Unsupervised Learning No. 257

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 50,000 people. It'll save you tons of time.

STANDARD EDITION | EP. 257 | November 30, 2020


Introducing Amazon Curate — I wrote up a fake product release for a product that I wish Amazon would make. A few friends at Amazon have already reached out and said they might actually make it. More Fake Product Release


Another Tesla (a Model X) has been hacked using an attack against its key fob, and Tesla has released new firmware to address the issue. More

The US Senate has passed an IoT Security bill that would require NIST to create new security requirements for IoT devices used by the Federal government. More

Someone assassinated Iran's top nuclear scientist in a suburb of Tehran. He was ambushed in a car on a country road outside Tehran. Iran blames Israel, which wouldn't surprise anyone. More

Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida is being guarded by robotic dog-like creatures that patrol the area around the base and then go back into their kennels for a recharge. They feed 3D visual data back to the ops center as they patrol. More


  • Drupal has released updates for multiple critical vulnerabilities that can lead to complete system takeover. More

  • TikTok has awarded $4,000 to a researcher for discovering an XSS and CSRF vulnerability allowing him to reset passwords on certain accounts. More


  • Baltimore schools have been stopped by ransomware again. They're saying it could take weeks to get everything back online, but they're planning to start back classes within days. More


Tesla is now worth half a trillion dollars, which is weird. More

Long-haul trucking companies in the US are increasingly installing cameras and AI in trucks to monitor drivers' behavior. They can detect things like how often people pick up their phones, how often they get distracted, and when they appear fatigued. More

Microsoft has filed some patents around scoring meetings based on body language and facial expressions. More

Salesforce's Einstein platform is now serving over 80 billion predictions per day, which include things like when to engage a sales lead, predicting the chances of an invoice being paid, and what products to recommend to a given customer. More

Microsoft's Office 365 has new functionality that lets your boss monitor how much email and video conferencing you do, and a lot of people are nonplussed. The functionality isn't on by default though, and there seem to be some benign use-cases, but it's definitely noteworthy. More

Salesforce is looking to buy Slack. More


  • ClosedLoop.ai just raised a $11 million dollar Series A to predict health outcomes. They're looking to answer questions like, "Who is most likely to X?" More

  • Splunk> has purchased Flowmill, a network observability company that focuses on network performance issues in the cloud. More


Companies are starting to use automation and games to do interviews without interviewers—especially for high-turnover jobs like fast food and warehouse workers. Some are being asked to record their answers to questions, others are being asked to play games that test their skills and personalities. More

Amazon is becoming an absolute juggernaut. They've hired 427,300 employees in the last 10 months and now have over 1.2 million employees. And they're still hiring massively right now. More

Amazon is giving its front-line workers $500 million dollars in one-time bonuses. Full-time operations staff in the United States who are employed by Amazon from Dec. 1 to Dec. 31 will receive a bonus of $300, while those in part-time roles will get $150. More


Welcome to the New Middle Ages More

The CDC is predicting US COVID deaths could reach 321,000 by mid-December. More

1 in 6 US families with children don't have enough to eat this holiday season. More


Matt in the UL Community just recommended How Spies Think, by David Omand, and that's now in my queue. More

Currently reading:

  • Atlas Shrugged

  • Anna Karenina

I was reticent to read Atlas Shrugged since I've avoided it for multiple decades, but after hearing an Objectivist Philosophy expert on Lex Fridman's podcast I was intrigued enough to have a go. It's actually spawning some interesting thoughts around a unified, centrist political theory that I've been working on. So I'm excited about it, and actually enjoying it so far (about 1/10 of the way through).


Cobalt Strike Beacon Analysis from the SANS ISC More

Technical Phone Screen Superforecasters More

Blogging vs. Blog Setups More

Advice for Newsletter-ers More

The Queen's Gambit is now the most-watched Scripted Limited series in Netflix history. More

The Game is a game where you have to avoid thinking about the game itself. More

Writing Well More


Hire People Who Give a Shit — An interesting article on how to find people who care deeply about your mission and their work. Includes a good list of questions at the end. More

5-Second Feedback — A 4-step process to giving complete feedback to someone on your team. More


“The calamity of the information age is that the toxicity of data increases much faster than its benefits.”

~ Nassim Taleb