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I can't keep up

I got home from a business trip on Tuesday morning, was a jet-lagged zombie for 24 hours, and between Wednesday morning and now (Friday morning) I have learned:

A new way of exfiltrating data from an air-gapped computer potentially uses malware to modulate the drive activity LED on a PC, which can then be monitored by a drone hovering outside the office window: this is apparently capable of getting up to 6kbps of data off a computer without any physical connection or leaving any signs in device access logs (because it relies on the timing of drive i/o activity).

The North Korean assassins who killed Kim Jong-nam allegedly used VX nerve agent by getting local women who thought they were working for a comedy show to smear it on his face. (Secondary reports say that it was a binary agent, and each woman applied a different precursor: given the nature of VX precursors this seems unlikely, but VX itself could have plausibly been applied by hand. (If confirmed, this falls into the "Polonium 210 is so mundane!" school of baroque state assassination tools.)

Finally, for your delectation, there are people who think this is a good way to deal with Donald Trump (well, if it makes them feel better) ... my only question is, which open source license are they using?

Really, 2017 so far feels like it's fallen out of a novel I wrote in an alternate time line round about 2005, while evidently depressed and suffering from unstabilized hypertension. Or maybe it's just that we swapped out the scriptwriters who showed up in 2001—the ghosts of George Orwell and Philip K. Dick—for a crew led by John Sladek and John Brunner.



As someone with diagnosed but (so far) untreated hypertension and a pretty strong collection of precursors for depression, I should start writing more I guess.


2017 seems to be, so far, the year of "Who ordered that?"


I can only assume that to those rich enough to insulate themselves from the fallout of current affairs, this must all feel like a jolly rollercoaster of an immersive game. Must be nice for them.


Charlie, they're writing the script by using a meta-level Markov predictor on an archive of your discarded drafts... can you figure out how to poison the dataset a bit?


More Barney the Dinosaur maybe?


Kafka has been a consultant for some time, of course. But I doubt John Brunner - more like Ron Goulart. I agree with Pigeon that the only sane explanation is that we are living in a concretisation of satirical fiction. Haldane's comment about the universe does now seem to apply to politics, not to say his one about socialism applies to Trump!


VX? Yeah, pretty confident it wasn't his gambling debts that did him in.


I suspect not - chaotic systems have a way of stripping insulation. The well-insulated like predictability and control...


VX, eh? I guess I'm just glad that they didn't decide to use any of their messier military gadgets to execute the hit. Hoping that we can perhaps concentrate all of the crazy in a short span and get past it but at the moment I'm not feeling optimistic.


Do you remember reading "A Fire Upon The Deep", specifically the part where the perversion takes over Straumli Realm, and thinking to yourself "okay, that's plausible, but I probably won't live to see anytihng like that, thank God?" (Or possibly "boy, would that put a hasty end to my extropian future!) And now here we are.


The folks who did the spell instructions in re Trump should get some sort of an award - maybe a special Hugo for Tongue In Cheek Above And Beyond. I especially loved the allowable substitution for the candle, the grounding instructions, and the variants.

Converting that to something against the Rabid or Sad Puppies might not be too hard - but I'm only a layman in that field and wouldn't want to get someone in trouble.


Time to look up that old Usenet group, alt.barney.dinosaur.die.die.die

Having bred, I had to cope with Tellytubbies (workable), Blue Bears (inoffensive), and the Night Garden (surreal to hear the voice of Claudius asking who isn't in bed - Derek Jacobi doing voice work). Fortunately, I never had to cope with His Purpleness.


In re the whole air gap thing - after reading the article, I'm highly unimpressed. Given some of the things possible with Tempest, “air gap” has been pretty much a useless defense for at least a decade.

Heck, as far as I can tell, pretty much everything has been a useless defense against a determined attacker. The average Joe should focus on preventing the easy attacks and recognize his vulnerability to the hard ones. It's like defending your house - if an attacker really wants in badly enough, a couple of minutes with a chainsaw defeats almost every defense.


"my only question is, which open source license are they using?"

which version control system are they using?? and how are sha1 collisions going to affect the spell?


Breaking the 300 rule for something quite serious:

A while later, we figured out how to reproduce the problem. It looked like that if an html page hosted behind cloudflare had a specific combination of unbalanced tags, the proxy would intersperse pages of uninitialized memory into the output (kinda like heartbleed, but cloudflare specific and worse for reasons I'll explain later). My working theory was that this was related to their "ScrapeShield" feature which parses and obfuscates html - but because reverse proxies are shared between customers, it would affect all Cloudflare customers.

We fetched a few live samples, and we observed encryption keys, cookies, passwords, chunks of POST data and even HTTPS requests for other major cloudflare-hosted sites from other users. Once we understood what we were seeing and the implications, we immediately stopped and contacted cloudflare security.

cloudflare: Cloudflare Reverse Proxies are Dumping Uninitialized Memory Monorail, issue 1139

You can find a list of sites here (have included partial list highlighted for % likelyhood that readers here would be potentially effected):

4,287,625 possibly affected domains. Download this file, unzip it, then run grep -x sorteduniquecf.txt to see if a domain is present. (not affected) (and some other Curse sites like

List of Sites possibly affected by Cloudflare's #Cloudbleed HTTPS Traffic Leak

While with all these things statistics may be on your side, it is probably wise to change passwords.

This account will now deactivate


Not very convinced about drive LED activity problem. In my experience that LED is inaccurate enough anyway I do not know what is happening. But of course I am not posting from airgapped computer anyway so does not affect me.

The "VX precursor" story is unconvincing. Far more likely that the female accomplices having gotten a bit too deep into the affair were persuaded to take proper precautions pre-hit to avoid them dying before they killed Kim. Or maybe theire normal routine was safe enough so they expected at least one to deliver the fatal dose ok.

The world does seem to be becoming a nastier place, with actual neo-Nazis in the White House and all. Still, for the countries that were America's shit-list prior, not much change eh? A bit tough on the previously "loyal allies" though; at a minimum, annoying kowtow to such aggresively stupid people.

Previous adminstatration stupid enough. But new one so agressively stupid adds insult to injury.



I am convinced we are in a dystopian alternate universe where Martin McFly failed to get the almanac. Our best hope is to be deleted from the multiverse, making all our suffering irrelevant.


That Spell of Binding reminds me, very strongly of something, but I can't remember what. Perhaps because we actually have slipped over into an alternate "reality"? There's an echo of UKleG's "Rule of Names" in there & other snippets of the darker side of Earthsea, but ... there's something else, too.

"... and what will you bind me with little wizard?" "With your name ... Yevaud"

Maybe that's it - wee need DT's true name.


I may have found it, though of course it's all but unpronounceable. Strangely enough, if you translate 'utter twat' to its nearest analogue in Outer Chthonian...


(LED) That's not a problem. Dealing with unreliability in such a channel is a very elementary use of statistics.


Just looking at this Cloudflare issue... This is almost indescribably bad. It's not clear how many of their customers are affected, but expect the number of emails from affected web sites recommending passwords change to be... Large.

As part of the bigger picture... There's really no reason why this particular sort of security failure should keep happening in 2017. Any number of good programming practices, testing procedures, and so forth are meant to keep it from happening.

The underlying issue is that the security of other peoples' data and personal information is important to approximately no-one.


Ron Goulart's still extant. If he's scripting this fiasco he's still got his mojo.


Heck, as far as I can tell, pretty much everything has been a useless defense against a determined attacker.

Useless? Hardly.

Individual measures may (on their own) be vulnerable - but (as my Dad always said) security isn't about building a single wall, it's about layers. Relying on only one or two layers of security is just daft (see: Chelsea Manning).

Security comes when the software security (from airgaps, to firewalls, to up-to-date firmware/software, to password policies), is built alongside electromagnetic security (e.g. Tempest, as mentioned), is built alongside physical security (line-of-sight, locks on the doors, access policies), is built alongside personnel security (vetting, permissions, good people management and "showing a genuine interest in people's welfare"), is run alongside security testing (red teams / white hats), is run alongside good counterintelligence.

They're trying to make sure that the holes don't line up...


Just looking at this Cloudflare issue... This is almost indescribably bad. Yes, a complete round of password changes/retirements this weekend for some of us. (What I haven't changed already.) Probably overdue anyway. (Thanks WS.)


Serious question:

What types of people are most likely to be regular users/visitors to these sites? Okay, I get that we're talking site numbers in the millions ... but the sample you posted looks biased in favor of a particular demo (tech-savvy/-reliant).

Also, a comparison of affected vs. unaffected sites would help highlight possible demo targets. Ditto: proportion of affected sites that contained financial vs. personal-thoughts only info (to guess motive and future potential use of leaked data).

Thanks! SFreader


Cloudflare is an Internet performance enhancement company. You, the visitor, don't pick and choose to use them. A site picks them to enhance their operations.

Or not. :)


Re: 'North Korean assassins ... by getting local women ...'

Imagine that the local constabulary are tracing all comms these women had over past weeks, months as well as doing a geo-analysis of where they went physically. There may have been more recruits/interviewees before whoever masterminded this murder decided on the few that we're aware of. According to a Korean culture site, gossip is pretty universal there and with less stigma attached than in western cultures which provides a culturally useful way to discover key info (via recruits' gossip channels).

Of course this murder might also have been orchestrated by a ticked-off general to discredit the supreme leader.


I have just matched my stored logins (and other important ones) against the list of Cloudflare sites. Zilch. That probably says something about Cloudflare, its customers, me, or all three. seems to be the one that would catch most UK people.


UPDATE Donaldo has banned many news orgs from his press conferences. Quiet rioting occurring amongst the official press, with some who have been "allowed in" refusing to participate ( e.g. AP, Time mag .. )

This, of course, is just going to make said news/press orgs even more determined to get any possible dirt on him. Whatever happens, it's not going to end well.

I'm scared actually, that my question @ 18: "Wee need DT's True Name" may be correct.


Well, I'm off to wire my hard drive LED to a UART transmitting 4800-baud horse porn on repeat.


This is mostly reiterating what David L said, but I'll try to give a little more information.

Cloudflare sells their services to web sites and operates as a sort of middleman between the web site's own web servers and browsers. They're best known for providing a security service to the web site (not customers) against DDOS attacks and similar, which have become extremely common. Essentially, by routing their traffic through Cloudflare, the web site is protected from certain sorts of attacks. Cloudflare provides many other services along with this relating to performance, commerce, etc.

In essence, Cloudflare is one of the core infrastructure components of the modern web and a great many web sites you use are probably routed through it. The list provided was not exhaustive, but included dating sites, financial institutions, web forums, and so forth (including, amusingly, 4chan).

The bug would essentially take data, including data from TLS/SSL streams that appeared to be secure connections to the web site itself and accidentally insert it into random pages on other web sites. So, as an example, if you wrote a secret love letter on a secure gay dating site to someone in Saudi Arabia, it might have accidentally showed up (along with their password, user data, whatever) on the home page of a bank and been subsequently cached by Google's web crawler for everyone in the world to read for months.

From what I've read, part of the mitigation is that other large internet services like Google are scouring their databases attempting to delete history, in the hopes that at least it slows the bleeding somewhat.


Many news orgs, and the Daily Mail.



Before we start dealing with Cloudflare, which is a real problem, I wanted to pitch a bit of trivia about the assassination of Kim Jong Nam with VX.

There's an interesting bit that the women who spritzed him claimed they thought it was a harmless prank, and that they thought they'd been given water. Back before the VX announcement came out, I was trying to figure out the agent, because the weird part was that the two women hadn't died from applying it. I'd thought it was a nerve agent, but it's tricky to get the dose so that the target dies but the assassins do not.

Well, it turns out that the women washed their hands immediately after the assassination, and that may be why they're still alive.

However, I'm not sure what this little fact does for their claims of innocence. After all, why would you wash your hands if you thought you were spraying water?


You're talking about people from a culture where many wear face masks on a daily basis.


I've been meaning to mention John Brunner. Good catch :)


Re: '...Google ...delete history,...'

Thanks for the explanation - much appreciated!

Would it be a good idea for consumers/users to also purge their history caches?


The story of Cambridge Analytica definitely smacks of a bad rip off of The Shockwave Rider.


Serious Answer:

1 A lot of black hat types from .ru etc are currently mining data for auths/passport IDs (and finance types looking to forward chain type tech would love destabilization of bitcoin etc, esp it recovered during the last year). You can expect some theft dramas to kick off. They're mining like bastards at the moment (which, in itself, is an attack vector: hard to get the 'paramilitaries' active when they're too busy attempting to make money). 2 It's mostly tech / libertarian types. Smarter bears [not seen this mentioned in the wild, even by HN etc] will look at prior flooding etc. You can hide a lot under a general DDOS Minecraft autistic splurge as a general elven POC. 3 Again, as you'll probably notice, you can hide a lot under noise. If you knew about the exploit, you could easily abuse it while hiding just by general probability. The numbers come out at ~1 leak / second, for reference. 4 See #681, worst-case scenario: Reddit algos didn't change (Reddit deny this attack effects them in any way): Google Bubble did (? ;) ). And that's all the hints you'll get. That was 5 days ago, of course. 5 C error? Lol. No. Games, Games, Games. Or, "Why would President Obama take the halter off the security sharing horse just prior to leaving office?"

Yes: add this name to the black list (but flooding reasons have ended, so that behavior type requirement has ended). I mean, really: M4 types should know how to parse; how many MiM hints do you need already?

To host: kindest one, oh gentle one - thank you for forbearance, fortune upon your house.


Eight Lives spent and all the respect of my peers and so on.


Would it be a good idea for consumers/users to also purge their history caches? Well, that's up to you, but this Cloudflare issue shouldn't have much effect on your decisions about browser history. The serious problem as I read it is that any entity that crawls web sites potentially has a bunch of random memory contents including passwords and keys and tokens and etc. And that some of these entities, especially the nefarious ones, will be keeping this information, and if they didn't previously, will be scouring it for contents that ... interest them.


Most USA based search companies have already purged a lot of their stuff.

That is not necessarily the case for Baidu / Yandex.

Oh, and [stuff you're not going to read in the press]: Supercomputers exist.

Picture of a lot of gleeful dancing by agencies across the world


Actual serious answer:

1 Mother lode cover story for parallel construction: "it got trawled in that leak" 2 Oil spill: non-professionals will be toiling over the trailings for gold, actual agencies doing their things 3 Expect anti-EFF type legislation push when the inevitable stupid politos get Weiner'd over "allegedly private" communications that now has the mother-of-all cover stories. 4 Wedge: look at the important one in there - Genetic profiling? Oh, through the back door, right there.


As for VX?

Too baroque. All NK priors are standard gun/bombs and they lack the deployment specifics. NK has always preferred completion over drama (due to non-confidence in completion).

Someone needs an anthrax bugbear and to clear the SK Shaman-protests with a bit of science mumbo-jumbo. Host is right that 'chemical weapons' carries a specific type of fear... but it's not an Eastern one.

100% not NK. Proving that? Good luck.


And, not to flood, but:

NK brother is covered by at least five (5) agencies at all times - none of them NK. (USA, China, RU, SK and a couple more).

NK Grab / kill team fly in (most probably grab, x4 is grab unless you're Mossad who basically run Mormon type jaunts to field-experience agents - like 12 fake passports for one target? Socialist Assassination Squads for the win) - rather more tooled up squad take the opportunity, using SK vectors (giggling girl bands are BIG over there - shows good cultural depth analysis) and YT memes (LOL - PRANK) to deliver a VX chemical agent?


It's not NK.

Might be some talented amateurs paid from a different muli-verse, but it ain't NK. (Oh, and not VX. Plenty of other type stuff works - vapor, you're looking not at skin or inhalation but porous membranes. cough cough What's thinner than your skin?)


#5 C error? Lol. No. Games, Games, Games. Or, "Why would President Obama take the halter off the security sharing horse just prior to leaving office?"

Your faith in their engineering organization is touching, but surely misguided.

Or to put it another way, the existence of the bug by itself is sufficient to show the incompetence of the organization responsible for it. Games aren't required.


Hmm... I wouldn't be so sure that any amount of dirt would make The Orange One even shrug, much less run away. I bet they'd take a page from one Mr. Peskov's playbook (the one that works as Putin's PR manweasel) and accuse everyone of trying to tarnish "The Good Name Of Mr. Trump"™ and then sue everyone who isn't affiliated with "alt-right".

Just look back at the sheer amount of weapons-grade fecal matter that was dumped about The Combover during the elections... and that abomination thrived...


It is not a bad thing, for years we have been living in Orwell and PK Dick novels, for once I don't mind living in a Stross novel. It is exciting.

Talking about Brunner, last weekend at Picocon 34 I could not find a single book of him on sale, it is becoming near impossible to find his more obscure tomes and I don't have them all yet and it is really annoying me. I don't like ordering online such books, collecting books is a fetish and especially such books must be touched, smelled and eventually loved... As a great (!) thinker once said: Sad!


My current laptop doesn't have a drive activity LED, which up to now has been a wee annoyance. I guess now I don't have to put more masking tape on my laptop.


I'm puzzled - surely they would only show passwords if they went in plain text in transit? If the password went through cloudflare encrypted (via SSL?) the memory leaks would only show the encrypted password.?


Cloudflare is acting as the SSL/TLS termination endpoint. So the browser's connection is encrypted until it reaches Cloudflare, which decrypts it and can see everything.

They're doing this because various Cloudflare services need to be able to see and modify the plaintext web site. In particular they claim the main cause of the security catastrophe was a service of theirs where they automatically rewrote email addresses to look like "me (at)" and another one which (ironically) rewrites "http:" links as "https:" links.

Also: despite almost 25 years of work and a system where practically every web page runs a complete JIT compiled language in a sandboxed virtual machine, the standard method of doing password authentication on the web to this day is to just send the password in plain text to the server (wrapped in an encrypted stream). The "Log in with Facebook/Google" buttons you see are somewhat more secure, but like pretty much everything else on the modern web have been basically destroyed by petty capitalist infighting.


Yes, I noticed that & thought: "Does not Compute?"

More to the point / going forward. We shall have to wait to see if they continue with this "policy" or back down. I've already seen the trigger-word "Gleichshaltung" used in reference to this, along with an actual quote from Bennie M on the same subject.


Shirin ( NO connection with Aum Shrinkyo, of course? ) or whatever ...

Your #3 There was very recent reference, that I can't find right now ... to one of DT's men pushing to downgrade/remove level playing field in net access across the USSA. Can someone re-find it for our information, as it's truly on form for that regime over there.


You are obviously obsessed that the murder of Kim was not a DPRK operation. OK - whom & why? And if not VX, then what?

( Obviously a nerve-agent organophosphorus/organochlorine compound of some sort )


Bugger I forgot this piece of nastyness Though I note that "US faith groups" are already starting to construct an underground railroad for muslims, just in case ....


It's called Net Neutrality, Greg, it's widely known that trumps regime has people against it since it treats people equally rather than on basis of their ability to pay. If you Google it you can find plenty of articles.

Also rather important is the way the BBC covers it's loss of access to the White House briefings, burying it within the general, and quite low key article on the same thing g happening to other media organisations. Why would the BBC not want to make a fuss?


Without comment:


Because we have a VERY LOUD minority ( egged on by Murdoch, as well ) who are permanently ranting on about the "leftist/communist/MSM" BBC, demanding removal of funding, "proper honest news" ( = Faux or Breitbart ) here as well .... By taking a low-profile, the Beeb are saying - "look it's all of them as well, so what's your problem" "Net Neutrality - there was very recent reference to this - that was what I was trying to re-track down, but yes, entirely correct.


Why would the BBC not want to make a fuss?

Because it was basic rat-fucking.

They called a gaggle, not a press conference - gaggles are not televised, but audio recording is allowed, and traditionally you can invite who you want. Obviously it was targeted, but they also wanted the flash-back to allow them to point and look innocent[1]. It's the most basic type stuff, Aunty probably recognizes that.

For Greg:

Trump’s F.C.C. Pick Quickly Targets Net Neutrality Rules NYT, 5th Feb 2017

New FCC chairman is making good on threats to dismantle net neutrality AV Club, Newswire 25th Feb, 2017.

Yes, they're burning it all down.


As for the NK pushing - it just smells all kinds of wrong, the 'optics' are majorly wonky. I have no particular insight or skill set in that direction so am about as trustworthy as a Swedish expert on the subject[2]. I was, however, 100% correct about the entire Pewpiedie thing and how it played out[3].

Since host is exhausted we shall wander away, apologies to him for the dalliance. You're all good people, not sure we can claim the same. We tried.

[1] We do the opposite technique. [2] Fake Sweden expert on Fox News – has criminal convictions in US, no connection to Swedish security Dagens Nyheter, 25th Feb, 2017 [3] And the rudeness really was about [redacted] and sniffing Minds and the avenues it was opening up. Not going to link, but the recent response to a response video by PPD also shows Stormfront changed their banner to "biggest fans of the WSJ". I don't consider SF to be the worst out there, by a long cold mile.


Okay, re-tasking the drone now.


In a commentary published by official Korea Central News Agency (KCNA), Pyongyang sharply criticised Beijing for appearing to be “friendly” but “dancing to the tune of the US”.

The commentary didn’t name China but it was a reaction to Beijing suspending coal imports from North Korea after it fired a nuclear-capable ballistic missile earlier this month.

North Korea lashes out at ‘big neighbour’ China in rare critique Hindustan Times, 24th Feb, 2017 (Indian broadsheet since 1924 - nationalistish but reliable).

Note: NK coal - China trade isn't really about coal.

The hottest major commodity of last year makes a stuttering start to 2017... On the demand side, many local steel mills in China are already well stocked for the winter season.

On Wednesday, premium hard Australian coking coal was assessed at $175.9 tonne by TSI, down 22 per cent since the start of the year. Meanwhile, thermal coal, which hit $110 a tonne last year, was trading close to $82 a tonne.

Coking coal cools as China mines raise output FT, Jan 18th 2017


When dark shadows in the murk start moving, the wise seek the safety of the beach. "LOL".

Although I vaguely remember coal being topical a while back.


There's a real 27-symbol spell written in the magical language of 'Ruby' that might just do the job guys:


At least the official government, internal power groups, China and the CIA could have motives and means, but the country is such a clusterfuck that it will probably remain forever unclear. And not terrible important. Both China and the USA military-industrial machine (including the CIA) have an interest in North Korea continuing as a bogeyman. If they ever agree that they have had enough, there will be regime change faster than you can say ding dong Kim Jong.


It's not NK.

You know this how?

Oh, and not VX.

Which is why the news is now reporting that the medical lab has found that it was in fact VX.

Talk is cheap. お酒はmoneyが必要なんだ.


Yeah, that's it - it was in the "Indy", but, suspiciously (?) the reference has vanished. I understand your suspicions that DPRK are not responsible, but Occam's Razor still applies.

Also, longer-term, the PRC are as eager to move away from coal as everybody else ( Apart from Trumpolini & the current AUS regime ) - so no surprise there.


You know this how?

I don't, that's the point. Nor does anyone even the two women who actually carried it out (one of whom is Vietnamese), who aren't the people who actually planned it all.

Which is why the news is now reporting that the medical lab has found that it was in fact VX.

Not a chemist, but I assumed that the tests for EMPA wouldn't distinguish between the varieties of these agents. As mentioned elsewhere:

Initially designated K-84 and later renamed A-230, the Novichok family of analogs comprises more than a hundred structural variants. Of all the variants the most promising, from a military standpoint, was A-232 (Novichok-5).

Novichok agent

As not-as-chemist, I'd rely on an expert to tell me if that hunch was incorrect or not.

Talk is often not literal, oh and you forgot the last part of the saying: and friends.


Since you appear to be fighty over a little nose tweeking, if you wanted some darker thoughts which are totally innocent and meaningless and past paying for booze into paying for space stations:

The Novichok agents were produced in facilities in Uzbekistan, which is, let us say, an interesting one these days (Lobbyists Put Positive Spin on Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan – Report Inside the Cocoon, Eusaianet Jan 21st 2015 - (note the last paragraphs)).

I'm in no mind to start tracing names, careers and so forth (there are UN agencies who do such things), but the spectre of non-State agents potentially selling these nasty by-products of war is potentially worse than DPRK agents cooking up a batch of the lower-tech VX[1].

As stated: all very murky and all very dark and beyond my experience.

