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Norway best at bullying

In the news, Norway is best at bullying!

And that's a "bad best". A total of 31% of children have been bullied the last 12 months, as opposed to the European average of 19%. The statistics are being revealed in a new book "Digital bullying", which I hope to see in my bookshelf soon.

Of all children asked, 18% of Norwegian children have been bullied in person, as opposed to European average 13%. 8% of Norwegian children have been bullied by texting, as opposed to European average 3%. Bullying on the Internet is 6%, the same as the European average.

I think these are interesting results, coming from a country that prides itself for its enormous effort to conquer bullying and even has the political "manifest against bullying."

Further, the author points out, "...research shows that the bullies are often also being bullied," which to me doesn't come as a surprise. Bullies and victims generally have the same root problem, they just cope with it differently.

I can't help but wonder what the statistics really are among adults. Because, as I have argued before, bullying can not be fought through focus on school only, it is a community wide effort. For all the nice words coming from politicians about what they want to do about bullying at school, they can start by showing some respect to their opposing politicians during their election campaigns and understand that the children are only mimicking those in power.


Links and stuff week 2013.35

Hank bought a bus
And he is not afraid to drive it.

Thai Health Promotion Foundation
Because they are awesome.

Rick Ells
Because he is awesome.
And I have been watching too many episodes of How I Met Your Mother.

The Albenian Language
Because it is fascinating.

Personal Information Security
Remember that baby monitor that got hacked? Well, apparently I'm not the only one who observes that more people need to think about their own information security.

This week's educational video about kids and bullying:


Internetted baby monitor: An analysis

Last week, I promised an analysis of the baby monitor system that was hacked, to the detriment of a family in Texas. This analysis is based on the little information I have about the system and follows several standards for information security analysis.

The analysis occurs in three basic domains: Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability. Each of these three are then seen in three aspects: Storage, Transit and Processing. Each of these nine domain aspects pose risks. Each risk have a degree of probability and consequence.


Storage: From the promotional video at Foscam, storage is on the device itself. Hence storage is as safe as the location itself. From this, one can assume that a potential intruder will take the camera and therefore render it useless as an instrument of surveillance.

Transit: I do not have information of whether transit is encrypted or not. However, in order to access the camera from the Internet, you go to Foscam's web site in order to access an outgoing tunnel from the camera. Security from that point on is based on username/password, which we know is subject to social engineering.

Processing: Access to the camera means access to anything you might be doing to the camera. So not is your surveillance accessible, but your use of it is also available, and setting you do might be altered by, say, turning off alarms.


Storage: Assuming the system has been breached, all integrity of camera storage is also compromised. The major issue is mode of access.

Transit: Centralized access means easy man-in-the-middle attack. This would also reveal username/password.

Processing: Man-in-the-middle attack could potentially give you recorded images.


Storage: Loss of Internet connectivity will not affect storage. Au contraire, my friend. :)

Transit: Loss of Internet connection reduces global availability. Can the camera be accessed diretly from you LAN, or do you have to go via the web site?

Processing: Loss of Internet connection reduces global availability. A breach allows hacker to change password and lock you out of your own camera.

Main risks

The main risks of the device is the camera's availability through the Internet. Even secure connections are subject to man-in-the-middle attacks, and hacking the company's server will also allow a hacker full access to all cameras.

A firmware update for the camera has arrived to force users to change the default admin password because, as we know, this is where the first fail occurs. It is now also possible to change the admin user name. This will certainly eliminate the easiest brute force attack (select camera, enter default admin password and you're set), but it is still only a delay.

It would be more secure if the camera only accepted access by devices with a specific encryption certificate, installable on the accessing device only when connected to your LAN. Though this approach heightens the threshold to use its Internet connection, that might be a threshold parents should be required to step up to, so that they truly understand the risks they are about to subject their children to. But it won't stop access from the NSA.

However, it is typical for these cameras to also be available directly on your LAN without going through the Internet. And using it as a baby monitor, that is all you really should need. So block the camera's Internet connection, and it's safe to use. If you need surveillance when you're not at home, you'd want a device that
stores your recordings somewhere else.


