UL NO. 425: The Efficient Security Principle

US drone combat, extract ideas from any book, Pinker writing analysis, Flipper reversal, GPT-5 updates, and more…

Unsupervised Learning is a security, AI, and meaning-focused newsletter that looks at how best to thrive as humans in a world that’s changing faster than ever. It combines original ideas and analysis to bring you not just what’s happening—but why it matters, and how to respond.


Hey there!

Tons going on this week. Prepping for some paid talks, some travel, a product launch, and working on a whole bunch of new content.

I’m honestly just so happy to be alive at this moment in human history. I’m like constantly excited by all the opportunities available to people willing to grab a problem and start learning and building.

Hack, build, grind, appreciate. That’s my current vibe.

Ok, let’s get to it…


My new essay that introduces the Efficient Security Principle.

A couple really sick new Fabric patterns this week. Have used these TONS already!


Researchers found a way to extract secret keys from Apple's M-series chips. The flaw exploits the chip's data memory-dependent prefetcher, which basically confuses code and data during cryptographic operations. We’ll have to wait and see how real-world the attacks will be. MORE

The integration of drones with digitized command and control systems and new-era sensor networks is massively upgrading U.S. military capabilities. This combination, known as the "Transformative Trinity", which saved the dystopian movie writers some time. MORE

💡There’s never been a better time to read Daniel Suarez’ Kill Decision, which was all about autonomous drones. Seriously good.

The DHS outlined its comprehensive strategy to tackle AI risks. They're launching independent evaluations and a HackDHS event to find and fix vulnerabilities in AI systems. MORE | THE ROADMAP PDF

A Canadian man living in China got arrested in New York for trying to sell Tesla's secret battery tech to undercover agents. MORE


Hire Kulkan as your Penetration Testing Partner to Uncover Hard-to-find Vulnerabilities

Kulkan prioritizes deep-dive manual security reviews of your technology. Our experts dissect your software and infrastructure, to find vulnerabilities beyond basic scans, and identify issues that once remediated can truly reduce security risk

Experience The Kulkan Way:

  • In-depth Analysis: We dive deep into the logic and integrations unique to your environment.

  • Human Insight Over Automation: We leverage the irreplaceable value of creative humans.

  • Comprehensive Reports: Our reporting adapts to your existing ticketing systems and needs.

  • Ongoing Support: Post-assessment, Kulkan provides continuous guidance for long-term security resilience. We aim to be Partners, not just a vendor.

Canada is rethinking its ban of Flipper Zero, focusing instead on preventing misuse by car thieves. Glad they’re waking up on this one. MORE

🚨 Ivanti has patched a critical bug in Standalone Sentry, reported by NATO, that could let attackers run commands without authentication. | CRITICAL | RESPONSE: Immediate patching advised. | MORE

🚨 Beijing-backed cyberspies, Earth Krahang, have hit over 70 organizations worldwide, focusing on government entities. MORE

🚨 Atlassian has patched a critical SQL injection bug in Bamboo Data Center and Server, tagged as CVE-2024-1597 with a top severity score. | CRITICAL | RESPONSE: Urging users to update immediately. | MORE


I and other AI builders have seen something really weird where Anthropic’s Haiku—its smallest model—scores nearly as good (or sometimes better) than Opus or GPT-4. Completely insane. Look at this result below comparing all three models’ analysis of Jonathan Haidt’s recent conversation with Rogan.

Click to enhance

It’s hard to tell that one is absolutely worse or better than the other! That being said, I have seen many cases where Haiku scores way worse (prose analysis, for example). I’m going to do more research on what the difference is.

A lot of people are reporting that GPT-5 will be out this summer, but Sam didn’t actually say that in his interview with Lex. What he said was that something good would come out soon. Others have said it could be like a mini version just to hold off the dogs—like a 4.5 release or something. Either way I can’t wait for it to leapfrog the pack again. MORE

Nvidia is patterning with Hippocratic AI to introduce AI "nurses" for virtual patient care tasks. They’re AI avatars you actually talk to, they’ll cost $9 an hour, and they’re being tested in over 40 healthcare providers. MORE

💡Most of the benefit we’ll get from AI in the first few years will be from it doing work that otherwise would not have been done at all. Not much of a competition when the alternative is nothing. Crappily done work will be replaced next, then up the chain.

Of course they’ll all happen at the same time. But we’ll notice most when it covers gaps that simply weren’t covered before, e.g., therapists, tutors, asteroid watchers, skin cancer screening, etc.

The US Department of Justice, alongside 16 state and district attorneys general, has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple, accusing it of maintaining an illegal monopoly in the smartphone market. They claim Apple's practices drive up prices for consumers and developers by imposing restrictive rules and limiting access to critical phone features. MORE | MY PRO-APPLE-BIASED ANALYSIS OF THE LAWSUIT

Apple's iPhone 15 is now being assembled in Brazil in addition to other places. Meanwhile Tim went to China to convince them everything’s ok with the relationship. MORE

Apple and Tesla are losing marketshare in China as national loyalty rises and domestic brands like Huawei start to dominate the market. MORE

💡Spicy Take: One of China’s greatest strengths is its Nationalism. Nationalism is a good thing—in moderation. They have too much. Most bad countries have too much. The US doesn’t have enough.

Actually, the far left in the US doesn’t have enough, and the far right has way too much. We need a new center that has a significant amount.


Israel's government is reportedly running covert ops at US universities to silence pro-Palestinian voices. MORE

💡It’s remarkable to me how much the words “marketing”, “counter-propaganda”, and “information operations” blur together and separate depending on your tribe and beliefs.

The same type of content could be considered an information op, or marketing, or propaganda, or counter-propaganda depending on which side you’re on.

