Published on Apr 11, 2017
“No one wanted to volunteer to get off the plane because the next flight wasn’t until 2 p.m. the next day, which is almost a full 24 hours later,” said Bridges, who added that the airline selected which flyers to eject “based on an internal algorithm that weighs in … who was the last to purchase.” Bridges said the unidentified passenger was told he had to leave, but the man refused to do so.
“He said he was a doctor, he had patients he had to see in the morning, he wasn’t going to get off the plane,” Bridges recounted, “and the gate agent was like, ‘You have to get off the plane. If you don’t get off, we’ll call in security.’ And he was like, ‘Fine, call security, I’m not getting off the plane.’”
Bridges said the man wasn’t being violent with security and police officers who responded, but did say he was “kind of [flailing] his arms and trying to keep them away from him and ultimately they had to use the force, as you can see in the video.”
The shocked passengers berated United employees who boarded the plane in the ejected flyers’ place.
Late Monday, United CEO Oscar Munoz issued a statement apologizing for having to “re-accommodate these customers.”
“Does that look like re-accommodation to you?” Carlson asked. “There’s no mention of the fact that this guy is bloody and unconscious. That’s re-accommodation, according to United Airlines.”
April 13, 2017
In The Register, Shaun Nichols discusses the way Microsoft has effectively hidden the extent and severity of security changes in this month’s Windows 10 patch:
Microsoft today buried among minor bug fixes patches for critical security flaws that can be exploited by attackers to hijack vulnerable computers.
In a massive shakeup of its monthly Patch Tuesday updates, the Windows giant has done away with its easy-to-understand lists of security fixes published on TechNet – and instead scattered details of changes across a new portal: Microsoft’s Security Update Guide.
Billed by Redmond as “the authoritative source of information on our security updates,” the portal merely obfuscates discovered vulnerabilities and the fixes available for them. Rather than neatly split patches into bulletins as in previous months, Microsoft has dumped the lot into an unwieldy, buggy and confusing table that links out to a sprawl of advisories and patch installation instructions.
Punters and sysadmins unable to handle the overload of info are left with a fact-light summary of April’s patches – or a single bullet point buried at the end of a list of tweaks to, for instance, Windows 10.
Now, ordinary folk are probably happy with installing these changes as soon as possible, silently and automatically, without worrying about the nitty-gritty details of the fixed flaws. However, IT pros, and anyone else curious or who wants to test patches before deploying them, will have to fish through the portal’s table for details of individual updates.
Crucially, none of these programming blunders are mentioned in the PR-friendly summary put out today by Microsoft – a multibillion-dollar corporation that appears to care more about its image as a secure software vendor than coming clean on where its well-paid engineers cocked up. The summary lists “security updates” for “Microsoft Windows,” “Microsoft Office,” and “Internet Explorer” without version numbers or details.
Published on 12 Apr 2017
In honor of Tax Day, Antony Davies & James R. Harrigan talk about the absurdity of the US tax code. If your tax situation is more complicated or more uncomfortable than you like dealing with, you can pay another human being to do your taxes so you don’t have to. There are dependents, mortgages, deductions from energy-efficient household additions, charity, student loan interest … even with a Ph.D. in economics, it’s hard to understand!
In Maclean’s, Allen Abel looks at the US entry into World War 1 a hundred years ago this month, and wonders why it’s so little remembered by Americans today:
Precisely 100 years after U.S. president Woodrow Wilson — “with a profound sense of the solemn and even tragical character of the step I am taking” and with millions of young men of other nations already lying in the graves of Flanders — asked the United States Congress to mobilize a neutral, jazz-happy nation to save Britain, France and little Belgium from obliteration by the German kaiser, there is little in the American capital to remind a visitor of the war to end all wars. There is no sky-piercing obelisk, no haunting roster of the fallen, no sacred shrine to Wilson himself.
As Canada ritually, dutifully, predictably embraces the grimness and glory of Vimy Ridge, the American republic and its new president gird for the inevitable next conflagration — Syria; North Korea — in place of looking backward, weeping, learning.
“The First World War is the moment when America says, ‘We’re the big dog on the planet,'” notes Mark Facknitz of James Madison University, a descendant of three men who fought in the Great War for the U.S., for Germany and, fatally, for Canada, respectively. “Donald Trump keeps saying the same thing,” he goes on, “but it’s no longer true.”
Physically, and allegorically as well, small residue of Wilson’s tragical gambit endures here. Across the Potomac in Arlington, Va., rests the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. In the city itself, a little Doric temple, 12 columns around, was erected by the District of Columbia in the 1920s to commemorate its fallen sons. There is a soaring “national” monument to the courage of the killed, but it is in Kansas City. To many Americans, the most famous battle of the First World War was Snoopy versus the Red Baron.
“At the level of the purely mythic Great War battles, nothing in the American experience rivals the Canadians at Vimy, the French at Verdun or the British at the Somme,” Facknitz says. “Our deaths from influenza [60,000] outnumbered our combat dead [50,000] in France in 1918. There was nothing compared to other nations’ Golgothas, nor, for that matter, to the enduring symbolism of Civil War battles like Gettysburg and Antietam, or to the Second World War battles that followed a short generation later—Normandy, the Bulge, Iwo Jima.”
I suspect the biggest lasting influence of American participation in WW1 was actually the political and economic ramifications of both anti-German hysteria (a lot of Schmidts became Smiths and Müllers became Millers to avoid the witch hunt) and the first major nationalizations of industry in the US (which set the stage for FDR’s New Deal during the Great Depression).
Published on 31 Mar 2017
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Being a correspondent in Moscow, I found, was, in itself, easy enough. The Soviet press was the only source of news; nothing happened or was said until it was reported in the newspapers. So all I had to do was go through the papers, pick out any item that might be interesting to readers of the Guardian, dish it up in a suitable form, get it passed by the censor at the Press Department, and hand it in at the telegraph office for dispatch. One might, if in a conscientious mood, embellish the item a little … sow in a little local colour, blow it up a little, or render it down a little according to the exigencies of the new situation. The original item itself was almost certainly untrue or grotesquely distorted. One’s own deviations, therefore, seemed to matter little, only amounting to further falsifying what was already false.
This bizarre fantasy was very costly and elaborate and earnestly promoted. Something gets published in Pravda; say, that the Soviet Union has a bumper wheat harvest – so many poods per hectare. There is no means of checking; the Press Department men don’t know, and anyone who does is far, far removed from the attentions of foreign journalists. Soviet statistics have always been almost entirely fanciful, though not the less seriously regarded fro that. When the Germans occupied Kiev in the 1939-45 war they got hold of a master Five Year Plan, showing what had really been produced and where. Needless to say, it was quite different from the published figures. This in no way affected credulity about such figures subsequently, as put out in Russia, or even in China.
Malcolm Muggeridge, Chronicles of Wasted Time, 2006.