6/30/2005

The High Cost of a Rush to Security

Filed under: Conspiracy,Economy,Terrorism — 10:19 pm

Feeding from the trough…It’s your money and it was being spent like a drunken sailor (excuse the metaphor)

The audit, performed by the Defense Contract Audit Agency at the TSA’s behest, spotlights scores of expenses: $20-an-hour temporary workers billed to the government at $48 per hour, subcontractors who signed out $5,000 in cash at a time with no supporting documents, $377,273.75 in unsubstantiated long-distance phone calls, $514,201 to rent tents that flooded in a rainstorm, $4.4 million in “no show” fees for job candidates who did not appear for tests.

The audit faulted the prime contractor, NCS Pearson Inc., which was hired by the TSA to test, interview, fingerprint, medically evaluate and pre-certify the candidates. The audit said Pearson failed to properly justify costs and improperly awarded subcontracts without competitive bidding. The audit also said the company demonstrated a “lack of management or oversight of subcontractors.”

125th Anniversary Issue: Science Online Special Feature

Filed under: Cool,Science — 10:06 pm

In a special collection of articles published beginning 1 July 2005, Science Magazine and its online companion sites celebrate the journal’s 125th anniversary with a look forward — at the most compelling puzzles and questions facing scientists today. A special, free news feature in Science explores 125 big questions that face scientific inquiry over the next quarter-century; accompanying the feature are several online extras including a reader’s forum on the big questions.

How to Get Mad Without Sounding Bonkers: A Primer

Filed under: Humor,Interesting — 8:32 pm

If you’re like me, George W. Bush’s justification for the war that aired the other night made you a tad miffed or a smidge tweaked. Maybe even some of your “ill humors” were engaged. When he said he would listen to his Generals’ advice concerning the number of troops deployed, you might have, if you’re at all like me, thrown a ceramic T-Bird decanter at the TV and yelled “Why didn’t you listen before you beady-eyed spoiled oil brat!” Or perhaps when he trotted out his paper-thin compassion for those who have suffered from the war you bit a TV Guide in half and shrieked “If you cared so much why didn’t you spend ten honest minutes trying to avoid this frickin war rather than stroking yourself off to GI Joe Action figures with Rummy, Cheney, Wolfy and the rest of your mummified chicken hawk cronies!!!”

Microsoft Slims Down Windows Updates

Filed under: Technology — 8:26 pm

From here on out, downloads from Microsoft Update and Automatic Updates will seem just a little bit faster. That is because Microsoft has released a non-security “critical” Windows update that places a permanent copy of the Package Installer for Windows on an end user’s computer.

Guide to Podcasting

Filed under: Cool,Technology — 8:24 pm

You’ve probably been hearing a lot about podcasting, a kind of mix of RSS technology, pirate-radio sensibilities, and iPod portability. Steve Jobs even announced that the next version of iTunes will support podcasting. But what the heck is podcasting, and how can you get in on the action?

Last rites for Windows 2000?

Filed under: Computer Security — 4:14 pm

Microsoft has issued the Update Rollup for Windows 2000 Service Pack 4 in lieu of the originally planned Service Pack 5. This marks the final substantive update for the venerable (and popular) operating system, as it will be moving from Active Support to Extended Support effective tomorrow (June 30).

Seriously Kinky

Filed under: Cool,Politics — 11:27 am

Only when pushed, and then prodded and then finally pinned, will Richard Friedman explain why he’s running as an independent candidate for Texas governor. Initially, he will offer only the glib, catchy one-liners that befit the songwriter nicknamed Kinky who once proclaimed, “They ain’t makin’ Jews like Jesus anymore.” He will say things like “I’m for the little fellers, not the Rockefellers.” He will inform you that people are tired “of the choice between paper and plastic.” He will explain that the Capitol building in Austin is seven feet taller than our nation’s Capitol, but that ours “was built for giants, and instead it’s inhabited by midgets.” He has a million of them, and by the time November 2006 comes around–hell, by the time you finish reading this story–no doubt you will have heard many of them several times.

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