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Hacking The Electric Grid Is Damned Hard

Hacking The Electric Grid Is Damned Hard:

Difficult isn’t the same as impossible, Suh-Lee told me. Depending on where an attack happened and how people responded, you could get the stuff of our nightmares. Lawrence repeatedly invoked the phrase “knock on wood” as he talked about the possibility of infiltrations of electric infrastructure turning into real-world blackouts. That’s why there’s a lot of effort going into research, monitoring and preparation for cyberattacks. Lawrence’s team, for instance, is gearing up for an event that’s held every other year and is sort of like war games for the electric grid. And the Department of Energy is planning a similar event, focused on figuring out what it takes to reboot after a hacker-caused blackout.

But that preparation doesn’t mean we’ll eventually solve this problem, either, Suh-Lee said. If the chances of a cinematic disaster are low, the chances of a theatrical hero on a white horse riding in to save the day are even lower. Making the grid stronger and more resilient also means making it more digital — the work that’s being done to improve the infrastructure has also created new opportunities for hackers to break in. And the risk of attack is here to stay. Security improvements are “never going to completely eliminate the risk,” she said. “The risk is out there and people will find a new way to attack.” We’ll be living with cyber threats to the grid for the rest of our lives.

(Via Features – FiveThirtyEight)

Press around the North America electrical grid and security is often hyperbolic. Maggie Koerth-Baker typically writes in a measured way so I appreciate this article adding a little bit of reason into the diaspora.

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Who’s The Favorite And Who’s A Sleeper In The English Premier League?

Who’s The Favorite And Who’s A Sleeper In The English Premier League?:

The Premier League, which kicks off Friday afternoon, is often regarded as the most competitive league in the world, if not the best. In fact, both of those assumptions might be false: While the Premier League boasts four of the top 10 and six of the top 15 teams in the world according to our Soccer Power Index rankings, only one other team cracks the top 50.1

 

This imbalance shouldn’t come as a shock: Aside from Blackburn Rovers in 1994-95 and Leicester City in 2015-16, only four teams have won the Premier League since its inception in 1992-93. And if you look at the table for every Premier League season — especially for the past decade — the top six spots are more likely than not occupied by some or all of the same six teams currently ranked in the world top 15.

 

If you’re hoping that the upcoming season will offer some vicissitude at the top of the table, don’t hold your breath: According to our Premier League predictions, Manchester City is a good bet to repeat as champions. And the five spaces below the Citizens will likely be occupied by — you guessed it! — Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United. After we ran 20,000 simulated seasons, the closest any team got to the top six was Crystal Palace — still 16 points off the pace.

… The top six teams in the Premier League are among the richest sports franchises on earth. All that money means they can afford to pay often ludicrous fees to attract the world’s best players. Money turns into results in major competitions, and results in major competitions turn into more money. And that new money turns into the buying of yet more of the world’s best players, and the top six feedback loop endures.

(Via Features – FiveThirtyEight)

I get why the world gets energized by the World Cup, but remind me why anyone cares about the Premier League? It makes football more boring than American football (for the championship contenders).

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Adding Value?

Adding Value?:


(Via)

(Via swissmiss)

This does not resemble elements of my professional life at all.

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Nissan releases all-electric camper van model

Nissan releases all-electric camper van model:

Nissan electric cargo vans had become a favorite of people who wanted to convert them into electric campers, so Nissan has now come out with an official model.

Via Treehugger:

According to the Nissan press release, the e-NV200 camper can be ordered and customized from any Nissan dealer in Spain. And while I’ve already anticipated scorn on this side of the Atlantic for a 40kWh battery and 124 miles of range, I actually could see this being quite popular in European markets. Where I grew up, for example, in South West England, I could take a van like this to most of the South West coast, and a large chunk of Wales, and a single fast charge would open up most of the South of the country.

Yes, this wouldn’t be practical for truly long distance road trips; but man, you could have some fun, low carbon adventures in it.

