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03/05/2004 Archived Entry: ""

For your grinning pleasure: Mark Fiore's latest animation "The 9-11 Commission's Administration Awards" [BTW. Brad opens a window for each cartoon then keeps on reading while they all load, thus avoiding irksome download times]; on March 1st, "Helen, Sweetheart of the Internet" started an Outsourcing arc; Ed Stein's "Choices"; Mike Thompson's "Almost Everywhere"; and, The Onion introduces a new diet fad The Nietzschean diet which makes you eat whatever you fear most.

Update on privacy news and commentary:
---Microsoft has developed a visual diary, which is designed to be worn around the neck, and takes up to 2,000 images a 12-hour day. These images can be downloaded onto a PC and reviewed when needed." As long as it is privately used and voluntary?no privacy advocate will object. But how long do you think it will be before those convicted/accused of crimes such as drug abuse or sexual misconduct will be required to wear one as a term of their parole or...?
---the San Jose Mercury reports: "San Francisco library officials hosted a public forum Thursday night to take up the thorny issue of radio frequency identification tags, small, paper-thin devices that the city's library system wants to put in books to improve inventory control." Hmm?the public library system used to be one of the few tax-supported institutions I felt uncomfortable criticizing.
---The Piggly Wiggly grocery chain has announced it will begin offering a high-tech payment feature allowing customers in several stores to pay using their fingerprints.
---from the RFID Journal, "SupplyScape, a Cambridge, Mass.-based developer of RFID applications to fight product counterfeiting and diversion, has teamed up with Sun Microsystems to create an application that uses Electronic Product Code (EPC) technology to create an electronic pedigree for pharmaceutical drugs." Again, nothing ominous?as long as the words "drug war" never intersect.
---C/Net asks, "RFID revolution: Are we close?"...and is it being over-hyped by privacy paranoids like me?
---According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the FBI has launched a hiring blitz. "Facing criticism for key intelligence failures leading up to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the FBI is launching an unprecedented national advertising campaign to hire about 900 additional analysts." Remember: the FBI is used for domestic surveillance. That's a lot of people who have to justify their new jobs by getting results.
---the double-standard government will and does apply to protecting its own privacy while trumpeting its "right" to infringe that of individuals is embodied in the following story; apparently, there is no such thing as the right of a law-abiding citizen to photograph a policeman.
---and to end with good news: "Police [in Indiana] who stop drivers for seat belt violations cannot legally ask to search their cars if they see no evidence of other crimes, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. Officers may not search vehicles in such cases - even if drivers give their permission -- without violating the state Constitution, a three-judge panel unanimously ruled."
--and more good news: "Target is phasing out computer chips on its Visa cards, citing limited shopper use and dealing a setback to proponents of smart-card technology." Yeah shoppers!!!


Everyone seems surprised to learn..."Coca-Cola says its 'super pure' Dasani bottled water comes from the mains supply [tap water] to its factory in Sidcup, England. Dasani has become the second-biggest selling branded water in America, with labels describing it as 'pure, still water'....it retails at $1.80 per bottle." We live near water bottlers and, so, we're surprised anyone thought differently. As well as being disgusted by the politics surrounding that industry -- e.g. while farmers' wells were running dry here last year, a major bottler got hundreds of thousands of tax dollars toward pumping for private profit -- I know that bottled water is often no better than what comes out of many faucets. I remember how amazed people were at a recent conference when I preferred to drink the tap water rather than glug from the complementary bottles sporting pics of waterfalls and bubbly brooks. We have a brook of our own and springfed ponds...but it means nothing re: drinking quality. Our well water repeatedly registered unhealthy for human consumption, even after we shocked it with bleach and resealed it. So now we irradiate every drop that comes into our home. During the same time (a while back), a now-defunct bottler set up business less than a quarter mile from us and next to other farms whose water also registered "unhealthy." I do not claim to be an expert on the geo-migration of bacteria but I placed no confidence in the quality of water averred to by tests conducted by the water bottler itself and simply turned over to a governmental agency that seems to never check. (The reporting requirements may vary in other locales.) At least, with tap water, there is some verified and verifiable attempt to kill bacteria.

Best to all,

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