Saturday, May 22, 2010

Only in NC - "...a booth advertising Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokemon, and 'Ask me about Catholicism.'"

Cory Doctorow's book tour takes him through Raleigh, NC.  Small world.  Cary Barnes and Noble was my stomping grounds, just down the street from my apt, for a few years...

Yu-Gi-Oh and Catholicism booth, NCFest - Boing Boing:
"More scenes from a book-tour. Today I had a couple hours free, so I stopped in at the NCFest at the state fair grounds near Raleigh, North Carolina (I love a fair!). Lots of great stuff: bought a cheap megalodon tooth, ate Masonic BBQ, and saw this: a booth advertising Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokemon, and 'Ask me about Catholicism.'
...So great to see so many happy mutants today at the Cary Barnes and Noble."

Friday, May 21, 2010

"Retired - They can't help it."

The stupidity of "worst-case" thinking - "My nightmare scenario is that people keep talking about their nightmare scenarios." - Bruce Schneier

Full article at the link is brilliant.

Schneier on Security: Worst-Case Thinking:
"At a security conference recently, the moderator asked the panel of distinguished cybersecurity leaders what their nightmare scenario was. The answers were the predictable array of large-scale attacks: against our communications infrastructure, against the power grid, against the financial system, in combination with a physical attack.

I didn't get to give my answer until the afternoon, which was: "My nightmare scenario is that people keep talking about their nightmare scenarios."

There's a certain blindness that comes from worst-case thinking. An extension of the precautionary principle, it involves imagining the worst possible outcome and then acting as if it were a certainty. It substitutes imagination for thinking, speculation for risk analysis, and fear for reason. It fosters powerlessness and vulnerability and magnifies social paralysis. And it makes us more vulnerable to the effects of terrorism.

Worst-case thinking means generally bad decision making for several reasons. First, it's only half of the cost-benefit equation. Every decision has costs and benefits, risks and rewards. By speculating about what can possibly go wrong, and then acting as if that is likely to happen, worst-case thinking focuses only on the extreme but improbable risks and does a poor job at assessing outcomes.

Second, it's based on flawed logic. It begs the question by assuming that a proponent of an action must prove that the nightmare scenario is impossible.

Third, it can be used to support any position or its opposite. If we build a nuclear power plant, it could melt down. If we don't build it, we will run short of power and society will collapse into anarchy... Basically, any fear that would make a good movie plot is amenable to worst-case thinking.

Fourth and finally, worst-case thinking validates ignorance. Instead of focusing on what we know, it focuses on what we don't know -- and what we can imagine.

...Worst-case thinking leads to bad decisions, bad systems design, and bad security. And we all have direct experience with its effects: airline security and the TSA, which we make fun of when we're not appalled that they're harassing 93-year-old women or keeping first graders off airplanes. You can't be too careful!

Actually, you can..."

Best "Draw Muhammad" pic ever.

Everybody Draw Mohammed Day explained here.

Wore jeans to work today. Felt rebellious. Realized desperate urgency to do laundry this weekend. Then remembered this is Japan; half the teachers are wearing tracksuits and slippers.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Asahi Strong Off - 7% alcohol & low carb = Japan Win.

Not a dietary ideal, to be sure.  But workable.  And after a day where everybody on the planet had the sole purpose - apparently - of annoying me, two of these took the edge off the day and kept me from punching the world in the face.  [And I don't even really like beer.]
Picture via sixmats' photostream @ Flickr - because I am too lazy after today to take a photo and upload it...

Wasabi Mayo is the world's best condiment.

It combines the redneck-y whitebreadness of my youth with my love for the spicy kick of Japan.  Of course, here in Japan I can mix up my own.  That is all.


5/19 - BFL 10 - Upper Body Wkout - Pushups/Flyes, Press/Laterals, Rows/BW Rows, Ovr X/Dips, Single Arm DB Curls/Curls
5/18 - BFL 9 - 20m intervals/shadowboxing

"Secretary Clinton Officiates FSO Swearing In Ceremony."

All official looking. [Front row, center...]

Secretary Clinton Officiates FSO Swearing In Ceremony on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Two wrongs don't make a right. Does make it even tho'.

Pretty awesome - "Damian Aspinall's Extraordinary Gorilla Encounter."

Effectively translating the language of government bureaucracy.

"Hey buddy..."

Understanding Communication in Relationships.

Soon to be wildly appropriate.

Via NSFW tee - Boing Boing

"Initiating Robot Uprising." - Clever.

"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?" - Epicurus

"Harass people for non-crimes while brushing off actual crimes, and the people are eventually going to lose trust in law enforcement." - Done.

Oh, You Mean Those Quotas - Reason Magazine:
"In March, I wrote a column detailing a number of credible accusations made against the New York City Police Department (NYPD) for instituting a quota system for arrests and for stop-and-frisk searches. At the same time, additional allegations charged higher-ups in the department with actively discouraging crime victims from reporting crimes—as well as downgrading felonies to misdemeanors—in order to make the city's crime statistics look better. Taken together, these allegations painted an ugly picture of New Yorkers being stopped, hassled, and frisked for either petty offenses or for no offense at all, while the victims of acutal crimes faced unsympathetic law enforcement officials.

...Now comes another set of recordings from another New York precinct that validates both the Molloy study and Polanco's allegations. Earlier this month, the Village Voice obtained over 100 recordings of roll call meetings in Brooklyn's 81st precinct made by Officer Adrian Schoolcraft. They're damning.

...In other words, the statistical manipulation extends beyond property crimes. Journalist Debbie Nathan, who was sexually assaulted in a city park last February, says that she was shocked to learn that the officers who wrote up her report classified the crime as a misdemeanor. It was later upgraded to a felony, but only after Nathan went to the district attorney. And according to the DA's investigation, the six officers who responded to Nathan's attack admitted leaving key portions of her story out of the report. As Nathan told the Village Voice, rape crisis centers throughout New York City have documented similar complaints from victims of sexual assault.

...Officers were instructed to arrest people for "blocking the sidewalk," for not possessing ID (even while just feet from their homes), even for no reason at all (cops were told to "articulate" a charge at a later time). The cops were told to make arrests even if they knew they'd be voiding the charge at the end of their shifts. As a sergeant implores in one recording, "Again, it's all about the numbers."

...This is the natural progression of two related policing trends in New York: Broken Windows, which posits that cracking down on petty crime leads to a reduction in more serious crime, and COMPSTAT, a data-driven method of policing. There's debate over the effectiveness of both policies, but even if they do work to drive down crime, it's important to understand the political realities of the institutions that are using them.

Politicians want lower crime rates. This is the demand they make of the police officials who report to them. If your policing philosophy is Broken Windows, and your method of accountability is COMPSTAT, over time there will be a natural pull on the police department to enforce increasingly petty offenses and to manipulate data on more serious crimes...

In addition to the obvious civil liberties concerns about stopping, arresting, and holding people for non-crimes, these practices also poison police-community relations, particularly among minority groups. Harass people for non-crimes while brushing off actual crimes, and the people are eventually going to lose trust in law enforcement."

Monday, May 17, 2010


BFL 8 Lower Body Wkout - Goblet Squats/Sissy Squats, SLDL/Lunges, Calf Rs/Toes Out, Situps/Leg Raises, Hypers