Unsupervised Learning No. 256

News & Analysis

I spend my time reading 3-6 books a month on security, technology, and society—and thinking about what might be coming next. Every Monday I send out a list of the best content I’ve found in the last week to around 40,000 people. It’ll save you tons of time.  

MEMBER EDITION | EP. 256 | November 23, 2020


How Reading and Meditation Extend Life More

Social Media and AI Are Mirrors That Reveal Our Ugliness More


Mudge has been named the head of security at Twitter. More

A couple of researchers did some analysis of who makes up the elite in the Chinese Communist Party. They focused on their age, rank, education, gender, birth province, and alma mater. More

The UK has a new National Cyber Force, as well as a Space Command and some kind of AI-focused agency. More

Citizens are starting to use facial recognition apps to identify police. More

Russian hacker group REvil has attacked Kenneth Copeland, and is threatening to release 1.2 terabytes of data if he doesn't pay a ransom. He's the type of cynical evil that I actually enjoy seeing this happen to. More


  • Drupal is vulnerable to a double-extension attack, like from the 90's, where you can just add a benign extension to PHP, Python, JS, and other types of files and have them execute after uploading. More

  • Cisco has released updates for multiple products. More


  • Assetnote has released a really cool competitor to SecLists, the security lists project I created with Jason Haddix. You should check it out! More

  • AWS now has a network firewall that allows you to filter both ingress and egress traffic for a VPC, and it uses Suricata for stateful packet inspection. More


  • FireEye has acquired Respond Software, where a bunch of my friends work. Congrats to everyone over there! More


Facebook's Project Aria is an AR headset that functions like a Google Maps car by mapping everything you see, inside and out. More
Tesla made it into the S&P 500, and its stock is booming as a result. More

Squarespace has added support for memberships and paywalled content. All the platforms are heading in the direction of helping creators monetize. More

CVS is about to allow PayPal and Venmo QR codes at checkout. More


  • Airbnb is getting ready to IPO. More


Researchers out of Tel Aviv University appear to have significantly reversed aging in the cells of living humans. "Today telomere shortening is considered the 'Holy Grail' of the biology of aging," Professor Efrati says. "Researchers around the world are trying to develop pharmacological and environmental interventions that enable telomere elongation. Our HBOT protocol was able to achieve this, proving that the aging process can in fact be reversed at the basic cellular-molecular level." More

All counties in China have officially been lifted out of poverty. More

The FDA has cleared the use of lab-made antibodies to treat COVID. More

People are taking up Zillow Scrolling, which is a form of escapism where you browse real-estate sites looking at places to (maybe) live. More

The majority of British people now think Brexit was a bad idea. More

Over half of young adults in the US now live with their parents. More

By some measures, the American consumer is doing quite well. Financially, at least. Disposable income above pre-COVID levels, savings doubled pre-COVID rates in September, credit card balances are down, and earnings above those in March as well. More

Wonder Woman 1984 will be launched on HBO Max and in theaters on the same day. This is big news because it's yet another trend that's been accelerated by COVID. This type of simultaneous release trend was already happening, and now it's just happening faster. More


Thanksgiving will be thousands of superspreader events. We've all heard of superspreader events, where too many people get together where one person was infected and a bunch of people get it—who then take it back to their families. Well, that's what Thanksgiving is about to be, except there will be thousands, or maybe tens of thousands, of those events. And sadly, a lot of those events will include the elderly family members. It's truly sad. People want to see their family so badly that they're willing to take risks, but those decisions are going to result in a lot of deaths. The real question is how much we'll see the numbers spike in the few weeks after Thanksgiving weekend, and whether we'll have any time to adjust for Christmas.

Disturbing thought. The real indicator that America has returned to normal will be the resumption of weekly mass shootings.

Brexit as a Civil War within Capitalism More



  • I'm back to reading Anna Karenina and am going to finish it this time. I am once again stunned by Tolstoy's understanding of humans.

  • I'm quite caught up on modern non-fiction, so I think I'm going to deep-dive on some more classics.

I'm also about to work on a mega-piece on metrics, specifically on a unified theory that links metrics, OKRs, Business Intelligence, and lots of other performance measurement ideas. Look for that in the next 1-4 weeks.


Coding Fonts More

Why a Paid Newsletter Won't Be Enough Money for Most Writers More

On December 21st, Jupiter and Saturn will look like a double planet from Earth. More

Write code like you write a recipe. More

15 Signs of a Bad Work Environment While Interviewing More


Cancel Thanksgiving — An Atlantic article on why you shouldn't do normal in-person gatherings, and what you can do instead. More

Don't Eat Inside a Restaurant — Another Atlantic piece, this time about the dangers of inside eating vs. outside. More


“It is a sign of weakness to avoid showing signs of weakness.”

~ Nassim Taleb