More Productive Things

From the article: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/31/business/boss-cleavage-coworker-revenge.html

… as much as I would also enjoy devoting my silver years to long, “John Wick”-ian episodes of bloodthirsty revenge, there are crueler and yet more productive things we can do.

Take your passion and invest it in undermining the values of your enemies.

Were they racists? Go tutor immigrants in English.

Did they mock your faith? Volunteer at Sunday school.

Were they prigs? Go out and overtip exotic dancers.

Find the one thing that would make them cry into their pillows and do it with glee.

Choire Sicha is the Styles editor of The Times. Write to him at workfriend@nytimes.com.


Featured image from screen capture from: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/03/25/children-of-the-same-god-pope-francis-washes-the-feet-of-muslim-migrants/

Russian Propaganda and Hacks Targeting Associations

Russia (and others) meddling in US politics via propaganda, and winning, is being discussed. It’s a start.

Associations, via hacking, phishing, social engineering, and investment, were (probably) targeted as early as …. well, first the report:

Reported: https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2018/12/16/new-report-russian-disinformation-prepared-senate-shows-operations-scale-sweep/

New report on Russian disinformation, prepared for the Senate, shows the operation’s scale and sweep

December 16 at 4:29 PM – A report prepared for the Senate that provides the most sweeping analysis yet of Russia’s disinformation campaign around the 2016 election found the operation used every major social media platform to deliver words, images and videos tailored to voters’ interests to help elect President Trump — and worked even harder to support him while in office.

And…

The research — by Oxford University’sComputational Propaganda ProjectandGraphika, a network analysis firm — offers new details of how Russians working at theInternet Research Agency, which U.S. officials have charged withcriminal offensesfor interfering in the 2016 campaign, sliced Americans into key interest groups for targeted messaging. These efforts shifted over time, peaking at key political moments, such as presidential debates or party conventions, the report found.

IMHO – Our security community as well as the media unfortunately are not using common sense and logic. They still underestimate the scope and significance of ongoing issues and attacks AMS vendors must defend against.

Associations were targeted as early as 2010 according to our logs. If memory serves me correctly. (It’s expensive to do computer forensics.)

Attacks on associations, non-profits, NGOs/NPOs skyrocketed, I’d say, in 2014.

Former FBI Director Comey testified that the FBI became aware of it in 2015.

The involvement and influence campaigns, and attacks, have not decreased as I write this in December 2018.

you reap what you saw

International trade wars are difficult. I get it. Yes it is complicated. Then there is data:

American farmers are titans of international commerce. From 2000 to 2017 the value of agricultural exports nearly tripled. Exports comprise more than a fifth of farm output. Grain gushes abroad in the highest volumes. As the world eats more meat, livestock producers need more animal feed, raising demand for soyabeans. Exports last year reached $21.6bn, more than double the value of corn, the next largest export.

These successes are due in part to government subsidies that incentivise production, such as farm payments that rise when commodity prices fall. These mainly support big operations: farms with incomes of $167,000 or more received nearly 70% of commodity payments in 2016, according to the Heritage Foundation, a think-tank.

Productivity-boosting measures have helped, too. Mr Sims, for instance, now uses data on yields to fine-tune the application of fertiliser. He flies drones to inspect crops for insect damage.

Farmers often coat seeds before planting to fend off rot and pests. Environmentalists worry about the impact on water and biodiversity. But production has boomed.

This has helped depress prices for corn and soyabeans in recent years, even as land, fertiliser and seed have remained relatively expensive.

So a trade war is particularly ill-timed.

Mr Trump announced tariffs on steel and aluminium imports in March, and extended them to Mexico, Canada and Europe in May. In retaliation Mexico, the second-largest importer of American pork by value, raised tariffs to 20%. China’s tariffs of up to 70% on pork, and 25% on soyabeans, hurt even more.

Mr Trump is due to meet Xi Jinping, China’s president, at the G20 summit later this month, 

X

Co-Living

If part of your life and work require travel, co-living is a great trend.

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/08/23/co-living-millennials-san-jose-what-works-219378?cid=apn

Ask anyone who travels for work. Most will say being alone and away from family and their support network is the hardest part. (Besides really uncomfortable airplane seats.)

