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Techmology and Scientism / Bypass paywalls with this browser extension
« on: April 19, 2020, 10:04:48 pm »
These will eventually break as the paywalls evolve, so get it while the gettings good!

Posting this to comment on later. It’s an hour long keynote for a little security conference that just happened. Alex Stamos seems quite good at making complex ideas very accessible, or perhaps I just strongly agree with his larger strategy of contextualizing issues as tradeoffs. I don’t know, check it out:

Aneristic Illusions / Mail bomb speculation thread
« on: October 25, 2018, 07:49:49 am »
Suppose for a moment that Mueller got the goods on the McConnell-Trump-Russia-GOP clusterfuck and they have become aware that Mueller has said goods.

Would this mail bomb attack simultaneously fulfill a number of strategic goals, regardless of whether the Dems take Congress?

  • It tests the “false flag” (ff) narrative for further escalation.
  • If the ff doesn’t play that well, there is time to deploy even more desperate measures, that could make the ff idea more viable.
  • If the ff does have legs, now or eventually, it could rally the GOP vote—who are primarily motivated by fear.
  • It hedges against the ff narrative failing by encouraging already high levels of white nationalist violence to escalate.
  • Even without the ff narrative growing legs, escalating violence is a pretext to sending police/military presence to the polls to suppress votes (intimidating people that have been historically abused by police by their mere presence, enacting “emergency legislation” to make voting more costly, time-consuming, etc).
  • If after all that they still lose control of Congress, then in full-on cornered animal mode the mail bombs provide encouragement for the civil war so many on the right think they want.
  • It tests the viability of using assassination to avoid consequences for what they know Mueller will present to the world.

I’m probably wrong about all this, but what do you think?

Apple Talk / I may be a piece of shit
« on: July 30, 2016, 02:57:55 am »
But at least when I got out of your ass the first wipe was perfectly clean.

Apple Talk / Aristotle On Trolling
« on: May 11, 2016, 05:22:20 am »
That trolling is a shameful thing, and that no one of sense would accept to be called ‘troll’, all are agreed; but what trolling is, and how many its species are, and whether there is an excellence of the troll, is unclear. And indeed trolling is said in many ways; for some call ‘troll’ anyone who is abusive on the internet, but this is only the disagreeable person, or in newspaper comments the angry old man. And the one who disagrees loudly on the blog on each occasion is a lover of controversy, or an attention-seeker. And none of these is the troll, or perhaps some are of a mixed type; for there is no art in what they do. (Whether it is possible to troll one's own blog is unclear; for the one who poses divisive questions seems only to seek controversy, and to do so openly; and this is not trolling but rather a kind of clickbait.)

The rest is here:

And a critical response is here:

Quite on the nose and a good read.

Techmology and Scientism / Attn: professional code monkeys
« on: August 31, 2015, 03:33:13 pm »
So I'm competing for two more invite-only internships/junior developer jobs in the next few weeks.

If you (or monkeys of the non-programming variety) have any ideas or amusingly bad advice at how to land a position that involves multi-day coding challenges to qualify for them, I'd be interested.

One is more front end and the other is more back end, both stressing JavaScript.

In related news, I suspected a program like this was in effect, so if you want a secret invite to work at Google you know where to do all your sophisticated programming searches:

What is it with all the invite-only, hush-hush hiring stuff in the programming world? Or did I just decide to enter the fold when they started doing this?


I've been enjoying these podcasts while making dinner and whatnot.

Apple Talk / I couldn't sleep so I edited some horoscopes
« on: February 17, 2015, 02:23:42 pm »
Aquarius (January 20 - February 18)

A crustacean or well-known sea mammal is doing something that you want to be doing, and there's nothing stopping you from doing it. No great resources are required, just a lot of liquid. Get a container you can fit in and realize your potential. There is a strong current of bullshit around you now, and you need to take advantage of it. It's a good time to let loose on some motherfuckers, move forward into an indecisive chump's path, or push a shopping cart full of NOPE into the intersection of Shut the Fuck Up Street and Smartass Avenue.

Pisces (February 19 - March 20)

Settling your powerful hindquarters into a dessert will be harder than you ever thought it could be now -- social invitations will start piling up early, so you had better decide whether you want to change your pants or wait until it soaks through a little while longer. Getting away with that other thing should still be a top priority, so put off doing anything new -- unless doing so would allow you to develop tastebuds on your anus.

Aries (March 21 - April 19)

Sharing your bathroom with someone is a choice -- friends and partners in your past have always been able go out back and shit in a bag, but right now someone could be morphing from a supporter into a dickless titwank. Observe your social calendar -- who's been spending too much time in there? Before things get out of hand, install a bidet that activates on a timer at a high pressure setting. If you get some attitude about it, then simply suggest it is operator error. Life is too short to not rule your pooping space with a goddamn iron fist.

