Friday Squid Blogging: Squids Don’t Like Pile-Driving Noises

New research:

Pile driving occurs during construction of marine platforms, including offshore windfarms, producing intense sounds that can adversely affect marine animals. We quantified how a commercially and economically important squid (Doryteuthis pealeii: Lesueur 1821) responded to pile driving sounds recorded from a windfarm installation within this species’ habitat. Fifteen-minute portions of these sounds were played to 16 individual squid. A subset of animals (n = 11) received a second exposure after a 24-h rest period. Body pattern changes, inking, jetting, and startle responses were observed and nearly all squid exhibited at least one response. These responses occurred primarily during the first 8 impulses and diminished quickly, indicating potential rapid, short-term habituation. Similar response rates were seen 24-h later, suggesting squid re-sensitized to the noise. Increased tolerance of anti-predatory alarm responses may alter squids’ ability to deter and evade predators. Noise exposure may also disrupt normal intraspecific communication and ecologically relevant responses to sound.

Press release.

As usual, you can also use this squid post to talk about the security stories in the news that I haven’t covered.

Read my blog posting guidelines here.

Posted on January 29, 2021 at 4:06 PM101 Comments


vas pup January 29, 2021 5:42 PM

Germany’s new data strategy may come ‘too late’

“The coronavirus pandemic has revealed shortcomings in how Germany handles technology and data. With a new 240-point plan, Germany wants to become a global pioneer in utilizing user-generated data.

To this end, the policy identified four areas of focus. But experts say that in famously privacy-focused and technophobic Germany*, there will be challenges in achieving each one.

Germany pledges ‘breakthrough in data infrastructure’

The key practical aim of the policy is to expand data infrastructure both in Germany and abroad.

In a discussion on the Clubhouse app, Digitization Minister Dorothee Bär cited the Franco-German GAIA-X cloud project and the development of new high-performance computing systems to allow increased data cooperation between different federal, state-level and local agencies in Germany. Another example in the proposal is a nationwide cancer registry, the first of its kind in Germany.

“The ambitious infrastructure goals are quite positive,” media law expert Christian Solmecke told DW.

“The strategy does address the important topic of improving data infrastructure,” said Dirk Hofmann, the co-founder of German-Finnish data innovation and artificial intelligence consultancy group DAIN Studios. But he also pointed out: “What is missing for me [in the policy] is the question of ‘how’ this transfer will take place for authorities and companies.”

The policy paper also aims to tackle one of the biggest obstacles for Germany in data innovation:
===> a lack of trust.
Many parts of German society remain slow to adapt to modern technology and data usage,
===>because of fears around irresponsible data collection and privacy concerns. For example, a 2017 EU study showed that only 17% of Germans would choose a card payment if a cash option was available, by far the lowest percentage in the eurozone.*

“We understand that our data protection standards are extremely important to us,” Bär told the dpa news agency, adding that in Germany data usage by private companies and the government alike is regarded with “fear” and often has “negative associations.”

My nickel – see *
Germans were in reality in ‘1984’ society during 1933-1945 when Gestapo and other ‘services’ removed any trust not only to the German Big Brother, but to the family members, friends as well because snitching was awarded and cherished activity.
Moreover, East Germany had their own Stasi history when the percentage and Stasi informants per capita was the highest in the whole world, so Germans used to keep low profile. That is in their blood: less information out less possible troubles.

And this statement unfortunately become ubiquitous motto of LEAs around the globe regardless of many other factors:
“If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him.”

Cardinal Richelieu

Clive Robinson January 29, 2021 7:52 PM

@ Ismar,

(for Clive to dismiss outright 😉 )

Seeing as you asked… You know that stuff is more than half a decade old[1]?

That’s about four generations ago in the ICTSec field… Or in human and other physical world equivalent terms that would be something around 80 years old… When Black and White TV had just about got going, and they were still using valves/tubes in electronics, and steam engines were not just on rails but in agriculture as traction engines…

So having done what you asked I might just read one or two of them but not the 37 or so, I’ve more upto date stuff on a fairly large reading pile as it is.

And that’s on top of designing a universal interface to turn two way radios and transceivers into repeaters/beacons that do not just do HT2HT audio, but HT2Pone both POTS and Cellular, as well as to Data networks from MF through UHF. That somebody wants a prototype of late next month…

[1] Looks like they are from a 2016 conferance that “position papers” would probably have be prevelant at.

Ismar January 29, 2021 9:02 PM

@Clive – yes the papers are from 2016 – that may make them interesting in so far as how they hold out today – 6 years is not that long as they mainly deal with concepts and not with latest technical implementations.
For me personally , main interest was to see what perspective low enforcement and military analysts had back then 🙂
BTW – any idea why Germany is now saying that AZ vaccine are inefficient for > 65 years olds ?

Al January 29, 2021 10:40 PM

There was a suit against Google asking that the Telegram app be removed from the play store because of a lack of moderation. A similar suit was filed against Apple. And I’m beginning to hear some noise about Signal, who recently added group chats.

But nowhere do I see the fire and fury as much as with Reddit, with a group called WallStreetBets. Someone over there saw that hedge funds had shorted 150% of the stock. Using advanced mathematics, he deduced that the total amount of stock available wouldn’t exceed 100%, so the hedge funds would have difficulty obtaining the other 50%. He suggested that people buy the stock, because the shorting situation would create favorable supply v. demand and result in stock appreciation.

I think it’s pure genius. It is not a pump ‘n dump. What the hedge funds did was short stock that doesn’t exist, which is called a naked short. That accounts for the extra 50% of stock shorted.

Our befuddled Congress is going to investigate. They don’t need to investigate, because they know exactly what is going on, since they made naked shorts illegal in 2008. But what they didn’t do was criminalize it. But, I think the Congress is more interested in the rabble getting together on Reddit then they are about their hedge fund cronies conduction naked shorts.

Someone wrote a fairly long, but not too long paper on naked shorts here.
I’m hearing that RobinHood is blaming DTCC for halting retail buys (so that their hedge fund buddies could exit their position at a more favorable price.)

Clive Robinson January 29, 2021 11:02 PM


BTW – any idea why Germany is now saying that AZ vaccine are inefficient for > 65 years olds ?

Honestly, no, I’m not aware of any published scientific reasons. But as you know I’m an “evidence based” person so I’ll have to wait to see what if anything gets published…

However what I do know is that two months later than it should have done the European Medicines Agency has approved the Oxford AZ vaccine today… I guess better late than never (unless you or your loved ones have already died or are likely to because of the delay).

But if I was to speculate I’m sure I could come up with several political reasons, or even conspiracies, which I’m sure many others could come up with, but the EU politicians are doing it for every one with some claiming a conspiracy to withold details from MEPs.

But, as there is already a major political fisticuffs brewing up in Europe because of the behaviour of the EDA and two major European powers puting prestige in front of lives, it does not need a conspiracy theory, just finger pointing for sparks to fly in the powder store.

Which has been made a lot lot worse as various vaccine manufacturers in Europe have all failed production in some way. Not least of which is Pfizer who actually took their European production “off line” at a realy critical time for what some have claimed is no good reason yet the US gets more and more. But worse Pfizer also stand accused of having entered some side deal with the German Government at the expense of the rest of Continental Europe…

As a matter of public record the EU Commission was without doubt very late to the party with vaccine ordering for Europe being delayed for atleast three months. Which is about where public fact ends.

However various news sources have repeated more or less the same stories with notable points being,

Firstly the EU Commission are apparently saying they are going to prevent vacines being shipped out to the UK, Canada and other countries… Then claiming UK manufactured vaccines are the EU’s by right the day after. Which as you will appreciate is not going down well on both sides of the channel, with one unnamed industry insider saying that such behaviour will cause others to withold raw stock from Europe thus bringing Continental European vaccine manufacturing to a compleat halt.

Secondly there are also stories that the EU Commission are going to withold vaccines from Germany as well as take political/fiscal activities against them over the alleged “side order”…

Thus as you can see it’s a case of “He says, She says and the chours are taking sides”. What the truth of it is we may never truly know…

SpaceLifeForm January 29, 2021 11:40 PM

Expect more crickets.

ht tps://

SolarWinds and Silicon Valley’s Juniper hold similar positions in the federal contracting ecosystem. Both make software that is widely used at U.S. agencies — code that, if exploited, offers hackers a valuable entry point from which to root around in networks for sensitive data. A clear accounting of what happened in both breaches is key to improving the government’s supply chain security measures, experts say.

MarkH January 30, 2021 12:19 AM

@AndyF, Clive:

To my understanding, KGB cultivation of potential foreign assets was not limited to officers or employees of government.

Other useful targets could include people who were, or were likely in the future to become:

• influencers of popular opinion

• socially connected to powerful persons

• active in politics

• useful in the facilitation of foreign trade and/or prestige for the USSR

Whether their shopping list included Trump, I’ve no guess. But the notion isn’t as implausible as it might seem at first.

MarkH January 30, 2021 12:28 AM

According to my reading, a German official announcing that the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine not be administered to persons over age 65 simply cited lack of data.

Perhaps the number of seniors participating in the vaccine’s trials was below a threshold required by German standards.

By the way, in the U.S. it’s typical to give double-strength flu vaccine doses to people over 65, because (like so much else) immune responses decline with age.

Clive Robinson January 30, 2021 12:30 AM

@ AL, Ismar,

The DW article,

Is at best out of date if not factually incorrect.

There is trial data about the efficacy in 65 and older test subjects. Whilst the efficacy was less it was inline with what you would expect with aging immune sysyems.

The reason there is not as much data for 65 years old and up is that they have been told by their governments to “shelter” as they are higher risk. Which means they are way less likely to come into contact with the virus so the testing of efficacy between the two test groups is taking a lot longer (though safety figures are fine as these do not need test subjects to get the virus).

But on the other errors, AZ has not in any way broken it’s “best possible” contract with Brussels. As the company quickly pointed out.

Lets just say a certain woman is trying to cover up not just her failings, but the failings of those she has work for her. Basically she made threats she had no real legal right to make, which got pointed out fairly rapidly.

Further it was also quickly pointed out that any such action would infact fsirly rapidly stop vaccine manufacture in the EU due to reciprocation. Put simply the countries outside the EU that supply the raw stock into the EU without which the vaccines can not be made would simply reciprocate any EU restrictive measure.

Such was the howl raised by her ill thought out threats, the following day she basically said that the vaccines made in the UK were the EU’s by right. Which surprise suprise they are not as AZ rather promptly pointed out.

I guess the real question is how long she can keep saying ill thought out things rather than just either keep her mouth closed or admit that she and those under her have failed to act in a timely fashion by atleast a quater of a year. Worse she has quite deliberately withheld information from MEPs who had a right to know it, and are thus not at all happy with her and it appears that “blood is in the water”.

I can see the EU fracturing badly over the fact that the EU vaccine situation is truely appaling and it’s her, and those that work for her who have failed all EU citizans. A number of which are now without doubt are going to die because of her inactions. Thus some EU members are buying in Russian and Chinese vaccines which arr not approved for use in the EU…

Oh in other news perhaps some good news, both Novavax and Johnson and Johnson vaccines data got released today. Thus the question now arises as to if the FDA and EMA get their respective acts together and issue approvals if justified.

As I keep pointing out we are in a race between vaccines in arms and virus mutation and exponential growth that increases the mutation rate.

Remember the virus in all it’s mutations is no respector of money, power, politics or other status humans might kow tow to…

Clive Robinson January 30, 2021 1:05 AM

@ SpaceLifeForm,

Expect more crickets.

It’s funny you should mention Juniper and the “bug-door” they most definitely had.

As with SolarWinds it’s made out as some mysterious individual augmenting the “code base” unnoticeably…

Both had a large number not just of US clients, but foreign ones as well.

Juniper was definately a “Nobus” style attack the only questions being “Who?” put it in the code base “When?” and “why?”…

SpaceLifeForm January 30, 2021 1:10 AM

AZ Vaccine

The number of guinea pigs in the 65+ age group was small.

600 over 65s, 10,000 under 65s in the study.

ht tps://

AL January 30, 2021 1:38 AM

“The reason there is not as much data for 65 years old and up is that they have been told by their governments to “shelter” as they are higher risk”
No. Where did you get that from. While all that might be true, that is not the reason. To get the reason, we need to get the answer out of the horse’s mouth, the CEO of Astrazeneca.
There isn’t a lot of data on the 65 and older crowd because they wanted to make sure the vaccine wouldn’t kill them.

So, wondering minds wonder, where does “shelter” come into this? I’m not hearing it from the vaccine producer, the German health agencies, or anyone else. The lack of data is entirely because AZ didn’t include 65 and older people in their trials because of adverse risk factors.

There is a little bit of this authoritativeness that doesn’t seem to be substantiated.

Clive Robinson January 30, 2021 7:38 AM

@ ALL,

The madness that is the EU Council of Ministers goes on,

What the article which has a Euro centric view, failed to mention is that the Articl 16 “hard border” would require “troops on the ground” that whilst the prospect no doubt delights certain factions, it would inflame things hence the mention of “explosive situation” is a vield message it would bring back insurrection and terrorism to the streets of Ireland. As the IRA splintered and attacks moved to the UK mainland, it’s thus a possability that some terrorists would take their cause to Brussels which is one of the most densly populated parts of Europe and the West. I’m one of the people that not just remember the IRA Mainland campaign, I had my life directlt effected by it in several ways, none of which I would care to have inflicted on others, which is what this Article 16 invocation lunacy could cause.

What is certain is that nations that are becoming increasingly more EuroSkeptic will become more so and it will fuel certain “fringe politics” with potential violent results.

Especially with the German Chancellor hanging up her hat this year and the French premier becoming more and more detached from reality. If the US State Dept policy is still to “Destroy Europe” then this year comming will be seen as a good time to advance their plans and conspiracy theorist find reason to say that the US is interfering directly in Europe (in fact it appears that the multiple failurs of drugs companies to make jabs in Europe is already being touted as such…).

@ lurker,

Dr Chris Smith opined on our local Public Radio this morning that some German MSM had misinterpreted the numbers from a Lancet paper.

Yes if you look at the 8% figure it’s about the same size% of the age range group participating not the efficacy the group had which from memory was around the low 70%’s. So it’s reasonable to suggest the journalists for some reason got their wires crossed. However it does not indicate why the editorial team did not catch it[1]. There claims to have reoeatedly checked it with German Gov sources they do not name looks and sounds a little lame in the face of peer reviewed publication.

However I gather the German Press have turned their teeth towards Brussels,

Please not to treat the above article with caution, the Express is a “UK Red Top” with a known “strong Brexit view point”.

@ AL,

Firstly all the trials had very low numbers in the older age ranges for the usuall “fit young and healthy” ethical and moral rules of drugs trials. It’s actually difficult to find people these days in the older age ranges that meet the “healthy” requirments, as many are on multiple drugs for multiple chronic conditions that would have killed them less than a couple of decades ago.

In fact if you check you will find Pfizer has come under fire because it’s been suggested elder patients getting their jab are being killed by the mRNA causing similar results to an infection on their cells and their frail bodies can not tolerate the effects. No doubt if and when Moderna get their act together similar questions will be raised.

We might not like it but these mass jabs are in effect a phase IV trial and due to priorities it’s in effect being the Phase III that was not realy run on the elderly.