I was bullied (repost)

(Published in Vestlandsnytt 10.2.2009 - English translation on Gardistan blog 2.3.2009)

I was the victim of bullying.

Bullying takes many forms, and are therefore difficult to manage without seeing the full picture. The schools have received a special responsibility when it comes to bullying among children because that's exactly where they spend large amounts of the day. But the school is not the only place bullying happens. It is a phenomena that runs through all layers of society, age groups and bureaucratic systems. But, as I mentioned, it takes different forms.

It is exactly because of this shapelessness of the phenomena that it is difficult to put your finger on a specific definition (not to mention being able to "prove" that bullying is occurring). And without a good definition, it is easy to focus on specific forms and unique occurrences. Let me give a quick introduction to the simplest forms in the life cycle of bullying - from the age before cell phones and the Internet.

In elementary school, physical bullying dominates. It usually occurs out of sight, but easy to recognize when the bruises begin to show up on the body. In middle school, it slowly changes to a more verbal form. Verbal bullying is a lot harder to prove. Then, at high school level, the social exclusion and backstabbing begins. But this is not the end of it. The experiences from all this bullying activity is also used in work life, when one wishes to "remove unwanted elements".

The fact that the youngest are the most immature is reflected in the choice of bullying form. And that's exactly why one must also be aware of the fact that the victim not necessarily knows that it is being bullied. It could, in fact, take decades before one realizes the full impact of what happened.

The youngest also don't necessarily realize that there ARE methods of interventions that may stop bullying. Many victims fear that interference from adults will make the situation worse. After all, both bullying and retaliation against "snitches" occur out of sight. And the older you get, the more refined the bullying, the more difficult to prove and impossible to prosecute.

When Eimar Hagen (Vestlandsnutt 6.2.09) writes that the number of victims are increasing, it doesn't necessarily mean that more are being bullied. Rather, it might as well reflect that people have become more aware of the bullying. More comes to see the light of day, which one should consider as a positive trend.

Paul Sundnes (Vestlandsnytt 6.2.09) refers to the fact that the school has to discover (or be told about) the bullying to be able to react. But victims of bullying develop a skill in keeping their mask. When I went to high school myself, my teacher would tell my parents that I was always happy and smiling. This came as a real surprise to me, because I knew that in many ways, I was experiencing the most difficult time in my life, and I was alarmingly close to taking my own life. It was moving away and living years in voluntary exile that not only saved me, but allowed me to slowly realize and understand what had actually happened.

Moving the victim away has become the most used "solution" to the problem. Many victims (and their families) often complain that it is the bullies that should have been exiled, not the victim. But particularly when dealing with children, we must remember that the bullies are just as immature as the victims. They might be missing - probably - empathy? This, a self declared bully will have to answer, if they remember. My own experience is that a child can be best buddies in private, but bullies in group situations. Exile is also not a "solution" for something I see as a general problem of society at large.

"Removing" a bully or a victim from the local community is no solution. Both are bonded to the social network, tearing them out affects a lot of people. Such a distancing of people is a polarization that plays a role in breaking down society. Instead, one must find a way for the parties to cooperate.

Jane Elliot was "a pickup-length ahead"*) when she pioneered a role play experiment in 1968 to help fight racism in the USA. In the experiment, she announced to her school class that people with blue eyes lacked pigments in their eyes. Without these pigments, nothing protected the brain from solar radiation, and they were therefore more stupid than brown eyed people. She then taught the "brown eyes" to systematically bully the "blue eyes". After a couple of days, she reversed the experiment, so that all the brown eyes could experience the same discrimination. All the students developed empathy from the experiment and became more aware to prejudice and discriminating behaviour.

The experiment stigmatised both her and her family, which only increased her conviction that her work was necessary. Today, she lives from doing the experiment on adults. Those who have experienced it know that it isn't just about racism, but about all human interaction.

