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Saving Lives with Design

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the this-is-not-a-political-post dept.

Input Devices 430

valdean writes "Last year, the White House declassified an August 2001 intelligence brief entitled: 'Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US.' Among other things, the brief mentions that Bin Ladin 'wanted to hijack a US aircraft.' So why was it ignored? Graphic designer Greg Storey thinks part of the reason is poor design. He set out to modify the format of the original document into a more legible one."

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430 comments

First post (-1, Offtopic)

silasthemac (633545) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321006)

first post ever and it sucks :)

April Fools! (1)

liquidflare (463694) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321009)

This article is a fake.

The spoon explanation. (4, Funny)

qewl (671495) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321011)

In related news, the declassified document now shows Laden originally planned to use spoons isntead of box cutters to hijack the planes...

/who came up with that anyway? I've never picked up a spoon and thought, "wow that's a pretty input device.."?

Re:The spoon explanation. (1, Informative)

mboverload (657893) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321038)

Bush already has said he doesn't read newspapers and has aids read him stuff. He doesn't even look at it.

Re:The spoon explanation. (4, Funny)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321076)

Bush has aids?

Re:The spoon explanation. (1, Funny)

Soko (17987) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321048)

I've never picked up a spoon and thought, "wow that's a pretty input device.."?

But... there is no spoon. ;-)

Soko

Re:The spoon explanation. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12321174)

originally planned to use spoons isntead of box cutters to hijack the planes...
/who came up with that anyway?

You obviously haven't seen Mystery Men [imdb.com] and the opening minutes to Spy Kids 2 [imdb.com] .

hindsight (5, Insightful)

hugzz (712021) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321012)

Hindsight is always 20/20

Re:hindsight (5, Insightful)

jaxdahl (227487) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321022)

so let's use this hindsight to improve our foresight

Re:hindsight (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12321132)

Unfortunately, the whole "ex poste" versus "ex ante" thing turns out to be more than a little complicated.

Even the "design issue" of the original post presuposes that in and amongst a digital info glut, we have ex ante knowledge about which information to highlight with pretty red boxes.

Shit happens. A lot. Continuously. There is no way to centrally control it. In real life, there is no root.

The sooner we dispense with the fiction that any entity (esp. government) can "monitor" and "act on" relevant information, the sooner we might move to a realization that no single entity can dictate behaviour on planet earth.

The self-defeating meme of US foreign policy is that they just need enough analysts to absorb the information and produce a plan of action.

Re:hindsight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12321207)

so let's use this hindsight to improve our foresight

My motto is, "We learn from history that we do not learn from history."

So, my personal foresight tells me to prepare for really bad times ahead, resulting from a lack of foresight by society.

Peak Oil, suitcase nukes, national debt currency crisis, polluted air & water, pandemics, killer MS-worms, grey goo, human DNA patents, bans on encryption, elimination of free speech...

The thing about foresight is that it brings discomfort to its posessor!

Re:hindsight (1)

Trillan (597339) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321064)

Are you saying bad design can only be recognized in hindsight? Or that having a bad design kill once is an excuse not to change it going forward? Either way, I think you need to go through the Klingon Rite of Design School Passage again. :)

Bad document template design is easy to show. Give a bunch of document mock-ups to average people and immiedately ask what information the documents convey. See how long it takes them to extract the information and how accurate it is

Re:hindsight (3, Insightful)

hugzz (712021) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321118)

Are you saying bad design can only be recognized in hindsight? Or that having a bad design kill once is an excuse not to change it going forward?

i'm saying that it may be oh-so-clear to us now how important this document was, so we may think that it's the fault of the design that it was overlooked; but at the time, regardless of they design, they felt it was overlookable.

at the time there was no design problem. it was simply not an important document. we only think to blame the design now because, using hindsight, we know the document was important.

It didn't come after. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12321094)

It came before. Foresight of the actor and his method of action is pretty significant. Were it not ignored.

