December 03, 2021

Escalation Avoided

 In two separate incidents, NATO and Russian ships have been noted doing very provocative acts... the Russians sending a warship to Denmark in a gross overreaction to the seizure of a Russian merchant vessel and a U.K. and Dutch ship practically sailing into Sevastopol uninvited. 


In both cases the incidents never happened, but there was some alarm at the time as the international AIS database showed them happening in real time.


Note too that China has, ostensibly as a part of a CHICOM privacy law(?), severely restricted the use of AIS data in it's merchant fleet. That's a separate and potential troubling development.

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October 08, 2021

Thoughts on China

Rudyard looks at some trends in Chinese History and their implications for the present.



I agree that the current dynamic is essentially a return to Legalism, but I think he underestimates how much communism has broken the trio of Chinese schools of thought by virtually eliminating the religious side of their life. 

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August 19, 2021

A Question For My Readers

Why does salt have an expiration date?

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August 01, 2021

Just in Time For the Sunday Comics...

James Lileks has made an awesome and unexpected discovery. 

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July 19, 2021

A Few Questions About the Freedom Phone

There was a big stink last week about a new phone being marketed. 


The Freedom Phone is advertised as prioritizing privacy and security. It comes loaded with several free-speech-oriented applications (and Gab) and has several privacy features including something called 'Trusty' which is advertised as a secure phone operating system.

Now there have been numerous criticisms of this endeavor...rather an awful lot, see here, here, here, here, here, here, and, here. That's a small fraction of the stories.
The phone itself appears to be a cheap Chinese model (Umidigi's A9-Pro) purchased in bulk from Ali-Baba  for about $119 U.S.. Given the 500 dollar price of the Freedom Phone, this seems to approach the iPhone in mark up.

However, while it is noted that the same result could be had by jailbreaking, stripping out and reprograming an A9-Pro with Trusty and all the other free speech apps (and Gab) that skillset is beyond those who are not tech hobbyists. 

For my part, I am a....I am a Mac user. Thus, the only thing I know about computers is that they require good industrial design to keep the magic smoke in the machines, enabling the sorcery to activate the magic mirror that sees through the tubes that interface with the ley lines. 

That is, perhaps, an extreme example, but jaibreaking phones and selecting apps that enable privacy is beyond the ken of those for whom smartphones are essentially black box technology. An excellent argument can be made that people should have a basic understanding of the kit we use, but that is not the reality of the present for a great many people, which leads to my first question for the tech literate amongst my readership: Is 300 dollars reasonable to charge for jailbreaking a phone, stripping it of its data and OS and installing a secure OS and apps (as well as Gab) ?

Perhaps more importantly, are Trusty and the other apps really able to be considered in any way secure? I thought that passage through the ley lines was managed by the mighty warlocks, like AT&T or Verizon, meaning that one's data is passing through those that will sift through it.

I'm also curious how much HARDWARE vulnerability is inherent in a phone designed and built in China, as I understand it, for the domestic market. I understand that there is no capacity for domestic production of smartphones in the U.S. but the PRC is not the only place with that capacity, finland, India and Taiwan come to mind. 


The notion that someone associated with 'Conservative Inc.' might be a squalid grifter is not beyond the scope of believability. 

At all. 

The idea that this might be a grift is a very believable one...and yet....

There is an AWFUL lot of what appears to be concern trolling on this matter. Tim Pool suggested that the people doing Freedom Phone are taking fire because they are over target, and the media fusillade against the project is reactionary. However, he has not examined one of these things. 



I don't know enough to make a decision, so I ask you gentle readers, (well the tech savvy amongst you) what do you think of this thing are there any prticular red flags not mentioned in the numerous reports on it or can a Chinese phone (or any phone) be made so it will protect the user's data via software modifications. 

And if that is the case, are there any horses left in that barn?

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May 09, 2021

Golly

So THAT'S how they did it before NJ Star.



That amazing bit of Babbagery has to have the capability of typing a MINIMUM of 1945 characters. I wonder if some of those keys are just radicals and there's a function similar to capital and lower case for putting together select words. Anybody used one of these?

Anyway, with the development of the integrated circuit and word processors the procedure today is much simpler allowing a larger pool of typists. 




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March 15, 2021

Well, I had INTENDED to get Through this Sinister Day Without Encountering any News

....However.


Today Congressional Territorial Delegate San Nicolas decided to celebrate the Ides of March by ordering the Guam National Guard to march on the offices of Representative Marjorie Tailor Green (Q, GA). It seems that Green, as part of her general policy of saying shameful,  retarded shit, had inquired as to why there were foreign soldiers from someplace called "Guam" in the U.S. Capitol. The Delegate from Guam was justifiably offended...and, being a Democrat, decided to fight ignorance with a horrifying affront to civics and military discipline. 

The Guam National Guard Troops  The Retarded MTG asked about are activated and stationed in the Capitol because Xo Bai Din is returning everything to totes normal. 



And took video of it. 

Watch on Bitchute

A few problems here. 

Congress, whether they be Delegates, Representative or Senators are TOTALLY outside the chain of command. They do not give orders to troops. 

Using the military to intimidate a congressional representative of the opposite party is about as junta-like as one can get.

Participating in a political action in uniform is a major UCMJ violation. When I was in, we could have faced discipline for this...given the added context of following unlawful orders from outside the chain of command might have resulted in a tour of duty at Leavenworth.  

The GNG troops were either ignorant of the rules and basic military civics or did not care to follow either. Whatever the reason, this speaks to frighteningly poor training.

The same goes for the Delegate, who used the troops to make a political statement illegally, though I doubt that ignorance was a factor with him. 

This is terrifying.

    

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January 31, 2021

An Even Better Overview of the Gamestop Mess

Via Pixy

This video comes with the following list of citations in the description.


Like everything nowadays this has become polarized. I've had conversations with and read missives by people, including a few friends who are convinced the Redditards are in the wrong, and are the only bad actor here. Some have made it plain that to disagree with them on this point is to reveal oneself as a bad person. 

Here is where I take off the mask and reveal myself to have been secretly working for the forces of darkness all along. 

I think the Redditards are probably assholes. They likely are vulgar, blunt and rude people, who don't engage in the insincere social niceties so necessary for polite upper middle class society. Hell, they're probably just jerks and I don't think they'd be fun to hang out with.

I do NOT think they did anything wrong here. 

I think the hedgefund  shortsellers in the affair are probably well-spoken affable individuals, articulate and fun to be around. 

I think that shorting struggling companies 140 percent is and this being a common practice, is troubling. I think that the ability of a few firms to do this in such a way it affects the whole market is scary. And I think that the stink of corruption in the firms with fiduciary responsibilities to the hedge funds ; the ones that stopped trading, but not selling, on the very stocks that the hedge funds desperately wanted people to sell...is suss to say the least.   I think that lying about one's liquidity to investors and customers is not a best practice.

Finally, I think that struggling companies that might have turned the corner, not being crushed like grapes before they have the chance to maybe save the livelihoods of their owners, investors and at least some of their employees...well that's not bad per se. 
As for a bunch of assholes making money because they saw a legal opportunity and took it? Well, more power to them. 

Did some people get hurt in this? Yes, those with retirement funds...like mine have gotten burned. But they got hurt, not because some asshole on Reddit NOTICED that hedge funds were manipulating the market, but because the hedge funds pursued a short squeeze in the first place.  

So there, your milage may vary,  but now you all  know. 

The vast depth and breadth of my evil is laid out before you. Get your affairs in order, I'll be crossing the Rivr Isen on Midsummer Eve...and I'll be wearing black. 



