Hacking the President’s DNA

A fun look at our transition to a Gattaca style future, through the lens of an evildoer, designing a customized pathogen meant to kill only the President, using the same tools that can be used to target a particular cancer with a viral drug delivery mechanism.  How quickly will these tools be democratized?  Is secrecy or transparency the better route to countermeasures?  The Wikileaks cables revealed top-level diplomatic directives to collect the DNA of world leaders.  For what purpose?  Is it possible for anyone to keep their genome private?

 

Why Is This Cargo Container Emitting So Much Radiation?

In Genoa, Italy a radioactive cargo container appeared.¬† Nobody knew where it had come from, or where it was going, or what was in it.¬† It took a year to get rid of it.¬† It’s as if a pixel got stuck on, in the real world, not the digital world.¬† I have to imagine given how automated the container transshipping is in some ports, that you could almost treat the insertion of something like this as a software problem.¬† You just have to get a truck to pick it up without knowing who you are, or what you’ve loaded, and from there the 20 ton packet of reality moves, guided by a disembodied digital hand.

Hackable Cars

A study of the security (or lack thereof) inherent in today’s highly computerized vehicles.¬† Not much better than voting machines overall.¬† We’re connecting dangerous things to our networks much faster than we’re learning how to keep them from blowing up.¬† Just ask Iran!¬† Thankfully my bicycle is still unhackable.

Links for the week of December 3rd, 2010

If you want to follow my shared links in real time instead of as a weekly digest, head over to Delicious. You can search them there easily too.
Continue reading Links for the week of December 3rd, 2010

Links for the week of October 19th, 2010

If you want to follow my shared links in real time instead of as a weekly digest, head over to Delicious. You can search them there easily too.
Continue reading Links for the week of October 19th, 2010

Nils Gilman and Deviant Globalization: The Graying of the Markets

We watched a Long Now talk last night by Nils Gilman, entitled Deviant Globalization.¬† I first ran across Gilman in a shorter talk from a couple of years ago about the global illicit economy — black markets.¬† He describes deviant globalization somewhat differently.¬† Trade can be perfectly legal, and still deviant.¬† He used the example of US men arranging trysts with 14 year old girls in Canada… which amazingly could still be considered legal until 2008, since 14 was the nationwide age of consent.¬† Sure, it was legal, but who really thought it was okay?¬† So deviant globalization represents a kind of moral arbitrage.¬† Demand exists for goods and services which are proscribed in different ways, to different degrees, in different places.¬† Sometimes they’re socially taboo, and sometimes they’re outlawed, but in all cases there exists a kind of moral disequilibrium gradient that can be exploited.

What united all these extralegal commodity flows […] was the unsanctioned circulation of goods and services that either because of the way they are produced or because of the way they are consumed violate someone’s ethical sensibilities.

One of his main points is that the steepness of that moral or regulatory gradient translates pretty directly into profit margins.¬† Cocaine increases in value by 1400% when you bring it across the US border.¬† This creates incredible incentives to get around the rules, even at great risk.¬† This is why Prohibition rarely works as a policy.¬† Any attempt at eradication financially empowers those who are willing to continue taking the risks you’re able to impose.

Continue reading Nils Gilman and Deviant Globalization: The Graying of the Markets

Links for the week of February 21st, 2010

If you want to follow my shared links in real time instead of as a weekly digest, head over to Delicious. You can search them there easily too.
Continue reading Links for the week of February 21st, 2010

Links for the week of November 6th, 2009

If you want to follow my shared links in real time instead of as a weekly digest, head over to Delicious. You can search them there easily too.
Continue reading Links for the week of November 6th, 2009

Links for the week of September 11th, 2009

If you want to follow my shared links in real time instead of as a weekly digest, head over to Delicious. You can search them there easily too.
Continue reading Links for the week of September 11th, 2009

Links for the week of September 4th, 2009

If you want to follow my shared links in real time instead of as a weekly digest, head over to Delicious. You can search them there easily too.
Continue reading Links for the week of September 4th, 2009