So, wondering minds wonder, where does “shelter” come into this? I’m not hearing it from the vaccine producer, the German health agencies, or anyone else.

Funny because I got a letter through the post informing me that I was to “shelter” and what that ment, it came from the UK Government…

It was then reinforced by the carnage that “care facilities” became.

And the Oxford researchers in their invitations to join their trials, said participants were to follow all the Official advice –thus would includ the “shelter” instructions– about what to do. And that would have been important otherwise the trial results would have been biased in some way and thus not valid.

@ ResearcherZero,

After Trump was stopped getting on a plane Russian operatives sabotaged

When did that happen?

But the ‘deep state’ did stop that missile that [may] of kicked off WWIII after [a] sub commander went ‘cuckoo’ due to some prolonged harassment

There have been various claims about the US dual key system failing for various “human” reasons but I don’t remember any about a submarine commander going off at the deep end.

I am aware of the Russian officer that prevented a missile being fired that others have claimed could/would have started WWIII (supprisingly such claims are not unusuall).

Having looked into nuclear history, untill the last decade, the “balance of crazy” has been very much on the US side, with the Russian Politicians in particular behaving more as “rational actors” than the US. The last decade has been notably marked by Chinese intermediate rang weapons development, which it has been putting up along it’s Russian and Indian borders. Hence Russia wanting to get out of the old IRBM US-CCCP limitations treaty that China was never a part of (or most other nuclear limitations treaties of those times). Unfortunatly Trump used Russia wanting to defend it’s self as an excuse to kill the treaty, rather than even try to get China into the treaty or get a new treaty that encompassed more than just the US and Russia. A lazy move that will have increasingly difficult implications into the future for quite some time, and also breaks the US notion of MAD which realy only works in two player games theory, hence the non proliferation treaties.

[1] There has already been suggestions that there be an investigation with an added subcontext that the newspaper which has diminishing circulation sales has it’s funding/advertising looked into…

ResearcherZero January 30, 2021 9:05 AM

Obviously, he sold the plane. It crashed killing everyone on board at an air show. His brother said he’d keep an eye on The Donald, but unfortunately he had to go in for heart surgery, and while he was under, the plane was quickly sold off. You only have to over tighten two bolts on wing of that model, one and a quarter turns or something like that, micro fractures, well known trick to spies. Bad record of crashing when coming in to land those planes. Of course you are supposed to have an inspection done before resale, but it knocks a fair bit of the value if there is any whiff of funny business.

High tension steel, you could write it off as a maintenance error, if they hadn’t been seen sneaking out, one with a wrench in hand, wearing rather pathetic wig and fake mustache, the other with something down his pants leg. The bloke on the watchtower was later caught getting paid off, behind a hanger (private security on air force bases ya know).

To the victor go the spoils.

The former Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) chairman spoke of his “frustration” and “anger” over the Russia report not being published last year.
Russia has mounted a prolonged, sophisticated campaign to undermine Britain’s democracy and corrupt its politics, while successive British governments have looked the other way.
no one in the British government ever really asked the question while the campaign was underway — or even after it — despite evidence of meddling

Successive other governments have looked the other way, and Assange didn’t even get a pardon out of it. Too much time on Jabber with the wrong people can get you more than a little ‘spit roasted’, but he was warned.

ResearcherZero January 30, 2021 9:30 AM

The sub, yeah that’s never to be released, or 75 years, probably never. Got too hairy that one. Ha ha, the US, yeah it’s like Dr Stranglove, “we can prevail with as little as 60 Million dead”. Some of those people are a bit nuts, they quote movie references, like they actually believe them, and they look serious when they do it, a little unnerving.

The guys doing the actual work, the math, sound as a board, but the big shots, well the odd one is a little sketchy. There’s not time for presidents and government etc sometimes, it’s in the hands of just a couple people either side. Lucky most technical people are of pretty sound mind, in that position anyway, they get tested and stuff. They are good people.

The sub, or head for the bunker, there is only time for one or the other, back-n-forth. I know, let’s ask a female instead of a man. People might start asking too many questions if they knew what happened that day, so let’s just say it never happened, because Occam’s Razor close. Break out the medicine cabinet situation, people fainted. Well anyway we are here today so someone probably didn’t ask a man at the time. Not worth thinking about, I wouldn’t bother, too cray.

The kind of people who go onto foreign soil aren’t always right in the head. That’s how most of the crap starts. Personally I wouldn’t hire sociopaths, they might start a war all on their own-some, just for kicks, but I don’t make hiring decisions.

Nick Levinson January 30, 2021 9:53 AM

People’s Republic of China’s views on Internet governance and on Huawei’s technology as both being advanced in Central and South America were discussed on the BBC, as was an increasing confidence on the part of the PRC in its international relations there, e.g., Chinese students arriving at Johns Hopkins University with good fluency in Spanish or Portuguese. A transcript probably won’t be available but it seems an audio podcast file is. I heard a broadcast over the air.

ResearchZero January 30, 2021 10:07 AM

The Russians don’t want a war, it’s their economy, she’s cooked. The average business owner is really worried, and the people on the street are terrified of another war. They have seen war, really bad war.

Too much coke in the 80’s, no one did anything about corruption, they still aren’t, in every country (except China, they probably go a bit too far with penalties), and the rest is history. Probably some kind of independent oversight board for prosecutors would solve a few problems, with good transparency, but you would have to find people who aren’t cowards first, and they are few and far between. You would also have to convince detectives to investigate cases more than 5 years old, who are not crooks.

Last but not least, elect politicians who would tax the rich, cause we can afford to pay private intelligence contractors each and every year, so we’ve obviously got too much money, have gone mad with power, and are just shoring ourselves up before the whole world burns due to all our investments in resources, tech, commodities, entertainment… all the usual insider trading benefits.

Maybe, just consider investigating crimes by foreign actors other than espionage. Just consider it, or suggest the idea to a politician, and look him in the eye and see if he twitches.

This is all completely relevant to your security.

MarkH January 30, 2021 10:11 AM

Corporate Surveillance as Coup d’Etat

A long and very somber opinion piece from the NY Times: The Coup We Are Not Talking About.

Author Shoshana Zuboff is an academic who has long studied the transformation wrought by the information age, and wrote the book “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism.”

Her article addresses themes and concerns long discussed on this blog. Some quotes:

Surveillance capitalism originates in the discovery that companies can stake a claim to people’s lives as free raw material for the extraction of behavioral data, which they then declare their private property.

The second stage is marked by a sharp rise in epistemic inequality, defined as the difference between what I can know and what can be known about me.

We may have democracy, or we may have surveillance society, but we cannot have both. A democratic surveillance society is an existential and political impossibility.

A sincere caution: if you’re already anxious and depressed, you might be better off skipping this article … or at least, waiting til you feel a bit stronger before reading it.

Patriot January 30, 2021 11:02 AM

A new type of chosen-ciphertext attack against authenticated encryption with associated data (AEAD) schemes was introduced called partitioning oracle attacks. The paper is going to be discussed at USENIX Security 2021 in Vancouver, which is coming up soon. I am a bit surprised that it is still being held.

The targets, of course, include AES in GCM mode, XSalsa20/Poly1305, and ChaCha20/Poly1305.

One of the moderators at crypto.stackexchange talked about it recently.

xcv January 30, 2021 11:40 AM

One of the moderators at crypto.stackexchange talked about it recently.

I don’t do stackexchange. It’s an aggressive content farm that spams internet search results for technical information with spam, reputation smears, a casino-like point gaming system and low quality answers meant to deny competitors access to useful information.

Don’t even post there either. Your content will be edited, stolen, and used for profit elsewhere, and your reputation will be smeared arbitrarily.

ResearcherZero January 30, 2021 12:32 PM

White Light Black Rain, every politician should have to watch it at least once every year, mandatory, until they sign the treaty, for their children’s sake’s at least.

Patriot January 30, 2021 12:33 PM


You should not think that all of the answers are low quality. That is not the case, at least not in cryptography. That is the only section of it that I trust enough to participate.

Question January 30, 2021 6:56 PM

30% of SolarWinds Victims didn’t use SolarWinds

Is it a hack a when you leave your door wide open? Actually insurers say it is not. It is negligence.

I remember a company named WorldCom who was worth $115 Billion and it wasn’t only accounting fraud that toppled them and the dotcons overnight 20 years ago – it was because their business model was worthless and coincidence or not they’d be called a cloud and internet security provider today.

Congress wants to know what happened to Juniper and the answer is they outsourced their manufacturing 2006. So Congress should be asking that OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) in Asia who embedded back doors.

When your supply chain is outside of your control, you cannot protect it. So why did Biden just outsource the US power grid to China? Anyone care to guess?

JR January 30, 2021 7:22 PM


I am told that the SEC and Treasury doesn’t have a cyber or technical examiners. They cannot investigate anything to do with technology.

When you look at the SEC enforcement actions it is clear they only go after small time investment individuals that cannot afford to fight them.

This is a pump and dump. It’s just not yet clear who is pumping.

I hope Robinhood has a good AML/KYC function, but I doubt it. They could be the unwitting victim here. With crypto this could be coming from overseas which would explain why the institutions are not selling. My sense is this is from overseas or some nefarious domestic faction and OAC/EW are being punked.

JR January 30, 2021 10:03 PM

If anything this is a story about the downside of Fintech not being regulated same as banks. Robinhood banned cryptos yesterday. This is not the rise of the day trader. Robinhood was possibly executing foreign trades in contravention of US law. They were certainly selling financial data in violation of GLBA.

The other day Janet Yellin announced she was going to ban crypto’s and then this happens.

What I think happening is a foreign actor is trying to cause instability and divisiveness in the US and it’s the same actor that had their stocks banned on Robinhood a month ago due to the last administration.

As much as people want to think that common day traders (if there is such a thing) had this much money to run up the stock like this… that’s not even slightly plausible. Do the math.

I am not a fan of shorting. But GameStop is majority owned by Mutual and Pension Funds. The Hedge Funds and Silicon Valley receive all of their funding from these funds – they wouldn’t want to do anything to cause market instability. If I was the SEC I would shut down trading and call in PALANTIR to figure out who exactly caused this run.

And then I would outlaw fintech until they are regulated and examined to the same extent as banks.

This is more Facebook’s fault than anything. This data mining is killing our economy.

AL January 30, 2021 10:40 PM

Janet Yellen is a piece. She wants the Fed to be able to print money to buy stock in order to keep stock prices propped up. Talk about someone who is only concerned about the 1%. I don’t see her as any better than Steve Mnuchin. Yellen is the ultimate champion of rigged markets.

The “rule of law” was on life support after 2008, and no one went to jail. It died and was buried after HSBC and Wachovia were deemed “too big to jail” after caught laundering money for the drug cartels. For some reason, the people who orchestrated the money laundering were also spared prosecution.

As far as crypto currency is concerned, I’m all in favor of it. We’re being told about a $2T stimulus? Where is the money going to come from? Oh, we’re going to “borrow” it. But the corporate media stops there, but I won’t. Who are we going to borrow it from? Oh, the federal reserve. Where do they get the money? They “print” it.

Janet Yellen is a closet Modern Monetary Theory proponent. MMT is what makes crypto currencies attractive. That is why the “regulators” have a problem with crypto currencies. And that is why people are putting money into that as well as gold.

I think that Modern Monetary Theory == Venezuelan Monetary Theory.
But, we should have an open discussion about this. No reason to be so coy about it. Instead of asking Americans if the government should “borrow” $2T fir a stimulus, they should be asking Americans if the Federal Reserve should print up $2T for the stimulus.

AL January 30, 2021 11:04 PM

“As much as people want to think that common day traders (if there is such a thing) had this much money to run up the stock like this… that’s not even slightly plausible. Do the math.”

Sounds like a plan. Going to Yahoo, and plugging it is, I’m seeing 64,300,000 shares. Going to the Reddit, I see 7M readers. And checking the stock before the frenzy, when the plan was well afoot, the price was between $10 and $20. Not every share was outstanding. I’m doing the math, and this is quite doable.

I have WallStreetBets bookmarked, but I am not subscribed. I don’t know if they’re counting people like me.

Moreover, it seems that everyone who bought this stock can sell enough to recoup their initial investment and have plenty of stock to play this game a bit longer. There is one hedge fund that borrowed $2.75B to close out their short position. All of that money went to WallStreetBets.

There is no foreign country in this. People are trying to make something complicated that is quite simple. If a company has over 100% of their stock shorted, they could be subjected to a crowdsourced squeeze. End of story.

SpaceLifeForm January 31, 2021 2:00 AM

Insanity run amok.

hx tps://

Microsoft, which calls its Excel spreadsheet a programming language, reports that an effort called LAMBDA to make it even more of a programming language is paying off, recently being deemed Turing complete.

ResearcherZero January 31, 2021 2:44 AM

Regulation has certainly got to be discussed. The world has gotten a lot more complicated. Once decisions in procurement and investment were fairly simple, but they have all kinds of crazy ramifications today on the power technology can unleash, and the effects that companies that benefit from it then have on employees (insecure employment, income inequality).

The power shift is dramatic, it disrupts all conventions of society, is ripe for the kind of abuse that only worsens instability, and is happening at an accelerating pace. To use a crappy submarine analogy, problems crop up a lot faster than you can decommission your way out of them. Regulation at least gives some means to put the breaks on a problem before it rolls out with an unsafe launch capability.

Winter January 31, 2021 3:01 AM

As I understand it, 150% of the stock shortened means most of it was naked shorts. Naked shorts are illegal in the US. But this is finance, so it is not a criminal offence. In 2009, there were no bankers convicted in what must have been the biggest financial fraud in history. 2021 will not be different in a much smaller fraud.

Still, it is a coordinated (flash) mob pushing over the big guys when they are at their most fulnerable: When they have to buy more stocks than do exist.

Clive Robinson January 31, 2021 4:05 AM

@ JonKnowsNothing, SpaceLifeForm, ALL,

It would appear that last weeks potential good news, is now not as good,

So there is certainly the appearance that most of the potential jabs in your arm are “too specific” and the virus is mutating away at a faster rate than we are keeping up with them.

Something I’ve been concerned about, because the exponential growth in infections means that the probability of mutation seen overall also goes up exponentially. The South African varient with three changes in the receptor binding has very nearly escaped (ie less than 50% efficacy) current approved jabs.

The fundemental cause of this problem is not the virus mutating as such, that was a biological given and happens at a rate that is aproximatly linearly proportionate to infection (ie ~1 mutation per XXX people infected). The problem is that we have delayed whilst the WHO and Politicians in the West have prevaricated and equivocated to keep the self anointed “exceptional” happy at the expense of everyone as the known resultant exponential rise in infections has got worse and worse and is arguably out of control in some places.

Which means time is now even more of the essence in getting a jab from lab to arm to mitigate this exponential harm.

I hate to say it but with the FDA and EMA delays and yet more political nonsense in Brussels, that the US and Continental Europe are loosing the battle as the virus starts to rise to overwhelming force level.

Hopefully all the readers of this blog will still be here in a year or so to say “We dodged that bullet” but the current numbers suggest we won’t.

