For months leading up to CES I’ve been getting email warning about the new rules and bag inspection regime. I watched thousands of people go through the gates in front of me without the metal detector guys wanding anyone. My laptop bag inspections consisted of:
- Watching me put the bag down, begin to unzip it, waving me through
- Waving me through
- One lady was too busy texting or playing Angry Birds to even look up
- The two people at the gate too busy talking dirty to each other to even pay attention to everyone walking in
Total theatre. I did make it to Battlefield Vegas, though; shot two magazines through an StG44 and ran 100 rounds through a minigun. That was fun.
I’ve been plowing through the back catalog of Hello Internet (which basically requires listening in order); there are a lot of little nuggets that could be pulled out for longer discussion, but a few top-of-mind:
- “You can’t live in your own museum” – Barb was the first place I heard this but listening to CGP Grey go on about it is amusing.
- General whinging about the Amazon Phone and how lame it is (agreed, I worked on it, it deserved to never ship)
- CGP Grey is very close to Roman Mars in his view of flags
- How bad these two professionals, that live and die on YouTube views, are at estimating how videos will do. They do small, low-effort videos that go viral and videos that they’ve worked on for weeks which fail.
I have a strange connection to R Budd Dwyer. When I used to compete in the NFL (in Radio Speech), the way it worked was you were given a few feet of news from an actual honest-to-God AP newsfeed printer and you had to prepare a top-of-the-hour newscast in a few minutes. The goal was to cover all of the stories given in exactly the time allotted, with the required reads (ads) inserted. At one of my last competitions I was handed a few feet of breaking news feed on the Dwyer suicide. The difference between breaking and wire news is wire copy is written to be read right onto the radio and can easily be estimated for time just by looking at the number of inches; breaking news is very fragmentary and not very coherent, so you have to generate filler material on the fly.
From that day forward, I can’t not hear the on-air talent doing the same thing. Even if they’re just doing reads, I know they’re looking at a digital countdown timer hoping to hit the mark cleanly. I see NPR publishes network clocks; I can hear the tick of those clocks on other stations.
A related phenomena in print media (in which I’ll lump all news websites) is something like the FIFO article for breaking news. As new information on something comes in, it is pushed in to the top paragraph of the article and the rest will be the previous article contents. If news is developing rapidly you might notice discontinuities as you read something about them as each paragraph is written by a different person.
From Martin Luther’s “dream”, to Hitler’s psycho rage;
What’s more powerful – the brain or a twelve gauge?
Listening to this week’s Planet Money on Auditing ISIS, I was interested by how much money is thrown at the young enforcers in the streets of Syria. I long thought that ISIS adherents were motivated primarily by ideology, but at the street level, it sounds like a never-ending stream of US currency is a big motivator, as well.
When I was in junior high school I read Some Birds Don’t Fly, a mostly fictional (?) write-up of the early space race. I was reminded of it when reading Ignition (warning: PDF), a much less fictional mostly first-person account of the development of liquid rocket fuels. It’s a quick read and I’m sure if you have an interest in energetic materials you’ll like it.
I stopped working for the federal government some years ago, but that didn’t mean I was safe from the OPM breach. I just got my letter with a free year of credit monitoring by the lowest bidder… thanks. Apparently my fingerprints were disclosed as well; thankfully, those are trivial to change and can have no possible long-term repercussions.