February 2007 Archives

I recently read Daniel Gilbert's Stumbling on Happiness (I blog briefly about it here), which got me to thinking about the tricks the brain plays on us and how this might apply to security. Interestingly, not long after that Dr. Bruce Schneier posted a paper titled The Psychology of Security, which he presented at the 2007 RSA Conference. In reading through his paper, I found a considerable amount of similarity with Gilbert's book, which was interesting. More interesting, however, were insights I've gained into how we as infosec practitioners might be able to better present security concepts to consumers and customers so that they'll welcome what we offer, rather than resist security improvements.

Following are my notes from reading Schneier's paper, plus some additional follow-up.

Ow! Yet Another Climbing Injury (YACI)...

It's been several months since my last appreciable injury from climbing, so it makes sense that I would hurt myself again. In January 2006 I fell on the corner of a crash pad and broke my ankle, tearing it up quite effectively. In June 2006, only a couple months back climbing after rehab, I rolled it again on the same style of crash pad, giving myself a nice high ankle sprain. Well, this time I didn't hurt myself landing on one of those stupid thick pads (since I refuse to use them). Instead, I've hurt myself in a way not previous expected or imagine. I've either pulled a gluteal muscle, or worse, done something to the hip socket, on the left leg.

So, how did I do it?

Wintry Weather and an Official Letter

Not a whole lot to relate today... will be posting later this week about some new research begun on Friday. Until then...

Big news! I finally received on Saturday my official "Congratulations. I am pleased to inform you that you have satisfactorily completed the academic requirements for the Master of Science degree..." letter! w00t! I'm now just needing the official diploma. Nonetheless, I have taken the bold step of adding MS behind my name.

In other, completely non-related news, we had lovely weather today. Actually, I like true snowy days - especially after the first couple inches are down, but it's still snowing. It's so peaceful and lovely. All told, our "wintry mix" forecast amounted to somewhere around 3-4" of heavy, wet snow. Plows have, thankfully, been running most of the afternoon. A marked difference from the storm a couple weeks ago. It's unclear if schools will be delayed or closed tomorrow, though it's increasingly looking like they'll be on time. Hard to believe that we keep getting actual winter weather here. It's so out of place.

Line Noise and Sore Joints

Nothing too exciting to tell, so today let's have another grab bag of random thoughts, shall we? Let's see what topics I can think of... ok, here we go! Topics covered today:
- annual review
- sore joints
- random bruising
- going home to Moorhead
- anxiety and panic attacks
- redefining my role
- where is my MS confirmation?
- ah, it's coming soon!
- possible upcoming research efforts
- migraine treatment

Redefining What I Do

I suppose we all reach points in our careers where we wonder what it is we really want to do. It seems likely that we also similarly run into times when we wonder what it is we do in our daily jobs and if there are ways to make that dreary existence just a little sunnier. I know I've been facing thoughts like that for the past several months. Luckily for me, I'm being given an opportunity to propose refinements to my role, hopefully with an eye toward sustaining my employment with AOL, maybe even beyond the Summer 2008 limit we've identified in living in this region.

Behind the motto "Research - Application - Innovation" I have identified 6 tenets within my proposal that encapsulate my hopes in a redefined role. Following is a listing of those tenets with a brief sentence or two explaining what it means.

Back in the Saddle, Ice Sucketh

Well, I'm back in the swing of things. Energy levels have been mostly normal since Wednesday, but I'm still unable to eat much. It's like my stomach shrank significantly while I was sick. All told, I think I lost about 12 real pounds in 3 days (excluding any related dehydration losses). I hit a low yesterday morning of 189 and was back up to 192 this morning. Jogged a couple miles tonight at a slack pace to try things out. Was remarkably limber while stretching, but the joints were all crackly (unsurprising). Will try for a full run tomorrow, I think.

The big news around the area is the weather. It looks like on Tuesday we received about a quarter inch of ice, then about 3 inches of heavy, wet snow, then another good half inch of ice on top of it. This made scraping the car a chore on Wednesday. Would have been worse today, though! And then there's the fun of watching southerners trying to handle the conditions...

