Thursday, July 24, 2008

Dumb and dumber (and dumberer)

Do you feel safer?

Later rescinded, but Yankee stadium attempted to ban people from bringing in bottles of sunblock. In the name of security. Oh, but you could buy a 1oz bottle of SPF 15 for $5. So those very fair people that start to burn after 4-5 minutes, would have to go through a bottle an hour - upwards of $20 for an average game. As if the Yankees didn't suck enough already.

TSA administrator Kip Hawley, talking about a new training effort starting this September:
TSA has screened 3.5 billion passengers since the start-up of the agency, Hawley said, adding, "That's more than the population of the world. That means that our officers, when they're not focused on the Standard Operating Procedure and they're not going through our checklist, that they're going through information in their own subconscious. This is incredibly valuable information that allows them to pick up on cues if we train them on it and encourage them to use it." The Checkpoint Evolution training means getting away from the mentality of, "Did I complete the checklist? If I did, I'm done with my job," Hawley said. "We have to do our job of not letting prohibited items through, but my job is not finished until I've stopped an attack."

I heard a bit of a speech from John McCain on the radio last night, saying that all the credit for the recent drop in oil prices goes to President Bush because he lifted the executive order that banned offshore drilling, and oil prices dropped more than $10 a barrel in response.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Maybe our stars are unanimously tired

I'm tired.

Thesis committee meeting is scheduled for August 20th. Hopefully my last. Should have all of the data from the irradiation part of my thesis project Thursday. I've submitted one paper draft (sans figure) to my adviser and working on revising a second. Probably have two more in the pipeline. The one nice thing about being the only person in the lab working on this topic is that I'm guaranteed first author on every paper.

Had to take the car back in today, as the battery light had started coming on again and was on solid since Tuesday afternoon. Nearly 6 hours and over a week's pay later, it *was* the alternator. Nice.

VBS is in like two days; I never feel ready. It always seems to work out though.

Matt told me to give FF3 another chance since it's been updated to a new version. So far it's been okay but we'll see. At least all my extensions work, although I do miss the rounded address bar.

We've had to make some changes to our lab meeting schedule recently, and man did I get the short end of the stick on that. Not only am I presenting at lab meeting twice within 8 weeks (we usually only go once every 3 months or so; I originally wasn't due until mid-September) I'm presenting the day before my thesis committee meeting (which doesn't give me much time to implement suggestions, which was the whole point of going early) AND it's my birthday. Sigh.

What in the world makes someone undergo the thought process that decides this sequence of events is not only a viable option but also the best option: a) stop dead in the left center lane of I-95 in front of two tractor trailers, b) make a 90-degree turn across two other lanes of highway traffic, c) drive across 15 feet of grass because you're already past the point where the exit you're trying to take has physically separated from the highway. Seriously, I think you have to have some kind of mental illness there.

Did I mention that I love the new dishwasher? I love the new dishwasher. It cleans so well, and you don't have to pre-rinse anything. And it's sooo quiet!

I didn't order the shoes mentioned in my last post. But I did order a cute ASPCA t-shirt.

I appreciate the sentiment of this Indexed card:

Thursday, July 10, 2008

1-2-3

1. I switched my homepage to iGoogle. I still don't have the Evite module, but I have everything else I want (calendar, stocks, blog feeds, etc) and some cool new stuff like a to-do list and Blogger Play! The interface is a lot easier to use than My Yahoo too. I also like the increased functionality of the calendar - it's tons easier to put stuff into the calendar and whatnot.

2. I almost bought these shoes the other day, when they were $35.95. Now they're $29.97. I still haven't bought them; I don't know why. They're sooo cute though.

3. Dishwasher comes tomorrow!

Cha-ching

Should women keep a secret money stash?

I'd say no, but will add the caveat that what works for me may not work for everyone. There does seem to be some inherent aspect of distrust though - I'm talking about the secret part of it, not the separate money part. We have all of our money merged and it works just fine for us, but having separate or separate/joint accounts may be what some other couple needs. I still think full disclosure is necessary though.

Having said all that, I don't think Matt even knows what the balances of any of our accounts are or the last time he wrote a check :-) So right off the bat we're not the type of couple the article is talking about.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The last line of defence

Not a typo.

I came across this video for "The EMD Safety Bracelet." It's obviously several years old, as it references in the video that all airplane cockpit doors will be secured by 2003.

EMD stands for "electro-muscular disruption." It's basically a taser. And some halfwit wants us all to put these on before boarding a plane! Let's take a closer look at some of the video's claims.

At that time, they can also be fitted with a special electronic ID bracelet that they will wear until they disembark the flight at their destination.

Note that we have established that wearing this bracelet is (supposedly) voluntary. This in and of itself will basically render the entire proposal useless, because if you did have some sinister motives, you could simply decline to wear the bracelet. They also want to code passenger information onto this bracelet, making it a prime target for identity thieves.

