D-503 February 26, 2021 5:13 PM

Link recycled from a previous Friday Squid:
ht tps://
But there are so many giant squid themed Far Side cartoons to choose from!

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons February 26, 2021 5:38 PM

Programmatic Systems in support of Bad Faith
Senators such as Ron Johnson from Wisconsin are engaged in a propaganda feedback loop that use materials provided by people such as Brietbart, Bannon, and Miller .

First, the position that the GOP takes is based on a response to an event or issue that is being contested in public but being manipulated and presented to the public disingenuously. Once this conspiracy is floated, the stamp of approval is given by the likes of FOX, OAN, NewsMax, and Christian evangelical pastors and pushed all the way to the pulpit. Once pushed, the operatives on the response side (GOP politicians) run a circular campaign based on the conspiracy (outright lying and violating public trust).


  1. Source the story, i.e. fabricate and establish a context for an issue that is the target of subversion.
  2. Delivery the story, either through the propaganda networks and churches, and use simple language to transmit to avoid diminution of the message.
  3. Certify or formalize the story, using either or both public officials and “news” organizations to carry the water.
  4. Conditionally jump to step 2 if the lie has transformed to a “alternate fact” else proceed
  5. If an alternate fact is established, tag as AF, else conditional jump to step 1
  6. If AF true, integrate with the matrix of political BS storage unit and continue–until destruction of representative governance.

TRUE_AMERICAN February 26, 2021 6:49 PM

This is incredible.

Just now someone calls me, American number, in the background mighty noise, something busy, woman on the phone, speaks hardly and only very laboriously English, and wants to enlighten me absolutely about it and also ask – I would have to answer only a few questions – how I could “profit” from Bitcoins.

I had already written at the price of 20,000 that I think it’s a scam, because you can manipulate the price, in which a few insiders – or even the same under different identities – sell the things as a zero business around in circles and call any prices for it.

And the old rule applies again:

If one could profit from something with high probability, then people would not try to let me, a complete stranger to them and chosen arbitrarily, profit from it, but would earn from it themselves. A caller who tries to make me believe that he is calling me to let me profit is as credible as a shell player who tells me that I could easily get money from him.

The crux of the matter is: unlike the normal stock market, where behind shares there is usually a company with a real value that has assets and (hopefully) makes a profit, pays dividends and has a tangible board of directors (except for Wirecard), bitcoins cannot make money at all, make a profit, but are a closed system of money transfer. Money does not disappear, nor does it come into existence, it only changes hands. And if someone wants to sell it to me, then it is clear that my money should change hands.

Bitcoins are a pyramid scheme based on more and more stupid people joining in and paying in. And apparently the dumb ones are starting to run out when they don’t come by themselves anymore, but you get called.

I could of course sheer bite me in the ass that the things have not interested me 10 years ago, then invested 20 euros, I would be a billionaire today … one could believe. But it may be that not even that is true, because the price would possibly collapse immediately if one would start to sell them, and that is only true at the beginning.

But as with the snowball system, you can also only become rich at the very beginning, because you risk little and have low probability, but if, then steep increases.

In principle very similarly as with cars of Tesla. You could also be annoyed that you didn’t buy shares when they were still cheap, but I think that is also a bubble, possibly even artificially operated. And the fact that the Bitcoin price was just driven up by Elon Musk is probably no coincidence.

What has always been the case is that every good Ponzi scheme includes stories of people who have become totally rich and happy with it.

AL February 26, 2021 10:20 PM

The bitcoin possible bubble came up on tonight’s Wealthtrack podcast. (25 min)

The guest indicated that the bubble is in part being fueled by the Fed and other central banks’ money printing, which has pushed interest rates to a 4000 year low.

At least some people are piling into bitcoin as the Fed prints and prints, as a hedge against the dollar.

Etienne February 27, 2021 9:44 AM

Netgate has introduced Wireguard into their pfSense router software. They sell hardware configured with the software, and also allow download of a version of the software for customer built hardware and virtual.

I’ve been using OpenVPN for the last year and am generally satisfied with it. It is also the best solution I’ve found for dynamic connections from workers.

For static connections (building to building wireless, fixed point servers) I’ve switched to the Wireguard VPN.

Also, the Netgate low-end router hardware using the Marvell chipset, can now use the BSD SafeXcel driver to speed up some crypto algorithms. It looks AES related, which Wireguard doesn’t use.

