From the Editor

Civility

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There is so much to miss these days, from getting together with people to being able to make plans; I believe that regardless of how long this virus last, it will come to an end and I will once again be able to go shopping or on vacation.  But I am also missing civility; and I fear that it may never return.

“Thank you”, “please”, or “excuse me”; do you remember those words?  Do you remember when we were civil, at least in public?

There was a time when we could disagree with each other, and not feel the need to call one another names.  People on television did not swear or make blatantly dishonest statements.  In private there were even unwritten rules about what was appropriate to talk about, in anything but the most intimate group.

Yes, politics is leading this this unpleasant discourse. I remember a time, not that long ago, when if our candidate lost, we comforted ourselves with the thought that we get to try again in the next election. We would not talk about civil wars or coups; but rather about how we needed to work harder to get our message out.  No one would even think of suggesting that a candidate, who lost, would refuse to vacate the office – especially not the person living in the White House.

There would never be talk about the military removing someone; or for that matter, the military being needed to patrol the streets of the United States.

But now we attack everything, nothing is sacrosanct; who would think of making disparaging comments about the post office?  I remember when postal employees were looked at almost with the same regard as police people.  Yes, I know we are now living in a world that wants to defund the police, an idea which I cannot imagine or support; and where police are called names, pelted with objects, spit on, and even hunted down and shot.

Lately, there is even endless chatter about the upcoming election results being unreliable. Why would anyone think it possible for an election to be rigged? If nowhere else in the world, these were not things, which happened in the United States.

The rhetoric today makes it almost impossible to stay shocked for too long a time, because the next news cycle brings newly unimaginable statements into play.

What has happened?  When did we go from being polite to be being rude and even crude?

I know I have a tendency to look at the past nostalgically, often in error; but I do not think I am idealizing by gone days.

I understand growing pains and that we are trying to address social issues; if you remember four years ago I was quite excited to have two Cuban-American Senators vying to be our next President.  I would still like to be able to cast a vote, one day, for a woman to be our President. But meanwhile, I would like to go back to a time when it was not unusual to hear “thank you”, “please”,  or “excuse me”; will join me in trying to bring civility back into fashion, please. That is all for now.

Food

Comfort Food

I write about things which I care about, impact my life and that I enjoy sharing with the people I love.  How could food not fit in that category?  Yet, the pandemic has made this column, along with others, more challenging.

It is not only that sharing a recipe feels a bit trivial, given all that is going on, at the moment; but also that cooking, in my home has changed.  How could it not?

Like most of you, I am cooking more than I ever have; but what I cook has changed.

The lack of company and going shopping has definitely altered my behavior.  I normally love reading cookbooks, and trying something different.  But lately, I have been craving comfort food.

In the beginning of this pandemic, when like many others, I believed things would start to normalize by summer, before a resurgence in the fall; I gave in to all of those “comfort” foods, which I normally do not cook, for a weekday meal.  It did not take long to notice that there is a reason I have given up making things like biscuits and gravy or dessert when no one is coming to share it.

Then we started to get access to other foods again; Kate braving Trader Joe’s, and our diet began to reflect our pre-pandemic meals.  But as September is upon us, I have noticed that I am mostly cooking and craving another kind of comfort food.  No longer am I wanting those foods which we try to limit consumption of, but rather things that are extremely familiar, and thus comforting.

Regardless of the warm summer we are having, I cannot get enough vegetable soup!  I am making a lot of  spaghetti and picadillo; we are getting our “out” food through Kate having mastered making pizza and orange chicken. (I will say the pandemic has brought Kate into the kitchen; which I am enjoying.)

The importance of food in my life has not changed, but I do not feel like being adventurous, I want familiar.

I am sure I will one day return to something a bit more exotic, but for the moment, I seek comfort in the familiar.

Connected

Covid-19 and the Data

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There is a lot of misinformation about Covid-19.  I am fortunate to work with, what I consider, the best data modeling tool presently available.

