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Fri Jul 29, 2011 at 09:00 PM PDT

Thrashing: Them Or Us

by Stranded Wind

   Back in the old days, think mid 1980s, we had minicomputers, specifically a DEC VAX 11/780. An entire freshman computer science cohort at a major university would sit down at 9600 baud DEC VT 102 terminals, shoehorn themselves into a machine with one sixteenth the ram that my cell phone has, and internet access for the whole school was a single 56k circuit, about a quarter of what I get out of my cellular 3G network. My phone has a four gigabyte flash card, ten times the capacity of the 14” RA-81 drives that the minicomputer used.

   Given that only sixteen meg of ram were available the system would have double or triple that amount of swap space configured on one of RA-81 drives.

   And when too many things were happening at once the system spent more time moving things back and forth from memory to hard disk, thusly getting no real work done despite being 100% utilized.

   This is the situation our Congressional staffers face today, things are this way intentionally, and it certainly does benefit corporations, who have seized strategic planning duties from our government.

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Fri Jul 29, 2011 at 02:35 PM PDT

Debt Ceiling & Afterwords

by Stranded Wind

  I got out of meetings on Capitol Hill at 4:30 and, not wanting to go home, I picked the DuPont Circle stop on the red line to Shady Grove, this being an area I'm familiar with - Salsa Labs is right around the corner.

   There are a lot of places to eat, but I tend to find places that can serve me without trying to slip a little gluten into the mix. Afterwords, a cafe connected to Kramer Books, fits the bill nicely.

   The Congressmen are still down on the Hill, grinding away on their bill, while I'm sitting here, puzzling over how to interpret the events of the week.

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 The word traitor has been bandied about these last few years and the definition these days seems to be “someone on the left I disagree with”. There is an older, more serious definition:

a person who commits treason by betraying his or her country.

   A portion of the Tea Party are religious fanatics determined to bowl over our democracy and replace it with Seven Mountains Dominionism.

   We aren’t having “debt ceiling negotiations”. John Boehner has a truly disloyal contingent in his caucus and he lacks the political skill or courage to stop them. Our media, stupid to the point of uselessness with their false balance, will fail to warn the general populace until we’re already past the point of no return.

   America is at the edge of an abyss. A portion of the Tea Party is doing everything in their power not to pull us back, but to push us into chaos so they can finish their theocratic coup.

   The time has come for leaders on both sides of the aisle to take this dangerous, disloyal minority firmly in hand. They have to be called what they are, concerns over offending those who are religious not withstanding, and then they need to be ridiculed, marginalized, and driven from the public policy sphere.

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Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 09:54 PM PDT

Weinergate Perps Pay Dearly

by Stranded Wind

   I've been all over Patterico for the last several weeks, as he looks to be a pretty good candidate for the planner/operator behind Weinergate, but the other players have been getting attention, too.

  Remember @goatsred aka Mike Stack, the drunk driving girlfriend beating pornography forum moderator turned Christian conservative activist?

  This guy has a lot of enemies ... and the butthurt is flowing thick and fast ...

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Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 08:27 PM PDT

Has Flickr Defrauded You, Too?

by Stranded Wind

   Tell me, friends, has Flickr defrauded you, too?

   This year they've improved - only charged me twice instead of last year's four times, one of the charges was reverse, and the other disappears from the logs but my $24.95 is still gone. Last year $49.90 vanished into the haze and I never had time to run it down, mostly because they actually did update my pro account.

  But this year I'm out $24.95 and I still don't have my account and I'm really, really tired of getting jerked around by filing help requests, so I'm going to publicly beat them, and when I get back home I'm going to sue them.

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Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 08:32 PM PDT

Did Fox News Wire Tap Us Monday?

by Stranded Wind

 So Beth and I are in D.C. for the next two weeks and Monday we had a meeting near the White House.

  And a very odd string of events ensued ...

