Schneier on Security
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August 17, 2011
A prison in Brazil uses geese as part of its alarm system.
There's a long tradition of this. Circa 400 BC, alarm geese alerted a Roman citadel to a Gaul attack.
Posted on August 17, 2011 at 1:51 PM
• 25 Comments
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"The prison was built to hold 153 inmates. It currently holds 255."
Par for the course.
I once stayed while in transit in a facility that had bunk beds four or five high. Making the threat of falling out of bed in the middle of the night a REAL threat... :-)
I wonder how often they have to replace the geese because the inmates catch and eat them. :-)
Anyone who has kept geese knows they are much better "guard dogs" than dogs.
And unlike dogs they don't need to be chained up or caged in some way to ensure they do their guarding.
And unlike dogs they cut the grass, eat weeds, lay eggs and are good to eat. Thus unlike expensive dogs they can actually be quite profitable to keep.
But me I prefere keeping ducks, they are almost as good guards as geese but are much nicer as farm animals to keep, and they and their eggs are better eating 8P
That hissing thing geese do is pretty scary. Not to mention the prolific droppings.
Geese s**t everywhere. In copious amounts. You have not lived until you have played sports in a field that has been carpet bombed by a flock of geese!
Not that it has anything to do with security ... ;-p
Still here geese are popular alternative to dogs for isolated farms.
I wonder if penguins could double as guard dogs.
You know what Linus said about angry penguins charging you at 100mph... :-)
> Geese s**t everywhere. In copious amounts.
Not only are they impossible to bribe and extremely difficult to silent kill, the attempt leaves ... residue that makes it difficult for an intruder to be undetected after getting through the perimeter.
Unfortunately, spraying residue about is a time-honored part of security through obscurity.
@Ryan at August 17, 2011 4:30 PM
You've beat me to it :-)
I think there's a distillary up Loch Lomond way that does the same.
Well in Argentina (under internet censorship by the way :-x) we used a cheaper alternative to guard prisoners...
"So we have 'Wilson' in a watchtower like in the movie `Cast Away' (starring Tom Hanks): we made a doll with a ball and a cap so that the inmates see the shadow and think they're under surveillance,"
Spoiler: Didn't work... ROFL!
guinea hens are good for this too, and unlike domestic geese they can fly and thus roost out of reach.
Back when I did contract work for MERADCOM, the army was using geese and goats in arsenals. Low false alarm rate, and they mow the grass without making any sparks. Seemed smart.
Please post off-topic security news stories in squid threads only. "It's just too rich" is not a reason for an exception.
"Unfortunately, spraying residue about is a time- honored part of security through obscurity."
Is that before or after it hits the fan?
@ Clive Robinson
"Is that before or after it hits the fan?"
LOL. I agree with most of your comments on geese as "guard dogs," along with the addition that they can't be bribed. I agree with another poster that guinea fowl are better. They are extremely loud and annoying when something gets near them. And they do evade & fly to high places. I got to see this in action at a friends farm recently. They were stalking me & anytime I turned toward them they jumped on rooftops & made noises. Funny birds.
I do have a nice example of goose security, though. We had geese on our farm when I was a kid. I remember the one time I thought it would be nice to hold one of the baby chicks. I waited behind a rock and grabbed the last one. "So cute," I thought. That was the last thing I remember saying before I heard "HIISSSS!!" with a big daddy goose half running and flying at me. I was so scared that I forgot I had the chick in my hand as I ran off. Then momma came off the roof I was running toward. I noticed the chick in my hand, said "screw this!", tossed it and ducked under the goose. Made it into the house. Never messed with geese again (for a few years anyway 8).
"You have not lived until you have played sports in a field that has been carpet bombed by a flock of geese!"
They're almost as bad as pigeons. One time, I went to a major sports event during a rough winter. Paid parking. We were told to park at a particular location. I noticed the tree looked alive & heard their tell-tale noise. Ignoring it, we went to the event, enjoyed it & returned. But our green car was no longer green. The pigeons had shit on... all of it. We had to scrape frozen pigeon shit off the windshield & rear windows. Worse, the owner of the car had to drive with it like that for days because the pipes were frozen throughout the city. Funny part was that we would sometimes see someone else with pigeon shit all over their car. I'd roll down the window and say, "I see you went to the event too. How'd you like it, aside from the pigeons?" LOL
"Not that it has anything to do with security ... ;-p"
Actually a mote of geese shit surrounding a building or lining its floors can make a silent escape much more difficult. The conspicuous smell that's not present outside the holding areas and the fact that the perps will be sliding rather than running. (Presumably it would look like the oil slick fight in The Transporter.)
"The prison was built to hold 153 inmates. It currently holds 255."
At 256, it would overflow.
Yup, had a friend who protected his farm with dogs, geese, guinea fowl...
My company used to have a large pond outside the main entrance to corporate HQ. Geese moved in, and did such a great job of "guarding" the building that visitors could no longer use that entrance.
The pond was drained - the geese moved away.
@ Nick P,
Just remember that neither goose or pigeon poo is water soluble and there are islands in the pacific actually made of bird dropings...
Oh I left an off topic on the squid page that might be of interest to you.
"At 256, it would overflow"
I guess that's the "computer geek" equivalent of the joke about "bean stew" where the contest winner says her secret is,
"Only use 239 beans, otherwise one more and it would be 240"
(for those that have never heard the joke you have to say 240 soit sounds like "to farty").
Nick P: "(Presumably it would look like the oil slick fight in The Transporter.)"
Amazing. I just watched that last night. LOL
@ Richard Steven Hack
"Amazing. I just watched that last night. LOL"
It was a great movie. All three are pretty good. Jason Statham is the shit. Far as amazing coincidences go, I have one. I'm reading about using geese as alert system. Then, I walk outside to check the mail and there's about nine Canadian geese in my driveway. (First time it's happened.) I herded them around for a while just to see how long I could mess with them w/out them making a noise. Got bored at around the ten minute mark. There's a lake nearby so they might be used to dealing with people. I thought it was an interesting coincidence though.
In "Midnight Express" the Turkish prison used peacocks.
We have two wonderful birds. An Amazon and a Quaker. The Quaker is an excellent security alarm. If an animal comes in the front yard, he growls and vocalizes in a menacing voice. If a human comes in the yard, he cheeps long and loud as if he is in immediate mortal peril.
He is also full of mischief, talks up a storm, and a holy terror during mating season. Thankfully, his bite seldom draws blood. The Amazon can take off a finger ... don't mess with her (g).
We love them dearly. And, yes ... birds poop at least every 10 minutes ... (g) ... we wear old towels on our shoulders when transporting them outside to their aviary. If you are going to give them a 'shower' with the garden sprayer, don't mention it in front of the Quaker.
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