Now This Log

Archives: October 2001

Saturday, 6 October 2001

And there's no doubt in my mind, not one doubt in my mind, that we will fail.
-- President Bush, 4 October 2001, via Al Kamen in the Post

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Cam's right, someone did a superb job with this series of infographics showing the assorted damage to buildings around the World Trade Center.

Apparently they're made by Urban Data Solutions; visit their site for more cool graphics. permanent link

Friday, 5 October 2001

This is a little funny and a little ridiculous. When I didn't live here, I surely would make the same mistakes. However, anyone who's lived here long and/or looked at a map of the area (and you'd think that would include the President) would be fairly dense to screw this up:

You Are Where? Locating Pentagon, National Airport a Geographic Challenge [Washington Post]
Even the U.S. Postal Service and some Internet map services get confused, so maybe President Bush could be forgiven for referring to the airport Tuesday as being in Washington, D.C. At an on-site news conference to announce today's reopening of National, Bush mentioned that he had invited D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams (D) to dinner "here in the District." // Trouble is, when he spoke he was standing firmly in Arlington County [Virginia], whose boundary begins on the western shore of the Potomac.

Arlington police spokeswoman Kim Roberson had called [Washington Redskins] officials, wondering whether their players would like to wear county police and fire baseball caps at the first home game, like the New York Mets did for rescue workers there. // "When I called the Redskins, it seemed like a bit of a hard sell," Roberson said. "It was like, 'Why is Arlington County calling and offering this?' I said, 'Because the Pentagon is in Arlington.' I had to fax the Redskins proof that the Pentagon was actually in Arlington."
Oy. permanent link

Thursday, 4 October 2001

The K Chronicles: What a difference a day makes. "Gary who?" permanent link

The canonical transcript of Jon Stewart's first Daily Show back:

September 11, 2001: A Reaction
I’m sorry to do this to you. It’s another entertainment show beginning with an overwrought speech of a shaken host. TV is nothing if not redundant. So, I apologize for that.

"Subliminable" is not a punch line anymore. ... Lord willing, it will become that again because that means we have ridden out the storm.

You know, all this talk about "These guys are criminal masterminds. They’ve gotten together and their extraordinary guile…and their wit and their skill." It's a lie. Any fool can blow something up. Any fool can destroy. But to see these guys, these firefighters, these policemen and people from all over the country, literally, with buckets, rebuilding. That's extraordinary.
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CNN: Job Envy: Author Neil Gaiman
"My worst fantasy was a really cool one. I got to kidnap all of the authors whose work I liked, living and dead -- I got to go 'round and round up G.K. Chesterton and Geoffrey Chaucer and all of these guys. Then I got to lock them in an enormous castle and make them collaborate on these huge-plot books. And I would tell them what the plots were. // I was about 10 years old. And I plotted this 12-volume giant epic about these people going off to collect these rocks from all over the universe. // As daydreams go, it says an awful lot about me as a young man: I wasn't confident enough about my ability to come up with stories. I was coming up with this huge, intricate story in order to justify in my daydreams of creating stories."

"I enjoy not being famous. I drive my publicist mad by declining to do things like the David Letterman show or People magazine (another AOL Time Warner company), because I don't particularly like being a personality, I like being about the story I'm telling, I like being about the books."
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Take the Falwell/Robertson/Bin Laden Quiz. I only got 8 out of 20. permanent link

Leo: (July 23—Aug. 22)
You must stop living in the past. Any changes you make back then may alter the present irreparably.

Virgo: (Aug. 23—Sept. 22)
Now more than ever, that peace sign you carry is going to get you shot at.

-- horoscopes from this week's Onion

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Wednesday, 3 October 2001

Rocky Mountain News: Missing tanker truck spurs search, alert to Terrorism Task Force
Sheriffs' deputies are scouring Arapahoe County [Colorado] in search of a missing tanker truck capable of spraying 5,000 gallons of liquid along city streets, officials said Tuesday.

"Although we don't have any reason to believe this is why it was stolen, there is a potential use for this vehicle as a means of attack," he said.

...the Sheriff's Department put out a description of the large yellow tanker with the words "Fiore and Sons" printed on its side...
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Greyhound crash kills six; passenger says driver was attacked [Tennesseean]
Though Greyhound temporarily suspended its bus service nationwide, a U.S. Justice Department spokesman in Washington told The Tennessean that authorities do not yet believe the incident is related to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Greyhound service resumes after fatal bus crash [CNN]
Greyhound service was suspended for several hours but resumed [at 1pm EDT] after the FBI told the company it was safe to continue. Greyhound President Craig Lentzsch said at a news conference that authorities told him the accident was the result of "an isolated act by a single deranged individual."
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Linkstorm. Clearing out some of the backlog:

Worth reading all of: Bruce Schneier's Cryptogram: Special issue devoted to the September 11 attacks and their aftermath
...why isn't anyone asking the real questions: what is the threat, and how does turning an airplane into a kindergarten classroom reduce the threat? If the threat is hijacking, then the [no sharp objects] countermeasure doesn't protect against all the myriad of ways people can subdue the pilot and crew.

