Cheeseburger Gothic

Digital siege

Posted July 9 into Blunty by John Birmingham

It's book launch time, it must be thinky column time too.

At the Instrument.

Cod, Mark Kurlansky’s enjoyable history of the big mouthed Atlantic all rounder, is just as much a history of human politics, economics and warfare, ranging from the murderous adventures of maximum Viking Eirik the Red to the three strange and mostly bloodless "Cod Wars" between Iceland and Great Britain in the decades after the Second World War.

A thousand years of human folly and conflict, with the cod swimming through it all; European colonisation, the American War of Independence, the rise of the slave trade.

The seemingly porous state of Australia’s defences against cyberattack has been exposed by serious intrusions or attempted intrusions.
The seemingly porous state of Australia’s defences against cyberattack has been exposed by serious intrusions or attempted intrusions.
In living memory, Germany lost two wars in part because of that fish. While first the Kaiser and then the Führer’s Volk suffered privation and malnutrition in the First and Second World Wars, their English enemies harvested the North Sea for megatons of protein to feed millions of soldiers and factory workers.

Crediting an Allied victory to plentiful supplies of fish and chips might seem an amusingly hot and salty take on such a grim topic, but it does go to a hard truth in the history of human conflict. Starving your enemy can be just as effective as bombing, shooting or stabbing them.

In any future global conflict involving the post-industrial West, siege and starvation, the most medieval of tactics, are likely to be among the first deployed.

And the more advanced the belligerent, the more vulnerable they are to digital disruption of real-world supply chains...

6 Responses to ‘Digital siege’

Murphy_of_Missouri has opinions thus...

Posted July 9
Invest in paper, typwriters, and analog.

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Therbs reckons...

Posted July 9
I can see a book coming on. One about the end of civilisation. Erm, hang a bit ...

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NBlob mumbles...

Posted July 9
"The seemingly porous state of Australia’s defences against cyberattack has been exposed by serious intrusions or attempted intrusions."
Are they? Have they been significantly interrupted?
Hodgepodge, Jerry Rigged, post-Hoc? yes, indoubidably.
But, vulnerable ?
Every target of $ value, or just worthy of a "digital wristy in an anonymous chat-room" has been atacked 9 wise west of Tuesday for the past decade.
Possibly by Corrupted Nerds of the spotty oik variety, not weaponised hackers with Skillz.
But Shirley said services have mirrors, redundancies, fail safes?

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted July 10
They haven't been interrupted because the purpose of a probing attack is to probe. Not to attack. You establish you can penetrate the system. You survey the weaknesses. And you leave. There's no point collapsing anything until you need to.
They do it to us. We do it to them. It will end badly.

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Dave W is gonna tell you...

Posted July 10
Having not read Cod, I don't know how much it goes into the whole supply chain logistics of feeding a war with only (or mainly) northern European resources v a global opposition.

But there's a reason that the word ersatz entered the anglo lexicon: so many German items were. From memory, everything from painkillers to rubber had to be fabricated rather than harvested.

And yes, break today's supply chains and we're in trouble, I believe. Three weeks of fuel. No domestic car manufacturing capability (because why would we need to think about retooling to a military capability when the US is on our side, right?).

In a way, though, I think Aus is better off than a place like the UK. I believe that if we could solve the fuel issue, we can at least feed ourselves. The UK's food supply chain is based on just in time from across Europe, North Africa and the Americas. Oops.

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wyvernsridge mutters...

Posted July 24
1. I hope that Alvin Toffler's "War and AntiWar" is in your reference bookcase. TL:DR "Societies make war the same way they make money".
2. "Effects based Operations" or "Effects-based Strategy" depending on the level you are working on. lots of reading out there - good examples from WW2 - lots of more wonkish stuff from the US think tanks. The problem is how to do BDA (ie. "Bomb Damage Assessment) meaning how to check that your actions actually had the effect you envisaged.
3. If you ever get a chance to, talk to the author of the NRMA paper on Fuel Security in Australia (AVM John Blackburn Retd) - if you do, take your notebook, you'll need it!

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Forgot my airpods

Posted May 28 into Blunty by John Birmingham

One wrinkle in my Melbounre trip. I forgot my airods. I had to walk around withot playlists or podcasts. Like an animal.

I left my AirPods behind. Two days of book signings in Melbourne and nothing but my own thoughts as I walked from one store to the next. It was Hell, until it wasn't.

We're not often left to our own thoughts these days. Not randomly. We might occasionally have reason to consider them. Should I change jobs? Do I swipe right? Are my franking credits worth dooming generations unborn to a wretched demise on a dying planet of rising, acidic oceans and scorched, barren earth? (Spoiler, not just yes, but HELL YES!)

At Blunty.

4 Responses to ‘Forgot my airpods’

Oldy is gonna tell you...

Posted May 28
Oh, the humanity

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Bondiboy66 asserts...

Posted May 29
Luddites like me forgo such distractions, and usually travel with a book to read - at least the batteries won't run out on a book!

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon asserts...

