Statue of Liberty is a Monument to Abolition of Slavery

Broken chains at the feet of the statue prematurely celebrated liberty from American slavery (e.g. racist Jim Crow laws were starting around the same time it was erected). Source: NPS

Here is an interesting write-up from the National Park Service (NPS), explaining how abolition was central to the monument known today for something different.

The Statue of Liberty would never have been conceived or built if its principal French and American advocates had not been active abolitionists who understood slavery as the cause of the Civil War and its end as the realization of the promise of liberty for all as codified in the Declaration of Independence.

The NPS also writes how symbolism of the statue led to skepticism because America’s racist reality wasn’t rising to the French aspiration of anti-racism.

African Americans rarely used the Statue as a relevant symbol for their struggle – they were reluctant to embrace the symbol of a nation which would not fully include them as citizens. The Statue of Liberty did not help them to gain equality and justice in the truest sense – it was only the beginning.

A NYU historian further explains. A group of French abolitionists June 1865 met in Versailles and…

…talked about the idea of creating some kind of commemorative gift that would recognize the importance of the liberation of the slaves.

Yet by the time the statue was unveiled in 1886 the Supreme Court already had failed to protect liberty.

Just like in France (1802-1848), slavery in America was basically being re-established after abolition and the Civil War continued by other means.

Roll-back of liberation from American tyranny came quickly with racist Jim Crow laws and state-sanctioned domestic terrorism (branded as “America First” under President Wilson’s restart of the KKK in 1915).

As Legged Mobility Improves Efficiency, Automobiles Look Toxic to Environment

An oft-cited reason to stop riding horses in cities was their prodigious output of excrement as a by-product, not to mention disposal of dead and rotting horse carcasses.

Source: Project MUSE

Both of these could have been easily solved problems (Golden Gate Park owes its lush environment to train carloads of manure being dumped on sandy dunes — fertilizer being in high demand for urban better quality of life).

Though no reliable estimate of the amount of horse-excrement collected for park fertilizer exists, the total undoubtedly ran into tens, even hundreds of thousands of tons.

Instead the legged mobility of horses was scrapped in favor of augmentation (legs pushing wheels) with bicycles. A cost model being so much better meant it was more equitable transit, and this opened up markets to more people working in more places… bicycles were en route to a greater future.

Then the “wheelmen” got a bright idea of putting paved roads everywhere to ease legwork (again a problem to be better solved, probably by improving bicycle technology instead) and suddenly giant automated carriages (cars) started taking over and demanding both legged and augmented legs get off the roads.

But instead of composting natural manure and carcasses, automobiles spread toxic disease-inducing chemicals and piles of dangerous waste.

Today we’re back to asking if legs can perform long distance travel, perhaps making the obvious point that cars were a bad idea from the start.

Instead of dumping manure after eating loads of grass, however, these legs drain an unbelievable amount of robotic electricity (which could end up as emissions if we’re not careful).

As energy cost comes down through engineering (like how manure could have been engineered into fertilizer, from a cost to a profit) legs may return as the obvious better way of transit by removing any requirements for nasty roads.

Running 60 miles to work on beaches, through a forest and over mountains sounds a LOT better than sitting in a boring stuffed cage on a boring flat road full of other boring boxes. Here’s a video showing some progress towards that augmented future.

Why a Cyber Pearl Harbor Will Never Happen

The easy answer is really a semantic one: nothing that can be done in cyber (information technology) is directly comparable to widespread kinetic destruction of military forces.

Once something approaches that level of destructive force, it’s no longer really the domain of cyber. In other words we don’t really call it a voice attack if someone speaks into a microphone instead of turning keys to launch nuclear weapons. As the 1941 book “War on the Short Wave” put it on page 69:

Gunpowder it it is said, was first used as a holiday crackers. Radio in the early days operated to give men pleasure. Both have been turned to use in wars and nations have used broadcasting as an ally of the bomb.

Source: War On The Short Wave, 1941

Ally of the bomb. Not the bomb.

More seriously, the problem lies in the psychological power of the a narrative. Despite basic advanced indicators, the attack on Pearl Harbor came as a “bolt out of the blue” on a major military target.

Their duty done, George, who was new to the unit, took over the oscilloscope for a few minutes of time-killing practice. […] Their device could not tell its operators precisely how many planes the antenna was sensing, or if they were American or military or civilian. But the height of a spike gave a rough indication of the number of aircraft. And this spike did not suggest two or three, but an astonishing number—50 maybe, or even more. “It was the largest group I had ever seen on the oscilloscope,” said Joe.

