Category Archives: Security

Ideas related to security and safety

Ultra-low-tech lightning detection: business aspects


Part 2 of write-up on ultra-low-cost lightning detection network. See Part 1 for background.

[By Jakke Mäkelä and Niko Porjo]

This part summarizes the cost and business case estimates made for the project. The analysis suggests that an extremely low cost might be possible, making the solution suitable for use even in developing countries like Sri Lanka. However, we could not find a way to motivate anyone to fund the R&D part. Thus, we are not pursuing this further for the time being.


Business case: both hardware cost and data transmission costs are kept so low that building and maintaining network is realistic to perform as a public service. Data transfer can be made over mobile phone network (SMS, GPRS, 3G…) or landline if available. Multiple operators are made to compete to keep data costs down. Hazard indication to end users will need to be wireless to achieve real-time warning.


•An exact business case is difficult to determine, as it is for any lightning warning system.

•Situation in Sri Lanka: Tens of deaths reported annually, real number of deaths and injuries unknown. Commercial detection systems too expensive to maintain.


•Absolute worst-case scenario: If SMS sent less than once per min, reliability of network becomes poor. Thus cannot transfer much less than this. During storms, whole network would need to be transmitting 60*60=3600 SMS/hour. In Finland,  cost of SMS on one operator is ~5 cent, so cost would be 180 EUR/hr for whole network. Assuming 6 hours/ day of storms in active seasons, would mean 30 kEUR/month, which is of course completely unacceptable. But in practice, there are fixed-cost deals available from operators. Multiple operators are absolutely needed in order to maximize price competition and minimize risk of monopoly pricing. But there are SMS-based systems in existence which are affordable (for example Nokia Life Tools which means that costs could be kept reasonable if there is political push.

•Transfer rate over GPRS, if available, is even in extreme case ~160 B/min or 1kB/hour per station.  For total network, transfer is ~60 kB/hour. Per month, amounts to ~100 MB. On one Finnish operator, GPRS cost can be ~1.5 EUR/MB, so cost would be <200 EUR/month. Clearly GPRS would be the preferable channel where available.


•Sensors need to be stockpiled to allow them to be replaced quickly if needed, so at least 100 need to be built. Smaller calibration networks can also be developed in parallel and run in a suitable country.

•Main components are radio receiver, GPS clock, GSM/GPRS, processing unit. Battery may be most expensive individual component. ideally will run on AC power, but need to have backup battery/UPS capable of multi-hour operation in case of power failure.  Unit cost of 400EUR should definitely be reachable (cost of full network 40kEUR), though profit margin to manufacturer is then low. This part may need to be subsidized.

•Setting up of network is low-cost since all sensors are autonomous and operate by wireless network. Slow deployment is possible.

•Central unit can be a tabletop PC. Redundancy and power supply needs will increase cost significantly, but main algorithm is simple.

•Operating costs can be minimal if GPRS can be used.

•Cost of transmitting hazard information to users via Cell Broadcast is largest open question.

Funding and implementation

•No funding has been found.

•The organization Geoscientists Without Borders has been funding projects which are similar to the proposal:

•The target of the pilot is to improve local R&D competence in Sri Lanka, but kicking off the project could require an investment that is difficult to find locally. National foreign aid organizations (Finland or Sweden) might be approached for projects of this type, especially if some of the testing can be done in Europe (enhancing local knowledge also).

Similar projects

•Lots of small semi-official warning systems are known to exist, but limited info in public domain. Data transfer is almost always by fixed-line Internet, which can be unreliable especially in developing countries. Mobile wireless networks have better reliability (though not perfect).


We continue to think that the idea would work in principle, but there is no real way to make it successful commercially. We need to feed our families, and cannot do it.

If someone is interested in making this a non-profit open-source project, the crucial documentation is already in the public domain and just needs to be collated together. There are some major engineering issues to be solved, but if profitability is not a requirement, they are likely to be solvable.



Concept for ultra-low-tech lightning detection


As a team, we have a historical trend of failing at everything we try. Common sense dictates that we should try to hide that fact. However, we’ve adopted the opposite strategy. Publishing our failures shows others how they should not proceed, and might give them ideas about how they should proceed (see The SMOS project). What’s in it for us? Not much. But it’s not a big effort to spend a few hours documenting things for the benefit of others.

