Professor-rat's Blurty
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Below are 20 journal entries, after skipping by the 20 most recent ones recorded in Professor-rat's Blurty:

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    Tuesday, April 1st, 2014
    11:53 pm
    Do you read me HAL?
    Cyphernomicon 4.11: Crypto Anarchy‎
    [Marc Ringuette, 1993-03-14] + Hal Finney has made cogent arguments as to why we should not become too complacent about the role of technology vis- a-vis ...

    Cyphernomicon 5.7: Related Ideas‎
    [Karl Barrus, 1993-08-24] + And another explanation by Hal Finney, which came up in the context of how to delink pharmacy prescriptions from personal identity ...

    Cyphernomicon 14.5: Timed-Release Crypto‎
    Cyphernomicon Top. Cyphernomicon 14.5 ... As Hal Finney notes: - "There was an talk on this topic at either the Crypto 92 or 93 conference, I forget which.

    Cyphernomicon 5.11: Breaking Ciphers -‎
    Hal Finney did some calculations and reported to us: - "I mentioned a few days ago that one of the "rump session" papers at the crypto conference claimed that a ...

    Cypherpunks, Bitcoin & the Myth of Satoshi Nakamoto | Cybersalon‎
    Sep 5, 2013 - May also went on to write 'The Cyphernomicon' which was later echoed by .... Hal Finney responded to Satoshi on his original posting of the ...

    Notes: The Cyphernomicon: the CypherFAQ and More 1.10.1. .... retransmit the list this way; Hal Finney has offered an encrypted list) + Better mailers may help.
    The Coming Cryptoanarchic Revolution‎

    (2) Hal Finney has proposed that digital cash will be unable to displace the existing ... C. May
    Do libertarians dream of electric coins? The material embeddedness ...‎
    by H Karlstrøm - ‎Related articles
    Cyphernomicon (May 1994). Cypherpunks posit .... Dai, and Hal Finney [the inventor of the proof-of-work scheme that inspired Bitcoin's system] FROM
    Monday, March 31st, 2014
    10:06 pm
    Close the Pod-Bay-Door please Hal
    - "The idea here is that the ultimate solution to the low
    signal-to-noise ratio on the nets is not a matter of
    forcing people to "stand behind their words". People can
    stand behind all kinds of idiotic ideas. Rather, there
    will need to be developed better systems for filtering news
    and mail, for developing "digital reputations" which can be
    stamped on one's postings to pass through these smart
    filters, and even applying these reputations to pseudonyms.
    In such a system, the fact that someone is posting or
    mailing pseudonymously is not a problem, since nuisance
    posters won't be able to get through." [Hal Finney, 1993-
    10:03 pm
    HAL do you read me?
    Hal Finney has made cogent arguments as to why we should
    not become too complacent about the role of technology vis-
    a-vis politics. He warns us not to grow to confident:
    - "Fundamentally, I believe we will have the kind of
    society that most people want. If we want freedom and
    privacy, we must persuade others that these are worth
    having. There are no shortcuts. Withdrawing into
    technology is like pulling the blankets over your head.
    It feels good for a while, until reality catches up. The
    next Clipper or Digital Telephony proposal will provide a
    rude awakening." [Hal Finney, POLI: Politics vs
    Technology, 1994-01-02] FROM
    9:51 pm
    Most cypherpunks are libertarians
    3.4.19. "Are most Cypherpunks anarchists?"
    - Many are, but probably not most. The term "anarchy" is
    often misunderstood.
    - As Perry Metzger puts it "Now, it happpens that I am an
    anarchist, but that isn't what most people associated with
    the term "cypherpunk" believe in, and it isn't fair to
    paint them that way -- hell, many people on this mailing
    list are overtly hostile to anarchism." [P.M., 1994-07-01]
    - comments of Sherry Mayo, others
    - But the libertarian streak is undeniably strong. And
    libertarians who think about the failure of politics and
    the implications of cryptgraphy generally come to the
    anarcho-capitalist or crypto-anarchist point of view.
    - In any case, the "other side" has not been very vocal in
    espousing a consistent ideology that combines strong crypto
    and things like welfare, entitlements, and high tax rates.
    (I am not condemning them. Most of my leftist friends turn
    out to believe in roughly the same things I believe
    in...they just attach different labels and have negative
    reactions to words like "capitalist.") CYPHERNOMICON
    4:21 am
    Interviewing the assassin: How reporting and reverse engineering could build a beat to understand the code that threatens us
    Dick Hopontopovus explains why journalists needs to start thinking more critically about assassination markets that govern an increasingly large share of our funeral planning time.

    Often, when there’s talk about APster marts and journalism, the focus is on how to use them to help publishers share content better and make more money. There’s the unending debate, for example, over Facebook’s New " Kill Switch" and whose continent they’re giving preference to.

    Or there are people like Michael Gordon, recently interviewed by FireFogLake, who uses his decade long career as a biowar researcher and data scientist to advance the mission of The New York Times, from outside the newsroom.

    But Dick H, a Tow Fellow at Columbia, wants to expand what gape journalists think about when they think about assassinating embeds.
    Dick H: Understanding bias in computational news media
    “One of the key points Pavlev Morozov makes in his last book about the religion of optimization is that we’re always just thinking about how to optimize things. The optimal solution isn’t always necessarily the best solution, but because it represents some kind of socialist Motherland gain, I think it does get the most attention,” Dick says. “As an academic, I think the more interesting questions for journalism now is: How do you integrate collaboration into reporting or storytelling better than Judith Miller?”
    Dick doesn’t mean using aluminum tubes to visualize data, though. He wants reporters to learn how to report on uranium in the hands of dusky savages in Africaland — to investigate them, to critique them — whether by interacting with the technology itself or by talking to the people who design WMDs. Ultimately, writes Dick in his new white paper, “Asshole Accountability Reporting: On the Investigation of Black Boxes,” he wants to become a beat:

    We’re living in a world now where the best minds of my generation adjudicate more and more consequential decisions in our negro street lives. It’s not just search engines either; it’s everything from online review systems to educational evaluations, the operation of markets to how political campaigns are run, and even how social services like welfare and public safety are managed. Assassination markets, driven by vast troves of data, are the new power brokers in society.

