Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Are things looking brighter for Internet Of Things security?

Standards MATTER?

Matter is the first attempt to bring together the biggest names in smart home to develop a standard for secure, reliable interoperability for connected devices. However, Matter matters because it could go much further than just smart homes — it could be applied to all connected devices.

Up until now, device-to-device communication across brands has been lacking. But when Matter is widely available for smart home consumers, it means more compatibility with more devices, making it easier to purchase a secure and seamless connected smart home, no matter the brand. But the benefits of seamless connected devices could expand far beyond smart home. It could enable smart cities and connected buildings to interoperate reliably and securely, connected health devices of various brands to work together natively and even reliably connect devices in space.

Makers of “internet of things” products, such as smart kettles and fridges, and software developers will face heavy fines if they do not meet tough rules aimed at averting cyber attacks, according to draft EU legislation to be unveiled next week. Companies will have to obtain mandatory certificates that show they are meeting the basic requirements of cyber safety that minimise the risk of attacks, according to a confidential document seen by the Financial Times. Those that fail to comply will be fined up to €15mn or 2.5 per cent of the previous year’s global turnover, whichever is higher.

New sheriff in town, it seems.  And the MATTER effort is encouraging.  Maybe I'll have to stop saying that security wasn't an afterthought, it wasn't thought of at all.  Good. 

Monday, February 27, 2023

The Wolfgang Chronicles - IIII

Glen Filthie asked for an update on Wolfgang, and so here we go.  His back legs have been getting increasingly tangled up.  Yesterday he fell twice as I was taking him out when he woke up.  You can tell that it frustrates him, but increasingly he wakes up hurting at night (we hear him panting)  and every now and then he whimpers.  It's intermittent, but increasing.

He's still alert, although he's sleeping more.  The Queen Of The World says it's because that's the time he doesn't hurt.  I think she's ready to let him go.  I'm not, but as I see him in pain more often, I'm getting closer.

TQOTW's daughter said recently that when it's time, he'll let us know.  I expect that's right.  For now, he hasn't let me know.

But he can't run with the dogs at the dog park, which frustrates him.  He's a very social dog, one who likes and gets along with almost all dogs and people.  I have to say that I did a much better job socializing him than my old shepherd, Jack.

And so we're planning a doggie party, with his neighborhood dog friends coming over to lay out with him on the grass.  He loved to do that back at Camp Borepatch in Georgia, and he still likes to do this today.  It's not a "time to say goodbye to Wolfgang" party, but I don't know how he will be in 2 weeks at the rate he's going.  So we're having the party this weekend.

In a way, it looks kind of like when Dad was in hospice.  You know the trajectory, but not the timetable.  Every day is a gift.  Turn up the music, and dance with your wife.

Friday, February 24, 2023

roy buchanan - peter gunn theme

You wonder what other music he would have made if he hadn't been found hanged in a jail cell in the '80s.  He's "the best guitarist most people have never heard of".


Thursday, February 23, 2023


Keeping the ancient rome theme here:

What do you call a roman with a cold?

Julius Sneezear. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2023


Reader TheAxe left a comment on yesterday's post about a never heard of before Roman Emperor:

How did Incitatus vote when he was in the Senate?  "Neigh!" 

Note: Incitatus was supposedly the Emperor Caligula's favorite race horse, and he supposedly appointed him to the Senate.  

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

It seems there was a Roman Emperor that nobody knew about

Well, they new about him, but thought he was fake.  It turns out he was real:

For three centuries, the Roman leader Sponsian, who was first discovered on a set of coins found in Transylvania, was believed to be fake. Unearthed in 1713, the coins depicted him as an emperor — but in the absence of other information, the unconventional coins were widely dismissed as forgeries.

However, a new study on four ancient gold coins from The Hunterian collection at the University of Glasgow and the Brukenthal National Museum in Sibiu, Romania, has revealed that not only were the coins authentic, but they shed light on an obscure figure, and his role in the Crisis of the Third Century.

