Saturday, October 29, 2011

Rule(d) by fear

I've noticed how fear is a virus, it wants to spread itself to others once it has one organism really under control.
Our friend and reader Laurie wrote:

We have in school what we call "lockdown drills."  Like Firedrills, but practice hiding deep in the classroom in case a terrorist or madman with gun (ala Columbine,  whatever)  comes into the school and starts shooting. Anyway,  we all get into one corner of the room,  and lock the door from the inside until further notice.

Well,  we were doing that,  the teacher was reading the kids a story so as not to scare them,  and about 20 minutes later there was a knock at the classroom door. I got up and looked through the glass window and saw it was the Principal and a rather huge policeman standing there.  I  thought,  "Oh, this is how they must signal the end of lockdown." I opened the door and smiled.

The policeman said to me in a strange tone of voice,  "Are there children in here?" I said,  uh,  yeah..... He then turned to the principal and said,  "Do you want to tell her?"  and then he went into our classroom. The Principal said to me,  "You could have just killed them all." I said,  "huh???"  And she repeated,  You could have just killed them all. I said,  What do you mean????  She said, "You should have known NEVER to open the door to ANYONE. This was a test,  and you didn't pass."

The policeman had gone into our room and said to the 23 huddled kids,  pointing to me,  "THAT was what shouldn't have happened.  Help save kids!." The kids wondered what the heck he was talking about.

I was horrified by how this was handled.  Mortified. Not that  I  made a mistake and didn't know our policy, I admitted that I should have known the policy of not opening doors.... but by the attitude of fear and intimidation in the whole thing. My principal's outrageous comment to me (I used my judgement and saw my Principal and a police officer standing there, how was it I "could have killed them all."?) and the behavior and words of the police officer to the kids, all of whom felt they had done something wrong themselves.

Stephen Colbert coins and explains "Truthiness"

Laura Hazard Owen of PaidContent coins a term, mathiness, to describe how Jeff Bezos report results on Kindle sales. They tell it in mathematical terms relating to past sales, but we have never actually gotten a single solid number of those sales! I wonder why, surely sales can't be that bad that they have to hide the numbers? 

Like the Kindle Chronicles comment, it's related to Colbert's term "truthiness", for a Truth coming from your gut rather than fact. Incidentally, I'm a big fan of those, but I admit they can be dangerous in the wrong hands, for example certain politicians who shall go unnamed (I'll certainly not mention George W. Bush). 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

sidewalk art

[Thanks to Kirk]

Who gets registrar money?

I sometimes wonder who gets the billions of dollars which are paid in to buy domains. Does anybody know? It must be the closest thing to a licence to print money.

And of course then they just "create more land", as in the new .xxx scheme. Basically anybody with any important domain has to pay the (obviously!) exorbitant fees (over a hundred bucks per year per domain, plus a one time reg fee of $130, otherwise you would soon see,,, etc etc. I get dizzy just trying to imagine how much low-hanging lucre has been whipped up and plucked from thin air in this caper.

I guess it was even worse back in the nineties, when for years Network Solutions had an artificial monopoly on selling domains. After it was democratized, at least the general prices dropped dramatically.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The speedy new Canon 1Dx

50 street photos.

By the way, a few years ago I was a member of a street photography email discussion group, and I got shouted out of the room for suggesting that tele lenses were perfectly usable for street photography. Some of the less shy hardcore members held very strongly that only a wide-angle and getting right in people's faces was real street photography. Me, I don't see why one should limit oneself to certain technology just because Cartier-Bresson was limited to it in his heyday (a Leica is not practical with telelenses because the picture gets very small in the viewfinder).