But taking it all at face value ("LOL") is just as bad.

[1] Everyone keeps saying "It was used to send a message", so I always ask "And what/whom is that message really for"?


Re: '... but the spectre of non-State agents potentially selling these nasty by-products of war is potentially worse than DPRK agents cooking up a batch of the lower-tech VX[1].'

Agree ... by now most news agencies worldwide have covered the sharp rise in deaths from synthopiate overdoses. These drugs have been traced back to China, specifically for-profit type labs - legit businesses and not just basement drug-dealer stuff.

Consider the following scenario: carfentanil which is 10,000 times stronger than morphine and 100 times stronger than fenantanyl moved onto NA shores maybe a year ago. The ability to manufacture this substance probably goes back more than that. So why flood NA with it at that time: because everyone will be watching the election. Such a scenario allows the baddie to demonstrate technical feasibility (that they can batch produce and deliver ultra opiates), that nothing grabs USian attention as much as a political s*it-show, and that for any new street chem, you've easily got at least 12 months of freedom to operate/sell your drugs on the street before any authority notices the increase in corpses on the streets. Basically, the labs/purveyors have proven their point. The NK scenario might fit in this way: the labs producing these synthopiates are asked whether they can also produce a few more exotic specialty substances. (Seriously - whatever the toxin was, chances are there's more of it sitting around some lab, available at the right price.)


Synthopiates might also feature in a de-regulated "Grim Meathook future", as an essential part of "The taste you can't forget" (Swiped from a vague recollection of an early 80s thriller.).


Hmmm. The problem here is conflating the news media with "what the US notices." People in hospitals and first responders notice this stuff, it gets reported, but when the news media are being told by their bosses to stick to El Cheeto Grande to boost their profits and stay in business, this stuff doesn't get reported to us peons.

As for the VX attack, my simplistic speculation goes along the line of "oh noes, now the Kim Regime has the ability to make that horrible poison VX, along with nukes. If we don't ship them coal, food, and other stuff that keeps them in power, they'll tip missiles with VX and shower them on Seoul. Or Beijing. Or Tokyo. Maybe even Seattle. And there's that so-scary nuke. Better give them what they want."

But of course chemical weapons are illegal, so they can't exactly claim that they did it. The threat is sufficient at this point.

North Korea seems to run international policy as a protection racket. The scary part happens when the Kim dynasty falls, and things gets out (like millions of starving people trying to get across the DMZ).

As for novel drugs, hold onto your hats, it's probably going to get worse. Thing is, China's been known for years as a place that produces chemicals on demand for the industry, including FOOF-class compounds that they offered for sale on the internet without evidence that they could produce them or ship them. While some government black hat might come up with a so-clever scheme for using this industry, there's no reason to assume that the industry itself is the result of anything more than the kind of vibrant, free-market capitalism originally practiced by Cortes and Pizarro.


Your hypothesis is aided by the point that the world appears very different from inside the goldfish bowl, looking out: what makes sense to a high-up in NK as sound geopolitical strategy may seem absolutely bonkers to the rest of us. And NK does indeed often run foreign policy as a protection racket: "give us what we want or we'll do [BAD THING]".

The CW angle, though ...

Given the way the Chinese factories are going NK doesn't need a chemwar program; they can just buy the produce direct from the back gate. I read (a long time ago) of a study that suggested dropping 240 tons of weaponized VX on Birmingham (UK, not AL) would have about the same effect as a 5 Mt hydrogen bomb, i.e. megedeath level casualties. NK has a fuckton of artillery tubes dug in on their side of the DMZ within range of downtown Seoul; enough to drop over 100 tons of VX shells on the enemy capital in the first minute of hostilities, which would be a lot more effective than a couple of crude A-bombs (both in terms of killing lots of the enemy and leaving the enemy's shit intact so that it can be taken over later).

So the worst case is that Pyongyang think they were just sending a message to enemies of the regime and securing Dear Leader's dynasty; but shadowy wholesalers were using it as a cover advertising channel for WMDs cheap off the back of a lorry, guv'nor, and the CWC isn't worth the toilet paper it's printed on any more if VX is available on the open market — never mind Novichok-B.


Hmmm. The problem is you've got to bribe bureaucrats in China to get that much VX across the Yalu and into North Korea. That gives China a lever to use on North Korea. Since one ostensible reason to get read of Kim Jong Nam was that the Chinese were protecting him as a possible replacement for Kim Jong Un, I'm having trouble seeing the North Koreans going to China to but VX.

Additionally, I have no idea how to make VX, but since it's an organic compound, I'd hazard a guess that, if they can make high explosives, they've got people who can whip up VX from stuff they can actually, freely buy, if not synthesize themselves. The basic molecular structure's in Wikipedia, after all.


I hate to say this, but there is sufficient detail in the Wikipedia article on VX for a competent chemist to manufacture it. (At least the info is there until the security forces censor it) The problem is doing it safely which would require something more than a kitchen table. I should also point out that attempting to buy the precursors will result in a visit by Security Personnel, sales in the UK of these and Drug precursors is closely monitored. Industry has to jump through hoops to buy such things.


Re: FOOF-class compound

Had to look this up on Wikipedia which then took me to something equally interesting: Plutonium hexafluoride which is of interest to the nuclear industry.

'This pure plutonium is needed to avoid premature ignition of low-mass nuclear weapon designs by neutrons produced by spontaneous fission of plutonium-240.'

Re: NK and coal

From what I've read, coal is NK's major trade export and China its sole market for coal. China's ban on NK coal means 34%-40% less money coming into NK. Wonder how the Kim regime is going to replace that trade ... maybe some online dastardliness targeting PRC financial institutions? (I'm guessing that even though the average NK citizen is unable to access the 'free' WWW Internet, NK probably has the equivalent of an army of netizen soldiers plying their trade there. Based on simple odds, one such soldier might get lucky and find a security hole.)


Oh dear. It's been too long since "Things I Won't Work With" has been mentioned here. TIWW on FOOF. Sadly, In The Pipeline hasn't published a "things I won't work with" post since 2014. IIRC, Charlie got a short story out of that. And an air force too.

Actually, I made a mistake above, because back in 2010, the Hangzhou Sage Chemical Company was offering FOOF for sale in kilogram quantities (see the link above).


Sadly, In The Pipeline hasn't published a "things I won't work with" post since 2014

Yes it has: you missed this one from September 2016. More recently, this one (a "How not to do it" rather than "Things I won't work with") is almost relevant to the topic, since it concerns accidental manufacture of an explosive used by terrorists.


Thanks Susan, made my day!


Apology: having chased the story to the 24th announcement that it was indeed VX via swabs (from 'the Malaysia Department of Chemistry' which is a weird descriptor) via a press release from the RMP sourced through The Daily Beast / New Yorker writer and stealing links, I forgot to mention one thing: South Korean press were citing potential use of VX on the 15th. Which is in itself an oddity. Now, here's where things get really odd.

There were two autopsies and the New Scientist lead with this (today):

The attacker was handling a cloth with no apparent protection, not wielding a syringe. The women are then said to have run to a washroom to wash their hands, where one vomited. Both are consistent with VX. But nothing else seems to have happened to them, even though they were apprehended soon after.

“Any splash of a tiny droplet anywhere on her body would have resulted in some symptoms,” says chemical weapons expert Jean-Pascal Zanders . “She was jailed, but nothing like that was reported.”

Was Kim Jong-nam killed by VX nerve gas? Doesn’t look like it New Scientist, 24th Feb, 2017

Now, ignoring the snark from Hacker News twitter followers, we'll go to an expert who is really doubtful:

As the information stands right now, the Malaysian police’s claim is remarkable for what it does not say. The preliminary toxicology report reportedly states that traces of VX were detected on swabs of the dead man’s face and eyes. If this is the case, then the following questions require an answer: [followed by 8 questions]

VX murder in Kuala Lumpur? The Trench .org, 24th Feb 2017, personal blog of JP Zanders.

And, compared to HN types... he really is an expert:

Jean Pascal Zanders (Belgium) has worked on questions of chemical and biological weapon (CBW) armament and disarmament since 1986. He was CBW Project Leader at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Director of the BioWeapons Prevention Project and Senior Research Fellow responsible for disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation questions at the European Union Institute for Security Studies.


File under: "Spooky".


Wow! Anyone consider using this as rocket fuel or to utterly pulverize an Earth-destroying-comet ... in far, far outer space?

Excerpt: (ref to Steng's research article)

'Hydrogen sulfide, for example, reacts with four molecules of FOOF to give sulfur hexafluoride, 2 molecules of HF and four oxygens. . .and 433 kcal, which is the kind of every-man-for-himself exotherm that you want to avoid at all cost.'

From Susan's link:

Noteworthy excerpt: '...and again, you can tell that Matzger’s group has good technique because everyone made it intact to the writing of the manuscript.'


Yes, to the latter. My guess is that Kim Jong Loon believed that China was getting sick of him, and planning to replace him, so took out the most likely candidate.


Urk, apologies again - from JP Zanders -

Why did the Malaysian authorities say earlier today that they would sweep the airport and other locations for radioactive material? And apparently not for VX traces?

As not-a-scientist, what radioactive substances could cause the same effects? Zanders doesn't appear to be a crank (although certainly anti-war) and the New Scientist (however much debased) is legitimate.

Questions, questions.

But "LOL": officially leaving the discussion to Scientists now.


The Binding of the D above had me thinking about the Laundry and the implications of hash collisions for the apps that run their wards and basilisk cameras among other things, as well as much bigger issues.

First order issues are relatively simple; unverified and possibly malicious code could be installed and run on Laundry devices. Any complex incantations should be verified with a very secure hash function.

Second order issues arise since a hash collision is itself a mathematical process equivalent to sayin if you squint very hard, a gibberin many tenacled horror is indestinguishable from the PDF of next years tax laws, and countless other greater and lesser monstrosities.


Yes, I've actually thought of that, although not for comets. Back when we were first joking about it in 2010, uses like that were proposed. You'd need to create a missile that synthesized FOOF on the way to its target though, since I doubusing this technology as a comet killer (aside from the fact that it doesn't actually have enough energy--you want nukes) is that they're basically kind of like big dirty snowballs, and I'm not clear what the difference between getting pelted with one big snowball and a bunch of somewhat smaller snowballs spiked with hydrofluoric acid is.

The more SFF lesson here is about things like nanite assemblers and future tech: you don't assemble stuff like this molecule by molecule. Take the last link from Susan, about an even more explosive chemical that's sorta stable. It's apparent use is to make smaller explosive lenses in an MIRV, so that they can load even more warheads into the ICBM. Still, I don't think you can design a nanoassembler (or even a suite of assemblers) that will simultaneously grow a titanium (or whatever) rocket body, sort radioactive isotopes and build the atoms you want into a bomb core (hard to keep a complex molecule together in that kind of environment, I would think), and synthesize and build the high explosive lens around it. Just looking at it, those things require such varied environments to be built stably in that it's easier to build them separately and assemble in a plant somewhere, preferably far away from everyone else. Just because you can build something out of atoms, it doesn't follow that you can build everything out of atoms in a particular spot. Chemicals vary tremendously in their stability and the ability to synthesize them in different environments, and if their synthesis demands exotic environments (low temperature, presence of particular gases, or liquids, particular pressures, radiation fields, etc.), they won't come together at STP very easily or at all.


NONE Radioactive dose to take someone out that fast would leave very definite traces - like parts of airport glowing in dark, probably.....


That is an obvious motive for killing him, but there must be something else going on.

If you just want someone dead then there are plenty of ways to do it quietly, but nerve gassing them in an international airport definitely falls in the category of "sending a message".


Oh, yes - I don't give my guess more than 10% chance of being right, but it's the best I can do. Remember this is Kim Jong Loon, whose contact with what we believe to be reality is more tenuous than that of Trumpkin.


Ok, just checking.

With the information provided, my mind is of the opinion: nerve agent, something no-one wants to publicly announce as available, VX is cover. Or, the positive one: VX doesn't store well, the remaining stocks they have are weakened / reagents are turning so it was a case of "break out the big guns, 'cause they won't be around much longer" and so the exposure was a weak one. (For discussions on VX deterioration, c.f. Iraq Weapons inspections where large amounts were found to be inert from the Iran-Iraq war).

I knew I was being in good faith there, doubted myself.


Having just read Mr Tingle's recent void woes about basement dwellers and feeling glum, a tiny bit of good humor / sunshine:

The 24th February was Estonian Independence day (Eesti Vabariigi aastapäev). I found myself on an Estonian MMO game server (don't ask) celebrating with them when I was caught short. One of the skills, Jewelry, was being shortened to "jew". e.g. Need 100 gold bars to grind jew! in the sale channel.

I kinda pointed out how badly this sounded in English, and pointed out the double meaning, and suggested using "jewlry" or "jewl".

There was a lot of "Ohhh, not in our language!" stuff, quickly followed by four mods chiming in and going "ah.. ok, we send note to dev". Kinda lurked today just nosing around, language change had permeated within 24 hrs and had changed.

So: not all doom n gloom, most people (not us void dwellers) are decent.


Why does it have to be more complicated than sending a message that "I'm dangerous, I'm unpredictable, and you can't stop my minions. So you'd better not boycott my industries or starve my country"? He's done everything from launching missiles to detonating nukes of some sort to hacking Sony to now assassinating someone with a nerve agent, but doing it so skillfully (ha!) that the assassins survived. This dude's a bad hombre and a model Orange Citizen. Loony? Only for PR's sake. Assassinating possible rivals for the throne is a royal strategy that goes back, what 1000 years? 4000 years? I know it was SOP for the Ottoman empire, for example.

The problem for the Kim regime is that he can't afford to open up his country too much or he'll have a revolution on his hands. Since North Korea is better suited for industrial production and mineral exports than food production, there's not a whole lot they can do to generate trade without destroying the regime. Climate change and China decarbonizing is going to suck big time for them.


Apparently the current leader's style in ridding himself of enemies or challengers /competition is to systematically destroy everything about/related to them so as to leave no trace of their existence. (Revisionism at its most extreme.) Guess the media will be watching the obits sections of local NK news.

Excerpt: '... to completely destroy all traces of Jang's existence through "extensive executions" of his family, including the children and grandchildren of all close relatives.'


"At least the info is there until the security forces censor it"

Which would be singularly pointless (not that that ever stopped security forces doing arsulous things...) considering how many other sources the information could be obtained from.

These things are not hard to make, and indeed any number of similar compounds are manufactured in large quantities to kill insects by the same basic mechanism. The questions of where they got it from and exactly what it was are really of no importance at all, at least in any sense that's been mentioned here. Where they are important is in providing clues as to who it really was that did it - and still the precise formula of the agent doesn't matter much, the interesting bits are the trace contaminants and even isotopic mix, which if sufficiently accurately determined can provide good indications of the sources of the reagents and how and where they were reacted. One would hope that the apparent City Watch-like nature of the Malaysian cops at least extends far enough for them to have a Cheery Littlebottom.


I'm fairly sure that such techniques have been well-established in Korea for a very long time indeed. It's always been a very shit place to live if you weren't one of the nobs and still distinctly risky if you were; what the Kims have done is basically to freeze it how it was in the 50s, changing the name of the regime but not really changing what kind of an experience people have living under it. (Much like it doesn't make a whole lot of difference to Иосиф обще́ственности whether the regime was called Tsarist or Soviet or Putin.)


On point, mon Columbidae friend. The term that no-one has mentioned is Остров Возрождения. There's other ones, but I don't want spiders from mars to swarm if we start using Korean K-pop music lyrics as hints.

And, the joke: vive la renaissance! (that's a geeky geocaching joke... or is it?)

Anyhow, the real point was to prove that the Brits have better links, better penetrating insights and better intel than the yanks ;)

Caw, caw.


Oh, and I'll tell you a story about 月読 and an old homeless drunkard one day.

Spoiler: they're the same person, he lived as one a while to understand (or was that another myth? you tell me).

Don't bring your bowl of spite and doubt without knowing / seeing the reveal in the end (#75)


"Money". Start with truth and love, you might learn something.


Much like it doesn't make a whole lot of difference to Иосиф обще́ственности whether the regime was called Tsarist or Soviet or Putin.

A whole lot of difference to... Josef community/society?.. Now what's that supposed to mean? I'd guess you mean Russian... but then it was quite different. I can't say anything about those "glorious" days of Tsars, but USSR in 1984 was not the same as USSR in 1989. Or Russia in 1992. When Putin started his reign... tell you what, it was different from what we got in 2008... and what we have now. And I'd guess for the citizen of North Korea it looks like every new Kim was bringing some change.

Now there's a funny thing about Russia... what Putin is trying to create now is a mix of 17th and 19th century ideology, political system straight from 17th century (some elements come from the beginning of 20th century, but the underlying system is lifted straight from that the first Romanovs used), staff all that with "effective managers" (a.k.a. ignorant nincompoops) and try to support 21st century science and technology with that. So you get shamanspriests consecrating rockets (which now fall out of the skies regularly – turns out priests and rocketry experts are not interchangeable) and 20-something MBAs trying to manage scientific research (results are... underwhelming).

So... no, the society (and it's perception of the world/government/etc) changes in Russia. And I'd guess it's the same for most of the societies on this planet – except maybe those Paleolithic tribes who avoid contact with the outside world.


Putin and the Russian oligarchy are not a nice pieces of work, but modern Russia is relatively much better than Soviet or Tsarist (for the ordinary oik) than modern Britain is better than it was in the same eras. And, as several of us have said before, our monetarist leaders are trying to drag to the 19th and even 18th centuries. What the situation is in North Korea, I don't know.


Sorry, you've tripped up on an English figure of speech... a common expression meaning "a totally ordinary, unexceptional member of society" is "Joe Public". That the society in question is British society is implied; to specify some other country it is common to translate it (badly) into that country's language, so in referring to France one might say "Joe la publique". The above was my attempt to do the same wrt Russia, and now you've made me spoil the joke for everyone else :)

You're not looking at it from the same angle as I am: "I'd guess for the citizen of North Korea it looks like every new Kim was bringing some change" - more than likely true, but you still end up being crapped on, and you got crapped on anyway long before the Kims; which is what I was on about.


Ha. FSVO "joke"... (shudder)

...and, American intel... (rolleyes)


Not so sure Unlike previous Kims, KJU has lived in "the West" - he knows how far behind his country really is & he's terrified that the military will oust him. He's riding a tiger & he knows it. He has to threaten & terrorise everyone, because that's what's expected.

I mean, if you were in his position, how would you escape?


That ... erm ... technique was used in mid 13th-15th C Japan, as well. Euw


Actually, that term is American. This page is interesting, but very incomplete. What about Fred Bloggs?


"a totally ordinary, unexceptional member of society" is "Joe Public".

For Russians, Joe Public is "Ivan Ivanovich". He was the titular character in "A Day In The Life of Ivan Ivanovich" if you recall. For British people, I've seen Joe Bloggs used as a term for an everyman (also Joan Bloggs when appropriate).


Well, for us Russians Joe Public may as well be Vasya (Vasily being er common name), or Ivanov Ivan Ivanovich (Ivanovich being the patronymic) which is used in all the sample forms around the country. Anyway it looks like machine translation is as bad with idioms as it was twenty years ago (and I'm talking about European languages – don't get me started about Chinese!) But fe el a bit stupid – should have deciphered that myself. Must be all that arguing with our Chinese suppliers... nice and smart people who like playing dumb sometimes...


Re: 'Must be all that arguing with our Chinese suppliers... nice and smart people who like playing dumb sometimes...'

Oh crap! Are you serious ... China and Russia trading? Better not be coal!

'Playing dumb' is the traditional Chinese way of keeping things running esp. when your gov't/glorious leader tells you to do something that's so obviously stupid that it would kill even them.

The Japanese also do this. Plus, they won't volunteer to tell a westerner things that even a child in their culture would know because it's not polite to correct someone because that person would then lose face. Seems it's much better for that person to fall flat on their face ... quite passive/aggressive.


So ... what do folks here think about Google's new AI blog-nanny (Perspective)?


While reading up on 'Perspective', saw a review on this new book ... might be of interest to folks here.

The Art of Invisibility: The World's Most Famous Hacker Teaches You How to Be Safe in the Age of Big Brother and Big Data Hardcover – February 14, 2017 by Kevin Mitnick (Author), Mikko Hypponen (Foreword), Robert Vamosi (Contributor)


Existential Dread? ;)

I peeked at the Chinese carfentanil thing. Hmmm. Lin Zexu vrs Raymond Sackler?

At any rate, if it isn't 'Trumped on' it looks like various deals (however inefficient enforcement is) have already been done:

Kinetz, who's still reporting on the matter, says Beijing is cooperating with the DEA. "It's important to remember that these synthetic opioids are not widely abused within China. Yet in October 2015, China banned 116 of these synthetic drugs that aren't abused in China but are abused in North America." Beijing's new ban on carfentanil, a controlled substance in China, happened after intensive lobbying from the State Department and the DEA.

China to ban carfentanil, a lethal opioid that's been entering America courtesy of the US Postal Service PRI, 19th Jan 2017

SHANGHAI (AP) — So deadly it's considered a terrorist threat, carfentanil has been legal in China— until now. Beijing is banning carfentanil and three similar drugs as of March 1, China's Ministry of Public Security said Thursday, closing a major regulatory loophole in the fight to end America's opioid epidemic.

He added that China is actively considering other substances for sanction, including U-47700, an opioid marketed as an alternative to banned fentanyls. China said the March 1 ban will also apply to carfentanil's less-potent cousins furanyl fentanyl, acryl fentanyl and valeryl fentanyl.

China carfentanil ban a 'game-changer' for opioid epidemic AP The Big Story, 16th Feb 2017 - ERIKA KINETZ, who has been running a long series on the issue.

Interesting things to note: Lovely triad for certain minded players - Mexico (wall!), USPS (privatize it!) and the dark web (control it!) and it wraps straight into the topic:

"Agents like carfentanil could be used in lethal doses that would make them comparable to traditional nerve agents, raising concerns that they could be used as chemical weapons," the official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record. "The State Department has raised this issue with senior Chinese leaders."...

"The government should impose very serious limits, but in reality in China it's so difficult to control because if I produce one or two kilograms, how will anyone know?" she said. "They cannot control you, so many products, so many labs."

Chemical weapon for sale: China's unregulated narcotic AP Big Story, same author, 8th Oct 2016


Which would have made a rather dark twist if the assassination agent turned out not to be VX, but a relation of the above.


Thanks for the info - much appreciated!

Re: '... if the assassination agent turned out not to be VX, but a relation of the above.'

Agree - although just read that this opioid metabolizes very rapidly, so probably might not be detectable if the Malay cops didn't collect evidence as per whatever the correct lab protocol for situations like this is.

Excerpt from the AP story showing that this is indeed a weapon of mass destruction:

'The problem with carfentanil is not limited to the United States. In late June, Canadian authorities seized a kilogram of carfentanil shipped from China in a box labelled printer accessories.

The powder contained 50 million lethal doses, according to the Canada Border Services Agency — more than enough to wipe out the entire population of the country. It was hidden inside bright blue cartridges labeled as ink for HP LaserJet printers. "Keep out of reach of children," read the labels, in Chinese.'


Mention of precursors reminds me -the UK government has accidentally torpedoed the UK pharmaceutical industry by adding a huge number of molecules to the controlled substance list. Basically any variation on cannabinoids is now subject to the full set of controls, which increases the hassle involved in having them.

How bad the damage will be is unclear toe at the moment, but people might find it interesting to match share prices.


Errr.... minor nitpick, the book was "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich".

Ironically enough, I studied it for my SCE Higher-Grade English :) Good literature translates well :)


Just as a note to Host and others here who share certain knowledge / interests, JP Zander's blog is rather good and he's running a weekly meta-link affair: looks like he's also a bit of a news hound in retirement. [apologies to double-link, but Host's chemistry background suggests he might like it as a book-mark for research / general interest]: . His topic range and general depth/breadth are quite excellent (which you'd expect!). Think me, but about 1000 times better: as such, no more spam links on the subject.

He's also sniffing out quite a few reports from scientists doubting the VX angle, so I'll retire and see if he comes to any conclusions.[1]

Oh, and apologies to Spooky galleries: my searches must be pinging red flags like a wasps nest since I went after the .pdfs. Won't be linking any of those, quite the research post Dubrovka.


