I was recently alarmed when people began piling on and attempted to eviscerate Melissa Bachman for posting pictures of her with wild animals she and clients have killed. A Facebook page, attacking her, “Stop Melissa Bachman“, was established and as of November 18, 2014, 90,531 people have “Liked” the page. A Facebook page, supporting Melissa Bachman, “Show Support for Melissa Bachman“, was also established and, as of November 18, 8,365 “Liked” the page. Now there is an petition to bar Melissa Bachman from ever returning to South Africa, where she killed a lion and posted the picture.
For the record I am a hunting advocate but have never hunted for animals (very deliberate wording). I made plans to hunt bear in Alaska after I retired from the Army but that was overcome by events. I do want to hunt, so if anyone wants to invite me to join them, I will move mountains to get a legal license and join you!
Back to the subject at hand.
I find it very disconcerting when perfectly legal occupations are denigrated, demeaned and excoriated just because one disagrees. “I hate you because of (fill in the blank)” and, as a result, the blind are now leading the blind. This is not just about Melissa Bachman and/or hunting, this is about almost anything in this ‘new world order’. Even more disturbing is when professional corporations and associations have a knee jerk reaction and cancel popular news programs because of a vocal few.
In this case it is easy to attack Melissa for killing defenseless animals. Indeed, the attacks on Melissa were vicious and she was correct in feeling targeted by personal attacks. The fact of the matter is her profession is legal but some may disagree. This is akin to legal brothels in Las Vegas being attacked by extreme conservatives because they disagree with prostitution. Melissa’s situation is not helped by what some call the Mainstream Media because conservation and gun control are so central to the left’s progressive or liberal cause. That is why I chose to include a picture of Melissa as a bowhunter. I guess I need to include a more controversial picture just to tick off some anti-gun nuts.
To be clear (Thank you, President Obama, for making that phrase popular), I think it is interesting that people attack Melissa Bachman for having a job, doing something that she appears to love, just because it makes them feel good. I also think they are misguided and wasting an inordinate amount of time, where they should be telling South Africa to bar lion hunting and other wildlife depleting hunts. Chances are, however, they’re going to tell you to pound sand, because that brings in big tourism dollars and South Africa isn’t really along the normal tourist routes, is it?
I continue to have difficulty following this administration’s focus.
Yes, the past two weeks in Washington DC have been quite different. Two weeks ago we had a deranged individual kill 12 people at the Navy Yard. Two days ago we had a deranged woman attempt to crash a gate at the White House, then engage law enforcement on multiple occasions around the US Capitol building and was then killed, all while having a toddler in the back seat. Then, yesterday, we had a man set himself on fire on the National Mall. Oh, yes, then we had the government shut down and 800,000 federal workers were furloughed. I was downtown on Thursday afternoon and the streets were deserted. It was wonderful.
But, amidst all this travesty of our great government, the President issued a toll-free number to explain the Obamacare to US citizens. 1-800-318-2596. Unfortunately, nobody thought to associate the letters on a telephone keypad (what used to be a dial) with the numbers. It spells out a very, very dirty sentence. F***-Yo. Oh, yes.
Mr. President, I’m writing a National Information Strategy for you, as requested by a friend. Please consider it. It’s better than my mother proofreading my school papers when I was a kid…
Sept. 30, 2013
Final Acceptance Deadline
Oct. 31, 2013
Finished Presentation Due
Dec. 15, 2013
A quick note from Winn…
When I was encouraged to bring back InfowarCon, I hesitated. For two years. I did not want to put on just another security/cyberwar conference, with an endless parade of Pay-to-Play speeches with little or no value. I did not want to do the Same Old Thing at an overpriced hotel that looks the same as the last conference… or at a convention center where sponsors and exhibitors have to spend absurd amounts of money to put up their banners, get electricity and internet.
I wanted to put on the kind of conference InfowarCon was when I started it. I wanted to re-make InfowarCon into a truly immersive experience; a compelling interactive “Show Me, don’t Tell Me” discussion; an event where non-attendees will self-flagellate for not coming to InfowarCon. I want thousands of remote attendees around the world to be able to participate over InfowarCon.TV. I wanted to build a congress that makes a difference in today’s world. With your esteemed help, I believe we are well on our way to achieving that.
The Call For Papers is just one piece of a large effort to bring backReal Content to a training congress. Over the years, InfowarCon led in thought-provoking discussion, leading edge thought, dissent, and yes, the InfowarCon favorite, controversy.