Re:hindsight (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321128)

Hmmm. As they say:

Analyse with anal eyes, and all you'll get is hindsight...

But am I the first to realise that the revised article is in Latin? Well, I thought it was funny, anyway...

Re:hindsight (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321145)

Oops: meant to say pseudo-Latin... :-|

Re:hindsight (4, Informative)

hugzz (712021) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321157)

Oops: meant to say pseudo-Latin...

it's lorem ipsum [lipsum.com] . basicly filler text that looks like english but wont distract the viewer from the real subject matter (the design)

It was ignored on purpose. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12321015)

If a brain-dead vegetable in Florida is about to be taken off life support, Bush drops everything and flies up to Washington. If a known terrorist is "determined" to strike the US, why, it's time for another vacation.

Re:It was ignored on purpose. (1)

metlin (258108) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321061)

*hush*

It is the American way of life. =)

Not quite right... (5, Funny)

TelJanin (784836) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321021)

While a better designed document might not save the world, I believe it would help the President (Bush or otherwise) to quickly and more effectively discard the facts and act the way he would have otherwise.

All Over in August 2001 (4, Interesting)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321023)

This was all over in the summer of '01. I think the problem was that the focus was on the Genoa summit, they thought the hit was going to be there, so then after nothing happened there was a lull. I remeber Drudge carrying this report on his big font banner in middle to late August for a few days.

MOD HELL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12321221)

I think the problem was that the focus was on the Genoa summit, they thought the hit was going to be there, so then after nothing happened there was a lull

How is this guys post off topic?

It specifically addresses the topic at hand with a more likely explaination than "oh, the formatting was uuugly"

I suppose hell hath no fury like a 13 year old with mod points.

how about a sock puppet show? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12321025)

Seems more on Bush's level and he might grasp the concepts a little faster...

Re:how about a sock puppet show? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12321162)

an avid watcher of 2dtv in the uk are we? :D ( for those who dont know, its a satirical cartoon show, which regularly makes fun of bush with one of his generals conveying information to bush via a sock puppet called 'professor liebstrom' - and even then bush doesnt quite get it. )

what? (1)

sulo (536893) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321027)

wheres the ads?

Improve the design of EVERY intelligence brief (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12321032)

and the Bin Laden brief once again gets lost in the pile.

Not possible to take all threats seriously (3, Insightful)

imemyself (757318) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321034)

The problem is, that there are soooooo many theats that its impossible to take all of them seriously. If we did, then people would bitch more about having their liberties taken away, yada yada yada. Hindsight is 20 20. I don't think one intellegience briefing is enough to mandate massive security changes.

Re:Not possible to take all threats seriously (5, Interesting)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321126)

The problem is, that there are soooooo many theats that its impossible to take all of them seriously.

That would make sense if this was the first they had ever heard of bin Ladin. By the time of this memo, he had been openly at war with the U.S. for over five years, and had been slaughtering people in ever-more spectacular attacks designed for maximum civilian damage for even longer. He had demonstrated his deadliness and determination to destroy American interests around the world; they goddamn better have taken a memo like this seriously. I don't give a shit what font it is in, this is an important memo. That they missed it -- and ignored the bin Laden threat completely during most of 2001 -- is not excusable.

Re:Not possible to take all threats seriously (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12321137)

Hm, let's see, if the counter terrorism czar tells the president that this thread is the biggest to the US right now and that a strike is imminent, don't you think using "oh, but we can't take every threat seriously, there are just so many of them", is a pretty lame excuse for having totally and catastrophically failed?

Re:Not possible to take all threats seriously (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12321149)

Bullshit. Plain and simple bullshit.

People bitch about increased scrutiny of and less freedom for law-abiding citizens. The pretext for this is always that more information is needed.

This story and others (like the Zacharias Moussaoui arrest a full month before the September 11th attacks) point out the intelligence agencies already had more than enough information.

