Misc Kvetching

Msc Kvetch/PhilStock: TSA to remove nudie scanners from airports

headlessTSAOsis Systems (OSIS) up $2.90 to $70.55 today after it reached an agreement with the TSA regarding its Rapiscan Automated Target Recognition software. It’s been creeping up since the drop to around $50*, see my Nov. 18, 2012 post, after it was disclosed that the TSA was investigating whether it had falsified test results of the Rapiscan software used in its backscatter full body (airport) scanners. But I see no revelation one way or another as to whether the company was guilty of manipulating the testing of its system. In fact, Bloomberg reports today that:

“The decision to cancel the Rapiscan software contract and remove its scanners wasn’t related to an agency probe of whether the company faked testing data on the software fix.”

Presumably, the case has disappeared, or so it seems.

TSA to remove nudie scanners from airports because they couldn’t make them less nekkid (POSTED ON JANUARY 18, 2013 BY MARY KATHARINE HAM)

A minor victory for those of us who think security theater shouldn’t look like a Pussycat Theater. If you’re ineffectively protecting us, we should at least have the Continue reading

Categories: Misc Kvetching, phil stock, rejected posts | 1 Comment

Rejected Post: 3 Msc. Kvetches on the Blog Bagel Circuit

mayo-at-deskIn the past week, I’ve kvetched over at 3 of the blogs on my blog bagel (instead of using the time to work). Here are the main ones, you can follow up on their blogs if you wish:

I.  I made a brief comment on a blatant error in Mark Chang’s treatment of my Birnbaum disproof on  Xi’an’s Og. Chang is responding to Christian Robert’s critical review of his book, Paradoxes in Scientific Inference (2013)

Mayo Says: December 27, 2012 at 9:08 am (actually posted Dec.26,~1:30 a.m.)

I have only gotten to look at Mark Chang’s book a few days ago. I have many concerns regarding his treatment of points from Mayo and Spanos (2010), in particular the chapters by Cox and Mayo (2010) and Mayo (2010). Notably, having set out, nearly verbatim (but without quotes), my first variation of Birnbaum’s argument (Mayo 2010, 309), Chang takes, as evidence that “Mayo’s disproof is faulty”, assertions that I make only concerning the second variation of the Birnbaum argument (310-11).  Chang has written (Chang, 138) the first version in detail, but obviously doesn’t understand it. The problem with the first version is that the two premises cannot both be true at the same time (the crucial term shifts its meaning in the two premises). The second formulation, by contrast, allows both premises to be true. I label the two premises of the second variation as (1) and (2)’.  The problem in the second formulation is: “The antecedent of premise (1) is the denial of the antecedent of premise (2)’.”(Mayo 2010, 311). (Note the prime on (2)’. )These are both conditional claims, hence they have antecedents. Chang gives this quote, but has missed its reference. I might mention that I don’t see the relevance of Chang’s point about sufficiency to either variations of Birnbaum’s proof (bottom para, Chang 138).

A less informal and clearer treatment of my Birnbaum argument may be found in a recent paper: On the Birnbaum Argument for the Strong Likelihood Principle. Continue reading

Categories: danger, Misc Kvetching, phil stat | 3 Comments

Msc kvetch: unfair but lawful discrimination (vs the irresistibly attractive)

Photo on 12-22-12 at 12.31 PMIs it really “a victory for family values” when it is ruled that a male boss may fire a female employee solely because it is claimed she posed an “irresistible attraction” to him (and thus a threat to his marriage)?  Maybe it would be better to do something to enable this man to acquire the free will to “resist” starting an affair with a female employee of 10 years who had no interest in an affair with him. I guess she could have put a bag over herself… What do you think?

Iowa court rules boss can fire employee he considers an ‘irresistible attraction’

Published December 22, 2012

Associated Press

A dentist acted legally when he fired an assistant that he found attractive simply because he and his wife viewed the woman as a threat to their marriage, the all-male Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday.

The court ruled 7-0 that bosses can fire employees they see as an “irresistible attraction,” even if the employees have not engaged in flirtatious behavior or otherwise done anything wrong. Such firings may be unfair, but they are not unlawful discrimination under the Iowa Civil Rights Act because they are motivated by feelings and emotions, not gender, Justice Edward Mansfield wrote. Continue reading

Categories: Misc Kvetching, rejected posts | 8 Comments

Msc kvetch/PhilStock: Rapiscan Scam

Having noticed Rapiscan’s stock (OSIS) plummet from around $77 a share to ~ $50 this past Wed. and Thurs.( to rebound somewhat on Friday to around $64) due to a “scan scam”, I am doubly surprised to have just been confronted with a Rapiscan full-body X-ray scanner in the San Diego airport (SAN). (The other reason is that I understand their scanners are being phased out.) When I asked why they were still using them, the TSA rep assured me that they were being swapped out any day!  Of course I was a female opt out (but said nothing more lest I be punished).