[By Jakke Mäkelä and Niko Porjo]

This particular concept was a low-tech lightning detection system. Our former employer let us put some effort into looking at a system that could have used a cell phone’s radio circuits for remote lightning detection. The idea was more or less ridiculed, and it never did become commercial in the original form.

However, we found that the idea is less stupid than it sounds. I eventually did my PhD thesis on the physics of such systems. In brief: the crackle that lightning produces in any radio channel can be used to identify and range lightning, giving some pre-warning time before the thunder can be heard.

This is fairly pointless in Scandinavia, but could be significant in tropical areas with more frequent and violent thunderstorms. Both the hardware and software can be extremely simple — basically, an AM radio costing a few dollars can be used. This is thus a technique that might be feasible in developing countries.

We considered Sri Lanka to be a possible place to test the system. It has high mortality from lightning, and a poor economy and infrastructure. Thus, more expensive lightning detection systems do not sound highly realistic there. We also had connections with Sri Lanka during the project and my PhD studies.

Some other researchers and I wrote a peer-reviewed paper on how such a device could be used to detect lightning (Gulyas et al, JoLR 2012). We also wrote a non-peer-reviewed conference paper on how multiple sensors could be used to create a detection network. It’s one of those things that theoretically works. Making it work commercially is a completely different question.

Having been let go from our previous employers, we looked seriously into making this a commercial project. But we came to the conclusion that we would just starve.

The text below is mostly in the form we left it after deciding to stop. It is in draft form, as we do not feel like wasting our time on prettifying it after making a no-go decision. Technically oriented people will understand what we are saying. For readability, we have split the document into two parts; the technical document here, and a commercial document to be published later.

The various entities mentioned here (University of Uppsala, University of Colombo, and Finnish Meteorological Institute) were approached unofficially, but have not formally commented on the idea.


A loose consortium between for example the University of Colombo, University of Uppsala, Finnish Meteorological Institute, and the proposers could contain all the competence that is needed to implement the project. As of 2012, a new lightning detection chip AS3935 is available from Austriamicrosystems which could form the detector part in the first generation. Thus, the hardware design would be particularly simple now (


  • The University of Colombo has experience of the local conditions. Since the target is to transfer all the knowledge to Sri Lanka, Colombo should be the overall lead for the project, with other parties consulting per need.
  • The University of Uppsala has in-depth knowledge of lightning physics and a close working collaboration with Colombo.
  • The Finnish Meteorological Institute has a unit which is experienced with setting up weather-observation systems in developing countries.
  • Mäkelä and Porjo have experience with low-end detector design as well as the network technology.


•Create an ultra-low-cost lightning detection and warning system for developing countries.

•Pilot project could be run e.g. in Sri Lanka.Technology tests need to be done in a country with accurate lightning location reference data (USA or Europe)

•Technology exists (and multiple technologies possible), missing is a low-cost system to bring the data together and disseminate it to end users. Specifically, low-cost real-time systems are missing.

•Focus is on extreme simplicity, capability to withstand power cuts, quick response times.

•Modular and technology-agnostic (no technology lock-in). Only requirement is that each station be able to provide a distance estimate when a flash is detected.

•Open-source project, with possibility to incorporate better techniques as technology improves.

•Simplest detectors can be built based on public-domain information. Local Sri Lankan R&D can be used to design and build the sensors.

•In the somewhat harsh conditions, it is realistic to assume that some of the measuring sensors will be malfunctioning or offline at any given time. Network algorithm must be made flexible to account for this.

Proposal for demonstrator

•Build network that covers the western coastal region of Sri Lanka.

•Build detection network on principles described in Porjo & Mäkelä 2010. As of 2012, the AS3935 chip from Austriamicrosystems (about 4 USD) is available as a front-end. This information is in the public domain. Simple detectors are also well-known and in the public domain. Some original design work may be needed, but could be done at University of Colombo (academic work). Lowest-cost approach could include a stock Android phone with a Rasberry pi attached to a GPS clock source and a small custom board for the AS3935.

