The Arlington, Virginia Metro stop that services the Pentagon was shut down this morning because of a suspicious object. Passengers in the station were forced to go out into the cold and find some other way to get to work. The incident caused delays up and down the Metro’s Blue Line.
The troubles began at about 7:15 am when someone spotted a blinking item inside a trash can and reported it to authorities. After a very tense hour and a half, the suspicious blinking object was determined to be a christmas ornament.
The terrorists win again. All it takes to turn the tables is a bit of common sense. Unfortunately, that may be asking too much.
One of the things government regulates is itself. And it sure isn’t shy about it. The military’s cybersecurity experts are governed by 193 policy documents. They are all conveniently listed in a chart. It is two feet long.
The U.S. is currently fighting two land wars in Asia. Keeping military computer networks secure is literally a matter of life and death. Let us not forget for a second how important the Pentagon cybersecurity team’s work is for keeping troops safe. But Wired makes the point that too much regulation just might hinder security more than it helps:
Obviously, operating networks for the millions of people who make up the world’s largest military is no simple task: The financial, legal, organizational and technical issues are nothing short of staggering. On the other hand, the hackers trying to break into those networks don’t have to check 193 different policy documents before they launch their malware. It’s hard not to think that gives the attackers an edge.
The Pentagon’s official brownie recipe is 26 pages long. If you don’t care to read document MIL-C-44072C in its entirety, here are some highlights:
-The water used in this recipe must adhere to EPA drinking water regulations.
-The eggs must comply with USDA “Regulations Governing the Inspection of Eggs and Egg Products (7 CFR Part 59).”
-The brownies must also comply with rules and standards from HHS, The American Association of Cereal Chemists (AACC), the American Oil Chemists Society (AOCS), the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), the Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC), and the National Academy of Sciences’ Food Chemicals Codex.
-The coating must be exactly right:
3.3.5 Brownie coating. The brownies shall be completely enrobed with a continuous uniform chocolate coating (see 3.2.14) in an amount which shall be not less than 29 percent by weight of the finished product.
-Like pecans on your brownies?
220.127.116.11 Nuts, pecans, shelled. Shelled pecan pieces shall be of the small piece size classification, shall be of a light color, and shall be U.S. Grade No. 1 Pieces of the U.S. Standards for Grades of Shelled Pecans. A minimum of 90 percent, by weight, of the pieces shall pass through a 4/16-inch diameter round hole screen and not more than 2 percent, by weight, shall pass through a 2/16-inch diameter round hole screen. The shelled pecans shall be coated with an approved food grade antioxidant and shall be of the latest season’s crop.
And so on.
By contrast, delicious recipes from allrecipes.com and cooking.com are less than a page each.
UPDATE: Reason’s Katherine Mangu-Ward has more; her post was picked up by Fark, too. The comment thread is pretty entertaining.
Posted in Regulation of the Day
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