Goat January 31, 2021 8:34 AM

@Winter, such risks are taken because bankers retire, they can just keep pushing the prices, casha cheque and shift to a holiday home in hawaii to watch their bets crash(not always)

Clive Robinson January 31, 2021 1:07 PM

@ JonKnowsNothing, SpaceLifeForm,

This “all it needs is vitimin pills at home” madness has actually been going on for weeks in the UK, The East Surrey hospital abd the Mayday Hospital in Croyden I’ve had the misfortune medically to be carted into under “blues and twos” in the past, and technically they are within walking distance of each other

I used to work in Thornton Heath just a very short distance (~0.75kM) north of the Mayday back in the early 90’s and immediatly after that in Salfords about (~2kM) south of the East Surrey, where Phillips Electronics had a place. Both were back then an easy cycle ride from where I was living. I now live less than 1kM from another hospital, and when I was a lot younger I worked in another hospital in Surrey…. I know it sounds like hospitals are a bit thick on the ground around where I am but honestly for a major city and suburban sprawl they realy are not.

From what I’ve been told all the hospitals in East and South London and for another 20kM out have been on a quite high alert over these nut bars for quite some time.

It’s one of the reasons my son’s mom decided to switch from working in a hospital into working in a vac center where they have either police or military personnel on site all the time the workers are there.

There appears to be some evidence that some of those involved were in the “5G will fry your brain” club and similar…

Social media has had the finger pointed at it (Facebook in particular) for actively putting these nut clusters in the same bowl and adding fresh honey as it were, stiring it up then baking into industrial grade nut bars some of whom do more than just hiss and spit and suck all the oxygen out of the room.

Here’s hoping the police/military get a little kinetic on one or two of these nutbars because there is little doubt they are going to make people ill if not dead and will deny it due to their cognative deficiencies. Then there is the strain they add to healthcare staff that are already at or even past physical breaking point, and close to mental collapse.

JonKnowsNothing January 31, 2021 5:13 PM

@Clive @ SpaceLifeForm @All

re: VaxWars and JabGrabs

Along with the national/nationalistic/jingoistic chatter about “our vaccines” because of (fill in the blank) (select any from classic list of reasons) the Herd Immunity Policy folks are still working their death-by-numbers plans in the background.

One of the important distinctions between the Herd Immunity by Vaccination and Herd Immunity Policy is the Number of Deaths and the Number of Deaths for the Older Generations. These two views are not compatible and the medical establishment continues to challenge the notions that life has no value after N+Years or that life has more value if you are in a Target Group.

A seemly logical suggestion forwarded that since the scale of the pandemic is accelerating faster than we can obtain vaccines and get them distributed, that we need to TRIAGE who gets the vaccines. The concept is that we shift from protecting the N+Years and focus vaccinations on Target Groups (workers, carriers and spreaders).

A MSM report on a study of vaccination benefits indicate there is a disparity between the idea and the outcome.

Adam Finn, a professor of paediatrics who sits on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which advises ministers on vaccine distribution challenged the outcome of vaccinating younger people or groups by working conditions.

“We worked out that if you give 20 people in a care home a dose of vaccine, you’ll save a life,” he said. “If you give 160 people in their 80s a dose of vaccine, you’ll save a life. But once you get down to people in their 60s, you’re up to more than 1,000. If you go down to teachers or policemen, you’re approaching one in 50,000. It’s an extraordinarily inefficient way in the crisis to use vaccines – to start going out to these other lobbying groups who are perceiving themselves to be at enhanced risk of exposure, but who are not actually and demonstrably at enhanced risk of getting sick and dying.

“If in the next month you immunised 200,000 teachers, there will be 200,000 people in their 70s who won’t get that vaccine. You’ll save a few teachers’ lives, and you’ll waste the lives of a lot of people in their 70s. It is politically, socially and ethically unacceptable that we turn our back on older people and say, ‘It’s too bad, just stay home and die.’”

Summarized: 1 life is saved for the following vaccines given
  * 20 people in care home
  * 160 people 80+
  * 1,000 people 60+
  * 50,000 workers

To save the maximum number of lives with the limited quantity of vaccines, care homes need to be the priority. This is not the Herd Immunity Policy goal. The HIP goal is to open the schools and fully open business regardless of the state of health of the population.

To get the schools to open, they have to coerce teachers into returning to Face2Face teaching by moving teachers to the top of the list. Most teachers have finally gotten the message that they and their colleagues are going to die from cross COVID-19 Mut exposures if they return to F2F teaching.

There is great rumbling in the USA about getting the schools open because the internet connections just do not work and do not exist for a large segment of the population. The internet coverage deceits of these past years, overstating the number and extent of internet access is another colossal failure and own goal for the FCC.

Once the schools open, the cross COVID-19 mutations will spread faster. Even if the students are in a “group pod” that pod extends beyond the students to their families. A study found that a good number of people are less than truthful about their COVID-19 exposure status.

More to consider when confronted with:

  “It’s OK I’ve gotten a Jab”

which will be ranking up there with

  “It’s OK I’ve already had COVID”.

ht tps://

Vaccine priority: who should get the Covid jab next in UK?

Arguments continue over which groups should be targeted first in next phase of vaccinations

ht tps://

Older age groups in UK ‘will die’ if Covid vaccine priority goes to younger key workers

Government advisers say it would be ‘politically, socially and ethically unacceptable’ not to inoculate older people first

ht tps://

Trusting friends who say ‘I’ve been careful’

Beware the friend or tradesperson who reassures you that they’ve respected all the rules, and that the cough they just did was a one-off. “A lot of people don’t disclose their breaches of social distancing or even their symptoms to other people,” said Yardley. One study of 551 American adults found that a quarter of them had lied about their social or physical distancing practices, and among those who had contracted Covid-19, 34% reported having denied having symptoms when asked by others.

(url fractured to prevent autorun)

xcv January 31, 2021 7:12 PM


… Each law enforcement agency in the state with reason to believe a missing person is in the jurisdiction served by the agency shall accept a report of a missing person. A law enforcement agency may not refuse to accept a missing person report …
The law enforcement agency shall notify the person making the report, a family member, or another person in a position to assist in the efforts to locate the missing person; the law enforcement agency …
the law enforcement agency shall also notify the person of the specific information or materials needed, such as credit cards the missing person has access to, other banking information, and records of wireless telephone use;
… shall notify the person making the report that any DNA samples provided for the missing person case are provided on a voluntary basis and may be used to help locate or identify the missing person;

This is Five Families legislation in Alaska, straight out of New York from the DNC.

Each family had a demarcated territory and an organizationally structured hierarchy and reported up to the same overarching governing entity. Initially, Maranzano intended each family’s boss to report to him as the capo di tutti i capi (“boss of all bosses”). However, this led to his assassination that September, and that role was abolished for The Commission, a ruling committee established by Lucky Luciano to oversee all Mafia activities in the United States and serve to mediate conflicts between families. It consisted of the bosses of the Five Families as well as the bosses of the Chicago Outfit and the Buffalo crime family. In 1963, Joseph Valachi publicly disclosed the existence of New York City’s Five Families at the Valachi hearings. Since then, a few other crime families have been able to become powerful or notable enough to rise to a level comparable to that of the Five Families, holding or sharing the unofficial designation of Sixth Family.

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons January 31, 2021 9:39 PM

Seems several very interesting documents have hit, the list as follows (not all links verified, URL’s mangled for your protection/pleasure):

SolarWinds Court Procedures
hx pts://

Surveillance Coup Versus Democracy
hx pts://

Vault 7 Leaker, Schulte, Special Administrative Measures Horror
hx pts://

Oathkeepers Attack on Capital Complaint
hx pts://

NSA Releases DECLass DoD SIGINT Governing Manual (24MB)
hx pts://

SpaceLifeForm January 31, 2021 11:22 PM

@ JonKnowsNothing, Clive, ALL

I realize that it seems long ago, but was it not a goal to keep the hospitals from being overwhelmed?

That should still be the case. To that end, vaccinations should be directed to those most likely to have to go to hospital. And med workers.

So, start with the over 65, and work downward.

In the meantime, stay healthy, and avoid being exposed.

We know people will still get infected even if they got 2 jabs. There is no reason to believe that they can not infect others.

If this was going to be easy, we would have eliminated common cold long ago.

Clive Robinson February 1, 2021 1:07 AM

@ SpaceLifeForm, JonKnowsNothing, ALL,

If this was going to be easy, we would have eliminated common cold long ago.

I suspect that SARS-CoV-2 in it’s ever changing varients, will become the “new common cold” as more and more disease reservoirs form. With the average life expectancy to drop in the Western World from it’s high of 83 down a decade or so to just under 70 without a suitable vaccine.

Thus the question,

“What price a decade of life?”

If you remember back to the “epi-pen” episode in the US not that long ago… We know that, that sort of profit potential will mean jabs at what ever price that will not get sufficient bad press to force legislators to act in some way, and even they will “look away” if the pharma company is big enough…

Remember, big pharma do not want to cure you, they want to convert “fatal to chronic” and seek rent on your soul. We know this from the long history of stomach ulcers. If you look back to 1982 and the gnashing of teeth from big pharma when Australian Dr’s Barry Marshall and Robin Warren duscovered what we now call Helicobacter Pylori or H.Pylori bacteria and that it could be cured with a couple of weeks or three of high dosage of “off patent” antibiotics, and a lucrative multibillion dollar drug, research, and surgery market collapsed almosy over night. I remember what big news the cure was back then as stomach ulcers was the scourge of the affluent western world.

What also was discovered at the same time, was that some stomach cancers were also “cured” by the antibiotic treatment for H.Pylori…

JonKnowsNothing February 1, 2021 1:15 AM

@ SpaceLifeForm @Clive @ALL

re: was it not a goal to keep the hospitals from being overwhelmed?

The method to prevent the hospitals from being over run is Lock Down + Hard Quarantine.

Vaccinations will not stop the hospitals from being over run for a long time out because there is a not an immediate effect from the vaccinations in reduction of spread. It takes n-days to be most effective during which you may have a higher probability of getting COVID-19.

One still needs @80% vaccination rates to hit Herd Immunity from Vaccination. A city the size of 1,000,000 needs to hit 800,000 jabs (x2) and that only protects the people within the city and supposes no one from outside the city hauls in a new COVID-Mut (1). Spending 200,000 jabs only gets you 20% or worse 10% if you need to save for the 2nd jab.

Care homes have the largest percentages for COVID-19 infections and it affects nearly everyone in the home. Vaccinations have a high return on saving lives.

From Der Spiegel

DER SPIEGEL: Mr. Braun, almost 90 percent of the people dying from the coronavirus are older than 70 years old. In Berlin, more than half of the victims live in retirement homes.

Which will you select to save? The Hospital or the Most Vulnerable?

No worries. The neoliberals have already made the choice for us.

They’ve been making that choice for some time now, ensuring the barriers to entry for medical schools and universities remain in place, college debt, reduction of healthcare options, no healthcare for many, lack of the required equipment and lack of staffing. Now they get to play with the toys. The rest of us just happen to be the pickup sticks.

ht tps://

ht tps://

Pick-up sticks or pick-a-stick is a game of physical and mental skill in which a bundle of “sticks”, between 8 and 20 centimeters long, are dropped as a loose bunch onto a table top, jumbling into a random pile. Each player in turn tries to remove a stick from the pile without disturbing any of the others.

1, ht tps://

‘Vaccine tourism’: tens of thousands of Americans cross state lines for injections

“vaccine tourism” – in which people cross state or even country lines to get earlier access. Without standardized protocol, and because of the fractured American health system, tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people have gotten vaccines outside their home states.

“They are coming from Canada, Brazil, New York, Georgia, folks from Minneapolis have come here. …

(url fractured to prevent autorun)

Clive Robinson February 1, 2021 1:22 AM

@ name.withheld…,

With regards the,


PDF document. Reading the last sentence in section three that is repeated in section four would be amussing if it were not so sad.

In essence they are saying the only electronic filing security measure is a standalone pretend air gapped computer…

What’s the betting that it will be a laptop using an MS OS (that reaches out). Shared by atleast three or four people not propperly backed up and with at best randomly updated AV software etc, etc… and maybe left –but probably not locked– in a draw over night, or just left charging somewhere rather than be locked in a safe etc.

Thus paper would be more secure…

Winter February 1, 2021 1:29 AM

@Jon @All
“There is great rumbling in the USA about getting the schools open because the internet connections just do not work and do not exist for a large segment of the population. The internet coverage deceits of these past years, overstating the number and extent of internet access is another colossal failure and own goal for the FCC.”

If the COVID-19 crisis showed one thing, it is that the “Small Government” philosophy is a scam. The US is a prime example where all infrastructure is crumbling, see broadband internet, and a coordinated response against the pandemic is impossible.

So, now this “event” happens and the US falls apart because their government is too “Small” to handle anything out of the normal order.

If you want to read a humoristic, premonishing account of how Libertarians react to problems that require a coordinated response, see:
A Libertarian Walks Into a Bear by Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling
(sounds like start of a joke, indeed)

ResearcherZero February 1, 2021 1:37 AM

Some interesting stats on volumes of sharing fake news by users.

Only 4.5% of users ever retweeted vaccine-critical content and 2.1% of users retweeted vaccine content posted by a bot.

For 5.8% of users in the study, vaccine-critical tweets made up most of the vaccine-related content they might have seen on Twitter in those three years. This group was more likely to engage with vaccine content in general and more likely to retweet vaccine-critical content.

When totaled across all panel members and the entire 2016 U.S. election season, 5.0% of aggregate exposures to political URLs were from fake news sources. The fraction of content from fake news sources varied by day (Fig. 1A), increasing (in all categories) during the final weeks of the campaign (SM S.7). Similar trends were observed in content sharing, with 6.7% of political URLs shared by the panel coming from fake news sources.

aggregate volumes mask the fact that content from fake news sources was highly concentrated, both among a small number of websites and a small number of panel members. Within each category of fake news, 5% of sources accounted for more than 50% of exposures

The top seven fake news sources—all red and orange—accounted for more than 50% of fake news exposures

A mere 0.1% of the panel accounted for 79.8% of shares from fake news sources, and 1% of panel members consumed 80.0% of the volume from fake news sources. These levels of concentration were not only high in absolute terms, they were also unusually high relative to multiple baselines both within and beyond politics on Twitter

Using unique behavioral data on Facebook activity linked to individual-level survey data, we find, first, that sharing fake news was quite rare during the 2016 U.S. election campaign. This is important context given the prominence of fake news in post-election narratives about the role of social media disinformation campaigns.

Boris learned tricks to better monetize his websites: big ads breaking the text up, for instance, so that one in five visitors to a page would end up clicking on an ad. His RPM—revenue per 1,000 impres­sions—hovered around $15, he says. He fed the beast with diligence.

fake news about fake news – *exercise caution, perhaps just read the url rather than click on the link in case of malicious plugins
or scripts.

Winter February 1, 2021 2:30 AM

“Within each category of fake news, 5% of sources accounted for more than 50% of exposures”
“A mere 0.1% of the panel accounted for 79.8% of shares from fake news sources, and 1% of panel members consumed 80.0% of the volume from fake news sources. These levels of concentration were not only high in absolute terms, they were also unusually high relative to multiple baselines both within and beyond politics on Twitter”

This is good news as concentration allows us to handle the problem better. Handling both in better judging its risks and better targeting the sources and sinks of disinformation.

However, note that 0.1% of users is still 100k+ people. Al Qaida was a lot smaller.

