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Sacrifice is nice

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Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

Episode 16

I love these quiet moments before the storm.

Well, technically speaking, it’s between storms, but the fact remains that there’s a certain amount of solace in not actually being in a storm at this point in time.

In these calm periods my mind enters a peaceful, dreamlike state where I find my thoughts drifting in anticipation to a utopian-like existence where I’m blowing creatures away in Duke Nukem Forever while The Blue Nile’s next album plays in the background...

Ahhh.

Peaceful. Calm. Musical.

“WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?!!!!”, the Boss shouts,

And back to reality...

So the PFY and I are trapped on a landing between floors while a couple of mutant security robots block our exit from above and below. To make matters worse the Boss has inadvertently blundered into the stairwell with us and narrowly avoided being turned into rough-cut schnitzel. The same cannot be said for his briefcase however...

It’s looking bad for us. Being trapped in a stairwell over the weekend by two vicious chainsaw wielding robots pales in comparison to being trapped in a stairwell over the weekend by two vicious chainsaw wielding robots while the Boss recounts the high points of his five year project to build an eighth scale replica of Stirling’s Victoria locomotive.

“What I don’t understand” the PFY says, before the Boss can get started “is how the second robot went bananas?”

“Easy” I reply “Your ‘advanced learning neural’ crap appears to have enabled your robot to learn how to make other mutants like itself. You know, like vampires, zombies and Facebook users.”

“Yes, that was perhaps a bit of a d-”

“Don’t say design flaw” I snap, a little jaded with that particular excuse. “A design flaw is omitting reinforcing between the rear panel and gas tank of a consumer vehicle - which might eventually kill you. Designing a robot whose ultimate purpose is eventually to become so intelligent that it will kill you is something else altogether..,”

“Designing a..,” the Boss blurts,

“I...,” the PFY interrupts,

“No, it’s fine! At this point recrimination is not helping us in any way. We need to address our current situation. We’re trapped by robots with no simple method of escape,”

“My cell phone battery is flat,” the PFY adds,

“...and mine is on my desk. The overpowered cattle prod appears to have suffered some form of internal meltdown and the pinch is completely discharged,”

“The remote control for the building power isn’t working” the PFY says, pressing repeatedly at a button on a small black box on his key ring.

“In short,” I say, “It’s time to face facts. Technology, like a poorly trained Alsatian, has turned on us.”

“No!” the PFY gasps

“Yes.” I respond. “This isn’t some randomly coincidental sequence of events – this is fate. For too long we have neglected the power of technology and taken it for granted – at our own peril. The Gods of Technology are angry. They require...”

Human Sacrifice

“Human sacrifice!!!” the PFY says.

Actually, he doesn’t say that at all. He just thinks it.

I know, because I’m thinking it too.

The Boss, on the other hand, is probably thinking about the Onion Bhajis on the lunch menu.

“Exactly” I say. I mean, think.

The PFY nods.

“At times like this,” I say to the Boss, “I like to ask myself what MacGyver would do?”

“Oh yeah!” the Boss says, “fabricate something from whatever materials are available to solve the current problem.”

“Exactly!” I respond, “We need to use whatever we can lay our hands on to help us divert the attention of the robots until such time as we can lay our hands on a more suitable solution,”

“Like an axe,” the PFY adds,

“What do you propose?”

“Well firstly, like MacGyver we need to take an inventory of the raw materials available to us,”

“Oh, ok. Well I have a... disposable lighter, a little credit card torch/knife combo, and two.. aspirin. Not a lot really,”

“Well obviously, like MacGyver, we’re limited in the raw materials available to us – however this may not necessarily be a limitation because his real talent was in recognising the potential of raw materials when he saw them. Now tell me, are you particularly attached to the lighter, card or aspirin?”

“Not really, why?”

“I’m simply asking because like in MacGyver it is inevitable that we will have to damage the raw materials to create the solution we need”.

“I see,” the Boss nods. “Fair enough.”

“So,” I say. “Are we agreed that if we’re going to get out of this, it’s time for each of us to make individual sacrifices?”

“Yes”, the PFY says.

>Shove!<

Half an hour, several sturdy blows with an axe and one ambulance call later..

“You know, I’m not completely sure the Boss realised that he was the individual we were talking about sacrificing” the PFY says

“Management” I sigh “There’s some things you can’t explain to them, no matter how clearly you put it..”

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