Entries Tagged "movie-plot threat contests"

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Fifth Annual Movie-Plot Threat Contest Winner

On April 1, I announced the Fifth Annual Movie Plot Threat Contest:

Your task, ye Weavers of Tales, is to create a fable of fairytale suitable for instilling the appropriate level of fear in children so they grow up appreciating all the lords do to protect them.

On May 15, I announced the five semi-finalists. Voting continued through the end of the month, and the winner (improved by the author, with help from blog comments) is:

The Gashlycrumb Terrors, by Laura

A is for anthrax, so deadly and white.
B is for burglars who break in at night.
C is for cars that, with minds of their own,
accelerate suddenly in a school zone.
D is for dynamite lit with a fuse.
E is for everything we have to lose.
F is for foreigners, different and strange.
G is for gangs and the crimes they arrange.
H is for hand lotion, more than three ounces;
pray some brave agent sees it and pounces.
I is for ingenious criminal plans.
J is for jury-rigged pipe-bombs in vans.
K is for kids who would recklessly play
in playgrounds and parks with their friends every day.
L is for lead in our toys and our food.
M is for Mom’s cavalier attitude.
N is for neighbors — you never can tell:
is that a book club or terrorist cell?
O is for ostrich, with head in the sand.
P is for plots to blow up Disneyland.
Q is for those who would question authorities.
R is for radical sects and minorities.
S is for Satanists, who have been seen
giving kids razor blades on Halloween.
T is for terrorists, by definition.
U is for uncensored acts of sedition.
V is for vigilance, our leaders’ tool,
keeping us safe, both at home and at school.
W is for warnings with colors and levels.
X is for x-raying bags at all revels.
Y is for *you*, my dear daughter or son
Z is for Zero! No tolerance! None!

Laura, contact me with your address so I can send you your prize. Anyone interesting in illustrating this, preferably in Edward Gorey’s style, should e-mail me first.

History: The First Movie-Plot Threat Contest rules and winner. The Second Movie-Plot Threat Contest rules, semifinalists, and winner. The Third Movie-Plot Threat Contest rules, semifinalists, and winner. The Fourth Movie-Plot Threat Contest rules and winner.

Posted on June 15, 2010 at 6:02 AMView Comments

Fifth Annual Movie-Plot Threat Contest Semi-Finalists

On April 1, I announced the Fifth Annual Movie Plot Threat Contest:

Your task, ye Weavers of Tales, is to create a fable of fairytale suitable for instilling the appropriate level of fear in children so they grow up appreciating all the lords do to protect them.

Submissions are in, and here are the semifinalists.

  1. Untitled story about polar bears, by Mike Ferguson.
  2. The Gashlycrumb Terrors,” by Laura.
  3. Untitled Little Red Riding Hood parody, by Isti.
  4. The Boy who Didn’t Cry Wolf,” by yt.
  5. Untitled story about exploding imps, by Mister JTA.

Cast your vote by number; voting closes at the end of the month.

Posted on May 14, 2010 at 6:51 AM

Fifth Annual Movie-Plot Threat Contest

Once upon a time, men and women throughout the land lived in fear. This caused them to do foolish things that made them feel better temporarily, but didn’t make them any safer. Gradually, some people became less fearful, and less tolerant of the foolish things they were told to submit to. The lords who ruled the land tried to revive the fear, but with less and less success. Sensible men and women from all over the land were peering behind the curtain, and seeing that the emperor had no clothes.

Thus it came to pass that the lords decided to appeal to the children. If the children could be made more fearful, then their fathers and mothers might also become more fearful, and the lords would remain lords, and all would be right with the order of things. The children would grow up in fear, and thus become accustomed to doing what the lords said, further allowing the lords to remain lords. But to do this, the lords realized they needed Frightful Fables and Fear-Mongering Fairytales to tell the children at bedtime.

Your task, ye Weavers of Tales, is to create a fable or fairytale suitable for instilling the appropriate level of fear in children so they grow up appreciating all the lords do to protect them.

