Matrix September 18, 2020 6:15 PM

I think its no suprise to most of you but I think it’s worth point out this article of Dr. Neal Krawetz on the achiles heel of TOR:

h ttps://

Traffic analysis is quite an obvious attack on low latency networks such as TOR. The TOR developers actually acknowledge this, stating something like “if your threat actor is NSA you better run”, my words not theirs.

What I find interesting in the article is the claim that there are “private companies/group of individuals” with a god eyes view of the Internet. With the snowden revelations we know NSA/GCHQ [1] as such capabilities by tapping on major fiber optic backbones/choke points but I thought this wasn’t available for the average joe.

[1] See project tempora: h ttps://

Ismar September 19, 2020 1:46 AM

Not sure if it is only me but the blog posts are not published in the right order.
When i checked the site 10 hours ago the Friday Squid post was placed straight after the Bluetooth one. Now there are 2 more posts in between?
@Bruce – Is this intentional or am I experiencing some caching (or even worse) MITM issues?

Clive Robinson September 19, 2020 5:51 AM

@ Matrix

I think its no suprise to most of you but I think it’s worth point out this article of Dr. Neal Krawetz on the achiles heel of TOR

Be careful what you say about “Tor” various people have said the same thing on this blog for years. Whilst some take note and actually think about just how bad an idea Tor actually is in reality and ways to fix or replace it so that it is more secure. There are “Tor disciples” out there who basically try to portray Tor as “the one solution” and therefore target those who raise questions about Tor. In effect they have silenced debate here and in other security discussion groups, and that is very bad.

But onto your non Tor question,

What I find interesting in the article is the claim that there are “private companies/group of individuals” with a god eyes view of the Internet.

Well some Companies with that ability are those like CloudFlare etc that impliment various very large parts of the the base networks that form the base backbone and interchanges that make the Internet and on which it is built.

Something you might remember the likes of Alphabet/Google and Amazon are getting into at the backbone with undersea cables and satellites and at the “on ramp” as ISP’s based on drones and mobile network technology such as LTE and if they can 5G. But remember their input is to give them “sensors” by which they sample not just users but the world around. Those satellites and blimp like drones will have oprical and other sensors on board and will individually be very much more powerfull than the highest tech of Spy Satellites of the 80’s and 90’s that cost the likes of the US NRO and other IC entities billions of dollars of tax money.

It’s not inconceivable they might do what Microsoft are currently doing, which is making spin-offs to pick up a big slice of the LEO market along with the likes of Palantir[1].

Palantir in particular which is looking to capitalize on “COVID and Trump” by kind of “going public” whilst “keeping control in a trust”, has recently been “burning” what it calls the Silicon Valley Monoculture,

But Palantir has a series of skeletons in the closet,

But whilst ICE think Palantir is “mission critical” they’ve missed the bigest danger of Palantir, which is their “Drug Pusher business model”. Put simply Palantir have decided to turn any kind of agency public or private that has investigatory needs into a state of high dependency. One of the reasons Palantir has been loosing money is it’s “been selling it’s crack below production cost”.

Thus the likes of sherifs offices have had the choice, recruit and properly train Detectives and other investigators or pay for Palantir’s systems that get more expensive the more they use them and employ cheaper “data entry operators”. Becauce the real trick Palantir is upto is taking all the data being typed in analysing it for those who typed it in, but then repackaging that data as supposed “Gold Standard Intel” to the next tier up in agencies who likewise pay for Palantir systems by laying off or letting waste away inteligance analysts and so on up the hierarchy. Apparently the US President gets fed Palantir inteligence, what is not known is what it costs directly or indirectly at the moment. But one thing is becoming more apparent is Palantir intend to replace LEO Detectives and IC and above Analysts with their databases typed in by those agency “typists” and run it through supposed AI analysis. Thus become the “investigative heart and soul” of the US and any other nation it can get it’s “crack products” into. Whilst Palantir’s AI will have control over millions if not billions of lives it will be “Big Brother, without any humanity” oversight or control from anyone other than “Those of the secretive Trust”.

Yup I know “You couldn’t make it up” but those trust members have and they fully intend to be “watching you” in anyway they can. Thas the likes of Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter and others “grabing it all” with “PII for Marketing” Palantir are doing it for “control of the people by the machines” with no responsability, oversight or humanity. Even Stalin would have balked on this one.

[1] A plot device from Tolkin’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. It’s an indistructable viewing device to see objects and thoughts, past present and future. However all uses of palantíri influence the actions of the viewers through deception or misreading of what is shown[2], with only those of “true power” being able to gain understanding from them[3]… Which in essence is a good description of what Palantir the organisation is aiming to do, that is be the holders of the,”true power”. But the books carry a warning in that even Sauron the great and powerfull sourcerer was brought down in part by their use.

[2] It’s actualy in part a lesson about the use of SigInt and ElInt and other telemetry data, that often fails, no matter how many sensors you have deployed (law of diminishing returns). Yet “boots on the ground” with “eyes an ears open” more usually succeed as they feel their way through reality.

[3] The great big hope of Hard AI was to replace the individual power of human minds with the unlinited power of electronic minds. Which so far is no closer today than six or more decades ago. What has happened is the growth of Soft “rule following” AI, backed by statistical inference engines that “dynamically build rules”. The problem being that such rules can not be “exposed and explained” and are strongly influanced by training data. Thus data used from past systems inherits all the failings of the past system such as racism and other “isms” of discrimination along with using the style of the old “isms” to come up with new “isms”. Thus current AI is effectively “meta-GIGO” which is fine if you want to keep the bigitory and other failings behind the “isms” as the impenatrability of the dynamic rules gives new life to “the computer says” excuses and systemic failings of control systems[4]. Worse when applied to objects of not just freewill but the ability to use it intelligently the ability to “game the system” increases exponentialy even when injecting small data sets into the inference engines.

[4] Systemic or holistic failings are as Aristotle observed of many things millennia ago, “greater than the sum of their parts”. This is actually highlighted in official standards and guidence used in “safety system design” that aims to achive “intrinsic safety by fail safe mechanisms”. But as with Aristotle’s observation has much much broader scope in life,

Something many designers of security or information handeling systems realy should take to heart as a fundemental part of the process from before day zero[5].

[5] All projects start and finish and appear to have three main phases,

1, Setup.
2, Operational.
3, Teardown.

However no project starts in a vacuum thus there are two additional phases that in effect form a rolling circle.

0, Knowledge from previous project history files.

4, Lessons learned and documented in project history files.

As has oft been obbserved, “Those that do not learn from history are condemed to relive it”. I know people “hate to document” but unless history files are created then the lessons of history are lost in times past. An affliction that is painfully apparent not just in the InfoTec software industry, but especially so in ICTsec, where things move fast enough that you can see those “failed to learn from history” cycles almost every day. Not just from lessons that happened in easy living memory, but often from the last project an organisation worked on and even within a current project. In fact the way some people use the likes of scrum, extream, agile, refactoring, even UML and other OO techniques it’s almost guaranteed to be “built in”[6].

[6] You can only progress in life by method and journey, that is by fundementaly understanding of where you have come from, where you are now and where you are trying to get to. No method in the world will help you except by pure chance if you do not know past, and present direction and intended destination or how to use the nethod correctly. Life is a journy and so is wandering aimlessly in a wilderness, if you do not know how to use methods of navigation correctly you can not expect to reach a destination or even have direction in your life. A lesson we all should learn irrespective of what we do or why.

Singapore Noodles September 19, 2020 9:18 AM

@Clive Robinson

Re: whole greater than the sum of parts

I feel it is worth noting that Aristotle never said this. It’s a misleading, modern (Baconian or Cartesian) paraphrase of what he said about the whole and the part and the notion of unity. A part is a part of. The “of” is prior to the part. It’s not a part if it’s separated, if you cut off your hand, the cut off is no longer a hand or a part. Although this example is from nature, it applies also to artifacts, the only reason a pile of rods, chains, gears etc. are parts of a bicycle is that they are ordered by a certain formal end, suitable matter to “riding”. References to “systems“ and “emergent properties” tend to reduce the whole to a kind of super-part. As a result the definition is lost, the form and end obscured, and understanding the totality is impeded. The vital perhaps the only important question is never confronted “why is it a one and not a beap ?”

Singapore Noodles September 19, 2020 3:06 PM

At the end of my post above, “beap” should be “heap”.

What a maroon

SpaceLifeForm September 19, 2020 5:56 PM

@ Myliit, ALL US Voters

Repeating. Do NOT Vote by Mail.

Return Ballot is Pre-Paid First Class mail.

The mail sorting machines do NOT apply a Postmark to Pre-Paid First Class mail.

Your ballot may take a Roadtrip for weeks.


Wear a mask. Vote. In person. Paper ballot if possible.

Sherman Jay September 19, 2020 6:59 PM

A relative of mine posted an index page that is appropriate to the loss of RBG. it is at:

Yes, this is very tangential to computer security. It is about societal security. Therefore, Moderator/Bruce. I would like to see this remain available, but if you think it too off-topic it is, of course, your prerogative to delete it.

Singular Nodals September 19, 2020 9:08 PM

Re Nano-Sized SQUIDS

They could also be referred to as Ano-dized SQUIDS

Clive Robinson September 20, 2020 2:34 AM

@ Singapore Noodles,

I feel it is worth noting that Aristotle never said this.

The trite answer to that is,

“True, because he did not speak English”.

But therein lies the problem of translation.

How do you extract meaning from one language and time and translate it to another language 60-120 generations later?

Especialy when the meaning is about what meaning is?

Depending on who you listen too you will find that it is believed that Aristotle did actually use the words in his writing in two sepwrate places,

When you say,

. A part is a part of. The “of” is prior to the part. It’s not a part if it’s separated, if you cut off your hand, the cut off is no longer a hand or a part.

You have fallen into a trap of infinite reductionism of,

“A whole divided becomes two wholes not two parts of a whole.”

An argument that gets to the point of

“What happens when a whole can not be divided?”

That arguably was not solved untill Newton and others put together the notion of infinitesimals. Which over simply means.

“Ignore the question and just look at the rate of change and project that instead”.

But ask yourself the question how do you measure a part of something?

By the pound, or by the inch?

In a one dimensional measure it’s realy all you can do, thus under that view a chain of weight ten pounds when divided the two parts when “heaped together” still weigh ten pounds. Similarly the length.

But what about two dimensional measures?

Well first you have to find an example of where a two dimensional not a one dimensional measure is required and where division might make a difference, sometimes that can be difficult…

But hear is an example,

Take an imovable beam and hang from it two chains that are identical then hang them side by side from the beam and attach a single weight to the free ends of both chains.

It is easy to see if you pull up on the chains the weight rises proportionately to the length of chain pulled up, no matter from which part of the chain you pull up from.

Now consider pulling not up but pulling the chains appart…

The movment of the weight is not linear any more with respect to how far you pull the chains appart nor is the resultant table invariant with the place you chose to pull the chains appart.

Thus as far as the movment of the weight is concerned the simple sum of the movments of the parts not only does not match the it’s movment it changes with both the movment of the parts and the place you chose to make the movments from.

This issue was not just known but exploited usefully before Aristotle was born, thus I assume was known to him.

The problem was solved in part by the Ionian Greek philosopher and the eponymous founder of rhe school of thought named after him. Of Pythagoras of Samos little is known directly about him other than “Pythagoreanism” his school of political, philosophical, and religious thought was extreamly influential and was known and later written about by others including Plato and Aristotle. This is because as far as we can be, that as Pythagoras chose not to write but think and teach, mainly about the ideas or metaphysics[1] behind numbers. Both Pythagoras and Aristotle were seeking to find answers through “qualatitive difference by thinking about quantative measure that could be used after a test” unlike modern science[2].

Thus Aristotle should have had the required knowledge to think of and also know there was a reason why the parts could be different to the whole. And copies of his writings certainly show he was aware of the problem.

Anyway it is now late, or should I say early, and my brain is telling me a horizontal orientation is currently preferable to verticle.

[1] Aristotle’s work was written down by him over his life, and a later editor of these works made a series of folios of them. One was titled “Ta meta ta physika” which effectively means “the ones after the ones about nature”. Hence this later became just meta-physika or metaphysics. The roots of metaphysics certainly go back to Pythagorean thinking and probably earlier.

[2] The usual example given would be “If a mold had cast in it a statue of gold, if you melted the statue and re cast it in the same mold, is the first and second instance of the statue actually the same statue?”. That is Aristotal was asking if you were unaware of the recasting was there a observable or qualative difference you could have applied to show the difference or change in the statue now direct comparison was nolonger possible. Thus was looking for philosophical measures. Modern science has quantative physical measures and uses these to look for and find qualatitive differences in general not specific thus has a much broader meaning to metaphysics. It’s the same difference as between science and forensics. Forensics measures an effect and tries to reason a cause and the inputs to it, science measures the inputs to a know cause (experiment) and determins the resulting effects. Science is controled and repeatable forensics is the opposit.

SSL Issues September 20, 2020 5:19 AM

Hi gang, all of the sudden i have issues to connect to this
blog using Firefox based browsers (Except Icecat)

Anyone else seeing this ?
Works on Chromium

Secure Connection Failed

An error occurred during a connection to

The page you are trying to view cannot be shown because the authenticity of the received data could not be verified.
Please contact the website owners to inform them of this problem.

Winter September 20, 2020 8:14 AM

“The great big hope of Hard AI was to replace the individual power of human minds with the unlinited power of electronic minds.”

That is a particularly American (USA) delusion: Humans are corrupt and unreliable. When human judgment can be removed from the equation, we have better decisions, says the delusion.

” The death of common sense” is a classic on this delusion in the law. AI used to judge and evaluate human suspects (or any human) is the LEO version of this delusion.

Who? September 20, 2020 11:18 AM

German police launchs a negligent homicide investigation after a woman dies during a cyber-attack at Düsseldorf University Hospital:

Who? September 20, 2020 11:21 AM

Are there any news about the code and documents stolen to Intel?

I have seen nothing relevant in the last month. I understand security experts are reviewing the code looking for bugs, but they are so quiet…

JG4 September 20, 2020 12:22 PM

Thanks for the good discussion. I was entertained to see that Peter Strzok isn’t just another liar. It’s all about the endpoint security. Clive – Thanks especially for the tutorial on electromagnetic emissions. And for posting about the famine of 536 to 539. I’m still excited about omega-3 oils and accidentally stumbled into the fact that fish oil contains significant amounts of myristate and myristoleate. The latter has potent anti-inflammatory effects. Not sure how I missed that for 8 to 12 years. Now that the oceans have been strip-mined, we’ll have to switch to algae oil to maintain brain function.

Another intersection of cryptography and food security (link and excerpt). The Great Frost of 1740-41 made the Potato Famine look like a walk in the park. The last cold snap of the Little Ice Age. As Clive noted in Squid 651, the events of 536 were worse. And may be the one of the origins of the Rök stone. If you or your family were on the menu, the events in Colorado 800-odd years ago were worse too. The megadroughts from 75 to 135 millenia ago nearly finished humans, trimming the entire population down something in the range of a few thousand individuals. I am happy to see that I posted the link for one of the megadrought articles in Squid 588.

An ancient viking stone has revealed fears over a problem that still looms
This is still a major cause for concern today.
[picture caption? D-Keine / Getty Images]
Claire Cameron 1.10.2020 1:20 PM

The Rök stone, an ancient, five-ton granite slab erected by Vikings in southern Sweden in the 9th century AD, has baffled scientists for more than 100 years. Its inscriptions are the earliest known example of written literature in Sweden, but unfortunately they are extremely well encrypted. But this week, codebreakers announced that they may finally have cracked open the mystery.

In a paper published in the journal Futhark: International Journal of Runic Studies, Swedish researchers lay out a new interpretation of the Rök stone, one that reveals an unexpected preoccupation for the Vikings who erected it: Climate change.

rrd September 20, 2020 1:49 PM

@ Winter

That is a particularly American (USA) delusion: Humans are corrupt and unreliable. When human judgment can be removed from the equation, we have better decisions, says the delusion.

I wouldn’t call it a delusion, per se. I would say it’s a projection of their belief that their worldview should be crystallized and implemented absolutely. Such people always lack nuance or compassion and never lack for confidence or callousness.

As to “Humans are corrupt and unreliable”, that is plainly inaccurate. The correct version is:

“All humans have the potential to be corrupt and unreliable, but they also have the ability to steer themselves towards selfless service and reliability to the highest ethical standards of behavior. The default behavior is to be corrupt and unreliable, however, as each person much choose to begin the road to becoming a selfless person and then persevere along the totality of its path.”

We are each capable of both the depths of depravity and the heights of positive morality. We each exist not only along that -/+ pole, but we are each currently moving towards one of the poles at any given time. “Change is the only constant” is the nature of the universe we are born into and find our nurturing to maturity within, from our physical sustenance to our moral composition.

What the vast majority of people everywhere on Earth fail to realize is that every human decision is a moral decision. Every single one. The reason for this is that none of us is an island; we are each part of the natural web of life (our biosphere) as well as the human technological web that provides food and water and shelter and clothing to our bodies (our economic societies).

