TSA health implications and other current thoughts

by phil on Tuesday Nov 30, 2010 2:54 AM

The Clash Within The Clash of Civilizations

Perhaps The Clash of Civilizations is a nested theory, wherein within the main civilizations that are clashing, there are smaller sectarian clashes, like between Sunni and Shia. The latest wikileaks release brings this to light again by revealing how much the Sunni Arab nations want to stop Shia Iran's nuclear ambitions.

127 Hours of solitary confinement

127 Hours was a great movie, but not necessarily an enjoyable one. Following one trapped character for one and a half hours induces anxiety and is akin to temporary solitary confinement. Kudos to director Danny Boyle (director of Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire) and actor James Franco for pulling it off, though. A similar film that comes to mind is Castaway, directed by Steven Spielberg. Perhaps these kinds of films are challenges for master directors attempting to prove the range of their skills.

TSA health implications

Many U.S. air-travelers faced a dilemma over the Thanksgiving holidays: do they take the full-body scanner x-ray or the pat-down? The problem with the x-ray machine is that it's government-made, and so you can't have total confidence that its health implications have been examined. The government claims the machines are safe, but they also claimed that the nuclear tests in Nevada were safe. Years later, an atypical number of the cast and crew of The Conqueror, including John Wayne, got thyroid cancer, because they filmed downwind of the Test site. So, with the scanners, it's best to wait a year, and let the health implications play out. Don't be an unwitting early adopter/guinea pig in this experiment in security technology.

TSA agents have been asked rhetorically by some passengers, "Don't you want those thick anti-radiation vests similar to what dentists use?" TSA agents have responded with a resounding, "Yes," but unfortunately then the TSA couldn't keep up the illusion that the x-ray machines are safe

Also, neither Obama nor have Congress have gone through the enhanced security screening process themselves. This goes against the principle of "eat your own dog food" that many technology companies employ. For example, Microsoft makes sure that everyone at Microsoft uses their own products to develop software. That way, if the products are lacking, the programmers will be frustrated and motivated to improve them. Politicians don't experience government like normal plebeians do. Maybe if there was a law requiring them to depend on public services, like the DMV or the Post Office, in the same way the average person does (i.e. eat their own dog food), then maybe they'd fix the system.

More on the "eat your own dog food" rule

I wonder how often high-level executives at McDonald's eat Big Macs. Is there a special gourmet McDonald's at their head quarters that serves finer versions of these classics? This may not be that far off, because Jack-in-the-Box seems to obey this rule. Their headquarters are in San Diego, and their restaurants there serve much better food than they do 1,300 miles away in Austin, TX.

Wandering minds are less happy

A study came out recently showing how wandering minds are less happy than focused minds. I immediately objected to this, because I take a lot of pleasure in day-dreaming. On the other hand, this makes sense: a wandering mind, while in of itself, is not a problem, will eventually lead to negative thinking, which your mind then fixates on, leaving you in a depressed state.

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