But they did nothing. It was pure and simple incompetence. All their after the fact rationalizations are just noise.

Re:Not possible to take all threats seriously (1)

globalar (669767) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321169)

The real issue is that security is a network concept. The U.S. should develope the strengths of this approach. The U.S. is not a closed system - it is quite open in fact. Therefore, accountability, information sharing, and flexible analysis need to be the standard. This is not the case for the current U.S. intelligence community.

Further, stressing executive-style decisionmaking about what is and is not a threat is ridiculous. There needs to be debate, challenge, and disagreement within intelligence circles. Only when rationale thinking wins can the U.S. consider real threats vs. percieved ones. At this point, top-level decisionmakers can adequately grasp the situation. Prediction is suspect, but possibility should be certain.

That said, the issue of too many threats can be mediated with 1)specific knowledge (which the U.S. had pre-9/11) and 2)faster accumulation and correlation of information (which was lacking). Granted, widespread information analysis of sensitive data is not easy - certainly not in technical terms - but it is a better system than leaving critical pieces scattered.

Think in the context of a network and security becomes much more possible and less guess-work.

Perhaps.... (1, Offtopic)

Palal (836081) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321035)

...Michael Moore was right? At least in part?

He was 100% right. (1, Insightful)

blueberry(4*atan(1)) (621645) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321087)

That's why they had to attack him personally, because they couldn't factually disagree with anything in F911. He had Bush pegged.

Re:He was 100% right. (1)

Dr. GeneMachine (720233) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321219)

dude, you know you would be modded -1e5 troll for this, didn't you? we have to get them in a more subtle manner, remember that!

Design or not... (4, Insightful)

green pizza (159161) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321037)

Design or not, it should have been read... and probably was.

What should have the government done? Put the whole country under martial law? Shut down all commerical businesses and transportation and unroll millions of miles of razor wire?

It was a lose-lose situation. Too bad they didn't replace the 85 year old baggage scanners earler. :(

Re:Design or not... (2, Insightful)

hugzz (712021) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321050)

Too bad they didn't replace the 85 year old baggage scanners earler. :(

i may be wrong, but i'm pretty sure box cutters were perfectly legal on planes at the time. changing the baggage scanners wouldn't have made a difference

red herring (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321238)

Those things have nothing to do with stopping terrorism really. They knew who bin Laden was at that point and they knew the people he associated with. Several of the hijackers were on watch lists. They also knew where bin Laden's camps in Afghanistan were, and they knew quite a bit about his economic network. They knew where his family members and associates were in the U.S. No they should not have shut down all commercial businesses or put us under martial law. They should have used the intelligence they had about the people they knew were involved and made arrests, conducted interviews, shut down economic channels, put pressure on Pakistan and Saudi Arabia for support in unraveling the network, found out what Mossad knew about people they were following in the U.S., used that intelligence to make more arrests, etc. Perhaps even ordered preemptive military strikes on bin Laden's training camps. Maybe they wouldn't have stopped 9-11 but they certainly could then have said they did everything they could to prevent it. This memo certainly should have triggered some action.

Re:red herring (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12321263)

Yes. Preemptive stikes always go over so well. For Pete's sake -- people whined when we attacked Iraq. Imagine what would happen if we attacked a villige in Afganhastan before 9/11.

The real preventative measure is to not allow hijackers to do as they wish with a plane -- we just never thought that they'd go smashing it into stuff. Even 235 cowards could stop 3 men with box cutters, we just didn't think it was necessary.

Lorem Ipsum = danger? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12321041)

No wonder no one paid any attention to the report! Judging by the new document, the whole thing was just full of gibberish beyond the headline!

Latin Jibberish Generator... probably from iWork.. (2, Informative)

green pizza (159161) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321060)

Several desktop pubishing applications can generate "latin jibberish" to fill in text areas. It looks silly at first, but it helpful for layout. "Pages", part of Apple's iWork package, is one app that I know does this.