One of the first tenets of InfowarCon is, “Please say unpopular things. If everyone agrees with your ideas, you are not leading. Please show unpopular and scary stuff. Please get way the hell out of the box… or else there is no progress. Wacky is fine… but be prepared for well-reasoned push back from the extraordinary minds of our attendees!”We led in content driven congresses over the years. And I do know that from what I have already seen from submissions, colleagues and sponsors, InfowarCon will give attendees a very, very special suite of unexpected treats.
See you there!
Please go to http://infowarcon.com/call-for-papers/ for more info!
More in our ongoing future technology series.
Afghanistan and Iraq have brought about a huge increase in the advancement of prosthetics and body implants. This was actually brought about by the increased effectiveness of body armor, protecting soldiers from being killed, but at the perceived sacrifice of extremities.
As late as the American Civil War, very little was known about the human body and infections were responsible for the loss of most human life. When infections were finally being combatted with antibiotics, helmets began appearing, to protect a soldier’s head. Body armor only came into somewhat common use in the 1990s and the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq made its use mandatory. I recall in 1994 wearing body armor when entering Haiti and it was… agony. Hot, heavy and cumbersome. I don’t recall when I turned it back in to supply, but it couldn’t have been soon enough.
Even with body armor, heads, arms and legs are not protected as well as the torso. If you watched the movie “Blackhawk Down”, the body armor was so heavy that some decided to leave it behind – leading to a loss of life in many cases. Helmets protect much of the head but the face and neck are still exposed. The arms and legs are still totally exposed, so explosions, shrapnel and bullets do severe damage. This caused a huge increase in research and development of prosthetic limbs, their functionality and upgrades.
Ongoing with my “Future Technology” series.
Most people seem to be in awe of “wearable computiers”. Simply put, computers are no longer bound to a mainframe, a desktop, a laptop, a notebook, a tablet or smaller computer – they are and will be wearable. We’ve seen versions in TV, in the movies, in science fiction pieces and now they are reality. What we have today is Google Glass, cell phones in a watch, behind/in ear, on forearm, on harnesses, flip down, in contact lenses. More on a few of these later, in another blog. Much more.
Also related are rollable computers, which are mostly dependent on flexible electronics. This is an emerging technology, we’re starting to see these circuits now.
But as all emerging technology seems to do, security is an afterthought. Not only the security of the device itself, but to a facility security program for those people wearing a computerized device. You know, like the humble thumb drive, which can be brought in almost everywhere.
The NSA has undermined a fundamental social contract. We engineers built the internet – and now we have to fix it
• Bruce Schneier
• theguardian.com, Thursday 5 September 2013 15.04 EDT
Government and industry have betrayed the internet, and us.
By subverting the internet at every level to make it a vast, multi-layered and robust surveillance platform, the NSA has undermined a fundamental social contract. The companies that build and manage our internet infrastructure, the companies that create and sell us our hardware and software, or the companies that host our data: we can no longer trust them to be ethical internet stewards.
This is not the internet the world needs, or the internet its creators envisioned. We need to take it back.
And by we, I mean the engineering community.
Yes, this is primarily a political problem, a policy matter that requires political intervention.
But this is also an engineering problem, and there are several things engineers can – and should – do.
One, we should expose. If you do not have a security clearance, and if you have not received a National Security Letter, you are not bound by a federal confidentially requirements or a gag order. If you have been contacted by the NSA to subvert a product or protocol, you need to come forward with your story. Your employer obligations don’t cover illegal or unethical activity. If you work with classified data and are truly brave, expose what you know. We need whistleblowers.
We need to know how exactly how the NSA and other agencies are subverting routers, switches, the internet backbone, encryption technologies and cloud systems. I already have five stories from people like you, and I’ve just started collecting. I want 50. There’s safety in numbers, and this form of civil disobedience is the moral thing to do.
Two, we can design. We need to figure out how to re-engineer the internet to prevent this kind of wholesale spying. We need new techniques to prevent communications intermediaries from leaking private information.
We can make surveillance expensive again. In particular, we need open protocols, open implementations, open systems – these will be harder for the NSA to subvert.
The Internet Engineering Task Force, the group that defines the standards that make the internet run, has a meeting planned for early November in Vancouver. This group needs dedicate its next meeting to this task. This is an emergency, and demands an emergency response.
