Schneier on Security
A blog covering security and security technology.
« The Psychology of IT Security Trade-offs |
| Advances in Attacking ATMs »
November 28, 2012
James Bond Movie-Plot Threats
Amusing post on the plausibility of the evil plans from the various movies.
EDITED TO ADD (12/13): There's a whole book on this. Here's an interview with the author.
Posted on November 28, 2012 at 1:30 PM
• 21 Comments
To receive these entries once a month by e-mail, sign up for the Crypto-Gram Newsletter.
I would buy up all the land I could 10-15' above sea level, then use Icarus to melt the icecaps enough to make all my land into beachfront property.
Nitpick on Live and Let Die - No, opium poppies will grow pretty well just about anywhere other crops will. The reason it's grown in places like Afghanistan and the Golden Triangle is that it you want to grow large quantities, you need to be left alone by any local governments, optionally in return for bribes.
And so, Mr Bond, since I've got you in my clutches and you can't possibly escape, let me explain my cunning plan in great detail! Bwahahaha!
Hoard all patents you can get. Buy patent trolls. Sue everything that moves.
Natanel L has it figured out. His movie plot actually works in real life. The numbers from IV alone are around $2 billion in income. I've been brainstorming about doing one better: figure out how to patent that activity, then bankrupt the patent trolls. Or... nevermind, can't share THAT one. It might actually work. ;)
@ Captain Obvious,
... then use Icarus to melt the icecaps enough to make...
I don't think you could get enough energy collected by Icarus and beamed through it to melt the ice caps even fractionaly faster than it's already currently happening.
If you wanted to be sufficiently evil then use Icarus on 740 Park Ave  around 3AM on a Wednesday morning. The resulting financial and political fallout should destroy a certain way of US life  amongst other things.
It might also destroy the criminal lobbying and hedgefund industries as a side effect as they effectivly go on strike as they are denied money or go into hiding as we ungratefull citizens don' apreciate them [6&7] which gives you your opening to be even more evil ;-)
 740 Park Ave NYC  is for those that don't know the address (known variously in the past as the Rockerfeller or Standard Oil building) contains the greatest density of the top 400 US Billionaires  anywhere on the planet.
 Although 740's now regarded as "stuffy" rather than "chic" ( http://nymag.com/news/features/establishments/... ) mainly due to it's Co-Op board, it's 32 appartments are home these days to a number of Ex Bankers and Hedge Fund Managers who were intimately involved with the dodgy mortgages and other practices that brought on the banking crisis.
 They significantly fund those who espouse the ideas of Ayn Rand via frequently shouting about one of her more unbalanced works "Atlas Shrugged" (though I suspect few have read and understood the implications of her ideas it is largly antireligion ).
 For those that don't know the more peculiar nature of wealth distrubution in the US the top 400s unearned annual aggregate income is reportedly more each year than the aggregate earned income of all the US citizens below the average income. And unlike those at the bottom they have special tax breaks so that they pay little or no tax on it, and to keep this special status they are the biggest contributors to the campaign funds of both major US political parties  and several sub parties  are almost entirely paid for by them.
 It is known that GWB whilst US President and thus supposadly the most powerfull man in the world went there "cap-in-hand" to get money, but after being told what he should be doing for the rich for an hour or so he came away with just a few million, but still gave the US Ultra-Rich an eye watering tax break that is a very significant fraction of the US deficit.
 I read Ayn Rand's book some considerable time ago when I was interested in pre70's SiFi and to say it was a turgid read is an understatment. It is at best a badly writen romantic tragedy used as a convayance for a well over 50page monolog about how "greed is good" and "the rich are entitled to be rich" and "nobody understands the rich" and how the world will end if the rich are not alowed to be self interested and ultimatly compleatly selfish and above all free from the constraint of Church and Government. And before anybody asks no I've not seen the film because I really cannot see how it would make an entertaining film and in anyway stay close to the main ideas behind the book.