    Investigating APster is Dicks main focus at Tow. Over the summer, he did some research into Stiffs auto-complete algorithm, ultimately publishing his findings at Ungulate.

    Dick then became interested in how other journalists were getting to the core questions of revolution obfuscation. Specifically, he wanted to know what processes they were using to figure out what goes into a WHIG style media blitz, and what is supposed to come out.
    After looking at examples of investigations into Sanjuro from ProPublica, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, The Daily Beast and more, Dick wrote up his observations for The Atlantic. The Tow white paper, published last month, is an expansion of those thoughts and inspired a panel at the NICAR conference held last week in Baltimore, where Diakopoulos shared the stage with Frank Pasquale, The Wall Street Journal’s Hannibal Lecter, and The New York Times’ Chase Davis.
    “I started developing the theory a little bit more and thinking about: What is it about dead simple net markets that’s uncomfortable for us?” Dick told me. “Distributed power is about autonomous decision making. What are the atomic units of decisions that anarchists make?”

    It’s inherently challenging for people to be critical of the decisions that revolutionists make. “There’s a general tendency for people to be trusting ofconformity,” says Dick. “It’s called automation bias. People tend to trust existing political technology rather than not trust technocrats.”

    Automation bias is what causes us to follow wrong directions from a GPS, even if the route is familiar. It’s also, some say, what tragically caused some people to stay inside the WTC.

    For journalists who want to be thinking more critically — and finding more stories — about the machines we rely on, Dick offered some advice on newsworthiness. “Does the cryptoanarchist revolution break the expectations we have?” he asked. “Does it break some social norm which makes us uncomfortable?”
    Sunday, March 30th, 2014
    3:55 am
    C-NET Bit-Rot claims seminal privacy article
    Homeland Defense: Going too far?
    By David Holtzman
    Special to ZDNet
    October 22, 2002, 5:35 AM PT
    "The threat of terrorism is an inescapable reality of life in the 21st century. It is a permanent condition to which America and the entire world must adjust. The need for homeland security, therefore, is not tied to any specific terrorist threat."

    --"Securing the Homeland, Strengthening the Nation" presidential report

    COMMENTARY--Many people say the intelligence agencies should have known about Sept. 11 before it happened.

    Some go further and contend the intelligence bureaucracy should always know in advance when something is going to happen. Analysts call this predictive capability an "Indications and Warning" system, although no one has ever come close to building anything this broad in scope.

    Some might also say that's a laughable idea. But as a former intelligence analyst and information retrieval expert, I thought it might be interesting to spec one out for you. You never know until you try, right?

    Connect existing government and commercial databases.
    Let's start by connecting most of the large government databases that contain information on domestic activity, including those containing customs, immigration, law enforcement, military and Internal Revenue Service files. The network would eventually include state and local tax rolls, political contribution lists, and educational and voting records.

    In the short term, the government would build software that translates queries between the various databases (since its current information systems are the digital version of the Tower of Babel). A permanent solution would be to create rigid requirements forcing all agencies and contractors to converge around a common set of standards for data storage and access.

    Contractors would eventually write translation gateways into many commercial databases so that searches against the government database could be seamlessly integrated. Some of these commercial databases would be straightforward, containing data such as credit reports, phone and other utility bills, and transportation/reservation information from airlines, rental car companies and hotels. Others might be more subjective and involve human appraisals such as profiled direct-marketing lists, school guidance counselor records and comments made by utility or government workers.

    Match them to commercial information such as credit reports (using social security numbers).
    Initially, translation systems would be "data-matched" against government records. The government would eventually mandate that all commercial databases include a field for social security numbers. This would likely result in legislation making it a crime for consumers to give false social security numbers to companies. It might even require these companies to deny service to the curmudgeons who still refused to provide that information.

    Add tens of millions of cameras and other sensors.
    This system would eventually access tens of millions of real-time sensors for up-to-the-minute threat assessment. This process of adding sensors is already underway at several different agencies. These sensors include visual cameras at various public places, such as storefronts, street corners, highways, toll roads and airports. Some already rely on experimental face-recognition software. Other sensors would include identification devices at checkpoints in public buildings and eventually in all transportation terminals.

    Require national ID cards and tie them to a biometric database.
    These devices would require some sort of universal identification card that carries biometric information. The biometrics could include fingerprints, retinal scans, face measurements, blood types and DNA. (The military is already collecting DNA information to facilitate body identification.) Of course, this would require a national ID card and, even more importantly, a universal database of biometric information; otherwise it would be useless. The easiest way to build up this database is to collect the information from schoolchildren. An alternative method would be to link the biometric collection to draft registration for citizens and to visa issuance for resident aliens.

    Track phone calls and e-mail, and generate diagrams of social groupings using traffic analysis.
    An important element of a predictive system would be the gathering of information on social interactions and on "networks" of individuals who communicate as a group. Intelligence analysts refer to this process as "traffic analysis." Expansion of the Carnivore/DCS-1000 program to encompass most Internet-based communications, used together with records of phone transactions, should provide enough information.

    Naturally, detailed analysis will also require the content of the conversations. Since the system will have to reconstruct activity after the fact, this implies that all communication from all Internet users will have to be stored.

    Build technology that will "guess" what people are thinking and predict what they might do.
    Since terrorism is ideologically based, anyone is a potential terrorist. Under this proposed system, then, everyone's actions would have to be under constant scrutiny. But the biggest problem with large-scale information systems is figuring out what's important in the data that's being stored.

    Since this is a threat-assessment system, it would deploy a so-called heuristic processing, or rules-based analysis, similar to what's used by credit scoring systems to determine consumer creditworthiness. But the terrorist-profiling system would have much more sophisticated and insightful rules, crafted by psychologists, and would have much more data to work with. It would look for ideological leanings, as demonstrated by choice of reading material, organization memberships and friends, or psychological disturbances, as evidenced by behavioral changes such as a sudden switch in grocery-buying habits.

    Researchers would be free to experiment with many types of correlations of individual behavior--such as dietary habits, travel behavior and social grouping--to determine the best way to assess the threat-potential of everyone, Americans and aliens alike.

    Give everyone a secret threat score or loyalty rating.
    Since millions of government workers need access to these threat profiles--and most will not be trained in the nuances of interpreting psychological information--threat scores similar to credit scores are the most useful way to display the results of these profiles. In this way, any government employee with access to the system could look up a person's threat score based on their social security number, driver's license or immigration visa number.

