Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Columbia report


This is gripping, horrifying, and tragic. It's the final report on the spaceshuttle Columbia's catastrophic re-entry in 2003, complete with acronyms (CMCE: Crew Module Catastrophic Event). In some ways its coldness and technicality is a way of respecting the privacy of the deceased [a number of redacted sections at the end also keep personal details private]. But its second by second account has an inexorable fatalism, watching a disaster unfold in slow motion (watching technology fail) knowing there's nothing you can do. In the end the crew didn't suffer. But man, reading this really hits me hard.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Speeding Cameras

Arizona is rolling out quite a number of new automated speed and red light cameras, an expansion which is expected to continue. See the article here.

Cutting down on speeding around here is a good thing (130mph??). But what's always worrying about such technologies is their function creep. Also, they're a technical fix that doesn't consider why people are driving so much and have to go so far (urban planning) and have to get there so quickly. Broader, and deeper, social questions.

Of course, do the cameras work?
Here's the Independent from London this summer.

Monday, December 01, 2008

What Color is Your House?

An interesting post about airport security and the new surveillance by Anita Allen over at the blog Daily Beast. How to get through security if you lack proper ID and the sorts of things they can find out about you.