Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Head, Meet Wall

Some days I wonder why I read BoingBoing, it just puts me in a foul mood.

Let's start with the millimeter wave scanner at Denver's airport. Nothing like being x-rayed without your knowledge from a distance, with the screen in easy public view DESPITE the TSA's own rules. The joys of going with the lowest, dumbest bidder in a pointless bit of security theatre (and I wonder why I always get tagged for secondary screenings when I leave Vegas...)

Then, let's move on to how the government can stop a beef producer from being MORE safe. The USDA only tests 1% of beef for mad-cow disease. This premium beef producer wants to test 100% of THEIR OWN BEEF, and the USDA says "no, only 1%". Court says "fuck off USDA." USDA cries to DC court of appeals, and they side with the USDA. What the fuck? Oh, that's right, the big producers would look bad if some small company actually tested all their product for diseased meat. I like the administration's logic that the low level of testing reflects the rarity of the disease.

We'll now leave the US for the UK, where their view on anti-terrorist tactics is more overtly idiotic. Nice warnings. Basically, anyone with a camera, van, laptop, or a lot of frequent flyer miles can be a terrorist. It's a good thing they've already got the whole place covered in CCTVs.

More corporate control in the West - Mythbusters had an episode on RFID chips cancelled due to pressure from credit card companies. Because if the public doesn't know that the technology is flawed, it will... umm... uh... prevent the hackers from winning somehow?

The RNC is in Minnesota, which means... police crackdowns on protest groups! Okay, I'm no fan of protestors (in general). I've always wanted to carry a picket sign that says "Everything's okay!" or "Doing just fine!" (Oddly enough, XKCD feels the same, but I'm not surprised.) They also give the "the man" and nogoodnicks an opportunity to stir up shit and derail their message. But they do serve a purpose, and I do believe US citizens have a right to assembly or something. Of course, if you arrest everyone for fire code violations and use SS-like scare tactics to keep them from exercising that right... then that's okay? Yay freedom!

But then I go and see an interview with Tendzin Choegyal... the Dalai Lama's little brother, and I get some hope for this world. Still reading through it, but he seems like a pretty down-to-Earth guy. The world needs more people who can say "bullshit" and "reincarnation" in adjacent thoughts...

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