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Ian Robinson’s Weekly Digest – 18th July 2021

Cover image of The Three Body Problem novel
Cover image of The Three Body Problem novel

A sparse post this week. Mainly due to me being busy and it being too hot to read and think about technical stuff! Only three pointers to interesting items. A dozen new music items, though. I’m never too busy or too hot to ignore new music. As always, find me on Twitter if you want to comment on anything.

https://www.getrevue.co/profile/ianrobinson/issues/ian-robinson-s-weekly-digest-18th-july-2021-688113

Dickinson Season 2

I binge-watched Season 2 of Dickinson this week. The finale was released today. Both seasons are so good. It takes the 19th-century source material and imbibes it with 21st-century themes. I realise now that the themes from the 1850s are much the same as today. If you haven’t seen it, then I can highly recommend it. It’s worth the cost of an AppleTV+ subscription on its own. Looking forward to Season 3!

There is an excellent interview-based article with Alena Smith, the show-runner of Dickenson, in the latest issue of The New Yorker.

The show inspired me to read some of Emily Dickinson’s poems. I bought a copy of The Folio Society’s Selected Poems last year when watching Season 1 and started reading it this week. I’ve never really been into poetry. And that’s still the case! I’m about a third of the way through the selection in the book. So far only the only one that’s grabbed me is this one about the exultation of going to sea (and other things, no doubt). Still, even if the poems don’t speak to me, they obviously speak to Alena Smith, and they inspired her to create the TV show. And that’s great news for all of us who get to watch.

It also inspired me to buy a Stephen Fry book on how to write poetry. Something that passed me by in school. I can’t recall if that’s my fault or the fault of my school. I suspect the former as my school was excellent.

The music that peppers each episode is fantastic. This article in Rolling Stone discusses how the tracks are chosen. If you are on Apple Music, there is a playlist with the songs from Season 1 and another for Season 2.

Favourite Books from 2020

I read 25 books in 2020. Here are my favourites. In no particular order. 

Tools and Weapons book cover
Tools and Weapons
How To Argue With A Racist book cover
How To Argue With A Racist
Entanglement book cover
Entanglement
The Pursuit of William Abbey book cover
The Pursuit Of William Abbey
Beyond Weird book cover
Beyond Weird
We Need New Stories book cover
We Need New Stories
Sweet Harmony book cover
Sweet Harmony

Mini review – Sandworm: A New Era of Cyberwar and the Hunt for the Kremlin’s Most Dangerous Hackers

We hear a lot about how state actors are using cybercrime techniques in order to influence opinion and attack infrastructure in other countries. But we rarely see a well-argued analysis that backs up this assertion. This book provides just such a well-argued analysis that outlines persuasively which organisations, and which country, were behind the devastating cyberattacks WannaCry, NotPetya, and others. And it outlines who is gaining malicious access to the control systems for the infrastructure that powers our modern world. Such as the electricity generation and supply systems, transport systems, communications and broadcast systems, and other industrial control systems. It also provides enough evidence to support the conclusion that the same, or closely associated, malicious actors were behind attempts to influence elections in Europe and the USA. Probably in other countries as well.

The case against the perpetrators, who are identified in the book, is built up logically and comprehensively. Everyone should read it and then draw their own conclusions. I know I have. One of the best books of 2019. Undoubtedly the best on cybersecurity.

The audiobook is really good.