Showing posts with label Containment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Containment. Show all posts

April 5, 2016

Have A Nice Doomsday

This was a photo of a photo I took at Washington Artworks this past weekend.

An anti-nuke demonstration outside the White House with signs that say:

"Live by the bomb, die by the bomb."

and 

"Ban all nuclear weapons or have a nice doomsday."

This was particularly interesting juxtaposed to the editorial in the Wall Street Journal yesterday by the UAE Ambassador to the U.S. who reflected on "one year after the Iran nuclear deal" and outright stated:

"Don't be fooled. The Iran--we have long known--hostile, expansionist, violent--is alive and well."

And he goes on to cite the multiple ballistic missile tests by Iran (October, November, and March), the firing of rockets by Iran dangerously close to a U.S. aircraft carrier (December), the detaining of US Navy sailors on their knees broadcast to the world (January), an $8 billion purchase by Iran of Russian fighter jets, planes, and helicopters (February), and the seizure of shipments by Iran of large weapons caches supporting terrorism around the world (February, March, and April) including just yesterday when the U.S. seized thousands of AK-47s and RPGs headed for Yemen. 

The editorial ends...

"Our hope for a new Iran should not cloud the reality that the old Iran is very much still with us--as dangerous and as disruptive as ever,"

Let's pray that our earnest yearnings for peace with Iran (and North Korea for that matter) does not end in the polar opposite...a "nice" nuke doomsday scenario by the leading state sponsor(s) of terrorism worldwide. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy from Washington Artworks)
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November 14, 2014

Iran: Engagement or Containment

As the deadline for the now 2nd round of current negotiations with the dangerous Iranian mullahs fast approaches on November 24, we need to remember who we are dealing with over there.

Despite nearly endless negotiations that have gone on since 2002 (or for almost 13 years ), including yet another round of new talks that began 14 months ago and which were extended already once again...


Just this week, no less than Iran's Foreign Minister and lead negotiator made clear their position on nukes, and it is not favorable to coming to any real agreement:


Here in his own words:

  • Iran insists that the U.S. must bow to Iran's "Inalienable Nuclear Rights."
  • Despite our wanting to believe that a deal is possible, he states, "Some [Western] countries have fallen prey to miscalculations [about Iran's position] due to wrong analysis."
  • He goes on to say, "U.S. sanctions against Iran "have left no impact" on their position. 

While our goal may be for a peaceful Iran without nuclear WMD, "a goal without a [genuine] plan is just a wish!"


Hmm...is this a real partner for peace?


It is recognized that:


1) Iran has one of the world's worst records of human right abuses of their own people! 


2) "Iran is the single largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world."


3) Iran threatens "annihilation" and Genocide to their neighbors in the West. 


We cannot fool ourselves anymore that Iran will ever voluntarily give up their desire or pursuit of The Bomb!


Enough rewarding Iran with billions of dollars in incentives just for coming to the table with no meaningful results. 


Yes ideally, we would all love to celebrate this Thanksgiving with a REAL deal for peace.


However, we don't need a bogus agreement or another meaningless extension that gets the Iranians that much closer to nuclear breakout capability and the world to the next major regional or even global war. 


Albert Einstein said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."


Perhaps it's time to change the playbook then...


Engagement is an excellent opportunity with a partner that is willing to seriously negotiate, but containment and ultimately military intervention is necessary when talks are simply a long-running ruse or sham to dangerous nuclear WMD and world terror. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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September 9, 2014

Ebola On The Move

Watching this video of an ebola patient escaping quarantine and the panic in Liberia, it is hard not to be concerned about it coming here. 

Additionally, with a third American infected with Ebola overseas coming back home for treatment, and the CDC retesting a Miami patient negative for Ebola after having shown some symptoms, the stakes seem to be going up with this deadly disease. 

Just last Friday, GovExec reported that Ebola has a 18% chance of reaching the U.S. in September.

Moreover, if the outbreak is not contained the risk of it coming here is said to "increase consistently."

My daughter asked me the other day why commercial flights to/from the infected countries (not including aid delvieries) have not been cut off for now to help prevent the spread of the disease and save lives.

