November 21, 2005
First, hopefully the FAA won't read this before my flight tomorrow and not let me get on it. :) Since I've been flying more than I ever have before, I'm struck by the total ineptitude of the "safety" provided by the TSA screening.
The current "saftey" regulations are so full of it , it is not funny. I'll just throw out the favorite gun control quote here, "If you outlaw guns, only the outlaws will have guns."
Look at these scenarios:
Why can't I take my pocket knife on the plane anymore? Because some terrorists hijacked the 9-11 planes with box cutters/knifes. Will this work again? NO. It should be plainly obvious that 9-11 changed the way people look at hijackings. Instead of sitting there, people will take out someone trying to hijack a plane using something that's not a gun/bomb. Even then it is questionable.
Here's what the FAA should do: let me carry my pocket knife. I'm not going to try to hijack the plane, and if someone else does, I can use it to defend myself or attack the hijackers.
Next scenario: Someone tried to light his shoe on fire. Now because of this you can't take matches or lighters on the plane, and you have to have your shoes X-Ray'd. If you're x-raying all the bags I take on board, and scanning my shoes, that doesn't leave many other places left for me to hide explosives. Except for oh, any place inside/on my body. As far as I know, the detectors you walk through at the airport are only metal detectors currently. They would not detect any explosive fixed to one's self. It would be easy to hide several pounds of a plastic explosive on/in your body in a non-descript way if you were driven enough to want to destroy a plane.
Next: Wire cutters! I forgot I had a pair of wire strippers/cutters from my college lab course in my backpack. I even searched it before I packed it, and missed them. Oh well. But first, what am I going to do with blunt nose wire cutters/strippers(you know, the little red handled ones you could get at radio shack that everyone had in the labs), slowly snip someone to death? I doubt you could even cut off a finger with them, they're a little to small...
This leads me to the new machines they have. They take a little pad, and wipe down things, and place it in a machine which gives them some results. I'm not sure what this thing is actually testing for, but I can guess. First, it is on a stainless steal table, with what looks like air intake vents on the computer portion. I'm fairly sure these are "sniffing" for explosive traces, possibly drug traces as well. (Why not multi-task?) I think the wipe they use is also looking for trace amounts of explosive. Here's the thing though, the first time I was stopped they wiped down my laptop and my bag. The bag sort of makes sense, but I'm not sure why they wiped down the laptop. The second time they only wiped down my laptop, and didn't do anything on my bag.
WHY ARE YOU LOOKING FOR TRACE EXPLOSIVES ON THE LAPTOP?!?! Look on my jacket, shoes, socks, pants, not my laptop. Sure, I've heard that laptop batteries look close to the same as C4, but has anyone smuggled a bomb onto the plane using a laptop battery? What's more, they don't ask you to turn on your laptop, so if it does look the same there's probably a 90% chance you could get away with that. I've thought about writing "this is not a bomb" on an index card in metallic ink and sticking it in my laptop battery compartment, but that might just be asking for body cavity searches every time I fly.
Lastly at the Philadelphia Airport, I could buy a *very* effective weapon after i passed security. The weapon was a glass bottle of root beer. This isn't to mention the other items you can carry right through the check point: CD's (very sharp when broken), Pen/Pencil (Grosse Pointe Blank anyone?), shoestrings, guitar(strings), belt, Bottle of wine, your hands...
I heard a comment recently stating the fact that the TSA is currently obsessed with false positives on their tests, someone sets off the alarm, they get searched and nothing turns up. The only thing worse than this is the false negative, which WILL happen despite all there planning. Once the TSA screeners(aka Freedom Nazi's) become so use to certain things setting off the system that they just don't care any more. If there aren't new screening technologies in place in a year or two, it will again be easy to sneak enough material through airport security. In fact, I know an excellent way to do it now, with certain assumtions which would be easy enough to test out if you had a terrorist cell with expendable assets.
Oh well, enough almost stream of concious writing for tonight, and hopefully I don't set off the alarms since I'm sure my pants and jacket have explosive residue on them. (Which I may have done on purpose, just to see what happens.)
Talking about unions/automaker problems with some people I work with at supper tonight one of them said this:
"Unions created a middle class in America."
He went on to say that with out the unions, there would only be the rich and the poor. I thought he was right, but wrong. If you look at how civilizations have increased, the one deciding factor in almost all class standing is education. The higher you were educated, the higher you could rise in wealth/power. Look at middle ages europe, the most powerful people were the most educated. (No, not the kings either, The Church) We talked about it for a bit, and I came up with the idea to ammend his idea to the following:
"Unions created an uneducated middle class in America."
I think that with out unions, there wouldn't be people with no education higher than highschool making more than people with high degrees. When the UAW is bargining for people to "work" at $25-30 an hour base salary (not including benefits), what real drive is there for the children of these people to get education? Honestly, I would have had a hard time justifying it to my child 20 years ago if I had grown up in an autoworker family.
Now the industry is paying for this, and companies like Delphi and Visteon are going bankrupt. GM is planning on laying off 35,000 people in the coming year. What are these people now going to do? If your job for the last 20 years has been using the torque wrench to tighten 10 bolts a vehicle, you don't have much of a skill set to build upon.
The point of this is I think education has been undervalued in the United States since probably around World War I/II, esp. with the Great Depression showing that you couldn't cound on education to be able to keep you in food/shelter. My guess is in the next 50 years, we will see both an increase in people becoming educated as they realize that it will be needed to compete in a Global Market.
November 15, 2005
Things you don't want to hear after ordering KFC
"Hey, is it okay to use this cole slaw?"
I haven't eaten it yet, but maybe I should have changed to corn or beans...
