In this sci-fi novel, our protagonist has a superpower and cracks wise. This book emerged out of some 512-word-or-less snippets; it's grown up nicely and holds together well. You might read those snippets to figure out whether you'd like this book. You will be shocked to learn that I was especially fond of the wisecracking bits. Bonus points for taking place on an interplanetary cruise ship and poking fun at cruise life.
Disclosure: I know the author and whined a copy out of him a few months back because I didn't want to wait that long.
This book was chock-full of interesting bits.
- There was a time when each airport had a few metal detectors but not enough to screen everybody. Ticket agents would send some passengers to be screened if those passengers acted "hinky" when picking up tickets. This was a pretty good way to catch folks then as now. But but but though it worked well, it was too easily worked around.
- Airplane personnel didn't know who had/hadn't been screened. So a bad guy could take a plane hostage by saying "I have a weapon. I was totally able to sneak it onto this plane because nobody searched me! Do you want to call my bluff?"
- If someone didn't pick up a ticket, the ticket agents never had an opportunity to gauge their "hinky-ness". Airports weren't heavily guarded, so a ticketless bad guy could just walk up to a gate, reveal a gun, and force his ticketless way onto the plane.
- There really was a lot of copycatting going on.
D.B.Dan Cooper wasn't the first criminal to parachute out of an airplane while laden with cash. The first folks to demand that their flights be redirected to Cuba probably had reason to go to Cuba; but later folks just did it because, y'know, that's how the template for skyjacking worked.
- Much of the book covers a particular skyjacking by Roger Holder and Cathy Kerkow. They had their plane land at SFO. (One of their demands was that they could carry off Angela Davis, who was about to go on trial.) The FBI at SFO were somewhat distracted when dealing with this, because there was another skyjacked flight approaching SFO at the same time this was happening.
Then, as in 2001, there was a lot of "Something must be done; this is something" legislation. With hindsight, we can see that some of it made sense and some of it didn't. If you're a security-thinker or a systems-thinker, it's interesting to read about airline policies and new laws and how bad guys worked around them.
(#IVoted a couple of weeks ago, but waited until today to affix the sticker.)
22.214.171.124 - - [31/May/2016:23:56:58 -0400] "GET /port_08.png HTTP/1.1" 200 16388 "http://lahosken.san-francisco.ca.us/new/" "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_11_5) AppleWebKit/601.6.17 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/9.1.1 Safari/601.6.17"
A Mac user was looking at my blog page. Looking up their IP address suggests that they're a Southwestern Bell customer. (That is to say: a NorCal AT&T customer, now that SWBell got swallowed up.)
This visitor is unusual: they're reading my blog. They might be interested in something I have to say. You might think that most visitors to my website are interested in me (or, more likely, one of my hobbies), but it's not so. Most of them are visiting that page of puzzle hunt team names. These visitors aren't puzzlehunters; they googled for team names for something and landed on that page. Yesterday, for example, a few dozen people showed up at my home page. One human (and, strange to say, many robots) visited the 2-Tone Game page. Meanwile, hundreds of folks visited that team names page. They're searching for
- team names for games
- team names for work
- field day team names
- gaming team names
- cool team names for games
- debate team names
- work team names
- school team names
- cigarro de chocolate ← Not folks looking for team names. Portuguese speakers looking for candy cigarettes
- fun committee names list
- project team names
- one word team names
- Pete Rates the Propositions not much help this election, which is mostly people instead of props
- Alix Rosenthal's Big Ol' Voter Guide; I don't agree with her about much, but as such I learn more from her voter guide than I do from most.
- San Francisco Bay Guardian this former newspaper is still mostly non-existent, but came back for the election advice.
- SF Examiner; making a lot of sense to me this year
- SF Chronicle Paywalled, so I won't read it. Everybody's entitled to their opinion, but don't ask me to shell out $$$ for it, y'know?
E.g., it's all very well to say you should use different phones when dealing with different people so phone connection metadata-miners have a tougher time mapping out your social network. But have you actually tried the logistics of juggling multiple phones? How much "privacy juice" do you preserve by leaving your mobile phone in a faraday bag most of the time (so that folks monitoring phone metadata don't know where you've been) versus the hassle that folks can't, y'know, call you because your phone's effectively off most of the time? No easy answers here. (Well, that's not exactly true. There are some things you can do. (Have you installed WhisperSystems Signal on your phone and made it your messaging app yet?) But they won't render you invisible via magical privacy fairy dust; they hide some things but not all.) But an interesting discussion of trade-offs.