•Sensors by default transmit flash information via mobile phone link (SMS or GPRS). Landlines (Internet access) can be used if available, but they can be expected to be more vulnerable to errors than wireless especially when storms are nearby.

•Flash-by-flash locations are not attempted, only storm risk zones (Gulyas et al 2012). Intra-cloud flashes are difficult to range in any case, and from the viewpoint of security, the most important parameter are the boundaries of the active storm cells.

•Central computer identifies storm risk areas. Sri Lankan Met Institute? Must plan system with high redundancy from the very beginning (at least two computers running separately) because probability of failure is highest exactly when the storms are strongest. The duplicate(s) can also be used to beta test networks whenever stations change.

•Mobile base stations within the risk areas send warning SMS to participating cell phones. GSM standard  allows this since a cell broadcast recommendation exists. But this is potentially difficult issue as requires operator cooperation, as well existence of the GSM network which may be unreliable. Negotiation with operators is needed, and in particular operator lock-in must be avoided (in which an operator can define his own price at will). Note that in principle it is NOT necessary to alert 100% of the people in the area, as it can be expected that people will alert each other. However, 100% should be a target.

•Since ranging accuracy drops radically after 20 km, stations cannot be separated by much more than this. For redundancy reasons, stations every 10 km might be better. In case of Sri Lanka, region of main interest is the coastal strip, thus the network could consist of approx three rows of sensors separated by ~20 km, sensors every 10 km or so.  To protect 200 km strip of coast, need minimum 3×20=60 sensors.

Data transfer needs

•Data transfer needs to be divided among multiple operators to avoid collapse if one operator’s SMS center crashes. Ideally each sensor would have at least two SIM’s (dual-SIM technology already exists) in case one crashes.

•Data transfer from sensors is to be by SMS or GPRS. Since locations of stations is known, only need per flash time (to 1-sec GPS accuracy) and intensity (8 bits would be sufficient if calibration is OK). Since we want to allow possibility of direction-finding at least in the future,  8 bits allows 1.4% angular resolution. Time can highly compressed if for example nearest hour is assumed to be known, in which case 12 bits is enough to code nearest second. Some kind of reliability value of a few bits would also be useful. → Each flash could be coded in 32 bits.

•SMS spec has 1120 bits per message (160 7-bit characters as in SMS, equivalent to 140 8-bit characters as in Twitter).  Thus up to 35 flashes could be coded in a single SMS. Since flash rates are essentially never 30 flashes/minute (in extreme cases ground flashes up to 4-6 flashes/min, cloud flashes theoretically 10 times higher). Sending SMS once per minute would be sufficient even in case of an extreme storm.

Part 2 on business aspects: click here 



Double bucket


Couple of years ago me and Jakke where conducting some lightning measurements. We were in a hurry and on a budget. Well, perhaps not so much on a budget as I was (and am) fond of cheap solutions. What we came up with, was a way of using some 50 mm by 50 mm sawn softwood (likely spruce or pine), some plywood and a couple of polypropylene buckets to make a fairly durable weather cover. These could be used for example as part of an open monitoring project.

Since I’m lazy, I didn’t bother to dismantle them after the measurements ended and a couple of these have been out in the weather (Southern Finland)  for about four years. Today I finally decided to take them a part. I found out that they have been holding up pretty well and would likely have been up to their task for at least a few more years. So if you are looking for a way of making a similar system, below I explain how to make them. At the end are a couple of pics and comments on the dismantled set.

White buckets were used in an attempt to keep the electronics cool. Other colors may be used depending on location to make it less visible.

Figure 1 shows a rendering of the two ways we used to setup the systems. In the left the stud is driven to the ground. I used an iron bar to first make pilot hole and then carefully using a small piece of plywood as protection (between the sledge hammer and the pillar) hammered the stud to the ground.

In the right is the system we used on a (Melbourne) Florida roof top for a couple of months to create a more temporary measurement setup. We used some concrete blocks as additional weight just in case. If you are considering a more permanent system consider adding some steel wire to attach the system to something really heavy. You don’t want it hitting someone when it is picked up by hurricane winds or a tornado.

Cheap weather cover for measurement devices
Figure 1. Cheap weather cover for measurement devices

Figure 2 shows what you need. All sizes are approximately those we used, select your bucket size to match the size of your device and scale everything else accordingly.