Btw, we know that all the noise from anti-vaxxers is not really a sign of their current importance as people are still lining up for vaccines. However, more noise means more “importance” and more “followers”. Things can easily get out of hand as is shown in France where the level of vaccination is really becoming a problem. Children are dying again of measles.

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons February 1, 2021 5:41 AM

@ Clive
How about an “air-gapped” Compaq or HP Vector (Air Force Surplus) with a WIN 95/98 and Word Perfect (federal legal teams have had WP, doubt there is a WANG hanging around)? Floppy drive, attached CDROM, and a serial terminal connected to a concentrator, no SLIP or PPP but x or zmodem transfers to a host.

Clive Robinson February 1, 2021 6:23 AM

@ Winter,

I am puzzled here. The EU paid billions to Pharma for the development of vaccines and production facilities.

You will note I did not say “development” but “research”. There is a good reason it’s called R&D, for “Research and Development”, because they are two entirely different things. The bulk of the Research money that went to Oxford for the research came from the UK Government and some I believe came from the US Warp Speed, but as I understand it not a penny from Brussels.

That “Research money” that gave rise to the vaccine was entirely seperate to the “Development money” which effectively was the funding to put the vaccine it into production, which again the US and UK paid the bulk of to AZ prior to Brussels involvment.

The EU for various reasons wanted “Continental European” production, and in effect that is what their prospective payment for “Development” was all about, having a “Home Turf Capability” at quite short notice.

For some reason unknown publicly that development of production in EU “home turf” has hit the rocks, my first guess would be to short a time schedules.

It’s that smacking into the rocks that has caused the problem as I understand it and it’s that which Brussels appears to be keeping very very quiet about. As it is about other EU “home turf” production fascilities for other companies that have also stopped producing… Creating a bit of a perfect storm, which the EMA shifting their goal posts with I’m guessing pressure from Brussels has caused a gasket or three to be blown (The French fails no doubt uping the pressure enormously).

But as for AZ using EU money to subsidize UK production, UK production was already well in progress before the EU even started serious negotiation and it was being stockpiled awaiting UK approval. We know that from already published sources back last year before phase III trials had begun.

As far as I can tell in Continental Europe the production rate was low or non existant again little public information, and untill last week unaproved by the EMA who were at one point out on their extended Christmas holidays and talking of approval maybe by March…

So on the pure assumption there was any EU “home soil” Production, the question of if it has been stock piled or not becomes relevant. I have no idea on this because people are not talking about it.

I must admit if I was in charge of AZ and the EMA were making comments like March maybe maybe not, then I would be very tempted to send production where they will be used as it will save lives. Even if not for humanitarian reasons, it would stiil be better than endlessly putting money in the hands of owners of very expensive cold storage fascilities for an indefinate period whilst the EMA sat on it’s hands…

I’ve yet to see the “full contract” but as I understand it from things that have been said in various places the EU insisted on certain clauses about what they would and would not pay for depending on if the vaccine got approval or not. How much of the money has actually been paid and what claw backs there are is unknown. The only thing we realy do know is that Brussels has been caught out lying about this not just once but twice at least to both the MSM and more importantly to the Members of the European Parliament, and I’m guessing by the German Chancellor’s comments the heads and governments of the respective European Countries…

So I guess we are going to have to wait and see what comes out.

Clive Robinson February 1, 2021 6:52 AM

@ name.withheld…,

How about an “air-gapped” Compaq…

And when did Compaq cease to exist in reality? Before 9/11 if memory serves correctly HP bought them out and almost immediatly phased out the Compaq designs. The same with the rest of that “so last century” spec that atleast had some chance of being secured.

But you and I both know what is actually going to happen, that document is going to be used as a “funding request” for each and every court room to have it’s own “secure computer”. They won’t actually be able to get one so it’s going to have to be either a high end laptop or some low end office box. And it does not take much in the way of brains to guess what will be pushed for.

The only half way “secure” computers that will run commodity software you can buy these days originate in China… And I can not see funding granted for that with the political wind not yet visably changing direction.

If somebody asked me to quote for a secure system I would be asking for the better part of $30k/unit shipped to recipient but not installed.

What they would get would look a lot like a largish office safe, because that’s what I would use for it’s case and I would put some gizmos in there so it would have to be bolted down with a fair degree of force, otherwise it would loose it’s FDE key as well as failing to power up.

Yes I, know from an electronic security point it would be mainly window dressing but it would be about the only way you could stop it magically growing legs… And be found all lonely in the back of a taxi just asking to be taken to a nice home or some such…

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons February 1, 2021 8:18 AM

@ Clive
There were 50 engineers from COMPAQ that were carried into the HP organization. But it was also at that time that HP was performing hatchet jobs on their production lines. From the workstation, servers, instrumentation, test, and medical equipment were being pieced out and it showed. They folded some of the COMPAQ architecture into storage systems and some of the 9000 platforms but they walked away from workstations (remember the Apollo platform, a decent RISC CPU architecture eventually becoming the Precision cores).

The Alpha remained a server platform besides the VAX platforms, much of the VAX line had some very COMPAQ treatments done (disk enclosures, frames, and panels. I remember a Alpha 64 with wide fast PCI 2.0 busses, and having a BSOD based on what I determined was a primary/secondary bus master mutex lock bug. That was 2001, I call this period the Microsoft-ization of hardware platforms.

HP also helped start the slow roll into the same effect on the hardware component and device manufactures; from MSI to VLSI the lifecycle and software cycle began to merge. Development in this environment became an object license on how not to build platforms irrespective of scale–except maybe exploratory and phase one prototype development. Feature focus and delivery with low ROI became the mantra, scaling data centers with large storage and database processing clusters (competing with Sun Microsystems) and much in secure architecture was secondary.

By the by, still have a COMPAQ on my development desk in the prototype lab.

ResearcherZero February 1, 2021 8:58 AM


I’m also a little concerned over the data. I studied statistics, after originally intent on mathematics and physics, but encountered problems with certain influential people who insisted on statistics and economics if I wanted to stay at the university. As a ‘compromise’ I looked at behavioral effects of economics through statistics, data driven economic modelling, and other categories that will somewhat neuter one’s love of mathematics.

Small statistical percentages affecting the population often translated to wide ranging effects. It’s why governments love statistics. What looks small on a graph, may hide a large socioeconomic impact. I assume it translates to [disinformation], based on what we have seen.

Maybe Palantir could direct it’s data analytics to government expenditure, departmental finance anomalies, political fundraising, then drive around neighborhoods afterwards and see how arresting white collar criminals translates into socioeconomic outcomes in low income neighborhoods. Of course such powers could be terrifying in the hands of a despotic regime, and despotic regimes don’t really care about transparency.

Who’d ever thought math dorks would be responsible for the cataclysm, George Orwell perhaps, though I’m pretty sure he blamed the state?

(At this point I usually like to defer to blaming the laws that govern the universe.)

ResearcherZero February 1, 2021 10:05 AM

The following publications are backed by significant research and make some good points about dealing with both disinformation, disinformation campaigns, regaining public trust and dealing with frustration.

” Posts made by the network of accounts or social media bots maintained by the Kremlin during this campaign were not necessarily politician or party specific, instead, they exploited a variety of polarizing issues within the United States to amplify divisions and increase the partisanship of politics, thereby weakening trust in the US establishment and potentially discrediting wider western democratic systems. For example, during the electoral campaign, a Russia-attributed Facebook account called “Heart of Texas” organized a protest called “Stop the Islamization of Texas”; a second Russia-attributed account called “United Muslims of America” organized a demonstration at exactly the same time and the same place.14 The identified associated strategy was “to take a crack in [US] society and turn it into a chasm.”18

Since the popularization of this online tactic and its evident impact on the US elections, other nations have similarly weaponized online fake news. A report by the Computational Propaganda Research Project in 2019 identified that social media manipulation campaigns had taken place in 70 countries globally. Additionally, 7 countries—China, India, Iran, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela—had been observed running state-sponsored information operations on Facebook and Twitter.19

… In 2019, misinformation was considered a significant threat to India’s elections and disinformation campaigns against European elections and the British referendum on exit from the European Union were identified as substantial security risks.21,22 The link between disinformation and misinformation in these campaigns is crucial.

… The most effective disinformation campaigns seem to be those that exacerbate or amplify misinformation campaigns.23 While the ongoing Russian disinformation campaign appears to be the most sophisticated and targeted example and has gained unprecedented attention, more and more literature and reports point toward other nation-states increasingly attempting to harness this tactic.

The most profound example of the consequences of fake news campaigns on public health is harmful effect of Russian disinformation campaigns and cyberattacks on US public health systems, through their contribution to the erosion of trust in traditional public health measures. The major area of focus for Russian fake news campaigns, alongside the divisive targeting of race relations and immigration, was vaccination. ”

” As they seemed to have done with the League, the Russian government’s method of choice in carrying out this objective is using business transactions to mask exchanges of political power. Salvini is not the only recipient.

Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s far-right National Rally, received 11 million euros in the form of loans from Russian banks after publicly supporting the annexation of Crimea. Due to the National Rally’s history of racism and anti-Semitism, the party has been turned down for loans from French banks.

Earlier this year, Heinz-Christian Strache, leader of the Austrian far-right Freedom Party, was caught negotiating the exchange of public contracts for Russian financial campaign support.

Russian influence is also evident in the rise of far-right politics in Hungary. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban infamously declared “shipwrecked liberal democracy” to be a thing of the past in his country, echoing Putin’s statements on the issue. Hungary’s connections to the Kremlin have solidified recently due to nuclear energy deals. ”

” The fragmentation of the information space into “bubbles” within which people mostly listen to ideas that they already hold, greatly favors the work of populists.

As long as the main underlying reasons for the alienation of large parts of Western societies, the anger of the losers from globalization and the frustration with traditional democratic politics are not addressed, the challenge will remain.

The EU and its member states have to pay more attention to the consequences of inequality and social injustice, and take action to cushion the effects of global competition and asymmetric shocks on vulnerable citizens. Apart from providing opportunities and assistance to these people, the EU also needs to tackle inequality by promoting fairer tax systems that ensure multinationals pay their fair share, exposing tax havens, and preventing money laundering and corruption.

Managing migration well is another crucial challenge. Europe needs immigration in view of its demographic decline, but the process needs to be handled in an orderly manner. This requires better control over the external border, better common rules in the areas of migration and asylum, and more effective institutions.

Concrete results in areas of direct concerns to the citizens are obviously the best way to regain their trust and defeat the populist. But EU institutions and the governments of member state should also explore new ways to make politics more transparent, participative, and democratic. If citizens felt more involved and consulted, they would regain confidence in their representatives and would be less attracted by the simplistic solutions of populist parties. ”

“In a climate of fake news, there is a great need to cultivate news media that is independent of outside funding sources abroad.”

ResearcherZero February 1, 2021 10:31 AM

@Clive Robinson

As there was no user login requirement, auditing, logging, or security in my states registry, an “air-gapped” Compaq sounds like a good solution.

The court and the police systems didn’t even match up. No one “seemed” to know where anyone actually lived, or other important details of witnesses, accused or victims, let alone if their identities were correct. I’m just not going to bother with the security of the police system, as it’s security audits stated the same glaring failures for the last five years.

They have not even released the report on the registry (2018) to the public, and it will be significantly redacted when released due to “very significant concerns”. I’m filling it under – significant public trust issues.

Clive Robinson February 1, 2021 6:08 PM

@ Winter,

And the fact that the EU did not fund the research does not mean there was no European government funding of the vaccine development.

Tell me why do you think the US Government has the patents and rights to the mRNA technology that both Pfizer and Moderna use?

Well it was all the work of a US Government employee…

So the US legaly would be well within their IP rights to say that both Pfizer and Moderna could only develop for the US or give the US priority, it all depends on what went in the contract and as far as I’m aware nobody outside of Brussels and AZ can say they’ve seen all of it as the Brussels issued copy had been significantly redacted (apparrntly badly, but that works both ways)…

But the figures you give show that the EU was demanding the AZ vaccine at around half what the US was paying and an even smaller fraction than the UK was paying…

In return the EU alledgedly took on a lot of risk, and they also demanded bigger discounts (but only after they knew the vaccine was effective and the EMA was apparently sitting on the application for some reason)[1].

AZ could have turned around and politely declined to have anthing to do with the EU, and I suspect in practical terms they off loaded the risk as much as possible onto the EU. They are after all not making any profit on the vacine they supply.

But consider, under the EU flag it’s all gone wrong, which is tough but you have to ask why so many of the EU “bought as cheap as they can” vaccines went and are still going wrong on them?[2]

That is what is the EU and in particular Brussels doing so wrong they can not do what other nations appear not to be having trouble with? Then trying to hide the truth of things from not just the MEPs but member states governments as well.

Trying to pretend the EU is entitled to anything more than the contracts they entered into because they have apparently screwed it up some how is not winning the EU any friends…

In fact it looks like Brussels has actually managed to alienat 27 EU state Govetnments not just once but repeatedly over COVID and by the looks of it the blaim is all Brussels own fault.

In short they took a gamble with the EU citizens lives, and they lost the bet, now the council of ministers and the French premier himself appear to be vey sore loosers. Like all gamblers that loose they think it must be somebody elses fault not there’s…

The people I feel sorry for are the European Citizens, who’s governments were gulled by the Brussels clique, and are now well behind on their jabs programs, which is not just AZ Pfizer and Moderna are likrwise having problems and the two French vaccine attempts have been abandoned or sent back to the drawing board. So again why is Europe having these problems?

It appears Germany had a fairly good idea there was going to be several buckets of the brown stuff heading for the fan, thus it’s been said they did their own deal on the side and the German Chancellor sent a very very pointed message to Brussels when they started “acting up”. Looks like if Germany did do a side deal then they did make a sensible choice.

Oh by the way, making the vaccine in EU home territory is realy not any more secure than getting it made else where…

I thought people would have realised this with just a tiny smidgen of thought about supply chain security that has popped up increasingly in recent times. Because you still have to get the “raw stock” from somewhere and that comes from places like India and China amoungst others all outside the EU.

So whilst having manufacturing capability security is nice, it’s worth squat diddly without supply chain security which I understand Brussels has not put in place either… As industry insiders in the EU have pointed out, the Brussels clique have not exactly done the EU citizens any favours. The Government of any raw stock manufacturer and the manufacturer as well are almost certainly going to be way more cautious thus stricter on their contracts and agreements and regulations. Or as the insider pointed out just not trade with the EU as the risk is not warranted. And… if they don’t trade all that production capacity the EU has got at what it considers bargin basement pricing, could be a white elephant or a very expensive on sitting in the room.

As some people might say the EU Council of Ministers has “Realy scr3ed the pooch” and so far, as far as we can tell publicly, it’s a self inflicted wound with lying to people left right and center their current MO.

As I’ve said before, I did not want Brexit, but the behaviour of the Council of Ministers and the Brussels clique kind of made it a foregone conclusion. Their little nonsense trying to stir up deep routed secterian hatred in Ireland was both extreamly callous and inordinately stupid and well “beyond the pale” or as some would say “Off the reservation”…

When the Irish premier said it could have explosive consequences he real was not joking in any way, nor was it “diplomatic speech”. I remember when both sides of the Irish divde brought their politics forcefully to the UK mainland. Trust me you do not want them doing the same in Brussels where both the population density is higher, and the means to make a point forcefully way way easier to obtain.