Three, we can influence governance. I have resisted saying this up to now, and I am saddened to say it, but the US has proved to be an unethical steward of the internet. The UK is no better. The NSA’s actions are legitimizing the internet abuses by China, Russia, Iran and others. We need to figure out new means of internet governance, ones that makes it harder for powerful tech countries to monitor everything. For example, we need to demand transparency, oversight, and accountability from our governments and corporations.
Unfortunately, this is going play directly into the hands of totalitarian governments that want to control their country’s internet for even more extreme forms of surveillance. We need to figure out how to prevent that, too. We need to avoid the mistakes of the International Telecommunications Union, which has become a forum to legitimize bad government behavior, and create truly international governance that can’t be dominated or abused by any one country.
Generations from now, when people look back on these early decades of the internet, I hope they will not be disappointed in us. We can ensure that they don’t only if each of us makes this a priority, and engages in the debate. We have a moral duty to do this, and we have no time to lose.
Dismantling the surveillance state won’t be easy. Has any country that engaged in mass surveillance of its own citizens voluntarily given up that capability? Has any mass surveillance country avoided becoming totalitarian? Whatever happens, we’re going to be breaking new ground.
Again, the politics of this is a bigger task than the engineering, but the engineering is critical. We need to demand that real technologists be involved in any key government decision making on these issues. We’ve had enough of lawyers and politicians not fully understanding technology; we need technologists at the table when we build tech policy.
To the engineers, I say this: we built the internet, and some of us have helped to subvert it. Now, those of us who love liberty have to fix it.
• Bruce Schneier writes about security, technology, and people. His latest book is Liars and Outliers: Enabling the Trust That Society Needs to Thrive. He is working for the Guardian on other NSA stories
- TV Remote Control (1955). This is not to be confused with the use of remote controls, as these were demonstrated in World War II, to remotely guide bombs onto targets. The original remote controls used ultrasound, which probably drove many of our pets nuts. Zenith made the first remote control. Remote controls use infrared today, for the most part. This also drives me nuts, because I still have to maintain a line of sight connection between my remote and my ‘box’.
- Microwave Oven (1955). The first commercial microwaves were sold by Tappan. Percy Spencer of Raytheon noticed a chocolate bar melted in his pocket in 1947, an outgrowth of radar technology.
- Jet Airliner (1958). As long as I’ve been alive, travel by jet airplanes has been common. I routinely fly to China, nonstop, in 15 hours.
- Cordless Tools (1961). The first cordless drill was sold by Black and Decker. Today cordless tools exist for almost everything and come in a wide variety of voltage, roughly equating to strength or speed.
- Industrial Robot (1961). General Motors first began using robotic mechanisms to replace extremely routine procedures. Today humans supervise vast arrays of robotics to assemble automobiles.
- Communications Satellite (1962). Telstar was the first communications satellite, Telstar 1 and 2 were actually experimental. The first useful Telstar satellites began launching in 1983. Telstar 1 and 2 are still in orbit today. Oddly enough, high altitude nuchear testing overwhelmed the circuitry in Telstar 1, rendering it useless. Telstar 1 relayed faxes, television pictures, telephone calls and was even used to synchronize time between the two continents to within 1 milisecond.
- LED (1962). The Light Emitting Diode became commercially available in 1962, providing low energy input and output light. LEDs are now considered a basic electrical component.
- UAV (1964). The Ryan AQM-91 Firefly was a UAV developed and used during the Vietnam War. U2 spyplanes kept getting shot down by improved Surface to Air Missiles and the Ryan Model 147 Lightning Bug reconnaissance drone lacked the range, so the Firefly was developed.
- ARPANET (1969). The predecessor to the Internet was born when 4 computers were linked, using packet switching, as opposed to circuit switching.
- Cellphone (1973). Mobile phones were actually around in 1950, but the handheld mobile phone, using a cellular network, was tested in 1973. Supposedly the first phone call on this net network was place to a rival corporation.
- GPS (1973). Based on classified engineering studies from the 1960s, the US Department of Defense originally put 24 satellites in orbit to provide location and time information 24/7/365. Now GPS networks are owned by Russia, China and others and their civilian use is almost ubiquitous.
- IEEE 802.16 (2002). Commonly known as WiMax, this networking protocol allows networks, up to 30 some miles apart, to be built.
These past 50 years of innovation are about to be dwarfed by innovations of the next 15 years, which I will cover in subsequent blog pieces.