Let’s Hack Medical Equipment!

Or rather, let’s not. Hacking is bad, m’kay? But if we wanted to, it turns out it’s outrageously easy to hack medical equipment.

I’m an information technology professional by trade. My work mantra is that “no matter how bad it goes, no one dies”. It have saved me from a lot of stress, and helped me keep my cool in times of crisis. The point is that even if all the IT systems are down, the data center is on fire, and the entire development team has been abducted by aliens, no one dies. At least if the aliens are of the good, not-anal-probing kind. Sure, it’s annoying that people can’t do their work, and we might lose some money during the downtime. But people can drink coffee, chat about the incompetent IT department while the problem is being fixed. And we’ll eventually cover the financial loss, because we learn from our mistakes, and become even better at what we do1.

Since IT is an important part of every industry these days, I have many choices when it comes to what domain I want to work with. Because of my work mantra, however, there are some businesses I will not to get involved with. One is control systems of any kind where a simple software bug may have disastrous consequences. Think ATC, nuclear power plants, and the like. I’d prefer not to kill scores of people because if (x > 1) had somehow turned into if (x > 1);. Many winters ago, I spent the better part of a workday trying to figure out a baffling bug, and the ; above was the cause2. Thankfully, I wasn’t responsible for making sure airplanes don’t crash into each-other. That would have been a bad day to fly.

Another industry I gladly stay away from is medical equipment. But I would have fit right in because it turns out that many of the people working in the medical IT industry are incompetent dimwits.

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Why Not The Sun?

The world is relying heavily on non-renewable, dirty, and poisonous oil, gas, and coal as energy sources. Why not use the giant, glowing ball of energy in the sky instead?

Every day, the Earth is bombarded with the Sun’s powerful rays. Some of the energy is used by plants and trees in photosynthesis, but most of it just heats up the planet. A better use would be to use the energy from the Sun to create electricity. The most common way to do this is by utilizing solar panels. Through the photovoltaic effect, electricity is produced when photons hit the solar panels. The commercially available panels are slowly getting more an more efficient. Currently, the sunlight conversion rate is roughly 21.5%, but this is expected to increase to 40% or even higher in the not-so-distant future.

So why aren’t the world throwing all their research money into solar panel technology? Wouldn’t it be better for everyone if we used a virtually endless, free source of energy instead of having to invest billions to be able to strip-mine non-renewable sources?

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RIP Rocky (1998-2018).

Rocky, the world’s most famous Swedish dog has called it quits.

In the summer of 1998 I finished my year of mandatory military service. The year dressed in green wasn’t something I looked forward to, but in retrospect it’s 12 months that set the course for the rest of my life. I grew a lot mentally, and I met Terje, who convinced me I should attend college in Grimstad. Had I not taken his (brilliant) advice, I’m absolutely certain my life would have been very different today. 1998 was also the year that Martin Kellerman made a decision that would dominate the next 20 years of his life. In 1998 Kellerman got booted from his job as a cartoonist for a porn magazine. On top of that, his girlfriend dumped him, and he found himself living with his brother in the suburbs.

He needed a new job, but with a dozen of life’s curve balls thrown at him, Kellerman didn’t feel like trying to draw something funny. Instead he created a cartoon about himself, and the mess he was in. Getting it all down on paper was “a really nice feeling”. What started as a something Kellerman did while he figured out what to do with his life, soon got picked up by the free Metro newspaper. People started talking about it, and Rocky was born.

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Electric Cars Are Total Nonsense!

Now that I’ve got the undivided attention of both the pro- and the anti-electric cars crowds, let’s get cooking.

I grew up in the small town of Notodden. As a kid, you normally ended up in one of three crowds: The petrolheads, the jocks, or the nerds. As a flimsy boy scout who played a lot of computer and role-playing games, it’s pretty obvious that I was quickly labeled a nerd. I had a few jock friends, but the petrolheads never really appealed to me in any way, shape or form. It’s a very prominent group of people in my home town, though, and the sub-culture most Norwegians associate with it. Not surprising, since they staged a damn riot back in 2007 when a section of the road they drive back and forth on was closed down. Documentary crews have also visited Notodden in numbers to poke their investigative sticks at the phenomenon.

When I left the city at the age of 18 to do my year of mandatory military service, I lost all touch with the petrolheads. But when I re-joined Facebook in 2016, I got another look at what was going on in that alternate universe. They share all kinds of – what’s the best way of put this – interesting stories. It’s often political material that doesn’t sit too well with my world view, and everything they come across that put their number one enemy, the electric car, in a bad light. Some of the articles are, interestingly enough, shared by my junior high science teacher.

One of the articles was a five year old interview with one Paul Rosenquist. I’ve never heard of him before I read the interview, but I assume most petrolheads know who he is. And old man Rosenquist certainly doesn’t like electric cars.

Paul Rosenquist. Photo: YouTube screen capture (https://youtu.be/R99kJfMPeWI).

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I Am Above the Law!

Why do some people think that rules and regulations don’t apply to them?

In May this year, we got some unusually hot weather in the South of Norway. Temperatures rose over 30 degrees Celsius, which is not only uncommon for May; it’s not even temperatures we associate with an ordinary Norwegian summer. The hot weather, combined with almost no rain, naturally had some consequences. People migrated en masse to the nearest beach, the use of disposable grills skyrocketed, the forest fire hazard quickly rose to bright red, and the water levels in local drinking water reservoirs sank like a stone.

One of the popular locations to cool down in the Norwegian capital Oslo when it’s hot, is Sørenga. Most people go there by bike or foot, and the shortest way is by crossing a floating bridge. On a good day, thirty thousand people use the bridge to get to and from Sørenga. In May, however, the bridge started to show serious signs of decay, and Five-O temporary closed the bridge with police tape to prevent more people to cross it in case the bridge should collapse into the water. A lot of people didn’t give a flying fuck, though, ignored the police tape, and continued to cross the bridge.

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