Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Small Bits of Chaos: Brazilian Democracy, Traffic Cameras, Locks, Hamas, and Curtains

Lessig discusses what democracy looks like in Brazil:

I remember reading about Jefferson’s complaints about the early White House. Ordinary people would knock on the door, and demand to see the President. Often they did. The presumption of that democracy lives in a sense here. And you never quite see how far from that presumption our democracy has become until you see it, live, here. “This is what democracy looks like.” Or at least, a democracy where the leaders can stand packed in the middle of a crowd, with protesters yelling angry criticism yet without “security” silencing the noise. No guns, no men in black uniform, no panic, and plenty of press. Just imagine.

Further analysis indicated that the cameras are contributing to a definite increase in rear-end crashes, a possible decrease in angle crashes, a net decrease in injury crashes attributable to red light running, and an increase in total injury crashes.

(From “Evaluation of Red Light Camera Enforcement Programs in Virginia“, (PDF) The Virginia Transportation Research Council, 1/27/2005, via “” (A journal of the politics of driving, hmmm?) covered in techdirt, and linked to by Freedom to Clip, and the cite is longer than the blurb!)

Wired on lockpicking contests.

Hamas wins in a landslide, promising to fight corruption, Jews. Less sarcastically, their strategy is classic guerilla/insurgent ‘align with the people against a corrupt government.’ It’s not clear that Abbas can counter this. Slide 108 of Patterns of Conflict starts:

Undermine guerrilla cause and destroy their cohesion by demonstrating integrity and competence of government to represent and serve needs of people—rather than exploit and impoverish them for the benefit of a greedy elite.

Finally, in a subject near and dear to me (bullet 6), David Akin reports that you have privacy even without curtains.