Time Magazine has published a very interesting article in it's August 13, 2007 edition entitled, "The Threatening Storm." It provides a detailed look a defensive reconstruction plans and efforts since the storm, and, as expected for the area, investigates many of the absurdities and political ties of the plans. It's a fascinating read.
The full article can be found here:
For convenience, here's the printable version that contains the full article on a single page:
Also, in semi-related news that only present or former residents of New Orleans would like care about, I just found out that a completely new Twin Span bridge is being constructed. This bridge, part of a heavily used corridor of Interstate 10, connects Slidell to New Orleans East across Lake Pontchartrain. It was heavily damaged during Katrina, and though all four lanes have since been reopened, the westbound bridge is still utilizing temporary steel bridge spans to "fill in the gaps" where the cement spans were dislodged and destroyed, limiting traffic to only 45 MPH.
The new bridges will be a vast improvement over the current spans. They'll feature three lanes of traffic each (up from the current two-lane bottleneck) and will be set 30 ft. above the water level (up from the current 8 ft.). I know I'm a bit slow on the uptake here as initial construction apparently began on July 13, 2006 (according to the Wikipedia article, but I only just found out about it after seeing the new construction during my last trip to New Orleans.
The new eastbound bridge will be complete by 2009, with the westbound bridge following in 2011. Very cool.
Complete details can be found here:
And finally, in semi-semi-related news that even fewer people will care about, the "Green Bridge" in St. Bernard Parish apparently has its own Wikipedia page:
I know, this is a largely useless addendum, but I was oddly excited to come across that entry and just felt like sharing. :-)
I usually refrain from posting about such stuff on my site, mostly because I tend to work myself up into a rant and I just don't have the time and energy to deal with that these days, but this was a really good read. While responding to a question about a certain aspect of airline security, a pilot provided his thoughts on the industry as a whole. This is a very insightful point of view, and covers a lot of what's just plain wrong with the state of affairs today.
I highly encourage anyone interested in this sort of stuff (and if you ever have reason to fly on a plane, you should be interested) to read the full article. It only takes a few minutes.
(as found on Bruce Schneier's blog)
This is just a quick post about an article I recently read. Cory Doctorow (of Boing Boing, among others) has written a pretty insightful article for Information Week on "...the back room dealing that allowed entertainment companies and electronics companies to craft public policy on digital rights management." It manages to be insightful, disturbing, and disgusting all at the same time, and is worth a read if you're interested in how DRM comes to be.
Here's a small excerpt from the article:
Then the MPAA dropped the other shoe: the sole criterion for inclusion on the list would be the approval of one of its member-companies, or a quorum of broadcasters. In other words, the Broadcast Flag wouldn't be an "objective standard," describing the technical means by which video would be locked away -- it would be purely subjective, up to the whim of the studios. You could have the best product in the world, and they wouldn't approve it if your business-development guys hadn't bought enough drinks for their business-development guys at a CES party.
You can read the full article here:
or, you can find the much friendlier single-page version here:
Via Boing Boing:
"Last week, a 15-year-old girl at Caney Creek High School (near Houston) complained to her father [Alton Verm] about "bad language" in Ray Bradbury's classic SF novel Fahrenheit 451. Dad complained to the district and pushed for the book -- which tells the story of a man in a futuristic, totalitarian society whose job is to burn unapproved literature -- to be removed from the curriculum. As the icing on the cake, his request came during the last week of September, which just happens to be the American Library Association's Banned Books Week."
Best line in the article: "It's just all kinds of filth," said Alton Verm, adding that he had not read 'Fahrenheit 451'.
And as a bonus (also found on Boing Boing), here's some helpful family planning advice.
I just came across a really useful post on security/privacy blog 27B Stroke 6 discussing various resources available to check what data companies may have and sell about you, as well as how to opt out of some such schemes. I recommend checking out the full article, but in the interest of saving time I'm posting the major points below.
Want to know how your tax dollars are being spent? Jesse Bachman has done some extensive research on the issue and created an interactive diagram detailing how the federal government's discretionary budget is spent. Both interesting and enlightening:
SecurityFocus Mark Rasch has written a great article concerning the , including consumer protection laws, deception, fraud, and spyware. From the article:
Not only does the GLBA only cover a narrow scope of records, it also has some exclusions which are, well bizarre. It excludes law enforcement agents acting within the scope of their duties. This suggests that if the cops want your financial records, rather than going down the hall to the prosecutor to get a subpoena (or issuing an administrative subpoena, getting a search warrant, a FISA warrant, a FISA order, a National Security Letter, the consent of the bank, or any of the myriad legal ways to get your information) it would be permissible for the cops to simply call the bank, pretend to be you (or anyone else) and trick the bank into ponying up your records. Pretty cool. And if you challenge the legality of the search as a violation of your privacy, a court might very well conclude that these records about you aren?t your records, but rather records of the financial institution. Therefore, even if the search is unreasonable, you don?t have what the law terms standing to challenge it. Lovely.