Oh and in the process remember where the largest Irish community is outside of Ireland, it’s the US. They helped bring about the Irish ceasefire and eventually the good friday agreement. I doubt they would even slightly be ammused by the troubles starting up again, in fact they might see it as a very unfriendly act. When the previous Presedent appointed his ambassador to Europe, almost the first thing the ambassador confided in his European counterparts was that his mission was to destroy Europe… Something tells me Brussels does not want to be giving the US state dept reasons to do so as nicely gift wrapped as they have done over the past few days.

But I’m apparently not alone in this view others are saying that Brussels has just gift wrapped and handed a reason for other EU nations to consider heading for door number 50 and the exit behind it…

So I would say don’t make excuses for any of them, dig in and get the truth and then if required hold them to account. But make sure you investigate both sides as best you can because it might not be just Brussels with a credibility problem, people are being less than forthcoming on information and that always makes me cautious.

As I said we will just have to see what comes out with time…

[1] There is a story in an EU nations MSM that a certain person from Brussels has indicated the EMA will sit on any further applications from AZ in a phone call she had with AZ executives. Which would suggest if true this is not the first time she has handed down orders to the EMA to sit on things. But the implication If true is she is actively gambling the lives of many in the EU. Because the most likely new applications from AZ to the EMA would most likely be for variations to target COVID strains that are mutating away from vaccine protection.

[2] A professor at Trinity College Dublin, has commented that the processes are new for all the problematic vaccines thus in AZ’s case which uses a live process scalling up may be a not unexpected issue. Something I would kind of assume from experience with scaling up production runs in various industries. Thus it’s something I hope those in Brussels would have been advised of by any competant production engineer. But at least three companies with issues in the EU but apparently not other places… We need more information but it sure does sound odd to be a coincidence. I think it was Ian Fleming that said,

“Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action.”

What does that make four times?

ResearcherZero February 1, 2021 8:02 PM

“The new rules don’t apply to whole cases but to any documents that would be viewed as HSDs within any case. They typically involve ‘national security, foreign sovereign interests, criminal activity related to cybersecurity or terrorism, investigation of public officials, the reputational interests of the United States, and extremely sensitive commercial information likely to be of interest to foreign powers.”

Clive Robinson February 1, 2021 8:11 PM

@ ALL,

Anyone heard about “Philly Fighting COVID”?

This sounds crazy…

Apoarently Philadelphia has not recieved federal money to distribute COVID vaccines.

So you fill in a form and they send you vaccines and you just inject people, take their details and send them on to Phillies health people…

Yup fill in a form and get just under 7k vaccine shots…

Apparantly at the begining of last year a bunch of self confessed nerds at oldest just about 21 years old from the Uni, set up a nonprofit to manufacture PPE.

They then went on to run one of the larger COVID test places.

And from there they “filled out that form” ane became the largest vaccine point in Philly…

Apparently there were no concerns about if the “nerds” were even qualified to be giving people the needle… Or if they knew about how to resuscitate in a case of anaphylaxis, which is a serious life threatening condition that can be expected when vaccines are administered. They certainly did not appear to have the equipment required to open up the airway in a conscious or unconscious person to stop them asphyxiating.

Then a news organisation informed the city council that the “nerds” had gone from non profit to for profot and had a licence agreement that alowed the personal data of those receiving vaccine to be sold.

This was just one of several caises of concern including alledged stealing of vaccine…

Apparently the city council went from prasing the nerds as fine examples of people doing their best for the commniry to not just dropping them but significantly distancing them selves from the nerds.

As for if they sold anybodies data or not apparrntly it’s an open question and just under 200 shots of vaccine are missing…

It all sounds weird to me…

JonKnowsNothing February 1, 2021 9:24 PM

@Clive @All

re: Test and Vax Activists in Philadelphia

The story changes regularly and depends on which group is getting interviewed. It is more like the EU-Vax mess than anything nefarious afaik.

a, Group of Students (PhD candidate in some reports) started up a testing system.
b, They got funding from SomePlaceSomeOne and from the City.
c, They setup a database and started going through the lesser serviced areas of the city and did testing outreach.
d, Previous details indicated they did a good job reaching the under served
e, Then SomeOneSomeWhere got the idea that since they were doing so well maybe they could do Vax too as no one else was in the slightest bit interested in working in that area.
f, Reports indicated they did have some qualified folks to do the jabs (what sort varies)
g, They made some changes to the database and uploaded it to the internet
h, One of the default toggles was Monetize Your Website
i, Someone noticed the Monetize State and complained
j, No one bothered to ask if it was a mistake (some reports say it was an error)
k, Then the City got on their high horse and blew a gasket
l, The city yanked the authorization and gave it to NeoLiberal Chums (who aren’t going to that neighborhood in any lifetime)

Things are murky about the financing, they had some expensive gear. They hired a bunch of folks. Now it’s all underwater.

There were some shots taken and given out bypassing rules and procedures. Varying reports claim these shots were Cold Chain Time Out shots (as in other cases).

So, the City has one less provider for under served areas. They still have no one to give out tests or shots in that area. A lot of self-satisfied OH HORRORS! political posturing.

The stories will not doubt continue to change. Popcorn Recommended. ymmv.

SpaceLifeForm February 1, 2021 10:15 PM

@ ResearcherZero, Clive, name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons

My reading on the HSDs handling

This is fallout from SolarWinds backdoor.

They are going old school. Paper, secured filing cabinets.

The paper must be hand-delivered to courthouse.

SpaceLifeForm February 2, 2021 12:00 AM

@ Clive, MarkH, JonKnowsNothing

UK Variant arrives in Perth, Western Australia

Maybe those enforcing the quarantine should wear a mask? Doh!

And no fresh air in quarantine? Crazy.

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Clive Robinson February 2, 2021 3:44 AM

@ SpaceLifeForm, JonKnowsNothing, MarkH,

Maybe those enforcing the quarantine should wear a mask? Doh!

I started hearing about this, but not the details in relation to another case. What I had heard is that a person who spent the required time in supervised Quarantine, who had have tested negative on the three required dates got let into the community as being clean only to develop it.

As I’d heard it the puting people into Quarantine and letting them out, had not been well organised and thus bodies were meeting in corridors or within 20mins in hotel corridors with non moving stale air. Masks were not being worn by those leaving and hotel staff had been caught not wearing masks whilst slipping out for “smoko” etc. But the security guards being on minimal wages and not realy trained has been a continuous factor dogging the Australian quarantine, so guards double working as taxi drivers should be no surprise to anyone. Also that guards not being resourced with PPE and some reporting being told to “get their own” it’s not supprising masks are not being worn. Likewise the “treat’m like sheep” attitude of hearding in small groups when being moved from A to B is a symptom of too few guards etc.

This sort of nonsense I’m afraid starts at the very top with the lunitic ideas of Australias premier and has filtered down with austerity drives, small government thinking and the like. With jobs being reduced and those in more senior roles ordered to make savings or find other employment… Some things require not just man power but properly trained and resourced man power, which is not compatable with “dime store thinking” that comes from the top.

But the real problem in the case I’d heard about was N501Y varients or “New COVID”. They might all have got away with the sloppiness with “Old COVID” but not “New COVID” said to be more than half as infectious again as Old COVID and with a doubling time down from a month to a week.

You might remember when the figure of 1.55 times more infective came out the assumption was it was an increase in viral load so I did a first order adjustment on the “Minimum Safe Distance”(MSD) rules.

The problem is such first order adjustments by necessity make certain assumptions such as suspension times remain constant. Since then information comming out is suggesting that the increase in infectivity “Is NOT” from increased viral load, but increased infectivity in the virus it’s self. Which means suspension time information does need to be adjusted and that is not an easy linear adjustment as not only do you have to allow for a parabolic arc as particle size changes you have to make time based non linear adjustments.

Think of it if you will like “terminal velocity” calculations, if you are above a certain density and the presented surface area small and adjusted for minimum friction your terminal velocity goes up.

I’ve never tried it[1] but some calculations indicate for humans terminal velocity is only reached at a hight where the probable outcome will be always fatal. For mice however it apparently won’t be injured from any hight. But for cats due to their self correcting behaviours similar applies as with mice, but… With a band between 10m and 23m where the probability of the cat being significantly hurt or dead crosses over a threshhold where it becomes more likely than not…

Well the same sort of crazy applies to droplets in suspension as they evaporate they reach a point where their surface area and mass reach a point where they effectively hang in still air for considerable periods of time… So if being more infectious per virus rather than more more virus per volume, it kind of makes the figures entierly different and whilst still calculable there are no easy straight lines to work with even in log log views. But… a major effector has not been published which is if these new N501Y varients are more or less robust. The fact it is more infectious suggests it is not less robust and may actually be more so, but we just don’t know currently.

[1] Whilst at school there was a bit of a problem, apparently one child had made a parachute for their cat and the cat showed many potential indicators that it enjoyed it… However the childs neighbours had complained to the local police who passed it on to the local council and so on down untill the RSPCA sent an inspector round. Which resulted in the rest of the school having to go through a “be nice to our furry friends lecture”. In later life I learned that a very large tom cat who I’d named “wart” and in effect given to my sister had worked out how to solve the parachute problem for himself… He would hide on a house roof ridge line and wait for a pigeon to glide by on it’s way to the bird feeder. He would leap off the roof and land on the pigeon in mid air… Whilst the tom cat survived the pigeon did not as the tom would promptly eat the pigeon that had been the landing cushion…

Winter February 2, 2021 4:37 AM

“Tell me why do you think the US Government has the patents and rights to the mRNA technology that both Pfizer and Moderna use?”

For the same reason Americans had a patent on Indian Neem Tree extract use, Indian Basmati rice and Mexican yellow beans: because the US patent system is thoroughly corrupt and does allow, or better, encourages, patenting non-American inventions. And the US court system is systematically biased against non-US companies.

Remains the fact that Trump tried to bribe the CoVac people to move to the US and deny everyone else the vaccine.

Clive Robinson February 2, 2021 5:45 AM

@ SpaceLifeForm, ResearcherZero,

They are going old school. Paper, secured filing cabinets.

As you know from my “Paper Paper never Data” advice with regards adveserial court or in all honesty any documentation I would be all for that if we could be certain they are not just going to scan it into a “convenient” laptop, that can be moved around the court house “to increse the utility” or some other managment speak of “I can not be bothered” or “Im to important”, etc, etc.

The dream of “The paperless Office” and “Unlocking the data within documents” is still the goal of many who do not understand the security implications or (ab)users in general. Back in the 1980’s when Mad Maggie Thatcher sold off the UK state owned utility companies, part of the then legislation and regulation was that many documents were “time sensitive” and the only way to meet the time requirments was to scan in every piece of paper and pass it around the organisation electronically…

Such behaviour has knock on effects in all sorts of ways, and more than three decades later the problems of the 80’s have not been resolved and new problems are occuring still on an all to frequent basis as the MS scr3wup behind SolarWinds slowly gets draged into the daylight.

My other standing piece of advice of “Do not connect unless essential then think twice again” is still good decades later as well…

Both get ignored, then “things happen” and everybody sticks their heads in the fire bucket and cluck like deranged chickens. The excuse is pretty much always some variation of,

1, We were not told.
2, We did not know.
3, We can not be responsible.

But as judges have reminded people on many occasions “Ignorance is no defence” (it’s also the law of the jungle, just try explaining you ment no harm to a mother grisly to see what consideration you get on that defence).

Several years ago now on this blog I had a chat with @Nick P about crossing borders with consumer level electronics with storage such as laptops and mobile phones. I indicated that even with what I knew I could not harden them against a state / level III attacker that could get hands on, on demand.

My conclusion then as it still is now, is that “If you can not secure, then mitigate”. The simplest mitigation back then was not to take consumer level electronics into a border crossing zone, and taking non consumer electronics into a boarder crossing attracts all kinds of unwanted attention so don’t do that either. Then on arival just walk into random computer retail outlet smack down a pile of cash and buy the second or third box in the stack and use it for the duration then “wipe and dump” it before going back to the border zone. However the US has since then made the border zone cover about 99% of the US population which is still mainly coastal dwelling which necesitates a different mitigation.

Now of course traveling without consumer electronics is considered “unnatural” thus deeply deeply suspicious. I suspect that some of the Five-Eyes flag you up on departure for the tickle treatment on arival. Back when I used to still fly the occasions when I left the UK tech-lite for another Extended Five-Eye I’d get pulled for a customs search on arrival even though I was in the nothing to declare lane. After that had happened twice every time I flew to the US after that I’d get pulled, on one occasion on the excuse I did not have enough luggage for a three day max stay… It was excruciatingly embarrassing not for me but the unfortunate person who had been told to pull me you could see it in their eyes as their “supervisor” stood in eye-line giving me the “stink-eye”. The solution was to be enderingly embarrising back, by insisting on unpacking everything even unrolling my socks and pants I’d put in my spare shoes at the bottom of my suit carrier and rambling on about how good I’d found the laundry service at the Hilton I’d stayed in the last time I was over doing a software upgrade just a couple of weeks before. Then asking in a friendly way if there was any off the beat and track places they could recommend for going out to see / eat at in the evenings. I just kept going till the supervisor started looking suicidal. I guess there is only so much cheesy politness and happy to oblige they can stomach. The supervisor obviously knew that I knew I’d been dicked and knew it was going to happen so they were not going to find anything as I’d “spring cleaned” before entering a UK airport.

The only tech I would have was a brand new phone with recipt and everything. When asked why I’d trot out the line that was kind of new back then that I’d had to buy a new phone as my old one was not “US compatable” which is realy not possible to use these days, though “my normal phone is locked by the phone company” can still be true even these days. The other trick was have a company AmEx card, even in the US AmEx is not popular with retailers so having a big wedge of cash is covered by that alone just make sure it’s got a lot of low denomination notes “for tipping” and if some one is daft enough to say don’t you put it on the card? just look horrifed and say “If I do that in the UK the business keeps the tip not the waitress who’s earned it!” (which unfortunatly is true).

The point is “easy mitigation” for good security is getting harder because of other people… Who see you not doing things there way as at best odd if not a down right annoyance. Which unfortunatly plays into the hands of autoritarians and surveillance types…

Which as we should all realise, the result will be within a year or so these Court Secure Systems will be a thorn to be avoided however possible. Thus either they won’t get used or they will be less secure than second hand string underpants…

Clive Robinson February 2, 2021 6:25 AM

@ Winter,

better, encourages, patenting non-American inventions.

Well the mRNA sequence was done by a US person employed in the US by the US government. He’s one of the leaders in his field. I’ve not seen any claims that he used anyone elses propriety or intellectual property. If you find any send me a link.

As for,

Remains the fact that Trump tried to bribe the CoVac people to move to the US and deny everyone else the vaccine.

Power does what power can in the hands of sociopaths… It’s not just the US doing that sort of thing China did it to the US over rare earth metals. Also I’ve yet to come across any business or religion that does not do the same sort of thing. I suspect even your local coffee shop has a loyalty card to keep you walking through their door. The church up the road from me used to hold a free street cafe where you could sit down with a cup of tea and someone would come and be friendly.

As the French politicians have just pointed out with the “Brain Drain blaim Game” and the colapse of their two prominent vaccines. The EU does in places, France especially appeare rather inept at these sorts of loyalty systems.