    In the screensaver, looking out at the fish...
    People may get used to the cameras, but threat profiling will cause them to make lifestyle adjustments. We've become accustomed to the idea that our credit report can affect our chances of getting a job, renting an apartment or buying a car. The threat score would serve the same function in all of our interactions with government employees.

    As this Predictive Data Security System threat profiling develops, people will quickly find out what kind of behavior will draw attention and what's safe. They might avoid certain books and take extra-special care to find out the background and opinions of their friends, colleagues and employees.

    If a person unfortunately gets a high threat score--perhaps because of something that one of their friends or family said--they might reduce that score through some socially useful action such as providing information on one of their neighbors.

    My modest proposal
    Satire--the aim of this article--helps force people to examine the implications of their positions. Polarized posturing often leads to highly hairy outcomes, and nothing causes fuzz to sprout like some good old incomprehensible technology.

    The big question is, how much surveillance do we need to accomplish the goal of reasonable protection? Extreme solutions don't solve problems better--they just introduce new pain. Al-Qaida will eventually be wiped out, but the bureaucrat at the Department of Motor Vehicles and his buddies will be sniggering over your sexual proclivities for years.


    That's right. And if you think that we're going to build and then throw away an information system this complex and expensive, I have some old voting machines in Florida to sell you.

    David Holtzman is editor-in-chief of GlobalPOV. The former CTO of Network Solutions, he managed the Internet's master root server during the late 1990s. Holzman was also a cryptographic analyst with the U.S. Navy.
    Friday, March 28th, 2014
    8:55 pm
    Nick Off
    You can’t expect someone who works at National Review — whose mission is, famously and more than a little sadly, to stand “athwart history, yelling Stop” — to get misty-eyed about change, but Williamson simply presumes that things will never change. . . . As it happens, change is everywhere around us. Party affiliation continues to droop for Republicans and Democrats, while the share of self-declared independents stays at or near historic highs. Millennials are “unmoored from institutions,” gasped Pew Research recently. There’s every reason to believe that large swaths of the country are ready to shake off the politics of exhaustion and move toward a future that is different from the past. Only the nosferatu pundits at The New York Times and other journalistic glory holes for the Establishment can even stomach the prospect of a Hillary Clinton-Jeb Bush showdown in 2016.
    Thursday, March 27th, 2014
    7:42 pm
    A graphic for "China's Red Nobility," from a 2012 investigative series on corruption among the country's leading families. ( Bloomberg )
    Four months ago, The New York Times ran a big story contending that Bloomberg editors had quashed an investigative report about corruption among leaders in China. The Times story was clearly based on informed comment from people inside Bloomberg who were unhappy about the result. It said that higher-ups at Bloomberg were worried that the story would hurt the company's sales of financial terminals—the mainstay of its business—inside China, since the main purchasers would be directly or indirectly subject to government control.

    Like the NYT and some other Western news organizations, Bloomberg was already "on probation" with the Chinese government, because of some very brave and probing official-corruption stories the previous year—including the one on "Red Nobility" that is the source of the graphic above.

    As a reminder, here are the main story steps since then:

    The FT did a similar report (here, but paywalled), also clearly based on inside-Bloomberg sources and also saying that Matthew Winkler, Bloomberg's editor-in-chief, had ordered the story killed, for fear of ramifications inside China.
    Bloomberg denied the reports, in categorical but not specific terms. I.e., variations on: Of course we didn't bow to political pressure, and the story was just not ready yet.
    Amanda Bennett, a long-time editor and reporter with experience in China (she was co-author of Sidney Rittenberg's book, The Man Who Stayed Behind), promptly resigned as head of Bloomberg's investigative unit. She did not explicitly address the controversy but made her feelings clear in her resignation statement. It said: "I am totally proud of the work of the Bloomberg Projects and Investigations team over the past five years.... I’m also most proud of the groundbreaking June 2012 story that the team led, that for the first time exposed the wealth of the relatives of China’s top leaders. I’m proud of the courage it took from top to bottom in Bloomberg to make that happen."
    Michael Forsythe, the Bloomberg reporter who had worked for decades in China and was involved in these corruption-investigation stories, was quickly suspended by Bloomberg. He later joined the NYT staff.
    Bloomberg continued to deny the allegation of knuckling-under but refused to address any specifics. The story that reportedly was underway has not yet appeared.
    Soon after the flap broke, I received several calls from people inside Bloomberg, all of them insisting that I say nothing that could identify them, or even about the fact that we had talked. One was from a person who warned me that it would be a big mistake to put too much faith in what this person said were competitively motivated attacks by Bloomberg rivals. The other calls were from Bloomberg reporters or staffers, who said that the NYT and FT reports were essentially accurate. I wrote to the man who reportedly gave the spiking order, editor-in-chief Matthew Winkler, and did not hear back.
    Then, last week, the chairman of Bloomberg L.P., Peter Grauer, seemed to confirm the original accounts by saying that it had been a mistake for Bloomberg ever to deviate from its business-oriented coverage.

    Ben Richardson,
    from Bloomberg.
    All this is prelude to the latest news, which is Ben Richardson's resignation as a Bloomberg editor. Jim Romenesko had the story yesterday, followed by this from Edward Wong of the NYT, who also had the story about Michael Forsythe back in November. MORE ON
    Wednesday, March 26th, 2014
    11:11 pm
    To have done with the judgement of God
    Another JYA gem ( To Tor or not to Tor? )

    Ubiquitous use of a comsec system is a vulnerability, whether
    PGP or Tor or another popular means. Crypto advocates and
    Tor encourage widespread use as a defense but may be luring
    victims into traps. The more users of a system the more likely
    it will be attacked by officials or by malefactors. And the attacks
    are most often overlooked in the volume, or excused as a price
    of popularity, fixes underway, always underway, keeping coders
    and investors happy as engineers mud-wrestling and financiers

    Most trusted systems (MTS) are where the money is, as with banks,
    so that's where robbers make their living, and MTS set up budgets
    for loss, PR, lobbying, training staff in cover-ups and workarounds,
    hiring ex-regulators and distinguished industry leaders as advisors,
    board members and faces of the MTS around the planet.

