Category Archives: Current Affairs

Coal company reputation

Good news from the SEC for a change! They’re requiring coal plant operators to report health and safety violations, including fatalities, within a few days of occurence.

FuelFix posted from AP on 23 December 2011, SEC requiring coal firms to report safety problems

Earlier this week, the SEC announced new rules that require mining companies to start reporting any fatalities and all major health and safety violations, mine by mine, in their quarterly and annual financial reports. The filings are mandated in the wide-ranging Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which Congress passed to try to increase corporate accountability.

The rules take effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. They require companies to report within four days any “significant and substantial” violations, citations, flagrant violations and imminent-danger orders issued by the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration.

Coal operators must also include the dollar value of proposed fines, whether the company has been or may be designated a pattern violator by MSHA, and any pending cases with the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission.

What problem does this reporting solve? As the article points out: Continue reading

Twitter Reschedules

whereistheirvote.jpg Twitter recognizes that a network upgrade is important, but the role twitter is playing in Iran is more important, and reschedules for 1:30 AM Iranian time. Now that’s risk management!

Would that U.S. states had all rescheduled Diebold and the like to the junk heap after the 2000 U.S. election.

Also notice who twitter’s hosting service is: NTT America. I’ve been predicting for years that the U.S. duopoly’s intransigence would lead to NTT and other competent international ISPs eating their lunch, and I see it’s beginning to happen.


Mounties Admit Making Up Online Piracy Costs

dudley_doright.jpg Hey, if you don’t have any research, why not just pick some number off the net? Police agencies do:
However bogger Michael Geist thought there was something fishy about the figure and asked for the sources behind the Royal Mounted Police’s $30 billion claim.

The letter came back from red-faced coppers confessing that they made up the figure based what they had read on the Internet.

The RCMP did not conduct any independent research on the scope or impact of counterfeiting in Canada, but rather merely searched a couple news stories.

anadian coppers admit making up piracy figures, $30 billion figure simply plucked from bottom, By Nick Farrell, The Inquirer, Wednesday 19 September 2007, 08:52

I like the punchline:
Soon they’ll try solving their cases by looking to see who did it on Wikipedia.
And will they change their motto to “we always make up our scam?”


APEC, Schmapeck

Yesterday, a TV comedy team succeeded in driving a fake motorcade with Canadian flags right through all the security barriers and weren’t stopped until right outside President Bush’s hotel. Inside their motorcade was someone dressed up as Osama Bin Laden.

APEC Conference in Sydney Social Engineered, Bruce Schneier, Schneier on Security, September 07, 2007

It gets better. Continue reading

Brooklyn Tornado


How soon they forget:

It wasn’t just the tornado in Brooklyn — the first in recorded history in the borough — it was the huge quantities of rain that flooded basements and stranded rail and road commuters from Mineola to Midtown.

End of the world as we know it? By Carl Macgowan, Newsday, 10:51 PM EDT, August 8, 2007

Sounds kind of like "who could have predicted it?"

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Terrorist Special Olympics

Bruce should go into standup:

First London and then Glasgow. Who are these idiots? It there a Special Olympics for terrorists going on in the UK this week?

Terrorist Special Olympics in the UK, Bruce Schneier, Schneier on Security, 2 July 2007

Only it’s apparently not just in the U.K., considering the lame excuses for terrorists that DHS has dug up. Anyway, laughing at them seems more appropriate than fearing them.


Conglomerates’ End

Previously I’ve mentioned that the era of blockbusters is over. Maybe there’s a corollary:
Is the heyday of media and entertainment conglomerates behind us?

A panel of industry analysts and bankers discussed this and other deal making questions as part of a PricewaterhouseCoopers event here Tuesday, with several of them arguing that conglomeratization has no real benefits, especially in the digital age.

“Consolidation in the old media world destroys value,” said Laura Martin, founder and CEO of Media Metrics LLC. “They are buying stuff (and audiences) because they don’t know what else to do.”

Media conglomerates in the past, panel says By Georg Szalai, Hollywood Reporter, 27 June 2007

Soundsl like they’re scared of the long tail and are trying to buy it up to co-opt it. Hm, why does that remind me of telephone companies? Continue reading

Terrorism, Lightning, and Bloomberg

bloo0902.jpg Sometimes a politician says something so sensible you wonder why everbody doesn’t say it:

There are lots of threats to you in the world. There’s the threat of a heart attack for genetic reasons. You can’t sit there and worry about everything. Get a life.

You have a much greater danger of being hit by lightning than being struck by a terrorist.

In terms of what you as individual on the streets should worry about is not whether the person sitting next to you on the subway is a terrorist. The likelihood of that is so small it is not something you should worry about.

Buzz Over Mayor’s ‘Get a Life’ Remark, By Sewell Chan, Empire Zone, June 6, 2007,  9:46 am

The outlet that originally quoted Bloomberg,, quotes several people as saying terrorism is a big threat. However, it also points out that New York City is the safest city in America, with violent crime in general low and decreasing. Maybe if that TV station and others reported that more often, instead of constant, irrational fear, more people would understand what Bloomberg is saying.

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Burned vs. Burned Up

prescribed burn Regarding the Georgia and Florida swamp and pine fires, one of the main questions is at what point does preservation offer greater economic gain than resource extraction. Looking at the big picture brings out two points: The figure "$33 trillion" was once projected as the value of ecosystems globally. What do you think of this type of economic analysis?

Polasky: The $33-trillion figure refers to one of the earliest studies that was done on the value of ecosystem services. The lead author was Robert Costanza. He and his coauthors tried to get at the notion of how we can establish on a global basis what the value of ecosystem services is. They came up with a number 33 trillion [USD] plus or minus a few trillion. There are a number of problems with the study. The most basic one is the question of what you are talking about when you consider all the ecosystem services of Earth. The entire system is our life support system. So what is our life support system worth? You don’t really have to have a scientific study in order to answer that question. The real value of the study was not the $33-trillion figure, which who knows what that means, but that it spurred people to focus on these issues.

Such values can be big, and the dollar value isn’t the only consideration. There is a bit of risk in that we can’t do without the biosphere, and some risk management is in order. Even beyond that obvious non-dollar value, there are further questions of species diversity and esthetics. Do we really want to kill off an ecosystem when we don’t really know what it’s doing for us, and do we all want to live surrounded by concrete?

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WIldfire Precedents

I’m having a little difficulty finding historical statistics on wildfires. Here’s someone’s understanding:

My understanding is that the size of this fire is almost unprecedented with the exception being a fire in 1955 that consumed 58,000 acres.

The wind changed today. I can smell the smoke of my neighbor’s land again. The ash is falling again, too. Bitter snows.

The Waycross Wildfire 2, jimmorrow, April 23, 2007

When he wrote that towards the end of April, 55,000 acres had been burnt near Waycross, Georgia.

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