Monday Morning: Java Junky Jonesing
Need more of it than usual given the wacky stuff I’ve been reading into the wee hours over the weekend — like this stuff:
Former DHS Secretary now University of California prez surveils staff emails
Holy cats. This is ugly. After an alleged network security breach in June last year at UCLA’s medical center, an outside party was contracted by University of California president Janet Napolitano to monitor networks at all of University of California’s campuses. Collection of content both inbound and outbound, in violation of UoC-Berkeley’s IT policy, is alleged. UCOP has been opaque about the reason for the monitoring or data collection. Keep an eye on this case.
DDoS attack on HSBC crimps UK freelancers’ tax filing
The end of January in the United Kingdom is the filing deadline for the self-employed. Unfortunately, those who banked with HSBC lost access to their records for roughly four hours on Friday due to a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. It’s the second service outage inside a month for HSBC. The last outage lasted roughly two days but was not attributed to a DDoS. If UK lawmakers were testy after the first outage in January, they’re going to be ugly today.
Oil crash: massive wealth transfer, or increased dependency on oil?
Francisco Blanch, Commodities and Derivatives Strategist at BofA Merrill Lynch, claims plummeting oil prices have transferred roughly $3 trillion to consumers away from oil producers, and the resulting uptick in consumption will spur the economy. This assumption neatly ignores the likelihood consumers will have to pay one way or another for increasing losses due to unchecked climate change. Buying more insurance against weather damage and paying more taxes to replace infrastructure, as well as paying more for food due to crop losses won’t stimulate anything but consumer frustration.
War of words inside military about F-35’s readiness
In a December memo, the Defense Department’s director of operational test and evaluation Michael Gilmore wrote that the Joint Program Office’s July 2017 deadline for the F-35 jet’s full warfighting capability is “not realistic.” Software completion, testing and debugging is the risk. Folks in JPO are pushing back, with at least one official grousing online. So not cool, JPO. Address the concerns and then get to work on that software. Americans are paying for a working jet, not trash talk on Facebook.
Speaking of military…Sonic boom(s) caused minor earthquake in New Jersey
Just for fun, browse through a Twitter search for tweets from last Friday. Something caused more than one sonic boom — perhaps as many as nine — loud enough to register as an earthquake on USGS’ meters. At first, the military said it knew nothing about it, claiming there are no training exercises or other missions in the area. NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility-Virginia, Federal Aviation Administration, and the North American Aerospace Defense Command had no knowledge of flights in the area capable of generating sonic booms. But then the Navy piped up later, saying the Naval Test Wing Atlantic had been conducting test flights. Though not named, the F-35 fighter is believed to be the source of the booms. Were JPO and Lockheed Martin trying to make a rather loud and indiscreet point?
Or were the sonic booms due to some other unknown/unspecified cause, given Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst’s inability to explain the booms when asked? USGS’ website is still taking feedback from folks in New Jersey — did you feel the earth move, too?
Time to taper off from espresso and move to an Americano. Hope your Monday is as caffeinated as you need it to be.
1) very minor: Typo in the Napolitano story, Berkeley has 3 “e”s.
2) The oil story: The transfer of wealth due to the oil crash is in general a good thing, it brings down such artificial centers of power as Saudi Arabia and its control of the OPEC cartel. The climate change angle is a chimera: For many years now we’ve been listening to (mostly) economists, and (mostly) at places of great elitism like Stanford and MIT, tell us that the solution to climate change is to raise the prices on fossil fuel.
It’s actually quite shocking how few progressives and liberals notice how incredibly elitist and supply-side these theories are. They ignore the fact that most of the world’s utilitarian machine use — transportation in this case — doesn’t take place in a compact pre-industrial city with walking distance and the oldest subway system in the world (Boston-Cambridge) or in an elite $2 million per house mild climate good public transportation area with less than 1/2 hour public transportation access to everything and a university bus system (Palo Alto). They demean the public by pretending that the need the working classes and working poor have for transportation to and from work is not an addiction comparable to cigarettes that Papa Engineer/Economist can wean them off of with a shoulder patch or a ban in public places. And they’re incredibly America-centric in their thinking.
So good, let the prices fall and let the less well off get a transfer of wealth once in a while. If you want to move the population of the world off fossil fuels, then provide another form of energy suited to their needs. Most of the world doesn’t frivolously blow off fossil fuel energy air-conditioning or driving BMWs and Lexuses to classes that are walking distance away, and shouldn’t be judged by those standards.
Sorry about the editing — should be “is an addiction.”
“This morning will not launch without coffee. I don’t care how you deliver it, just bring it or nothing will start and finish today without it.”
