In re: Advance check-in exposed as security flaw

I do it all the time and really think it is a great convenience – that is printing out your boarding pass at home and being able to go straight to the security line at the airport.  However I have long thought that there was a pretty big security flaw with the whole operation – the ease of faking the boarding pass.  A Slate article goes over how easy it is to make a fake pass (recently a college student made a website that let you print your own custom fake Northwest Air boarding pass – apparently not to aid terrorists but to show the flaw see story)  Fixing the loophole wouldn’t be difficult but it would require that your id be checked while the bar code is read (and thus determining if it is a real boarding pass) instead the steps are seperated, with the ID being checked at security and bar code being checked at the gate (without id).

Not sure why this flaw exists as it seems pretty obvious.  All I know is that I hate the lines at the airport and not valuing my personal liberties would gladly submit to a background check in order to use my fingerprint, retina, etc. to get through in an expedited fashion as has been tested in some places.

See Slate: “How to make a fake boarding pass

In re: Daily Show at The Ohio State…

images2.jpgAll week the Daily Show is hosting its Midwest Midterm Midtacular‘ from the campus at Ohio State. Due to the fact that so few tickets were available and that more then the 1000 folks who got them (I got free tickets via email but won’t be able to use them this Thursday due to an ‘important’ class) they hosted a ‘moderated forum’ last Saturday night at the Schottenstein Center, OSU’s arena, which allowed a crowd of probably 8,000 or so (my guess) to see Jon Stewart, some of the correspondents, producers, etc talk and show clips. The event wasn’t the greatest thing I’ve ever seen – in fact if you were expecting a lot I’d say it would have been downright disappointing. There were funny moments, including some of the antics of Jon Stewart, but the attempt to stick to a question and answer format was pretty weak as the questions were downright stupid – including “How will the world end” posed to each person on stage, who clearly are funnier when give a rehearsal (again Stewart is most accustomed to ad-libing so he usually had the best answer of the lot).

Stewart spoke at my college graduation for about 15 minutes and while part of the fun were the inside jokes making fun of colonial Williamsburg (it is easy to make fun of) I would have taken that 15 minutes instead of the 90 min plus long forum which included four or five clips from past daily show episodes.
So on to last nights Daily Show – what did I think? Well being honest with you I have tended to shy away from the Daily Show in favor of the Colbert Report and part of the reason is that I am not a huge fan of the correspondents on the Daily Show. That said I still enjoy the opening that Stewart gives, but likely due to the popularity of the show this is so short when all the commercials are thrown in.
Anyway last night the show started off pretty quickly with the correspondents, each in front of an Applebee’s – located throughout Ohio (or the studio…) Anyway the bit was pretty good as they played off the sentimental Applebee’s commerical campaign and I thought it was also pretty dead on as at least in central Ohio I feel that we are the king of chain restaurants (to my chagrin).

Otherwise the show was pretty lackluster, the interview with Lebron James was pretty weak as they didn’t really talk about anything, the only good part being a game of rock , paper, scissors that Stewart lost (after asking if there was anything he could beat Lebron in). In general I don’t like it much when the Daily Show has on celebrities as their interviewees, as when an author or politician is on I find that there is an ‘actual’ interview and that the results can be quiet good.

See also Ohio State’s page on the show,
Blogging Ohio has a review of the episode,
the Daily Show is available for viewing (free) online here.
and the Cleveland Plain Dealer Review here, and the Columbus Dispatch here.

In re: Tribe logo a no go at William and Mary

logo_wm.gifAs an alum I recieved some emails awhile back from Gene Nichol, the president of William and Mary concerning the use of the nickname ‘Tribe’ and our logo of two feathers coming out of a W & M.  I never thought the logo was the best one, so I wasn’t that upset to learn that the NCAA had denied an appeal concerning the use of the logo, however they were allowing the use of ‘Tribe’.  That said I do think the NCAA has overstepped their bounds on this as I don’t really think they should be dictating what individual schools choose to do, as most schools with truly offensive nicknames have changed them under pressure and I am not aware that William and Mary with its low key athletics program has drawn much fire for our name and logo.

The debate got pretty intense in the comments of the Volokh Conspiracy however as some criticized President Nichol for not fighting (in a court room) and also for removing a cross from the Wren chapel.  (See Crosses and feathers at William and Mary)  Despite my disagreement with the NCAA I don’t feel the costs of litigation are worth it, especially considering the possibility of designing a better logo and who knows maybe all our feathered paraphernalia will be worth a lot someday as a rare remembrance before the NCAA cracked down.

