Hey, let’s figure out what dumb rules we haven’t passed yet, and then we’ll pass those! That ought to prove that government spends too much time thinking about the wrong stuff.
Doorknobs have been banned in Vancouver, Canada and many residents are up in arms over the new nanny-state rule.
Starting next March, the city will be requiring the installation of lever handles on all new building doors instead of round doorknobs.
The City Council passed the new code in September in an attempt to make the city more accessible to the disabled and elderly.
It’s only for new buildings, and not retroactive for older ones. At least not yet, until they decide that any retrofit needs to use those rules as well. Ostensibly, this will make it easier for the elderly or the disabled to open doors. I’m sure that voice commands will be enabled as soon as technology allows.
I don’t think that the intent is all that dumb. The lovely wife has had wrist problems in the past that meant she couldn’t turn regular knobs. But really… does the government really need to dive to this level of minutiae when instead it could focus on balancing budgets or something more useful? I can’t say that the city of Vancouver has an unbalanced budget, I’m just guessing… since focusing on doorknobs probably means that the council is missing the point.
For a soccer-crazed society, Europe sure can be focused on wrong goals. Here’s an example from The Register:
Facebook’s Open Compute Project has found little overt support in Europe to date, the firm’s data centre boss said today, in part because of those crazy continentals’ obsession with carbon neutrality over efficiency.
As to whether there was something intrinsic to the European mindset that stopped data centre operators and/or vendors jumping into bed with Facebook, he said, “I don’t think so.”
But, he added, Europe (as much as you can talk about a single Europe) was very focused on carbon neutrality. Facebook, and by extension OCP, is “more into the efficiency side of the house”.
I can’t say that I’m a fan of carbon neutrality as a single goal, since that seems to be more of a paying of indulgences rather than a real goal. And the above is an illustration of my point. We can make a large system that is more efficient at energy usage and overall system utilization, but that might not mean that we’ve paid for planting trees in the creek bed that offset in some way. Would it be better to buy twice as many trees and double the size, forcing costs that have to be passed on in some way?
I suppose Europe can drive whatever standards it wants as an EU body. But the problem is that the decisions will continue to have consequences in terms of the business the continent draws, and how the citizens can utilize technology. If this type of discussion extends to telephony data centers, and then to business, the energy usage could rise significantly, even as you run out of places to build carbon sinks.
So blame your inability to get your Facebook status in Belgium on the appropriate factors. That’s all I’m saying.
If you don’t read XKCD, then you were probably an English major.
If you don’t read the “What-if” every week, well… go read them all.
I liked today, just for the last section:
Introverts understand; the loneliest human in history was just happy to have a few minutes of peace and quiet.
Yea, I get that. I have to admit, I’m not a people person. I can turn it on for a period of time, but I eventually just want to go crawl into a corner. It’s going to get me in real trouble some day.
That’s not entirely true, actually, but it’s still a fun title. The BATF had a 3-D printed gun explode during testing, but that was because they printed it out of lousy material. The one with the stronger material fared better.
The world’s first printable gun has been deemed a serious safety and security concern after a gun printed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms exploded before it was even fired.
This danger is matched by the problem with fully-functioning 3-D printed guns – they work all too well.
The blueprint for the 3-D gun known as the Liberator was made available online six months ago by the group Defense Distributed with the aim of enabling anyone to print a gun with a 3-D printer six months ago.
Like I said, it was printed from Visijet, which is a pretty weak material, mostly known for being cheap. The ABS gun appeared to work fine.
This article notes that the gun can be lethal. Well, obviously. If you can accelerate the bullet out of the chamber and down a barrel, it’ll move fast enough to kill. If you swing a fist hard enough, it will also kill. There are several other places that have noted that the thing is only accurate to about ten feet given that the barrel is not a very tight tolerance, and it’s also not rifled. That’s not necessarily the point. I can understand that they want to test and offer cautions about a 3-D printed lethal weapon.
I just wonder what can be done… if one design is being done. Hundreds of other designs will be done without posting in open forums. The cat’s out of the bag on this one, and it’s likely that we’ll see a whole new set of regulations that try to put it back in. What will be most interesting is how broad these regulations are, and how they affect other hobby builders.
So this is the day to watch the Democrats in a full panic. I have a pretty busy schedule of, like, my job, so I’ll try to check back after the president’s announcement, but I have a couple quick comments.
- This still doesn’t fix the website. There are plenty of people who need to get insurance on the website, and it’s broken.