Winter February 27, 2021 12:10 PM

“At least some people are piling into bitcoin as the Fed prints and prints, as a hedge against the dollar.”

The current Bitcoin rally is very likely a hedge indeed. A lot of money is pumped into the economies of the world with little to invest it in. So people are frantically looking for a place to stash it away out of reach from prying hands.

What alternatives are there? The dollar is not backed by a GDP that has the required size. Gold is difficult to handle (if you do not store it, it isn’t yours) and is there enough gold to stash all the money floating around?

Bitcoin is truly international, with most of the mining equipment outside of the US. And enough Asians are stashing their money in it to give it a lease of life. It also has been around for 10 years now. Any quirks should have been solved by now.

Bitcoins are just as useful as gold bars, ie, not at all. And gold has held it’s value for millenia. So, I see no reason for bitcoin to disappear anytime soon.

A sizeable crash is likely (-90% value), but we have seen these half a dozen times by now.

Etienne February 27, 2021 12:39 PM

Crypto-currency disappeared from Texas after the electricity went off.

Right now crypto-currency is using more energy than Switzerland.

There’s no way it can succeed unless all the servers are moved to Iceland geothermal, or a nuclear power plant is built special for it on the Hudson.

A Nonny Bunny February 27, 2021 2:07 PM

is there enough gold to stash all the money floating around?

Well, yes and no. The more people that want to invest their money in gold, the more it drives up the price.
The bigger problem is that the money doesn’t actually go into the gold (or bitcoin), it just moves from the person buying gold to the one selling the gold.

Bitcoins are just as useful as gold bars, ie, not at all.

Gold does have actual uses. Some of it in the very computing device you use to visit this site.

xcv February 27, 2021 3:54 PM

@ A Nonny Bunny

Well, yes and no. The more people that want to invest their money in gold, the more it drives up the price.

Which makes it more profitable to mine for gold, and invest in the land, mineral rights, machinery, equipment, and human resources to do so.

But it’s not that easy to mine gold. Tons and tons of dirt have to be moved, and even at that, you’re lucky to break even with an ounce or two of the stuff to pay for all your equipment and hard work, security, and miscellaneous expenses.

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons February 27, 2021 4:32 PM

Cryptocurrency is best used as currency. As currency as no inherit value, it is as has been said a transfer function. The ability to exchange a variety of goods in services through a transformation channel of exchange (currency). Now bitcoin is similar to gold in the way that intrinsic value is perceived. Gold is given a value not on its direct usefulness, primarily it is the intrinsic universality of gold’s measurable properties…hard to forge gold. Yeah, you can paint lead gold and fool some people but by the time you are talking about bars of it, most people want to know the specific gravity.

I see cryptocurrency as a replacement for paper fiat money but not fiat financial systems.

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons February 27, 2021 4:46 PM

@ A Nonny Bunny, xcv
Placer gold, not hard rock mining, can be far less expensive to extract for several reasons. First, with a good placer find the primary activity is material separation. And with some placer finds the dispersion can be small or even quite large–that’s the drawback of placer if it is widely spread out. I know of gold fields filled with micron gold. Extraction of gold in these fields is quite expensive, and you are correct–extraction costs can often exceed any revenue level.

SpaceLifeForm February 27, 2021 5:31 PM

@ Clive

Score! 10 out of 10!

From the Department of Redundancy Department:

This stuff should not be accessible via Internet in the [redacted] first place.

What in the [redacted] hell are people thinking these days?

These are [redacted] old attack vectors.

Have not people bought a [redacted] vowel by now?

Sorry for my [redacted] language.

But, I am [redacted] tired of this incompentence.

lurker February 27, 2021 5:42 PM

@ Amateur Epidemiologists:
how to keep a pandemic ticking along:
take the B.1.1.7 variant, fomite infect laundry, hence airline laundry worker;
a child takes it to school;
1500 students and staff tested, most twice, some three times;
one (age unstated) tested negative PCR three times and and was at all times asymptomatic;
may have infected 20 yr. old sibling and parents (official language is source of infection is as yet unknown);
20yo has mild muscular aches which are not adequately or accurately described in official notices as symptoms of Covid;
after 7 days at work and college, gets tested, then goes to gymn instead of, as instructed, home to await test results.

PM in press conference admits to being disappointed; her body language suggests a stronger emotion. Some of the above is a liberal joining of dots: most can be found on the breadcrumb trail from:

SpaceLifeForm February 27, 2021 6:12 PM

@ lurker, JonKnowsNothing, MarkH, Clive

It really is a stealthy virus.