Re:Latin Jibberish Generator... probably from iWor (2, Informative)

vijayiyer (728590) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321082)

It's called "Lorem Ipsum" and is purposely gibberish. It's used by designers so that one focuses on layout rather than content.

Re:Latin Jibberish Generator... probably from iWor (3, Informative)

vijayiyer (728590) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321112)

Further information is available at http://www.lipsum.com/

Re:Latin Jibberish Generator... probably from iWor (1)

phauxfinnish (698087) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321212)

Also known as Greeking [wikipedia.org] , ironically resembling Latin.

Re:Lorem Ipsum = danger? (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321167)

It's an al Qaeda memo that was originally in Arabic. This was the transliterated version.

Re:Lorem Ipsum = danger? (5, Funny)

serutan (259622) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321216)

Fifteen minutes after this was posted, it was red-flagged by Carnivore. The President has approved $1 billion for a Lorem Ipsum task force. Monday morning Congress will pass the Lorem Ipsum Homeland Patriotism Act, which will impose a $100,000 fine and 10-year federal prison sentence for distribution or use of p2p software. Entertainment industry spokesmen hailed the new legislation as a step forward in the fight against terrorism.

News for nerds? (1, Insightful)

mOoZik (698544) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321043)

I fail to see how this has anything to do with Slashdot. It's not tech, it's not Linux/F/OSS, and not anything else that I would consider Slashdot material. Since when has this place become a repository of whatever stupid "news" there happens to float around online?

Re:News for nerds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12321058)

You must be really new here.

Re:News for nerds? (1)

Trillan (597339) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321078)

Sorry, but I have to disagree. Good design is definitely something that matters for nerds. And any particular reminder of it is welcome.

Re:News for nerds? (3, Funny)

MarkRose (820682) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321096)

I fail to see how this has anything to do with Slashdot.

Obviously, it has everything to do with Slashdot! As you pointed out, the articles posted here aren't interesting, relevant, or timely, ergo geeks pay attention to Slashdot for the design and wise colour choice!

That, or I'm smoking crack!

Re:News for nerds? (2, Insightful)

evanbd (210358) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321141)

UI design is most definitely NfN. There are plenty of examples in engineering of bad UI design or information presentation costing lives; this is yet another. If you can't name at least 3 examples, then I truly hope you don't call yourself an engineer, computer programmer, or anything related.

Re:News for nerds? (4, Insightful)

lunartik (94926) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321156)

Proper design makes things useful and informative. Design permeates everything. Bad design can actually undermine or even negate the information being presented, as Edward Tufte and other have demonstrated.

When dealing with the presentation of information, clear design is essential. Those who write software, and especially those who work with UIs should always be mindful of it.

That said, this guy prettied up a document and filled it with gibberish. He has some interesting ideas and some solid concepts, but his demonstration of it is lacking. A control number because he thinks it looks cool, etc. He does not present a solid case for why the information in the original document would have been acted on had it been presented in his way. In fact, the issues surrounding this document go more to the nature of intelligence information and the ability to assess it than to the typeface that was used. I know some people think this memo is a smoking gun of incompetence, but hindsight makes everyone a genius.

In any case see Tutfe's examination of the way in which engineers tried to convince NASA not to launch the Challenger for a better deconstruction of improperly formatted information leading to a catastrophe.

Re:News for nerds? (2, Informative)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321166)

"I fail to see how this has anything to do with Slashdot."

It's fashionable on Slashdot these days to criticize the US. I'd say more but I fear mod retaliation.

Re:News for nerds? (4, Insightful)

MarkRose (820682) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321218)

It's fashionable on Slashdot these days to criticize the US. I'd say more but I fear mod retaliation.

