Election 2004: Blog Mini Series!

Up until this point in time, I haven’t posted anything relating to politics on my blog. I didn’t consciously decide to avoid politics, it just worked out that way. However, with a federal election coming up in Canada on June 28th, and later in the year for the United States, there are some things on my mind that I am going to post about. Instead of one long uber-post, I have decided to make multiple posts and include them in my first ever “blog mini series”.

I am clearly not the first one to post about the elections; there are many blogs out there dedicated to covering the different political parties. As this is the introduction post to my mini series, I won’t bring up a topic, but I will share a couple links with you.

I hope you will read and share your comments on my thoughts in this mini series. Since there are no religious movies out right now for us to debate, I figure politics is the next best thing – everyone has an opinion 🙂

Thoughts on Iginla

Tampa Bay won tonight in game four, 1-0 over Calgary. You can read the write up at SportsGuru. Instead of recapping the game, I’d like to take a look at Jarome Iginla. Throughout the playoffs, he has been portrayed as some sort of godly figure for Calgary, and I think its just crap.

If Iginla is the fantastic hockey player and leader everyone has made him out to be, why does he not show up in the games Calgary loses? There are lots of players who can play well when things are going their way. Let’s look at his stats in the games Calgary has lost in the playoffs so far, shall we? I will ignore stats for winning games, because they are not reflective of his awesomeness as a player. Lots of guys get points in wins.

  • 5/31/2004, even rating, 0 goals, 0 assists, 4 shots, 9 penalty minutes
  • 5/27/2004, even rating, 0 goals, 0 assists, 2 shots, 0 penalty minutes
  • 5/16/2004, plus 1 rating, 1 goal, 0 assists, 3 shots, 2 penalty minutes
  • 5/13/2004, even rating, 0 goals, 0 assists, 7 shots, 22 penalty minutes (team total was 51)
  • 4/29/2004, minus 1 rating, 0 goals, 1 assist, 4 shots, 0 penalty minutes
  • 4/24/2004, minus 1 rating, 0 goals, 0 assists, 0 shots, 5 penality minutes

Now looking just at the stats, you might say that he has improved as the playoffs have progressed (at least in plus/minus). Yet he still is unable to come up with the big goal when it matters. If he really is the star and carrying this team, where are the statistics to back that up? Does your leader rack up almost half your team’s total penalty minutes in a losing cause?

Now if that doesn’t convince you, consider his performance in tonight’s game. Calgary lost any chance of taking the game to OT when Nieminen took a senseless 5 minute major with just over 4 minutes remaining in the game. The hit from behind on Lecavalier was ugly and unecessary and Nieminen will probably be suspended for it. How did Iginla react? He yapped his mouth off at everyone and slammed his stick against his bench. Anyone who knows anything about hockey knows how dirty that hit was, and I don’t care if its the heat of the moment, a real leader would have shut his trap and told his teammates “okay guys we gotta work harder, no giving up”.

For a guy that makes a fifth of Calgary’s entire payroll, he should be billed as the leader and star. And I am not disputing that Iginla has skill, and that he’s a gritty Canadian player who can dish it out. But is he THE man? Is he a true leader? I think the media hype has been exaggerated, and Iginla’s stats and behaviour back that up.

DISCLAIMER: Don’t bother leaving a comment about how this is one-sided, or how I don’t see his behaviour in the locker room or in practice. I obviously cannot, and neither can you. And most definitely do not make yourself look stupid by leaving a comment like “let’s see you do better”. I am not in the NHL making $7.5 million like Iginla for a reason. All stats can be found on NHL.com.

The Day After Tomorrow

I have said before that this movie looked really interesting and I was excited to see it – especially since the director did ID4! I still haven’t gone, but I am quite hesitant about spending $14 on it now as I have read too many blogs that say it is terrible. I think more and more I trust actual real people posting their opinions for free than critics who get paid to write something either way.

Instapundit has a round up of some opinions (all negative), Sam Gentile had the misfortune of seeing the movie, and Scott Hanselman provides us the template used for Movies That Are Disasters.

[UPDATE: I guess the critics on the whole think its rotten as well.]

My Fear About Athens

As I am sure everyone is aware, this is another year for the second most watched sporting event in the world (next to the World Cup). That’s right, this summer Athens, Greece will play host to the 2004 Olympic Summer Games. But this post is not about who the best runner is, or who will win the 100m, or even if banning athletes who pass drug tests but who are believed to be taking supplements is correct or not. No, this post is about something that I think is a little more serious – security.