‘airline laundry worker’

Did I not mention ‘stop the planes’ not recently ago?

Seems like Eons ago.

Who? February 27, 2021 6:43 PM


Perhaps the woman on the phone was speaking hardly, and ⸺as you say⸺ only very laboriously, english; not all people speaks a perfect english from the north and east from Oxford and London. It does not make her message invalid. I would bet she speaks better english than you speak her native language.

With relation to the value of bitcoin I do not think it has a lot as cryptocurrency but it has an enormous one as store of value, just as gold does.

Why is it worse than gold?

Gold has a lot of value to me too. It is a good conductor of electricity and remains unaffected by exposure to air so it is very valuable for plated connectors where low signal voltages are used.

Both bitcoin and gold may have a huge or null value. It is just a matter of perspective. Do you prefer fiat money not backed by a commodity at all? Ok, good luck.

If you want an advantage of bitcoin when compared to both fiat currency and gold, just consider it is limited to twenty one million units by design.

Now that Mrs. Yellen is printing money, as the ECB does too, this feature of bitcoin may become more and more valuable.

xcv February 27, 2021 7:47 PM

@ TRUE_AMERICAN • February 26, 2021 6:49 PM

This is incredible.

Just now someone calls me, American number, in the background mighty noise, something busy, woman on the phone, speaks hardly and only very laboriously English, and wants to enlighten me absolutely …

I have the same problem. I want to know what “ECDSA” is. They tell me it stands for “Elliptic Curve” DSA or Digital Signature Algorithm.

So I’m thinking that woman has ordered an elliptical machine for her very own personal gym, and she’s going to work off her curves on the elliptical machine.

And there’s a delivery man with a touch-screen mobile device with a stylus to collect “digital signatures” for delivery, but if it’s “DSA,” there’s a Drop Shipment Authorization on file, and he doesn’t even need the woman’s signature for that shipping crate full of gym equipment on the dock.

And there’s a certbot dude lifting weights to bulk up in the lady’s gym and holding a giant 200-pound iron key over his head.

The moral of the story, if there is one, is that those people need to get out of the locker room with that crypto stuff, and we’ve got to double-check their maths.

SpaceLifeForm February 27, 2021 10:53 PM

@ Clive, lurker, ALL

This is a good summary. Great sarcasm, but gets to the reality.

I believe the typo is intentional. Facebook and gov down under.

hx tps://

Clive Robinson February 27, 2021 11:26 PM

@ xcv,

But it’s not that easy to mine gold. Tons and tons of dirt have to be moved, and even at that, you’re lucky to break even with an ounce or two of the stuff

Which is why there is a lot of Gold in repositories that is never ever going to come out because it’s feared it’s fake and nobody want’s to be caught holding rods/blocks of steal or tungsten wrapped in a little real gold…

What some call “very fine” or just “top of the line” fake gold turns up rather more often in repositories than those trading in the “paper” certificates would care to admit.

Most people who own gold or trade gold never ever see or touch it or in some cases even know where it is. Part of the reason for this is the extrodinary high price it costs to get gold into a repository due to the testing involved.

Once in a well respected repository it’s “assumed” to be real 999.9% fine all the way through… But somebody realised that you could beat the tests, because they were only mass, volume and importantly surface tests.

That is the gold bar should have the right bullion house stamps and serial number to match the certificate, and the right “density”. Those are the easy tests. Then at the surface… match the color, surface hardness, chemical, and nuclear properties of gold within a very very small margin. Of these only the “nuclear properties” had any “depth” in testing and that was a matter of millimeters at most.

Thus the middle of the bar or even coins was a mystery unless you smelted it down and recast it (see gold VAT fraud where coins got melted down into rough bars, some cast in the frog of london bricks…).

Thus taking other elements from the periodic table that did not have magnetic properties[2] you could make an alloy of the same density of gold… In higher quality fakes the main metal used was(/is?) tungsten. In early fakes it was in the form of rods, but these can be “reliably non destructively tested” for with I’m “told” certain resonance techniques these days[3].

But you have to consider something,

1, Who’s going to test their own certified gold?

2, Which bullion house is going to want it known they have in the past certified fake gold?

The reality is only people who are going to use gold in industry, or are going to move gold from one repository to another for some reason and have to re-certify it[1].

Because what is traded mostly is not the gold but the certificates, which are in effect “bullion backed currancy”, and it’s way way easier to test if the certificates are genuine or not than the gold. So it is just another game of “confidence” based on the illusion of testing and auditing.