From the article on co-living:

What Cannon had stumbled upon was actually a burgeoning trend in rental housing that had begun to shake up cities most popular with millennials. It’s called “co-living,” and it’s attempting to rewrite the exasperating and paycheck-crushing hassle of finding a decent place to live near the place where you work.

to sow chaos and divide Americans

From the article on Putin winning /over/ Trump: https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/08/01/russia-recruit-americans-mariia-butina-spy-intelligence-219079?cid=apn

“And here was the bonus for Russia: So what if Butina did get caught? The ultimate aim of the entire operation was to sow chaos and divide Americans in order to weaken the West, thus allowing Russia to pursue its agenda on the world stage. Now, half the country yells that the Republican Party was infiltrated by Russia, while the other half yells that it’s fake news and hyperbole. The payoff for Russia is still great, and they can now use Butina’s incarceration to continue to push their agenda of dividing the nation. There was no downside for Russia.”

We are being played. And we, so far, haven’t shown the ability to respond to a queens pawn opening. Never mind the abandonment of teamwork with our allies.

This is frustrating. I trust our political system will self correct. That’s what it designed to do.

Stay peaceful. Stay vocal. Celebrate the positive outcomes regardless of your party.***

*** I’m an independent. A POLS BS from TAMU. I have voted in primaries for both parties at different times. I have volunteered for candidates in both parties. Because that’s Houston y’all. We ain’t got no time for stupid or bigots – we have work to do. Help, be fair, or get the hell out the way while we actually build stuff.

We are under attack. Thank you for noticing.

This is a great pull quote. It’s just from the wrong year. Let’s say … um … by 2013 it was obvious.

“The warning lights are blinking red again,” Mr. Coats said as he cautioned of cyberthreats. “Today, the digital infrastructure that serves this country is literally under attack.”

– Dan Coates, Director of National Security

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/13/us/politics/dan-coats-intelligence-russia-cyber-warning.html

Wendi Winters was a brave person who defined courage

This is what a hero looks like. Running at an active shooter with a trash can as a shield to save others.

Wendi Winters, victim of Annapolis Capital Gazette shooting, rushed at gunman (with a trash can shield)

Wendi Winters stood as soon as she heard the bangs.A man with a gun had broken the glass doors leading to the newsroom of the Capital Gazette and was shooting at her colleagues, many of whom dropped to the floor or dove under their desks. Not Winters.

Grabbing the trash can and recycling bin she kept by her desk, she ran toward the man and yelled at him to stop — distracting him long enough to allow some of her colleagues to escape. Of the 11 people in the room that day, six survived.

#forgotten Hurricane Harvey and Houston

Ever wonder what it looks like to be in the eye of a slow moving hurricane? This is what it looked like during Hurricane Harvey in 2017 in Houston.

You know you’re ‘effed when, given I am registered as a Drone Pilot, we were grounded for four days. Because the sky is full of rescue helicopters.

Other images I took during Hurricane Harvey, most actually, I’ve never published.

I bring this up because we’ve done very little to improve Houston’s flooding problem. Except study it.

I’d just moved my primary location (I still travel of course) back from SF to Houston several weeks prior.

Awesome timing, I know, right?!

And yet I’m not sure our governor even remembers hurricane Harvey. Please drive down Bramblewood and let’s talk about “brain drain” and the economy of the country.

I’ve seen little if any action from our Congressmen or Mayor.

Eyes on the ground in 77079, the one’s who were specifically flooded and were saved by citizens from so many places who drove in with bass boats and air boats, but not much help from city, state, or dc.

This is what it looks like to be forgotten. To smile at your friends house, still half completed, while both of you have the same anxiety – they’ve done nothing to fix it. And now it’s hurricane season again.

I see no humor in it.

lexdexia untie

There is a social stigma with learning disabilities. People tend to believe, perhaps because they were taught, that dyslexia means someone “reads” the sequence “az” and sees “za”. Like it’s a problem with your eyes. I don’t believe this to be the case.

Perhaps the fallacy stems from the fact that while “walk” means the same observable behavior for everyone, “read” isn’t conducted the same way in our brains for all of us. (I dunno as I’m not qualified to answer that question. I’m just a curious person.)

Yet quite a few things in this article on dyslexia are spot on for me. https://www.wired.com/story/end-of-dyslexia/

Russian Ads on FB Released

From the article on Dark Reading regarding the Russian interference in the election of 2016.:

 … the House Intelligence Committee have shared more details of Russia’s interference in the 2016 US Presidential Election with the release of 3,000 Facebook ads. The ads, purchased by Russia’s Internet Research Agency (IRA), ran from 2015 to 2017.

