About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

11 January 2014

Movie: Carrie

I have not read Stephen King's book, nor have I watched the earlier versions of this movie. Carrie, a quiet and reclusive teen brought up by her very religious mother (brilliantly portrayed by Julianne Moore), gets bullied in school, discovers that she has telekinetic (and other) powers (naturally from the devil), and has a meltdown that takes out the whole school when the bullying goes overboard. It's better than most teen (or is it young adult?) movies and good entertainment; but nothing spectacular.

08 January 2014

Movie: Jeune & Jolie (Young and Beautiful)

The plot is fairly simple - a young woman (girl?) looses her virginity, but doesn't enjoy the experience - during her summer holidays. Back home, she becomes a secret call girl - mainly catering to rich, old men; where she experiences a wide range of sexual activities - although; except for one "john", she doesn't ever seem to actually enjoy the experience.

The movie makes no moral judgement (though it does present various sides of the arguments around prostitution) - neither does it present any motivation on the choice of becoming a prostitute. It is like a study of a rebellious teenager - but one that doesn't draw any conclusions, nor offers any theories. 

And, in that respect, the movie was unrewarding.

05 January 2014

Is it worth it?

In Bruce Shneier's TED talk from 2011, he comments that the critical question on security is "is the tradeoff worth it?". In the whole NSA debate, there has been much written and commented about the programmes, the programmes' impact on individuals' rights to privacy (both American and foreign citizens) and the ethics around such a programme.

However, the question on whether the NSA programme's trade-offs were actually worth it - as in a full cost benefit analysis, has only been tangentially discussed. In this regard, a paper by Mueller and Stewart, provides a good overview of the cost benefit analysis. Even, in the absense of numerical values, the benefits provided by the programme are actually quite low.

The paper is a vital discussion that has, so far been poorly addressed. More than anything else - surely a programme that costs billions, but has very little identifiable benefits, should be seen as fruitless expenditure. Given the US's current political stances on budget defecit - it almost seems like cutting the NSA programmes themselves will address the gap!