As cyberattacks increase in scale and severity, so too does the global demand for cybersecurity professionals – in all aspects of the field and across all sectors. The supply seemingly cannot keep up, resulting in an acute talent shortage. But in this talent shortage, there is an even bigger and more troubling gap: the lack of diversity in cybersecurity. Improving the work environment for underrepresented groups The latest statistics on demographics in cybersecurity are troubling: according to the Aspen Digital Tech Policy hub’s latest report, underrepresented groups such as Black (9%), Hispanic (4%) and Asian (8%) professionals make up an increasingly low percentage of the industry. For example, women make up 51% of the population, but only comprise only 24% of the cybersecurity workforce. On the flip side, there are almost 500,000 open jobs in cybersecurity in the United States alone, signalling a systemic, yet not-insurmountable divide. If we work together through individual and collective action to improve the current environment for underrepresented groups, there could be lasting positive impacts across the field of cybersecurity. Cybersecurity professionals work long hours. In many circumstances, they exhaust themselves to safeguard infrastructure, IT systems and institutions. Almost everyone in cybersecurity is stretched thin. Organisations and nations alike need more qualified people to work in cybersecurity. Professionals must truly understand the threats while producing more robust solutions. To do so, the industry must fix parts of recruitment, retention and leadership development. Choosing candidates with the right core traits Focusing on the barriers to inclusion and success in the industry, instead of just overt discrimination, can help reduce the talent shortage. Cybersecurity leaders play an important role in this. They should focus on diversity and inclusion when selecting candidates. Instead of merely recruiting new diverse candidates into the workforce, they must also provide those professionals already in it […]
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– by Johnathan Franzen Jonathan Franzen’s gift for welding depth and vividness of character with breadth of social vision has never been more dazzlingly evident than in Crossroads. It’s December 23, 1971, and heavy weather is forecast for Chicago. Russ Hildebrandt, the associate pastor of a liberal suburban church, is on the brink of breaking free of a marriage he finds joyless—unless his wife, Marion, who has her own secret life, beats him to it. Their eldest child, Clem, is coming home from college on fire with moral absolutism, having taken an action that will shatter his father. Clem’s sister, Becky, long the social queen of her high-school class, has sharply veered into the counterculture, while their brilliant younger brother Perry, who’s been selling drugs to seventh graders, has resolved to be a better person. Each of the Hildebrandts seeks a freedom that each of the others threatens to complicate. Jonathan Franzen’s novels are celebrated for their unforgettably vivid characters and for their keen-eyed take on contemporary America. Now, in Crossroads, Franzen ventures back into the past and explores the history of two generations. With characteristic humor and complexity, and with even greater warmth, he conjures a world that resonates powerfully with our own. A tour de force of interwoven perspectives and sustained suspense, its action largely unfolding on a single winter day, Crossroads is the story of a Midwestern family at a pivotal moment of moral crisis. Jonathan Franzen’s gift for melding the small picture and the big picture has never been more dazzlingly evident.
