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"However the disease finally got to her and she fell fatally ill. In the Sick Bay as she breathed her last, she was surrounded by Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, Dr. McCoy, and Mr. Scott, all weeping unashamedly at the loss of her beautiful youth and youthful beauty, intelligence, capability and all around niceness. Even to this day her birthday is a national holiday of the Enterprise."

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You can't just leave it there, man! What annoyed you? What surprised you? What made you think? What made you want to not think? What changed about your worldview? What stayed the same?

I just finished Strange Rebels and on the one hand - the idea that the fucking sixties weren't all that goddamn important it's just the fact that the fuckin' 'boomers think everything is about them - is cool. On the other hand, the author is firmly of the opinion that we owe our modern free market salvation to Maggie Thatcher (who didn't go far enough) and Pope John Paul II (because he was Polish, you see) and also Iran and Afghanistan and China. I will freely accuse it of being a 'winger bullshit book.

SpaceX exists because Energia wouldn't sell him boosters so he set out to duplicate the Soviet rocket program. ULA is all about "as good as it can be on a cost-plus contract" while SpaceX is all about "Good enough on a turnkey contract."

I'm not saying the the team at SpaceX is incapable of the standards of ULA. But as SpaceX never had the luxury of a cost-plus military development cycle, they've had to value-engineer everything they do. The end result is craft well-capable of space at a different price point than The Usual Suspects.

And then you woke up

Here's how it works:

Screwtwister's Local 69 has a pension shortfall. Why? There are a bunch of 'boomers who were given golden parachutes when they signed up in 1974. The guys who signed up in '84 are about to retire. The guys from '94 are having a hard time finding work, which means ST69 isn't making any money. Meanwhile the guys who signed up in '04 have been paying dues for fifteen fucking years but they have never gotten enough hours to qualify for benefits or pension. They're the guys keeping ST69 alive because they've got fuckall to show for it but not even that is enough because the Class of '74 is sucking down health benefits like they're fucking free and the class of '84 is tapping into that sweet, sweet defined benefit.

So okay. Let's hold a vote. HEY EVERYBODY: how would you feel if we gutted benefits to new members, raised initiation fees and agreed to lower wage floors for a certain subsection (hereby defined as "any employer with a pulse") of jobs in order to cover our pension shortfall?

- Class of '74 is all for it because they're sucking down that pension and they don't want cat food.

- Class of '84 is all for it because they're about to start sucking down that pension and they don't want cat food.

- Class of '94 is voting against it vehemently but there's maybe half as many of them as there are '84 or '94.

- Class of '04 doesn't have their correct address half the time and a third of them are on voluntary withdrawal.

So now Harbor Freight opens up and is going to be selling American Made, Union screws. They're going to pay ST69 locals to turn them there screws - and they're going to be doing it for $4.10 an hour, rather than the $18.72 journeymen screwturners make. And that gig is either union or it isn't. If you're working at Harbor Freight Screws, you now get to pay a $4000 initiation fee and $300 a month in order to keep your $4.10 an hour job. That initiation fee? Those dues? Those are going to the '74, '84 crew. The '94 crew is going to get no pension because the fund will be bankrupt by then so the government will bail them out at 15 cents on the dollar. The '04 crew gets none of it because they weren't working at Harbor Freight screws when it went online and they aren't ever going to be. The '04 crew gets to pay a bunch of money into a system that will be a misty water-colored memory by the time they reach retirement age - not even a government guarantee covers them because they sure as shit won't be vested by the time Harbor Freight Screws folds up shop and goes somewhere else they don't need to pay the fucking unions.

And the administrators pull down their full pension and the Nation writes about how Millennials are Keeping Unions Alive.

Excuse me while I go vomit in the punch.

Utter bullshit.

Meanwhile, the actual exploit has been scrubbed off even Wayback Machine, probably because in general, to update a pacemaker you have to sit a device on the patient's fucking shirt.

    Pacemakers logging to the doctor and the doctor being able to tweak the pacemaker's settings without opening the patient up are probably both useful things.

Absolutely. But bloody hell they sure as shit don't need to be on the network.

    I suspect hospitals will start reevaluating how useful the first time we see pacemaker ransomware.

That absolutely should not ever, ever work.

    They aren't just talking about implantable devices though.

Absolutely. But bloody hell they sure as shit don't need to be on the network.

It is, but there's no "software manual" with most devices. The FDA is arguing for something like:

    This is an implantable cardioverter device (ICD). It has heartrate sensing, fibrillation sensing and a cardiological self-updating envelope. It can be updated via Bluetooth 5.0 with the password "9999."

    - Heartrate sensing is accomplished via the 2nd ring terminal of the shock/pace lead and both terminals of the pace2 lead. It uses a bla bla bla loop informed by logic from the bla blah.

    - fibrillation sensing is accomplished via both terminals on the afib lead. It uses blah blah.

    - Updating is accomplished using our software kit, available at In order to interface with the device you must have performed a chest x-ray on the patient in order to read the two-factor authentication, which changes every thirty minutes. Thump the patient hard in the chest with "shave and a haircut" and set your device to search for bluetooth device "MR_SHOCK_E". Pair using the 2FA code provided in the upper left corner of the device on the x-ray.

    - blah blah blah

    I am now of the mind that anything that is vital to care should never touch a network

This is the thing that baffles me. The devices I worked on weren't crazy-sophisticated - well, maybe they were. Rate-sensitive pacemakers with sensing shock-pace atrial defibrillation are pretty sophisticated. Funny, I typed "most sophisticated implantable devices" into Google and Business Insider (because of course Business Insider) threw up a list with worthless shit like breast implants but they also topped their list with ICDs and ran with a picture of the very one I helped design.

Now. The internals of that device have probably changed. But probably not that much. The externals are identical to what I worked on. In 1996. In that amount of time, the device has gone from being an InControl to being a Guidant to being a Johnson & Johnson to being a Guidant again. And in that time we've gone from IR wireless to bluetooth to wireless USB to wifi to NFC.

If you had that thing put in back in '96, our models suggest you're ten years dead. BUT it's not unreasonable to expect medical professionals to interact with ten-year-old technology, either. My grandfather had his hip replaced in '89. He had half of it replaced again in '09, with the same model from the same manufacturer, so that they only had to fuck up half as many bones getting it back in.

I have no idea why you need to future-proof a device with an anticipated life of under ten years needs software updates, especially considering they're not exactly sophisticated by the standards of modern computing. I mean, you're gonna have to get physical access to it in order to change the battery every 5-7 years anyway.

    Authorized users will be able to read the manual and figure out how to use the device


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