Which is why I asked you the question you avoided about what capitalism does to hard assets.

And lets be honest, if you have gold bullion in a repository what are you going to do if you do test and find you only have a quater the gold or less you thought you had?

Who’s insurance is going to pay up on that one? Or will they just argue it out in court for ever rather than pay up?

[1] Ethiopian Gold scandle,

[2] In the Ethiopian case, apparently steel was used as the core material. However you can detect that fairly easily. One trick I’ve known about for five decades came about due to an argument between me and another pupil in a school physics practicle. It is quite simple all you need is four bar magnets, four button compasses aranged in a square, you adjust the position of the magnets to get a null on the compasses anything with magnetic properties that gets put off center in the square causes the needles to deflect slightly, moving the object around in an off center circle makes it fairly obvious even with very tiny deflections. Think of the setup as a primitive magnetic equivalent of an electrical bridge circuit.

[3] The reason I am somewhat cautious about the claimed test of “resonance techniques” is as an engineer I know how to deal with numerous types of resonance effects, the trick is knowing which are being tested for…

SpaceLifeForm February 27, 2021 11:31 PM

@ Clive, lurker, ALL

My bad. I should have checked if Mike Masnick was on it. He was.

hx xps://

Clive Robinson February 28, 2021 12:23 AM

@ SpaceLifeForm, ALL,

With regards the Rockwell ICS vulnerability, how many people do you think actually realy understand,

“Studio 5000 Logix Designer uses a key to verify Logix controllers are communicating with the affected Rockwell Automation products. The product is vulnerable because an unauthenticated attacker could bypass this verification mechanism and authenticate with Logix controllers.”

Even those that do would probably have to read it twice.

But ignoring the underlying points I’ve been making for years are the cause.

1, Authenticate transactions not communications paths.

2, Remember always that communications is never always “left to right” on the flow diagram.

3, Errors and exceptions are communications thus potential vulnerabilities[1].

One of the biggest causes of software failures is the second point. Way to many programmers do not deal with,

A, Errors or exceptions.


B, They move authentication and validation as far to the left as they can.

So far that it is effectively “out of the business logic”. Thus when an error or exception is injected from the right, the business logic has no defence or ability to handle it.

Whilst this might make writing the business logic easier it makes the system at best “unreliable and fragile” two words you do not want to hear when you are talking ofva few million dollars of equipment and energies that rival small tactical nuclear weapons…

[1] It’s a major class of vulnerability I’ve been warning about, before people started to exploit it. Now people are exploiting it the usual excuses will get trotted out by developers. The problem many do not realise is “errors and exceptions” propergate backwards (from the right of the flow diagram). And they do not respect “data diodes” and other modern “protective measures” which are often transparent to them due to contention and buffering. Thus they can reach back right into the heart of a secure system almost as easily as a hot knife through butter.

Clive Robinson February 28, 2021 2:38 AM

@ lurker, SpaceLifeForm, All,

PM in press conference admits to being disappointed; her body language suggests a stronger emotion.

It happened because of a political economic decision, so as the person at the top it kind of is her responsability.

What should happen when you test some one is not tell them to “go home and wait”… any teenager could tell you what’s going to happen, or anyone who has seen “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” from the 80’s.

So what you do is you “quarantine the person” and “pay them for their time” untill the test results come through.

With some testing all you would realy need to do is sit them down with a cup of coffee and a biscuit and get them to fill out some form, the tests are that quick. That first test should be one that errs on the side of false positive, which should be enough to decide if a person needs further testing that takes longer. I mentioned this back early last year some time as it also cuts costs to use graded testing, with a finger prick test sub $10 to do and lab test more than $400 to do, you get the results you want for less cost and over all less inconvenience.

One of the reasons we have remand centers and bail, is that over a hundred years or so of policing we know people will not do as they are asked, so they have to be persuaded in some way.

But on the bright side, the fact they’ve got things back under control should give people more confidence in the track and trace systems on place.