Literary hoaxes thrive on exposure. At best, they are politically transgressive. They strip away anything smug, pretentious or hypocritical to reveal an uglier reality underneath. Hoaxes may use ethically questionable methods. But when they work, they tell us something about the relationship of art to life and politics. It’s the literary equivalent of Banksy shredding an artwork at Sotheby’s as the hammer came down. If they don’t, then we should question if they deserve to be called a hoax at all. Recently, hoaxes were in the headlines when three men leapt onto a Barcelona stage to accept a million euro literary prize awarded by the publishing house, Planeta – “unmasking” themselves as the Spanish writer, Carmen Mola in the process. “Mola”, a bestselling crime author, won the Euro prize for La Bestia – The Beast – a thriller about a serial killer stalking Madrid in the midst of a cholera epidemic. Cue global shock, followed by shrugs from authors, publishers and critics. So far, the fury has centred on who is allowed to write what, and why. However author Margaret Atwood crisply and correctly called the unveiling a “a great publicity stunt”. This hoax was embarrassing and high profile. But it was also unoriginal and apolitical. The men behind Mola said they were tired of lying. But might claiming a lucrative, prestigious prize – and a bit of ego – also have been a factor in unmasking themselves? Pen name politics The Mola hoax infuriated many because the authors, who wrote a trilogy of ultra-violent novels starring a female detective, Inspector Elena Blanco, had generated a backstory that was more than a pseudonym. It was an identity. It was also stereotypically gendered. Mola, which roughly translates as “Carmen the cool” in English, claimed she was an academic who kept her writing career a secret because she was bashful about the allegedly transgressive […]
‘A fox could be a shape-shifter, a spirit being. It could appear in human form if this suited its purposes; it could come and go as it pleased, play tricks, lead men astray.’ A film director in Hackney with a fox problem in her garden; an escapee from a cult in Japan; a Sydney café-owner rekindling an old flame; an English tutor who gets too close to an oligarch; a journalist on Mars, face-to-face with his fate. The world has taught these men and women to live off their wits. They know how to play smart, but what happens when they need to be wise? In the Time of Foxes is both compellingly readable and deeply insightful about the times in which we live, each narrative a compressed novel. With an exhilarating span of people and places, woven together by the most mercurial of animals, it shows the short story collection at its most entertaining and rewarding, and introduces Jo Lennan as a captivating new storyteller. ‘Each of these stories is a whole new world of experience and meaning, and to read them together is to fall utterly under Lennan’s spell as a master storyteller.’ Ceridwen Dovey, author of Only the Animals ‘Spanning Sydney, Kyushu, Moscow and the European surf, these are some of the best stories I’ve read this year – possibly ever. Lennan writes about men on the edge and women with secrets magnificently. These are world class stories, tales that feel so palpable, true and lived, they almost feel like an act of possession.’ Benjamin Law ‘Lennan is a master at creating worlds: above all, she is able to make the small details stick.’ The Saturday Paper ‘I’m absolutely blown away by the short story collection In the Time of Foxes by Jo Lennan. I can’t imagine how one person has managed to live so many lives, because […]
The climate talks in Glasgow are just days away, and may be the last chance to coordinate global efforts to stop the planet warming beyond 1.5℃ this century. More than 100 world leaders will attend the summit to try to agree on the details of crucial issues, such as timetables to deliver on emissions reduction commitments. So which countries hold the cards? Well, the nature of these particular climate talks make it less likely one or more states – regardless of their power or contribution to climate change – will determine the summit’s success. But this wasn’t always the case. In 1997 Kyoto Protocol talks, all developed states needed to agree on targets, timeframes and what could be included or excluded from calculations. This meant Australia was able to hold the agreement to ransom by threatening to withhold support, unless demands were met. In 2009 talks in Copenhagen, the plan was to develop a new post-Kyoto Protocol agreement, based on new binding emissions targets. The reluctance of China, and even the United States, ultimately prevented a new agreement being reached. Organisers of the Paris talks of 2015 learnt their lesson. Rather than aim to agree on a fair allocation of responsibility across almost 200 countries, organisers allowed states to develop their own nationally determined contributions – targets for reducing emissions. Unity in Glasgow is still crucial While the success of the Glasgow summit doesn’t depend on a consensus across all participating nations, there are three big reasons international cooperation is still crucial. First, the summit serves as the default target date for nations to articulate new emissions reduction commitments since the Paris Agreement. States will also need to agree on the next deadline for updated national climate targets. Second, it will determine commitments from wealthy countries to finance developing states’ transition away from greenhouse-intensive development like […]
Meet the traders who supply the world with oil, metal and food – no matter how corrupt, war-torn or famine-stricken the source. The modern world is built on commodities – from the oil that fuels our cars to the metals that power our smartphones. We rarely stop to consider where they come from. But we should. In The World for Sale, two leading journalists lift the lid on one of the least scrutinised corners of the economy: the workings of the billionaire commodity traders who buy, hoard and sell the earth’s resources. It is the story of how a handful of swashbuckling businessmen became indispensable cogs in global markets: enabling an enormous expansion in international trade, and connecting resource-rich countries – no matter how corrupt or war-torn – with the world’s financial centres. And it is the story of how some traders acquired untold political power, right under the noses of Western regulators and politicians – helping Saddam Hussein to sell his oil, fuelling the Libyan rebel army during the Arab Spring, and funnelling cash to Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin in spite of strict sanctions. The result is an eye-opening tour through the wildest frontiers of the global economy, as well as a revelatory guide to how capitalism really works.