In the end, bullying in childhood is an experiment in strategic abuse of power. The victims are those who are strategically easiest to bully, and has nothing to do with what they "officially" are being bullied for. As an example, the victim could be bullied for being "fat", while the bully is actually fatter.

With adults, the techniques develop into operational abuse of power to secure their own position in the work place or society. The more insecure they feel, the more they step on others. Particularly, they step on co-workers that potentially could endanger their job situation and therefore need to know who "the boss" is. Again, this takes many forms. The organization Stopp JobbMobben ( has documented a double digit number of forms that bullying occurs at work. I have experienced some of them myself.

Children learn from adults. When adults back stab and speak prejudice against other people, they legitimise their own experimental discrimination of other children. This applies not only to parents, but also comments we do in media and what we call "politics".

Media lives off sensationalism, and it is therefore in their interest to polarise all stories. This way, media is a great proponent of a general attitude of "us" and "them" as opposites. It has become so ordinary that we often don't notice. Obviously, polarisation is part of what children copy in their experimental play with bullying.

Yes, play. I wish to emphasize that bullying during childhood is "play" for the bully, because he/she experiments with this role. It is obvious for the experienced adult that it is a catastrophe for the victim, but we can not assume our own maturity in the child. The child's play is a reflection of what the child observes in society at large.

Bullying and discrimination in all its forms break down society. Progress is only achieved through cooperation. If there is anything we can do to fight bullying, it has to start by encouraging empathy and cooperation before polarisation and competition.

Thanks the "Manifest against bullying", there is great focus on bullying in school. I think this will have only a limited effect if we are not able to see bulling other places. I therefore challenge everyone to come up with possible tangible actions we can take to prevent bullying in its entirety and share their suggestions and experiences with everyone.

Gard Abrahamsen Tuur-Eggesbø


Links and news for week 2013.34

NGO: Save Life
I was accidentally made aware of this NGO in Moldova. In a situation where lives can be saved through proper treatment, but there is no economy to support these treatments, NGO Save Life has a specific purpose: funnel donated money to the procedures that save lives, and with specific focus on children. While one might argue this kind of economic aid undermines the possibility of political change for proper funding of public services, who am I to say that children should die in the process of producing political change? Especially when the children even have names.

Electric cars may loose benefits
In an effort to make personal transportation more environmentally friendly, electric cars have received numerous benefits in Norway, such as being allowed to drive in the mass transit lane on highways, free parking and using toll roads and ferry toll free. This has been a successful policy. In 2012, 927 electric cars were sold in Norway, and so far in 2013, a whopping 2700 electric cars have been sold. The problem now, is that the bus can't get through because the mass transit lane is full of electric cars. While this means that it is time to loose this specific benefit, the contracts made by the government insures that the mass transit lane may be full of electric cars at leat until 2017.

The dynamics of tipping
Is tipping good or bad for business? Someone has found the answer.

And whoever thought out THIS experiment deserves a humongous hug:


11 new ways to define a country: Developing the non-western third world

Are you getting tired of seeing the same old news stories about "non-western" people and "developing" countries when you know it's not that simple a world? Let's look at how we should be looking at things instead, things that have an impact on the human psyche.