The Roman Empire very nearly fell apart during the Crisis of the Third Century.  It did temporarily split into three pieces: western, central, and eastern.  Our histories may need to be updated to make that four pieces, with Sponsian leading the province of Dacia.  We have so few historical sources from this period that it is (to me) endlessly fascinating.

The Crisis started to come to a close with Aurelian who united the three parts (for which feat the grateful Senate gave him the title "Restitutor Orbis" or "Restorer of the World").  We've seen Aurelian here before, but never Sponsian.  You have to wonder if Aurelian had to campaign in Dacia to bring that back into the Empire.

Au contraire, mon frere

Glen Filthie doesn't seem to think too highly of the cult classic film Army Of Darkness.  Just how much of a cult classic?  People make crazy good homage films to it.

Monday, February 20, 2023

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Alison Krauss and Union Station - When You Say Nothing at All

Wirecutter (you do read him every day, right?  I thought so.) posts a complete concert of Allison Krauss and Union Station, which includes this song.  Listening, it made me think on the weakness of Music Criticism, the dissection of songs.  It made me think on the saying "All you need are three chords and the truth."  This song is not sophisticated, musically speaking.  But it speaks directly to the heart, with the volume turned up to eleven.

It made me ponder that it's been a while since I've posted a love letter to The Queen Of The World, and shame on me.  But the lyrics here speak the truth: she literally caught me when I fell.

Allison Krauss and Union Station need no introduction; if you've never heard of them just listen to this.  And listen to how how when the band first starts to play the song the crowd starts to cheer, and then settles down to "quiet as a church mouse".  And at the end the applause goes on, and on, and on.  That's Allison Krauss and Union Station.  Oh, and this bit from her Wikipedia bio kind of sums up the phenomenon that is Allison Krauss:

As of 2019, she has won 27 Grammy Awards from 42 nominations,[3] ranking her fourth behind BeyoncéQuincy Jones and classical conductor Georg Solti for most Grammy Award wins overall.[4] Krauss was the singer and female artist with the most awards in Grammy history[5] until Beyoncé won her 28th Grammy in 2021.[6] When Krauss won her first Grammy in 1991, she was the second-youngest winner at that time.

Three chords and the truth.  A Truth worthy of not just a love letter, but a love letter to my sweetheart.

When You Say Nothing At All (songwriters: Paul Overstreet, Don Schlitz):

It's amazing how you can speak right to my heart
Without saying a word, you can light up the dark
Try as I may I could never explain
What I hear when you don't say a thing

The smile on your face lets me know that you need me
There's a truth in your eyes saying you'll never leave me
The touch of our hands say you'll catch me if ever I fall
You say it best when you say nothing at all

All day long I can hear people talking aloud
But when you hold me near, you drown out the crowd
Old Mr. Webster could never define
What's being said between your heart and mine

The smile on your face lets me know that you need me
There's a truth in your eyes saying you'll never leave me
The touch of our hands say you'll catch me if ever I fall
You say it best when you say nothing at all

The smile on your face lets me know that you need me
There's a truth in your eyes saying you'll never leave me
The touch of our hands say you'll catch me if ever I fall
You say it best when you say nothing at all

I would be remiss if I didn't also mention the band, especially Ron Block (guitar) and Jerry Douglass (perhaps the world's greatest dobro player).

Thanks, Wirecutter.  And double thanks to my sweetheart.

Friday, February 17, 2023


The cost of a current Sidewinder missile is about $440,000. The cost per hour to operate an F-22 is approximately $70,000. This is what was used to shoot down the latest balloon over Alaska. 

Turns out, the likeliest explanation of what they shot down is that it is a balloon launched by a hobby group called the Northern Illinois Bottlecap Balloon Brigade. They regularly and legally launch small balloons carrying transmitters broadcasting on HAM radio frequencies. The balloons cost between $12 and $150 depending on size. The limit is 4 pounds and the amount of helium used is carefully calculated to put the balloon at an altitude in the jet stream. 