Though I would be tempted to sling the young lady concerned into “hotel quarantine” at her own expense, without a phone, internet, TV, etc, it might make others think a bit…

Mind you the UK government has decided “I’m Special” and thus now an honary 80 year old. Along with all the paperwork telling me I must “sheild” for not just my protection but that of the country is a long list of things I’m not supposed to do…

Like, Do not go to a hospital except in emergancy, Do not go to a Doctor unless called into the surgury, Do not go to the pharmasist to get perscriptions, Do not go shopping even for essentials, Do not go outside for excercise and so on and so on. As I went down the list I was fully expecting to see Do not go to the loo…

But seriously how do they expect you to survive? Well apparently I’m supposed to have a “care bubble” AKA family I live with or “carers”. But I live on my own… So that means it would all have to be done by strangers such as charities and social service workers etc. So I’d end up having contact with more people than I already do, and worse those people will have had contact with many dozens of other people per week. Far more than the average “lock down bound” shopper would…

But it gets better… Apparently I am also entitled to “free priority home delivery” from shops that have such services… All I have to do is register on their databases as being “special”…

Let’s put it this way, I kind of look like a scary stand in for a Klingon Storm Trooper, and capable of walking through brick walls and picking up cars with one hand (admittedly something I’ve not done recently). I’m supposed to convince people I’m the equivalent of an 80+ little old lady… Yeah right, only in a bureaucrats dreams. I’ve spent a year avoiding “the plague” in one of the highest risk areas in the “dirty man of Europe” if not the world at one point hopefully I can still manage to “be safe” by myself without having to tell the world ‘The government says “I’m Special”‘ it would be “Just so embarrassing”.

Winter February 28, 2021 3:11 AM

“Once in a well respected repository it’s “assumed” to be real 999.9% fine all the way through… But somebody realised that you could beat the tests, because they were only mass, volume and importantly surface tests.”

This is more or less a subplot of Terry Pratchett, “Making Money”.
Great book about money, the illusion.

David February 28, 2021 5:25 AM

Ignoring the magnetic properties, steel is so much less dense than gold that it should be trivial to detect any substitution.
Tungsten and depleted uranium are very much closer.

Clive Robinson February 28, 2021 9:30 AM

@ David,

steel is so much less dense than gold that it should be trivial to detect

On it’s own yes, but the article does not say if it was an alloy with something just as cheap but denser.

As I originaly said,

“Thus taking other elements from the periodic table that did not have magnetic properties[2] you could make an alloy of the same density of gold…”

But also steel is not the only element that has properties such as magnatism that can be detected outside of the bar.

One thing that might be difficult to forge at the same time as the density is the specific heat capacity. In theory all you would have to do is get the gold bar to a stable temprature of say 35C then put it in a controld energy environment and see how much energy it gives out to get down to 30C, it might take a little while, but it might well be an easy non destructive test[1].

There are some radioactive elements for instance that have a higher density than gold, but might make things “to hot to handle” as it were…

I’m told but have no intention of finding out that depleated uranium (DU) which is not far off of the density of gold (19.1/19.3) has been scavenged out of recent battle fields, and is turning up as black market scrap, all isotopes of uranium are radioactive to some extent with half lives ranging from 27thousand to 4.2 billion years as well as more importantly it being poisonous. So, as such, it is not something you want to get inside you if you can avoid it especially by inhalation,

It does alpha, beta, and xray/gama photon radiation, whilst alpha radiation can be stopped by dead skin cells, beta radiation can make it past a centimeter into flesh depending on it’s make up. As for those energetic photons, well they can make it through high density materials such as lead, tungstan, uranium and gold…

Bare in mind that battlefield DU is way way higher in fine oxids of uranium due to about a quater of the mass of a DU projectile converting to burning dust during impact and penatration through armour etc. So probably has a 20-30 times natural exposure risk and thus similarly increased cancer as well as the vastly increased risk to the kidneys.

[1] As a first order aproximation the specific heat, or heat capacity of a chemical is a function is the three basic degrees of freedom, rotational, trabslational, and vibrational. That said if you were to line up a table of elements their specific heat and their density you might conclude at first glance there was a relationship. So testing with a good calorimeter would be required, but the cost of those compared to the losses from just one adulterated bar of gold is comparitively small.

Clive Robinson February 28, 2021 9:34 AM

@ Winter,

This is more or less a subplot of Terry Pratchett, “Making Money”.
Great book about money, the illusion.

And very crul and unusual punishments as well 😉

Winter February 28, 2021 11:36 AM

“And very crul and unusual punishments as well 😉”

IIRC, that was “Going Postal”. This was more of a new “challenge”.

lurker February 28, 2021 12:59 PM

@Clive, All, What should happen when you test some one is not tell them to “go home and wait”…

Which is why the Chinese are so out of favour in some quarters, not because the virus “came from Wuhan”, but because they were able to suppress it with armed troops in the streets, in a benign demonstration of Mao’s “power coming from the barrel of a gun…”

Clive Robinson February 28, 2021 2:15 PM

@ lurker,

because they were able to suppress it with armed troops in the streets

Not as many as many in the West claim.