Why security? It’s more important now than ever. In a lot of ways, the software development world has been a good reflection of the world at large with regards to security in the last few years. Never before has so much attention been paid to or money spent on security in computing, and the same could be said for life in general. Just as Microsoft moved funds from future products into security, airports and public venues around the world have moved money from expansion into security. And there is no end in sight.

So you’re probably wondering now why I started talking technospeak in a post that is about the Olympics, aren’t you? Well I am a geek, what can I say. But the real reason is that the computer industry provides excellent examples to illustrate problems that I fear are becoming a reality in Athens.

In April of this year, Paul Watson, a security specialist for Rockwell Automation, discovered (or as he put it, “pulled the pieces together regarding”) a flaw in the Transmission Control Protocol, or TCP. For the non-geeks out there, this is basically the plumbing that makes the Internet work. A serious flaw in TCP (a technology well beyond fifteen years old) could potentially bring the Internet crashing down – the very thing it was invented to protect against. Fortunately, Watson announced at a Vancouver security conference that the flaw has largely been addressed by the major ISPs and that the threat to the Internet was minimal at best. Since then, we haven’t heard a thing about it.

How does this relate to Athens? The flaw in TCP is a flaw in the infrastructure of the Internet. Take out the infrastructure that holds it together, and you take out the Internet. That is what I think is happening in Athens – a major security flaw in the infrastructure of the Olympic games, just waiting to be exploited.

What should be one of the grandest Olympics of all time has been off to a very rocky start. Unlike past Olympics where preparations have been completed months in advance, construction has been horribly behind schedule (especially of roads and other important infrastructure), IT security packages have been delayed, and the only people completely unconcerned about security are the Greek people themselves. And I know there are two sides to every story – soldiers have been trained how to deal with chemical, biological and nuclear attacks, and the security budget for Athens has far surpassed $1.2 billion USD. But my fear is not that someone is going to drop a nuclear weapon on Athens. My fear is that the terrorists have already, or are in the process of, planting their weapons of choice by exploiting the pathetic infrastructure. If terrorists can masquerade as pilots, and plan attacks against trains, what makes you think they haven’t already done something in Athens?

If you rush a software project, it inevitably has holes. If you rush baking your cake, it probably won’t rise or taste as great as it could otherwise have. If you rush in the morning because you’ve started late, you get a speeding ticket if you’re lucky enough to avoid an accident. See a common theme? Rushing to complete construction for the August 13th (which is a Friday by the way) start is bad enough. Delaying security software packages and components? That’s just stupid. All software needs to be tested. Delaying that until the last minute is an invitation to terrorists to render you dumb, deaf and blind before they attack.

Imagine what would have happened if malicious users had figured out the flaw in TCP long before the “good guys” did and were able to exploit it. The Internet as we know may have ceased to exist for at least an insufferable amount of time (keep in mind almost all of modern business is built around the Internet). Now imagine if terrorists were able to exploit the problems in Athens (or imagine they already have and are just waiting for the event to strike). Not only would millions of people be at risk or losing their lives, but the world at large would effectively be imprisoned.

If a terrorist attack on Athens is successful, I am willing to bet there will not be another large event of any kind for quite some time. World security was shattered after 9/11, and if something happens at Athens, I think it would be shattered and stomped on. Ignoring for a second the people who would be impacted, think about the money spent so far. The millions of dollars spent on airport security. The millions of dollars spent on arming embassies around the world. The list goes on. Sooner or later you have to ask yourself, was it worth it? What did we accomplish?

I hope that the 2004 Olympics will be the best ever and that my fears are not realized. I know I will be watching along with the rest of the world, hopefully enjoying a competitive sporting event. Will my wish for a safe summer games come true? I am not so sure…but here’s to hoping for another TCP flaw anyway.

Rain, Rain, Rain

In case you hadn’t noticed, it rained tonight! I was outside all evening, supporting Megan’s team in the cancer fundraising taking place at Foote Field. It’s a walkathon, and each team has to have two people walking at all times. Megan and I even walked for a shift (30 minutes). I think it goes til like 1 PM tomorrow.

They might have picked a better night though, as it was quite wet! Still it was fairly warm, and I didn’t REALLY care as Megan’s cousin was present 🙂