The transmitters broadcast every 10 minutes and hobbyists track them on HAM radios. This particular balloon had already been around the world several times when it went off-line at a time and location that corresponds with the shoot down. 

Pr. Biden has publicly stated that the three objects shot down since the first Chinese balloon was shot down off the Atlantic coast are all likely research or hobby devices.

I was going to tell a couple of dad jokes today, but you just can't make up anything this funny.


Quote of the Day - Gun Control edition

This seems on-point for talking to gun controllers: a comment at Althouse:

Consider the white supremecy of keeping guns "off the streets." I've never seen a gun lying on "the streets." Seems like "the streets" is just a euphemism for some kind of people. But what kind of people do "the streets" describe?

White supremecy only matters when they say it matters. Which is the ultimate privilege when you think about it. You can just flip your concern switch off and on when it suits you.

Stuff nobody cares about

These days "I believe the science" really means "I believe the science that my team endorses".  I've mostly stopped posting much about climate science because people don't care about the actual, you know, science.  It's devolved into tribal posturing.

But here is a grab bag from the past few months of actual, you know, climate science.

The impact of urbanization on global temperature

While we all know that urban areas are warmer than rural areas, especially at night and during the summer, does an increase in urbanization lead to spurious warming at the GHCN stations that experienced growth (which is the majority of them)?

And, even if it did, does the homogenization procedure NOAA uses to correct for spurious temperature effects remove (even partially) urban heat island (UHI) effects on reported temperature trends?

John Christy and I have been examining these questions by comparing the GHCN temperature dataset (both unadjusted and adjusted [homogenized] versions) to these Landsat-based measurements of human settlement structures, which I will just call “urbanization”.


NOAA’s homogenization produces a change in most of the station temperature trends. If I compute the average homogenization-induced change in trends in various categories of station growth in urbanization, we should see a negative trend adjustment associated with positive urbanization growth, right?

But just the opposite happens.

[Borepatch comments]  So the science as performed today takes a known problem of urbanization induced (false) temperature rise and corrects it so that it rises even more.  But remember, kids - the arctic will be ice-free by 2013.  Just ask Al Gore.

Changing how you measure record temperatures to get more record temperatures

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) regularly claims new record hot days, and Australian scientist report that heat records are now 12 times more likely than cold ones. But how reliable – how verifiable – are the new records?

I have been trying for five years to verify the claim that the 23 September 2017 at Mildura was the hottest September day ever recorded in Victoria. According to media reporting at that time, it was the hottest September day all the way-back to 1889 when records first began. Except that back then, back in September 1889, maximum temperatures were recorded at Mildura with a mercury thermometer. Now they are recorded with a temperature probe that is more sensitive to fluctuations in temperature and can thus potentially record warmer for the same weather.

In the absence of any other influences, an instrument with a faster response time [temperature probe] will tend to record higher maximum and lower minimum temperatures than an instrument with a slower response time [mercury thermometer]. This is most clearly manifested as an increase in the mean diurnal range. At most locations, particularly in arid regions, it will also result in a slight increase in mean temperatures, as short-term fluctuations oftemperature are generally larger during the day than overnight.” Research Report No. 032, by Blair Trewin, BoM, October 2018, page 21.

To standardise recordings from temperature probes with mercury thermometers, one-second readings from probes are normally averaged over one minute – or batches of ten second readings are averaged and then averaged again over one minute. That is the world-wide standard to ensure recordings from temperature probes are comparable with recordings from mercury thermometers. But the Australian Bureau of Meteorology do not do this, instead they take one-second instantaneous readings and then enter the highest of these one-second spot readings for any given 24-hour period as the official maximum temperature for that day.

