Monday, February 04, 2008

Busy Elsewhere

You may find that entries become a little thin on the ground for a while.

All of a sudden, I'm getting busy elsewhere, with what I hope will be the last of nine CAA theory exams, several conferences and an original piece of research to write on Chinese cyber-espionage.

The latter is a little ironic, given that we will be welcoming the Chairman of Chinamex to Thanet very soon but while at one level, we have seen the Prime Minister building relations between our two countries on his recent trip to Beijing, at another level, there's a vigorous campaign of industrial espionage being waged in cyberspace, which has reportedly involved a number of leading European companies and particularly the engineering giants.

If you remember the Code Red virus from 2001, there was speculation at the time that this attack on web servers, which caused an estimated $2 billion worth of damage, was a dry-run probe for an attack on the entire internet infrastructure, which might possibly have worked with a little tweaking.

So if it's a little quiet around here, you know why! I've a "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door.


Tony Beachcomber said...

Ed, Well at least nobody can ever accuse you of being boring.

Anonymous said...

After you have wrestled with the matter of "Cyber-espionage" for a while (I think you mean "Cyber sabotage") then perhaps you could get into a bit of Fourier analysis so that we can better explain to the people of Thanet the techniques of sabotaging backup generators ?

Oh didn't you say that maths is not your strong point though ?

That would put you at a disadvantage of, for example, a saboteur has degrees in applied maths and statistics.

Best of luck with your research Simon.

Hope you noticed the Labour minister "Something for Something" philosophy (Denying council house allocations to those on benefits)

Oddly enough this would be EXACTLY the principle rejected by Dr Steve Ladyman at the time public funds were grant aiding Cummins.

He was asked to apply a Something for something" philsophy as a condition of paying out public funds.

Namely a full response to the case made alleging that the company had covered up a history of sabotage in order to protect market share.

IE An assurance that life saving backups on hospitals and nuclear shut downs were made to the reliability expectations. Otherwise why give them public funds ??

Jonathan Aitken had written to the MD of the company.

But his successor Dr Ladyman ... he don't care when a backup fails and a child patient in postop ICU dies when power to life support was cut off.

Suffer Little Children Ladyman.

Anonymous said...

So you're going to be meeting and greeting people who might well be hell bent on sabotaging our internet and spying on our industries. Seems a little unpatriotic for a true blue Tory doesn't it?

And what about their appalling record on human rights? If you would care to share with us the date they are arriving we might be able to organise a little demonstration to show them what we think of them.

DrMoores said...

Best leave the international politics to the Foreign Office I suspect. A demonstration in Thanet would not be helpful and would achieve very little, other than persuading the Chinese to create their new jobs somewhere else!

DrMoores said...

Best leave the international politics to the Foreign Office I suspect. A demonstration in Thanet would not be helpful and would achieve very little, other than persuading the Chinese to create their new jobs somewhere else!

Anonymous said...

Oh I get it. We operate a 'pick and mix' ethical policy here in Thanet do we? Fairtrade? Yes we'll promote that, thanks. Country with the world's worst human rights record? Er, best leave that up to the government!

Spoken like a true local politician Simon!

DrMoores said...

We just sold several billion pounds worth of Eurofighters to Saudi Arabia and so you are quite right, we have an ethical pick and mix foreign policy.

I don't believe however that snubbing Chinamex really helps employment prospects for the people of Thanet or ethical foreign policy policy. Do you?

DrMoores said...

Two policies for the price of one there. I really must type more slowly!

ZumiWeb said...

Presumably 'ethical foreign policy purist' above would have Hornby close down (they certainly couldn't survive without their Chinese manufacturing advantage). I'm not sure Woolworths or Argos would have quite so much to sell either.