Checked luggage could be coded to the bracelet to ensure no tampering or diversions.

How exactly? Are you also going to RFID tag luggage so it can only be opened in proximity to the bracelet-wearer? What if you lose your bracelet?

By further equipping each bracelet with EMD technology, the bracelets will allow crew members, using radio frequency signals, to quickly and effectively subdue hijackers.

Assuming that the hijacker is even wearing his bracelet, how exactly do you propose arming the bracelet? Airplanes are not big spaces. Are they going to arm ALL the bracelets on the plane, and if you happen to be near the hijacker when they tase him, tough noogies for you when your bracelet goes off too? Are they somehow going to know the specific RFID code for that particular bracelet? How do they know he didn't switch bracelets with his buddy in the back row, or even just take it off on the plane?

EMD technology is designed to incapicate a terrorist from a safe distance, without causing permanent injury, which means these criminals will survive and go to trial.

While the manufacturer of the Taser gun says that Tasers have never caused a death (and guns don't kill people, bullets do!) 70 people from 2003-2004 died after being tasered. I hardly think that there is any kind of guarantee that people will survive to be brought to trial.

Wearing an EMD bracelet for a few hours during a flight is a small inconvenience to ensure their safe arrival...many, if not most, passengers would happily opt for the extra security of the EMD safety bracelet.

And we come back to the first point, that if wearing these bracelets is on a voluntary basis, then it provides no additional security and accomplishes nothing except potentially putting yourself at risk for identity theft and electric shock.

Well done.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Plz stop breaking my internet, kthxbai

Seriously.

I switched back to Firefox 2 because Firefox 3 kept crashing itself and/or my computer. Yeah yeah, add-ons, blah blah blah. All I know is that Firefox hasn't crashed and I haven't had to restart my computer since I downgraded, AND I have all my preferred add-ons and my iFox theme AND stuff like the "favorite this" button on ICHC works again.

So now what? I use My Yahoo as my home page. They've been nagging me for months to switch to the "New My Yahoo" (and they've conveniently already moved my page over). But one of my modules keeps track of my current Evite invitations and lets me see when others have RSVP'd. There is no Evite module in the "New My Yahoo." Also, the New My Yahoo doesn't have the RSS feeds for my favorite PF blogs. So, I just kept my old My Yahoo page. Now there's a banner at the top of my home page saying "This version of My Yahoo will shut down in 7 days. Don't worry, we've already moved your page over to the New My Yahoo." They even have the audacity to tell me that my page is "changing (in a good way!)" Jerks.

I don't have enough fingers

As of today, I am officially in 22nd grade.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

T-minus 19 days

Until vacation!

We had a nice 4th. Went over to Matt's fam for ribs and other barbecue/food. I brought baked beans and blueberry angel food cupcakes (topped with whipped cream and strawberries). Let me tell you, I was totally unprepared for how many cupcakes one box of angel food cake mix made (almost 3 dozen!) After dinner we went over to Carly's parents' to see the fireworks (just a little ways of a walk up the W&OD trail from their house) and then to C&E's for a while. It was the first real test of the Garmin Nuvi, and I can say it passed with flying colors.

Oh, and we bought the dishwasher! Happy Birthday, America! It'll be here on Friday. I'm really looking forward to it. Anything would be better than our current disaster.

I got an e-mail about a week or so ago about Let's Dish stores in Montgomery County closing :-( The GM for the mid-Atlantic region contacted me personally to express how disappointed he was that customers like me would be inconvenienced. I told him that I would be going to the store in Columbia for at least the next few months, and he said he'd let the store manager there know to take care of me. That was super awesome.

The ASPCA commercial always makes me cry. I want to hug all the kitties! Especially the orange one at the end that tries to paw the camera. And the white lab that sticks his nose under the bottom of his cage. We (meaning I) signed up for a monthly donation at their website. How people can do things like that to animals absolutely boggles my mind.

I actually got 1/4th of my data from my mad rush to the finish line on the irradiation project! Due to get the second fourth tomorrow. I'm taking Tuesday off - have some writing projects that need to be worked on, plus I was there until 7-8pm just about every day last week (and I was in last Sunday too).

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

You've received a Hallmark E-card!

A couple years ago, I would have thought nothing of this. But I have learned to be suspicious of everything on the internet. Especially since it's not even my birthday or anything.

It looked innocuous enough:

My e-mail address was correct, no spelling or grammar errors (usually a dead give-away) and I right-clicked some of the links at the top and bottom and copy/pasted them into notepad - they all directed to hallmark.com.

Oh, these are smart people. But I am smarter. Copying the link location of the "here" (to retrieve my card) and pasting into notepad revealed the true intentions: domain freewebtown.com, file name postcard.exe.

You were a worthy opponent, Postcard Virus Cleverly Disguised As A Hallmark E-Card. But no cookie for you today.