The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

In praise of security theater

Security expert Bruce Schneier finds some cases of appropriate and helpful security theater:

Security is both a reality and a feeling. The reality of security is mathematical, based on the probability of different risks and the effectiveness of different countermeasures. We know the infant abduction rates and how well the bracelets reduce those rates. We also know the cost of the bracelets, and can thus calculate whether they're a cost-effective security measure or not. But security is also a feeling, based on individual psychological reactions to both the risks and the countermeasures. And the two things are different: You can be secure even though you don't feel secure, and you can feel secure even though you're not really secure.

Because little planes are SCARY

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association reports that an enormous block of airspace around Washington is off-limits to general aviation tonight because of the State of the Union Address:

During the president's speech to Congress and the nation, no flights are allowed to or from any of the 21 airports within the Washington, D.C., ADIZ, including pattern work. The special ingress/egress procedures for the "DC-3" airports inside the Flight Restricted Zone are also suspended. Only IFR flights to and from Washington Dulles International (IAD) and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall (BWI) airports will be allowed.

This is what security expert Bruce Schneier calls "security theater."

Jewish humor

From my mom:

Yeshiva University decided to field a rowing team. Unfortunately, they lose race after race. Even though they practice and practice for hours every day, they never manage to come in any better than dead last.

Finally, the team decides to send Morris Fishbein, its captain, to spy on Harvard, the perennial championship team. So Morris schlepps off to Cambridge and hides in the bushes next to the Charles River, where he carefully watches the Harvard team at its daily practices.

After a week, Morris returns to Yeshiva. "Well, I figured out their secret", he announces.

"What? Tell us! Tell us!", his teammates shout.

"We should have only one guy yelling. The other eight should row."

Karmic balance?

The Bears going to the Superbowl has caused a ripple effect through Chicago karma.

I first noticed it on the train this morning. Ordinarily, an express train picks up almost a full load of people at the stop right before mine, then whisks them to the Loop, allowing the local train that follows three minutes later to pick all of us up without making us sit on each others' laps. Today, the express train apparently followed the local train, so by the time the local got to me, we were sitting on each others' laps. (It's not as fun as it sounds, actually.)

Then, it turns out I am in total agreement with a well-written statement by—wait for it—Pam Anderson:

Anderson, a staunch animal-rights activist and a vocal member of PETA, has blasted KFC for its treatment of chickens and has been part of a long-standing campaign on behalf of the feathered critters. “Honoring a man whose legacy involves breaking animals’ bones and scalding animals to death in defeathering tanks is contrary to the values of most compassionate citizens, and I hope that you’ll deny KFC’s request,” Anderson wrote in a letter to Postmaster General John E. Potter. “How about another Elvis stamp instead?”

I hope the Postmaster General agrees as well.

I'll be looking for other karmic re-balancing today, which means I'll probably find it. And I'm wondering what will happen if the Bears win on February 4th?

Today's Daily Parker

When I took this photo, Parker weighed just over 10 kg (22 lbs):

He's grown since then, about another 10 kg worth, until last week. Apparently he's leveled off at 21 kg (46 lbs), which makes him a perfectly normal German Rat Beagle:

I thought he would get to 22.5 kg (50 lbs), but maybe not. Regardless, he's just the right size.

The Economist on Windows Vista

Good, detailed summary of the economics and business aspects of Microsoft's latest operating system:

For years Microsoft's Windows logo often appeared against a blue sky with cottony clouds. But the cloud has become one of the company's biggest threats. The operating system matters less when programs can be provided online. Moreover, online software can be delivered to customers more cheaply, there is immediate feedback from users and applications can continually be improved. Those are big advantages over software sold in a box, one version at a time.
In the past Microsoft tied its operating system and applications together by “commingling” the code (and ran afoul of antitrust authorities for doing so). The rise of online applications threatens the primacy of Windows because the network becomes the platform for the software. It does not mean PC operating systems are unnecessary, just that it is increasingly the cloud, and not the PC, that is the launch pad for computing.

Today's Daily Parker

My caption: "October 23. Parker helps with the laundry."

I can only imagine his caption, but I'd bet it would mention a huge pile of chew-toys.

I like Ike

It's worth remembering what President Eisenhower said in his farewell address, on this day in 1961:

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence-economic, political, even spiritual-is felt in every city, every state house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

If you don't study this speech, you might get involved in a land war in Asia, which, as even Vizzini knew, never ends well for anyone.