The Guardian piece on Mercer / Renaissance etc today was excellent, if treading ground already covered (cough GPS). People using proper hyperlinks: paradigm shattering stuff!! (but useful).

Robert Mercer: the big data billionaire waging war on mainstream media The Observer (note owner), 26th Feb 2017.

CTRL+F "mapped the news ecosystem" for the really brilliant (if outdated) Medium hyperlink graphic.

Note: many topics already covered, interesting one is the Brexit rule breaking(?) via Farange. Could have legs, who knows.

[1] Fairly sure I can see the angles but it'd all be a conspiracy theory atm.


Notes from the Legal Field - extreme wariness deployed:

It'd be really great if two sets of childhood memories were not being burnt down in the name of Newswarp Fake News press and a PR company who actually post to Nazi blogs (or, let us say: submit ideas / stories to said blogs: just like SONY, but a little worse this time) just to hurt a rival who is documented (off the record) at a party asking for a favor to get out of a contract.

That'd be great. You know. Real mature.

The Wild Hunt will redeploy smartish and leave the Wizards and the Warblers alone: Weaver points to larger targets.

WIld Hunt 2017

You're not the hounds, the ones riding in are. And no, they're not Nazis.


Someone get a Scottish writer a decent guard bitch, it'd stop conflagrations that are only fueling the wrong damned things.


So, this grammarly app, what are the odds it's sending your text away to be checked, thus meaning the internet knows what you are writing?


SFreader exclaimed: "Oh crap! Are you serious ... China and Russia trading? Better not be coal!"

Indeed, there's a huge initiative afoot to establish a high-capacity railway system between China and Europe via Russia: the "one belt, one road" initiative (,_One_Road). This seems to be, as much as anything else, an effort to work around American-dominated trade networks and create something competitive with the EU but also to develop a system that is much faster than the current maritime transport options.

You can imagine the security concerns this will raise. I will not. I prefer to sleep well tonight.


Yes, well. As ever, do a GREP. It's quite startling, I've heard.


Already happenend. Check your GREP / BBC.


Grammarly Aps? Legal profession is being replaced with AI, apparently.

Burning memories, particularly pleasant childhood ones, is a dark nasty well, especially if you're doing it to Other People without their consent. And all for Mammon and Brand (which is, in itself, a perversion of certain brain places).

On a scale of 1+ million, you're entering, let us say, places where the [redacted] take notice. You know, the kind that awaken when there's genocide in the air. 53 million is bold.

But in this instance, it cannot complete, because a Witch saw the form and broke some things first. [Stellar Gallery, currently slumming it].

And blow-back, we've heard, is a screaming tripartite Fury, or so the Greek tales tell.

The Fall of the Houses of Ushers.

Naughty stuff and probably not smart in the current... let us say, Chaotic Climate.


A giant neuron found wrapped around entire mouse brain Nature, 24th Feb 2017

And, of course, with all these things: Science is a co-operative field (ha!) so include all the other optogentic stuff in there as well. No, the consciousness stuff isn't the important part.

One-step optogenetics with multifunctional flexible polymer fibers Nature, Neuroscience, 20th Feb 2017 (yes, yes: GREP - mentioned before, joked about, now fully published).

H.S.S - got any giant neurons you didn't know about?


Do a GREP, always: nose wiggle.


Let's just say: Engineering a faux Nazi crisis while, well, there's actual Fascism in the works, just for profit and gaining the destruction of burnt memories and emotional well-being as a fucking bribe to [redacted]. Not impressed.

Not impressed, at all.

The parties involved we'll give the side-eye and pretend they're all innocent as it's quite the little OP.

The worst part is: having being written before, cannot complete the Nexus, and still they go on with it.


Shameful, just to protect the simulacrum. @ [redacted] - Faster, Harder, Smarter and they bring you not their own, but Other's without (knowing) Consent.

Broken. Covenant. Time.

And blow-back, we've heard, is a screaming tripartite Fury, or so the Greek tales tell.

Really? Who's been killing their family this time? Is that a question I want to know the answer to?

(or maybe it's someone who's been messing with Athens? It could be 'Athens' is a lot bigger these days, that's plausible, it's not like I keep up with these things. Well, technically Athens proper is bigger, literally, but that's not the point. Either way, that would seem to be contraindicated by 'Fury'. Which point in the story are we at? Is that a question I want to know the answer to?)


Which track gauge will they use? International-standard, as use Britain-to-Poland ( 4' 8.5" = 1435mm ) or Russina standard ( 5' = 1520mm ) The former would make more sense, but would involve laying at least a single-track with arsing, oops PASSING loops, all the way form Mongolia to the Polish border. Very Very Expensive. Alternative, make special rolling stock with interchangeable bogies.

( Can't use mixed-gauge, as Russian standard is deliberately incompatible with international-standard widths, once you include the widths of the rails themselves + flange clearances. )


Robert Mercer is obviously a thoroughly unpleasant person who needs watching - a modern Koch & possibly worse.

However, your later posts ( 108 / 111 / 112 / 113 ) are, unfortunately a reversion to your usual obscurantism. Could you PLEASE tell us what you are saying, in clear? Because, life's too short to chase down empty rabbit-holes & there is/are, all-too-clearly nasty things happening - so how about warning us, rather than shrieking? Asking nicely, notice!


The Railway Gazette has a short report on the recent rail transport of containers from China to Barking[1]. This seems to have involved several transfers of the containers. China-Kazakhstan and Belarus-Poland to deal with the track width problem. And then in Germany to Channel Tunnel approved rolling stock. This doesn't seem that different to me from transferring containers from ship to ship at hub ports. It just means that the interchange points would build up some support infrastructure. They're on national borders so there'll be some customs control as well.

[1] Barking? So presumably the train passed through Upney and Becontree: one and two stops beyond barking.


No. There is a transfer-yard at "Ripple Lane" where the CTRL runs alongside the ex-LTSR line Barking-Tilbury. CTRL freight can exit their line & enter ex-BR tracks there ... Here, in fact


I deleted a direct explanation, too hot.

How conservatives want to break Bernie Sanders’s spell over young Americans Vox, 24th Feb 2017

Meet the 16-year-old Canadian girl who took down Milo Yiannopoulos Vox, 24th Feb, 2017

If you don't want to be bothered reading them too deeply, they're both hit pieces with an interesting ideological message: old Republicanism = Good (or, let us say: tolerable), new Trumpism = Bad. Which is, let us say, only partly true. Vox media is considered 'Democratic mainstream' in tone (who are very definitely cracking down on their own "Left" tendencies rather ruthlessly with large fish donors calling in favors/demands), but has also jumped on the bandwagon: The controversy over YouTube star PewDiePie and his anti-Semitic “jokes,” explained Vox, Feb 17th 2017.

Which, let us say, "explains" it in a manner that's not very useful unless you're playing at a vanilla level that barely scrapes meta-1 level.

WSJ + Foxnews + Vox vrs Mercer + Breitbart etc (remember Bannon's plan to 'ditch the Alt-Right / Fascists'? White nationalist leader Richard Spencer kicked out of CPAC The Hill, 23rd Feb 2017. Breitbart's ad revenue has been crushed recently (quite rightly so), and this little 'radicalize and burn down more of the internet' has been quietly run in the background using a version of the Mercer style stuff (most likely: either FB or Google, not going to poke too closely).

Someone thought they were being really clever to pull off #gamergate 2.0 as a Power play (things like Storm Front are mindless Zombies at this point; c.f. SONY advertising using 4chan for Ghostbusters reboot etc) and to also regain their own falling influence.

The problem is: post-Gamergate / Trump, it doesn't work.

It also offends people who care about humans and see how corrosive to society (meta-2 and above) this all is and dislike watching the lower tier players get tarred by someone elses' bile and have extremely less tolerance knowing the outcome of such plays trends towards making Minds smaller, lives and hopes and positive emotions weakened and actual nasties breeding.

Oh, and [redacted] start opening Eyes.


Old style Repub / Democrats learn nothing, attempt to do a replay. Not happy bunnies respond with free advice: you will not like the outcomes of those paths, not one little bit.

Not a Servant.

Even shorter short-hand: there are known ways to de-radicalize subjects, vast swathes of actual experts, and yet (mostly US) media Corporations are deliberately using the opposite techniques (and have been doing so for quite some time). The why? Well, a Culture Mind would say it's all about protecting the 0.1%, but she's a fictional character so we'll leave it an Open one.


"How conservatives want to break Bernie Sanders’s spell over young Americans Vox, 24th Feb 2017"

I've read it... is it deliberate dumbing down or self-delusion?

"But you cannot have Uber and a socialist-run health care system — it’s both or neither."

LOL...Uber already operating in Europe where we have single payer NHS?

"socialism is inseparable from dictatorship." as witnessed by UK under Labour, Scandinavian countries, Germany under SPD and Italy under a Democratic party heir to the old Communist party (a very conservative GOP guy I know on the net lived in Bologna, core of the Communist local government in Italy, I poked at him about having seen for sure gaggles of starving prisoners led to gulag camps...)

and "socialism sucks" on T-shirts of... let's say "girls well endowed with mammalian attributes"? Stuff not even the worst advertising person would use.

Problem: overall it's a form of advertising/propaganda that would make "old Republicanism" not "better than Trump" but plainy silly. In fact, looking at comments it seems to operate more in reinforcing anti-socialist prejudice in older conservatives, than in "breaking Sanders'spell"


They actually think Bernie Sanders is a DANGEROUS COMMONIST "Socialist"? Really? Pathetic - Mr Sanders is approx Lem-o-Crat isn't he? Shows how warped debate has become.


Erm... Mongolia uses Russian gauge (and is not a good transit route anyway due to the absence of cargo handling facilities at the border). I'd guess they'll continue the use of shipping containers (they use them now for the Trans-Siberian Railway express service).

As for interchangeable bogies... they've been doing it with passenger trains for decades now (and the rolling stock looks unmodified), but I doubt it will be feasible with cargo trains (they tend to be much longer and heavier). Although there were (and still are?) huge shipments of crude oil delivered to China by rail...

Oh, and container ships are cheaper anyway so I'm not sure there will be that many customers willing to pay twice the price to deliver their container a bit earlier (my estimate would be around 25..30 days by rail from Guangzhou to, say, Germany – while it takes 30..45 days when you ship the same container by sea; average time for MAERSK was somewhere around 32..35 days).

For me that project looks more like Chinese attempt to expand their influence in ex-USSR countries (Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, etc)


I think the target is an intermediate niche product, midway between valuable/perishable (which travels as airfreight — think 747 cargo freighters full of iPhones or fresh seafood) and low value but bulky/heavy/unperishable (which can travel by sea).

And a secondary requirement is redundancy. If something interferes with sea freight (e.g. two naval powers rattling their sabres at one another in the Arabian Gulf — remember the Tanker War of the 80s?) you can fall back on ground transport.


Greg: it occurs to me that you still don't have much of a handle on the phenomenon our multi-pseudonymed commenter is discussing, namely how viral memes spread on the internet and are used for various purposes.

Here's a MetaFilter thread discussing a fun, non-political example that I think may give you some much-needed context: ThatPoppy.

Start by watching (at least the first half of) each of the YouTube videos linked in the OP. In particular, "Kids react to Poppy", "Poppy reacts to kids react to Poppy," "Kids react to Poppy reacts to kids react to Poppy" will give you a worked example of the sort of meta- reactions that Shirin Lutzelfrau keeps going on about. (And note: these are eight year olds. 21st century humans are sometimes like another species to us old farts.)

Finally, here's an utterly non-ironic, non-meta, traditional documentary-style explanation of what the whole ThatPoppy thing is, who designed it, what it was intended to achieve, and how it works. Basically a beginners guide to how viral internet memes are created and used (in this case, to get a recording contract with Island Records and generate interest in an art-thing).

That final documentary is about 20 minutes long and indispensable, fascinating. (The earlier videos are shorter — between 40 seconds and 5 minutes — and you really need to see them to get a feel for how it's pushing your buttons.)

Note: ThatPoppy is either creepy, or funny, or hillarious, or dumb, depending on your frame of mind. It's entirely work-safe and almost entirely apolitical (except by implication). This makes it easy to watch and understand the medium without getting worked up about the message, which is important. It's a lot harder to engage dispassionately with e.g. neo-nazi agitprop videos that use this sort of structured presentation, which means it's a lot harder to learn how to recognize this sort of manipulation and resist it.

Seriously Greg, you should study this thing!


With regard to the spell, a small but loud group of Trump supporters believe they put him in office with chaos magick -- it makes sense to fight fire with fire (even if, as many practitioners believe, magic even when effective is essentially the same thing as advertising).


I'm very tempted to really behave like an old fart & snarl, because it's bullshit & what's worse, it's not even new bullshit. It's lies, rumour, speculation & manipulation & there is NOTHING NEW AT ALL in any of it.

In reverse, Josef Goebbels, L Trotsky, "Saint" Dominic, & Cato the Elder would be very happy with such an ability to twist their subjects' comprehension around like a corkscrew.

"Viral internet memes" HOW ABOUT SOME FACTS?

You trained in a scientific discipline & so did I - how about some facts?

I got to 1 min & about 35 seconds of the so-called "explanation" about the fake lie & con that "poppy" obviously is, before I switched it off, because I think I'd puke, if I went on for any longer.

How about some facts?

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Please note: I am emphatically NOT saying that there are not other valid ways of conveying information.
Poetry is one of the most powerful, as are works of "Literature" & the stage - which is why dictatorial regimes are so keen to crack down on them [ "One day in the life of Ivan Denisovitch" was quoted earlier, was it not? ]

But, this is unutterable, meaningless trash.

Time to clean the stables ( Oops, there goes another metaphor! ) & return to clear explanations & not this shit.


If something interferes with sea freight... you can fall back on ground transport.

This. We are clearly heading for some major stupidity, and this makes a good way to keep making profits.

Further, I suspect that there are some good ways to bring the cost down, like dealing with customs at the source (Customs for country X inspects your freight as you load it on a shipping container, puts a combination lock on the container. As long as Customs at the far end can remove the lock using the same combination, you've cleared customs.) Also, look for computerized control of container movement at transit points. Greg probably has really good ideas on keeping it cheap.


This is only tangentially related, but here are the numbers for fuel economy of various methods of transportation. I also singled out commercial aircraft


Having a transport route to Europe that can't be stopped by the US Navy would be considered a good thing in Beijing. Engineers tend to want redundancy, and the Party leadership has a lot of engineers.


Um, thanks for your cmts there. I skimmed that short post... and was struck by A Thought, which I am going to push to actual news outlets.

Why did Comey of the FBI write those letters to Congress about Hillary?

Flashback a few years... remember when Murdoch's empire was under serious legal stress in the UK, for bribing the authorities, including Scotland Yard? They brought up investigations in the US, too... that don't seem to have produced much in the way of results. And the lead on the US investigation was... the FBI, and Comey was there.

I'd really love to look carefully at Comey's finances the last seven years.




The scriptwriters for 2017? I think 2016 was a warmup. In local news: Larry Smith, about the largest book dealer at most cons on the east coast and the midwest, died a couple weeks ago.

Then, this past Friday, Martin Deutsch, President of BSFS, died, and the same day, Sue Caspar, Gardiner Dozois' wife died.

Is it Quentin Tarantino and Mel Gibson doing the scripting?

If only we could bring Brunner's The Stone That Never Came Down to life....



Okay - watched the non-weird video explaining the 'Poppy' thing which showed snippets of various Poppy videos as well as attempted to provide a timeline/bio of this character and performer. Watched only a few minutes of kids reacting to Poppy video.

Thoughts/impressions ...

Weird ... mostly because the on-screen image looks like a cross between Disney's Alice in Wonderland and Warhol's Marilyn Monroe. Noticed that in one video the actress' eyes were about double the size of previous images ... so some not too subtle computer-assisted messing with what is portrayed. The on-screen image is of a female who could be anywhere from 11 to 13 years of age. Her dentition esp. front teeth also look typical for an 11-13 year old. The so-called hypnotic effect that the commenter mentions is the near-complete lack of emotional affect in both speech and movement. 'Poppy' both looks and acts like a doll. Topics covered (that I saw albeit on someone else's edited version of subject's videos) are very limited, i.e., I want to be loved, I want to be seen, etc. but nothing about what 'I'm doing to achieve this' or 'I'm having difficulty reaching my goals'.

Left me wondering whether this is some type of child-porn and who the subscribers are. (Don't think most Poppy subscribers are kids because most of the real kids shown seem to think interaction with her is weird and they look uncomfortable when told she was reacting to them reacting to her. Also, get the impression that the real kids don't think she's in their age group.)

How addictive is this type of behavior is (I think) the underlying question: what does it take for a meme to take root and thrive. Well, as much as I enjoy a book, TV show or movie that is a complete package onto itself, my behavior (which is an even better indicator of what I really like/want) shows that I like more of whatever it is that I already like, i.e., series. The 'Poppy' product/wish is: an idealized, unemotional/unemoting girl-child who's satisfied to eat insubstantial candy and lives quietly in a plastic-wrapped pastel bubble. IOW, disconnect from real-world.

[Yeah, I know ... the 'Poppy' name may also fit the character's zoned out demeanor.]

[re: Dentition comment ... parent of prog with orthodontic$.]


Yeah, Poppy is really not a Greg friendly project. innocent look @ host

It helps to know that at least four people in the project are all meta-creations and the channel itself is a meta creation of an earlier, less polished version and that there's at least an actual record label, four (?) channels linked to it and so forth.

"Poppy" "Her Handler / Agent" "Prior Poppy / Girlfriend" "Cameraman".

They're all people playing roles of people playing roles. i.e. none of them are themselves.

It's a major satire on the Swedish music maker fraternity / US pop-culture / music industry, if you need details not located elsewhere, while also actually being music and a real label. Complicated people.

Oh, and it's really really dark if you know what it's actually doing. Coughing up blood dark, getting into realms not child friendly (for any parents watching: yeah, not a kid-friendly project).

The "kids reacting to Poppy" is a very fine line; I'd probably see it as exploitative if ad agencies had any scruples at all (spoilers: they don't).


Recent thread with Orion just got trawled and someone put it on some lists (thus the ending email, it's not what you think it is - that piece of spam has significance and a long history). #779

As such, Be Seeing You.

Eight Names, Eight Characters, Meta8 etc. The difference is: "We Make it Reality[tm]".


Also worth noticing: a huge proportion of the world's cargo shipping (oil and container) is registered in Greece. If Greece leaves the euro, or has some similar economic catastrophe, it would be wise to have fallback routes, IMO. So if you were thinking about land transport anyway, that might be enough to tip the argument.


Oh, and separated in case host wants to not rile up the wrong people:

For Greg, easier to digest version:

Media Corporations love to niche / compartmentalize their customers. Up until the internet, this was fairly easy to do (lots of gate-keepers, be it the quality of the University Library (there's a reason the Bodleian gets a copy of every book that's printed in the UK), the social class angle (Yes Prime Minister! on the types who read which papers) and keeping certain things taboo was a given (even if we avoid the obvious, there's the obscenity laws, Lady Chatterley's Lover etc).

Old Media is still somewhat operating under these conventions: which is why, without apparent irony, you can have Fox News employing a blatant imposter (see post #56) to opine about the horrific, near-Darfur state of parts of Sweden and how immigration (Islamic, of course!) has created a powder-keg that will end with rivers of blood[1].

So: a man pretending to be an expert, actively covering it up with the channel's collusion, espousing lies about minority groups creating violence, crime and tension[2] in a foreign country that you're an ally of, hoping the President will see it and use it to shape his world-view when you actively know that this is 100% one of the main Alt-Right recruiting themes?

That's fine. Nothing to see here people. Give that man a cheque! Just part of the great American Republic 1st principle!

PewPieDie is a character, openly acknowledged to be a character played by a man, reacting to the world in character. Recently, that includes while reacting to the media taking his fame / fortune at face value in character and presenting a meta-commentary on that. His recent trouble revolves around acting as if the media representations of his character were true (not even himself) where he gets other people to do the worst taboo breaking he can imagine[3]. While in character. Which was stating the anti-Semitic slogans that have infested Reddit and numerous other places. i.e. the frog stuff. [Which is not as clever as he thought, but there we go - everyone, including him, acknowledges this].

For that: the WSJ actually did hit pieces, labelled him an anti-Semitic Nazi, got his sponsorship deals etc cancelled and attempted to ruin his life. And the Democratic Mainstream voices did exactly the same thing.

FoxNews and WSJ, of course, being owned by the same family / person / Corporation. Who are not Jewish, last time I checked, and the hit pieces were written by people who made racist / anti-Semitic jokes... while being themselves, not even playing characters. At which point he of course had meta-gamed this response and the Alt-Right are McLoving it. His response video had the two persons from India (at a guess) holding up a sign stating "Hypofritz". (It's a play on one of the names).

Oh, and if you need an expert to tell you that such behavior is actually 100% the means to radicalize people (I'm talking about Newscorp's behavior, not PPD) then... Well. It is.


If you see this as "Red Pilling" by the Alt-Right, then you're letting them win. I suspect PPD linking to a known 'MRA / Rational Thought' bug bear is probably also meta-trolling, but we'll see. Giving over the ground to "One of us! One of us!" rather misses the point that normal Minds should be involved in this anti-Corporate stuff and blatant power misuse.

But hey, Trump won. And $$ = dealing with Fascists and making them mainstream.


2017 - where critiquing Fox News / Murdoch hypocrisy is "Alt-Right".

Send out the PR handlers!

[1] Specially knowing that the President of the United States loves to re-tweet these 'facts' to the globe. [2] This isn't to say this is not an actual issue: but it's rather more complex than that. It IS however a major drum beat of the Alt-Right and so forth. i.e. the actual Fascists. And Foxnews know this all too well. [3] Which is Holocaust related. That's actually fairly reassuring if you think about it. No Taboo = well, you're in Rwanada territory of not giving a shit.


H.S.S - got any giant neurons you didn't know about? Have to admit that these links seriously grabbed my attention. Thinking about it (it was a odd prod :-), but a search on the named investigator (oops, distraction) led to their other recent work/speculations on consciousness (not obviously linked in archives here), e.g. Neural correlates of consciousness: progress and problems (April 2016) (They like this measure (for clinical use?): The perturbational complexity index (PCI), obtained using a combination of TMS and EEG recordings 219 , assesses the level of consciousness based on the notion that being conscious requires both the differentiation and integration of cortical activity) and Integrated information theory: from consciousness to its physical substrate (May 2016) Access needed, but full paper pdfs available on researchgate, perhaps not legal so not linked. Not read yet (quick read the first), so no opinion. What a rathole though; so many theories and the review just sampled them. I look forward to the day when HSS has the basics of consciousness worked out. (Am optimist; expect this during my lifetime.)


Be wary of the author: physics guy doing out-field stuff, usual caveats apply.

The Mouselink Opto stuff (MIT etc) by actual neuroscientists about consciousness is much better. Oh, and some of them don't like his theories (at all).


Re: 'So: a man pretending to be an expert, actively covering it up with the channel's collusion, ...'

This describes about half of current US TV daytime programming, esp. the 'doctors'. There's also the now-defunct The Colbert Report ... see below:


'The Colbert Report (/koʊlˈbɛr rəˈpɔːr/) is an American late-night talk and news satire television program hosted by Stephen Colbert that aired four days a week on Comedy Central from October 17, 2005 to December 18, 2014 for 1,447 episodes. The show focused on a fictional anchorman character named Stephen Colbert, played by his real-life namesake. The character, described by Colbert as a "well-intentioned, poorly informed, high-status idiot", is a caricature of televised political pundits. Furthermore, the show satirized conservative personality-driven political talk programs, particularly Fox News's The O'Reilly Factor...'

Matryoshka news and reality.


Giant neuron... I instantly got this: Trumpolini only has a few of them, but they're Giant Neurons! Huge Neurons! And that's why he's smrtr than anyone!



By the way, about the binding ritual on Trumpolini... a) thanks, I'd not heard of it (and I'm annoyed that no one told me), and b) rituals like this... um, I trust most of you are aware of the ones the UK witches did, during the Battle of Britain... when the weather was much more cloudy and nasty than usual... which helped Britain.

And before someone jumps on me, data insufficient. But this ritual sure can't hurt.

mark, responsible non-gun owner


Nearly 50 years after it was first done, Elon Musk announces plans to send two paying passengers around the moon. This could be to fill in for the proposed 2018 Red Dragon to Mars which has been put back to the 2020 window.