Airline security measures are primarily designed to give the appearance of good security rather than the actuality. This makes sense, once you realize that the airlines' goal isn't so much to make the planes hard to hijack, as to make the passengers willing to fly.

The closest the airlines have to experienced and expert analysis is El Al. Since 1948 they have been operating in and out of the most heavily terroristic areas of the planet, with phenomenal success. They implement some pretty heavy security measures. One thing they do is have reinforced, locked doors between their airplanes' cockpit and the passenger section. (Notice that this security measure is 1) expensive, and 2) not immediately perceptible to the passenger.) Another thing they do is place all cargo in decompression chambers before takeoff, to trigger bombs set to sense altitude. (Again, this is 1) expensive, and 2) imperceptible, so unattractive to American airlines.)

It's easy to refute the notion that all security comes at the expense of liberty. Arming pilots, reinforcing cockpit doors, and teaching flight attendants karate are all examples of security measures that have no effect on individual privacy or liberties. So are better authentication of airport maintenance workers, or dead-man switches that force planes to automatically land at the closest airport, or armed air marshals traveling on flights.

Liberty-depriving security measures are most often found when system designers failed to take security into account from the beginning. They're Band-aids, and evidence of bad security planning. When security is designed into a system, it can work without forcing people to give up their freedoms.
MSNBC: What to Read Now: Newsweek's recommended reading list

MSNBC: Four Things Citizens Can Do by Richard C. Harwood
1. Learn more about the world...
2. Move from comfort talk to public talk. ... Americans must engage with the public questions before them.
3. Search out differing opinions...
4. Expand our ideas of patriotism.
This Modern World: "I just don't understand how spending billions of dollars on a missile defense system is useful when the enemy is armed with box-cutters--" "Zip it, you unamerican freak!"

Carol Lay's Story Minute: Returning to Normal

A new batch of links from Phil Agre

Spinsanity: Criticizing American Policy: Picking and Choosing What Is Legitimate
One of the most troubling strands of this rhetorical offensive is the assertion that criticism of American foreign policy -- specifically America's economic and political policies abroad -- is beyond the pale and that making such arguments amounts to blaming America for the terrorist attacks. Meanwhile, some of these same pundits are quite comfortable criticizing aspects of our military policies. They attack dissent as "blaming America first" from one side of their mouth while denouncing past military policy from the other. This blatant hypocrisy, exemplified by Andrew Sullivan and Charles Krauthammer, is nothing less than an attempt to define the terms under which US policy may be criticized.
Slate: What's the Rush? by Robert Wright
We and other nations seem to be apprehending more and more people who could be part of a second-wave assault. So long as we're making progress, why provoke the ones we haven't yet caught?

...the time to extract concessions from the rest of the world is before an assault -- while nations both sympathize with us and want to calm us down. If we want, say, stronger international rules governing the flow of dubious funds, we should get commitments before the fighting starts.
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Tuesday, 2 October 2001

I stumbled on this new album in a Sunday ad; I was wondering when he'd get around to releasing something like this. It's all piano music, and it's all played by a better pianist, but it's new Billy Joel material all the same.

Billy Joel: Fantasies & Delusions, Op. 1-10 (cute cover)

Press release: Billy Joel's First Album Of New Compositions Since 1993

Simultaneously, they've released a new 'very best greatest hits' album called The Essential Billy Joel. It looks like a rehash of his three prior greatest hits albums plus two of the tracks from the new classical album; completely unnecessary to any but the newest BJ fan. permanent link

Monday, 1 October 2001

Worth perusing: A free chapter from Simson Garfinkel's Database Nation (published in early 2001), found via aaronland:

Chapter 9: Kooks and Terrorists
With targets so vulnerable, civil authorities so unprepared, and toxins so readily available, does it make sense to institute a worldwide dragnet to track and stop suspected terrorists before they strike? Increasingly, the U.S. government is insisting that the answer to this question is yes.

The [salmonella] poisoning of more than 700 Americans by a religious community [in 1984] should have been a newsworthy event. However, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) investigators decided not to publicize the event further for fear that it might inspire copycat poisonings similar to the copycat Tylenol-cyanide poisonings that took place in 1982. ... [It was] only decided to publicize the poisonings after the 1995 Japanese nerve gas attacks. "It is hoped that wider dissemination today of the epidemiologic findings from The Dalles outbreak will lead to greater awareness of the possibility of other incidents and earlier recognition, when or if a similar incident occurs," the article's authors said.
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A new batch of stills from the Harry Potter movie is up at the Leaky Cauldron. Looks good, can't wait till November. permanent link

Sunday, 30 September 2001

Clicking on permanent link icon at the end of an entry will take you to that entry's permanent home. Link to that URL if you wish to link to a specific entry. permanent link

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synthesis from
Steve Bogart

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