vas pup November 6, 2020 4:20 PM

Manipulation through music

Günther Rötter is a musicologist and psychologist. He says the origins of music lie in the melodies of speech. He explains how marketeers deploy music to affect emotions and thus influence our purchasing decisions.

I guess you could manipulate mood of IT/security/LEAs – during riots in particular in the way to make them more productive, calm and emotionally balanced especially when under high pressure.

GregW November 6, 2020 6:12 PM

Security-aware people such as on this forum have long been aware of systems such as (MICT) which are used by the US Government to scan the front cover of every letter sent in the US. This practice of “mail covers” has no doubt been used by many governments for a long time.

Recent events have raised a number of questions about this process in the US that I’d like to hear thoughts on from others more knowledgeable about these systems on this forum.

Say — just hypothetically (ha!) — there was an allegation of mail ballots being “found”/created after the voting process had closed. Couldn’t the databases and scanning systems used for mail covers that scan the front of every envelope be used to establish a factual basis of what election-related mail was sent when (and what mail wasn’t?)

There is a lot of talk about how many ballots were sent out that were never sent back and whether that was suspicious etc etc, but shouldn’t we also, technically, have crystal clarity on how many ballots were sent back in from MICT, not just the election boards?

On a related basis, does anyone know if such systems are being re-used/repurposed for tracking mail which contains the Official Election Mail logo ( ) for preventing vote fraud in ways that haven’t been much publicly discussed?

And (easier question), do we have clarity at what phase in the mail processing process the MICT process takes place? Would it be shortly after mail is received at the local postal depot, or is it more occurring towards the destination postal depot?

Searx! November 6, 2020 11:36 PM

Many people were previously exhibiting concerns about duckduckgo, while they were mostly conspiracies, I think Searx may be a great option for people looking for an alternative [ Funnily they were pitching for yandex ;-( WARNING:please ensure who someone trustworhty runs the instance].

er4hn November 7, 2020 12:23 AM

I want to share this project I undertook at my workplace to roll out git commit signing across an entire Fortune 500 company: .

The key takeaways from this project were:
* Centralizing master key control makes managing keys among employees much easier.
* The gpg ecosystem is pretty weak in a lot of languages, including golang. We had to write a lot of code to add subkey support and that has been open sourced.
* Auditing signed commits in a repository afterwards is an interesting problem. Sites like Github appear to just have a flag to check if the commit was signed at the time of upload, but require you to trust the repository was not comprised afterwards. Checking to ensure the repository was not compromised requires a good amount of extra effort.

1&1~=Umm November 7, 2020 3:27 AM

Things are not looking good,

US 20% increase in post election COVID figures,

A look at the John Hopkins “10 worst countries” shows that the US has had a pattern seen in no other country, ie a continuous stepwise “ratchet up” in figures, which is now taking a significant upwards jump,

The worst COVID infection reports are from low mask wearing areas,

And spread in Executive staff election result party where masks were conspicuous by their absence,

And others in the executive appear responsible for targeted anonymous texts that caused protests and near riots with mainly maskless participents shouting and screaming. The source of the texts, thus the responsible people, were tracked down by the University of Toronto’s online watchdog Citizen Lab,

All not good.

1&1~=Umm November 7, 2020 10:27 AM


“The election security blogging by Bruce was in 2019. It doesn’t even mention mail-in voting!”

The article is right wing potentially “fake news” that is just another one using innuendo to bolster the conspiracy of “They’re stealing the election”.

Actually look at the website of the article, and the biography of the article author and their other contributions. That will give you a heads up on what sort of politics they report on…

When you read the article it clearly appears to be manufactured nonsense based on other nonsense that comes from a lack of RTFM… Or someone over estimating their IT abilities.

Because if you actually do a little digging on the story you will find that it’s actually mostly hyperbole, as the problem is mostly irrelavant to the results. Further it appears it was not a “software glitch” but a “user error”, so the “lets multiply it up to be an election game changer” does nor hold.

From piecing things so far publically available together, it appears it was caused by the county it’s self. Firstly by having an overly complicated ballot, and secondly the count software was setup incorrectly by the County Clerk who is apparently also a Republican…

I guess we are going to have to wait for the “official report” but something tells me it will be well over the other side of the long grass and to save blushes/embarrassment will find some bureaucratic reason to find nobody is to blaim… Such is the usuall way of such things.

Anders November 7, 2020 11:28 AM


Prepare your fireworks!

We have a new reality and new president!



Clive Robinson November 7, 2020 12:23 PM

@ Anders, SpaceLifeForm,

Prepare your fireworks!

But “Has the fat lady sung?”[1]

The BBC likewise thinks so…

But what of “Little boy” and “Fat Man” they could go high order in some way untill the 12th of next month. Then we would be talking of I hope metaphorical mushroom clouds…

As someone else has put it with visual humour,

[1] It’s an old joke about knowing when an opera like the “Ring Cycle” has finished. Yes some operas can go on longer than an entire Rock Festival.

Winter November 7, 2020 1:01 PM

“But what of “Little boy” and “Fat Man” they could go high order in some way untill the 12th of next month.”

You have power if people do what you want. But all politicians know that overturning Biden’s victory now is extremely unlikely. That is the new reality. And there are still a few senate seats to win, which could be lost in a messy fight.

In short, Trump might find it extremely difficult to get people moving. Most will try to save their own political skin.

lurker November 7, 2020 1:13 PM

Internationally the use of the colour red usually designates left-wing or socialist political parties. US usage is confusing.

SpaceLifeForm November 7, 2020 2:46 PM


That whooshing sound heard ’round the world today, was just the first sigh of relief.

There will be a louder sound 2021-01-20.

Also, I called this race before anyone did.

Just waiting for final Electoral College results. I may have called North Carolina wrong. But, maybe not. Rudy complaining about North Carolina gives me hope.

Anders November 7, 2020 2:47 PM

@Clive @Winter @SpaceLifeForm

Actually fat lady has already sung – THE people.
There’s already nation wide celebrations.
This is point of no return.

(And i know that politics is here thin ice topic,
however this change will bring stability and (geopolitical)
security for all of us, especially for my tiny country.
I’m happy as hell). Congrats to all those blog members,
who feels like i do.

xcv November 7, 2020 3:08 PM


That whooshing sound heard ’round the world today, was just the first sigh of relief.

La Résistance is gaining strength. Ça ira!

There will be a louder sound 2021-01-20.

One thing is sure. That will not be a day of peace and love.

Also, I called this race before anyone did.

Just hold your horses.

Just waiting for final Electoral College results. I may have called North Carolina wrong. But, maybe not. Rudy complaining about North Carolina gives me hope.

There is something called the due process of law. A free and fair election by any reasonable international principles of peace cannot be held under conditions of force majeure as a major epidemic of disease or widespread rioting.

Clive Robinson November 7, 2020 3:34 PM

@ lurker,

Internationally the use of the colour red usually designates left-wing or socialist political parties.

It’s “The blood of the people”

But you could equally well as ask about the Elephant and Donkey…

From memory other political parties where the have animal symbolism use various big cats, birds of prey etc that are apex predators.

Clive Robinson November 7, 2020 3:47 PM

@ Anders,

however this change will bring stability and (geopolitical) security for all of us

One can but hope.

However from my point of view the faster the 20million jobs that were lost are replaced with ones paying the same or better, the faster there will be real stability.

Two financial crises and an uncontroled pandemic, have made things tough on many ordinary everyday Americans. Who basically just want to have a roof over their heads, food on the table, and decent healthcare, education, opportunities and the ability to retire moderately comfortably. You think it would not be too much to ask for, after all other nations offer their citizens that.

WmG November 7, 2020 3:52 PM

Your remarks might be a bit difficult to understand. There seems to be a suggestion that under the Covid-19 pandemic conditions a free and fair election is not possible. Well, the US just held one.

Furthermore, we see that huge crowds are gathering in cities around the country. But wait…. they are happy people celebrating. No riots.

And your appeal to “international principles” is ironic, at least, since the outgoing Trump, and the entire conservative movement, has no use for any such principles other than the extraction of money from wherever possible and its deposit into their own accounts. And its use as a corrupting influence the world over.

The distaste of conservatives for international legal structures can be seen throughout recent history and into current events, such as Brexit.

Here’s a piece of of documentation regarding two Republicans regarding the UN.
Link: November 7, 2020 3:54 PM

@All: Quick reminder:

legal votes decide who is president, not the news media, not Big Tech.

Anders November 7, 2020 3:57 PM



vas pup November 7, 2020 4:03 PM

@Searx – service based in Montenegro – member of the NATO (recently become), i.e. same rules applied: under pretext on National Security all data could be disclosed – just educated guess.

@GregW • November 6, 2020 6:12 PM
Existence of the system and collection of information you were talking about does NOT mean you or even LEAs with search orders could use it. Do you remember when Epstein miraculously committed suicide in federal custody (NY)monitoring video cameras this particular night were not working properly AND footage become unreadable. So, I doubt positive outcome of your suggestion for same reason. Collection + proper storage + proper processing = results. If one component is not working properly, you get zero.

vas pup November 7, 2020 4:08 PM

China sends ‘world’s first 6G’ test satellite into orbit

“China has successfully launched what has been described as “the world’s first 6G satellite” into space to test the technology.

It went into orbit along with 12 other satellites from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in the Shanxi Province.

The telecoms industry is still several years away from agreeing on 6G’s specifications, so it is not yet certain the tech being trialed will make it into the final standard.

===>It involves use of high-frequency terahertz waves to achieve data-transmission speeds many times faster than 5G is likely to be capable of.

The satellite also carries technology which will be used for crop disaster monitoring and forest fire prevention.”

MarkH November 7, 2020 4:09 PM


The comparative safety of tiny and weak countries is an index of the advance of civilization. I’ve watched in horror the invasions of Georgia and Ukraine, and the ongoing violations of Moldova’s sovereignty as well.

The systems of collective security which were constructed through so much pain and sacrifice, and have done so much for liberation from tyranny and poverty, have no better friend in America than the president-elect.

The Baltic states — and many others beside — just grew more secure. It feels like a deliverance.

vas pup November 7, 2020 4:15 PM

Guernsey law firm fined £10,000 for data security breach

“A Guernsey-based law firm has been fined £10,000 after sharing “highly confidential and sensitive” information.

Trinity Chambers LLP sent private details about an individual and their family via emails and post, the Data Protection Authority (ODPA) found.
It said a lack of security had given “unconnected” third parties access to the data.
The firm has been approached for comment.

!!!===>The breach of data by Trinity was the result of “repeated human error”, an investigation found.” November 7, 2020 4:54 PM

@WmG: “However, sometimes lawyers get involved.” Yes, they definitely will.

BTW: Who was a previous Smartmatic director? By whom was he backed?

I don’t think it will be a dark winter. Just cheer up.

Anders November 7, 2020 4:54 PM


Apple have fixed three issues reported by Project Zero that were being actively exploited in the wild. CVE-2020-27930 (RCE), CVE-2020-27950 (memory leak), and CVE-2020-27932 (kernel privilege escalation).


SpaceLifeForm November 7, 2020 4:57 PM

@ xcv

Force Majeure left the barn long ago.

@ vas pup

Epstein is not dead. Mark my words.

I do not know where he is. But I would guess Europe or Middle East. November 7, 2020 5:52 PM

On Smartmatic machines again:

Smartmatic, the troubled Venezuelan-linked voting company recent partnered up (late 2014) with a firm called SGO. SGO is headed up by one Lord Mark Malloch-Brown. Brown, as it turns out, is a rather curious and troubling figure.

Brown, you should know, has close ties to George Soros and rents a Soros owned house in New York. Brown gets a sweetheart deal at only $10,000 a month. He also serves as the VP of Soros’ hedge fund the Quantum Fund.


SpaceLifeForm November 7, 2020 5:53 PM


Full Disclosure:

I could use some landscaping work, but I would not trust Trump to design a putting green in my yard.

I actually have been to a Four Seasons resort that had a golf course.

Rudy, You’re Fired!

xcv November 7, 2020 5:57 PM


Epstein is not dead. Mark my words.

I do not know where he is. But I would guess Europe or Middle East.

This much makes sense to me. Deomocrat party jailbreak for a political friend.

xcv November 7, 2020 6:05 PM

“We will be making history as the first to directly sign AP’s race calls and publish for blockchain use,” said Everipedia VP of Business Development David Liebowitz in a press release.

Following the announcement YieldWars, the gamified yield farming and competitive prediction market platform, launched a Trump/Biden prediction market using the AP data as an oracle. The market attracted over $250,000 in bets in just two days.

These are not the reports of a free and fair election anywhere in the civilized world, by any international principles of peace or accord whatsoever.

Anders November 7, 2020 6:29 PM

@Clive @SpaceLifeForm @ALL


Anders November 7, 2020 6:31 PM


Joke of the day.


MarkH November 7, 2020 6:53 PM


Your reality check has cleared!

The U.S. successfully conducted an election in 1944, in the midst of global war.

Vastly more severe were the conditions of 1864, when massive bloodshed was occurring at numerous sites throughout the country, in the prosecution of a civil war that would kill 6 to 7 percent of males old enough to be soldiers [my estimate].

The thesis you seem to offer is that an epidemic which has put less than 0.5% of the population into hospital, and a few dozen days of sporadic violence in a combined area not exceeding a couple of hundred hectares, renders the election illegitimate.

If my life depended on the possibility of successfully defending such a thesis, I would immediately set about putting my affairs in order and saying my goodbyes.

However, there are millions who believe that the outgoing president is fundamentally a speaker of truth. They’ll buy it!

Clive Robinson November 7, 2020 7:08 PM


Regards Lord Malloch-Brown and George Soros.

There are several US sites of dubious political leanings that claim both of them were strongly linked to the Mercer family via SCL / Cambridge Analytica[1] that both Trump and the GOP did business with[2]. And the Mercer’s were also trying to get control of the “Grand Old Party” it’s self one way or another.

Are you saying that Mercer deliberatly sabotaged the election so Trump / The Republicans would loose for some reason?

[1] Such as,


xcv November 7, 2020 7:09 PM


You, or someone who has posted under that moniker, at one time had law enforcement or FBI connections.

If my life depended on the possibility of successfully defending such a thesis, I would immediately set about putting my affairs in order and saying my goodbyes.

Goodbye, Ivanka By DAHLIA LITHWICK NOV 07, 202011:59 AM

This is part of a series of goodbyes to Trumpworld figures. Read the rest here.

