Why Shouldn’t I ‘cc’ People?

Every copy you make of information is a copy someone else can steal, and every person you send information to is another person who can lose that information. Not every information security weakness is technological. Sometimes the little things we do can have tremendous effects on information security. An important example of this is email […]

How do “Micro-motives” relate to Global Politics?

Thomas Schelling introduced his book Micro-motives and Macro-Outcomes telling a story about a presentation he once gave. In the theatre where he spoke, lighting only allowed him to see the first few rows of seats, which were completely empty, leading him to conclude no one was in attendance. When the house lights came up, he could see the room was nearly full, with everyone seated in the area that appeared dark from the stage. Schelling notes that the front seats were equally accessible to attendees, but that each for their individual reasons—perhaps shared, perhaps different—led to people sitting closer to the back than to the front of the auditorium.
Schelling’s observation is consistent with the economic world view: individual transactions aggregate to larger outcomes in the market. Macro-economics is the study of the effects of the those individual transactions on the market as a whole, whereas micro-economics is the study of those transactions within individual cases.

Why Should I Care, I Don‘t Have Anything to Hide?

The information you are protecting may not be your own.

If there is a common conception about information security in the modern world, it is the conceit that information is primarily about personal privacy. Information security professionals will provide examples of personal data leaks that could be embarassing, harmful or costly, but—as with so many things—the individual risks from bad information security is disproportionate to the aggregate risks. For most people in most situations, poor information security’s threat is not to them personally, but from aggregation, as a threat vector, and through weakened “herd immunity.”

Why Does Everything Bad Seem to Involve the Internet?

Everything bad involves the internet, because everything—good, bad or indifferent—involves the internet, and people want excuses for their failures. The internet is nearly the perfect modern day bogey man. Humans seem congenitally predisposed to justify undesirable outcomes by turning to external explanations. If there is something, anything, that available that could be the “root cause” […]

Why Should I Learn a Scripting Language?

Scripting allows you to automate tasks, which can require and initial investment, but pays off in the long run. People of a certain generation will remember the moderately popular television show Mr. Belvedere which told the story of British butler coming to live with an upper middle class American family. While the program indulged in […]

What Is a Theory?

A theory explains the mechanisms through which causes create effects. I’m not prone to violence, but if you really want to see me punch someone, find me on a really bad day, and then tell me “Anything is ‘theoretically possible.’” While the infinite possibilities provided by theory is a common idea is society—and one you […]