Posted May 29
ha. I also take an old fashioned book with me. I think i read Stephen King does the same. I tried to get my 13yr to come outside remove the earplugs and just listen. They put up with me and stared at me until the dawning horror of realisation hit me with the power of a 10tonne condescension bomb. I'm old! "okay whippersnapper off you go"

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NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted May 30
This is something from a Hobbesian hell-scape dystopia isn't it?
I'd never have committed to 3 decades of euthanising or at least sedating TF outa' the demons between my ears if I wanted to hear from them.
I subscribe to more podcasts I can ever catch up with, I keep favourites like Dan Carlin eps, my patrol bag has spare headphones and a battery bank all to avoid such a nightmare.
When the last 5S goes the way of the Summatran bull Rhino I will migrate to android because a 3.5mm Jack plug is a deal breaker.
I use duopoly $7 el cheapos headphones because tonal range is not critical in podcasts and I consume an average a pair per fortnight.

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Twitter, Thunderbirds and mass ADD

Posted May 7 into Blunty by John Birmingham

At the Instrument today:

Our mass attention deficit disorder has been accelerating for decades. Digital technology merely super-charged the process.

You can probably think of older analog technologies that nudged us out of our collective deep thought long before the iPhone moved the seat of human agency from mind and soul to fingertip. That’s right. I’m looking at you, TV remote.

I have no data, no research, not even a dodgy web link, but I can’t help feel everything went sideways for the human race when we could flick between four or five channels without even burning four or five calories to haul ourselves up out of the couch and all the way across the room to turn a dial.

Dials are what we had instead of Siri and Alexa, kids. And they worked every goddamn time. You even got a little cardio bump from using them because in the olden days they were always on the far side of the room.

But even as our technology accelerated, so did our imaginations. If you bother to sit through a much-loved TV show of your childhood — OK, my childhood — let's say Thunderbirds, you’ll be horrified at just how slowly it moves.

Full text is here.

1 Responses to ‘Twitter, Thunderbirds and mass ADD’

TillE asserts...

Posted May 8
Best connection to the past indeed moves slowly at my 33 1/3 RPM.

"Alexa, turn the record over" ain't happening here.

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The failure of my savings plan

Posted February 19 into Blunty by John Birmingham

I used to keep a bucket by the front door. No. Not that sort of bucket, you moron. That bucket we kept on the coffee table in the lounge room of the share house, every share house, I Iived in. No, this other bucket came later, after marriage and children and the sudden but related decline in my readily available funds.
This bucket was my savings plan.
Every time I’d come home with coins in my pocket I’d toss them in there. It was a small, red plastic pail of the sort you’d take to the beach to make a sandcastle with children. If I did nothing to curate the stream of coinage, the bucket would usually top out at somewhere around seven or eight hundred dollars. But if I was smart and culled the fifty cent pieces, the final value could get up near twelve or even thirteen hundred bucks. Those old fifties seemed to offer the least value for volume.
I’d fill that bucket on average every nine months. It was a great way to pay for Christmas.
But I have not filled my bucket in many years. This is not a metaphor.
I just don’t get that many coins anymore...

At Blunty

4 Responses to ‘The failure of my savings plan’

Dave W ducks in to say...

Posted February 20
Ugh. Change. I don't check it. I don't like it. Once it's in coins I don't even feel like it's money.

No, I'm not loaded. Yes, I need to check my bank account to make sure that I have been billed for things (Oz joke...). It's just that coins are annoying.

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Nocturnalist mutters...

Posted February 20
The symptom I've noticed is the office snack stash. You know, the one on the spare desk or on top of the filing cabinets with a change jar and some plastic tubs with chips, chocolate bars and maybe a little fridge with some fizzy stuff in it.

I've noticed that these days all the stashes I see have IOU sheets where people record escalating amounts they owe and then settle up every payday or two. The change jars now have just the barest scatter of coins except for payday when they're suddenly stuffed with notes.

insomniac would have you know...

Posted February 20
In our office we had a charity run box with chips and chocolate bars but in the end they gave up because so few had coins with which to purchase the items.

she_jedi is gonna tell you...

Posted February 20
Our office does a collection each month for our charity of the month, and thankfully they give us a couple of days notice that it's that time of the month again because I have to make a special effort to go find cash money to donate EVERY SINGLE TIME.

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An Extraordinary Meeting of the Bounders Club

Posted February 12 into Blunty by John Birmingham

I am shocked, shocked I tell you, to discover a structural inequity fashioned into the very apparel with which our ladies must enclothe themselves.

But I am also quietly relieved, having been originally quite concerned that the repeal of stern but uncompromising legislation prohibiting the escape of lady legs into the public realm would lead to all manner of distraction for any poor fellow momentarily deflected from his daily course by some unexpected encounter with the female undercarriage.

From the Archives of the Bounders Club. Minutes and Proceedings of an extraordinary meeting to address the threat of lady pants.

Gentlemen, it has recently come to my attention that lady pants do not have pockets.

At the Instrument...

9 Responses to ‘An Extraordinary Meeting of the Bounders Club’

she_jedi puts forth...

Posted February 12
When the revolution happens, the designers and tailors who were complicit with the patriarchy and denied us wimminfolk functional pockets in our ladypants will be the first to meet the firing squads.