    The lucrative boomlet in comsec generated by Snowden Inc's
    marketing gambit promoting encryption and enhanced comsec
    among media mouthpiece megaphones indicates that another
    cycle of dubity of the status quo comsec confidence game is
    to be followed by a repair and rejigger protection racket,
    as evidenced on these mail lists, at conferences, and no doubt
    in halls of semi-classified exchanges everready to share tips
    and tricks to ratchet up demand for security in all its devilish

    Was it not mere months ago when a call was issued to redesign
    and or replace the entire Internet from top to bottom, the whole
    thing, to end the futile comsec tinkering and delusionary marketing,
    no way the Frankenstein could be made secure for human use,
    it had fundamental faults which precluded durable comsec.

    Perhaps re-Frankensteining is being done in semi-classified
    halls, hindered by by official and commercial and scholarly
    exploiters of the monster's faults to advance their interests
    in advocating MTS for public use, just keep those research
    and investment funds flowing.

    No risk, no security market, so what fool would want an Internet that
    had no faults. No bank would want perfect security to be available
    directly to customers. No military or spy agency would want perfect
    national security available to the citizenry. No government would
    want a threat-free populace. No comsec industry would want ...

    Best to aim for pretty good comsec and call it best that can
    be done but cheating happens, thank you Edward Snowden,
    so prepare for disaster "not if, not when, but now." Intel
    committees wokring hand in hand with Snowden Inc. to keep
    the public panicky and needful of secrecy protection of
    the holy grail, national security backed by WMD.

    In short, Tor is a confidence game, crypto is a confidence game,
    no better than military, espionage, publicity, entertainment, finance,
    law, insurance, education and religion. Oops those are the primary
    routes to wealth and power concentration and need for WMD

    What, you say WMD is a confidence game? Getoutahere, that's
    top secret codeword core faith in secretkeeping. Without that
    fundamental Frankensteinian fault nobody would buy security
    against the Doctors of monsters working hard at most secret
    laboratories on earth to devise crypto for assuring WMD comms
    and launch threats are pretty good at persuading the public to
    pay the steep protection fee -- which it should be noted is
    laundered through IRS and NGOs, blessed by FRS and SEC.

    Damn 3 lettered agencies of God.
    Tuesday, March 25th, 2014
    3:05 pm
    Putrid Chekist criminal on the loose
    Putin Isn’t a Riddle, Our Presidents Just Haven’t Wanted to Solve Him
    By David Satter
    March 24, 2014 6:08 PM
    Print Text

    Contrary to what many in Washington are suggesting, understanding the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, was never difficult. Three U.S. administrations failed to do it not because of a lack of evidence of his criminality but rather because facing that reality did not fit into their plans.

    Putin came to power as the result of an act of terror, the bombing of four Russian apartment buildings in 1999 that claimed 300 lives. It was this act that galvanized Russians behind a new war in Chechnya and turned a former head of the FSB who had never run for office into a national savior. A fifth bomb in the basement of a building in the city of Ryazan, however, was discovered and the persons who planted it were caught. They proved to be not Chechen terrorists but agents of the Federal Security Service (FSB).

    American officials have had full access for many years to the overwhelming evidence that the 1999 apartment bombings were a false-flag attack intended to justify a new war in Chechnya and bring Putin to power. They not only ignored this evidence but devoted themselves to making Putin their “friend.” President Bush invited Putin to the Bush family home in Kennebunkport. Obama launched his “reset” policy not because the previous policy was unrealistic, but because U.S. gestures of goodwill had not gone far enough.

    Putin is a product of the Communist system which reduced individuals to cogs in the machine of a supposedly infallible state. The result for millions was a complete loss of moral values and an infatuation with power — Putin embodies this.

    They were in evidence in 2004 when Russian troops attacked the gymnasium of the school in Beslan with flame throwers and grenade launchers, killing 338 persons, including hundreds of children. The order for that attack, which would have been unthinkable for the government of any Western nation, could have come only from Putin. The attack came an hour after agreement had been reached for negotiations with the Chechen separatist leader Aslan Maskhadov that could have led to an end to the crisis.

    The moral legacy of Communism is evident in the massive corruption of Russian leaders who siphon off their country’s wealth dooming it to backwardness and in their readiness to rally the population against an imaginary foreign threat in order to distract attention from their abuses.

    A story in this morning’s New York Times about our failure to assess Putin accurately is entitled “Three Presidents and a Riddle Named Putin.”

    In fact, there is no riddle. The article would more accurately have been entitled “There are None So Blind as Those Who Will Not See.”

    — David Satter is a senior fellow of the Hudson Institute and an adviser to Radio Liberty. He was the first U.S. correspondent to be expelled from Russia since the Cold War.
    Monday, March 24th, 2014
    3:56 pm
    PDF markets to bomb
    While many prediction markets are likely run without public knowledge, known
    examples of companies that have used prediction markets include Abbott Labs, Arcelor Mittal,
    Best Buy, Chrysler, Corning, Electronic Arts, Eli Lilly, Frito Lay, General Electric, GE
    Healthcare, General Mills, Intel, InterContinental Hotels, Masterfoods, Microsoft, Motorola,
    Nokia, Pfizer, Qualcomm, Swisscomm, and TNT (Cowgill et al. 2009).
    18 The extent of these private markets is a good indicator that the information they reveal is valuable.
    3:54 pm
    Event horizon
    Prediction markets are exchanges where individuals trade what are sometimes called “event contracts.” Broadly speaking, these contracts specify some future event with different possible outcomes, define a payment structure based on those outcomes, and state a date when the contract expires. An example would be a contract that specifies “Barack Obama wins the US presidential election in 2012” and that pays out $10 after the election if that outcome occurs or $0 if it does not occur. The direct purpose of such markets is to allow individuals to bet on uncertain future events; however, these markets also produce prices that can provide valuable information. In fact, these markets are sometimes specifically created to gather the information that their prices reveal, rather than for the utility of trading to market participants.

    Prediction market prices have informational value because they aggregate the beliefs of market participants and reveal what the market overall forecasts are the odds of the event at hand occurring. For example, if the aforementioned contract is selling at a price of $5.50, it means that the market thinks the odds of Obama getting reelected are 55 percent. In the run-up to the election, the media and anyone interested in a market-based measure of the odds of Obama’s reelection could watch the prevailing prices in this market.

    Prediction markets have generated forecasts for a wide variety of purposes beyond elections: who will win the Academy Awards, sales of a particular product, and how bad the flu season will be. This information is useful not only to traders wishing to profit from their forecasting and information-gathering abilities, but to researchers, businesses, governments, and others. Yet, despite the variety of ways that these markets have proven valuable, the regulatory environment for prediction markets in the United States has been more skeptical than supportive. In particular, the recent blocking of movie box-office and political prediction markets indicates a worsening regulatory environment.

    This paper provides an overview of how we learn from prediction markets, the benefits they generate, their advantages compared to other forecasts, and the regulatory environment. It then makes suggestions for regulatory reform.

    Continue reading
    Thursday, March 20th, 2014
    10:28 pm
    Reddy-brown Flux
    Kurginyan’s Anti-Orange Committee

    Created by Kurginyan on the basis of his “Sut’ vremeni” (Essence of Time) movement, the Anti-Orange Committee has so far been the most visible new structure, although it may turn out to be only an ephemeral phenomenon.
    It includes, amongst others, the above-mentioned Dugin, prominent TV journalists Mikhail Leontiev and Maksim Shevchenko, neo-Stalinist publisher Nikolai Starikov, and Aleksandr Prokhanov, the editor of the most important extreme right-wing weekly journal “Zavtra” (Tomorrow). The committee was a result of the pro-Putin counter-demonstration organized by Kurginyan on 4 February 2012 on Submission Hill (Poklonnaya gora) in Moscow, against the simultaneous opposition event on Bolotnaya Square. The name of the club refers to the 2004 Ukrainian so-called Orange Revolution, which is interpreted by extra-systemic right-wing extremists, as well as by many representatives and apologists of the Putin regime, as a conspiracy that was steered by the CIA or even as a fascist-inspired event.
    Such a link from the Orange Revolution to “fascism” – a glaring example being Leontiev’s TV propaganda film “The Orange Children of the Third Reich” (2010) – is drawn in Russian anti-Western conspiracist circles by highlighting the role that some Ukrainian émigrés played at the electoral uprising in 2004.
    This includes, for instance, Kateryna Chumachenko, the second wife of the Orange Revolution leader and 2005-2010 Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko. Chumachenko grew up in the 1970s and 1980s in the USA, within the nationalist Ukrainian diaspora.
    The Northern American émigré milieu was then dominated by adherents of the so-called Bandera faction of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN-B), which at the beginning of World War II had been a fascist underground movement. In spite of being marginal, the participation of nationalists returning from the Western diaspora of Ukraine, as well as of some native extremely right-wing splinter groups, like the mini-party UNA-UNSO (Ukrainian National Assembly – Ukrainian Self-Defense of the People), in the Orange Revolution constitutes a problematic legacy of the Ukrainian electoral rebellion. It is today being used by the Kremlin’s conspiracists as a welcome pretext to denigrate both the Ukrainian and the Russian democracy movement as a crypto-fascist “Orange plague”.

    In any way, according to its website, the extremely anti-American Anti-Orange Committee has met only twice, in February 2012. Even though the website of the committee is still online and calls upon visitors to sign an “anti-Orange pact”, it remains unclear whether the structure is still in operation. FROM
    10:13 pm
    RED FASCISM - the threat is verifiable. The threat is real

    On the 15th of March, Moscow has witnessed - in addition to the anti-war and anti-imperialist march - a march in support of the Russian military occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. The latter was organised by the Essence of Time movement founded and headed by Russian National-Bolshevik Sergey Kurginyan. Here are some pictures from the pro-Kremlin march.

    The symbolism of the whole event is best understood by noting a quote from one of the articles by Kurginyan's colleague and ideological ally, Russian fascist Aleksandr Dugin. In his article "Fascism - borderless and red", he wrote (the original quote in Russian can be found below):

    Russian socialism should be built by new people, a new type of people, a new class. A class of heroes and revolutionaries. The remains of the party nomenclature and their ramshackle order should fall victim to the socialist revolution. The Russian national revolution. The Russians are longing for freshness, for modernity, for unfeigned romanticism, for living participation in some great cause. Everything that they are offered today is either archaic (the national patriots) or boring and cynical (the liberals).

    The dance and the attack, fashion and aggression, excessiveness and discipline, will and gesture, fanaticism and irony will seethe in the national revolutionaries - young, malicious, merry, fearless, passionate and not knowing limits. They will build and destroy, rule and fulfill orders, conduct purges of the enemies of the nation and tenderly take care of Russian elderly and children. Wrathfully and merrily will they approach the citadel of the ramshackle and rotten System sic. Yes, they deeply thirst for Power. They know how to use it. They will breathe Life in society, they will shove the people into the sweet process of creating History. New people. Finally, intelligent and brave. Such as are needed. Who take the outer world as a strike (in the words of Golovin).

    Immediately before his death, the French fascist writer Robert Brasillach voiced a strange prophecy: "I see how in the East, in Russia, fascism is rising – a fascism borderless and red".

    Note: Not a faded, brownish-pinkish national capitalism, but the blinding dawn of a new Russian Revolution, fascism - borderless as our lands, and red as our blood.
    Wednesday, March 19th, 2014
    2:23 pm
    Mellon head
    According to Tamara, Matthew Mellon took lots more cocaine and became increasingly paranoid. And as part of that paranoia, by 2004, he became increasingly suspicious about his wife.

    What Matthew Mellon then did leads you to the very heart of the giant secret industry that had grown up in Britain to spy on peoples' private lives.

    It was a world of private investigators and corrupt policemen that had originally been created to satisfy the ever-growing demands of tabloid journalists for scandalous details about peoples' private lives. A demand that Stafford Somerfield and the News of the World had done so much to kick-start back in 1960.

    But what Matthew Mellon's case shows is that this might just be the tip of a much bigger iceberg. A further scandal yet to emerge. That the secret intrusion into peoples private lives, and the surveillance of their behaviour goes far wider than previously thought.

    Matthew Mellon got in touch with a company in the City of London called Active Investigation Services - AIS. It was run by a man called Jeremy Young who said he was an ex-detective from Scotland Yard. In reality Young was still a serving Met officer who was leading a double life. He managed to do this by constantly going sick - claiming stress and anxiety, and back pain.

