On ‘Experts’

This is a good post from Om Malik where he talks about what makes an expert:

Just because someone labels you as an “expert” doesn’t mean you are one. People get a lot of credit these days for stumbling onto things that may very well have happened had they been standing there or not. In addition to luck and talent, it takes time to become actually good or great at something. It’s not so much the 10,000-hour theory that is popular these days, but rather it’s about learning the lessons that only time can reveal.

Most ‘experts’ are fake. If you call yourself an expert, you are certainly lying to everyone and yourself. True experts are hard to find, because they are focused on their craft so intensely, that you rarely know who they are. At least that has been my experience.

(Via The Brooks Review Member Feed)

This struck me after having read Brian Krebs’ article about Marcus Hutchins, the guy who was responsible for both stopping the spread of the global WannaCry ransomware outbreak in 2017 and spreading the “Kronos” banking trojan in his younger days. Krebs describes Hutchins as an “accidental hero”, a “security enthusiast”, and a “security expert”. The middle one is probably the most correct of the bunch, but “security professional” is best.

The hero descriptor is perhaps more egregious than an expert label. We, in general, throw hero around far too liberally. In the WannaCry case, Hutchins was not unique in his discovery. He was first. Hutchins did not display exceptional courage, nobility, or strength when he registered the domain for DNS sinkhole-ing the malware. He did spend money and time, and he benefitted a lot of people, organizations, and companies through his swift action.

I value Krebs’ reporting and the risks he takes when writing some of his pieces, but I did not care for this. Let’s temper descriptors, shall we?

New Haneda flight paths over residential areas to begin in March 2020 in bid to boost capacity ahead of Olympics:

The government on Thursday announced a date for the introduction of new flight paths over Tokyo to increase capacity at Haneda airport in the run-up to the 2020 Olympics.

On March 29, planes will be able for the first time to descend and climb over densely populated Shibuya, Shinjuku and Shinagawa wards in central Tokyo.

The change could have a large impact on residents. Current approach and departure paths pass only over Tokyo Bay and aircraft are at high altitude when they cross built-up areas. […]

Sensitive to the impact on residents, the ministry drew up measures to minimise noise. These include revising the angle of approach when landing and bringing planes in more steeply.

It also addressed the potential problem of objects falling from aircraft and held briefing sessions with residents.

Yikes! If my assignment in Japan extends, my house hunting will definitely take this into account. My building is tall and I’m on the top floor, so really not looking forward to this.

Thank goodness I’ll be able to judge things in advance:

Trials of the new routes will take place later this month, when the government will use a small aircraft to fly the paths and check airport facilities. Tests with a passenger plane will begin in late January.


(Via Japan Times latest articles)