Flimsy Sanity: March 2006

Flimsy Sanity

In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. - Friedrich Nietzsche

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Coming War in Iran

I listen (shudder) to a conservative station in the morning so I can hear the "trading post" show. I started when I was looking for a car (by the way, I found an older Honda with pretty low miles so that stress is over). Anyway the call-in show is followed by Paul Harvey. That dumb old sexist Republican bastard (who makes up stories - like just a day or two ago he said a woman was driving and putting on makeup with both hands - sounds like bullshit to me as most women only use their dominant hand even in their bathrooms) was saying former stronger Presidents wouldn't have negotiated with Iran but would have stood up for America. Like Bush needs goading into another war.

Iran knows that nuclear capabilities is the only deterrent to US aggression. How would US feel if a foreign nation told them what to do?

I actually have a Paul Harvey story. When I worked at a truck stop near Shelby Montana, a co-worker's brother was telling me about their senior graduation keg party. The class met at an abandoned house in the country and started to slurp quite a bit of beer. One girl stumbled and cut herself on a piece of glass on the floor and being a little drunk, smeared the blood on the wall. This house had not been lived in for over a decade. Paul Harvey had a piece about how drugged devil worshippers destroyed a beautiful home and had some ritual involving human blood. His broadcasts are seldom related to actual truthful news and he has a huge audience (sigh).

Computer Ethics

I've been reading the book Computer Ethics; Cautionary Tales and Ethical Dilemmas in Computing by Tom Forester and Perry Morrison. It is old in the world of computer literature (1990) but pretty interesting. We have heard plenty about identity theft and folks suffering from false information being attached to their identity (like one man who was mistakenly declared dead). A chapter I found particularly distressing was one on unreliable computers - how the Blackhawk helicopters were crashing because of "radio interference" in its computer-based "fly by wire" control system. This system also exists (or maybe existed) in many airliners.
"Back in October, 1960, computers of the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System (BMEWS) at Thule initiated a nuclear alert after the rise of the moon above the horizon was interpreted as a nuclear attack."

The shooting of the Iranian Airbus (killing 290 civilians) was blamed on computer error.
The record shows that the Aegis system had been soundly condemned by the critics long before it was installed on US navy ships at a cost of around $1.2 billion per unit.

Lots more about air traffic control failures, pacemakers being reprogrammed by anti-theft devices in stores, X-ray machine computers gone wrong, etc.

The problem with buying and selling books is that the temptation to read is overpowering.

Bush gets implants

Bad luck

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

Just finished the book. A summary: Corporations are evil because greed is the only motivator and corporations run our government and the governments of other countries. Also read Kitty Kelley's The Family about the Bush dynasty. Now I know she has a reputation for sleaze but I liked her book on Nancy Reagan and I liked this one also. Also just finished Reefer Madness by Eric Schlosser (who wrote Fast Food Nation) about illegal workers, the porn industry and the drug industry. Been busy reading rather than blogging.

These books have a common theme: The rich can do anything to anybody.