Archive for March, 2008

On Cultural Differences

I was reading through Japanese artist Masamune Shirow’s graphic novel Appleseed last week, and I noticed something interesting about the bleak near-future of the world in his story which I’ve also seen in other Manga and Anime series – something which reflects a unique cultural stance of the Japanese…
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Published in: Geekiness, General | on March 22nd, 2008 | Comments Off on On Cultural Differences

Sunshine Week 7: Got Fallout Shelter?

Reproduced as the appendix to the engineers’ report on Saint Paul’s Lilydale-area caves that I’ve been putting online this week are two dozen or so early-1960s maps of Saint Paul caves. While I’m not entirely sure why these maps were attached to the report – many of the caves in question seem to be outside the “survey” area – I’m glad they were, as they have proven fairly difficult to acquire through normal channels.
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Published in: Geekiness, General, History, Urban Exploration | on March 21st, 2008 | 1 Comment »

Sunshine Week 6: SD Form 537-2

Because it’s not something you see every day, here’s an example of the typical first response from the U.S. Army to an FOIA request. In some cases, this is the only response you get for months or even years:
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Published in: Geekiness, General | on March 21st, 2008 | Comments Off on Sunshine Week 6: SD Form 537-2

Sunshine Week 5: Bravery – Pooping, or Being Pooped On, Where You Sleep

One unfortunate aspect of open-records laws is that they tend to be unpopular – not just with those who could and should make use of them, but with the august masses who control the records throughout the country which are subject to disclosure laws. Many people can tell stories of making FOIA requests to federal agencies, only to get letters – or phone calls – asking what they want the records for. A number of requests I’ve made to the military have resulted in my being “examined”, if only through the magic of Google searches. It’s even creepier in England, where I was told, in response to one request for something completely innocuous, that I could have the document I’d requested, but first I had to tell Her Majesty’s Government why I wanted it.
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Published in: General | on March 20th, 2008 | Comments Off on Sunshine Week 5: Bravery – Pooping, or Being Pooped On, Where You Sleep

Sunshine Week 4: The Illusion of Choice

Today’s float in this week-long parade of documents pried from the cold and clammy fingers of the government is the third and penultimate part of the 2005 engineering report on Saint Paul’s Lilydale caves. Consisting entirely of illustrations and charts, this portion of the report (2.5MB PDF) lays out the choices, such as they were, for the then-future of the caves in question. It was done pseudo-scientifically, with all the various options being fairly arbitrarily “scored” on an apparently arbitrary scale. Not surprisingly, the City went with the “highest scoring” option – hiding the entrances, which was – coincidentally, I’m sure – probably also the least expensive and quickest option to implement.
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Published in: Geekiness, General, History, Urban Exploration | on March 19th, 2008 | 1 Comment »