Free Lunch

What Hacking Really Is

Defining hacking in the most useless way would be to say that it's simply a very specific sequence of keyboard & mouse clicks that achieve an action, usually doing something that was not intended to be possible. I'm sure that, anytime I have access to a computer with internet, there's a very specific string of actions (keyboard & mouse clicks), that could take down Google's site for a few minutes, get $100,000 in my bank account, access some politician's emails, and likely get at least a pretty solid dent in society in general. Now, I have absolutely no idea how to do any of these things, but I still strongly believe they are all very possible with probably a surprisingly small amount of keyboard & mouse clicks.

The reason I believe in this so strongly is for a few reasons. Mainly it's that everything is so interconnected. There are so many holes in so many devices that have access to so many other devices that there has to be a hole someone hasn't yet found & patched. There's just so much code running at once, that there's bound to be a bug & exploit to find. So much of society depends on everything working smoothly. So much of society is uneducated on proper security setups. There are just so damn many degrees of freedom.

Now, this property of having a large, sometimes an immeasurable, number of security holes is mostly specific to the tech sector, and anything that is associated to digital technologies in general. The scale of physical vulnerabilities, I think, is at least slightly more tangible. I mean, there are literally only so many doors to a house. Thus, you can usually expect with a very high degree of certainty how someone will enter. Either way, this got me thinking, how hard would it be to get a free lunch?

Kobe Beef

Some friends and I were having lunch in Japan. We decided to treat ourselves to the often talked about Kobe beef. It was surprisingly soft. They served it with those barely serrated, closer-to-a-butter-knife steak knife, and I almost asked for a better knife before I thought, "maybe this was on purpose". I went to try to cut the beef with this awful knife and, as they say, it cut through it like butter. It was astounding how smooth & soft the beef was. I didn't think it was possible for meat to have this kind of texture.

We ordered with at least a slight disregard to the cost, because we really didn't want to try anything less than the best. After the check came, we sort of laughed at ourselves at how much money we'd spent. Then, I wondered, was there a sequence of syllables that I could say, that would get us this lunch for free? I mean, we collectively barely spoke any Japanese, but, in the same way that I have no idea on how to take down Google, there might be a sequence of syllables that I could utter to the waitress to let us go for free.

What Should I Say?

I thought at the time, and still do, that the best way to get this across would be to convince the waitress that we had some sort of supernatural advantage. Either we were time travellers, knew the future, were contacted by supremely intelligent beings, or something. I thought if we could convince the waitress that we knew something that we had absolutely no way of knowing, that would cause catastrophic damage to her or someone she cared about, unless she or someone else paid the bill, we wouldn't have to pay.

I'm not super sure what other routes there are to take this. Convincing the waitress & staff to look away for a sufficient amount of time for us to "run away" wasn't really what I wanted. I wanted a sequence of syllables to let us go for free, and never have to think about it again.

Well, I have no idea if exists or not, but given how fallible, gullible, and hopeful humans are, it's probably possible.