In the Weekly Profile that was sent out yesterday, we know that some of the links weren’t working, which we apologize for. In case you encountered that problem, we have updated all of the links, for all of the articles, here.
If you aren’t currently a subscriber, the Weekly Profile is an email that we send out every Sunday and is made up of five articles, podcasts, books or videos that we have either watched or read during the week and felt were worth passing along. The goal for the Weekly Profile is to help those in the military, first responder and security professionals find common ground between the obstacles they are facing each day and how other people, in other fields, have dealt with similar problems.
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The Weekly Profile: with the goal of helping to find common ground and innovative solutions by learning from people and perspectives in the military, business, technology, security and more.
Here are five articles we read this week and wanted to pass along.
1. “Secrets In the Sky.” This is a two-part series from the Boston Globe’s Spotlight Division about gaps in the FAA’s processes to protect our country from the sky. Part 1 of the series takes a look at how easy it is for foreigners to register a plane in the United States through the use of shell companies and trusts, resulting in a town in Texas (a town that only has 2,500 people) that has over 1,000 registered planes, yet not having an airport or a suburban home in Georgia, the address for the mother of a person who runs an aircraft registration company, having over 200 planes registered to her address unknowingly. While the price to buy a plane has undoubtedly gone up since 1969, the price to register a plane has stayed the same – only costing $5 to register a plane with a United States identification number. Why do foreigners try to register planes in the US and not provide accurate information about the owner? Because in many countries around the world, planes landing with a US registration number aren’t screened very thoroughly because there is a perception of legitimacy and the perception of regulation, making it an attractive investment for criminals.
Part 2 of the series looks at the lack of oversight for people with a pilots license – resulting in a number of terrorists, convicted drug traffickers and people who have been caught trying to smuggle jet parts into Iran maintaining their pilots license. Once you have earned your pilot’s license, you have earned that credential for life and people are only removed from the system for crimes and infractions that are self-reported. Because pilot’s licenses don’t have any biometric information on them, or even a photo of the pilot, the licenses lead to a high degree of identify theft because they simply aren’t checked or verified at many airports.
This is one of the longer articles we’ve read this week, but it is worth the time to learn about a portion of our government that we often don’t give too much of a though to. To read the story about how a federal agency has refused to implement changes mandated by law and by congress for the past 13 years, you can find Part 1 of the series here.
2. “Liberate Your Team With Clearer Processes.”Processes, whether in business, the military or in first responder organizations often come with a negative connotation. Many will talk about how processes bring more bureaucracy with them, but as this article shows, that doesn’t always have to be the case. Processes can free people up to do their jobs with less oversight when used properly. For organizations looking to improve the way they use processes to empower teams to take action in the absence of explicit guidance, this article has a few recommendations for ways to evaluate what your organization already has in place. With explanations about why identifying bottlenecks is a good thing, the role of the bigger picture and how processes allow for consistency in decision making, we recommend that you take a look at the article here.
3. “A Hacker Stole $31M of Ether – How It Happened and What It Means For Ethereum.” Back in July of this year, the world of digital currency experienced the second largest heist in their short history. What makes this attack unique and interesting isn’t the fact that it was so large, but how much money the hacker could have gotten had another group of “good-hackers” not gotten involved and stole the remaining $150 million of vulnerable money themselves before the criminal could. Once the breach was identified and the method of attack was determined, the white-hat hackers in Ethereum’s community exploited the same vulnerability in the digital wallets that the thief was using and drained those accounts of $150 million before the thief could get to them (they have since returned the money to the owners).
When hearing about how the attack was stopped some people have asked, “Why did the white-hat hackers have to first steal the money? Why couldn’t they just fix the underlying problem with new code and an update?”
The reason for this is because the blockchain is still pretty young and resembles the software world before we could update our apps and computers automatically. It resembles the time when a company shipped their product every 6 months instead of every few weeks. As a result, once a smart contract is out there and implemented, it is out there for good and can’t be updated. Hackers (and anyone with access) are able to know how much money is in a contract and have all of the time they want to find a vulnerability that is worth exploiting. If you are interested in learning more about digital currency and the blockchain, this article is pretty non-developer friendly (you can easily skip over the technical sections and not miss any key points), and provides a great case study worth considering. Thanks to J.F. for sharing this article with us and you can find it yourself by clicking here.
4. “Skills vs. Behavior.” For self-driven learners, the difference between skills and behaviors is an important concept to consider as the distinction is often what can lead to determining your way forward when pursuing mastery in a field. A skill is being able to do something successfully but is limited to doing that one thing and at that one moment in time. Behaviors, on the other hand, are being able to put skills to use and are often exemplified by people who can drop what they are doing, learn something new, and be successful using that new skill. Behaviors lead to success over the long-term and in a number of different contexts while skills are a bit more limited to short-term success. Even though this article is written in context to businesses and investing, I added it to this email for its application to learning and how it can help you think about what you need to work on to not just master a specific skill that is relevant today, but to practice the behaviors that will allow you to thrive in your career in the future as well (even though we don’t know what that will actually look like). Skills are much easier to track and measure than behaviors, but not everything that is quantifiable is an accurate predictor of success and you can read the article here.
5. “Social vs. Asocial Aggression.” While this article was written for the Art of Manliness website over a month ago, I didn’t get around to reading it until after last weekend’s attack in Las Vegas, but it is certainly one worth considering in light of recent events. Applying concepts from his book When Violence Is The Answer, Tim Larkin describes social aggression as the quasi-violent scenarios that are geared towards asserting some form of social dominance, gaining an advantage or elevating a person’s social status. That is why so people watch the fight with the bully at school – because they want to see what happens and the new hierarchy that will result from the outcome. Asocial aggression, on the other hand, has nothing to do with reestablishing the social order but has the goal of wrecking the order. Because there is nothing being communicated in these situations, people don’t stand and watch, they run, hide or fight. With social aggression, pain and violence are the by-products of the situation, but with asocial violence, death and destruction are its purpose. With a discussion about how to tell the difference between the two forms of violence, how to respond when you encounter it and how you can help the country get left of bang by minimizing the ways social aggression can turn into asocial violence, you can find and read the article here.
Until next week – get left of bang and stay there.
Patrick and Jonathan
The CP Journal