- I’m not entirely positive that the insurance companies will be able to redo all the policies in this short period of time, and I believe they’ll still have to get something past the state commissions. The insurance companies are the ones who are being set up to be blamed for first canceling, and now not being able to respond when the government changes its mind. This is not going to end well, and it might be a bad time to own insurance stocks (which I don’t, and I’m not really giving anyone investment advice…).
- While this will mollify some people, it’s not going to make anyone happy.
- And PLEASE, let’s not talk about victories or winners. There are still plenty of people who lost over months of stress, wasted time and productivity, and the like. We’re all losers here.
I think we’ll all look back on this week and actually say how it hurt more than it helped. Both sides of the equation…
Interesting to watch, though. Sometimes I say that a massive accident can be interesting, provided you’re not in the middle of it. That’s no consolation.
I thought this article was pretty observant, (and frankly I probably appreciated it bc I think the guy is likely the same generational mindset as me….I like it because it’s witty, makes well structured arguments, and bonus – he agrees with me!)
PC Mag: “Many people are hooking themselves up to wearable and costly self-analysis sensors and monitoring everything. There are sensors to record your elevated heart rate and your fluctuating blood sugar levels. You might even get a text message warning you about the changes. These hypochondriacs-in-training who think it’s cool and important to know how their blood pressure is affected by an elevator ride are the first ones likely to hit by a bus.”
And then he goes on to talk about human nature – essentially, when competing based on talent, achievement, etc is no longer cool, we’ll compete on health. But really, the first world culture of today in the end still competes on consumption
Turns out people do indeed like to compete and win but it’s pretty lame when the winner doesn’t win out of genuine dedication or, heaven forbid, actual talent, but instead wins because he waited in line overnight to be the first one to snag the new iPhone or because she can afford to drop $1,500 on Google Glass just to take low-res photos.
As I’ve been interacting with a larger group of adults lately, it’s pretty amazing the sensitivities over gluten, dairy, etc. There’s a theory that we should all feel great all the time & there must be a cure, something we can do differently. While I’m all for being healthy - working out 3-5 times a week, trying to maintain a mostly low/no carb (outside fruit) diet – for some people it’s more about self reflection & competing on the basis of who needs to have the most adjustments to their diet, or needs the acupuncturist or….whatever
One of the guys in my org sent me this – it’s not short, it’s not for the easily offended, but the money line is fairly early in the video & it goes on and on and on from there (hint – if your favorite show is Scooby Doo, well, there you go). If you do listen, you’ll get weary of the rant shortly after hearing this statement:
Tim Minchin’s Storm: ““You know what they call ‘alternative medicine’ that has been scientifically proven to work? Medicine!”
I think the Google Glass/wearables is just another form of creating an identity & advertising it – perhaps less permanent and painful to remove than a tattoo – but still about advertising to the world who we want to be seen and perceived as. Similar to the diet issues & alternative medicine – perhaps much of it is real – but competitiveness seems to worm its way into nearly every human interaction. Augmenting the human with tattoos, different diets, Google glasses & wearable tech doesn’t take the human condition away
I saw one or two stories about the fact that “Stuxnet” had been found on the systems of the International Space Station, so I poked around. Hot Air has a couple news sources that are on the right track… viruses are everywhere, and they will find their way everywhere in a connected system. But The Register helps to deflate the balloon just a bit:
Kaspersky didn’t identify the malware at the time, and the listening press pack didn’t ask, but he has since identified the malware as Gammima-AG, a Trojan designed to steal online gaming passwords. The Russian antivirus boss referred to earlier reports of the incident – which caused no damage or disruption but illustrates the point that Windows systems everywhere are wide open to infection. It also highlights how USB sticks can easily spread digital nasties.
During the same speech in Australia, Kaspersky separately revealed that Stuxnet had infected the internal network of a Russian nuclear plant after causing chaos in Iran’s nuclear enrichment programme, something that unlike the ISS infection does represent new information.
So, yes, there was a Stuxnet infection in a Russian plant, which probably didn’t affect it since it had the wrong signature. There was also a Russian gamer who forgot to scan his USB stick before he used it at the ISS. They weren’t necessarily related.
It isn’t a bad thing to work on better security measures. All too many people would find a USB drive on the floor and stuff it into a computer. The complexity of modern deployments makes it really easy to spread infections with little defense. But we have to watch conflating too much together, because then cyber-security becomes impossible to manage because of the irrational fear involved in things.