It was just past 7 in the morning on December 7, 1941 when early indicators failed to recognize over 300 Japanese planes about to unleash massive devastation on the US Navy.

Take now for example a modern nuclear weapon that delivers in less than half an hour a surprise attack using an intercontinental missile.

Such a surprise on the right targets might prevent any kind of counter-strike. That is an apt framing for lightning dropping out of a clear blue sky and zapping capabilities.

As I’ve documented here before, however, it’s been a VERY long road since at least the 1970s telling us that a normative situation of information technology is more like continuous grinding attacks everywhere all the time.

It’s pretty much the opposite of Pearl Harbor as a narrative — a never-ending thunderous grey downpour leading to gradual failures instead of a bolt from blue.

Imagine instead Pearl Harbor being a story about constant rust forming on ships that also have a problem with petty theft and the occasional targeted adversary — that is cyber.

My only quibble with my own argument is that with the poor quality practices of companies like Uber and Tesla, nobody needs to bother sending intercontinental missiles anymore. Just hijack 40,000 cars in an urban center and you’ve got a surprise mass casualty event via information technology vulnerabilities… and that sounds an AWFUL lot like a bolt out of the blue when you look at tens of thousands of highly-explosive Teslas like adversarial dive-bombers waiting to happen.

This kind of debate about the significance of Pearl Harbor has now come up again in another article, which bizarrely claims a negative: that we didn’t see the lack of a cyber Pearl Harbor coming.

Over the past decade, cyber warfare has changed in ways the experts didn’t see coming.

Let me say that again. They’re suggesting we didn’t see a lack of Pearl Harbor attack, when that is exactly what we saw (those predicting a bolt of blue always faced opposition).

I mean their point is just flatly false.

As an expert (at least to some, hi mom!) in both cyber and military history I absolutely saw today’s situation coming and gave numerous very public talks and comments about it.

Hell, (to paraphrase military icons in movies) I even gave a presentation in 2012 dedicated to cyber warfare that predicted a lot of what mass media just started talking about now.

Meh.

The article goes on to say experts didn’t predict that laying networks into repressive regimes would increase repression, yet again that is false. Early reports said exactly that. It wasn’t rocket science.

You deliver into a power vacuum shiny new tools (let’s say a pitchfork, for example) and want to believe optimists that it won’t be used as a weapon or lead to oppression. Because why?

History and political science as a guide told us the opposite would come and that’s exactly what we’ve seen.

“Quitting” When Unready: A Curious Case of Sleep Loss

The Air Force is having a moment regarding a decision to abort an exercise due to sleep loss.

“If it was a real world sortie, I can guarantee that those crews would get their energy drinks of choice, roll out to the plane, and fly to defend our nation,” he said. “I don’t know of any E3 member that would deny a flight if the Russians were coming no matter their state of rest. So in wartime, our asses would be flying and we would gladly do it. But this wasn’t real world. It was an exercise. You can’t replace the lives that would be lost if a plane went down.”

Smart move to cancel the exercise, I have no doubt from the details revealed so far… and this reminded me of two things.

First, recent neuroscience studies of mental and physical well-being showing clear degradation from sleep loss.

Three consecutive nights of sleep loss can have a negative impact on both mental and physical health. Sleep deprivation can lead to an increase in anger, frustration, and anxiety. Additionally, those who experienced sleep loss reported a change in physical wellbeing, including gastrointestinal and respiratory problems.

Second, I keep seeing leaders who accommodate rest and recuperation get criticized as “quitting”, which seems totally counter-intuitive.

If you don’t “quit” to eat and drink, the body risks even bigger shutdown. If you don’t “quit” to heal from injury you may fail to heal and cause wider injury. If you don’t “quit” to sleep… disaster.

Knowing when to not do something could be as important as knowing when to do it.

Somehow a blind and unthinking version of “don’t quit” (urging people to damage themselves in ways they can not continue anyway) is growing out of control to a point where people are using social media platforms to push others off cliffs instead of stopping/quitting to consider obvious consequences of such a predictable failure.

Even more complicated than sleep loss are the “twisties” as noted recently in Olympic gymnastics:

“We also do a lot of work to teach them how to listen to their bodies’ warning signs that they are heading down the wrong path,” he continued. Andrews noted that Biles had more stressors than most, being forced to represent USA Gymnastics, the institution that enabled her sexual abuse by Larry Nassar, because it’s the only pathway to the Games. …getting past the twisties can take time, sometimes days, weeks or even months to resolve. “This isn’t as easy to fix as just sleeping it off and hoping for a better day tomorrow,” one former gymnast and diver pointed out on Twitter. […] The worst case scenario isn’t a lost competition or even a serious injury, like a ruptured Achilles. In gymnastics, it can result in paralysis, or even death.

