October 14, 2010

Little Bobby Tables must speak Swedish

Filed under: Europe, Humour, Politics, Technology — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 13:19

By way of Bruce Schneier an opportunity to show another xkcd comic:

Exploits of a Mom

So, what’s the Swedish tie-in?

As you may have heard, we’ve had a very close election here in Sweden. Today the Swedish Election Authority published the hand written votes. While scanning through them I happened to notice

R;13;Hallands län;80;Halmstad;01;Halmstads västra valkrets;0904;Söndrum 4;pwn DROP TABLE VALJ;1

The second to last field is the actual text on the ballot. Could it be that Little Bobby Tables is all grown up and has migrated to Sweden? Well, it’s probably just a joke but even so it brings questions since an SQL-injection on election data would be very serious.

The anomaly was the “nuclear family” era, not today

Filed under: Economics, Education, USA — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 07:57

In so many stories about adult children moving back home after college, the default attitude seems to be that this is “not normal”. This is false: for most of human history, the default living situation has been multiple generations living in the same dwelling. The “nuclear family” era was the break with everything that had gone before. That being said, this should be no surprise:

Getting a degree used to be a stepping stone to limitless career opportunities. Now it’s more of a hiatus from living under your parents’ roof.

Stubbornly high unemployment — nearly 15% for those ages 20-24 — has made finding a job nearly impossible. And without a job, there’s nowhere for these young adults to go but back to their old bedrooms, curfews and chore charts. Meet the boomerangers.

“This recession has hit young adults particularly hard,” according to Rich Morin, senior editor at the Pew Research Center in DC.

So hard that a whopping 85% of college seniors planned to move back home with their parents after graduation last May, according to a poll by Twentysomething Inc., a marketing and research firm based in Philadelphia. That rate has steadily risen from 67% in 2006.

Old stereotypes still thrive in niche ecologies

Filed under: Humour, Randomness — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 07:49

An exchange that wouldn’t have been at all surprising in, say, 1950:

As much as I appreciate your reply, I think this manuscript is perahps [sic] too heavy for you.
Don't get me wrong, I am not remeaning [sic] your professionalism, it's just VERY profound and maybe too much for a female to edit.
A delicate mind I do not want editing this.
Best regards,

Jo Caird called on deep reserves of patience to respond:

"Dear Etc,
Thanks for your prompt reply.
Thanks too for your candid (not to mention eloquently expressed - although I believe the word you were looking for was 'demeaning', not 'remeaning') appraisal of my intellectual and professional capabilities. It's reassuring to me, as a 'female' (again, I believe you mean 'woman') of delicate sensibilities and feeble judgement, to know that considerate gentlemen such as yourself exist to protect me from that which I lack the depth of character to understand.
As to how you've assessed that I am too weak-minded to work on, or even indeed to read, your manuscript, given that we have never met, or even spoken on the phone, I can only speculate. I wish you, in any case, all the best with it.
Have a lovely weekend.
Kind regards,

H/T to Tim Harford for the link.

British government takes chainsaw to Quango jungle

Filed under: Britain, Bureaucracy, Government, Politics — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 07:30

To my surprise, the British government appears to be quite serious about reducing the number of quasi-autonomous non-governmental organizations (Quangos):

The government has announced that 192 quangos are to be scrapped.

Some will be abolished altogether others will see their functions carried out by government or other bodies, the Cabinet Office says.

A further 118 will be merged. Some are still under consideration but 380 will be retained, according to the list.

Minister Francis Maude said they did not know how many jobs would go. Labour’s Liam Byrne said the cull could end up costing more than it saved.

Quangos — “quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisations” — are arm’s-length bodies funded by Whitehall departments but not run by them.

Sounds like a worthwhile effort. I rather expected the study would “discover” that almost all of the Quangos were performing “essential services” and therefore would be continued. I’m delighted to find that I was being too cynical.

Nathan Fillion: Floral Gum fan

Filed under: Media, Randomness — Tags: — Nicholas @ 07:21

I knew I liked this guy for more than his dashing style:

Those horrid little Floral Gums are one of my few remaining vices from childhood. You can only get them at the occasional “British Tea Shop” kind of store, and only now and again. I always stock up on the addictive things when I have the chance.

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