Tag Archives: USA

Another Revolt Against Fate Is Not Korean

24 Aug

duck faceJust when I thought I had left South Korea, it pulls me back in! Rob Beschizza (incorrectly, it seems) thinks he’s identified a new fad – Joker face, or duck face. Westerners are responsible for this bizarre revolt against genetics and – life.

The trend of Duck Face photos can be attributed to the emergence of social networking profiles, most notably with the launch of MySpace in 2003 and its rise to mainstream popularity in July 2005. Myspace users could create profiles including biographical information and photographs of themselves, many of which exhibited the facial expression that eventually became known as the “duck face.” On May 13th, 2006, the first Urban Dictionary[2] definition for “myspace face” was submitted by user Crohnser, which described the female version of the expression as a combination of pouty eyes and pursed lips (shown below). On September 13th, an Urban Dictionary[3] definition for “duck face” was submitted by user Mair Mair, which defined the mannerism as a two-lipped pout.

What seems to have changed from 2003 is that the intent fuelling the procedure has evolved from flirtation to mood. The original emphasis on poutiness almost sounds ironic, but trying to look happy is depressing. At the risk of sounding morose, being able to read on a person’s face, that he/she is sad is useful. If no one can tell if one is having a bad day, how would anyone know when to intervene? Reading faces is a very important skill for humans.

But, it’s clear that Americans, not Koreans, started this bad practice.

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There Can Be Only One

19 Aug

Those naughty Europeans!

During the negotiations, EADS, the manufacturer of the Eurofighter, had agreed to several requests made by DAPA. DAPA had asked that 15 of the 60 total jets be two-seaters and that R&D work be done for weapons system integration so that the South Korean air force could use the fighter weapons it already has.

But the DAPA later discovered that EADS had subsequently made the arbitrary decision to decrease the number of two-seaters from 15 to 6 and had excluded the R&D cost from the final bidding price.

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The People’s Voice On FISA

13 Jun

FISA?I’m willing to stipulate that the data mining reforms the Obama administration put into effect are more sophisticated than the previous clumsy, illegal, unconstitutional, and immoral eavesdropping regimes. Yet, there’s one weak link: the FISA court. Ron Fournier asks, “Why does a secret federal court almost always side with the government’s requests to seize information.” Penza responds:

The problem might arise from the nature of FISA itself: it is a non-adversarial process where only the government presents information and where that information is not subject to challenge. In a regular investigation, there is at least some potential for the target of the investigation to cry “foul” and bring information to the court that undermines the government’s basis for pursuing the investigation. Regular warrants can be challenged as overbroad, overly intrusive, or not supportable by probable cause or even reasonable suspicion. No such mechanism exists in FISA. Indeed, this is a feature not a bug because doing so in the regular way would alert targets that they have been detected, making it more difficult to track and counter an organization like al-Qaeda.

But a mechanism could be added to adjust the FISA process to introduce some check on the government’s ability to obtain a rubber stamp from a court without compromising its ability to hide its activities from the targets of national-security investigations. And no, the best such process does not lie in allowing egomaniacs like Snowden and Greenwald to have veto power over what the government is allowed to do. Rather, it lies in introducing an adversary — call it an ombudsman or a public defender — into the FISA proceedings as an institutional skeptic, empowered to participate in FISA proceedings to challenge the government’s requests as overbroad or not supported by reasonable suspicion.

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