  1. CHEAP/RICH and EXPENSIVE/POOR countries: Cost of living vs. average income.
    An "expensive" country is one where the average income is low compared to the cost of living, which translates to the population being "poor", while a "cheap" country is one where the average income is high, translating the population to being "rich". A formula for the expenses is hard to normalize, even within each country. For example, some places require that you have an automobile, while you can live your entire life walking in other places. Either way, statistics might come as a surprise to some.
    "He came from an expensive country"
  2. MILITARY and PEACE countries
    What's the military expense per capita? How much of the taxes goes to the military? How many military conflicts does the country have with other countries over the last decade?
    "He came from a military country"
    How is food made? There are three basic productions, the third being dependant on importing from others. Which food resource is dominant?
    "He came from a dependent country"
    It's too easy to say "developing country" or "developed" - no country is ever fully developed. If that was the case, we would not longer be developing anything new. So the question is rather - how far in the technological development has a country arrived at? To claim that a country has reach a level, at least 90% of relevant implementations of said technology should be in place, such as:
    INDUSTRIAL: 90% of manual labour has been taken over by industrial machinery
    DIGITAL: 90% of population has access to digital equipment
    INTERCONNECTED: 90% of population has access to the Internet
    "He came from a digital country"
    Or, as politicians like to call them, "crazy" or "reasonable" countries. A country can be seen as "Mentally unstable" if more than 20% of the population have severe psychological problems. "He came from a mentally unstable country."
  6. VIOLENT and SAFE countries
    How many violent crimes per capita? "He came from a violent country"
  7. HAPPY and UNHAPPY countries
    Nations should check the happiness of their population on a regular basis and from this determine f they are a happy or unhappy nation. "He came from an unhappy country." "We don't know if he has happy or unhappy roots, his country refuses to release that data."
    How much education does 90% of the population have? "He came from a secondary school country."
    There are these main methods of infrastructure for goods and passengers. Which type of infrastructure is dominant in terms of road conditions and vehicles? "He came from a gravelled boating country."
  10. HEALTHY, SICK or DEAD country
    What's the predominant health condition of people age 60-80? "He came from a sick country."
    It could also be presented in sickness age (at what age does 90% of the population have perpetual illness?) and average age of death. "He came from a sick 60 dead 75 country."
    It could also be expressed with the predominant illness. "He came from a flu country."
    What's the predominant type of death in a country? "He came from a heart attack country."
So with this fresh in mind, it is time for someone to sit down and define the world all over again. Good luck!


Baby monitor hacked: Personal information security

A video baby monitor in Texas was hacked via the Internet and abused by a very bad man:

If I connected security cameras at work to the Internet, authorities would come at me with full force. Surveillance is sensitive information and must be treated as such. One of the problems, then, is that most people are not trained to think of information security in their daily lives.

As a trained professional, I would look at the package saying "over the Internet", shake my head in disgust and put it back on the shelf - unless I was looking for a public web camera for Runde. Blinded by the convenience, however, a lot of people will cheer with joy for this invention, not realizing that they are opening themselves wide open to a malicious hacker ready to subvert their children.

The formula is fairly simple: Identify what is sensitive information (or sensitive access to your loud speaker as well, as in this case), identify who needs the information and the shortest route there, make sure you do everything you can to protect that channel in all nine aspects: Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability of Storage, Transit and Processing.

I will leave it for the reader as an exercise, before I reveal my own analysis of this system. 


Make a wish

"Dad, if you drink ONE yellow and ONE stinking sock, you can make a wish."
He didn't say if that wish would come true or not. :)


Is that an offer?

I was recently confronted with the word "offer" in a context that made me evaluate the word "offer". And must admit that it's not an "offer", it's an "option". There is a slight difference in co-notation, and my reaction to "offer" possibly reflects a shift in world view that I have actually been working on to achieve.

In the world of offers, the person offering the offer is an authority, and the person accepting it must either accept or decline. There may have been some negotiations, but this is my final offer. Used a lot in advertising as a humble sacrifice: I'm offering this to you for half price.

"Offer" derives from Norse "Offra", sacrifice, which is also the root of the Norwegian word "Offer", sacrifice. So the person offering something is doing a sacrifice. And a sacrifice is a quality reduction of one's life experience. Even in the situation that you want to sacrifice something in order to experience the reduced quality of life, it is a humbling process.

At the same time, the receiver must usually accept their own sacrifice in the process: It is understood that the transaction is not completed in a balance of equals. The receiver might come out better off, knowing in the subconscious that they have taken advantage of the offerer. At the same time, they might feel that the offerer gets offended that the offer was not accepted, when they have already humbled themselves.

While this transaction model does not necessarily reflect every transaction where the word "offer" has been used, it does not change the fact that the word represents a sacrifice.