Living in ignorance of our imperative to self-evolve our personal and societal moralities over the course of our lives is the complete and total explanation for the state of the Earth here in late 2020. No problem can be accurately defined without this perspective nor can any fundamental solution lack it.

When a human being chooses to allow the vice of willful ignorance to run rampant in their life, the first casuality is their desire to self-evolve their morality. As all morality is judged by the person’s positive or negative impact on their society, their abdication of their personal moral imperative to self-growth means that they act solely for their own benefit, i.e. selfishly. Such selfishness is the root of all “Hard AI to run our lives” insanity, not to mention our business- and politics-as-usual accepted norms. It comes from people who refuse to take responsibility for our ability and requirement to perfect our personal morality for the sake of perfecting our societal morality.

The real kicker in all this is that people who do not seek their own personal perfection cannot recognize other human beings who have worked to pefect their moral depravity. One cannot categorize all the players in the game if one doesn’t know the rules about the limits and potentials of each participant, especially oneself. Further, for those of us interested in having a truly moral society, it succinctly describes Trump-like fascists’ hordes of despicables: their amorality is attracted by their leader’s amorality; it’s a like-attracts-like situation.

Information systems are great at tedious tasks such as maintaining social support structures for the poor or analyzing drug study data to determine safety and efficacy (so long as the data is good, of course), but they can never make moral decisions. That realm is for human beings only, but, by and large, they are not being made by positive moral human beings on Earth in 2020, such are the carrots and sticks of our current amoral love-for-money economic and governmental structures and systems.

The amoral are exulted, the greedy are rewarded, and amoral callousness and divisiveness is held up as an acceptable example by our ignorant, well-oiled and too-accepted media.

Only a moral populace can discern our way forward out of this morass, but few have eyes that see, ears that hear or hearts that understand.

The chicken of “I only care about things that affect me directly” is coming home to roost and it’s one ugly beast. Selfishness is the root of all amorality, from the lazy, ignorant TV consumer of vapid fiction and wasteful consumer products to America’s point-of-sale president.

I am, yet again, listening to Stephen E. Ambrose’s “D-Day” (to be likely followed by his “Citizen Soldiers”) and know human beings can defeat fascism when motivated because selfless service is also a human potential, however latent in 2020.

MarkH September 20, 2020 3:21 PM

@Clive, re Aristotle:

I remember looking up a famous saying from classical Greek literature. I found a variety of translations, which in general differed a lot from the best-known form of the quote.

The literal translation was extremely different.

Language translation is very far from an exact science, with gobs of poetic license necessarily applied.

A century ago, educator Stephen Leacock was the best-known writer of humorous pieces in the English speaking world … though I suppose that very few remember him today.

Combining his two vocations, he wrote a piece about the futility of trying to teach classical languages to non-specialist students, having fun with the alternative readings which often appear when there is no “straight-line” equivalence between the two languages.

He offered an invented example of such grotesque translations by novice students, which culminated in the gem, “Ajax leapt (or better, was propelled from behind) into battle.”

JonKnowsNothing September 20, 2020 3:58 PM

@Clive @All

re: PanFamine and Pig Farms

Not too long ago there were reports of China doing a trade deal in Argentina to build self contained fully independent hog farms, off-shoring their pork production to a safer environment, freer from ASF (African Swine Fever), which is causing huge culls affecting global pork production. Much of the world depends on pork as their primary protein source. Family farmers also depend on small scale production to boost personal food security and to sell surplus meat for income.

In China after the most recent outbreaks of ASF, small farm production is prohibited or severely curtailed, due to new safety restrictions on raising pork.

The farming deal with Argentina is not proceeding without objections over scope, impacts, disease introduction, pricing competition and environmental factors and other national, local considerations.

In the meantime, China still needs to feed the population and is developing a series a 12 story hog farming sealed buildings. The buildings look more like hospitals than a traditional farm.

  * Currently a nine story version holds 1270 pigs per floor
  * New version will hold 1300 pigs per floor
  * New facility will produce 840,000 pigs per year

The buildings will have maximum bio-security controls, cleaning, and disposal systems. Workers will stay in special quarantine housing in a dedicated residential section. After several days testing for contamination, workers will enter the farming building and remain there for the duration until their day off. Each time they leave the area they have to pass the bio-security controls again.

Pigs remain completely isolated per floor with elevators for transport, specialty incineration for dead animals and feed/feeding.

In countries where there is enough open area, pig farms are usually laid out in one story buildings. The effect of an outbreak quickly spreads across the building.

If the bio-security system works, and workers remain on the same floors for their entire careers at these farms, they may be able to contain or limit infections.

Infections are vectored from many sources and some with multiple life stages. Losing 15,600 pigs if an entire building needs to be culled may have less impact than culling millions of pigs over the entire country.

The images of the building setups are interesting.

ht tps://

ht tps://

ht tps://

ht tps://
(url fractured to prevent autorun)

JonKnowsNothing September 20, 2020 4:21 PM

@MarkH @Clive @All

re: Translating Idioms

This is always a fun filled challenge and rarely goes the intended direction. Slang and gutter-words make for slippery steps.

Trying to explain US slang used during engineering meetings to international colleagues required days. Even so, there were some brow-raising attempts when they tried incorporating them.

  * Fair Play
  * Home Safe
  * Good Catch
  * 3 Strikes
  * 3-2 Change Up
  * Tie to the Runner
  * Big League Pop Up

James Thurber story Unicorn in the Garden gives no end of delight …

Only recently Clive talked about a shiny side… I hadn’t a clue. I found a reference to spitting on a cricket ball to alter the flight by making it shiny on one side…

ht tps://
ht tps://

ht tps://

Swing bowling involves the use of a newer ball which is only slightly worn. The bowling side will continually polish one side of the ball by applying saliva and sweat to it as well as rubbing it against their clothing to shine it, whilst leaving the opposite side unshined. The speed of airflow over the rough and smooth sides of the ball will cause the ball to move in-flight towards the rough side and away from the shiny side.

(url fractured to prevent autorun)

Clive Robinson September 20, 2020 5:20 PM

@ JG4,

an unexpected preoccupation for the Vikings who erected it: Climate change.

Ever wondered why “Greenland” is not that green?

Other than a “marketing tactic” the “little ice age” around 1400 and soil erosion are backed by science, including archeological evidence that the Greenlsnd Nordic diet changed over their hslf millennium occupation from Cattle and Hogs down through sheep and goats untill it was about 80% sea food at the end.

When Viking’s first visited Greenland had “shrub and tree” cover on poor soil. But although the Norse settlers chopped dowb a fair few trees, over time the trees died almost completely. Untill someone says it’s easy not to realise that much of Viking life was based on the need for good wood and live stock as they were farmers rather than hunters.

Thus opening up the scrub to grow hay and grains etc caused the poor soil to erode, so first pigs and cattle went then sheep then goats as the growing seasons shrunk due to the colder climate which also exacerbated the poor soil errosion.

So yes the Vikings as Nordic farmers in Greenland either died out or left due to climate change over half a millennia. Which as they actually traded a lot with Europe initially and kept good records would have made it obvious to them that life in Greenland was less and less tenable due to a shortage of wood, grazing, and fodder to over winter live stock.

MarkH September 20, 2020 6:55 PM

@vas pup:

I’m a little disappointed by the $2,000,000,000,000 figure.

I thought we could do crime on a bigger scale than that!

As usual, the name “Paul Manafort” crops up …

SpaceLifeForm September 20, 2020 9:20 PM

@ Clive

Ears been burning?

There is a comment referencing Fleet.


Clive Robinson September 20, 2020 9:28 PM

@ rrd,

Further, for those of us interested in having a truly moral society

It can not be done.

Morality is a movable feast at the best of times and about it’s mean it has a normal distribution.

History tends to show that those who are older tend to be more “catholic/conservative” in their outlook and are seen as “boat anchors” by younger more “progressive/liberal” types who are in turn seen by the conservatives as “degenerates”.

Another problem and one that is a “burr under my saddle” is religion and deities. We have no testable evidence for modern deities and many realise that “God made man in his likeness” is in fact the other way around.

Thus I prefere the “Humanist” viewpoint that mankind should seek towards continuous improvment by causing less harm to others and the world around them. Effectively by reaching within we can then give without to others as individuals of society.

Which as science progresses means that, that which was acceptable yesterday is questionable today and unconscionable tommorow.

This only requires that we as individuals seek to improve our selves, for the good of the society we all live in, not for some priest to hold us worthy or not by their measure, or other who claims communications with or apointment by some projection of our own ID.

But what of society that we live within, as has been repeatedly shown, despite dire economic predictions by what is best described as a conserative cleaque for their ulterior motives, mankind can not just survive but thrive without the mass destruction of natural resources. Of the 7-8billion people who live on this planet a tiny fraction consume and throw away in short order ~50% of the worlds resources available at any one time.

If they learned to be just a little more moderate in their “entitlement” notions then much of the problems you describe would fade towards the background.

I could say more but I think for now it’s back over to you.

rrd September 21, 2020 1:30 AM

@ Clive

It can not be done.

Human beings can do anything we choose to. The only thing keeping us from achieving perfection is our willful ignorance of our nature and what we need to do to perfect ourselves first, then our societies.

Of course, most people don’t give a sniff to seek meaningful personal or societal change, but that’s solely because they don’t have enough adversity in their lives, i.e. they’re more than happy with how things are. Well, the universe is beginning to unveil how control systems theory can be used system-wide to stimulate new perspectives on what is important and — far more importantly — what is NOT important.

As to what can and can not be done, you should remember your own British history. That you’re not speaking German right now should speak to you loudly and clearly about what is possible when people realize they have a moral imperative to do something righteous.

Morality is a movable feast at the best of times and about it’s mean it has a normal distribution.

No, sir. Morality is absolutely absolute. We are each contributing positively or negatively to our world society each second of each day.

All the attitudes that a person nurtures and the behaviors they reinforce in themselves and encourage in others are all propagating outward, even if only within our own neural pathways.

If you really meant to say that “every society’s moral center drifts across time”, then certainly that is indeed true, but that has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that morality is a litmus test, not an opinion on Beowulf, be it that of a single individual or an entire society.

Morality is a simple function of how a person treats everyone around them. For societies, it is evaluated upon its justice and treatment of its least valued members.

History tends to show that those who are older tend to be more “catholic/conservative” in their outlook and are seen as “boat anchors” by younger more “progressive/liberal” types who are in turn seen by the conservatives as “degenerates”.

Living it as we speak, so to speak, as I don’t speak with the racist, Trump cultists my parents have chosen to become after having been good, kind Christians for their first 50ish years.

Another problem and one that is a “burr under my saddle” is religion and deities.

I have known that by both what you have said and what you haven’t, ever since I first posted here. Most of the documentaries I have watched over the past 15 years have been BBC-produced and their proudly atheistic, “ohh, look at all the daft religious dolts” prevalent attitude is quite obvious from the tone of their presenters (not all of them, but certainly the vast majority).

You said your father was a professor; you would have to overcome your pedigree to embrace the Sufi Path, even more so because such a condescending attitude toward religion is even more pronounced in the technical arts.

Of course, your location is problematic as its basic choice being between Church of frigging England and the Catholic Church does not exactly endear one to religion. (If it weren’t for Robin Williams, I’d claim Eddie Izzard as my favorite comedian of all-time — his bit on Church of England is so, so good, but RW’s “It’s not just a sin, it’s a felony” is better by its sheer, justified brutality.)

We have no testable evidence for modern deities

You are telling me that my litmus paper does not work, but you refuse to try the one I offer you. And, no, you do not get input on the nature of the evidence’s “testability” any more than you get input on the Fine Structure Constant. You cannot avoid the subjectivity of religious self-evolution, but nor can you claim it’s not scientific if you haven’t tested the sample yourself in its native environs.

There is only one human being you can experiment on, and you refuse to do so. Instead, you choose to hold up the worst hypcrites and liars and claim, “But look at those evil people who did stuff in ITS Name!”

Like I said so many weeks ago, to say the Sufi Path of Love is rubbish is to take an inarguably unscientific view of one’s own life vis a vis religious information.

and many realise that “God made man in his likeness” is in fact the other way around.

“God made man in his likeness” being backwards is absolutely the case for the majority of simpletons that only embrace religion because it puts them in the only group that they believe has salvation — that pre-forgiveness bollocks then giving them carte blanche to treat out-groups as despicably as they choose. Yes, all religious groups have members that do just that simply because hypocrisy is a fundamental human vice and just because a person says they follow such-and-such religion has ZERO to do with whether they have a heart for it or are just playing to their society’s crowd. Lying and oppression are yet two more of the 19 vices and play nicely with hypocrisy, in a dark and destructive fashion.

A person is only practicing religion when personal perfection vis a vis love for all human beings is their primary goal. Anything else is not religion, but people are free to call whatever they want whatever they want. For me, a Scotsman, a Scotsman has to have ancestors from Scotland (or, in the minimum, live there) or they’re not a Scotsman, no matter what they call themselves.

Thus I prefere the “Humanist” viewpoint that mankind should seek towards continuous improvment by causing less harm to others and the world around them. Effectively by reaching within we can then give without to others as individuals of society.

Which as science progresses means that, that which was acceptable yesterday is questionable today and unconscionable tommorow.

That’s pefectly Sufi, except…

This only requires that we as individuals seek to improve our selves, for the good of the society we all live in, not for some priest to hold us worthy or not by their measure, or other who claims communications with or apointment by some projection of our own ID.

You state this very knowingly for someone who hasn’t contacted their Creator.

What? You say that’s not possible?
Aaaaand you say you haven’t tried?

No, my parents can’t see the illogic of their unscientific and amoral justifications, either.

The difference between someone’s Id and the universe’s design is that people who choose to not fight their Id only see their Id in what other people do (and, to your point, in their conceptualization of our Creator). Those of us that know and integrate ourselves into the universe’s design have begun reducing our Id’s distortions of our worldview (by our transmuting our selfish vices into selfless virtues) thus opening up new truths of what exists outside of ourselves, including the fact that “we were blind, but now can see” (as we ALL once were). That can include the state of other people’s progression on their self-evolution, or lack thereof. The reason for this is that we must, a priori, understand ourselves before we can fix ourselves (the vices of the heart). Until we begin this process (which requires learning fundamental concepts up front) we simply lack the understanding to understand. Misunderstanding ourselves — of course — means that we misunderstand others.

The fact you refuse to even entertain is that people who refuse to contact their Creator for help to transform their Id have chosen to be at its woeful mercy for their entire life, for it is the Id itself that works so very hard to keep us away from any activity that will defeat it. It’s cunning like that. Many people who claim religiosity are dominated by their Id just the same as any non-believer, it’s just that they get to claim religion for the persecutions they perpetrate, whereas the non-believers have to find other reasons to persecute others in the name of their Ids. Regardless of path, the destination is the same: utter selfishness either through outright oppression or merely cruel callousness.

Some people are so cunning in their Id’s selfishness that they will purposefully adjust their behaviors to conform to their society’s norms for top-tier status with, for example, their charity. But that ain’t in no way transformation; that’s just putting on a good show.

That’s why the heart is essential to the Sufi Path, and why Rumi said, “You have no idea how little we care about what people say.”

But what of society that we live within, as has been repeatedly shown, despite dire economic predictions by what is best described as a conserative cleaque for their ulterior motives, mankind can not just survive but thrive without the mass destruction of natural resources. Of the 7-8billion people who live on this planet a tiny fraction consume and throw away in short order ~50% of the worlds resources available at any one time.


If they learned to be just a little more moderate in their “entitlement” notions then much of the problems you describe would fade towards the background.

Ahh, but your ignorance of the Id’s nature rears its ugly head.

Only by actual transformation can our prejudices, hatreds, oppressiive tendencies, lies and all the rest of our vices be cleansed from our persons and, then, our societies.

Because you refuse to acknowledge our fundamental nature, you can not see the fundamental nature of our problems, and without seeing the nature of the problem how can a person envision what a solution looks like? It’s simply not possible. That’s just basic logic.

And note that seeing past the veneer the truly evil ones so cunningly paint themselves with requires having already done serious work on one’s own Id, and there’s a developmental formula for that as surely as our fetus progresses through the animal forms on its journey to the birth canal.

Nazis do not simply “fade into the background”, and your Id won’t let you even admit you don’t know how to deal with those bastids. That is because you cannot comprehend the potential of a person who has done negative spiritual practices, as I assume that those folks are not your cup of tea so you have not experienced it first-hand.

Likewise for the Sufi Path.

Believe it or not, your arguing with me on religion and the nature of man’s Id is worse than me trying to argue with you about electrical engineering. It is truly absurd.

As I said about Dunning-Kruger so many weeks ago, the key difference between the knowers and the wankers is humility. We must always be ready to admit when we don’t know — it’s the only way to grow one’s knowledge. The wankers are too busy with office politics or romance or whatever to dedicate themselves to their craft; in other words, one can only become expert on a topic by being interested and dedicated enough to do the work while remaining humble about how to get better.

Human self-evolution is more of the same where a lot of people who claim to know do so very confidently while having deliberately ignored entire realms of knowledge. That is not how an expert proceeds.

When one goes to a good doctor, they give you the bad news because that’s the only way to begin the process of dealing with problems effectively. I love and respect you far too much to give you less than the plain truth.