If there’s a Secret Service anyhwere, we are at war against that “final goodbye” nonsense from the left. This was no bona fide election, as it was “called” by the mainstream press, because THEY are planning mass murders and executions, not only of Donald Trump and his immediate family, but other conservatives, and unrelated targeted individuals and political dissidents everywhere they can hunt us down and find us.

JG4 November 7, 2020 8:05 PM

I think that NakedCapitalism linked a post to Cringely’s blog this week about Tesla winning the self-driving car race. He’s sharper than the average knife in the drawer.

Tesla won the self-driving car war, they just aren’t telling us

Self-driving systems may be a future example of Shannon’s systems of arbitrarily high reliability built from arbitrarily low reliability components. They’re just not there yet. At least they are killing people a lot slower than human drivers. This reminded me of the good old days and the links to Karen’s work at MIT and Children of the Magenta.

COVID-19 Lessons from Three Mile Island #2 — the NRC

Security is cut from the same cloth as reliability. The rub seems to be having humans of arbitrarily low reliability in the loop. Getting them out of the driver’s seat generally is a good idea.

RIP Terry Davis November 7, 2020 10:25 PM

“What’s reality? I don’t know. When my bird was looking at my computer monitor I thought “That bird has no idea what he’s looking at.” And yet what does the bird do? Does he panic? No, he can’t really panic, he just does the best he can. Is he able to live in a world where he’s so ignorant? Well, he doesn’t really have a choice. The bird is okay even though he doesn’t understand the world. You’re that bird looking at the monitor, and you’re thinking to yourself, I can figure this out. Maybe you have some bird ideas. Maybe that’s the best you can do.”

  • Terry Davis, creator of TempleOS

SpaceLifeForm November 7, 2020 10:48 PM


I am seeing only positive response from the FVEY partners.

Those that work in the various roles are still anxious I’m sure.

Late January, early February. they will be able to get some much deserved days off. Unfortunately, not until then. And, of course, not all at the same time.

These are your semi-hidden citizens that deserve respect, even if you do not actually understand what their role is.

But, rest assured, they are working for all of us.

xcv November 8, 2020 12:43 AM


I am seeing only positive response from the FVEY partners.

NSA-speak for UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

It’s a total gun ban and anti-free-speech agenda throughout the “Anglophone” world, except for conservatives in the USA. Interpol is in on it, too, but of course THEY don’t tell us that.

SpaceLifeForm November 8, 2020 1:21 AM


A comment by the possible future US Attorney General:
(He is my choice)

(also, 73 days at this point)


Legal reminder: I don’t know what destructive things Trump may try in the next 74 days, but the 25th amendment remains operative during transition

SpaceLifeForm November 8, 2020 1:56 AM


This is cool. Times Square. Note all of the big screens.

Note who is pictured or what it says.


Winter November 8, 2020 2:17 AM

@xcv, @no name
In 2016, 2017 Trump insisted that he lost the popular vote because 3M votes had been cast in the name of dead people. A serious criminal offence that carries years in prison. 4 years later the combined Trump and Republican power has been unable to give any evidence for the fraud nor has any suspect ever been indicted.

This year, Trump again insists that he lost the elections by massive fraud. His party and appointees had their noses on top of every stage of the process. US mail is controlled by Trump’s people, and there are large numbers of Republican observers at every polling and counting station. As even Giuliani had to admit in court.

You have not offered a shred of evidence for fraud. You look utterly like the supporters of those infamous African strong men, e.g., Museveni in Uganda.

The likeness has not escaped the notice of Africans.

Peter November 8, 2020 2:20 AM


That’s not entirely true. You can have a gun with the required license and permits for practical purposes, or for professional sports and clubs. You just can’t go around shooting holes in road signs, the local wildlife or water tanks. People still get shot, just not in large numbers anymore. The armed forces and intelligence is made of really nice and responsible people, for the most part. There is the odd bad apple in the police, but they do not have the same checks and balances for foreign spies as security forces. we know who they are.

SpaceLifeForm November 8, 2020 3:08 AM

@ Anders, Clive

On writing style.

If nothing else, it gives the AI something to parse.


Clive Robinson November 8, 2020 5:18 AM

@ Anders,

Are you aware of the three classes of “propaganda”?

They are, “White, Grey, Black”, According to Czech/Vritish academic historian Zbyněk Zeman[1],

Propaganda is defined as either white, grey or black. White propaganda openly discloses its source and intent. Grey propaganda has an ambiguous or non-disclosed source or intent. Black propaganda purports to be published by the enemy or some organization besides its actual origins”

But the idea is not new to Zeman, “Political warfare” goes back to before the “Art of War” was writen back in China. But in more modern times it applies to the use of “Broadcasts” with our host @Bruce mentioning what was the worlds most powerfull transmitter when built by RCA that was purchased by the British Government at the beginings of WWII, and became under the control of the Diplomatic Wireless Service (DWS) and due to a Gracy Fields Song popular at the time got named “Aspidistra”. As I mentioned before it came into use for “Black Propaganda” now reclasified as “Black Political Warfare” or “Psychological Warfare” under Sefton Delmer who had been a foreign Corespondent in Germany for a British newspaper.

In such “wars of the radio broadcast” you have,

WHITE : Tx’s overt propaganda comes from a known source such as the BBC and says what is known to be true and verifiably so about ehat is going on in thr target audiences countries. The purpose is to counter the target nations leadership “misinformation campaigns”.

GREY : TX’s “semiofficial amplification of a government’s voice” to a target nations population. During the Cold war various stations such as Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty, Voice of America, etc.

BLACK : TX’s both real and fax news and comment, and is frequently portrayed as comming from either disidents in the target nation or adjacent nation where they have formed encampments ets, or as a disinterested third party (which it is most certainly not). The important points are it appears to not be “from the enemy” and the use of hard verifiable truths are used to give it credability whilst puting a slant on it with innuendo and soft truths subject to more than two view points, and false accusations that can not be disproved.

Similar “white, grey, black” distinctions transfer easily across into “Cyber-Space” with few variations required. In effect, with WHITE bring fully legal in host nation and publicaly attributable (what MicroSoft has being doing). GREY beying questionably legal in the host nation but effectively anonymous. Black being illegal in the host nation and designed to look as though it has come from a third party.

It struck me as funny that you linked to a “Cold War Grey Radio station” Voice of America (VOA) news item that is about “Grey cyber-space” operations.

[1] As quoted in Mark U. Edwards 2004 book, ‘Luther’s Last Battles : Politics And Polemics 1531-46’, ISBN 978-0-8006-3735-4


Winter November 8, 2020 5:36 AM

“You can have a gun with the required license and permits for practical purposes, or for professional sports and clubs.”

But that is the point of contention.

When you keep asking why American conservatives want unlimited gun rights, you invariably end up at “to shoot Americans”. Generally under the guise of “self-defense” (with an AK-47?) or “defending freedom”.

These are most definitely not the reasons other anglophones are allowed to legally arm up.

Clive Robinson November 8, 2020 6:00 AM

@ SpaceLifeForm,

but the 25th amendment remains operative during transition

Specifically “Section 4”.

Which as far as I’m aware has never actually been used, but should have been when Ronald Reagan was gravely wounded and in ICU after being shot with an exploding bullet.

But it appears that deputy AG Ronstien had serious discussions about invoking section 4 on Donald Trump, back when he sacked FBI director Comey…

A fate that could have been equivalent of leaving the frying pan for the “Hells Fire” of Mike “Religion befor god, party and people” Pence.

Some people including Journalistd have indicated that Section 4 could be used and a National Crisis created, such that Pence can not just assume office but can somehow retain office after January 20. I don’t follow their logic on the second part, but with Trump doing his “they’ve stolen the ellection” rants and lies invoking section 4 would not be dificult on say “Diminished mental capacity”…

Clive Robinson November 8, 2020 6:13 AM

@ Winter, Peter,

you invariably end up at “to shoot Americans”.

Not quite, but that’s what it usually ends up as.

“Officially” it’s that first bit of the oath of office etc “to defend the constitution” against all enemies domestic and foreign. So basically shoot who the heck you like because they somehow attacked the constitution (which apparently has ment not just burning the US flag, but also wearing it as diapers as the right of free speech does not cover that).

Sancho_P November 8, 2020 6:50 AM

@Clive Robinson

”… ordinary everyday Americans. Who basically just want to have a roof over their heads, food on the table, and decent healthcare, education, opportunities and the ability to retire moderately comfortably. You think it would not be too much to ask for, after all other nations offer their citizens that.

Um, (searching for examples …)?
– But do you think the world, as it is, could sustain that?
Average EU, let alone US, lifestyle?

What would be the sustainable average lifestyle for a population of 8 billion? November 8, 2020 1:29 PM

@Clive Robinson

Are you saying that Mercer deliberatly sabotaged the election so Trump / The Republicans would loose for some reason?

Did I write that somewhere? I wrote about Malloch-Brown and George Soros. There, connections are undisputed. Why do you come up with “Mercer”? Don’t even know how that is. (Well, it is a large consulting firm.)

You are goalposting.

xcv November 8, 2020 3:13 PM

@Clive Robinson

There are several US sites of dubious political leanings that claim both of them were strongly linked to the Mercer family via SCL / Cambridge Analytica[1] that both Trump and the GOP did business with[2]. And the Mercer’s were also trying to get control of the “Grand Old Party” it’s self one way or another.

Are you saying that Mercer deliberatly sabotaged the election so Trump / The Republicans would loose for some reason?

It’s “the usual” D.C. political machine at work, well greased and oiled, this time around.

Establishment G.O.P. gained seats in the House and Senate, but they betrayed Trump. They are still keen on appointing and confirming liberal constructivist intellectuals to a court system where loose practices of law never measure up to the vain preaching of righteous conservatism in Congress.

Like David Souter, they all veer left even if they are appointed by right-wing politicians. For a man to make it through four-year college with a good GPA, LSAT, and law school, pass the bar exam, all without being accused of rape or sexual harassment on a date or outed as a homosexual — he has to be a party-line Deomocrat in good standing with the college fraternity and all the secret oaths of brotherhood / братва — and it’s not just about minding his own business or keeping his own dick in his shorts, either.

WmG November 8, 2020 3:15 PM, @ALL
Where does one come up with Mercer, referring to Financier Robert Mercer? Well @Clive Robinson finds links to Mercer behind a website which promulgates a conspiracy between George Soros and Baron Malloch-Brown; according to you that conspiracy is tied to the production of easily hacked voting machines produced by Venezuelans [1].

But Robert Mercer was connected with Steve Bannon before the 2016 US election. Mercer was a backer of Republicans, but very reluctantly of Trump. But when Trump became inevitable, Mercer and his daughter went in heavily for him.

The conspiracy theories being spun out here and elsewhere (e.g. Fox News) that attempt to show that Trump actually won the election should stick to facts. The facts are that some votes are not yet counted. Given the percentage of votes counted, it would take a share claimed by Stalin or Castro for Trump to overtake Biden, if even that’s possible.

FUD is what it is: FUD.

[1] in re Venezuelan Voting Machines. A friend of mine, many decades ago now, was involved with putting together a bid and prototype for voting machines to be used in Venezuela. At the final meeting, all bidders were present with their prototypes. The test voters went to work testing the machines. it was quiet. except for some clicking sounds. After about 20 seconds, my friend’s machine started a loud wailing siren and bright flashing lights. It had, of course detected a forbidden voting attempt. it kept on happening because it was “bullet-proof.” Other prototypes were feeble.

It almost goes without saying that my friend’s company did not get the contract.

A surplus electronics parts dealer, John Meshna, Jr. had a catalog listing for “Venezuelan Voting Machines” offering cheaply boards from a prototype, back in the days when desoldering chips was considered an economical source of parts. Always wondered if those were his boards.

Clive Robinson November 8, 2020 4:25 PM


You are goalposting.

No, just showing in short form that your attempt at casting doubts on the voting system was probably a “complete load of horse apples”

Call it a play on “Reductio ad Absurdum” you made an absurd proposition and I showed that by reducing it to an improbable conclusion.

The fact you then tried to play dumb and got called on it, just highlights the deficiency of your argument further.

The thing about “conspiracy theories” is generally they use “chosen truths”. That is the originator of the conspiracy takes a simple relationship, (lets say “stale white and male”) and gives it a false bias that can not be easily disproved as is normally the case with trying to prove a negative (lets say “Satanic ritual abuse”, or “rape” how do you prove you are not guilty?). The accusor then gets lots of people to repeate it and it becomes what some chose to call “a common belief”, that’s how people make “mud stick”.

But the conspiracy usually gets over complicated and they invent things without actually checking things. So they talk about some place the targets of their accusation might have been seen at, and pretend it’s the nexus of some organisation. The thing is some one says that can not be right, so the accusor embelishes and say’s it’s happening out of sight, and when somebody say’s “Where?” the accusors realise that it’s a single story building so they say in the basement and underground passages… Then someone points out “there is no basment” at which point the whole conspiracy colapses[1] and is shown for what it is…

It’s one of the reasons I talk about requiring evidence to criminal court standards, when people make assertions, not even circumstantial evidence (which is what most forensic evidence is at best).

But the problem with such accusers is generally they are not exactly “all together there”, they not just want to believe it’s true they do believe it’s true. So they don’t stop their now entrenched cognative bias makes them claim other things thus they find each other and form a knew group and send out statments devoid of an real meaning like “watch the water” that other idiots find a whole bunch of unrelatrd stuff on the Internet (like “smartwater”) and then they amplify (“watermarks” and the “EURion constalation”[2]) and through in some compleate nonsense about the “National Guard” and the next thing the far right nut-bars are saying is that all the people they despise in their embeded cognative bias are going to be rounded up and their glorious leader is going to be triumphant… Yeah right on sister, at which end of the lead is the greater IQ when you take the dog for a walk…

It’s curious you use “Goalposting”[3], I suspect you don’t know where it comes from unless you are a “Norf.FC supporter” but then again you might be the equivalent for another team that wears red…



[3] November 8, 2020 4:50 PM

@Clive Robinson

Your comment: Golden!

ate souf
ate Smartmatic

luv greggs
luv Marks & Sparks

simple as

xcv November 8, 2020 5:36 PM


The EU Council is trying to use monday’s terror attack to push through a mandate to backdoor E2E encryption:

When I was a small child, my grandmother might have spoken or been able to read or write German, (although even her parents were also born and lived in the U.S.,) but that was a carefully kept secret in the U.S. at the time of the Second World War, and she only spoke English when we were around.