See also W&M Press Release concerning the logo

In re: To escape the bubble, move inward.

nebraska.jpgA good op-ed piece in yesterdays New York time, that I just heard the author interviewed on Talk of the Nation. The piece sets out the pro and con reasons to move to Omaha. Omaha? you say… Well the arguments for escaping New York or L.A. are pretty good, you get good schools, big yard, and a low cost of living, where the property has not bubbled and keeps going up, albeit slowly. Of course I love to see the Midwest get its hype, as Columbus, OH was recently listed as its property being UNDERVALUED, making it with its’ growing economy another ‘prime’ destination, for those seeking to unload their overpriced property and seek the ‘good life’

See NY Times “Sweet Home Omaha

In re: Profiting on charity? say it ain’t so (product) red

“Not since the days of khaki colonialism has buying Africa been so sexy, so fashionable.”     -Richard Kim 

productred.gifYou might have heard about (product) red a series of products that are branded red (including iPods, tshirts from the gap, credit cards from American Express and more) and that when purchased give some amount to fight AIDs in Africa (Wikipedia entry).  Sounds good huh?  The shirts, which are fashionable sold out quickly online, but some question whether the line of products, which are partly the creation of Bono, are really that good.  Why is that?  Well a lot of the products don’t give that much to the charity and have jacked up prices.  Furthermore you could argue that they are benefiting from the ‘its cool to adopt like Madonna’ mystique and allow the high prices and the high profits – essentially profiting away from the socially responsible image they are selling.

I have mixed feelings, I do feel it would be better to applaud if the shirts (which are apparently made in Africa – good move there) and other products didn’t generate profits, but of course every little bit helps, these are companies – but something about benefiting off the backs of the social consciousness of their customers doesn’t seem right.  This was the opinion of a few others and a New York Times article Seeing Red in Product Red (sub required) addressed it :

“Companies offer products under the Red brand and give part of the profits to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. (joinred.com). It’s the ”part” part that makes Mr. Kim (blogger on the thenation.com) see red. The campaign, created by the singer Bono and Bobby Shriver, a California politician and member of the Kennedy clan, is intended to allow companies to make a profit after deducting their donations.” See Richard Kim “Africa’s Poor Had the Best Week Ever” at the Nation.

Of course this isn’t the first time consumers have supported causes, we have the pink ribbons campaigns and the Livestrong bracelet that I participated in, although with that I don’t think (but don’t know) that someone was profiting from the $1 bracelets.

“Benefiting the cause of testicular cancer and its survivors, the LIVESTRONG bracelet made it officially cool to wear your virtue on your sleeve. More than 50 million people supported the cause by wearing a bracelet.” see “Buy our way to a better world” Toronto Star

In re: Jack Abramoff was a bully

This American Life, a radio show from PRI, which goes through some stories in-depth on a theme, sounds simple enough, but they have a vignette / slice of life aspect to them that is quite beautiful.  Anyway, episode #314, which was from June I believe, but you can listen to them streaming online at thislife.org, contains an interview with a man who was bullied in school for being  the cello playing band geek.  The cello had countless repairs as one particular bully took great delight in knocking over both the band geek and his instrument, sometimes quite spectacularly down the stairs. 

According to the story the bully turned out to be none other than Jack Abramoff, whose career in shady lobbying took a nosedive recently sending him to prison.  Abramoff’s camp when contacted about this denied he was ever a bully, but it wouldn’t be the most shocking thing to believe it is true. 

In re: OSU v. Michigan – who wouldn’t sell?

BrutusOSU v. Michigan, the final regular game of the season each year is shaping up to be possibly one of the biggest games ever played.  With it looking more and more like an undefeated number 1 ranked Ohio State playing an undefeated number 2 ranked Michigan, Ohio Stadium is going to be electric.  The excitement over the game is also leading to crazy ticket prices, with seats going for over a thousand dollars in the scalpers / ebay market.  The seating group I am in was name ‘Law students who won’t sell out for $20’ but of course as the wins continued to rack up and the prices did too more and more of my fellow law students decided to cash out and take the money.

Aside from the fact I have a friend coming up to use one of the two tickets to the game I have (and which should be in a safe deposit box at this point) the money hasn’t swayed me from going.  Why?  Well my theory is that in a short time I will have hopefully joined the ranks of those who would have paid to come see the game in person, except by then I’ll be older and unable to go as a student (time travel will likely remain expensive for the foreseeable future so you must factor than in).  So hopefully OSU does go undefeated and we face off and while I may be surrounded by folks who paid a hell of a lot more for their tickets then I did (a steal now at only $29 huh) as long as they are standing and rooting for the scarlet and grey I will be happy.  Go Bucks!