Idiocy in Policing, Part 1

The FBI is warning police nationwide to be alert for people carrying almanacs.  In a bulletin sent Christmas Eve to about 18,000 police organizations, the FBI urged officers to watch during searches, traffic stops and other investigations for anyone carrying almanacs, especially if the books are annotated.

Why Part 1 in the title?  With things going this way, there’s no doubt that a part 2 will show up soon.  Maybe people carrying maps.

Online Speeds

Depending upon what you read, either “US Internet Growth and Broadband Adoption Slow” or “US Broadband Up 18% in H1”.  But they’re both using the same reports.

According to a Dec. 22 Pew Internet report:

  • The size of the online U.S. adult population is 63% of all those 18 and over; online population was 126 million in August 2003.
  • The size of the online population on a typical day was 66 million in August 2003
  • 31% of Internet users who go online from home have broadband as of August 2003.

It’s the last number that caught my interest.  I can’t imagine using a dial-up connection any more and wondered how many others had made the move.  I have friends that won’t look at anything on the internet unless they really, really need to because it takes too long to load. 

Those numbers mean that only about 20% of the U.S. population (at those using home access) are surfing at high speed.  I guess I better make my blog and website smaller.

IE Tip

Just got this neat tip in the mail for Internet Explorer:

Type the main part of a URL but instead of hitting Enter use CTRL+Enter and IE will add the http:// and .com to what you typed.

Spam Canned?

Last Thursday Gaven Stubberfield, number 8 on Spamhaus’ Top 10 Spamers list, was arrested and charged with four felony counts of using fraudulent means to transmit unsolicited bulk e-mail, the first felony prosecution in the nation specifically using an antispam law.

My incoming spam dropped by more than 90% over the weekend.  There was only one this morning instead of the usual 40 to 60.  Was it due to the federal antispam bill?  No, that hasn’t been signed yet; and Spamhaus says it shouldn’t be.  Whatever the reason, it’s good to see spam slowing.

State of Hyphened Awareness

Who decides if anti-spam gets a hyphen?  It seems to be running about 50-50 now.

Tomb With A View

The Theban Mapping Project has been working to prepare a comprehensive, detailed map and database of every archaeological, geological, and ethnographic feature in Thebes.  Fly over and zoom into the temples, tombs and palaces of Luxor’s West Bank with the Atlas of the Theban Necropolis.

Madman Munch?

Astronomers say the colors in Edvard Munch’s famous painting, The Scream, was not from his own imagination, but was inspired by the volcanic eruption of Krakatoa.  Its ash cloud affected sunsets for more than a year and Oslo’s local newspaper reported that the phenomenon was widely seen.  The astronomers found the location where the painting was conceived, and determined that Munch was looking in the direction west of Java.

I don’t suspect art critics will change their stance that the painting “depicts not so much an incident or a landscape as a state of mind.”

DNA Sequencing For Children

James Watson was only 24 when he discovered the helical structure of DNA.  But why should today’s kids wait to get started? is selling an $80 toy called DNA Explorer that allows children to extract and sequence the DNA from a variety of foodstuffs.

Or they can try Discovery’s Forensics Lab

And to think that I used to be happy playing with chemicals that would only change colors, foam, and crack the sink.

More Or Less, We're Talking Jobs

Ah, but that’s the question:  more or less? There were two articles this morning about the labor market.

One headline states that Jobless Claims Rise to 365,000.  The four-week moving average of new claims, a less volatile indicator, rose to 362,500 last week.  (NY Times)

Another says that Businesses Add 57,000 New Jobs in Nov., although that was lower than the 150,000 that had been predicted.  (ABC News)

Does that mean a net loss of 308,000 jobs?  Or does it mean that although there were 365k new people unemployed, that 422k unemployed people got jobs, giving a net gain of 57k jobs?  I had been thinking it was the former, but because the unemployment rate went down it looks more like the later.

Is this good news?  Are there more jobs or fewer?  And finally, why aren’t these numbers ever in the same article?

Electronic Voting, Part 2

e-voting on Nov. 11 with background info.)

Here are a couple of other important updates:

November 22, 2003: California is requiring that all electronic voting machines produce a voter-verifiable paper receipt by 2006.  While this is a move toward sensible e-voting safeguards, the action isn’t quick enough to stop the stealing of the 2004 presidential election.

December 3, 2003: The Ohio Secretary of State has announced the results of a study his office commissioned, which examined four e-voting systems.  Each system had at least one “high risk” problem.  The review turned up so many potential security flaws in the systems that the state’s top elections official has called off deploying them in March.

Not a Photo-Op. Really.

The turkey looked perfect, but don’t try to eat it.  In the Iraq Thanksgiving picture seen so frequently, Bush is holding the centerpiece.

It’s like he’s a Truth Compass.  Just look at Bush and truth is the other way.

Just Hot Air

The military is looking to something old as a new weapon in the war on terrorism:  blimps.  They can travel up to 60 mph and fly at an altitude of about 2,000-3,000 feet.  Wow.

This just in:  A Goodyear blimp crashed Wednesday night…

Next up:  catapults making a comeback.  Secret military plans have been leaked.