An Acceptable Risk

Today is October 1, 2014.

Wow. It is already October.

That scares me. The year is almost over. And September flew by. And I cannot account for much of it. It was lost somewhere in the school-starting, children-raising, class-teaching, errand-running, etc-etc-etc life that I lead.


And then I read this article on Yahoo News about how a handful of Britons signed away their eldest children in order to use free wifi. Here is the article:

Britons sign away first-born children for free Wi-Fi

Several Britons agreed to give up their eldest child in return for the use of free wifi, in an experiment to highlight the dangers of public Internet, published on Monday, Sept. 29, 2014. (Photo by Kharen Hill/ABC via Getty Images)
London (AFP) – Several Britons agreed to give up their eldest child in return for the use of free wifi, in an experiment to highlight the dangers of public Internet, published on Monday.
Londoners were asked to agree to terms and conditions as they logged on to use free wifi in a cafe in a busy financial district and at a site close to the houses of parliament.
The terms included a “Herod clause”, under which the wifi was provided only if “the recipient agreed to assign their first born child to us for the duration of eternity”.
In the short period the terms and conditions were live, six people signed up.
“As this is an experiment, we will be returning the children to their parents,” said the tech security firm that ran the experiment, F-Secure.
The experiment was aimed to highlight “the total disregard for computer security by people when they are mobile” the report said.
Germany ethical hacking company SySS built the device used in the study: a mobile wifi hotspot small enough to be carried in a handbag for around 200 euros ($254).
In just 30 minutes, 250 devices connected to the hotspot — some of them doing so automatically due to their settings.
The company was able to collect the text of emails they sent, the email addresses of the sender and recipient, and the password of the sender.
The head of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre told the study they already had reports of criminals using free wifi to steal personal data.
“At best, your device is only leaking information about you – at worst, your passwords are being spilled into a publicly accessible space… anybody on the network can see your information,” said F-Secure Security Advisor Sean Sullivan.

(Source: )

I was rather surprised by the article content. I thought that maybe it would be more along the lines of an article that would highlight the dangers of becoming addicted to what I joke about in Sunday School as the ‘wiles of the devil’ – technology.

Instead, the article speaks to how much we risk when we leave ourselves vulnerable.

Now, there are certain risks we all take. We get out of bed in the mornings. We use things that plug into little holes in the wall that could send surges of electricity into our bodies. We drive, or ride, in vehicles with other people who may or may not be paying attention, on roads that may or may not be filled with obstacles.

Some people take more risks than others. Soldiers and firefighters and police officers and teachers put themselves in harm’s way when they suit up. I have a friend who is a lineman for an electric company. My children and my sweet husband eat the food that I prepare and serve (Please don’t ask about last night’s attempt of dinner!)

There is an acceptable level of risk, based on knowledge and experience and the working combination of those two things – wisdom.

I even looked up the definition of wisdom in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (

I read until my brain hurt. (Which didn’t take long, because it was in that murky hour between 5 am and 6 am, when my own brain was quite raw, having not yet fully emerged from that ahhh-sleep, to oh-crud-it’s-morning phase. )

Suddenly, I realized that I had sashayed right into the middle of a lovely intellectual bog. An intellectual bog that I could ingest, if I took the time. I had scooped into the bog and filled my brain dipper with thoughts of internet addiction, and ideas of what I was willing to give up, and a serious contemplation of what was really important to me. Take a long, slow draw from that dipper, I thought.

It was an intentional risk – Thinking. Then writing about thinking. Huge Risk. Huge Vulnerability.

Just like getting up and shuffling to the kitchen to start the coffee, then shuffling back to the bedroom to nurse the baby, then shuffling to my Jesus chair in the corner of the room with my laptop to write.

All intentional movements.

All involving risk.

All based on the wisdom I have gained that if I don’t write, if I don’t have a goal, then I will utterly and miserably fail without even making an attempt to move …

And maybe, just maybe, if I pick up the ‘pen’ enough, I will take enough intentional risks to be able to figure a few things out.

And maybe, just maybe, others will take an intentional risk to read this and figure a few things out of their own.

And maybe, just maybe, October 2014 will be a month to remember.


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