Monthly Archives: March 2008

‘I Want Barack’

Because it's time for another video: Jay Jay French and Friends – I Want Barack

Posted in Politics: US: 2008 Elections | Comments Off on ‘I Want Barack’

Today’s McCain Site

Free Ride: John McCain and the Media

Bonus: compare NSN Fact Check: McCain's Rhetoric Doesn't Reflect Reality with how your news source cover's McCain's latest foreign policy speech.

Posted in Politics: McCain | 2 Comments

Internet Considered Dangerous

Or maybe that should be, 'Reliance on Internet Considered Dangerous'.

There's this amazing, if somewhat mis-titled story Man scammed by Craigslist ad

A pair of hoax ads on Craigslist cost an Oregon man much of what he owned.

The ads popped up Saturday afternoon, saying the owner of a Jacksonville home was forced to leave the area suddenly and his belongings, including a horse, were free for the taking, said Jackson County sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Colin Fagan.

But Robert Salisbury had no plans to leave. The independent contractor was at Emigrant Lake when he got a call from a woman who had stopped by his house to claim his horse.

On his way home he stopped a truck loaded down with his work ladders, lawn mower and weed eater.

“I informed them I was the owner, but they refused to give the stuff back,” Salisbury said. “They showed me the Craigslist printout and told me they had the right to do what they did.”

The driver sped away after rebuking Salisbury. On his way home he spotted other cars filled with his belongings.

Once home he was greeted by close to 30 people rummaging through his barn and front porch.

The trespassers, armed with printouts of the ad, tried to brush him off. “They honestly thought that because it appeared on the Internet it was true,” Salisbury said. “It boggles the mind.”

The followup is slightly cheerful: Some items being returned to victim of Craigslist hoax

Apparently this sort of thing has happened before, perhaps as part of a family feud. Although neither story explains clearly if the vandals broke in or if the victim left the door unlocked.

Posted in Internet | 3 Comments

New McCain Blog

Say hello to Straight Talk McCain.

Bonus link: Crooks & Liars, Campaign spending limits don’t apply to mavericks

Posted in Politics: McCain | Comments Off on New McCain Blog

The “Security Mindset” and “Thinking Like a Lawyer”

One of my favorite security gurus, Bruce Schneier, has an entertaining and yet infuriating article on The Security Mindset in which he tries to explain how security professionals think differently from other engineers.

SmartWater is a liquid with a unique identifier linked to a particular owner. “The idea is for me to paint this stuff on my valuables as proof of ownership,” I wrote when I first learned about the idea. “I think a better idea would be for me to paint it on your valuables, and then call the police.”

Really, we can't help it.

This kind of thinking is not natural for most people. It's not natural for engineers. Good engineering involves thinking about how things can be made to work.

It's fun and you should read the whole thing.

But it's also a bit frustrating — because Bruce restricts his discussion to how engineers think. To me, what he is describing is a big part of “thinking like a lawyer”. And when Bruce asks whether this sort of demented worldview, one in which you shake things to see how they break, can be taught, I think, “Hell, yes: I've been doing it for years.”

Most lawyers don't have the math to be a cryptographer or the technical chops to do security analysis of a complex program. But good lawyers — whether transactional or litigation oriented — do have a “security mindset”: A big part of learning to 'think like a lawyer' is learning again and again how things broke. That equips you to try to build things that won't break (or at least won't break in old ways); it also trains you how to break them.

Posted in Cryptography, Law School | 5 Comments

How to Choose Between Obama and Clinton

Historically, the taller candidate has won the Presidency far more often than the shorter one. (See Comparative table of heights of United States presidential candidates for the data.)

The modern exceptions to this rule are GW Bush, Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon — and they were all bad Presidents.

Barack Obama: 6' 1½” (1.87m)

John McCain: 5' 7” (1.7m)

Hilary Clinton: 5' 6” (1.68m)

It follows, therefore, that the Democrats should nominate Obama, or something terrible will happen.

Posted in Politics: US: 2008 Elections | 1 Comment