Buy green beans, roast them in the oven (10 minutes at ca 400) grind and pour on not quite boiling water. Its cheaper and infinitely better.
My mother-in-law would do that — the oven roasting would raise a cloud over the whole neighborhood. Combine that with their wood-burning stove, and you had Man’s greatest contribution to the atmosphere.
Yeah, I felt a bit guilty about advising people to roast their own. But then I thought, ‘Nobody’s going to be able to pin it one me-and get me extradited- when those houses start burning down..” We’re all psychopaths now. And I nearly burned this place down two weeks ago: Memo, when you put the oven on, set the timer. Ten minutes will be enough.
So, how do you do your espresso? We buy the Starbucks beans, grind them in a Cuisinart grinder, then brew in some kind of Italian-brand pot. Tastes like crap (to me) unless I load it up with sugar; the other half takes it with cream. And really odoriferizes (is that a word?) up the house. Still, it’s got a kick. Caffeine — the world’s favorite drug.
Yes coffee, in buckets. Can the sun rise without it?
Workers have no right of privacy when using their employers equipment. OTOH, for UCOP to surveil in violation of their own policy stinks.
$3 Trillion won’t be enough to do it. The economy sucks, and the numbers we do have are cooked. The wonderful 292,000 jobs announced for December turn out to be 11,000 actual jobs and 281,000 seasonal adjustments. They must be smoking some good shit at BLS.
Infrastructure spending is traditional stimulus, or at least would be in a rational country. We’ve put several wars on the national credit card. Bridges, roads and municipal water systems are better both in what they provide, and in the amount of stimulus they provide. But not if they are offset by cuts in other services or taxes.
In the things could be worse department, how would you like to be the liveware in the cockpit of an F-35 doing software testing? How does the fly by wire work in this beta? It’s enough to generate enthusiasm for reading the known bug section of software release notes.
HRC is winding up her campaign in Iowa using Sanders’ stump speech issues to generate enthusiasm. Wonder what she’ll be espousing if she faces Trump or Cruz?
haarmeyer (9:32) — Typo fixed, thanks.
WRT wealth transfer: Yeah. Total vapor. Note the dismal retail sector performance during this last Christmas season. If consumers thought they had more money, they weren’t spending it. The truth is that consumers are still in the hole after the last massive wealth transfer in 2008, and it’ll be a long time before they feel they are out of it.
As for the rest of your commentary on climate change: pure bollocks. The public didn’t change its consumption back in the 1970s when gas was cheap the first time, when they knew climate change as global warming (before Exxon knew/hid/ignored info about CO2’s effect on the environment). EU responded to high oil prices and climate change with emission controls, which individual countries thwarted to support their industries and their cheating. Pick market-driven or government-driven effort, it’s been done and it’s failed. Only multi-generational education over sustained period combined with bottom-up/top-down consumption change will slow climate change — it’s already too late to avoid catastrophes. Cheap oil again combined with oligarchs’ demands for profits through increased GDP have a predictable outcome.
bevin (9:51) — I’d rather leave roasting to an expert I trust, and I most certainly can’t deal with roasting on a Monday morning.
bloopie2 (9:51) — I have a couple electric espresso makers, but for ease of cleanup and speed, I go with my old-school aluminum stovetop espresso makers. I use either a popular Latin American espresso, or I’ll grind my favorite Kona whole beans extra fine. I’m in good shape after consuming a 6-cupper.
lefty665 (10:01) — In re: UoC — Employees may have no expectations of privacy using employer’s communications systems, but this is not just an employer. It’s a publicly funded institution which has assured its workers up to now it doesn’t spy on them. Surveillance could have a chilling effect on speech and research.
I’d like to know how an alleged breach at UCLA’s medical center morphed into university-wide surveillance. I’d like to know there weren’t any violations of HIPAA or university/local/state ordinance/regs governing students’ information and privacy.
In re: F-35 — Given how much nation-state cyber espionage there has been of military-industrial resources, I don’t think JPO should be too cocky about the jet just yet. Can’t even with the liveware.
Say hunh, what? You follow this odd statement with an expression that the tactic I’m criticizing won’t work, so I’m not sure at all what you think I think about tactics for battling climate change at all.
But as for the above, the public didn’t know about the catastrophic unfolding usually called “global warming” during any part of the 1970s that included the cheap gas. Gas was cheap until the first oil shock, the computer experimentations and documentations related to the Gaia hypothesis at NASA Goddard that led to the initial global warming theory that predicts dire consequences for the warming was very late 70s and really early 1980s at best. I was at the fluid dynamics conference where the Goddard people made their case for climate shift out of the current basin of attraction — i.e. the tipping point case. They were the next poster session over from ours, we spent hours talking to them about their stuff, about our stuff and a lot else. That was in 1983. The gas price oil shock was in 1973.
