Rich Wermske

Rich Wermske

My pedigree and bona fides are published elsewhere. That said, I respect that a few may wish to learn more about the private person behind the writing.  While I accept I am exceptionally introverted (tending toward the misanthropic), I do enjoy socializing and sharing time with like-minded individuals. I have a zeal for integrity, ethics, and the economics of both interpersonal and organizational behavior.

The product of multi-generational paternal dysfunction, I practice healthy recovery (sobriety date December 11, 2001).  I am endogamous in my close personal relationships and belong to a variety of tribes that shape my worldview (in no particular order):

☯ I participate in and enjoy most geek culture. ☯ I am a practicing Buddhist and a legally ordained minister. I like to believe that people of other spiritual/faith systems find me approachable.  I am a member of the GLBTQA community -- I married my long-time partner in a ceremony officiated by Jeralita "Jeri" Costa of Joyful Joinings on November 18, 2013, certificated in King County, Seattle WA. We celebrate an anniversary date of February 2, 2002.  I am a service-connected, disabled, American veteran (USAF).  I am a University of Houston alumnus (BBA/MIS) and currently studying as a post baccalaureate for an additional degree in Philosophy and Law, Values, & Policy.  I am a retired Bishop in the Church of Commerce and Capitalism; the story arch of my prosecuting and proselytizing the technological proletariat is now behind me.  I am a native Houstonian (and obviously Texan).  At 50 years old, I am a "child of the sixties" and consider the 80's to be my formative years.

As I still struggle with humility, I strive to make willingness, honesty, and open mindedness cornerstones in all my affairs. Fourteen years of sobriety has taught me that none of "this" means a thing if I'm unwilling, dishonest, or close minded.  Therefore I work hard on the things I believe in --

  • I believe we can always achieve more if we collaborate and compromise.
  • I believe that liberal(ism) is a good word/concept and something to be proud to support.  The modern, systematic corruption of liberal ideas is a living human tragedy.
  • I believe in a worldview founded on ideas of liberty and equality. The pragmatism of this site and my journey is rooted in both classical and social liberalism.
  • I believe in democratic elections and institutions including a media free of commercial and governmental bias.  Liberty and equality perish when a society becomes uneducated and/or ill-informed.
  • I believe in diversity of life and ideas.  Life and ideas can only flourish when the gene pool is vast and abundantly differentiated.
  • I believe in advancing balance in civil, social, and privacy rights such that all of humanity is continuously uplifted.
  • I believe in separation of church (spirituality) and state (governance) -- with neither in supremacy nor subjugation.
  • I believe in private (real or tangible) property explicitly excluding ideas, knowledge, and methods; such non-tangibles, by natural law, being free for all humanity and emancipated at conception.

While change and the uncertainty of the future may be uncomfortable, I do not fear the unknown; therefore:

    • I believe I must be willing to make difficult choices, that those choices may not be all that I desire, and that such may result in undesirable (or unintended) consequences;
    • I believe we must be willing to make mistakes or be wrong; and I am willing to change my mind if necessary.
I undertake to abide the five precepts of Buddhism; therefore:
  1. I believe it is wrong to kill or to knowingly allow others to kill.
  2. I believe it is wrong to steal or to knowingly allow others to steal.
  3. I believe in abstention from sexual misconduct.
  4. I believe it is wrong to lie or to knowingly allow others to lie.
  5. I believe in abstention from non-medicinal intoxicants as such clouds the mind.

Suicide, major depression, borderline personality, and alcoholism are feral monsters ever howling at my doorstep. However, despite my turbulent and tragic past, rare is the day where I have to rationalize, defend, or justify the actions of that person I see looking back at me in the mirror...

Website URL: http://www.wermske.com

Friday, 15 March 2013 13:33

Are You Smart on the Higgs Boson?

Scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, announced yesterday that they’re even more certain than they were last summer (like, more than 99.999999999 percent sure) that they've seen a Higgs boson particle—even if it’s not the Higgs boson particle.

Why does it even matter? Well, let's start with, this is a discovery that could potentially change our entire understanding of how the universe works. So, to avoid being a complete nub on this issue, what do you need to know and what can you say if someone brings up the subject?

American voter support for same-sex marriage is inching up and now stands at 47 - 43 percent, including 54 - 38 percent among Catholic voters, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Church leaders are out of touch with the views of Catholics in America today, all Catholics say 52 - 40 percent. Men say out of touch, 54 - 37 percent, while women agree by a smaller 49 - 43 percent margin. 

