Archive for April, 2008

Dude, Pigs Are People Too

Every once in a while, it’s worth remembering that the soulless working-class thugs of the various domestic security forces are people too – people, it must be added, whose sad little lives include so much more than merely oppressing and abusing the masses. It’s easy to see them as subhuman jackals whose interests only include guns and violins (hmmn, I may have misheard that, but nevermind), but the reality is, even the stodgiest capitalist stooges are generally surprisingly deep and complicated individuals, as this post from one of my favorite bloggers demonstrates quite well…

Over-the-top radical rhetoric aside, I have nothing but respect for law enforcement as a whole. Here in Minnesota, all officers have, at a minimum, two-year college degrees, then go on to become certified before getting another year of (mostly on-the-job) training. All that, mind you, for the privilege of working long, odd hours, having to deal with some of the worst aspects of human nature, and risking injury or death – all for roughly what they could be making as a shift supervisor at a fast-food joint. By the way, the number of applicants far exceeds the number of openings, and competition is fierce – every trainee officer you see on the streets? He or she beat out at least five people every bit as qualified as him or her to get that spot. It’s been that way for quite some time, as well; pretty much every officer out on the streets worked hard – fought hard – for the privilege and opportunity to be spat at, called names, and generally treated like crap for the duration of his or her career.

Hey, I only said they were deep, complicated people – I never said anything about being smart. 🙂

Published in: Geekiness, Security | on April 23rd, 2008 | Comments Off on Dude, Pigs Are People Too

Perceptions of Value

I recently got to experience the dubious joys of both problem solving and purchasing decisions in a bureaucratic environment, and it got me to wondering about value – what it is, and how it’s measured.

The thing that sparked the whole train of thought was the need to do something on a computer system – a newly-identified need for which no approved procedures existed, and for which no tools were on hand. When asked how I would go about the whole, fairly trivial thing, I foolishly responded “Well, I’d boot the system off a live Linux CD, then blah blah blah from the command line.” Which, I should point out, would work perfectly well…
Read the rest of this entry »

Published in: Geekiness, General | on April 22nd, 2008 | Comments Off on Perceptions of Value

The Human Element and the Analytic Process

Yesterday’s Nightwatch newsletter mentions, in passing, the ban – in Afghanistan – on importing pre-2000 automobiles, or those with right-hand drive, as one reason for that country’s shortfall in customs taxes last year. This interesting tidbit of information raises a number of questions:
Read the rest of this entry »

Published in: 'D' for 'Dumb', Geekiness, General | on April 21st, 2008 | Comments Off on The Human Element and the Analytic Process

The Landmark Mystery

One of downtown St. Paul, Minnesota’s most visible landmarks is the aptly named Landmark Center. I’m no architecture geek, but the 106-year-old building’s granite exterior is plenty striking – especially in a downtown which has undergone heavy “modernization” in the stainless-steel-and-glass skyscraper era.
Read the rest of this entry »

Published in: Geekiness, General, History | on April 21st, 2008 | Comments Off on The Landmark Mystery

Friday FOIA Fun – Homegrown Extremist Edition

Hi, and welcome to another installment of Friday FOIA Fun. This week, it isn’t just any old Friday FOIA Fun, however – it’s a very special homegrown extremist edition, wherein we are reminded that there are, in fact, white people out there who would like to kill us all, and – even more surprisingly – that the government is still concerned about these sad, pathetic, and above all pale terrorists. All of this, of course, is brought to us through the modern wonders of the Freedom of Information Act. Remember: When you positively, absolutely, have to know within three to six months, use the Act that some out of several researchers agree occasionally produces the goods: the Freedom of Information Act!
Read the rest of this entry »

Published in: Geekiness, General, History, Security | on April 18th, 2008 | Comments Off on Friday FOIA Fun – Homegrown Extremist Edition