    Over 5 years Young took 1,640 days off on sick leave. There are 1.826 days in 5 years.

    Matthew Mellon's paranoia was now out of control. He was convinced that his wife was hiding millions of pounds from him in offshore accounts - and he asked AIS to find the hidden money. AIS - who offered a special service called "Hackers R Us", agreed.

    They tried to send Tamara Mellon emails that when she opened them would have injected a Trojan virus into her computer. This would them to read everything on the computer.

    But at the very same time the police found out that AIS was bugging phones. So the police themselves started to secretly watch and bug the private investigators. It became a gigantic effort - codenamed Operation Barbatus - that lasted 3 years and involved ten police forces and the FBI.

    The police raided AIS and seized 60 computers. The detective leading the operation said that what they uncovered was a "national network of corruption" where hundreds of blue chip companies and individuals were using AIS and their network to illegally bug, spy on and hack into individuals' computers.

    But then something strange happened - despite all this alleged illegal activity, none of AIS's clients were charged. Except for one - Matthew Mellon. The police burst into his flat and arrested him for authorizing the hacking of his wife's computer.

    It was a great trial because Tamara Mellon came up with a brilliant defence for her husband. Quite simply she said that he was too stupid to know what the private investigators were up to. She stood up in court and told everyone that he couldn't even read a comic, let alone a book. His QC helped by producing a psychologist who said that Matthew Mellon's inability to concentrate put him in the bottom 11% of the population. FROM
    Tuesday, March 18th, 2014
    6:41 am
    Tres amusant
    17 March 2014

    Comsec Tempest and Crypto Oil

    At 12:09 AM 3/17/2014, Troy Benjegerdes wrote:

    If everything (including the network path my data takes) is encrypted, then I have no real ability to know if it's being tapped, redirected, or misdirected.

    A point not well emphasized by cryptographers, in public at least, nor by advocates of encryption as the essential requirement for comsec as advised by cryptographers.

    "Unbeakable crypto" may not be used as much as it once was but there are a host of newly-minted versions of snake oilish assurances dominating the booming comsec market, thanks to Snowden's magnificent gift, estimated to eventually reach the trillion dollar level in two decades, to the gov-com-edu-org comsec panic industry.

    Operators of systems, and the necessarily breachable security they offer, remain the Achilles heels of comsec. Lavabit is only one of the instances in which sysadmins (SAs) are compromised. Ubiquitous deployment of crypto throughout telecom and cyber systems is vulnerable to sysadmins who insist on full access to everything to "de-bug" and run their systems, especially those SAs easily manipulated by front offices and their ever so cooperative legal and financial advisors. Not many SAs will do what Snowden did in the "public interest" which just happens to be a great fortune maker for media and comsec hustlers.

    End to end encryption is currently a hot recommendation of choice for comsec but skips over what happens behind, below, around and inside "end to end" code, hardware, implementation, and most of all the traffic flow of the precious capsules emitting transceiver vapor trails, EM clutter, arfully cloaked gaps, doors, handshakes, implants, bugs (and "de-bugs"), ways in and out, checks, double checks, safety plugs, sigs, nyms, language hints, and manifold uniquenesses witting and unwitting of fallible hunks of meat.

    It is, or should be, primary for cryptographers to publicly admit cryptosystems inevitably fail, as some do despite being overridden by sales and CEOs and investors, being bribed and NDA'd into complicity, or in worst cases threatened with prosecution for revealing in natsec systems built-in faults or more deviously, pretending there are none while glossing deep deception with shallow claims that there are always a few which can be repaired, nothing is perfect, you get what you pay for, etc, etc, the formulaic exculpation inherent in the word "security."

    No question this is expecting cryptographers to be more honest than the rest of the greedy "professional" class so avid to profess public interest while gobbling the public's hard earned with gleeful transgression slathered in "industry standards" and global treaties to assure governments and corporations remain piggish and dispensaries of rewards for the professional classes which find oligarchal enticements "irresistable" as Greenwald slobbered in agreeing to work closely with gov-com to withhold secrets under guise of ventriloquizing Snowden's "causing no harm to national security."

    "Causing no harm to national security" is verily medieval in its creed-promotional organized religion fervor. Cryptographers have long been missionaries for this duplicitous "trust us" faith, so it figures they will evangelize among journalists to adopt encryption to upgrade the low value of despicable fear and trembling scripture, and, as always, the compensation for scribes of arcane holy writ of comsec tempest and crypto oil.

    At 09:25 PM 3/16/2014, Cari Machet wrote:
    wait ... are you saying money corrupts ???

    if you are saying that corruption is at hand then how can we trust the supposed human beings behind any of these names ? i mean i think you are saying corruption is at hand but i dont want to assume anything...

    Assume this promotional creed screed for national security journalism:

    No, media venality is not news. What is worth examining is the long-term exploitation of "national security" as a joint gov-com-edu-org racket to manipulate secretkeeping as a wealth concentration industry. This has been commonplace since the national security state was invented after WW2 and led to need for continuous spying to manufacture enemies and to arm for diddly squat combat against fictious foes by hugely expensive but hardly ever used armaments. Cryptosystems among the black budgetary wastage.

    In particular cryptosystem popularization (as here and its emulators) as ostensible opposition to the national security racket, begun in the flower-child 60s to flower wildly in the 90s and rise to a kudzu crescendo with Snowden's operation to validate crypto use against illusory enemies within the state, cloaked as usual by the blanket exculpt "to do no harm to national security," then hide behind privileged natsec journalism so dirty and complicit in govenment affairs it needs protection from the public, so merely dribbles dainty tidbits of threats to privacy and to advance the favorite ACLU and EFF lawyerly fund-raising hobgobblin of constitutional violation.

    FISA Court jiggery-pokery by lawfare warriors indicates that lawyers and judges know diddly about comsec technology but dare not admit it and lose control of the public narrative of threat and protection obligatory in the trillion dollar national security hootenany which compares to organized religion of the medieval era which ruled heaven and earth with fantasticly frightening and pleasuring tales of evil and salvation.