I was only three years old at the time, my grandparents showed me a calendar with the current date at that time, and not a word of German was spoken in the household after that.

I can recognize some of the words and the German style of punctuation, but it’s difficult for me to make out a complete sentence.

Clive Robinson November 8, 2020 5:56 PM

@ xcv,

You mention David Souter, who is actually also the name of a reasonably well known artist in the UK who now lives in Kent.

I have some of his prints[1], one of which is the lighthouse and pilot pub[2] (I’ve mentioned before). It’s right on the South East tip of Kent in a place called Dungeness which is an SSI, Bird Sactury and a place of “outstanding natural beauty” (despite the two nuclear reactors).

For those who get the chance to visit Dungeness it’s a strangely surreal “quiet but noisy” place where the noises of nature get amplified but filtered, and whilst at first glance it appears desolate and wind swept actually on second glance is filled with bits of nature you rarely see anywhere else[3].

One of the reasons it sounds surreal is it is one of the quietest places in the UK mainland, which is why you find the very strange looking “Dungeness Ears” in the bird sactury. They are concrete sound reflectors designed as a passive aircraft early warning system at the begining of WWII. Whilst they sort of worked they were nowhere near as good as the active RADAR system that eventually formed “Chain Home” and along with Enigma intercepts made it possible to win the “Battle of Britain”. Why the German Air Force did not bomb the “Chain Home” towers[4] is still a bit of a mystery at several hundred feet tall (upto 360ft) they were a hazard to air navigation).





xcv November 8, 2020 7:03 PM

@ Clive Robinson

lighthouse and pilot pub

Unfortunately I cannot enjoy or participate in activities in places like that. There are drunken sailors, and a boss wants me trespassed from the property and arrested for exercising any temperance or abstinence, or misbehavior if I happen to accept what is so forcefully offered.

place called Dungeness

People fish for “Dungeness crab” all along the West Coast of the U.S. and Canada from Seattle to Anchorage, Alaska. I am not allowed to possess fishing or hunting gear, because it’s for sport — wealthy, established people only — and I would be robbed or beaten out of it if I’m not arrested for felony fish and game violations or unlawful felonious felony possession of guns or knives by a felon or adjudicated mental defective, because of which permanent and irrevocable adjudication I am never allowed to obtain a birth certificate or a passport to leave the country, not even to visit neighboring Canada. Russia? Not a chance!

Thank you for your understanding.

The recent election does absolutely nothing to change this horrible state of affairs in the United States. Our dear leader only expects us to heal from the amputation of our civil rights, and serve in continued obedience without liberty or property if we are even allowed to live under the coming administration.

SpaceLifeForm November 9, 2020 12:39 AM

@ Clive

Why the German Air Force did not bomb the “Chain Home” towers[4] is still a bit of a mystery at several hundred feet tall (upto 360ft) they were a hazard to air navigation).

Maybe they were using them for navigation?

Not just as landmarks (useless in bad wx), but using the radar signals?

I do not know. Just thinking outside the box.

SpaceLifeForm November 9, 2020 1:07 AM

@ Clive

Someone/something has issues. It’s misinformation.

In other news, I like the codename ‘Celtic’.

LOL. Hard ‘C’. ‘Pioneer’ is quite fitting too.


Winter November 9, 2020 1:08 AM


First, mail in voting has worked very, very well for the US military since the civil war. But these people voted in majority for the Republicans, so that must be OK.

We heard what Trump said in March:

“The things [the Democrats] had in there were crazy. They had things, levels of voting that if you’d ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again,” Trump said during an appearance on Fox & Friends.


Which harks back to:

“I don’t want everybody to vote,” Paul Weyrich, an influential conservative activist, said in 1980. “As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”

Which makes the pleading of Lindsey Graham quite understandable:

If Republicans don’t challenge and change the U.S. election system, there will never be another Republican president elected again. President Trump should not concede.


Indeed, if everybody cast their votes, Republicans will never win again. Except, of course, if they move their ideas with the voters.

SpaceLifeForm November 9, 2020 2:05 AM

@ Clive, Anders

Hoping that Parler can scale.

It would be a good thing if they can handle the increased load.


Clive Robinson November 9, 2020 4:31 AM

@ SpaceLifeForm,

In other news, I like the codename ‘Celtic’.


SoftC : “sel-tick” sounds like a clock merchant.

HardC : “Kel-tech” that could be a heavy cross to bare. Might make a good mega-corp MIC name though.

Celtic actually means “of the Celts” or slightly later,”in the style of the Celts”.

The Celts have a somewhat interesting history and prior to 500BC much is disputed, and later records from the Roman’s who called them Gauls indicates they caused the Roman’s many problems. The original language(s) can be found in parts of Portugal/Spain, and up the Western coast of Europe into Scotland. People have argued from this that they were a seafaring culture, rather than one pushed Westwards by those from Southern Europe and North Mediterranean.

Two things to remember about Celt’s,

1, Don’t talk religion or politics.
2, Beware the strength of their drinks, they are not imbibers of “small beer”.

Oh and above all never alow the two to mix, as they have a fiesty and tenacious reputation even though they are said to posse the mystic and romantic hearts of dreamers, poets, and balladours.

Winter November 9, 2020 4:51 AM

“The Celts have a somewhat interesting history and prior to 500BC much is disputed,”

Oldest archeological sites point to the Alps as their origin. There are even people who were able to trace back King Arthur back to the Alps. Their widest expansion was into central Anatolia (kingdom of Galatia).


Clive Robinson November 9, 2020 4:59 AM

@ SpaceLifeForm, Anders,

Hoping that Parler can scale.

Though is Parler a “Watering hole” or “Tar pit”?

Apparently you have to give not just your phone number but image of your drivers licence…

The speed some people have been chucked off, suggests that Parler are “profiling” via the use of third party political reputational services, much as Cambridge Anslytica did and Palantir still does.

So personally I’m thinking it has the potential to be a massive “tar pit” for ultra conservative, and further right folks ranging up and beyond Qanon style posturing to full on nutbars.

So Parler should be a happy hunting ground for the likes of the FBI and DHS amongst others now that “white supremacy terrorism” is getting better “promotion brownie points” than “fundamentalist Muslim terrorism”.

So based on past behaviours by the likes of the FBI and DEA keep your eyes open for “stopped just in time” acts of terrorism. That when you dig in have hallmarks of “created by certain facilitators” that actually turn out more like grooming and entrapment “fund raisers”…

David Rudling November 9, 2020 6:18 AM

@Clive Robinson
You remarked that “Why the German Air Force did not bomb the “Chain Home” towers[4] is still a bit of a mystery …”

Actually there were attacked at first by the quite rational Luftwaffe planners but this stopped in August 1940. The official view (probably informed by Ultra intercepts) is that it was a direct order from an irrational Goering to cease the attacks.

ht tps://

Winter November 9, 2020 7:35 AM

“So based on past behaviours by the likes of the FBI and DEA keep your eyes open for “stopped just in time” acts of terrorism. ”

Like the men who were arrested with guns near the Pennsylvania Convention Center, where vote counting was ongoing

Police said they had received information Thursday that individuals armed with firearms were on their way to the convention center in Philadelphia in a Hummer.

Clive Robinson November 9, 2020 8:05 AM

@ David Rudlling,

The official view (probably informed by Ultra intercepts) is that it was a direct order from an irrational Goering to cease the attacks.

Possibly nor irrational at that point in the war, just mislead when he said,

“It is doubtful whether there is any point in continuing attacks on radar sites, in view of the fact that not one of those attacked so far has been put out of action.”

The thing is “precision bombing” was mor myth than reality untill much later. The type of bomber to get more accuracy would have been a dive bomber. The problem with dive bombers was that their pilots could not see the antenna and feeder wires, made of very strong cables, that could slice the wing off without coming to any real harm. Thus the German dive bomber pilots would not have wanted to get close enough to do more than throw the dirt around.

But there is another aspect that’s not much talked about.

The German use of radar was from the operator to the fighter pilot, which whilst it gave fast feedback had a very very limited field of view.

The British system worked differently, all the sightings were sent by a network of telephones back to plotting rooms where collrctions of sightings were put on a plotting table such that an experienved commander got a “god like” view over the “battle field” this was tactically much much better.

But there was a second difference that may have been equally as important. That was the difference between German and British attacks.

Due to the speed the RAF were pushed out of France etc they flew fighters in in small numbers for “hit and run” type attacks. The Germans however were sending in waves of bombers that due to fule issues only had very limited time over the target with the bombers.

Goering having been a fighter ace himself should have been aware of the second point, but probably was not. He probably assumed from his experience that the British had their fighters in the air most of the time as the Germans did rather than “scrambling”. The scrambling ment the British fighters would have not just “the home advantage” they would also enter combat eith near full fuel tanks thus could outlast the German fighters by a a considerable factor (5-10 times)[1].

What Goering would have been told was that for all the precision engineering the German radar was near usless, so he might have assumed the British radar was likewise, thus not worth bothering about.

It’s an argument that has been batted back and forth amongst historians for some years.

Engineers however have more or less agreed it was the fact not that there was anything particularly wrong with the German radar equipment but how it was operated. That is the lack of an information network to get good data to commanders.

[1] A point Douglas Bader with his “big wing” idea failed to realise, and he could not be told because of the “Ultra Secret”. November 9, 2020 11:07 AM

Benford’s Law: Twitter is immediately banning accounts sharing anything about Benford’s Law.


My comment some days ago mentioning just “Benford’s Law” also was deleted here.

Winter November 9, 2020 11:43 AM
I am not surprised. That is never evidence in itself and is used to deceive people.

If a crime has been committed there should be evidence. No evidence, no case.

If a nationwide crime has been committed in plain sight, there should be massive amounts of evidence.

No evidence, no crime.

xcv November 9, 2020 2:41 PM

Benford’s law is a probability distribution.

If X is a real random variable uniformly distributed on the half-open unit interval [0,1[, then 10X has a “slide rule uniform” distribution, and its most significant digit is given by the “floor” function on the half-open interval [1,10[.

⌊10X⌋ is distributed among {1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9} according to Benford’s law, for X uniform on [0,1).

Probabilists and especially French-speaking mathematicians often refer to a probability distribution as a law — loi — and anything that breaks that law as being “abnormal” or an “outlier” to be handled on a special-case basis.

Clive Robinson November 9, 2020 3:12 PM

@ Winter,,

That is never evidence in itself and is used to deceive people.

Most forensics are not “evidence” because they are generaly not science[1] but use science as a smoke screen to cover the fact that they are at best supposition and certainly not even up to being “circumstantial evidence”.

How can truth hope to be distilled from a chaotic environment when those tasked with doing so hide the truth of what they are being paid to do?

It’s why I mentioned said,

“It’s one of the reasons I talk about requiring evidence to criminal court standards, when people make assertions, not even circumstantial evidence (which is what most forensic evidence is at best).”

To above.

[1] Science works in a sensible direction, from cause to effect. Forensics take an effect and by supposition claim what the cause is. The problem is that many causes can cause the same or very nearly the same effect. The classic example of this was the so called “pour patterns” that it was claimed was proof positive an accelerant had been the cause thus it must be atleast arson. Many people were convicted of arson or murder just on this claim. Then somebody did an independent test an opps it was not proof positive but a load of horse apples. Similar with micro analysis of bullet fragments to identify their composition thus claim they came from a “known batch” again turned out to be a load. Oh and Cocaine traces in bank notes indicating a drug abuser or dealer. Somebody did tests on US currancy issued from banks, terns out eight out of ten notes had traces. Turns out if you have a note with cocaine on it and you put it in a wallet with clean notes the warmth and persperation of being in your pocket cause the cocaine to move through all the other notes in there. There is a very very long list of such Forensic incorrect suppositions, and I’ve no doubt there are very many more that will be made and some will be debunked only after someone who is innocent has died in prison one way or another. Such happened with those who it was alledged were part of the IRA and bombed Guildford in Surrey south west of London. The sole evidence against them was that celulose nitrates were found on peoples hands… Turns out playing cards they had used were coted in celluloid that was breaking down… Anyone who had played with them would have had traces of nitro cellulose etc on their hands. Apparently the prosecution knew this but ommited to mention it when the forensic evidence was given. One of those convicted died in prison… So from my view point all Forensic evidence is highly suspect untill shown independently not to be, and in many cases that is not possible because the premise behind the forensics is a false one, not that most will admit it, and judges just look the other way as long as the “paperwork looks OK”…

SM November 9, 2020 4:05 PM

Completely off topic, how is your toe?

Regarding the US election, I still struggle to understand how is that slow to count votes.

In my country we have “volunteers” picked from the electoral register, if you don’t attend it is an offense, around 5 for each voting desk, plus parties delegates.

I’ve been told that the volunteers are so eager to go home that they are quite efficient doing it.

They get paid around 30$ and they never get back their lost Sunday…

Best to all,

xcv November 9, 2020 4:36 PM

@Clive Robinson

Cocaine traces in bank notes indicating a drug abuser or dealer.

Someone spilled some coffee or tea or had a chocolate bar in their pocket. I don’t believe in the magic ability of proprietary prosecutor-funded labs to pick out cocaine HCl, freebase, or whatever form it’s in from caffeine, theobromine or similar hypothesized compounds by the trace.

If 8/10 bills have “traces” then it’s probably a given that their equipment is dirty and contaminated with traces of cocaine if the lab techs aren’t actively sniffing it themselves in the break room every chance they can get hold of the goods.

vas pup November 9, 2020 4:46 PM

@xcv • November 7, 2020 7:09 PM
I found a joke on ethnic site:
“Joe Biden said Melania could continue living in the White House after January 20”.
For G-d sake, good laugh what remains valuable in those mad house of recent politics. Smile all including Moderator!

vas pup November 9, 2020 4:50 PM

@SpaceLifeForm • November 7, 2020 4:57 PM
I doubt, but under condition he was forced to change his gender?

vas pup November 9, 2020 4:58 PM

Virgin Hyperloop pod transport tests first passenger journey

“Virgin Hyperloop has trialed its first ever journey with passengers, in the desert of Nevada.

The futuristic transport concept involves pods inside vacuum tubes carrying passengers at high speeds.

In the trial, two passengers – both company staff – travelled the length of a 500m test track in 15 seconds, reaching 107mph (172km/h).

However, this is a fraction of Virgin’s ambitions for travel speeds of more than 1,000km/h.

Virgin Hyperloop is not the only firm developing the concept but nobody has carried passengers before.

