After G4S, who still thinks that outsourcing works?

“For fear they might only get one term they are dashing to secure that indelible legacy. The plan is to outsource so much that reconstructing public services will be impossible in future.” Polly Toynbee reports on an epidemic of evidence-free, faith-based policymaking that is creating moral hazard on a grand scale.
www.guardian.co.uk

“A moral hazard is a situation where there is a tendency to take undue risks because the costs are not borne by the party taking the risk.”

Airport security — this house believes that changes made to airport security since 9/11 have done more harm than good

“Spending billions to force the terrorists to alter their plans in one particular way does not make us safer. It is far more cost-effective to concentrate our defences in ways that work regardless of tactic and target: intelligence, investigation and emergency response.” Bruce Schneier debates the former head of the Transportation Security Administration, Kip Hawley, on airport security. This is from the first of Schneier’s three statements on the topic.
www.economist.com 20 March, 23 March, 28 March

Sebastian Junger remembers Tim Hetherington

“You and I were always talking about risk because she was the beautiful woman we were both in love with, right? The one who made us feel the most special, the most alive? We were always trying to have one more dance with her without paying the price.” Sebastian Junger writes after the death of photojournalist Tim Hetherington in April 2011.
www.vanityfair.com

Passagierselektion macht es Terroristen leicht

“Natürlich müssen wir uns darum bemühen, die Kontrollen an den Flughäfen effektiver zu machen. Profiling nach Herkunft und Religionszugehörigkeit aber ist eine schlechte Idee, die das Fliegen weder bequemer noch sicherer macht.” Peter Neumann believes that the use of passenger profiling would actually have detrimental effects on aviation security.
www.spiegel.de

Is aviation security mostly for show?

“Despite fearful rhetoric to the contrary, terrorism is not a transcendent threat. A terrorist attack cannot possibly destroy a country’s way of life; it’s only our reaction to that attack that can do that kind of damage.” In the wake of last week’s failed bombing of an airplane over Detroit, Bruce Schneier asks us to leverage the inherent strengths of our democracies.
edition.cnn.com

1.3 million reasons to re-invent the syringe

“25 years ago I read a newspaper article which said that one day syringes would be one of the major causes for the transmission of AIDS. I thought this was unacceptable so I decided to do something about it.” Marc Koska’s K1 syringe improves on an old design.
www.ted.com

Hans Rosling on HIV: new facts and stunning data visuals

“When we look at the pattern, one thing comes out very clearly. People say HIV is very high in Africa. I would say, HIV is very different in Africa.” Using Gapminder World, Hans Rosling empowers you to think more clearly about the the ways in which HIV impacts on Africa and the wider world.
www.ted.com

About that helmet

This is a picture I took of today’s newspaper. You can usually pick me out from a group of cyclists because I am the one wearing the full-face helmet. Comments I get from other cyclists are mostly positive. But somebody, somewhere is always telling me that I must be really scared to be wearing that helmet—before proceeding to tell me everything about injuries and treatments that they had to endure as a consequence of having had a serious crash.
royalgazette.com

In other news this week, current World Downhill Champion Rachel Atherton was involved in a head-on collision with a car.