URLs du Jour


  • Excellent essay from Janice Brown at Cow Hampshire, describing how post-9/11 "security" measures made it more difficult for genealogists to obtain access to vital records.

    You might say, if you're not a genealogist, "who cares?" But Janice shows how (a) this also makes your own life more difficult; (b) is almost certainly ineffective at curtailing identity theft by bad guys.

    It reminds me of the very old joke:

    A man sees a drunk, down on his knees groping around in the dirt. "What are you looking for?" asks the man. "My keys," replies the drunk. The man kneels down to help search. "Are you sure you lost them in this vicinity?" asks the man. "No, I lost them two blocks down that way," says the drunk. "Then, why are you looking here?" asks the man. "Because," answers the drunk, "the light is better here."`
    Ineffective security measures that hassle large numbers of average joes and janes (and janices) are designed by adherents to the drunk's search algorithm.

    There are a number of people that look skeptically at security measures, like Bruce Schneier and Jim Harper, but this is the first I'd heard about the genealogy angle.

  • Here is Pajiba's list of 12 Best Films You Didn't See in 2007. I'd seen two, which impressed me enough with Pajiba's judgment that I added the remainder to my Blockbuster queue. (Via Galley Slaves.)

  • No Dick Harpootlian news from Dave Barry today, but he continues to be amazed at Granite State foibles. Reporting from a Romney event:
    Also at the event was U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, who is a Romney supporter. Greenfield and I were complaining to him about how the New Hampshire hotels jack up their prices for the primaries. For example: I'm staying at a hotel -- let's call it a ''Foliday Finn'' -- that is normally not expensive, but this week is charging me (I mention this for the benefit of the person who will be processing my expense report) a special primary rate of $17 million per night for my room, plus a dollar for a small bag of Cheez-Its that will barely get you half a mile under highway conditions.

    Sen. Gregg was not moved by Greenfield's and my complaints. His response was, quote, ''Make sure you stop at the liquor store before you leave.'' New Hampshire makes bales of money from state-run liquor stores. One of them is located -- I am not making this up -- in a turnpike service plaza, apparently for the benefit of motorists who are, for whatever reason, running low on gin.

    Senator Gregg has a sense of humor! Who knew?