“The Way goes in.” –Rumi

Ismar September 21, 2020 3:45 AM

@rrd and @Clive

IMHO, It does not matter what we believe in as long as it makes us better persons.

@rrd – your posts come across as a bit too preachy for you to be a true Sufi mystic as they never insist on imposing their views on others.

How many paths are there to God? There are as many paths to God as there are souls on the Earth. – Rumi

Winter September 21, 2020 4:07 AM

“@ Clive
It can not be done.

Human beings can do anything we choose to. The only thing keeping us from achieving perfection is our willful ignorance of our nature and what we need to do to perfect ourselves first, then our societies.”

“No, sir. Morality is absolutely absolute. ”

You make the error of many of Faith. There is a proverb in (Lutherian) circles that reads “All moralizing leads to the devil” (German: Jede Konsequenz führt zum Teufel).

And indeed, history shows that Absolute Morality always leads to Hell.

Humans are limited, imperfect creatures and human morality too is bound to be limited and imperfect. Imposing your imperfect and limited morals onto others is a sure recipe for disaster. Everyone who imposes their morals on others, ie., moralizes, is pushing the world one step closer to hell.

rrd September 21, 2020 10:34 AM

@ Ismar

IMHO, It does not matter what we believe in as long as it makes us better persons.

Kindof. It does not matter which form of religion one gravitates toward (personal or organized), but the manner in which one does it does matter.

Yes, we can each make better choices with respect to our ethical decisions, but only to a certain extent. Our design requires us to go within and contact our Creator for actual transformation of our vices into virtues so that our tendencies to selfishly sin are replaced by tendencies to selflessly serve others.

[This explanation will continue below through to the bottom of this post.]

your posts come across as a bit too preachy for you to be a true Sufi mystic as they never insist on imposing their views on others.

I’m not imposing my views on anyone — I am merely describing how the universe and our human nature work from a scientific perspective. Our human nature can be termed a “flawed but perfectable moral creature” that has spiritual developmental steps just as surely as a human fetus has physical developmental steps. The major steps of our spiritual transformational process are common across all forms of religion, but each path has cosmetic differences that are confusing to the layperson and seized upon by the untethered to self-righteously look down upon others, which is a sin (we all must be humble about own own achievements by giving the glory to God’s Grace that allows us to escape the perfidies of our Id).

As to my tone or style, each Sufi appears in their time in the form and style needed to reach their contemporaries. This message being rejected is neither rare nor unexpected, but my conveyance of this message could certainly be better, imo.

How many paths are there to God? There are as many paths to God as there are souls on the Earth. – Rumi

I agree, and I come from the same, exact school. Notice the “to God” part. It is the essential backbone of the spiritual path. That is precisely why Jesus’s “Great Command” is in two parts:

“To love God with all one’s being, and then to love one’s neighbor as oneself. That is the entirety of religion and anyone who claims to be from God is judged solely by this Great Command.” (My paraphrase)

We must first love God because it unlocks our ability to actually transform the vices of our heart into their associated virtues; that is why it is a prerequisite for the end goal: to love others as our own selves. [Loving God is solely (“soully” ;-)) for our benefit (vis a vis our neighbors), as nothing we do can add or subtract anything from God.]

That is why I emphasize contacting God by “going within” irrespective of any particular form of religion. Only once one goes within and begs God to help you perfect your moral being does the physical transformational part begin.

So, yes, we each have “our own path to God”, but we do, in fact, have to go within and make that contact, minimally (as I understand it) as bookends to one’s day. But, yes, the details of how one should do that is between the practitioner and our Creator.

As to preachiness, I am not myself yet perfected, but I ask, “Was Boltzman being preachy when he tried to explain statistical mechanics to Lord Kelvin (who dismissed B’s ideas rather belligerently), or was he merely describing new details about a greater understanding of our physical reality that those of his time mostly rejected?” (And that Einstein proved just a scant few years later.)

Remember, our Ids are rather clever and fight this message from within our own beings. Our Ids fight this message because accepting this Sufi Message of Love is the beginning of the death of the Id, though it’s quite a long slog (for me, anyway) to really transmute all its vices into their corresponding virtues, as described by Jesus in Matthew 5:48:

“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

We are not given commands that we cannot achieve, but that doesn’t in any way mean that it’s easy or that it’s not denied by the vast majority of our fellows, who are still trapped in the prison of their Id’s selfish worldview, the Id that wants us to have nothing to do with perfection as that entails the selfish Id’s utter destruction.

@ Winter

You make the error of many of Faith. There is a proverb in (Lutherian) circles that reads “All moralizing leads to the devil”

[I’m pretty sure I have made no error here in the facts of reality I present, though I concede that my tone will likely always be lacking. All I can claim for myself is that I am relaying the true facts as best as my still imperfect self can.]

That proverb requires deep understanding to grok correctly.

First off, are you saying Nazis were/are moral creatures, or amoral?

I contend that such discernment is absolutely necessary in a world of Trumps and Soviet-style dictators.

If by moralizing, one means telling others how shitty they are while hypocritically doing the same things, then, yes, absolutely, that is wrong and comes from our Id’s negative nature.

But, if one isn’t first moralizing oneself with the wisdom gained by going within and seeking our Lord’s help in perfecting our being, then one isn’t even on the path, for being a good person requires us to self-evaluate our attitudes and behaviors and choose to be better. The key is for us to choose a path that provides the means to learn proper discernment primarily for use on ourselves then, to a far lesser extent, on others, and only after a long apprenticeship and only in situations where it is absolutely necessary (like fascists).

And, if it’s a person who is making an effort (as I am) and is merely sharing the wisdom they have learned to help others understand The Way, then that is merely teaching. The key differentiation is the conveyor’s humility, or condescending lack thereof.

The many who are against this Sufi path will take what I say one way and a person who is ok with seeking God’s “Face” within a prayerful, self-critical lifestyle will take it another way. I’m here merely to get people over the hump and make that inner connection to our Creator.

So, like I said, that quote is a deep can of worms that a person lacking wisdom can certainly take the wrong way.

How many confused Nazis claimed to be Lutherian or Catholic? Is it “moralizing” to tell a person they can’t support Trump AND be a God-loving believer?

I know the answer to this question, and I know that I know, and I know most other people do not. This is not moralizing, this is teaching morality. Understanding the difference requires a more-than-superficial understanding of the universe and our human nature. As I do, for I have sought these teachings and have done a fair bit of self-critical work on my own self-transformation.

And indeed, history shows that Absolute Morality always leads to Hell.

So rounding up the Jews and gays and gypsies and murdering them wasn’t absolutely morally repugnant and deserving of violent action by moral human beings, with the Nazis eventually being sentenced to hell for the misery they caused?

Everything morally righteous is selfless and kind and loving of both God and man, and comes from Divine inspiration. That is the kind of absolute morality I’m referring to here. What I’m specifying here is based on intention and action, and every single thing we do has a moral judgement, as we are moral beings whose every intended action has an effect on this world. This is not a judgement by other human beings but by the universe itself, though my fellow travelers who have traversed a bit of the path will harmonize their understanding with the Divine perspective as they progress in submitting their wills to the Divine Will.

I’m not talking about imposing an absolute morality upon others, I’m simply saying that there is a Divine morality that categorizes our every intended action according to moral weights and measures that reside upon a polarity of selfless positivity on one end and selfish negativity on the other. Everything we do is graded into that spectrum.

And ignorance of this truth is no excuse, i.e. one’s intentions and actions are written into the record whether one believes they are or not. They also write themselves upon various features of our physical body (facial expressions and tone of voice are but two) as our karmic inertia builds over our lifetime.

Humans are limited, imperfect creatures and human morality too is bound to be limited and imperfect.

And this is why it is essential for us to go to The Source for our moral direction FIRST before one begins dispensing advice.

At the beginning of a person’s spiritual life, you are correct, they will be limited and imperfect and quite often wrong. But if one is humble and seeks the truth and God with all their heart, wisdom can not only be gained but perfected by the person, their having been physically transformed by the years of spiritual toil.

If one perseveres to the end of the Path of Wisdom, one arrives at this of Jesus’s Beatitudes:

“Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.”

That is the indication that one has completed the transformation (I don’t reckon I’m anywhere near that level myself), with the help of God, of course. In completing their submission to the Divine Will, they have not only achieved guaranteed salvation from our sinning potential for themselves, but they have also gained perfect inner peace (because they are no longer causing unhappiness to others), a constant dialog with our Creator, and — most importantly — the ability to dispense wisdom as a true Messenger of God.

Note that our Ids are very vociferous about what I just said being pure bunkum because, as I’ve said, the Id wants nothing to do with the Sufi Path because it is the beginning of the selfish Id’s end.

Imposing your imperfect and limited morals onto others is a sure recipe for disaster.

That’s precisely why it is best to stay quiet until one has a firm grasp on Divine Wisdom.

Once again, this has nothing to do with me. This is a feature of our environment (the universe) that works glove-on-hand with our ability to choose and our intrinsically moral nature.

Everyone who imposes their morals on others, ie., moralizes, is pushing the world one step closer to hell.

That’s precisely why I don’t impose my morals on anyone else. I’m merely describing the rules of the “game” that we live within (life being — in NO way — a joke whatsoever, but it does have a game theory aspect).

No, I’m merely teaching others how to moralize themselves by making contact within their beings with our Unfathomable Creator. I am merely teaching others the benefits of the path that my family and I experience daily.

I am only telling people that going within and making that first, inner contact with our Creator from within our own beings is the beginning of the spiritual path, the Sufi Path of Love, the Path of Wisdom.

I understand that when a person makes that inner connection their life will transform and events will unfold that lead them to even greater peace and happiness, so long as they continue to follow the path toward its end.

Note also that the wisdom I have gained allows me to describe the likes of Trump and his hypocritical, evil supporters. That is not “moralizing”; that is having the discernment to understand the difference between right and wrong, good and evil. And I’m telling you that we all possess that basic sense of morality but that it requires certain steps be taken to have the clarity and moral fortitude to wield it for the greater good and not for our pathetic, selfish Ids.

Everyone who imposes their morals on others, ie., moralizes, is pushing the world one step closer to hell.

From another perspective, was the moralizing of the Allies in WWII leading the world one step closer to hell?

Or are you saying we should have just let the Nazis do as they pleased?

One’s moralizing is judged exactly the same as our intentions and actions: Are they spawned by our selfish Id or by our ability to be selfless servants of others’ happiness?

Now, Sufi story time.

Once, maybe 10 years ago, I was on my way to our Dergah’s mid-day congregational prayer.

Hundreds of meters past my exit I realized I had just totally flaked out (which I never, ever do while driving), so I had to traverse a significant bridge and circle around on back roads to get to my destination.

So, I got off the highway and had to make a left at a light to get going in the right direction. It was late fall, quite chilly, and there was a steady light rain coming down.

After we got the left turn arrow I started moving (I was perhaps the fourth car in line) and as I got to the light I saw a woman step out from behind a building only a couple of car widths to the right of the road I was turning onto.

As I was moving I just had the feeling I should pull over right in front of her and offer her a ride. It was just an subtle intuition that I followed, with no intention other than to offer her a ride home on a somewhat miserable day.

She accepted the ride and explained that she lived just a block or so down the street across from where she was waiting. (It was a canal road parallel to the road I had been waiting for the light on.)

100 meters down the road she calmly explained that she had just taken a half a bottle of Tylenol to kill herself.

What I can only describe as a “thrill of excitement” pervaded me for a long second, after which I took a deep breath and calmly asked if she would mind if I took her to the firehouse a couple of hundred meters back down the road where I was waiting at the light. Thank God she calmly accepted my offer.

There was no one at her home, and she had no car (which had effectively been legally stolen by her ex).

We went to the firehouse, I fetched the bottle of Tylenol from where she left them in the car, then they called an ambulance. I asked if she wouldn’t mind if I followed her to the hospital; she acceded.

At the hospital, as the nurse gave her the charcoal-based toxin-soaking solution for her to drink, she explained that this was her third suicide attempt, and that her mother was already on the way from Texas to come get her (she must have called from the ambulance).

We chatted for perhaps two hours until she fell asleep. It was there I learned the tragedy of the situation.

She explained how she had paid her way through most of college by dancing at some kind of club (we don’t have strip clubs in our area but I’m sure bikinis are ok, tho I haven’t ever cared for those places). So, first off, she was utterly gorgeous.

Beyond her looks, she was very, very nice and beyond intelligent with humor and a demeanor that I would call brilliant.

At 28, she also had three young kids, perhaps 3, 5 and 8 and she had just been treated so badly by so many people in her life that she had given up again. Thankfully, she recognized that my being there meant that the universe wanted her to be here because she is a truly valuable person.

Her being African-American only deepens the sense of tragedy for she had already beat the odds for what a black woman in America is normally able to achieve except by sheer force of adamant will. But anyone who spent five minutes with her would instantly recognize how successful she should and would be, were that we lived in a true meritocracy.

After she fell asleep, I quitely slipped out.

Not many people I know (who are not medical professionals) can say they have saved a life, but no one I know can say the universe itself bent their life to be in an unusual place at precisely the right time to prevent a person from, in the minimum, permanent liver damage.

I don’t use phrases such as “I’ll be honest with you…” or “To tell you the truth…” when I chat with folks because honesty is an integral part of my being at this point in my journey, because I have been changed from the liar I was as a teenager to the (sometimes brutally) truthful person I am now.

So here is my definition of a fool:

A fool is a person who refuses to believe the truth while willingly believing all manner of absurd non-truths.

I was sent to that young woman, and I ask you to consider the possibility that I was sent here, too, to share this Sufi Message of Love.

“On Earth as it is in Heaven” is as possible to achieve as we bring our personal efforts to bear, alone and in our groups.

The evil that must be defeated on this Earth here in 2020 is well-monied, in power and utterly amoral in their worldview. Many countries across the world are facing fascist regimes, either budding or entrenched, and I understand fully what my machines (including my very body) are here to do.

Thank you for this opportunity to serve you. Please know that we love you because you are all so dear to us.

Winter September 21, 2020 10:44 AM

“If by moralizing, one means telling others how shitty they are while hypocritically doing the same things, then, yes, absolutely, that is wrong and comes from our Id’s negative nature.”

No, all moralizing leads to the devil. No moral system can be perfect as they have to be interpreted by humans who are imperfect.

It is OK to apply your own morals to yourself, but you cannot do that on others.

That is why there is a difference between Ethics and morals on the one side, and the law on the other side. Ethics and Morals are what we can apply to ourselves, the Law is what we can enforce in others.

Winter September 21, 2020 10:46 AM

“So here is my definition of a fool:”

I use the one of Barbara Tuchman:
A fool believes he does not have to think anymore because he is convinced he already knows what is right/true.

rrd September 21, 2020 12:54 PM

@ Winter

No, all moralizing leads to the devil. No moral system can be perfect as they have to be interpreted by humans who are imperfect.

The universe itself is a moral system that we live within and that decides how happy or unhappy we are due to karmic accrual.

That is why Donald Trump et al are completely unhappy. They have lost their ability to be happy due to all the misery they have caused others, all their lying, all their cheating, all their greeding, all their oppressing and all their hating is constantly reflecting back into their very beings.

“We reap what we sow” means that if we live to make others happy we will receive that happiness from within ourselves while we live as recompense for our selflessly creating happiness for others via acts of our own free will. Causing unhappiness in others results in the same feedback but with a sad face.

That is the only morality I speak of. It’s a part of the system and it’s a part of ourselves and like it or not, accept it or not, it explains the vast majority of the happiness and unhappiness in this world.

This is not a human judgement, it is a judgement upon human beings, built into the fabric of the universe and our beings via our consciences. Yes, human beings often misinterpret morality for their own selfish purposes, but hitting someone with a hammer doesn’t mean a hammer was designed to harm people, it only means that evil people can twist any tool to their selfish ends.

Morality is an intrinsic tool of the human universe. It is a part of us and we accept, deny, strengthen or weaken our own connection with that truth however we see fit. Like all human-accessible tools, it is our choice how we choose to wield it, if at all (which is its own moral choice, based solely on willful ignorance).

It is OK to apply your own morals to yourself, but you cannot do that on others.

I can and do exactly that for fascists because I have first brutally done it upon myself.

Elie Wiesel is a wiser man than you or I, so perhaps you would prefer to argue with these quotes:

The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of beauty is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, but indifference between life and death.


I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides.

Taking sides requires a moral judgement.

Human rights are being violated on every continent. More people are oppressed than free. How can one not be sensitive to their plight? Human suffering anywhere concerns men and women everywhere.

The key here is that indifference to others’ suffering is an indication of moral pathology.

To be a human being is to embrace humanity and human rights for ALL human beings, and to selflessly work for their establishment.

As long as one dissident is in prison, our freedom will not be true. As long as one child is hungry, our life will be filled with anguish and shame. What all these victims need above all is to know that they are not alone; that we are not forgetting them, that when their voices are stifled we shall lend them ours, that while their freedom depends on ours, the quality of our freedom depends on theirs.

It is simply immoral to ignore the plight of the oppressed, the disadvantaged, the hungry and unclothed.

