Author Archives: darthjedi

Isn’t That Ironic

~8 hours ago, Amanda posts the attached facebook message.

~3 hours ago, I almost became a darwinian statistic while carrying a kitchen chair down the stairs, and subsequently stepping on a sleeping cat.

There isn’t much I detest more than cats, besides small bugs such as gnats and mosquitoes and biting flies. It’s ironic that one tried to end my life today. Probably even walked away pissed that I dared to step on it too.

Hopefully There is no permanent damage. I am pretty sure that I’ll return to breathing without pain. I will again get to stand erect, and my legs will eventually come out on the other side of numbness.

It is also ironic that I must have gotten extra points for falling down a flight of stairs: in over 2 years of owning this watch, I’ve never reached my stairs goal.

It so happens, that in one more stroke of pure irony, when exported from the security system, the video always makes a comedic pause at the exact moment I step on the cat.

The rest is a little too embarrassing to share, but to add to the ambiance, the following words went through my mind at that exact moment: valar morghulis.

#IsntItIronic

Keto and me

I am Italian by heritage – if you couldn’t figure out by the last name. I love pasta, bread, pizza and the plethora of carb sludge that American’s also love. The Americans, that by some studies, are listed as being almost 75% obese.

I recently bucked 40+ years of indoctrination, and went to a Keto diet. The hesitation stems from a fear of fat. I literally used to ‘blot’ my pizza to get as much of the oils off the top of the pizza as I could. My daily fat intake was usually much less than 20 grams a day. I have no idea what my carb intake was – I never tracked it.

While you can find a ‘study’ to support most anything nowadays, I was still stuck on the government recommended food-pyramid, but the more I researched, the more I began to realize that the significant number of studies that supported a low carb diet, also made sense, chemically.

So three months ago, I went into ketosis, and here I am, 35 pounds lighter, changing nothing but my eating habits. Is it sustainable or will it eventually kill me, I don’t know – but for now, I feel much better, and I know by way of losing 35 pounds I am healthier.

So, all that said, what’s the point: the US government released its updated recommendations, and they are still spreading the (mis)information that carbs should be your largest daily consumption. Why?

Economics.

The cost to produce and consume carbs is much lower than the alternatives. Watch Food Inc, or one of the similar documentaries, then read this opinion article, which is what triggered my post.

https://thehill.com/opinion/healthcare/419020-government-dietary-guidelines-are-plain-wrong-avoid-carbs-not-fat

The guidelines are very influential. In fact, their pro-carb message is precisely why schools serve kids doughnuts and pop tarts for breakfast. Is this what we want for our children? We must ensure the next guidelines reflect the best thinking in nutritional science.

Will there ever be a crises of conscious, and maybe there should be a documentary out there called “Economics Vs Health”?

Outsourcing vs. Insourcing

Found this post on my FB page from 2012, apparently some paper I wrote at the University, but never published here.

Outsourcing vs. Insourcing – I had an interesting conversation with myself this morning related to some of my graduate work.

Last month General Motors (GM) announced it was looking to insource somewhere in the ballpark of 10,000 Information Technology jobs back into the United States (Overby, 2012). Citing benefits such as productivity, business alignment, innovation and agility, GM hopes that the benefits will outweigh the increased cost of insourcing the IT functions (2012).

Outsourcing is used to describe the process by which an organization takes work being performed by internal employees and sending it to external employees or external organizations. Insourcing is the process in reverse, taking work that was previously sent outside of a company and bringing the work back into the company.

While Outsourcing and Insourcing can be done within a single country, often in many people’s minds, the words promote a connotation of sending or receiving work to or from other countries.

Many companies are beginning to insource back from other countries, and in my opinion they are wise visionaries. From an international perspective, in these economic times, I think some organizations are realizing that it may be irresponsible and counter productive to continue to outsource so much work to other countries.

While the costs may be lower for companies initially, the slowing rate of economic growth in our country means there will be higher unemployment and fewer consumers to purchase products. Thus while initial costs go down, demand for products also go down, and as the law of supply and demand dictates companies have to begin producing less in order to keep their prices stable. By producing less, they begin to need fewer laborers, which in turn limits the number of employees they can hire. In my opinion it is a vicious cycle.

By bringing more jobs back into the country, there will be an initial higher start up cost; however, as unemployment goes down consumerism will increase. As the consumption of products increase, supply can increase with the demand and prices can remain constant. However, companies can also have more intentional control over supply. By limiting supply, they can limit supply which will in turn increase costs and in turn it will increase profit while still supporting the economic goal of reducing unemployment.

While this is a simplified view of the process, and there should be a balance to keep inflation from getting out of control, overall, I think companies are also realizing the PR benefits of bringing jobs back into the United States (Overby, 2012; Karl, 2012).

References
Overby. (2012, October 8). GM banks on insourcing, opens up 10,000 IT positions. Computerworld. Retrieved from www.computerworld.in: http://www.computerworld.in/news/gm-banks-insourcing-opens-10000-it-positions-31812012

Karl. (2012, May 18). The Indian outsourcing issue is back. Retrieved from www.businessweek.com: http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-05-18/the-indian-outsourcing-issue-is-back

Blog entry: first day of vacation

Day#1: The time it takes to get the tent put up and taken down has really hampered the overall tone of the day. Perhaps I’ll get used to the nomad life before it’s time to go back to work.

[note: have no idea where I found the image, so can’t provide attribution].

Boys Adrift – The crises of young men

International Woman’s day has had me thinking a lot about the pandemic of the failure to launch syndrome.

My children range in age and gender, and I can look around and see this story playing out both near and far.

From Dr. Leonard Sax’s book: boys adrift:

Something scary is happening to boys today. From kindergarten to college, American boys are, on average, less resilient and less ambitious than they were a mere twenty years ago. The gender gap in college attendance and graduation rates has widened dramatically. While Emily is working hard at school and getting A’s, her brother Justin is goofing off. He’s more concerned about getting to the next level in his videogame than about finishing his homework. Now, Dr. Leonard Sax delves into the scientific literature and draws on more than twenty years of clinical experience to explain why boys and young men are failing in school and disengaged at home. He shows how social, cultural, and biological factors have created an environment that is literally toxic to boys. He also presents practical solutions, sharing strategies which educators have found effective in re-engaging these boys at school, as well as handy tips for parents about everything from homework, to videogames, to medication.

Here is another, more recent treatment on the topic:

Meeting a legend! Kevin Mitnick.

23 years ago, on Feb 15th, the worlds most famous hacker, Kevin Mitnick, was apprehended in NC after years on the run from the FBI.  Prompting many, many young hackers and computer enthusiasts (including yours truly) to take up the mantra “Free Kevin”.

A little over 28 years ago, I started my own journey into information security (thankfully never pursued by the FBI), and much like Loyd Blankenship (Hackers Manifesto), Kevin had a profound impact on my young security career.

Today, not only did I get see Kevin in action (POC exploits), but I got to say hello and shake his hand. I didn’t even think about taking a picture, I just wanted to shake his hand; but I’m thankful, someone there said “would you like a picture”.

Thank you anonymous picture taker!