But as I keep pointing out there is a battle between “Individual Rights and Societal Responsability”

I think most would accept that individuals do not have the right to go around with a gun, bow and arrow, sword, or any other weapon indiscriminately killing people, yes?

So why should they think they have the right to use a weapon of “mass destruction” to go around indisciminately killing people?

Lots of those that think themselves “Bold, Brave and standing for freedom” are in reality “Boorish, Brainless and killing people with every shout”. The US has more that 2000 people a day die since the end of november of COVID. Those infections did not appear by act of mythical deity, they came from other people…

Many of those spreading disease have been linked by science to those who think their rights outweigh the lives of others.

Now we have a couple of names for such people,

1, Serial Killers.
2, Mass Murderers.

If they used a hatchet to chop people to death the chances are good they would be shot dead relatively quickly.

So tell me why should people that are being responsible to society not have the right to shoot dead these people who use the excuse of “individual rights” to be serial killers and mass murderers?

It’s a serious question that needs a concidered answer, because people are dying out there by the tens of thousand a week, and we know that with just a little “social responsability” many of those deaths would not have happened, the US economy would not be in the bottom of the crapper, education would not have been derailed, and hugh debt run up by the Fed that will take three to five generations or fifty to sixty years to get back to some point of manageable economy.

In that period of time the likes of nations who have opted for “Social Responsability” will see significant economic growth rising standards of living and freedom from debt.

OK the perception is China went “overboard” but their economy is where?

How about Taiwan, South Korea, and other South China seas countries and Australia and New Zeland?

Where would you rather be right now, in a functioning economy mostly or compleatly without lockdown with children safe at school getting an education and building for a future that fairly soon a significant number of Americans will be only able to dream about…

But what of those morons that get called representatives etc? What will they do? If I was to say “Start a war” to try to buy their way out of trouble, would you realy be surprised if they did? How many more are goingvto have to be killed before people start to understand what,

“Individual rights -v- Social Responsability”

Realy all about…

Perhaps some one should rerecord “where have all the flowers gone” with slightly different words and get all the kids to sing along.

It realy is a war out there just look at the death toll, and the enemy is those who do not practice “social responsability”

So if you are going to be another COVID statistic if “social responsability” is not going to happen, do you realy care if the troops have to come out to your rescue by enforcing it at the point of a gun, atleast the “My Rights” idiots would unlike you have a choice of live by compliance or be dead by their stupidity?

That realy is what the argument boils down to the “My rights” people have the right to chose to die if they want to, but they do not have the right to kill other people.

If they think otherwise then let them try to make a case as to why they can be serial killers and mass murderers using a weapon of mass destruction.

AL February 28, 2021 2:49 PM

“… they were able to suppress it with armed troops in the streets, …”

I think we would see a similar response in the U.S., if the government was acting under the belief that they had an accidental release from a laboratory on their hands.😉 And that might be exactly what the Chinese were thinking. We’ll never know, but I don’t rule it out.

Clive Robinson February 28, 2021 5:27 PM

@ AL, lurker,

We’ll never know, but I don’t rule it out.

Actually we probably will know quite a bit more and not to far into the future.

We already have the genome sequence China posted to the world about as fast as they had finished sequencing.

Most experts put the genetic changes down to a hybrid mutation in mammals, not some chemical/biological weapons lab splice up, such is evidence based reasoning.

The fact that as a beta corona virus it behaves in a way that none of the other beta corona viruses humans are susceptible to is a significant clue it’s not man made but a hybrid mutation that has become zoonotic.

The problem we have is that we know the Wuhan lab was working on corona viruses studying those found in the wild, which has given rise to problems.

Thus it is possible that SARS-CoV-2 was in the lab, having been brought in from some other part of China but it may have hybrid-mutated for other more down to earth reasons…

People generaly do not talk about those who trade in exotic species or bush meat animals.

If the intermediate host was as some suspect a pangolin[1], then it becomes a high probability that the animal came through what are politely refered to as “wild animal traders”. Because the animal is close to extinct in China, and live animals, scales and flesh are smuggled in from places as far away as Africa.