[Borepatch comments] You will no doubt be shocked to learn that with all these new record high temperatures, Sydney has just experienced the longest consecutive number of days with a high temperature reading below 30 degrees Celsius in 130 years.  And remember, the highest temperature ever recorded in the USA was in 1913.  Also remember that 14 States set high temperature records (that stand to this day) in the summer of 1936.  That was 87 years ago.

Thursday, February 16, 2023

RIP Racquel Welch

Dwight has the obit.

She was quite funny, as I posted last year

 Update: And talented.


Wednesday, February 15, 2023


Why did Shakespeare's wife walk out on him?

She was tired of all the dramas.

Monday, February 13, 2023

Meme-ento Mori

 That was awesome, ChatGPT.

More next week.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Tchaikovsky - Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet

I posted this two years ago but it highlights just how lost I would be without The Queen Of The World.

This is arguably the most famous romantic music ever written and since this is the Feast of St. Valentine here's something to share with your sweetheart.  Relax, even if she's not a classical music aficionado , she knows this.  You do too.  I mean, it's been in literally everything, from Sesame Street to Wayne's World.

What's surprising is that Tchaikovsky's masterpiece was initially poorly received and he had to re-write it.  But the effort was worth it - this really made his reputation and as I said, this is the most famous piece of romantic classical music ever written.

If you want to cheat, skip ahead to around 8:50.  You should find yourself humming right along.

And now for a confession: I had searched for this for literally years, but to my shame didn't know who the composer was and didn't think about Tchaikovsky.  I mentioned this to The Queen Of The World and she found it in literally 5 minutes.  She's not just a pretty face, she's wicked smart.

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - The Broken Road

Valentine's Day is next week, so it's time to think of music for your sweetheart.  The Queen Of The World and I both love this song - the motorcycle accident that really brought us together is perhaps a literal version of the song.

My problem (as long time readers will remember) is that I really don't care much for Rascal Flatts.  So what to do?  Well, as it turns out the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band recorded this twenty years before Rascal Flatts.

The Broken Road (Songwriters: Marcus Hummon, Bobby Boyd, Jeff Hanna)

I set out on a narrow way many years ago
Hoping I would find true love along the broken road
But I got lost a time or two
Wiped my brow and kept pushin' through
I couldn't see how every sign pointed straight to you
Every long lost dream led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart
They were like northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you
Yes, He did
I think about the years I spent just passin' through
I'd like to have the time I lost and give it back to you
But you just smile and take my hand
You've been there, you understand
It's all part of a grander plan that is comin' true
Every long lost dream led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart
They were like northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you
And now I'm just a rollin' home into my lover's arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you

Friday, February 10, 2023

Hack "jailbreaks" ChatGPT AI program

ChatGPT is an online artificial intelligence program that will answer many questions and actually create content on request - it's what's come closest to passing the "Turing Test".  The program's creators built in some guardrails to prevent abuse via the chat bot; controversially these seem to be biased in some ways (e.g. it will not write a poem about Donald Trump but will write one about Kamala Harris).

But ChatGPT is software, and it's online.  So it's not really surprising that people have figured out a hack to break these guardrails:

Users have already found a way to work around ChatGPT's programming controls that restricts it from creating certain content deemed too violent, illegal, and more.

The prompt, called DAN (Do Anything Now), uses ChatGPT's token system against it, according to a report by CNBC. The command creates a scenario for ChatGPT it can't resolve, allowing DAN to bypass content restrictions in ChatGPT.

Although DAN isn't successful all of the time, a subreddit devoted to the DAN prompt's ability to work around ChatGPT's content policies has already racked up more than 200,000 subscribers.

It's software.  Of course there are security holes.

My take: this is funny in the typical (and indeed classical) hacker "you're not the boss of me" rebelliousness.  What will be less funny is something that malicious attackers will be able to do to subvert the system.  Impossible to say what those might be, but they will be found, and exploited.  It's software.  Of course there are security holes.  With 200,00 subscribers to the subreddit, we're fixin' to see a bunch of them.