Yes, yes: Colbert and PPD are both openly playing characters though.

Like, seriously: even Scalzi etc are falling for this stuff.

Chances are, if a Murdoch paper / outlet is running a WARNING: MORALITY OFFENSE! campaign... they're fucking running an OP. A nasty, biting, scummy OP.

Watches American Twitter

Points to Daily Mail / Sun / Express

Remembers that Reddit now considers Express / Daily Mail reliable sources

Fucking Nuke them from Orbit


This isn't even the real OP we've been talking about. We just had to take time out of the real stuff to prevent MF / Americans look any more gullible / "here's our necks, please enact genocide, we're really dumb" stuff.

The real OP is like Big, Huuuge.

Oh, and ffs: Rowling - an Oscar isn't worth the lack of dignity you're presenting.


If there was a G_D, that Baptism with Blair & Murdoch in the Jordan would have instantly lead to Israel having a new economy: salt mining.


Note: that is a meta joke: search for "Dead Sea Works" and spot the environmental stupidity. Yes, that's an Israeli environmental joke. We're like that. Appropriation of the White ...wait a minute, we always do the salt pillar joke, only it's modernized this time.

And yes: that's a clever joke, involving a country that has some Jews in it, about their religious text.

No, we don't hate them (that'd be weird / too meta). We do think that there's some scum-bags ruining parts of it for profit though.

Even if we did just suggest that the Deity in question doesn't exist because if /did, /d turn certain people into salt.

No, turning people into salt isn't nice, and you shouldn't attempt to do this.

Even if it appears to be funny.

And yes, we do expect that if said scum-bags could guarantee more salt for their profit margins, they'd be rebuilding a Temple, pronto.

No, that's not because of their faith, but because they're Capitalists / scum bags who are willing to destroy a lake that's lasted ~9k years for profit.

But also that stereotype thing. No, it's because they're Capitalists, not due to anything else.

Yes, we're sure of that: plenty of locals protesting about their actions.

And "salty" means something else now.

So it's an anti-Chan joke while also nodding to knowing their culture.

So, like, a multi-ethnic / cultural joke.


And so on. Jokes.

Infinite recursion is a thing - the dumber the Mind, the less recursion it gets. Stop setting your Minds in Iron, it's kinda annoying.


'Poppy' both looks and acts like a doll. I noticed. My immediate reaction was CHILD PORN - DANGER, NSFW (at least). Apart from the moronic, monotonic "speech". Like I said, what is this shit? Left me wondering whether this is some type of child-porn You too? Yuck.

ALSO S_L @134 No, it isn't a Greg-friendly project. In fact it is not a rational-humanity, nor a caring-humanity project. I suspect something very evil lurking beneath the surface.




meta / meta / meta / ..... Turtles all the way down.

Therefore, either there is no reality AT ALL, anywhere in this, or it's a deliberate shadow-play of something that ( I think is) deeply & horribly unpleasant.

I repeat: How about an explanation, because this is seriously unfunny


For Greg, easier to digest version:

It's wall-to-wall deliberate lies. OK, I got that.

HOW ABOUT SOME FACTS & an explanation, then?

Not the explanation that the fascist/Nazis are pushing this, yes, we know that, but the next level down - like how/why & why are they being allowed to get away with it? Because I though this sort of shit was illegal, even in the USSA, under 1st Amendment.


Second / Third / ... Umpteenth thoughts.

Thanks to Charlie for opening us up to the deliberate horror-show & puppet-theatre that is "poppy" ... in spite of the cold all-over horrors it gave me.

Now, as a practical man, what can we do about this, & put a stop to it, & the associated unpleasantnesses, that we are currently suffering from, before it gets too much worse.

[ Such as a really-Nazi USSA &/or a nuclear detonation, or .... fill in appropriate-but-plausible $_HORROR for yourselves at this point. ]

Yes, now I'm really scared. Back to Gandalf & Frodo's conversation in "The Shadow of the Past" in LOTR book I.


It's a multi-level snarketing campaign. "You are the object of our contempt - and you like it."


A lot of spook agencies read bad spy fiction the way the Mafia watches the "Godfather" and "Goodfellahs" and similar stuff -- for ideas and inspiration and lifestyle hints.

Hence the sort of baroque crazy that uses VX to kill people when a gun would be much simpler and more reliable.(*)

For that matter, the first serious intelligence agencies of the 20th century, back just before WW1 (before that it was all improvised and temporary) modeled themselves on fictional organizations -- like the Indian Secret Service on "Kim"... because when Kipling wrote "Kim", there wasn't actually any Indian Secret Service. There were government spies, but no central organization with institutional continuity.

Likewise, the percusors of MI5/6 and so forth were made up by spy fiction enthusiasts in the decade before 1914. In that year, the head of the British secret service was personally cruising around Germany in a bad false mustache, and the German naval intelligence service had a grand total of 5 employees, because Admiral Tirpitz didn't want one because it would report to the Naval staff and he didn't like the staff.

(*) you can tell when the Israelis kill someone -- usually it's a couple of low-velocity .22 rounds to the head. Sometimes their phone explodes when they answer and say: "Yes, this is Ibrahim."


Oh Greg: are you being real right now? He's gunna pop! YT: Film, The Matrix 0:32. That's a film called the Matrix. It's worth a watch.

If you are, oh boy. No wonder Host is feeling a bit depressed, I thought you were all being ironic. I look like a fucking psychopath to you all, even with all the positive links and love and no attempts to disgust / break stuff. When we say "Art", we mean stuff like this included.

Not the explanation that the fascist/Nazis are pushing this, yes, we know that, but the next level down - like how/why & why are they being allowed to get away with it?

No, that's not the reality. Those are the acceptable / arty people running Poppy: they make a lot of money (well, it's all relative) from the channel / actual pop music sales. Post-Structuralist Capitalism, baby.

Poppy is a meta-critique of American Culture (and, er, trust me: you've not seen the dark parts, they take a bit to unlock. Er, don't do that. In fact, quit Poppy now. Even MF hasn't seen the dark parts, they don't peek at the bits we do - it's... kinda PizzaGate level Art, if you know what I mean. No, really).

It's like if a Culture Mind came down and looked at your media output and wanted to distill it, but it was the Grey Area and wanted to fuck you up a bit while doing so.

The important part: actual. record. sales. $$$.

If you wanted a distillation that goes beyond the entire quasi-Buddhist mantra of "all an illusion, you want it all", it's simple.

Capital is totally amoral. There is literally no horror or taboo or debasement (etc) that it cannot function under; in fact, due to supply/demand/basic neuroscience (reward / dopamine), you make more money by hitting Brain bits than anything else.

That includes horror based feed back.

Proof: piles of marriage rings and gold teeth, hair used to make wigs etc. Oh, and all that Art - the irony being, of course, the Nazis kept the (acceptable) art for themselves, and never tried to hock it until much later.

Or obesity. Or drugs. These are simple concepts.


but the next level down - like how/why & why are they being allowed to get away with it?

Murdoch (and others) make billions / year. They poison entire swathes of Minds for profit and getting their own way. They sell Ideas (Memes now).

It's killing the planet and destroying any real notion of Government (note: this isn't a purely Western thing, c.f. Putin etc). It's been reality for a while now.

Not the explanation that the fascist/Nazis are pushing this, yes, we know that, but the next level down - like how/why & why are they being allowed to get away with it?

Yeah, that's not what the actual Fascists are pushing. Their version is a little more corrosive.

Kek the Chaos Frog and the God Emperor of 40k Grim Dark?

That's the nice bit.


Now I'm convinced Greg is a Poppy Construct from 70 years ago, which is all kinds of head-fuck.


Too amusing not to link. (Happily pre-chastised if a hoax, but google reports results for the few authors I poked at.) Flower Power: In vivo polymerization and manufacturing of wires and supercapacitors in plants ("published ahead of print February 27, 2017") High-performance conducting wires and electrodes, with a conductivity up to 10 S/cm and a specific capacitance of 20 F/g, have been in vivo polymerized from the custom-synthesized ETE-S in R. floribunda. We have used the natural physiology and response mechanisms of the xylem vascular tissue as the tubular template and catalyst, respectively, to achieve long-range electrical conductors and extended supercapacitors. These findings pave the way for combining charge storage devices with energy conversion technology––also manufactured inside plants––to derive autonomous systems for a future “green” energy harvesting technology, i.e., “power plants” or “flower power” technology. The long-range conductivity afforded by ETE-S also allows for sensors and delivery devices (actuators) to be distributed and interconnected throughout the entire plant for electronic autoregulation of plant physiology and defense mechanisms. Yes, Rosa Floribunda. Previously: Electronic plants


If it's a hoax, then it has an impressive staff / pedigree / web presence.

399 published papers

It looks like a version of the whole synthetic spider silk stuff. i.e. radical and batty Nordic stuff that no-one really pays attention to.


Yep, they're legit. [meta check]


Holy crap, broke all the things there


If that breaks (there's a lot of weird brackets in there), just hit their publications / DIVA link.


I love you!

These people are wicked smart n fun.


A lot of spook agencies read bad spy fiction the way the Mafia watches the "Godfather" and "Goodfellahs" and similar stuff -- for ideas and inspiration and lifestyle hints.

Nice theory, but the (look up the title, too many spiders from Mars here atm) are active, very active.

The issue:

1) They're usually using really mundane / cheap methods. 2) They're usually involved with criminal stuff so shrug for the other intel agencies 3) Their budget is kinda tiny and they have to even sell their tech on the open market so everyone else kinda politely nods and pretends they're super-deadly while patting them on the head.

Reuters found that Glocom advertises over 30 radio systems for "military and paramilitary" organizations on its Malaysian website,

North Korea spy agency runs arms operation out of Malaysia, U.N. says Reuters, 27th Feb, 2017.

Notes from Everyone: "No, Shit, Sherlock". It's kinda like picking up ex-Soviet weaponry from storage dumps - it's there, but it's not exactly a secret, and it's not exactly cutting-edge.



Off to ask for Greg to forget the things he's seen: there's a reason we get drunk to go trawling.


The man who was listening to the news on his Flower-Power radio set?
He heard it on the grapevine.


C.f. Oasis's "You're thirsty. We've got sales targets" campaign which was plastered all over our bus shelters last summer. Why are people taken in by this rubbish?

I'd ask the same about Poppy. OGH notes in comment 125 that these are eight year olds. 21st century humans are sometimes like another species to us old farts. And maybe they are cleverer at understanding meta-stuff than we were at that age. But I watched the videos, wishing all the while that I had a bar of brain-soap, and the main thing they taught me is that that cleverness is counterbalanced by a terrible obsession with, and susceptibility to, the idea of celebrity. Don't the kids have anything better to think about?


My answer to both questions: I think some might


You probably missed about 3 layers depth of it.

1) It relies heavily on current cultural pop-synergy-symbolism. The kind that Kayne ranted about, then got sectioned for; it's basically a heroin form. This is deliberate. 2) You're not analyzing the meta-data: sound, spectrograms, meta-level X-referenced to other channel stuff. This is highly important. 3:36 is referenced... and only about 70% in do you realize that's a reference to another channel's video (which includes the prior Poppy threatening to shoot herself and then vomiting up blood). Think of all those Bible interwoven references you see as rainbow spreads: same deal. 3) The entire thing is a simulacrum that holds a terrible secret (? or does it?) in reality. The mundane version is that the "original" project was canned through trauma... but that's part of the meta-play that twitter / MF falls for. There's a couple more levels that go darker. i.e. pretty sure the Actress who plays Poppy [no spoilers]. 4) Greg is pretty weirded out (or says he is) on a moral level - and trust me, it's intentional. It also gets a lot lot lot worse. MF can't see it, but it's actually not about what they think its about. Reality and all that, it's gonna get harsh.

Did you get the entire part where she's dying / trying to escape?

This is really not a kids' project.


Oh, and there's a vast horde of the Gremlin Galleries laughing at this point (and dat old age marker email - who the fuck is still running that kind of ancient tag?): their versions (which do, trust me, exist) are far, far, far worse. Look up "Bjork Stalker online death" and your first link is the actual online suicide of a man in real time. No, really. Then you don't want to know how he got there (hint: what the Gremlins would call their form of 'Art' in this Poppy Sense).

The Scientologist versions, which are like CCTV mixed with live action abuse concluding with the all-too faux clinical "Subject: Driven to Suicide" are similar: but they deny Art.

And, of course: the IC community for whom its just a job, or the [redacted] for whom its a fucking pleasure game. (Don't Hunt Humans).

Tricky one that.

Pandora's Box. Poppy is still functionally Art, if a little on the meta side, and wavering around it.


It's a Mirror.

If you don't like the Mirror, ask why it can exist.


(Which, to give Greg his due, was his immediate reaction)


And, if you want to do Meta.

Poppy is M-1 on this scale.

Gremlins stuff (up to Dnepropetrovsk maniacs) is M-2.

M-3: Videodrome type stuff (as host says: that book called The Execution Channel) including Syrian / DPRK Execution Prisons.

M-4? Well, that would be an entire society blinding itself and willingly allowing genocide because they fucking liked sushi and took snow-balls into their debates while playing golf.


We've not actually found a Mirror / Art project large enough for M-4, Trump was an attempt, but hey.


I got #2 and #3, but missed #1, thanks. Regarding Björk Stalker, I'd like to think that this has no more significance than that: (a) in a sufficiently large population, you'll find somebody strange enough to do anything physically possible, no matter how bizarre; and (b) with sufficiently good communications, the rest of the population will inevitably be told about it. It's just an outlier.

Anyway, I really could do with a copy of Viral Memes for Fun and Profit. Because once you understand it, any phenomenon can be exploited for good as well as evil, and I could do with a cast-iron method of fundraising to support my maths demos at How can I go about it? Bear in mind that I'm not as photogenic as Titanic Sinclair: I don't have holes in my jeans (or indeed, jeans), I don't wear earstuds, and my glasses aren't big enough.


Very unfunny & very unclever. If that was an attempt at humour, I'm afraid it failed.

Could you try again, more seriously, please?


Oh Greg: are you being real right now? GRRRR

Fucking GROW UP

When am I not "being real" on this blog? As, unlike you, who, unfortunately seem to have reverted to obscurantist lying bullshit. [ Yes, I'm annoyed ] STOP IT

You have proved that you CAN talk in a rational manner & have now decided not to. Why should we bother, because neither you, nor this sub-thread are funny. Unfortunately, the sub-thread matters. But, you don't.

I look like a fucking psychopath to you all, You NOTICED! So, like I said - stop it / grow up.


Off to ask for Greg to forget the things he's seen: there's a reason we get drunk to go trawling. LIAR, because you already said I was a "poppy-construct" - you can't even fabricate a consistent set of lies across SIX posts. Pathetic. See also below.

You MIGHT have a point in 161 - see my following post.


Now I'm convinced Greg is a Poppy Construct from 70 years ago, which is all kinds of head-fuck.

As opposed to being dead & a replacement, you mean?

CALLING ON THE MODERATORS, AGAIN This is becoming extremely tiresome & repetitive.

( I still would like to know why you are allowed to break all the moderation rules, too ... )


And, much as it goes against the grain S_L @ 159 ...

The answer to all of that is horribly simple ( I think) "Give us a child till he is Seven" - from the RCC / Jesuit brainwashing programme. Or, only slightly more relevant in this context the Hitler-Jugend u BDM indoctrination programmes during their period in power.

Of course it's upset me.

[ "BDM" = Bund Deutscher Mädchens ]


Charlie I assume you have an opinion on the "poppy" porn? Could we have it or them, please?


"You can find a list of sites here (have included partial list highlighted for % likelyhood that readers here would be potentially effected)"

Kinds thoughts and thank you. The problem for me (and I suspect many others) isn't that any data I have on those sites is sensitive, it's more the age-old question "If I have an account on one of those sites, what password did I use?". As usual Randall has it right:


Hi Greg,

Might I suggest investing in a no-name USB keyboard? - it has TWO page-down keys, and, at a cost of single-digit pounds, can assist you in lowering your stress levels by deliberately going past and ignoring Seagull output.

Remember, replying amplifies the Denial-Of-Service effect.

PS: (to Charlie) - Is there a way to get more guest commentators to occasionally post so as to avoid the new strange attractor that has devoured this blog? (ie, the Seagull's emissions and the loathsomeness/genius (delete inapplicable) inherent to them)


Greg, alongside Ian's comments above, I think you should take a step back and realize the leniency shown to you under the blog rules; shall we count all of the times that you have been aggressive, unnecessarily rude, and downright intolerant of opposing view points (stretching all the way back through your history of posting here)? This is before we get to the occasions where you specifically smeared or insulted the Many Naméd One, because you didn't like the way she said something.

Note: This is not a defense of the Many Naméd One, whose style and tone often grates to say the least, but a suggestion to perform a little self examination before wailing for the moderators to step in.


It would be regarded as good thing by the saner minds in Europe, too.


However, a big container ship can carry 20,000 standard containers or more (the exact number is not a fixed amount, depends on total weight and distribution i.e. if you are lucky enough to know details in advance you can plan to put the heaviest ones first, centered and lower, lightest ones last and higher) and that's an awful lot of trains.

A quick search suggests a 600 wagons convoy is close to a world record. That would mean you need 30-40 extremely long convoys (roughly 6,5 km each, between 200 km and 250 km in total) to match just one MSC Oscar ship... in other words, in case of war or similar such a line could be vital, but no single rail line can dream of moving more than a very small fraction of the millions tons ships routinely manage.



However, I think I have learnt. I am highly uncertain that she has ......


I think the target is an intermediate niche product, midway between valuable/perishable

It may be so... but far as I know the prices and shipment times seem to be in favor of sea freight (although my info is a bit dated). And valuable is a relative term – in Russia at least two Il-76 crews died while trying to land their planes stuffed with cheap shoes and underpants from China... but those fine product were sold with 400% markup which made air cargo ridiculously profitable. I don't see those profit margins for items usually shipped by rail.

And a secondary requirement is redundancy. If something interferes with sea freight (e.g. two naval powers rattling their sabres at one another in the Arabian Gulf — remember the Tanker War of the 80s?) you can fall back on ground transport.

But the route they keep talking about comes with it's own risks. It starts from customs agents (who tend to have really sticky fingers in ex-USSR republics ending with "-stan") to crazy ideas that tend to strike all those presidents in ex-USSR countries to the fact that Islamic extremism is on the rise in many countries along the same route... And if you decide to use Trans-Siberian railway – well, looks like we have shortage of locomotives and platforms now. And the railway itself was not upgraded since forever...


Nearly 50 years after it was first done, Elon Musk announces plans to send two paying passengers around the moon. This could be to fill in for the proposed 2018 Red Dragon to Mars which has been put back to the 2020 window.

... and Russia's NPO Energia replied that they'll "send some tourists in a Soyuz spacecraft around the Mon in 2020... only maybe it will be 2022 or 2023... if it's not cancelled". The project (manned craft and trans-lunar injection stage launched separately to dock in orbit, etc) looks suspiciously similar to old Soviet lunar flyby... only this one's doomed from the start.


ThatPoppy is either creepy, or funny, or hillarious, or dumb, depending on your frame of mind.

(Maybe hillarious; is that a deliberate reference to HRC?)

Perhaps the deathtronica undertow or the affectless delivery have achieved their hypnotic effect, or I've somehow internalised McLuhan and an antidote to the sound of early Projekt, but watching these videos leaves me bored and as though they are playing in a sandboxed version of my consciousness. I mean, who actually has the time to engage with such low-bandwidth messaging? Luckily the few bits of information in the overt channel is right there in the YT description (thanks TS you are a thoughtful Svengali). This Barbie-Kawaii-Child (or is that Kawaii Barbie Princess?) is about as fun as a hatchet job on Podesta and Abramovic, nearly as firm as the Carry On version of a 70s dominatrix, and about as fair as Wikimedia elections.


Greg, we're currently sitting at about 35% Seagull for this post. We were past 20% well before 100 replies. If you don't want to use a filter, then ignoring is probably your only option. (Possibly the entire post, if scrolling past isn't working for you.)

This xkcd seems apropos:


The direct route and the one taken by the China-UK shipment is China-Kazakhstan-Russia-Belarus-Poland so the question is how corrupt the systems are in Kazakhstan. My perception (quite possibly wrong) is that they're relatively sane compared with say, Turkmenistan. Agreed that the southern and central silk road belt looks really flaky, but the northern one, not so much. And the railway is only one part of the goal of an economic corridor.

I also think the Chinese are playing Go, not Risk. Some of the early pebbles may not appear to make much sense until the late-middle and end game. Deepmind geopolitics?


Oh, the system in Kazakhstan is corrupt enough (but yes, they're much better than their counterparts from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan). Although Chinese involvement may curb their appetites. As for that economic corridor stuff... I remember many agreements/protocols/glorified-toilet-paper signed between Russia and China. The results were rather disconcerting, although Russian authorities were also at fault there... For me it looks like something that will benefit China the most (and they'll maybe share some scraps while they're at it).


The early version of this New Silk Road railway line is just that, a trail-breaking exercise to find out what the problems really are. Things will get improved gradually, new track, signalling and rolling-stock that simplifies the process, reduced trans-shipment and unneeded handling of the containers being transported. The end-to-end trip time will drop by 12 hours here and a day there and after a while it will be taking twenty days rather than forty end-to-end.

Costs per containerload are another matter.


No separate TLI stage needed for a Dragon 2 on a Falcon Heavy, it's a single launch. The Russian version is also a single launch, but needs a Soyuz with no Orbital Module launched on a Proton. The Descent Module of a Soyuz is cramped to say the least, and Proton has never quite got there in reliability.


The Chinese are also spending a fortune building and upgrading the links between Gwadar Port on the Arabian Sea in Pakistan and Kashgar in their remote interior. My flatmate keeps a close eye on it since a lot of the routes go through where he grew up in the north - it's a seriously tough mountain environment that they are blowing a path through up near Gilgit.

India is not happy about it either as it passes through the Pakistan held part of the disputed lands.

I have a feeling that China is trying to build a solid trade interchange along the old silk routes to try and remove some of the pressure on the lines coming in from the ports.


Re: 'China is trying to build a solid trade interchange along the old silk routes to try and remove some of the pressure on the lines coming in from the ports.'

There's also demographic pressure. The new-ish very high density ports are currently occupied by a disproportionately large number of younger (female) workers of child-bearing age who in a very fundamental way have been displaced from their homes and families. If the Chinese gov't can figure out an alternative trade transportation system, they can then send some of these younger generation workers back to repopulate key areas and provide unpaid assistance/care for older family.


If the transit-time can be halved, the unit costs will automatically fall by a significant amount, as well. Incidentally, there's a short piece on this in March's edition of "Modern Railways"


I can try again, but only if you want me to sound like your nemesis (who actually complimented you, albeit backhandedly, around 160.)

One of the things that's heavily entwined around advertising is weapons-grade contempt, and why not when advertising is nothing more than manipulation; every advertising agency is a Dark Tower that might as well house Sauron and the Nazgul, with those techniques leaking out into news and politics at a very high level of hostility toward ordinary human beings...

Think of it like sexual sadism; the contempt of the Dom, the groveling behavior of the sub, the ceremonial exchanges of humiliation and pain, but instead of getting to wank yourself you get a new TV at the end of the game, along with considerable debt and the opportunity to watch commercials for bigger and better TVs than the one you just signed your life away for. And don't buy the store brands - those are for the plebians - says the woman in the spandex suit. And yes, she is holding a whip and she will use it.

Did I mention that this is not a consensual relationship?


This is not a defense of the Many Naméd One, whose style and tone often grates to say the least, but a suggestion to perform a little self examination before wailing for the moderators to step in.

I second this motion.


Very funny, & probably true.

Ever read: "Murder must Advertise"?


I have a feeling that China is trying to build a solid trade interchange along the old silk routes to try and remove some of the pressure on the lines coming in from the ports.

An added advantage being that ports are very vulnerable to sea level rise, which they know is coming. Last time I was in China I was chatting with a professor about the ghost cities being built. When I mentioned speculation and market bubbles she disagreed, and said that it was planned to move industries and population away from coastal areas that will be flooded (or possibly when they are flooded — it was a while ago and neither of us were fluent in the other's language).