Getting well to avoid death is a form of “quitting” only in the sense it’s taking a very wise step to ensure survival and thus continuation. The case of Biles is especially telling because it is about a black woman who had been forced into sexual abuse.

Biles clearly has declared self-control over her own body in a multitude of ways. This latest demonstration is surely inspiring others to think about mental as well as physical success. Her stepping aside allows her also to be in a better place to help/support her team to succeed than if she experienced catastrophic failure. It’s a very wise choice demonstrating excellent leadership qualities, and something I expect any special operations team would recognize.

From that a number of white men seem to be upset and hyperventilating publicly about her “quitting”; issuing completely tone-deaf comments that a black woman be forced to do what they want instead.

So I encourage people to read about the USAF and then the Olympics to think about the parallels. Did they quit, or did they refuse to quit by taking a safety break?

Porsche “Adaptive Cruise” Safety Model

A new graphic from the Porsche newsroom is an excellent example of what I’ve been calling the gap between the ERM (easy, routine, minimal judgment) and ISEA (identify, store, evaluate, adapt) functions for every form of “intelligence”.

Source: Porsche

Data on “infrequent maneuvers” caught my eye in particular. I find it misleading to try and frame observations in the loop by frequency.

We might stop infrequently on every road (even city blocks tend to give more time rolling than stopping) yet stopping is due to the events that matter most to our survival (e.g. intersections, obstacles).

In fact, if you look at Dan Ford’s dissertation about John Boyd (inventor of the famous OODA loop — observe, orient, decide, act) we’re reminded “infrequent maneuvers” might be best framed as our constant reality (Page 50):

As Antoine Bousquet summarizes John Boyd’s thinking in The Scientific Way of Warfare, “Boyd believes in a perpetually renewed world that is ‘uncertain, ever-changing, unpredictable’ and thus requires continually revising, adapting, destroying and recreating our theories and systems to deal with it.” Grant Hammond expresses it this way: “Ambiguity is central to Boy’d vision … not something to be feared but something that is a given…. We never have complete and perfect information. We are never completely sure of the consequences of our actions…. The best way to success … is to revel in ambiguity.”

There’s of course an extremely high cost of revelation in ambiguity, versus the low-cost of routines. But the point should still could be taken that framing an expected risk as an infrequent one is a dangerous game to play.

Back to the Porsche newsroom, my favorite image is actually this one:

Source: Porsche

The detection illustrated here is exactly the same as I documented extensively and presented in 2016 with regard to Tesla sensor and learning failures (a tragic foreshadowing of Brown’s death just weeks after his lane change incident).

New Coyote Anti-Swarm Missile Straight Out of 1953

The first operational anti-aircraft missile system, the Nike Ajax, was launched by the United States in 1953.

A new guided missile system was needed which could destroy entire formations of high-altitude, high-speed aircraft at a greater ranges with a single missile. After extensive studies, it was determined that this new system would require the use of a nuclear warhead in a new missile having greater range and speed than the Nike-Ajax missile.

Fast-forward to today and Raytheon PR announces an anti-swarm missile system, the Block 3 Coyote, has “aced” a military test.

Block 3 utilizes a non-kinetic warhead to neutralize enemy drones, reducing potential collateral damage.

To be fair, Raytheon distinguishes the Block 3 as a reusable model, unlike the Block 2.

Unlike its expendable counterpart, the non-kinetic variant can be recovered, refurbished and reused without leaving the battlefield.

It’s interesting to differentiate it in the PR as non-kinetic, given how it probably has a kinetic effect (e.g. waves of power destroying or disabling electronics).

Also it’s not really fair to say a kinetic platform can’t be reusable, since that’s a design decision (e.g. explosive warhead could be launched like planes do with missiles).

I suspect someone demanded a lower-cost profile on the Coyote and marketing came up with the language to make a false distinction from the earlier design.

Ace of Spades: Assassination of UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld

A new podcast with journalist Ravi Somaiya, to promote his book “Golden Thread“, discusses some of the latest thinking on a 1961 assassination of the UN Secretary-General:

Dag Hammarskjöld was called ‘the greatest statesman of our century’ by John F. Kennedy, but he was found dead with an Ace of Spades mysteriously placed on his body. […] In this episode, Dan was joined by award-winning investigative journalist, Ravi Somaiya, who takes him into the depths of this event and the remarkable consequences across the globe.

