Tuesday, April 18, 2006

A reasonable percentage (2)

"It seems like every time someone tests airport security, airport security fails. In tests between November 2001 and February 2002, screeners missed 70 percent of knives, 30 percent of guns, and 60 percent of (fake) bombs. And recently, testers were able to smuggle bomb-making parts through airport security in 21 of 21 attempts."
[Bruce Schneier]

If security finds nearly half the bombs, does that count as success or failure? (Glass half-full or half-empty?) Schneier reckons it's probably good enough, and points out: "Against the professionals, we're just trying to add enough uncertainty into the system that they'll choose other targets instead."

"Do not despair; one of the thieves was saved. Do not presume; one of the thieves was damned."
[Saint Augustine]

"One of the thieves was saved. (Pause.) It's a reasonable percentage."

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