The problem is even the US has not secured it’s raw reaource supply chain. The UK did not even bother trying they knew it was going to be problematic at best. So the UK mitigated in possibly a less costly and potebtially more advantageous way. It got in quick and paid a higher price to get a contract that would deliver, but more importantly they have ordered between five and ten times the number of vaccines required across many suppliers. Just on the security asspect alone it’s a wise thing to do. But having excess vaccines at the end of the day gives the power to be gracious. I suspect a lot of poor Comenwealth countries will get help with vaccines from the UK, not just the “at cost” Oxford/AZ vaccine, but essentially free from the excess stock. Will the EU get any? well that’s politics and now Brussels have jumped in both feet first in an attempt to steal what they did not have the sense to buy… It has made the job of giving the excess vaccines to other countries as a way to get trade deals and the like oh so much simpler. Other countries will see that Brussels is not just weak but inept. Right now if I had excess vaccines I’d approach some EU countries individually like Portugal and Southern Ireland/Eiré with them as that would do the UK big favours not just now but for quite some time into the future. Brussels would have two choices say and do nothing –by far the wisest choice– or do something realy dumb like try to grab then or say they will reduce what they give to Portugal and Ireland, either way it will back fire on Brussels. So more fractures appear in the EU which makes Brexit look better and better, hence door 50 with the exit behind it will look better and better to many in the EU, especially if the UK can get other European nations in the west and parts of the north of Europe to set up “trade and tourist zone agreements”

Winter February 2, 2021 7:00 AM

“Well the mRNA sequence was done by a US person employed in the US by the US government.”

Based on the Chinese sequencing of the virus, and based on German technology for mRNA transvection, etc.

A patent is generally the last rung in the ladder that will collect the loot.

“It’s not just the US doing that sort of thing China did it to the US over rare earth metals. Also I’ve yet to come across any business or religion that does not do the same sort of thing.”

Shutting out the whole planet from access to vaccines for a pandemic is rather on a different level. It is the “American Exclusive” part that is the poison in the deal.

“The UK did not even bother trying they knew it was going to be problematic at best. ”

How many of the UK vaccines are produced in India? I think the UK has the worst of the supply chain problems. Also, AstraZenica is part Swedish. The Pfizer vaccine was developed by a German partner. The almost ready Johnson & Johnson vaccine is co-developed in the Netherlands (by subsidiary Jansen pharmaceuticals).

It is not that Europe (EU) is not “involved” in vaccine development, it is just that they got bitten by the consequences of the neo-liberal, free-market, policies of past decades and see that the control over their supply and money chains has moved abroad.

That is something that has made a lot of people thinking.

“Will the EU get any? well that’s politics and now Brussels have jumped in both feet first in an attempt to steal what they did not have the sense to buy…”

Note that AstraZenica has yet to deliver what they promised. Claiming they cannot produce the promised vaccines fast enough requires evidence they were initially very unwilling to deliver.

If the situation gets really bad, patent protection will simply be tossed aside. Every country can force its will on any company on its soil, as the USA is very fond of demonstrating as often as possible (they blocked exports of ventilators produced by a Dutch owned company, Philips). If AstraZenica is put on the spot, they will “license” their vaccine to the EU, USA, India, or whomever decides that this is an emergency of sufficient scale.

Patriot February 2, 2021 8:39 AM

Since people are talking about Covid-19, I will too. I have a little piece of news.

I was in China every day of 2019 except December 25 to 31, living in Jiangsu province near Nanjing. I started looking for a job in Wuhan in the middle of September. I have two friends there.

Sometime in October or very early November I overheard the people at my work near Nanjing saying that something bad had happened in Wuhan, that people were getting sick. I told my wife, and I said that maybe we should not go to Wuhan. Then I forgot about it–until my wife reminded me a few days ago that I had said it.

She left China on November 10, 2019 to visit her family. I left China on Christmas Day because I found a job in another country. Needless to say, I am glad that I did not take a job in Wuhan. I am thanking my lucky stars.

Sometime between 1 October and 10 November the people at my work, all of whom are Chinese, were talking about something dangerous in Wuhan and people were getting sick.

Now I believe that they were talking about Covid-19, but I cannot prove it. The tone of the conversations, as I remember, was pretty serious and that something definitely had happened there. I asked a couple questions, but I cannot recall what I said or what they responded with.

Winter February 2, 2021 9:11 AM

“Sometime in October or very early November I overheard the people at my work near Nanjing saying that something bad had happened in Wuhan, that people were getting sick.”

That sounds about right. The first case in France was from a Chinese man visiting Paris in November 2019 (not in the link). Cases circulated also in the east of France (Colmar). It took some time before the epidemic really took hold.–QpD871eNhu/index.html

Clive Robinson February 2, 2021 12:57 PM

@ Winter,

Every country can force its will on any company on its soil

They can try forcing people and companies to do what they like

But if the raw stock that makes the process feed stock is not available those in charge might as well try ordering the tide to go out for all the good it will do them.

The simple fact is Brussels did not know what they were doing others did, now Brussels has found them selves hoist by their own petard, rather than trying to work their way out of the hole they have created, they are just doubling down on the digging. Which just makes getting out of the hole harder later on.

Brussels thought it was being smart and in fact they were being dumb. The one thing you can probably bet on is that several in Brussels will ensure that they “the all important ones” get their vacinations as a prefrence to other citizens in say the east of the EU.

As we say in the UK “You make your bed and you lie in it” and Brussels appears to be lying down on the job in a major way.

Only time will tell what the outcome is and as they say “The future is a closed book of which you read a page every day”.

There might be a bright light around the corner, but then again…

SpaceLifeForm February 2, 2021 3:09 PM

@ Patriot, Winter, Clive

It does all fit. The SATINT was not that high-tech though. It was purely visible.

It was how many cars were in Wuhan hospital parking lots in July and August of 2019. Way above normal.

JonKnowsNothing February 2, 2021 3:17 PM

@Winter @Clive @All

re:Every country can force its will on any company on its soil

This is a broad area in local and national laws.

All Countries can mandate control of factory outputs during extreme times, such as war.

Outside of wartime production countries that run Command Economies are at variance with countries that use Market Economics.

Commandeering factories and factory output has a bad effect in the overall economy and global economic supply system far beyond the immediate benefit of doing so.

Other governments respond with economic and financial sanctions as punishment. Objections in many cases demand/require compensation for such actions.

There are civilian challenges and national/global challenges to such behaviors. While some results are less effective than others, there are cases where the punishment, sanctions and demands for reparations last decades.

Snagging factory outputs when there are clearly valid and preceding claims would have a most unfortunate result.

It does not help anyone to do this.

The better choice in this case, is to do what a lot of other countries are doing; swallow their national pride and get vaccines from The Other Guys.

We could do with about 350,000,000 such vaccines in the USA. I’d settle for 1,000,000 of those for my local region. Instead the USA will kill off another couple hundred thousand citizens while waiting for Godot.

Old Joke on Command Economy Output tl;dr

A factory is commanded to produce 1,000,000 tons of screws.

The factory produces 1 screw weighing 1,000,000 tons.

ht tps://
ht tps://

ht tps://
ht tps://

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

SpaceLifeForm February 2, 2021 4:22 PM

Y2k never ceases to amaze

Looks like I can no longer purchase alcohol.

ht tps://

unparticular February 2, 2021 7:40 PM

Sputnik V has a lancet-published study out proving it just as effective as the mRNA vaccines.

Neither the chinese or the AZ vaccine or any other concentional vaccine achieved this efficacy.
Not being from the field I do wonder why nobody but the russians thought of using their approach with two distinct adenovirii.

One can hope they sell and produce enough to change the pandemic’s trajectory.

JonKnowsNothing February 2, 2021 8:19 PM


MSM report of backdoor to High-performance Computer Networks “Kobalos”. Prolly not new news to some.

This particular entry way isn’t too old.

The backdoor was released into the wild no later than 2019

[Some targets included] a university, an end-point security company, government agencies, and a large ISP, among others. One high-performance computer compromised had no less than 512 gigabytes of RAM and almost a petabyte of storage

Which begs the following question:

  How DO you download a petabyte of data and no one notices?

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

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons February 2, 2021 8:30 PM

@ JonKnowsNothing

All Countries can mandate control of factory outputs during extreme times, such as war.

You me surprised, the level of manipulation by the U.S. government (Fed, SEC, Military, Corporate and State proxies, and now Blackrock) within the context of markets and the notion of “Free Markets” is quite laughable.

Jerome Powell for example is the epitome of misguided management of the economy by fiscal and monetary policy…so how’s that working for you Bond holders or savers? The U.S. has engaged in acts of war by way of sanction policies that are both unilateral and lacking any minimization of harm (the least of their populations suffer, not the military or political actors).

Horizontal monopolization of broad market segments (Amazon, AT&T, Google, etc.) economy are creating a new and far more insidious threat to the general population. AT&T is in media production, distribution, and communications in both classic and digital domains. This is so dangerous that I am shocked at the level of acceptance for such organizational formations. Amazon, candidate for the worst of all, has become an economic octopus (no offense to cephalopods–especially in this thread) that has a position that crosses all of retail. Good thing Amazon has a good publicity arm, WAPO, or they’d have to spend more money on virtue signaling.

Patriot February 2, 2021 10:11 PM


Well, the virus spread without people knowing it. The earliest infection in the United Kingdom is thought to have been in late November or early December.

According to this article, “The first confirmed British victim of the virus was Peter Attwood, an 84-year-old retiree who died on Jan. 30, 2020 — though the cause was not recorded as COVID-19 until months later.” Another recent article from the British press says that Mr. Attwood is suspected to have caught it from his daughter, who was sick in the middle of December.

In other news, Mr. Schneier is going to be busy today because it turns out that the Chinese were also in on the Solarwinds bug (as I partly guessed and said on this website). In a memorable simile, it has been compared to “drafting” in NASCAR, one race car following closely following another.

In fact, we can think of some hacking operations as “drafting” behind Covid-19.

Patriot February 2, 2021 11:05 PM

Un-schmendrick and Take Away Desert Privileges

China also used the SolarWinds exploit: Reuters.

The article calls it an extremely serious breach.

You might think it odd that a national-level actor would target payroll information. How could that possibly benefit them?

Now for the bad news: their penetration of the U.S. government’s data is now so thorough that they are carefully refining what they need to target individuals, developing the targeting data down to granular details. From the American point of view, it is a counter-intelligence failure of sickening proportions. It complements the OPM disaster. Have you noticed the number of people in the news who have been caught working for Beijing in the last fourteen months?

As far as the U.S. government goes in its national-level cyber defense, the wheels have fallen off. Unfortunately, the intelligence apparatus has failed.

We see clear evidence that Russia and China are cooperating to each achieve their priority intelligence requirements. How did the United States turn into a loser? Does the NSA not have enough money?

The United States is failing and risks taking a steep downward plunge. If we were to be absolutely frank about the causes as to why the system is rotten on the inside, I would say that is it because too many people involved in defending the country do not really care about it much. They are in to win it, but not for other people, for themselves only and damn the rest. This is related to raising your right hand to take an oath to the U.S. Constitution, but with your left hand using that venerable document for toilet paper to wipe your butt. Good for me, not good for you, but that is just fine.

America can now be picked apart; systemic failure is normal when apathy reigns. The country is dying as nationalism has become a dirty word. This is why no one cares enough to pay attention to do cyber defense.

It is incredible to watch the decline. A lack of defense hurts everyone, but it does not hurt an individual’s paycheck, so people like Clapper say crazy things about the OPM hack such as “You have to kind of salute the Chinese for what they did.” Salute, indeed. He should have the grace to disappear from public view.

There is a lack of leadership, which is bad enough, but it is the degenerate culture of “me first”, which is now taken for granted and is likely to put the kibosh on the United States unless it can un-schmendrick itself.

Patriot February 2, 2021 11:13 PM


dessert privileges, not desert

But the desert privileges of pointless blasting on the other side of the earth needs to be revoked too.

Clive Robinson February 2, 2021 11:45 PM

@ SpaceLifeForm,

Y2k never ceases to amaze

Oh if only it were Y2K…

Are people aware that the issue behind Y2K was discussed in a published article back as far as 1962?

I know it sounds mad now but computers used in business often had data width sizes designed not on nibbles of 4bits, bytes of 8bits etc. But mainly octets[1] of 3bits, and thus other data sizes were 12bits 24bits and 36bits.

For those that doubt, go have a look at why *nix has 3bit file permissions and why the IA486 ISA which we still use today has three bit binary fields that select addressing modes.

And thus why there are some very strange date and time algorithms around, as programers did some stupid things[2] to get as much date&time in a computer word as they could within the machine instruction limitations.

These ad hoc algorithms all have an Epoch, most are selected because it was close to the time the algorithm was written OR when data went back to plus a bit. All wrapped to a programers idea of what a nice time/date datum point should look like. So the begining of the first second of the first day in 1970 or 1980 looked good but in fact are about as bad as you can get…

So many epochs start at the first second of the first year in a decade, which is realy just about the worst you can pick…

Because there is in fact a variable number of seconds on the first day of the year (look up leap seconds) and thus the first minute is not always 60seconds it can be 59 or 61. Further most decades are not divisable by either 4 (leap years) or 400years (when a leap year does not happen). Thus not all years are 365days long etc. All this is knowledge that’s been around for a long time, but certainly longer than electronic computers. So it should not have been too hard to pick a better Epoch in most cases, but they did not.

So whilst “ignorance” might be “bliss” for the programmer who thinks they are realy smart… they are in fact very “unread” and thus leap second by leap second a hidden cost builds up, just waiting to bring the world down around the ears of those in the future[2].

Thus a big chunk of change gets spent every few years, when somebodies “smart” time algorithm that has got “baked in” goes wrong.

What’s worse is “fixes” get put in the wrong place… Like in applications or the OS and not the time driver underneath the OS…

Microsoft has made this mistake quite often and about the only good thing you can say about it is that for those in the know it adds an extra little bit of “forensics” information when people are not aware of how it effects the track and sector positioning of files on hard drives etc…

The rest of the time it makes the likes of astronomers, historians, space scientists/engineers, communications engineers and even those who deal with legislation grumpy (yes I’m one of the grumpy ones).

For instance some of us are aware of relativity, but few of us realise that one side effect of relativity is that time moves at a different rate at different points on the surface of the earth. For the few that do know most realy don’t care, we laugh it off as getting a little fraction more life or some such. But the reality is for many it’s an unseen daily struggle as people in the various global “Space Command” organisations adjust their Global Positioning Systems.

But even those adjustments cause problems for geologists and communications engineers. Who’s problems get “sorted” by programmers who are still not smart enough to get it right “for all time” 😉

But worse as CPU clock speeds rise our ability to measure time becomes finer and the area we do it over way way greater. Back in the 1980’s clock speeds were below 10MHz and time to the nearest second was fine for most and a millisecond for those who were more exacting and the area covered was mostly just a lab bench or room.

Now we have CPU clock speeds a thousand times faster, but our need to measure time in fractions of a second now exceeds that and microseconds are just not good enough. Nanoseconds are just about acceptable for small area communications networks where being out by a foot or two does not greatly matter. But nanoseconds are way to granular for some and picoseconds, the time it takes light to move across a grain of sand still not good enough for some labs where light drives optical switches that will form parts of the computers of tommorow and time synchronisation across the surface of a silicon chip a hard engineering task to solve.