There are no words to adequately describe the frustration of pants sans pockets, or the deep resentment we feel toward menpants with their voluminous and mandatory pockets, or the rage we feel when we're asked why we cart such enormous handbags with us everywhere we go. Honestly, I can't dress for work or a night out without bringing along some kind of reticule to hold my phone, wallet and keys. Total bullshit.

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HAVOCK21 mumbles...

Posted February 12
Oi..Oi!!!!!!!! you lot, I must say gentlemen…and those of the coven. It is with a rather ample drop of trepidation I might add, for I find that trousers, pants, items out of lycra and all other manner of the fem fatal ensemble cladding thee coven members shipped lower extremities are for specific scientifica based or derived factoids. For without exposing myself too much, Its rather easy to define the benefits and you might say drawbacks.
Imagine no pocket bulges and optically tracking the opposite form, boning up and having naught pockets with which to have festooned within survival equipment and thus shrouding the expanding moment. I mean, how might one adjust one’s self in complete anonymity, or for that matter imagine the primary axels left and right wheels being somewhat exposed….my bad, I remember that being a seventies thing and the resulting lower than expected birth-rates.

Where was I?............ Oh yes, afternoons, evening and mornings wandering down the street with your hand in the pocket of the other half, obviously for no other reason than to aid their balance and protect them from nefarious persons. Ummm, “Cough’ not sure if that still PC even the days. How would it be if they worked out that tackle room on hot days has a distinct advantage, might they also discover the wonders of choosing which side you might “ dress on” that ability to swing left or right..such a wondrous thing.

And…… before any objectioners start their coven orientated dribble, I’ll have all know, its known, legislated in our minutes and constitution that giving them the choice is detrimental to male eyesight!.. Jesus…I mean. Imagine not being able to tail gate, look at the swanky Ferrari’s back end and only discover its clad in pockets, laden with rather pretty, but as we know ultimately useless stuff and the chassis is obscured. GAWD I WOULD BLOODY WELL HATE THAT.

I don’t think we should allow them stitched, it’s a slippery slope that one and far better that we have them continued as a mere thought of, built for but not with accessory never to be added.

NBlob reckons...

Posted February 13
Rumour has it Mz Lorna Jane has been nominated for an Order of Australia, for packaging.

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jason has opinions thus...

Posted February 13
If women get pockets what happens to those of us whose only function is to carry the spare lipstick in our side pocket. I for one would have outlived my usefulness.

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w from brisbane reckons...

Posted February 13
The no pockets policy also explains why most young women have a cracked mobile phone screen.

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NBlob puts forth...

Posted February 13
Can I take off this dugong suit yet?
It's getting sweaty & stinky in here.
And not in a good way?

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insomniac has opinions thus...

Posted February 13
I was with my granddaughter and there was some thing she wanted me to hold, so I said put it in your pocket, and... there was no pocket. I recall thinking that even young girls can't have pockets in their lady pants.

she_jedi is gonna tell you...

Posted February 14
The repression starts early :(

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Therbs mutters...

Posted February 15
Belatedly back from my mission. I can confirm that the Ladies Clothing Manufacturers Union carried a motion put forth by the Pants sub branch.
The motion stated

(i) This meeting calls on all members to enforce a ban on the application of pockets or other such deviations to female pants or pants-like clothing
(ii) This meeting recognises the efforts of the Bounders Club in exposing the corrupt practices of the imperialist oppressors who are demanding pockets.
(iii) This meeting commends the sacrifice of Mr Havock of the Bounders Club in looking at prototypes of be-pocketed female pants.
(iv) This meeting calls on manufacturers to cease their war on women and allow our female comrades to be pockets free.

The motion was unanimously carried at industry - wide workplace meetings of the members. And then we all fucked off to the pub and listened to Redgum and Billy Bragg songs.

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"A skeevy wangboozle as crooked as mouthful of Dickensian urchin teeth"

Posted October 2, 2018 into Blunty by John Birmingham

Apparently all my investments in ergonomically sexy chairs and exotic dark matter standy mats were bullshit.

Well, this sucks. I just bought an ergonomic keyboard and before it even arrives the whole field of ergonomics is revealed to be a skeevy wangboozle as crooked as mouthful of Dickensian urchin teeth.

I don’t much care that companies and governments might be wasting hundreds of millions of dollars a year on dodgy “ergonomic chairs, keyboards and consultants”, as reported by Fairfax Media yesterday.

But I care heaps that I might have just wasted $39 on a discount Microsoft ergonomic keyboard from the Beast of Bezos and it may not immediately cure my crippling minor discomfort from typing too much.

Who'd a thunk it? Me, at Blunty.

1 Responses to ‘"A skeevy wangboozle as crooked as mouthful of Dickensian urchin teeth"’

Dave W ducks in to say...

Posted October 3, 2018
I swear by the ergonomic keyboard. The rest of it I'm sure can easily be explained away by the need to keep moving.

After all, I don't just sit on the couch for hours on end in the same position. Eventually I move just to ensure that I can drink beer and eat salted pig nibbles. Why would the work environment be any different?

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