“Engineered for success”

A friend sent me a wonderful recruitment CD/ROM for the US Navy ‘Nuclear Propulsion Officer Program’. Unsurprisingly, it contains many short little feel-good movie clips. (The one about travel goes to great lengths to not mention some of the most favourite U.S. military travel destinations of late). This is some text from the accompanying booklet:

Get a glimpse into the world of engineering’s elite. See why the Nuclear Propulsion Officer program is the number-one program for training the world’s most accomplished engineers. Due to the fact that nuclear power systems takes [sic] a knowledge of all the other engineering disciplines, Navy nuclear engineers are considered the best of the best.

Navy Nuclear Officers receive world-class advanced training in:

  • chemistry
  • mathematics
  • physics
  • thermodynamics
  • electrical engineering
  • mechanical engineering
  • shielding and radiological fundamentals
  • reactor plant systems
  • materials

The program prepares you to maintain and operate the sophisticated nuclear propulsion plants, modern weapons and sensor systems on board nuclear powered ships – to supervise and lead highly trained junior officers and elisted sailors to operate them – all in about 18 months. Many Nuclear Officers find themselves in charge of a 90,000-ton, $2 billion platform while they’re still in their early 20’s, much more responability than they would find in the private sector. […]

If you’re gonna blow stuff up, why take flying classes? Just 18 months of ‘world-class advanced training’, and they’ll let you drive something with a reactor.

Gee, I wonder what this button does…

One million

The Netherlands just got a whole new system for health insurance. Under this new system, people are not automatically insured as soon as their income drops below a certain treshold. What this means in practice is that an expected 1 million people (more than 6% of the population) will be uninsured, up from 250.000. Amidst the deafening silence on this topic, hospitals are busy defining just what constitutes ’emergency care’. And ofcourse one million is just the beginning. Just imagine how cheap and docile the workers will be once we get to the level of America…

Apart from the blatently obvious social issue of such a rich country no longer providing basic health care for its people, has anyone ever considered the health aspects of living in the same city as large amounts of people who will not go see a doctor when they’re sick?

HURRAY, for what it’s worth…

This december, my longtime friend Frank Rieger and yours truly did a lecture at the Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin. Under the provocative flag ‘We lost the war’ we gave people our perspective on some current developments and most notably what we feel is the bleak future of privacy. We talked about how we got here, where we felt it was all headed, and then spent most of our time presenting some ideas on how we thought hackers could still be relevant in such a future. It was a pretty grim picture, all in all, and a lot of people in the audience weren’t smiling. But it did get a debate going. People were still talking about how much they agreed or disagreed with us when the congress ended three days later.

This blog finally happened because I feel like writing more about what it was that we tried to say because not all of it was eloquently put. It still very much being a work in progress. I’ll probably also respond to some of the criticism to our story as well as expand on some of the thoughts we have been having as a result of it.

But most defintely not everything on my new blog will be this depressing doomsday stuff. The lighter side of me likes to play with technology a lot. I like hacking stuff that relates to cryptography, mobile devices, GPS tracking, linux on small devices, mesh networking and more. Some of the stuff I build and built has it’s own site and all, but I probably will not be able to refrain myself from writing about it here too. I am also likely to blog about cool, shocking and/or interesting things I find elsewhere every once in a while.

My family, my friends and even a lot of the people I meet are simply amazing. To me anyway. So I’ll also bore you with portraits of friends, pictures of my new hairdos, ponderings about the ups and downs of watching my kids grow up and detailed accounts of me and my friends getting in all sorts of interesting trouble. Who knows.


I had heard it before, but never quite this loud. I knew I had ignored it on many previous occasions, but suddenly I realized what it was. It was the sound of the blogosphere, and before long the force was strong enough for me to have to lean to one side to stay on my feet. This suction couldn’t get much stronger now, or could it? Just as I wondered what would happen to me if it were to suck me in, I suddenly lost contact with the floor…