Photo by Keith Hardy on Unsplash

The Desertification of Humanity is Well Underway

No forest can survive without the floor.

5 min readFeb 21, 2024


There’s an old myth floating around that says people are motivated by money. Some people would sell their soul for vast riches. Depending on their intestinal fortitude, some will design weapons, some will sell them, and some will use them, for just for a few dollars more. Some will write laws for money. Some will hack computers for money. All of those groups appear to be motivated by money.

There’s an interesting and verified story of people at multiple law enforcement agencies around the world, doing their work for something other than money: the joy of learning a skill and applying it to solve a problem. It’s worth noting that in this story, bragging rights is an important motivation. From “After years of losing, it’s finally feds’ turn to troll ransomware group”, 2/20/24:

The top-notch trolling came after authorities from the US, UK, and Europol took down most of the infrastructure belonging to LockBit, a ransomware syndicate that has extorted more than $120 million from thousands of victims around the world. On Tuesday, most of the sites LockBit uses to shame its victims for being hacked, pressure them into paying, and brag of their hacking prowess began displaying content announcing the takedown. The seized infrastructure also hosted decryptors victims could use to recover their data.

In that story, the victims are people who have been subjected to extortion. These same victims don’t really understand the technology they’re using enough to prevent ransomware from creating a major inconvenience. They were almost certainly using Windows when they got hacked.

The ransomware gang sprawled across several continents, using shared software, much of it open source software, to pry money from people who were already doing something productive. The law enforcement agencies were using their skills to apprehend the perpetrators and it looks like the long arm of the law will dox the perps to ensure their eventual capture.

In each case we see differing levels of skills and capacities. The victims were not as skilled as the hackers or the law with respect to computer security. The law enforcement agencies were a match for the ransomware gang. And the…