February 19th, 2010


Sometimes, somebody just has to go to ridiculous lengths to illustrate privacy problems

Thanks to the_nita for pointing out one of the most impressive invasions of privacy I've yet come across that *somebody* is probably going to try to claim is defensible.

Summary: reports are that a school district issued laptops to the kids, and then used them to spy on the kids at home via the webcam. I'm not yet certain that it's real -- it's the sort of story that often turns out to be some parent misconstruing the circumstances -- but it's sadly in line with a fair number of modern trends in the attitudes of schools towards children, and society towards citizens in general. In today's culture, you almost have to do something that is really harmful to children before anybody really pays attention. But this does seem to cross a bunch of memetic lines. God help the school officials if somebody finds pictures of children actually undressing: in modern America, anything that can be contrued as child porn is pretty much regarded as worse than murder.

Overall, though, this is one of those Risks Digest moments...

I enjoy the Olympics despite the scores

One observation from last night: it reminded me, once again, that I find the judging and scoring to be my one real beef with the figure skating.

This time, there was a skater (didn't catch where from) whose routine was based on Gene Kelly's classic number from An American in Paris. For my money, it was brilliant: not just good skating, but good nods to the original routine peppered throughout. He actually managed to get a bunch of little nuances of Kelly's movement idiom in there -- not easy when you're moving on teeny little blades at high speed.

Of course, the commentators were full of, "Oh, it's not very hard; it won't score well; blah blah blah". And that proved true -- from a scoring POV, it was mediocre. Which is a damned shame, because from a purely artistic POV (as opposed to an athletic one), I thought it completely stole the show.

This seems to happen about once in each Winter Olympics for me. Sometimes it's a solo, sometimes a pair, but there's always *somebody* who just clearly gets the idea of Skating As Dance, and as Art, far better than the rest of the field. And they *never*, ever, win...