Thus the question of “cross contamination” arises, did some bush meat trader bring in bats and pangolins at the same time and were they sufficiently ill that hybrid-mutation occured and spread to the other animals?

Could some of those animals be destined for the Wuhan wet market, quite probably, could others have been destined for the research lab? Well they need to get their animals from somewhere and if one side of a trader is “exotic animals” the chances are good the flip side is “bush meat” as well. But a trader might also have more select customers such as those with deep pockets that would buy animals from a trader directly.

And that’s the problem two possible places named without any available evidence, and heaven alone knows how many other as yet unnamed places. It could be possible that neither the wet market or the lab were the point of origin, it could have been the trader, one of their “assistants” or a restaurant or traditional medicine shop…

What there is evidence for is that when the sickness became known at the right level China acted with a commendable speed not possible in the West. People might have noticed the similarity between those hospital units and detention camp units… I would not be surprised if China had “standard blue prints/plans” based around such modular units, thus they effectively just had to push the start button on a sausage machine turning the units out.

But something else there is one heck of a load of evidence for, neith the UK or US took the infection seriously. Whilst Italy had community spread before the disease was recognised other parts of the west did a Nero and got burned.

Then despite clearly seeing what China was doing politicians effectively made jokes and platitudes instead of acting in the interests of their citizens or the medium to longterm future of the economy.

A look back on this blog will probably make interesting reading for future historians, a group of “tech nerds” have been making the right calls consistantly unlike the politicians and many of their advisors. So much so, you have to start asking questions about hidden agenders. As for The WHO whilst I have quite some respect for many of their scientists, their leadership has without a doubt brought the Organisation into significant disrepute, there realy is not another way to put it politely.

Only when it was clear things were out of control in the UK, US and Europe did the “blaim game start”… It was all the rage to point the finger at China. Yes China’s reporting was inaccurate, but then so was the UK, US and European reporting for various reasons. Unlike the UK where politicians tried to hide “care home” figures China was in the most part up front about why their reporting was wrong which was mainly insufficient diagnostic capabilities. Thus as China came up with new ways to measure it they anounced changes to the way they were reporting things. Could it have been done better, well the answer to that question is always yes such are the joys of 20/20 Hindsight, so it’s kind of pointless asking it.

Without a doubt, and like the way they did it or not, China got ontop of the outbreak in China, where as the UK, US and Europe had runaway situations for a very long time that should not have happened and could easily have been avoided.

But in the US the “China bashing” that was a political hallmark of the then executive got going big time as a distraction to the populous to hide just how badly failing the executive was. In effect a play directly from George Orwell’s 1984 and nigh on half the US fell for it hook line and sinker.

China in effect did the only thing open to it which was to say nothing put their heads down and get stuck into the task at hand. Meanwhile Western Politicians were “killing their own” by being not just behind the exponential growth curve by a long way but failing to understand what exponential growth is… And the refrigerated trucks started to roll big time with bodies being stacked like cord wood.

US politicians in particular kept making stupid statments which showed without doubt they were not in contact with reality and blaiming China in the hope people would not notice… Conspiracy after conspiracy came out of the US executive, and China just closed ranks and kept quiet.

China does not trust the US any longer, they are assuming that no matter what they say it will be turned against them by US politicians. To be honest I can see why they’ve basically kept anything to do with the past US executive out of China.

Which leaves the question as to if the new executive wants to heal the rift. If they are genuine about sorting things out then I would not be surprised if China did alow proper scientific study and research into the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The sad thing at the end of the day is China is no more the enemy of the USA than most European nations. The US’s biggest enemy is actually the US it’s self… And if it does not sort it’s self out then things are going to get a whole lot worse there fairly rapidly.

I’ve no love of China, in fact if you look back over this blog you will find I’ve consistantly warned about what they have been upto and what the likely result would be. It does not realy give me any satisfaction to say I was more or less correct, because I used what was in fact fairly simple logic on the evidence available, and I was simply stating what appeard to me to be the truth of the matter.


vas pup February 28, 2021 5:35 PM

@TRue_American said:
“Just now someone calls me, American number, in the background mighty noise, something busy, woman on the phone, speaks hardly and only very laboriously English, and wants to enlighten me absolutely about it and also ask – I would have to answer only a few questions – how I could “profit” from Bitcoins.”

I really can’t understand why in 21 century in US positioning as the most technologically advanced country the simple task is not resolved:
1.Ban by law without any exception (only authorized by Federal Judge) regardless of intention of user all caller id spoofing applications with criminal penalty as potential fraud attempt. You do not want your name/number displayed – use *67 function, and recipient will decide answer or not blocked # call.