All human beings have a moral potential whose purview can be expanded or shrunk as per their choice, but many choose to selfishly only care for themselves, the result of moral shrinkage. Like pack animals they only care for their fellow pack members, however they define their pack. That is not the way of human beings who seek moral and societal perfection.

Or, do you disagree with the late Mr. Wiesel’s moral judgements?

Now, another of your quotes:

That is why there is a difference between Ethics and morals on the one side, and the law on the other side. Ethics and Morals are what we can apply to ourselves, the Law is what we can enforce in others.

That is absurd. Laws are the works of man therefore they are either designed morally or amorally and then enforced either morally or amorally.

A morally lawful society’s laws apply not just “in others” (as you so tellingly state) but to all members of the citizenry, equally, or it’s not moral at all — that is just oppression of powerless out-groups by powerful in-groups.

Now, explain to us all your thoughts on the Catholic Church using lawyers and NDAs to hide their rampant child sexual abuse so that their coffers remain full and their priests aren’t exposed as the evil monsters they are, allowed to rape again in a new parish after they’ve said n=X Hail Marys.

I suppose you don’t want to make any moral judgements, right?

So I suppose that you’re fine with being the textbook definition of amoral, as provided by GOOG:

lacking a moral sense; unconcerned with the rightness or wrongness of something

I know which side I try my best to be on. It appears that you have clearly stated your stance.

Note that you do this on a blog whose sole purpose is creating secure societal information management systems that morally protect themselves from amoral bad actors that try to subvert, abuse or destroy such systems.

Note that Mr. Schneier’s role in the world is “Public Interest Technologist”. Is his being for the “Public interest” and not “Private Monied Interests” not a moral judgement, and an obviously necessary and greatly needed one at that?

[@ ALL, I apologize for arguing this with someone who obviously has zero desire to even entertain my perspective.]

vas pup September 21, 2020 3:07 PM

German military launches space junk tracking system:

“The German armed forces want to keep a closer eye on space in the future. A new system to track space junk orbiting Earth and send out early warnings about potential threats has begun work.

How does it work?

Instead of having a rotating dished antenna, GESTRA (German Experimental Space Surveillance and Tracking Radar) has a so-called “phased array” that still enables operators to pan across the sky and spot debris zooming past.

It was developed by Germany’s Fraunhofer FHR radar institute for Germany’s civilian DLR aerospace agency. It is based near Koblenz, around 200 kilometers (125 miles) from ASOC’s base at Uedem, close to where the Rhine flows into the Netherlands.

It works in orbital heights from 300 kilometers out to 3,000 kilometers, DLR project leader Thomas Eversberg told Bonn’s General-Anzeiger newspaper in June.

We don’t try to remove the debris, instead we try to see it,” said Eversberg.

FHR, also equipped with a 34-meter-diameter TIRA radar at its hilltop headquarters near Bonn, says the rotating antenna is able to track objects in “high precision,” so that functioning satellites can avoid space junk.”

Two short and good videos inside article and more information as well.

Clive Robinson September 21, 2020 5:56 PM

@ Anonymous,

Haven’t seen this here before. Microsoft had a severity 10 last week?

It has been commented on, if memory serves, it involved a failure to understand why a “nonce is a number used only once” and an IV misuse.

But there was also this in the news as well,

I’m begining to think that the threat scale topping out at “10” is a little like old Admiral Beaufort’s winds scale topping out at “12”. In the Admiral’s case he was aware of stronger winds, but “considered that they were unservivable” thus academic rather than practical.

As it turns out technology caught up with the Admiral, and not only have way way stronger storms been recorded, they have been survived at sea…

It looks like technology has moved on in ICTsec and the threat scale is now likewise “practicaly” not what it once was.

lurker September 21, 2020 6:23 PM

@rrd re: “…basic choice being between Church of frigging England and the Catholic Church…”

I’ll go with the rational Isaac Newton who lumped them both together as “the apostate Trinitarian Church.” The apostasy allegedly committed by the coronation of Charlemagne.

Winter September 22, 2020 12:19 AM

“Elie Wiesel is a wiser man than you or I, so perhaps you would prefer to argue with these quotes:”

Elie Wiesel acted on his own sense of morality and devoted his whole life to uphold the law. Because the Charter of Human Rights has force of law (in the EU).

Elie Wiesel did not enforce his morals upon others, he enforced the law.

rrd September 22, 2020 5:24 AM

@ Winter

When Clive explained to me his idea of the single most important foundational digital security principle, I had to read it a few times because it was (is) a real deep dive by a world-class expert in the field. My mind blown, I thanked him for his generous effort to educate me by sharing his expert perspective.

In the face of an obviously superior perspective, I think I acted in an appropriate and respectful way. I am better for doing so, and so is this blog.

Your wanting to feel “right” is getting in the way of your having the best perspective. The reason I am often correct is that I try very hard to be humble enough to admit when my worldview needs to be expanded, which starts with me admitting that my earlier viewpoint was at least lacking, if not downright wrong.

You have chosen to simply ignore vast swaths of what I have written here. Only you can choose to read for comprehension, with an open mind that is ready to accept new information that might expand your worldview.

Stubbornness and pride are only two of the 19 vices of the Id.

Winter September 22, 2020 9:06 AM

“Stubbornness and pride are only two of the 19 vices of the Id.”


When Clive wrote:
“It can not be done. Morality is a movable feast at the best of times and about it’s mean it has a normal distribution.”

I simply agreed with Clive, using other words. You have written a lot, but nothing that showed Clive to be wrong. At least, I found nothing I could interpret as such.

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons September 22, 2020 10:29 AM

I suggest you move away from proselytizing, a perspective not your own cannot be made with a rather quarrelsome argument or assertion. There is a marked hubris in your expression–it comes off that way and does little to advance or serve a cause–especially your own. What is most problematic is the subjective nature of your perspective lying in the wait of objectivity. I will resist a critic and only offer my take on things in a manner that is possibly polite–non confrontational and hopefully taken as supportive. Move on to a topic that requires less of the participants, at least subjectively, until a more salient set of circumstances suit your tastes. Just a suggestion, others I am sure can offer guidance.

We have many times engaged the community, ad-hoc as it is, in pulling people forward. The famous “Skeptical” case is one that comes to mind. Much effort, intercourse, and deliberation between many, but most of those have let these spaces. New mentors need to take a role that is being filled most of the time by Clive and friends. Time for many of us is mostly behind us and leaving a record, and more importantly, the people in the breach with the tools to succeed as is all our duty.

JonKnowsNothing September 22, 2020 10:35 AM

@Clive @All

El Reg article on how an old TV broke the local village wifi

A local village was having problems with their internet services. The company replaced some cables but the signal dropped at 7am every day.

  * a single high-level impulse noise (SHINE), which causes electrical interference in other devices

  * SHINE and its relative REIN (Repetitive Electrical Impulse Noise) generate interference “in the frequencies used by the ADSL Broadband service.

  * [they] fired up the spectrum analyser and took to the streets at 6:00 AM – in a downpour, no less – and as the clock struck 07:00 “picked up a large burst of electrical interference in the village.” … “It turned out that at 07:00 every morning the occupant would switch on their old TV which would in-turn knock out broadband for the entire village.”

  * The owner said he wouldn’t turn on the TV again.

New tech use for Old Kit as Signal Jammers?

ht tps://
(url fractured to prevent autorun)

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons September 22, 2020 10:45 AM

I am just waiting for the “Galaxy Police” to show up in the local group, the Milky Way, and do an inspection in our solar system. Bet they pull the planet earth over (noticing the drunken, erratic orbital path) along the side of the solar system and issue a ticket. One count of reckless endangerment of a planet, and,

“For violating the basic principals of symbiosis, destruction of planetary property, and a malevolent disdain for air, water, and land–YOUR LICENSE TO OPERATE A PLANET IS HEREBY REVOKED”

To appeal or contest the issuance and citation for violations call your county supervisor, ask for anyone that knows better.

Native first peoples are exempted from this order. Other indigenous and subjugated persons are released from involuntary bondage and exempt under this order. Have a nice day!

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons September 22, 2020 11:21 AM

Similar effects from sufficiently powerful UWB or HERF devices do break down dielectrics on many MOS and classic germanium devices, there is a linear decay effect that can be seen under test. There are some entropic cutoff curves (much like diodes in reverse bias) in radios for example that are fun to watch/listen to. Eventually, over some time period the degradation of component dielectrics renders the component inoperable–permanently. Sources like a undamped/clamped ignition coil system (particular point gap systems) from say a tractor running in your neighbors yard would be similar in effect. Of course a really nice 17 stage Marx generator will do in a pinch. Just need the right blum.

Sherman Jay September 22, 2020 2:54 PM

This is obviously a ‘security’ posting. Not another off-topic diatribe on belief systems.

The article below has some interesting info on the likelihood of problems (actual and potential) caused by long-distance high-voltage electical power transmission. It also points out a lot of speculative conspiracy-theory-like rumor mongering and fear tactics which are becoming all to common in our ‘ideologically dominated’, science-denying socio-political morass of a country.
I am a firm supporter (based on many existing, functional systems) of local, sustainable (photovoltaic/wind/geothermal/solar heat-engine, etc) power as a more viable and as reliable, as efficient, safer system than the the 10%-15% loss and frequent critical outages forced on us by the abusive for-profit power companies.


These type of monster transformers take a long time to custom build, produce and deliver. There is info available on-line that details how the profit-driven electric utility companies won’t fund to keep a ‘spare’ transformer available, even though if one fails an entire city might be without power for weeks or months.

Also, fascinating:

Sherman Jay September 22, 2020 3:30 PM

According to most privacy experts I have read, palantir is one of the most insidious of spyware surveillance organizations.


There are more and more postings (even on the az mirror newspaper site) that talk about how the ever more militarized ‘law enforcement’ of the u.s. is engaging in massive amounts of invasive and often illegal surveillance and collection of personal data and communications.

Clive Robinson September 22, 2020 4:21 PM

@ Sherman Jay,

According to most privacy experts I have read, palantir is one of the most insidious of spyware surveillance organizations.

Whilst I can not attest to their ise of “spyware” I can say what their business plan is. To say it is “insidious” is perhaps a gross understatement.

The secretive “trust” that owns and will continue to control Palantir no matter how many or for how much shares are sold for in the up and comming refinancing, consists of a group of people who can not in any way be trusted, and as a side note make Facebooks little tricks look simplistic.

Put simply the reason they need money is they are pulling the old drug dealer trick of selling it cheap to get you hooked, and when dependent the price is going to go up and up. In this regard Palantir is not alone various companies try this nasty little trick in various ways.

The way the Palantir Trust plan to do this is to replace law enforcment investigators and intelligence analysts with Artificial Inteligence they solely control… The problem is they do not yet have the technology to do this.

Thus the second part of the plan. To use the system you have to type in all the reports and statistics for your area. Supposadly so that the algorithms have data to work on.

However Palantir is mainly “repackaging” what is being typed in and make it available to unknown others at a significant profit as they are actually not paying for it.

Thus the aim is to get Law enforcment and Intelligence agencies to spend their budget on Palantir, rather than on training and bringing on staff as detectives and analysts. Obvioisly when a tipping point that is effectively no return the price will go up and up.

Atleast one Sheriff’s department has realised what the Palantir Trust’s game is and have chosen to withdraw from Palantir and it’s systems and stick with what they know works longterm rather than faux bells and whistles that Palantir are pushing.

Hopefully other people will wake up to the Palantir Trust’s plans and stop sleepwalking into the addiction they are selling…

Otherwise the little tiff we have just seen with the DoD JEDI cloud server contract will be as nothing compared to Palantir’s plans.

Clive Robinson September 22, 2020 5:36 PM

@ Sherman Jay,

These type of monster transformers take a long time to custom build, produce and deliver.

At 250 tones it’s actually not that much of a monster, but it would make a fairly imovable door stop.

The idiotic politics asside, the attempts at “moral/ethical seperation” between the US behaviours and Chinese behavioirs is again laughable. The us has been caught out a number of times committing “economic espionage”.

What is not clear from the article is if the transformer has been “stolen or not”.

If it was taken away without or before “Factory Acceptance Test”(FAT) or more importantly payment, then technically it was still the property of the Chinese manufacturer or their agents, thus it would have been theft unless there was a contractual clause (unlikely). Whilst some might claim “eminent domain” the answer is it does not apply, there are strict legal guide lines when it comes to property that is not “fixed” and if anyone had followed them I would have expected the journalists to have been aware of them.

Yes the transformer could have been impounded when it was in the process of being imported but again that has a legal process behind it, and from what the article indicstes it had passed the import stage…

In return for the transformer story I give you one about inane power politics, turf wars and how two Pen-Testers havr effectively had their lives ruined by it.

Read it through to the end, there is a comment from one of them which indicates they might have been lucky to get away with still being alive and not full of slugs…

I hope they do take action against both the State and the County, and get their records expunged.

A lesson for us all in it, one part of which is “Everything must be documented” that includes videos and audio recordings of any meetings and proper “sign-off before action authorisation” by the clients legal representative.

rrd September 22, 2020 7:15 PM

@ Clive

According to Urban Dictionary (take that as you will), my intuition seems to have struck gold.

#3 is directly applicable to Dunning-Kruger:

Someone useless, inefficient or time-wasting, especially in a place or work and/or position of responsibility.

#2 is directly applicable to our (hopefully no longer argumentative) “discussion” of morality:

Someone with a faintly sociopathic lack of regard for other people; see also arsehole.

#5, however, is indeed vulgar, so — thank you, sir — I’ll nip it in the bud (around here, at least), no matter how perfect #3 fits Dunning-Kruger.

In the spirit of my current WWII audiobook listenings, I’ll switch to the WWII term “sad sack”, which GOOG says is: “an inept blundering person”. Specifically, in WWII it was a soldier whose attitudes and behaviors were actively hindering the war effort.

All may be interested to note that recent “scientific” (if social science or psychology can be considered anything close to actual science) studies, people who use profanity tend to be more honest. (IIRC)

But, dang, “knowers and wankers” just flowed so nicely.

Ahh, but there’s a solution to the problem of “knowers and sad sacks” flowing like crap — and just in time!

Thus is borne: “Savages and Sad Sacks”

“Savages”, for the simple fact that we must be utterly savage in the treatment of our mistakes if we are to have any hope of becoming an expert.

Juval Lowy (excellent teacher of software architecture and co-author of Microsoft’s WCF specifications, one of their nicer (imo) pieces of tech) speaks of the proper mindset required to test one’s software: he drops into a deep, sinister-sounding register, and says things like, “You have to want to destroy it, tear it apart, deviously, ruthlessly, relentlessly, …” and so on. I don’t remember which of his “Software Architecture” videos it was from (I seem to remember my watching three of his a few times until I had transcribed his method into notes and his simple diagrams. These are highly excellent approaches to designing secure multi-tier architectures, at least on MSFT systems.)

And so, the humble high-achievers on D-K’s scale (now “Savages”) most certainly have approached their own weaknesses with the same merciless brutality Mr. Lowy refers to in order to have achieved their “expert” proficiencies.

Cheers, Clive; I’m really glad and thankful that you don’t let enmity or hatred cloud our conversations. Now, maybe we can talk tech for a change 😉

JonKnowsNothing September 22, 2020 9:43 PM


You might want to read up about the dangers of using gutter words that are not part your own language base.

Wars have been started for such offenses.

There are plenty of terms in both British English and American English that cross the polite boundary because their definitions are different. Asking for galoshes or wellingtons can get you some raised eyebrows in America if you use a different British noun.

An American colleague commonly used a word they meant to mean “oh heck”, it was a long time habit and the word had no meaning in American English. However, in British English it was another gutter word. Working in an international environment they did not connect the dots because to them it meant “oh heck” but the rest of us, were always jolted because there is no way this person would have used the American equivalent of the British word definition.

A long time back, reading a historical fiction novel about the American West that was one of the first period novels that was not steeped in American Western Mythos, there was an exchange between several frontiersmen and their cavalry officers and eastern officials about the name of one of the main characters. It was an ample, if somewhat humorous, response to how descriptive names are explained.

iirc(badly) There was an multicultural conundrum over the person’s name either it was “Buffalo Penis” or “Buffalo Piss”, American English had no way to properly describe the correct name. It was decided to record the name as “Buffalo Piss” because it was the least offensive version for the eastern delegation.

Imagine the conference name tag:
  Hello, my name is Buffalo Piss ….

rrd September 22, 2020 11:18 PM

@ JonKnowsNothing

Truly duly noted. Your advice to err on the side of caution is wise indeed.

Ohh, but I do really appreciate the most gutter of the gutter words that segments of British (English?) society use: cvnt.

I don’t use it because of its awful connection with a woman’s naughty bits, but it just flows, with that hard K at the front, then the UHH, then the bit of NNN, and finished with a strong hard T. So magnificently profane, but unfortunately too vulgar (and too profane, really) for use, even though (as I understand it) it seems to mostly be used by the folks across the pond in a friendly way between friends.

But, yes, I do appreciate your proper perspective on something that certainly can turn people off from what I hope would involve a positive message about something important in the world. No need to fvck the message up with questionable word choice.