People have done custom conversions of the e-NV200 previously:

Nissan launches all-electric camper van (Treehugger)

(Via Boing Boing)

Oh, sign me up! Range sucks, but I love the concept.

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Strike When The Iron Is Hot

Strike When The Iron Is Hot:

I introduced a young friend of one of my children to a colleague in the tech business last month. The young friend took a day to reply to the email introduction and by then the introduction had gone cold.

Happily the introduction resurfaced this week and something may still come of it.

That story reminds me of another.

It was 1996 and Flatiron Partners had just relocated to the Flatiron district of NYC (we really had no choice but to locate there). A friend invited me to lunch at Gramercy Tavern which had opened a couple years previously and was one of the most happening restaurants in NYC.

We sat down to lunch and Danny Meyer, the owner of Gramercy Tavern, comes into the restaurant and starts working the lunch time crowd.

When he gets to our table my friend says to Danny “please meet Fred Wilson, founder of Flatiron Partners who has just relocated his business to the neighborhood.” Danny reached into his pocket, took out his business card, and said to me “Welcome to the neighborhood. If you ever need a table please give me a call and we will take care of you.”

That night when I got home I told the Gotham Gal “I met Danny Meyer today and he gave his card and said I could call him whenever I need a table.” To which she replied “go there for lunch tomorrow.” And I told her “I don’t have a lunch tomorrow.” She said “Get one. He will remember who you are tomorrow but won’t next month.”

So I got a lunch, called Danny, got a table, and he again said hello when he worked the lunch crowd (something he used to do whenever he was in town). I became friends with Danny and still call him when I need a table at one of his restaurants and can’t get one on Resy.

Striking while the iron is hot is so important. I often thing of the Gotham Gal saying “get one.” It was absolutely the right thing to do and always is.

(Via AVC)

I do this poorly. I almost never follow up right away, and then let too much time pass before I “get around to it”.

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We’re treating friendships like transactions, and it’s ruining relationships

We’re treating friendships like transactions, and it’s ruining relationships:

How are your friendship metrics—got lots of pals? Would you rate them five stars or less? Are they helping you live your best life?

We can quantify everything now—from our steps on Fitbit to our literary consumption on Goodreads. As a result, we feel we must make everything and everyone count for something. That’s a phenomenon which is both distressing and depressing as it applies to friendship.

Scan the internet and you’ll see no end of posts advising you to toss toxic friends and surround yourself with people who make you feel good instead. The current cultural discourse suggests that friends are people who we use to improve ourselves, and get rid of when the going gets tough or if we’re not having enough fun. One BuzzFeed article goes so far as to suggest forgetting a birthday is a dump-worthy offense, while a Cosmopolitan article recommends tossing friends who binge-drink on a Saturday night.

The way we talk about friendship paints an ugly picture of the new notion of relating—one that seeks maximum return on minimal investment, and outlines an exit strategy anytime a friend doesn’t fulfill our fantasies. These posts reveal more about the toxicity of our society than the negative people they’re describing. It’s friendship as a capitalistic exchange, instead of relationships involving people who care about each other, hanging out, and helping each other through life’s ups and downs.

It’s enough to make you want to cry into a beer with a confidante—you know, a close friend of the kind that’s going out of style.

(Via Quartz » Technology)

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Don’t Fear the TSA Cutting Airport Security. Be Glad That They’re Talking about It.

Don’t Fear the TSA Cutting Airport Security. Be Glad That They’re Talking about It.:

Last week, CNN reported that the Transportation Security Administration is considering eliminating security at U.S. airports that fly only smaller planes — 60 seats or fewer. Passengers connecting to larger planes would clear security at their destinations.

