Saturday, January 09, 2021

Postmortem

These crazy rioters, egged on by a tiny cabal of true believers in authority, including the president and General Flynn, symbolize the energy that swept Trump into office four years ago. Pizzagate. Conspiracy mindedness.

However, rather than face the mental illness, Russia was blamed, I think by untrusted sources, e.g. CrowdStrike and Fusion GPS.

Going further back, the conspiracy theory that Saddam had something to do with 911 and was plotting to nuke the US, was just as nutty, and was the thinking encouraged by Condoleezza and her crowd. 

Trump incited a crazy populace to storm the Capitol. Cheney incited a crazy populace to trash a hundred palaces and ransack an entire country. I don't see how that was more sane.

We've been without leadership since at least the Reagan Years, when we discovered lunatic nut cases like Ollie North (General Flynn's prototype) were secretly running "US" foreign policy.

The USA (1776 - 1983) descended into Fake Government during the Grunch Consolidation Period (GCP), bringing us to where we are today, to our new world disorder (NWD).

Sunday, January 03, 2021

Pyramid in the Sky

Constructing a health care infrastructure that's based on single payer (for what, citizens?) is going to be a huge undertaking, requiring algorithms and computer science beyond the knowledge of current legislators.

If they felt they had the money, they might opt for experiments. Expand the care given to veterans for example. Start there?

It's like asking people who've never built a pyramid to suddenly build one. We do private insurance. We barely do public health. We haven't solved the citizenship puzzle.

If Congress waved a magic wand and allocated a trillion for M4All what would happen? Everyone would scurry to build the pyramid they don't know how to build?

No, the illusion would be broken. The idea that money combined with laws actually drive outcomes (like magic!) would pop like a soap bubble on a warm day.

Congress needs to preserve the illusion of power. Approving pipe dreams no one knows how to put into practice is not the way to fool most of the people most of the time.

Wars on the other hand... Congress knows it can fund nightmares and make those happen. It's the good happy stuff people don't know how to do. No one taught them.

"Well.... I mean no offense... but the Italians managed it."

Yes, but they started decades ago. Italians are Social Democrats and like that. Like in that Michael Moore film about who to invade next: a lot of Euro countries thought they were imitating the American Dream, only to find out later the Americans weren't really serious about it. 

Americans chose to be Team America World Police (South Park Studios). We could have been a health care destination place, or a theme park capital, or... so many choices. But we had the war machine and knew how to crank the handle. 

So now we're decades behind even China, when it comes to caring for our own people. It's humiliating. We hope they notice our fancy weapons instead, as that's where the ego is. Others may have healthcare, but we have more nukes than all of them combined. So there.

Friday, December 25, 2020

Spy Stories

The Navalny story has gotten cringe-worthy, what with the underwear-borne novichok, ew. The tabloids have their readership, expanded immensely by cable television. Hearst was just the beginning.

The SolarWinds story is more interesting. I'm dubbing it Solaris (Солярис), since everyone has their clever "burst of sunlight" metaphor, and Solaris has the Russian angle, although the original author was Polish.

Will Self got me watching it again recently.

The story stays shallow around the most interesting part, which we can leave to "made for DVD" movies. That's where a basement test lab will imitate one of the Fortune 500. Call it Project 501. 

This is where an elite core of Russian hackers, working for the Russian government, set up SolarWinds Onion (a subtle clone, but with a lethal difference) on a supposedly secure platform.  Get ready to infiltrate.

But don't we have to exfiltrate first, to get the new Cozy Bear payload inside the DLL? Rolling a DLL requires source code tobacco.  Microsoft:  almost 4000 lines.

A dynamically linked library that still does its regular job, if triggered, or at least looks like it will.  

If it's seriously bloated with all these fancy new features, you won't need a SHA sig to see it's been tampered with.  Apparently the cybersecurity whiz team doesn't notice when a DLL suddenly bloats. Nothing goes blip on the radar. Makes sense: that's why the digitally signed certs.

I'm looking forward to some side by side comparisons, of:
SolarWinds.Orion.Core.businessLayer.dll
 as usual, next to the one with the payload. The museum of clever hacks is readying a display case even now I bet.  Actually, Microsoft is providing some of that.

Indeed, I'm "advising all my clients" to preserve their businesslayer.dll (just make a copy) if they find out they're using Onion (vs Orion), and many would likely be doing that, even if not my clients. 

The compromised configuration is valuable and any Fortune 500 company worth its salt is going to snag a working version of the hacked product for its people to train on, and for its lawyers to write suits about. Actually, without the source code, the raw binary ain't that useful.  Still... a souvenir. 

We're hoping SolarWinds coughs up the source soon (it has, we're seeing some of it), or is the story it was black bagged in a perfume bottle?



Monday, December 14, 2020

A Late Debate


John Bolton is disappointing. If he was my professor, I'd want my money back.

Sunday, December 06, 2020

Penalty Box

I got slapped on the wrist for some unfortunate use of "cannibals" and "Tyson" (as in chicken) in the same comment. Some story about the spread of covid in some corporate setting: we get a lot of those stories in our news feeds these days. Our feed bags.

The last time I got a time out, or maybe it was just a deletion, is when I forwarded a political cartoon in which Mickey Mouse appeared in an unflattering light.  Again, covid related.

OK, that's fine. I'm treading on the edge, hitting up against the Facebook electric fences. I'm assuming this is AI all the way, given the blizzard of snowflakes (comments) assaulting the service very second. There's no time for a human censor.  Perhaps these come along after the fact and audit, en masse.... if government were transparent, we'd know more.

Thinking over the situation, I'm pretty content with the ammo anyone would have, thanks to me in particular, if wanting to pursue a positive futurism, probably the best we've got, since for the most part people don't consume themselves with "planning" as a pass time. I was born into a planning + activist family.  My education was appropriately big picture, as was my worldly upbringing.

Part of the promise of the Synergetics philosophy is inherent in its reliance on tension over compression. This isn't about pushing hard to make happen.  Lets see if humanity wants to pull itself together.  We know it could, has the option.  If it doesn't, that looks more like a choice than some tragic heroic failure.  The angels will chuckle.  Or call 'em demons, whatever.

My efforts and curriculum design have been enabled at every turn by the latest technology, so it always feels like my skills might be equal to the task.  To a point.  Then it's no longer about my skills in particular. I'm happy to kick back. Show me what you've got.

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Journaling My Day

Today started with my job at Portland Energy Strategies, Patrick's think tank. We'd agreed on 10 AM for a VS Code workout, experiment with collaboration features, but I overslept.

The experiment for me included finding out if staying with OSX 10.10 is fatal, as far as Live Share is concerned.  It is.  Thanks to C6XTY, I had an alternative desktop available and from there forward, everything went swimmingly.

Next I was on the porch with a retired librarian, who lent me, or gifted me with, these novels about one Reverend Bebbe (Lion Country is what I'm reading). These are fictional characters, and I've done most of my life fairly cold turkey when it comes to fiction, with lots of caveats.  These days, I'm ready to feed again on fiction, if only to limber up the imagination, which can always use more libering.

For those mystified by the VS Code talk, that's a running program that many of today's coders are using to write stuff in the many computer languages.  The motif is rectangles within rectangles on a screen, with lots of typing, but also a shared whiteboard if you install the right extensions.  Both Patrick and I did.

Patrick, for those just joining us, designed a new kind of snake trap, with pythons especially in mind, because of the situation in the Florida Everglades.  Pythons have thrived there.  The trap doesn't keep the snake necessarily, but it does have that capability, as once you've gone to all the trouble to identify the species (AI goes here), you want to reserve that option in front of the patent office at least.

Anyway, after Patrick and Rosalie, I got to visit with Glenn, who is deeply immersed in Korzybski at the moment.  He has done some more homework and I can now see a path from my Youtube channel, through Korzybski, back to Alan Watts.  But an even more intriguing link suggested itself around "timelock".  Korzybski as a specific meaning for that work.  Of course I'm thinking of 4D Timelock by Bucky Fuller.

Now I'm back at the Oregon house, one of the campus dots on the world map.  Another dot would be some 47th floor in Singapore someplace.  We have our virtual nationhood, after all.  I've been discussing that on Facebook, in the sense of how curriculums overlap or are distinct.  The "concentric hierarchy" is my focus, and that implies "tetravolumes" without needing to say so.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Revisiting Intelligent Design

Barry at Large

A researcher on one of these Facebook groups I'm monitoring, brought up Intelligent Design (ID) innocently enough, only to be reminded of the religious wars this shield, or logo, was a part of.  

However, far from being a conversation stopper, that's where my interest picks up, as I'm looking for a graph (in the sense of nodes and edges), a map, explaining the battlefield.  What other shields or logos played a part, and as friends or foes?  

"Intelligent Design" was friendly to whom and shunned by whom and so on?  I'm interested in that stuff. 

Not that "shunning" is the only way to counter a devious foe.  Perhaps we belittle or dismiss with a show of force.  Sometimes in battle, we run full on, like those crazy braveheart guys in the movies, swords drawn. Not intelligent at all apparently.

Ditto for the 911 debacle. Just show me the forks and branches. I'm not looking for the truth, not at first. Did the "no planes" branch fizzle, or merge?  It's like on Github.  I'm looking for the Git history.  Schisms. Regroupings.

We the Wanderers, a group in Portland, had our paths crossing ID's through Terry's interest in widening the platform. Terry helped us keep the Pauling House a center of intellectual activity in our Asylum District here in Portland (Odonarotoop)

I'd categorize Terry, president of ISEPP, as anti-scientism, which is not at all the same as anti-science.  However Terry is also anti-science, but from a relatively undefended angle: engineering > science.

The engineering mindset doubles back on the intelligent design mindset.  Then we look around and admit, our best science and engineering is not yet up to either explaining or recreating the technology around us. Nature's tech is higher than ours.  And in saying "ours" just who are we talking about exactly.  Programs?

Bucky Fuller [link]:

In its complexities of design integrity, the Universe is technology. The technology evolved by man is thus far amateurish compared to the elegance of nonhumanly contrived regeneration. Man does not spontaneously recognize technology other than his own, so he speaks of the rest as something he ignorantly calls nature.

Let's agree if there's a vector towards a kinder, gentler humanity, with higher intelligence to boot, then there's an extrapolation of that vector, along which we'd like to move. Saying God wills us to keep moving along that vector is another way of saying we acknowledge a gradient.  

We feel under some time pressure to finish the work, might be another way of putting it.  

A scientist might easily argue such a "teleological sense" is purely glandular (hormonal) and has its analogs in other nonhuman limbic systems.  Another "god gland" bites the dust.  Is that what just happened?

From an intelligent design point of view, the association of a vector gradient with a molecular processes is not considered some reductionistic objection to an empirical claim, but more as reinforcement for our thinking: that even lizards feel it too, the need to better their lot in life, if not to achieve management level responsibilities, as some say the angels have, and to which some humans may aspire.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Quaker High School

:: Advice to Teachers ::

I did another walk through of my slides.  I'm finally starting to use the Youtube feature that lets one embed hyperlinks to other videos, within the video.  

When I talk about Ezra Pound, I like to Graphing the Poets.  

When I mention Sam Hill, I link to Sam Hill's Quaker Legacy.

My Synergetics talks are about Bucky Fuller's Synergetics, not this other Springer-Verlag Synergetics that the Russians are always writing about.  Fortunately, Wikipedia does a good job of disambiguating.