Considering that a large portion, and probably the majority of Slashdotters are American, I wouldn't say it's a case of being fashionable. Instead, I'd argue it's a fight against fallacy and illogic. Much of the action of the US government is driven by fear, greed, and emotion, which runs counter to the typical geek way of analysing and responding to a situation. To us, the actions and methodologies of the US government are at best unreasonable and at worst insane. There is no fashion to flame the US here -- it's just the collective psyche of Slashdotters rejecting the counter-intuitive mannerisms of the powers that be.

Re:News for nerds? (1)

Dr. GeneMachine (720233) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321240)

I'd say more but I fear mod retaliation.

ohhh... poor persecuted majority... I really feel with you, oh, yea, I do...

Re:News for nerds? (1)

JohnsonWax (195390) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321197)

I fail to see how this has anything to do with Slashdot. It's not tech, it's not Linux/F/OSS, and not anything else that I would consider Slashdot material. Since when has this place become a repository of whatever stupid "news" there happens to float around online?

The FA takes a perfectly serviceable document that most people would agree is concise and factual and adds usability and eye candy to help the user better understand it.

I think there's a tremendously relevant lesson for the Linux/F/OSS crowd.

I guess if it was a 'hey, there are good reasons why Linux should look more like OS X' article, you'd see that as relevant, but design is a broad thing that can be applied to most any product from a memo to an OS. Open your horizons up some and maybe you'll learn something.

Re:News for nerds? (1)

Dr. GeneMachine (720233) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321236)

holy jeeeebus fscking christ on a pogo stick! If it isn't tech or Linux/F/OSS, it is not news for nerds? There are many more kinds of nerd populating this wide world than your narrow mind can ever hope to comprehend, dude! Don't set your focus to small...

Re:News for nerds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12321247)

I fail to see how this has anything to do with Slashdot. It's not tech, it's not Linux/F/OSS

Use some F/OSS (or even shareware) application, particularly one with a GUI of some kind. Then use the comparable app produced by Apple.

Basically, you can have the greatest app/device in the world. But if the presentation is shit, people will look at it as shit.

Stupidity is USA fault! (0, Flamebait)

Karaman (873136) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321044)

If Americans, particularly their political leaders were less stupid, there would be fewer losses at WTC, because it would still be there now! I mourn for this country's people every time I watch a porn movie and I see in the first titles: the Flag and the caption: 09/11/2001 ..we will always remember... But you cant expect from policemen to be intelligent, could you :)

Threat Matrix?? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12321049)

All a threat matrix does is encourage people to create their own filtering systems.

"Oh, that Bin Laden warning? Nah, I didn't take it seriously... I only read Threat Matrix 15 and above" ...which instantly puts all of the blame onto the poor sap who allocated it as a 9!

Better that these kind of documents all look the same, and *force* people to read every word. Those that don't read every word aren't doing their jobs properly.

Something I've wondered (0, Troll)

metlin (258108) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321053)

I've always wondered why the classified and confidential stuff is always in black and white - never in any other color.

Any reason?

Re:Something I've wondered (1)

green pizza (159161) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321077)

I've always wondered why the classified and confidential stuff is always in black and white - never in any other color.

The department that declassifies material is probably still using their first gerataion PaperPort [ebayimg.com] and Mac Plus [prohosting.com] .

Re:Something I've wondered (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12321260)

You failed to declassify that second link.

Re:Something I've wondered (1)

vijayiyer (728590) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321099)

Classified and confidential stuff isn't always in black and white. How many datapoints are you basing your conclusion on?

Re:Something I've wondered (1)

DavidNWelton (142216) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321135)

I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.

Re:Something I've wondered (2, Informative)

nacturation (646836) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321224)

I've always wondered why the classified and confidential stuff is always in black and white - never in any other color.

Because most photocopiers don't support color? When a document is redacted, the original is first photocopied, then a big black felt is used to redact the sensitive information, then it gets photocopied again before being distributed so that you can't see the original text under the ink. That's also why the declassified documents look so terrible -- the document that results after being degraded by multiple photocopies is the one which gets printed.

