I had the great pleasure to attend the 36th Chaos Communication Congress (36C3) in Leipzig. Over 4 days, speakers gave very interesting and often quite entertaining talks. Here are the talks that I can recommend (and also some that I still want to watch). For the talks in German, there usually is an English version as well, just look for it on youtube. I will update this post once I have seen more of the talks.
Talks I can definitely recommend to everybody
Hacking the Media: Geflüchtete schmuggeln, Nazis torten, Pässe fälschen (German)
The Peng! Kollektiv reviews political communication projects they had launched throughout the last year(s). Very entertaining and interesting.
BahnMining – Pünktlichkeit ist eine Zier (German)
David Kriesel looks at 1 year worth of data on all trains run by Deutsche Bahn. Highly entertaining.
Hirne Hacken (German)
Linus Neumann talks about the human factor in IT security in a very entertaining fashion.
Talks I think are good and might be interesting
From Managerial Feudalism to the Revolt of the Caring Classes
David Graeber talks about how many jobs are surprisingly useless, how wages and productivity uncoupled forty years ago and why productivity in the caring sector actually declined. I found the first half much better and interesting than the last.
Mathematical diseases in climate models and how to cure them
I especially liked the first half about how our models are not actually granular enough to model climate and how we often don’t know the physical constants that influence ecosystems.
Das nützlich-unbedenklich Spektrum (German)
Fefe talks about how Software is usually either convenient (lots of things you can do) or harmless (restricted functionality). He also proposes a system to label code according to how well it is maintained, how old it is, how many dependencies it uses etc.
Psychedelic Medicine – Hacking Psychiatry?!
A talk about how psychedelics could be used to treat PTSD, Depression, Anxiety Disorders etc. The talk is less about specific pathways and mechanisms, but rather gives an overview over what is happening right now and how the mind-foundation is about to start a large study.
Getting software right with properties, generated tests, and proofs
There is one thing I got out of this talk and it’s a very good thing: Use QuickCheck to test code. Instead of doing various unit tests by hand you specify properties of your code that should always hold (i.e. the outcome of a function that multiplies by 2 should always be twice as large as the input) and QuickCheck automatically dozens of unit tests for you to test that. I guess you could probably check out QuickCheck and skip the talk. But it’s still a good talk.
FinFisher, See You in Court! (German)
Turkey has used a spy-software against protestors. Thorsten Schroeder and Ulf Buermann explain how the CCC attributed the spy-software to the Munich-based company FinFisher and are suing them in court for violations of export regulations akin to the ban of weapon exports.
Talks I think are really good, but haven’t seen yet
Megatons to Megawatts
How to convert nuclear warheads into material to run nuclear power plants