  1. Two short pieces of wood. One should be short enough to fit side ways in to the bucket and one should be about 5 cm shorter than the bucket is high. One long piece of wood, it will determine how high the rest of the system sits.
  2. A piece of plywood, cut a circle that fits in to the bucket to a depth of about 5 cm
  3. Two buckets
  4. Some screws and hot glue
  5. a saw, (sledge)hammer, screwdriver, eye protection etc.
Figure 2. Things you need
Figure 2. Things you need

As shown in Figure 3 set the longer of the two short pieces of wood on top of the plywood. Use hot glue or two screws or both to attach it in a manner that it can’t rotate around the vertical axis. Before this, make any openings you need for electrical wiring and such.

Figure 3. Set one of the short pieces on top of the plywood.
Figure 3. Set one of the short pieces on top of the plywood.

The shorter piece of wood is then attached on the other side of the plywood. Select the correct length for the support pillar and after driving it to the ground attach the plywood to it. If any of the wood surfaces is curved using copious amounts of hot glue between surfaces before inserting the screws will make the system more solid. The inner bucket is attached with one screw, which is driven through the bucket bottom to the piece of wood shown in Figure 3. Note that you will be driving the screw in the direction of the grain, do it carefully or the strength of the attachment will be reduced.

Figure 4. Attach the shorter piece of wood as shown and put the bucket on top of the assembly
Figure 4. Attach the shorter piece of wood as shown and put the bucket on top of the assembly.

Add the other bucket, this one stays in place by gravity and friction. If you use a screw, rain will seep in.

Figure 5. Add the other bucket.
Figure 5. Add the other bucket.
Image 1. Two systems, the outer bucket has been removed from the one on the left.
Image 1. Two systems, the outer bucket has been removed from the one on the left.
Image 2. View from below.
Image 2. View from below. Looking good, all the wood is still healthy.


Image 3. View inside the protected area. Apart from some spider web its like new.
Image 3. View inside the protected area. Apart from some spider web its like new.


Image 4. The support structure. The limiting factor for the operating life of this setup is likely rotting at the air ground interface. I was able to snap the wood by tapping the sharp end to the ground
Image 4. The support structure. Limiting factor for the operating life of this setup is likely rotting at the air ground interface. I was able to snap the wood by tapping the sharp end to the ground.

Figure 4 shows the support structure and the weak point at the air-ground interface. Rotting has reduced the strength of the wood. If the place where measurement are taken is not very sensitive, consider using wood that has been treated to protect against rot. Using a larger size like 75×75 or even 100×100 mm2 will likely also give you a couple more years of service life.

Image 6.
Image 5. Ultra violet radiation has made the plastic brittle. Some erosion was also visible on the surface. Note the white stuff at the end of the screw. This screw was used to hold the inner bucket in place and the Zinc protection was showing signs of wearing out.
Image 6. Markings at the bottom of the bucket.
Image 6. Markings at the bottom of the bucket.


Sulfur directive and IPR

To be populistic: we pay now, but our industry has a payback time in 2020 and gets the money back from Greek merchant shipping.

[Local subjects for a change. Heavier IPR material moved to // Paikallisia asioita vaihteeksi. Raskaampi IPR-materiaali siirretty ylläolevaan linkkiin.] 

[Finnish version: here. All the links in the article point to Finnish-language sources, but similar material can be found easily.] 

The sulfur directive has been  accepted in the EU parliament. By 2015, ships in the Baltic sea need to drop their sulfur emissions from the current 1% to 0.1%.
Finland is strongly polarized on this. Environmentalists (of whom I am one) against industry. The environmentalists “won” this round, but this is not the place for anyone to gloat, at least not arrogantly. On the contrary, both sides have valid concerns. The directive is positive for environmental and health reasons; it is negative for the Finnish economy and employment statistics.

