Jack Barnaby … died? or made die?

Jack Barnaby was a hacker specializing in ATMs and medical equipment. He was working on the medical implant and hospital equipment security. He was scheduled to give a talk titled “Implantable medical devices: hacking humans” at the BlackHat USA 2013 tomorrow. The talk would focus on the security of wireless implantable medical devices, of which there are millions in the world. Jack planned to reveal software that uses a common transmitter to scan for and “interrogate” individual medical implants and discuss how they may be abused. And he is dead.

“The San Francisco Medical Examiner’s Office said Jack died in the city on Thursday. It gave no details. He was believed to be in his mid-30s.”

Jack Barnaby demonstrates an attack on an insulin pump

Interesting. We are 4 days after now and still there is no information whatsoever. Some reporters say he was 35, some – 36. Nobody has any details on why he has died, of what causes. Not even a statement like “from natural causes”. Simply no information. Weird accidents happen. But being in security we are entitled to an unhealthy bit of paranoia.

At the time when medical equipment is riddled with viruses and malware, disclosing more problems with the medical equipment, demonstrating how people could die from a remote network attack on their implants, all that is a serious crime against good business. I would not be surprised if his death was “nothing personal, just good business.”… -->

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Water – an artificially global problem

You must have heard that the amount of potable water is limited in the world. You must have heard that we all have to save water in the whole world because water is precious. Nearly all of that is nonsense. At least the “global” part of it definitely is.

Yes, water is important, in some parts precious. However, drinkable water is not a global problem. It cannot be. It is a local problem, local to the particular geographic location. Saving water in a place where there is abundance of it does not do anything for other locations where water may be scarce. Problems with water must be solved locally.

This problem was artificially converted into a global problem. It allows increasing prices for water anywhere, requesting that people save water where they cannot be made to pay for it – it is an economically profitable wave of uncertainty created to rip off people.

This is a shameless ripoff because we are made to pay for an abundant resource as if it is scarce. Water is an artificially global scarcity problem.… -->

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Life expectancy

I was reading Plato’s “The Republic” and it is a very worthwhile read. I highly recommend it to everyone, although that’s besides the point now. I want to talk about something else than the functioning of our society and its destination. In the very last chapter he managed to surprise me once again. Plato says:

“…once in a hundred years — such being reckoned to be the length of man’s life…”

And that small part of a sentence spoke mountains to me. I heard already from several sources that the length of human life is diminishing slowly over centuries, quite opposite to what the official science teaches us. But to hear from Plato that in his time (roughly 2400 years ago) the life expectancy was 100 years is stunning.

You see, Plato preaches philosophy as the basis for all human endeavors and he insists that everyone must study mathematics as the beginning of all other science and harmony. So, for him, to say the life expectancy is 100 years if it was not would be unacceptable. He speaks the truth in this case as in all other cases, mentioning it as a simple well-known fact of life.

So in his time to live to a hundred years was the same as now to live to sixty. We are down about one third in just two and a half centuries. This simple fact is hidden from us and we are taught that people live longer and longer while quite the opposite is the truth. People are dying.… -->

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USA love TSA!

The Reg reports on a recent survey that conclusively shows that “the majority of Americans think the Transportation Security Administration, which handles security screening at US airports, is doing just fine…”

Overcoming the initial shock, my conclusion is that if the government keeps something up long enough, people will just swallow it in the end because they will no more know any better. Duh, the humanity.… -->

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A miserable failure of Agile

That is really something we come across almost every single day – the initiatives and ideas that seemed so good backfire and destroy all they were supposed to improve. One of those things is Agile in software development.

The idea originally was fairly trivial but seemed to have potential to work. The idea was to be able to split the software development into smaller chunks so that even an idiot would be able to write that small piece of code. Then, a company would not need to hire experienced software developments but could settle for inexperienced, inadequately trained and simply stupid developers, often without an engineering degree. That would allow to pay less for the same amount of software produced.

The result? A catastrophic loss of productivity ensues. Yes, it is cheap to get the software developers and make them scrum masters but what then? They are not capable of developing the software anyway. And you drove away all real masters of design already. The amount of time required to write and rewrite all the code and tests shoots through the roof. The productivity falls through the floor. Costs … you guess it.

Software design (as many other engineering disciplines) remains an art to this day. Yes, you can apply agile principles in some dark corners of software development but far from everywhere. And that is something managers still have to understand.… -->

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The Factor of Money

I call this interesting thing “The Factor of Money”. What is it? It is one of the things quite wrong with the world from most people’s perspective. Although, to be fair, most of them do not realize it. And there is a minority who abuse the rest so it is quite ok for them. But let’s see.

A society is built on a number of factors that the society considers important. And whoever controls the decisive factor controls the society. If most of the world considers a single factor of utmost importance then whoever controls that factor controls the world.

Factors important, or crucial, for the people in the society may differ. One of the factors quite widespread nowadays is money. Notice how USSR, the Soviet countries overall, were not into money before. like the eighties. And those countries were quite apart from the other countries that were controlled by money. They were independent and powerful, they could not be easily subverted by money. Once they joined the throng in cherishing the money factor, they became a slave to the controllers of the money factor. Notice how quickly their deterioration happened.

Now watch this. China was always quite separate from the money world. They became strong on a basis totally different from money. Now they let the money in. What do you think will happen? Yes, let’s watch them being overtaken by the overlords of money. They stand no chance anymore whatever they may think about it.

The Factor of Money is the factor that leads to enslaving entire countries to the will of the Lords of Money. If you want your society or country to be independent, the first thing to do is to break away from The Money Factor.… -->

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Where will you get a good TV?

I am looking at the reports for TV sales for the last quarter of the last year comparing it to the previous year. What most analysts are interested in is the amount of shipments and how good LCD compared to other technologies is doing and why there is a little decline in TV shipments and things like that.

I am looking at it and I am feeling very sad. Here is why. The best TV manufacturers are historically Japanese. We may argue about it all day long but you would never call a Sony TV set “bad”, would you? Same goes for Sharp. The best two manufacturers of TVs in history of flat panels. And so I am very sad to see how they keep shrinking away under the pressure of their cheap-junk-TV competition. Sad, sad story. Where will you get your TV in 10 years if all you will have is junk, eh?

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