Taurus (April 20 - May 20)

No one has better instincts about when someone is blowing smoke up your ass, but you could easily be a NASCAR champion. Instincts are based on a complex interplay of genetic predispositions, formative experiences, and your current blood sugar; there is an unpredictability around emotional thinking -- especially right now. In everything you do, be it at work, at school or in your social adventures, do it faster and in the upper limits of what a gas powered vehicle is capable of. Feel what you feel, but make sure you take the wheel and turn into the skid at least once. Think about what is best for everyone.

Gemini (May 21 - June 21)

With all that's been on your mind lately, you could use a fat stack of illegitimate money. Talk things out to someone you trust. Skip past the usual folks whose shoulders you so often lean upon and instead look to someone you have a more professional relationship with. Subtly toss out a few thoughts, and if they push you on the details, keep going. Be careful not to tip off friends that might snitch because you're going to rob a jewelry store and use HSBC to hide the proceeds like a boss.

Cancer (June 22 - July 22)

Buckle up and get ready for a storm to hit -- there is a strong wave of confusion and resentment coming, and it's going to wreck your kidneys. You were hardly using them anyway, but your life will be affected a bit. Everyone's fee fees are touchy right now because February is bullshit and doesn't even so much as have enough days yet time slows down like an overly full bladder. You might lose your temper too -- but it's to be expected. Ride this wave doing an elegant but forceful pee dance. You'll come out on the other side with a few lessons and much warmth under your belt.

Discordian Recipes / Lazy Broccoli and Pasta
« on: November 21, 2014, 06:16:49 am »
Ever since I read the thread about "what you're made of," I decided to eat more delicious things. But nothing that requires too much effort as my free time is very limited.

A few weeks ago I got home after work and there's no real food around except for half a box of penne, bread, and frozen broccoli. Now, I've been eating raw broccoli with just a vinaigrette on it for a while, but we were also out of all salad dressing period. (There's something about the bitterness that seems to work. Or I have a disgusting palate, I'm not entirely sure.) Anyway, we did have a bottle of regular-ass olive oil and balsamic vinegar which always good with bread, so I developed a plan.

I threw a ton of seasoning salt in the pasta water and then boiled the penne until taste tests proved the noodles perfectly delicious. I understand that this is the most critical part of any pasta dish, so at least I got that part right. While the pasta hung out in the colander for a second, I microwaved the broccoli for a few minutes and then threw the tremendous quantity of penne on top of it. Then I drizzled a ton of olive oil and balsamic vinegar on it, applied a liberal shaking of Montreal Steak Seasoning (which seems to be primarily coarse sea salt, coarse black pepper, and garlic), mixed it up a bit, and threw a few pieces of bread on there.

Yeah. It seems healthy, and is hella easy to make so I've been making this ridiculous little concoction just about every night. Sometimes swapping out the broccoli for half a bag of frozen brussels sprouts that I cut in half after microwaving to make sure they're hot.

Here's tonight's half-eaten masterpiece:

Apple Talk / I'm a lesbian marrying a man
« on: October 30, 2014, 02:44:39 am »

I was in a bar in Chicago when I told a close friend of 20 years that, despite being a lesbian, I was marrying a man. My friend and I hadn’t seen each other in a while, but we fell back quickly into our old intimacy — those long, rambling conversations we used to have in coffee shops all over Minneapolis. When the subject shifted to an activist group she was part of, I said I’d be glad to help, if they needed a lesbian on their board. She laughed, dismissively. “You can’t call yourself that anymore.”

Of all the weird reactions I’d gotten to my engagement, that one pissed me off most.

I had not been not surprised when my fiancé’s friends — Washington insiders with the respect for convention that city inspires — expressed shock when they discovered I was a dyke. We came from different worlds; with my long brunette hair and short skirts, I hadn’t read as queer to them. But no one had presumed to relabel me, to retrofit me to their categories — at least, not to my face.

But here was my fabulous Portland pal, trying to claim me for the Bi-Het team (which sounded like a synagogue rather than a sexual identity, and certainly not my own). She wasn’t the only one: An ex-girlfriend and a sophisticated poet cousin said the same thing, as if my lesbian license had been revoked.

So let me be clear, since I can’t be the only one: I am a lesbian marrying a man.

This is not semantics, or splitting hairs; it is fundamental to who we are — my fiancé and I. Immutable as height or eye color.


Gaming is part of who I am, I can promise you that.

Thus, when I see an article titled “Gamers are dead,” referring to the death of the popular trope of a pasty young man in a dimly lit room, it fills me with joy, because it means WE FUCKING WON. So many people are playing games now that they are popular culture. They are not going away. All sorts of cool things, that I like, are now things that a whole bunch of other people like! There’s enough space now for people to make games that are strange and disturbing and maybe highlight a different perspective of the world, because gaming is no longer a niche activity, it’s something that everybody does. There is room for art in video games. That’s awesome!