An option, on the other hand, is the game of equals. I want to play this game, and if you want to play this game, then we play this game together. I am open to play this game, it is not a sacrifice, it is an experience I would like to have in my life. It is a possible outcome that resonates with me. I do not offer or sacrifice anything, I am merely open for the possibility.


Links and comments week 2013.33

How a big idea solved Seoul's parking problem
A smart answer to a seemingly big problem solved by thinking in three dimentions: Large amounts of gasoline spent every day just looking for a parking spot are now saved by making free parking spots more easily visible.

It only takes a spark
Touching story of a child who sees bullying in a completely different way than the parent. Or in other words, this kid has understood it. The answer to the bullying problem is not to avoid things that can get you bullied, but to stand your ground and love the bully anyway. Avoidance means you have already let the bully win. Which brings us to this article in Norway:

The cross is being removed from prayer houses
Being a right wing monocultural paper, I take some of the contents with a pinch of salt, though one can not get away from the basic fact: Public prayer houses, chappels and grave yards (formerly known as "church yards") have their crosses removed to make them "religion neutral". Since the places are public, there is also room for buddhists, muslims, etc. And while the extremists cry foul about the removal of "Norwegian culture", my observation is this: You do not build a tolerant society by hiding the diversity under a white cloth. That's like obtaining gender equality by forcing everyone to wear a burka, so you don't know who is man and who is woman. And you don't force a shopping mall to take down the advertising signs of the businesses inside to make the mall "business neutral". Nay, you do it the other way. Keep the cross and add the crecent, the wheel and Tha. Show off the diversity and be proud of it. Anything less is to cater for the intolerant.

Platform cut down while demonstrators are chained to the top
People demonstrating against exploitation of Sámi land in Northern Sweden built a platform, climbed to the top and chained themselves up. Police started to cut down the feet of the platform with the demonstrators still on board. In the Swedish police's defence, certain other nations would just run over everyone with a bulldozer, saying that "hey, they were in the way."

Letters of Note: People Simply Empty Out
A great letter from Charles Bukowski to his publisher, celebrating his own departure from his mindless post office job before he turned postal. Others who might go either postal or waitral are waiters, so also read this great article:
Observations from a tipless restaurant


Bullying yourself

Hannah Smith committed suicide after a longer period of bullying. Media focus on the last sprint of cyber bullying on a web site where you can anonymously ask someone any question. Questions and answers are public. After an internal investigation, the company concluded that Hanna Smith was doing most of the bullying herself.

A lector at the national centre for learning environment and behavioural science in Norway comments to Norwegian TV 2 that he has never heard of anyone sending bullying messages to themselves before. I quickly wrote to him, because I have heard of someone who did that before: myself. So if anyone is ever in doubt over this being a possibility, allow me to explain how this works.

Assuming you are already a victim of long term bullying, you build an image of yourself with no value, where people will find something they don't like about you, and when they do, they will make sure you know how much they don't like you. It's a line of thought that sits deep within you. It's a long line of assumptions based on how you have experienced years and years of bullying.

Even if you think you have come away from all the bullying, it takes only one comment about one specific thing you hate about yourself to set off a feeling of self hate. And when you hate yourself, you have no respect for yourself.

When this happens in a public forum, something more happens: Not only has this other person shown (or painted a lie) that you're flawed and therefore worthless, but everyone has seen it! On the one side, you want to defend yourself. On the other side, you feel flawed and worthless and perhaps the other guy is right. And so you fall for the temptation of all temptations: To become your own bully. To publicly make it look as one or more anonymous bullies are coming down hard on you.

In your self hate, you already are your own bully, because you doubt yourself. You have no respect for yourself. You keep telling yourself how worthless you are. You really need and want someone else to prove you wrong, to tell you that you ARE worth something. But who is going to do this, when you've locked yourself into your room and stare at a computer screen? Well, there's always "the audience".

