Before they became a byword for evil; note “SUPER HIGHWAY DESIGN”:
Kiwi (FTP archive search to Sun internally) and Ben-Nevis (AltaVista ripoff) – two of Sun’s first-ever search engines, internally facing, lashed up in Perl and with (eventually) CGI interfaces; the graphics are from a public presentation on “What the Web Does” that I did, sometime around (I think?) 1995.
So occasionally – not often enough – I go for tea with the most excellent Dr Lorna Arnold:
Lorna Arnold is a historian who has written a number of books connected with the British nuclear weapons programmes.
As the second official historian of the British nuclear weapons programmes, she has had access to previously secret documents and personally knew many of the people involved. Though in her 90s, she is still an active participant in intelligence/historical community debate, as evinced by her contributions to recent meetings such the Oxford Intelligence Group in 17 June 2008.
…and she tells a story of when the Iron Curtain fell, and she was invited to a conference where she finally got to meet a man who was (essentially) her opposite number on the Russian side, with considerable insight into the Russian nuclear weapons programme.
The exchange went something like this:
- Her: What did you think of the British deterrent, of the British nuclear weapons programme?
- Him: We didn’t even consider it. We were entirely focused on the Great Satan, on America. We never even considered the British.
…and that is why I don’t think we need a nuclear deterrent; if the headline figure is £20Bn then you can bet that the bottom line will be in the £40..100Bn range, and frankly no enemy gives a damn.
Britain either gets involved in wars where it would be unjust to use such force (“Nuke Buenos Aires? I don’t think so…”) or in hypothetical conflicts where we’d never get to use it because the Americans would beat us to the punch, if anyone.
It would be a “me too” weapon.
So why bother? Split the money on reifying the conventional forces and on relieving national debt.
While you’re here you really should watch Lorna in full flow:
1 Why is Chrome spawning a new browser engine?
The WebKit maintainers wouldn’t let us attack Apple directly, by changing WebKit in ways that would make it perform badly on OS X and iOS.
Because they share a rendering engine, developer effort to ensure Chrome compatibility currently benefits Apple platforms for free. To prevent this, we must make Chrome and WebKit behave differently.
1.1 What sorts of things should I expect from Chrome?
Nothing yet. This is a political move, not a technical one.
However, while the Chrome user interface will not change in any significant way, we will be silently overwriting all existing installations of Chrome with our new rendering engine without your knowledge or consent.
…continues gloriously at Chrome Blink FAQ.
Thought-Detector vans, 1973
Many will remember the TV detector vans that stalked suburban Britain in the 1970s.
Scarfolk was chosen to take part in a government scheme that tested the latest technology in thought detection, particularly because of the events surrounding “The Tim Seven” in 1972 (See here and here for more details).
The scheme not only successfully reduced the number of telepathic crimes in Scarfolk, but also exposed hundreds of “wrong thinkers.”
According to legislation, “a ‘wrong thought’ is a thought, which, when thought, contains themes thought to be not right, therefore wrong, and therefore prosecutable. An unthought thought may be potentially wrong, but the thought will not be prosecutable until such a time that the thought has been thought and its themes have been thoroughly thought through and deemed wrong by the authorities. Thinking about which specific thoughts may or may not be prosecutable may also be prosecutable.”
In 1975 the mayor’s brother, Winston, was one of the 90 people arrested for a “wrong thought” involving TV newsreader Angela Rippon, a jar of Robertson’s Marmalade, and garden Swingball.
On the subject of strange visitors to Scarfolk, in October, 1974, there was a spate of cases involving parents being supplanted by eerie impostors. The frauds looked uncannily like their real counterparts and only children could spot the subtle differences.
For a time, affected children found a gritty substance in their school milk. At first poison was suspected but it turned out to be sand from a beach hundreds of miles away.
Despite police investigations none of the impostors were ever positively identified and there was a growing belief in the community that they might not even be human.
The impostors vanished as inexplicably as they had arrived and the children’s real bewildered parents were found wandering on the very same beach from which the sand had originated. They had no idea how they got there, how long they had been away, or what had happened during their absence.
This leaflet/flyer was distributed in comic books, at schools, and in toy shops.
…check some history:
The “bomber gap” was the unfounded belief in the Cold War-era United States that the Soviet Union had gained an advantage in deploying jet-powered strategic bombers. Widely accepted for several years, the gap was used as a political talking point in order to justify greatly increased defense spending. One result was a massive buildup of the United States Air Force bomber fleet, which peaked at over 2,500 bombers, in order to counter the perceived Soviet threat. Surveillance flights utilizing the Lockheed U-2 aircraft indicated that the bomber gap did not exist. Realizing that mere belief in the gap was an extremely effective funding source, a series of similarly nonexistent Soviet military advances were constructed in a tactic now known as “policy by press release.”
The missile gap was the term used in the United States for the perceived disparity between the number and power of the weapons in the U.S.S.R. andU.S. ballistic missile arsenals during the Cold War. The gap only existed in exaggerated estimates made by the Gaither Committee in 1957 and in United States Air Force (USAF) figures. Even the CIA figures that were much lower and gave the US a clear advantage were far above the actual count. Like thebomber gap of only a few years earlier, it is believed that the gap was known to be illusionary from the start, and was being used solely as a political tool, an example of policy by press release.
Policy by press release refers to the act of attempting to influence public policy through press releases intended to alarm the public into demanding action from their elected officials. The practice is frowned upon, but remains effective and widely used. In modern times, the term is used to dismiss an opponent’s claims, suggesting they are lacking in substance and created to generate media attention.
Now: Compare with:
The United States doesn’t have nearly enough people who can defend the country from digital intrusions. We know this, because cybersecurity professionals are part of a larger class of workers in science, technology, engineering, and math–and we don’t have nearly enough of them, either. We’re just two years into President Obama’s decade-long plan to develop an army of STEM teachers. We’re little more than one year from his request to Congress for money to retrain 2 million Americans for high-tech work (a request Republicans blocked). And it has been less than a month since the Pentagon said it needed to increase the U.S. Cyber Command’s workforce by 300 percent–a tall order by any measure, but one that’s grown even more urgent since the public learned of massive and sustained Chinese attempts at cyberespionage last month.
Where are Cyber Command’s new hires going to come from? Even with so many Americans out of work, it isn’t as though there’s a giant pool of cyber professionals tapping their feet, waiting to be plucked up by federal agencies and CEOs who’ve suddenly realized they’re naked in cyberspace. In fact, over the next couple of years, the manpower deficit is only going to get worse as more companies come to grips with the scale of the danger.
Demand for cyber labor is still far outstripping supply, Ron Sanders, a vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton, told National Journal in a phone interview. “With each headline we read,” he said, “the demand for skilled cyber professionals just increases.”
The number of industry employees is already growing at double-digit rates. A new report released Monday finds that the number of people working in the cyber field is going to grow worldwide by 11 percent every year for the next five years. In North and South America, according to the paper–published by the International Information System Security Certification Consortium (ISC2)–that will mean almost a million more workers in the field by 2017. Many of them will be highly qualified. But not all of them will be in the employ of U.S. entities, to say nothing about working in the United States itself.
“…doomed to repeat it.”
I am wondering if we are going to end up with people who are skilled in security getting quite literally drafted in order to quell the panic?