Conversation cops at Queen’s University

A Globe and Mail article explains that Queen’s University has hired conversation cops to interrupt conversations that aren’t up to politically correct standards.

Your friend’s new fuchsia fedora might be hideous. But don’t call it gay, or you might get a language lesson from the conversation cops. [continue].

The end of the article includes "a sampling of some behaviour that could warrant attention" from one of these interlopers. One of the examples is "if a student avoids a classmate’s birthday party for faith-based reasons." So making decisions based on one’s faith is now a problem that requires official intervention? Sheesh.

What an idiotic plan.

‘Fakeproof’ e-passport is cloned in minutes

In Britain, the government line of ‘trust us, this is for your safety’ has been interrupted by — imagine! — a bit of bad news. From The Times: ‘Fakeproof’ e-passport is cloned in minutes.

New microchipped passports designed to be foolproof against identity theft can be cloned and manipulated in minutes and accepted as genuine by the computer software recommended for use at international airports.

Tests for The Times exposed security flaws in the microchips introduced to protect against terrorism and organised crime. The flaws also undermine claims that 3,000 blank passports stolen last week were worthless because they could not be forged.

In the tests, a computer researcher cloned the chips on two British passports and implanted digital images of Osama bin Laden and a suicide bomber. The altered chips were then passed as genuine by passport reader software used by the UN agency that sets standards for e-passports. [continue]

Bomb scare is just a geocache

From the CBC: GPS game blamed for Ottawa bomb scare.

A treasure-hunting game is being blamed for a bomb scare that resulted in the four-hour closure of a major Ottawa road and an operation involving two dozen police officers, a hazmat team and the police explosives unit last week.

The scare was prompted by the discovery of a suspicious package under the Transitway bridge at Hurdman station last Wednesday that turned out to be part of a geocache. Geocaching is a game that involves searching for hidden packages using GPS co-ordinates. (…)

Police are urging geocachers who hide packages to tell police exactly where they are [continue]

Dear police (especially Insp. Tyrus Cameron of the Ottawa Police),

Geocachers are not likely to tell you about every cache they hide; the idea of doing that would never cross their minds.

But you’re supposed to be good at figuring stuff out, right? Ok, so how do you think geocachers know where to look for the hidden cache boxes? They find cache locations listed on the web, that’s how. And you can find those locations too, in seconds. It doesn’t take four-hours or two dozen police officers.

If you think some suspicious box might be a geocache, just have somebody back at the office take a quick peek at What do you want to bet that the geocaches in your neighbourhood are already listed there?

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