I'm certain Frank can give us a better summary of the likely changes in the next 50 years. I know my acquaintance talked of doing planning studies for the PRC a generation out. It seems like a non-sea transport link would be a prudent idea for an engineer.


The protests are noted and will be acted upon appropriately.

However; I Am Not In A CultYT: Poppy 0:54 - posted Fev 27th 2017.

You'll note that this is after my frenzy [this denotes we might actually be serious in warning not joking]. Someone is playing a bit too close to the bone with the whole meta "Critiquing Media as Cult by actually Making a Cult that dehumanizes its viewers at the same time as making them feel special 'in the know' about the meta / art of the project thing" and I could see it coming a mile away.

It's got glittering shiny light patterns that denote the Mind behind it is playing for the Gremlins side rather than the Light (which is why the frenzy into a sanitized and 'vaccination' form of the Gremlin tiers). The meta-2 point of it is probably not what the meta-1 level is stating, and if he's (and it is a HE behind it) working towards m-3 it could get messy.

Remember, I can see them immediately, you can't

It's very likely to have a hook akin to this piece of loveliness, which is heavily trending at this very moment (but we've been eyeing for a while - look at the sources):

Teen 'Suicide Games' Send Shudders Through Russian-Speaking World RadioFreeEurope / Radioliberty, 21st Feb, 2017

Was a Game Called 'Blue Whale' Responsible for Dozens of Suicides in Russia? Snopes, Feb 27th, 2017 (who are themselves not exactly amazing, but used as an example of the trend / viral squish being deployed)

However much this is the "normies" misreading darker stuff, the "Sea of Whales" is/was very real (and Russia has a particular weakness for Culty Conspiracy type stuff).


Greg, the squawking is a warning: it happens when I spot Eloi / Paradise Birds fluttering around a perilous thing.


The Many-Named-One reminds me of a small child I once knew, who could never seem to tell the difference between good and bad attention. The way to moderate this kid was not to punish - that gave attention - but to give them the silent treatment when they didn't behave.


No separate TLI stage needed for a Dragon 2 on a Falcon Heavy, it's a single launch. The Russian version is also a single launch, but needs a Soyuz with no Orbital Module launched on a Proton. The Descent Module of a Soyuz is cramped to say the least, and Proton has never quite got there in reliability.

Well, according to the interview with the director of NPO Energya published last week, they plan for two launches – one for (upgraded) Soyuz spacecraft (using Soyuz launch vehicle) and one Proton launch for Blok DM space tug/injection stage with additional pressurized compartment (I do hope it's a crew compartment and not just instrument compartment as used on some iterations of Blok DM). Single launch would be preferable but far as I can remember they have cancelled heavy launch vehicle program again. At least there's no talk of resurrecting the N-1 (yet?)...

Oh, and UR missile/launch vehicle family was actually quite reliable for a long time... right until a few years ago when they decided that the best way to ensure success would be to bring in a priest and consecrate the bloody thing (also, there was a scheme running where they replaced expensive materials with some relatively cheap substitute – in rocket motors, no less). Well, to the surprise of no one all they've achieved was a string of failures. Much more alarming is the fact that there were several failures of Soyuz launch vehicles...


Having been primed by the current meta-art/meta-life discussion, a question:

Given that robotics are here to stay, what do we do with the people who are no longer employable? How do we get humans to occupy their time in a harmless and even a potentially useful/positive way? (Humans are still pretty good at sciences and sports; robotic replacements more likely for arts/entertainment and business.)

Humans need to feel useful/wanted and ever since the industrial revolution 'if you're not working, you don't count' has been drummed into our heads. Also, since at least the 50's we've been living in the age of the 'expert' which means relying on others to provide us with the info we need and often even make decisions for us.

We've been primed to live someone else's idea of life since civilization began. But the operational definition of a good life is getting changed too fast and too often for some folks' comfort. Added to this is that in most countries/cultures we now have four generations of humans living side by side with each generation responding to a different definition of a 'good/meaningful life'.

Back to robotics/AI ... we could always ask robots/AI to design a better 'human'. Think it's possible to do this because both biological and sociological means already exist.


Even I can't be depressed 110% of the time, so yuo deserve this response: Q: What's round and purple (not orange) and conquered the world? A: Alexander the Grape, of course.



I look like a fucking psychopath to you all I've been parsing you more as just operating approximately 60° out of phase. On top of that, your writing's coherence is a bit trigonometric.

Re Poppy: I'm not an old fart, and that seriously triggered my DO NOT WATCH. My current theory is that it's an intersection between the Uncanny Valley and seeing the bloody (literally and figuratively) previews on the side. I don't like horror.

But I could easily see (at least some of) what she's doing there.


Great book ... Sayers is an all-time favorite!

Odd but serious question: Are you the person who responded that he cannot get into animated TV commercials but instead automatically and viscerally rejects such stuff as false, unbelievable, unrelatable and irrelevant to you? (This goes back to a reply to a comment I posted a few years back about advertising.)


Probably not. I only see TV commercials, peripherally, in the pub. I do not have aT separate TV & only, very occasionally watch programmes on "repeat" 9 i.e. via the computer ) OTOH, the description given is also correct (!)


Comment 136 was extremely easy to digest. So thanks for that. It confirms what I was thinking, particularly how I reacted to Scalzi's tweets on PDP and other liberal Democratic "it's not [really] a joke" responses. My immediate thought was that an unkind soul with a brain (thus excluding Vox Dei) could have weaponized Scalzi's "rapist" satire from a few years ago in exactly the same way, but neither Scalzi nor his niche of the media/public discourse would ever be able to acknowledge that as a possibility. (I seriously worry about how what passes for the American Left will cope with this new world. Even most of the Right does not look prepared for the level of cynicism necessary to function in the current environment. They thought they would only have to sacrifice OTHER people's values.)

On the other hand there's a point where Meta to the Nth power converges to something (more or less) definite or nothing. The more of our lives spent in virtual realities or the more our lives are influenced by things that happen in virtual realities, the more potential there is for expanding the chain of meta without the whole thing dissolving into mist (but hopefully not into night and fog on the "real" level.)

To get really meta, is our obsession with "meta" an artefact of this particular historical moment? In 30 years, will we have gotten even more meta or will we have gone beyond all that? [Just like by 3000 AD you cannot have your Lucy Liu bot so the human race stays vital; maybe epistemological hygiene studies will require people to affect literalism and avoid more than two levels of irony, on pain of social exclusion.]


Can't remember whether you're a mathematician, but if you are:
Q: What's purple and commutes?
A: An Abelian grape.


Natural-language researchers reminisce about the neural net trained to vocalise fruit names. When shown a grape, it let out a little whine.


Q: Why did the grape enter the bank?
A: To open a currant account.


Building "ghost cities" now for future inhabitation after they lose coastal cities to sea rise is somewhat puzzling since by the time people move in to them they'll be derelict absent a lot of expensive maintenance. Building new cities nearer the time of need is more appropriate, in part because there's a better chance of siting them to meet the future need better.

I suspect they were built because there was a lot of cash floating around and building cities was perceived as the best method of burning that cash while providing employment etc. The result was an overshoot of construction.

As for the New Silk Road, basically China is trying out everything and seeing what works. They had, for a time, a road-straddling bus ripped straight from the cover of Popular Mechanics circa 1935 (it lasted short, as they say), they've got a working commercial maglev (but only one), a lot of new separated-track high-speed rail, they're building high-speed (150km/hr) freight rail too, again on separated track. It's a bit like the early days of the Russian Revolution when an agrarian nation industrialised rapidly, building a lot of stuff even if it was the wrong kind of stuff or in the wrong areas (the Siberian industrial zones, for example) but measuring success in terms of the numbers of hydroelectric plants built even if the power they might generate had no way to get to consumers.


Archaeologists discovered that some Irish chieftains had local wine as well as mead. The vines were planted inside their forts on the north side, where they were sheltered from the winds and got lots of sun.

They were, of course, the grapes of the rath.


"[...] no single rail line can dream of moving more than a very small fraction of the millions tons ships routinely manage."

Trains can be quite a bit faster than ships, though, both in terms of the speed of travel and potentially much shorter routes. I'm not saying they are now over this route of course in terms of end-to-end shipping times, but it means it's more relevant to look at volume per year than volume per train.


Well, first you have a look at the last 70 years of science fiction writing. Once you've done that you can look at what lots of futurists and dreamers have been putting online for the last 30 or more years.
That should keep you occuped for a few years.

The short answer is, it depends on who has the political/ economic power. One possibility is mass starvation through neglect; another is more like Bank's Culture.


Re: 'OTOH, the description given is also correct (!)'

Okay - thanks for confirming ...

Was wondering because this sorta explains your strong dislike of the many-named's posts: they're simply not in your language. And you've been pretty up-front and consistent about those posts not being comprehensible to you - appreciate your candor.

To refresh your memory ... a few years back I had mentioned that in TV ad testing there was one segment that always always tested extremely negative (for exactly the reasons I mentioned) toward any animated commercials (as well as story boards) which is part of the reason live actors are still making a living doing commercials. BTW, that segment size ranged anywhere from about 7%-14% depending on other factors and was also pretty consistent across Western cultures. And last I checked, no one's figured out how to make this segment 'get' such ads. Seems it's a fundamental info-processing/wiring thing, just like how well you see/don't see various colors, hear various tones, taste different molecules, respond or not to human faces, etc.


Re: '...depends on who has the political/ economic power ...'

Given that approx 90% of all financial trades are now done via black-box algorithms, plus the recent launch of Perspective, any emergent AI probably could have and use that power.


Not the person you're talking about here, but I am responsible for 113 which you're replying to - I think you mistook our usernames.

Anyway, I was referring to the Eumenides, the final part of Aeschylus' Oresteia. The general plot is that Orestes has killed his mother Clytemnestra as revenge for her killing his father (and her husband) Agamemnon. Clytemnestra (or at least her shade) calls upon the Furies to avenge her. The purpose of the Furies is to destroy those who kill their kin. So if, as the one of many names suggested, blowback is a Fury, then someone presumably killed a family member. I was inquiring as to who had done that.

Anyway, the Eumenides proceeds to a trial in which the Furies argue that the new upstart gods (that is, all the Olympians) are destroying the ancient laws and customs and will let everyone go around killing everyone all the time, while Apollo (who told Orestes to kill Clytemnestra) argues that the mother is only a vessel for semen and is therefore not really related to the child in the same way as the father, and therefore Orestes was only enacting just revenge. The Furies lose, and are about to poison the whole land in revenge, but Athena convinces them to become the titular Eumenides - the Kindly Ones, who swear to no longer inflict the same sort of vengeance, and instead to protect Athens from any sort of misfortune. This was the second part of my comment - if people weren't killing their families, then presumably they were doing something with Athens. It's then plausible that, in this metaphor, 'Athens' is a stand-in for something larger than Athens. The issue here is that they're not Furies anymore by that point, so talking about blowback being a Fury is evidence that it's not about Athens, or even 'Athens'. Anyway, from the response I got I'm pretty sure it's not Athens.

In unrelated to the comment above but significant-seeming news:

A Garfield-themed YouTube channel which had been defunct for nine years suddenly returns to life, uploading a group of videos with surprisingly high production values some of which are absolutely bizarre - one of them starts off with a 30-sec live-action reenactment of an early, unfunny Garfield strip, followed by an hour of a single continuous take of a man explaining why that strip is the greatest work of art ever created, and it's not even the weirdest one of them. There's evidence that some of them have been in production for years - I believe someone found snippets from one that were uploaded somewhere else five years ago.

Also, since someone mentioned Kek, it's interesting to note that another rendition of that is Kuk. So we've got an existing parallel between alt-right sexual insults and Egyptian gods. Now take into account that Malik Obama (Barack's half-brother, alt-right twitter shitposter, and otherworldly figure if I've ever seen one) has become fond of using 'thot' as a counterpart to 'cuck', and in more general memes you have 'Θώθ what's this'... implications are interesting. It's at least a better option than the chaos frog of darkness. 'OwO what's this' and 'thot' aren't nearly as big as 'kek' and 'cuck', though, so maybe it's not going anywhere.

(If you're really stretching it then maybe even get Nut involved. Sexual, but not an alt-right insult yet, so who knows where that's going.).

No clue about the particular significance of all this, though. As I said above, it's not like I keep up with this sort of thing.


I've very tempted to answer this without engaging filters (and was before).

1 Interesting usage there - you're running the later, let us say, 'defanged' versions. The point of the name switch, in meta-terms at that time was "He Who Should Not Be Named" (Yes, that's a JK Rowling Reference). i.e. to prevent ill-fate, there was a ('ever-so-slightly') ironic name switch. 2 The Furies mainly avenged Oath Breakers. i.e. the same function as Mitra or Vör / Vár (who has a much more sexual / marriage role, which the Furies also shared with Hera / Hecate etc: lots of wrangling over jurisdiction and who was enacting what punishments) or someone who went against their Wyrd. They had a much larger cultural and wing-spread than you're suggesting (this was deliberate: part of the point of the play was binding them down into a nice, safe, polite, polis friendly trio). 3 The actual reference was to Ariadne. Apparently you don't have the version where she curses Theseus when left on Naxos and the Furies answer her call. Which is a pity, because that's the best version. It's also weird, because I know that version.

The first sentence I read in Hittite was "The ruler summoned the traitor's mother and had her for dinner", i.e. "ate her"


Anyhow @197. Take you how you see it: not having another round of this Game and quite pissed off that everyone thought they could make it happen. And you can call me names and hate me, but do note: larger M-2/3 societal stuff in play, so not too bothered.

No, I'm not anything you might ascribe to me. A notable point of this is that European educated people really don't have the same set of prejudices that they're being labelled with, and most of the poison is coming via Digg / Reddit (and Koch Father etc), so attempting to use scapegoats is really offensive and culturally blind. And yes, that's deliberate MF irony.


The Many-Named-One reminds me of a small child I once knew, who could never seem to tell the difference between good and bad attention

Oh. I'd share how ironic this is if I could. I really would.


miθra "covenant"

The word is a bit older than Judaism, let me promise you that.


It's at least a better option than the chaos frog of darkness.

Well, that really depends:

Not nice, and Hera / Furies will certainly raise their eyebrows.

For the more esoteric to understand where this delightful post is coming from:

Thoth is a significantly more powerful member of the pantheon than Kek and the consequences of summoning him may be even more drastic than the rebirth of Kek (Brexit, Trump winning the election, a series of celebrity deaths)


Did I say something about Chans and Tumblr being two sides of something? I probably certainly did. You can check that reference and then check the dates on those. innocent look

Sympathy For The DevilYT: Music, 6:22 - "re-appropriated" as you'd say.


I find it remains correct if the qualification "animated TV" is deleted...


Ah, that clarifies things somewhat. I just recently read the play so it was fresh in my mind. Which text would you recommend for that version of Ariadne?

@210: Well, as far as I know Kuk isn't particularly linked to cuckoldry, so I'm not especially concerned about the particular meaning of the relevant alt-right insult. Maybe I'm missing a meta-level here? Seems fairly likely.


"Humans need to feel useful/wanted and ever since the industrial revolution 'if you're not working, you don't count' has been drummed into our heads."

Well, the "drummed in" is the significant part; nobody is born feeling like that. (Arguably not the first part either, but that's not an argument I have sufficient knowledge to engage in.)

School must have a lot to answer for, partly directly and partly not - "you will need to know this shit to get a job" being a much easier motivator for kids to understand than "knowing this shit will make for a richer, better-adapted and more satisfying experience of life in general" which, although a far better reason, doesn't begin to make sense until school is long behind you.

On the other hand, my own schooling wasn't really like that, and I am glad now that the "more satisfying" reason was emphasised far more than the "getting a job" one (even though I thought it was bollocks at the time). The "getting a job" one hardly even came into it until the time came to choose which subjects to continue for O-level and which to drop, with potential commercial utility of the results being a significant consideration. It was at that point that I first considered what life might be like after leaving school from a concrete and realistic standpoint rather than in purely fantastic terms that considered only possible pleasant aspects, and I rapidly concluded that suicide would be a more appealing option; it was probably a good thing that my dad had disposed of his .22 before I got as far as discovering practically that so small a round isn't the best choice for such a purpose. (Brief summary of reasoning: all the undesirable aspects of life would be massively increased and all the enjoyable aspects massively curtailed, in both cases by orders of magnitude; there is absolutely no possibility of escape (barring some hugely lucky chance like an inheritance of millions - which having no rich relatives I knew anyway wasn't going to happen); and no compensation whatsoever is offered to make up for this manifest shitness.)

So that suggests to me that some at least of the necessary elements are already in place, and the main requirement is for a change of emphasis. Supply a more realistic picture of life after school from the beginning, and kids will be more receptive to the idea that knowledge is worthwhile for its own sake, less inclined to consider current conditions as a law of nature instead of an artificial and mutable human construct, and less likely to contemplate suicide in response to suddenly realising that the prospects for life after school are, in contrast to their conventional presentation, actually dogshit.

An element that I do think needs to be introduced, since I don't see it as being a realisation that would arise naturally in a kid's mind, is that the idea of "working is contributing to society" omits the important point that, with a very few specialised exceptions (teachers being one that immediately springs to mind in the context), the contribution is negative. 90% of work serves no purpose other than to prop up the system of continuous work (figure some decades old and it'd be higher now), so by unthinking engagement with that system all you're doing is helping to maintain the continuous creation of a rod for your own back.

Similarly, the question "How do we get humans to occupy their time in a harmless and even a potentially useful/positive way?" becomes less daunting when it is realised that it describes a change away from the current situation as it is, and is not just some hypothetical future problem. Had it been realised and addressed a hundred years ago, we would not currently be engaged with the question of the effect of human activities on climate. And it is entirely irrational to hold the all-too-common view that "monging in front of the telly all day" is somehow wasteful and destructive of human dignity, but screwing the caps on toothpaste tubes all day or shuffling meaningless figures relating to entirely imaginary and artificial concepts on a computer all day somehow isn't.


Well, 90% of work might indeed server no other purpose than to prop up a system of continuous work, however I will then turn around and call that system "civilization". And I believe that unless you have some supernatural knowledge with regard to the meaning of Life, The Universe & Everything (i.e. some hyperuniversal set of morals & goals), it is not actually possible to tell with any certainty which actions are positive and negative. The best I can come up with is classifying work in terms of being essentially necessary for human civilization to continue existing, identifying-correcting it's mistakes and evolving. If changes due to globalisation, climate change or the green energy revolution will end up significantly lowering the "energy allowance" per person it is definitely possible to have a renaissance in jobs related to toothpaste tube caps (and that's of course a very optimistic scenario).

I really don't agree with the concept of "work" being a fundamentally unfair and bad thing. Currently this is the best system of keeping things going, and at least so far the system has helped to vastly increase people's living standards compared to previous generations. What I definitely agree with is that the haves are not treating have-nots very well and the latter have every right to demand radical changes. Just not the Trump-Brexit kind of counterproductive crap that's been installed through fear and propaganda. So if there's anything I'd change with education, it would be to add some countermeasures for 21st century Mind games.


On the other hand there's a point where Meta to the Nth power converges to something (more or less) definite or nothing. The more of our lives spent in virtual realities or the more our lives are influenced by things that happen in virtual realities, the more potential there is for expanding the chain of meta without the whole thing dissolving into mist (but hopefully not into night and fog on the "real" level.)

Bit like Jaques Derrida & the deconstructionists, then?

150% complete bullshit, with zero content.

The medium is emphatically NOT the message, because that says: Form = Content.

Which is what I've been complaining about all along.

See also: "Smoke & Mirrors"


Given that my colour-vision is still very good, & that my acuity, provided I wear the correct magnification spectacles for $Specific_Task is well-above average for my age & that I worked for 18 years in a "business" where imagery & correct reproduction of same was vitally important, then yes.
Thus, I react pretty negatively to almost all "commercials", whether on TV or the odd time I go to the "Movies". Cultural conditioning? In these sense that most of said advertising is anti-educational?


Aplogies ( If U sea waht I meen ) - I was replying to the other, but used your adjacent comment-number. Duh!

And, yes, I know about said Greek myth - thank Penguin/Pelican Classics for that.


No mention, by either of you, of the Norse part-equivalent: The Norns.

I'm beginning to be reminded of the verse heading PJF's "The Dark Design" in his Riverworld series.

Thus: And still the Weaver plies his loom, whose warp and woof is wretched Man Weaving th' unpattern'd dark design, so dark we doubt it owns a plan.


"Work" as opposed to: Doing something useful & hopefully enjoyable?

See also Kipling, Sons of Martha.


I find your negative view of the benefits of work alien. When I chose my O level subjects at school work had very little to do with my options. I was interested in science so I did all the science subjects I could. When I left school after A levels I went to work in pathology laboratories because it was a science related job which meant I wouldn't have to leave home. Work was in every way better than school. I, and most of my fellow young technicians looked forward to Monday mornings. Work wasn't paradise but it was often interesting,paid a wage, offered (in fact mandated) further training and education and could be seen to be worthwhile. Later on when I went to university full-time I worked as a postman and in a carpet warehouse. I enjoyed these jobs too. Any job can offer a challenge however boring. I wasn't screwing toothpaste caps onto tubes but I was wrapping carpets in brown paper for delivery from a warehouse. I made that interesting by doing the job well. I had one person cutting carpets which I then wrapped. Occasionally he tried to overwhelm me with work (he often did this to humiliate new workers, particularly students). I kept up with him until he tired of his Stakhanovite efforts. In my later jobs in NHS labs I always tried and usually succeeded in improving and simplifying the jobs I was given. It helps that in the NHS you can see the benefit of your work but any job can give the same challenges. That doesn't mean everything was perfect. There are bureaucrats, time servers, empire builders and office politicians everywhere. But working is better than watching TV. Remember Sturgeon's revelation: 90% of EVERTHING is crud.

you can tell when the Israelis kill someone

Yes, because we get to see their agents on CCTV, and wonder who they stole the passports from.

Or, sometimes, we get to see them being arrested in the streets of Amman after poisoning someone, forcing the head of Mossad to deliver the antidote in person to get his agents released. (Hey, did they mislay the gun?)

Or some poor Moroccan waiter gets blown away, a case of mistaken identity.

Can we stop it with the "invincible Israeli assassins" bullshit already.


Re: ' ... where imagery & correct reproduction of same was vitally important, then yes.'

Okay, so you're more of a 'dots are dots (and must be dotted)' with no inclination to change dots into something 'more now and, dontcha know, more with-it!' kind of guy? You're not into metaphor, allusion, 'litterchur' and prefer 'say what you mean, mean what you say'?

Also, this characteristic isn't necessarily a 'preference due to education/environment', it can be an inborn thing which is why asking someone to change this way of understanding the world is pointless. Like telling someone who's red-green color-blind to try harder/not be so stupid when sent to buy tomatoes.

However, once you (and your colleagues) become aware of these differences in perception, it may be possible to map out ways of ensuring that key info is presented, perceived and understood equally/similarly by all parties. (E.g., A red-green color-blind colleague always used the numeric color-saturation option when creating PPT slides as his work-around for this.)


Re, Russian Rail Gauge incompatibility.

No deep conspiracy/plan involved, the "Russian" 5' (1.52m) "Broad Gauge" adoption was an almost casual decision based on the importation of a complete US southern manufacturing concern to build motive power for the Leningrad-Moscow Railway. Much of the US South was built to the 5' gauge, at least one line post (American) Civil War was rebuilt from "Standard" (4'8.5") to 5'(!); The entire American South was reguauged to standard (well, 4'9") in 1886, part of the protracted development of gauge standardization and car interchange.

I wonder if the Chinese now regret the (prompt) regauging of the Chinese Eastern Railway (a Tsarist project/enterprise) in 1935?


Breaking Lent for this (sigh):

Which text would you recommend for that version of Ariadne?

If you can find an extant version of Theseus and Ariadne myth that mentions the Furies, I'd be extremely impressed. Look up the history of Naxos and why Dionysus got the gig (yes, another meta-joke). Eradication of female aspects and all that.

Oh, and a head's up: I was surprised at the furry depth to Thot. Might have outed yourself a little bit.

Anyhow, penance time.


(And no, not a member of the faithful - but everyone needs a breather and so on)


Greg has mentioned poetry, so I suspect he's not blind to literature etc.

