On questioning everything

Karl Pilkington shares his wisdom:

Professor Stanley Milgram of Yale offers two theories:

  1. theory of conformism where a subject who has neither ability nor expertise to make decisions, especially in a crisis, will leave decision making to the group and its hierarchy.
  2. agentic state theory wherein, per Milgram, “the essence of obedience consists in the fact that a person comes to view themselves as the instrument for carrying out another person’s wishes, and they therefore no longer see themselves as responsible for their actions. Once this critical shift of viewpoint has occurred in the person, all of the essential features of obedience follow”.

More on Milgram experiment.

Cambridge refuses censorship on chip-and-PIN vulnerabilities

According to BoingBoing, the UK banking trade association wrote to Cambridge to have a student’s master’s thesis censored as it documented a well-known flaw in the chip-and-PIN system, Cambridge University’s Ross Anderson replied with the following:

Second, you seem to think that we might censor a student’s thesis, which is lawful and already in the public domain, simply because a powerful interest finds it inconvenient. This shows a deep misconception of what universities are and how we work. Cambridge is the University of Erasmus, of Newton, and of Darwin; censoring writings that offend the powerful is offensive to our deepest values. Thus even though the decision to put the thesis online was Omar’s, we have no choice but to back him. That would hold even if we did not agree with the material! Accordingly I have authorised the thesis to be issued as a Computer Laboratory Technical Report. This will make it easier for people to find and to cite, and will ensure that its presence on our web site is permanent….

You complain that our work may undermine public confidence in the payments system. What will support public confidence in the payments system is evidence that the banks are frank and honest in admitting its weaknesses when they are exposed, and diligent in effecting the necessary remedies. Your letter shows that, instead, your member banks do their lamentable best to deprecate the work of those outside their cosy club, and indeed to censor it. [Source: Cambridge]

The reply is full of win, academic world scores one.

I finished The IT Crowd

The IT Crowd gets kinda boring at the end of season 2. I guess it is no longer fresh. British humor, opps I mean “humour” has its limits. After a while the whole thing just felt too stereotyping with Moss being (sorry) somewhat annoying to watch. The whole sitcom just gets more and more ridiculous.

It’s fun while it last. I guess I’ll move on to other sitcoms.

Apple: iPhone ‘really fast’, UK regulators thinks otherwise

Responding to 17 people’s complaints that the Apple advertisement misled them on the speed of the Apple iPhone, Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) determines that the “advertisement must not appear again in the same form”.

Apple made to drop iPhone advert

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld complaints by 17 people who said the TV advert had misled them as to its speed.

Apple UK said it was comparing the 3G model with its 2G predecessor and its claims were “relative not absolute”.

The advert repeatedly stated that the phone was “really fast” and showed news pages and the Google maps service taking just fractions of a second to appear.

Text on the screen said: “Network performance will vary by location.”

After upholding the viewers’ complaints, the ASA said the advert must not appear again in the same form.

It said the advert was likely to lead viewers to believe that the device actually operated at or near to the speeds shown in the advert.

The watchdog concluded: “Because we understood that it did not, we concluded that the ad was likely to mislead.” (Source: BBC)

It’s not the first time advertisements mislead. Most do anyway. Just like blog titles. Meh.

In UK, Pizza Hut changes name to Pasta Hut

To remind people that Pizza Hut also has pasta, Pizza Hut is temporarily changing its name to Pasta Hut.

Pizza Hut rebrands to Pasta Hut

Fifty-year-old restaurant chain Pizza Hut is temporarily changing its name to Pasta Hut in a radical £100m relaunch.

Although it plans to keep the same number of pizzas on the menu, from this week Pizza Hut will introduce eight pasta dishes across its 700 restaurants to support its new positioning. Nine restaurants will change their signage immediately.

Pizza Hut marketing director Claudia Nicholls-Magielsen said it was making the change because research showed that consumers wanted more variety when eating out, and that, on average, the British public ate more pasta than pizza. ‘We want to be as famous for our pastas as we are for our pizzas,’ she explained.

Nicholls-Magielsen admitted that the move was a ‘bit of a shock tactic’ designed to ‘get people to feel differently about Pizza Hut’. (Source: Brand Rebublic)

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That, by the way, is the problem of choosing a name that is too specialized like Kentucky Fried Chicken or Pizza Hut (both have same management). Every one knows you make chicken, that’s great but once they feel like eating something like fish or beef, they most certainly won’t think of you. Same goes with Pizza Hut, if I am going to have pasta, I probably go to Pastamania or something. Just because they remind me of pasta. Pastamania sells pizzas too but I always forget they do.

Afraid of alien abduction? Buy insurance

Insurance agents can sell you anything. You could insure virtually everything I guess. I heard pianist Clayderman, who’s really popular among women, insured his fingers or something. Well, if you’re afraid of alien abducting you, you probably can consider an alien abduction insurance.

Alien abduction insurance

The insurance policy is redeemed if the insured person is abducted by aliens. British Insurance manager Simon Burgess, known for being involved in the bizarre end of insurance, said “Of course, the burden of proof lies with the claimant. Let’s face it – insurance is so tedious that if I can enlighten my dreary life with a bit of humour every now and again, I will.” A policy normally costs around $150 per $1.5 million in coverage as of 1998. Policy offerings vary from $10,000 to $10 million. Some companies offer policies for alien pregnancy, alien examinations and death caused by aliens. Continue reading “Afraid of alien abduction? Buy insurance”