September 15, 2001

I got some really good information this morning from my plane reservationist regarding the air travel situation.

She said that over 900 flights were cancelled yesterday and she'd estimate things are running at about 60% today.

Her experience over the last few days has been that, with the threat of an economy collapse looming overhead, many businesses have been cancelling or postponing all travel that isn't absolutely necessary for the next three weeks in an effort to save both money and manpower. Many travelers commented that "conference calls can take the place of face to face meetings for a while."

One of the biggest problems has been with assembling flight crews - many of the pilots and crews require a third-party commuter flight just to reach their positions. (Chicago-based pilots and flight crews that actually lived in Phoenix, for example). The airline industry has been losing 4 billion dollars a day being closed all week. Those companies that can afford to are trying to keep going. Midway handed out pink slips and Continential is laying off over 1,000 people. So it's not that the security measures themselves are to costly, but the revenue lost from being shut down and for the decrease in traffic over the next few weeks. With many of the commuter flights not running to full capacity, or going out of business, it's hard to get everyone there on time.

Prices haven't gone up, and due to the lack of demand, availability isn't too bad. Most airlines are refunding tickets for September and allowing travel after that to be postponed till a later date.

Travelers will need to get to the airport at least 2 hours ahead of time, for early morning flights, and three hours ahead of time for late morning, afternoon and evening flights.

Leander Kahney expands upon the theme of myO'Reilly Network Weblog from Thursday: Amateur Newsies Top the Pros.

Here's a first-hand account from one of the Firefighters that survived: Salon.com | "I felt the wind at my back and knew it was time to dive". (Thanks Cory)

September 14, 2001

Another thoughful posting on SiliconValley.com - Dan Gillmor's eJournal about the current situation.

September 13, 2001

I just published a new weblog for O'reilly and Associates -- P2P Keeps the World Connected -- that describes the important role that P2P-enabled communication played after September 11, 2001 "happened".

Meanwhile, some scary international legislation looms on the horizon: New World Order, Copyright Style.

James Love from the Consumer Project on Technology has written a great paper on this subject: What you should know about The Hague Conference on Private International Law's Proposed Convention on Jurisdiction and Foreign Judgements in Civil and Commercial Matters.

Brave story about one of the martyrs of Flight 93: Salon.com News | Passenger hero talks to wife before crash.

Great Flash animation of the plane routes leading up to crashing into the World Trade Center: Oleada de atentados en EEUU. (Click on the numbers along the top edge of the frame to move through the slides.)

The FAA has announced new security measures. (Thanks Cory)

Open Source advocate Eric Raymond had more than a little to say about what happened Tuesday. OpenP2P.com Managing Editor Richard Koman had more than a little to say in response.

The L.A. Times has posted quite an interesting story by William C. Rempel and Richard A. Serrano about what may be some pivotal developments in the situation, but no one else seems to be reporting it. Weird. (Later this morning a story popped up on the BBC.

Still, the story was far more facinating than anything I'm watching on tv this morning :-)

On a sadder note, the hate crimes are already starting up all over the country. Damn. (Thanks Cory)

September 12, 2001

Here's cool Wired News story by Leander Kahney citing some cools sites for information about yesterday's events: Who Said the Web Fell Apart?. (Boing Boing is mentioned.)

This NY Times article by Amy Harmon makes some interesting observations about the web's role in helping communities connect yesterday: Web Offers Both News and Comfort.

Here's a thoughtful editorial from Dan Gillmor's eJournal.

On yesterday's tragedy

What we have here is a situation. I don't like calling it an act of war because that implies that there is a country somewhere that we can retaliate against. And that might not be the case.

We don't know that this isn't some outside party that no one has heard of yet. Maybe whoever is behind this has made their point and isn't necessarily going to harm us any more, now that they've got our attention.

I am not condoning these acts of violence in any way, but I must admit that this experience has got me thinking about what it's like to go about your daily activities when you no longer feel "safe" anymore. It's hard to imagine going on like this for days much less years.

So I ask you a favor America: stay level headed. As the facts of the situation unfold, let's not jump to any conclusions that could lead to punishing other innocents in an act of blind revenge. That would be an even greater tragedy.

For now the one way you can have a direct effect on saving the lives of human beings is to give blood. We're going to need to step up our blood supply in order to have enough to assist the victims in New York and Washington DC and replenish our reserves.

The Red Cross website seems a bit overloaded, so I recommend using the telephone or phone book to locate your local donation center.

September 11, 2001

Here's another Wired News report: Trade Center Gone; Pentagon Hit.

Bad day for the USA. Here's an article from Wired (Apocalypse in New York City).

I'll be trying to find out what I can and posting links here.

Here's an informative article by Jack Mason for MIT's Technology Review - Reactive Glass.

According to the article: Sol-gel has many of the properties of glass, except that it is 20% water by weight and "honeycombed with microscopic pores that can absorb biomolecules such as protiens or enzymes and release them in response to environmental stimuli."

Here's a brief Introduction to Sol-gel from Bell-Labs.

Here's a NY Times book review (Just Like Ants, Computers Learn From the Bottom Up) of a new book (EMERGENCE The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities and Software, by Steven Johnson - Scribner, 2001).

I just bought the book so I'll let you know how it is after I read it.

I'm becoming increasingly facinated by emergence (in general). Here's a quote from the review that I I think does a pretty good job of explaining it:

"In his latest book, "Emergence," Mr. Johnson, who is the editor in chief of the online magazine Feed, focuses on a subject he touched on, in passing, in that earlier book — namely, the phenomenon of self-organization, represented by feedback systems and intelligent software that anticipates our needs. This phenomenon, known as emergence, is embodied by "bottom-up" systems that use "relatively simple components to build higher-level intelligence." Ants build complex colonies; city residents create distinct neighborhoods; simple pattern recognition software learns to recommend new books or music based on our previous choices. In each case, developments proceed not from some central authority dictating plans from above but from the cumulative actions of low-level agents below." -- Michiko Kakutani

September 10, 2001

Here's a facinating book about drug law reform from Judge James P. Gray: "Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed And What We Can Do About It: A Judicial Indictment Of Our War On Drugs" (2001).

Judge Gray has been in the press a lot recently too. Here's an L.A. Times article and another one from the NY Times.

I got my first nigerian scam letter. I'm told these things are quite common and I found a good article, I crave your distinguished indulgence (and all your cash), by Douglas Cruickshank (Salon), and a US Secret Service website on the subject. (Thanks Cory)