Unfortunately, I did not have a good answer to this, except that certainly there are economic and social implications to those countries in the short-term, but what are the potential costs to countless other global citizens if we do not do everything we can to adequately contain this outbreak?  

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 25, 2012

IT Security, The Frankenstein Way

Here's a riddle: When is a computer virus not a dangerous piece of malware? Answer: when it is hidden as Frankenstein code. 

The Economist (25 August 2012) describes how computer viruses are now being secretly passed into computers, by simply sending a blueprint for the virus rather than the harmful code itself into your computer--then the code is harvested from innocuous programs and assembled to form the virus itself. 

Like the fictional character, Frankenstein, that is stitched together out of scavenged body parts, the semantic blueprint pulls together code from host programs to form the viruses. 

This results is a polymorphic viruses, where based on the actual code being drawn from other programs, each virus ends up appearing a little different and can potentially mask itself--bypassing antivirus, firewall, and other security barriers. 

Flipping this strategy around, in a sense, Bloomberg Businessweek (20 June 2012) reports on a new IT security product by Bromium that prevents software downloads from entering the entire computer, and instead sets aside a virtual compartment to contain the code and ensure it is not malicious--and if the code is deemed dangerous, the cordoned-off compartment will dissolve preventing damage to the overall system.

So while on the offensive side, Frankenstein viruses stitch together parts of code to make a dangerous whole--here on the defensive side, we separate out dangerous code from potentially infecting the whole computer.  

Computer attacks are getting more sinister as they attempt to do an end-run around standardized security mechanisms, leading to continually evolving computer defenses to keep the Frankensteins out there, harmless, at bay.

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Dougal McGuire)

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October 16, 2010

Five Lessons From The Chilean Rescue

This week, we as humankind were renewed by the rescue of the 33 miners in Chile.

“Viva Chile! They Left No Man Behind” writes Peggy Noonan in The Wall Street Journal (16-17, Oct. 2010).

The Chileans took what was a human tragedy and instead turned it upside down and inside out into a worldwide victory!

Yet, as the rescue unfolded first with the search for the miners, their discovery, their being sustained while rescue tunnels were dug, and then ultimately as each miner—one by one—was brought to the surface safely—clean-shaven and smiling, I couldn’t help thinking to myself how perfectly everything was going—each time again and again—and then starting to worry that something has got to go wrong here (almost by Murphy’s Law)—this is too perfect!

Yet, nothing went wrong, it was a watertight rescue of all the miners.

As flawed human beings with all our warts and all, I think we were at some level shocked with disbelief by the flawless events that unfolded.

No cost overruns, no schedule delays, no one was hurt, no glitches in equipment or otherwise. It was a run of complete success that almost never happens in real life and yet, we all saw it unfold one, two, three…thirty-three before our very eyes.

This doesn’t happen in real life—only in fairy tales, right? This certainly doesn’t happen in most information technology projects! ;-)

But even more stunning to us than the success of the rescue itself was the undercurrent of the prevailing of good over evil manifesting before us—almost like G-d was revealing himself to us again, as he did in Biblical times. As one of the miners poetically said: “I met G-d. I met the devil. G-d won.”

The shocker here was that a people, nation, and in effect the entire world was focused on saving these 33 simple miners. This in our day and age, when we have become more accustomed to those who dehumanize and devalue human life, rather than those who genuinely value and safeguard it as the Chileans did.

As Ms. Noonan puts it: “They used the human brain and spirit to save life. All we get every day is scandal.”

Recent events remind us of the huge contrast between those who value life and those who don’t, such as 9-11, almost daily suicide (read “homicide”) bombings for political aims, the blatant proliferation and threats of WMD (and now cyber warfare), the violation of human rights by dictatorships and thugs around the world, including political imprisonments, rigged elections, restrictions of free information flow, and more violent acts such as mass rapes, female genital mutilation, genocide, slave prison camps, and more.

Moreover, while we witness events going wrong everyday and governments, companies, and peoples seeming unable to set things right, in Chile, we saw a nation and a people that set their minds and might to bringing the miners home safely and they did, period.

