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April 23, 2007

Why you you have to be very careful before letting people in their late 60s decide policy for the next 50 years


April 23, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

April 07, 2007

Hacking las vegas (a tiny bit)

As astute readers will know, I was recently in Las Vegas, a town with reasonably nice weather, and for one like me with an aversion to gambling, little else to offer. The conference I attended, IA Summit, was, I do have to say, fantastic, and note to self, must spend more time with IAs - smart fascinating people.

On Saturday night, about 10 of us were keen to go out and celebrate Andy Budd's birthday. So, we headed out to grab a cab.

The queue was long, and estimated at over an hour.

Not bloody likely. We set out to walk the roughly half hour trip, perhaps pick up a cab on the way, but as we walked out of the hotel, we spotted a couple of strecth limos (a form of conveyance I had as yet not utilized in my 40 years on god's green earth.)

"How much?"

Doing the the math, that's about $5 each.

So we pile in. For most of us it was the first ride in such a vehicle. And we saved an hour's wait, all for probably an extra couple of bucks, or a half hour plus walk after a very long day.

I reckon that was a pretty cool hack.

You got one?

April 7, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 04, 2007

Hacking government

I am, at heart a hacker, and it doesn't stop with software and the web. I love innovative, out of the box solutions to what seem to be intractable problems.

So here is one that I've had in mind for a while.

It seems right now that at least in the U.S and Australia, but I suspect it is an endemic issue, there are some serious issues with elected officials, and to a similar extent senior public servants being, in that wonderful phrase "economical with the truth", across a very broad range of issues, with at times catastrophic consequences.

But what to do about it? Raise the cost. Right now, the only cost is electoral, where politicians may be held accountable several years down the track by the electorate, provided of course people remember. News cycles being what they are, it's likely (and often this is a strategic consideration) that no matter how significant, what ever issue precipitated the mendacity, sorry, economy with the truth, has become old news.

So, in essence, the cost is reasonably low, at least if you are clever enough.

So how to raise the cost? Here's a thought.

If you are a witness or otherwise appear in court to provide testimony, you are under oath. If you lie under oath, you have committed an offense. So the cost of lying is high.
My suggestion is that all elected representatives (and those running for office), their employees, and possibly senior public officials (to stop politicians hiding behind their employees and others) are in effect under oath when they make public pronouncements in their official capacity. Whether being interviewed, in parliament, in public meetings with their constituents, if you knowingly or recklessly say something untrue in a public capacity, it's a criminal offense.

Then we'll doubtless see even more highly paid, important, intelligent people suddenly having trouble recalling, but I suspect we'll see more considered, and frankly more honest public discourse by people, who afterall, we pay pretty damned well to in theory represent our interests.


April 4, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

April 02, 2007

Call me a killjoy

But I hate April the first. The entire web seems to be shutdown with simply lame "hoaxes". It's particularly sad if you live west of the date line, because you read them all on the second of april anyway.

So, I hereby call for an April First moratorium. No more lame April first "pranks" people. Please.



April 2, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (15) | TrackBack