Monday, July 16, 2018

Algorithmic Governance

Orwell would recognize this new version of 1984 in a heartbeat as seen by China starting the next revolution in tech, algorithmic governance driven by AI, face recognition software and cameras, both on street corners and on the cops, China's 2018 version of the Stasi of E. Germany fame using bits instead of film to keep tabs on its citizens 24/7.

In essence ...

1984 indeed.

Indicting a ham sandwitch

As my loyal readers know, I detest Trump but, at the same time, will give him credit where credit is due, in this case, trying to reestablish a viable relationship with Russia, a nation equipped with really powerful weapons and the means to deliver them with great efficiency against us without question, something the deep state seems to ignore at OUR peril due to their endless pursuit of money based on generating fear of our never ending enemies trying to get us with Russia as bete noire No. 1.

With this in mind, the Dems continue to flog the Russia hacking venue in support of the 2016 Trump election with the latest salvo of Mueller indicting 12 Russian intel operatives who allegedly gamed the system to the max for the orange yam but there are problems with this latest foray in blaming the Russkies based on government access to the hardware in question and the size of the files purloined from DNC headquarters back in 2016. i.e.

US courts will indict a ham sandwich, goes the proverb. Mueller indicted 13 Russians linked to the “troll farm” Internet Research Agency in February, hoping that they wouldn’t bother to appear in court, not being bound by US law or having anything to gain by participating in his show trial. But a few sent their lawyers and demanded discovery, which would have forced Mueller to reveal the evidence he had against them. Finding his own indictments riddled with errors – one of the companies named didn’t even exist at the time of the election – Mueller quietly backpedaled. Score one for the Russians.

But this time he has evidence, right? Surely he wouldn’t make that mistake again. And this time it’s Russian military operatives, not some two-bit troll-farmers! The indictment accuses them of spear-phishing Democratic staffers and using those login credentials to access the party’s servers, stealing the famous documents and leaking them to the public through Wikileaks and DCLeaks (though they seem unsure whether DCLeaks is a person or a website). Isn’t this what we’ve all been waiting for?

Perhaps it would be, if the FBI had actually encountered the servers firsthand. Government investigators (from both the FBI and the DHS, which also wanted in on the action) never even laid eyes on the “hacked” servers belonging to the DNC and DCCC, instead relying on the assessment of a computer security firm headed by a Russian expat with an ax to grind against his former government. Dmitri Alperovitch’s CrowdStrike specializes in attributing malware attacks to state actors – a no-no in the computer security industry, and something he was discouraged from doing by former employer McAfee (whose founder has personally commented on the lack of evidence implicating Russia in the DNC hack). Alperovitch launched CrowdStrike to offer his attribution services to clients like the US government which might care more about blaming a hack on a government than finding out how to protect against such hacks in the first place. 

It gets better.

Mr. Trump’s visit to confer with Russian President Putin in Helsinki seems to have provoked a kind of last-gasp effort to keep the increasingly idiotic Russian election meddling story alive — with Robert Mueller’s ballyhooed indictment of twelve “Russian intel agents” alleged to have “hacked” emails and computer files of the DNC and Hillary’s campaign chairman John Podesta. The gaping holes in that part of the tale have long been unearthed so I’ll summarize as briefly as possible:

1) the bandwidth required to transfer the files has been proven to be greater than an internet hack might have conceivably managed in the time allowed and points rather to a direct download into a flash drive device. 2) the DNC computer hard drives, said to be the source of the alleged hacking, disappeared while in the custody of the US Intel Community (including the FBI). 3) the authenticity of the purloined emails by Mr. Podesta and others has never been disputed, and they revealed a lot of potentially criminal behavior by them. 4) Mr. Mueller must know he will never get twelve Russian intel agents into a US courtroom, so the entire exercise is a joke and a fraud. In effect, he’s indicted twelve ham sandwiches with Russian dressing.

I'll have mine with pickles on the side.

As tech backup,
is a great resource to learn what hacking is all about in this era of fake news and bloviation.

Blurb 2. check out Ray McGovern's approach to the Russian Hack scenario here. Most illuminating to say the least. Here's an excerpt from his article.

