a dozen truckers get home so far, wrote spokeswoman Norita Taylor in an e-mail. Truckers from Michigan to Alabama chimed in with their phone numbers and upcoming routes, offering free rides, laundry at their homes, and hot meals.

(link) [Christian Science Monitor ]

08:55 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

Hacker cracks Kindle's copyright

The only surprise: it took so long.

An Israeli hacker has found a way to transfer the books on Amazon's e-book reader to any other device.

(link) [BBC News]

19:39 /Copywrongs | 0 comments | permanent link

The weather stick tells you if it's going to snow

I gotta get one of these!

The New England weather stick is the epitome of low-tech weather forecasting.

(link) [Christian Science Monitor]

19:37 /Technology | 0 comments | permanent link

Intriguing: Man marries avatar

What does this say about Japanese culture? What does this say about humanity? How long before it's here?

Japan's Internet community has witnessed relationships and marriages to avatars, though it's typically been within the confines of the virtual world. Last month, Sal decided to be the first human-to-avatar union. Clad in a white tux, Sal married Nene [a videogame character] in front of some friends and Web users watching the ceremony live online.

(link) [CNN.com]

10:55 /Technology | 1 comment | permanent link

Upper Mismanagement

Wow - never thought of that!

A lot of people talk about reviving the domestic manufacturing sector, which has shed almost one-third of its manpower over the last eight years. But some of the people I spoke to asked a slightly different question: Even if you could reclaim a chunk of those blue-collar jobs, would you have the managers you need to supervise them?

(link) [The New Republic]

via MyAppleMenu:Reader

10:31 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

Computer Scientist Looks At ICBM Security

Fascinating look back at the Cold War, and the security measures that kept us from blowing up the planet.

If you can climb a fifteen foot ladder and fit through a two foot diameter hole, you can, with a bit of advance planning, take an extensive "top-to-bottom" tour of a Titan II ICBM launch complex, complete with missile silo and missile. Best of all, you no longer have to trespass or join the Air Force to do it.

(link) [crypto.com]

via Slashdot

10:17 /Technology | 0 comments | permanent link

Cephalopod RV?

13:14 /Humor | 2 comments | permanent link

Critics aim to sink Titanic ice cubes

Poor taste? I didn't know water had a taste...

The UK press has mobilised to express its dismay at a ice cube-making kit which produces miniature Titanics and accompanying icebergs.

(link) [The Register]

13:11 /Humor | 0 comments | permanent link