-A new book by Nicholas Carr “Is Google making us stupid?” When Nicholas Carr posed that question, in a celebrated Atlantic Monthly cover story, he tapped into a well of anxiety about how the Internet is changing us. He also crystallised one of the most important debates of our time: As we enjoy the Net’s bounties, are we sacrificing our ability to read and think deeply? Now, Carr expands his argument into the most compelling exploration of the Internet’s intellectual and cultural consequences yet published. As he describes how human thought has been shaped through the centuries by “tools of the mind”—from the alphabet to maps, to the printing press, the clock, and the computer—Carr interweaves a fascinating account of recent discoveries in neuroscience by such pioneers as Michael Merzenich and Eric Kandel. Our brains, the historical and scientific evidence reveals, change in response to our experiences. The technologies we use to find, store, and share information can literally reroute our neural pathways. Building on the insights of thinkers from Plato to McLuhan, Carr makes a convincing case that every information technology carries an intellectual ethic—a set of assumptions about the nature of knowledge and intelligence. He explains how the printed book served to focus our attention, promoting deep and creative thought. In stark contrast, the Internet encourages the rapid, distracted sampling of small bits of information from many sources. Its ethic is that of the industrialist, an ethic of speed and efficiency, of optimized production and consumption—and now the Net is remaking us in its own image. We are becoming ever more adept at scanning and skimming, but what we are losing is our capacity for concentration, contemplation, and reflection. Part intellectual history, part popular science, and part cultural criticism, The Shallows sparkles with memorable vignettes—Friedrich Nietzsche wrestling with a typewriter, Sigmund Freud […]
-by Sally Rooney Beautiful World, Where Are You is a new novel by Sally Rooney, the bestselling author of Normal People and Conversations with Friends. Alice, a novelist, meets Felix, who works in a warehouse, and asks him if he’d like to travel to Rome with her. In Dublin, her best friend, Eileen, is getting over a break-up and slips back into flirting with Simon, a man she has known since childhood. Alice, Felix, Eileen, and Simon are still young—but life is catching up with them. They desire each other, they delude each other, they get together, they break apart. They have sex, they worry about sex, they worry about their friendships and the world they live in. Are they standing in the last lighted room before the darkness, bearing witness to something? Will they find a way to believe in a beautiful world?
On the face of it, the fact that Canada’s “two Michaels” — Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor — boarded a Canadian government aircraft in Beijing at about the same time that Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou was being released from her extradition hearing bail requirements in Vancouver might indicate to some that China’s “hostage diplomacy” was successful. There was a clear link between Meng’s plea bargain arrangement with the United States Department of Justice, her subsequent release in Vancouver and the release of the two Michaels after more than 1,000 days in captivity. Despite consistent Chinese denials over many months that their arrest was in retaliation for the detention of Meng under the Canada-U.S. extradition treaty, the fact that the two cases were resolved simultaneously (even before Kovrig had been sentenced by the Chinese court) stripped away any pretence that there was no connection. In the past, in cases involving detention in China of foreign nationals when there have been unrelated disputes with their country of origin, the release of the “hostages” has not come for several weeks or months after the resolution of the original dispute. That’s allowed China to maintain the fiction that it doesn’t detain people for retaliatory purposes and to argue that Chinese law must run its course. This time, even that fig leaf was removed. Deferred prosecution agreement In order to secure her release, Meng was given only the lightest of punishments, a deferred prosecution arrangement that required her to neither plead guilty nor pay a fine. All she was required to do was consent to a statement of facts that outlined the U.S. view of what happened when she allegedly misled global bank HSBC into believing that a Huawei subsidiary operating in Iran was not in fact controlled by Huawei. The deferred prosecution agreement will expire in 2022, and then the case […]