I entitled this post "Quaker High School" because, speaking as a curriculum writer, in my estimation there's simply no excuse for bleeping over the Bucky stuff, especially given it's had over forty years to mature (Synergetics was published in 1979, Synergetics 2 two years later).  

It's plenty mature now, and highly teachable.  All IVM tetrahedrons have whole number tetravolume, nice.

Ever since Fuller died in 1983, which I learned about on my way to a Friends General Conference, I've connected him to Friends (I wrote an obit in the FGC daily newsletter).  

However, in terms of content, we're talking everyday cultural literacy, as you'll see if you watch the video.

If you feel somewhat comfortable with the content already, as many of my readers already do, I recommend playback at double speed.  

I'm speaking slowly enough that the sped up version isn't incomprehensible, assuming a practiced ear for American English (Amerish).

You'll find in the Youtube notes that I catch myself regarding M.C. Escher's citizenship. He was Dutch. The Canadian connection is through his eldest son.

Thursday, November 05, 2020

On Virtualizing Government

Facebook comment:

Like I'd like Housing and Urban Development to have a whole government cable channel to explain itself and show off its inner workings, major scrutiny, FEMA likewise. We have a long way to go when it comes to shelter. Share those simulations, those computer games. Help us see what you see.

A president is someone to meet with foreign dignitaries and sit in on top level meetings, to interpret, for the American people, what the mega trends are, and to personalize it a little. Fireside chats was a good idea. Someone personable.

The idea that a president is at the same time Captain of State, a Monarch, the Ruler, is one we must hope to stamp out in elementary school, as a pernicious myth circulated by would-be monarchists and other vaguely irrelevant schools of thought. A lot of immigrants come here with crazy ideas, especially from Britain and Europe.

The missing ingredient is "cybernetics" i.e. "self organization" i.e. "ouija board". At first, kids are uncomfortable with idea that "no one is in control" as that sounds like anarchy. But just remind them, Spaceship Earth was a disciplined and smoothly running operation LONG before humans got here. Take comfort. The USA operating system, as an engineering feat, is like a ship in the wind, lots of distributed tension, a tensegrity. I may be accused of heresy for saying that though.

Related Reading:

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Geek Speak

Binary World

:: world domination ::

Geeks were collectively smart enough to start down the World Domination road some decades back, and have since lapped the track a few times, owning a next virtual reality time and time again.  Each time around, we make a great leap forward, to sound Chinese about it.

You know other geeks like you, working for other bosses, using a lot of the same tools, are spreading a global culture, combining many languages and ethnicities.  You've developed a shared namespace, a vocabulary, a set of concepts.  You've been working on Codes of Conduct.

However, like most everyone else, the geeks tend to not distill themselves as a class, as their conditioning is they're nerds, and therefore working to fit in, to gain in popularity, to become more socially accepted.  

As nerds, they may even want revenge, for their outcast status.  But as geeks?  What's the difference?

In my lexicon, a geek is a fully matured nerd, meaning early introvert tendencies have largely been transformed into social and media skills, and increasingly, diplomatic skills.  

Relative idealists sometimes have an easier time communicating, as they're not in need of more secretive agendas. Once you're playing poker, you have to factor in more game theory, including calling a bluff.

Business transactions happen faster against the background of shared values.  You're on the same time, as Humans in Universe.

We've talked about some of the buffer zones, in Germany, in Korea, where a kind of reunification in cyberspace creates new opportunities for identification. Hackers live on the edges, connecting and reconciling. They're regarded with suspicion, because of the invisible worlds they frequent.

If the code is all open source, freely fixable and upgradable, then one has the basis for an economy, in terms of accessible tools and marketable skills.  The hackers found a way to survive, if not always thrive. They inhabit an underground, complete with comics.

We call it a "gig economy" and are working on a safety net layer, as actors aren't always working on a project.  We remember Education Automation by RBF, about freeing us, as scholars, to study.  Andrew Yang and MLK pop up in our conversations.