Fascinating illustrations

While reading a boingboing story about the Sony DRM debacle, I accidentally clicked on the image used in the story. This lead me to an article about the image on the Studio Seven blogspot page. I thought the image was amazing, so I decided to see what else was on the site. Hitting the Studio Seven page on blogspot showed many amazing illustrations. Even if you don’t care to read the site, check out the images there. Very impressive.

Google Book Search

DJ Stubby

[tags]Studio Seven[/tags]

The unattractive more likely to turn to crime?

I would love to see more commentary on this study.

Mocan and Tekin analyzed data from a federally sponsored survey of 15,000 high-schoolers who were interviewed in 1994 and again in 1996 and 2002. One question asked interviewers to rate the physical appearance of the student on a five-point scale ranging from “very attractive” to “very unattractive.”

These economists found that the long-term consequences of being young and ugly were small but consistent. Cute guys were uniformly less likely than averages would indicate to have committed seven crimes including burglary and selling drugs, while the unhandsome were consistently more likely to have broken the law.

Very attractive high school girls were less likely to commit six of the seven crimes, while those rated unattractive were more likely to have done six of seven, controlling for personal and family characteristics known to be associated with criminal behavior.

I haven’t seen anything like this before, and hope to read more from other reasearchers about this. (via BoingBoing)

[tags]Ugly people, Crime statistics[/tags]

On making time estimates in the techie world

I read Shark Tank every day. Plenty of the posts aren’t worth the time they take to read. But occasionally, something really good comes through. The latest post is a good example of this.

Pilot fish at this retail chain gets an assignment to add some functionality to four reporting applications. One change request is to add passwords to one of the four applications — but just one.”Just doing one sounded suspicious to me,” says fish. “So I decided to code the password logic in a separate module for easy reuse. I only had to add one line of code to the existing executable.”

Read on for the punch line.

[tags]Shark Tank, time estimates, Techie humor[/tags]

Politicians fail us again

This Washington Post article makes me sad.

Congress appeared ready to launch an investigation into the Bush administration’s warrantless domestic surveillance program last week, but an all-out White House lobbying campaign has dramatically slowed the effort and may kill it, key Republican and Democratic sources said yesterday.

I really expected this, but had thought we might have a few politicians might care about US citizens more than sucking up to the President and serving the party instead of the people.

And in case you think I’m just proposing removal of the current president, I want to point out that there are at least eight other politicians who need to be removed from office:

Before the New York Times disclosed the NSA program in mid-December, administration briefings regarding it were highly secret and limited to eight lawmakers: the top Republican and Democratic leader of the House and Senate, respectively, and the top Republican and Democrat on the House and Senate intelligence committees.

I don’t know who they are, but if none of them thought this insanely bad violation of the law was OK, then none of them deserve to remain in office.

John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), the Senate intelligence committee’s vice chairman, has drafted a motion calling for a wide-ranging inquiry into the surveillance program, according to congressional sources who have seen it. Rockefeller declined to be interviewed yesterday.

Sources close to Rockefeller say he is frustrated by what he sees as heavy-handed White House efforts to dissuade Republicans from supporting his measure. They noted that Cheney conducted a Republicans-only meeting on intelligence matters in the Capitol yesterday.

I agree with Rockefeller.

Senate intelligence committee member Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) said in an interview that he supports the NSA program and would oppose a congressional investigation. He said he is drafting legislation that would “specifically authorize this program” by excluding it from the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which established a secret court to consider government requests for wiretap warrants in anti-terrorist investigations.

What a surprise. He points out that he knows the spying is illegal. But he’s OK with that. Hey, if the President wants the power to legally carry out this spying, changing the law is the right thing to do. I don’t like it, but if the law allows it, I have to focus on fixing what I consider a bad law. Instead, the party line seems to be “Yes, it is illegal, but it is more important that we do this because we think it is right than we follow the law.” And that’s wrong.

In an interview yesterday, Snowe said, “I’m not sure it’s going to be essential or necessary” to conduct an inquiry “if we can address the legislative standpoint” that would provide oversight of the surveillance program. “We’re learning a lot and we’re going to learn more,” she said.

No. First, you change the law, then do the surveillance. Breaking the law, then proposing fixing it after you are caught should lead to removal from office. Then, the next president can benefit from your willingness to go to jail to set up their increased powers. But that won’t happen here.

[tags]NSA, illegal spying, corrupt politicians, impeachment, Bad President[/tags]