Surveillance… Just Cuz

Apparently, WMATA (D.C. Metro) parking lot cameras aren’t doing any good against crime (specifically car-related crime), but Metro’s going to keep watching us through them anyway.[more]

Sounds like surveillance of the law-abiding public without any crime-controlling benefits. But don’t worry(??), apparently no-one is watching those cameras in real time, and only a third of them are on anyway(!).

The flip side: the reason given for the lack of anti-theft work using these cameras is budget cuts.

Original research report: The Urban Institute, “Evaluation of Camera Use to Prevent Crime in Commuter Parking Facilities: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Original news article: The Washington Examiner

Need for Disruption

I feel there is a void that can only be filled with something new and unusual. A call for disorder or disruption.


I feel like this is an external void, that it is the world around me that needs this — the universe as a whole, not the culture or people in my immediate vicinity. But it’s probably just me that needs the disruption to exist — there’s certainly more than a few places on Earth that need order… unless the point is that they need a disruption to their current mess…

Deletion and Copying From the Past

Note to self: when deleting excess files from the subversion working copy, don’t do it in the GUI (Cornerstone)! Duh, that’s the same as telling subversion to delete those files from the repository. Which you knew.

Undeleting Items
via Moving, Copying and Undeleting Repository Items.
One way of undeleting (detailed in the above directions) is to copy files from the past to the present. Another method is to merge from the past to the future; haven’t made another opportunity in which to try that. :-)

Maybe it’s dumb, but I rather like to think of this as: when deleting, pay attention to your location in space. When undeleting, pay attention to your location in time. Physicists will probably mock my identifying those as different things.

Yay, Broken Laws of Science! Break Them All

Cassandra’s Legacy sees a recent Italian Minister’s comment as a political attack on science. The comments from the Minister of Public Education and Scientific Research, Mariastella Gelmini, are apparently kind of weird — supposedly claiming the existence of a really long tunnel between CERN and central Italy — but the blog’s author, Ugo Bardi, sees a darker purpose in the press release. When Minister Gelmini complements the CERN scientists for “exceeding the speed of light” in the recent experiments that suggest some neutrinos traveled slightly faster than c, Bardi believes that Gelmini is (supposedly) actually attacking science. Effectively, Bardi is suggesting that Gelmini wants scientists to continue breaking and repealing the laws of science to eliminate other troublesome realities.

Consider the sentence: “this event .. will change the face of modern physics. Exceeding the speed of light is an epochal victory for scientific research around the world.” This and the general tone of the press release is the key of the whole story. The minister is saying that the physics we know is all wrong and should be revoluzionized. Why so much enthusiasm about a revolution in physics? Is the minister planning to build a fleet of faster-than-light interstellar spaceships? No, the minister is happy that relativity, a cornerstone of the physics we know, has been demonstrated to be wrong (at least in her opinion). And, if relativity is wrong, so could be climate science and many other areas of science that are bothering some powerful lobbies.

[Ed.: I added the bold (er, strong) in the above quotation from Bardi]

This falls right in line with the political & commercial line that science should be used to support what the organization wants, instead of to describe what is. Observations of this kind may force modifications to general relativity, or force us to abandon it (really unlikely if not completely implausible), but they don’t invalidate all other observations. All of the observations that have been proving relativity true are still real. Climate change is still real. Deal with it before it kills us.