Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Worse than No Help at All
Regular readers will already know what a low opinion I have of government "welfare" programs. That disdain extends, of course, to the many unforeseen consequences such programs inevitably have.
I must say, though, that even I was blindsided by the following example, which comes from an article about how some researchers cracked the Social Security Number code.
Linda Foley, founder of the Identity Theft Resource Center, a San Diego based nonprofit, cited another potential problem. She said many businesses have errantly rely [sic] upon or have moved to redact all but the last four digits of a person's SSN, the very digits that are most unique to an individual.An official from the Social Security Administration is cited to the effect that it has warned the private sector against using SSNs as identifiers, but plenty of other government entities have done the same, at least until very recently.
"Because of the way the SSN has been designed, asking for the last four numbers of the SSN puts people at risk because those are the only numbers that are unique to you and cannot be guessed easily by someone who might want to use your identity," Foley said.
... isn't terribly fun in real life.
Medication is also helping. She currently takes two kinds - an antidepressant and a birth control pill. Both are proven to reduce libido - and there has indeed been something of a breakthrough in the bedroom department.This reminds me a little of the of Phineas Gage story -- but read this article if you've heard of it.
"She even turned me down the other day," says [her husband], laughing. "I wanted to sleep with her, but she was the one who said she didn't feel like it. I could have whooped with delight."
Religion in Fiction and in Fact
Myrhaf blogs a short story by Leo Tolstoy, ending with this:
Tolstoy dramatizes his theme perfectly. It is a powerful story. But what a theme! Tolstoy's is not a philosophy for living on earth, but a philosophy of self-abnegation and renunciation of values and happiness. In every fundamental respect Leo Tolstoy and Ayn Rand are opposites, despite their both being brilliant writers of long novels who were born in Russia.One is tempted to ask whether his earlier use of the term spoiler is facetious!
Myrhaf's mini-review reminds me indirectly of the fact that I read about half of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's Infidel during my recent travels. At one point, she matter-of-factly describes the time she, her sister, and her brother -- all well past infancy -- were circumcised, using only enough detail for the reader to appreciate how just how barbaric the practice is.
Some may object to my filing circumcision under religion since Islam technically does not call for it. That may be the case, but Islam is often used to justify it. And besides, there is plenty to spare in Infidel for any reader to understand how vile that particular religion is.
Stupid Question, Snappy Answer
When I was a kid, I read through my parents' entire collection of old Mad magazines and recall a feature they occasionally ran, called Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions. The following excerpt, which comes from a job interview transcript is in the same vein, but even funnier:
Annoying Recruiter: How would you move Mount Fuji 1/2 a kilometre to the South?I learned of this via professional headhunter Nick Corcodilos, who adds that, "All kidding aside, I'd use a personalized version of what he said to the interviewer without hesitation."
ME: Why would I do that?
AR: Uhhhh, it's a project you've been assigned.
ME: As part of my work I've been asked to move Mount Fuji?
AR: Yes, so how would you do it?
ME: How could that possibly benefit the business?
ME: As an analyst, my first reaction is the project would be prohibitively expensive and take forever to complete. The first thing I'd want is to see a business case that showed how this would benefit the business.