So the idea of bullying yourself is to take the view that the bully expresses and turn up the notch. Show how ridiculous it is. Ridiculous accusation times ten. Times a hundred. Times a thousand. How far do you have to go before someone steps in and says "this is ridiculous?"

Truth is, "the audience" doesn't want to get involved. There is no response. There is noone monitoring the stream of accusations real time, stepping in, saying "Stop! You're a wonderful person! We love you!" Nobody does it because they're either not online, or they are surfing another website, or they are one of the bullies who have no idea how to step in when someone takes over their game, or they just don't want to get involved.

The involvement comes afterwards. When it is too late.

This logic doesn't hit you while you're at it. You're in a form of deep depression, you're focused on this one task of proving to yourself that the bully is right, or proving that the bully is not right, something is flawed, it's so hard to think straight, it just feels so bad, and you can put words on all these opinions that make you feel bad, because they have been repeated over and over again by others, and you can't think of anything that is good about yourself, and if there is anything, then it is worthless, because nobody else can see these things. Indeed, you want to be the victim, because then someone can feel sorry for you, but you don't feel sorry for yourself, because you understand how the bully somehow must be right. You become the bully and the victim at the same time, and can not see your way out of it.

I didn't commit suicide, I quit the club whose forum I was a member of. I never heard from the other members ever again, other than one of them telling me they had had a big clean up after I left, and anonymous posting was no longer possible.

There is no reason to believe that the last month of cyber bullying was the full reason for Hannah Smith's suicide. Something had been going on for a much longer time, during which she had completely lost touch with reality. She was then pushed over the edge, into a downward spiral so deep, she didn't find her way back out.

Victims of bullying become masters of hiding their desperation. Hannah Smith's empty reservoir of self love went unnoticed. The remedy lies in the continuing compassion and expressed love for those around you, because you never know who needs it the most.


Interesting links week 2013.32

So you want to pick someone's brains? Do it right!
While one would think that these rules should be obvious, it has become obvious that it is not obvious to a lot of people. And even if it is obvious, it is nice to have a checklist.

5 ways to lead no matter your title
Again, obvious things for leadership attributes. And with a five point checklist, you can make a daily reminder producing a week long cycle.

My good friend Ken McCracken found a tape with the Stuffy Rabbit song. Songcycles are coming back online. I hereby pledge that next time I'm in Toronto, I'll join them for a song or ten.

Adyghe Habze
The Adyghe People had a Pagan ethnic religion, philosophy and world view known as Habze. Combined with megalithic culture makes for a very interesting study, which I hereby have put in my list of future deeper dive studies.

Gabriele D'Annunzio
Before fascism, there was a poet from Pescara known by the name Gabriele. While he is thought to be the precursor to fascism and a source of inspiration for Mussolini, he was also a poet and writer. His books supposedly have nothing to do with fascism, and are considered to be unparallelled works of art.

And finally... for something completely different from Abruzzo



The trouble with rich people's visiting habits, is that they come unannounced. So when Bill Gates finally decided to come by my door on Runde, I wasn't even in the country. Too bad. Now he has to return another day.

La jument de Michao (le loup, le renard et la belette)


Reviving Scriba Org

February 1994, Scriba Org was founded in a basement in Øvre Årdal, Norway. While our electronic floppydisk magazine, Scriba Communis Responsi, had already been living for two years, it was during the 1994 olympics, in a basement, that the "Arch prophets" made a grand vision of a huge organization for the betterment of mankind.

In its infancy, Scriba Org gathered some momentum, grew in number of participants and then fizzled out as life caught up with us during the bubble burst.

Twenty years after the original founding, however, one could say we have not only gained important professional and life experience, but much of what we have ended up doing are important aspects of what was once supposed to be Scriba Org.

For this reason, I have called upon the revival of Scriba Org. Refounding meeting will take place on August 24th, time and location TBD, with some founding members being virtual. More information to follow.


Bright colours

To stand out
I walk about
With colours bright
To show you light

What is it you desire?
That which you admire,
It puts your mind on fire!

Excel, my friend, come out!
You are such a wonderful sight!