Scan scam? Full-body scan-maker denies faking test amid TSA probe

A US legislator says Rapiscan, the maker of controversial body-scanners used at American airports, may have falsified its software test results. The company denies the allegations, saying it’s cooperating with the TSA probe into the matter. Continue reading

Categories: Misc Kvetching, phil stock | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

New Kvetch (and Query): Code Doc

CodeDoc: Kvetch and Query

I scarcely heard my Mac Air laptop slipping ever so gently off the slide of my sensuede recliner as I moved to answer a phone this morning, and couldn’t believe that a gentle little slip-slide could devastate the screen, causing a garish puncture-like black hole in the screen: a crater with jagged lines rippling outward.  (After all the travel, planes and ferries left it intact). Did you ever have this happen? Did I note the drop was really gentle? Continue reading

Categories: Misc Kvetching, rejected posts | Tags: | 4 Comments

Msc Kvetch: Florida passes plan for racially-based academic goals

This would seem to be diametrically at odds with other stipulations to prohibit race-based standards. I take it the argument for adopting the plan is that it permits Florida to show the required % of proficient students (and thereby qualify for a waiver “from some provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind Act”), but can that be worth the negative implications that are bound to spillover into other areas?

The Florida State Board of Education passed a plan that sets goals for students in math and reading based upon their race. Continue reading

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Msc Kvetch: tsa retaliatory pat downs

I think it’s true. The TSA retaliates against travelers for disobedience, a “bad attitude” or for not showing sufficient deference, especially in certain big city airports. Having a bad attitude can just mean being “a female optout” to begin with, requiring someone (of the right sex) to come from afar to do the invasive pat down. Last time,although the person doing the pat down was a woman, they asked if it was ok for these two men to watch. TWO! Perhaps they were in training. They were intensely interested. I couldn’t see why these guys should be watching my pat down, but I figured I’d be further punished if I objected. I have never worn a dress during the era of scanners, but wonder how horrible that would be. I may try it. So far the worst I’ve done (aside from engage in futile arguing in Europe once when they wouldn’t let me opt out)  is bring copies of materials on the risks of the whole body scanners, leaving copies for others. Continue reading

Categories: Misc Kvetching, rejected posts | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Msc kvetch: X-rays

Why are we still being subjected to full-body X-ray scanners in the U.S. whenEurope has (just) banned them? And why do I seem to be the only “female opt out” (at least in my line of people at several airports)? (This should be parked on my kvetch page.)

Full body X-ray scans may save travelers the trouble of being frisked, but the European Union has decided to ban the machines due to safety concerns.

The controversial machines show a complete image of a person’s body, but their purpose is to reveal hidden explosives and weapons at security checkpoints. Experts’ biggest fear is that these machines may emit high levels of cancer-causing radiation.

The European Commission blocked new trials for the device due to safety concerns, but Manchester Airport was allowed to continue to use the $130,000 machines for another year as part of a trial.

Machester Airport workers were hoping that the EC would approve permanent user of the machines, especially after they declared that the machines pose close to a zero risk in May.

However the European airport never got the go-ahead. The European Commission’s chiefs didn’t give approval for the machines to be used permanently after a three year trial.

Now the airport will have to replace the full body X-ray scanners with “privacy -friendly” scanners which will cost the airport over $2 million and 55 extra security workers.


While the machines have been scrapped from Europe, the United States continues to use them. The devices, which were added in 2010, are used in at least 68 airports across the country.

The Transportation Security Administration started to add these scanners after a man tried to blow up a Detroit-bound plane in 2009 with a bomb that he had in his underwear. TSA tests show that the machines don’t emit harmful levels of radiation, yet some passengers still opt for full-body pat downs instead of passing through the machines due to a fear of their potential effects.

Research suggests that despite how low the radiation is, hundreds of passengers may get cancer just because there are so many scanners in the U.S. Last year, there were 250 machines in U.S. airports and research suggested that 100 people could get cancer because of them. Airports have added 600 new machines this year.

Read more here.

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Giant Cups Break Law in NYC (9/13/12)

Just what we need:

New York City’s Board of Health opened up a new, experimental front in the war on obesity Thursday, passing a rule banning sales of big sodas and other sugary drinks at restaurants, concession stands and other eateries….

…. They say the proposal strikes at a leading cause of obesity simply by giving people a built-in reason to stop at 16 ounces: 200 calories, if it’s a regular Coke, compared to 240 in a 20-ounce size. Continue reading

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Nausea backlash/Ozy

The only good thing to be said about this is the degree of disgust evident in Andria Mitchell’s voice and look.  Too bad she evidently feels she has to take orders from Chris (“any B.O. criticism is a code word”) Matthews.

Isn’t it time to send Matthews to join Olbermann?

Don’t they worry that the Obama sand sculpture will remind people of…


    by Shelley (1792-1822)

I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand, Continue reading

Categories: Misc Kvetching | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

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