• cakesy (unregistered) in reply to msgyrd

Yeah, in Australia we had 30cm on one side, and 12 inches on the other. But the teachers all had 1 meter long rulers, i guess this i was in case we all got into a Ruler fight, the teacher would invariably win (unless you were particularly good)

• Who am I? Let's just say, Bob. (unregistered) in reply to cakesy

Does this also explain the oversized compasses compared with our smaller, less deadly implements?

About the automatic obstacle detecting doors, I put my arm into a door once to stop it closing. And stop it did, only after hitting my arm. Didn't hurt much, but if I was a kid....

And this one time, I got stuck in this elevator where there was two doors, the inside sliding like a regular elevator door and the outside one a swinging door. Trouble is the inside door closed when the outside door hadn't closed fully.

Anonymous:

If the building had been built using metric measurements, then clearly a yardstick would have utterly failed to defeat the security.

That is by far the funniest comment I have ever read here. Bravo.

• Niklas (unregistered) in reply to Olddog

Consider this.  One-way in, One-way out. Two different doors. Front door-Back door. One door is for entry only( entrance security enforced, no exit allowed ).  The other door is for exit only ( no entry allowed ). Once you're in ( front door ), you can get out ( back door ).

this reminds me of Tom Lehrer:
Life is like a sewer. What you get out of it depends of what you put into it.

It's random. like the captcha (actually).
• (cs) in reply to mnature
Anonymous:

These are advantages of the metric system, but not of why the meter is the specific length it is. I believe the other guy's point was something to the effect of, "A foot is the length of a man's foot. What's the basis for the definition of a meter tha makes it any less arbitrary?" If memory serves, it was supposed to be 1/36,000,000 of the circumference of the earth.

Oh, yes.  I can see how 1/36,000,000 of the circumference of the earth is a LOT LESS arbitrary than the length of a human foot.

I didn't say it's "a LOT LESS arbitrary." I simply don't think it's any more arbitrary. (It turns out I was wrong about the origins, but follow my logic here.) I assume that the notion of a circle being divided into 360 degrees was already around when the meter was devised. So 1 meter then becomes 1/100,000th of a degree. So maybe you start with some unit that's  1/100th of a degree for navigational distances and divide it into 1,000 parts for person-sized measurements.

Much more convenient for day-to-day use, too.

Again, I'd say it's not any less convenient if you buy into the above origin story as plausible.

And the fact that the circumference of the earth changes constantly is not a problem, right?

Maybe it was some idealized average, say of an earth that was a perfect sphere at sea level at low tide or at the altitutude of the highest known mountain at the time.

My point wasn't that 1/36,000,000 of the circumference of the earth is a particularly non-arbitrary, ideal, convenient basis for measurement. Rather, it's simply that, to the best of my knowledge, the origin of the meter was based on some physical quantity that was familiar to people. The circumference of the earth (or the distance between the equator and Paris (or whatever it was)) is a step up (HA!) from a human foot in its consistency and repeatability, but the basic idea is still the same, and I wouldn't call either one any more arbitrary than the other.

• (cs) in reply to mnature
Anonymous:

These are advantages of the metric system, but not of why the meter is the specific length it is. I believe the other guy's point was something to the effect of, "A foot is the length of a man's foot. What's the basis for the definition of a meter tha makes it any less arbitrary?" If memory serves, it was supposed to be 1/36,000,000 of the circumference of the earth.

Oh, yes.  I can see how 1/36,000,000 of the circumference of the earth is a LOT LESS arbitrary than the length of a human foot.

I didn't say it's "a LOT LESS arbitrary." I simply don't think it's any more arbitrary. (It turns out I was wrong about the origins, but follow my logic here.) I assume that the notion of a circle being divided into 360 degrees was already around when the meter was devised. So 1 meter then becomes 1/100,000th of a degree. So maybe you start with some unit that's  1/100th of a degree for navigational distances and divide it into 1,000 parts for person-sized measurements.

Much more convenient for day-to-day use, too.

