Tag Archives: SciTech

Science, technology (probably mostly around software development), various geekery.

SolarWinds security fiasco

https://twitter.com/MollyMcKew/status/1345374451345534977?s=20

«Employees say that under Mr. Thompson, an accountant by training and a former chief financial officer, every part of the business was examined for cost savings and common security practices were eschewed because of their expense. His approach helped almost triple SolarWinds’ annual profit margins to more than $453 million in 2019 from $152 million in 2010.»

«Ian Thornton-Trump, a former cybersecurity adviser at SolarWinds, said he warned management that year [2017] that unless it took a more proactive approach to its internal security, a cybersecurity episode would be “catastrophic.” After his basic recommendations were ignored, Mr. Thornton-Trump left the company.»

Molly McKew (@MollyMcKew) Tweeted: «“SolarWinds moved much of its engineering to satellite offices in the Czech Republic, Poland, and Belarus, were engineers had broad access to the Orion network management software that Russia’s agents compromised.”

Seriously, I can’t.»

https://t.co/H9taHvvYq2

Pelosi announces proposed rules package for incoming Congress | TheHill

https://thehill.com/homenews/house/532323-pelosi-announces-proposed-rules-package-for-incoming-congress

W00t!

«The package would also… increase the availability of the machine-readable versions of legislative documents.»

Lots of good stuff in this rules package and conservatives are upset about… gender-neutral language.

On org-mode & usability

https://twitter.com/lproven/status/1341782989013995521?s=20

Actually, I don’t think truer words about org-mode have been spoken. (ftr, I’m an org-mode user.)

Liam Proven (@lproven) Tweeted: «@pdcawley I’ve tried, repeatedly, but it’s the user-interface equivalent of trying to learn to juggle using plutonium spheres.

I’m sure there’s some amazing editor functionality buried in there but you have to eat your way through a lot of 1970s HCI hate-crime to get to it.»

Weirdness in math & science

Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem, in layperson’s language, which I phrase to myself as “there are truths which cannot be proven”: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-is-godels-theorem/

(That’s not say those unprovable truths aren’t completely trivial; but it IS to say that even the best, most pure math is not automatically going to get you all the way.)

Quantum tunneling, which I see as “the universe is not just a bunch of billiard balls bouncing around in a way that would be totally predictable if we had a big enough computer”: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_tunnelling#:~:text=Quantum%20tunnelling%20or%20tunneling%20(US,flow)%20appearing%20inside%20the%20barrier.

Spooky action at a distance, which I phrase to myself as “there are no limitations. How is that even possible?”:  https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/02/spooky-action-at-a-distance/516201/

«Measure photon A to be vertically polarized, and photon B instantaneously becomes horizontally polarized, even though B’s state was unspecified a moment earlier and no signal has had time to travel between them. This is the “spooky action” that Einstein was famously skeptical about in his arguments against the completeness of quantum mechanics in the 1930s and ’40s.»

Einstein is famous for saying that he does not believe that God plays dice with the universe, but I think God does exactly that. It’s just that, if the dice don’t fall the way God thinks they should, science has absolutely nothing to say about the possibility of God altering the results. (Or even about God’s existence, for that matter.)

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

(As they say.)