Interesting 10 minutes on Education

Thought provoking.

I have been a Ken Robinson fan every since bumping into this TED Talk on “Do schools kill creativity”.

I have to admit to being increasingly concerned about the education system, both as I watch my children go through the process, but also as an employer. I suspect we’re in a situation where everyone knows the system is broken but there’s too many entrenched views and too little proper communication to help us fix it.

The Speed of The Internet – fun 5 minute talk

Via BoingBoing, an interesting 5 minute talk on how The Internet can cause real-world events to unfold by making a number of disparate connections quite quickly – in this (fictional but realistic) case, from a Chat Roulette session to a Flashmob.

The Internet is making the world a very small place, both in terms of geography and time – both in the speed that things happen but also in how your past never quite leaves you. Interesting times ahead…

MyNetDiary – what Weight Watchers should be

I’ve always been frustrated that Weight Watchers only have a Flash-based food tracking App in the UK – for it to really work for me I need an iPad and iPhone version. No real issue with the underlying weight loss programme but the technical implementation is rubbish.

I’ve just bumped into My Net Diary which appears to be just want I need – central database, Web App, iPad app, iPhone app. So far it looks pretty impressive… and given Weight Watchers have just changed their points scheme, now is a good time to switch.

As a added bonus it is a lot cheaper than Weight Watchers…!

Spot on: it isn’t the TSA’s fault


Adam Shostack, one of the security industry’s more eloquent practitioners, had this to say in his Emergent Chaos blog: “It’s true. TSA employees are just doing their job, which is to secure transportation systems. The trouble is, their job is impossible. We all know that it’s possible to smuggle things past the nudatrons and the frisking. Unfortunately, TSA’s job is defined narrowly as a secure transportation system, and every failure leads to them getting blamed. All their hard work is ignored. And so they impose measures that a great many American citizens find unacceptable. They’re going to keep doing this because their mission and jobs are defined wrong. It’s not the fault of TSA, it’s the fault of Congress, who defined that mission.”

All valid points.

As far as I’m concerned, we are the root of the problem. In the days immediately after 9-11, we were all terrified and were willing to let the government do whatever it felt was necessary to keep another attack like this from happening again. We would have walked naked through the TSA line if told to at that point. Criticize me for exaggerating if you will. The point is that in our paranoia and fear we let things like the Patriot Act happen. We were fine with the warrantless wiretaps and the water boarding. Then a few years passed without a terrorist attack on American soil, and all those things became intolerable again to a majority of Americans.

One final TSA thing

I’m going to shut up about the TSA thing now (although tomorrow might be interesting) but this (via Fake Steve Jobs) is sad:

The awful thing is that the TSA guys want to do a good job, the traveling public want to be safe… and yet we’re here… with no one happy, or indeed safer. Tragic – and I’d like to blame the TSA management, or their political oversight… but they got elected. Our political masters are just doing what they think will get them re-elected.

People need a better appreciation of risk, and security tradeoffs. Perhaps the best place to introduce this is in sports commentary? Because spectator sport is at least one place people will reliably pay attention. (yeah, I know – but I’m being pragmatic here).

With more understanding of statistics, we might get a more refined view of everyday risks, and from there a better perspective on what “security” is – and then perhaps we can stop the terrorists scaring us into creating our own prison.