This time around, on the off-chance I do get the nod, I have taken the time to prepare the agenda for my first few days as CIA director. Here’s how Day One looks so far:

Get former National Security Agency Technical Director William Binney back to CIA to join me and the “handpicked” CIA analysts who, with other “handpicked” analysts (as described by former National Intelligence Director James Clapper on May 8, 2017) from the FBI and NSA, prepared the so-called Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) of Jan. 6, 2017. That evidence-impoverished assessment argued the case that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his minions “to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton.”

When my predecessor, CIA Director Mike Pompeo invited Binney to his office on Oct. 24, 2017 to discuss cyber-attacks, he told Pompeo that he had been fed a pack of lies on “Russian hacking” and that he could prove it. Why Pompeo left that hanging is puzzling, but I believe this is the kind of low-hanging fruit we should pick pronto.

The low-calorie Jan. 6 ICA was clumsily cobbled together:

“We assess with high confidence that Russian military intelligence … used the Guccifer 2.0 persona and to release US victim data obtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets and relayed material to WikiLeaks.”

Binney and other highly experienced NSA alumni, as well as other members of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), drawing on their intimate familiarity with how the technical systems and hacking work, have been saying for a year and a half that this CIA/FBI/NSA conclusion is a red herring, so to speak. Last summer, the results of forensic investigation enabled VIPS to apply the principles of physics and the known capacity of the internet to confirm that conclusion.

Any questions as to why Mueller's take on this affair is somewhat questionable?

Finally, here is a short excerpt from the year and a half Intel Vets Challenge link detailing some rather interesting details regarding the alleged hack into DNC hardware.

Forensic studies of “Russian hacking” into Democratic National Committee computers last year reveal that on July 5, 2016, data was leaked (not hacked) by a person with physical access to DNC computer. After examining metadata from the “Guccifer 2.0” July 5, 2016 intrusion into the DNC server, independent cyber investigators have concluded that an insider copied DNC data onto an external storage device.

Key among the findings of the independent forensic investigations is the conclusion that the DNC data was copied onto a storage device at a speed that far exceeds an Internet capability for a remote hack. Of equal importance, the forensics show that the copying was performed on the East coast of the U.S. Thus far, mainstream media have ignored the findings of these independent studies [see here and here].

Independent analyst Skip Folden, who retired after 25 years as the IBM Program Manager for Information Technology, US, who examined the recent forensic findings, is a co-author of this Memorandum. He has drafted a more detailed technical report titled “Cyber-Forensic Investigation of ‘Russian Hack’ and Missing Intelligence Community Disclaimers,” and sent it to the offices of the Special Counsel and the Attorney General. VIPS member William Binney, a former Technical Director at the National Security Agency, and other senior NSA “alumni” in VIPS attest to the professionalism of the independent forensic findings.

The recent forensic studies fill in a critical gap. Why the FBI neglected to perform any independent forensics on the original “Guccifer 2.0” material remains a mystery – as does the lack of any sign that the “hand-picked analysts” from the FBI, CIA, and NSA, who wrote the “Intelligence Community Assessment” dated January 6, 2017, gave any attention to forensics.

Interesting is it not?

Last but not least, who is Guccifer? Maybe the FBI knows because we don't. Here is yet another post supporting the leak theory by the same intel vets who know how intel is done without the need for partisan politics.

BRIEFING FOR: The President
FROM: Ray McGovern, former CIA briefer of The President’s Daily Brief, and William Binney, former Technical Director at NSA
SUBJECT: Info Your Summit Briefers May Have Missed

We reproduce below one of our most recent articles on “Russia-Gate,” which, in turn, draws from our Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity Memorandum to you of July 24, 2017.

At the time of that Memorandum we wrote:

“Forensic studies of “Russian hacking” into Democratic National Committee computers last year reveal that on July 5, 2016, data was leaked (not hacked) by a person with physical access to DNC computer. After examining metadata from the “Guccifer 2.0” July 5, 2016 intrusion into the DNC server, independent cyber investigators have concluded that an insider copied DNC data onto an external storage device.

Key among the findings of the independent forensic investigations is the conclusion that the DNC data was copied onto a storage device at a speed that far exceeds an Internet capability for a remote hack.”

“We do not know who or what the murky Guccifer 2.0 is. You may wish to ask the FBI,” we wrote. However, we now have forensic evidence that shows the data provided by Guccifer 2.0 had been manipulated and is a fabrication.

We also discussed CIA’s cyber-tool “Marble Framework,” which can hack into computers, “obfuscate” who hacked, and leave behind incriminating, telltale signs in Russian; and we noted that this capability had been employed during 2016. As we pointed out, Putin himself made an unmistakable reference to this “obfuscating” tool during an interview with Megan Kelly.