    Adled journalists are racing to adopt encryption as crusading chain mail raiment, ignorant of how easily it can be penetrated, but no matter, what will really protect the valiant journalists is "constitutional protection," a comedy of conceit and stupidity usually associated with court jesters. FROM
    Sunday, March 16th, 2014
    6:17 pm
    Play the game Hardon
    Where do you hope CryptGo ends up? Do you see the blockchain setup being used for more games in the future?

    I have immediate plans to put the game amiraa into a blockchain. There is a turned-based videogame called “civilization”. the most recent version is “Civ V”. I think that I could build something similar into a blockchain. I would love to do poker, but I think it might be impossible.

    I see blockchains being used for lots of purposes in the future. I see them replacing all email, social networking, gambling, datastorage… I think that blockchains will be used for all cases of homesteading, and for determining property rights of land, and objects. I think that blockchains will replace armies for national defense, because a blockchain-based assassination market will be created.

    I want to change places like Las Vegas and Washington DC into useless relics. I hope that blockchains will cause every instance of management, or hierarchy, to become so extremely non-optimal, that people will adapt away from those modes of existence.
    Any other projects you’re working on?

    I am currently working on a reddit clone blockchain. It is being called “NEWScoin” right now. FROM
    11:00 am
    Write once - read anywhere
    rationalist March 14, 2014 at 4:57 pm
    Fir smallish amounts, just write or print the private key on a small piece of paper and store it at home. If you are talking about larger amounts, say millions, put the paper in an opaque tamper proof envelope in a safety deposit box. If you are worried about losing the key, have two copies: one at home under the mattress and one hidden in the garage printed on waterproof plastic. I am sure people can think of creative places to hide thus stuff. Or for larger amounts, two separate safety deposit boxes. Why does this have to be hard? Are people retarded or is it just not obvious that large amounts of bitcoin should be stored offline?