I was so tempted to use Buffalo Piss as my handle for this one 😉

Sherman Jay September 22, 2020 11:25 PM

Your observation about the ‘The idiotic politics aside’ is excellent. I consider the ‘cloak and dagger’ with hardware on both sides to be part of the idiotic politics, too. It is like the ‘horrors’ of ‘tiktok’ compared to the ‘horrors’ of many of the american based social media and computer companies. They are all busily sucking up all the personal data they can and pointing fingers at ‘the other’.

At my age, I can’t really run, but I am trying to hide.

Thanks for the link, I’ll read that article after I finish some html work I promised to do.

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons September 22, 2020 11:59 PM

@ Sherman Jay
Very interesting point you made. We have global hegemonies (the US and China) facing off to each other for what they have determined are their best interests–oddly irrespective of either countries own people’s wishes–casting this “competition” for supremacy as an either, or, or proposition. This is a false dichotomy, this reminds me of when W said you are either with us or against us. My immediate response, “I have another Guinness.”

The geo-political uni-polar world as set out by both China and the U.S. currently shares a locus with information management and theory. Let me limit the discussion to my interpretation of the Asia-Centric viewpoint for now but I will circle back to the US position. Common to both though,the geo-political and nation-state are at odds both in and out of context within each country, let me explain.

GEO-POLITICS (Dramatically oversimplified)
China, with an application WeChat, has deployed and is invested in a one-device-for-all-peoples system that integrates much of Chinese life. The U.S. uses propaganda, subterfuge, and deceit to offer the illusion of a disaggregated semi-autonomous relationship with commerce and the government (no-need-for-one-device-USA-integrates-it-on-the-backend).

Though the struggles within the confines of the nation state, from what I understand there is a struggle between the interest of the state with the state, the PLA managerially, and the communist governors operationally. Each has a distinct advantage and cost relative to any over arching national goal. And, their is a quasi-private segment that operates within these confines and both both sides and gets played.

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons September 23, 2020 12:23 AM

@ jcb

the hideous tortures of medieval British medicine in the 21st century, locked up in psychiatric wards, insane asylums, and mental hospitals, drugged against our will, because certain solicitous gentlemen of the district are allowed to go to court to satiate the desires to do what the Law does not permit them to do

May I suggest this very thing is happening at the Old Bailey today…one stalwart individual had the temerity and audacity to publish factual information about crimes against humanity. That a people, with their taxes, subsidizes, and authorizations give sanction to the activities of unaccountable assassins seems to preposterous, a farcical ruse–it cannot be true. A publisher must be jailed to right this wrong.

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons September 23, 2020 1:27 AM

@ Clive

Thus I prefere the “Humanist” viewpoint that mankind should seek towards continuous improvment by causing less harm to others and the world around them. Effectively by reaching within we can then give without to others as individuals of society.

I am in agreement with you here, and, I suggest that a proper understanding of a moral life free from dogma is exemplified by Thomas Paine. But not in any one work, it is the work throughout life as a compendium of a life in the moment–no badge or title–only the wisdom to coalesce knowledge from other’s shoulders and make possible the broader understanding–a true teacher. Paine demonstrates that history is in the moment, where you find yourself; it is cognizable, instructive, and an opportunity. Paine’s life is an example of an authentic existence. Most everyone else, pretenders.

Common Sense, though not a treatise, is a classic formative description of struggle, justice, and action. I don’t know anyone that comes close to this persons achievements. And, I find it odd Paine was never really given the moniker of Framer. Also, Age of Reason is a starting in point for philosophical frameworks in contested spaces, as in a society with more than one person with more than one expressed goal or aspiration.

Also of interest, the cruelty of Burke and his almost emphatic pursuit in the punishment of Paine (like how I played into Paine’s pain?). Paine seems to be an early version of Julian Assange. Today’s Burke? The IC? Most individuals are too entangled in their own interpretive psyche while simultaneously sermonizing to others about their “conversion”, “wokeness”, “enlightenment”, or access to wisdom and truth. It is pathetic. In Paine’s writing you can witness a person that recognizes where and when they are and what is required of them…in a poetic fashion that can best be described as the “Shakespeare of the U.S.”[1]

[1] NOTE: I take nothing from Shakespeare, inferring that Paine would diminish the Bard is inane, that is not my intent. It is to ascribe to the writings of Paine a type of camaraderie in poetry.

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons September 23, 2020 2:00 AM

@ Sherman Jay, Clive
I was under the impression that Peter Teil (pay pal fame, Hulk Hogan Vanishes–from the Internet) and the Carlye Group (big defense PE firm) forms a nexus about the lanyard holding the rope pressed to the public’s neck by Plantir.

Plantir is engaged in the “Suspicion” security model. Trust in these environments degrade over time and becomes toxic to activity, productivity, and creativity. When the IC’s decided to turn the tyranny key, they pointed the device at themselves. That’s kool until you realize that there are carveouts and exceptions to scrutiny and accountability. Under an internal, abstract, and essentially arbitrary hierarchy with the organization resultantly fomenting dissent and betrayal within the ranks, over time. The IC will become a weird amalgam; Oliver Twist meets Star Trek. Keith Alexander will be so proud…

Winter September 23, 2020 4:32 AM

About the Dunning Kruger effect.

This study is referenced a lot on internet forums. My experience is that the people who use this phrase to label other people almost exclusively are victims of this very illusion.

I came to this conclusion because those people labeling others with the Dunning Kruger effect invariably showed large holes in their knowledge of the subject. Holes that were easily recognized when you consult scholarly publications or known experts.

On the other hand, I have never ever seen or heard of a known expert labeling someone else with the Dunning Kruger label. What I do have seen is known experts admitting they probably would suffer from the Dunning Kruger effect outside their area of expertise.

The lesson the study by Justin Kruger and David Dunning is teaching us is not that we should judge others who might suffer from this illusion, but that we must be aware that we ourselves will suffer from it in one form or another, e.g., in the form “I too think I am a better driver than average”.

Here is the original paper by Kruger and Dunning:

A more recent chapter by David Dunning:

rrd September 23, 2020 6:29 AM

@ Winter

What I do have seen is known experts admitting they probably would suffer from the Dunning Kruger effect outside their area of expertise.

That’s the humility that is required to be a savage, a characteristic that the sad sacks lack. (Note, however, that the humble traits their younger self had that allowed them to become an expert can be subverted by false pride over the course of their life to lead them — while still an expert in their field — to later make wildly overconfident proclamations in other fields that they really have no business commenting on.)

The key is that a sad sack’s Id would never allow them to admit that they could ever be confidently overestimating their capabilities.

D-K is a study of how a person’s attitudes affect their ability to not only achieve, but honestly and correctly estimate their own proficiencies.

We are each capable, with honest introspection, of making fewer and fewer mistakes over the course of our lives until we make no more. But we can never learn from our mistakes if we don’t first admit that they were, indeed, mistakes.

This is actually quite important in our current world geopolitical situation, as our socio/psychopathic president was literally taught from a young age by his s/p father to “never admit when he was wrong”. It’s a big, big part of what makes him the malignant narcissist and serial liar he is, and why the US now has over 200,000 COVID-19 deaths. He is ever concerned with the appearance of things, and never concerned with their actual substance/reality if he thinks it may make him look bad in any way.

All that said, regardless of the excellent finds of D-K and the recent “dark triad study” (psychopathy, narcissism and Machiavellianism), all such psychological studies are merely an analysis of the symptoms of an unchecked Id. Because those researchers don’t understand our spiritual axis of potential (from negative (the default) to positive (the result of deep introspective work)), they simply can’t propose or even comprehend what a cure looks like. The irony is that if those researchers (like us all) never admit to our human spiritual potential, they’ll never get past their own Ids!

Clive Robinson September 23, 2020 6:42 AM

@ Winter,

About the Dunning Kruger effect.

Yes it can be “emotive” as others like “The Peter Principle” once were. Such things can make “good mud in a slinging match” as knowledge of the name of the effect / principle / law in what one might call “certain circles” is deemed to be worth “brownie points” from similar minded people… Hence just knowledge of the name alone suffices to pass their tests (much like some modern online student testing where buzz word knowledge is marked but actual usefull knowledge is downgraded).

But as you note,

What I have seen is known experts admitting they probably would suffer from the Dunning Kruger effect outside their area of expertise.

As well as within…

Many do not realise that the effect has a flip side, where an expert makes the mistake of downgrading their expertise along the lines of,

“Well I know that as second nature, thus I asume those around me do to.”

Which obviously can cause cognative dissonance at often the most awkward of times.

Which has a follow on effect, where the expert having being bitten badly, then over compensates, and ends up explaining minutiae, thus causing others to think they are “lording it up” “over bearing” “don’t trust them” etc.

Some years ago when the effect was effectively “new by name” as a sort of joke I re-wrote it using control theory to present at one of those “Meet your colleagues in other fields” events Universities put on for their staff. The result was, light hearted as it was, that it could be reduced down, and it came out as not a nice safe stable “negative feedback” model but a highly unstable “positive feedback model” where “crashing the end stop” was almost a given unless you added an additional control loop that had a response time several orders faster than the positive feedback loop.

The two lessons to learn from it are firstly, the people who are seen alternately as “fascilitators” / “passivators” like Diplomats etc have to be extrodinarily quick witted to remain successfull. With the follow on of secondly, don’t go into any new situation without a “wing man” or other who acts as a fascilitator / passivator, unkess of course “risk taking” is a major hobby…

Wesley Parish September 23, 2020 7:12 AM

In the (vain) hope that On Topic isn’t Off Topic:

“LokiBot,” the malware that steals your most sensitive data, is on the rise

While not quite as prevalent or noxious as the Emotet malware, LokiBot remains a serious and widespread menace. The infostealer spreads through a variety of methods, including malicious email attachments, exploitation of software vulnerabilities, and trojans sneaked into pirated or free apps. Its simple interface and reliable codebase make it attractive to a wide range of crooks, including those who are new to cybercrime and have few technical skills.

Social engineering. That’s hardly new.

The malware includes a keylogger that records passwords and other sensitive keystrokes, code that harvests passwords stored in browsers, administrative tools, and cryptocurrency wallets, and can steal information from more than 100 different applications, according to security firm Gigamon.

That’s quite an interface. The Arstechnica article says it’s an open source DIY malware package for Windows. Has anyone seen the source code?

Curious September 23, 2020 9:00 AM

Btw, in the Julian Assange extradition hearing/trial, a question of government secrecy was brought up the other day. Some days later it occurred to me, I guess something I knew already, that, any blanket statement on government secrecy being either needed or expected, seems imo wholly incompatible with the idea of there being a so called ‘democracy’, being at odds with the idea of democracy where people being informed is sort of a big deal, so as to not even risk being deceived by state power or society about what the government is doing, nor being hindered in learning about such activities, nor being punished or harassed in having learned such things. And so it seems obvious to me that whenever a law about ‘espionage’ is used as a political tool, the more political (as opposed to pragmatic) an issue is where such a law is used, vs times of war, such a law seems to be inappropriate. Or, why would a state have a draconian law about espionage, if the state is also involved in causal espionage against other states. It seems just greedy. If the answer to such a question is for exerting political power, then it should be obvious that such a law, or use of law, is simply tyrannical (because you aren’t doing this because it is really necessary).

It seems obvious to me that any idea of accepting an absolute idea of state secrecy as a prerogative or a privilege would be fraudulent as a basic concept in a state that isn’t tyrannical, else, such a profound idea would be as dumb and/or wrong as if claiming that a state is sovereign to do what it wants, as if laws for society and such suddenly was to become a secondary and irrelevant.

Thus, in this way, I would say that discussions about any absolute need for secrecy, or secrecy as a singular or absolute privilege, would be based on a strawman argument in a discussion revolving so called democracy or “civil” rule; in which the argument in such a context would be inherently disingenuous in the first place (as in deceptive or rehtorical) if simply assuming a need for absolute secrecty being a question of authority(!). As if the notion of an excuse ala “we do what we do, because that is how we do it” wouldn’t really be circular reasoning and utter nonsense (or just tyrannical, or cruel if just happening once or occasionally).

At the risk of remembering things wrong, I believe the question of government secrecy in the hearings was coyishly asked by the prosecutor to at least one witness, presumably as some kind of attempt at character assasination and being some kind of attempt at defamation in trying to argue somebody to be ‘biased’ but for fraudulent reasons (the flawed idea of a state’s need for absolute secrecy). I got the impression that it was this ‘absolute secrecy’ idea that the prosecutor had in mind, not some qualified need for secrecy.

Would it even matter if somebody, in the context of being asked about qualified state secrecy, had answered “No a state should not even have qualified needs for secrecy!”? Maybe, or probably, but then, it seems all too obvious that most people would not disagree to such a qualified need, so in that regard it would be as silly as if asking anybody if people ought to rob banks to steal money, as if most people wouldn’t think of that as being a inherently bad thing.

In any case, it seems to me that, if ‘state secrecy’ is by the court is somehow deemed or otherwise assumed to be paramount, to the degree of being either an absolute or a prerogative, the hearing has failed to discuss or handle problems of state secrecy in a meaningful way.

Curous September 23, 2020 9:04 AM

To add to what I wrote:

I am curious now, heh, and I wonder: has any newspaper ever had an editorial discussing a state’s need for secrecy, and if amounting to secrecy powers/privileges, how meaningful would such secrecy power/privileges be if such arent always qualified?

jcb September 23, 2020 1:04 PM


to publish factual information about crimes against humanity. … A publisher must be jailed to right this wrong …

I don’t know about that. The computer security industry is strongly pro-mental-health, for pre-emptive civil commitment. Bottom line is, guns are banned, the cash truck just rolled by, I’m on the driver’s ban list, and the cops refuse take my reports of ongoing burglaries and repeated petty thefts.

JonKnowsNothing September 23, 2020 2:00 PM

@Clive @MarkH @all

re: Masks and Shields (sword and board)

Back in the early days of COVID-19, there were conflicting views on the value of face masks and face shields.

Since then, conflicting views still abound about the utility or inutility of wearing a face mask (over the nose and mouth, over the nose, over the mouth, under the neck).

2 studies from Japan supercomputer (Fugaku) show that there are more types of aerosols sizes to be considered.

  * Non Woven Face Masks are better than Woven Cloth Face Masks
  * Face shields or guards do not prevent aerosols from escaping

Plastic face shields are almost totally ineffective at trapping respiratory aerosols…almost 100% of airborne droplets of less than 5 micrometres in size escaped through plastic visors of the kind often used by people working in service industries.

Hospitals in the USA are at loggerheads over the proper procedures given updated findings.

studies have emerged showing that live virus hangs in Covid-19 patient hospitals rooms even in the absence of “aerosol-generating” procedures (such as intubations or breathing treatments) and airborne transmission has contributed to outbreaks ….

The fighting over financial resources stems from the issue that

..whether an illness spreads by droplets or aerosols drives two conflicting sets of protective practices, touching on everything from airflow within hospital wards to patient isolation to choices of protective gear. Enhanced protections would be expensive and disruptive to a number of industries, but particularly to hospitals, which have fought to keep lower-level “droplet” protections in place.

If hospitals define transmission as “droplet”:

epidemiologists who argue that the virus is mostly droplet-spread cite studies showing it is not as contagious as an illness like the measles and spreads to a small number of people, like a cold or a flu. Therefore, N95 respirators and strict patient isolation practices aren’t necessary for routine care of Covid-19 patients, those officials say.

If hospitals define transmission as “aerosol”:

… aerosol scientists, frontline healthcare workers and their unions, who are quick to note that the novel coronavirus is far deadlier than the flu – and argue that the science suggests that high-quality, and costlier, N95 respirators should be required for routine Covid-19 patient care.

These are two different protocols. Aerosol protocols require much stronger protections and hospital procedures for ventilation and containment. Droplet protocols mean they can use low grade or no protective gear in some areas and procedures. Additionally Droplet Protocols do not require as many protective methods for routine care and in Aged Care, Rehab or Skilled Nursing facilities.

Previous studies indicated that active viral particles can drift in the air up to 15ft . Such particles can hang in the air for up to three hours.
(note: there was a lot of comments on this early on and should be in the blog archives)

The Mask Wars Continue

(I hope this doesn’t post as a wall of text. It looks properly formatted in preview mode.)

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JonKnowsNothing September 23, 2020 2:48 PM

On a more fun topic…

Has anyone noticed the proliferation of special characters and punctuation in URL text titles?

I see more quote marks, dashes, assorted extra spaces in the text portion.

I also notice a plethora of ‘hype-word’ and ‘shocking-word’ as part of the URL text.

  eg ‘I don’t know what to do’ something something
  eg Minister faces ‘awkward’ – something something

Some folks use such marks to pass along emotional indicators and in MSM content can be expected in the article title but now forms part of the URL.

It seems that the Headline AI Generator has expanded the character count.

Perhaps it has something to do with social media, rankings, trending or click bait for users on small screens?

Faustus September 23, 2020 2:49 PM

I found a very interesting article of Bruce’s through the questionable ministrations of boing-boing.

It is a relief when somebody acknowledges how miserable our situation is, with ourselves in separate boxes and most of the world in separate little boxes, dying of suffocation.