It’s a good listen on one of my favorite topics in history, but to be honest Ravi spoils it a bit by claiming he only did it because he was bored while working nights in boring New York.

Anyway, accountability for this incident has long been a sore and unresolved topic of white supremacists controlling African liberation from colonialism.

The U.S. refuses to declassify its intelligence files even today, so that gives this particular incident even more of a flair towards conspiracy.

What on earth is going on? Those (UN investigators) who investigate the death of Dag Hammarskjöld do not want to know about Crypto AG and those who report on Crypto AG (The Washington Post) do not mention once the United Nations scandal. We know that the US hold important undisclosed information regarding the Hammarskjöld case and we know that they refuse to share this information with the UN investigators. Why do you think the US has been withholding this information?

See also: Daily Briefing (25 October 2017) DEATH OF DAG HAMMARSKJÖLD: SECRETARY-GENERAL ASKS COUNTRIES TO MAKE ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AVAILABLE

A film recently was released by another journalist, and similar to the Ravi Somaiya book (spoiler alert) he focuses viewers on the narrative of racism.

It seems “white corporate interests exploiting black people” had so much influence over British and American foreign policy that assassination was used on some leaders who tried to get involved in African independence.

With the case still unsolved 50-plus years later, Danish journalist, filmmaker, and provocateur Mads Brügger (The Red Chapel, The Ambassador) leads us down an investigative rabbit hole to unearth the truth. He, his Swedish private-investigator sidekick, and a host of co-conspirators tirelessly pursue a winding trail of clues, but they turn up more mysteries than revelations. Scores of false starts, dead ends, and elusive interviews later, they begin to sniff out something more monumental than anything they’d initially imagined.

Dag Hammarskjöld wrote amazing poetry in the 1960s, but it was the British band Motörhead formed in 1975 who penned the lines…

Pushing up the ante, I know you got to see me,

Read ’em and weep, the dead man’s hand again,

I see it in your eyes, take one look and die,

The only thing you see, you know it’s gonna be,

The Ace Of Spades

COVID-19 2021 Wave Mapped to 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act Votes

According to Time.com the “4th Wave” of COVID-19 infections seems to have a very particular acceleration path through specific parts of America.

Source: Time.com

The distribution of infections reminded me of maps of Americans voting for slavery in the 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act.

Source: Search for “bleeding Kansas map”

I’ve written before here how 1873 Slaughterhouse cases explain resistance to wearing masks for COVID-19.

Perhaps now we see a degree of validation of this history lesson; areas historically where Americans objected to freedom (e.g. abolition 1854, vaccination 2021) are places Americans are most likely to have less freedom.

For all the hype about “anti-aging” drugs delivering freedom, a vaccine is the real deal. Source: FT

Speaking of 4th waves, the Modern War Institute at West Point wrote this on the topic of militant resistance to authority:

Since the 1930s, insurgency has evolved through three waves. Here’s what the fourth wave could look like, and why we aren’t prepared for it.

They are talking about Syria, when perhaps they should have been researching Arkansas.

Surprise! Surprises Often Are Wrong.

Great article in Scientific American says too much of scientific research is trying to be “appealing” (e.g. wrong, yet surprising and therefore attracting attention) instead of accurate.

…surprising results are surprising because they go against what experience has led us to believe so far, which means that there’s a good chance they’re wrong.

Imagine a world that prized someone saying “nothing to see here” in their report more than “wolf, wolf, I saw a… never mind, just wanted to get you to listen to me.”

Or here’s my remake of a classic cartoon, where the caption now should read something like “he’s studying to be a scientist”.

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

This Day in History 1933: IRC Was Founded

July 24 1933 was the day the International Rescue Committee (IRC) was founded, thanks to a call from Albert Einstein to aid people suffering under Hitler and the Nazi regime.

Although much of the world greeted the Nazi takeover with indifference or apathy, some people were alert to what was happening and the threat it represented. In July 1933, a committee of 51 prominent American intellectuals, artists, clergy, and political leaders formed a branch of the International Relief Association in New York, at the request of its chief, German-born physicist Albert Einstein. Among them were the philosopher John Dewey, the writer John Dos Passos, and the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. Other prominent citizens, even including Eleanor Roosevelt, soon joined the effort.

Since they mentioned Eleanor Roosevelt, probably worth noting she also helped end the internment camps to aid people suffering under legacy of Stanford and “Working Man Party” regime of California.

the poetry of information security