November 14, 2005
I know Dave's seen this before, since I remember him doing it at crazy corp. But I got a $5 bill with tracking information stored at www.wheresgeorge.com and decided to go enter all the other bills in my wallet too. I discovered that I had 3 sequentially numbered $20 bills. Not to surprising since I had stopped at the bank ATM, and gotten 3 new bills out of it. Here's the best part; the last numbers were 1776, 1777, and 1778. Pretty fitting since I got them before I flew in to Philly!
So, I'm writing this from my hotel in Maryland right now. I had to come out here to witness a test, which ended up being canceled, so there's absolutely nothing for me to do today. Now I just have to find out when it will be reschedualed for to see if I am going to stay here for a few days, or if I will be heading back to Detroit either today or tomorrow.
I hope I don't have to stay too long, since I only really brought enough clean cloths for 3 days....I guess I can always do laundry or go try to buy some new ones.
I also decided that a 5:00 flight is either to early or to late for me. Since it takes me a good hour to hour and a half to get to the airport, that means I'm stuck leaving my condo at 2:30. Just early enough to feel like the entire day is wasted, since you wake up, get ready, and then just sit around because there's not really much you can do in that time. I did dishes...and cleaned my bathroom sink. I think in the future if I'm going some place I haven't been before, I'll try to leave either early in the morning, or around 7:00 at night. I'd almost rather leave earlier, so I can be driving around the new place in the day time. It could also give me a chance to stop and do some sightseeing that you can't do at 10:00 at night too.
If I do need to stay here for a week, I may have to look into what there is to do in this area. Probably a trip to Philly to see Independance Hall would be in order, since I don't know that I've ever been there. Which is a bit strange, considering I've been on 3 or 4 family vacations to the east coast area, but I guess we went either north towards Maine, or south to the VA/NC area. Maybe it has been only 2 trips. I suppose either Alex or mom/dad will read this some time and let me know!
November 08, 2005
Everyone remember it's Child's Play Charity time!
November 06, 2005
Hey look, it's a post!
First, a short story about a truck I was following to work friday morning.
It was an older model Ford F-150 or 250, I forget, but it was blue ... or green. (See, that's why eye witness reports of anything over a day old are bad!) At first when I was behind him, it looked like he was getting ready to merg into the other lane, since his truck was sort of angled to the left. But as I got closer, and saw that he continued in my lane, I saw the truth. His truck frame was ben *so* badly that his front left tire was on the outside of this back left tire, and the front right was was inside the back right one. Make Sense? It looked like this \\, but not quite as steep, I'd say he had a good 5-10 degree angle on it though. How do you not notice this, better yet, wouldn't that be one heck of an accident to twist the frame/axle mounts that much? But the entire truck looked fine, no big dents, just the usual rust spots along the bottom. You'd wonder how fast he goes through tires
The second thing is I got a new cell phone, a Treo 650. Yay me! So far it rocks, and I have Soduko on it. Even better, there's a movie player out there for it, so you can watch movies on it. Now I don't need to get that video iPod! I've been ripping firefly into 320x180ish resolution with DVDx (it rocks by the way, go get it if you haven't. It also doesn't support XP64 so well, since there's not ASPI driver that you can install /rude MSI checksums.)
3rd, www.mturk.com Why not make the average of 3.75 an hour?
4th if you like Bluegrass at all, check out Ryan Shupe and the Rubberband (iTunes free download of the week)
5th I had a date Friday night. Yay me! It took me an hour and 15 minutes to drive the 20 miles from work to where we were meeting, Detroit traffic is awsome at rush hour! As I was driving there, the sun was at the perfect angle to make a partial rainbow in the clouds as it set. It was actually rather beautiful. Then the date went fairly well, and hopefully there will be a second one in the making before too long.
November 02, 2005
So, I've been wanting to get a new keyboard for a while, and had been waiting for Logitech's new "gaming" keyboard, the G15 to come out. It was nice and back lit, with a bunch of programmable buttons, and it had an LCD screen built into it. The only problem was that it costs like $80, which isn't that bad compared to several other backlit keyboards. I picked it up at best buy, and immediately took it back the next day. While the back light was nice, the keys were all readable, and there weren't really any hot spots with the LED lights, the hotkey macro's didn't work right with EQ. Also, I didn't really like the way it typed, or the angle which it was at. I wanted it to be about .25 inches higher, and to get that, I'd need a book or something under it.
That night, I saw a new keyboard at thinkgeek, the Wolf Claw 2 FPS This thing was meant to play FPS type games, so instead of the programable hotkeys, it has a pad centered around WASD (go look at the pictures you lazy bums). This seems like the perfect keyboard for me, and you can bet I'll be playing some Counter-Strike this weekend to test it out.
So far I only have 2 complaints with it.
0) to keep it the same size as a normal keyboard, they cut off the number pad. I liked the number pad :( For some odd reason, it still has a Num Lock key. Which as far as I can tell only serves to turn on and off the Num Lock LED... I didn't even notice when I bought it, but I think I'll get over it. And if I do need to every do serious manual data entry, I'll just hook my old one back up.
1.1) Since they got rid of the number pad, they mushed the arrow keys and the ins, home, del keys right along side the right side of the keyboard. Okay, this will take a bit of getting use to, but since you don't really use them that much it will probably turn out okay.
1.2) This one really doesn't count, since all keyboards are now plauged with the "silent" feature, meaning they type like wet cardboard. Give me my clicky clack of those old IBM keyboards. Where you actually felt like you were doing something when you pressed a key. Or at least give me a bit of tactile feed back as to when the connection is being made. I'm sure you can do this with out adding sound if you'd spend some time on it, and not just go for the graphite switch pads with the rubber pressing on em. (yes I know you can still get the old IBM style keyboards, but I wanted a more gaming friendly keyboard)