I am a subscriber to Bruce Schneier’s monthly computer security and cryptography newsletter, Crypto-Gram. I’ve been a subscriber for the last 3-4 years because I think computer security and cryptography are facinating subjects. At one point, I even considered studying one or both of them in graduate school. I think I abandoned that plan primarily because of a deep (but difficult to explain) suspicion that the world’s greatest crypto system could never adequately protect our secrets from a determined and well-funded attacker.
There is an outstanding article about Bruce and security in the wake of September 11 in the Atlantic Monthly. What Bruce says is something that I apparently already knew at an intuitive level: computers, databases, and gun-toting pilots will not save us from terrorists. Any real solution must change the way we think about security. It’s a long read, but it’s well-written, easy to understand (even for the non-technically inclined), and worth your time.
I wrote this entry once only to make a mistake causing it to disappear. Here we go again…
I took a little trip to State College, Pennsylvania on Monday and Tuesday. I was representing my advisor at a grant review; he was having hand surgery and unable to attend. (He was also moving to a new house and finishing a book; can you say poor timing?) A few notes from my trip:
- The image above is of the “Lion Shrine.” I sometimes miss the football insanity of my Knoxville, Tennessee childhood. I assumed that the lack of football obsession was a difference between the South and the North. It’s not.
- On my way to State College, I drove through a town in Central Pennsylvania called Jersey Shore. Could someone please explain to me why there is a town in Central Pennsylvania called Jersey Shore?
- State College is a really nice town. I liked it a lot. It may very well be even more isolated than Ithaca, though, which is not a good thing.
- You would think that people with doctorates would know that 40 slides is too many for a 15 minute presentation. Apparently they don’t.