It's not new, though. People have been explaining how to evade airport security for years.
Back in 2006, I -- and others -- explained how to print your own boarding pass and evade the photo-ID check, a trick that still seems to work. In 2008, I demonstrated carrying two large bottles of liquid through airport security. Here's a paper about stabbing people with stuff you can take through airport security. And here's a German video of someone building a bomb out of components he snuck through a full-body scanner. There's lots more if you start poking around the Internet.
So, what's the moral here? It's not like the terrorists don't know about these tricks. They're no surprise to the TSA, either. If airport security is so porous, why aren't there more terrorist attacks? Why aren't the terrorists using these, and other, techniques to attack planes every month?
I think the answer is simple: airplane terrorism isn't a big risk. There are very few actual terrorists, and plots are much more difficult to execute than the tactics of the attack itself. It's the same reason why I don't care very much about the various TSA mistakes that are regularly reported.
I'm delving deeper into Amazon's international shipping. So far, after making an expensive 60 dollar mistake, I've learned that it's several times more cheaper to ship stuff from neighboring countries or not-so-neighboring countries, instead of shipping from the US. First off the standard shipping time (really time is the most expensive thing in terms of shipping) is 18-32 days when shipping from US, while shipping from UK you can ship the same items in 8-12 days with standard shipping rates. Definitely much much cheaper. Expensive learning lesson, sigh, but next time this'll learn me not to buy american. Euro FTW! lol
Now that gmail divides my email into three main tabs plus spam, I decided it was a good time to keep track of what I was getting over the course of Thanksgiving weekend. It’s the biggest advertising time of the season. So from Wednesday through Monday, I didn’t clear out my promotional tab or my spam folder.
The final tally: 89 promotional pieces of email. 108 pieces of spam, most of which were also from companies I have at some point done business with.
Out of the promotional tab, two of the items were of any interest or use to me. Yes, two. (Neither was selling anything, either, and neither was time-sensitive.)
That’s nearly two hundred useless messages. Wheeeee.
I think the moral of the story is that I can let stuff pile up in the promotions tab all I want, because seriously, the percentages are incredibly low.
Maurice Druon, The Iron King. French historical fiction. Very much of the Batman Villain school of historical fiction (you know: the good guys are physically apparent, and so are the bad guys), but still adventurous and fun.
Doris Kearns Goodwin, The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism. This was a quite long book, and yet I still felt like it needed to be longer in order to address its subject properly. The stuff about early 20th century journalism was much better covered in the beginning of the book than at the end, and the lives and interactions of Roosevelt and Taft after their falling out were not really very well covered. There was still a lot of interest in this book, though, and one of its chief results was making me a huge Nellie Herron Taft fan. I am firmly convinced that if not for her stroke, we would remember the Taft presidency radically differently. Fascinating, awesome woman.
Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848. This was another gigantic piece of nonfiction from the library, and I loved it. I gnashed my teeth a great deal, but not at the historian. It was full of all sorts of tidbits about different aspects of life, not just a “presidents and great landowners” sort of history, and also Howe is clear about the difference between “Americans” doing x, y, or z and a particular demographic of Americans doing x, y, or z. Oh, but don’t believe They Might Be Giants: Martin Van Buren was in no sense an abolitionist. I don’t know why they said that. Scansion is no excuse. (James K. Polk did a bunch of the stuff in the song. But Van Buren, no.)
Ross King, The Judgment of Paris: The Revolutionary Decade That Gave the World Impressionism. If you already know a bit about 19th century French art–which apparently I do–this will not be very edifying. If not, it covers the lead-in to Impressionism, which is an interesting bit of art history. I had hoped it would be a bit deeper, though.
Alethea Kontis, Hero. Yep, it’s settled: I will keep reading these fairy-tale mashups as long as Alethea wants to keep writing them. The Woodcutter family is fun.
Eve LaPlante, Marmee and Louisa: The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Mother. I did not actually need to despise Bronson Alcott more than I previously did, and yet oh. OH. WHAT AN UTTER HEEL. Most things written about him are written by people who sympathize with him at least enough to write about him. LaPlante, on the other hand, was writing about the wife he mistreated. Abba Alcott was a fascinating person, influential and connected in her own right, and despite the angrification at Bronson, this was a really cool book.
George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, eds., Dangerous Women. Discussed elsewhere.
Kenneth Oppel, This Dark Endeavor. I should not have liked this book. It was in several key ways eye-rollingly awful. It’s a prequel to Frankenstein, and it’s from the perspective of a teenage Victor, who is not, it turns out, improved by pubescent thinking. And there are bits and pieces of shout-outs to the original that fall completely flat. And nonetheless I found myself continuing with reading it, enjoying it, and even planning to read the sequel. Go figure.
Emily Pohl-Weary, Not Your Ordinary Wolf Girl. This ended abruptly, like the first two-thirds of a novel, and also the plot followed pretty standard werewolf narratives, so…the title felt particularly unfortunate. I enjoyed reading it, though, and it looks to me like a promising sign about Pohl-Weary’s later work.
Ruth Rendell, No Man’s Nightingale. Latest Wexford mystery, and I really like how the retired Inspector continues to age, how he has different strengths and weaknesses than the younger characters. I would not recommend starting here, though, as most libraries will have some earlier volumes that will give more context to the characters.
Ian Tregillis, Something More Than Night. Discussed elsewhere.