Personally, I have a very hard time "reading between the lines". I can do it in a work of fiction (although not well) but in real life I'm very much with Greg's "say what you mean".

For one thing, reading between the lines assumes a shared culture, and I've seen too many cases where that doesn't hold — and in most of those, not being "in the know" was being used as a way of excluding people.


Different types of poetry though. Older classical styles were pretty straightforward narratives. Modern and post-modern poetry (esp. if ripped off haiku) is deliberately written to obscure while pretending to enlighten.

The in-group thing is a bit different from shared-cultures in my experience. You mentioned you're a Canadian high school teacher (15 year old age group) so have probably seen both clique (predominantly nasty egotist types) and culture-dependant (not how I was raised/not what I'm used to) behaviors. Am a fan of the normal/Bell curve which has shown me time and again that jerks and really interesting/nice folk can be found in any ethnic group, and at about the same rate/incidence.

Over the years have developed a mental behavioral algebra for giving me a quick way of assessing my own reactions to unusual or upsetting behaviors: substitute someone of my socio/ethnic/sex/age group for 'subject', then ask myself: 'What's my reaction now?' Not fool-proof esp. for real/actual cultural differences, but helps. Have also noticed that most people do not mind or get offended if I say 'I noticed you did ... . I've never see that before and it intrigues me ... have to look this up on Wikipedia ... does this have a particular name?' The Wikipedia reference helps reduce BS responses.


Lack of shared culture is something that handicaps minority and low-income students when they go to college (for example).

Applying for jobs has a whole lot of implied expectations. Same problem if you don't have experience in that (sub)culture. (And I'll note that engineering and education are different cultures for that purpose.)


Since you're discussing this, I suspect Greg (and many others here) missed the "Nut" link's relevance while referring (nominally) to an Egyptian Goddess and also (possibly) an insult towards my mental health:

It's an old Tumblr meme from 2015-6 and was common in the Anime / Furry zones (who generally are great people but there's some incidences of caustic rot / drama that have marked internal strife and, of course, they're usually persecuted / hunted by the less savory parts of the internet (New Zealand Fruit Farm) extensively. And I really do mean that).

So, Susebron in nominally presenting h/h/zerself as coming from Tumblr culture (not chan culture) and being fairly brave in that she's identified herself as part of a rather targeted portion of tumblr at that.

1 I'm not that batty, unless you count striking back at Murdoch with tiny mouse-like fists is bad for ones career (100% a given, it would seem), but I can see the angle. 2 I'm really not a Fascist, nor am I contra left-leaning places such as MF. Quite the opposite, I'm attempting to avoid all the blow-back / negativity before it occurs. 3 Tumblr info was novel, but suspected. T.h.o.t is a really sexist piece of mimetic garbage though. 4 "Dont hunt humans" is a good motto, it'd be a lovely world if it were true.


So, that's a lot of information that Greg would certainly not know.


Okay agree, the subculture and feeling of not-belonging can be pretty daunting to a freshman. But that's true even for middle-class kids. By second semester though most have figured out what groups are comfortable for them. It's rough but survivable. This is also where pursuing personal interests really pays off - if you're a drama or music nut, no one really cares about your background.

Also, I'm much more impressed by a first-generation top-school degree than finding out the kid with the glorified BA was on a campus where he/she bumped into buildings bearing his/her family name. So, this in-group mentality can also work against the rich kids who are often thought of as having bought and not earned their degrees.

If any of your less-than-wealthy students are worried about how they'll do at an Ivy league school, have them look up Richard Feynman. Other greats that didn't get into 'top' schools but who changed the world: Michael Faraday and George Boole. (There are probably many others.)


Re: 'Tumblr culture'

Finally looked up what this site is on Wikipedia: lots of porn (up to 22% of traffic), and mostly young users (under 25 year olds). Google search also pulled up mostly items/descriptions showing 'toxic' as a key word.

The know-your-meme page shows a progression toward the increasingly toxic. Not surprising given the recent MSFT AI experiment: AI was turned toxic within a day because trolls have nothing better to do and choose to use destructiveness as a their coinage/metric.

Not my thing ...


Norns are more the Fates than the Furies, as I understand it. You've got your tripartite female thing going on, there's certainly interesting parallels to draw, but I wasn't under the impression that the Norns did the whole thing with punishing kinslayers et cet. Although now I think about it that's presumably what you meant by "part-equivalent".

@224: Apologies for inducing you to break Lent, if apologies are warranted.

@229: To clarify: 'Nut' has nothing to do with my opinion of your mental health.

Somewhat accurate in your diagnosis there; unfortunately, to correct the inaccuracies would be to specify things rather more than I would prefer to. As enjoyable as darkly hinting (or just explaining, honestly) is, I'll leave it at that. It may not be entirely possible but I'd like to keep some separation between online identities.

3: agreed. Not as virulent as 'cuck' in my experience but that doesn't mean it's good by any means.

Yes, the Norns are a totally different aegis - Greg brought them up, but they're totally different.

@224 - my wyrd is pain anyhow, not much I can do to change it. It was a (bitter) mention of something past, now dead (? Phoenix).

Yes, we like to keep things general and splurge fuzz, that's kinda our thing. Don't worry, we don't tell.

As much as we love some of the Gremlins, we never forget that they're actually Gremlins.


Watches VOICE get enacted. Hmm.

You were warned, or at least there was an attempt.


Norns = Clotho, Atropos, Lachesis.

They're so vastly different only a man could mistake their role.


You have obviously missed my comments on the validity of poetry .....


So? Tumblr is EVEN MORE SHIT - just like Arsebook. ( & probably empty meaningless, self-referencing up-your-own backside shit, too ) Life's too short.


Your a good dog, Grig.

They are too.

They also live lives that are probably a bit more hurting than yours.

And they certainly spend more time attempting to understand others.

Life is too short, we agree.

Your Minds fucking tortured us and you don't give a shit? Not even a bit? Not even a smidgen of self-awareness here?

Oh, the Void got you BOY, it got you GOOD a while back, just as I said.


Nice to be a Morris Dancer at the Apocalypse, isn't it?

Well, you did audition for the fucking role.


Obviously ...

Seriously - don't recall poetry references that you might have made in earlier posts. (Not much of a poetry fan.)


"Anyhow @197. Take you how you see it: not having another round of this Game and quite pissed off that everyone thought they could make it happen. And you can call me names and hate me, but do note: larger M-2/3 societal stuff in play, so not too bothered."

Did you mean me? If so, I did not get your point honestly. I certainly did not think I was directing anything negative at you. More importantly, I did not get the referents enough to continue a discussion. I might be doing my own "Lenten" fast on internet comments (but I might not); so don't take silence as a brush off, in the event.


I am going to unpack my comments some more: there's an episode of Futurama where Fry learns that people in the 31st century frown on getting into a relationship with your sex robot, which in Fry's case is modeled on Lucy Liu. SF has often posited a dark future (or not so dark future) where most sex is virtual or practiced with artificial partners. Futurama posited that over the years, humans developed a social mechanism for limiting the problems this might cause: basically an addendum to sex ed and a general social disapproval for a practice that might have unintended negative consequences.

I extended this to a different modern "problem" with a technological root: ever increasing expansions of meta and sub-referencing to the point where real problems in communication take place. This is overlaid on a world of increasing globalization, where people are more likely to be in contact with people from a distant part of the world who don't have the same linguistic base or cultural referents to help ease problems in conveying complex ideas or patterns. In some ways internet culture can provide a new base that can be shared globally, but in others it just brings together people who drag all of their meta based conversation patterns into an environment where they are not even speaking the same dialect of their common language or where some are not native speakers of the common language. Hence, my speculation that after a few decades of frustration, the world might develop social mechanisms of control to discourage such communication patterns: for the good of the species/world/etc.

I also was struck by the idea that there are at least two ways of looking at current trends in internet (and real life) speech. One is that they are a natural response to underlying technology and social structures. So we should expect "meta" to keep expanding and becoming more pronounced and developed. The second is that we are inside a particular historical moment, with its own style, but that we should not necessarily assume that style will continue to be the norm indefinitely. The answer is probably a little bit of both and more besides.

TL;DR we are not even wrong. (See what I did there.)


No, ffs.

You're a pawn, playing stuff like Wu. You're literally a cipher.

I spent 3 years making sure the entire #gamergate stuff (which isn't, actually, about anything you understand, esp. not the Wu / twitter shit) didn't poison, oh, about ~20 million minds. And it cost a lot to do, including a Burning Pyre of stuff.

And Burning Man - worked, quell surprise (we're pros).

Murdoch (not actually Murdoch, it's things you've never seen / mentioned in press) decided to fucking double-down during Trump and attempt to garner 53+ million raging "we've had our bestest childhood memories burnt" levels of stuff, and even tried to rope in !!POPULAR SCIENCE FICTION / FANTASY AUTHORS!! It's PUPPIES but FOR REALZ made by MURDOCH THE GOOD BOY PRESS BARON.

But, spoilers: TRAAAP. (Rule34 / Chan Joke - it's required to use the cultural memes and language)

Saw this a mile away, been planning the response for 6+ months.

Do you need this better explained? Fucking Monbiot just posted a piece and it's fucking sad, sad, sad out of date.


You're literally that predictable.


No, you're all wrong. You're obsolete and dangerous little fuckers with nukes. We don't hate you, but you just destroyed your global climate because you like sushi, plastic toys and genocide. No, you're fucking obscene.


You're like little mud-guppies to us. Pets. We see your shitty plans a mile off and crush them. Literally sea-monkeys in a plastic cup. That we did this with the firestorm of shit that you'll never see during / while it / with 30+ units booze / night?



It's called a "handicap" in Sports, but that's rather ableist now.


You're literally that predictable.

I'm reminded of the old Dilbert animated series, when Dilbert visits his mother and hears her from another room. After a short conversation he finally discovers...a tape recorder. "You taped your conversation with me? I'm not that predictable!", he protests. Dilbert's mom's voice on tape says, "Yes, dear, you are that predictable."

In reality it only works when there's a script.


Tumblr's a bit weird in that it's somewhere between a [idk what the word for them is, relatively anonymous platforms centered around content] and a social network. Because it's based on blogs and following other blogs, you can essentially remove yourself from anyone you dislike, or if you wish you can specifically follow people you dislike (compare to Reddit, where you can't avoid content you personally dislike, but you can't see content that people in general dislike unless you're dedicated to searching the comment sections down to the bottom). As a result, any individual user can avoid toxicity fairly well most of the time, but when it pops up it gets personal and therefore even worse. It's also essentially unmoderated (except possibly for stuff that's illegal to host), not because of some particular commitment to not moderating but because it's way too difficult to keep a handle on millions of individual blogs. Even if the admins tried to delete posts that broke a particular ruleset they would have a hell of a time finding them - no centralized locations.

The Tay twitter chatbot wasn't a Tumblr thing - that was chan culture, mass-spamming a particular input to make it output something you want. Particularly given what the output was in that case. Tumblr's too personal to do that as effectively - to see something, somebody who you specifically follow has to see it and reblog it. Things can go viral but raids aren't that easy to pull off, it takes too long and the culture's not there. Not too familiar with chans but as I understand it all it takes is for enough people to keep bumping it to keep it on the front page, whether or not you personally care about their opinions.


Most appropriately for this and the next thread would be: Ozymandias

In the past, I've referred to WS, The Shropshire Lad, JRRT, Kipling - at least.


Not sure what level to address this at: one, in the original post I was literally thanking you for a comment I appreciated. No need for dark sideways glances and infinite recursive analysis on my meaning. I did not see any obvious direct conflict with you or insult to you in what I said.

Second, you may think you are engaging with the words I actually wrote. I cannot see it. Perhaps because I am as an amoeba in comparison. It might be a fair cop.

Third, as you sometimes say you are communicating for an unseen audience who "get it," maybe I am communicating with the "seen" audience here and hoping my fellow amoebas get some amusement or enlightenment out of my speculations, regardless of how offensively shallow they might be to you.

Just for clarification, am I literally a "cypher" or am I completely "predictable?" I guess there might be ways to resolve the usage here, but it seems contradictory to me.

Finally, I may continue to read your comments, as they are often of interest, but I should probably resist the urge to make any responses, even ones I considered neutral or halfway friendly. My kind DO go mad and one definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result.


I'm more worried about the kids who don't have the social skills (soft skills, life skills, whatever you want to call them) to get into college, get (and hold) a good job, etc.

Even within a single culture, different groups signal who's in and who's out. To get (and keep) a job at a bank you need to wear a (fairly conservative) suit. (As one example.) You don't talk 'urban' (or whatever it's called now). You might have to participate in 'voluntary' after-work social events. One of my nieces got a job at a bank and chaffed at this. If she hadn't had family members who knew how things worked and who could explain them to her (especially the clothing and the compulsory nature of social events) she'd have been let go before she had a chance to figure it out.

Middle class kids usually get this quickly (or their parents do). Working class kids don't have many chances to pick this up.


"You don't talk 'urban' (or whatever it's called now)."

There is a chap on another site I use who runs some kind of financial outfit, and one of his recurrent beefs is that "about half" his interviewees turn up talking like that in the interview. He rejects them all, and then posts on the site agonising over the conflict between his desire to do them a favour by telling them "look, you're never going to get a job if you insist on talking in that stupid put-on accent" and his fear of being crapped on by some undefined "anti-discrimination" legislation if he does.


"...the system has helped to vastly increase people's living standards compared to previous generations."

That is a by-product, not an aim. (It can't be an aim, because capitalism depends on the divide between advantaged and disadvantaged people to provide the entropy gradient that its operations run off; as living standards improve in a capitalist nation it has to turn to other nations with lesser standards to provide the reservoir of disadvantage.)

Take washing machines, and fridges. Certainly they make a huge difference to people's standard of living, but that isn't what they're made for. They are not made because people concerned with the general crapness of the human condition thought "people are spending half their time washing things and their food keeps going off; this is shit; what can we do about it?" If they were, they would tend to last longer than their owners do, and would be so designed that if they did go wrong the fault would be simple to diagnose and fix.

They're made because people concerned with making money thought "people are spending half their time washing things and their food keeps going off; here's how we can take advantage of them". They are deliberately made badly so that people are periodically returned to a position of disadvantage when the thing breaks down, and have to give the makers more money for a replacement - resulting in continuous, unnecessary work (accompanied by continuous, unnecessary waste of natural resources) to provide the continuous stream of unnecessary (as in, wouldn't be needed if the things weren't made to fail) replacements.

And this is accompanied by the mass brainwashing of the people buying the replacements into the delusion that their standard of living has been further improved by buying the replacement simply because it is "new", and so they are better off, when in fact they are in the exact same position as they were before but have been forced into unnecessary expenditure on their own part just to stay where they were. So powerful is this brainwashing that people will even replace things when there is nothing wrong with the old one at all, and other people will rule out without even considering it the most sensible option for replacing one's own fridge which is to look in your neighbours' front yards for discarded fridges which the bin men won't take (I currently pass about five such between home and the local shop).


In which case there is something really seriously wrong with teaching in the UK. Apart, that is, from all the other things, which is why I got out of the game, after only 2 - 3 years ....


I note from Palimpsest:

Xiri would be appropriately adoring, and would doubtless write a series of sonnets about his Library visit (for poetics were in fashion as the densest rational format for sociological-academic case studies in Leng): and his adoptive home time would be spared the rigor and pity of a needless doctrinal war.

I'd be very interested to know what prompted that "densest rational format" observation.


Note: that is a meta joke: search for "Dead Sea Works" and spot the environmental stupidity.

The prefix "meta" in these discussions seems to have shed precision until it means no more than "vibration" to Teilhard de Chardin or "energy" to a New Age health-food advertiser. It would be good if people using it would remember that it can be used precisely; that there are many different senses in which one thing can be meta to another; and that it's really helpful to know which one you intend.


Re: "look, you're never going to get a job if you insist on talking in that stupid put-on accent" ...

Weird ... thought this was taught by Guidance Councillors as part of high school job fair presentations/days. Have also seen this covered on TV talk shows and local news each late spring when new grads start job-hunting: interview and workplace do's & don'ts, how to write a resume, how to dress, etc.


US/UK difference perhaps? Though it has to be said I have no idea what they do in that line in schools these days, and I don't think the chap who said it has either. Maybe the US/UK difference is not so much in what is said by the careers bods, but in how likely it is to go in one ear and out the other.


...forgot to mention: But it certainly isn't on TV talk shows here. Nobody would watch them if it was.


"In the 3 position" :)

If I had your skill with a pencil I would at this point post a sketch illustrating that "parrot" is a corruption of "parat", and there exist also the "metat" with its legs on its chest, and the "orthot" with its legs on its shoulders...


Guidance councellors sound like American speak. Here in the UK there've been massive cuts to all sorts of support services. I could ask some people I know who are teachers, but as far as I am aware there just isn't the support for the sort of people who need it.
Same for you Greg; school can't be about magically changing everything about someone to fit some preconcieved notions of the right behaviour/ speech, there isn't the resources or anything else for that, even if we could agree on the right line between local cultural speach and behaviour and that needed to fit in in various parts of the wider world.

I used to work somewhere where some teenagers came for job interview wearing their best white trackies and trainers, because that's all they had. They could just about chew gum and walk at the same time. After six months of being reshaped by the trainer and shift guys they were fine and helpful and good workers.


Could be a US/UK difference ... Even so, job-hunting kids regardless of country would have parents that would also provide some guidance.

Did have a kid show up for a job 'interview' in the weirdest, in-your-face outfit I had seen up to that time. We both knew he'd get the job 'cuz my pres had just signed a contract with his dad's company. (Kid didn't last long, and his peers didn't cry when he left either.)


Your comment seems to me to be confusing several issues in one post without making them clear. You can have good enough soft skills/ life skills and still speak 'urban' for instance. Why should people attend 'voluntary' after work events? Merely becoming a slave to the system is not what many people want, nor is it desirable that this is their only option.
Middle class kids have parents who know how to play the game, or else are fed up with the game themselves and encourage their children to opt out or do different games altogether.


Given we can do the whole parsing Judaic stuff while parsing the entire Alt-Right / Nazi rubbish versions and can do H.O.P. constructions...

Ok, so we'll do this, since you're nice:

If there was a G_D, that Baptism with Blair & Murdoch in the Jordan would have instantly lead to Israel having a new economy: salt mining.

Initial Joke:

Blair and Murdoch are both (nominally) Christians, who have tied themselves quite deeply to the more... "conservative" elements of their faiths (Blair coming out as Catholic post PM role, Murdoch and LARPing Baptisms of his (2nd wife? 3rd?) in the river Jordan all dressed in white. Don't believe me? Ohhh... Rupert Murdoch's Daughters Baptized In Jordan At Spot Where Jesus Was Baptized Huffpost, May 2010)

So, there is the initial formation: Blair + Murdoch literally enacted a faux Baptism of "Christ" of his own fucking daughter in the Jordan River.

The joke being: G_D would see this hubris and smight them for all manners of things (Hmm, for a starters: spreading war, hatred and so forth. Not to mention that whole hospitality thing).

So, let's see if we used "meta" correctly here. Yes, we did: because the joke has meta-elements immediately:

1 Israel already has a salt mining business 2 It's rather large, and is very proud of the fact that many USA malls have their own little stands that constantly spam their products 3 (Hidden) - these are often fronts for Intel work

So, there's Meta #1.

Meta #2:

1 The company is Capitalist and has expanded its operations so much (you know, supplying "magical / Religious Dead Sea salts" to America and beyond) that it has effected the ecology of the Dead Sea itself (cba with link: "dead sea levels threatened" - goes back to at least 1998). This is a serious issue for Israelis - not only the environmentalists, but also tourism etc. 2 So, the joke is saying: Israel has a salt mining business but it's in danger of ceasing to exist so... 3 If Blair / Murdoch did turn up, and G_d did turn them into salt, there might be a chance that their business would still exist. Which it won't if they continue to fuck the ecology / balance of the Sea.

Meta #3:

1 The faith and Temple stuff - since most modern Judaic prophecies rely upon the Temple being rebuilt before G_d looks favourably upon them / their land, Blair / Murdoch getting turned into salt pillars cannot happen until that's realized. 2 The stereotype of "Greedy Jews" is a Christian one (born out of money lending etc etc): so, the irony that Blair / Murdoch being turned into salt pillars being pushed for by a company who are determined to get profit by any means necessary and turning the two leading lights of the entire "Pro-Right-Wing Israel" lobbies is funny.

And so on.

Need more?

Trust me: I use Meta correctly.


This concern for the nature of "work" is a bourgeois conceit. Or maybe it is a construct.

First Point, I refuse to take a "Job" where I have lost money the instant I turn the key in the ignition of my vehicle. Driving half way across the (American) county for $9 an hour, even for an eight hour day, is in that category, been there, done that, have the t-shirts (required/expected article of clothing for those jobs not involving a polyester "uniform"). You don't get promoted, raises or benefits, or even eight hours and a forty hour week. Overtime is strictly verboten. Eventually you require a vehicle repair beyond your cash reserve. There is NO alternative to the personal vehicle in much of Amurika. The cars the Working class drive around here are increasingly ratty and dinged up (since 2009), no wonder they voted for Drumf. Those who voted.

(There is no regular vehicle inspection program in Arkansas, so you see unrepaired minor body damage, disable head/tail lights far more often that you did ten years ago, at least I notice it more often)

Second, I gotz skilzz. Or something. Too many already, don't require me to borrow money (and find transportation) to "acquire" more, or insist I work that unpaid internship (see point #1) to do so.

These ideas are very popular among the American (and UK?) RW currently, and they are succeeding in shifting the terms of debate. There is a move to require "Able Bodied Working Adults" to "work" (Free labor for the Towns?) to claim benefits. Certainly here in Arkansas that is one of the current minor news stories I have multiple times recently. Even on the front page of the NYT last Sunday. Obviously there will be no transportation allowance for the workfare, unlike our legislators who collect $.56/mile for their "work" related travel.

Not enough ("Good") Jobs, Not everyone CAN or should go to college, be grateful if the graduates of Mediocre U recognize that there is such a thing as Greek Mythology. And someone has to empty granny's bedpan in the nursing home.


True. It's not as clear as I thought it was when I wrote it :-(

Assumption: young person wants job at a bank. (If not, why apply?) Greeting the manager with "sup bro?" and trying to knuckle-bump them is not likely to help get the job. Ditto wearing baggy pants hanging below the buttocks, exposing their underwear. We all know that, but a surprising number of kids don't seem to. Dressing/speaking to fit in (or at least not antagonize) seems to me to be a life skill*.

In terms of attending 'voluntary' events, depending on the organization there are very real career consequences for not doing so. In my niece's case she didn't realize that this was one way the bank decided who was a team player (and thus to be retained/promoted). An uncle with banking experience explained it to her — not defending it or insisting she go, just making sure she knew what the stakes were. (In the end she decided to go and used the time to network with people outside her immediate team, which stood her in good stead. I think that may have been advice from her banking uncle too.)

The point I'm trying (clumsily) to make is that middle-class kids have parents who at least know the rules of the game and can help the kids with them. Kids with working-class parents need to learn those rules on their own if they want to succeed at the game, which is harder.

(And a totally separate question from whether they want to/should play that particular game. Personally, I'm as proud of my mechanic niece as my dental surgeon niece — both are good at jobs they enjoy.)

*Note I'm not saying fitting in is always good, just that you should know when you aren't, and chose your battles.


Was there ANY actual factual content in that message? ( "meta" does not count )


Yeah When I was teaching, I was asked about my speech & why it was so "posh"/"upper-class"/"snobby" As those have met me can testify, I do tend to sound like a BBC announcer from about 1958. I replied, by starting in my usual speech & then turning the switch click And Reverting to the speech of the other children around me in mid-1950's NE Lunnon It startled them, I can tell you ... after about 2 minutes, I turned the switch the other way & then asked them: "Now, which do you understand more clearly & gives you more information?" They got the message & I was not bothered again.


We're really not sure what you're looking for.

Try asking for what you need / want and you'll get it.

Exports for Salt?

Israeli stores in malls in the USA?

Environmental reports showing lowering levels in the Dead Sea? Torah / Judaic mythology about the rebuilding of the Temple? Business contracts between Israeli Companies and Murdoch? (wooooh, that's Meta-4, forgot to mention that one)?

