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Hasta La Vista, UK National Biometric ID (Dec. 22, 2010)
Interestingly, I last covered the national ID card story for Wired News in 2004, when living in France. Back then, various groups were surveying the citizenry to gauge their impressions of having a national ID card. The verdict: "Fine, as long as we don't have to pay for it." Of course, as with any government program, you pay for it. The London School of Economics estimated that the total cost would come to £10 billion to £20 billion ($16 million to $31 million).
The current government estimates that eliminating the cards -- a cornerstone of their 2010 campaigning platform -- will save at least £1 billion over the next 10 years. But why not eliminate the ID cards for everyone? "Do the principles that led to the scrapping of ID cards for EU citizens not apply to those other legal residents?" Phil Booth, national coordinator of campaign group NO2ID, told Kable.
Goodbye Berries, Hello Christmas (November 10, 2010)
Current evidence says she's right: the local strawberries and especially raspberries in the grocery shops are out (or in from South America). Instead, cue Christmas candy displays, especially from Cadburys, reaching the aisles in full force. Plus Christmas play advertisements for children. Kids in the coffee shops planning their Christmas pageant (St. Andrews has a divinity school). Plus of course, that chill in the air.
Unlike the States, the UK benefits from no Thanksgiving firewall between summertime and Christmastime -- not even that glorious ode to pyrotechnics, Guy Fawkes Night (aka "let's celebrate never having had a revolution!") slows down the countdown to Father Christmas arriving. Halloween is a slight buffer, but again in the UK lacks its Stateside forcefulness. (Don't tell that to the neighbor kids who shook me down for candy.) Thus, we're now in the lead-iup to Christmastime.
St Andrews at Night (November 8, 2010)
Score +2 For Security (November 6, 2010)
Unless Google -- knowing who I am -- is serving me myself as some kind of crazy search-engine-self-fulfillment paradigm?
Aerial Fife (November 1, 2010)
Schwartz on Security: New Column (October 21, 2010)
Live From Scotland, via York (September 30, 2010)
In the meantime, I've added new pictures to my photo gallery from my recent visit to Yorkshire, including the Yorkshire Dales (seen at right), using the famous "shooting from the open window of a moving car" technique. If the scenery makes you think "James Herriot" and settings for the television series "All Creatures Great and Small," then you've got your locales correct.
The city of York, a former major hub of commerce and learning, is itself impressive, in no small part for the amazing York Minster, the largest gothic cathedral in northern Europe. Also "must see" is the nearby Rievaulx Abbey, a former Cistercian abbey. Quite posh in its day, it was "dissolved" (read: roof removed and monks "evicted") under the orders of Henry VIII of England. Some to-do over religion.
Jogging Manchester (September 23, 2010)
Travel in Tenerife for Fox (August 12, 2010)
Or, for more Tenerife photos, see my travel photo gallery.
My response is that in the U.S. there's the Fox News cable channel (just a little rabid). Then there's Fox News, which runs on the Fox affiliates -- producers of The Simpsons, Glee, Fringe, and so on -- in major cities, which compete with ABC, CBS and NBC, among others. Regular old Fox News is more like an ITV (for British readers). The cable channel? Different beast.
Wikileaks tests feasibility of government data security (July 28, 2010)
Put that all together, and with WikiLeaks, will government data ever be secret again? That's the question posed by my story in today's InformationWeek.
Some like it hot and pebbly (July 13, 2010)
For more Croatia photography, see my photo gallery.
Live like a Parisian (May 25, 2010)
For more Paris photographs, see my photo gallery.
Back from vacation (May 24, 2010)
Roman Holiday: 10 Highlights (March 18, 2010)
Check out my Rome photo gallery for more.
Now on my travel wish list? The rest of Italy.
New content? Just in time for St. Patrick's Day (March 17, 2010)
Next up: The Rise of Self-Encrypting Drives, a story about the new generation of hard drives for PCs and laptops that encrypt themselves when deactivated. Soon, we'll all have one. Just not yet.
Slight "snow event" (January 6, 2010)
In fact, reminds me of my childhood in Chicago. Or the record 37.9 inches of snow that fell on Buffalo in just 24 hours in early December 1995, when I lived there. With one crucial difference: both of those cities had snowplows.
More: 2009 Updates