There are some important lessons here for us for the future:

  1. Find the moral good. It starts with valuing and safeguarding human life. Our agenda should always be to prioritize helping others and saving lives. The Chileans did just that when they didn’t wring their hands and just walk away from the tragedy saying it was over. Instead, saving the lives was a national priority. Similarly, providing the speedy drill to the Chileans from the U.S. that tunneled in half the time to the miners was a gesture that we too value life and are partners with them in saving the miners.
  2. Contain the problem. The problems we face are “ginormous” (read: gigantic and enormous) and the only way we are gong to be able to overcome them is to break them down into pieces and attack them at their source. The Chileans took a big rescue operation and by decomposing it into plan A, B, and C, etc. and tackling each piece of the problem (locating the miners, sustaining them, rescuing them, etc.), they made the solution doable.
  3. Leverage technology. We are hampered in our abilities by our own human limitations. But we can extend our capabilities and expand those limits through technology. The rescue of the miners used many new technologies in drilling, communications, and materials to make the rescue not only possible, but also probable. We need to constantly innovate and use technology to make the impossible, possible.
  4. Stand united. No question, we are stronger together than apart. The Chilean nation and people united in their efforts to rescue and bring home the miners. It was a mission they believed in and which they stood together in accomplishing. Politics, infighting, and mudslinging can divide us when we need to be unified. We need to understand that when we take pot shots to score points, we undermine the mission and the successes we desperately need.
  5. Stay positive. Even in the face of what seems like assured calamity, we must keep our wits, stay strong, and focus on solutions. If we do this, we can say goodbye to Murphy’s Law, and helpless and hopelessness be gone. A renewed spirit of optimism and a can-do attitude can carry us forward to new heights that we can all be proud of.

As the article states: the Chileans “set to doing something hard, specific, physical, demanding of commitment, precision, and expertise. And they did it.” And we can again do it too.

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September 13, 2008

Gap Analysis and Enterprise Architecture

There was a terrific keynote at the 1105 Government Information Group enterprise architecture conference this week in Washington, DC by Mr. Armando Ortiz, who presented “An Executive Architect’s View of IT Asset Investment and EA Governance Strategies.”

The highlight for me was Mr. Ortiz, view of EA gap analysis, which goes something like this (i.e. in my words):

Enterprise architects, supported by business and technical subject matter experts across the organization, develop the current and target architectures. The difference between these is what I would call, the architecture gap, from which is developed the transition plan (so far not much new here).

But here comes the rest…

The gap between the current IT assets and the target IT assets results in one of two things, either:

  • New IT assets (i.e. an investment strategy) or
  • Retooling of existing IT assets (i.e. a basic containment strategy);

New IT investments are a strategic, long-term strategy and retooling the existing IT assets is an operational, short-term strategy.

In terms of the corporate actors, you can have either:

  • Business IT (decentralized IT) or
  • Enterprise IT (centralized IT; the CIO) manage the IT asset strategy.

For new IT investments:

  • If they are managed by business IT, then the focus is business innovation (i.e. it is non-standard IT and driven by the need for competitive advantage), and
  • If it is managed by enterprise IT, then it is a growth strategy (i.e. it is rolling out standardized IT—utility computing--for implementing enterprise solutions for systems or infrastructure).

For existing IT assets:

  • If they are managed by business IT, then the focus is improvement (i.e. improving IT for short-term profitability), and
  • If it is managed by enterprise IT, then it is a renewal strategy (i.e. for recapitalizing enterprise IT assets).

What the difference who is managing the IT assets?

  • When IT Assets are managed by business IT units, then the organization is motivated by the core mission or niche IT solutions and the need to remain nimble in the marketplace, and
  • When IT assets are managed by the enterprise IT, then the organizations is motivated by establishing centralized controls, standards, and cost-effectiveness.
Both approaches are important in establishing a solid, holistic, federated IT governance.

Mr. Ortiz went on to describe the EA plans developing three CIO WIFMS (what’s in it for me):

  • Operational excellence (“run IT efficiently)
  • Optimization (“make IT better”)
  • Transformation (“new IT value proposition”)

The link between IT assets, investment/containment strategies, business and enterprise IT actors, and the benefits to the CIO and the enterprise was a well articulated and perceptive examination of enterprise architecture and gap analysis.


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