The web according to Phil 4-14-2010

Two from Bruce Schneier

Privacy and ControlTo the older generation, privacy is about secrecy. And, as the Supreme Court said, once something is no longer secret, it’s no longer private. But that’s not how privacy works, and it’s not how the younger generation thinks about it. Privacy is about control.

New York and the Moscow Subway Bombing[Movie plot threats] threats are infinite, and the bad guys can easily switch among them. … A far better strategy is to spend our limited counterterrorism resources on investigation and intelligence – and on emergency response. These measures don’t hinge on any specific threat; they don’t require us to guess the tactic or target correctly. They’re effective in a variety of circumstances, even nonterrorist ones.

A few on Virginia’s Confederate History Month declaration

McDonnell’s Confederate History Month proclamation irks civil rights leaders — After getting criticized for a Confederate History Month declaration that didn’t include a mention of slavery, McDonnell says he didn’t include it because there were any number of aspects to that conflict between the states. Obviously, it involved slavery. It involved other issues. But I focused on the ones I thought were most significant for Virginia.

Spelling “Free Black Labor” in Greater Britain and Virginia, 1866for reasons of my own, let me take you back to a particular corner of it that I’ve gotten interested in, white reconstruction as a model for the British Empire. Aaron Bady digs up excerpts from books about Reconstruction, published during Reconstruction.

Sons Of Confederate Vets Split On McDonnell Apology — Brandon Dorsey of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (his actual position isn’t stated) calls the apology and addition of slavery to the proclamation regarding Virginia Confederate History Month and insult.

The Unpaid Intern, Legal or Not — The interns hired into our department at Expedia actually got to take on significant projects. We didn’t have them do drudgery so that we didn’t have to. Every time I see a place advertise for an unpaid intern that will be given all the crap work in exchange for contacts or the mere ability to list the employer on their resume, I seethe. The Stranger does the a lot.

Federal Air Marshal Service Has Taken Actions to Fulfill Its Core Mission and Address Workforce Issues, but Additional Actions Are Needed to Improve Workforce Survey — G.A.O. report from last year on the Federal Air Marshal program. Mostly boring stuff about employee satisfaction, but one thing that I noticed is that the program measures it’s success essentially by number of flights it sends marshals on. Not on whether or not it’s prevented any problems, not on arrests, not on anything else. Basically, how many flights were covered. Which is kind of like measuring the Seattle Police Department’s success by how many miles their officers cover. It’s bad if they are on no flights, but more flights doesn’t necessarily mean success.

I randomized the law, and the law won — Actual randomized experiments in policing to see what’s most effective. I wish we could do this a lot more, both in criminal justice as well as all sorts of other industries.

Demolition Dude — My time-waster today.

The Web according to Phil (4/2/2010)

Stuff I read read about today:

Seattle’s first technical book store coming soon to Capitol Hill
The bookstore is named for Ada Lovelace, a 19th Century pioneer in computer programming. She is celebrated today as a symbol of all the great women who add to the advancement of technology. a) Really happy we’re getting a tech book store. b) Really happy to see it named after Ada Lovelace. Women are way under-represented behind the scenes of tech, and a lot of that is because of attitudes that drive them away. Not that this will change a whole lot, but now everyone who goes to Ada’s Technical Books will hopefully have their curiosity piqued and know a bit more about women in tech because of the name.
Where are the Women?
NPR’s Ombudsman looks at gender balance in on-air staff, paid commenters, and interviewees, and finds the balance severely lacking in the latter two categories.
Alikewise is a dating site that allows you to find people based on their book tastes. Anything from cooking to politics to yoga — we think we can find others who would like to talk to you. No, not on the market. But I totally would’ve used this a couple years ago. If nothing else, I know that the people using the site are actually readers! Very important to me.