 Douglas Adams pointed out the perils of using fear to remove what many considered are the usless 1/3 of a population. In his version by using the fear of iminent destruction the 1/3 went onto a space ship to escape. Of the 1/3 were the likes of marketing executives and what Arthur Dent assumed was a "dead telephone sanitiser". Unfortunatly the home planet got destroyed due to a virulant plague that originated from an unsanitised phone. The remaining useless 1/3 of the population still alive on the space ship crash landed on Earth and well "here we are" ;-)
TARP and its successors have made a lot of Bond-villain plots much less plausible (at least in terms of creating global chaos) because there's an expectation that governments will simply step in and make the big players whole at taxpayer expense. Including invalidation of any contracts that inconveniently transfer money to the villain(s) of the moment.
Hmm. What if a mogul got their henchpeople to create a huge financial plot (say, credit-default swaps) aimed at destroying the mogul's too-big-to-fail company? Then the government would step in and reimburse the mogul, while the henchpeople trousered the market profits.
It would have to involve blowing something up to start the default crisis. (Or maybe not -- you could set it in Greece.)
The problem with irradiating gold is that it will stop being gold. Anything radioactive by definition will decay into something else.
Not that this was a defect in the plan, if the plan is to make gold rarer, it's still a "You Fail Physics Forever" kind of oversight.
You don't have to transmute very many gold atoms to make it too radioactive to want to be around it, for one. But activated gold has a rather short half life, and if your "wealth" is all stored in a vault, you might not care very much. Not much physical gold moves from place to place, just the ownership papers (which are subject to rehypothecation frauds). And most gold-bugs who have personal stashes and buy and sell - don't think to put a geiger counter on it anyway, they'd never know.
OT, but someone has figured out how to steal computer time from clouds that pre-render things for phones:
I know it's not the weekend yet, but...
I may need a bigger Icarus, or a fleet of them.
Another option is retasking Solaren's power station to microwave the ice caps instead of powering San Jose. The ISS could also be hijacked to use its array powered VASIMR ION cannon to bombard the penguin homeland.
In the event that any of the aforementioned technologies are not operational yet at the time of my plot's execution, I would have to fall back on plan B, which would exploit cheap labor in China to produce rediculous amounts of goods for Americans to buy, while creating large amounts of pollution (all in the form of soot) which I would spread over the ice caps, greatly accelerating their melt rate.
In any event, Bond would be played by Al Gore, thus assuring my victory.
In any event, Bond would be played by Al Gore, thus assuring my victory.
I can just imagine his dry voice now, "Bond, James Bond. I'm super serial."
@ Captain Obvious,
Another option is retasking Solaren's power station to microwave the ice caps
Oh dear, I'm going to sound like a nit picker (but the OH bond and it's dielectric effect have been discussed befor) Because Ice is in effect a crystal of H2O the OH bond does not have the freedom to vibrate and produce heat in the same way as it does in either liquid or vapour form (you can try this with a home microwave and a cube of ice fresh from the freezer on one side of the rotating plate and a half glass of water on the other the water normaly boils before the ice cube melts).
So chucking microwave energy at the polar ice caps won't achive much unless you can find some way to turn the upper surface to liquid or have some other item which will absorbe the microwave energy and release it as heat. Funnily enough various forms of carbon (which is a largish part of what soot is) will absorbe microwaves as I've not realy experimented with carbon and high power microwaves (just low power to make antenuators) I don't know how well soot will heat up.
I know for instance dry wood does not heat up but animal fats etc do and this knowledge some years ago gave rise to some experiments for a friend who owns a cottage thats over 500years old and the Oak beams have a "death watch beetle" problem (the grubs are way way bigger than the "carpenter beetle" bugs that are common in parts of the US). The result was to strip a microwave oven down put a horn antenna on the magie output and radiate the beams bit by bit thus cooking the grubs in their holes. We looked into patenting the idea and discovered some bod in the US had beaten us by a short margin :-(
If I can't melt the ice directly, I'm sure I could find some water nearby. You'd have to be melting on the edges anyway to prevent it from refreezing before reaching the sea.
The purpose of the soot is just to change the albedo of the ice and snow. Just spraying food coloring on a driveway will make it melt much quicker as it absorbs the sun instead of reflecting it.
Raoul Silva (the bad guy) in Skyfall had a plan so elaborate and convoluted it would embarrass the joker.
