I’ve collected a variety of links over the past few days. Leading off, The Slacktivist explains the real purpose behind all of the think tanks, institutes, and foundations in Washington DC — unemployment insurance for disgraced or out of power political operatives.

The Homeland Security department has decided that you can carry lighters onto planes again. Most surprising bit in this article — a DHS spokesman actually uses the term “security theater.” Maybe there’s hope after all.

I’ve been following the NBA’s referee betting scandal with interest. Bill Simmons has a great piece putting the incident in context and examining the repercussions. The NBA’s officiating problems only start with one corrupt official. The Wages of Wins has a piece arguing that the gambling scandal won’t have much effect on the NBA as a business.

I was already interested in watching Ratatouille, but after reading Michael Ruhlman’s review, I feel like going straight to the theater and watching it tonight. A coworker went to the movie this weekend and then went straight to the farmer’s market to buy the ingredients to make ratatouille on his own.

Paul Kedrosky has some simple career advice for you — do whatever gets you tenure.

Last week 3qd published a really interesting piece on Pakistan’s Red Mosque incident and the growth of Islamic extremism in Pakistan.

I of course have a couple of iPhone links today. First is an article on a remote root exploit, which comes as no surprise given that all process on the iPhone run with root privileges. The second is David Pogue talking about AT&T’s irritating billing.

Finally, for the developers, there’s the Capistrano 2.0 announcement, a good article about the complexity of handling names in internationalized applications, and an article with a few cool shell scripts that I found inspiring.