This article about a historical building in the country of my birth renews my gratitude that my parents sprung us from that crazy communist country 23 years ago. Prize quote:

True, we Americans have some wrinkles to sort out regarding our own freedoms, but our own people who think that we’re living in some sort of a “police state” haven’t the slightest fucking clue what a real police state is.
Posted Sun Sep 3 17:55:00 2006 Tags:

There are some widely held misperceptions about terrorism that are really irking me.

Here is another one. “Security Theater” is a term frequently used by computer security expert Bruce Schneier to denigrate security procedures that he believes are ineffective, uneconomical, something done just for show. And yet, theater is not all bad. In warfare, deceit of one’s enemy is a crucial tactic. Is it not possible that the more theatrical aspects of security are in place partly to draw attention away from others? There may well be some advantage to maintaining some covert programs that focus on the harder problems, which may arouse more controversy if attention was drawn to them. Let the pacifists vent against airport shampoo searches – better than having them snoop around effective programs!

There is no shortage of people, especially leftists unhappy with anti-terror security measures, to claim that every time new restrictions are applied to parts of our populations, “the terrorists win”, or we are doing “what the terrorists want”. This is bullshit on two separate grounds.

First, these commentators presume to speak on behalf of terrorists. Not being one myself, I would take the terrorists’ own published works as most authoritative about their demands, and secondarily those of intelligence types who actively “play” war- and mind-games against them. Sorry Bruce, but you don’t qualify as the latter, and I sure hope you’re not one of the former.

Second, what terrorists actually say they want tend to be rather grander than merely inducing fear. Some want to smite Israel and/or jews. Some want to spread an islamic caliphate across the globe. Some want local political revolution. Spreading fear and discomfort is at best a means to the end. Obviously, if they considered themselves to “win” whenever they spread a sense of terror, they would have quit some time ago, fait accompli. Making western citizens wait longer in line at an airport security checkpoint may make them giggle, but they won’t say “job well done”, pack up their AK-47s and bomber hotties, and go home. Heck, those same changing security checkpoints might just make them refocus their future tactics elsewhere.

Posted Tue Sep 12 14:17:00 2006 Tags:

This fine day, the family took the family airplane out to an airplane gettogether in Parry Sound.

The flight started out IFR. As usual at Brantford, since the local controller cannot be reached by radio, I had to plead with London flight service personnel to relay a suitable clearance. It took a good 20 minutes to get off the ground, grr. In bad weather, being at an uncontrolled airport does kind of suck. Once underway, the flight was uneventfully pretty (skimming a smooth broad layer of cloud) until the end. That was when we realized we cancelled IFR too soon, and ended up doing a less-than-VFR arrival circuit at Parry Sound airport. Low clouds to the southeast, clear to the northwest. Guess which side we transited through.

A quick refuel and an engine-restart followed, then a taxi to a faraway corner of the apron. (All the little airplanes, deemed sturdier on grass and easier to manhandle got the closer spots.) The social angle of such events tends to be at least 50% of the value of the trips. This time, the turnout was quite good (despite the earlier bad weather). The BBQ was fine, a local cowboy-hatted band was very fine, the weather was great. We got to hang around with and without others for a few hours.

Then it was time to return home. During my pre-flight walkaround, some curious event visitors walked by. I invited them over to the cockpit for a quick look, and they rewarded it with a “we walked all around, and thought your plane was the nicest of them all”. Well, probably a kind exaggeration, but still enough to fly home on a good note. I learned from my painful IFR departure and VFR arrival this morning, and flipped it around: I filed a VFR-to-IFR composite flight plan, so we could leave right away, and coordinate with the controller in the air for piercing the clouds back home over southern Ontario. It worked out great.

Other than that these fly-in events are winding down, the hint of colour in northern tree leaves indicates that summer is truly ending. It has been a busy one, full of mostly-positive changes in my insignificant little life. Come and do your worst, you canadian fall/winter!

Some pictures are here.

Posted Sat Sep 16 21:33:00 2006 Tags:

I’m oh-so-late to this little meme, but it’s still funny.
Even better, wikipedia has banned any mention of the model involved, and indeed has hidden the discussion itself. It’s a gag-order on the publication ban, so to speak.
UPDATE: A more permanent archive

Posted Wed Sep 27 09:58:00 2006 Tags:

An advertisement for a local small business brought to mind two fictional works:

Evocations: TaunTaun guest bed and To Serve Man.

Posted Fri Sep 29 08:46:00 2006 Tags: