September 04, 2019

This is an Interesting, Though Likely Transitory Develpment

The Hong Kong protestors are using a peer-to-peer mesh broadcasting network that doesn't use the internet.

Is this like CB for cellphones? 

I imagine that it could be jammed pretty easily, though actually eavesdropping on it might be a significant challenge, given good encryption.

Anyone here have any experience with these or thoughts on it?

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Hope ?

The extradition treaty is being formally withdrawn by the Hong Kong government.

Note that she refers to the 5 demands as being made by THE PUBLIC rather than something like running dog wreckers and saboteurs.  While Mayor Lam nixes one of the demands (which is for what amounts to an internal affairs audit of the HK police) she yields on the Extradition Treaty and offers to parley on the rest. Which is significantly better than a bloodbath. 

I'm still not optimistic, but there is now room for rational hope.

More on this  here and here.

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August 13, 2019

Some Talk A Good Game About Empowered Women

...but point to Mary Sue Fanfic and weaponizing "the vapors" as examples of such.

Most of those would not be the least bit amused by today's birthday girl, who was a person of extraordinary talent in her sport, She was also a superb showman and entrepreneur who came from less than nothing and on her own merits rose to become one of the most famous women in the world in her day.

She was also a philanthropist, world traveler, businesswoman, actress and at one point tried to raise an all female unit of 50 women sharpshooters  for the Spanish American War before McKinley said "No!"

She also empowered more than 15,000 women in the most profound way possible, by teaching them how to shoot.

On this day in 1860, Phoebe Ann Mosey, better known in later life as Annie Oakley and "Little Sure Shot", was born.

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Meanwhile, In Hong Kong

China has denied a port visit by the U.S. Navy in Hong Kong. This might be taken as an indication that something very bad is in the wind.

The last few days have been less peaceful but the protests, which have been going on for three months now and comprise at time millions of people are still showing no sign of letting up on their own.

It's looking like they will be ended by the CCP, which is reported to be massing troops across the Pearl River.

Tienanmen 2 may well be imminent.

Given the seven and a half million that live in the megalopolis, and what the CCP did in Tiennamen; when the hammer comes down, it has the potential to be a bloodbath on a par with some of the worst atrocities in history. This is not a bunch of students, more than a quarter of the population has taken part in some of these marches, a testament to what the stakes are for the average Hong Konger. The CCP is facing stresses from numerous directions and see the outspokenness of Hong Kong as a danger that is poised to metastasize. For all its millions Hong Kong is but a rounding error among the billion and a half Chinese;  one that the mainlanders have been raised and educated to be decidedly unsympathetic to.

The Hong Kong protestors are waving the American flag and singing The Star Spangle Banner. The desperately want what we have and appreciate it in a way many of our leaders do not and their thirst for freedom is something that many of our gatekeepers and self appointed aristocrats hold in contempt.

There is little that can be done of course, but the comparative lack of coverage or "backpaging"  of this impending catastrophe by mainline news outlets is disgraceful, and feeds into the idea that the tech weasels and media are to a very large extent Chinese fronts now.

I note that the You Tube Filter seems to have gotten particularly egregious about this story recently. Selecting the most recent upload date as a filter provides two particularly anodyne news reports and the then starts going backwards from a month ago.

In any event, companies like Epic that are owned by People's Liberation Army affiliated companies or those like Google that Kow-Tow to their wishes in hopes of favors ought to be scrutinized rather more than they are, for what's happening in china with the social credit system and what is about to befall Hong Kong, is not at all beyond the bounds of possibility for us.

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July 30, 2019

Of Mailboxes and Mobs

I post this with the usual caveat that this fellow generally isn't my cup of tea. I've had to use that caveat three times now because things are just that crazy and Mr. Hambly does a good job of encapsulating these crazy things.

Turns out he's just as effective at encapsulating scary things. 

It seems that some YouTuber who goes by the handle of That Umbrella Guy has incurred the wrath of the Professionally Offended Stormtroopers, who are now posting pictures of his wife and kids, sending him daily updates on the state of his lawn and trying to get him fired from his job.

In what is officially unrelated news, his mailbox was just destroyed. 

Hambly has also set up a Go-Fund-Me for the fellow, who has a second kid on the way as his life is being burned down by trolls.

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July 27, 2019

Some Endings Are Much More Consequential Than Others

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June 23, 2019

Even the Stupidest Stories Can lead Us To Worrisome Truths

In bowels of the previous post we snarked briefly about that Tifa non-troversey and how it was distracting from potentially worrisome issues with the game. That post hyper-linked to an article that had the character designer explaining that the decision was forced on him by the company ethics department in order to conform to 'Global Standards". Curious as to what "Global Standards" were, our crack team of fact checkers did a cursory search and lo-and behold it's a thing.

Interestingly, this policy was implemented by Sony in in 2018, which was about the same time that a wave of censorious shenanigans descended upon the internet in various places. That timeframe is significant because looking for info on "Global Standards"turned up this rather long but fascinating article at Medium, which deserves your full attention.

Let’s take this timeline for example; In, July of 2017, Stripe announces a partnership with Chinese Companies WeChat (Tencent) and AliPay. What happened less than a quarter of a year later? Well, Patreon (who as stated earlier relies on Stripe for processing), had their guidelines updated with further scrutiny paid to adult content, seemingly out of nowhere. As time went on, Patreon would be on and off with the adult content they allowed, eventually allowing it as long as the outward page being presented was not itself explicit. The NSFW community on the site was left in a cloud of doubt about what the official position was when it came to terms of service; much akin to what is currently happening on platforms like Steam. Are there any other examples of this, however? The archived list we used notes that Circle, which was at one point accepting of this content, apparently changed their mind.

This explains a couple of things like why Patreon and Tumblr suddenly got all wonky regards adult content and still can't seem to define it consistently. Note that Stripe, is believed to have been the payment processor mentioned in the Matt Christensen video and transcript of his interaction with Patreon customer service after the second series of their purges last year, and Stripe and PayPal attempted to shut down SubscribeStar when it presented itself as an alternative.

It gets worse...

  ...there’s been an oddly increasing number of incidents related to so-called "problematic content” being stripped from or outright barred from a number of sites. However, when looking into it deeper, there seems to be a simple, central trait shared by all of these incidents; Chinese Investment, or entrance into the Chinese Market. All of this also corresponds to reports that cross-border investment from China is reaching new levels, as there is proof of China actively attempting to move their money overseas. What’s terrifying about this revelation is, as you’ll see, the issue with censorship does not come simply from Chinese companies buying out firms so they can censor them; it comes, sometimes, from companies simply wanting to expand into the Chinese market themselves, and be compliant in doing so.

This,  of course has far worse implication than the silly notion that "Global" beauty standards are actually being set by insecure members of the CCP's "50 Cent Army".

The article goes on to discuss how this has affected Reddit, Discord, Tumbler, Apple, Google, You-Tube, Steam and the development of the Playstation4, before taking a deep dive into the Chinese influence on various payment processors, how this is tied to Xi Jinping's modern version of The Little Red Book and the dire implications of any TOS that has a "Reactionism" clause.

Also: Epic Games is cancer. (But we knew that)

Of course, this is not entirely the CCP's fault.

On one hand essentially, tech firms are bending over to please the ideals of the Xi Jinping Doctrine, in hopes of courting favor with the party — leading to their eventual approval to begin operations within China.

On the other hand, tech firms are pleasing the ideals of the Xi Jinping Doctrine — without being told to, simply because they already ideologically align.

Again; read the whole thing. Be warned, it's long. Medium estimates 30 minutes, but as I kept cross-checking stuff It took me a bit over 90. It was worth every minute. Joe B. did yeoman's work on this.

The payments processing situation with regard to free speech has been brought up a lot of late, but it bears repeating as it is beginning to look like this is the biggest issue facing freedom of speech.

This dovetails nicely into Dev's latest video...

...and should remind us that the Chinese social credit system is not just a problem for the Chinese people.

Note that the CTV article referenced in the video mentions that Libra will be backed by
  "bank deposits and government securities in currencies from stable and reputable central banks."

I'm pretty sure the U.S. isn't investing in this so I imagine those government securities will include a lot of Yuan.

Dev's video also clarifies a widespread misconception about Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, that EFF seems to share.

Anyway, watch the whole video, it's worth the 20 minutes.

Take heart; The situation is grim but not hopeless, and we are far better served to be aware of what's arrayed against us than to be ignorant of what lurks in the dark.

Also, I apologize to anybody, who, having read the first paragraph, read through the entire post thinking they were going to get boobs.

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June 04, 2019

This Day in History

It's been 30 years .

The source for this image seems to be a website that was taken down recently. i found it via image search and it goes to a dead link..

1989 was an odd year, The U.S.S.R., weakened by its own internal contradictions and with its rot exposed by the Chernobyl disaster of three years prior was undergoing seismic upheavals. There was crazy talk in the west; that the cold War might end without a fight, let alone Armageddon. The faint breeze of hope, long forbidden to those on the other side of the iron curtain was beginning to blow throughout the communist world. Every day, it seemed the news was reporting on how Glasnost was spinning out of control, but in a good way. It's hard to describe the awe, the cautious hope and the elation that 1989 brought us. By the end of the year the Berlin Wall would be rubble, Ceaușescu would be dead and the countries of Eastern Europe would throw off their shackles and begin the long and halting process of rebuilding.

However, in June of that year, the largest of the protests, failed.

In China, one of the largest public spaces in the world was filled with students, packed in like sardines. Emboldened by those heady days when whispers of freedom were spreading like wildfire throughout the communist world, they gathered in Tienanmen Square  to call for reform and civil rights as their ancestors had in 1919 and 1976. For days they marched, they sang, they engaged in hunger strikes. Chinese students around the world joined in. They were overjoyed, and confident. They were going to be free!

And then. It ended. The Chinese Communist Party decided that this could not stand. After a few facsimiles of parlaying, they assessed the situation and came to the conclusion that no negotiation or concessions were necessary.  A billion people is a formidable entity. A billion minds, going in a billion different directions., a billion perspectives, a billion voices, a billion ideas, a billion hopes, a billion dreams, such human capital can create wealth and wonders. However, from the perspective of a leftist, or really any totalitarian, they are cats that must be herded, contradictory views that must be countered, potential disloyalty and a potential threat. The Army was loyal, and with that, even a billion a billion people, if they have been disarmed, are, ultimately little more than a target rich environment.

The CCP decided that thousands in the Square, would no longer be an inspiration, but an example.

The APCs came in that night and were gone by morning, having been routed by thousands with bamboo sticks. 

And so in came the tanks.

...and for a glorious and wondrous moment there was hope.

No one will ever know his name, nor the names of the tank crew who did not follow unlawful orders. But between them these 5 long dead men gave us all a lesson in courage.

It was a brief respite.

Shortly thereafter, less reflective tankers were brought in. The total death toll is unknown but exceeded 10,000. The protestors were shot and bayoneted as they begged for help, then tank treads ground up everyone in the square, living and dead into  a mass of long-pork chitterlings that was hosed into the sewers.  

And so ended the act of defiance.

It has been 30 years.

Obviously things have  changed in that time.
Today we manufacture all our stuff over there to take advantage of slave wages, they have huge influence in our media and the IT technology we've given them makes the CCP's job much easier.
So yeah...progress.

That government is still in place. They are just as ruthless.

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March 24, 2019

If You're Subscribed to Them, You Might Not Know This Posted

...because subscription notifications on You-Tube have been quite sketchy of late.

Fun fact: Kiwifarms is not associated with New Zealand, Kiwi birds or Kiwi fruit.

It's a discussion of what's been transpiring in the bizarre race by certain Commonwealth nations to pass every legislative and regulatory initiative that the Christ Church butcher stated that he wanted.

As well as more generalized stupidity.

For your convenience, here's a shorter version of the video.

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October 16, 2018

It's the Sci-Fi Crossover of our Age

I bet the pitch meeting was a hoot. 

"We'll call it Bill and Ted 451. It'll be like Minority Report meets 1984, done as black comedy."

Oh wait. This is really happening.

Some are trying to find a silver lining in this.

"Woah! Larry Correia does COMICS !? Sweet!
Where can I get them before they're burned?"

Larry Correia doesn't work in comics. He doesn't draw comics, he doesn't ink comics, he doesn't write comics, he doesn't really opine on comics to the best of my knowledge. He just writes his fantasy and sci-fi books.

But he's been PREEMPTIVELY blacklisted, because he associates with the wrong sort of people, or has the wrong sort of views (they're vague on this point).

"Marxists SUCK!"

While the mercurial, enforcement of random and ever-changing rules that might theoretically be broken at some future date has a undeniable appeal to certain termagant totalitarians, for legal reasons, it might be advisable that the industry settle on some sort of standard policy regarding defenestration of potential contributors. 

Fortunately, there's an AP for that

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April 14, 2018

The Land of the More

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December 07, 2014

This is How Republics Die

Look, I'm a member of the Whitebread Rap Haters Club. I find most of the genre actively repulsive. But you know what? A lot of people probably feel that way about classical music, Finnish heavy metal and/or bagpipes. 

So, as a member of the WBRHC, let me be clear about my total, visceral, emphatic and unreserved denouncement of this fascistic nonsense.  

Short version: A rapper is being charged with a felony under a California law that criminalizes the "promotion" of gang-bangery. 

It should be noted that this is an aggravated case....

 "We're not just talking about an album of anything, of love songs," Campagna reportedly told the judge in court. "There is a revolver with bullets"on the album cover, he noted.

Well...I'm glad we had the Douchenugget Asshatt to clarify that for us!

In any event, we can at least take some comfort in the fact that this vile, counterconstitutional, assinine nonsense can't  actually involve anything more than a slap on the wrist, right? This is America after all. 

Duncan is currently in county jail in lieu of $1 million bail, with his trial reportedly set to begin December 4. If convicted, he faces 25-years-to-life in prison.
emphasis mine.


In completely unrelated news....

China has decided to send its artists to special art camps free of charge!
There's much more here, with a lot of links

You should read it all and take comfort in the kmowledge that this sort of thing simply can't happen here.

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October 10, 2014

Worthy Recipiants

The Nobel Prize for Peace has had something of a chequered history in recent years, but both the recipients this year richly deserved their title. In particular, Malala Yousafzai is awe inspiring. The youngest recipient ever, she took a Taliban bullet to the head in retaliation for demanding that women be allowed to go to school. 

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August 12, 2014

A Bit of Good News

Brett Kimberlin, a cyberbully and convicted terrorist has lost his defamation suit against several bloggers who pointed out that he is a genuinely nasty piece of work. This was an important case as it threatened to set a troubling precedent with regard to the ability of individuals to shut down online free speech via lawfare and intimidate those with different political views . Additionally, some of the defendants in the case had endured death threats and SWATTings

Popehat has a roundup. It is particularly pleasing to me that this was not just a legal victory for the defendants. It was also a thorough, total and ignominious defeat for Kimberlin. Sometimes the good do win.   

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June 22, 2014

One Hopes That There is a Special Concierge Service in Hell To Give These People the Extra Attention They Deserve

Suburban Banshee has an extensive, link-heavy post on the utter monstrousness of Marion Zimmer Bradley, child molester and protector of her child molester husband.

Go read the while thing.

I mentioned this to my friend BOB! last night and he said that he'd heard about a lot of this years ago and had written off the author for that reason. Another friend mentioned yesterday that she'd known about enough of this for years that she had long ago burned Bradley's books. 

I, on the other hand, had muddled trough life blissfully ignorant of this.

It's a squalid, foetid affair that involves a couple of truly evil people. That word "evil" gets bandied about a lot, but this is the real deal.

But the reason I'm most angered by this is that the story is actually far worse than the depredations of 2 fiends. 

What is REALLY disturbing about this is the fact that elements in the Sci-Fi community had been covering this up since 1963. Oh, they had banned Breen (Bradley's eventual husband) from a con, but no one bothered to call the cops. 

This passage from the letter is particularly disturbing...After laying out the fact that Walter Breen is a CHILD MOLESTER, he suggests that Breen be...get this...banned from a con.
 I came to this conclusion most reluctantly. I have no axe to grind. And quite apart from my emotional reluctance, I expect some of my friends to get mad at me if I do anything about Walter. Others will be "disappointed" in me because of my "persecution" of Walter, poor innocent Walter who loves and understands children. Also I rather expect some damage in my race for TAFF in 1965.[/quote]

You know, I have something to say to the author of this letter....

Hal 9000, Skynet, and the Krell mind machine, combining their processing power and crunching numbers for a decade could not calculate all the fucks I do not give about your fanboy electioneering. You have, with that paragraph, proven yourself to be a soulless, malignant waste of skin that could be put to vastly better use by burn victims. You know of a child molester and you do not report it to police because you are afraid it will harm your popularity? If ratting out a pederast will endanger ones social standing, then I suggest that it is time to get another peer group. You have no axe to grind? ARE YOU HUMAN?

This was 1963. How many children were raped because no one on this mailing list had the spine to call the cops? (ed: at least 22) Why in the hell didn't SOMEONE call the authorities? Is it because as a member of fandom you'd been bullied and didn't want to cast judgements? If so you deserved every wedgie you got and more...far more. This was not being a beatnik, or some other alternate lifestyle, this was children, and this was a hell of a lot more children who suffered agony and terror because not ONE person in this circle of fen had sufficient ethical grounding to call the police.

The Kitty Genovese story was utter bunk, but this is as real as it gets. 

You know what's almost as disturbing than that?


No news here, just a couple of glowing testimonials...well, the only people covering this are the French and the Italians.

Someone from Google must be an MZB fan.


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May 01, 2014

Happy May Day Everybody

In honor of the day here is an animated celebration of the third 5 year plan,

Note in particular the bit between 2:20 and 2:34, and remember that this is a propoganda film intended to put their best foot forward. 


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February 24, 2014

With A Rueful Chuckle

 ...we note that Tamara K. has summed up a good bit of recent news in one quote.

If they really hated us because of our freedoms, then they can probably stop hating us any ol' time now. 

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January 30, 2014

A Public Service

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January 25, 2014

An Observation

If one is on a passionate and not entirely unwarranted tear about casual sexism and the need for respect in fandom, then referring to a male fan who makes an ass of himself as a "sperm sack" might not be the best was to advance this argument.

There are always alternate expletives.

Also: Twitter is of the Devil.

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October 30, 2013

Completely Missing the Point

 The Anchoress explores an outburst of both theological and logical fallacy.

Of course hatred rarely follows logic so this message is lost on the haters, but it's these asshats who get all the press. Given the depths of their hate they don't know much about their professed theology either.

She also has kind words for classy behavior.

The server has responded to the incident, saying "The offers to help pay me back are much appreciated, but not at all needed. I’d prefer to let my work ethic and my service do the talking, nothing else.”

That’s a classy response to a rank hatred.

A work ethic and professionalism....we need more of that in this country.

I can't get my head around this kind of thing. This is the exact opposite of proselytizing, witnessing or attempting to persuade. It's just stupid, it's evil and they're missing the point.

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