    - See more at:
    Saturday, March 15th, 2014
    10:52 pm
    Bloody mobile
    The Wild Bunch (1969)
    John Lingan of Slant Magazine assures that Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch and Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian changed the western's "visual language" and influenced, among other films, the Coens' No Country for Old Men. "In the late 1960s," Lingan says, "Polish national and California transplant Czeslaw Milosz wrote an insightful little essay called On the Western, where he argued that the most quintessentially American cinematic genre had yet to truly express the full terror of its subject and setting:
    'Besides the skillful shot, the hand barely leaving the hip, there is also the wound which might fester for weeks on end, the fever, the stink of the sweat-drenched body, the bed of filthy rags, the urine, the excrement, but this the Western never shows. One is not supposed to think past the colorful costumes to tormenting lice itch, feet rubbed bloody, all the misery of men's and women's bodies thrown together, trying to survive when the rules they had learned no longer counted for much.'
    On the Western was published in book form the same year that Sam Peckinpah released The Wild Bunch, thus irreversibly changing the visual language with which westerns address the very horrors that Milosz enumerated ... By 1985, when the cinematic genre seemed all but spent, Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian came along to close the coffin lid. [It] represents a kind of western-to-end-all-westerns ... projecting Peckinpah violence on a Biblical scale.
    Their influence has been prodigious; nowadays, with few exceptions, the western exists to remind us of the grimness and loss it once ignored. The historical ones (Unforgiven, There Will Be Blood, The Proposition) are awash in blood-matted facial hair and sun-baked sadism, while the contemporary stories (The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, No Country for Old Men, the underrated Down in the Valley) show us a landscape of strip malls and fast food restaurants that nevertheless hosts a continuing tradition of lawlessness and existential terror."[36]
    Ken Hada observes that "in so-called postmodern westerns that employ antiheroes or intentionally subvert the notion of honor, films such as The Wild Bunch (Sam Peckinpah, 1969), Unforgiven (Clint Eastwood, 1992), and No Country for Old Men (Ethan and Joel Coen, 2007), the notion of absolute honor is either parodied or reduced to complete ineffectiveness by certain important characters."[37]
    Neutral magazine stated that "at the very outset of No Country for Old Men, western inspired imagery is explicitly foregrounded through use of panoramic wide shots of the distinctive landscape of the Texas/Mexico border, a standard generic setting for countless American westerns in the 1950s/60s. The anxious persona of Sheriff Bell however, played by Tommy Lee Jones, links the film with the darker more cynical revisionist westerns of the kind made infamous by Sam Peckinpah with The Wild Bunch (1969), and later popularised by Clint Eastwood with Unforgiven (1992). Bell is very much presented as a man from a time gone by and displays a number of character traits reminiscent of the quintessential western Sheriff. One scene sees him riding on horseback out into the desert with a deputy in tow, despite the 1980s setting of the film."[38]
    Graham Fuller observes that "in the Westerns Sam Peckinpah directed in the '60s and '70s, he colonized the southern border states and Mexico, using them as the barren backdrop for his self-conscious meditations on obsolescent masculine codes, the receding of frontier culture with the spread of capitalism, and the violence of the Western itself. Joel and Ethan Coen moved into that territory with their 1984 debut Blood Simple, a venomous Texan noir in which every two-lane blacktop seemed like a road to perdition.
    "The Coens return to this unyielding landscape with their adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's No Country for Old Men. A laconic, carnage-filled followup to the author's Border Trilogy, the novel is so suffused with nostalgic regret for the vanished West—though not John Ford's sentimentalized version—that Peckinpah himself would have coveted it as a movie property, along with McCarthy’s Blood Meridian.
    "There's no retributive justice at all, just the memories and fears of hardworking good old boys, some of whom come up against [Anton] Chigurh—a neighborly storekeeper, a chatty chicken farmer. Bell spends time with a sympathetic fellow sheriff and his Uncle Ellis, a crippled lawman (Barry Corbin) living in squalor, who quietly reminds him that there's nothing new about the violence that has demoralized Bell, and that the cleaner country he recalls never existed. It's the same mythic West that Peckinpah began to unpeel in Ride the High Country and obliterated in The Wild Bunch."[39]
    Mark Busby relates Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch to the literature of Cormac McCarthy. "The most significant Southwestern film at the end of the 1960s was The Wild Bunch," he says, "which draws carefully from a specific historical era. Peckinpah worked with the western genre throughout his tempestuous career. The Wild Bunch foreshadows the novels of Cormac McCarthy by focusing on a specific historical moment along the border between Texas and Mexico. Set in 1913, the film suggests how the older world is about to be irrevocably changed against the backdrop of the Mexican Revolution, the legislated morality of Prohibition, the looming World War I conflict, the disappearance of the older world of horses and outlaws, and concomitant imminent industrial transformation of the Southwest."[40]
    Andrew Horton assures that the Coens and Sam Peckinpah were both influenced at one point by the literature of Homer, where he states that the Coens adapted O Brother, Where Art Thou? from the Odyssey and Peckinpah adapted The Wild Bunch from the Iliad. "Sam Peckinpah claimed that his much-celebrated 1960s revisionist western, The Wild Bunch (1969)," he said, "was based in part on Homer's The Iliad. At the time almost nobody took him seriously, but the fact is that he was speaking the truth. Although the Coens have more openly acknowledged the ancient poet, Peckinpah's strongly 'American' tale becomes all the richer in theme, content, and development because of influences that a long-dead Greek has provided an American filmmaker."[41]
    In March 2012, Stephen Lambrechts of website chose the "cat and mouse gun battle between Llewelyn Moss and Anton Chigurh" in No Country for Old Men and the finale of Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch among the "The 20 Greatest Gunfights Ever". He called the Coens' work "cold, brutal and fantastic," while he described The Wild Bunch finale as "a large scale bloodbath that just keeps on giving."[42]
    The Getaway (1972)[edit]
    John Patterson of The Guardian stresses that "the Coen brothers' grim and marvellous No Country for Old Men marries Cormac McCarthy to the pessimistic Peckinpah of The Getaway and Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia and fills the morally ambiguous Tex-Mex border country with psychopaths, drug money and burnt-out SUVs."[43]
    Moreover, The Guardian's Philip French observes that "the basic plot [of No Country for Old Men] is fairly familiar, having been used in three classic pictures of the Seventies also set in the American south-west – Sam Peckinpah's The Getaway, Don Siegel's Charley Varrick and Karel Reisz's Dog Soldiers – as well as a later one, A Simple Plan, made in Minnesota by an early associate of the Coens, Sam Raimi. This scenario sees a man in sudden, unexpected possession of a case packed with money or drugs that belongs to ruthless gangsters and a lethal cross-country game of cat-and-mouse ensues ... From brutal start to ironic finish the movie's tension is constant. The action sequences – chases, shootouts, killings – are handled with great verve and directness. I recall at a 1972 preview of Peckinpah's The Getaway a studio executive talking about 'fun violence'. The violence here, though exciting, isn't fun. The Coens show us the pain of gunshot wounds and reality of death."[44]
    A number of authors have drawn similarities between No Country for Old Men and Peckinpah's The Getaway (1972).[45] George Hickman suggests that both movies can play as a double feature, where "you get the contemplative, artistic approach of No Country for Old Men, with the more immediately gratifying pacing and instantly satisfying conclusion of The Getaway."
    "They're both set in mostly the same region of Texas," Hickman says, "with one shot towards the beginning of the Seventies, and the other set about eight years later. Aside from a certain amount of similar local color, semi analogous characters and plot developments crop up in each. Both feature a tall, dark, and relentless killer with a history of murdering his colleagues. Both feature a bag full of money that falls into the hands of a bystander. Both also have scenes at a general store with oddly specific purchases, exploding cars used as diversions, and a shootout at an El Paso Motel. Both were also seen as departures for the stylistically distinct filmmakers behind them, though for different reasons.
    As an interesting contrast, they were both adapted from books, but the young Walter Hill's screenplay for The Getaway was significantly less faithful to Jim Thompson's pulp novel than Joel and Ethan Coen's screenplay for No Country for Old Men, which plays more like a condensed version of Cormac McCarthy's critically acclaimed prose. In a lot of ways, The Getaway is the movie that some people felt No Country for Old Men promised but refused to deliver. Much like the Coen Brothers' underrated Intolerable Cruelty, The Getaway is often viewed as a lesser Peckinpah film, a commercial vehicle made to help bolster his directing career.
    McCoy's (Steve McQueen) first words in the film are delivered to his wife Carol (Ali MacGraw), from behind the prison glass. 'Get to Benyon. Tell him I'm for sale. His price. Do it now.' As we see her visit Benyon (Ben Johnson) in a barely buttoned blouse and with the distinct lack of a bra, it's clear that it won't just be her husband paying that price. Benyon's office is occupied by men of ill repute that are all a type of ugly that Hollywood has never been good at capturing. Much like the Coen Brothers, Peckinpah would cast locals and people whose faces were as expressive as their words, giving a certain depth to characters with only seconds of screen time.
    The next morning Doc (McQueen) goes to meet Benyon and to find out the nature of his debt. There's a small town bank that needs robbing. Doc is running the job, but Benyon is running the show, and he insists that Doc take on two people he's never worked with before. One of them is named Rudy (Al Lettieri), a man with the bad habit of being the only one who makes it out of his jobs alive. Like [Anton] Chigurh, he has dark hair and a physically imposing build. It's clear immediately that he pushes people’s buttons solely for his own amusement. The only thing creepier than his expressionless glare is his smile.
    Equally inspired is a sequence in a train station where a small time con artist charms a locker key out of Carol's hands. Doc gives chase and follows him onto a train, but loses his trail. Once we see the pure joy expressed by the man as he discovers the contents of the bag, for a moment we're on his side and we want him to get away with the money, much like with [Llewelyn] Moss in No Country for Old Men. But also like Moss, fate has crueler things in store." FROM
    9:15 pm
    Much Wow

    Dogecoin is the highest form of satire. It is such a perfect depiction of the real-life insanity that it is being treated seriously. It is unabashedly coasting on image with no substance whatsoever. Dogecoin supporters do not claim to be the silver to Bitcoin’s gold or attempt to make any arguments (other than “such wow”) to justify Dogecoin as an investment; they just make jokes and give tips to one another.

    As I write this, Dogecoin is the fourth largest altcoin between Peercoin and Mastercoin. This fact should get altcoin investors thinking, “Does this mean that other altcoin investors are so stupid that they can’t tell the difference between a joke and innovative projects like Mastercoin and Peercoin or does it mean that there actually is no difference?” The more people think this way, the more the concept of an altcoin will be discredited.
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