Sara Luchian, director of customer experience, was one of the two on board and described the experience as “exhilarating both psychologically and physically” to the BBC shortly after the event.

The concept, which has spent years in development, builds on a proposal by Tesla founder Elon Musk. Some critics have described it as science fiction.

+>It is based on the world’s fastest magnetic levitation (maglev) trains, then made faster by speeding along inside vacuum tubes.

The Maglev train speed world record was set in 2015 when a Japanese train reached 374mph in a test run near Mount Fuji.”

Founded in 2014, Virgin Hyperloop received investment from the Virgin Group in 2017. It was previously known as Hyperloop One and Virgin Hyperloop One.

Clive Robinson November 9, 2020 5:03 PM

@ xcv,, winter, ALL,

Benford’s law is a probability distribution.

Yes but probability distributions can be difficult to intuatively understand.

Take the “normal distribution” or “Bell Curve” the maths behind it are somewhat complicated and involve the use of serieses that few ever want to get to grips with.

However if you have the sum of two digits of uniform / flat probability the result is a triangular or pyramid shaped distribution which is a crude approximation to the Bell Curve. When you add three digits the start of the normal distribution becomes clear as the top rounds and the tails start to spread out. For each additional digit there after the curve becomes a better fit to the normal distribution curve. That is it builds out from the middle and it’s the tails that get progressively more accurate.

So anyone knowing the above can make up a normal distribution curve to what ever accuracy they like[1].

Physicist Frank Benford was not the first to discover in 1938 the distribution in that carries his name[2]. Back in 1881 Canadian Astronomer Simon Newcomb noted it nearly a half century earlier, but as is often the case he got ignored (see Stygler’s Law)…

To be quite honest the distribution curve was just sitting there waiting to be discovered…

Insted of summing digits as for the normal distribution, multiply them instead. If you do it for the digits 1-9 then just look at the leading digit bingo you see a crude approximation to the Newcomb-Benford distribution [3]. Keep multiplying by additional digits and you get to see the distribution “fill out”. Thus again using a flat distribution random number generator you can make distributions that match the required distribution.

So great news if you want to generate fake figures etc, possibly Twitter did not want people to know this, but anyone who has read Donald Knuth’s “Art of computer programing” from cover to cover including the footnotes and examples[4] would have found out this information in the section on random number generators and usage.

There are obviously other tricks to make distributions by these simple processes. In fact when you think about it trying to find a “natural” distribution that can not be well approximated by these methods is going to be difficult. Importantly it means you do not have to use lookup tables and some kind of curve fitting between the points, that you have to do for things like sin/cos log etc (though they can be a lot faster in some cases).

[1] This has real world uses. If you are doing modeling and your random number generator has a flat distribution, you can make the numbers generated follow a normal distribution quite simply. Just take six or more successive outputs, add them together and normalize to the required maximum value.

[2] In his paper Frank Benford gives the approximation as,

Fa = log ((a+1)/a)

Where Fa is the frequency for digit a in the first digit of the used numbers.

[3] If you multiply the digits 1..9 by themselves and record the first digit. You get the following table (if my mental maths is upto it at this time of night),


If you plot these as a simple frequency graph, you can see the probability curve emerging all be it crudely,


[4] Yes Bill Gates did say that anyone who had read it entirely should give him a call. However I met Billy-boy before I heard he had said it. For various reasons I was not much impressed, so I would probably not have told him I had read the then three volumes, which probably saved us both some time.

vas pup November 9, 2020 5:08 PM

Covid: Romance fraudsters ‘target lonely’ in lockdown

“Dyfed-Powys Police said there had been a significant increase in romance fraud during the coronavirus pandemic.

Since January, victims in west Wales have been scammed out of £1.3m by people they met online.

The force said criminals were taking advantage of people’s loneliness during lockdown.

Rebecca Jones, fraud safeguarding officer for the force, said men and women aged from 18 to 88-years-old had been targeted after looking for love online.

“Without a doubt, we’ve seen an increase from the initial lockdown,” she said.

==>”It’s a case of people turning to an online relationship during that lonely period and now we’re seeing the repercussions of that.”

Widow Carole [not her real name] said she met an “attentive, affectionate and funny” man on a dating site, who told her he was widowed, and she fell in love.

“He talked of our future together and all the fun times we would have travelling the world,” she said.

==>But Carole, who lives in west Wales, said he soon asked her for a loan, claiming his bank card had been frozen, but six months after she sent him money she found he was using someone else’s photo online and “my world fell apart”.

He managed to convince her he was not a fraudster though, and she continued to send him money despite suspicions.

==>Carole described how she was then used as a “money mule”, with him sending money into her account and telling her to forward it to people he owed in Europe.

“I lost a lot of money, but I felt far worse knowing I had been used as a mule to launder money,” she said.

“I know that the image I had made in my mind of my love interest didn’t match who he was, but it was real to me.”

Her bank reported suspected fraud and reported it to the police, and her accounts were frozen, but she lost all her life savings.

===>”It’s my own fault for being so stupid, kind and trusting,” she said.

!!!!Cyber Protection Officer Gareth Jordan said “money mules” often ended up handling a criminal’s proceeds without realizing it, being told to hold onto money for a while for a favor.

==>He said while it was a crime, victims should be reassured that police would be looking for the fraudsters rather than blaming them.

NB!!! “It’s incredible how good these criminals are at their social engineering skills – getting the best out of people, working on that person’s switches to grab them and drag them into a relationship,” he said.

Police said with further lockdowns likely, more people like Carole could fall victim to fraudsters, and they urged people to ===>>look for warning signs – like “too perfect” profile pictures, and to stick to reputable apps and websites.”

Clive Robinson November 9, 2020 5:14 PM

@ SpaceLifeForm, Moderator,

Log another two “markdown annoyances” in my above post.

The first and second lines of the first digit multiplication grid have been altered.

The backslash is missing from the start of the first line, and in the second line it’s replaced multiple minus chars with other chars.

vas pup November 9, 2020 5:22 PM

Researchers use ‘big data’ approach to identify melatonin as possible COVID-19 treatment

“A new study suggests that melatonin, a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and is commonly used as an over-the-counter sleep aid, may be a viable treatment option for COVID-19.

Overall, they determined that autoimmune (e.g., inflammatory bowel disease), pulmonary (e.g., chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pulmonary fibrosis) and neurological (e.g., depression and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) diseases showed significant network proximity to SARS-CoV-2 genes/proteins and identified 34 drugs as repurposing candidates, melatonin chief among them.

“Recent studies suggest that COVID-19 is a systematic disease impacting multiple cell types, tissues and organs, so knowledge of the complex interplays between the virus and other diseases is key to understanding COVID-19-related complications and identifying repurposable drugs,” said Dr. Cheng. “Our study provides a powerful, integrative network medicine strategy to predict disease manifestations associated with COVID-19 and facilitate the search for an effective treatment.”

vas pup November 9, 2020 5:31 PM

Human intelligence just got less mysterious

“Neuroscience experts from the University of Leicester have released research that breaks with the past fifty years of neuroscientific opinion, arguing that the way we store memories is key to making human intelligence superior to that of animals.

Now, after fifteen years of research, Leicester University’s Director of Systems Neuroscience believes that in fact the opposite to pattern separation is present in the human hippocampus. He argues that, contrary to what has been described in animals, the same group of neurons store all memories. The consequences of this are far reaching, as such neuronal representation, devoid of specific contextual details, explains the abstract thinking that characterizes human intelligence.

The study, ‘No pattern separation in the human hippocampus’, argues that the lack of pattern separation in memory coding is a key difference compared to other species, which has profound implications that could explain cognitive abilities uniquely developed in humans, such as our power of generalization and of creative thought.

Professor Quian Quiroga believes we should go beyond behavioral comparisons between humans and animals and seek for more mechanistic insights,
==>>asking what in our brain gives rise to human’s unique and vast repertoire of cognitive functions. In particular, he argues ===>that brain size or number of neurons cannot solely explain the difference, since there is, for example, a comparable number and type of neurons in the chimp and the human brain, and both species have more or less the same anatomical structures. ==>Therefore, our neurons, or at least some of them, must be doing something completely different, and one such difference is given by how they store our memories.”

Clive Robinson November 9, 2020 5:38 PM

@ SM,

Completely off topic, how is your toe?

Improving, thank you for asking, but it is doing so slower than the vote count 😉

I suspect the problem is not the counting but the observers, I don’t think I would want some “mouth breather type” huffing and puffing god alone knows what germs over me, as well as trying to psyc me out by staring, agressive posturing and likewise with movments in my eye line.

Likewise having people screaming and shouting banging on windows, doors etc and in other ways making a bl@@dy nuisance of themselves like turning up with openly displayed guns would I suspect unnerve the best of us.

I feel realy sorry for the ballot counters, they are just trying to do a rather tedious job accurately. And on top of that they are in effect “being victimized in the work place” by a bunch of ***** who’s main task appears to be to make the ballot counters feel intimidated and thus make mistakes that the ***** can then use opportunistically.

Maybe the “observers” should post a thousand dollar “good behaviour bond”. If they misbehave in any way not only do they forfit the bond that then goes to the counter(s), they also get prosecuted for harasment or equivalent.

At the end of the day being an “election officer” is not a glamours job, but people give up their time to do all the necessary functions with the minimum of human error. It would appear that nobody ever thanks them or even says “well done”… Perhaps it’s something people should remember, and it would be nice if the MSM etc gave them a thumbs up.

SpaceLifeForm November 9, 2020 5:41 PM

@ All

Simple weekend project. Some prep work required.

Maybe you have seen this accomplished in your area. 😉

This is a time-lapse video, 32 seconds.


The second video at the link is a different project.

Float your boat!

xcv November 9, 2020 5:47 PM

@ Clive Robinson

Likewise having people screaming and shouting banging on windows, doors etc and in other ways making a bl@@dy nuisance of themselves like turning up with openly displayed guns would I suspect unnerve the best of us.

Openly displayed guns? They’re cops. 100% law enforcement. Who do they think they’re kidding with that? Complaining about their salaries, wages, pensions, and benfits, as if they’re being “defunded” or placed on unpaid leave or something like that. Meanwhile the rest of us twiddle our thumbs in the unemployment line with lifelong felony records for mental health or insulting a street lady or something like that.

Clive Robinson November 9, 2020 6:43 PM

@ xcv,

If 8/10 bills have “traces” then it’s probably a given that their equipment is dirty and contaminated with traces of cocaine

No, they went to some considerable lengths to ensure their “scientificaly found” results were not contestable by the DA’s and their alledged forensic “experts”.

Others have carried out similar studies since in other countries and within expected margins due to note structure and materials confirmed the result.

The problem is a corelation does not mean causation. So having notes contaminated with say beer residue does not mean you drink beer, only that the note has come into contact with beer at some point prior to it being tested, likewise many other substances. For instance many bank notes are contaminated with nitrates of the same sort that are used in making home made explosives. Does this mean that the person has been making a bomb, of course not they could have cooked bacon at home in the morning or eaten anyone of a hundreds of “preserved meat” and other foods that have come into contact with “pickling salts” also called Pink or curing salts. If you eat real corned beef, what do you think those corns are made of?

Nitrates even those that are considered explosives such as nitrates of cellulose are realy very common[1]. Fake ivory used for piano keys were made of nitro cellulose, so were the handles of knives, forks and spoons. The best one of the lot was the “exploding billiards balls” back in the late 1800’s nitro cellulose or “celluloid” was used like we use petro chem based plastics today. Because nitro cellulose was considered better than the boiled milk and vinager solution that made casein (which is still used industrially today for making buttons). As anyone who has worked with celluloid will know it is highly inflamable, as the molecule has both a fuel and oxidizer component, some have more than one oxidizer component such as Tri-Nitro-Cellulose used as a smokeless powder (explosive) in gun cartridges. What less people know is the molecules are not exactly stable. Bash a nitro cellulose billard ball around for long enough and it will explode or atleast go “bang” like a gun shot[2]…



SpaceLifeForm November 9, 2020 6:54 PM


When staying under the RADAR is not an option.


xcv November 9, 2020 7:11 PM

@Clive Robinson

For instance many bank notes are contaminated with nitrates of the same sort that are used in making home made explosives. Does this mean that the person has been making a bomb, ??

Before my rights were revoked by social workers on the orders of a concerned community of citizens who failed to mind their own business, I was able to purchase gunpowder by the pound at any gun store, and load or reload my own brass cartridges with primers, powder, and bullet pressed in place.

Now my hometown is basically on fire, riots and demonstrations are everywhere, and I do feel a certain sense of justice when those people are getting looted, pillaged, sacked, and burned out of their homes and business for what they went to work to deny me and deprive me of.

The police officers and sheriff’s deputies who opened fire on me downtown Gresham disabused me of any respect for any sort of “law” or “order” of whatever jurisdiction they would impose — after all they had plans for me, and their plans for me did not include any options that would leave me alive.

A criminal case against me for insulting some street lady had dragged on for months and months, over a year, and it was thrown out of court by the judge due to jurisdictional issues, and I was barely able to leave town alive. Took SR-14 crossed back into Oregon at the Bridge of the Gods, drove up the Columbia River Gorge in mid-winter, over 100 miles on slippery wet glare ice on a remote mountain road that was closed for the winter.

Picked up a stow-away, I was almost killed, an armed Mob pursued me from Salt Lake City through Las Vegas to San Diego, one of them was caught by Mexican police as I took the last U.S. exit, another didn’t make it, the rest are after me to this day.

Clive Robinson November 9, 2020 7:52 PM

@ xcv,

The “watermark” story is a compleate load of “Horses Apples” as I’ve already mentioned to @Anders on the previous squid thread.

It’s a nutbar conspiracy theory that has it’s routes in two events that happened back in 2018.

The first was a DHS press statment that came about as a result of the DHS looking into election security. They suggested that the States who print the actual ballot papers watermark them in some way.

The second was some nonsense statment about watching the water from Qanon as a Qdrop.

Somebody put two and two together and came up with not five, but a much higher number, possably orbital with what ever chemicals they were using.

They must have been told about the “EURion Constalation watetmark” that can be seen as faint yellow circles on some bank notes. Apparently software in both scanners and printers recognize this and do not perform correctly, thus making the scanning and printing off of banknotes supposadly difficult…

So the story had it that the DHS had put these secret watermarks on ballots (they did not print but states do). In the scanners and printers (the States do not use). That would be used for printing and counting the ballots and they would barf on any forgeries. And pressumably alert the DHS in some way (unspecified).