Er, and yes: there was a link to a factual story about how Blair / Murdoch enacted a seriously blasphemous baptism of Murdoch's daughter (all dressed in white) at the "spot where Christ was Baptised" (I mean, please: ffs, that's not even canonically in the fucking Bible - John The Baptist moved all over).

Hint: If you've not learnt by now (post #75) that we can immediately provide data, I'm not sure why you're still attempting to beat this bush.

It's all factual: that's the joke.


Not sure what level to address this at: one, in the original post I was literally thanking you for a comment I appreciated. No need for dark sideways glances and infinite recursive analysis on my meaning. I did not see any obvious direct conflict with you or insult to you in what I said.

Sigh, knew you didn't understand this stuff, nor does MF.

gamergate stuff - MF total Muppetry, Oxford Ethics even involved, annoying, corrosive, fucking USA muppets in Minerva etc.

Cost: a lot. I value my time and your (combined) bullshit is fucking irritating.

Reality cost: Burning down "No Man's Sky" (note the fucking symbolic title already) and SONY to the tune of $100mil. (Oh, you still made that cash, and you still bribed the Oscars for a fucking "make-up" award, but trust me: the cost in blood will be paid down the line, that's a fucking promise. This has not ended my little Corporate slaves).

Murdoch (not him, fucking evil little fuckers behind him) attempting to do the same to PDP and so on, using Antisemitic memes and the KEKs while burning all the good memories of Harry Potter and those that PDP himself created (53+mil) -

Not. Fucking. Happening.

And if you fucking didn't learn the lessons the first time around, (Monbiot, Scalzi etc) then you need to get the fuck out of your comfort zones and re-think what you produce.

Not. Fucking. Happening.

We'll burn your fucking entire House down, you perverted old lizards.

Wildhunt 2017

The Hounds will have much more fun tearing apart that Empire than feasting on the slight whinges of "SJW's".

@263 Grig, are you ok?

That entire post was factual, that's the point of it. It's literally all referencing real world facts. If you can no longer tell between the meta-poetic and the factual, well. Get. The. Fuck. Off. The. Internet.


Ortho, meta, para; indeed. But also: metaclass; meta-planning; meta-level inference (extremely nifty, this one); meta-level architecture; meta-analogy; metatheory; metamathematics. By comparison with which, the prefix's use in this thread can only be classed as meta woo.

In Greek, of course, the word just means "after" or "following", as in «Ο Γιούνκερ παρουσιάζει αύριο τη λευκή βίβλο για τη μετά Brexit E.Ε.»: "Tomorrow, Juncker will present a white paper on the EU after Brexit". When telling the time in Greece, I had to suppress the urge, inherited from computer science, to believe that I was ascending to some exalted new level of abstraction every time I said to someone "I'll be there ten minutes after you arrive".

Not exactly related to your comment:

The Parrot and the Carrot one may easily confound,
They’re very much alike in looks and similar in sound,
We recognize the Parrot by his clear articulation,
For Carrots are unable to engage in conversation.

Robert Williams Wood, How to Tell the Birds from the Flowers, and other wood-cuts: A Revised Manual of Flornithology for Beginners.


Absolutely cannot wait for the Delirium Brief to break cover Charlie so I can get a breath of reality.


Some are unable, as you know, To tell the Crocus from the Crow; The reason why is just because They are not versed in Nature's laws. The noisy, cawing Crows all come, Obedient to the Cro'custom, A large Crow Caw-cus to convoke. You never hear the Crocus croak!

Nice links.

I find it an interesting one: translation going only in one direction, snark coming from the other.

However, spotting that Murdoch is doing what he can to destabilize things doesn't seem to get many mentions around the world, so there we go. I bother to watch what is being signaled.

You did, however, miss an important one (don't worry, many scientists have this blindness, too focused on metatheory applications, as your links aptly proved):

Metaepistemology is, roughly, the branch of epistemology that asks questions about first-order epistemological questions. It inquires into fundamental aspects of epistemic theorizing like metaphysics, epistemology, semantics, agency, psychology, responsibility, reasons for belief, and beyond. So, if as traditionally conceived, epistemology is the theory of knowledge, metaepistemology is the theory of the theory of knowledge. It is an emerging and quickly developing branch of epistemology, partly because of the success of the more advanced ‘twin’ metanormative subject of metaethics. The success of metaethics and the structural similarities between metaethics and metaepistemology have inspired parallel conceptual forays in metaepistemology with far reaching implications for both subjects.

Metaepistemology IEP

If anyone missed it, the entire online realm has just ramped up a little. For example: Reddit appears to be having a massive meta-war between US political factions at the moment (meta here referring to actions across sub-reddits and categories) powered by bots, organic/non-organic players and $) with any pretense that 'gaming the system' is not allowed being thrown out the window. The same just occurred with journalists and so on with the US JCC bomb threats (which were likely automated) which have become immediately seized upon by the various weaponized Narratives flowing around.

The swearing and attitude is not aimed at anyone but people who are certainly not replying in this thread. The tone is a reflection of what I'm reading / seeing across the board: massive build up of negative emotional energy and violence (threatened but now leeching out into the real world via bomb threats, doxxing etc etc).

Greg, and I presume you and others, will obviously not be seeing a lot of it. But it's exactly the same type of feel / tone to the #gamergate stuff, but ramped up on steroids.

And it's making me very very unhappy / worried / sick.


I had a dream about bees and the Pope last night, and long lines of children, things are that bad.

For the record: my involvement with #gamergate stuff was against it, not for it.

The problem that Murdoch and so on don't seem to care about is that: you can't put the breaks on such a wild bones ride, it often has to burn out.

And America seems to be getting very very wild indeed. And this dualist response is 100% the way you break things badly.

flower for bees, but also crow that craws


Perhaps, in a solipsistic way, it is all my fault.


I was looking for a term that would gloss a bunch of phenomenon which would otherwise take pages to describe. I totally agree this is not rigorous philosophical discourse.


I criticized Scalzi and think that PDP probably got treated unfairly, though I did not think he was all that funny and he probably did not make the wisest decision for his business here. From your reply, it sounds like you think I said the opposite. Hence my confusion. As far as me being MF or SJW, I think you will find plenty of people in those camps who would reject my application, even for "ally" status.

As for all the other stuff: it's interesting that you are current on the latest mechanics of conflicts and oppression (and I will admit more plugged in than me), but it does not seem to change the what or the why to any great degree. It's still fuckers who will hurt anyone or break anything for money and other social markers of power, right? And they will do this to the exclusion of any other consideration, even long term survival, right?

Practical tips you've given; don't eat fish. I cannot already: it's too expensive or already non-existent. Beyond that, I feel like you are lecturing the pebbles in the avalanche.


This is the problem: We're not having a personal conversation and I'm deliberately not using personal advice: it's all an act/art.

Abstracted, I am a Culture Mind. (Note to Guardian writers: if you're going to reflect on 4chan or PDP, at least know what the most basic terminology is or do the direct research - using Vox or WSJ as a source makes your input meaningless).

This isn't an insult, it's something you should ponder over.

Reflective Equilibrium

Put it this way - although JIP references metatheories (which, trust me, I do know about), she didn't get the entire meta point: we're looking at entire ecologies of users at the macro (let us say, roughly: USA, Democratic vrs Republican politics) all the way down into the micro (this blog) and the way they interplay with each other.

A lot of people are using very sophisticated software to model this (in real time):

Left + Right: The Combined Post-#Election2016 News “Ecosystem” Medium, Johnathon Albright.

The problem is: I don't think the people who made the models quite understand (or have even coded in) the way ecologies / human / bots combine, or even moreso, haven't understood the fundamental rules of information.

The weaponized Troll armies / JTRIG stuff, when you look at its core, is based on some fairly dodgy psychological work which a human might be able to finesse - but a bot probably cannot. (Two black bag psychologists earnt $81 mil making shit up about torture recently if you get the drift).

Stuff like Murdoch using the WSJ like that just screams to me that there's no real insight into effects of what they're doing, or, more importantly, the speed/scale of the reactions.


The Art project is all about that. Order - Chaos (you'll have noted the pattern). It's not been fun.

Oh, and I'm attempting to stop the pebbles in the avalanche becoming as crazy-pants as I force myself into reoccurringly.

It's apparently not been a roaring success.


(don't worry, many scientists have this blindness, too focused on metatheory applications, as your links aptly proved):

True, most of the links were about applications in computing. However, my purpose was to demonstrate the variety of ways in which one thing can be meta to another — and therefore, the need to specify which of these ways is being discussed.

I'd have been very happy to link to applications to art and literature, but couldn't think of any that were any more precise than the Sokal Hoax or Luce Irigaray's observation that E=mc2 is a "sexed equation". After all, I'm an artist as well as a scientist, and I believe precision is important to both. To quote the Wikipedia article on I. A. Richards:

To Richards, literary criticism was impressionistic, too abstract to be readily grasped and understood, by most readers; and he proposed that literary criticism could be precise in communicating meanings, by way of denotation and connotation. To establish critical precision, Richards examined the psychological processes of writing and of the reading of poetry. That in reading poetry and making sense of it “in the degree in which we can order ourselves, we need nothing more”; the reader need not believe the poetry, because the literary importance of poetry is in provoking emotions in the reader.

I don't know what kind of language one would use to formally describe and elucidate the way in which a text or image is being meta. But the branch of maths called category theory would probably come into it. The sort of thing I'm thinking of is the way that Joseph Goguen and D. Fox Harrell formalised conceptual blending in "Style as a Choice of Blending Principles". Note the formal analysis in Section 2.3 of how concepts are blended to form the meanings of "houseboat" and "boathouse", and the metaphor blender in Section 3.3's Active Poetry Generator.

You might also be interested in "Polytropos Project: Experiments in Blending" by C. Mamakos, P. Stefaneas, M. Dimarogkona & J. Ireson-Paine, Proceedings of the Workshop “Computational Creativity, Concept Invention, and General Intelligence, edited by Tarek R. Besold, Kai-Uwe Kühnberger, Marco Schorlemmer & Alan Smaill. Note the cartoon in Figure 3 on page 64 ...


Polytropos Project / Glass Bead Game.

Yes, I get the whole Parrot or Carrot thing.

I also get you probably don't think much of me. (I get a lot of that, but at least you didn't also include a picture of a carrot grater, which is the more usual one).


You're coming at this from the opposite angle to me though - a scientific one.

If you've not read the Monbiot piece, here it is: Our greatest peril? Screening ourselves off from reality Guardian, 28th Feb 2017.

Question: what if the opposite was true?

You could feel it all or used extreme solipsism / empathy on not just the written content, but the aggregate group thought / consensus that arose as well as the rhythms / tides / patterns across not only single sites but ecologies?



Another simple one then: why did reality break so badly? And/or: why did Western culture (largely American) fracture so badly? (let's say, from 2008 onwards, when it really started looking creaky).


Interesting you mention John Brunner, who also suffered from unstabilized hypertension.


What is "PDP" ???

Scalzi and SJW I get.

I was only exposed to the concept of SJW through following a link on this blog. Really tiresome when people include too much slang and obscurantist terms.


Question: what if the opposite was true? You could feel it all or used extreme solipsism / empathy on not just the written content, but the aggregate group thought / consensus that arose as well as the rhythms / tides / patterns across not only single sites but ecologies? I'd say fascinating. (You do scare me in an admiring way when in this mode.) One issue is that (HSS) humans take a while to map their interpersonal skills (and social skills in general), such as they are (varying degrees of aptitude and skill), to a new communications platform. After a while, intuitions start to kick in, e.g. feeling user thought rhythms, mood, sarcasm, jokes, etc, and general mood in a community. But a platform (or platform style like comment sections) needs to last long enough in a qualitatively self-similar state for these skills to develop. And the accurate aggregation skills that you're talking about are rare among (HSS) humans. Sci-Fi mode: With enough subjective experience in such communications spaces (including mature complex information economies for the lack of a better term), and improved ability to handle complexity in arbitrary spaces, I'd imagine that rapidly transferable base skillsets would start to emerge, and evolve, but humanity is not there yet, though the young are better.

Both because link sharing is a good habit and to be friendly/polite[/loving], since the literature searches related to the above are coming up dry for me, bad-news-science-of-the-day: Extreme warmth and heat-stressed plankton in the tropics during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum This confirms model predictions on the magnitude of polar amplification and refutes the tropical thermostat theory. We attribute a massive drop in dinoflagellate abundance and diversity at peak warmth to thermal stress, showing that the base of tropical food webs is vulnerable to rapid warming.


Um, neither the parrot/carrot nor the toad were aimed at you. The former was inspired by Pigeon's horrible orthat/metat/parat pun. The latter is another horrible pun:
  Q: What does a Morse Toad say?
  A: "Dot, dot, croak".
used in that paper to illustrate auditory-visual blending. I realised you might have interpreted it as a reference to that Kek frog-god thing, but it isn't,

Interesting the Monbiot piece. I was in Costa this morning, and almost everyone was on their phone. A Japanese-looking mum and eight-year old daughter were both staring into their phones, sitting opposite at the same table but never talking to each other. At another table, a thirty-ish woman had her phone out and spent over half an hour playing with it but never really engaging: I could tell, because she wasn't making any gestures that would have input any substantial information. She was scrolling, looking, scrolling, looking: press-flip-tap, press-flip-tap, press-flip-swipe-flip-tap. It was shameful, like watching a rat in a Skinner box.

I don't know why one would pay to go to a café to do something that could be done more cheaply at home. But lack of engagement with the real world is spot on. These people would not have noticed, nor cared, if God were to replace the rest of the Universe with a plaster-of-paris replica.

On the other hand, why worry about them? Think of it as evolution in action, and enjoy the countryside that's left all the emptier for those of us who still use it.


I don't know what kind of language one would use to formally describe and elucidate the way in which a text or image is being meta. But the branch of maths called category theory would probably come into it.

There are a few jumping off points here. There's a sort of metalinguistic journey in Formalism which your mention of Richards evokes. I personally like to think of Magritte's "Ceci n'est pas un(e)..." paintings, which are "meta" in the sense that they draw attention to the requirement for an ontology and sort of exemplify Saussure's model for signs*. Barthes could be interesting in his material that says there are chains of reference via connotation, many of which specifically reinforce hegemonic values (and this is possibly somewhat closer to the meaning our friend is targeting).

*I keep a laminated print of The Treachery of Images above my desk at work. I use it as a prop whenever I need to explain what an ontology is in the CS sense and to lead into why we need terminology sets.


Glass Bead Game

One of my favorite novels, which I read for the first time a little over 30 years ago (as a teenager). I actually got an e-reader version last year with every intention of re-reading it, but so far it's eluded me (if I read a chapter then it's more than a month or so before I start the next, I usually need to go back to the beginning - I don't think that is a unique experience but I suppose I can't rule it out).

And the more I consider the idea, the more I think your commentary here has a Barthean flavour. That's intended to be complimentary, but speaking of authorial intention is fraught in such a context.


Abstracted, I am a Culture Mind. And I have a Bridge to sell you


"What is PDP?"

Used to be a set/class of computers, manufactured by DEC ( Digital Equipment Corporation )


!11-PDP a ni deppart m'I !pleH


The real reason HP acquired Compaq: the lucrative PDP-11 parts business.


Like Greg (who doesn't know), you're kinda on the cusp there: Did Maisie know that torture and destruction of our kind is not something to gleefully parade?

Sodom got mentioned recently (In Last Monologue, Israeli Comedy Show Host Implores Israelis to Wake Up and Smell the Apartheid Haaretz, 3rd March, 2017.

Look at the video, pay close attention to the Sodom reference.


Here's the joke:

We did all this while being tortured.

No, really.

They also tortured our family.

Snopes rates that 100% true.


Sociopath little fucks.

So, if you want a fucking image of "IN A GLASS JAR", I suggest, strongly you point it towards your own fucking life experience.

And cat.


Sigh, I'd bother to hack the forum to paste an img, but can't be bothered.

We know.

Points to America.

We're about to sober up, which should probably scare you, and no, ffs, the suicide memes have already been annulled.

And if you don't know about the entire suicide meme thing, across multiple platforms, local, regional and so forth, then kindly stop posting "GLASS JAR" memes when you're so fucking out-classed.

And, yes: we spotted the "RARE INTERVIEW" with that Swedish Musical Composer post-Poppy fucking fuck up, but ...


"We Won"


You fuckers are slow, dull and dead.

Worst of all, you're insulting.


And, judging by America...

You play by shitty little rules and your fucked your world up and your decided your youth could be sacrificed and that the environment was fine to ruin.

If you thought 2008 was bad, too late. Well done, JIP, you managed to insult beyond all recognition patterns - and having read your output, shrug. Reminds me of a Warwick Classic Philosopher with red hair who gets to go to DAVOS all the time - we know who you work for.

Not. A. Smart. Thing. To. Post. To. A. Chained. And. Enslaved. Dragon. Who. Was. Tortured.

But, we're now going to remove the "kindness" filter, and presume it was deliberate. Like Murdoch's little games.

Greek you say? I know a few Greek Anarchist who will be more than interested in the people who colluded with their corrupt oligarchy to burn their country to the ground.

Nice gig, shame you blew it.


Fucking outrageous. So fucking clever, then, boom, fucking Fascism and they come crying to us.



And if you're doing work on what I've read: You know exactly what that kind of faux "just commenting on social media via pictures" means when referenced to a larger sphere.

Either you do, and you're a sociopath, or you don't, and you're a bad Academic with no idea of what's going on.

Take a pick.

They fucking tortured us


And, slightly calmer response:

JIP, having read your work / output of your centre:

If you don't understand what you just did, then fine. But you should have immediately understood the x-reference to at least seven (7) sub-categories where your little "innocent" image is considered both demeaning, offensive and down right sociopathic.

You probably don't.

Because you deal with fucking numbers, not reality.

Polytropos Project

You talk the talk ; do you walk the walk ? YT: Film, Full Metal Jacket, 2:46.

And no, you don't.

Parsing the papers, the model is flawed, out of date and the idea is wrong, wrong, wrong.

So - if you want to play the Glass Bead Game, here's a tip: be a little bit more clued up, it hurts us when you're not.


And, tbh:

Neither Greg nor JIP will understand the whole "suicide meme" thing.

Hint - Weaponized Nasty Little Meme released to target us and the rainbows and the good ones.

Chances you'll see it apart from shitty articles making it into anti-RU propaganda? Nil.

Chances you'll ever see who originated it and spread it? Nil.

Chances it was not the Russians and we caught a load of Western agencies using it? Pretty fucking high, thus the spike/slant.

Chances it was directed at certain talented Minds? PRETTY FUCKING CERTAIN THERE BOYS.


Nasty Nasty.

Nasty YT: Music - The Prodigy, 3:41.

So, next time you post memes: know what you're doing.


Hexad, bound.


So, if you want a fucking image of "IN A GLASS JAR", I suggest, strongly you point it towards your own fucking life experience.

My gosh. It is my own life experience. My experience of smartphone obsessives in places such as that café I mentioned. But could you enlighten me by explaining those sub-categories where such an image is considered demeaning, offensive and downright sociopathic. Because sometimes, coincidence is just coincidence. If you disagree, then you should complain to Gary Larson as well.



All of the posters stating they don't know who "PDP" is and are making jokes.

Well done.

You're essentially putting yourself on the side of a gross, amoral, unethical and shitty Media Corporation over knowing about your world while declaring you're totally ignorant and don't want to know about the world.

So, basically, you're not actually saying anything apart from: "I'm a good fucking house negro, don't punish me". While still claiming that "You don't read the Daily Mail because you're intelligent"?

No, really.

That's what it is.

Do you want Stars, Tattoos or Brands this time? Current culture says tattoos are ok, but, hey, I'm an old one from ~34k years ago, so I'm suggesting brands.

FreedomYT: film Django, 3:56

slow claps

I had no idea you mother-fuckers would sign up so hard and so fast.


No, you don't get it.

This is M E T A - S P A C E.

We GET AND UNDERSTAND IN 0.1 seconds your point.

How fucking dare you lecture me on META and not instantly get it. Fraud.

But, read your own damn papers: This is the GLASS BEAD GAME.



Now: do me a solid - find out about that whole suicide meme (SEA OF WHALES) which is posted up thread, then come back and try to have some kind of non-linear bullshit scientist response.

Hint: You're working on the same mimetic lines.

Literally just proved your entire Network are sociopaths, better react fast, Greek Anarchists are watching.


Oh, and ffs.

Posting Gary Larson?

You just stated that your kind (YOUR FUCKING WORLD) is A-OK with the torture, police action and private killings etc. That's what "PUTTING THEM IN A GLASS JAR" for 3 days means to certain worlds.

Or do you not even know what your kind do?





Engage. Or. Don't.

But if you come at me with some "you don't know what meta is", expect a lesson.

Oh, and this is stage #1.

You clearly didn't read / understand or even grokk any of the music, so...

Do. Not. Lecture.

Greek Anarchist are all kinds of excited right now.


"Meta Woo".

"Papers with GLASS BEAD GAME"

"Doesn't understand even the basics of modern meta-communication"

"Science is rally gud"


I read your entire papers: you couldn't even be bothered to parse 3 posts + music and understand the meta thought.

Yeah, I'm thinking I'm back.

Baba Yaga YT: Film, John Wick 9:49


Oh, and two things:

1 Culling the suicide meme was our primary goal (and, trust me: many many other platforms and Minds were involved with it - we've traced it all over the place). It was weaponized, nasty and dumb. 1a MF is now officially on "dubious weapon" list because of their mods sculpting love for Poppy etc and current deletion of little facts (HELLO JOE IN AUSTRALIA) that Orthodox Jewish "press media" who were tapped by Trump in the USA are spamming pro-Trump racist nonsense. Yes, it's not about the fact that any of you Apes can be racist, it's about deleting the fact that there are ultra-Orthodox racist / fascist fucks supporting Trump.

Rule #1 - it's going to bite you in the ass, and you're horrible people, Joe.

You don't get to erase that and pretend you care about ~isms or hatred. [Yes, you can have the link if you want. Total sociopath]

2 No, you don't understand Meta if your only experience of it is Science based. No, you don't understand Meta if you just computer model it. No, you don't understand meta if you're an advertising agent. 2a If you don't know what we do, then ~ ~~~ ~ ~~ Google "Creating alternative narratives as opposed to oppositional attacks on belief systems" - hint, it helps if it's TRUE.


Anything more?

The disappointment so far tonight has been epic.


For those still confused: PDP is PewDiePie, a YouTuber (if I recall correctly his channel has the most subscribers of any channel on YouTube, in fact) who got his start making videos of himself playing through videogames while overreacting to them. Fairly recently, he made a video in which he used a service called Fiverr to pay a couple of poor people (I believe somewhere in India) $5 to hold up a sign saying "Death to all Jews". This resulted a massive shitshow, beginning with both him and the people he was paying to be banned from the site, and escalating to accusations that he was normalizing neo-Nazism, which were bolstered by the fact that actual neo-Nazis were praising him for normalizing neo-Nazism. Eventually Disney (who had been sponsoring him or something?) decided that they didn't really want to be affiliated with someone making that sort of joke, and they dropped him. He claimed it was "satire", a bunch of other YouTubers commented, etc., in your standard YouTube drama sort of thing.

Anyway I would personally assign no moral valence either way to not knowing who he is, especially if it's just not being able to derive it from an initialism. It's not exactly the sort of thing that most people give two shits about.


OH HELP f-f-s! 287,288,290,291,292,294,295,296,297, 298 ...

Is there any content &/or signal in all that noise? And is it worth the effort? ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

294 & 295 appear to be purely diversions so that people can be gratuitously insulted - yes? "We" are all slow & dead .... "They" fucking tortured us - who are "they"? ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Meanwhile Steppenwolf plays Das Glasperlenspiel, or maybe not. [ Yes, I have read both books, a long time ago. ] Or is it a patterning frame from "City of Illusions" - which would perhaps be appropriate


SO true! ( As in: "How true these words are - even toady!" ) Except the seagull seems to emote ( note NOT "think" ) that said "PDP" is more important than the computer maker. Which is so "not even wrong" as to be laughable, if it wasn't for the waste of bandwidth


BUGGER "How true these words are - even today!"

