In the Loop

In the Loop Category Archive: News

Playing refugee in Davos

Posted at 5:05 PM on February 5, 2009 by Steve Mullis (1 Comments)
Filed under: News, People, Politics

There is something that just feels wrong about this Refugee Run that was held at the Davos conference. I understand the idea behind it, which is to give these rich and powerful folks an inside view of what life is like as a refugee so that they may be better able to sympathize with their plight. Here's Richard Branson participating in the run:


(Photos: PIERRE VERDY/AFP/Getty Images)

FP: Passport has more photos here. Ooh, he looks really frightened doesn't he?

The thing that bothers me here is how it is advertised on the flier: EXPERIENCE LIFE AS A REFUGEE IN DAVOS! It's as if being a refugee is a fun rollercoaster ride that the Davos elite will get a chance to ride on.

"You must be this tall to ride this farce."

If they really wanted to do this effectively, there should have been no advertising and no signing up for the fun. Right in the middle of their banquet dinners or as they slurped down their gourmet soup in a hotel bathrobe, armed militants should storm in a take the place over. Storm the keep, string up the monarchs!

Now that would change some stations.

What do you think, useful exercise or not?

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Don't think of an F-22 Raptor

Posted at 6:30 PM on February 3, 2009 by Steve Mullis (3 Comments)
Filed under: News, Technology

In linguist George Lakoff's 'Don't Think of an Elephant' he talks about and describes how one can change the direction of a debate or argument, not by adjusting the topic or points one is trying to make, but by reframing the debate itself to change the way people look at it. This affectively remolds their opinion and viewpoint without any changes having to be made to the policy, rules or topic of debate.

This is what seems to be going on here with, a site and online petition dedicated to preserving manufacture of the $340 million stealth jet as a form of economic stimulus and an effort to keep people employed.


Military spending is a large topic of debate these days and those on both sides have their case for how much and where those dollars should go. However, I find this very interesting because it flips that debate on its end. No mention is made of whether the U.S. needs to or will need more of these jets in the future. Instead, it's framed as a way to keep people employed, period.

Now I'm all for jobs and the recovery of the economy but, would it benefit us in the long run to manufacture something that we no longer need? I'm not saying we don't need these jets now, but the hope for the future would be that the U.S. needs less weapons because the world becomes a better place (idealistic I know but bear with me here).

Does this create a slippery slope toward funding obsolete programs merely because it keeps people employed? Will I ever get to a point here?

Not sure, but it's something to think about.

Hat tip: Wired: Danger Room

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'Someone set us up the [logic] bomb!'

Posted at 5:31 PM on January 30, 2009 by Steve Mullis (5 Comments)
Filed under: News

This is what happens when you make geeks angry, and fire them from their IT job. Apparently, a recently fired employee of finance company Fannie Mae planted a logic bomb that would have wiped out all 4,000 of Fannie Mae's servers.

This wasn't your average, Office Space, rounding-penny decimel, Monday detail virus. This was a doozy of a bomb. Another UNIX engineer discovered the bomb and the FBI described its intent this way:

... the FBI says the code would have executed a series of other scripts designed to block the company's monitoring system, disable access to the server on which it was running, then systematically wipe out all 4,000 Fannie Mae servers, overwriting all their data with zeroes ... This would also destroy the backup software of the servers making the restoration of data more difficult because new operating systems would have to be installed on all servers before any restoration could begin.

What I find interesting about this is how vunerable so many of our systems are. If this one guy could have taken down Fannie Mae by himself, even for just a week, think about what all of the disgruntled IT people of the country or world could do.

What's that? Microsoft is laying people off? Many IT jobs are being outsourced?


Moral of the story: Go and buy your main IT person a cookie or a World of Warcraft gametime card right now, make him your friend.

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Leggo my Blago-jevich

Posted at 5:00 PM on January 29, 2009 by Steve Mullis
Filed under: News, Politics

So that's it, that's all she wrote. Gov. Rod Blagojevich of Illinois is out of a job. The Illinois State Senate voted to kick him to the curb.

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

You've got to admire the guys moxie though. They have taped conversations of him saying these things, the nation has heard them and they have witnesses to corroborate most of what is heard on the tapes. Yet, throughout this process Blagojevich has insisted that there has been no wrongdoing on his part.

Today in the hearing Blagojevich said:

"You haven't proved a crime, and you can't because it didn't happen. How can you throw a governor out of office with insufficient and incomplete evidence?"

To me, that's like Jack Ruby looking at the picture of him shooting Oswald and saying: "No way, that proves nothing. I didn't shoot him, you have no evidence."

On top of that, Blagojevich presented no real evidence to prove said innocence. He just repeated the line that he did nothing wrong (which I'm sure was coupled with plenty of clicking of the heels). I think he was basically counting on a Jedi mindtrick or other mystic intervention to allow him to skate by unscathed and with his governor seat intact.

The more interesting part here is, it seems Blagojevich does not even know what he is being impeached for. He claims there is no evidence that there was any wrongdoing or that he physically committed a crime. That he never actually did anything, so he is innocent. However, the crime he is guilty of is conspiring to committ another crime, like the way they get mobsters in those RICO things.

So what now for Blagojevich? What comes next? Perhaps a new job or maybe even a new haircut. If he keeps his excellent boyscout coif, he has an great future as a circa 1986 used car salesman.

Any current or former Illinois-ans out there want to weigh in?

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