To be clear, the TSA has put forth no concrete proposal. The internal agency working group’s report obtained by CNN contains no recommendations. It’s nothing more than 20 people examining the potential security risks of the policy change. It’s not even new: The TSA considered this back in 2011, and the agency reviews its security policies every year. But commentary around the news has been strongly negative. Regardless of the idea’s merit, it will almost certainly not happen. That’s the result of politics, not security: Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), one of numerous outraged lawmakers, has already penned a letter to the agency saying that “TSA documents proposing to scrap critical passenger security screenings, without so much as a metal detector in place in some airports, would effectively clear the runway for potential terrorist attacks.” He continued, “It simply boggles the mind to even think that the TSA has plans like this on paper in the first place.”

We don’t know enough to conclude whether this is a good idea, but it shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand. We need to evaluate airport security based on concrete costs and benefits, and not continue to implement security theater based on fear. And we should applaud the agency’s willingness to explore changes in the screening process.

There is already a tiered system for airport security, varying for both airports and passengers. Many people are enrolled in TSA PreCheck, allowing them to go through checkpoints faster and with less screening. Smaller airports don’t have modern screening equipment like full-body scanners or CT baggage screeners, making it impossible for them to detect some plastic explosives. Any would-be terrorist is already able to pick and choose his flight conditions to suit his plot.

Over the years, I have written many essays critical of the TSA and airport security, in general. Most of it is security theater — measures that make us feel safer without improving security. For example, the liquids ban makes no sense as implemented, because there’s no penalty for repeatedly trying to evade the scanners. The full-body scanners are terrible at detecting the explosive material PETN if it is well concealed — which is their whole point.

There are two basic kinds of terrorists. The amateurs will be deterred or detected by even basic security measures. The professionals will figure out how to evade even the most stringent measures. I’ve repeatedly said that the two things that have made flying safer since 9/11 are reinforcing the cockpit doors and persuading passengers that they need to fight back. Everything beyond that isn’t worth it.

It’s always possible to increase security by adding more onerous — and expensive — procedures. If that were the only concern, we would all be strip-searched and prohibited from traveling with luggage. Realistically, we need to analyze whether the increased security of any measure is worth the cost, in money, time and convenience. We spend $8 billion a year on the TSA, and we’d like to get the most security possible for that money.

This is exactly what that TSA working group was doing. CNN reported that the group specifically evaluated the costs and benefits of eliminating security at minor airports, saving $115 million a year with a “small (nonzero) undesirable increase in risk related to additional adversary opportunity.” That money could be used to bolster security at larger airports or to reduce threats totally removed from airports.

We need more of this kind of thinking, not less. In 2017, political scientists Mark Stewart and John Mueller published a detailed evaluation of airport security measures based on the cost to implement and the benefit in terms of lives saved. They concluded that most of what our government does either isn’t effective at preventing terrorism or is simply too expensive to justify the security it does provide. Others might disagree with their conclusions, but their analysis provides enough detailed information to have a meaningful argument.

The more we politicize security, the worse we are. People are generally terrible judges of risk. We fear threats in the news out of proportion with the actual dangers. We overestimate rare and spectacular risks, and underestimate commonplace ones. We fear specific “movie-plot threats” that we can bring to mind. That’s why we fear flying over driving, even though the latter kills about 35,000 people each year — about a 9/11’s worth of deaths each month. And it’s why the idea of the TSA eliminating security at minor airports fills us with fear. We can imagine the plot unfolding, only without Bruce Willis saving the day.

Very little today is immune to politics, including the TSA. It drove most of the agency’s decisions in the early years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. That the TSA is willing to consider politically unpopular ideas is a credit to the organization. Let’s let them perform their analyses in peace.

This essay originally appeared in the Washington Post.

(Via Schneier on Security – emphasis above is mine)

Bruce knows at least as much about this as anyone outside of TSA, and one can argue more than most inside. I always appreciate his analysis.

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I miss mine from before the Tokyo move kk.org

Lodge Hibachi Grill

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Bubble is a hilarious sci-fi spin on modern hipster culture – The Verge

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