Frankly the only joy I get is wandering the ruins of the American city I am in, looking for signs of life or intelligence. I am in a relatively intelligent city, where people take sensible precautions and largely ignore dumb ones without anybody trying to beat them into line. But it is still a sad scene with art and culture and community and innovation and commerce stifled.

I had to helicopter out of my latin american home to get to the airport and get back to the states. I miss my home and friends and cats and beautiful garden. But things were very chaotic there.

Bruce’s article hits the nail on the head. I don’t want to start an unwelcome debate here but the main emotion I feel is anger at how easily we abandon our economy and civilization over fear.

I think we are seeing the result of too much technology and too many screens over too many years. People have lost grit. Some people are happy to live in virtual environments altogether. And the owners of those virtual environments, the owners of the lockdown world people live in, are increasingly controlling discourse — and the options open to people — to their financial benefit.

Is this significantly different from The Matrix? Because we are aware? Really??? Because we are choosing to do this to ourselves? I’m not.

Clive Robinson September 23, 2020 4:54 PM

@ JonKnowsNothing,

… there were conflicting views on the value of face masks and face shields.

And the CDC goofed over the weekend…

Apparently on Friday they updated their advice and said SARS-CoV-2 was “airborne”. (which everyone with half an eye on the actual science has known for around six months and for which unsurprisingly the evidence is steadily growing)

Several scientists congratulated the CDC for finally getting into the real world (unlike WHO of which more in a minute).

Then on Monday the CDC said that the Friday post was a draft posted in error…

Which obviously has stoked the fires some what about “interference”, “conspiracy”, and “Little hands medling in things they ought not”. But is in reality incidental to health of people and thus a major and unwanted distraction, thus playing into vested interests advantage.

I guess the real reasons or vested interest is the US Health Care System that many should now have realised would be better named “Death taxation Incorporated”.

Due to legislation of the current and previous administration the US has probably the worst health care outcomes per unit of currency payed into it. Thus people should ask where the money is going too, as obviously it’s not on keeping those who pay, either alive or in good health (US had falling average age of death long prior to COVID unlike any other First world Nation I’m aware of).

So I’ll let others join the dots on any profit motives involved with proper COVID prevention (YES “BOTH” N95 masks and Positive filtered Air Preasure face shields are required stat for hospital staff, it’s what the science actually shows without doubt).

As for the “riot shield” type face coverings without positive air preasure their real protective advantage is not against airborne dropplets but from projectile larger droplets from people not wearing any face mask, and from physical contact infection. In effect they stop people “gobbing on your face”, you rubbing your eyes and give any airborne particles a slightly greater distance to travel.

Back long long ago on this blog I went through discussing the size of an RNA virus and the size holes in a mask filter for you to actually be able to breath through it. Since then “the medical biological view has moved to the physical science view” that is the distinction made since around the mid 1930’s was very out of date and the reality is a “continuum” or “broad spectrum” of droplet sizes ranging upwards from the size of the RNA virus to something getting on towards filling a fifth of a teaspoon if violently sneezed/coughed out.

I won’t go into all the science because it quickly gets complicated, but certain things are obvious to anyone who has compleated high school. Such as the effect of gravity, air resistance and distance.

That is gravity pulls down at a near uniform rate (feather and hammer experiment). Whilst air resistance acts against it. Mass of a droplet is related to it’s radius cubed r^3 (volume) and air resistance to r^2 (surface area) so the smaller the radius r is the more of an effect air resistance has and the longer the smaller droplets remain airborne and the grrater the distance they can travel. But also the smaller the droplet the less viral load it had, and as the droplets spread out the less viral density per given volume of air there is thus viral load is inversly proportional to the distance cubed (1/d^3) from the infectious person.

Thus if the constants can be determined a first order model can be constructed, but the obvious take away is “distance and dilution” reduce viral load significantly. And we know that your ability to survive the infection is in part due to initial viral load. So,

“Survivability is high order proportional to distance and density”

When you add a face covering you obviously limit the range of the larger droplets significantly, provided they go through the mask not around it… Smaller dropplets will go through or around masks.

But what of the mask material, obviously the looser the weave the larger the holes, and the less the layers the less chance there is a dropplet will hit the mask material or be subject to velocity and distance reducing turbulance.

But the science is quite complicated and the upshot is for any given air flow the looser the weave and the more layers the more effective the filtering. And as importantly the less initial velocity any given particle will have due to flow disruption in the filter.

It’s one of the reasons the Nuclear Biological and Chemical(NBC) mask canister filters issued to soldiers tend to be an inch or more thick and the respirator seal to the face broad and tight. Oh and why the canisters are so darn expensive and only good for about 100hours.

Obviously those “riot shield” type face protection without positive preasure filtered air are not of any use in “filtering” if the virus is “airborne” and “Persistent”… But they do increase the distance factor and thus if the area is well ventilated the dilution factor as well. So something is better than nothing.

After all whilst a “splash guard” does not stop the iron behind going rusty but it does slow the wetting and weathering processes.

But idealy both mask and shield would be worn at all times. The shields main purpose is not to stop airborne infection but to stop “contact infection” (hand to eye etc) and “projectile ejector” (spittle and the like).

So on to the World Health Organisation(WHO) I feel sorry for any scientist working there… What they are trying to do, to save lives, by improving understanding appears to be surpressed by managment acting like a political cover over. Thus like a heavy blanket it is smothering what they say and I assume the scientists as well. The number of times the WHO senior managment have “dropped the ball” or even “failed to pick it up” is astounding. Let’s be generous and say it is some form of neurotic timidity due to fear of funding loss. Well it’s alowing people without any understanding of science or wishes to ignore the facts to push political or fiscal viewpoints that are “Killing People” and will kill more and more as time goes on, way more than if prompt action had been taken (see Western Australia, demonstrating that you do not have to be an island like New Zeland to get a grip on border control thus get on top of COVID).

Whilst people can argue the cuss out of mask or face shield wearing interfering with their personal right to be ignorant, two things are proved without any doubt about face masks and shields,

1, They reduce viral load in both directions.
2, They significantly reduce the distance the virus can travel.

So they increase the “dilution factor” and effectively increase the “distance factor” both of which significantly improve your chance of survival if your path should cross that of an infected person.

Anyone who argues otherwise can go and do it well away from me and my loved ones. Preferably as close to those of like mind to them as possible, as an “evolutionary experiment” to future generations (not sure if they would pick up a Darwin Award on the way though, one can but hope).

Sadly though such idiots are “Turning children into Granny Killers”.

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons September 23, 2020 5:09 PM

@ Faustus
Most people are unaware that they’ve already agreed to the faustian bargain, it was in the 2000-2001 time frame here in the United States where the conceptual entrapment of citizens resulted in the creation of subjects. Over time the tools of society became just that–the tools to control, manage, and direct society. In essence creating the emotion, though not intellectual, embrace of non-participatory communal arrangements. Things like messaging, AR/VR, teleconferencing, and other physically distancing technologies (that is an odd sentence, how can systems that allow for remote access create distancing?) become more broad-based in their application. The parenthetical statement, really a statement and a question, is for each of us to answer. And best answered with those closest to us and in our local communities. How many people last month attended any local meeting involving governance and citizen participation? Bet this number is shockingly low–say 1 out of a 100 is probably the top line with a more realistic value of 1 in 500/750.

JonKnowsNothing September 23, 2020 5:21 PM

@Faustus @All

What is described is also called Compassion Fatigue. It’s not unique to COVID-19 or medieval monks, it happens in all areas where the primary source of inputs are “compassion and altruism”.

Lots has been written on these topics and plenty goes on everyday where by personal experience compassion or the lack thereof is displayed in minute or grand details.

Something like 200,000 dead in the USA can be overwhelming to contemplate but so can just a 1 digit number, especially if that digit represents something close to you.

There have been studies about how “close” things have to be to get noticed and how as the rings get farther away indifference sets in.

A book on Tibetan Buddhism, a long while back, detailed the practice and difficulties in the practice of Tonglen ‘giving and taking’ (or sending and receiving). That particular book was written for Western Viewpoints and the descriptions were designed with that readership in mind.

Giving is easier. Receiving is harder.

We give freely but are ashamed to ask for help. It took many years for me to swallow the shame of asking for help. I struggle still with this but perhaps a bit less. Part of our American Mythos is the concept of Pulling Oneself Up by the Bootstraps and it causes no end of misery and derision.

Compassion fatigue is common with large super-scaled projects. When whatever you do never seems to make a dent. In some business models this is intended.

Even after years have passed, I do not understand why projects failed because they didn’t need to fail at all. A few adjustments would have made them viable. Just like projects can be designed for success they can be designed to fail, not accidentally but on purpose.

Herd Immunity Policy De-population Programs are designed to kill as many people as possible just to maintain physical material objects. Such objects are of no real use when they come at that price.

When faced with the enormity of global failures in all aspects from COVID-19, to Global Warming, Mass Extinctions and all the many other overwhelming aspects of our modern existence, it is easy to pretend “I don’t care” but at some level we all “care about something or someone or some idea”. Sometimes the only thing we can do is what is in front of us.

I don’t know if this is a true story but I would like to think it has some truth to it:

When faced with the overwhelming poverty, disease, destitution and death in front of her, Mother Teresa did the only thing she could do. She reached down and picked up the dying person in front of her.

I do not understand planned failure.

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Clive Robinson September 23, 2020 5:28 PM

@ Faustus

With regards the CNN opinion piece their opening line of,

“Six months into the pandemic with no end in sight”

Caused a wry smile to cross my face, as it’s “Revisionist History” at play…

It will be a year since the first Chinese cases came to light in just a few weeks, and from what we can tell COVID was in the US back in February.

It was those first few weeks where “vested intetests” over rode both “common sense” and “Well Established Science” that sealed the fate of nearly 200,000 US citizens, who certainly did not deserves to be the fall out of such ineptitude. Worse nearly other US Citizen still alive and many yet to be born will be saddled with insurmountable debt for years into the future.

All down to “short term greed and stupidity of vested interests” and a political system that gives them the power to destroy a nation, which they are currently carrying on doing…

Supposadly a nation of equalls in the Great American Dream, but anyone who has sat at a dinner table with an Apple Pie as the dessert center piece will know, the larger a slice one person gets the smaller the slice others get. It’s simple mathmatics, thus the American Dream is either a lie, or based on theft from your neighbours for just a little while then the lie returns and with it trouble. Thus “short-termism” will be the death of America as people remember it, COVID has just sent the message loud and clear by “express courier”.

Faustus September 23, 2020 6:10 PM


I am not a big fan of nationalism. Bigotry against countries is just nationalism’s mirror image.

The UK has a higher per capita death rate than the US, per John’s Hopkins:

Most European countries cluster with the United States in per capita deaths. Sweden is a decent bit lower than either the UK or the US, and it only had the lightest of lockdowns.

Many countries made the inexplicable mistake of placing COVID patients in nursing homes with vulnerable people. NY State in the US, the UK, and Sweden made this mistake. What were they thinking?

Deaths of people of age 80+ and deaths in nursing (care) homes make up most of the big bump at the beginning of the pandemic. These were people with other problems that were mostly going to die soon, and they are not going to die again (being dead already).

It is all a guess, but with this changed population, with the most vulnerable already dead, as well as some newly developed decent treatments for bad cases, it seems unlikely that we will have a big death spurt except maybe in areas that have never been strongly affected.

The testing results don’t match reality. Positive tests are much higher, without a proportional amount of hospitalizations and deaths. PCR tests are not intended for diagnosis. A person who is asymptomatic and not hospitalized is not called a case in any other context. I watch the hospitalizations and deaths mostly.

I think that religiously wearing a mask now is mostly a symbol of unthinking agreement to whatever we are fed, which is problematic. I laugh, LAUGH! at people who wear masks alone in cars. It’s nice to have something to laugh at.

But, if I need to be near people for more than a split second, I wear one out of an abundance of caution and because I prefer that people do that for me. I carry a little bottle of disinfectant and use it regularly. These things are simple. It’s the shutting down of the world that makes life empty.

If leaders really thought this is the new normal why are we not building the infrastructure for mass social distancing? Extensive outdoor meeting places and markets? Distanced cinema? etc. I don’t know.

This isn’t to say that I am careless. I don’t want to get sick, even with a bad flu. But if we are really serious about this, rather than shutting down, why are we not building the world we need to be safe?


Faustus September 23, 2020 6:15 PM

@ Clive

It sounds like you didn’t notice that Bruce is the author of the article I posted. Since he was talking about the effect of the pandemic on our lives, 6 months is basically correct, since that is when we started to shut down. (Except for those of us in Asia in some cases.)

Clive Robinson September 23, 2020 7:27 PM

@ Faustus,

It sounds like you didn’t notice that Bruce is the author of the article I posted.

Actually co-author of an article that would have been edited by CNN to some level, and CNN identified it’s self very strongly with the opening paragraph.

That does not change the fact that the line said,

“Six months into the pandemic with no end in sight”

That is “pandemic” not “shut down”.

Now you could argue that as the WHO did not call it a “pandemic” for some time (11th March) that it was not a pandemic untill then, but Shakespeare had a thing or two say about that sort of thing[1] and he is just as right now as he was then.

The fact is, for a month or more before the WHO under world wide preasure caved and finally called it a “Pandenic”, most people who could read a newspaper front page or it’s equivalent, do a little maths and reasoning knew it was in fact a pandemic in every way but “name”.

As it was these people, –who were effectively saying “It’s a pandemic and why is the WHO not saying so?”,– who would be most effected by the malaise, they certainly would have already been effected.

Thus as a pointer to a start position for “the affliction” it’s not realy of much relevance as by then much of the World’s MSM were already giving the pandemic “Front Page Space” daily, and highlighting those who should be performing were very clearly not.

However thr authors and editors by setting the time line after that time of gross ineptitude, gives others the chance to revise history.

Thus the revisionists can now claim that the authors do not think that the time period before had any effect on the malaise… thus excuse what went before as irrelevent. It’s this sort of revisionism that has and will continue to be used by those “vested interests” to attack those that might be a counter to their claims, and that’s the real danger.

I’ve seen more than three decades of such revisionism and attacking and we can look around us to day and see what it has built upto…

[1] The least notable but most known would probably be,

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”

From Romeo and Juliet, in which Juliet appears to argue that Romeo’s family name “Montague” is not a fact of importance as he would be the same no matter who his sire. Thus in turn it does not matter that Romeo is from her family’s bitter rivals “The house of Montague”. Such musings of a young girl Shakespear assumes we know will not change the facts, thus have no credence in the truth of the matter or it’s outcome.

Clive Robinson September 23, 2020 8:08 PM

@ Faustus,

The UK has a higher per capita death rate than the US, per John’s Hopkins

For COVID-19, yes, and I’ve been calling the UK the “Dirty man of Europe” over COVID on this blog repratedly.

However that does not change the fact of the price of Health Care in the US to the UK and the general outcomes rated per dollar (which is why I clearly indicated it was outcome by cost).

With regards,

with the most vulnerable already dead,

The “most vulnerable” is a statistical measure and they will exist as long as there is a population.

That is two obvious things apply,

1, None of us are getting any younger, so slowly but surely we are becoming “the most vulnerable” on the age front.

2, Having had one mutation of SARS-CoV-2 and survived is no guarentee you will not be much more susceptible to another mutation.

But less obvious is that we know too little to say very much especially as things change,

3, Even babies, children and young adults do not just get COVID some are disabled by it and other have died of it. Whst we also now know is that over the age of five whilst they may be asymptomatic they are more significant virus shedders.

4, The infection rate at the begining of this European Second Wave is now worse than the first wave. Why is a matter of debate. However the 1918 flu pandemic mrasured by fatalities had a considerably worse second wave than the first, and the third was almost as bad. We don’t know enough currently to make wild guesses let alone predictions on how things will go.

Which is why the reality is “Herd Immunity Policy” is a bust in probably our lifetime or possibly any life time. But then we know this from the likes of flu, the common cold, chicken pox, and polio. The only way we know to stop SARS-CoV-2 will be by eradicating it by effective world wide vaccination, something we learnt from small pox.

But one other thing of note, is certain leading Dr’s, epidemiologists and similar are doing what many Western Countries recommend against. Take Dr Fauci, he’s admitted to taking 1-2grams of Vitamin C and 6000IU (150ug) of Vitamin D daily. Look up your own countries “recommend daily dose” and it’s very likely to be less than a tenth of those doses… As they are “over the counter” thus fairly inexpensive and do not require a prescription you might want to chat to your own Dr about them.

Winter September 24, 2020 1:37 AM

“re: “the inexplicable mistake of placing COVID patients in nursing homes with vulnerable people”

It was not a “mistake”. It was deliberate. It was intended and the results intended. See definition of mistake below.”

It was desperation. People from nursing homes would die for certain when put in ICU units, or hospitals, so it was decided to keep hospitals and ICU units to people who had a chance of surviving. Trying to isolate them in the nursing home was the least worse option. Remember that a doctor must avoid doing harm. Keeping a dying person in a coma on a respirator without a chance of surviving it is generally considered to be doing harm.

At that moment, protective gear was in very short supply world-wide, and decisions were made to ration them where they were perceived to have the most impact. These decisions are now evaluated and found to be wanting. But that is to a large extend hindsight.