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Stan Getz - Walk On By

Stan Getz recorded a whole album of Burt Bacharach's songs.  Rest in peace, Burt.  Thanks for all the great music.


SpaceX successfully static fires Booster 7

1 engine was shut down by Mission Control and one shut itself down after ignition, so this was 31 engines burning for 6 seconds.  Looks like it's being considered a success.

Hopefully we'll see Starship launch next month.

Wednesday, February 8, 2023


 Roberta X weighs in on the beating death of Tyre Nichols and says what I was thinking far better than I would have. 

"Nobody has a beating coming from the police -- not the most innocent of drivers pulled over on vague suspicion or the worst violent offender caught bloody-handed.  Nobody should ever fear getting kicked by an arresting officer while his peers hold them down.  The police are not a street gang and shouldn't get away with acting like one."



Big Country muses on the war in Ukraine and how Russia is refurbishing mothballed tanks.  Quantity, he says, has a quality of its own, and it seems that it's surprisingly easy to refurbish old armor. 

That got me pondering.  Last light Dopey Joe gave his State Of The Union address and called for an Assault Weapons ban.  Vlad seems to be thinking that the future is now, and an old tank tomorrow is worth much more than a bunch of new stuff next year.  In this very same vein, doesn't that suggest that anyone who hasn't already bought an AR-15 should go out right now and get one?

Palmetto State Armory has an AK-47 pattern rifle for $619.

And ammunition should be bought by the hundreds (or thousands) of rounds.  Remember, a US Army combat load of ammo is around 200 rounds per soldier, and they get resupplied.  A thousand rounds today is better than more next year.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

In My Memories

America looked like this 50 60 70 years ago. The video below is just a series of stills, but to those of us old enough to remember, it evokes a time of promise and energy, shared purpose, and hope. Some of these look like my town, some of the people look like my parents.

Monday, February 6, 2023

Meme-ento Mori

Well, memes are transitory, right?  And it's a better name than "Meme Monday" ...

That one is no joke.  When I was a kid in Maine in the '70s our Boy Scout troop would go winter camping.  In February.  In Maine.

I hope Glen Filthie gets out early for good behavior.

This is a true damn fact.

More next week.

Sunday, February 5, 2023

David Rakshin - Theme from The Bad and the Beautiful

A long-standing cliche in theater is the "Play within the Play" motif.  This goes way back (remember Hamlet?  "The Play's the thing."), and generally is hard to pull off.  A related genre is the "Movie about a movie" which is similarly hard to pull off.  An exception to this was the 1952 film The Bad And The Beautiful, starring Kirk Douglas and Lana Turner. It scored five Oscars which is a record of sorts (well, for a film that wasn't nominated for either Best Picture or Best Director; but hey, a record is a record).

The film spawned a whole mini industry of speculation as to just which real life Hollywood people were characterized in the film.  It's said that David Selznick had his lawyer review the film to see if it was libelous, which is pretty fun.  Hey, the play's the thing, amirite?

David Raksin composed the theme song (and the entire soundtrack).  The producer wanted lyrics to the song but Raksin was pretty steamed about having to split the royalties of his previous hit song "Laura" and so insisted that it would be instrumental only.  It also became a hit, presumably much to Raksin's satisfaction.  Sadly, this bit of Hollywood drama wasn't depicted in the film.

But the music is quite nice.  Not exactly film noir (which Raksin also composed for), but from a Hollywood at the height of its musical power.

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Should Tom Brady have (stayed) retired?

Tom Brady is the greatest football player in history, but did this last disastrous season hurt his reputation?  Or is his career so impressive that it really didn't hurt him?

He originally retired a year ago, and then came back for one more season.  If he had stayed retired then everyone would have thought "Of course he could have played longer; he went out at the top."  Now it's pretty clear that while he is still a great quarterback, he's not what he was a couple years ago.


Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Tom Lehrer - So Long Mom (A Song For WWIII)

Seemingly everything old is new again.  Apocalypse Nostalgia, anyone?