That’s this year’s contest. Make your submissions short and sweet: 400 words or less. Imagine that someone will be illustrating this story for young children. Submit your entry in comments; deadline is May 1. I’ll choose several semifinalists, and then you all will vote for the winner. The prize is a signed copy of my latest book, Cryptography Engineering. And if anyone seriously wants to illustrate this, please contact me directly — or just go for it and post a link.

Thank you to loyal reader — and frequent reader of my draft essays — “grenouille,” who suggested this year’s contest.

And good luck!

The First Movie-Plot Threat Contest rules and winner. The Second Movie-Plot Threat Contest rules, semifinalists, and winner. The Third Movie-Plot Threat Contest rules, semifinalists, and winner. The Fourth Movie-Plot Threat Contest rules and winner.

EDITED TO ADD (4/1): I’m looking for entries in the form of a fairytale or fable. Plot summaries and descriptions won’t count as entries, although you are welcome to post them and comment on them — and use them if others post them.

EDITED TO ADD (5/15): Voting is now open here.

Posted on April 1, 2010 at 6:24 AMView Comments

Fourth Movie-Plot Threat Contest Winner

For this contest, the goal was to:

…to find an existing event somewhere in the industrialized world—Third World events are just too easy—and provide a conspiracy theory to explain how the terrorists were really responsible.

I thought it was straightforward enough but, honestly, I wasn’t very impressed with the submissions. Nothing surprised me with its cleverness. There were scary entries and there were plausible entries, but hardly any were both at the same time. And I was amazed by how many people didn’t bother to read the rules at all, and just submitted movie plot threats.

But, after reading through the entries, I have chosen a winner. It’s HJohn, for his kidnap-blackmail-terrorist connection:

Though recent shooting sprees in churches, nursing homes, and at family outings appear unrelated, a terrifying link has been discovered. All perpetrators had small children who were abducted by terrorists, and perpetrators received a video of their children with hooded terrorists warning that their children would be beheaded if they do not engage in the suicidal rampage. The terror threat level has been raised to red as profiling, known associations, and criminal history are now useless in detecting who will be the next terrorist sniper or airline hijacker. Anyone who loves their children may be a potential terrorist.

Fairly plausible, and definitely scary. Congratulations, HJohn. E-mail me and I’ll get you your fabulous prizes—as soon as I figure out what they are.

For historical purposes: The First Movie-Plot Threat Contest rules and winner. The Second Movie-Plot Threat Contest rules, semifinalists, and winner. The Third Movie-Plot Theat Contest rules, semifinalists, and winner.

Posted on May 12, 2009 at 6:40 AMView Comments

Fourth Annual Movie-Plot Threat Contest

Let’s face it, the War on Terror is a tired brand. There just isn’t enough action out there to scare people. If this keeps up, people will forget to be scared. And then both the terrorists and the terror-industrial complex lose. We can’t have that.

We’re going to help revive the fear. There’s plenty to be scared about, if only people would just think about it in the right way. In this Fourth Movie-Plot Threat Contest, the object is to find an existing event somewhere in the industrialized world—Third World events are just too easy—and provide a conspiracy theory to explain how the terrorists were really responsible.

The goal here is to be outlandish but plausible, ridiculous but possible, and—if it were only true—terrifying. (An example from The Onion: Fowl Qaeda.) Entries should be formatted as a news story, and are limited to 150 words (I’m going to check this time) because fear needs to be instilled in a population with short attention spans. Submit your entry, by the end of the month, in comments.

The First Movie-Plot Threat Contest rules and winner. The Second Movie-Plot Threat Contest rules, semifinalists, and winner. The Third Movie-Plot Theat Contest rules, semifinalists, and winner.

EDITED TO ADD: The contest has ended; the winner is here

Posted on April 1, 2009 at 6:37 AM

Great Fear-Mongering Product: Subway Emergency Kit

Is Subivor even real?

Whether it is a train fire, a highrise building fire or worse. People should have more protection than a necktie, their shirt or paper towel to cover their mouth, nose and eyes. As you know an emergency can happen at anytime and in anyplace, leaving one vulnerable. Don’t be a sitting duck. The Subivor® Subway Emergency Kit can aid you in seeing and breathing while exiting. This all-in-one compact, portable and easy to use subway emergency kit contains some items never seen before in a kit.