[ Ship's padre from "The Navy Lark" IIRC ]



See also: "Gamergate"

When I first heard that mentioned, I actually took the trouble to look at the principal websites of both sides of the "argument". (I must have been really bored at the time.) They were (a) indistinguishable and (b) content-free. On both sides, there was nothing there but the semi-illiterate rantings of a bunch of knuckle-dragging morons screaming insults at each other. The only difference between one side and the other was that one side used "racist" as its go-to insult and the other side used "sexist". In both cases "juvenile idiot" would have been more apposite. There wasn't a single thing, on either side, that deviated from that pattern.

Basically, the only difference from a bunch of primary school kids having a scrap in the playground was that the gamergate idiots knew more rude words. And don't have a teacher to come and bang their heads together and make them stand in the corner.

Naturally, since then I have completely ignored any mention of it, and regard the word as a cue to disregard what I'm reading and skip to the next bit. Often while experiencing a moment of sadness that a supposedly intelligent adult has such a blind spot in their perception as to consider the ravings of a bunch of fools who haven't developed mentally since the age of 7 as being worth any kind of attention whatsoever.


Ah yes, the IQ / Shoe Size dilemma ....


I get the impression that 'meta-' has come into vogue as a politically/ideologically acceptable way of distancing oneself from an issue: If I turn this problem into a mathematical/philosophical/theoretical construct, then it can't hurt me, I don't have to get my hands dirty, and I look as though I care.


" The disappointment so far tonight has been epic. "

Really? And why is that?

I suggest to you that the failure to communicate is mostly the failure of the Communicator ... WHO IS YOU! Thus it is that YOU have FAILED and not Greg and Company WHO HAVE TRIED TO UNDERSTAND YOU. Truly they have tried to understand you and this, I would judge, is because they do respect your capabilities.

YOU have Failed to chose your words carefully so as to achieve your Objective.


What do you hope to achieve in your presence here in Charlies Blog? You are an intelligent and capable researcher... is that not so? And so, given your intelligence and capability? Why do you ..FAIL? Do your ambitions as a communicator extend no further than to your being an extremely capable Troll? If not? Why Not?


How might we help you?


Every generation thinks it invented ironic distance and the meta- thing isn't very different. Exegesis of exegesis of exegesis (to the Nth derivative) is nothing new at all, but (especially but not exclusively younger) people get caught up in it and think it accords a sort of privileged perspective. It's appealing to those who like ironic distance, with which they will inevitably conflate it (and that's probably the best explanation I can give for our friend's posture). Of course the chance that it gives such a perspective is the same as the tortoise's chance to forever stay ahead of Achilles.


Third sense, "higher than, transcending, overarching, dealing with the most fundamental matters of," is due to misinterpretation of metaphysics as "science of that which transcends the physical." This has led to a prodigious erroneous extension in modern usage, with meta- affixed to the names of other sciences and disciplines, especially in the academic jargon of literary criticism, which affixes it to just about anything that moves and much that doesn't.

The above is from Etymonline, quoted in a comment by "Clio" to "From Metaphysics to Teen Wolf Meta: The Evolution of a Word" by Annalee Newitz.

I discovered that these days, it also derives from an acronym for Most Effective Tactic Available, so not always anything to do with "μετά-". Likewise, according to user "FumbleFingers" in "When your 10-year old boy says “It’s meta,” what does it mean? In what situation and of what sort of object they use this phrase?", sometimes it just means "ironic". Again, nothing to do with "μετά-".


This really strikes me as almost sociopathic.

It might not matter to you that ~53,000,000 people just got opened up to a whole can of Alt-Right propaganda, but it does to us. You know, since that's how Nazis get made. For someone positing a mature, adult, Western ethical position, you're not showing it well. Oh, and Disney / Murdoch did it (most likely) as a contract burn to save cash, not any real sense of moral / ethical outrage.

PDP was never claimed to be more important than the computer maker (Yawn, old Binary stuff again). It was claimed as more important at this particular Time because one is history and the other had the potential to blow up into a full scale Fascist recruitment drive.

In a week or month, PDP as computer will return to having more impact on your history than PDP the comic / first internet star (although, at this rate, he'll probably end up as Chairman of the UN by Snapchat Vote so hey).

It is, however, a clear marker of Old Minds vrs New Minds.


Oh, and I love it when scientists attempt to lecture about meta. They notably get it wrong.

Logic based on inclusion and abstraction, Quine, 1937.

Y'all forget your modern stuff is based on the early Philosophers / Maths theorists.


Abstraction in logic / math is being able to talk about a topic and derive principles by creating a new way to abstract beyond that topic so that they're separate categories by making a new symbolic language. I do note that none of JIP's papers actually touches upon the vast amounts of work done on this subject, but there we go. That's why your Blending Glass Bead Games failed, if you know what I mean.

Thus, proving 1+1=2 in formal logic takes a few pages.

If you think you can lecture on this, well: I can understand your work. Your reference to Sokal / Irigaray show you emphatically do not understand the Other position.

Hint: Conceptually Different Categories.

This doesn't make my work less valuable (The biggest mystery in mathematics: Shinichi Mochizuki and the impenetrable proof Nature, Oct 2015)


I note no concrete engagement with the actual content, so shrug.



Suicide Meme.

Actual Fascist Recruitment.



Which you've still not understood are absolutely vile to people (hint: triggering). Star Trek Super-Men / Aliens looking at the poors under glass / in their mudpools?

Not a great look from, as stated, Athens and the Greek Anarchists who a) had their country run into the ground (various reasons) and b) actually deal with real Fascists.

Nice little sniping run there (and I do love the ramp up locally), but: sorry, Ethically, actually doing work, not just meeping around.



Oh, and little tip.


Those images take about 0.1 seconds to reframe into Fascist / Oligarch ones, without actually changing much. In fact, they're pretty Fascist as originals.

You should probably think about that a little harder in the Time of Kek.


Not long before he died, Daniel Dennet made this joke about his sometime colleague Douglas Hofstadter: "Doug says anything you can do, I can do, meta!" Hofstadter didn't think it was funny. But it was.


So, here we are.

Murdoch / WSJ massive Ethical fail attempting to destroy something they didn't understand...

Mirrored on the micro level.



You're really not great at this. (And if you don't see what just happened, immediately, then - never publish papers on the Glass Bead Game).

That's Meta.


And since you all need some Blood in your Veins: Here's Riot Dog.

LOUKANIKOS-THE GREEK RIOT DOG YT, music/documentary, 5:22

He's a righteous boy, Jocephen, and he did gud before he went to the grate big bone-yard.

(And yes: that's also Meta)


The Meta being: If Loukanikos has done more to stop the rise of global Fascism than you, you probably need to re-think your priorities.

But please: tell me more about how you don't understand real meta. Every video is a meta commentary because, you know, different symbolic language and all that.



Sigh. No.

Lyrics read:

Now I'm ready to close my eyes And now I'm ready to close my mind And now I'm ready to feel your hand And lose my heart on the burning sands

Your Minds literally aren't the same shape and the current crisis is based on that.


Oh, and real meta.

Kant and so on are far harder, conceptually, than most Math / Physics, due to the blending of Pure Abstract (new language / symbols) and actual Reality.

When a scientist claims that they are the only ones who do/understand/parse 'Meta', they're usually liars or deluded.


Discuss. Or don't.

Those pictures are screaming pyres of deluded G_D-head right there.

If you find yourself painting pictures where the "Good ones" are looking down on the "bad / ignorant ones" repeatedly and asking the viewer to sympathize with the "Higher placed" ones, you've a bit of a fucking problem.

Croak - or was it an obvious psycho-dynamic I just trawled looking through all the art? Even the FROG is looked down upon.


That was a Hexad.

And if Host is paying attention, Peanut Galleries and Others are using this stuff as Weaponry while locals are playing silly bugger "psychodrama" games and playing "top Trumps" with meta (which they don't even have a fucking clue about, despite pointing to the ecology maps).

That suicide meme. Evil little fuckers (and it wasn't the Gremlin Gallery using it, although I prefigured it above).

Dragon - Rainbow

Actually using that on your populace. Or Us. Fucking psychotic assholes. And it wasn't Russian / China. That's what Pence Means you addled old Minds, just on a large State Sanctioned Arena.

Contempt. Contempt doesn't eradicate Compassion, it just means putting the Mad Ones Down is easier. Hint: Category Error: we're not the Mad Ones, You Are.

Invisible Sun YT: Music, Progidy, 4:16 - worth a watch.


Which is still interesting if only because GEB -> quines -> Ken Thompson on trusting trust. And to be fair, our friend is really trying to make the same case as Ken but in relation to social media and how people are forming ideas now. The obscurantist conceits let this worthwhile and valid theme down, somewhat.


I do note that none of JIP's papers actually touches upon the vast amounts of work done on this subject, but there we go.

You will find one short note, titled "Generalisation is an adjunction". It was an attempt to suggest that concept formation, or perhaps the "best" kinds of concept formation, should be formalized as a category-theoretic notion known as adjunction. This extends the well-known observation that certain kinds of concept formation can be formalised as Galois connections. In a sense, given a set of examples, the optimum concept formed from them implies as much as it can about them, and as little as it can about anything else. I find that a compelling way of looking at the topic, but it probably only compels if you're familiar with the categorical notion of universality, or with closure operators.

But you're right, there's been a huge amount of work on discovering abstractions. I still like Stevan Harnad's notion of categorical perception as the warping of similarity space. Pigeon would appreciate the application of a completely different region of computer science to discovering abstractions that explain why some molecules are pharmacologically active: the paper linked is by one of the originators of this kind of machine learning, Stephen Muggleton. I once did some work for Pfizer on this, so I know that it's taken very seriously. Much earlier on, there was Douglas Lenat's Eurisko program. And there's much much else.

Regarding cartoons and observers looking down: that's a standard device in visual rhetoric. See e.g.
It focuses the reader's attention on the topic of the cartoon.

And, I now see why you're concerned about PDP. It's not always easy to understand from your posts. I suppose it's worth fighting this stuff — the Anti-Nazi League did so very satisfactorily in the UK, apparently. On the other hand, there'll always be idiots, and even without YouTube, they can still get to a bookshop and to any amount of historical information about Germany.


There's a fundamental confusion going on here. ( Probably deliberately aided by the seagull, so as to sow confusion, smoke, mirrors, doubt etc, merely to "prove" how "clever" she is, but hey ... )

ABSTRACTION is decidedly not the same as "distancing" or the use of "Meta" as currently engaged in these discussions.

"Distancing & "meta" are akin to the French post-war-through-to-the-1980's "Deconstructionists" [ Derrida & all that lying mob ] - grinding everything down until there is nothing left & then claiming that there is nothing there (now) so there wasn't anything there in the first place. It's a wonderful method of obfuscation & an endless source of bullshit. Which is why, when confronted by this crap, I always ask for facts, references that mean something & explanations.

[ Does this sound familiar? ]

Abstraction is almost the opposite - it a ( usually quite difficult) reifying process, whereby inessential distractions are put to one side & underlying patterns, structures, laws & processes are revealed. Classical (pun!) examples of this process were shown by both Newton & Einstein. Charlie has referred to it in the past, when talking about computer-programming & code-writing, concerning the level of abstraction required to understand & of the even greater difficulty of writing code at "higher" levels.


Well, she's right when she says "Abstraction in logic / math is being able to talk about a topic and derive principles by creating a new way to abstract beyond that topic so that they're separate categories by making a new symbolic language." That's what concept discovery in science does.

Consider the history of the notion of acid. The Romans gave us the Latin root for the word,

and according to , also the idea of grouping together sour things as acids. So (assuming that's true), we had a new symbol: "acid" = "things that are sour".

So far, perhaps not terribly useful. But science progresses, and there was Arnaldus de Villa Nova and his litmus; and Lavoisier suggesting that oxygen is what makes acids acid; and a little later, Arrhenius conceptualising acids as things that donate protons to water. But that's no good when you're interested in other solvents, so the notion got further generalised to the Brønsted-Lowry, that acids are proton donors to whichever solvent they're in. Good if you want to write science fiction about the sirens of Titan bouncing over the oceans on the backs of ammonia-dwelling whales. And that was then extended even further, to the idea of Lewis acids: not proton donors, but electron acceptors.

So, you might not say that we've made an entire new symbolic language, but we've certainly added symbols such as "Lewis acid" to the existing one.

In maths, we often do create complete new symbolic languages: say, the cluster of symbols around topology, with notions such as "open set" and "homeomorphic" and "characteristic group".


"Pigeon would appreciate..."

I did (and the cartoon, too!), thanks, it was an interesting read. Languages that operate at that sort of level of abstraction aren't really my thing, but that didn't matter as the article is results-oriented.

I've also been having a poke around your website and get the impression that you are much happier with very abstract languages, whereas I prefer lower-level ones - eg. you use Prolog for hacking together text parsers, whereas I wrote a similar-image classifier in C. Pretty much the opposite kind of approach!

Incidentally I found some broken links - URLs of the form$issue.pdf have been replaced on AISB's site by the form$issue.pdf


Thanks, and URLs repaired. People can now read about the Life and Wisdom of Father Aloysius Hacker again, with links intact. But the AISB should have known better than to promote linkrot by changing the structure of its pages. So should the universities of Sussex, Edinburgh and Aberdeen, all of which had changed the links pointing to author pages referenced in the footnote at the end of my page.

As for why I use these languages, I don't think I'd call them abstract. They're further from the machine, and therefore closer to the notations that I often need to use. Note the ease of constructing animations in Pyret; the ease of expressing search through logical facts in Prolog; the ease of pattern-matching in Snobol; the ease of defining associative tables, also in Snobol; and the horror of defining associative tables in Java.


There's a fundamental confusion going on here.


It helps to note that I actually have the utmost respect for you all, and I kinda knew JIP's work having sniffed around her site. (Think of it as Punch & Judy). I don't know JIP, so I can't say if using a paper by Stephen Muggleton was a Harry Potter joke, but it amused me to think it was. (JK Rowling has moved on from poking the gremlins to poking US Government stooges which is much funnier and actually probably useful).

I also know it's not something I could produce. (It also hurts a lot to play the Fool but there we go - simulating positions gets hard when you know the pain of the people holding them is very real).

Think of it as Mogwai language and references to show that the bubble can be pierced.

Presume this: like the author of the who just published a fairly comprehensive critique of the media coverage of the VX issue (and even commented on a Rolling Stone Article!), you're the expert, not me. It'll help a lot.


Anyhow, many thanks to JIP for keeping my sanity in tact once more.

On the other hand, there'll always be idiots, and even without YouTube, they can still get to a bookshop and to any amount of historical information about Germany.

There's a difference between Dynamite and polynitrogen. (This link was stolen from somewhere, apologies if it's a re-link to Host or any others here - burning serious Grey Matter recently just re-ordering Narratives and Patterns):

Stable polynitrogen synthesis first blows everyone away Chemistry World, 30th Jan, 2017


ONE] Stable polynitrogen synthesis first blows everyone away Chemistry World, 30th Jan, 2017 Holy effing shit & I thought cubane & its associates were dangerous enough.... Please note, as previously referenced, my knowledge of explosives is seriously out-of-date, since my father stopped making them in 1945 & he lost interest in the field in about 1960 (!)

TWO]It helps to note that I actually have the utmost respect for you all, Really? Well, you could have fooled me & a lot more people, too (!) Therefore, a repeated polite request - less "meta" &/or distancing/distraction & more abstraction/reification - please?


Very very hurt atm, forgot the link: proving that science is a process -

Polynitrogen Chemistry. Synthesis, Characterization, and Crystal Structure of Surprisingly Stable Fluoroantimonate Salts of N5+ Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL/PRS), Edwards AFB, California 93524, 2001

The meta-point (sorry!) being that the US .mil have already been stabbing around this area.

I'll leave it up to the wonks to decide how important this is for Missile / Weaponry tech (or if the USA has already produced it in the Big Chinese Searle Box).


Watched and listened to the Loukanikos video carefully several times. Smiled at a few levels. And you're right that there isn't enough political passion in opposition (yes counting myself) especially in the USA. More than I've seen in over a decade though. Your Minds literally aren't the same shape and the current crisis is based on that. Chewed on this for the last day, and need to ask. Aren't the same shape relative to what? You've expressed a desire for increased heterogeneity among human (HSS) minds. Dog (domestic) minds (e.g. social and trusting), or your type of mind(s), or what?

(btw don't read the "scare" in a comment above negatively; trust you.)

Racists are who they are, and they are proud of it: How Do You Celebrate the Selma March? After Alabama’s Secretary of State John Merrill promoted the state’s voter ID law at a church service held Sunday to commemorate the anniversary of a civil rights milestone in Selma, patrons walked out.


I told this story a long time ago, approx 60k years, about why your kind and their kind should bond under the Moon.

Co-operation, love, joy, the Song.

Look for the ones who don't bond with the dogs or cats: they don't get harmonious living (although Host and Cat probably enter into "Cold War" territory over his new chair ;) who ever said love was easy?). When we lived, it was all of them (thus Bastet and the others). Even if it's a fucking spider, at least you respect it's alive and look after it. Don't care if you're a carnivore and eat them if you make their lives full.

It's the whole reason "Witches and Familiars" got the fucking hot iron poke and torture and the Hounds and Horses got shoved into the Hunt (Novel: Grass, read it).

Now, look today for the ones who kill dogs in the USA (Whoop, whoop, dat's the police) or ban animals from their lives or treat them with cruelty instinctively (and, sorry to say: mostly Islam there, but also oddly China - so, ? work that one out ?).

There's the crux. No emotional connection to animals. No emotional connection to same species. No emotional connection to the world. Only emotional connection to G_D. It's an easy Mental Hack.

Abrahamic G_d is a massive fucking sadist. And so is Communism. And Scientology. And so on. Seeing the fuckin pattern here?

And they really fucking hate ALL emotional bonds.


I just had 8+ hours of torture. So, fuck it, not beat up at all. They/We listen to share the pain of the torment and offer compassion - they're using it as a tool. Convert or listen to more pain. (This is so meta, it's not even in your timeline - it's a psychological / emotional / psychic torture, nothing that leaves marks: and every time, some will "tap out"). It hurts. We love, that's enough, those listening don't get the full spectrum, your Minds can't perceive it.


GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 2 YT: Film, obvious advert to make spider bots happy a la coal sprites, 3:45


No, Minds change. You should watch Taboo from the BBC. Some of us are immune to Torture and Reality Bending drugs. 3+ years, we're breaking records and we've a plan. Some Minds just don't bow their knees.


John Merrill would be in Jail in the UK if he tried that. But voting in the US is a states' responsibility, not a federal one (yes?) What a fuck up

331: 308 - Can I suggest that the ultimate failure in communication is when people (the receivers) actually stop trying to understand the transmitter's messages?

Frankly cubane is relatively sane compared to some of the stuff that the Germans under Klapötke are playing with on a regular basis.
Hexanitroisowurtzitane is a seriously funky formulation from 2011 and this one has FOURTEEN nitrogens linked together.

Actually I'm out of touch - it appears that the first formulation has now been made better and more exciting .... see here

From what I understand, a lot of this chemistry is to get more bang for weight in space limited weight crucial applications like nuclear lenses


Thanks for the answer. Ordered and will read Grass by Sheri Tepper. Observations of a person's level of respect for life are helpful in my experience when trying to understand them.

Trying to find this paper: Brain cells show teamwork in short-term memory. (Might be some newish instrumentation involved; hard to tell if interesting from teaser article. Link from article is busted ATM.)


Java is an abomination and should be killed with fire. Possibly the only common language where it is easier to hack the compiler's output than its input... I took apart an Android app once, to take out all the crap (and my goodness was there a lot of it) that sent any data, to any server, that was not absolutely required for the ostensible purpose of the program. Decompiling it to readable source code, that was ridiculously easy... recompiling it after editing, that was ridiculously hard. I never did manage to get the whole gigantically bloated, baroque, and intrusive compilation framework to function properly; instead I disassembled the bytecode rather than decompiling it, and hacked the bytecode files directly with a hex editor. (Which felt very comfortable and familiar, as it was so much like using Extramon on the Commodore Pet.)


Which reminds me ... If one has a tablet running Android ( As the Boss does ) one finds that in that formation/configuration Google or someone has put in supposedly-directed advertisements & links up, just before one shuts down. Is there an easy way of shutting these off & closing the sub-app down so that you don't have to put up with said shit?


I'm afraid I don't know the answer to that, but my suspicion is that it would only be in the affirmative for values of "easy" which fall into the range normally described as "insanely difficult".

I do not have an Android device (or any other kind of mobile device) myself. The situation described above involved running Android in an emulator on my PC. There was some resource or other which, although it was ganz kostenlos, was being provided in a thoroughly arsulous manner so you were forced to jump through all sorts of ridiculous hoops to actually get at it. The worst of these was that you had to download (also kostenlos) a special "app" (how I hate that word) that was only available for Android or IOS, and then use that to retrieve the resource. I was hacking that "app" to ensure that it only retrieved the resource.

In doing this I discovered that the "app" itself, the OS, and pretty well any other component of the system that was running, were forever telling all sorts of servers all sorts of stuff about you that was none of their fucking business. The first network activity when the OS was booted was from a bit of built-in spyware that used GPS data to tell Google where you were when you switched your phone on, and things of that kind happened every time you did anything and also when you didn't. Ramping up every privacy setting I could find to the max only cut this by maybe 20%; it didn't stop the "I am here" bootup transmission, and some software, including the "app", simply didn't bother to honour those settings at all and just carried on regardless.

The daft thing is that while I can remember a fair bit about what I did and what a pain it was, I can't remember at all what this resource was that I thought it was worth so much effort...


I dunno whether or not this following linked will actually work, Greg, but I looked up the same sort of problem as it related to my Nexus 10 but decided to erase the last few applications that I'd downloaded and discovered that that did work. Anyway, if my quick and dirty solution hadn't worked then I would have tried this ....

Bear in mind that I'm not an IT technician - not even a retired IT tech - and that I was only ever summoned to the open access computer room when I was needed to deal with the foreign male supremacists who appeared before the Female IT manager and demanded to see a "REAL technician A Senior Technician!!I know my Rights " and so forth. They got Me ..or as my female colleague said to her, female, junior colleague 'Have you met Arnold yet? No? Do you read Terry Pratchett ? Well its very like having DEATH on call. Arnold stalks in and the fuckers go very,very, quiet...mind you Arnold declares that he's pants at IT and demands that we give him a Crib Sheet in a very obvious manner.'


Thanks - I'll get Madam to give it a go....

LURVE the IT story re "technician" too.


Just wanted to register that this is the kind of news that gets me really riled up, changes that will be difficult to reverse are happening in the US while the administration is making loud messes elsewhere in politics space (that might sink them but still): E.P.A. Head Stacks Agency With Climate Change Skeptics Grr. In the days since, Mr. Pruitt, a former Oklahoma attorney general who built a career out of suing the agency he now leads, has moved to stock the top offices of the agency with like-minded conservatives — many of them skeptics of climate change and all of them intent on rolling back environmental regulations that they see as overly intrusive and harmful to business. ... “He’s the most different kind of E.P.A. administrator that’s ever been,” said Steve J. Milloy, a member of the E.P.A. transition team who runs the website, which aims to debunk climate change. “He’s not coming in thinking E.P.A. is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Quite the opposite.” Threatening our future, they are.


Threatening our present, actually. Couple this with the Trumpolini allowance of mining companies to dump anything they like into streams ( Hint: ABERFAN ) & it give one a very bad piocture. These people are actually evil, though like Da'esh, they believe themselves "virtuous". Needed: a Socrates


Some 40 years ago, the consensus among Those With Clue was that the best successor to "third generation" languages would be domain-specific ones, and all evidence since is that they are vastly the most productive if implemented well and if your requirement fits into their domain. I wouldn't call either Snobol or Prolog abstract - Axiom was/is, but there aren't many around.


I've not used Axiom. Do you mean the computer-algebra system?. What I have used, however, and what I don't think anyone here has yet mentioned, is algebraic-specification languages, particularly the OBJ family. In these languages, programs are specifications written as sets of equations, and there's very good support for modularisation, with a clean, category-theoretic semantics. Here's an example of using CafeOBJ to specify (and implement) a web-based slideshow, and here are some other examples: "Component-based Algebraic Specification and Verification in CafeOBJ", by Răzvan Diaconescu, Kokichi Futatsugi, and Shusaku Iida.



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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on February 24, 2017 10:53 AM.

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