Gene Luen Yang, Boxers and Saints. A pair of graphic novels about the Boxer Rebellion, from opposing and overlapping Chinese perspectives. The sort of thing I look at and think, “When I was my godkids’ age, they just plain didn’t have anything like this.” Neither of the two comes first; they are companions rather than one a sequel.
Roger Zelazny, A Dark Traveling. Novelette. If you’re in the mood for Zelazny and not so much for First Person Asshole, this fits the bill admirably. Teenage cross-world traveling with enough mythical/legendary elements to fill an entire trilogy of modern urban fantasy/paranormal romance; very much a precursor to that sort of thing.
but I must have been in a weakened state or something, because I forgot and noticed that "Best Mystery or Thriller" went to Dan Brown's _Inferno_ on the GoodReads Best of the Year list. Granted, I only got about half way through it before the pseudo-science and the demented female sidekick made me give up, but I found it neither thrilling nor mysterious. The flat descriptions and repetative phrases did lead me to develop a theory that "Dan Brown" is actually a project concocted by mad grad students to persuade the world that a computer can write, and they have woven a mind-virus into the paper and the digital bits that compels normal people to believe that this is great writing, kind of like that mind-virus that cats use on people.
This entry was originally posted at http://kestrell.dreamwidth.org/251169.ht
Hooray! Finally! Time to do all your Holiday shopping! Yes, Girl Genius Volume 12 is up and available on our webstore (http://topatoco.com/). In addition to the new volume, we can once again offer bundles of every volume of Girl Genius in one horse–choking brick. We also have some new pins, as well as all the old favorites back in stock.
Now I will say out front that I’m not one of those people who’s idea of a beloved family tradition is to plan a commando raid on Mall of America in order to save 17¢ on a pair of socks. Here in the Foglio Compound, we heartily support Cyber–Monday or any other excuse that let’s us do something over our beautiful, sanitary internet. Make no mistake! No agoraphobics we! We love the marketplace! We just prefer to skulk around it at one in the morning with the other Night People. It’s just the way the family brains are wired.
We enjoy strolling about at night. All the interesting animals come out, and if you think your local neighborhood doesn’t contain raccoons, coyotes, armadillos, foxes, opossums, bears or weasels, then you have not wandered sufficiently after midnight. Night is also when you get some of your more interesting city maintenance work and police actions, things that everyone is determined to have cleaned up quickly enough that it needn’t bother showing up in the morning news. The most interesting of these events are power outages. I remember one that completely blanked out the entire city around one in the morning. It lasted for a few hours, eliminating even the ambient orange city glow that we’re used to seeing fill the night sky- the sort of thing that people don’t even think about until you’re out in the middle of nowhere and you realize that there are, in fact, still a hell of a lot of stars up there, and the next day, there wasn’t even a mention in the papers or on the radio that it had happened.
The wind is blowing here today, blowing very strongly. We heard it booming and moaning all night long, and it’s continuing through the morning. I am a person who is fond of wind-chimes and such, and they are clonging and donging quite vigorously. Kaja is convinced that the neighbors are going to pour over the fence and rip them down. This has yet to happen, but she lives in hope.
As more and more media outlets from all over the world continue to report on the Snowden documents, it's harder and harder to keep track of what has been released. The EFF, ACLU, and Cryptome are all trying.
None of them is complete, I believe. Please post additions in the comments, and I will do my best to feed the information back to the compilers.
A local operative reports in with this important information:
It seems BART has some Linux image that they push out to laptops in the station operator booths. They are all running dali clock!
Mirrored from jwz.org.
|Tue, Dec 03:||Atlas Obscura: The History of Rum @ DNA Lounge|
|Tue, Dec 03:||Happy Fangs, Gold Boot, Faux Canada @ El Rio|
|Thu, Dec 05:||Chvrches, Nonono, Portugal The Man @ Mezzanine|
|Fri, Dec 06:||Point Break Live @ DNA Lounge|
|Thu, Dec 12:||Vicerine @ DNA Lounge|
|Thu, Dec 12:||Banks @ Popscene|
|Tue, Dec 17:||Atlas Obscura: Holiday Obscura @ DNA Lounge|
|Fri, Dec 27:||Jessie Evans @ Hemlock|
|Tue, Dec 31:||Bootie NYE Shit Show @ DNA Lounge|
|Tue, Dec 31:||The Vau de Vire thing @ The Armory|
December's always thin. What have you got?
Mirrored from jwz.org.
This morning I sold a story, “The Stuff We Don’t Do,” to the Futures department at Nature Physics. I am always pleased to be in Nature Physics because it reaches the professors who did so much for me in college.
This story has two positive inspirations and one negative one, among authors whose work I enjoyed in my teens and early twenties. We’ll see if anybody recognizes the other two when the story comes out, but the positive one I want to call out specifically today is Diane Duane. Her Wizard books remain humane as well as clever; she armored them against the suck fairy, and I am as grateful for them now as I was in younger days. (And if you’re puzzled at how a fantasy series could help inspire something SF enough to make it into Nature Physics, possibly it’s time for you to give the Wizard books a look.)
Of course, I have counted wrong; Timprov is an author whose work I enjoyed in that period, and he was at least as much an inspiration for this story (also positive). I wrote it for him, sparked by a conversation we had in the car once. Sometimes it still amazes me that not only do I get to tell stories inspired by crazy conversations I have with the Prov, but I get to do it as my job.
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