Castle Bravo

On March 1, 1954 in the Marshall Islands, on the Bikini Atoll, the US fired the Castle Bravo thermonuclear weapon. Less than 2 years after the Ivy Mike Shot proved that a hydrogen bomb was possible, the Castle Bravo device was the first thermonuclear weapon small enough to be carried by an aircraft. (The Ivy Mike shot had depended on cryogenic equipment making the device weigh 80 tons or more.) This opened the door to the 2nd stage of the Cold War.

The Castle Bravo shot was the first detonation of a dry thermonuclear bomb. It was also a complete catastrophe.

Officially it was Operation Castle, Bravo Shot. (For whatever reason there was no Alpha Shot in Operation Castle.

Scientists working on the shot had used a lithium-6 isotope but also included a lot of lithium-7. They calculated that the lithium-7 would be inert, and that the resulting explosion would be in the 6-megaton range. They were completely wrong.

The explosive power of the Castle Bravo shot was 250 percent ABOVE expectations. In other words, instead of the 6 megaton explosion they expected, they got 15 megatons. The base – built to conduct nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands – was destroyed. The shot crew were trapped in their bunker by high radiation. Several islands – where no one was even supposed to know what was going on – had to be evacuated. The people on those islands suffered for a long time as the result of radiation exposure. A Japanese fishing crew was exposed and at least one death from radiation exposure occurred. This lead to an international call for an end to atmospheric testing.

Remember this when scientists tell you that they know exactly how bad (or how good) something is going to be based on their equations, but in the absence of observation. They often get it right, but not always. “In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.” (Yogi Berra)

It isn’t surprising that A Capella Science has a take on nuclear weapons. (That does mention Castle Bravo)

Uber Self-driving Cars Do Run Red Lights

We were told it was “human error.” But that looks more like corporate spin every day. Self-Driving Uber That Was Caught On Video Running Red Light Was Driving Itself.

Uber quickly told the media that this was due to human error, and a driver was in control of the vehicle at the time, but the New York Times now reports via two anonymous company employees and an internal document that in fact the car was driving itself, and that the autonomous vehicles failed to recognize traffic lights on six separate occasions.

Safety? Why are you so hung up on safety? They are building the FUTURE. (Just ask them, and they will tell you.)

More Bullsh*t from Uber

They claim they are “hurting” over allegations of sexual harassment. I think they are only hurting over all the bad publicity. Uber pleads with users deleting the app: ‘We’re hurting’

For a rundown on the culture of sexual harassment, and the coverups by both HR and Uber management, see this link.

So in reaction to a #DeleteUber campaign, that is apparently gaining ground for several reasons, not just this train wreck, Uber is sending out a message, calling out the engineer that claimed sexual harassment by name, and asking users to reconsider. Yeah, that is probably a bad idea on a lot of fronts.

“They are either deliberately encouraging continuing harassment of her, or they are utterly ignorant of how retaliation and intimidation works — it’s unclear which is more embarrassing,” Valerie Aurora, diversity and inclusion consultant at Frame Shift Consulting, told CNNTech. The consulting firm hosts diversity and inclusion trainings at technology firms.

And if is getting worse for Uber.

After Fowler’s post on Sunday, the New York Times published a story in which other Uber employees described homophobic slurs in the workplace, managers who threaten violence, and sexual assault.

It is a good thing the fine citizens of Silicon Valley are SO culturally enlightened. NOT.

And after all this comes to light, management is going to investigate. Or whitewash. It is hard to tell at this distance. If Uber really believed, that sexual harassment, homophobic slurs and threats of violence didn’t belong the work place, they would have investigated 6 months or year earlier than they are doing. Hard to see their current activities as anything but damage control. They got caught being jerks, and they are running scared.

Uber Data Used to Spy on Folks Including Celebrities

Security? What’s that? Uber allegedly spied on users, including celebrities like Beyoncé | Fox News

So you think security isn’t an issue? How about stalking? What do you think about that?

Uber employees helped ex-boyfriends stalk ex-girlfriends, and were even able to access trip information for celebrities like Beyonce, Reveal News explains. These revelations come from the company’s former in-house forensic investigator Ward Spangenberg.

Just like in the case of the sexual harassment story, Uber decided to blame the whistle-blower instead of addressing the problem.

Spangenberg objected to the company’s “reckless and illegal practices” and Uber fired him 11 months after he joined the company in March 2015. Uber says it fired Spangenberg because he violated a code of conduct policy and reformatted his computer. The security expert argued that he simply began rebuilding the laptop after a crash.

The only safe information is your credit card data, because Uber doesn’t store that – their bank does. So why does Uber need your Social Security Number?

“When I was at the company, you could stalk an ex or look up anyone’s ride with the flimsiest of justifications,” Michael Sierchio, who was a senior security engineer at Uber, told the site. “It didn’t require anyone’s approval.”

Uber was allegedly more interested in fast growth than enforcing strong security. “Early on, ‘growth at all costs’ was the mantra, so you can imagine that security was an afterthought,” Sierchio added. “One of the things I was told is, ‘It’s not a security company.'”

Uber and their ilk are painted as the future of everything. Technology to rule your life. (Do I hear echos of “One ring to rule them all?”) And these are the people you want to put in charge of security.

Their self-driving cars… How much security is built into that? Will ex-boyfriends be able to crash their ex-girlfriends’ cars, and not just know where they are?

The Internet of Things (IoT): All your security cameras belong to us

The “S” in IoT stands for “Security.” And Sony is the latest company to live up to that standard. Or down to it.Backdoor accounts found in 80 Sony IP security camera models | PCWorld

You could also file this under, “You’re doing it wrong!”

80 different versions of Sony web-connected security cameras have back-doors that would allow hackers to take them over. These are not cheap consumer devices, but those sold to corporations and government.

The second hard-coded password is for the root account that could be used to take full control of the camera over Telnet. The researchers established that the password is static based on its cryptographic hash and, while they haven’t actually cracked it, they believe it’s only a matter of time until someone does.

My guess is that we are living in the golden age of Internet access. In another 10 years, there will be so many botnets made of non-secure IoT devices, that the DDoS attack that brought down sites like Twitter will be so commonplace that trying to get anything done will be a fools errand.