Re:Something I've wondered (1)

teflonhook007 (763806) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321255)

so the spy cameras can photograph them properly

Hey, (1)

bkubi (834026) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321054)

I thought that latin is only used for letters by the catholic pope nowadays.
Actually, I don't believe that Bush would be able to read this letter by himself.

Signal to noise. (3, Insightful)

Inominate (412637) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321062)

SOMEWHERE in the bureaucracy is a document covering every imaginable possibility. That an event was predicted by a document in no way means anyone had any idea it was coming.

Whenever anything happens, you can always find SOMEONE who predicted it, that doesn't mean they knew it was coming. It just makes it easy to pick the signal out of the noise when you know what you're looking for.

Re:Signal to noise. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12321168)

Jesus, what's wrong with you guys? Obviously something has gone terribly wrong, but instead off trying to find out what went wrong exactly, all you seem to be interested in is find lame excuses so that the current administration can not be blamed. And you probably call yourselves patriots, don't you...

So, let's look at your lame excuse.
It wasn't just some document written by some unimportant guy deeply hidden somewhere in the Washington bearaucracy.

It was a document presented by the highest counter terrorism official of the US that warned that Bin-Laden was the biggest threat facing the US at the time and that a strike was imminent.

So much for your lame excuses.

Re:Signal to noise. (3, Insightful)

pascalpp (684288) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321201)

Whatever, dude. This was not some random document that someone dug out of the garbage in order to prove some lefty point. This document was a Presidential Daily Briefing given to Bush a month prior to the attacks. Those briefings are very high profile and (one would hope) well-researched. The implications at best are that the administration committed a major oversight in not looking further into the possibilities of such an attack. At worst, there is an implication of willful ignorance or perhaps even complicity. Even I find this unlikely, but the possibility has yet to be fully investigated, and perhaps it never will.

Regarding TFA, the design of the document is almost certainly a minor factor among the possible reasons it was ignored. (And yes, I've read my share of Tufte.) However, knowing this president, it might have held his attention longer if it had pretty illustrations of planes flying into buildings on the cover. And perhaps it should have been titled "My Pet Terrorist."

Re:Signal to noise. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12321227)

This wasn't some document awash in a sea of documents. It was a Presidential Daily Briefing. It was about 4 times as long as a normal Presidential Daily Briefing. It was read to President George Bush on the day of its writing. It contains direct warning of the imminent threat of terrorist attacks directed by Bin Laden involving flying jet airplanes into large building on American soil. You can yell all you want about how SOMEONE SOMEWHERE knows what is up. We had a President more than a month before 9/11 being told point blank what is up and he ignored it. There's no excuse for that.

Why was it ignored? (4, Interesting)

blueberry(4*atan(1)) (621645) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321065)

MIHOP/LIHOP. They (neocons) made/wanted it to happen. The Bush regime needed a "catalysing event" to wage war and institute repressive measures in the name of "fighting terrorism". (think Pearl Harbor) It didn't take long for them to then conquer Iraq and establish their 14 military bases at a cost of $300 Billion. Now they are beating the war drums against Iran and threatening the judiciary. Why was it ignored indeed.

Re:Why was it ignored? (1)

planetoid (719535) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321092)

I think Bush was in his overalls playing tennis with a ball of rolled-up boogers and a fly swatter on his wooden porch with a sleeping hound dog by his side that day. Yee-haw!

Re:Why was it ignored? (1)

daveinthesky (608820) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321113)

Too true.

More info [google.com] for the uninformed.

Re:Why was it ignored? (3, Funny)

zulux (112259) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321237)


As a Neocon overload myself, I can attest to truth of your statement.

In our defense, the whole "Kill 3,000 Americans and Take over the World" plot came out of a focus group held in Delwa, North Dakota.

If you've ever been to Delwa, you'd be thankful that the number of deaths was under 3,000 - some of those people are even too crazy for my taste.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some babies to kill and some trees to cut down. I think I'll make the clowns sad again as well - you know, you got to put in extra effort if you want to get anywhere.

