April 2013 Articles

Insights from a mountaineering professor:

“I am about to climb Mount Everest. And as a management professor (Scott speaking here) this inevitably has led me to wonder how team dynamics will play out on the mountain — as my life may depend on it.…”

Cracking a list of hashed passwords is easy. Nate’s article does a great job at explaining how he goes from non-hacker to successful password cracker in a single day. While he simply took an existing text file of hashed passwords — as opposed to hacking into a service and stealing them — he does show that once a hacker has a list of passwords, they can be easily cracked.

For me the biggest takeaway was in his conclusion:

“Password cracking is simply too easy, the tools too sophisticated, the CPUs and GPUs too powerful for me to believe that my own basic attempts at beefing up my passwords are a long-term solution. I’ve resisted password managers in the past over concerns about storing data in the cloud or about the hassle of syncing with other computers or about accessing passwords from a mobile device or because dropping $50 bucks never felt quite worth it—hacks only happen to other people, right?

“But until other forms of authentication take root, the humble password will form a primary defense of our personal information.”

“Earlier today, members of Ukrainian feminist group Femen staged protests across Europe as they called for a “topless jihad.” The demonstrations were in support of a young Tunisian activist named Amina Tyler. Last month, Tyler posted naked images of herself online, with the words “I own my body; it’s not the source of anyone’s honor” written on her bare chest. The head of Tunisia’s “Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice,” reportedly called for Tyler to be stoned to death for her putatively obscene actions, lest they lead to an epidemic. Tyler has since gone quiet, leading some to fear for her safety. [The linked page shows] images from Femen’s protests today in Sweden, Italy, Ukraine, Belgium, and France. A warning, nearly every photo depicts nudity, and most contain offensive language.”

“We almost all have touch screen electronic devices these days, but the latest must-have accessory among middle-class parents isn’t something you can hold. It is our well-meaning angst about the effect such devices — smart phones and tablets and the like — have on the minds of developing children.…

“What I’m worried about is the parents.”

On Twitter, rules for tweets, addiction to tweeting, and meaningful Twitter conversations.

“I vowed I would never become a Twit. Now I have Tweeted nearly 10,000 Tweets. I said Twitter represented the end of civilization. It now represents a part of the civilization I live in. I said it was impossible to think of great writing in terms of 140 characters. I have been humbled by a mother of three in New Delhi. I said I feared I would become addicted. I was correct.…”

“Suppressed creativity is a malign organizational tumour. Although every organization claims to care about innovation, very few are willing to do what it takes to keep their creative people happy, or at least, productive. So what are the keys to engaging and retaining creative employees?”

“…artists, musicians, community organizers, many of them non-techies, [work] side by side with techies to hack not so much technologies but ways of working, living, creating, and organizing.…They are less interested in technologies per se than in playing with established ways of doing things and conventional ways of thinking, creating, learning, and being.”

I’m for Sale

Genevieve Smith · Elle ·

“My husband and I both chose careers in so-called creative professions — he in architecture, I in magazines. Both are fields in which the prestige often outstrips the financial rewards, but for years that was fine by me. Beyond the fact of having a paycheck, I’d never really thought it mattered how much I actually brought home. Instead, every major career decision I made I’d decided with my heart, not my bank account.…”

The handwritten letter or note is certainly not gone, though it is rare to receive.

I asked them what was getting in the way [of setting goals for the year]. “We need direction from senior leadership,” they answered in agreement.

“Seriously?” I was stunned. “Look around,” I said, raising my voice a little, “Everyone in the organization is looking for direction from you! You are senior leadership.”

“No,” the head of something answered with the others nodding, “The CEO isn’t here.”

I retorted: “You’re blaming the CEO? You’re waiting for him to tell you what to do? At your level? Really?”

“Men should read Lean In — so said friend and fellow HBR writer Nilofer Merchant. Three compelling reasons later, I had myself a copy of the book. While it might have been written as a treatise of what women could be doing to more of to gain more leadership positions in our organizations, and how we would all benefit from that happening, there was something else that stood out for me: it read as a pretty comprehensive list of things that the men have been doing wrong.

“More concerning still — it spent a lot of time encouraging women to copy us.”

“Within the world of whales, blue whales may be the largest and killer whales are probably the most charismatic. But when it comes to acrobatics, humpback whales lead the way.

“There’s just no sight quite like a breaching humpback whale. This 40-ton whale leaps high out of the water, makes a midair roll through 180 degrees and then lands with a huge, thumping splash. It may not always be graceful, but it’s certainly impressive”

“Here is the perception: female jockeys can’t ride. They’re too weak. They don’t have the fight in them. They can’t close – not like men, anyway. Down the stretch, you need a jockey to carry the horse to the end, rally the winded animal and squeeze speed out of weary legs. Female jockeys can’t do that. Or so goes the explanation for why, almost 50 years after women first fought legal battles to become jockeys, there are so few top jockeys who are women.

“Then there’s Rosie Napravnik.”

Napravnik would be the sixth woman to jockey in the Kentucky Derby’s 139 year history. Her mount: Mylute.

Faced with change, an all-female indie dev team evolves to a higher form.

“…As we’ve gathered and released more data over time, it’s become increasingly clear that the scope of government attempts to censor content on Google services has grown. In more places than ever, we’ve been asked by governments to remove political content that people post on our services. In this particular time period, we received court orders in several countries to remove blog posts criticizing government officials or their associates.”

“I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.

“I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn’t the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, ‘I’m different.’ If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I’m raising my hand.”

“The James Webb Space Telescope will succeed Hubble in 2018, boasting modern computers and a mirror with seven times the viewing area. Bob Hellekson, ATK Program Manager for the telescope, discusses its newly constructed wings, designed to support the telescope’s folding mirror, and astrophysicist Stacy Palen talks about what the telescope may reveal about the cosmos.”