There is a lot of talk about differences in deaths per 100k per country. If you look at the countries, you will see no clear relation between the severity and the lock-down and the outcome:

There is a simple reason for that. The number of deaths is determined by the number of infections at the moment of the lock-down. After the start of the lock-down, the spread of the virus is slowed down and then exponentially dies out. The number of infections at the moment of the lock down determines the death toll. Belgium is very bad because they had a very high infection rate when the lock-down started. Taiwan has the lowest rate because they went in lock-down BEFORE the virus even reached the island.

A number of countries were unable, or unwilling, to enforce a lock-down, and they suffer badly, e.g., Peru, Brazil, the USA, Sweden. The UK wavered too long and ended up at the top of the charts.

And finally, it is not the lock-down policy that determines the spread of the virus, but the real behavior of the people.

Wrt masks and aerosols. It is still unclear how infectious droplets of different sizes are. There is a dose effect in infection and smaller particles might simple not have enough viable virus to establish an infection.

Wearing non-surgical masks does not protect the wearer, but the people around him/her. If you really want to be protected, you need to wear the stuff they wear during ebola outbreaks. But it is very difficult to work in these.

Winter September 24, 2020 2:31 AM

“Look up your own countries “recommend daily dose” and it’s very likely to be less than a tenth of those doses…”

It is well known that the “most vulnerable” often have a bad nourishment state, including vitamin deficiencies. Maybe Dr Fauci is hoping to get these people to improve a little in this direction? And people are not likely to be able to ingest dangerous doses of these. Or maybe dr. Fauci is overestimating his skill level on dietary supplements?

But if you are “not vulnerable” with a vitamin deficiency, earlier research has shown that ingesting large doses of vitamin C does not do much good. But if
f you are a poor, elderly American with co-morbidities, chances are high you ARE suffering from vitamin deficiencies.

Winter September 24, 2020 2:39 AM

“The testing results don’t match reality. Positive tests are much higher, without a proportional amount of hospitalizations and deaths. PCR tests are not intended for diagnosis.”

Hospitalizations are lower because it is predominantly the lower age groups, below 30 aka Students, that are getting infected now. These will not see much symptoms. Elderly people are still more cautious and seem to be able to keep clear of the virus. However, everyone is afraid what will happen when these youngsters are going to visit their parents and grandparents.

PCR tests are most certainly intended for diagnosis of infection. And they are pretty good at it. They are not intended to diagnose disease as in symptoms. Also, most test currently used are not strictly PCR as in amplifying DNA/RNA, but that is beside the point as these other tests also identify SARS-2 virus.

acl September 24, 2020 3:08 AM

every site has a privacy statement.
could this one be a little more accurate than most?

Every web site has one of these pages.
They contain statements to reassure the visitor that all is fine, nothing sinister is present and no skullduggery is at hand.
So in keeping with that
“We respect your privacy”……. you know the rest.
But how sure are we (the web site) that it’s true?
We use many different libraries, tools and applications that we did not write and over which we have no control.
The site is running on a rented server and operating operating system, the owners of which face the same problem.
So how can we realistically make any claim about taking your privacy seriously?
We do, but we can’t….

Clive Robinson September 24, 2020 4:17 AM

@ ALL,

In my post above I said,

3, Even babies, children and young adults do not just get COVID some are disabled by it and other have died of it.

Well there is a new paper out yesterday that in part relates to it,

As a background note, depending on who you talk to, one observation is that in 4 out of ten cases the cause for heart issues and death is actually not attributable. This is especially true in the younger age ranges. Where what would be otherwise considered fit and healthy people just drop dead.

For some time now people have started asking questions about pathogen related longterm disease. In essence you get an illness and apparently recover only to later get another disease, chronic ill health and an earlier than otherwise expected death.

This paper adds to the growing body of knowledge that relates to this, and is another reason I hope we have an effective and safe vaccine soon

Apparently the Oxford University / Astra-Zeneca vaccine trial has been put on hold again due to another report of neurological issues in a phase 3 trial participant,

The important thing to take from this is how very important properly run Phase 3 trials are. Something that a number of countries have decided to forego to get a vaccine out and into people faster.

Proper testing is one of the reasons why there is very unlikely to be a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine before the end of the northern hemisphere flu season we are about to enter. But even if there was a fully aproved vaccine, the logistics of distribution and getting it into the most vulnerable or critical peoples arms is something that again will take time to accomplish.

Clive Robinson September 24, 2020 4:34 AM

@ Winter,

A number of countries were unable, or unwilling, to enforce a lock-down, and they suffer badly, e.g., Peru, Brazil, the USA, Sweden. The UK wavered too long and ended up at the top of the charts.

In the case of the UK please do not mistake the “bumbling act” of the current Prime Minister as “wavering” he was given very clear scientific advice back in January, and then personally chose to do what he wanted, potentialy nearly killing himself as a result.

There is a very clear common thread running through the alledged “unable, unwilling, and wavering” which is “money behind politicians” and the very short term thinking of those that hold the money.

The result of which is the worst of all worlds, with protracted cycles of lock downs that do neither the citizens or the economy of a nation any good.

Winter September 24, 2020 4:40 AM


Noted. I was trying to be polite.

“The result of which is the worst of all worlds, ”

Is this not a description of a lot of UK policies in the last decade? The upcoming Brexit being a prime example.

Clive Robinson September 24, 2020 8:41 AM

@ Winter,

I was trying to be polite.

The person concerned is without doubt ill suited to democracy or social existance of any recognisable kind. Thus politness is not something they are deserving of.

Their “act” of “Oh whst a silly toad I am”[1] might have worked when “Wind in the willows” was originally written more than a century ago but the person is more loutish and oafish and is venal than most would realise. Without a doubt they are as much of a disgrace to the national image as drunken football hooligans rampaging through foreign cities are. Whilst we can in theory ban football hooligans from traveling, the same can not be said for the lout in the blond quiff.

Which makes,

Is this not a description of a lot of UK policies in the last decade?

More than a fair point.

[1] see,

However unlike Mr Toad there are no redeeming features to love, he deliberatly takes buffoonery to new lows or should I say highs,

Sensible people fairly quickly rerecognize the lesser shelled terrestrial gastropod mollusc [2] like behaviour and thus treat it at best as “road crash entertainment”. Except in the eyes of some very odd women who apparently find his buffoonery some how atractive…

[2] The lesser shelled terrestrial gastropod mollusc, as it’s name suggests is both a shelless and spinless dirt dwelling creature that has a soft wrinkled body and no feet even of clay to stand on. Instead it slides around on it’s enlarged stomach leaving an unpleasent mess in it’s wake where ever it goes.

JonKnowsNothing September 24, 2020 9:17 AM


It was desperation. People from nursing homes would die for certain when put in ICU units, or hospitals, so it was decided to keep hospitals and ICU units to people who had a chance of surviving. Trying to isolate them in the nursing home was the least worse option. Remember that a doctor must avoid doing harm. Keeping a dying person in a coma on a respirator without a chance of surviving it is generally considered to be doing harm.

This is an apologist dream statement.

You are describing TRIAGE and TRIAGE rules.

No Person in the USA had to die from COVID-19 or complications there of. To infect the population of the USA was a political and economic decision. The USA continues on the Herd Immunity Policy death march. No person in a care home or rehab facility had to be infected.

It is a fallacy to think that only “Old Persons” live or stay in such facilities and is used to skew numbers into that “well, they were going to die anyway category”. Adults with many conditions reside short term or long term in such facilities.

Break a hip? Need rehab? Go to Rehab for 4-6 weeks for physical therapy. Get COVID-19. Die. Care as prescribed from a major health care provider in California.

The medical profession has been doing a wonderful job trying to plug the leaking dyke created, maintained and fueled by Herd Immunity Policy. But even medical people are beginning to catch on to how they are being used.

Many in the medical field are withdrawing from active participation in the deaths of what will be millions. By continuing to prop up the failing systems on the “excuse they will save one life” means that the Herd Immunity Policy Program rolls on. As we saw from Round 1, the overload was so great, that hospital systems collapsed or teetered on the brink. The withdrawal of even a small percentage of medical support means there will be more TRIAGE and more deaths in Round 2.

COVID-19 kills medical personal too and you might very well ask, WHY?

As to the need to “isolate dying persons in nursing homes” that is NOT what happened. Doctors and Administrators transferred COVID-19 positive and COVID-19 suspected into aged care, rehab facilities. Refusing to give tests or test results was an easy early “get out of jail free”. In doing so, they killed many more people.

It remains that care homes and rehab facilities are still targeted.

Official California Skilled Nursing Report 09 02 2020
  * +1,800 daily count.

Official California Health Care Worker Report 09 02 2020
  * 17,874 cumulative COVID-19 positive health care workers. Average HCW infected per day 50-60.
  * note: This report as a base threshold of 100. Numbers less that 100 are not reported.

As far as “doctors doing no harm” I think that oxymoron has been killed off long ago.

There are other posts in the archives about TRIAGE rules and how the are applied. One thing to note about the current TRIAGE SOFA scoring system is:


Winter September 24, 2020 9:53 AM

“No Person in the USA had to die from COVID-19 or complications there of.”

The problem of nursery homes was also a point in other countries. Over here, ICU doctors explained that the death rate of nursing home patients with COVID-19 in an ICU was near 100%, not much lower in hospitals.

I did not follow what was going on in the USA at the time. I am sorry for Americans.

“is used to skew numbers into that “well, they were going to die anyway category”. ”

I know things were “different” in the USA, but here it was ALWAYS stressed that the real number of casualties was much higher than the official numbers, exactly by the government. But they still had no other numbers to go by. Meanwhile, we are getting the excess death numbers which are in line with expectations and indeed almost double the registered COVID numbers.

“Break a hip? Need rehab? Go to Rehab for 4-6 weeks for physical therapy. Get COVID-19.”

Have not seen that. All non-essential care was suspended, and essential non COVID care was moved to separate facilities. But during an epidemic, there is only so much you can do. And errors were made, indeed. I admit that the belligerent health care situation in the USA was bizarre, like out of a horror movie. To see a president withholding respirators because he does not like the governor of the state. You could not dream this up.

“As we saw from Round 1, the overload was so great, that hospital systems collapsed or teetered on the brink.”

Indeed, we could now see what a first world “good medical system” looks like (e.g., Germany) and how a second/third world system looks like (e.g., USA).

In general: Efficient is the opposite of Robust

“COVID-19 kills medical personal too and you might very well ask, WHY?”

Shortage of protective gear, shortage of skilled personnel, shortage of good facilities, bad policies, bad management. In short, the results of decades of neglect and budget cuts. And in the USA, an utterly dysfunctional health care system.


This is totally in line with the practice of “patient dumping” in the USA.
A practice I have not yet encountered in civilized countries.

Also shown in the movie Sicko.

JonKnowsNothing September 24, 2020 10:57 AM


One thing to consider is this:

All the conditions you indicated are valid for Early Days or Round 1, when no one knew what was going to happen.

  * Now we know.
  * Now we know better.
  * Now we know better what to do.
  * Now we know better what not to do.

But we are still doing the same thing and using the same excuses.

  * No older person in care or in home needs to die from COVID-19
  * No healthcare worker needs to become infected from COVID-19
  * No child needs to carry COVID-19 home from school
   and live with the future realization that they killed their grans,
   granddads, aunts, uncles, mother, father and siblings.
   That is a burden no 5 year old should carry.

Round 2 is happening.
PanFamine is on the horizon and shortages are already being expected.

Today it is reported: USA averaging +43,000 cases per day +16% rise since last week. UK is expected to match that before end of year.

Those of us who plan to live beyond tomorrow, need to do better.
And those who plan to kill us need to find new excuses for doing so.

Sherman Jay September 24, 2020 1:21 PM

I have been a webmaster creating dozens of sites for artists, non-profits and small businesses since 1997. Those sites don’t have tracking or persistent cookies or other spyware. they are and have always been clean.

The post below of an example of a ‘clean’ website was true until a couple of weeks ago.
However, please read my E-mail below that. I may be banned for my heresy, I hope not, but I want people to know the truth.

SpaceLifeForm • September 23, 2020 5:28 PM
Where can one find an example of a clean website?

I’ve kept quiet waiting for a response. I’ve gotten none from Bruce’s webmaster as of 11am 24 sept. E-mail:
Date: Tue, 22 Sep 2020 20:20:04 +0000 [09/22/2020 08:20:04 PM UTC]
Subject: a frequent squid poster has some REAL concerns

Dear Webmaster.
I’m disappointed and angry. Bruce’s new site has 2 spyware trackers on it. His old one was clean and my organizations really appreciated that. We’ve created dozens of websites and they all are devoid of spyware/trackers/permcookies, etc. This new Schneier blog seems to be a complete violation of Bruce’s primary philosophy of championing public interest technology.

The trackers were found by privacy badger (from EFF) on my firefox browser.
— I have a .png screenshot showing them and will send it to you if you want it. —

As a matter of fairness to you and Bruce, I have not talked about this to anyone (not even Bruce) or posted it on the squid blog yet. Please provide info on this by reply to this E-mail.

Responsibly yours,
Sherman Jay,
webmaster, community benefit facilitator
(and frequent poster to Bruce’s Squid blog)

Clive Robinson September 24, 2020 4:13 PM

@ Moderator,

It’s probably to late but can you replace the Email addresses in the post above from Sherman Jay with “X’s”.

vas pup September 24, 2020 4:17 PM

@Sherman Jay
We are in the era of NO privacy. I guess Bruce’s hand was twisted to add those trackers.
You know those people – nobody can refuse their request.
Are we going to the Stasi-type era here in US?

Curious September 24, 2020 4:24 PM

Oh, ok so this below is apparently a four piece article thing.

Danish military cooperating with US NSA spies on Danish people is apparently the takeaway from this: So, I am not an expert on this development, but from reading this tonight, there seems like maybe there will be, or is an investigation into this cooperation between US NSA and the Danish military intelligence called ‘Forsvarets Efterretningstjeneste’. Apparently one article mentiones US’ XKeyscore spying software, which is also used by Denmark I think is stated.

I am reading in this swedish newspaper this evening that according to DR (Danish news or ‘Danmarks Radio’), the Danish intelligence agency (‘Forsvarets Efterretningstjeneste ‘) has cooperated with USA’s NSA for “collecting data” on Danish people, and the Danish news agency is reporteldy having been given a look at a secret government report which was given to the Danish government (when?).

According to the article, an anonymous source said that a big challenge was finding one single way of collecting all such data. Article says that NSA and Danish intelligence has collected meta data about Danish people, but the extent of this collection of data is apparently unknown. It is pointed out that the legality of this is in question, given that the Dansih intelligence agency FE supposedly are only allowed to secure Danish interests abroad and only work with data about Danish people unwittingly (or somesuch).

The article also mentions an interview with Edward Snowden (linked below) who apparently has claimed that that government intelligence agencies supposedly have gentleman’s agreements which aren’t legally binding (whatever that means, maybe informal agreements?).

Next to last part of this first article points out that the Danish intelligence aganecy FE has tried to develop filters to make such data about Danish citizens “un-searchable”, but supposedly this has proven difficult, if not simply impossible, and the article makes a reference to unnamed ‘experts’ who claimed this to Danmarks Radio.

Finally the article says that the Danish minister of defence Trine Bramsen (S party) has initiated an investigation. Presumably about the surveillance. It is claimed that the Danish government has declined commenting on the revelations to Danmarks Radio.

Title below translated to English: “Report: Danish intelligence service has spied on danish people.” (In Swedish)

Title below translated to English: “Ny revelation: FE mass collection of information about Danish people through advanced spy system.”
Source article: (in Danish)

The other Danish article starts by pointing out that NSA and Danish military intelligence (aka FE or ‘Forsvarets Efterretningstjeneste’) built a new secret surveillance system at this place named Amager. First sentence of the article is apparently a line from a conclusion in the secret report or somesuch) given to the Danish government, stating that the Dansih ingelligence agency FE collects targeted information about Danish people. Report was in four parts, apparently written by an Danish intelligence oversight organization.

Dandmarks Radio states that they learned that the comprehensive deliberations described in the report, according to the intelligence oversight organization show why there is no accidental collection of data, when Danish ingelligence agency FE and US NSA is “fishing information from Danish cables” (fiber optic cables I think it was).

It is thus believed that the Danish military intelligence might have broken clear rules and the law. A professor thinks that the case is potentially much worse than having solicited for data about Danish people.

Apparently the novel spy system has an internal code name, but Danish Radio chose to keep this name unnamed.

Two other Danish newspapers have had articles (linked in Danish article) pointing out that Denmark has cooperated with USA in the 1990’s. However a rapid development of technology, has spurred on the development of a new spy system that supposedly has only been active a few years. Seems like from around 2012-2014. Sounds like this means the advent of a a mass surveillance system. Such cooperation with another nation is said to have been a one of a kind.

Then something about NSA helping Denmark with the technology for surveillance, monitoring or data collection I guess. Something about Denmark using software provided by USA. Something about siphoning data off from fiber optic calbes and thus copying a mass amount of data (!).

Rest of article is too long for me to translate. Something about likely access to Russian and German internet data traffic. The US software named XKeyscore is said to be used by the Danish.

The extent of this data collection is apparently unknown.