In fact time synchronisation across an area the size of the solar system is an engineering issue we have right now and we are mainly doing it wrong because doing it right is so very very hard. And yes at some point in time there will be a price to pay for not doing it right and something will in all probability “crash and burn”.

[1] Yes “octet” means different things to different people. You will find some documentation often translated where a “byte” of eight bits is called an octet. As with much in life “Context is king”.

[2] And yes I am an offender in this programers not getting time right game, not because I was not smart enough to know what I was doing was wrong… But because I allowed “a more senior pay grade” to have their way instead of just ignoring them.

SpaceLifeForm February 3, 2021 1:01 AM

Sorry, but I’m not buying.

htt ps://

JonKnowsNothing February 3, 2021 1:34 AM

@Clive @SpaceLifeForm @All

re: Time and Practical Time

A sad but important aspect of the issue is that hardly any of this information is shared before someone gets The Task. Having drawn the short straw a few times, the information just was not there. The Fix it Assignment said: Fix It. And that’s about all one got to go on.

There’s a great deal of interesting and pertinent aspects to “time” and what it is and what it isn’t. It’s mostly Not What You Think, and the Fix is Not What They Want.

It’s not just Time, there’s a lot of items like it where the complexity does not show up until you get The Task. If there are few or no mentors with experience then the fix is going to be short term. And as mentioned there are plenty who will direct you over a cliff.

That’s pretty much that’s how it rolls.

FA February 3, 2021 2:42 AM


Because there is in fact a variable number of seconds on the first day of the year (look up leap seconds) and thus the first minute is not always 60seconds it can be 59 or 61.

This is wrong. Leap seconds are added to the last minute of the previous day (usually 30 June or 31 December).

ResearcherZero February 3, 2021 4:57 AM

The Magnitsky Act and Corporate Transparency Act were recommend a very long time ago.

‘No Safe Haven’ Denying Entry to the Corrupt as a New Anti-Corruption Policy

Corporate Transparency Act of 2019
(requires certain new and existing small corporations and limited liability companies to disclose information about their beneficial owners.)

Long before development of AI and computer personality assessment became possible.
Long before “Storm of S**t” theory was put into practice.

Computer-based personality judgments are more accurate than those made by humans

It could be called ‘a failure to act on intelligence by government’ over a number of decades.

Winter February 3, 2021 6:23 AM

“Not being from the field I do wonder why nobody but the russians thought of using their approach with two distinct adenovirii.”

Not from the field but knowing people who do.

Adenovirusses are commonly used. They have a big downside, many people have build up antibodies against naturally occurring adenovirusses. So if you use a human adenovirus, you run the risk many people will not develop immunity against the target, but will simply clear the vaccine.

If you use non-human adenovirusses, you need to change them so they actually do something in humans. Not easy, and maybe also not risk-free.

Many are using adenovirus vectors, even the AstraZenica Oxford one:

I read somewhere that AstraZenica is mixing the Sputnik vaccine with their own.

Clive Robinson February 3, 2021 6:39 AM

@ FA,

This is wrong. Leap seconds are added to the last minute of the previous day

Ask your self a question, is what the specification says, what you are actually doing as a programmer? What about the majority of programmers?

At Bletchly Park during WWII a question was asked of people who looked promising, and their future career would turn on how they answered it…

It’s still as relevant today if not a whole lot more so, as with all such questions it was beguiling simple,

“Which way do the hands of a clock turn?”

And the answer they were realy asking for was not “clockwise” but “It depends on which way are you looking?” That is the answer is “relative” to where you are as the recipient of information or a signal[2].

Your statment looks a lot like “clockwise” than asking which way should I be looking at the problem.

So back to the specification, it’s written from the perspective of those generating the time signals that is the clock. Where they are “intentionaly” adding to the end of the last day of Dec etc. Which is as you say what the standard says, however you are very unlikely to be the programer generating the time signals…

As a programer, you are most likely receiving the time signals and programing for that. What you see is in effect the hands turning the other way. Your new year has already started when the extra second comes in, you are not adding to “your old year” but subtracting from “your new year”[1].

So from that “majority perspective”, you then have the awkward task of deciding what to do with the two new year seconds you’ve experienced as you flick your computer wall time back one second and live through it again in wall clock time but not elapsed time.

The easy solution for events that have finished is to put them in the last second of the old year. But that means all your time algorithms have to alow for an extra second from then onwards. But also what about tasks that are in progress during that second or started in that second?

Especially as you actually measure nearly everything by “local” elapsed time, as it, not wall clock/calendar time, is fundemental to SI units and derived units involving time used for calculating work and power and just about everything else, as all K12 and above people should know.

Do you stick with wall clock time with the inconvenient leap seconds, hours, years, etc, or the elapsed time of reality that cares not a jot about what the clock and calender on the wall say?

If you stick with elapsed time how do you work out when something actually happened in wall clock time, which some people strangely hold sacrosanct, the legal and finance fraterinities especially so.

It means that you can not do simple “CPU tick” elapsed time maths used for calculating used time without knowing where the accurate time anchor is. But which one? When the process started or when the process finished or when in the process elapsed time wall clock time changed discontinuously and jumped or folded back on it’s self. Thus all of a sudden your elapsed time maths has exceptions in it which needs a complicated set of corrections if you are storing things in file systems etc against wall clock/calendar time.

But then… just when you thought yes I can do that, you find out that elapsed time is not fixed it’s relative and can and does change with both movment and velocity between two or more points in space the faster you go and in which direction needs to be known and that can be a bit awkward (hence the elapsed time difference effect at the poles and the equator).

As normal in life, if there is a right way and a multiplicity of wrong ways, we will draw boundaries around the problem to make “our problem simpler” and kick the can down the road of the future for the next poor person to do atleast twice the work on and so draw their own boundries to double it up for the next person down the road of the future.

As I am a comms engineer amongst other things and my work has included designs for objects in space and for being on other planetary bodies I don’t want to build up what some glibly call “technical debt” because it can become a very real massive smoking crater of real debt you can never repay, because people are not data.

[1] Oh and don’t forget the specification alows for both positive and negative leap second signals, though from memory they have all been positive so far as the slow down of Earths rotation has not varied enough to need a negative leap second… I wonder what will break if a negative leap second is ever needed, what will people try to hide in that little time hole that reality never had but the wall clock created of the last year end second that never existed.

[2] It’s something communications engineers do so much of we sometimes forget others do not. In the main most programmers avoid thinking about it[3] in fact they are trained not to think about it when you think about it. It’s one of the major reasons resource errors bring the whole house down with a “blue screen of death” when even a modicum of “world as it happens” thinking would remove the problem.

[3] Arguably they are paid not to think about it by their managers, hence the smell of singed tail feathers and burning bank notes in forst line support when angry customers phone up.

Clive Robinson February 3, 2021 8:11 AM

@ JonKnowsNothing, ALL,

How DO you download a petabyte of data and no one notices?

That depends on,

1, Was it actually taken?
2, Were people looking or not?

It’s an “assumption” that so much data was taken, and it might well not have been.

For instance the amount of information required to predict the weather for the next few days is enormous and needs super computers to crunch it up. However the result will print out on easily on a sheet of A4 paper.

Most real world simulations of physical events are like that anything involving matter and energy flows. So areo dynamics, fluid dynamics and thermo dynamics get the super computer many millions of points massive data model treatment.

And we find out what the limits are on submarines, ships, helicopters, aircraft, missiles and bombs especially nuclear ones are. Again the results will after a long time data crunching will fit on a sheet or three of paper.

Thus what might have been stolen is not the data but the results. Even just knowing wjat calculations are being run can be more important than the data.

But even if data was stolen, how much would you actually need to steal? Actually very little to know what the basic shape of the data is would be more than sufficient, not the untrafine detail.

Steal me a circuit diagram with no component values in it and no test data or anything else, and you’ve given me most of what I actually need to know as most such things are “incremental” not “revolutionary” by design. I see two obvious signal generators feeding a single diode, and my brain tells me that most probably you’ve designed a mixer, sampler, or modulator, what follows tells me which is most likely the desired finction simply by the type of filter that follows.

The same applies to very many physical processes. It’s why 20,000ft views and block diagrams communicate meaning without the complexity of details.

So depending on what may have been watched, the meaning may have slipped out in the noise.

Because super computers are expensive and have a very short shelf life, the ROI is usually only met when they run at full capacity 24×365.25. Often this means having more users than capacity such that only the higher priority work –assumed most valuable– gets done and done continuously. As the users are almost always distant from a super computer, communications will be used, thus there will be a lot of noise created by those users trying to get the best they can out of their short windows of opportunity.

Hiding in such noise as just another user getting data would not necessarily be that difficult.

Clive Robinson February 3, 2021 10:06 AM

Amazon toeing FCC line

Amazon has anounced that it’s stopping sales of equipment the FCC “thinks” should be approved by the FCC…

Which is unfortunate because the FCC is trying to stray into areas and excert powers it has no legal right to do… As well as stray outside of the US juresdiction it most definately has no right to do as it’s been slapped down for before.

To cut out much of the nonsense the FCC issues licence and permits for,

1, Services
2, Operators
3, Equipment.

In the order of assumed technical competence.

That is as to run a service I must have technically competent people to build the system and operate it withnin the licence grants and restrictions. Thus the service can use equipment to build there systems that have not been FCC licensed.

As an assumed non technically competent person Jo(e) Public can go and buy FCC approved equipment to use in a service the FCC has licensed “for public use” one way or another. This includes “family radio services”, “mobile phones” and similar, but does not include equipment the user can modify (even if they are technically competent to do so). This also includes some services you have to pay a licence fee to the FCC for.

Also there are “Private Mobile Radio” (PMR) services these are where the FCC issues a service licence to an entity to use in a fixed geographic area on a specific frequency using a specific modulation type and bandwidth. The entity is not considered any more technically competent than Jo(e) Public therefore they have to use FCC certified equipment.

Then there are individuals that are considered technically competent which are “operators”. The normal example is “Ham Radio Operators” who can take any piece of equipment licenced or unlicenced and modify it to work to be compliant with the service requirments the FCC puts on the amature bands. Likewise Ships Radio Officers. In both cases they could build equipment for there systems from scratch out of wire, resistors capacitors inductors and active components such as thermionic valves, transistors or more modern integrated circuits. The responsability falls on them to ensure the system works within the FCC requirments.

So far so good. The problem arises in that a two way radio for PMR bands can also operate in adjacent Ham Bands without modification. For various political reasons going back to WWI and subsequently the FCC does not want this as they loose political control and get other issues.

However from an equipment mabufactures perspective the more general purpose a piece of equipment is the more easily it can be sold the more units that can be made for a lesser price, which also makes costs considerably less to those purchasing equipment.

For years there has been an unofficial policy of “lies” going on that many manufacturers have bought into because if they all do it they can all make vastly more profit. Thus commetcial equipment has “links” or “mods” that force the same piece of equipment to behave differently. So load a piece of firmware or add a resistor/diode to the PCB and what was PMR equipment becomes Ham equipment, and Ham equipment can have MARS extentions etc added or become PMR gear or as some say “broadbanded” to cover all at the same time. Not an issue for ham “Operators” as that falls within their licence provisions. But PMR “service users” or Public “service users” are not covered by the service aspects of their licence provisions.

As long as the “lie” persisted the FCC and others all of whom did well out of it “looked the other way”.

Then the Chinese “Fast Moving Consumer Electronics”(FMCE) mass producers got involved. They just said “not interested in lying game” because it cost money. So they submited equipment for FCC approvals as PMR Ham etc etc pre programed for each “type approval” and got one or more FCC type approvals, but then sold the equipment “widebanded” leaving it to the users to program correctly to meet service provision licencing. Which ment they could sell equipment for 1/10th the price those who bought into the lie could. Users voted with their pocket.

Then others reasoned if the equipment can do it I can use it to do it as I like and “No FCC rules is gona stop me”. Which started happening about a decade and a half ago with “sport” activities, spread into “prepper” activities and in the last couple of years “political” activities some of which as seen just a short while ago were violent and organised with multiple near or real time communications channels.

So, social media has been cracked down upon, personal messaging has been cracked down upon, two way radio is now starting to be cracked down upon, which leaves mobile phones which will no doubt have a crack down start in the not to distant future as has already happened in less open societies.

BUT… The FCC has been given broadet and broader powers to cove the mess that is all consumer electronics. Just about every piece of finished consumer electronics requires an FCC number, and this has good and bad sides. On the Electromagnetic Compatability(EMC) front it has been good, but the delays and costs involved have stopped many small inovators in the US getting going. Which is one of the reasons all those dreadfully insecure IoT devices are designed and sourced from abroad with the Far East and in particular China beong the point of origin. In the ensuing race for the bottom minimum functionality is added to IoT devices all the stuff you are actually paying for is done on servers in China, which then sell on the data to cross subsidise the price of the IoT hardware.

Amazon’s anouncment implies they are also going to crack down on all “cased”[1] consumer electronics. However I very much suspect they will not, unless politics unavoidably gets involved for some reason.

Because that is what lies behind Amazon’s decision, a slowly festering loss of power and prestige in political institutions and nation state this century has come to form a ripe boil through politics. Now every one is running around trying to lance the boil and in the process a grab back and consequent over reach by institutions and state power is happening. Well like the trade war with China the most lijely loosers will be the US Citizens as more freedoms are lost and more domestic surveillance results.

[1] Cased equipment is effectively “a finished item” needing an Approvals from the regulator in charge of the juresdictional market so the FCC for the US and the various entities behined the European CE mark. There can be two types of approval “by test” and “by constructors file” the later sometimes called “self certified”. However uncased equipment can be treated as a “sub assembly” that qualified others will build into finished systems, thus does not require approval just data sheets to end up in constructors files. This cosy little “uncased electronics” arangment came about in the 1970’s with home brew computer equipment that through Apple and then IBM gave us those ISA / PCI etc cards we push into slots in our PCs if we still have them. And yes legaly you are supposed to have a constructors file for your home PC that the FCC can demand to see if your PC is found to be infringing EMC or other regulations…

SpaceLifeForm February 3, 2021 10:10 PM

@ FA, Clive

I never expected this because of global warming and conservation of angular momentum. Is it Covid related? Pollution levels for example?

hx tps://

hx tps://

BTW, I meant to post this some time back. 😉

FA February 4, 2021 3:30 AM

Ask your self a question, is what the specification says, what you are actually doing as a programmer?

Where it matters, yes. Leap seconds are known a few months in advance, and many (but not all) time distribution formats provide advance warning. So it’s actually not such a big deal to get this right. It just means you can’t rely on ‘system time’.

But in reality most systems I know of where this matters use internally a time scale that is not affected by leap seconds (e.g. TAI or GPS). Leap seconds need to be taken into account only when converting to/from date:hms format, and all you need for that is list of them.

The real pain is with a format like NTP time which stops the counter during a leap second. Or even worse like Google NTP wich smears it out over a day.

So many epochs start at the first second of the first year in a decade, which is realy just about the worst you can pick…

None of the common epochs (1900, 1970, 1980) start after a leap second. So your argumentation is actually irrelevant, even if leap seconds would be inserted at the start of a year which they are not. All other wanderings about relativity, CPU clock frequencies etc. are orthogonal to this issue. So I wonder what was the point of your post.