Like it or not China is already an integral part of the economy,local and national, and their economic and financial power will soon pass that of the US, if it hasn't already, so we have little option but to (a) ensure we have a healthy economic relationship, (b) try through ever-increasing contact and relationship to move them towards our ideas of human rights and (c) try to keep a lid on unwanted cyber-activities (whilst presumably doing all those things ourselves against our own target states, but that's a different ethical issue). Trade, this year's Olympics and the inevitable effects of the Internet all have their part to play in prising open Chinese doors, hearts & minds and government policies.

Not that we are so squeaky clean of course. Dodgy political funding issues, dodgy wars and treatment of rendered prisoners, and VERY dodgy colonial history hardly give us the pure right to preach, although we can certainly try to encourage and persuade.

That was a bit more political than I like to be at this time of the morning, I'd better go to work...

Anonymous said...

I would love to know whether the objector above buys Chinese manufactured goods? On that note why not object against Russian gas supplies or will you get cold? This the same country that currently denies Vasily Alexanyan who has been unlawfully imprisoned on pre-trial detention (without conviction) for two years and denied urgent, life-saving medical care. Some people see only in black and white and are clueless where politics of the world stage is concerned.

Anonymous said...

In answer to your question I do avoid buying Chinese goods if at all possible but it is becoming increasingly difficult I admit.

In answer to Dr Moores' point about the Saudi deal I thought we only got that because we bribed them and no we should not be doing business with a country that has such an appaling track record especially on women's rights.

And in answer to Zomiweb how on earth is your history lesson about what the British have done in the past in any way relevant?

You all sound like the sort of people who cannot wait to get your snouts in the trough without an thought for human suffering and oppresion.

ZumiWeb said...

Well I can't speak for the others of course, but whilst I am horrified by the Chinese approach to human rights, and hope they will quickly move to a more democratic and open society, my points were simply:

Individually you can have your opinions and aim not to buy Chinese, and certainly hope to influence their behaviour by persuasion and example, but as an economy (and that includes the local Thanet economy) it's simply too late - we rely on Chinese money and cheap labour too much to realistically consider avoiding engagement with the World's largest population.

And as for my reference to our glorious colonial past, I was mildly pointing out that we - as a society, country and culture - are hardly in a perfect position when it comes to taking the moral high ground. And if we forget our own past actions, then we do a great disservice to those we have ourselves treated poorly - Opium Wars being just the most relevant example, but whoppingly corrupt Saudi arms deals and Guantanamo Bay and all its UK connections being more recent ones. I hate them all, and resent the fact they were done in our name, but I realise it makes it harder to lecture others on moral probity.

It's quite similar to the Apartheid debates of the 70s (or the collapse of the Iron Curtain) - isolate through a boycott, or engage and change from within - and in the end it's not certain whether external pressure had much of an effect, it's finally up to the Chinese people to see the benefits of a more democratic system (although as in Russia, that itself is going to bring wild inequalities and exploitation anyway).

There just isn't a simple answer, and no-one is right or wrong here, we're just all obliged to act as we individually feel matches with our own conscience and pragmatic analysis... Me, I'm for more trade and therefore more influence, whilst continuing to get the Internet opened up - that what will show the middle class (the ones with real latent power) what they're missing.

Ewen Cameron said...

I think I’d agree with Zumi’s general view. The best way to improve human rights and freedom in China is through engagement and trade. I also agree the UK hardly has the most impeccable history itself. The slave trade and concentration camps, not to mention international drug trafficking, originated here.
Times change and practices change, but I imagine life for the average Chinese is a great deal better now than it was 20 years ago. Wages in Beijing are rising at 20% a year now.
Perhaps another point is that trade links tend to reduce the risk of war. A European war would be quite inconceivable now.
Chinese companies are moving onto the world stage. The MG sports car is going back into production in Nanjing next month, followed by re-commencement of production in the UK in early summer, under Chinese ownership. The electronics company Aigo are the first major sponsors in Formula 1 (McClaren).
Quite apart from local hopes for business, I don’t think we can afford to ignore that, and I’m pleased local senior councillors got to China before Gordon Brown did.

Ewen Cameron