The story then goes on that the National Guard were going to iminantly arrest all these pinko election stealing democrats… Because these pinko’s were not in the know (highly unlikely that the National Guard could keep it secret from the state they are in).

Which shows how little the idiot who thought this up knows about elections and the National Guard Units…

But it gets better, one idiot said it was secured with the blockchain… Anyone who knows even a very small bit about the blockchain knows it’s entire security relies on a Public Ledger, if it’s not got a public Ledger then it’s a computationaly very expensive Merkle Tree, and for a watetmark or even individual serial numbers not something you would even remotely consider using, because it makes no logical sense.

But the story gets even better for the retelling.

Some other idiot must have found marketing blurb for a product called “smartwater” and put two and two together and came up with the proof of crop circles or some such in their mind. Because they said that the watermark contained some secret combination of “non radioactive isotopes”…

Another that it was the Chinese that were not only printing up these fake ballots, but that the Chinese were posting them as well…

So the story turned from being a “Secret Military Operation” to “It’s China, I tells yer, it’s China wot dun it”.

Anyone who knows anything about the security technologies mentioned would be rolling around on the floor with tears of laughter in their eyes…

It took me about 30 seconds with a crude search term to find bits of the story, that with half a glance I could see was compleate “tosh”. But it enabled me to refine my search terms a little and a tads more digging hit paydirt when it pulled up this,

Needless to say it’s been not only debunked by common sense, there have been no phony ballot papers without “Oh so secret” watermarks turn up[1], but the National Guard[2] or as they were once known “State Militias” are I assume still doing either not a lot currently or what ever the state Governors tell them to do, but either way no arrests let alone mass arrests by gunpoint of Democrats…

Nor is one expected any time soon, but hey give it time, I’m sure some idiot will try to “re-boil it” after all never let a dumb ass conspiracy theory go to waste 😉

[1] It’s the sort of thing someone who does not understand the nature of “You can not prove a negative” would think of as proof…


name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons November 9, 2020 8:18 PM

@ vas pup

The futuristic transport concept involves pods inside vacuum tubes carrying passengers at high speeds.

That’s hilarious, what does the applied grid voltage need to be in order for the tube to achieve bias?

Winter November 10, 2020 12:51 AM

“It’s the sort of thing someone who does not understand the nature of “You can not prove a negative” would think of as proof…”

My answer to such people is always: “Prove to me gnomes do not exist.”

SpaceLifeForm November 10, 2020 1:11 AM

@ Anders, Clive

Since it is a slow news day…

(pure sarcasm) (DOD, GSA, NSA, DOJ)

It will be ok. They are trying to gin up the base to maintain control of the US Senate. January 5th runoff votes for 2 Senate seats.

If the GOP loses control of senate, then starting next year the criminal charges will start to drop.

I know it is really difficult times for the natsec folk, but I know they know what to do, even if higher ups get fired. They are not going to magically change their mission. They are collecting it all. Collecting evidence.

People used to always complain about Bureaucracy. But for the short term, it will help. Trump does not understand the inertia they control.

The nice thing about Parler, is that Devin Nunes hangs out there.

“A lawsuit without provable facts showing a statutory or constitutional violation is just a tweet with a filing fee,” said Justin Levitt, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.


Of the 50, 37 were indeed dead and had not voted, according to the voter information database. Five people out of the 50 had voted — and they are all still alive, according to public records accessed by CNN. The remaining eight are also alive but didn’t vote.

Winter November 10, 2020 2:21 AM

“A lawsuit without provable facts showing a statutory or constitutional violation is just a tweet with a filing fee,” said Justin Levitt, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.

Personally, I do not know what to think of it.

Are the incumbents really thinking that they have a chance of overturning the election outcome?

Or is this posturing to prepare the grounds, and population, for a new, media, career?

Winter November 10, 2020 2:32 AM

@Winter (myself)
“Or is this posturing to prepare the grounds, and population, for a new, media, career?”

When posting this question, it currently occurred to me that Fox News has suddenly turned critical of Trump. And Trump has another Media darling: One America.

So I can brew my own conspiracy:
Trump is planning to set up his own competitor to Fox News. And Fox News knows.

Probably just my own fever dreams.

SpaceLifeForm November 10, 2020 2:45 AM

@ vas pup, Clive

Fake forensics involved.

No gender change. Takes too long. Does not fit timeframe.

Probably wig (or bleach, color, and perm), makeup, fake passport, and the magic TSA computer problem.

The Escape from New York was a two-step process.

First was the fake suicide to get out of prison.

The second was the escape over the border (TSA, Customs).

Trump will need a lot of lipstick to pull this off.

Especially considering he is broke and does not know where the skeletons are.

Epstein has plenty of money, and plenty of pull.

Winter November 10, 2020 3:02 AM

“Epstein has plenty of money, and plenty of pull.”

Why would anybody go to the effort to save him? What could an escape achieve that a “suicide” could not?

SpaceLifeForm November 10, 2020 3:08 AM

@ Clive, Anders

Though is Parler a “Watering hole” or “Tar pit”?

Yes. 😉

It can appear mighty fine on the surface.

Looks like a fine watering hole, but then they get trapped.


Researcher Zero November 10, 2020 3:27 AM

The Eu is talking again about regulating cryptography, banning end-to end encryption and backdoors.

I had a device given to me to be used for encrypted communications to talk to personnel overseas. They quickly came back to remove the device because ‘the Russians had discovered the backdoor that the CIA had placed in it, and were intercepting the communications so that they could have snipers in place to shoot at our personnel when dropped into rescue people.’

I’m sure they will not find the backdoors this time either, just like we don’t find other nations backdoors (we do find them), and that banning end-to-end encryption in WhatsApp will stop “all of the terrorists.”

Researcher Zero November 10, 2020 4:15 AM


We do have problems with corrupt cops, but the problem is that most of the public will not stand up against them when it comes to prosecuting them.
We get the odd person who has enough principle and brains to understand that not testifying against corruption is not a solution. One person on their own is often not enough though, and where you have corrupt cops, you have corrupt public prosecutors. The two being mutually exclusive, they can not function without on another.

Now individual politicians could do something about it, but too many don’t want the complications of listening to security briefings. By being briefed or sleeping through briefings they can claim ignorance. “I didn’t know”, is the must used excuse in The ‘English Speaking Barrel of Excuses’, and all other barrels that are found around the world. Failure to act because I didn’t want to know is not a singularly unique failing confined just to me. I’m sure others have failed at times to be as understanding, supportive and affirmative as they could be.

Collective failure to act in intelligence is a problem (we have laws that allow us not to tell anyone anything that are an easy excuse to avoid responsibility). I can assure you that failure to act is rife among politicians, even when it involves very serious allegations against their colleagues, it is rife in the police, and it is rife among the public as well. All we need is for people to stand beside their neighbors and testify in court over some god awful abuse of power by a small group of people in each City and we would wipe out 99% of child abuse and police brutality in the space of a year. We would also make a good dent in corruption. It is going to take more than 1 in every 20 witnesses to do it though.

If 2 or 3 out of every 10 people that saw something wrong filed a complaint about it we might all have a chance of collectively getting our heads out of our own behinds and recognize one another as the breathing, thinking beings.
Only then would we notice the small scattering of sociopaths throughout our society that are hiding in plain sight.

SpaceLifeForm November 10, 2020 4:17 AM

@ Winter, vas pup, Clive

Why would anybody go to the effort to save him? What could an escape achieve that a “suicide” could not?

Because even if he was really dead, the blackmail would continue.

At the time, as part of the blackmail, they were forced to let him escape alive.


Note that the raid was directed by SDNY.

If you think the FBI did not collect any DNA, you would be thinking about going to Parler.

Yet, there was zero discussion of the DNA after the “autopsy”.

I believe that FBI figured it out. It goes high, really high.

Trump and Barr high.

Lots of dots. Read these two links, and note the names involved.


The big dot is this:


Clive Robinson November 10, 2020 5:13 AM

@ SpaceLifeForm, Winter,

Looks like a fine watering hole, but then they get trapped.

Yes, just like any other Security issue where human perception is “played” by what some call “Social Engineering” there are definit warning signs and marks…

One such is the very definite “social warning signs” of, as the old saying has it “you are judged by the company you keep”…

So as an example of what lies in the Parler tar-pit and is trapped there by their own deficiencies, is a foul minded, ultra right wing, bigoted, defimation peddling, now found guilty, now “virtualy” bankrupt, has been, media personality, product of the “Apprentice” one Katie Hoppkins…

She could be capable of handing out some good advice to other Parler members about bad things to say, poor legal moves to make, the loss of home, income, platforms to spread her brand of poison, etc. If she ever realises that her downfall was very much of her own making from start to so far nearly but not quite finished (do train wrecks ever truly stop moving?).

I’m sure there are many who would like to see her rot in durance vile for ever, but I guess they are not nasty enough to realise that a modern day purgatory is not of necessity one of Dante’s lower levels.

She clearly has a personality disorder, that stops her seeing what she is and how she got there and where she is going if she carries on. The thing is such a disorder is going to make her old bitter and more than a little twisted long long before her time. Thus she acts almost like a “Cardinal Marker” to where submerged hazards lie…

So much so she does not even see them herself,

Here she is banging on the walls of the empty vessel she’s been forced to move into, trying to be in tune with the echos of her sad little blip of an existance… Notice how even when standing on a chair, in reality she stands alone, and as people once said of such people “it ain’t her feet that’s a stinking”,

She’s certainly someone “That eats their own dog food” just remember though, if you see her out walking a dog, work out which end is leading and why. Oh and at which end of the lead the IQ is.

For more background on Katie Hopkins,

That’s the sort of person Parler is proud to have as a member…

So watch out for the Cardinal Marks, they might keep you out of troubled waters.

Clive Robinson November 10, 2020 9:12 AM

@ Winter,

But that did not happen. It was denial everywhere. And I do not understand why?

In part it’s a form of inertia, it’s why we had the banking crisis.

If people do not change course they can argue amongst themselves but know that none can be blaimed because all are to blaim. Likewise other use the wake to get a free ride, they do not want a change of course because that costs them personally.

So whilst a change of course gets talked to death none want to take a risk without everyone else all agreeing, which they won’t because their income depends on the illusion of division and segregation. Without divison nobody has need of their services…

Whilst such behaviours can mostly be ignored because it’s all faux behaviours raised over matters that lack importance, occasionaly they do. Then such inconsequential people actually have to show leadership and act decisively without fear of the potential risk of being wrong.

Which goes against their basic quarrelsome but profitable behaviours.

So they revert to what they know, and stay within their comfort zone. Which means no personal risk thus no change of course.

Thus they also deny their might be rocks awaiting that will sink them all. But they will all continuously rearange the deck chairs bickering and quarreling amoungst them selves all to get a better appreciation of the band playing “Nearer my God to thee”…

JonKnowsNothing November 10, 2020 10:04 AM

@Winter @Clive

It is also because Change scares people. They do not know if anything they do will alter or improve their personal circumstances. So they do nothing for themselves and cast others into a different boat so that they feel secure in “carrying on”.

It is a false sense security. It’s Linus’ Security Blanket.

In a way they become paralyzed by their own fear and pretend “See Nothing Happening”.

Change is a form of Destabilization.

The intensity can be gauged by how close the change is to your personal sphere. The farther the ripple is from you the less concern there is. When the rock hits you dead on, or hits someone within your inner sphere it gets personal.

How to get people to react to something far-from-them is a difficult proposition and not every method used is that successful. Ads, propaganda, information, data, pleading, laws, are all attempts to get people to Move That Way Together.

It only works to certain point.

Case in Point:
Denmark has made a U-Turn on culling the minks with the 5 different Mink-Human mutations (Cluster 1 – Cluster 5)(Cluster 5 is the one of “concern”).

The Danish PMs would not approve the cull due to financial hardships (since it is near culling season anyway). So the young minks will be harvested for their furs and the old minks will die from Mink-COVID-19 anyway.

There is not much information publicly available on Cluster 1-Cluster 5. So it is much easier to deny that there is a problem. The farmers definitely do not see a problem. Their elected officials are inclined to vote for money over “the health of others outside of Denmark”.

The ripple is too far from them to make a change.

Of course, there isn’t much known about how to clean a mink fur from COVID-19 contamination. There are surface treatments in tanning process that probably will eliminate any exterior virus. What’s in the cell membranes and if there’s any long term contamination issues is likely unknown.

They certainly won’t be advertising in China (the big market for mink furs)
  COVID-19 Mink fur coat, COVID-19 Mink fur jackets, COVID-19 Mink fur collars.

SpaceLifeForm November 10, 2020 2:41 PM

@ Clive, Anders, Winter, ALL

On the current GSA problem.

It is almost impossible to get someone out of a cult.

Emily is a Karen.


As we explain in detail below, GSA Administrator Emily Murphy’s failure to make a timely ascertainment could have significant national security implications by putting the transition team in suspended animation, particularly in the midst of a global pandemic that is worsening by the day.

[The new team is being hamstrung because they can not be briefed via secure .gov email, so any security briefings must be in person and/or via paper. It is slow, but maybe more secure at this time]

Clive Robinson November 10, 2020 4:23 PM

@ SpaceLifeForm, Anders, Winter, ALL,

… failure to make a timely ascertainment could have significant national security implications by putting the transition team in suspended animation…

Only in US style political systems.

As I’ve mentioned a long while ago, in the UK and many other places the “transition period” is a matter of hours not months.

It’s fairly clear that the current encumbrant is going to try every trick to stay in office, and even knowing that can not work is going to use it to “salt the earth”.

In short Donald is going to have a progressive “night of the long knives” where he kicks out all people except those that are his sycophants. Thus behead government rendering the President Elect, effectively impotent on getting into office.

To be honest therevwas a clear warning of this sort of stupidity back in 2000 and the rules should have been tightened up, but they were not.

Better yet, get rid of the “transition period” because despite clear warning the process has become “weaponised”.

If many other nations have no need of such a transition period, then perhaps the US citizen would be justified in asking why such a system is still in place, because it’s obviously going to be weaponised again as any immoral tactic of war is by those who are filled with bile, venom and spite, and would burn down the house with themselves inside rather than concede it to an opponent.

It is unfortunately typical behavioir of a narcissistic sociopath who will destroy all rather than admit they are failures. Such people are becoming more obvious in politics and it is highly destructive if they are alowed such an opportunity.

But despite the GSA and Trump it looks like the transition is going to be more fraught than it otherwise might be,

As I pointed out, for the main effects on US citizens the two candidates were interchangable.