How positive or negative? One should be skeptical of everyone and everything since it is such a complicated issue, but approximately:

  • The directive saves lives. Whether or not one believes the exact figures of the environmentalists (50,000 extra deaths a year), it is clear that sulfur and particle emissions do have large-scale health effects.
  • Finland will suffer economically. Whether or not one believes the exact figures given by industry, (600 millions EUR per year or 12,000 jobs), common sense and a look at the map says that Finland will suffer more than most countries. We are effectively an island.
  • This is not just an EU decision. The International Maritime Organization IMO has itself approved the limits already in 2008. The EU directive adds very little. If this directive really came as a surprise, someone has been sleeping soundly.
  • In 2015, the limit only affects the so-called SECA-areas, meaning the Baltic Sea, North Sea, English channel and the coasts of Canada and the USA. In the rest of the world, the limit will not be applied until 2020 at the earliest, possibly as late as 2025. It is easy to find this unfair: the directive hurts those countries the most which have already done a fairly good job reducing emissions in general.

The Finnish government has proposed to give 30 million EUR in subsidies to quickly attach scrubbers to ships, but this most likely cannot happen due to the anti-subsidy laws  of the EU.

If Finland had been prepared for the directive, there could have been a win-win scenario. That 30 million, rather than being used (or not used) for subsidies, could have been used to kick-start a major R&D program to create ultra-cheap ultra-flexible plug-and-play scrubbers that could fit into even the shabbiest ships of the world.

There are fewer limits on R&D subsidies, and the 30 million really would not be a major dent in the national budget.

In fact, the 5-10 years’ extension for the rest of the world is precisely what could have given us an opportunity. In 2020 (or 2025), everyone will be just as “surprised” as Finland is now, for example the Mediterranean countries. In the current economic situation, the Mediterranean countries really cannot afford large public R&D investments, even if they are awake.

The possibility would arise from using the IPR system correctly. To those who don’t know much about IPR, and to those who do but are skeptics (myself included), the word “patent” sounds like a boogieman. But this is exactly the kind of situation which the IPR system is meant for: to enable large investments now, in the hopes of recouping those investments much later via licensing. Patents are valid for 20 years. In these R&D programs, it would make sense to patent everything that moves.

To be populistic: we pay now, but our industry has a payback time in 2020 and gets the money back from Greek merchant shipping.

Ugly and heartless? Yes. IPR is ugly.

Unethical? No. This is what the IPR system is meant for, whether one likes it or not. This is not unfair against small inventors (a common complaint), because no one can build large-scale scrubbers in his garage. This is large machinery, requiring large companies.

The proposal may sound vaguely nauseating to everyone. But this is what I would do. It may be too late for the sulfur directive, which is regrettable. But when the next environmental “surprise” arrives, it would make sense to be prepared.


Trolling on the human rights

If I were a patent troll, which universal human right would I start abusing next?

Patents and humanitarian activity (and how patents can kill humanitarian activity) have been covered on this blog before (see the SMOS project). I am in a slightly cynical mood, so I will now pretend to be a strategist for a patent troll (a “non-practicing entity”). How could I best abuse the world?

Note: I am NOT talking about the way big companies (like, say, Monsanto) are perhaps strong-arming the patent system. Compared to me, Monsanto are the good guys. They at least have at some point put some money into some R&D, and produce something. All I plan to do is to exploit quirks in the patent system.

I would want my target industries to have three key criteria:

  1. They have little or no experience with IPR, and none with trolls. The best attack is when the target has no idea what hit him.
  2. They produce things which every person needs to have. Ideally, things that are considered human rights. That way, the targets have no real option except to accede to my demands (or else break IP law).
  3. (Optional): Some type of vendor lock-in. This means that the customer is tied to one specific vendor for all his needs. Many people realize that the vendor can then abuse the customer at will. Most people do not realize that a troll can then abuse both the vendor and the customer at will.

An nice target list is provided by the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, especially Articles 25-26.  There are many potential attacks, but here I will focus only on a few novel ideas.

Article 25.

  1. Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
  2. Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

Food / clean water

This is where I would strike, first and foremost, no hesitation.  Water-purification technologies are the choicest target because they fulfill all key criteria (they are essential, people don’t expect attacks, and there are lock-ins). Some target markets (for example oil-rich desert countries) are rich enough to provide considerable blackmail money.

Methods to create potable drinking water would be my number one focus. It is a high-tech activity, with serious companies doing serious R&D work. An overly broad patent (either created now, or bought from a suitable player, or an fire sale after a bankruptcy) could be a major block.

