Bandits

This month I read more non-fiction: This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends: The Cyberweapons Arms Race by Nicole Perlroth. Throughout the entire tale, from the first critical vulnerability all the way to the offensive cyber strikes by nation states and their impact on my life all I could think about is how would Napoleon have dealt with the Austrian army exploiting a chain of 0-day exploits in order to silently offset the navigation of his calvary in order to prevent a French victory on the battlefield.

Actually, I didn’t think about Napoleon during this book and not just because I think that Napoleon’s password would probably have been motdepasse on every online account he had. Reading about the history of cyber surveillance and their evolution into attacks has grounded me solidly in the present.

Of course, the impact on my life has mainly been having to patch systems over the past fifteen years due to vulnerabilities like Heartbleed, notpetya and all the others that have emerged in the wake of cyber attacks in that time. And yes, even Bradism.com was hacked in the early days and all my witticisms were replaced with anti-American messages of support for Palestine.

I also realised that, as the American intelligence agencies’ lust for data ramped up post September 11, at the same time as system and internet security was terrible, and I was completing my final year of University, that this was the perfect storm that probably lead to Data Mining being an encouraged elective topic in case someone had any bright ideas on how to handle the firehose of scraped and stolen data from hacked servers and jailbroken Nokias.

The main thing I learned from this book is how prevalent is has been over the years for exploits to be kept hidden from vendors and traded on black markets to government organisations where they use them for surveillance or more, sometimes for years, before they get revealed and patched. (Ironically, a lot of the exploits are revealed when the government agency or state themselves gets hacked and their tools exposed.)

Is it really worth worrying about being tracked by QR codes or even social media when multiple governments are probably already in your kernel?

With such sophisticated cyberweapons out there now, can you really trust your firewall or network traffic monitor or “In use in 0 other locations” message?

Along with my recent reading about climate change, and my daily exposure to pandemic coverage, the future is not feeling particularly chipper.

I think we might need to teach children in school how to write their own kernel and build their own smartphones. And also how to grow tomatoes in acidic soil with no electricity, and manufacture their own hand sanitizer.


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If you met yourself from the future, what would you ask your future self?
What if they wont tell you anything?


The Kollax of Society

Every furniture set I buy from Ikea is missing the minifigure.


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What You Sow

92 days of 2021 winter and I have eaten a lot of different fruits. Not just the seasonal ones. I've had blueberries from Belgium and peaches from the USA and mangoes from Vietnam and strawberries from Queensland. Cherries from Chile and grapes from Serbia. Roma tomatoes and Lebanese cucumbers from who knows where. There's been two days over 20 degrees since May and every grey week has been a veritable fruit salad. And the most amazing thing? It's all been so affordable...

The Saddle

Living the life.

Living the life.


If you haven’t reached 37 years old yet and you want to know what it feels like, I will describe it.

Essentially I am a 21 year old who has reached a certain level of comprehension for so many things in the world. This includes, but is not limited to: Hardware. Software. Banking and finance (particularly home loans). Human anatomy. The stock market. Cooking, baking. Nutrition. Neurology. Plants and horticulture. Astrophysics. Dog anatomy. Cars. Photography. Electronics. Plumbing. Climate Change. Beer Brewing. Music. The publishing industry. Urban planning. Meteorology. Sports psychology. Business strategy. Fashion. Geopolitics. Philosophy. Insurance.

That certain level of comprehension is - spoiler alert - enough to know I don't understand it, but cognizant enough to have a hunch I’m getting ripped off when the time comes.

Perhaps if there weren’t so many things in the world to understand and be responsible for I’d have the capacity and time to be an expert in what was left.

Or perhaps the lesson in life is to learn to focus on a few things and become an expert, and pay other experts in other fields to take care of understanding the things you no longer need to understand.

If I was to take all the things I have learnt as an adult and inject them into my 21 year old brain I don’t think I would leave the house. Alas, time has a hold of the reins, and death's feet are in the stirrups.

...Add metaphors to that list of thingies above.

Steel Drum Solo

About 198 days ago I cracked the seal on my bulk container of 1500mg Fish Oil capsules and I recall thinking to myself that I was probably going to swallow the last of them on my birthday.

You might think it takes only rudimentary intelligence to count the number of days between two dates and divide by two, but that's not the logic I was using. I didn't know how many days there were exactly. I was calculating based on my instinct for how often I would be likely to skip my daily fish oil, and how approximately old I was, which at the time felt like exactly thirty-six years and 163 days.

This is the kind of mental acuity you can expect when you regularly consume 3000mg of fish oil 99% of the days.

Alas, I wasn't to know that I would miss seven days of autumnal fish oil as a prerequisite for my shoulder operation, and then another seven days when it was delayed a fortnight. But on the plus side I learnt that fish oil must be something other than a placebo otherwise why would the hospital ban me from taking it in the lead up to surgery?

Unfortunately my shoulder operation would also deprive me of my routine at the opposite end of the day - the mermaid stretch. It is, by far, the most effective stretch I have found to open the hips, unlock the lower back and release all tension from my hamstring tendons all the way up to my obliques. Unfortunately it requires a decent amount of shoulder resistance, and my orthopaedic surgeon may actually be Ursula, the sea witch, because since I woke up post-operation I couldn't be a mermaid anymore.

When I was a wee babe watching The Little Mermaid in a cinema for the first time, the scene with Ursula scared me so badly I cried and tried to hide in the aisles. This is an event I have no memory of, but which my Mum likes to remind me of from time to time.
Around 34 kilograms of fish oil have passed since that day, but perhaps this was what has motivated me these past months as I mobilised and braced and lifted tiny weights. My goal: to overcome the curse of Ursula. And this week, finally, I have been able to do my mermaid stretch and be under the C again.

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