(Or something...June 21st is in the middle of my vacation this year but COVID makes it hard to plan. ) 

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January 27, 2021

Leading Indicators

Today was the first day in 2 weeks I've worked more than an hour and a half. There's been an astonishing drop in volume at my work over the last 2 weeks. There always is a severe drop after Christmas, but before Christmas we had Christmas level volume because of the COVID restrictions...which have gotten much more onerous during that time.. Now I'm not laid off, I have sufficient seniority that when they lay people off I can volunteer to be one of them and I've had errands, family issues and doctors appointments so I've taken advantage of that several days, but we're still very short of volume. Even in slack years, even in January, we did not finish unloading packages after an hour and a half on a nominally 4-5 hour shift. 


Given the increasing intensity of he lockdowns and the volume of vaccines that we were getting before this week, one would expect a heavier than normal January. Indeed the first two weeks of the month (which in my 28 years of experience are usually dead) were remarkably heavy. 

In general the end of January and beginning of February are a bit heavier than most of the post-Christmas winter since stores are restocking their inventory. However, this is the very time that we're seeing volume DROP. 

One shipping center is not representative of the company, let alone the economy. In fact it's a ridiculously inadequate data point, but it is concerning, and the lack of pay is of some personal concern. 

U.S. economic numbers lag a fair bit in relation to the current time, so I checked out the Baltic Dry Index, which is a current measure of the cost of international shipping. It is an imperfect metric, particularly now as COVID restrictions have likely added considerable overhead to shipping costs, but in general it is a leading indicator of how robust world trade is, the lower the cost the less trade is happening. 


However, the BDI is an indicator of bulk raw material shipping prices, not retail. It proceeds in fits and starts with production. 

Other leading indicators are at the precise moment that I type this, on a generally downward trend, but I don't know enough to say if it is precipitously so. 



Note that that is a screenshot of an active, constantly updating chart that has one or two indices occasionally switching between red and green. 


The sudden, unexpected drop in volume from its aberrant and bonecrushing highs to lay-offs where I am may be a localized phenomenon and should not be a cause for undue concern. 
A focus group of one is a woefully inadequate data set. 

However, in my 28 years of experience our volume trends quite closely with the overall economic health of the nation, so I'm very curious if anyone else here has noted any drop-offs in economic activity. 

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January 24, 2021

Meanwhile, In Russia:


It looks like mass demonstrations have spontaneously broken out all across Russia in protest of the jailing of a Russian opposition party leader named Alexi Nalvany who was  just arrested and jailed after returning from a trip trip to Germany. There is apparently concern for his safety since he was arrested, as he had been in Germany recovering from acute nerve agent poisoning he had contracted from his underwear (as one does). The Russian authorities refused to open an investigation into the attempted murder of a Russian citizen. Given the history of poisonings of Russian political opponents, this was particularly suss, and there seems to be genuine fear for his safety by his political supporters. 

This is not just around Moscow either. There are currently protests in 109 cities across the largest country on Earth and  I've heard reference to Vladivostok and Petropavlovsk in some of the video coverage. Also; according to the NYT article above, these protests are taking place in temperatures as low as minus 68 degrees Fahrenheit which would seem to indicate a certain level of passion and motivation on the part of the protestors. Over 3,000 people had been reported arrested as of 23:05 GMT

Hundreds of thousands of people are protesting  in hundreds cities in the largest country on the planet, which controls a large percentage of the worlds oil reserves and which has the largest nuclear arsenal on Earth....

This seems seems like it ought to be getting rather more coverage than it is here in the U.S.A. 

I do not know anything about Nalvany or how, in what is presented to us as a country with fairly strong social media control, he got such a following, but I'm very interested in finding out. Anyone who, you know,  speaks Russian or has insights into this situation...feel free to sound off in the comments. 

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October 12, 2020

Hippy-San 0n Boogie 2988



Styx has one of the more reasoned takes on the recent situation with a YouTuber (Boogie2988 ) who had a stalker show up at his house

I'm not a fan of the YouTuber, but whatever one thinks of him, having a stalker is a dreadful thing, and having them show up at your house is absolutely terrifying, beyond the pale and not acceptable. Deadly force is authorized. However, Boogie's response was...sub-optimal. I've seen a lot of hot takes on this bit of drama over the last week but this one is notable for not being stupid. 

