Archive for June 11th, 2009

Kwik Hits

Random bits of goodness from around the ethernets:

On the 21st of June, another bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis is going to fall down. Don’t worry, it’s on purpose;

From the Independent: Premium vodkas are becoming popular in the UK, where “One in three British drinkers now enjoys a glass of vodka.” Yes, but how many slug it straight from the bottle, eh?

From the USAF: A-10s hunt snipers. I think that’s what’s known in technical circles as “disproportionate response”. Effective, to be sure, but maybe a wee bit overkill?

The 50 best jokes of the Edinburgh festival, according to the Independent.

From Cryptome: CENTCOM’s policy for engaging “emerging media” in the Middle East.

From the USAF, somewhat related: Manas Air Base embraces the Twitter. “Social media is not going away. Over a few short years we have seen these types of communication mediums reach high levels of popularity and use,” says the spokesperson… even though “Manas AB’s Twitter site,, and other Web 2.0 entities can’t be accessed from government computers here”. Doh.

By the way, Manas has, as of right now, posted six messages to Twitter, one a day for the past six days. Not exactly prolific twitterers.

Also from the Air Force: They’ve revised the physical fitness standards, and folks don’t seem too happy about it – just read the comments. My favorite: “Well all that I can say is in my career field you can have a broken arm and two broken legs and still be able to do my job… What are we going to do in the Air Force with a bunch of fit dumb people with no leadership abilities…”

Someone pointed out to me the other day that, supposedly, five percent of released detainees go on to commit “terrorist acts”, at least according to the Pentagon. That sounds terrible, doesn’t it? One on twenty! Here’s my question, though, for anyone who’s a fan of “How to Lie With Statistics”: Domestically, what’s the rate of recidivism for convicted murderers? Arsonists? Rapists and other sexual offenders? Are accused/suspected terrorists more or less likely to commit crimes than other comparable demographics? Inquiring minds, and all that.

I mean, without any context, “five percent” is just a number. If I told you that statistically, a church in Minneapolis is going to be broken into, on average, once every five years, you may or may not find that alarming. (I made that number up, by the way.) It certainly seems like an alarming, albeit ficticious, number – but consider that churches here in Saint Paul, statistically, are going to be broken into slightly more often than once every three years (this is true, by the way) and it doesn’t look too bad at all.

Statistically speaking, one-hundred percent of the people who read this sentence – that means you – are going to die within the next hundred years.

Statistically speaking, and rounding up to the nearest percent, one-hundred percent of the people out there who didn’t read that sentence are going to die within the next hundred years, too.

Get the point? 🙂

Published in: Geekiness, General | on June 11th, 2009 | 2 Comments »