Open Thread December
Gentlemen, Stop Your Engines
A NASCAR fan makes the case to euthanize stock-car racing.
By Robert Weintraub
Dec. 15, 2008
But NASCAR’s biggest problem isn’t fixable with a couple of sexy drivers or a breathless season finale in Miami. The sport can’t escape the fact that the internal combustion engine and fossil fuels are technologies on a steep downslope. With hybrids and electrics on the way in, it’s hard to see where gas-guzzling, emission-belching stock cars fit in. Unlike the Indy Racing League and Formula 1 (open-wheel racing circuits famous for the Indy 500 and the Monaco Grand Prix, respectively), NASCAR has yet to implement alternative-fuel programs—hell, it only switched to unleaded gasoline last season! Open-wheel racing isn’t immune from the economic turmoil (Honda recently announced it was dropping out of F1), but it stands a better chance at survival. Formula 1 and the Indy crowd run machines that are less cars than science experiments, highly engineered equipment that can and will adapt easily to new technologies. Stock cars are just tricked-out Dodges and Chevys—you know, the ones that nobody’s buying anymore.
U.S. Vice Adm. Bill Gortney told reporters that striking pirate camps presents problems because it is difficult to identify them and the potential for killing innocent civilians “cannot be overestimated.”
“They’re irregulars — they don’t wear uniforms,” said Gortney, who oversees a coalition of navies fighting piracy off Somalia.
In a wide-ranging interview at his 5th Fleet headquarters, Gortney said such strikes are an effort to go for an easy military solution to a problem. He says the better solutions are to improve the security, stability and government in Somalia, and to clear up legal hurdles so that militaries that capture pirates can detain them and bring them to trial.
Security researchers concede that their efforts are largely an exercise in a game of whack-a-mole because botnets that distribute malware like worms, the programs that can move from computer to computer, are still relatively invisible to commercial antivirus software. A research report last month by Stuart Staniford, chief scientist of FireEye, a Silicon Valley computer security firm, indicated that in tests of 36 commercial antivirus products, fewer than half of the newest malicious software programs were identified.
Some of you may recognize this name. I’m glad he is finally doing something useful.
I’ve had some problems with malware recently on my own computers. I commonly deal with the problem on my clients computers. One thing I never do is pay for commercial anti-virus software. But the fixes and solutions are there. I’m putting together a checklist/report for how to deal with this stuff and hopefully I’ll get some feedback from the other computer “gurus” here.
The severity of the situation was driven home not long ago for Ed Amaroso, AT&T’s chief security official. “I was at home with my mother’s computer recently and I showed her it was attacking China,” he said. “ ‘Can you just make it run a little faster?’ she asked, and I told her ‘Ma, we have to reimage your hard disk.’ ”
Aren’t Moms great? Ma! I said,”your computer is attacking China!”
I think we should make AT&T’s chief security official the next Defense Secretary. This guy really knows what’s important.
Thanks to increasing worldwide sales and economies of scale, a wide range of large-screen HDTVs are now available for three-figure prices. At Wal-Mart, for example, 42- to 50-inch plasma and LCD sets can be found for $600 to $925. Some lesser-known brands in a 32-inch screen size are around $400.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m starting to dream in Blu-Ray HD. Last night I had this one where I was being chased by this bully from high-school. To escape I fled down these stairs leading into the clear waters around a coral reef. The colors and clarity were absolutely amazing. Once you’ve experienced 1020p in real-life, dreams will never be the same. Just make sure your brother-in-law gets it first, so you can spend hours laughing at him while he tries to set it up (and not taking advice from everybody else in the room who actually know something about technology) – well worth it.