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November 04, 2019

Flash Gordon and the Ministry of Truth

Actually it's just Flash and the Ministry of Truth.
And to be honest any resemblance to the MoT is pure speculation on my part.
So were going to blame* Pixy for the stupid post title because he used a Flash Gordon pun when he linked to this post over at the Google Dev blog boasting about how they are going to put Flash (the animation program, not the planet hopping baseball player) to bed. For some reason the anonymous Hangul-proficient blogger is smug about it.

IT and cybersecurity are not at all in my wheelhouse, but I understand that there are some security issues with Macromedia Flash, so there might be some technical justification for this decision. However no such reason is mentioned anywhere in this announcement. There is this though...

  Flash was the answer to the boring static web, with rich animations, media, and actions. It was a prolific technology that inspired many new content creators on the web. It was everywhere. The Flash runtime, which plays Flash content, was installed 500 million times in the second half of 2013.  I still remember my son playing endless number of Flash games until my wife yelled at him. It's time to go to bed, son. Hey Flash, it's your turn to go to bed. 


It goes on to mention that anything using flash will no longer be visible via Google Search and they seem inordinately pleased with themselves about this loss of functionality, so much so that it got me to thinking about "chocolate rations" and since NO technical reason was given I find myself focusing on what they did say seems to make little sense. Let's review: "Flash YAY! Wonderful tool Yay!" We're cancelling it! Yaaaay! Oh, and we're totally your momma." Or further contexualized and simplified..."Derp!"


So now we've got to read between the lines, which is always fraught.

We see them note that Flash opened up the web and was intimately associated with an era of intense creativity, However,  sifting through the white pixels we note that what is not said is that this growth was driven by amateurs and people who came from the outside who were generally un-credentialed but talented and brought about a vast and disruptive age of change that Google is now trying to tamp down on.

There are a lot of Flash games and a lot of sites still use flash, some of them quite worthy ones. These will soon be lost, at least to those who don't maintain specific browsers. However, the Flash games are not done by the big companies, and the use of flash is a hallmark of an earlier era, one characterized above all by irreverence and freedom that Google/Alphabet would very much like to close the door on. The sorts of sites that use Flash, and the sorts of ideas presented in many of those animations are the sorts of knowledge that Google and their ilk would just as soon purge, if they make those sites unsearchable, they will have done so.

Now. It is important to appreciate, or at least assume that people one disagrees with do not, as a rule, share their motivations with Snidely Whiplash, or some Captain Planet villain sitting in their headquarters cackling that "Today..I will be EEEEVIL!" However, I find it hard nowadays, at least with with Google, to not ascribe their actions to malice.

So...


There are IT people who frequent this site.

Please explain in small words to this Bachelor of History why Google's decision is a solid one from an IT perspective and does not actually serve to erase a big swath of knowledge and history from the 'net. For bonus points explain why what appeared to be sadistic and patronizing glee is justified and appropriate.



*Note: This does not constitute any actual evidence of causation or responsibility on the part of Pixy Misa. Pixy is merely being blamed.

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October 05, 2019

Another Question For You, Gentle Readers

I know that there are people here who do research into events that were recently current, so, I've got a question.

Is anybody else finding it REALLY hard to find old news articles online?

One example. I can't find a lot involving the American response to the Russian movement into the Donbass back in 2009-10 2014 and particularly the fact that at that time there were actual Nazis (not neo-, not alt-right, I'm talking Jew Hating socialists sporting a Crooked Buddhist Sunwheel) in the Ukranian parliament.

I'm not a particular fan of Milo, but I recently tried to look up info on the hit job against him. I found plenty on the false accusations, but I had to use the mee.nu search engine to find one of my own posts with 6 links debunking them, none of which were searchable without EXACT wording.

I'm now having a hard time finding old blog posts, particularly ones on my old blog, or references to my, um,  ill-fated Congressional run.