Our article of June 7, 2018, explains further:

“Still Waiting for Evidence of a Russian Hack”
If you are wondering why so little is heard these days of accusations that Russia hacked into the U.S. election in 2016, it could be because those charges could not withstand close scrutiny. It could also be because special counsel Robert Mueller appears to have never bothered to investigate what was once the central alleged crime in Russia-gate as no one associated with WikiLeaks has ever been questioned by his team.

The truth is out there if we know where to look. Read the piece, you will learn a lot without question.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Separation of Church & State is dead ... for now

Separation of Church & State is dead thanks to the Roberts court, particularly when Neil Gorsuch was put on instead of Merrick Garland, due to Mitch McConnell denying Obama's right to select a nominee, something that's been done by presidents since 1789. With that being said, the forceful dissent by Sonia Sotomayor explains, in passionate and eloquent ways, why the 1st Amendment, in the long view, is the most important amendment of the Bill of Rights the Founding Fathers wrote up for us rubes shortly after the Constitution was created in Philadelphia in 1787.

Sonia Sotomayor

The question to ask now is, can we survive two +  years of Trump and the Robert's SC?

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Jovian Eye Candy/Rev XX :)

Just think of what we don't know, not only of Jove but also of the solar system, the Milky Way or the universe as a whole. Staggers the imagination doesn't it.

Regarding this pix, NASA's Juno never disappoints. :)

This image captures the intensity of the jets and vortices in Jupiter’s North North Temperate Belt. 

NASA’s Juno spacecraft took this color-enhanced image at 10:31 p.m. PDT on May 23, 2018 (1:31 a.m. EDT on May 24), as Juno performed its 13th close flyby of Jupiter. At the time, the spacecraft was about 4,900 miles (7,900 kilometers) from the tops of the clouds of the gas giant planet at a northern latitude of about 41 degrees. The view is oriented with south on Jupiter toward upper left and north toward lower right.

Had to do another.

In a new paper published in Nature today, scientists from NASA’s Juno mission describe the ways in which lightning on Jupiter is actually analogous to Earth’s lightning. Although, in some ways, the two types of lightning are polar opposites.

While the revelation showed how Jupiter lightning is similar to Earth’s, the new paper also notes that where these lightning bolts flash on each planet is actually quite different.

“Jupiter lightning distribution is inside out relative to Earth,” said Brown. “There is a lot of activity near Jupiter’s poles but none near the equator. You can ask anybody who lives in the tropics -- this doesn’t hold true for our planet.”

Why do lightning bolts congregate near the equator on Earth and near the poles on Jupiter? Follow the heat.

Earth’s derives the vast majority of its heat externally from solar radiation, courtesy of our Sun. Because our equator bears the brunt of this sunshine, warm moist air rises (through convection) more freely there, which fuels towering thunderstorms that produce lightning.

Jupiter’s orbit is five times farther from the Sun than Earth’s orbit, which means that the giant planet receives 25 times less sunlight than Earth. But even though Jupiter’s atmosphere derives the majority of its heat from within the planet itself, this doesn’t render the Sun’s rays irrelevant. They do provide some warmth, heating up Jupiter’s equator more than the poles -- just as they heat up Earth. Scientists believe that this heating at Jupiter’s equator is just enough to create stability in the upper atmosphere, inhibiting the rise of warm air from within. The poles, which do not have this upper-level warmth and therefore no atmospheric stability, allow warm gases from Jupiter’s interior to rise, driving convection and therefore creating the ingredients for lightning.

Isn't science grand? :)

Friday, June 08, 2018

There's a storm coming this way ...

Crunching bits is a biggie in 3D graphics, crunching bits using voxels to model a tornado is something else all together.  Check this out, amazing says it all. The second clip shows how big these guys can get. Time killer to the max is the intent here without question. :)

Killing time intelligently is not a bad idea, right?

Monday, June 04, 2018

The man who would be king

His royal majesty, the Donald, is claiming powers beyond that of the Magna Carta by stating he could pardon himself if the need arises as he is above the law, not needing to obey his own rules.” a notion contrary to the 801 year old document stating that King John, England's most hated monarch, had to do just that when dealing with rebellious barons who wanted laws in place to protect their freedoms from any capricious acts that may come about by this weak and spiteful leader. (Sound familiar?)

