Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Wednesday, April 08, 2021

The next time you’re in the middle of an electric blackout, consider that it might be a deliberate, state-sponsored attack:

Spies hacked into the U.S. electric grid and left behind computer programs that would let them disrupt service, exposing potentially catastrophic vulnerabilities in key pieces of national infrastructure, a former U.S. government official said Wednesday.

The intrusions were discovered after electric companies gave the government permission to audit their systems, the ex-official said.

I already chimed in on this, four years ago, but I guess it needs to be repeated:

DON’T CONNECT VITAL SERVICES LIKE ELECTRIC SUPPLY TO THE INTERNET.

Really, how hard is it to not link something to the Web? Cordone off those networks that have no good reason to be accessible by the World Wide Wild West. Nuclear weapons systems are (I hope) exempt from ties to the worldwide network. I see no reason why the basic underpinnings that allow modern society to function should be any different.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 04/08/2021 11:09:43 PM
Category: Internet, Political, Tech
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screentime
The viewing habits of the Obama White House are revealed, and they run more toward Vincent Chase than Charlie Rose:

“We would talk about ‘Entourage’ all the time,” said White House press secretary Robert Gibbs.

“A couple of times during the campaign, we would have these Sunday night calls at the same time as ‘Entourage,’” Gibbs recalled. “I remember one time I e-mailed him because the call was scheduled for the last 15 minutes of ‘Entourage’ and I said, ‘Just be late and we can just watch “Entourage” and still get on and do the call.’”

“And it worked,” Gibbs continued, laughing. “We got to see ‘Entourage.’”

And of course, with Obama, there is basketball — NBA and NCAA games and lots of ESPN.

“Sports, sports and more sports,” Jarrett said of Obama. “On the campaign trail, as soon as we would get on the bus, the first thing he would do is turn the channel to sports channels.”

I’m willing to give the President a pass on the light diet of televised news media, only because it sounds like he’s mirroring me: I gave up on trying to extract meaningful information from the filler-laden news shows ages ago, in favor of the more direct method of news consumption via written word. Thus placing TV in a more proper context of largely innocuous entertainment.

Is there any irony in Obama, the most media-friendly President in a long spell, basically opting out of the public-image cycle as a news viewer? Since at least Reagan, there’s been an assumption that the Oval Office has been preoccupied with how the Chief Exec plays on camera, in print, etc. Of course, Obama’s staff is certainly plenty occupied with that anyway. And whenever the current honeymoon ends, it won’t be surprising to see a reprioritized effort by Obama himself to reinject himself as a participant in the news cycle.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 04/08/2021 01:01:12 PM
Category: Politics, Pop Culture, TV
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If your mental picture of the typical economist includes wrinkles and grey hair, there’s real-life backup for that stereotype: The profession seems to go hand-in-hand with an extended lifespan.

Is it just me or do famous economists seem to live a really long time?

Friedman (94)
Mises (92)
John Kenneth Galbraith (98)
Hayek (92)
Leontief (93)

…besides Keynes (or any of the really old school guys like Ricardo and Say), its rare to find a major economist that didn’t make it well into their 80’s.

The bad news is that you’re likely to live long enough to see your predictive number-crunching get disproved.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 04/08/2021 10:56:25 AM
Category: Business, Science, Society
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