From Robert X. Cringely’s “Stream On“: Yet nearly everything we do to combat crime or enhance safety comes at the expense of reduced efficiency. So we build airports to make possible efficient air transportation, then set up metal detectors to slow down the flow of passengers. We build highways to make car travel faster, then […]
From Helen McCloy Ellison, Ellesa Clay High, & Peter A. Stitt’s interview of Richard Wilbur in “The Art of Poetry No. 22” (The Paris Review: Winter 1977, No. 72): INTERVIEWER Are there what one could call advantages to being a poet? WILBUR Well, one is allowed enormous license in behavior, one is forgiven everything, one […]
From Clive Thompson’s “Brave New World of Digital Intimacy” (The New York Times Magazine: 5 September 2008): In essence, Facebook users didn’t think they wanted constant, up-to-the-minute updates on what other people are doing. Yet when they experienced this sort of omnipresent knowledge, they found it intriguing and addictive. Why? Social scientists have a name […]
From David Foster Wallace’s “Consider the Lobster” (Gourmet: ): As I see it, it probably really is good for the soul to be a tourist, even if it’s only once in a while. Not good for the soul in a refreshing or enlivening way, though, but rather in a grim, steely-eyed, let’s-look-honestly-at-the-facts-and-ﬁnd-some-way-to-deal-with-them way. My personal […]
From Glen Johnson’s “Massachusetts may consider a mileage charge” (AP: 17 February 2009): A tentative plan to overhaul Massachusetts’ transportation system by using GPS chips to charge motorists a quarter-cent for every mile behind the wheel has angered some drivers. … But a “Vehicle Miles Traveled” program like the one the governor may unveil this […]
From Bill Gertz’s “Outsourced passports netting govt. profits, risking national security” (The Washington Times: 26 March 2008): The United States has outsourced the manufacturing of its electronic passports to overseas companies — including one in Thailand that was victimized by Chinese espionage — raising concerns that cost savings are being put ahead of national security, […]
Posted on February 8th, 2009 by Scott Granneman
Filed under: business, history, law, politics, security, tech in changing society | Comments Off on US government makes unsafe RFID-laden passports even less safe through business practices
From Jeffrey Goldberg’s “The Things He Carried” (The Atlantic: November 2008): Because the TSA’s security regimen seems to be mainly thing-based—most of its 44,500 airport officers are assigned to truffle through carry-on bags for things like guns, bombs, three-ounce tubes of anthrax, Crest toothpaste, nail clippers, Snapple, and so on—I focused my efforts on bringing […]
Today encompassed both a disappointment and an amazing surprise where we least expected it. It’s all there – with humor, pathos, and pictures – at Tuesday, 3 July 2007.
Posted on July 3rd, 2007 by Scott Granneman
Filed under: personal | Comments Off on 2007 Summer Vacation, Day 5: 3 July 2007
Today’s big event was our tour of the Battlefield of Little Big Horn. We did other interesting things today as well, but we spent over 5 hours learning about Custer’s Last Stand, and I think you’ll find it fascinating. Find out about Custer and more by reading what we did on Monday, 2 July 2007.
Posted on July 2nd, 2007 by Scott Granneman
Filed under: personal | Comments Off on 2007 Summer Vacation, Day 4: 2 July 2007
Day 3 of our trip involved huge statues on mountains, lots and lots of bears, an old frontier town, an abandoned gold mine, and a famous cemetery. Sounds like an episode of Scooby Doo! Read all about our adventures on Sunday, 1 July 2007.
Posted on July 1st, 2007 by Scott Granneman
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Gus and I had a busy busy busy day in South Dakota. From the Badlands to Wounded Knee to the Mammoth Site, and from Crazy Horse to Custer. It’s all there on Saturday, 30 June 2007.
Posted on June 30th, 2007 by Scott Granneman
Filed under: personal | Comments Off on 2007 Summer Vacation, Day 2: 30 June 2007
Gus and I are off to visit the Great Plains for a week. This day’s journal is for Friday, 29 June 2007, as we drive from Kansas City to Wall, South Dakota, with selected stops along the way.
Posted on June 29th, 2007 by Scott Granneman
Filed under: personal | Comments Off on 2007 Summer Vacation, Day 1: 29 June 2007
From Alex Bellos’s “Coke. Guns. Booty. Beats.” (Blender: June 2005): In the slums of Rio De Janeiro, drug lords armed with submachine guns have joined forces with djs armed with massive sound systems and rude, raunchy singles. Welcome to the most excitingÃ¢â‚¬â€and dangerousÃ¢â‚¬â€underground club scene in the world. … Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is the […]
From Bo Elkjaer and Kenan Seeberg’s “Echelon’S Architect” (Cryptome: 21 May 2002): After that, [Bruce McIndoe] started to design Echelon II, an enlargement of the original system. Bruce McIndoe left the inner circle of the enormous espionage network in 1998, a network run by the National Security Agency, the world’s most powerful intelligence agency, in […]
From John Twelve Hawks’s “ How We Live Now” (2005): The passports contain a radio frequency identification chip (RFID) so that all our personal information can be instantly read by a machine at the airport. However, the State Department has refused to encrypt the information embedded in the chip, because it requires more complicated technology […]
From Brendan I. Koerner’s “Your Cellphone is a Homing Device” (Legal Affairs: July/August 2003): Law enforcement likewise views privacy laws as an impediment, especially now that it has grown accustomed to accessing location data virtually at will. Take the MetroCard, the only way for New York City commuters to pay their transit fares since the […]
From Adam Goodheart’s “The Last Island of the Savages” (The American Scholar, Autumn 2000, 69(4):13-44): This is how you get to the most isolated human settlement on earth [North Sentinel Island, in the Andaman Islands]: You board an evening flight at JFK for Heathrow, Air India 112, a plane full of elegant sari-clad women, London-bound […]
From The New York Times‘ “Form Follows Function. Now Go Out and Cut the Grass.“: Failure, [Henry] Petroski shows, works. Or rather, engineers only learn from things that fail: bridges that collapse, software that crashes, spacecraft that explode. Everything that is designed fails, and everything that fails leads to better design. Next time at least […]
From Bruce Schneier’s “The Silliness of Secrecy“, quoting The Wall Street Journal: Ever since Sept. 11, 2001, the federal government has advised airplane pilots against flying near 100 nuclear power plants around the country or they will be forced down by fighter jets. But pilots say there’s a hitch in the instructions: aviation security officials […]
From MSNBC’s “Very, very frequent flyer hits 1 million goal“: On his blog Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Great Canadian Mileage Run 2005,Ã¢â‚¬Â [Marc] Tacchi reported on Wednesday that he had racked up 1,003,625 mileage points and spent 56 of the last 61 days in an airplane. … The 30-year-old embarked on his venture using Air CanadaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s North America […]