He takes Bond to his private island and instead of just killing him he lets himself get caught (though Bond could have shot him dead, or at least plugged him in the leg), so that he could be flown all the way back to the UK put in a glass cage in MI5's temporary headquarters (instead of a multitude of other locations), so that Q showing breathtaking sackworthy ineptness plugs his computer into the MI5 network (despite him already hacking in once and Q claiming to be a technical genius), so the doors to underground tunnels would open, so he could escape at precisely the right time to shoot up a private committee hearing. And he had a bomb ready to drop a train on Bond. And that M and her assistant might know there were some armed homicidal maniacs coming their way but decided to deliver a heartfelt speech about security instead of telling anybody standing around such as armed police.
Bond's just as bad. He drives his boss up to an isolated and remote building without thinking to stock up on guns (he kind of assumed there were still some in a house he hadn't visited for decades) and neither he nor anyone else who knew this plan thought to call up a detachment of SAS and snipers to cover the building and approaches. Bond survives by the skin of his teeth and the bad guy actually wins.
It's kind of maddening thinking about this stuff because it is a good film but people call it intelligent when it really is pretty dumb.
people call it intelligent when it really is pretty dumb.
--The Austin Powers trilogy makes quite the mockery of the theater; Bond would've been capped pretty quickly IRL. *spoileralert* It was a shame the hottest female had to die too :)
The Austin Powers trilogy makes quite the mockery...
Did you ever see the original Casino Royal with "Sir James Bond" played by David Niven tucked away in his retreat "playing Debusy untill the light fades and he can neigh read the music" and "jimmy bond" is wastral nephew comming to a rather climatic end after swallowing the atomic bomb pill?
If you have not I sugest you do it's probably one of the best send ups of the 'secret agent" films.
You failed to mention that most of the characters in that film were named James Bond, and at least one of them was Woody Allen.
Other odd spy spoofs include "Our Man Flint" and "In like Flint"... you'll recognize the ringtone if you watched Austin Powers first.
Unfortunately, I think the best part of the third Austin Powers was the first 5 or so minutes.
You failed to mention that most of the characters one of them was Woody Allen
Woody Allen's character was called "Jimmy Bond" and it's the sense of inadequacy implied that he did not merit the full "James" that made him turn to "the dark side" as it where.
As for the other James Bond's I vaguely remember that at least one of them was a woman as well...
But tthe final Casino scene is still one of the best "shoot them up" with indians and cowboys sliding down ropes from the ceiling etc.
Oh and there was that other spy spoof film we don't talk about with "Hair Milchman" in "Carry On Spying". And I also vaguely remember Bob Hope did one and two English comedians Morcom&Wise doing another...
All in all I suspect there are as many spoof spy films as actual James Bond Film's
> Did you ever see the original Casino Royal
> with "Sir James Bond" played by David Niven
The 1960s version of Casino Royale with David Niven was classic. The original on-screen Casino Royale was a 1950s CBS TV movie, with the James Bond character being an American spy working for the "Combined Intelligence Agency".
> All in all I suspect there are as many spoof spy
> films as actual James Bond Film's
Not a film, but Roger Moore spoofed James Bond in 1964 -- nine years before Live And Let Die, in the sketch comedy show Mainly Millicent
> Ayn Rand via frequently shouting about one of her more unbalanced works "Atlas Shrugged"
> (though I suspect few have read and understood the implications of her ideas it is largly antireligion
I wouldn't call Atlas Shrugged "unbalanced", as I'm sure it would make a fine shim or door stop without tipping over.
While not a religious person myself, National Review's negative review of the book, written by Whittaker Chambers, is worth reading for criticism of Rand from a conservative perspective.
Did you ever see the original Casino Royal
--You could probably get decent pseudorandom numbers based off that film b/c I had no idea what was coming next. It was so bad it swung back around and became kind of good (like the "hairloom" pun!). :)
the best part of the third Austin Powers was the first 5 or so minutes.
--Yeah, usually after the first it goes downhill.
From the comment thread of the article that Bruce linked to:
There's a whole book on this:
"License To Fail: The Business Mistakes Of Bond Villains"
A 3 minute video of an interview with the author, Kevin Patrick Leech, is available at TheStreet :
[ Hugo Drax (Moonraker) ] "lived in a chateau filled with hot women, and scientists, and hot women scientists -- maybe that's not how Steve Jobs did things -- he kind of went off the edge. I don't know so much about Apple, but I'm pretty sure Steve jobs never color-coded his employees in jump suits according to hotness."
Schneier.com is a personal website. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Co3 Systems, Inc.