I applaud his reason for launching the blog:
One of my major goals of 2008 is to get TSA and passengers back on the same side, working together. We need your help to get the checkpoint to be a better environment for us to do our security job and for you to get through quickly and onto your flight. Seems like the way to get that going is for us to open up and hear your feedback...
The 270 comments following Hawley's introductory post contain a mix of congratulatory messages (most of these are from proud TSA employees), accounts of bad experiences with the TSA, general and specific questions, and suggestions for improvement.
Here's a typical comment from a citizen:
DHS and TSA are fundamentally broken. Disband both immediately and return our civil liberties. Thank goodness Richard Reid did not conceal something in his underpants or these people would be strip-searching every poor grandma from here to Branson. Would someone please explain to these people that putting shoes through an x-ray does not mean they don't contain an explosive? And honestly-- Refusing a valid ID because it is "expired"? Confiscating deodorant and sun block? Does anyone believe that this kabuki security theater really makes us safer? If you guys are serious about your responsibility to protect the country I suggest you start by (1) not cutting off "TSA approved" locks anymore (2) learning and sticking to your own rules and regs especially those pertaining to passengers with medical problems (3) not trying to intimidate anyone who asks for a complaint form and (4) immediately crack down on the threatening screeners who shout "do you want to fly today?" anytime their crazy made-up-on-the-spot orders are questioned by passengers--who in my opinion often know the rules better than the screeners themselves. Oh and by the way your first amendment rights to free speech don't stop when you enter an airport screening area, even at MKE.
Traveling through Chicago I set off the metal detactor. I'm an almost 60 year female. I stopped dead in my tracts, afraid of what I had done. The TSA lady (??) barked at me worse way than how I talk to my large dog. All she kept yelling at me was, "BACK!" I'm not that used to traveling and didn't know what she meant. Why cannot you not talk to us as if we are 'people'? You say that you yourselves are people...I doubt that!
And here's a typical comment from a TSA employee:
As a LTSO I have very proud to work for TSA. I understand that some of the passengers do not like taking off their shoes or surrendering their toothpaste, however, there are many passengers that thank us for what we do. We must all remember that 9/11 happened and we are just trying to make the air safe for everyone. Flying is not a right granted under the Bill of Rights and due to the state of the world today, we must all make smart decisions. I am proud of what we do and what we represent. Thank you Mr. Hawley!!The comments make for entertaining reading, but I'm skeptical that any positive changes to TSA policies will be made as a result. Link
Training with the Olympics in mind, the meteorologists have been practicing their "rain mitigation" techniques since 2006. They have had a couple of dry runs, so to speak -- a China-Africa summit and a panda festival in Sichuan province, among others.Link (Thanks, Sean Ness!)
The bureau of weather modification was established in the 1980s and is now believed to be the largest in the world. It has a reserve army of 37,000 people -- most of them sort of weekend warriors who are called to duty during unusual droughts. The bureau has 30 aircraft, 4,000 rocket launchers and 7,000 antiaircraft guns, said Wang Guohe, director of weather modification for the Chinese Academy of Meteorology.
"We have the largest program in the world with the most people involved and the most equipment, but it is not really the most advanced," Wang said. That honor belongs to the Russians, who he says used sophisticated cloud-seeding in 1986 to prevent radioactive rain from the Chernobyl reactor accident from reaching Moscow.
Link (Thanks, Vann Hall!)
EXTREMELY RARE ANTI MASTURBATION DEVICE DATING FROM c1880. THE COPPER SHAPED DEVICE WAS ATTACHED TO A BELT AND WORN BY BOYS AS A MEANS OF PREVENTING NOCTURNAL EMISSIONS. VERY MUCH AN INDICATION OF SOCIETIES VIEWS ON ONANISM IN THE 19TH CENTURY. THIS IS THE FIRST EXAMPLE WE HAVE OFFERED FOR SALE IN 24 YEARS. THE CONDITION IS EXCELLENT 3 ½ INCHES TOP TO BASE.Link (Thanks, Michael-Anne Rauback!)
Over at MAKE, Phil Torrone blogs:
This is interesting - it seems that a group of artists have celebrated 1-31-07 in their own way and have created a series of political themed LED art sculptures and (you guessed it) placed them all over Boston. Pictured here, Bush & Bin Laden... Click on through to see more images and if you're in Boston the locations are listed to go on an art tour. Get there before the robots do.Link (thanks, James P of GRL, who denies any connection to the event)
A video tribute to the events which occurred on 1-31-07 in Boston, MA involving an Aqua Teen Hunger Force marketing campaign and the chaos that followed. Video by Russ Gooberman, who is now a producer with Boing Boing tv.
• Deconstructing the Great ATHF Freak Out of 2007
• Mooninite on the Haunted Mansion
• Stickers: This is engineering, not bomb-making
• State of Massachusetts insists on calling ATHF ads "hoax devices"
• Boston LED terror scare: a message to the media
• Mark on ABC news about Mooninite devices
• Fake pipe bombs found in Boston
• Video of Mooninite menaces
• Boston Mooninite installer arrested
• Boston Channel photoshops Mooninite LED signs
• Aqua Teen Hunger Force is the Bomb T-Shirts
• LED ad campaign ignites terrorism scare in Boston
Link to a Google search output that points to dozens more Boing Boing posts around this story in 2007. Good times.