Look at it this way, you otder two pints of beer in a bar, one of larger one of bitter. What’s the difference?

Well they are both pints, they both have a head on them, they contain the same amount of alcohol and the cost is similar… Thus the difference is realy “a matter of taste”.

This situation arises because of the money involved, it basically has to be “borrowed” in that “returns with intetest are due”. The thing about wealth is that it makes you conservative not progressive in view. Thus the 1% of the 1% of the 1% act as massive “sea anchors” on the progress of society. If the citizens do not wake up to this then they will find that more and more of their existance will be taxed not by the Govetnment for the use of society but instead made worse, actual tax will get siphoned off to the 1% of the 1% and the “rent seeking” behaviours of those 1%’ers will be a tax twice as difficult to carry. Thus as our host once pointed out US society will become feudalistic with nearly all the population turned into serfs or slaves subject to arbitary attacks on their persons and few possessions against which they can not fight. The so called “Progressives” are well aware of this and they want to change it, but “money talks…”. A look at the history of Europe tells you that “Pandemics” whilst no respectors of wealth and status, actually hit the barrons atleast twice as hard as the commoners, thus cause significant social change. The President Elect should perhaps be talking to those he would not traditionaly do so. Thus if he does not, the US may well quite quickly “sleepwalk into a nightmare” of the largest national security crisis it has ever faced (which might account for changes in certain liberal personal purchasing trends as they “prep-up”).

SpaceLifeForm November 10, 2020 4:48 PM

@ Clive, Anders, All

On that GSA issue:

What do you see if you try to visit ?

What do you see if you dig/drill on that domain?

What do you see via whois on that domain? Note date of registration.

Cross check your results.

It is interesting that an entity outside of the US is involved.

One may find this an interesting read:


JonKnowsNothing November 10, 2020 5:01 PM


re: pejorative use of a proper name

You are better than that…

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Karen is a given name. In English, it is a feminine name derived from the name Catherine. In Armenia, however, it is a masculine name deriving from Middle Iranian. The name is also found in modern Africa, as well as in East Asia. Karen entered the English language from Danish , where it has been a short form of “Katherine” since medieval times.

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The Karen are an ethnolinguistic group of Sino-Tibetan language-speaking peoples.

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House of Karen as one of the Seven Great Houses of Iran during the rule of Parthian and Sassanian Empires.

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Clasp with an eagle and its prey, believed by Ernst Herzfeld to originally belong the House of Karen, one of the Seven Great Houses of Iran … Metropolitan Museum of Art NY

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JonKnowsNothing November 10, 2020 6:05 PM

@Clive @Winter @SpaceLifeForm @All

re: USA Election Transition Period

Zho… a few things to note:

1, Biden is President ELECT (until the Electoral College Votes) and the change over happens when he takes Oath of Office

2, Trump is still President until that date and has all the power trappings and regalia until then

3, During Presidential Election Cycles, the Secret Service which is charged with protecting the President and Family as well as other high-profile-high-value-targets, begins the process of “protecting” during the cycle. During the process as some candidates drop out, protection will be shifted more towards those still in the running. As the sieve continues we end up with 2 major candidates and a bunch of small party candidates.

We do have more than 2 parties but the game is rigged by Dems+Reps to shut out the other parties by setting funding and TV+Media access to thresholds they cannot meet. If they do poll close to a threshold the Dems+Reps move the goalposts.

4, Once it is pretty clear that there are 2 major candidates there are increased contacts with government agencies and such. There are ones Trump controls and there are some he does not. The frequency of briefings and the quality of information depends on a number of factors including Security Clearances but these do take place and if a 3d party (Moose) happened along they would get these briefings too.

5, In this election we had members of the US Senate and former VP, and one can be pretty sure they have existing or re-activated Security Clearances.

6, What they may not get is 100% disclosure before the date of inauguration for those things that Trump controls. Trump does not control and cannot hinder by withholding information, those things that belong to the President Elect.

These are seasoned politicians, they are not noobs, they know the system and they know how it runs (or doesn’t).

The President is the 3d leg of our government. S/he is not a Queen/King, nor are they bound to do the bidding of a Prime Minister and required to say whatever that PM decrees. The government will not falter much if they do not get the last 1% or 10% or 20% of the information. They know it already.

What is less helpful is the stacking and racking of the Presidential Appointments Process in collusion with the Republican held Senate and under the analysis of John Yoo, has put departmental processes “at risk” (see Unitary executive theory). There are still plenty of people under these un-offical-acting-department-heads that know their jobs.

One thing Trump does control is BORTAC.

7, If Trump were reading this, I would suggest he schedule State Banquets from now until the Last Day, invite all his friends for the 3 meals (BLD) and afternoon snacks. Normally it costs @$50,000-$100,000 USD to get invited. He would have a nice retirement stash to go with his Presidential Detail, Health Benefits and Pension.

8, As a footnote: Historically the Republican party (aka the Party of Lincoln) was the progressive party in the USA. Full of radical ideas like: abolition.

“… a champion and promulgator of Liberty rather than propagandist of slavery”. The name reflects the 1776 republican values of civic virtue and opposition to aristocracy and corruption

After 1912, the Party underwent a social ideological shift to the right. The party name is the only thing the modern Republican Party shares with the one that Lincoln represented.

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John Choon Yoo is a Korean-born American legal scholar and former government official best known for authoring the Torture Memos, which provided a legal rationale for the torture of detainees during the War on Terror. Yoo is the Emanuel S. Heller Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley.

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ht tps://

ht tps://

The Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC) is the paramilitary arm of the United States Border Patrol

ht tps://,_1912)

The Progressive Party was a third party in the United States formed in 1912 by former president Theodore Roosevelt after he lost the presidential nomination of the Republican Party to his former protégé and conservative rival, incumbent president William Howard Taft. The new party was known for taking advanced positions on progressive and populist reforms and attracting leading national reformers. … The Progressive Party was popularly nicknamed the “Bull Moose Party” …

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SpaceLifeForm November 10, 2020 6:14 PM

@ JonKnowsNothing, Clive

Thank you for the enlightenment.

My appologies to the real Karens.

I was referring to those that are whining about their feelings being hurt.

I heard rumours last week, but since they are lawyers, I figured they would not go there.

Alas, insanity overrides.

When you double-down on the Streisand effect, it is, well, entertaining.


Clive Robinson November 10, 2020 7:04 PM


How can Biden be president-elect even before all the votes have been counted and verified?

Easy, when he has a majority of electrol college votes.

From what has been said, the remaining votes are less than the disputed Florida Votes back in 2000. So spread across atleast three states, they do not Maont to very much except as political noise.

Trump has behaved sufficiently rashly that no doubt conversations about §4 of the XXV Amendment are being held…

Either way I suspect Trump is now Toast, and the majority of Americans will no doubt sigh with relief once the secret service drop him off at the bus stop with a box and a carrier bag.

SpaceLifeForm November 10, 2020 7:05 PM

@ Clive, Anders, ALL

You may find this a good read.

Just saying.


Clive Robinson November 10, 2020 7:31 PM

@ SpaceLifeForm, Anders, ALL,

Just saying.

Yes… I guess it all hinges on what definition of “protect” the Secretary of the Dept of Homeland Security decides upon for has-beens.

After all that could be the sort of protective custody that Special Administrative Measures (SAM) brings. After all it would stop him making more enemies, and I guess he want’s to avoid those “process servers” so that would be an easy “Twoferr”..

But it does raise the interesting point of how they might protect him in the general population of Rikers Island…

SpaceLifeForm November 10, 2020 10:02 PM

@ Clive, ALL

Silicon Turtles

How is that Intel Microcode working for you?


SpaceLifeForm November 10, 2020 10:18 PM

@ Clive, Anders, All

Some may have noticed that I left out the sarcasm tags above.

Some may not have. We will find out.

JonKnowsNothing November 10, 2020 10:19 PM

@Clive Robinson @ @All

re: the oddness of USA Elections created because our founding fathers (and rarely mentioned mothers) didn’t want a King or a Parliament.

How can Biden be president-elect even before all the votes have been counted and verified?
Easy, when he has a majority of electoral college votes.

Well… almost, maybe and not always.

The Electors were created because it took a long time to get to Tipperary and it was easier for one or two people to travel by horse or coach to meet up than haul people over the Cumberland Gap.

And like a lot of things in the USA there are rules but it’s most is done By Tradition. Tradition and Custom say that the Electors will vote for the persons selected by their districts-territories but it’s not written in stone.

There are Faithless Electors that vote contrary to their instructions and this is normally done as a “protest” when the counter-vote has no impact on the outcome. However, if 30 or so (enough to tip the count) Electors decided to cast counter-votes, Trump could/might remain President.

There have been a total of 165 instances of faithlessness as of 2016

Additionally, if enough counter-votes were to be cast and/or enough abstentions were made so that there was no “winner” per the Electoral College Rules, there would be re-votes. This has happened for President and also for Vice President (when the VP was elected separately from the President).

There are number odd-duck actions that can happen if the Electors take too long to decide. At that time we get an “Acting President” and/or and “Acting VP” until they make a decision. There’s fall-backs on how that happens.

So, Trump could remain president if he could flip enough Electors to force an Electoral College deadlock.

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ht tps://
ht tps://

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In the United States, a contingent election is the procedure used to elect the president or vice president in the event that no candidate for one or both of these offices wins an absolute majority of votes in the Electoral College… Contingent elections have occurred three times in American history: in 1801, 1825, and 1837.

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Researcher Zero November 11, 2020 1:15 AM


“Just in time” stops of people take place because we can not act unless someone is the act of committing a crime, and often tips come when someone is about to or in the process of committing a crime. If a man is in the process of kidnapping a young girl, we can attempt to make an arrest. If a man is thinking about kidnapping a young girl we cannot make an arrest until he acts, as they do not tend to come and hand themselves in.

The same logic and reality applies to people committing acts of violence. We need physical evidence, and a good deal of it. People tend to plan things secretly. There are laws in place that prevent us exposing some methods of intelligence collection, even in a court of law, due to the sensitive nature of how we collect intelligence. Take HackingTeam for example, irresponsible sale of intrusion and collection tools can place them in the hands of very malicious people, including those who would harm children.

And now some satire to lighten the mood.

We cannot yet arrest people for though crimes, but we are working on it.
Of course such legislation would only come in to effect if they were particularly stupid thoughts. If there was some kind of logical rational behind the thoughts, which included first hand collaborated experience justifying the thoughts, we would be prevented from acting, until such thoughts were put into action. We would then attempt to arrest the individual if they were indeed in the process of committing a tangible form of said crime. If they were just imagining committing a violation of the law, we would then be again prevented from making an arrest.

Researcher Zero November 11, 2020 1:18 AM

^missed the T in thought

Using this technique, we recover RSA keys processed by mbed TLS from an SGX enclave.

h ttps://

h ttps://

Clive Robinson November 11, 2020 3:16 AM

@ SpaceLifeForm,

How is that Intel Microcode working for you?

Thankfully worse for others than it is for me…

The S3 Sleep Mode fault, is one of those I’ve talked about long in the past when designing the “C-v-P” –as @Wael named it– system.

It’s a “below CPU Level” in the computing stack and Intel has little excuse for it’s existance as it’s been known from the very early days of Direct Memory Access(DMA) and later Memory Managment Units(MMU) used so that you can have fast I/0 and Easy task switching respectively.

That is the CPU “Does what it’s memory tells it to do, not what it’s designer thinks it should do”. So to stop “code not from the designer being loaded” we use that wonderfully unreliable “Code Signing” that is a major security curse by “loading then checking” because code signing as we currently use it does not work on partial blocks of memory. In C-v-P I used a hardware hypervisor thst would halt the CPU and “walk the memory” checksum/hashing it to ensure it had not been changed[1] by either malware or programing mistakes. As this ran independently of what the software designer did it was very much less susceptible to the vagaries of “code signing” as they would implement it in their design process.

The article you link to, more or less says it all with,

“During a normal boot the firmware validates the contents of the SPI flash are signed by the OEM, but this step is skipped on many platforms during resume from S3. This allows a local attacker with physical access to substitute their unsigned code in place of the official firmware and take control of the system very early in the resume process, without disturbing the contents of the main memory.”

The two points I highlight indicate first the mistake and second the consequences.

Which begs the question was the mistake Deliberate or accidental? I’m voting for deliberately done. Not as a backdoor as such, but as a speed up in “Marketing driven” “specmanship” or “Go faster stripes”.

The article goes on to list a whole load of other “Change the memory change the CPU ownership” attacks, highlighting the truth I’d realised more than a third of a century ago.


blockquote>Checking memory integrity is very dificult if done at the CPU level or above,
as it has to be inyegrated CORRECTLY at ALL stages by the software developers. Thus the only way to do it reliably is not by software but by HARDWARE and BELLOW the CPU level.



I had actually looked into what would be required in a DMA style device to do this and found there were problems, so I looked at using memory encryption that sort of works, but has issues above that of “key leakage”.

But the thing to remember is checking memory is a slow process, which is why when the price of memory fell people started looking at “memory tagging” at the address word level (see CHERI amongst others) as an extension to ECC Memory parity checking. But it’s insufficiently secure against a below CPU level or sleep mode type “Change the memory, Change the ownership” attack as the tags have little or no entropy…

Basically memory changing can be detected by parity or CRC checksumming provided the attacker can not change either the parity tag bit or the code block checksum. Which because neither is even remotely secure means you have to overlay such methods with checking that is secure and normally this relies on high levels of entropy which means a field size of 128bits of memory as a minimum these days for both the data and the tag.

[1] The hardware hypervisor did this “stop and check” of a “prison CPU memory” randomly and at a frequency selected by the SysAdmin. Whilst it is not going to be 100% secure, –nothing is,– it brings a very high degree of probabalistic security.

SpaceLifeForm November 11, 2020 4:17 AM

@ name, Clive

In light of the current security concerns, today’s PDB was leaked.

It is short.

“McDonalds has a special today. Get a Big Mac meal with a shake, and you get a free Filet-O-Fish!”

Wael November 11, 2020 4:26 AM

@Clive Robinson, @SpaceLifeForm, @Researcher Zero,

The hardware hypervisor did this “stop and check” of a “prison CPU memory”

I vaguely recollect discussing microcode back then in the context of C-v-P, since it was some Oberons ago.

JonKnowsNothing November 11, 2020 9:55 AM

@Researcher Zero

re: We cannot yet arrest people for though crimes, but we are working on it.

