Archive for April, 2008

Crumbling Infrastructure

Last year, a major freeway bridge in Minneapolis collapsed, killing or injuring dozens. That jump-started the long-overdue public debate over the state of this country’s crumbling transportation infrastructure; every state’s department of transportation has been checking and re-checking bridges, and begging for more money to do something about the thousands in need of attention.

It’s worth remembering, though, that so far the attention has only really been on road bridges. This is to be expected – they’re public property, and carry people.

Surprise, surprise, other kinds of bridges around the country are in serious disrepair, too.
Read the rest of this entry »

Published in: General, Security | on April 30th, 2008 | 1 Comment »

When in Doubt, Lie

I was standing in line at a place earlier today, waiting to do something. In front of me were a college-age couple; ahead of them were a couple other people, and then an old fart wearing a jacket embroidered on the back with the logo of Solidarność. The female half of the couple in front of me nudges the other, points to the jacket, and asks “Solidarnosc?”, to which the guy responds “Yeah, they were this one-hit wonder back in the early 1980s. They were more like Steppenwolf than Scorpion, you know?” She just kind of shrugs, and they then begin discussing why all “German bands” have names that begin with letters from the back end of the alphabet….

Ah, kids these days. Sure, they were probably in diapers when Poland’s historic little social revolution happened, but don’t schools teach this stuff? Evidently not…

Published in: 'D' for 'Dumb', General, History | on April 30th, 2008 | No Comments »

Language in Conflict

Language – and vocabulary – are two of the most important, most fundamental aspects of interpersonal communication. They are the cornerstones of communication, building blocks which transcend mediums and are pretty much universal. It’s not surprising that the U.S. government has finally caught on to the importance of language and vocabulary; rather, what is surprising is how long it took them to do so.
Read the rest of this entry »

Published in: General, History | on April 28th, 2008 | 1 Comment »

Friday FOIA Fun – More Domestic Terrorists

Last Friday, I posted about the Department of Homeland Security’s short-lived irregular publication the Domestic Terrorism Newsletter. This week, I bring you its successor, the Domestic Extremism Digest.
Read the rest of this entry »

Published in: Geekiness, General, History, Security | on April 25th, 2008 | No Comments »

(What) Is Our Children Learning?

I was recently working on a project that involved a lot of math, and was reminded – unpleasantly – of my regrettably formative high-school years. You see, despite being quite good at most things involving the English language, decent where world and American history are concerned, no slouch at what is still referred to as “home economics”, and decent enough where most things involving science, technology, and computers are concerned, I just barely graduated from high school. Why? Math, or rather, the way math was taught and graded in the school district I went to.
Read the rest of this entry »

Published in: 'D' for 'Dumb', Geekiness, General | on April 24th, 2008 | No Comments »