Too much text (4, Funny)

nizo (81281) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321072)

Remember these are busy politicians. A simple one page graphic of a plane exploding, people on fire, politicians getting blamed, etc. might have better conveyed the message, since apparently the headline "Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US" didn't instill the proper amount of concern.

Har (3, Interesting)

pyth (87680) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321088)

The president's response at the time, to either style of report: "Oh, it's just some crazy named Bin Laden. As if terrorists could attack the USA."

Have you already forgotten the mindset of the US government before the tower-plane collisions?

This Isn't What the President Read (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12321090)

[anon for various reasons]

Anyone with any interaction with US intelligence knows that their #1 product is...powerpoint presentations. Seriously.

Memos like these are designed to accompany the powerpoint breifings. Think of it as a handout.

The President, nor any senior staff member, is merely handed documents like these to read. They usually receive the briefing as a slide presentation, using powerpoint, usualy presented by a senior analyst or intelligence officer. This officer is familiar with the information enough to answer most questions, and is tasked with getting answers to the ones he can't answer off the cuff.

Odds are the slides glossed over these facts, as in the memo they appear as background (6+ year old) information anyway.

Iraq wasn't an "intelligence failure", IMHO.
Tenet saw it coming and bailed before they made him the bag man.

Re:This Isn't What the President Read (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321252)

So Tufte was right. The slides probably had a graph like the one he has for the Gettysburg Address, with "Number of Towers to be Destroyed by Airplanes" on one dimension and "2" on the other.

Fix the original error. (1)

OccidentalSlashy (809265) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321091)

Let's see. The Florida ballot was to blame for Bush getting in office.

I know why it was ignored. (5, Funny)

GeorgeMcBay (106610) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321095)

Presidential memos don't support the BLINK tag.

just because (1)

insomnyuk (467714) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321101)

Just because it looks like a blog doesn't mean anybody will give it more attention. I ignore millions of blogs everyday, with that kitschy, cliched 'minimalist' design. Whatever. Responsible government officials should be paying attention to anything like that when it crosses their desk. This is a corporate culture problem, not a usability problem. This guy is treating a symptom but it won't remove the cause.

Re:just because (1)

avalys (221114) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321146)

I'm curious as to what modern web/document design style you don't consider "kitschy", if you have a problem with that site.

Got an example of a web page with a design you like? I'm genuinely curious, not just trying to bother you.

Hijacking to force release prisoner release? (2, Interesting)

CactusCritter (182409) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321102)

I have read that government officials thought that Osama wanted to force prisoner release by commercial aircraft highjacking; perhaps of the mullah behind the original World Trade Center bombing.

On the other hand, I was aware of a Norad exercise that was to address using hijacked planes as missiles. Right after the release of the 9/11 Commision Report, some bright, informed soul at the Arizona Republic ran a brief story about the planned Norad exercise which it turned out had never actually been carried out.

If the Norad exercise had been carried out, the lines of authority that were completely lacking 9/11/2001 and caused so much confusion and wasted time would have been documented and perhaps thousands of lives could have been saved.

I figure that if I, a retired citsen could have been aware of the concept of using high-jacked commercial aircraft as missiles, there was no excuse for high government officials to have been unaware of the concept.

Lots of high-ranking heads spent too much time in posterior dark places.

Re:Hijacking to force release prisoner release? (1)

citizenr (871508) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321251)

>Norad exercise
well, read again, because this wery exercise was "coincidentally" taking place at 9/11/2001
this was a main reason for misplacing jets

Hardware??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12321116)

Can anyone tell me why this in the Hardware section?

The president has a hard enough time... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12321120)

with English.

from the this-is-not-a-political-post dept. (2, Funny)

GeorgeMcBay (106610) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321136)

Nor is it a Hardware post, despite showing up in that section. But that's ok, because the person who posted it isn't really an editor, either.

Welcome to Slashdot!