Under the terms of the charter, the King, his plural self, granted “to all the free men of our kingdom, for us and our heirs in perpetuity” certain “written liberties, to be had and held by them and their heirs by us and our heirs.” (Essentially, a “free man” was a nobleman.) One of those liberties is the one that had been demanded by the barons in Article 29: “No free man is to be arrested, or imprisoned . . . save by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.” 

King John

On June 4, 2018 ...

Any questions?

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

If you break it ... you own it

As followup to "The war ..., the well worn phrase of "if you break it, you own it." applies to the US as the only thing this nation knows how to do is break things ... at enormous cost.

The United States is "incapable of producing any results other than destruction and further fragmentation across staggeringly large parts of the planet," argues Tom Engelhardt, A Nation Unmade by War. Since 1991, the US has been engaged in a misguided and destructive exercise of triumphalism. In this interview, Engelhardt discusses why the US is an empire of chaos.

Mark Karlin: How much money has gone to the US "war on terror" and what has been the impact of this expenditure?

Tom Engelhardt: The best figure I've seen on this comes from the Watson Institute's Costs of War Project at Brown University, and it's a staggering $5.6 trillion, including certain future costs to care for this country's war vets. President Trump himself, with his usual sense of accuracy, has inflated that number even more, regularly speaking of $7 trillion being lost somewhere in our never-ending wars in the Greater Middle East. One of these days, he's going to turn out to be right.

The death of empires always involves the following:
  1. Environmental degradation.
  2. Resource depletion.
  3. Infrastructure collapse.
  4. Corrupt and inept politicians running said empire and ...
  5. Over reliance on military.
Sound familiar?

To get another take on the US Chaos engine, check out Pepe Escobar, you will not be disappointed.

Addendum: Bin Laden has apparently absorbed the Reagan strategy. It is difficult to know whether he really thought that a handful of terrorist acts would hobble the United States or that al Qaeda and the Taliban could defeat the U.S. and its allies in Afghanistan. What he must have anticipated, however, was the predictable U.S. response: to throw money at the Pentagon.

Any questions?

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

“The war ...

George Orwell's take on war becomes ever more prescient as we move further into the 21st century. 

A self inflicted Whack a Mole construct comes to mind here without question. 

Once upon a time, dystopian fiction was left to the novelists: Aldous Huxley, George Orwell, Margaret Atwood, Philip K. Dick. And once upon a time, the futuristic dreams of the military were distinctly upbeat. They were of generals leading armies to victory, of air power causing the morale of enemy nations to collapse (with surrender on the menu), of admirals dominating the seven seas with a fleet beyond compare -- 11 aircraft carriers included -- that would awe the rest of the world.

That was then; this is now. These days you’re likely to hear the word “victory” in Washington about as often as “peace.” In fact, according to the Washington Post, the futuristic phrase of the moment at the Pentagon, the one regularly on the lips of “senior officers,” is the dystopian “infinite war.” In translation: almost 17 years after the administration of George W. Bush launched its Global War on Terror and American military conflicts began to spread across the Greater Middle East, Asia, and Africa, no end is in sight. Ever. And that’s not just a passing phrase in the Pentagon’s arsenal of words. As TomDispatch regular Nick Turse makes clear today, as early as 2016, the Pentagon’s fantasists were already producing dystopian scenarios of the first order, bloodcurdling tales of a forever-war-fighting future as an over-muscled replication of the present never-ending war on terror. They were already, that is, beginning to write their own Brave New World (of War), their own 2084, their own The Lieutenant’s Tale, their own Do Drones Dream of Electric Terrorists?; they were, in short, creating stunningly well-funded gravestones for the American (and global) future.

7 trillion & counting...

This graphic just covers the time period of 2015 - 2017 
Read more about The Cost of War Project. Worthwhile to the max IMHO.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Women's right to choose ...

Statist's infomap shows two rather interesting characteristics about nations prohibiting a woman's right to choose. 
  1. Questionable economic status.
  2. Hegemony of religion (catholic/muslim).
And now, right to lifers (evangelical christians) want to prohibit women's right to choose in America circa 2018. Makes sense, right?

Modernity and commonsense won.

The more educated one is, the less need for religion.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Sailing across the sky

Tom Heany's Sailing across the sky, brought to life by Tom and Lara Schuler, is a a gentle and whimsical look at love, life and companionship. Enjoy.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

21T & Counting ...

