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<cite>Little Brother</cite>

Cory Doctorow, despite his many interesting and odd habits, is a fantastic writer. His latest work, Little Brother, takes place in San Francisco in the near future, following a terrorist attack on the city. It follows the story of several young teens who are imprisoned by DHS, and is, in my mind, one of the more interesting and thought-provoking books I have read in a while. It appeals to me on a number of levels, ranging from my love of hacking in various ways, to my interest in security, to my political stance on the bullshit that is our current security policy. Best of all, the book is available for free under the Creative Commons license here in a variety of electronic forms.

What is of even more interest to me is that all (or almost all) tech in the book is already available, and the folks over at Instructables have made tutorials to build or acquire all of the interesting devices that the main character makes use of through the book, here. The bibliography to the book has a large list of books and media that I will be looking at, adding to my list of things to read and absorb into my knowledge base.

Also of note--there is an afterword by Bruce Schneier, one of the leading experts on security and crypto in the world right now, and one by Andrew "Bunnie" Huang, the MIT grad student who first hacked the original XBox.

I have been called paranoid before, and I likely will be again. I guess it is a label that applies somewhat, because I have a higher awareness of security, both real and perceived, than the average person does. As a result of this awareness, I tend to act in ways that do not always make sense to someone who is less aware, or at least, does not see the value in those actions. I do not see myself as paranoid, but rather as the man who knows that the water under him as he walks along a dock has several sharks in it. He is not worried about the sharks where he is, but he also refrains from dipping toes in the water and smearing himself with raw meat. He takes certain basic precautions to prevent injury to himself, and by doing so, indirectly helps others by not drawing the sharks closer to the dock than they usually are.

Cory Doctorow is considerably more aware of security than I am, and I might even label him as paranoid. The book represents something that could potentially happen, but I have enough optimism that I think it unlikely that it will occur. However, the paranoia does not ruin the book, any more than Orwell's paranoia ruined 1984.

In other, completely unrelated news, I have determined a link between slow dancing and a math/science/computer brain, in that I can slow dance. I can think through the steps and moves and figure out where I need to be at every stage of the move, a welcome contrast to swing, where I was pretty much fumbling about until the song was over. It helps that slow dance steps are primarily comprised of binary numbers of beats (4, 2, etc.), each beat corresponds to a change in position, and there is less frenetic activity. Compared against swing's six-beat steps, with only four changes in position over those six, and much faster, choppier beats and moves, slow dancing is something that just clicks in my mind. I can do this! Seriously, by the end of class yesterday, I was as pumped up on endorphins as I was the first time I wrote a 500-line piece of code that, when compiled and run the first time in the code's life, threw no errors and had no bugs. It was a good feeling.

A less-good feeling is the one I get when I realize that I have not had any communications with Brittany since mid-August. She should be back to school by now, but there has been nothing at all... ::worry::

However, I have plenty of things to distract myself with here, so i will not dwell on it too long.