“Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.”
- Sir Winston Churchill
(Image of Churchill in black bowler hat courtesy of London Constant).
I was watching something a documentary about Project Habakkuk (alternately Project Habbakkuk or Habbakuk) on TV a while back. Project Habakkuk was an idea for an aircraft carrier made of a specially reinforced ice known as Pykrete, which idea was dear to Winston Churchill and the Allies in World War 2. It shows quite clearly that Churchill had the mentality of a Greyhat SEO.
The idea was to create an unsinkable aircraft carrier. At the time the project was being developped in Alberta and the Canadian Rockies, the Allies were having severe problems getting their shipping from North America to the UK. German submarines (or U-boats, as they were better known) kept torpedoing the Allies’ ships. So if ships could be made of Pykrete and effectively defeat the U-boats’ attacks, Winston Churchill would have a solution to the food and supply shortages that were plaguing his nation. [Eventually, the problem was solved through convoy shipping and better escorting from Allied warships, so the world never got to see what Project Habakkuk might have turned out.]
How does this show that Churchill would have been a greyhat if he was around today?
He had certain elements of the blackhat mentality:
- Willingness to test out new ideas and go with whatever works,
- Spirit of perseverance to keep going despite repeated failures
- Setting the strategy yourself and leaving the manual labour to others (be they man or machine)
And at least one key element of the whitehat mentality:
- A commitment to doing the right thing. A lot of spam runs off of botnets, which are computers controlled remotely by way of trojan viruses. These botnets are generally rented out to criminal organizations, and can even be used to attack whole countries’ internet infrastructure! Stupid crap like that recently forced me to use a computer security company’s services (which were excellent, though I’d obviously rather not have to spend money fixing my computers because of some jerks.) Incidentally, check out Hamlet Batista’s post on securing your server and website.
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