20021101

Leavin for the weekend... anyone who needs serious reading material might want to take a look at this City Journal article about the FBI, the Wall, the Patriot Act, and 9/11. A point of view a little different from any I've seen so far, and a well done article overall.

Point, Click...
Watch for Crime!


Do your part to promote Security Beneath Watchful Eyes! We, the internet community, can help keep a vigilant watch over crime, through this web cam!

Link by The Gimper, with many an amusing comment, at Packing.org
I'm stealing this idea for next year's Halloween.
A few months ago, Yahoo! email changed its SPAM engine. All of a sudden, it seemed like everythign was getting through. Since then, though, it has gotten increaingly better, at a very good pace.

The new email system, by the way, has a very neat option in the headers of each message. You can report "This is SPAM."

It occurred to me, that thy're likely running a new neural network nowadays, fed and trained by the millions of yahoo users. Even if only some people report the messages, and only some of the time, this engine is recieving an absolute wealth of information. This might be a truly great feat of engineering.

But what really intrigues me is the wealth of information. What this SPAM network is learning about the way real humans type and write, and how the minds of marketing people fundamentally differ from the minds of us normal people. I'm probably offending someone right now.

Anyways, this was just a thought. I leave you now with some SPAM humor of the highest quality, found at SatireWire. It's poetry, folks. Poetry composed entirey of SPAM.
Thought of the day:

Finding the answers is no excuse to stop searching.

-- me 2002 11 01 1016

20021030

Mark Steyn of The National Post rails on the media. And does a good job of it, too.

20021029

For those of us with a strange fascination with the straight facts, before media filtering, there's always the bastion of truth, freedom, the American Way, and the FOIA: the Smoking Gun, and their Sniper Related Documents.
UPDATE: BBC News does a halfway decent job of summing up the Russian gas theories. Apparently, naloxone (aka Narcan) was used, after all, with positive effects.

OK, so I used to be a medic in a metropolitan area. You really should see this stuff work. It's easy, it's cheap, it's harmless, and you can push it however you like (IV, IM, into the lungs, etc...). You can't overdose anyone with it. And it takes literally seconds. It's actually recommended that you push it slowly because people whose buzz is killed within 3 seconds tend to not have a big sense of humour about it, despit however fucked up and close to death they might have been. See Bringing Out the Dead for a pretty good example of this stuff.

Unconscious person? Establish the scene safety; attempt to wake patient; check and fix airway, breathing, circulation; give oxygen, push Narcan and D50 (liquid sugar, desxtrose, in case they're unconscious from a diabetic problem). There it is. About 1 - 2 minutes into a new patient. If it starts working, and you got lots of unconscious people in a MCI, a good scene director will order the medics to walk around injecting Narcan into the thighs of everyone lying on the ground.

Which brings us to the consideration: if there was an easy way to aerosolize or powderize opiates into the theater, then they shouldn't have to tell the doctors what the gas was, because they're going to be giving the antidote to everyone there anyways, as a matter of course.
Taxes

Marc Fisher of the Washington Post wrote an excellent article on the Northern Virginia sales tax referendum. Open-minded and fair, I think. And yeah, I live in Arlington, so I like that he included the viewpoint of those of us who don't like to use cars.

20021028

Am I the only one to think that the Russians handled this thing pretty well?

OK, so you've got 18 suicide bombers in the building. You've got 30 other explosive packs lying planted at strategic points in the building. You've got 50 crazed religious militant terrorists.

What do you do?

If you've got a bomb strapped to my chest, you need only to see the Alpha team come in through the windows and about 2 seconds to set off yourself, your neighbor's bombs, etc...

If the enemy has explosives strapped to them, do you want to go in shooting at them?

Do you want them to have more than 90 seconds or so to say, "hey guys, we're being gassed and won't live, lets all go boom! as our last dying act" ?

What horrible bad world opinion would happen if you went in and everyone got blown up and nobody was saved, at all?

If you didn't go in, and the same thing happened?

What are the implications of letting the terrorists maintain even a second of control after your decision to move in?

Yes, Russia is currently making a horrible political move by not talking about the gas... and likely they should've done so right away with the doctors at the scene. Although, if the gas was an opium derivative, standard emergency protocols in America would've had the medical personnel pushing Narcan anyways (a highly safe drug pushed as part of standard protocols to people unconscious for unknown reasons, which immediately counteracts all narcotics in the blood).

This is a horrible horrible occurrence. But it is NOT pulling a Reno. And as the media begins its classic song and dance of shifting responsibility to the survivors/good-guys/anyone-else, remember who's really responsible for this tragedy. The terrorists. The perpetrators. The bad guys.
Isn't this creeeeepy?



Pop Quiz: This is a picture of
(a) a 1984 Pulp Art cover for 1984 by George Orwell
(b) Nazi war-time Propaganda Poster
(c) A poster in a social-commentary sci-fi movie
(d) An actual official government poster currently being put up around London

Go ahead, guess...


If you guessed:

(a) close... check out the pulp art for 1984 in the upper right hand corner

(b) close... chech out this popular fun poster posted by the Nazis in WWII

(c) close... being watched is a popular theme, as in the movie "They Live!"

(d) If you actually guessed d, then you're one paranoid fucked up cynical ass. Much like the London Metropolitan Police. Congratualtions! Perry de Havilland of Samizdata alerts us all to this hot new trend in London... Big Brother!

I honestly don't think this requires any further comment. But maybe another picture.

UPDATE: The creeeeepy website!