I would target companies close to a breakthrough, and file/buy a huge number patents around the same area. Here’s a secret: It doesn’t really matter whether or not the patents are truly valid. All one needs to do is to strike at a strategic moment, and announce that one has a hundred patents which company X is infringing. This is a typical troll strategy.

The strategic moment: the instant a major water-cleaning plant has started providing water to a large city (Dubai, Nairobi, Mumbai, Dhaka). Even a brief court injunction on the operation of a key water plant could be problematic to a whole city. The blackmail potential is very high.

(Normally, one would expect a reasonable government to act like India in the medicine case discussed below, and simply ignore the blackmail and the the injunction. However, consider an extremely poor and corrupt country with the leading elite fully tied to foreign interests… it might not do the sane thing).

Water distribution would be even more fruitful, since it is in practice impossible to set up a competing water and sewage network overnight. There is a definite vendor lock-in in that business. However, the technology is so simple that there is little IPR to abuse.

Medical care

Medical care would be a lucrative area for attack, but… filing spurious patents is difficult in this area. The major drug manufacturers are well protected by patent thickets.  There is also an active backlash against medical patents, which means that criterion 1 is no longer satisfied. Everyone is expecting attacks. For example, India is banning branded drugs. Governments and NGOS’s are already on their toes, unlike the water case. I would pass on this.


I would put communications in this category as well. I am not the only one; the ITU (the telecommunications branch of the United Nations) is waking up to the patent wars in the telecoms industry, and their effect on innovation (see for example here). This war was also addressed in our SMOS project.

The ITU initiative is largely an attack on patent trolls. A cynic might expect that since the big companies have deep pockets to affect the process, and governments have their own telecom industries to protect, the end result will be an even deeper monopoly on development by a few megacompanies, with no benefit for poor countries. Time will show.

In any case, while trolling the telecoms industry is currently all the rage, the competition is getting harsh, there is little chance for a surprise attack, and a serious backlash is likely. I would look elsewhere.

Motherhood and childhood

Childhood diarrhea is one of the worst killers in the world, and could largely be avoided by providing clean water and saline solution. A patent on a particular type of saline solution could provide interesting leverage to an utterly sociopathic troll. However, in practice it is relatively easy for medical professionals to work around the IPR by substituting slightly different components. Thus, while intriguing, the work-arounds make trolling difficult.

Article 26.

  1.  Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
  2. Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
  3.  Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

(Distance) education

Low-cost distance learning technologies are interesting, especially as they provide a very low-cost alternative in extremely poor countries. The best course of attack would be cases where a given company has achieved an effective lock-in on the overall technology and has created a walled garden.

A walled garden means that one company controls all aspects of the material: the hardware, the software, and the content. Apple is the best-known example of this strategy,  followed perhaps by Microsoft and Google (whose lock-in does not extend fully to hardware though). The walled garden can create many type of problems for customers; for example, there have been cases where critically-needed applications have been pre-emptively deleted from the AppStore if Apple has feared litigation.

These companies have pockets deep enough to fight the trolls, but those same pockets can also bribe the trolls. I would frame the attack behind the scenes, making the problems appear to be the fault of the company, as in the AppStore case above. Since their brand names are absolutely crucial to them, they would be more  likely to pay off (though of course they also have armies of lawyers. The balance is difficult).

A public-service note: attacks like this could be avoided by using open-source solutions, or at least by minimizing vendor lock-in. A sure way to create problems of this type is to accept a walled garden, however attractive it might look in the short run.

Am I serious? Yes and no.

No. If I actually wanted to do this, I wouldn’t write about it. Profit is made by keeping absolutely silent and working in the shadows.

Yes. The basic principles are valid. The exact sample cases I’ve suggested might or might not work. I have outlined some techniques for avoiding attacks of this type (most importantly avoiding walled gardens), but where there is money, there will be trolls.

Rest assured: there are people out there thinking precisely along these lines. Globally, masses of people are now being downsized who have the competence for this, families to feed, and negotiable moral values.  (To be consistently cynical: I am among them. I could  be good at this. We all like to think we’re on the side of the angels, but we’re not).

If someone has good ideas on how to protect the world against them (us?), I would appreciate hearing those ideas.