Govermental Dreams

Emanuel Derman dreams:

I had a fantasy in which the Fed and the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) switched roles.

If a bank failed at 9 a.m. one morning and shut its doors, the TSA would announce that all banks henceforth begin their business day at 10 a.m.

And, if a terrorist managed to get on board a plane between Stockholm and Washington, the Fed would increase the number of flights between the cities.

Via Felix Salmon

Govermental Dreams

Predictable Idiocy

Airbus A330-300 C-GFUR
Photo by Flickr user caribb
So, because the most recent al-Qaeda dipshit tried to light a firecracker on a plane, we’re not forbidden to get up or hold anything on our laps during the last hour of a flight:

“Among other things,” the statement on Air Canada’s Web site read, “during the final hour of flight customers must remain seated, will not be allowed to access carry-on baggage, or have personal belongings or other items on their laps.”

The suspect in the Friday attempt, identified as Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, tried to ignite his incendiary device in the final hour of the flight while the plane was descending into Detroit.

We all recognize that this is beyond stupid, right? We’re letting al-Qaeda write our flight security regulations by proxy. Whatever they do, we overreact: shoes, liquids, laps. At some point, will Americans get fed up and stop flying?

Predictable Idiocy

Bruce Schneier vs Kip Hawley

Bruce Schneier helps a writer for The Atlantic Punk the TSA (I’m sure you saw this over the last couple weeks if you read the internet at all). Airport security is, after all, so much ‘security theater’.
Head of the TSA, Kip Hawley, responds to article.
Schneier responds.
Hawley responds again.

While I admire Kip Hawley’s somewhat transparent (somewhat, because how transparent do you want a security chief to be?) approach to this dialogue I agree with Schneier’s dismissal of the answers. Again, though, it is refreshing for a Bush appointee to at least make an attempt at discussion. Most government appointees probably wouldn’t respond to this type of thing, even if Schneier is the preeminent security expert around.

Bruce Schneier vs Kip Hawley

Unlikely Words’ First Link Post!

Geek alert. I love my RSS feeds. Every blog needs a linky post and I’ve been charged with developing one for Unlikely Words. I promise the links contained in the semi-regular link posts were at one time interesting to me (and might be interesting to you) and I promise to post the link posts semi-regularly. (The previous sentence has already proven false as this post was started 3 weeks ago and I already have enough tabs for another post, let alone most of this stuff being outdated). Hopefully, most of these links will come from places other than Lifehacker, Boing Boing, and Kottke. I can’t promse that, but maybe I can take solace in the idea that I’ll read overpublishing blogs so you don’t have to.

  • I know Unlikely Words uses Word Press. But I started AABA on Blogger and Blog This makes creating linky posts very easy. Does Word Press have this?
  • I hate 90% of the posts from Xeni on Boing Boing. She’s recently become a vegan and is fighting (I’d volunteer successfully) her desire to preach. This article is from Rolling Stone and talks about how nasty pig farms are. The excerpts were riveting. (Boing Boing)
  • Rich people can do what they want with their money, but they should be helping out more. Even if Oprah’s school is over the top, at least she’s trying to make a difference. The counter to this argument is that she could have a bigger impact spending her money more wisely. (AMERICAblog)
  • The Gates Foundations invests in companies that cause problems for some of the people they are trying to help. When the CEOs of Halliburton, Exxon, and Chevron give away giant percentages of their wealth to foundations that strive to make change in the world and those foundations don’t hold questionable financial positions, this story will OUTRAGE me a lot more. (I can’t remember.)
  • I normally wouldn’t post a link about a guy asking for donations for a frivolous cause. But this guy got a bum X-Box and then had a hard time with the Customer Service. His goal now is to buy the biggest box he can afford to send his X-Box back for repair. This type of consumer ingenuity fills me with glee. (Consumerist)
  • I don’t really go see live music anymore, but maybe I’ll start again. iConcertCal just might be the coolest iTunes add-on since… well, forever. Once a week, iConcertCal searchs your library and finds concerts in your area. (Lifehacker)
  • Companies can’t keep paying skyrocketing health costs for long. Eventually, they’ll just get their own docters. Brilliant. (Marginal Revolution)
  • If you’re afraid of giant rabbits, think you might be, or don’t want to read about how they might get used to end North Korea’s hunger problems, don’t click on this link. (Boing Boing)
  • I aspire to be a better photographer. If I read this link, I might have a chance. (I can’t remember.)
  • I asked Matthew to change Unlikely Words a bit so that I could better document my life. I have deep desires to document my life more fully. Feltron’s Annual Report is an inspiration to me. (Kottke.)
  • These food rule models might be good for you if you want to become a more efficient food orderer. (Marginal Revolution)
  • Ahhh, Rhode Island. (Boing Boing)
  • This site allows me to create a map of all the states I’ve visited. Be careful, because I just might. You can also do countries as well, but that was less interesting for me. (Marginal Revolution)
  • I wanted to read this article on the media documentation of a few New Yorkers, but I’m not as interested anymore. I might get back to it some day. (Kottke.)
  • If we start needing to make energy out of corn will there be less corn in everyday food? Will that make us skinnier? (Freakonomics)
  • The TSA has guidelines to help its staff ensure that helper monkeys are not carrying bombs. They let helper monkeys fly on planes? (Boing Boing)
  • I don’t have enough pictures in Flikr for this to work well for me, but Matthew probably does. It was very slow, but very easy. (Lifehacker)
  • Help charities without donating money. You know you want to. (Lifehacker)
  • If you heard about this on NPR’s This American Life a couple weeks ago, now you can watch it on Youtube. A guy shoots the same movie 3 times with 3 different actors in the early 80’s. Incidentally, each of the 3 became stars. (Boing Boing)
  • This article seems interesting, but I haven’t read it yet. Vanity Fair always seems to have long articles I want to read, but for which I don’t make the time. That says something about either me or Vanity Fair.
Unlikely Words’ First Link Post!