She learned at home…

Written on 5 August 2019, 08:59pm

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A 15 years-old girl living in one of the poorest regions in one of the poorest countries in Europe is abducted, sexually abused and eventually killed while hitchhiking on her way home. Authorities took 19 hours to locate her and secure unnecessary search warrants.

Yet somehow, a brainless Romanian politician finds it appropriate to avoid talking about the difficulties the people in rural Romania face when trying to commute or about the surreal delay of responding to an emergency call in an EU country. In an effort to shift the blame to the victim, EA says that she “learned at home not to get into strangers’ cars“.

Following the same logic, here are some more gems yet to be delivered by our genius politician:

  • the 0.8 billion people on Earth living in hunger should better eat their food. EA learned at home to finish her plate
  • the 0.6 billion youth people living in war zones should simply stay inside. EA learned at home to stay out of trouble
  • the 44 million European people suffering from depression should simply get over it. EA learned at home that depression is not a disease

I could go on, but I’m afraid she learned everything at home and there’s no more place left for her to learn new things.

https://unsplash.com/photos/fZ2hMpHIrbI

Random links #13

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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A good reason to use the dark theme whenever you can

Something is rotten in the state of Belgium

Written on 1 April 2016, 03:17pm

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A post full of links and frustrations, following the recent attacks in Brussels.

A very good summary of the Belgium’s worst terror misses, mistakes and misunderstandings is in this post: http://www.politico.eu/article/the-dirty-dozen-12-mistakes-that-condemned-brussels-to-terror-attacks-isil/. Then there is the famous rant in the wake of the Paris attacks about how Belgium is a failed state: http://www.politico.eu/article/belgium-failed-state-security-services-molenbeek-terrorism/. They paint a very accurate picture of the Belgian state, but they are coming from the same source, so below there are more links with factual data coming from other sources.

Belgian Authorities Overwhelmed By Terror Investigations: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mitchprothero/belgian-authorities-overwhelmed-by-terror-investigations

Belgium feared tragedy was coming but couldn’t stop it (Kristof Clerix): http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/mar/22/belgium-feared-brussels-attacks-tragedy-but-could-not-stop-it
From the same author, a post written post-Paris attacks: Why are terrorists drawn to Belgium? http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/17/terrorists-belgium-paris-attacks

Wrong man portrait broadcast: http://www.dhnet.be/medias/television/le-petit-journal-devoile-l-erreur-monumentale-du-ministere-de-l-interieur-dans-le-dossier-reda-kriket-56fe67a235708ea2d41cc459

How Fayçal Cheffou is free to go and a suspected terrorist http://www.politico.eu/article/brussels-terror-attacks-faycal-cheffou-both-free-to-go-and-a-suspected-terrorist/
Arrested and freed again because he got into a friend flat by the window: Fayçal Cheffou à nouveau arrêté http://www.dhnet.be/actu/belgique/faycal-cheffou-a-nouveau-arrete-56fc2c2d35708ea2d40fa73f

La sécurité de l’aéroport de Zaventem inquiète http://www.lesoir.be/1167056/article/actualite/belgique/2016-03-30/attentats-bruxelles-securite-l-aeroport-zaventem-inquiete
http://www.lesoir.be/1168752/article/actualite/fil-info/fil-info-belgique/2016-04-01/syndicats-brussels-airport-livrent-aussi-leurs-critiques-sur-sec
“Police working at Brussels Airport have published an open letter censuring the security system at Belgium’s national airport. They suggest the 22 March terrorist attack at Zaventem could have been avoided, and also demand more and better guarantees before accepting to restart working at Brussels Airport.” http://deredactie.be/cm/vrtnieuws.english/News/1.2616163

Le système de communication Astrid de la police a été saturé pendant les attentats. Selon un agent, les services ont dû communiquer via l’application Whatsapp, écrivent le Nieuwsblad et la Gazet van Antwerpen samedi. https://www.rtbf.be/info/dossier/explosions-a-brussels-airport/detail_la-police-a-ete-contrainte-de-communiquer-via-whatsapp-pendant-les-attentats?id=9252980

8 Belges sur 10 redoutent de nouvelles attaques et accusent l’Etat, selon un sondage http://www.rtbf.be/info/dossier/explosions-a-brussels-airport/detail_attentats-de-bruxelles-8-belges-sur-10-redoutent-de-nouvelles-attaques-et-accusent-l-etat-selon-un-sondage?id=9256818

March 2014: “Le Centre de Crise développe de nouveaux canaux pour alerter la population en cas de catastrophe. Toutefois, les citoyens ne seront pas automatiquement prévenus. L’inscription via le site web be-alert.be est impérative pour recevoir, le cas échéant, un SMS d’avertissement. Il est également possible d’opter pour l’e-mail, le message vocal sur un numéro fixe ou mobile et… le fax.” http://geeko.lesoir.be/2014/03/17/le-centre-de-crise-belge-debute-lenvoi-dalertes-par-sms/
March 2016: Phone networks down. People not receiving any alerts. “Pourquoi BE-Alert n’a-t-il pas fonctionné ? “J’avais fait inscrire toute ma famille, dont mes parents âgés et ma sœur qui souffre d’un handicap. Mardi dernier, jour des attentats à Bruxelles, personne n’a reçu d’alerte. Si, avant de prendre le métro, j’avais reçu un SMS me tenant au courant de la menace terroriste, jamais je n’aurais pris le risque d’entrer dans la station de Maelbeek. Je serais restée à l’abri et n’aurais pas dû compter sur le hasard pour pouvoir être en vie et témoigner”, s’indigne-t-elle.” http://www.dhnet.be/actu/belgique/pourquoi-be-alert-n-a-t-il-pas-fonctionne-56fdf70635708ea2d41a1e0d

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Ok. Where do we go from here? 3 starting points in my opinion (one preventive, two reactive):
1. Strengthen the national security services

The ratio between security services and potential terrorists is therefore roughly of 1:1 — at best. Needless to say, there are not nearly enough people to properly monitor every dangerous individual. Authorities are forced to prioritize and make judgement calls. The likelihood of mistakes multiplies. […] The problem is widely acknowledged, but budgetary restrictions, which were in effect until 2015 due to difficult economic conditions, exacerbated the situation. In this context, and in order to anticipate future threats, the government urgently needs to strengthen its national security services. It’s not a magical solution, but it’s a first step — especially if followed by other measures across the entire counter-terrorism spectrum, notably in terms of prevention.
http://www.politico.eu/article/belgium-is-not-europe-jihadi-base-terrorism-threat-molenbeek/

2. Introduce proper terrorist penalties: life sentence in isolation for terrorist activities, 24/24 monitor for flagged individuals, 24/24 search warrants for suspicion of terrorist activities, etc

3. Up to date CCTV system with high image quality in public places (not like the joke of image in the airport that seems to be taken with a potato)

a-policemans-job-is-only-easy-in-a-police-state-quote-1