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Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 07:18 AM PDT

Patterico’s Prattling Puppets

by Stranded Wind

   I’ve been covering the activities of John Patrick Frey aka @Patterico for a while now. This guy has been deeply involved in Weinergate, either running the actual operation, or at the very least clearly visible in public leading the charge on muddying the waters and attempting to intimidate anyone who wants to get to the bottom of what really happened.

   This sort of thing would draw the eye no matter who was involved given that the target was a U.S. Congressman.  Frey, a Deputy District Attorney in Los Angeles County, continued to push the Reid sock puppet family long after they’d been roundly debunked. This smacks of cover up; someone in his position ought to be used to sorting out complex cases. He’s either utterly incompetent to do his job as a Deputy D.A. or he is complicit in the Weinergate scheme.

  Since I’ve taken up reporting on this I’ve had all sorts of curious customers poking around in my digital shadow and today one of them might have just slipped a bit …

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   One of the things that DailyKos is really good at is finding issues that are key for Progressives. That right hand column is full of the findings of the day.

    One of the things that DailyKos is really awful about is being able to switch away from the latest train wreck. This, coupled with the largely volunteer nature of this site, mean that our situational awareness is uneven. We over-cover outrages and we miss important strategic issues.

   I’ve been working with an enterprise intelligence system called Silobreaker for the last six or eight months. There were some initial bumps getting going, but we recently got our first funded seats for this system, and we’re making daily use of it for various issues.

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   I’ve been covering Breitbart toady John Patrick Frey aka @Patterico for a while now. He is deeply personally invested in the group of fake personas behind the Weinergate smear, banning Big Government contributor Lee Stranahan from his site for failure to toe the line on his defense of the “Reid family”, a group of sock puppets that were debunked by the New York Times.

He’s done some sketchy stuff prior to this including staging a long running defense of James O’Keefe’s illegal wire tapping activities, working with or employing a cyberstalker named Seth Allen, and in general he presents like a behavior problem needing law enforcement attention, despite the fact that he is a Deputy District Attorney in Los Angeles County.

   Patterico and his puppets have tried a variety of tactics to get me off them, but they’ve only succeeded in making me smile. The world needs a little levity, so you can get a humorous lesson in how to (roughly) handle a smear fabricator by looking past the inscrutable squiggle of additional content.

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Thu Jul 21, 2011 at 08:14 PM PDT


by Stranded Wind

Anonymous recently hacked a NATO system and has made off with a gigabyte of data.


   Due to the laws on the books it is more hazardous to handle this stuff than it was for Wikileaks to take what Bradley Manning offered them.

  A bit of info and some strong prohibitions exist on the other side of the inscrutable squiggle of additional content.

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Wed Jul 20, 2011 at 10:33 AM PDT

The Attribution Problem

by Stranded Wind

   I recently admitted that I’m A Hacker. Those here who’ve known me for years have laughed and/or yawned. I’m a systems guy: telecom, then energy, then social media, and lately I’ve been fooling around with knowledge engineering. If I get interested in something at all, I master it pretty quickly – the very definition of what a hacker is.

    So this knowledge engineering is a broad, somewhat squishy field, much like social media. Both of these are a departure from the hard edged technical stuff I’ve done in the past.

    The Wiki entry says this:

KE is an engineering discipline that involves integrating knowledge into computer systems in order to solve complex problems normally requiring a high level of human expertise.

    One of the biggest problems we have, one that I’ve worked on here and there for over a decade, is attribution. Who did that? How did they do it? Where are they located? And if we’re really on our game we might even be able to answer the biggie: Why?

    Sounds kinda wonky? Well, it is, but we lost a Congressman from our side of the aisle because we weren’t on top of this, and the United States might well go to war with the wrong country under another scenario.

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Well now, two Pakistani men lobbied both sides of the aisle to the tune of two million dollars, and they were working on behalf of ISI, the Pakistani intelligence service.

   This stuff was happening before Harlan Crow bought the Citizens United decision. I guess it never occurred to them that by turning our elections into auctions they’d be inviting everyone to play.

   So … we’re giving Pakistan $800 million annually and only 0.25% of it flows back to purchase influence here. At least that’s all we’ve found so far …

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