Japanese TV is too delightful. I am close to buckling. How crazy is it to get a set two years in?
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Pentagon Defense Department travel records data breach

Pentagon – Defense Department travel records suffered a data breach that compromised the PI and credit card data of U.S. military and civilian personnel.
— Read on securityaffairs.co/wordpress/77097/data-breach/pentagon-travel-records-data-breach.html

Twenty some odd years ago I worked on a proposal team to win this very contract. As a security practitioner in the 90’s, the level of security that the DoD wanted was refreshing. This was the first example of a potential client understanding the risk of metadata – that someone could potentially deduce what the DoD planned by watching non-military travel records without necessarily having access to the detail.

No one was thinking specifically about payment or personal information. It was probably assumed that other threat scenarios would cover this data, but my recollection is hazy at best.

By the way, my employer and deal partners did not win the contract.

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Pantsdrunk, the Finnish Art of Relaxation

You’ve likely heard of hygge, the Danish word for a special feeling of coziness that’s been productized on Instagram and elsewhere to within an inch of its charming life. The Finns have a slightly different take on the good life called kalsarikännit, which roughly translates to “pantsdrunk” in English. A promotional site from the Finnish government defines it as “the feeling when you are going to get drunk home alone in your underwear — with no intention of going out”. They made the emoji above to illustrate pantsdrunkenness.
Finnish journalist Miska Rantanen has written a book on kalsarikännit called Päntsdrunk (Kalsarikänni): The Finnish Path to Relaxation.

When it comes to happiness rankings, Finland always scores near the top. Many Finnish phenomena set the bar high: the best education system, gender equality, a flourishing welfare state, sisu or bull-headed pluck. Behind all of these accomplishments lies a Finnish ability to stay calm, healthy and content in a riptide of endless tasks and temptations. The ability comes from the practice of “kalsarikanni” translated as pantsdrunk.

Peel off your clothes down to your underwear. Place savory or sweet snacks within reach alongside your bed or sofa. Make sure your television remote control is nearby along with any and all devices to access social media. Open your preferred alcohol. Your journey toward inner strength, higher quality of life, and peace of mind has begun.

Kalsarikännit isn’t as photogenic as hygge but there is some evidence of it on Instagram. As Rantanen explains, this lack of performance is part of the point:

“Pantsdrunk” doesn’t demand that you deny yourself the little things that make you happy or that you spend a fortune on Instagrammable Scandi furniture and load your house with more altar candles than a Catholic church. Affordability is its hallmark, offering a realistic remedy to everyday stress. Which is why this lifestyle choice is the antithesis of posing and pretence: one does not post atmospheric images on Instagram whilst pantsdrunk. Pantsdrunk is real. It’s about letting go and being yourself, no affectation and no performance.

I have been off alcohol lately, but kalsarikännit is usually one of my favorite forms of relaxation, particularly after a hard week.
— Read on kottke.org/18/10/pantsdrunk-the-finnish-art-of-relaxation

Leave it to the Scandinavians to coin this phrase.

I wonder if there’s a Japanese analog …

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National Park Service on the verge of blocking most White House protests: comments due by MONDAY! / Boing Boing

Monday is the end of the comment period for a sweeping National Park Service proposal that will have a dramatic effect on the ability of Americans to protest in sight of their government.

Under the proposed new rules, protests around the White House and the National Mall would require permits, protestors would be barred from the sidewalk north of the White House. The proposal also seeks public comment on charging protesters fees for permits to gather.

You can and should comment.
— Read on boingboing.net/2018/10/13/trumplethinskin-3.html

I submitted my comment. It took about 5 minutes.

We should all vote, and we should provide candid feedback to government about things like this proposed rule change.

I don’t know or care about your politics. If your party or politicians you agree with are in power, just remember that someday they won’t be. Anyone trying to take your freedoms away should be a red flag to all.

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Do Not Eat Here: Fatburger in Tokyo!

America’s Fatburger is now available in Japan! They are famous for their patties that are roughly double the size of ordinary Japanese burgers.
— Read on jpninfo.com/120827

This news saddens me deeply.

No one I know in the US would describe Fatburger’s food as fresh. Authentic? I have no metric. Tasty is a personal thing, but for me this is not. Well, more accurately, it can be tasty while eating it. It’s about 15 minutes after that you probably will realize that you’ve made a huge mistake.

Japan, and Tokyo specifically, have so many better local hamburger options than gorging themselves on this supersized cholesterol bomb.

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On the Law of Diminishing Specialization

On the Law of Diminishing Specialization:

Deploying a technique called work value analysis, Sassone measured not only the amount of work conducted by his subjects, but also the skill level required for the work. He found that managers and other skilled professionals were spending surprisingly large percentages of their time working on tasks that could be completed by comparably lower-level employees.

An important lesson lurks in these results that’s just as relevant now as it was then, back in the early days of the front office IT revolution: optimizing people’s ability to create value using their brains is complicated. Just because a given technology makes things easier doesn’t mean that it makes an organization more effective, you have to keep returning to the foundational question of what best supports the challenge of thinking hard about valuable things.

(Via Blog – Cal Newport)

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Chinese Supply Chain Hardware Attack

Chinese Supply Chain Hardware Attack:

Bloomberg is reporting about a Chinese espionage operating involving inserting a tiny chip into computer products made in China.

I’ve written (alternate link) this threat more generally. Supply-chain security is an insurmountably hard problem. Our IT industry is inexorably international, and anyone involved in the process can subvert the security of the end product. No one wants to even think about a US-only anything; prices would multiply many times over.

We cannot trust anyone, yet we have no choice but to trust everyone. No one is ready for the costs that solving this would entail.

(Via Schneier on Security)

The story moved since poblication last week, but Bruce’s words still hold true.

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Chindōgu (珍道具), A Curious Tool

The 10 Commandments of Chindogu, the Japanese Art of Creating Unusually Useless Inventions:

Back in the 1990s I’d often run across volumes of the Unuseless Japanese Inventions series at bookstores. Each one features about a hundred ostensibly real Japanese devices, photographed and described with a disarming straightforwardness, that mash up other consumer products in outwardly bizarre ways: chopsticks whose attached miniature electric fan cools ramen noodles en route to the mouth; a plastic zebra crossing to unroll and lay across a street at the walker’s convenience; an inverted umbrella attached to a portable tank for rainwater collection on the go. Such things, at once plausible and implausible, turn out to have their own word in the Japanese language: chindōgu (珍道具), or “curious tool.”

(Via Open Culture)

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Internal Monologues

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DHS Report on Security Threats to Agriculture Industry

DHS Warns of Cybersecurity Threats to Agriculture Industry:

A new report from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security called Threats to Precision Agriculture warns against the cybersecurity risks faced by the emerging technologies being adopted by the agricultural industry. Known as “precision agriculture,” the technologies include internet of things (IoT) devices such as remote sensors and global position systems (GPS) and the communications networks that support them. These devices generate large amounts of data which is then analyzed by machine learning systems to improve crop yield and monitor the health of livestock.

(Via BleepingComputer)

The DHS report seems to be a nice primer on Precision Agriculture. The security advice, while correct, takes a basic approach that no one in the industry has proper security controls in place. I would have liked to see something talking more about protecting the supply chain, the use of penetration testing and OT monitoring, and leveraging newer technology when it comes to integrity such as blockchain.

As it stands from the security perspective, this paper doesn’t break new ground or talk about uniquely industry specific needs. The risks are legion, so more effort could have been applied.

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