Kevin Kelly (of, among other things, Cool Tools, which I read regularly) said “we can choose to modify our legal and political and economic assumptions to meet the ordained [technological] trajectories ahead. But we cannot escape from them.” This “technological defeatism”
“…downplays the utility of resistance and conceals the avenues for seeking reform and change. As a result of technological defeatism, concerns and anxieties about various technologies are recast as reactive fears and phobias, as irrelevant moral panics that will quickly fade away once users develop the appropriate coping strategies and upgrade their norms.”
The claim that resistance is futile is simply false. People say it to reduce others’ resistance, and believe it to justify their own acquiescence. It’s not that we should resist all change. Air bags, for example, are mostly good; but they need a mechanism to disable them when the owner sees they would be a liability, when the seat’s occupant is very small. PowerPoint is mostly bad. It can be useful and informative in some circumstances, though an example escapes me.
“Some problems solve themselves. There has been a mild spate of stories about armed police being asked to leave coffee shops and restaurants — at least one a Denny’s — because the establishment has a no-gun policy. I suggest that the simplest solution is to require that any such gun-free establishment be required to warn everyone, including the police, that this establishment doesn’t want them. A large sign saying ‘THIS IS A GUN FREE ZONE. POLICE NOT WELCOME INSIDE’ would solve the problem. Potential armed robbers would of course obey the sign, so there would be no need of police, who could improve their own health and safety by ignoring any calls for succor from inside the shop. The problem, if it is a problem, would soon go away without expenditure of public resources.” — Smart Phone Cramming; Saber Rattling in Seoul; Is the Korean War on again? Is AI humanity’s greatest threat?, by Jerry Pournelle
About the TSA allowing knives less than 2.36 inches long (the emphasis is mine):
“I fly every week (and opt-out from the body scanners), and am absolutely sure that the recent policy changes make no material impact on airplane security. Someone at the TSA probably made the judgment that if an incident occurs, it would be better if the policy allowed it, than if the security screenings failed (which of course, they do for items like this).
“Now that may seem cynical, but I believe it also is designed to protect the traveling public from even more onerous screening requirements. Now if something happens, they just re-introduce the ban. If something had happened with the ban in place, the searches and restrictions would have reached untenable levels due to political and media pressure to ‘do something’.
“Not everyone in the TSA is an idiot – many good people are trapped by a flawed system under immense political pressure to have impossible perfect security. Congress shoulders far more blame than the TSA.” — Solar winds, ex parte Milligan, TSA stories, and many other interesting things…
That certainly rings true.
The Rakwena Crocodile Farm, that is. Because of flooding, 15,000 crocodiles were released into the Limpopo River — The great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River, all set about with fever-trees.
Hopefully somebody will warn the elephants.
The company that makes the x-ray machines that produce naked pictures of passengers has been told to remove the machines from airports, at their own expense. They are to be replaced with another kind of body scanner that uses radio waves and produces a picture of, say, the guns and bombs on “an avatar image … not an image of the passenger.”(TSA ends contract with Rapiscan, maker of full-body scanner, by Hugo Martin)
That is good news, but I’ll wait and see what actually happens. Seen
When someone carrying a crowbar broke into her home, a mother hid in the attic with her two children and a .38 revolver. When the man opened the attic door and found then, she fired six times, hit him five times in the face and neck, then took the kids and ran past him. The man got up, left the house and drove off, but the police caught him shortly. He’s recovering in the hospital.
- Good thing the mother was armed and prepared to shoot.
- Good thing she had six shots; she might have needed more.
- A .38 revolver is at best the smallest effective gun for home defense, and may be too small.
- “God made men and women; Samuel Colt made them equal.”
“My Sunday School class and a few members of our church bought Blackhawk Serpa holsters for every member of my platoon that did not have one.”
The issue holster was totally inadequate.
UPDATE: Somehow this reminds me of Morbo in Futurama. Morbo, asked “how’s the family,” replies “Belligerent and numerous.”
Invisible robots are secretly watching us! Don’t bother listening; they’re in stealth mode! No point looking over your shoulder; they’re invisible! Aluminum foil won’t stop them – they’re robots! And it’s all true, because the government denies it!
UPDATE 11 December 2012: Modern Surveillance via Skype.