The blogger, Nay Myo Latt, was taken into custody in Yangon on Wednesday after writing about the suppression of freedoms following last fall's crushing of pro-democracy demonstrations, Reporters Without Borders said.Link.
Despite international condemnation and pressure following the demonstrations, there is little evidence that the junta is easing its repressive rule or moving closer to reconciliation with pro-democracy forces led by Suu Kyi.
The arrested blogger, a member of Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy, owns three Internet cafes, Paris-based Reporters Without Borders said in a release seen Thursday.
Myanmar authorities have stepped up their surveillance of the Internet since the beginning of the month, pressuring Internet cafe owners to register personal details of all users and to program screen captures every five minutes on each computer, the release said.
Today on Boing Boing tv: Wilderness Information Network, an eco-art installation in the woods of northern New York state. Director Cary Peppermint and the Department of Ecology Art and Technology -- more than 30 artists in all -- contributed to this project using digital technologies, renewable energy, and sound art.
Next, Pour Nos Jeunes, a surreal and eco-funky animated short by award-winning motion graphics studio PepperMelon, from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Directed by Martin Dasnoy.
Link to BBtv post with video and discussion.
Link (Thanks, Grey!)
Fast-food giant McDonald's has become one of the first firms to offer its own nationally recognised qualifications.
It will offer a "basic shift manager" course, training staff in skills such as human resources and marketing.
The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority said the company had been approved to develop courses up to the equivalent of A-level standard.
The QCA will also allow Network Rail and Flybe to award qualifications based on their workplace training schemes.
(Image: Remains of a McDonald's Meal, a Creative Commons Attribution licensed photo from Taekwonweirdo's Flickr stream)
Today in my ongoing series of photos from my travels around the world, this electronic noticeboard from the UN's Palais des Nations in Geneva, advising delegates on which rooms to go to for meetings of the "Working Group on Arbitrary Detention" and "Committee Against Torture." I was at the Palais (which used to be a Rothschild family home and still has their peacocks roaming the grounds -- the home was given to the UN on the condition that the peacocks got to stay) to give a press conference to the UN press corps about the goings-on at WIPO, the copyright treaty body down the street. Link
Since 2004, The Times retained the established SEO consulting firm Sitelynx to handle their search engine marketing. Working on behalf of The Times, a Sitelynx employee posted thousands of links to community and social news websites, including Mahalo, Del.icio.us, StumbleUpon, Metafilter, Yahoo! Answers, Ma.gnolia, and Netscape's Propeller. His actions were done without any disclosure of his affiliation to Sitelynx or The Times and were, in some cases, posted under the assumed identity of his wife.Link
The accounts were all created by Piotr "Peter" Wyspianski, an SEO Manager at Sitelynx since June 2007. (Though his LinkedIn resume says "Executive.")
Before coming to Sitelynx, Piotr had a history of promoting his own business, an online jewelry store called Signature Gems, by using his profiles on sites like Myspace, Flickr, and Yahoo 360 to manipulate his search engine rankings. After coming to Sitelynx, he continued to use this technique to promote The Times. (A full breakdown of his accounts on each site is below.)
He reportedly told police that he was lonely and grew to enjoy annoying the operators.Link (Via Digg)
"I would go into ecstasy when a lady scolded me," he was quoted as saying by Jiji Press.
Telephone operators - who in Japan are almost always women - nicknamed him the "don't-hang-up-man".
His calls usually came late and sometimes exceeded 200 times a night, Jiji Press said.
This commercial from 1961 features an especially ugly robot named the Great Garloo. It was designed by Marvin Glass, the genius game designer who made Ants in the Pants, Dynamite Shack, Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots, Gnip Gnop, Hands Down, Haunted House, Lite Brite, Odd Ogg, Operation, Mouse Trap, Time Bomb, Tip-It, and Toss Across, among other masterpieces of primary-colored plastic. (Via Endless Parade of Excellence)
Previously on Boing Boing:
• Robot Commando toy TV commercial
• TV commercials for 1970s Planet of the Apes dolls
• Killer reel of 1970s toy commercials
• Mr. Machine toy robot TV commercial
• Wonderfully bizarre Folger's commercial
• Creepy Crawlers TV commercial
• 1960s TV commercial for V-RROOM! tricycle noise-maker
• Early 70s Levi stop-motion commercial
• Mystery Date game TV commercial
Davey noticed as he played the saxophone at home that everything resonated at a different frequency.
"The glasses will tinkle on one note. Knives and forks in the drawer will tinkle on another note and I realised that everything has its point of vibration," he said. "In the same way, a component in the ball is tuned to a certain frequency."
A retired engineering professor, Arthur Williamson, was invited to look at the boiler in action. He said:
"I don't know enough about sound to know whether you can transfer that amount of energy via soundwaves. I doubt it," said Williamson.Someone, please, take it to bits. Link
He did remember an alternative kettle years ago that had two perforated metal plates inside. The power ran between the plates, through the water. "The resistance through the water provided the load. I wonder if it isn't working like that? Without taking it to bits, you can't tell."