Again, I'd say it's not any less convenient if you buy into the above origin story as plausible.

And the fact that the circumference of the earth changes constantly is not a problem, right?

Maybe it was some idealized average, say of an earth that was a perfect sphere at sea level at low tide or at the altitutude of the highest known mountain at the time.

My point wasn't that 1/36,000,000 of the circumference of the earth is a particularly non-arbitrary, ideal, convenient basis for measurement. Rather, it's simply that, to the best of my knowledge, the origin of the meter was based on some physical quantity that was familiar to people. The circumference of the earth (or the distance between the equator and Paris (or whatever it was)) is a step up (HA!) from a human foot in its consistency and repeatability, but the basic idea is still the same, and I wouldn't call either one any more arbitrary than the other.

• (cs) in reply to jverd

Yes, what I had to say really was so important that it needed to be posted twice.

:blush: Sorry.

• JoshJ (unregistered) in reply to BitTwiddler
BitTwiddler:

fluffy777:
I like how the focus of the picture is on the bathroom.

...while we're on the subject, have you ever noticed that the "emergency exit plan" maps are detailed down to the level of showing which way the stall doors open? As if you're going to run out into the elevator lobby with your pants down around your ankles and your hair on fire, to check whether the stall door swings in or out, left or right?

The direction is clearly indicated on the architectural floor plans, and the emergency exit plan is just the A-plans with a few layers frozen (basically- everything but walls, doors, and windows) and a few arrows added in.
It's not like every sheet of building plans is drawn from scratch.  External References (xrefs) and blocks in CAD serve similiar purposes to classes and functions in programming- reusability and maintainability.

• rob_squared (unregistered) in reply to wyz
Anonymous:

The "yardstick injection attack" probably still can open the doors. If this is like most buildings, just reach over the wall through the false ceiling panels.

WTF 2 - The home page ad for "XDrive - A Service of AOL. SAFE and Secure." Given their record of spyware and not playing by the rules, who in their right mind would trust AOL to store any data!

Why, the people gullible enough to pay for their service in the first place!
• Craig B (unregistered) in reply to newfweiler
newfweiler:

Hee hee hee!  No bank would do that!  Give out a free knife or a free gun for opening an account!

That would be funny if Michael Moore were a documentary producer. He's not, he's a political comedy producer. The scene of the bank handing out guns is one of many in the film that have been criticised for being staged by his production company.

B

CAPTCHA: truthiness - something Michael Moore's work needs more of.

• (cs) in reply to Craig B
Anonymous:
newfweiler:

Hee hee hee!  No bank would do that!  Give out a free knife or a free gun for opening an account!

That would be funny if Michael Moore were a documentary producer. He's not, he's a political comedy producer. The scene of the bank handing out guns is one of many in the film that have been criticised for being staged by his production company.

B

CAPTCHA: truthiness - something Michael Moore's work needs more of.

I thought there was something fishy about those Columbine school security-camera scenes!  I'm glad to know that nobody was really hurt.

• nbk2000 (unregistered)

Quik-Trip convenience stores have electric strikes on the front doors that the employees can use to lock them so they can clean up at night without people walking in unknowst to them.

However, the striker will open if you touch the metal door bars bare-handed, because they operate on capacitance.

So...to demonstrate this error to an aquaintance of mine who worked the graveyard shift, I took a piece of aluminum strapping, and bent it into an L shape, slipped it through the gap in the doors, and touched the metal bar (while holding the tool bare-handed), thus opening the locked door from the outside. :)

• Megan (unregistered) in reply to Jake

Nope, that one is only 30-something stories.  Perhaps the Bank of America tower in Atlanta?

