Welcome to a slightly worse world

I was standing in the queue to the border control in Frankfurt. A small queue, ten people or so, two windows. When I was the second in queue, two guys run from behind and create a second queue parallel to ours. I expressed my displeasure in no uncertain terms, asking them to queue behind us. They just stayed there and kept saying that there are two windows and there should be two queues. And everyone else is just pretending not to be there. Unfortunately the dim young German border guard took it upon himself to order two queues. Understandably, he did not want a fight. On the other hand, the rude and egoistic assholes win again. What does it tell me? I guess I will try to make sure my children can play rude egoistic assholes to get ahead in the world. I just hope it will not become their nature. Welcome to an ever worse world, everyone.… -->

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The Origins of German

I had a long chat with my German teacher the other day about language history and evolution. She mentioned something astounding: the first book, on which the German language is based, that actually created the grammar of the language, was the work of Martin Luther. But if I am not mistaken, that was in the 16th century. So the German language is only about 500 years old. I wonder if the situation is the same then with all European languages…… -->

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Airport lounges

I have been through the Vienna airport recently. They built a very modern new terminal there. Respect goes for handling the airport security efficiently and having a sufficient number of screening posts to handle the current traffic (although I am not sure it will be enough if the number of flights increases). What kept me wondering for good five minutes is the lounge though.

See, ten years ago lounges were all over the place. You could not walk down any corridor at any airport without bumping into one or another airline’s lounge. Now, fast forward to this modern construction and… I spent literally five minutes looking for the lounge, then got my directions from the staff, and spent another five minutes looking for it again. The lounge is literally hidden away!

Why would they do it? Are we afraid to hurt the feelings of the economy class people? Are we interested in minimizing the number of visitors to the lounge? What is it? Why on Earth would you want to make the most profitable class of passengers – business traveler – despair in their search for the lounge?

And it is a tendency I notice in a lot of places. Many airports rebuild the lounges, decreasing their numbers and hiding them away. Airlines limit what the travelers can do with respect to a lounge. You know, one used to be able to simply walk into a lounge by flashing the card. Now you have to fulfill a myriad conditions before you get admitted.

I understand cost saving strategies. What I do not understand are the most profitable customer segment alienation strategies.… -->

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A dream job: Chief Pornography Identification Officer

This is so cool. There exists a dream job for everyone, they say. I bet many will now want this job: the “Chief Pornography Identification Officer” is wanted. It is not spectacularly paid but, hey, imagine the job satisfaction level you get!

Job ResponsibilitiesQuickly and accurately identifying pornographic and obscene websites.

Job Description1. Research and study pornographic videos and images, formulate criteria for determining obscenity. 2. Deploy courseware on the standards of obscenity determination, and study materials such as educational videos on pornography. 3. Manage and rate pornographic resources (including BT seeds, images, and online videos).

Job Requirements: 1. Familiarity with the different standards of determination of pornographic content of different countries; 2. Familiarity with the standards of determination and express regulations concerning pornography in China’s law; 3. Familiarity with the standards of pornography identification used by CNNIC (China Internet Network Information Center) and various major internet providers; 4. A bachelor’s degree or above; age between 20-35; all genders; 5. Possesses good teamwork skills, and a strong sense of responsibility.

If you are interested, the position is open, send an email to hr@anquan.org.… -->

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Stainless Steel Rat

It is refreshing to hear someone speak out for the necessity of crime. Last time I heard that was from James Bolivar DiGriz, “The Stainless Steel Rat” of Harry Harrison. This time it comes from nobody else than Whitfield Diffie, speaking at the Australian Information Security Association’s National Conference 2012 in Sydney this week. I remember I always sympathized DiGriz and I am apparently not alone there as Whitfield Diffie speaks out about the philosophy of crime’s usefulness:

“I’m inclined to think that society needs crime,” he said, explaining that in the event of a crime taking place offline, such as a home robbery, it creates jobs for police, judges, lawyers, insurance companies.

Yeah, all right, as long as we do not get caught!… -->

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Olympics 2012

I wonder, is it only my personal impression or Olympics 2012 is really quite a bit understated and under-promoted? I have a feeling that all previous Olympics were going up the curve in terms of publicity, advertisements and public expectations.

This time… it feels like if the world has a lot on its mind and could not care much for a yet another Olympics. Weird.

  • Hottest Female Athletes in the Olympics 2012
  • The naughty 2012 Olympics logo
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Murders, rapes and walking in the dark

Bumped into some statistics today and found it interesting enough to share:

  • Murders (per capita) by country
  • Rapes (per capita) by country
  • Walking in the dark by country

Not obvious a priori, say?

I picked out some for you:

Country Safety Perception Murder rank Rape rank Sweden 85% #16 Canada 82% United States 82% Denmark 81% #14 Finland 81% #12 #7 Netherlands 81% #25 Japan 78% #45 Austria 78% #28 Switzerland 77% #20 France 77% #27 Belgium 77% #17 #3 United Kingdom 70% Italy 65% #21 Australia 64% #18 New Zealand 62% #29 #2… --> continue reading →