Interset, is the name of the technology, which is being used to help provide a predictive model for Covid-19.

What is Interset?  How do I use it for cyber security and why is it used for Covid-19 forecast models?

Interset is a user entity and behavior analytics UEBA, engine, and is able to ingest many types of data.  For example, to be able to find a compromised account, I would be interested in collecting data from user logs, network flows, organizational folders, and applications.  Separately, data from each entity listed, would not help uncover malicious intent in an organization.  But a very powerful picture could be created if all the pieces were brought together in one model, and this is what Interset is able to complete.  A baseline can be created for every entity, making a “unique normal”.

How is this helpful in cybersecurity?  Rules and thresholds are created manually to establish alerts.  When an alert has come into the queue, a person will open the alert and further investigate the incident.  But often we have created rules that do not scale, causing too many false positives and alert fatigue.  It would be similar to having a paint by numbers canvas and using a large paint brush, with only one color of paint. The results would lack detail, making it undistinguishable.

Interset uses multiple machine learning algorithms, as well as, unsupervised machine learning, to extract the information and provide in depth details about possible fraud, malicious insider threat, and even espionage.  Supervised learning requires data that has already been labeled.  This is easily accessed since the cyber community has decade’s worth of malware examples, both malicious and accidental.  Unsupervised learning is a self-discovery of patterns.

So how does this help us provide a forecast for Covid-19?  First, Interset is able to observe and quantify, establishing a “unique normal”.   Second, Interset has been provided data; including death data from the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at John Hopkins University, and intervention data from Oxford Covid-19 Government Response Tracker, and Covid Local Analysis and Mapping of Policies, to build an application.

The application provides a visual model to help illustrate past, present and a fourteen day future prediction.  Thus far, the model has been accurate and the data scientist at Interset hope that people can see what impact their actions may have for not only today, but for the future. Stay safely Connected.

Film’s Recommended by Marcial


 

“This is a trading world and men, women and children, who cannot live on gravity alone, need something to satisfy their gayer, lighter moods and hours, and he who ministers to this want is in a business established by the Author of our nature.  If he worthily fulfills his mission and amuses without corrupting, he need not feel that he has lived in vain.”

 
~ Phineas T. Barnum ~
 
The Big Year, US, 100 minutes, comedy

Shine, Australia, 1996, 106 minutes, biographical
 
Legends of the Fall, US, 1994, 132 minutes, romantic drama
 
Road to Perdition, US, 2002, 117 minutes, crime drama
 
L.A. Confidential, US, 1997, 138 minutes, crime thriller
 
Capote, US, 2005, 114 minutes, crime drama
 
The Jacket, US, 2005, 103 minutes, Science fiction thriller
 
Hugo, UK, 2011, 127 minutes, family drama
 
Source Code, US, 2011, 93 minutes, Science fiction thriller
 
It’s a Wonderful Life, US, 1946, 132 minutes, classic drama
 
Casablanca, US, 1942, 102 minutes, drama/romance
 
How to Steal a Million, US, 1966, 127 minutes, classic comedy
 
Beginners, US, 2010, 105 minutes, comedy/drama
 
The Debt, US, 2010, 114 minutes, espionage thriller
 
Larry Crowne, US, 2011, 99 minutes, romantic comedy
 
Ed Wood, US, 1994, 127 minutes, comedy
 
Keeping Mum, UK, 2005, 136 minutes, black comedy
 
The Mouse That Roared, UK, 1959, 83 minutes, comedy
 
The Party, UK, 1968, 99 minutes, classic comedy
 
Fair Game, US, 2010, 108 minutes, political thriller
 
The Right Stuff, US, 192 minutes, Drama
 
The Black Balloon US, 97 minutes, Drama
 
Shopgirl, US, 2005, 106 minutes, Romantic Comedy
 
The Tree of Life, US, 2011, 139 minutes, Drama

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My Mother’s Favorite Verse

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”~ Jeremiah 33: 3 ~

~ Aristophanes~

High thoughts must have high language.

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