One aspect of these ideas that is ignored or remains unmentioned, it that “thought” is not linear. It does not go from A-Z in one line. Humans (and animals) have many thoughts floating about at the same time.

In animals thoughts may follow a linear path sometimes such as Pavlovian Dinner Training: OH time for chow!, but much of the time it is not linear: where shall I catnap now? Where is the sun? Is this the sunniest spot? Am I curled up just right?

In Humans thoughts float all over the place, and our “attention span” is pretty much that of a nat. So we context switch from one sequence to another. When we lose the end of the thread we have to retrace our thoughts to find the end so we can lose it again.

In Humans we also have all sorts of thoughts triggered by traumas both deep and physical as well as what may appear minor to others (humiliation, teasing, bullying). Such thoughts “race around” a never ending track dredging up buckets of emotional by-products.

If a “thought detection system” ever is fully developed, there have been some quack attempts, best be ready to experience the full force of PTSD and Racing Thoughts. These will be worse than what Social Media and LEAs view and listen to today, because they are thoughts, you will have to don-the-brain-wave-transmitter to experience them first hand.

Along with thoughts come emotions and once you have a thought, you cannot “un-think it” and you cannot “un-feel it”.

I don’t recommend you volunteer for that duty.

ht tps://

cognitive dissonance occurs when a person holds contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values, and is typically experienced as psychological stress when they participate in an action that goes against one or more of them. According to this theory, when two actions or ideas are not psychologically consistent with each other, people do all in their power to change them until they become consistent. The discomfort is triggered by the person’s belief clashing with new information perceived, wherein they try to find a way to resolve the contradiction to reduce their discomfort.

(url fractured to prevent autorun)

Sherman Jay November 11, 2020 12:06 PM

In the united states the FCC has become a horrible, destructive farce. The internet has gone from being an insecure ‘wild west’ to an insecure, abusive corporate oligarchy. Now, more threats to safety security online:

h t t ps://

Access to the internet in the united states is a disaster. Your ISP (if you even have one – 20-40 million don’t) is logging and selling ALL your activity and you have no recourse except a VPN which will cost you money and will likely do the same.

JonKnowsNothing November 11, 2020 1:47 PM

@Sherman Jay

Access to the internet in the united states is a disaster. Your ISP (if you even have one – 20-40 million don’t) is logging and selling ALL your activity and you have no recourse except a VPN which will cost you money and will likely do the same.

Recently I had to listen while someone was extolling the virtues of On-Line Everything especially since COVID-19 was making Face2Face stuff difficult. I got lectured about the value of having tons of Apps For XYZ so that I could do ABC activities.

I got a second blast of lectures about how Now You MUST have Apps or you cannot DO Official Anythings, such as Video MD appointments, School Registration, Legal Interfacing with Government, County and City Regulators and other minor things like Banking. I had Medical Staff demand my phone so they could install their Medical App (perhaps in an attempt at being helpful).

They asked me why I didn’t install these items? What was wrong with me? Why don’t I “Get With The Program”?

I told them the only new program my phone will get, once RottedA makes it no longer function with a forced “security” update, is to throw it into a running stump grinder.

Trying to explain the FCC to someone who thinks they found the Holy Grail in slick plastic packaging has the same effect as asking people

Please Wear A Mask ‘Cause I Don’t Want To Die Just Yet

JonKnowsNothing November 11, 2020 1:57 PM


Re: Literary puzzle solved for just third time in almost 100 years

British comedy writer John Finnemore has solved Cain’s Jawbone, a murder mystery that has 32m possible combinations

A fun MSM article about a particularly difficult puzzle.

From Wikipedia:

Cain’s Jawbone is a British puzzle book written by Edward Powys Mathers under the pseudonym “Torquemada”, first published in 1934. It consists of a 100-page murder mystery story, with the pages published in the wrong order. The reader has to correctly assemble the correct page order, with a cash prize on offer to whoever can solve it. Since publication, Cain’s Jawbone has been solved by three people: Mr. S. Sydney-Turner and Mr. W. S. Kennedy in the 1930s who won £25 each, and John Finnemore in 2020 who won £1,000.

The name for Cain’s Jawbone references the first murder weapon in history, according to the Bible, referencing the story of Cain and Abel

ht tps://

ht tps://

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

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons November 11, 2020 2:15 PM

@ SpaceLifeForm
I kind of expected that the briefs had been modified, now there is a menu and coupon books for discounts on various action items–primarily lunch. The NSC has seen better days, but hey they are probably not hungry.

vas pup November 11, 2020 5:23 PM

New Yorker fires Jeffrey Toobin for exposing himself on Zoom:

My nickel: that is what I am talking about on this respected blog for many years:
you could be bright in liberal arts, but burned to the ashes by using current technology which you have NO idea how it is working.

I hope Bruce in Harvard will teach those future lawyers, judges, prosecutors about secure usage of current technology.

By the way, I was laughing when many years ago IT guy working for (keep your breath) Department of Homeland Security was burned for using his WORKING computer for searching child pornography. So, IT education is not enoculation against stupidity as well.

vas pup November 11, 2020 5:34 PM

‘Don’t weaponise the net’ warns former NCSC cyber-chief Ciaran Martin

===>”In cyber-space, a strong defense should take precedence over arming ourselves with new weapons, the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC)’s ex-chief has warned.

Ciaran Martin added that we “weaponize” and “militarize the internet at our peril”.

His remarks follow reports of the use of offensive cyber-techniques by nations, including the UK.

=>Mr Martin said he was not a digital pacifist, but he urged restraint.

“The case for cyber-restraint is a hard-headed one,” he said in a lecture to the Strand Group, part of King’s College.

===>”A more secure digital environment is the best guarantor of safety and security for Western countries in the digital age.”
The NCSC is the defensive arm of the intelligence agency GCHQ, Mr Martin was the division’s first chief executive, and stepped down from the role in September.

The use of offensive cyber-weapons has been gathering pace.

The US is believed to have been the first to deploy one in the Stuxnet attack against the Iranian nuclear program a decade ago.

Russia has been linked to many high-profile attacks since then, including:

•taking down a French TV Channel in April 2015
•switching off a Ukrainian power grid in December 2015
•targeting Ukraine with a virus, known as NotPetya, in June 2017.

Western countries have also carried out lower threshold cyber-attacks.

America’s NSA hit the infrastructure of cyber-actors in Russia, who were said to be trying to target the US elections.

==>Mr Martin outlined a five-tier structure using the acronym Hacks, rising in level of seriousness:

•Hacking an opponent to prevent them acting
•Adversarial infrastructure destruction, targeting their cyber-capabilities
•Counter-influencing by promoting information or pre-positioning cyber-weapons
•Kinetic attack to disrupt a target
•Systems-wide attack, effectively war.

The danger, he argued, came from Western nations using the higher-end capabilities.”

Russia’s NotPetya attack was a reminder of ==>the potential for unpredictable outcomes, after the virus involved spread beyond Ukraine and affected businesses worldwide.

Mr Martin also warned about the danger of cyber-weapons leaking out.

In one case, a US weapon was stolen, made public and then repurposed by North Korean hackers, who used it to unleash the WannaCry virus.

It spread around the world, hitting the UK’s NHS among others, in 2017.

“It is irresponsible for governments to plan on the basis that they can develop and store cyber-capabilities on the ==>assumption that they will never leak or be stolen,” Mr Martin said.

But the greatest danger, he argued, is Western countries’ dependence on the net.

“Our societies will never be the winners from insecure technology and an unsafe internet,” he said. ”

“Therefore, we must be unambiguously in favour of safer technology.”

Clive Robinson November 11, 2020 11:00 PM

@ vas pup, ALL,

New Yorker fires Jeffrey Toobin for exposing himself on Zoom

Reported that way it sounds like he had gone nuts or was some kind of deviant…

If instead it was reported as,

“Invasion of home privacy by employer causes man to be unjustly fired”

People might get the actual point faster. His home and privacy was invaded by others without his consent…

The thing is what we do in the privacy of our own home, provided it does not harm others should remain private[1]. In some parts of the world we have legislation to that effect.

His employer by forcing him to use zoom at home technically invaded his privacy without acceptable cause…

What has happened is a clash of expectations. He had the expectations of privacy in his own home and others had other expectations they were not legally entitled to.

This is not the first nore I expect the last time people get embarrassed by even apparently simple technology[2].

The recent cases of Amazon’s Ring home security being used to spy on people, is bad enough. But it’s made worse by the fact Amazon think reselling what comes off of the Ring cameras should be made freely available to Law Enforcment etc…

The simple fact is “technology is agnostic to use” thus an electronic camera is a camera as long as it is powered up. So unless you 100% control the camera power and where it’s video output goes then it can and almost certainly will invade your and others privacy.

Society needs privacy to function, privacy is like a steam boiler pressure relief valve, it allows people to safely vent off their emotional states without harming others. Thus invading somebodies privacy is like tying down the safety valve, thus causing the boiler to explode[3] which is an act of violence or tourture against them and others.

One of the lasting evils of the COVID-19 pandemic may be how it was used as an excuse to destroy society, not least by normalising the invasion of our privacy in our homes by the “might is right” argument of the power imbalance between institutions and individuals.

[1] As far as I’m aware what he was doing inside the privacy of his home was not illegal these days, and those that apparently saw what he was doing were technically tresspassing. Because by pushing the mute button he had signified he wanted privacy in his own home and that should have been fully respected and was not by the technology, his employer and other employees.

[2] When working in a room with fine net curtains or thin cloth blinds, it can be easy to forget what gave you privacy mid day when the sun is high in the sky and it is bright outside, does not give you privacy when it’s dark outside and you turn the lights on in the room. Likewise there have been cases of people adjusting “Venetian Blinds” for what they thought was “privacy with light” to discover that due to the angle of the blind blades people could still see downwards into the property. More recently we have a trend of people using mobile phones as “mirrors” they have no idea nor can they realistically that the “mirror app” might just be taking pictuters and sending them back to Amazon, Google, some noname company in Indoa or China etc (yes some apps do this for various reasons due to the likes of Google and Facebook and others assumed right to “collect it all”). We even laugh when we hear about supposadly elite Russian technology users getting the cameras on their laptops being remotely accessed by EU intel agencies, likewise supposadly secure phones that EU law enforcment hacked into. But how many of us have been talking on our mobile phones and ducked into a rest room etc for privacy, not even thinking we are draging surveillance equipment accessable from any where in the world with us, invading not just their privacy but the privacy of others who almost certainly would not agree to such an invasion?

[3] We’ve known this for way more than a couple of centuries, look into the horrors thought up by Jeremy Bentham the founder of what is currently University College London(UCL) and his Panopticon (oh and why his head is still kept in a safe)… Orwell’s book “1984” uses this idea of a panoptican through technology and Foucault’s book, “Discipline and Punish” discusses the Panopticon and it’s evils from a slightly more modern perspective, but the fact technology has brought it about so quickly and universaly I think would have shocked even him.

Clive Robinson November 12, 2020 12:04 AM

@ ALL,

If this BBC report is acurate things have got to or past a critical tipping point on COVID-19 in the US.

It points out that if just one US state (Texas) was treated as an independent country it would be number 11 on the list of worst hit countries world wide…

It would appear that there may be a small piece of good news though. If you look at the infection rate curves and the death rate curves the rise in the former is not –yet– matched by a similar rise in the latter. There are three possible reasons for this,

1, Treatment has improved.
2, The deaths are more delayed.
3, The weak are dead already.

Let’s hope it’s due to the first.

But in other news evidence from correctly run trials says that chloroquine does NOT work. But observational evidence on vitimin D is suggesting it does work to boost our immune systems upto where they should be, which apprars sufficient for most to survive an infection, we still need proper trials though to be certain. But to be honest there are quite a few known upsides to VitD and few downsides so just taking it would be benificial to health any way.

But a potential bright spot, it would appear a vaccine is sufficiently through Phase III testing that it’s manufacturer is going to go for early approvals with the FDA.

The vaccine is of a very new type and if approved will be the first such vaccine of it’s type. Potentially this opens the door on this type of technology being used agsinst other major killers like cancer. But I would understand if the FDA were cautious because of this and said “finish the trials”.

However it’s not all good news for the new vaccine, effectively it will be for the First World only for some time to come due to the “chill chain” required. The vaccine needs to be kept at or below -18C / -1F which is a temprature that many home freezers can not reach or maintain… Thus creating significant distribution issues that are going to be logistically slow and extreamly costly to rectify. But that aside, assuming it does get early approvals, the expected manufacturing quantities in the next year would barely cover North America. That is even though it can be manufactured more quickly than more traditional vaccines. So with “ramping up” you are still looking at four or more years to make enough to inoculate sufficient of the worlds population to get “natural herd immunity” effects. By which time other vaccines with better chill chains etc will be available that will be less expensive and more amenable to less well developed health care systems and existing infrastructure.

So realistically the vaccine might not even get used in most of the First World, something that potential investors in the company should think about carefully.

Though I must admit, I will not be lining up to have it put in my arm any time soon, I’d rather wait for a more traditional vaccine where the likely longterm safety and efficacy effects are easier to evaluate.

JonKnowsNothing November 12, 2020 12:19 AM


re: a graph oddity

In my now burnt area of California, we get daily, weekly and monthly updates on COVID-19 numbers from local and state authorities. Currently the numbers are on the rise, which is to be expected after the free-for-all of the last weeks.

I happened to notice an “oddity” in one of the graphs. It is a fuel gauge type graph and every month the pointer is parked right on the mid-line or half-way marker on the gauge. It gives the impression that we still have half-a-tank of healthcare options regardless of the number of cases.

Report dates Max Gauge 14 day Count
09 11 2020 400 176
09 25 2020 200 83
10 10 2020 150 77
10 23 2020 250 126
11 06 2020 250 123

So they alter the “depth of the gauge” to keep the needle steady on in the middle. It’s not an error because they alter the Max Gauge value. The Max Gauge value (400 250 150) has no relationship to any other numbers; it’s just 2×14 day count rounded.

The question is:
  * Is changing the base normally done for this sort of graph?
  * If it’s normally done, what value does it have to always point to 50%?

JonKnowsNothing November 12, 2020 12:37 AM

@Clive @All

re: The ChillAx Vaccine

I read some numbers released by the company as part of their End Of Year Annual Report Hype (common in the USA) and on the first pass it does look good other than needing an Arctic Deep Freeze for stability.

But I spent a few minutes considering some of their assertions and would certain like to see more detailed analysis. The claim that it is 90% effective is tantalizing but we don’t really know much about the layout of the test protocols.

