Clearin’ O’ The Links: Napalm Girl, Stuxnet/Flame, Facebook, Old People Smell, and Car Talk-The Musical

It’s Friday. The end of a very busy week. So let’s use today’s lunchtime to clear out the links and get back to work:

  • Historical Photos Come Alive. Back when I was in high school, there was a very interesting article in Modern Photography titled, “Should This Photo Have Been Published”. It looked at the ethics of publishing certain pictures, and one of its examples was the famous Vietnam war photo of a 9 year old girl running naked down a road after having been napalmed. For many people, this photo was emblematic of the war and its impact on the innocent. Yesterday, looking at the SF Chronicle, I discovered an article on the girl in the photo–how she survived, and what she is doing these days.  A very very interesting article.
  • Security in the News. This has been a week for computer security related articles. Topmost is an article in the NY Times that claims that the United States was behind Stuxnet. Whether or not the claim is validated, the article is an interesting read. But that’s not the only security in the news. There is also the report of a similar attack called “Flame”, which is also claimed to be a targeted attack. Bruce Schneier also had an interesting summary article on the supposed backdoor that was discovered in foreign-manufactured chips used by the military.
  • Young and Old. A couple of articles related to young and old. First (and this was predictable): as more and more parents have joined Facebook… more and more teens are choosing to use a different service. Now, you might not care about this, but given Facebook’s IPO, this could have an impact on future earnings… and the future income to the state of California. Secondly, studies have shown that old people really don’t smell that bad. Actually, I think the study put it another way: old people don’t smell as bad as young people. How’s that for a “get off my lawn”.
  • Coming Soon. I don’t make these things up, folks. Car Talk–The Musical. The plot: Our hero – the overweight, always-late invertebrate Rusty Fenders – has racked up as many miles as his ’93 KIA. Attempting to salvage happiness from the junkyard of his life, he collides with his ruthless boss Beaulah Gasket, his unrequited office romance Sheila, and the red-hot fantasy car Miata C. LaChassis. Can the Wizard of Cahs put the brakes on Rusty’s musical wipe-out?
  • Walking the Walk. Lastly, a word about sidewalks. Cracked sidewalks, in particular. These cracks are often created by city-planted trees in the median (the strip between the sidewalk and the street)–trees that you cannot maintain, trim, or remove without city approval. Naturally, the city–which planted the trees and laid the sidewalks–is legally on the hook to fix the sidewalks. The problem: they don’t have any money to do so. City officials estimate that the cost of repairing more than 4,000 miles of sidewalks could cost as much as $2 billion.  So what is their solution? Repeal the 1973 law that requires the city to pass to repair sidewalks. The state’s response: Propose a bill that would prohibit L.A. from the law, thus requiring that the city continue to pay for the repairs from the general fund.

Music: Africa (Miriam Makeba): Kilimanjaro