Hello sailor and other cliches

So my day started off with a bit of a gay cliche when I dropped the soap in the shower; and in other bathroom harlotry related news it turns out that the children's bubblebath character Mer Matey has realised a life ambition and had a threesome with twins. Lucky bitch.

As you may know we're rolling out an ID card scheme in the UK in the near future which will contain biometric data. Obviously this issue has generated a certain amount of controversy concerning invasion of privacy (not to mention the odd cry of "police state" as well). One of the interesting points I thought was the notion of security: quite simply with the information on this card, were it stolen somehow, could you be charged with a crime you didn't commit because of ID fraud? A nice example is that of the fingerprint. I believe, although I may be wrong, that the card will contain a scan of your fingerprint which were it to fall into the wrong hands (pun not intended) be used to create false prints during a crime. For example, your finger print can be made into a contour plot which can be used to make a mould for a rubber finger with your unique print on it. This could then be used by a thief as a cover for their own prints. (Obviously forensic policing is much more advanced that this but it serves a simplistic example.) The argument given against this risk is that only a portion of the data is recorded (think of your finger print as being a whole string of 0s and 1s and then only using say every third digit) so the whole finger print could never be recovered. In theory.

However, this isn't quite true. Mathematicians have developed techniques similar to noise filtering which enable one to reconstruct and image from a partial signal (in this instance the portion of print data). Moreover, they then used this to create a rubber finger whose print was indistinguishable from the owners.

Now, I should make it plain, that I'm not intentionally scare mongering here. My interest in this issue is the tendency for governments to ignore their scientific advisers in favour of their own agenda - irrespective of the facts. The US administration has been guilty of this recently as well with regards to such topics as climate change etc.

The politicisation of science is an immensely important issue I think. Historically it's given us the atom bomb and currently it's paying for the multinational LHC project at CERN. It's something to think about. The issue de jour is "should creationism be taught in science classes in schools" and clearly the answer is no, but because of the double whammy of the politicisation of education and science we're almost at a stage where there is a non-negligible "yes" movement. Which brings me nicely to the Republican running mate where I'll hand over to a celebrity for a quotation:

"It's like a really bad Disney movie. You know? The hockey mom, 'Oh I'm just a hockey mom from Alaska,' and she's the PRESIDENT, and it's like she's facing down Vladamir Putin and using the folksy stuff she learned at the hockey rink. It's absurd, it's totally absurd, and I don't understand why more people aren't talking about how absurd it is. It's a terrifying possibility. The fact that we've gotten this far and we're that close to this being a reality is crazy.

I need to know if she really think that dinosaurs were here 4,000 years ago. I want to know that, I really do. Because she's gonna have the nuclear codes." - Matt Damon

Normal operating service will be resumed soon but I'm having a bit of a knackering time at work at the mo' (meetings, preparing lectures, outreach meetings, etc) and this weekend is the manwife's brother's wedding so no chance for any relaxation then either. Still, never mind eh? It should be good fun, especially as I'm the best man's best man and get to help him out of his suit at the end of it ;-)

Have a fabulous weekend all!
1 Response
  1. I've always wanted to say that... to a CUTE sailor!