Razors & Computer Security

Remember back when razors came as a single blade? Then we advanced to twin blades and multiple blades. My current razor has three blades. It’s all in the pursuit of the closest shave possible.

And that was a good thing. It used to be so hazardous walking on the street as a man. You’d be going along, minding your own business, when, suddenly, a car screeches to a halt beside you, lights flashing. Uniformed people would leap out and surround you. “Let us feel your shave,” they would order, “to ensure it’s the closest that it can be.”

You had no choice but to comply, or risk getting sent to a barber for a shave. Our nation had no tolerance for any but the cleanest shaved man.

That’s how it seemed, at least from the commercials and advertisements.

I’ve always been amused by that approach, that more blades mean a closer shave, and more particularly, that a close shave is critical to civilization’s continued existence. We seem to be going down a similar path with computer security. If one layer of authentication is good, two is better. Hence, they’ve launched double-layered and two-step authentication. Naturally, it’s doomed to fall. Experts don’t seriously believe an absolutely secure computer is possible, if it’s accessing the web.

But I see a day in the future when companies and websites will tell you, “We’re more secure, because we have three layers of security.” Then someone else will announced, “Our security is better because we have four layers,” and the security race will be on.

Razors and computer security weren’t the first to think that if some was good, more was better. Remember American car ads, touting lower, longer, wider?

1949 Hudson Ad-02

Ford probably took the idea of more is better to an unusual but clever conclusion. They speculated that if some was good, then more is better with its front-end dive on braking. If some dive indicated your car’s brakes were doing their job and stopping you, then more dive would indicate better braking, right? They saved a lot of money and gained sales by gaming people into the perception their brakes were better because of that impressive front-end dive when you slammed on the brakes, when nothing had been changed.

Of course, we’ve always had the cubic inch and horsepower race. Still do, actually. Because, as they say, if some is good, more is better.

Probably why we have so many nukes in the United States. At least it feeds the perception that we’re safer.

Like with computers.


Today’s Theme Music

I had a song selected for today. Then I saw episode eight of “The Handmaid’s Tale” last night.

The episode, ambiguous, powerful and emotional, full of shifting insights, was highlighted with a Nina Simone song. Man, I love her music. It was a perfect choice to mark the scene’s denouement.

The other choice, the original song, is “School’s Out,” by Alice Cooper.

There’s a striking dichotomy between the two songs, and the thinking behind them. The Simone song was about choices and the road being taken. The Alice Cooper song is a spiteful, joyous celebration of celebrate children’s ‘freedom from school’. I wanted to play “School’s Out” not because I go to school, but with school out, we don’t need to slow down for the school zone. Almost every major road in this small town goes through a school zone, forcing traffic into a tedious crawl. It’s a small, but annoying price, for safety, right? But hooray, speed! We can go five, sometimes ten miles per hour faster. Woo-hoo!

After some thought about it while brewing coffee this morning, I went with “School’s Out” because I didn’t want to debase the use of the Simone song in “The Handmaid’s Tale.” That powerful and shocking cautionary story shouldn’t be dragged down into the meanderings of a mindless blog like this.

Besides, Alice Cooper was part of my first concert I ever attended. The other two acts that day at Three Rivers Stadium were Uriah Heep and Humble Pie. Excellent concert. Memorable.

Here it is, from nineteen seventy-two, “School’s Out.” Crank it up and sing along, if you know the words. Just fake it, if you don’t. Nobody cares.


Triangle Cars in A Dream

Two dreams remain with me from last night. In one, people were buying cars shaped like triangles. In the other, I was a new commander take over my position.

In the car dream, I was with my cousin, Steve. I haven’t seen him in decades. I was thinking about buying a new car. Steve decided he was going to buy one, two. Another fellow was also buying a car.

Steve ended up buying a new Pontiac Trans Am. Black, or charcoal gray, it was shaped like a equilateral triangle. If it was a door stop, it would have been too stout. I didn’t know about triangular cars. This was news to me. There weren’t any wheels. Not as tall as me, I couldn’t see how people could fit into it, nor how it would work.

While Steve bought his car, another person bought an Audi triangular car. The two cars looked remarkably similar. A salesman approached, asking if I wanted to buy a car with wheels. “Why would I do that, when these were available?” I asked back.

I wanted to drive my cousin’s car, to see what it was like. After a little debate, he agreed. We opened doors, got inside, and we took off. Man, I’m telling you, triangular cars are amazing. Driving it was effortless. They accelerate like a rocket but hold the road like a Formula One racer, but they do not actually ride on the road, but a few feet above the surface. We were a little snug inside but the technology was amazing. The experience left me grinning with pleasure.

In the other dream, I was a new commander. It was my first day. I was in a huge briefing room, waiting for others to arrive. My dark blue uniform was crisp and creased. I wore shiny black and red shoes and had decided to roll up my pants cuff to form a larger cuff and show some ankle.

Proud, ready, and confident, I stood at ease awaiting the others’ arrival. The Commander-in-Chief had arrived to oversee the transition of command and was attending my first briefing. When the double doors opened, I stood at attention and saluted him, and then awaited as the others filed in. They did, taking their seats, chatting about me, impressed by my deportment. After the sat, I did as well. I was a little bothered about my cuffs at that point, ruing the decision to roll them up. We sat and waited.

Nothing happened.

After some period of waiting, I grew aware of another set of doors to my right. I opened them and found a conference room full of seated women. As soon as they saw me, one began giving a report on their finances. Another one interrupted, arguing about allocating expenses to another cost center. I don’t remember any of those details.

Neither dream ended with clear understanding. I liked the elements of triangular cars in the first dream and how effortless and pleasurable driving them were, and the black and red shoes in the second, and being in command. Those cars were amazing, even though I have no idea how we managed to fit inside them. Driving them was cool as hell, like a dream come true.

They were confusing dreams, but strike me as optimistic and uplifting. What about you? Have any intriguing dreams recently?




Flooplosion (Catfinition): A cat’s burst of speed and energy.

In Use: “Papi burst into the room, galloped across at full speed, and out the door on the other end. The ginger flooplosion left Michael wide-eyed and still. “What the hell was that?” he asked.”

Discover Portugal’s most talented Street Artists

I love this street art. I couldn’t decide on a favorite, and would prefer to wander the city and view them all a few times. Thanks to streetart360.net for bringing these to us across the lovely worldwide web.

Street art and graffiti magazine

Urban art, through graffiti, murals and other stencil artworks, has left its mark on the streets of the cities of Portugal.
Whether it is in protest or purely aesthetic, each art piece tells a story.

Street art in Lisbon, best global spot?
Elected by the English newspaper The Guardian, as the best city of street art in the world, Lisbon is now the nerve center with a vast amount of street works. On glass containers, facades of disused factories, or inhabited buildings, art is revealed at every street corner and illuminates the Portuguese capital. Why did Lisbon become the ultimate spot in a few years? This is explained  due to the strong presence of good artists, the environment  and climate. In short Lisbon has all the conditions for expressing oneself freely.

Today Portugal has  an inexhaustible source of talented Street Artists. Some are already famous and have created works all…

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