Measles was declared eliminated in the U.S. in 2000, but we’re now seeing new outbreaks due to anti-vax movements. MORE

Long COVID brain fog might stem from damaged blood vessels letting unwanted substances into the brain. MRI scans showed that in patients with brain fog, a dye indicating blood vessel damage leaked into brain areas crucial for language and memory. MORE

Young people are now less happy than older generations, marking a significant shift in global happiness trends. The 2024 World Happiness Report shows young North Americans are particularly affected, with their happiness levels driving the US out of the top 20 happiest nations. MORE

Stanford researchers suggest Alzheimer's might stem from fat buildup in brain cells, not just amyloid plaques. They discovered that the APOE4 gene variant, linked to higher Alzheimer's risk, moves more fat into brain cells. MORE

A UC Berkeley professor is getting attacked for telling a student to get out of artillery range of San Francisco and San Jose if he wants to find a girlfriend. MORE

Weather forecasts have massively improved, with four-day predictions now as accurate as one-day forecasts were 30 years ago. It's fascinating that 7-day forecasts, once a coin toss, are now highly accurate. MORE

Germany just legalized recreational marijuana. MORE

Blu-ray is making a comeback due to streaming becoming expensive, complex, and spotty on coverage. Plus Blu-ray still has the best quality. MORE

Cancer cases in people under 50 have surged by 80% from 1990 to 2019. MORE

Married people are thriving way more than their unmarried counterparts, according to a decade-plus Gallup study. MORE

Bidets are getting way more popular in the US. Finally. MORE

💡I’m not sponsored by Toto, but the TOTO Neorest Bidet toilet is like the best investment you’ll make in your house. Warm seat. Warm water. You get it.

Trust me on this. They’re expensive, but you can go with the seats instead if you want to get 90% of the benefit for like ¼ the cost.

Toilets are like bedding, underwear, and other types of constant-exposure things. Think of the quality difference multiplied by the amount of exposure over a lifetime. That’s your ROI.


💡A New Way of Thinking About the Economy

I’m starting to think of everything in terms of Framing. Like I said recently, I think it might become my Unified Theory. I think this might explain why so many see economics as like a partial science, with a lot of people saying it’s just speculation and luck.

In the Framing model, things become a lot more about vibes. Hype dynamics. Sentiment. Belief. Combined with luck. And also subjective interpretation (framing) of results.

And it crosses into politics as well, which is much the same. You can have the same data, like Biden avoiding a full recession, and if you’re a Trump person you think that happened DESPITE Biden, but if that happened during Trump it would have been his win.

Same for the economy. It might massively take off under Trump. Like MASSIVELY. Because of vibes. And hype. And belief. Which in turn becomes behavior, which then returns real results.

In short, I’m starting to think Framing is a lot more real than I gave it credit for. And now that I’m seeing things that way, I can’t unsee it.

I think we should re-think how we use the term “technical”, which I laid out in a tweet thread here.


I have all four (five?) of the AI devices on order. Rabbit, Humane, can’t remember them all. Plus the new cheap ones. I’m all in.

I’m going back to my OG style of news summary, which is usually a single sentence. And then then when I have more to say I can add a sentence or two or do an 💡breakout, or a full essay. Let me know how you like the mix.

I’m re-reading Steven Pinker’s The Sense of Style. I try to do so every 2-3 years or so. It’s my favorite book on writing.

Broke down again and re-subscribed to the Twitter API. $100 is expensive, but I do value the feed, and there are certain things I need full tweet access for. Can’t wait to make full use of it.

I also created a new Fabric Pattern based on the book. It’s called ⚙️analyze_prose_pinker and it analyzes your prose according to what he teaches in the book, and gives you recommendations for how to fix it. MORE

Just getting into 3 Body Problem on NETFLIX. I love how different it is, and how much I can’t remember the details because I read the books so long ago. MORE


⚙️🔥 Opus Clip — Automatically creates shareable clips from videos for platforms like TikTok and YouTube Shorts. HT to Jason Haddix for showing me this one. | by Opus Clip | MORE

⚙️RAGTune — An Open-Source tool for tuning and optimizing RAG pipelines! | by Misbah Syed | MORE

⚙️ Gourlex - Takes a webpage and returns all URLs on the page. | by trap-bytes | MORE

🛠 OpenDevin is an open-source project aiming to clone and improve Devin, an AI that can autonomously engineer software. | by Junyang Lin | MORE

Unreal Engine 5.4's latest update is so realistic it's hard to tell it's not actual movie footage. MORE

Luck as a Skill MORE

The secret to a meaningful life? — Committing to a long-term, ambitious vision that pushes you to grow smarter, wealthier, and mentally stronger. MORE

A guide to ESPPs and RSUs MORE

Prompt Injection and Jailbreaking Are Not The Same Thing | by Simon Willison | MORE


Think about your Hedonic Baseline.

I’ve been getting pretty good about thinking about my life during normal moments, like walking down stairs, or walking to my car. Just appreciating utterly mediocre moments.

I use the stoic technique of imaging that that thing is gone. I’m on Mars looking at Earth through a telescope, telling stories about how nice it used to be, where you could just go for a walk by a mountain, and smell the air or whatever.

I make a full list of the things I’m taking for granted right now. My relationships. Mobility. The ability to think. Being in the Bay Area at this crazy moment. Etc. And I imagine those things gone.

I actively cultivate appreciation by lowering my Hedonic Baseline. Like what’s the minimum expected stimuli that would make me happy? Imagine yourself without all the great things you have, and then when you realize you have them you appreciate them more.

Think about what you have. Think about them by subtraction.


Contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty.


Thank you for reading.

UL is a personal and strange combination of security, tech, AI, and lots of deeply human content. And because it’s so diverse, it’s harder for it to go as viral as something more niche.

So if you know someone weird like us, please share it with them. 🫶