Latin is more legible?? (1)

musselm (209468) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321152)

One might note the more "legible" version is in Latin.

Ironical if I do say so myself.

Re:Latin is more legible?? (1)

musselm (209468) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321164)

Faux-Latin at that.

Lorium Ipsum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12321243)

It's Lorem Ipsum. A somewhat gibberish designers use to block in text when they don't have actual copy to insert yet or to just show off their design without any content.

The standard chunk of Lorem Ipsum is cobbled from an ethics treaty by Cisero but other Lorem Ipsums have been made some aren't really any meaningful language.

http://www.lipsum.com/

Ignored? (2, Interesting)

flajann (658201) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321175)

It was ignored because, well, they wanted it to happen. An excuse to deepy entrench the US in the Gulf region was needed.

Can someone please explain... (1, Offtopic)

Fjornir (516960) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321177)

...what happened at the pentagon on 9/11? The photographic evidence seems to contradict the the official story... Look [freedomunderground.org]

Re:Can someone please explain... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12321215)

Actually, no, it doesn't.
The photographic evidence contradicts the conspiracy, tin-foil hat story, but as always, people who try hard to believe in a conspiracy simply ignore all the evidence (photographic and otherwise) that doesn't fit their conspiracy theory.

On a related note, the Bush administration would like to thank all the conspiracy nut jobs, as they do a great job in distracting from the real issue, which is, how could an adminstration fuck up so hard and how come that not one person has been held accountable for this gigantic fuck up?

Re:Can someone please explain... (1)

Fjornir (516960) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321250)

I'm not usually much of a tin-foil-hat wearer. The fact is that I do not know how to explain the lack of the debris field you'd associate with a plane hitting something. All the quotes I can't verify, innuendo, allegedly confiscated tapes, whatever aside there should be serious nastiness all over the lawn, right?

Yeah, right...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12321192)


I believe it would help the President (Bush or otherwise) to quickly and more effectively assess the information given to him.

Heh - maybe if it was Clinton, but Bush - he would still be left guessing.

The rest of world doesn't think too much of Bush - even your closest neighbor Canada was shocked to see him suceed for a second term.

America, what were you thinking?

lol (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12321225)

methinks this graphic designer puts waaaaay too much importance on his job. No offense Mr. Designer, but your little document is not going to change the world. If the people in charge of examining these documents cannot be bothered two read two fucking paragraphs then we have problems deeper than a cutsey layout.

Typical designer megalomania (4, Insightful)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321231)

This is the goddamn stupidest thing I have ever seen on Slashdot, and that's saying a lot. The idea that memo design led to the 9/11 attacks doesn't deserve a response, except for possibly making armpit noises. Designers are notorious for emphasizing form over content and overrating their minimal importance in the scheme of things, but for fuck's sake, it would be nice to believe -- all evidence to the contrary -- that the National Security Advisor and the President of the United States don't need spiffy document layouts to underscore the seriousness of international terrorist organizations flying jumbo jets into buildings.

If it's clear, simple design that's at issue, why not just have a crude drawing of a 747 flying into the White House with a 24-point header reading LOOK OUT, GEORGE!

Fuck. I'm going to have to wash my fucking brain after being around this much stupidity.

Re:Typical designer megalomania (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12321254)

I agree.

This makes about as much sense as the millions of dollars spent on making the IRS 1040 and other tax forms in full color becuase some idiot designers thought it would somehow be more acceptable to tax payers.

Good points. We will never see them in action. (1)

teamhasnoi (554944) | more than 9 years ago | (#12321233)

The people in charge don't want good design. They want plausible deniability.

When we've got a government that doesn't cater to its own survival, and politicians that are held accountable for their actions and inactions, those in charge will desire good design, as that will make serving the public easier, more transparent, and more efficient.

Until then, it will just call attention to the fact that the American people are getting screwed.

Kind of like the snake eating it's own tail - there's just no room for anything but itself.

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