• (cs) in reply to newfweiler

There's a slight difference between "truthiness" and "every scene was 100% faked." In a movie with a lot of truthiness, only a couple of scenes are completely staged, the rest are just cleverly set up or edited to create misleading impressions. For example the bank scene is shot in a real bank and all the bank staff are real bank staff; however, according Ms. <font face="Verdana, Times" size="2"></font>Jan Jacobson (the bank employee who opened Moore's account), the scene was staged, having been organised by Moore's production company two months in advance, plus about an hour and half of activity on the day which didn't get filmed. This was the only reason Moore was able to pick up the rifle straight away, instead of waiting for the mandatory cooling-off period. (Note that in the "Wacko Attackos" section on his website, Moore mocks people who claim this scene was staged, and offers some words of rebuttal, none of which actually contradict anything Jacobson said.)

Having said that, instead of fruitlessly banging our heads together about Michael Moore, there is an aspect of that scene which is much more relevant to this WTF, and security in general. It concerns the simplistic ways that people often think about security. Perhaps through mental laziness, or just because we have to do a dozen micro-sized security evals per day, we often take little mental shortcuts, thinking "basic auth is risky" or "SSL is safe" without actually thinking about how the threat model applies.

In this WTF, some designer figured that his doors were high security because they had glitzy hi-tech access control cards. He never stopped to think, "how would someone try to defeat these doors?" In the same way, when Moore gets his rifle in the bank, and asks "Do you think it's a little dangerous handing out guns in a bank?" we are supposed to think "Yep, that's crazy, you could use it to rob the bank!" But could you really? Handing it out in the bank actually makes no difference to its availability, since Moore has passed his background check and has \$1,000, and so could just as easily have bought his firearm somewhere else. In fact, if he did that he could have arrived with it already loaded, shouting "Stick 'em up!", instead of needing to load it right there in front of the security guard, which is bound to raise suspicions. But there's an even more important disadvantage to this scenario: to collect his firearm from the bank, he's had to show his face to everyone, leave his fingerprints on all sorts of documents, and present photographic ID at least good enough to pass a Federal government background check. Bank robbers usually prefer to wear gloves and a mask, and not show ID.

In short, the answer to Moore's question is "No! At first glance it might look dangerous, but actually it doesn't create any new threats or raise the risk of any existing ones."

• D-Pitz (unregistered)

If the space is too small for a yardstick, try an open manilla folder. Usually long enough to trip the motion sensor, and thin enough to go between most double doors that don't have a metal flange covering the space between the doors.

• TJse7en (unregistered) in reply to fluffy777

That would be the unforseen crappy outlook......

• Computer Company Employee (unregistered) in reply to PeaceOut

Anonymous:
You are right, but they needed to take it a step further.  They needed "dual tech" motion detectors that couple PIR and a zoned motion detector.  That way the door would only open when an infra-red radiation source (body heat) and human sized object moving (in order to trip two of the zones at a time, this was designed to stop false alarms caused by rodents).  Draw backs would be 3 times the cost.  Of course, I doubt it was as expensive as re-fitting all of those doors, what a mess up.

Where I work, they have secure access doors with PIR sensors like those you describe.  I have unfettered access anywhere!  A can of freeze spray (used for chilling components, used for detecting thermal shock issues in circuitry, purchased easily in electronic supply stores, and stocked in our labs.) and a sheet of paper works fine.  Stand outside the door, spray the paper with a good dose of the spray, and slide it quickly under the door, so it slides across the floor at about 4 feet per second.  When you hear the click, open the door!

• anonymous (unregistered) in reply to PeaceOut

That might be the best option. I accidently found out that the one-way motion sensor doors at my work could be openend by waving around two walkie-talkies that were both on 'send'. The interference must have triggered the motion switch. Pretty bad, eh :)

• tinkerghost (unregistered) in reply to RevMike

Quite frighteningly, I worked for a company that locked the doors down when the power went out
Yep, if the power goes out, the doors get locked down and the pushbar on the inside no longer works. When I pointed out that it was a bit of a firehazzard to lock the doors, I was told that if I wasn't smart
enough to grab a stool from one of the labs & break the glass I deserved to burn.

• A. Non (unregistered) in reply to anonymous
anonymous:
the one-way motion sensor doors at my work could be openend by waving around two walkie-talkies that were both on 'send'. The interference must have triggered the motion switch. Pretty bad, eh :)