Danish news have apparently made an interview with Edward Snowden about this:
Title below translated to English: “Snowden: Denmark gives USA access to the heart of the internet.” (also in Danish)
Snowden states that Danish communications cables allows USA to perform mass surveillance on Danish people. Article claims Snowden is surprised. Snowden saying this seems like an unusual case. Snowden seems to explain that a Danish wistleblowr has contacted the Danish oversight organization, instead of the press, which he found to be surprising, and he thinks this indicates a trusting Danish population. So, apparently USA has access to raw mass data on Danish people.

Fourth article, dating back to August 27.(maybe 2020?):
Title translated to English: “FE-Scandal involves top secret espionage cooperative efforts with USA.”
Supposedly Danish military has given US NSA access to Danish communications cables: “telephon conversations, internet and SMS messaging”. The August article states that the Danish military intelligence agency and Danish ministry of defence “rejects” commentary (whatever that means). Apparently FE told DR in an email that “they have no comments”.

And a lot more in that fourth article, I don’t feel like trying to translate it all. 😐 Apparently back then in August the article seem to say that the prime minister in Denmark then wanted an investigation of this.

Curious September 24, 2020 4:31 PM

To add to what I wrote:

I don’t really know anything about politics in Denmark, but somehow I can’t help but think of the BBC series ‘Yes Prime Minister’ or maybe it was the older one, in which, iirc, an investigation was always to be thought of as a good way to concluded that nothing wrong had happened.

Curious September 24, 2020 4:38 PM

Ah, I should clarify that the long text I wrote just over, began with a news article today 24. September 2020; which pointed out that a report from a Danish surveillance oversight organization had been made and had also given to the Dansih govenrment, and then also that the Danish news Danmarks Radio had learned of its conclusiona and I guess, content.

Faustus September 24, 2020 4:39 PM

“Nobody had to die from COVID”

Almost 3 million people die in the US in a year. Perhaps you could blockade the cemeteries and prevent them from getting in… Animate them. Carry them around like “Weekend at Bernie’s”.

People die. And death is good. It clears the way for new generations. Lucky people die before they can be placed in a hospital and treated like a piece of meat while the cash registers ring profits for their “caregivers”.

How good is life without quality of life? How good is life without a modicum of bravery? Without a connection to reality? Without an acceptance of the reality that we all die? That death is a gift, not a tragedy?

cue David Bowie’s The Supermen

Fear of death is fear of life.

JonKnowsNothing September 24, 2020 5:44 PM


You burped on that one…
&emps;   Nobody had to die from COVID-19

And just in case you want to try another target
&emps;   Nobody had to die from complications created by COVID-19

The so-called Co-Morbidity Claim is just another cover up.

People can live long, productive, and happy lives with diabetes, obesity, mobility issues, heart problems, lung diseases and all the rest of the conditions listed under Co-Morbidity.

Proper care, medications, and health support help people live long or even longer lives. If the Health Industry does not help people live longer, no one would be interested.

There are the counting fights over which numbers go into which buckets, and governments around the world game the systems by altering the definition of the buckets.

If you get COVID19 and 6 months later develop, the now known, heart complications, you won’t be counted in the COVID19 bucket in the majority of countries. You’ll be marked as a Normal Too Bad So Sad Heart Problem Dead Person.

Not very many are interested in an industry that helps them SHORTEN their lives.

  Except for military types, they enjoy dying often,
  as long as it’s someone else’s child that does it.

Try Tolkien on mortality and immortality: The Gift of Men vs The Sorrows of the First Born.

The hands of the King are the hands of a healer.

Clive Robinson September 24, 2020 6:08 PM

@ Faustus,

People die. And death is good.

Each death is a cessation of a unique life, that can not be replaced, only remembered in part. Therefore if possible it should not be before a full and rich life has been attained, not just for the individual but with those around them.

Whilst it can be argued that death by disease is a natural death, is it a timely death? I would say “no, it’s a life stolen from society and it’s culture”.

In fact when you look at the top ten killers in the world they are all “preventable diseases”. This should be a big red flag indicating there is something wrong with the way we currently lead our lives.

Interestingly newer research suggests we might actually be killing ourselves with our over use of healthcare.

One of the things that is known is that if you are “too clean” when young your immune system not only remains immature it can turn on you via a multitude of auto-immune diseases only a few of which we currently have real knowledge on.

As it turns out, apparently some “worms” are not exactly parasites, they do give back by being immune system modulators, that can and do put a damper on things like autoimmune diseases and cytokine storms etc. In effect they have a “self interest” in ensuring their host lives.

This has come to the fore most recently due to COVID. The death of those in Africa –where infestation with worms etc is normal– is apparently very small compared to those of very similar racial ancestry in Western societies where infestation with worms is very small. That is it’s been suggested that there is an inverse correlation between worm infestation and auto-immune disease.

That is the lack of worms has removed benificial immune system control.

Whilst I have no desire to be infested with worms it does appear that they have a symbiotic relationship with their hosts immune system. Thus making the host less likely to die an untimely death…

xvc September 24, 2020 8:27 PM

@ Clive Robinson

@ Faustus,

People die. And death is good.

Each death is a cessation of a unique life …

Please, don’t bother getting philosophical. Those people are gravediggers. Let the dead bury their dead, and do not encumber the living with their hogwash. Thank you.

Winter September 25, 2020 12:32 AM

“If you get COVID19 and 6 months later develop, the now known, heart complications, you won’t be counted in the COVID19 bucket in the majority of countries. ”

That is because you want death certificates to be evidence based. If the ultimate cause of death cannot be determined at the time, you put the proximate cause.

Epidemiologists know that it is not possible to test everyone to determine the exact cause of death. So they use the excess death rate to estimate the number of causalities of the pandemic.

It is not that these numbers are hidden.

For the USA this is more than 100k more than was confirmed:
263,000 excess deaths between 1 March and 16 August

More to find at:

Singapore Noodles September 25, 2020 12:56 AM

Make mine mild

Curious September 25, 2020 8:13 AM

Re. what I wrote about Denmark and NSA above.

I found today a brief norwegian article dated 27. August, made by a local news agency (ala Reuters) who afaik tend to make brief news articles; it was stated that the chief/leader of the Danish military intelligence agency FE (‘Forsvarets Efterretningstjeneste’) Lars Findsen was dismissed (temporarily?) and his predecessor Thomas Ahrenkiel was also dismissed after what is called a surveillance scandal.

Context being that a Danish government report coming from its surveillance oversight organization or group, had very recently been given to the Danish government and in which Danish news was apparently somehow given insight into the report. A stated conclusion in the report was that the Danish military intelligence FE collects ‘targeted’ information about Danish people. Something which is said to be not legal.

Title translated to English: “DR: Danish surveillance scandal involves cooperation with USA.” (in norwegian)

Singular Nodals September 25, 2020 9:07 AM

Commentators and Commentatrices,

It is heartening to see that the number of comments, excluding this (and others, if there are any) meta-comment, has broken 100 before before the new Squid has posted, although it was a near miss, as it has been in several recent weeks.

Continue the good work, and build upon it.

It might be of interest and enlightening to have the blog post a graph of the cumulative Squid comments by day, to illustrate the dynamics of comment activity, and allow comparison of activity over time.

Faustus September 25, 2020 10:09 AM

@ Winter

I think it is really hard to hear information that contradicts our views. But let me observe that the excess death statistics aren’t clearly about covid because regular health care has been de-emphasized and people are isolated and stressed.

Within the excess deaths statistics there is no way to distinguish deaths caused by COVID and deaths caused by lockdown and its concomitant stress, depression, increased use of substances, limited access to medical care and fear of accessing medical care. These follow-on deaths to lockdown are a major concern to people who question the covid response.

If every life if precious, why is somebody dying for lack of medical treatment of no concern? This seems even worse in England, where chemotherapy and other treatments were suspended for months. In the US, where our absurdly expensive free market model allows us options at least, I have had face-to-face medical care since I returned, with appropriate masks and disinfecting stations but everything else relaxed and friendly as normal.

Almost all the death happened months ago. Deaths and hospitalizations are much lower today. Why is there so little curiosity why this is? How long are we going to continue reacting to the past rather than the present?

Winter September 25, 2020 10:31 AM

“But let me observe that the excess death statistics aren’t clearly about covid because regular health care has been de-emphasized and people are isolated and stressed.”

Which is duly taken into account in the studies, like that in Nature. TL;DR: No, the number of excess deaths due to the disruption of service is far lower than that by COVID.

All the evidence points towards much more than 200,000 excess deaths in the USA due to COVID. We are not taking about 100 more or less, we are talking hundreds of thousands more. Those denying it do so without any evidence. At least, I have yet to see any evidence.

” In the US, where our absurdly expensive free market model allows us options at least,”

For a happy few. Many in the US have no options at all.

“How long are we going to continue reacting to the past rather than the present?”

Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.

Faustus September 25, 2020 10:44 AM

@ Winter

I am not questioning the “200,000 deaths from COVID in US” figure, which is based on cause of death on death certificates.

I AM questioning blaming any additional deaths we may be experiencing this year on COVID itself rather than the lockdown. There might be a way of distinguishing the causes of those deaths beyond 200,000, but I haven’t seen it.

winter September 25, 2020 10:55 AM

“I AM questioning blaming any additional deaths we may be experiencing this year on COVID itself rather than the lockdown. ”

1) Testing was not universal, so it is certain untested people with COVID who died were misclassified

2) All excess deaths from causes affected by the lockdown, suicide, heart disease, other missed health care have also been tabulated and are subtracted in studies. But these non-COVID excess deaths are just a small correction. Read the Nature study.

COVID is a killer, and the lockdown saved orders of magnitude more lives than it caused more deaths.

Clive Robinson September 25, 2020 11:52 AM

@ Faustus, Winter,

I AM questioning blaming any additional deaths we may be experiencing this year on COVID itself rather than the lockdown.

Then you must also question for other causes of death not happening.

For instance road and other public space deaths plummeted during lockdown. Likewise other deaths, even accidents in the home dropped[1].

In the UK there has been considerable political tricks to try to hide the real figures. I won’t go into the long list but I will mention the current one that should make a few eyes open wide.

In the UK even though “testers” wear tee and sweat shirts with the NHS logo on this is actually a cover up.

The testing is carried out by an “outsourcing company” that has many claims to fame. Some are,

1, It’s directors are major donors to the current political incumbents.

2, It has a significant record of “high price failure”.

3, It has been caught out committing criminal fraud.

4, It’s junior managment has an above average record for fraud, theft and other illegal self enrichment behaviours.

5, Workers physically, mentally and sexually abusing inmates at an immigrant detention center.

6, Security and other failures of high level (weapons capable) nuclear waste.

Which despite judges saying the government should not use there services the current incumbent ministers actually instruct civil servants to effectively rig bidding processes to favour them…

So to say that anyone in the UK science communities etc has any confidence in the companies testing and other COVID related results would be fanciful at best…

Thus it is not surprising that people are questioning the “official figures” especially when they don’t align with the information from the UK Governments own National Audit Office…

[1] This might seem odd because people are effectively imprisoned at home for two to three times longer than normal. However as has been observed, all the “household tasks” that you try to fit in the couple of hours you get between work+travel and sleep thus “rush at” now get stretched out over s much as 12 hours thus,are slowed to “fill the boredom”. So slow pace less accidents, thus less deaths.

Faustus September 25, 2020 1:04 PM

@ Clive

You seem to be arguing against your own conclusions. Positive tests, which you say are done by corrupt folks, are high, while hospitalizations and deaths, which can actually be verified by observation (unlike testing), are low. Your argument is all the more reason to pay attention to hospitalizations and deaths and disregard the inflated positives.

I don’t think reasoning by imputing motives is very conclusive but since your main argument work like that: Doesn’t it benefit the testing companies to report high positives, since it drives more business to them?

@ Winter

Did you actually read the Nature study? It makes the unsurprising observation that statistics in the developing world are unreliable. But in the US and UK it shows a significant 25% increase in deaths from non-COVID sources at the height of lockdown, and then it shows all deaths decreasing as the lockdown was reduced. Today it shows basically no excess deaths from COVID or otherwise. (I say “basically” because the difference is hard to read since it is small in the scale of the graph.)

At least people have stopped talking about “the science”, because very little of the science supports what is going on.

Clive Robinson September 25, 2020 1:37 PM

@ Faustus,

Doesn’t it benefit the testing companies to report high positives, since it drives more business to them?

Err No notvin the slightest, you do not appear to understand the basic tenant of buisness,

“Supply what the paymaster wants”

It’s why there is so much corruption and as old as you can imagine one way or another. As the saying has it,

“He who pays the piper calls the tune”.

As Government ministers actually want to keep the figures low (by previous dirty tricks and fiddles I mentioned had gone before). I as many others think they are not going to change that policy at any time.

Therefore the “Paymaster is calling the tune” and the name of that is keep it “Way on down”.

Clive Robinson September 25, 2020 2:11 PM

@ Faustus, Winter,

At least people have stopped talking about “the science”, because very little of the science supports what is going on.

That is factual incorrect.

The Science has actually very much been correct within the parameters tested.

It is unfortunate especially in the case of the World Health Orgsnisation that above the science layer there is a political layer. And they have certainly twisted the results of the science beyond recognition to apparently support their paymasters political whims.

If you make the mistake of not actually reading the papers then you can not have any idea if what they are,saying or not matches reality.

And I’m making a guess that you have not read any of the science papers about masks, closing borders and sinilar, that were all proved with the 2003 SARS but various western poliricians very deliberately chose to ignore in prefrence to the very short term shouting from their backhand paymasters.

Hence we have gone into a yoyo mode which is the worst possible outcome not just for the citizens but the economy as well…

But we know this from a science paper that modeled the various out comes whilst both the UK and US Governments still had time to stop SARS-CoV-2 in it’s tracks…

But very short term thinking by various “industries” did a faux “sack cloth and ashes” routien and as a result cut their own throats and thus have had to have massive bailouts that they would not have needed.

That’s the facts of it and you can go and look them up either on past pages on this blog (assuming they have not been “lost in transkation/transit”). Failing that you can search for the original papers and read them.

Singapore Noodles September 25, 2020 2:43 PM

It seems very odd that many sites dealing with VPN products, both review and vendor sites, give a “not secure” error, at least when I access them with Microsoft Edge. The https is in the URL but the browser says the connection is not private.

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons September 25, 2020 2:44 PM


The presiding judge, Barister, in the extraordinary rendition of Julian Assange to the U.S. hearing has allowed the defense team for Julian a four week extension to respond to the proceedings and provide a summing. The new date for resumption of the hearing is Nov 16 2020. The judge also noted that it would not be until sometime next year that a ruling would be reached. The judge basically suggested that due to the nature of the current administration in the U.S. represents a problematic element to the proceeding.

So far from the portions of the proceedings available to the public, the CPS has taken every opportunity to make access to the hearing anything but possible, continues along the line of a persecution as opposed to a prosecution serving fidelity to lawful processes.

The original statement I made at the time of the publication of the first indictment, the technical aspects of the case were suspect and I had laid out in detail the elements of the acquisition and what was in play. My statement has in fact held to be the account presented in the court by the defense and has made the charge indefensible.

SpaceLifeForm September 25, 2020 6:14 PM

@ Sherman Jay, vas pup

Yes, I see Privacy Badger sees the two potential trackers.

But, neither CF or WP are setting cookies.

Yet, it is still potential tracking just due to the network traffic.


uBlock Origin, disable Javascript for this site.

Can not Preview.

Privacy Badger, block

Can not Preview.

Both must be allowed in order to Preview.

Not good.

SpaceLifeForm September 25, 2020 7:29 PM

@ Sherman Jay, vas pup

It looks like WordPress is too cheap to host the jquery.min.js file themselves, so the WordPress code pulls it from Cloudflare.

winter September 26, 2020 3:30 AM

“Supply what the paymaster wants”

I am close to people working in municipal health testing over here. I can assure you that they have sleepless nights over individual wrong test results send out. And the statistics on the news perfectly track their own numbers.

I cannot talk about the corruption in the Anglo Saxon world, but in the rest of the EU they really take testing dead serious.

Clive Robinson September 26, 2020 11:46 AM

@ Winter,

I am close to people working in municipal health testing over here.

I’m aware that like me you have people close to you working in the healthcare space and have been for some time.

Unfortunately “municipal” is not the sort of “Corporate” we have here with it’s zero hours contracts, minimum pay and “any warm body” policies[1]. Which brings us to your second point,

I cannot talk about the corruption in the Anglo Saxon world…

And there you’ve almost certainly put your finger on the problem, if you consider their previous behaviours and the adverse judgments / findings that have arisen.

What is clear is that the employees involved are by no measure experienced in the work required, and in all probability have little or no ability to improve the job / role, not that they are even going to be doing it in the near future judged by previous staff turnover and lack of engagement.

[1] One such corporate entiry I’ve already mentioned had “50,000” on the books employees but… Only made 50,000,000GBP. Or just 1000GBP/employee/year… That indicates one, some, or all of the following,

1, The employees are not realy “employed” by the usual definition.

2, The company is grossly mismanaged.

3, The company is using questionable financial engineering to avoid paying taxes.

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Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.