This compares to a 48 - 46 percent statistical tie among all voters on same-sex marriage December 5 and reverses the 55 - 36 percent opposition in a July, 2008, survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University. Among all adult Catholics, 52 percent say the Church is moving in the right direction, while 31 percent say it is going in the wrong direction.

Thursday, 14 March 2013 12:05

Hackers Focus On Third-Party Targets

Significant flaws in Microsoft Operating Systems and programs are becoming a smaller portion of the total. Secunia reports that 86 percent of active vulnerabilities in 2012 affected third-party products such as Java, Flash and Adobe Reader. In 2007, third-party vulnerabilities made up less than 60 percent of the total.

On the plus side, the dangerous window between discovery of a vulnerability and creation of a patch is getting smaller. Secunia reports same-day patch availability for 80 percent of these threats in 2012, up from a bit over 60 percent in 2007. 

Thursday, 25 October 2012 11:40

Hackers Get 10 Months to pwn Victims

"Tell no one, compromise everyone" -- Hackers exploit security vulnerabilities in software for 10 months on average before details of the holes surface in public, according to a new study based on a paper [PDF] on the research - Before We Knew It: An Empirical Study of Zero-Day Attacks In The Real World.

Two researchers from Symantec Research Labs identified 18 zero-day attacks between 2008 and 2011, and 11 of them were previously undetected. “A typical zero-day attack lasts 312 days on average and that, after vulnerabilities are disclosed publicly, the volume of attacks exploiting them increases by up to five orders of magnitude,” the researchers noted.

Saturday, 01 September 2012 10:58

Romney and Obama MobiApps Threaten Your Privacy

John Leyden at The Register reports that security experts uncovered privacy concerns in mobile applications available from both the Barack Obama and Mitt Romney presidential campaigns. Researchers at GFI Software examined the Android versions of both products and are alarmed at the invasive nature of the offerings.

Obama for America and Mitt’s VP request permissions, access to services and data and demonstrate capabilities beyond product expectations.  Each of the apps cross-posts on users' behalf and report back to base.  More alarmingly, both apps slurp the details of users' contacts and log location data. The Romney app even requests permission to record audio for unspecified purposes.

Monday, 11 June 2012 19:36

Useless Business Jargon

The next time you feel the need to reach out, touch base, shift a paradigm, leverage a best practice or join a tiger team, by all means do it. Just don’t say you’re doing it.

People use jargon as a substitute for thinking hard and clearly about their goals and the direction they wish to give others.  Jargon masks meaning.  Jargon can mean different things to different people.  You might be saying one thing -- while your audience is hearing another.

Monday, 28 May 2012 22:37

Flame, the Cyber Weapon

A highly sophisticated computer virus is infecting computers in Middle Eastern and North African countries.  It appears to have been at least five years ago.  Is this state-sponsored cyber espionage?

Kaspersky Lab, a Russian cyber-security software maker, said it discovered the virus, dubbed Flame, after a U.N. telecommunications agency asked it to analyze data on malicious software across the Middle East in search of the data-wiping virus reported by Iran.

In a survey by Gartner and ALM, Chief legal officers (CLOs) need to engage enterprise CIOs more.  Further, while CLOs voice consideration for CIOs as contributors to corporate strategy, they continue to lack fundimental understanding of how to use technology in the enterprise or how to interact with their IT departments.

"The survey results showed that communication is the key variable in the success or lack of success of the CLO/IT relationship," said French Caldwell, vice president and Gartner fellow. "When CLOs have substantive conversations with CIOs more than once a month, CLO satisfaction with IT is higher."

Friday, 11 May 2012 17:32

DHS Questions Security of ISC

Operators of America’s power, water, and manufacturing facilities use industrial control systems (ICS) to manage them. However, the security of these systems, increasingly linked with Microsoft Windows and the Internet, is now under intense scrutiny because of growing awareness that they could be attacked and cause massive disruptions.

Industrial facility operators are making efforts to follow security procedures, such as using vulnerability-assessment scanning tools to check for needed patches in Windows. That said, ICS environments present special problems, said managers who spoke on the topic at a conference organized by the DHS.

Friday, 25 May 2012 15:54

Yahoo Leaks Private Key!

Yahoo released its Axis extension for Chrome and accidentally leaked its private security key that could allow anyone to create malicious plugins masquerading as official Yahoo software.  The result is that a miscreant could forge malicious software to run amok on unsuspecting victim computers and it would appear to be coming from Yahoo.

An Australian researcher exposed the certificate mistake, and said users should not install the extension "until the issue is clarified." He examined the extension’s source code and found the private certificate, which Yahoo uses to sign the application to prove it is genuine and unaltered.

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