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Prof. Hasan Elahi’s “Orwell Project” Takes on the Police State; Journalist Jay Bahadur on Somali Pirates; Gary Chew Reviews “The Descendants”

Prof. Hasan Elahi of University of Maryland is an American citizen who conducts ongoing self-surveillance so he can prove he’s not a terrorist; Jay Bahadur is the author of The Pirates of Somalia: Inside Their Hidden World; Gary Chew reviews George Clooney’s The Descendants.An airport immigration check on Elahi led to 9 polygraph exams by the FBI, and Elahi told them everything they wanted to know–and much, much more.  He tracks every move he makes, and posts the photo evidence here.  Your humble host was struck by his counter-intuitive approach to the creeping police state, and his argument that he has more privacy by sharing his location and selected other info, burying them in data with the hope they will lose interest.

At 41 minutes into the show, we talk with Bahadur, a Canadian who went to Somalia to get the real lowdown on the pirates who take over ships and demand million dollar ransom payments.  As you might expect, the story is much more complicated than the US media lets on–Somalia has had no central government since 1991, which led to illegal foreign fishing in territorial waters.  Initially, Somalis were fighting back, but the pirate activities have morphed into an ongoing criminal enterprise, and Bahadur analyzes it like an MBA, showing costs, cash flow, performance incentives (in the form of Toyota Land Cruisers) and profit sharing.  He also looks at the cost of piracy to shippers and why the ransom payments are just a cost of doing business.  Check out his blog about Somali pirates here.

And at 1:18:18, Gary Chew reviews The Descendants.