Why the no-fly list is bad

As usual, someone else who writes better than I do explains why something I dislike is actually bad.  The article covers two cases of mistaken identity for the U.S. no-fly list.  In the first case, a Canadian man is basically accused of being a terrorist because his name matches that of a known terrorist.  That’s not inherently bad, but get taken back to Canada while trying to fly to Mexico, without ever landing in the U.S., and then getting thrown in to detention?  Yes, it’s another plan that Mr. Bush imposes on Americans that so far has a 100% failure rate.

The second case is a story about a four year old child who is not allowed to fly because he has the same name as someone who is on the no-fly list.  And in case you didn’t know, Senator Ted Kennedy also was not allowed to fly recently because his name turned up on the no-fly list.  Can anyone see the problem with a list that only uses names to identify people as terrorists?  Has anyone in the administration considered the possibility of more than one person having a given name?  Apparently not.  Bad security is worse than no security.  At least with no security, you know where you stand.  With bad security, you can be fooled into thinking you are safe, lowering your guard, and getting caught by a threat you would have noticed had you known no security was in place.  So all of you that have read this now know you are not made more secure by this bad program, so don’t let your guard down.

[tags]Schneier, Bad Security, No-Fly list, False Positive[/tags]

Talking politics? Parts of the brain shut down…

Next time you’re having a political argument with someone and you start thinking “How in the world could they believe that?” you’ll be happy to know the answer has been found.  It turns out that the part of the brain responsible for reasoning pretty much shuts down when comments are made that threaten their preferred political candidate.  This makes it easier for one to stick to claimed beliefs, even when obvious facts show those beliefs to be invalid.

From the article:

Democrats and Republicans alike are adept at making decisions without letting the facts get in the way, a new study shows.

And they get quite a rush from ignoring information that’s contrary to their point of view.

[. . .]

The study points to a total lack of reason in political decision-making.

[tags]Politics, reasoning, logic, brain[/tags]