Where they got the 90% is from a few people who showed up sick, some of which got the vaccine and some got something else. They divided these into their respective groups. They had more non-vaccine-sick count than vaccine-failure count.

So the unanswered question are:
  * Of the N-Population how many were actually exposed to COVID-19 at all?
  * Under what circumstances were they exposed?

If you inject 10k people with a vaccine for COVID-19 and they rarely come in contact with the virus, and then claim you got 90% coverage because 10 people showed up with vaccine failure, it’s a quick buck and a quick lick on the stock price followed by pump-n-dump for the annual executive excess bonus payouts.

If they injected 10k people with a vaccine and 3 months later deliberately infected all of them with COVID-19 and only 10 had vaccine failure, that would be pretty great news. Might not be ethical.

JonKnowsNothing November 12, 2020 12:46 AM


re: Speaking of Pump n Dump this just reported …

Pfizer chief sold $5.6m of shares on day Covid vaccine was announced

Pfizer’s chief executive sold shares in the company worth $5.6m (£4.2m) on the day the drugmaker announced that its Covid-19 vaccine was more than 90% effective in protecting people from transmission of the virus, triggering a surge in the company’s stock.

Albert Bourla sold 132,508 shares at $41.94 a share, equivalent to 62% of his shareholding in Pfizer, according to filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This is close to the $41.99 peak the share price hit on Monday.

It’s all done “auto-magically” – as explained in the micro fine print…

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

Clive Robinson November 12, 2020 2:39 AM

@ JonKnowsNothing,

Is changing the base normally done for this sort of graph?

That dpends on what the graph is supppsed to show.

If “normalizing to dynamic capacity” then yes as it shows the percentage of capacity currently but if something is not dynamically changing then no.

So it could be explained as representing the “response planning”. That is as numbers of patients rise more resources are moved to critical care making more places available, but as critical care is resource intensive as the number of patients drop resources would be moved back to other activities, thus critical carr spaces would drop.

However you would expect to see “lead and lag” effects as projections under and over shoot the actuall numbers of patients.

The fact you are not seeing this suggests one of two things,

1, The response time is significantly faster than the reporting time.

2, Somebody is making things up to meet some reporting requirment they have.

So without further info that’s all you can say.

With regards,

The claim that it is 90% effective is tantalizing but we don’t really know much about the layout of the test protocols.

That’s because the full details have not been released yet. However this might give you some more information,

Put simply they’ve recruited people splot them randomly into two groups one group (test) gets the vaccine the other group (control) gets a placebo and they let people go about their everyday lives and wait for people to get “chance” infected with SARS-CoV-2, when they’ve got around a hundred or so they’ve a rough idea what the efficacy is be the test to control group ratio.

As far as I’m aware only the UK has said yes to deliberate inoculumbe of infective agent in part to find viral load figures.

But with regards,


blockquote>The ChillAx Vaccine

There is a correction to the level of cold storage, apparently it’s not -18C but -80C / -112F! that’s cold enough to give severe burns on very brief contact, as well as needing Cryo-plant rather than ordinary gas evaporation / compression freezing. Which is around the boiling points for hydrocarbons Acetylene -84C, Ethane -88C, and worse Hydrogen Chloride -85C, none of which you would want venting off for safety reasons.

As for “share selling” I’m not surprised to be honest and it’s the reason I did not mention the company name as finding out about such behaviours is almost always depressing. I suspect the person concerned is aware of the logistical nightmare the “chill train” is going to be, so took the opportunity to get out a percentage whilst the honeymoon period was not over and reality had not yet kicked in.

Sherman Jay November 12, 2020 12:40 PM

Are you feeling a little less secure about our ‘marvelous tech world’? I am. Maybe iOT should stand for ‘Internet of Terror’. FCC Ajitator and Broadband disaster in united states. And, news reports say he’s to be replaced with an even deadlier political hack.

A lot of reading below. Worth at least skimming

h t tps://

h t tps://

h t tps://

lurker November 12, 2020 2:29 PM


The vaccine needs to be kept at or below -18C / -1F…

Which vaccine is that? MSM here are reporting the Pfizer brew to require -70C, which is liquid nitrogen territory. Perhaps the mantra that a vaccine will end the pandemic needs to be mofified to mean a vaccine that can be transported and stored at around -5C, which is the freezer compartment of most cheap domestic fridges.

lurker November 12, 2020 2:43 PM

@Clive, sorry, my apologies for reading too fast and missing your correction to the temperature. Obviously we both get the point this vaccine is not a simple panacea.

@All: Quarantine is hard, if your staff are trained to care and be compassionate, and economise on use of disposable equipment; and the population are complacent. But if 99% of your cases are imported and detected in managed isolation facilities, then maybe you can afford to throw a cordon sanitaire around the random comunity cases and saturate the area with free testing.

Quarantine is a little easier when you have had prior experience with a similar disease, and the population has a memory of living under martial law. Imagine PE Biden issuing an order for telcos to disclose all cell tower ping tracking data to CDC…

Quarantine comes naturally to operators who are treat it as a bio-warfare exercise.

vas pup November 12, 2020 3:14 PM

Thank you for your thoughtful as usually input.

My attention was on that statement:
“The thing is what we do in the privacy of our own home, provided it does not harm others should remain private[1]. In some parts of the world we have legislation to that effect.”

Clive, in the past I was so naïve to think that legislation could provide protection. Legislation never ever stop determined private or government agent to violate your rights (yeah to particular extend).

In security and privacy I guess only understanding technology and apply technological counter measures are more effective than law for the following reasons:
– law is working after your rights are already violated, but technology should work proactively for your defense;
– real law protection around the globe primary available for people with substantial financial resources which either used for direct bribery of judicial officials in your favor(corrupt countries) OR to hire very expensive and highly qualified lawyer for your case(so called democracies).

And last but not least when government does not protect you and your family as required by law against violence, the vacuum of power easily sucked in all type of vigilantism. November 12, 2020 3:34 PM

@vas pup: “The thing is what we do in the privacy of our own home, provided it does not harm others should remain private[1]. In some parts of the world we have legislation to that effect.”

Yep, indeed.

Will my kids report me for hate speech?

“When Humza Yousaf, the SNP’s cabinet secretary for justice, announced that his new Hate Crime Bill would remove the ‘dwelling exemption’ in the Public Order Act 1986, people were understandably horrified. As things stand, you cannot be prosecuted for stirring up racial hatred because you’ve said something inflammatory about race or religion in the privacy of your own home. But that’s far too wishy-washy for Yousaf. Not only does he want to enlarge the number of ‘protected’ groups, he also wants the new speech restrictions to apply in people’s homes. Henceforth, Big Brother will be watching you in the kitchen and the bedroom.”

I’m not a fan of the Spectator but you can read it up in Scotish newspapers as well.

Allianz insurance already promotes this.

BTW: I fail to understand “provided it does not harm others”. It’s in your home, after all…

JonKnowsNothing November 12, 2020 4:08 PM


Thank you for the response about the graph. As far as I can tell, the base is not related to capacity or hospital beds etc. Those I know what the official, semi-official, and oh-shyte numbers are or were in Wave 1A.

I expect that the purpose is camouflage showing our capacity or numbers hasn’t moved up the dial any. The WYSIWYG-Demon scrambled the post columns so it was probably not very easy to see what the different bases would show if they didn’t adjust them monthly.

If they held the base at:
  * 400 then our current load would be 30%
  * 200 then our current load would be 62%
  * 150 then our current load would be 82%

Compared to the reported level of cases at 400 during the height of Wave 1A, which was 176 cases per 14 day period, our current 14 day case number is 123. Meaning the case are nearly as high as the worst of Wave 1A and Wave 1B isn’t even on the public radar here.

I’m sure they prefer to show the load consistently at or below 50% to avoid “eye balls” and “questions”.

California is not all on the same page as to COVID-19 response. After all, we delivered Republicans Nixon and Regan to the White House. California has never delivered a non-Republican to the White House. The edges maybe blue but the center is rare.

vas pup November 12, 2020 5:06 PM • November 12, 2020 3:34 PM
said:”Will my kids report me for hate speech?”

Yeah they highly likely will, for brainwashed kinds by the government propaganda it was usual practice in Nazi Germany and Soviet Union during Stalin’s regime when Hitler youth members and pioneer (kind of communist youth league) were snitching on their parents.
That will create monsters I guess.
And I am not talking when parent is serial killer/rapist, terrorist, abuser,you name it. That is absolutely other case. I’ll probably report in this case by myself.

JonKnowsNothing November 12, 2020 6:48 PM

@ vas pup

re: ”Will my kids report me for hate speech?”

vas pup: Yeah they highly likely will

You can see what happens by checking the current state of no-state in Hong Kong.

afaik(notmuch) Mainland China has exerted some new rules over Hong Kong which up to now, enjoyed a “One Country Two Systems” government, resulting in a “One Country One System and None of the Other Stuff Allowed” version.

The new-dudettes/dudes opened up a special Tips Line so that people could report unauthorized behavior, speech, views, reading materials or just any old neighborhood grievances.

The line was swamped with 2k+ calls by day 2.

Even if your kids don’t report you, your spouse, aunts, uncles, best friends and not-even-close friends will.

Anyone still old enough to remember even parts of the Cultural Revolution and Great Leap Forward and other Grand Schemes will be highly motivate to dig-in and stay down.

There are several hundred thousands of dual passport holders in Hong Kong. 300,000 Canadian dual holders and about the same for the UK. The Canadians have said they will bring all 300,000 to Canada as soon as they can arrange Exit Visas for their group (1). The UK under Boris made some similar squeaks but then realized he was breaking his Immigration Hostile Environment Quota and has since pantomimed a mouse.

1, Mainland China is not amused that Canada wants to extract 300,000 of the highest value citizens from Hong Kong. China needs that cash to pay for their COVID-19 economic crash. Same for the UK eligible. One might expect Exit Visas are going to be issued at about the same rate as certain Middle East Countries grant them to anyone: Not Male and Not One of Us.

JonKnowsNothing November 12, 2020 6:55 PM

@SpaceLifeForm @Clive

Flatening the curve.

The visual curve.

Spot on! Doh! Seems obvious now… ! Good call!

SpaceLifeForm November 12, 2020 10:23 PM

@ Clive, Anders, Wael


So, on a recent article, I compose a very simple 3 sentence post addressed to MarkH.

No special markdown or markup. Not even an obfuscated link.

It was not even worth doing a Preview on, but I did.

What came back in the comment box, was, well, yeah, weird.

Looks like you have hit our Markdown AJAX handler without posting content. Weird.

SpaceLifeForm November 12, 2020 10:29 PM

@ Clive, Anders, Wael, Moderator


Just tested. A completely empty comment box sent to preview does not complain with the above error message.

It just comes back to Edit or Submit mode.

Clive Robinson November 13, 2020 12:07 AM

@ vas pup,

in the past I was so naïve to think that legislation could provide protection.

Think of legislation in the same way as locks, their purpose is realy “To keep honest people honest”. Which leaves you with the “dishonest” and those that believe themselves to be “exeptional” for some reason.

It was taught to me when I was quite young that “exceptions” were a necescity because “Laws are for the guidence of wisemen and the blind obeyance of fools”. It’s why some legislation comes with “lawful defences” and others are considered by judges that try to think “as a man on a Clapham Omnibus” might[1].

Unfortinatly as has now become glaringly apparent some consider a crack an invitation to drive in a wedge and split things asunder. Thus reasonable exceptions have been broadened in scope beyond any definition most would even remotely consider reasonable.

But such things generally do not happen in a single bound, more usually they occur in small steps, thus at each step appear reasonable when seen from the previous step, but not when seen from the start of the journey.

When you have tax payer money behind you and no real punishment for failing, you can “try and try again” with no personal cost. Thus pushing an unpopular or even illegal agenda in baby steps is a working strategy.

If you think back to the FBI and DoJ case against Apple, they tried to do something in a single bound because they were over confident. Thus their attempt to get favourable “case law” back fired. So rather than get an unfavourable finding they “pulled the rip cord and bailed out”. The financial cost to Apple was large, but probably less costly than fighting small case after small case would have been.

The FBI and DoJ have by know means given up on their quest, but are now seeking out other paths to their desired destination. What they do not want to acknowledge is that their desired destination will be doubly detrimental to the US. Firstly it will destroy the safety valve of privacy that society needs to be healthy and survive. Secondly it will drive inovation and jobs out of the US as corporates see it as a risk minimization strategy. That is “legislation avoiding” will become as important as “tax avoiding” to corporates only simpler to do[2].


[2] Whilst avoidance and evasion acheave the same end, the former is seen as legal whilst the latter is not.

Clive Robinson November 13, 2020 12:52 AM

@ JonKnowsNothing, name.withheld…, vas pup, ALL,

More on the quasi-religious “Witch Finding” creeping into politics,—opinon-kevin-mckenna/

As was once pointed out but derided at the time all political “isms” tend to fascism.

But there is a more fundemental reason, which makes nearly all organisations head towards fascim, and that is “hierarchy”. The minute you implement a hierarchy you are creating a power structure. Such structures give power to those who should not be given it. However some know this thus they practice guile to first obtain power then build structures around themselves to stop them being removed from power, usually but not always before they reveal their true intent and behaviours.

If you look up the practice of “Witch finding” you will realise it is nothing what so ever to do with “driving out evil” infact it’s the antithesis. In short it is evil reveling in power to create terror and thus compliance in the population.

Such “tools of the trade” are very much in practice curently with tyrants, dictators, and police states. The usual way it starts is by creating division and hate. It’s the reason why people should understand,

“First they came…”

And the process of “Witch finding” is being brought into legislation on a daily basis.

One thing people forget or do not get taught about the rise of fascism in Europe in the 1930’s is that everything they did was by the consent of the majority, people voted for the leaders, who then passed the legislation that made the sickening behaviours lawful. But worst of all was that because those that were divided out then vilified were minorities in some way, the majority actually thought the ensuing persecution acceptable…

lurker November 13, 2020 12:45 PM

@Clive: “No worries?”

I’m in the same susceptible age group as yourself, and I admit to sometimes feeling anxious watching the carelessness bordering on stupidity of the the younger “Who, me?” generation.

SpaceLifeForm November 13, 2020 3:16 PM

@ JonKnowsNothing, Clive, Anders, MarkH


Akiko Iwasaki, a professor of immunobiology at the Yale School of Medicine, noted that several genes involved in the immune system’s response to viruses are on the X chromosome.

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