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A reminder that cyber security is not all about the pipes, networks or software.

Good bureaucracy is a matter of doing small things well: reward ordinary competence and be wary of feats that come too easily.

A report from the UK Royal Academy of Engineering on synthetic biology:

“Many commentators now believe that synthetic biology has the potential for major wealth generation by means of the development of major new industries, much as, for example the semi-conductor did in the last century, coupled to positive effects for health and the environment.”

Further to my last—I’m no advocate, by the way, of a technology silver bullet—I note that Nature has published an extract of C P Snow’s Science and Government.  Snow wanted ‘to disentangle how political decisions were made during the war and, importantly, how scientific advice was used to make them.’  In the extract, he retails the British Government’s decision to develop radar—an unproven technology in the mid-1930s, but essential to the British war effort.

In public, rebellious politicians like Churchill were attacking the whole of the government’s defence policy. In secret, the government scientists, the military staffs, the high officials, were beating round for some sort of defence. There was nothing accidental about this. It was predictable that England, more vulnerable to air attack than any major country, would spend more effort trying to keep bombers off. But there was something accidental and unpredictable in Tizard being given his head.


[Tizard] succeeded, with the help of Blackett’s exceptional drive and insight, in beginning to teach one lesson each to the scientists and the military, lessons that Tizard and Blackett went on teaching for twenty years.

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January 2020
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