Unless we go back to the 1960s ‘rubber second’ wich was a real PITA for science, leap seconds are going to stay. Just live with them.

Clive Robinson February 4, 2021 4:58 AM

@ SpaceLifeForm, FA, ALL

I never expected this because of global warming and conservation of angular momentum.

But you’ve forgoton the vector pull of the moon, Sun, and Gas Giants, along with the fact the earth spins which makes it non spherical (ie an oblate spheroid). The effect of the Sun and moon is to try and pull that bulge into alignment with the ecliptic giving lunisolar / equinox precession (wobbles like a top or spun coin). But as the changes in the seasons and precession shows it’s a long way to go (yes lunisolar precession does cause climate change but not the one implied by “Climate Change”).

But it gets worse… The surface of the earth is mostly but not entirely water and it bulges under the same effectors which with the addition of “Space Weather” causes “Terestrial Weather” which acts as another effector (see Milankovitch cycles). But due to land masses effecting the movment of water at the surface and in the lower atmosphere the results appear quite chaotic on a day by day basis. But with analysis the eleven year solar cycle and precession cycles do come through the data (as far as we can tell with less than a couple of centuries of daily weather recording).

The result is the Earth’s center of gravity shifts as well by this movment of water… All of which make the Earth dance a highly complex but small dance about it’s average orbital position. So the best way of aproximating it is to use Fourier analysis and you end up with about fifty frequency components only some of which are simple harmonic relations, and they all have amplitudes and phases that likewise tend to appear unrelated and the frequencies likewise change. So far “so simple not”…

The orbit of the earth is closed[1] and assumed by most to be circular and uniform. It’s neither and also degenerate but you mostly do not notice as it happens at rates in a broad rabge around about a thousand times that of the average human life. In the case of the Axial / Lunisolar / Equinox precession it’s,about one degree every seventy two years or three hundred and fifty lifetimes for the full cone.

The orbit is also slightly inclined which again precesses, similar to what you see in the last couple of seconds of a spun coin spining before finaly falling flat on the surface it was spun on. But… As the orbit is not circular, it also precesses around the major foci, and like a “spirograph” picture appears to make the petals of a flower for each orbit.

Thus imagine the Earth’s orbit is like a “spirograph drawing” pulled out of the page to form a fat cylinder, and you end up with what looks like some rolls of string where the string wraps around at an angle to the cylinder axis. Well that’s what the Moon does around the Earth and the Earth does around the Sun, and much like “furry string” things look fairly wooly…

The thing is Forier analysis is about using sin waves and being “circular functions” whilst they have a uniform velocity –as cycles per unit of time/distance– they are cyclic thus get faster and slower over shorter periods of time (see “equations of time” for sundials etc).

So yes you can expect the earth’s orbit to degeneratively slow down as the energy in it’s momentum gets converted to IR radiation (heat) but it also to speed up and slow down a little as well under the influance of it’s many effectors.

So whilst we have not had a negative leap second since we were using them we instinctively feel we are going to get some at some point on the old adage of “What goes up must go down” to “maintain the balance”.

But what does that mean in terms of wall/calender time, rather than elapsed time?

Well elapsed time is “natural” and can be seen as fluid in nature, that is it can change it’s rate like a water course can, but it will not fold forward or backward on it’s self. That is it can be used for the “invarient axis” in a graph without any real issue.

Wall/calendar time is an “artificial” construct and not fluid at all. It is granular and of fixed size, thus to map it to fuid elapsed time means discontinuities… That is it jumps forward creating a hole or falls back over writing it’s self. We see this effect with switching between summer/winter time each year with the old “Spring forward, fall back” saying where an hour of wall time disapears at the spring equinox and we get the same hour twice with wall time at the autumn equinox. Mostly we don’t care about the lost or doubled hour as we are asleep, though some who work night shifts can feel aggrieved if their pay is withheld or they only get the winter equinox (similar with Xmas and New Year shifts, and some employers sending staff abroad over “public holidays”).

But what happens if you work 24×365.25 like a computer does?

If I say I’ll phone you during the “lost hour” at the Spring equinox the call can not be made at that time as it does not exist in wall clock time. But what about the autumn equinox when do I call you as the hour gets doubled up in wall clock time, is it in the first hour of elapsed time or the second hour of elapsed time?

This problem does arise especially when calling across “time zones” and gro-political regions with different dates to switch into “daylight saving” or “summer” time.

And hidden in there is the actual answer usually used, that is never use wall/calendar time for actual work, always use elapsed time. Then just use an agreed “mapping function” to go from elapsed time to wall clock time if some idiot requires it.

But that mapping only works if elapsed time is “constant” or reasonably “predictable”. But we know it’s not, so again we use a mapping function, and we have no choice unless we do not want to keep in step with planetary alinment[2] which is after all why we have leap years and leap centuries since that heritic Pope Gregory XIII pushed his calander on us to make the year 365.2425 days rather than that tyrant Juilius Ceasers’s 365.25 days 😉

The problem is even the predictable long term changes in the rate of Earth’s orbit is not easily amenable to even simple rule mappings. Which lets face it is a real problem, because even the realy realy simple rules few of us can remember let alone apply correctly[3]…

For instance the length of any given lunar month has a predictable patern over nine years. But it varies in an apparently complex way in the range between 29 days 6 hours and 29 days 20 hours. Whilst predictable the Ptolemaic planetary theory and Geocentric model rules are complicated but look elegant when seen as a moving graphical display (watch a Geocentric projection orrary).

But with leap seconds they are not realy future predictable and thus the mapping can not be rule based so accurate future time is not something you can count on except in the very short term. And unless the “Time Lords” have made up their minds yet, you can not set a timer yet to fire your party poper for New Year…

Yes it sounds silly but it’s not, a lot of things actually depend on knowing “future time” out to quite a period in time (which is why astronomers and others do not use wall clock time).

But this lack of future rules also means there are no past rules, just tables of events that have happened… Not something people like, as like Topsies cat they keep growing which is a problem with either limited or fixed (think ROM) resources. As the tables are in effect volatile there is a risk of loosing them in part or in whole…

The idea of “time smearing” is just a way to get over the discontinuities of grannular time mapping and keeping your elapsed time timer in sync with others elapsed time timers and higher accuracy standards. In effect you “integrate a step function” then time shift it backwards so the mean time coincides with the step. Whilst this is unambiguous with forward steps it’s not with backward steps…

Also there is the question of what “function” to use. Whilst the cosine function is better than the linear integration function both are undesirable in oh so many ways.

What I have done, in the past, is as with fractional frequency syntherzisers used a Sigma-Delta function[4] or dithering function. The reason is that I was already using it with the network time protocol.

In essence you have an input signal with jitter on it, you can just low pass filter it and the jitter will “average out” but that takes a long time to do. So instead you multiply the signal by a random noise source and low pass filter that. In essence you are turning the discontinuities from nasty jumps or jitter into spread spectrum signals which is a form of oversampling. When you integrate (low pass filter) it the jump is now a continuous signal that like elapsed time neither jumps forward or jumps back. It’s very simple in the Z-domain to multiply (XOR) by the synthetic noise signal and filter using an n-stage additive averager shift register built as a ring buffer. You then use the low passed signal to “discipline” your internal elapsed time clock.

One advantage is you don’t have to have “foreknowledge” as you do with the Google or other similar systems where you start before “the known event”. But the downside is you loose some “easy predictability” that computer forensics people get uptight about as do one or two others who don’t think things through far enough.

[1] Closed two body orbits have what appear to be complex formulars to work them out. Actually they are elipses and can all be worked out with Pythagoras’s triangle formular H^2=(X^2 + Y^2). Most know part of this from the rather useful concept of “the unity circle” that pops up all over applied maths and engineering. What most also know but do not realise is an elipse is an inclined circle on an axis normal to your line of observation. And it becomes steadily more “eccentric” untill at 90 degrees it looks like a straight line. All elipses, of which the circle and straight line are the two extreams have two focal points that lie on the axsis of rotation and their position can be worked out from the angle of inclination, again by Pythagoras’s little formular. What most don’t know thus don’t realise untill told is that the path of all closed orbits can be described by the use of sin and cos multiplied by fixed constants that again are related by Pythagoras’s little formular (you can also work it backwards to get an oscillator). But importantly it fits in nicely with Fourier’s ideas which means you can actually calculate rectangles and diamonds and other regular shapes, or more importantly orbits of planitary bodies that move around their average center of gravity and the various types of precession.

[2] For reasons I will not go into I’ve had to live for a while on a moving time zone that is I was living a 25 hour day for a little over three weeks. Whilst the extra hour in the day is livable, the slipage with Earth Solar time thus daylight hours ment living under artifical lighting and not going outside was the only way. It makes you wonder how “life on Mars” when we get there will be dealt with back on Earth as both wall clock time and calendar time will be constantly slipping between the two.

[3] Let’s be honest how many actually know the dates of the sundays this years equinoxes will fall on? The rule is generaly simple –the sunday after the 21st– but it’s dependent on three other rules of leap years, leap centuries and “add a day a year” due to 365 mod (52×7) giving a day over. You can generally find the rules or a lookup table for those little paper in a frame desk calanders where you get seven 31day months starting on a diferent day of the week.


JonKnowsNothing February 4, 2021 12:05 PM

@Clive @SpaceLifeForm @FA @All

re: What time is it and isn’t it

The time problem has yet to really become noticeable for legal prosecutions and defense. It’s a forensic nightmare on the same scale as relying on digital data.

Like many pseudo-sciences used by LEAs which rely on “assertion and common knowledge (aka belief)” the issue of time, location are still accepted as “proof”.

The upcoming prosecutions of the Jan 6, 2021 insurrectionists will certainly have a lot of time and location details as part of the charges.

It’s not an unknown problem to some.

iirc(badly) Back in the day, when Gen Hayden was running The Show, one of their biggest hurdles for Warheads on Foreheads was determining not only where and when the strike would occur, but who was holding the phone at the time. One method was to track the heart rates of everyone in the room.

Apple is doing it publicly now.

ht tps://

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(url fractured to prevent autorun)

JonKnowsNothing February 4, 2021 2:54 PM

@Clive @SpaceLifeForm @Winter @All

re: COVID-19 PCR test sensitivity and Quarantine Escape

One of the questions about various quarantine protocols is How COVID-19 Muts Get Away. Fairly recent MSM reports about quarantine failures review that a persons was PCR Negative before flying, Negative on Arrival, Negative during Quarantine, Negative on Exit but a few days later tested positive for COVID-19 Mut.

A failure in some PCR tests led to the discovery that COVID-19 Muts are far more prevalent that previously thought; hence the panic over getting Vaxes Done before they become useless and the Global Governments are left holding the bags and bills for warehouses full of useless jabs.

This small section of a review of Sputnik V vax review adds an interesting dimension.

In reference to Vax Complications:

… two people who were vaccinated developed severe COVID-19 within a week of the vaccination and eventually died. Due to the timing of the onset of symptoms there, the researchers estimate that the deceased were probably already infected when they were vaccinated, but the virus hadn’t built up to levels that were detectable via PCR.

The interesting part is: the virus hadn’t built up to levels that were detectable via PCR.

Reviews in progress over the quarantine escapes indicate in one case that the Mut Carrier was across the hall from the Clear Person. That the Clear Person may have gotten infected by hallway air transfer, and that the infection was “too new” to be detected.

ht tps://
  Comment PCR test failures used to backtrack new 501 muts

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(url fractured to prevent autorun)

lurker February 4, 2021 3:31 PM

@JonKnowsNothing, @Clive,
re: quarantine leakage[1] both NZ and Victoria, AU are now examining the HVAC in quarantine hotels with a view to upgrading filtering if possible. They now suspect that the newer B.1.NN variants spread faster, farther by aerosol, but like all good bureaucrats are reluctant to do anything without well documented proof.

1, I prefer leakage for the adventitious spread of the disease from its supposed containment. Escape to me implies a wilful act by a sentient being, and yes both NZ and AU have had examples of that.

vas pup February 4, 2021 4:11 PM

Amazon faces spying claims over AI cameras in vans

“Amazon has begun using AI-powered cameras in delivery vans that constantly record footage of drivers and upload any mistakes they make.

The firm says it is an investment in safety but privacy campaigners described it as “surveillance”.

The cameras will be on all the time but will only upload footage for 16 actions, including hard braking, driver distraction and drowsiness.”

vas pup February 4, 2021 4:31 PM

Racial abuse: Is ending anonymity on social media the answer?

“Avoiding harm

It sounds a simple and obvious solution.

But when I canvassed opinion about this approach on Twitter, many respondents – both named and anonymous – saw plenty of problems.

In some parts of the world, they pointed out, anonymity was vital for people wanting to express their feelings about their government – or talk about their sexuality.

And that was true at home as well as abroad, tech start-up Aplisay founder @robinjpickering said.

“Lets not kid ourselves that this only applies in places outside our borders,” he wrote.

“Even here, openness about sexuality, publicly disagreeing with an employer, or escaping an abusing partner are all circumstances where privacy is needed to avoid harm.”

I agree with this part. Anyway, when something harmful is posted in our current era of ‘1984’ it could be traced to the real source: determination and resources.

The problem is that when person is selected because somebody does not like him/her, LEAs could always create case around this person easily if anonymity is banned.

Do you remember about famous quote about 5 line wrote by the hand of the most decent French man, now imaging when you have available tons of posts, e-mails, etc?

vas pup February 4, 2021 4:36 PM

Myanmar coup: How the military disrupted the internet

“How do governments do it?

A government can disrupt the internet by ordering internet service providers (ISPs) to limit access.

This can include blocking particular sites, such as popular social media platforms. A message such as “server not found” or “this site has been blocked by the network administrator” will show up.

Another method is known as “throttling” – when the bandwidth to a website is limited, making the internet slow and frustrating to use.

Finally, telecoms providers can shut down all access to the internet.

In theory, a telecoms company could challenge a government order. But in countries where the government has a tight grip on the media and can threaten to revoke licenses, the willingness to push back on such demands is limited.”

ResearcherZero February 5, 2021 4:54 AM

@vas pup

Radio in a Box (RIAB)

Get someone with a lot of money to buy the local media, quid pro quo.


In a cascade of curious events, the paper’s own reporters and editors attempting to report on the sale — and to question the potential editorial impact and brand damage of the “secret” sale — reportedly saw their online-first story significantly changed, and the presses subject to a brief halt, as the paper re-plated with a new version of the suspect story.

Now that Adelson has been identified as the money behind the acquisition, the question of why he would pay almost triple the market value of the property comes to the forefront. The secretive sale of the most powerful daily in one of a half-dozen swing states that could decide the 2016 Presidential election raises questions about politically motivated acquirers seeking a new route to election influence — one calculation that doesn’t generally figure into formal valuations.

quantry February 10, 2021 7:32 PM

Post-Quantum Cryptography: Current state and quantum mitigation…

“…offers 2 proposals that system owners can implement now in order to protect the confidentiality of their data against a quantum capable attacker; namely….

mixing of pre-shared keys into all keys established via public-key cryptography.”

🙂 “Dang, the lights are coming on”. Dark endpoint ops are cheaper anyway, it seems.

htt ps://

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