You slopebrowed weaseldicks with zero reading comprehension and even less critical thinking skills who think an article claiming “Gamers are dead” is something bad? Fuck me sideways with a sandblaster.

It’s like all you can do is look at this collection of words, scratch yourself uneasily, and then run off to look for grubs. Your reaction (and I am not making this up, because it’s been widely documented literally everywhere) to various articles proclaiming the death of the basement-dwelling, cheetos-huffing, poopsock-sniffing douchepistol, because games are so good now that they are common entertainment and thus everyone plays them, was to COMPLETELY MISS THE POINT by either:

a) Making misogynistic threats against a wide variety of female game developers and critics because somehow they’re going to keep games you enjoy from ever being made again


b) Being stupid enough to get sucked in by people busy making misogynistic threats against a wide variety of female game developers and critics, and supporting their idiotic crusade for the dumbing down of everyone everywhere ever.


Techmology and Scientism / Metadata collection finally foiled?
« on: September 29, 2014, 07:15:40 am »

With metadata suddenly in the spotlight, Brooks decided earlier this year to dust off his Ricochet program and tweak it to make it more elegant—he knew he’d still have a problem, however, getting anyone to adopt it. He wasn’t a known name in the security world and there was no reason anyone should trust him or his program.

Enter, a group formed by Australian security journalist Patrick Gray. Last July, Gray announced that he was working with HD Moore, developer of the Metasploit Framework tool used by security researchers to pen-test systems, and with another respected security professional who goes by his hacker handle The Grugq, to craft a secure, open-source encrypted chat program cobbled together from parts of existing anonymity and messaging systems—such as Prosody, Pidgin and Tor. They wanted a system that was highly secure, user friendly and metadata-free. Gray says his primary motivation was to protect the anonymity of sources who contact journalists.

“At the moment, when sources contact a journalist, they’re going to leave a metadata trail, whether it’s a phone call record or instant message or email record [regardless of whether or not the content of their communication is encrypted],” he says. “And that data is currently accessible to authorities without a warrant.”

When Brooks wrote to say he’d already designed a chat program that eliminated metadata, Gray and his group took a look at the code and quickly dropped their plan to develop their own tool, in favor of working with Brooks to develop his.

From the Wikipedia entry on wu wei:

In the Tao te Ching, Laozi explains that beings (or phenomena) that are wholly in harmony with the Tao behave in a completely natural, uncontrived way. The goal of spiritual practice for the human being is, according to Laozi, the attainment of this purely natural way of behaving, as when the planets revolve around the sun. The planets effortlessly do this revolving without any sort of control, force, or attempt to revolve themselves, instead engaging in effortless and spontaneous movement.

Several chapters of the most important Taoist text, the Tao Te Ching, attributed to Laozi, allude to "diminishing doing" or "diminishing will" as the key aspect of the sage's success. Taoist philosophy recognizes that the Universe already works harmoniously according to its own ways; as a person exerts their will against or upon the world they disrupt the harmony that already exists. This is not to say that a person should not exert agency and will. Rather, it is how one acts in relation to the natural processes already extant. The how, the Tao of intention and motivation, that is key.

Related translation from the Tao Tê Ching by Priya Hemenway, Chapter II:

The Sage is occupied with the unspoken
and acts without effort.
Teaching without verbosity,
producing without possessing,
creating without regard to result,
claiming nothing,
the Sage has nothing to lose.

Isn't swilling beer, watching TV, buying useless crap at the mall, and so on, isn't that the most natural way to live in a consumer society? It's effortless, you just punch the clock, buy stuff and simply ignore moral issues that make you uncomfortable. Struggling for any sense of justice, engaging with difficult issues, hell, even doing vigorous exercise routines would seem to be a contrived, forced way of living.

Disrupting the status quo seems to be the least wu wei thing you can do. Going with the flow helps bankers solidify their power, it helps us mindlessly dump tons of garbage into the ocean, it helps police to get away with murder.... The more I think about it, the more the idea seems designed to keep plebeians from meddling in the affairs of the ruling class.

edit: typo

Principia Discussion / An amusing bit against the number 5
« on: June 08, 2014, 06:58:27 pm »

I do not like the number five. I believe Five drives around in a red Mustang wearing mirrored sunglasses. Five lounges at lights with one arm out the window, slapping the side of the car to the beat of Van Halen’s “Runnin’ With the Devil.” I’d like to wipe that look off Five’s face. When running, Five bounds with an uneven gait, like a hare with a bum ankle. Five is prime, which I find obnoxious: why should a number refuse to divide by anything other than itself and one? Who does it think it is?

The whole article appears to be a plug for a book about personifying numbers, but it's an inspired (dare I say, Discordian) plug.

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