Committee members this week released a total of 3,519 ads and stated more than 11.4 million Americans were exposed to them. The IRA also created 470 Facebook pages, which generated 80,000 pieces of organic content and were seen by more than 126 million Americans, the Committee reports. It plans to release this organic content at a later date.

Fairly audacious. One question to ponder. Have you ever heard of a company or government pushing a message out using one (and only 1) channel? Of course not. It will be good when their MSM advertising buys are exposed.

Primary voting reg deadline Monday Feb 7, 2018

You must register to vote in the party primaries by tomorrow.

From an email from our Houston district rep Culberson:

“If you were displaced by Hurricane Harvey, like my brother and his wife, and you have temporarily moved until you can repair your house, your voter registration may have been suspended because the Post Office is prohibited from forwarding our new voter registration cards.  You are still registered, but you will need to fill out a Certificate of Residency form, which you can print from this link, and give it to the Election Judge so you can vote in your home precinct.”

First – do what John says. Vote in the primaries NOW.

Further:

Register as a Republican if you are in Texas. Seriously. You can vote for whoever you want in the actual election.

But as y’all know, human-ballot-robots will just click a party-line-vote.

Yes, sure they are smart people. But smart is a dime a dozen and few have the time to research. Thus lacking the discipline to study and gain knowledge on the candidates themselves, they click a party (the party of the North in the “War Between the States” if you are curious) and then walk out.

Bottom line:

Voting in the Texas primaries matters because most voters in Texas straight-line party vote like robots for the carpet-bagger party. (Google it. History is good for you.)

Example: despite every major city in Texas voting Blue in the last Presidential election, despite the terrible options given to us by both parties, there are still the rural voters who straight party line vote. I know they are smart.

I’m was privileged to be an Aggie myself, I studied POLS at TAMU which required critical thinking. I believe I am qualified to speak to this topic.

I have voted in primaries for both parties over the years. (So what? I’m pro-America and pro-Earth) I volunteered for Bush 41’s re-election campaign. I volunteered in support of Mayor Bill White. I supported Mayor Annise Parker. I’ve volunteered (at great personal expense) to support Congressman Culberson in DC when he was on the cutting edge of tech and they we’re blocking his push for the latest tech.

To be clear, John is a good man. I first met him because we went to the same Church (MDUMC) in the Energy Corridor in West Houston. Our kids we’re in different Sunday School classes that all of us volunteered to teach.

Action Items:

Register as a Republican and pick your next Rep. Because the actual vote won’t matter in Texas state level elections.

Congressman John Culberson is a friend, was a long time client, and I like what he says in person. Yet I don’t like that some DC dorks and K-street absorbed him into party line votes.

Davey Crockett would, actually he did, die fighting for our rights. But DC can consume a person apparently. I still have hope for John as a leader. Right now every time I read a roll call vote summary in the Chronicle I’m kinda disappointed to see party/pac money “trumps” representative leadership. (We want you back John!)

To repeat – go vote in the primaries. If you aren’t registered with a party then tomorrow is the deadline in Texas.

Note: I’m from the party of George Washington. (Google it)

As an independent, I have no problem voting in either primary, and I have, in a nation that has distorted the electoral college and gerrymandered districts like schoolyard bullies. (I’m looking at you Tom Delay.)

Triangulate Shooter Location with Mobile App – Possible?

Text exchange with a friend about how to defend crowds from threats like the shooter in Las Vegas.

[redacted section]




Yup, saving the world, or trying to, one bear at a time.

Triangulating on a sound with data from thousands of willing opt-in smart phones is possible. Pitch, yaw, acceleration, relative volume compared to those in proximity to normalize. Calculate position from last known good if towers go out.

Mesh grid relative to each other if no service. Share UDP 5353 and change multicast DNS into a “people finder”.

The app, when turned on, would send a cascade of data flowing in with lots of noise. The analysis is the same thing anyone who has done log analysis with an ELK stack is familiar with. Have a buffer of say 10 seconds backwards until triggered.

With a few datasets from simulations (like having 30 people in a room and see if the app can figure out who blew the dog whistle.

Sensor based smart phone triangulation is one way we could defend ourselves in an attack on any soft target.

Note: the concept is somewhat related to what we are building at somarobotics.com. However I’m putting it out there because I’d love to see someone build a system to automatically respond and help.