January 09, 2006
Cell-phone records for sale
This is simply weird. Why would a call-phone company willingly sell their customers' call details - even at a high price? This is such an invasion of privacy (as well as, obviously, a potential threat to local/national security if local police/FBI/NSA/CIA/SS/etc's numbers aren't excempted), I can hardly believe it's true.
January 27, 2005
More info on Travel Express / Soho vacations
Comment posted by C earlier today in reply to Mary's information about working at Sohovacations: If this and the previous comments are not enough to scare anyone away from doing business with these people, I don't know what is...
December 17, 2004
Are Christmas trees religious symbols?
As some outpost in Pasco County, Florida is currently banning Christmas trees from public buildings in an effort to rid themselves of religious connotations, there is a more fundamental question to be answered: since there is no mention of Christmas trees in the Bible; are they Christian symbols? (or are they religious symbols at all?)
November 22, 2004
On eVoting without a paper trail & the new importance of statistics
''Public discussion of changing voting technology raised concern that some forms of electronic voting might produce a discrepancy between votersí intentions and tabulations of the electionís outcome. In particular, touch-screen voting machines were criticized for being unverifiable unless they printed out a hard copy that voters could certify as correct and election officials could keep in case a recount was ordered. Without a paper trail, statistical comparisons of jurisdictions that used e-voting are the only tool available to diagnose problems with the new technology.
November 19, 2004
Geniuses fighting terror
CNN: Amtrak conductors have begun random checks of passengers' IDs as a precaution against terrorist attacks.
Bruce Schneier: This works because, somehow, terrorists don't have IDs.
November 17, 2004
Will American DVDs play in a DVD player in England?
[...] No, by default your UK-bought DVD player will not play DVDs from outside your region (UK being in DVD Region 2 (sub code D1), US being Region 1). However, browsing the net a bit should reveal whether the player you own can be made region-free, or you can consider purchasing a player that will play all zones. [...]
November 09, 2004
Names of people on the US dollar bills
Search for 'the names of people who are on dollar bills' and you don't find a lot of information. Luckily for this visitor, he (or she) shows up in my access log, and I'm happy to share what I've dug out: [...]
November 02, 2004
A note to our American readers: I don't care whether you vote for Bush or Kerry - whatever you do: VOTE. Prove that the US actually is a democracy where people care. Vote!
November 01, 2004
The bulge, the theory, the possible exlanation
A possible explanation of the infamous bulge on Bush's back: The LIFECOR LifeVest?
Open source e-voting
Why is it so hard to get e-voting right? (loads of links attached)
October 14, 2004
Impacting the vote or pissing everyone off?
The Guardian has launched an interesting move; exploring how foreigners can influence the upcoming US election.
October 11, 2004
'A president lying about an extramarital affair is an impeachable offense. A president lying to enlist support for a war in which thousands die is solid defense policy.' ... and 9 more statements from the Downtown Diva...
September 21, 2004
Big Brother≤ in Chicago
Automatic surveillance camera monitoring: ''Sophisticated new computer programs will immediately alert the police whenever anyone viewed by any of the cameras placed at buildings and other structures considered terrorist targets wanders aimlessly in circles, lingers outside a public building, pulls a car onto the shoulder of a highway, or leaves a package and walks away from it. Images of those people will be highlighted in color at the city's central monitoring station, allowing dispatchers to send police officers to the scene immediately.''
July 27, 2004
US Internet businesses hitting that international market...
Dell builds PCs in Ireland and ships them to other European countries. Yet they still ask for some odd information when selling their European products to their European customers: [...]
July 17, 2004
Soho vacation - inside story
I have no guarantee that Mary is who she says she is - a Sohovacation employee - but then again I don't have very large doubts about her story. Here it is (unedited) for you to make up your own minds: ''I unfortuantly work for soho vacations. i did not realize what it was when i started they have an ad out for employee's they call it customer service representatives. i thought i would be dealing with cusotmers not selling a vacations package. but [...]''
March 23, 2004
Feminists that can't take a joke
Feminists that can't take a joke damage their own cause: Virgin Atlantic was planning to fit some funky, fun urinals at their new 'clubhouse' (that's their business class / frequent flyer lounge) at JFK airport, but the ever-vigilant National organization of Women (NOW.org) put an end to it. [...]
February 23, 2004
The Stella Awards
The Stella Awards were inspired by Stella Liebeck. In 1992, Stella, then 79, spilled a cup of McDonald's coffee onto her lap, burning herself. A New Mexico jury awarded her $2.9 million in damages [...]
January 22, 2004
The sohovacation business idea
Caveat emptor! (Buyer beware!) On the Internet, there are many people who want your money...
January 15, 2004
New US Immigration measures backfire
I just love how Brazil has started photographing and fingreprinting US citizens as a retaliation on the harsh new procedures for foreigners entering the States... Tasting their own medicine is not always pleasant for freedom-loving Americans [...]
January 06, 2004
Weapons of Math Instruction
[...] At New York's Kennedy airport today, an individual later discovered to be a public school teacher was arrested trying to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a setsquare, a slide rule, and a calculator. [...]
August 05, 2003
I saw Jesus, and he appears to live in Texas! (plus some additional evidence that Jesus was a Jew, a Californian, a woman and more...)
July 28, 2003
NASA Johnson Space Center
Three of the International Space Station's modules are named Leonardo, Donatello and Raffaello... Who were they named after again...? (Funny story from real life)
July 21, 2003
Machine-readable passports 2.0: Bio-RFID
International technical standards and civil aviation organisations have confirmed that they are working on deploying passports containing details that enable the 'machine-assisted identification' of the passenger, which will be required by travellers visiting the US from October 2004.
July 16, 2003
Political Joke: Politicians' entrance to Heaven
Donald Rumsfeld died and went to heaven. As he stood in front of St. Peter at the Pearly Gates, he saw a huge wall of clocks behind him. He asked, 'What are all those clocks?' [...]
June 23, 2003
Electronic Information Exchange about travellers to US
In a recent rant about machine-readable passports, I mentioned the Big Brother aspect of facilitating data capture, storage and transfer of passenger data like this. It turns out all airlines flying to the US already have to do this via a UN/EDIFACT data API [read more...]
June 16, 2003
US Visa Waiver programme adds requirements
October 1st 2003 all travellers on the US Visa Waiver programme will have to provide a machine readable passport. Here is a bit of background on International travel document standardization (history stretches back over 80 years!)
June 11, 2003
Imperial-size bottles, warning labels, mph, drive-thru, ads...