This could have won my Third Movie-Plot Threat Contest.

Posted on June 9, 2008 at 12:11 PMView Comments

Third Annual Movie-Plot Threat Contest Winner

On April 7 — seven days late — I announced the Third Annual Movie-Plot Threat Contest:

For this contest, the goal is to create fear. Not just any fear, but a fear that you can alleviate through the sale of your new product idea. There are lots of risks out there, some of them serious, some of them so unlikely that we shouldn’t worry about them, and some of them completely made up. And there are lots of products out there that provide security against those risks.

Your job is to invent one. First, find a risk or create one. It can be a terrorism risk, a criminal risk, a natural-disaster risk, a common household risk — whatever. The weirder the better. Then, create a product that everyone simply has to buy to protect him- or herself from that risk. And finally, write a catalog ad for that product.

[…]

Entries are limited to 150 words … because fear doesn’t require a whole lot of explaining. Tell us why we should be afraid, and why we should buy your product.

On May 7, I posted five semi-finalists out of the 327 blog comments:

Sadly, two of those five was above the 150-word limit. Out of the three remaining, I (with the help of my readers) have chosen a winner.

Presenting, the winner of the Third Annual Movie Plot Threat Contest, Aaron Massey:

Tommy Tester Toothpaste Strips:

Many Americans were shocked to hear the results of the research trials regarding heavy metals and toothpaste conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine, which FDA is only now attempting to confirm. This latest scare comes after hundreds of deaths were linked to toothpaste contaminated with diethylene glycol, a potentially dangerous chemical used in antifreeze.

In light of this continuing health risk, Hamilton Health Labs is proud to announce Tommy Tester Toothpaste Strips! Just apply a dab of toothpaste from a fresh tube onto the strip and let it rest for 3 minutes. It’s just that easy! If the strip turns blue, rest assured that your entire tube of toothpaste is safe. However, if the strip turns pink, dispose of the toothpaste immediately and call the FDA health emergency number at 301-443-1240.

Do not let your family become a statistic when the solution is only $2.95!

Aaron wins, well, nothing really, except the fame and glory afforded by this blog. So give him some fame and glory. Congratulations.

Posted on May 15, 2008 at 6:24 AMView Comments

Third Annual Movie-Plot Threat Contest Semi-Finalists

A month ago I announced the Third Annual Movie-Plot Threat Contest:

For this contest, the goal is to create fear. Not just any fear, but a fear that you can alleviate through the sale of your new product idea. There are lots of risks out there, some of them serious, some of them so unlikely that we shouldn’t worry about them, and some of them completely made up. And there are lots of products out there that provide security against those risks.

Your job is to invent one. First, find a risk or create one. It can be a terrorism risk, a criminal risk, a natural-disaster risk, a common household risk — whatever. The weirder the better. Then, create a product that everyone simply has to buy to protect him- or herself from that risk. And finally, write a catalog ad for that product.

[…]

Entries are limited to 150 words … because fear doesn’t require a whole lot of explaining. Tell us why we should be afraid, and why we should buy your product.

Submissions are in. The blog entry has 327 comments. I’ve read them all, and here are the semi-finalists:

It’s not in the running, but reader “False Data” deserves special mention for his Safe-T-Nav, a GPS system that detects high crime zones. It would be a semi-finalist, but it already exists.

Cast your vote; I’ll announce the winner on the 15th.

Posted on May 7, 2008 at 2:33 PMView Comments

Third Annual Movie-Plot Threat Contest

I can’t believe I let April 1 come and go without posting the rules to the Third Annual Movie-Plot Threat Contest. Well, better late than never.

For this contest, the goal is to create fear. Not just any fear, but a fear that you can alleviate through the sale of your new product idea. There are lots of risks out there, some of them serious, some of them so unlikely that we shouldn’t worry about them, and some of them completely made up. And there are lots of products out there that provide security against those risks.

