Banksy put up a massive piece criticizing security surveillance, directly under some surveillance cameras. This refreshes my suspicion that having security cameras everywhere is mostly useless. I'm sure there are counter examples of CCTV helping catch and prosecute criminals but it seems like most of the time the camera images are either too poor to be any good or they aren't useful after all. I don't mean to suggest that we therefore need more and better cameras, but like so many other security measures, it does seem like there's a disconnect between what they're for and what they do.
Speaking of cameras not doing what they're supposed to, I've heard that red light cameras actually end up causing more accidents even as they reduce the kind of major fatal accidents that come from running red lights, but it was never clear to me why that is. The best I could figure was that people would overcompensate and stop at yellow lights out of fear of being photographed and the car behind them would not expect the stop. But this report on a possible gaming of the system by shortening the timing of yellow lights is an even better explanation. Are drivers who expect a longer yellow than they're getting causing a spike in the accident stat when they jam on the brakes at the early red?
Speaking of video cameras testifying, if they hadn't already made Sliver I'd say this was a possible premise for a movie: "They didn't find evidence of rape. But they did find videotapes of hundreds of sexual encounters with men that Barclay had filmed on high-tech surveillance cameras. The cameras were hidden inside AM/FM radios, motion detectors and intercom speaker systems, among other places. There was also one at his business office." (The twist in the story is that the guy used his secret sex tapes to prove he didn't commit rape.)
Our 12 Favorite Green Technologies - Look! They list my power-generating revolving door idea! (I blogged it = "my idea")
Speaking of saving the world, Colbert and Kamen Solve the World's Water Problems - I missed this when it was on the air. Pretty remarkable. The discussion at Gizmodo is good reading but I didn't see an answer to what happens with the impurities that are removed from the water. The actual amount of resources it would take to get a program off the ground also seems problematic. Power for it, fuel for the power, instruction, maintenance...
Pongout is Pong and Breakout in the same playing screen. Stupidly hard.
Twit Links comes pretty close to being a service I've been looking for since Twitter was released. How can you find out what the most popularly traded links on Twitter are? Tweitgeist shows the most used words every hour, which is pretty cool. I often follow that with TweetScan to see if there's any telling why some words are more popular. But Twit Links is the only service I know of that shows the links being shared. The drawback to Twit Links is that they aren't drawing from the whole Twitter pool. They're only taking results from a pre-selected list of tech bloggers.
The Sony World Photography Awards - The awards are this weekend but the finalists in both the pro and amateur categories are selected and available for viewing.
Benedictions is blogging the Pope's visit to the U.S. Actually, it's always blogging the Pope.
Yankee pitcher Phil Hughes has a blog. No post yet on the recent loss to the Red Sox.
As long as I'm listing cool sites generally, Polldaddy lets you make polls in Twitter.
Mug Shot du Jour seems like it's an authentic portrayal of something, I'm just not sure what.
America's hard-luck class?
Photocrank is a photo comments application that takes caption contests to a new level by allowing the addition of talk/thought bubbles. When it's embedded in a blog the comments run like a slide show.
Mickey Kaus has the best explanation I've read of what's wrong with what Obama said in that bitter/clinging quote.
Rocketboom Founder Puts His Twitter Account On Sale - This is mostly a theoretical exercise since most people expect that either it's a hoax or Twitter will pull the plug on it but it still makes for good mental cud. We're all familiar with the way marketers gather names and contact info for sale to spammers, but to voluntarily follow someone on Twitter only to have them sell your subscription to someone else is a new level of betrayal. Then again, haven't you already bought into some degree of exploitation just by participating in online communities?