Unsupervised Learning Newsletter No. 262

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. 

MEMBER EDITION | Ep. 262 | Monday, 4 January 2021


It appears that the Solarwinds attackers also gained access to Microsoft source code, although it's not clear how much security impact that represents. We should plan to hear more "they also got" stories for many months to come, not just from industry but from various government agencies. More

Ticketmaster got fined $10 million for hacking a competitor to harm their business. More

T-Mobile announces its fourth data breach in three years. More

More than 100,000 Zyxel firewalls and VPN gateways have a backdoor account with a static password that can be accessed via SSH or the web. More

Jonathan Pollard, a convicted Israeli spy who served in the American military, landed safely in Israel after serving 30 years for spying. He and his wife were greeted by Netanyahu, welcomed home, and handed their new national ID cards, since Pollard was American before being granted Israeli citizenship while in prison. More

Marines are practicing the retaking of territory in Japan, as part of ongoing preparations for a rising 'near-peer' China. More

Goldman Sachs has purchased anti-bot startup White Ops. More

Here's the Q1 2021 Information Security Hiring Thread on /r/netsec. More


Tesla delivered nearly 500,000 vehicles in 2020, which is a 36% increase over 2019. More

Researchers have created a 'smellicopter' by bolting an actual moth's antennae onto a drone. More

Qualtrics is filing for an IPO two years after being purchased by SAP. More


South Korea just had its population fall for the first time in its history. More

China is opening its massive FAST telescope to global scientists in April. More

Israel vaccinated 10% of its population in two weeks. The US is currently at around 4.2 million doses given. More More

Flash, Farmville, and the UK being part of the EU are end-of-life as of December 31st, 2020.


Maximizing Appreciation of Life — My new essay on how I'm looking to extract maximum happiness from my time. More

Some Thoughts Going Into 2021 — A collection of thoughts on various topics as we close out 2020 and move into 2021. More

Thoughts on the Recent Cryptocurrency Hype— Crypto (the money) prices are going completely mental right now, with Bitcoin surpassing $30,000 over the weekend. That's growth of like 50% in just a few days. And Ethereum just jumped like 40% in a single day. So a few people have asked me if I'm pro or con when it comes to "crypto". The answer is kind of neither. I think people asking that question are often conflating blockchain tech with the idea of a new digital asset type. To me, the former is uninteresting, but the latter might be. Basically, there are lots of rich people trying to find smart places to put/hide money so that it'll be least exposed to inflation. And at the moment, Bitcoin is doing a great impression of digital gold. Why gold? Because there's only a certain amount of it. And no government can print more of it. I think that, combined with the pandemic creating uncertainty—which also favors gold—is what's producing all this interest and investment. So do I recommend people get in? No, not really. First I'm highly unlikely to recommend any stock/security like that. It's just not my space. Second, there are vulnerabilities here. The tech could break, or get hacked. Or various governments can attack it as an asset by regulating or taxing it. So we know rich people like to diversify, and we know they like the idea of a digital form of gold, but we don't know how long Bitcoin/Ethereum will function in that role. I'd say if you're extremely risk-tolerant, maybe get in a bit, but if you're cautious at all, it's probably best to stay away. This stuff could easily 10x or 1/10th-X at any moment.


I'm reading Ready Player Two. It's going ok, but it's a bit too similar to the first one for my taste. More


The Kids Are Not Alright — A stunning article on Gen-Z attitudes and preferences around sexuality, and the impact they are having on society. More

Overprotective parents seem to create followers instead of leaders. More

The Mandalorian is the most pirated TV show of 2020. More

My friend Craig's advice on getting into Astrophotography. More

This might be the monitor I get for my new music studio / gaming desk. It's a 55" OLED TV, basically. More

A beginner's guide to houseplants. More

Creativity as protection against worry. More

Learn some Rust in 30 minutes. More


Invest in a sleep mask. Life-changing. More


“If you raise your kids you'll spoil your grandkids. If you spoil your kids you'll raise your grandkids.”

~ Unknown