Storyhill Official Album Launch

The Star Tribune has a nice piece on the official re-launch of Storyhill - my old favorite acoustic duo, first encountered in college. These are, hands-down, two of the nicest guys you'll find, with their niceness only exceeded by their talent. They counter-balance each other extremely well and have produced some of my all-around favorite pieces. Check out the show listings on their site to find info on their Valentine's Day release party and other upcoming performances. Preview their new self-titled release up on Amazon.com today!

I finished reading former President Jimmy Carter's latest (and allegedly controversial) book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid late last week. It is an absolute must-read for anybody interested in Middle East politics. What I found most enlightening about the book is that his storytelling is not filtered through the typical western media lens, meaning we actually get to see real history from the first person. Quite striking is how this differs vastly from the reality presented to us on a daily basis. The bottom line to the book is this: Israel has done everything possible to undermine the peace process over the last 30 years, actively working against anyone and everyone. They've gone so far as to instigate armed conflict on the precipice of historic peace agreements, quite possibly to spawn a violent response that could be used to manipulate their own people into supporting irrational, non-peaceful behavior.

Steady Improvement, But...

Well, today is Day 4 of "the stomach bug from hell." Spoke to the doctor's office yesterday, this is apparently the bug du jour this year. Loverly. I honestly cannot remember ever being this sick before. So, at their recommendation, made use of Imodium yesterday to allow myself a respite from certain symptoms. This seems to have helped, and carried through to today, though I had the wonderful side effect of heartburn all afternoon. *sigh* Even when I win, I lose.

Did manage to eat a few mild solids yesterday... toast, banana, chicken noodle soup, oatmeal... all promising signs... I'm having terrible cravings for bad foods, like a McDonalds sausage egg mcmuffin, or a Burger King double bacon cheeseburger. This tells me my body is probably craving a couple things: protein and dairy. Will make efforts to increase protein intake today (appeasing my achy muscles, I hope). As for dairy, we'll see. Maybe I'll get brave later and try a quick run to BK. Or not.

Through the Ringer and Back

I haven't been sick like this in a long time. Sure, back in late December I felt like I'd been hit by a Mac truck with the flu du jour, but this has been much, much, much worse. That's right, I've been hit with a stomach bug (virus, food poisoning, hard to tell which). It has been absolutely nasty and atrocious.

A Workout Milestone

I had an excellent workout tonight - one worth blogging about. For the first time, I ran a full 3 miles without walking. I maintained a base pace of 6mph (10 minute pace) with a regular run pace of 7mph (about 8:35 pace), and finished with incrementally faster runs in the third mile of 8.0, 8.5, 9.0, and 9.5 for .15 to .30 miles each to finish out the run. My end time was about 26:15, which betters my previous best by 45 seconds. Woohoo!

So Much For Da Bears...

Well, the Chicago Bears lost to the Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl last night. And, to be quite honest, they didn't deserve to win. The play calling and execution for Chicago was absolutely terrible. Yes, it's true, Grossman was not throwing accurate balls down field. However, in the 4th quarter, I really have to question the calls for big plays down field. They had an effective short-to-mid game going. They were moving the ball very well. I think they could have scored twice given the momentum they were building, until the big plays were called that both resulted in INTs. Is Grossman partially responsible here for poor throws? Absolutely. But, who put him in those situations? Whomever was making the offensive calls is ultimately responsible. He did not put Grossman in a position to be successful. If I were Lovie Smith, I'd be looking to hire a new O coordinator in the off-season.

BTW, of much more interesting news to me... ESPN2 had the 2006 World's Strongest Man competition on TV. American Phil Pfister won it - the first time for the US since Bill Kazmaier in 1982. I was a bit surprised that Pfister did so well as his preliminary results were so-so. However, he absolutely killed the field, winning something like 5 of 7 events outright. Good job Phil!

Official WSM Site
Wikipedia Entry on WSM

The Height of Stupidity in America

First a short letter...

Dear Advocates of Political Correctness,

You represent a parody of America that is so absurd today that it should be shunned. What a pity that the media takes you seriously, since it means we all have to listen to the endless drivel. Please make it stop.

Sincerely,

Americans sick of your lunacy

The triggers for my rant today? I'm fed up with all the endless coverage of the endless stupidity. Specifically, yesterday's Boston bomb scare and Senator Biden bombing in his attempt to compliment Senator Obama.

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