Tech audits are really important when one does not know how a given system operates as dollars cannot be properly assigned to said system unless one knows how said system operates, a situation yours truly finds absolutely astounding when it comes to the Pentagon and it's amazing ability to not be able to account for 21 trillion dollars, a rather large sum, especially when one calculates the size, weight and volume of the Benjamins that would be required to cover the loss in question, an amount slightly larger than the 2017 20 trillion US debt that will expand to ever greater heights thanks to the 2018 passage of Trump's massive tax cut that will help the rich in ways that truly boggle the mind.

Read the rest of Nation of Change's astounding piece after downloading the IG office's PDF detailing this FUBAR if you dare. 

Friday, May 18, 2018

Newspeak 2018

Going beyond the mangled syntax of our beloved POTUS is the administration's push to censor, eliminate and codify words along the lines of Newspeak, the official language of 1984.

34 year later ...

Seen below is a partial list of Newspeak works. 
Addendum: The Trump administration is planning to instate a rule that will bar recipients of federal family planning funding from educating women about abortion options, making referrals to doctors that provide abortions, or providing abortion care. Conservatives have cheered the move as a way for the federal government to partially “defund” Planned Parenthood without requiring an act of Congress.

Any questions about this version of the Memory Hole circa 2018?

Success :)

Not as good as the original but not bad, not bad at all. :)

An Existential Question ... & then some :)

Lesson learned, right? :)

Monday, May 14, 2018

Thank you for sharing ... :)

On Camus, Language & reaching 2600 ...

Reading Camus is a zen process as his writing is spare, direct and disciplined. One is with the arrow when reading his work as his take on reality and life is that of wary positiveness & dry humor that also comes equipped with enormous cost as per his Myth of Sisyphus essay where the never ending process of pushing the rock up the hill is obviously absurd yet remains a worthwhile endeavor when facing the enormity of an existence we will never fully understand. For Camus, the role of the artist is to educate and inform on the human condition no matter what the cost may be, an act fraught with danger and uncertainty when the creative act exposes the inner most feelings of the individual in question creating the art.

For yours truly, language shapes one's view of reality and different languages cause man to view reality keyed to the specifics of that given language. When reading Camus in French, the poetic clarity of his thought process comes through undistilled as translation, no matter how good, is never a 1 to 1 process but rather an approximate mapping of one language into another. When reading about the Sapir -Whorf hypothesis, this relativistic approach to language rings true, especially when the syntax of one language differs drastically from the other, i.e. English to Chinese or interestingly enough, Chinese to Japanese where the pictographic (Mandarin/Kanji) alphabet is largely the same while the spoken language of each country is anything but.

And this ...

On reaching 2600, in conjunction with Camus and language, is a good thing without question. :)

Sunday, May 13, 2018

The ultimate embed

Embeds, you know, whenever you see a video or a gif like the one above, it's called an embed where said media is inserted into a web page via a url or direct placement depending on where the content resides. In terms of subliminal, the image or audio is not detectable, thus putting the person(s) in the path of such an operation at a rather distinct disadvantage depending on the severity of the subliminal action being perpetrated.

BERKELEY, Calif. — Many people have grown accustomed to talking to their smart devices, asking them to read a text, play a song or set an alarm. But someone else might be secretly talking to them, too.

Over the last two years, researchers in China and the United States have begun demonstrating that they can send hidden commands that are undetectable to the human ear to Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant. Inside university labs, the researchers have been able to secretly activate the artificial intelligence systems on smartphones and smart speakers, making them dial phone numbers or open websites. In the wrong hands, the technology could be used to unlock doors, wire money or buy stuff online — simply with music playing over the radio.

A group of students from University of California, Berkeley, and Georgetown University showed in 2016 that they could hide commands in white noise played over loudspeakers and through YouTube videos to get smart devices to turn on airplane mode or open a website.

This month, some of those Berkeley researchers published a research paper that went further, saying they could embed commands directly into recordings of music or spoken text. So while a human listener hears someone talking or an orchestra playing, Amazon’s Echo speaker might hear an instruction to add something to your shopping list.

“We wanted to see if we could make it even more stealthy,” said Nicholas Carlini, a fifth-year Ph.D. student in computer security at U.C. Berkeley and one of the paper’s authors.

Reassuring is it not?