I agree with you that manipulation of prices won’t work, I agree with you that massive education is needed. But more than that is needed, and the solution has to be amenable to all the people who need to implement it, not just people in the U.S. and it needs to include all of the things people don’t want to talk about, like population, too, and it has to include a lot of technology, philosophy, and yes, economics, to rework the world into an ecologically sustainable industrialized society which it currently isn’t. It just isn’t painless and it just isn’t the same as quitting smoking.
I was agreeing with most of what you wrote especially about population until you tried to combine two mutually exclusive concepts ‘ecologically sustainable’ and ‘industrialized society’.
My point is that there needs to be change so they aren’t mutually exclusive, no matter how impossible that sounds, and there isn’t a choice about it, really.
Solutions that seek to end industrialized society are worthless, unless you want to tell us which 5 billion people should die so the rest can live. And solutions which are not ecologically sustainable are asking to test by experiment whether the Goddard people were right about the earth becoming a place with rivers of molten metal beneath a sulfuric acid sky.
Hey Rayne, I agree entirely that it’s rotten at UofC. But can anyone really put anything on the web and expect privacy? Short of good encryption and Tor, and maybe not even that, it’s all accessible one way or another up to and including Intel’s AMT/Vpro, OOB, and other stuff baked into their recent processors. HIPAA turns into a pumpkin when exposed to national security, and Guv. Moonbeam has changed his stripes.
Yes, things could be worse. I wonder if the driver of this car practiced secure emailing and Internet browsing, and safe sex, and flossed daily, and exercised, and ate right, and prayed religiously, and donated to charity, and did good works daily. If so, what’s the takeaway — don’t drive a small Honda sedan?
Hi Bloopie2, we had one locally several months ago where a dead tree, not as big as the one you link, fell across a two lane road. It killed two people, one going each way and the speed limit was 55. Go figure, when your number’s up it’s up. The infinite improbability drive from Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy may be possible.
Good morning, Rayne, et al!
A new report I thought ya’ll might be interested in, in case you hadn’t seen it:
Reconciling Perspectives: New Report Reframes Encryption Debate; Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard; 1/31/16 https://cyber.law.harvard.edu/node/99280
Yet another seemingly independent group of researchers that at the end of a sequence of clicks ends up being Schneier et alia, again. We really need to start hearing from people unaffiliated with Bruce Schneier, James Comey, the EFF or the NSA. What seems like a debate including a wide array of different and independent groups turns out always to be the same names and faces organized under yet another seemingly independent marquee.
This Atlantic post notes an issue that the Anti-Trumpers may have. Many of the early Republican primaries will likely go for Trump or Cruz, and the “Establishment” candidates will be shut out completely of delegates because of allocation rules. So, it may be time to start picking your “favorite” – Trump or Cruz.
Former DHS Secretary now University of California prez surveils staff emails
I would love to know the name of the vendor and owner since she has close ties to di-fi and husband Dick.
Heaven forbid consumers should reap a savings and deny one of the world’s most profitable and destructive industries even more profit. That would be rude, just rude. Next thing you know, Elizabeth Warren will start attacking the industry’s accelerated depletion allowances, accounting legerdemain that generates profit more efficiently than finding oil.
The USG is taking feedback from folks in NJ about what caused the sonic booms generated by USG action (unless you are an X-Files fan or have your own aircraft that can fly about 750 miles an hour)? How Cheneyite. Ask folks what they think or know caused a problem so that the gubmint can admit only to what’s already out there, not to what it’s doing.
Ms. Napolitano’s “security monitoring” of UC-wide internet traffic is a big deal. The UC system, including much more than Berkeley and UCLA, is one of the largest universities in the world. It has one of the biggest budgets, some of the most talented faculty and students, and some of the most innovative projects on the planet. Unlimited access to the content and patterning data would be an orgasmic dream for the private sector. Everything from high-end physics research to job searches to love affairs and political action. Imagine what Ronald Reagan would have done with that, after he deposed Clark Kerr, of course. It’s the sort of opportunity a vendor would grab for free.
The faculty, students and state legislature should get and take a hard look at the vendor contracts underlying it. The fee arrangements, use restrictions, if any, indemnities, and non-disclosure obligations might be of special note.
Stove-top aluminum espresso makers are great: good, simple, fast, easy to clean (though I would like to see a link to someone other than the labor-abusing Amazon).
I’d think there will be a bit more debt repayment with the money saved on gasoline; at least I hope so. Maybe even more savings for retirement or advanced education. That won’t help consumption in the short run, but might be a help in the long run.