Written on 19 March 2019, 10:20am

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Biohack is just a fancy buzz-word for common-sense advice about improving your life. The most important ones are:

• sleep well
• eat well
• move
• spend time in nature
• socialize

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I am currently reading Solenoid, by Mircea Cartarescu, a surrealist novel that shows, among others, the challenges of growing up in Bucharest during the communist era.

In a nutshell, the novel is presented as a manuscript of a failed writer who teaches Romanian at an elementary school in Bucharest, hates his job and wishes to find an escape route from the confinement of his body and the three-dimensional world around it.

https://theuntranslated.wordpress.com/2017/11/20/solenoid-solenoide-solenoid-by-mircea-cartarescu/

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MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System) seem to be the faulty mechanism behind the Boeing 737 Max recent failure.
If an outside sensor measuring the angle-of-attack reports that its nose is aimed too high, the MCAS is programmed to automatically lower it, allowing the plane to regain speed and lift. But if this sensor is broken (and it looks like there was no redundancy), then the MCAS will be incorrectly trigerred, causing the aircraft to dive.
A longer explanation here.

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– If you could convince an organization to take only one action to be more secure what would it be?
Collect less data and get rid of it faster.

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Written on 14 March 2019, 04:25pm

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You have 8 teams. They will be drawn one against each other, so 4 pairs in total.

Question 1: how many distinct pair sets are possible?

105. I got to this number after running a large number of simulations. Then I did a little bit of research and I also found the formula:

Question 2: if 4 of the 8 teams are from England, what is the probability that all 4 of them will be drawn together?

Again, after analyzing the 105 distinct pair sets, I found that only 9 of them have all-English pairs. The full probability set is:

• two English pairs: 9/105 or 8.57%
• exactly one English pair: 72/105 or 68.57%
• no English pair: 24/105 or 22.86%

Written on 12 March 2019, 09:27am

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I believe that the Airpods success can be explained by the bandwagon effect: “the rate of uptake of […] trends increases the more that they have already been adopted by others“. They slowly made their way from mockery to status symbol.

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At first sight, a bank card with a built-in fingerprint reader seems to be an excellent idea, right? You trade the PIN code (something that you know) for your fingerprint (something that you are). From an usability point of view, it’s a major step forward (PIN codes can be forgotten, misplaced, shoulder-surfed, reused, social engineered, etc). But from a privacy point of view things don’t look so good anymore. The initial plans indicate that the users still have to walk in a branch to enroll their fingerprints – which
(probably) means that the bank will get to know your biometric data. Which cannot be reset, as we all know.
A possible alternative is to ditch the bank card altogether and use something that you have with you all the time: your smartphone (see Apple Pay, Google Pay) – in addition to your biometric data which never leaves your device. But this solution is not inclusive: not everybody owns a smartphone.

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The results of this study are really sad and shows that in reality, we are far, far away from secure-by-design principles. “Researchers asked 43 freelance developers to code the user registration for a web app and assessed how they implemented password storage. 26 devs initially chose to leave passwords as plaintext ” (via)

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