Your job is to invent one. First, find a risk or create one. It can be a terrorism risk, a criminal risk, a natural-disaster risk, a common household risk — whatever. The weirder the better. Then, create a product that everyone simply has to buy to protect him- or herself from that risk. And finally, write a catalog ad for that product.

Here’s an example, pulled from page 25 of the Late Spring 2008 Skymall catalog I’m reading on my airplane right now:

A Turtle is Safe in Water, A Child is Not!

Even with the most vigilant supervision a child can disappear in seconds and not be missed until it’s too late. Our new wireless pool safety alarm system is a must for pool owners and parents of young children. The Turtle Wristband locks on the child’s wrist (a special key is required to remove it) and instantly detects immersion in water and sounds a shrill alarm at the Base Station located in the house or within 100 feet of the pool, spa, or backyard pond. Keep extra wristbands on hand for guests or to protect the family dog.

Entries are limited to 150 words — the example above had 97 words — because fear doesn’t require a whole lot of explaining. Tell us why we should be afraid, and why we should buy your product.

Entries will be judged on creativity, originality, persuasiveness, and plausibility. It’s okay if the product you invent doesn’t actually exist, but this isn’t a science fiction contest.

Portable salmonella detectors for salad bars. Acoustical devices that estimate tiger proximity based on roar strength. GPS-enabled wallets for use when you’ve been pickpocketed. Wrist cuffs that emit fake DNA to fool DNA detectors. The Quantum Sleeper. Fear offers endless business opportunities. Good luck.

Entries due by May 1.

The First Movie-Plot Threat Contest rules and winner. The Second Movie-Plot Threat Contest rules, semifinalists, and winner.

EDITED TO ADD (4/7): Submit your entry in the comments.

EDITED TO ADD (4/8): You people are frighteningly creative.

Posted on April 7, 2008 at 3:50 PMView Comments

New Lithium Battery Rules for U.S. Airplanes

Starting in 2008, there are new rules for bringing lithium batteries on airplanes:

The following quantity limits apply to both your spare and installed batteries. The limits are expressed in grams of “equivalent lithium content.” 8 grams of equivalent lithium content is approximately 100 watt-hours. 25 grams is approximately 300 watt-hours:

  • Under the new rules, you can bring batteries with up to 8-gram equivalent lithium content. All lithium ion batteries in cell phones are below 8 gram equivalent lithium content. Nearly all laptop computers also are below this quantity threshold.
  • You can also bring up to two spare batteries with an aggregate equivalent lithium content of up to 25 grams, in addition to any batteries that fall below the 8-gram threshold. Examples of two types of lithium ion batteries with equivalent lithium content over 8 grams but below 25 are shown below.
  • For a lithium metal battery, whether installed in a device or carried as a spare, the limit on lithium content is 2 grams of lithium metal per battery.
  • Almost all consumer-type lithium metal batteries are below 2 grams of lithium metal. But if you are unsure, contact the manufacturer!

Near as I can tell, this affects pretty much no one except audio/visual professionals. And the TSA isn’t saying whether this is a safety issue or a security issue. They aren’t giving any reason. But those of you who paid close attention to the Second Movie-Plot Threat Contest know of the dangers:

Terrorists camouflages bombs as college textbooks, with detonators hidden in the lithium-ion batteries of various electronics. The terrorist nonchalantly wanders up by the cockpit with his armed textbook and detonates it right after the seat belt sign goes off, but while the plane is still over an inhabited area. Thousands die, with most of the casualties on the ground.

Chat about the ban on FlyerTalk. Does any other country have any similar restrictions?

EDITED TO ADD (12/28): It’s not a TSA rule; it’s an FAA rule.

The FAA has found that current systems for putting out aircraft cargo fires could not suppress a fire if a shipment of non-rechargeable batteries ignited during flight, the release said.

Here’s the actual rule; it’s the DOT that published it. Lithium batteries have been banned as cargo for a long time now. This is the DC-8 fire that led to the ban.

Posted on December 28, 2007 at 3:05 PMView Comments

Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.