I'm SURE there used to be an option where one could search by date ie: by year and month and keywords as opposed to just "Anytime, Past Week, Past Month, Last Year".

Am I imagining this?

Anybody?

That is all.

Here is a completely coincidental video:



 

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September 02, 2019

Well [Expletive Deleted]


Of course none of this mess that's coming is likely to compare to what's befalling the Bahamians right now.

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Well This is Interesting

There's a report that the U.S. military is getting into the domestic speech regulation business.

Now I'm so old that I remember last week's report that Trump was removing automatic citizenship from the children of service-members born overseas, so I'm holding judgement.

However, if this is a nuanced and accurate characterization of the policy as proposed, then the position of this blog is...


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August 30, 2019

Slow Clap

***

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August 29, 2019

What the Actual Hell is This?

This has been making the rounds today.

As a request by DARPA this might not be really odd until you consider the short notice.




It's the urgency that causes one to ponder things.
Why do they need an underground facility the size of several city blocks that can be sealed from the environment....BY FRIDAY?


Picture unrelated....Hopefully.

DARPA's Twitter feed is here.

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August 16, 2019

Mara-Igloo?



There are multiple reports that the Trump administration has been trying to buy....Greenland

This is exactly what many of us were afraid of when weighing the nomination of a sketchy Bronx real-estate developer to high office.


"Actually, I don't remember this specific scenario ever being discussed."

Greenland is...misleadingly named...and a poor location for a casino, golf course or beach resort.


Not that it's without charm. To wit: Scenic Kulusuk.

However, Greenland is massively strategic, in both location and mineral resources, potentially making this a very good investment.



Image via

The world's largest island (which, while big, is not NEARLY as big as a Mercator projection often makes it look) is a net (albeit slight) economic drain on Denmark,which doesn't have the resources to develop it or realistically defend it and it's small population of ~56,000 has been steadily dwindling for some time. This is mainly due to them being eaten by polar bears and  Ithaqua.

"Please ignore his last sentence as it is dubious and lacks a citation!"

This is actually the third time the U.S. has tried to buy Greenland, once in 1867 and once in 1946.  As of now, Denmark has looked at the cost/benefit of owning Greenland and once again said "No!".

China, will, no doubt, be undeterred from their more subtle efforts towards the same end.

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July 25, 2019

A Sobering Realization

Ilhan Omar was only 10 years old when she got here.
She went to school here.
She's had 26 years here.
She bore 3 kids here.

Any hate for us she brought with her she did not unlearn in our schools.
The rest of her hatred was not imported but learned here, in our schools.

I don't say this to defend or excuse her execrable views, but to point out that she is even more an indictment of our increasingly degenerate education system than our broken immigration policies.

Keeping out barbarians is all well and good, but it is a futile gesture if we make them domestically.

 
 

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May 20, 2019

We're Not ACTUALLY Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor.

Brickmuppet Blog is protesting against the cyberbullying of a 14 year old girl by Buzzfeed. She delenquitized herself way before we linked to her.

I would not want a 14 year old of mine to make herself a target to the crazies like she does here...er....here


Trigger Warning!! Language, Burkas, anti-anti-semitism, insightful armchair psychoanalysis,  and actual citations in the write-up.

...but that is between her and her parents, and NOBODY else. It is certainly not the business of Buzzfeed and not a matter that should involve the police in any way. Yes Buzzfeed called the police on her.

Parents beware, there is foul language, but rather less than I was led to believe, this is far from the tourettes cascade that was described to me. There's actually some nuance in it. She mentions that 'call-out-culture' is a subset of the left, pointing out that there are still lefties who are for free speech.

Of course it wasn't the language that pissed Buzzfeed off. It was the fact that she nails the big domestic issue of our age.

Now, the fact that she's in Marin county is causing her troubles with her school. There have been walk outs by students protesting her existence and I suspect that she's now the target of every Heather and soy-boy that wants to virtue signal. (Thanks Buzzfeed).

There is, of course a lot to be offended by here.

What pissed me off the most about her is that this 14 year old is a better writer than me.

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