NPR: And these harsh interrogation methods had been used by the Soviets and the Chinese to get people to say things that weren’t true?
Kleinman:That’s true. And it’s not just harsh physically, but I think the element that was more persuasive was their ability to induce what is known as debility, depression and dread through emotional and psychological techniques that profoundly altered somebody’s ability to answer questions truthfully even if they wanted to. It truly undermined their ability to recall, so therefore it would call into question its efficacy in an intelligence-based interrogation. [link] .
Pulitzer-prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind claims that the torture was not intended to gather intelligence, but to create it:
The White House simply wouldn‘t take no for an answer and it went with another method. Torture was the method. “Get me a confession, I don‘t care how you do it.” And that bled all the way through the government, both on the CIA side and the Army side. It‘s extraordinary.[link]
Interestingly, research into methods used by North Korea against U.S. soldiers omit discussing torture, because it wasn’t necessary:
I have not included physical torture as a general category in this outline, despite the fact that many of our prisoners of war did encounter physical torture and despite the fact that a few of the specific measures in the outline may involve physical pain. I have omitted torture from the outline to emphasize that inflicting physical pain is not a necessary nor particularly effective method of inducing compliance. (1957) [link]
[Usability Frustration Test #4: Should plugging the power in require ½ hour, four people and a call to the help desk?]
// At this point, I'd like to take a moment to speak to you about the Adobe PSD format. // PSD is not a good format. PSD is not even a bad format. Calling it such would be an // insult to other bad formats, such as PCX or JPEG. No, PSD is an abysmal format. Having // worked on this code for several weeks now, my hate for PSD has grown to a raging fire // that burns with the fierce passion of a million suns. // If there are two different ways of doing something, PSD will do both, in different // places. It will then make up three more ways no sane human would think of, and do those // too. PSD makes inconsistency an art form. Why, for instance, did it suddenly decide // that *these* particular chunks should be aligned to four bytes, and that this alignement // should *not* be included in the size? Other chunks in other places are either unaligned, // or aligned with the alignment included in the size. Here, though, it is not included. // Either one of these three behaviours would be fine. A sane format would pick one. PSD, // of course, uses all three, and more. // Trying to get data out of a PSD file is like trying to find something in the attic of // your eccentric old uncle who died in a freak freshwater shark attack on his 58th // birthday. That last detail may not be important for the purposes of the simile, but // at this point I am spending a lot of time imagining amusing fates for the people // responsible for this Rube Goldberg of a file format. // Earlier, I tried to get a hold of the latest specs for the PSD file format. To do this, // I had to apply to them for permission to apply to them to have them consider sending // me this sacred tome. This would have involved faxing them a copy of some document or // other, probably signed in blood. I can only imagine that they make this process so // difficult because they are intensely ashamed of having created this abomination. I // was naturally not gullible enough to go through with this procedure, but if I had done // so, I would have printed out every single page of the spec, and set them all on fire. // Were it within my power, I would gather every single copy of those specs, and launch // them on a spaceship directly into the sun. // // PSD is not my favourite file format.
Ireland is scrapping the ill-starred evoting scheme on which it has already lavished upwards of €51m without a single vote being cast, the government announced today.
The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, John Gormley said in a statement that “a process will now be put in place, including discussions with the supplier, to address the disposal of the electronic voting and counting equipment and termination of storage arrangements.” Apparently just storing the system costs the country millions of euros.
Today, however, Gormley admitted that retrofitting the machines to provide an audit trail would cost the government another €21m.
He noted that “the public in broad terms appear to be satisfied with the present paper-based system and we must recognise this in deciding on the future steps to be taken with the electronic voting system.”
The minister also acknowledged that “the assurance of public confidence in the democratic system is of paramount importance and it is vital to bring clarity to the present situation”.
The present situation of course, is that the Irish economy is in collapse. The country is in its first recession since the 1980s, the government has published an austerity budget and the churches are filling up for the first time in years, because they’re the only thing that’s free.
Stupid old pencils suddenly seem like a good idea, though the politicians might not want to think too hard about what the public would like to do with them right now.
Hit hard by the recession, Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) reported the first year-over-year revenue drop in its history Thursday—and posted revenue short of analysts’ expectations.
The company posted net income of $2.98 billion (33 cents per share), down 32 percent from the $4.4 billion (47 cents per share) recorded during the same period a year ago. However, that included a 6 cents per share one-time charge due to severance payments and investment impairments. Revenue for the company’s third fiscal quarter dropped 6 percent to $13.65 billion, from $14.45 billion a year ago.
On average, analysts had expected earnings per share of 39 cents and revenue of $14.1 billion.