  1. Create national data base (DB) with free access (reverse look up) of ALL phone numbers in US and Canada on FTC or FCC web site.

All new numbers could be activated ONLY after enter was made into national DB: name, #, provider, who entered (employee of provider). Current caller id service provided by AT&T is on the technical level matching third quarter of the last century.

For Government of all levels: it could be without details: “Federal Gov”,
“State nem Gov”, “County name gov”, and so on, BUT any number could be reversed for free and toll free ## in particular.
So, no prankster from oversees or within the country could make fraudulent calls.

For 1. All previously distributed spoofing applications through app stores should be made inactive by Law immediately.

But, dear blogger, until high ranking senator or congressman or their close relative become victim, NOTHING will going to change. That is how system works, unfortunately.

JonKnowsNothing February 28, 2021 8:12 PM

@vas pup

re: I really can’t understand why in 21 century does the US not do (list)

The reason why you cannot understand what the US does or doesn’t do in your list is because you haven’t quite grasped US NeoLiberal-Libertarian Economic Policy aka The Chicago School of Economics.

In the USA, all the items On The List must be performed by Capitalist Economic Entities. Rarely does the US Government run anything itself. All items are outsourced and any item that can qualify as a “Business Venture” is delivered to Wall Street.

The USA has reverse phone number look ups run by companies. You have to pay for it unless the “teaser” line has the information you need (eg the word “SPAM”) in which case you get a freebee at a cost: TANSTAFL.

USA also has various prohibitions on Id Spoofing, most of which have more holes than a sieve. This is because US Companies have their Right to Solicit Business from you. Nearly any TOS/EULA/Bank/Contract carries a mandatory Opt-In stating the individual specifically grants rights to the company to do this. Also included are “affiliated businesses” (banking, insurance, etc).

Politicians are also allowed to war dial to present their political view or endorsements. “Hi this is Robot_JOE and I want you to vote for my good and dear friend DUFFUS”.

This also a business and our Political Action Committees (PACs) are dedicated users. The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) in their Citizens United ruling cleared this bar by making corporations equal to living breathing citizens.

The App Stores exist in their current format to guarantee a monopoly over the market place. Their claims of making sure no Evil Apps happen is disingenuous. If you load a malicious app that breaks your phone, what will they tell you to do? Why, buy another one! Maybe they will throw in a discount or you have paid double price for trade-in/trade-up insurance add-on, that may or may not apply. It’s money in the bank for them and the App Store owners are not interested in sharing.

If you can make a buck off of something, the government bows down to business. The government rarely bows to the citizens and like Ents, they are not very bendy.

ht tps://
* There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch

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

AL February 28, 2021 10:24 PM


If the lab was involved, the Covid-19 matter will be never be decided, because of liability reasons. God doesn’t pay liability claims.

If that lab was involved, do we call it the Chinese virus, or the Chinese-American virus, since U.S. taxpayer money was funneled via the EcoHealth Alliance to the lab to pay for some research?

I think for non-scientific reasons, this will remain a product of nature. However, as far as I am individually concerned, I’m going to treat this virus as a bat virus that may have been turbo-charged (gain of function) in a lab to be exceptionally contagious. I hope the vaccines bring an end to this plague, but I am going to hedge that bet both in the personal health and investment arena and assume the possibility that the virus will mutate around the vaccines.

SpaceLifeForm March 1, 2021 2:18 AM

ERCOT kicks middleman to curb as the blame game continues

ERCOT set a price cap of $9,000 per megawatt-hour to incentivize electricity suppliers to add generating capacity. Prices hit the cap during last week’s storm — and stayed there for hours, meaning Griddy customers were paying $9 for a kilowatt-hour that usually costs just a few cents.

[ the problem was that it should have went back down immediately because the demand was shed via intentional blackouts. But, the market is not elastic enough and there is someone making book ]

Clive Robinson March 1, 2021 3:58 AM

@ Tamara Benson,

how to store the works of loved ones or self–poems, essays, science writings, political writings, etc?

The first thing to note is,

“Technology does not last”

Look around you,

I remember the birth of analog colour television “gone”, Auido cassette tapes “gone”, analog video tapes “gone”, Digital audio tapes “gone”, CD’s and DVD’s “gone” or as good as.

Each generation of tech lasting maybe 75-80% of the previous tech.

So do not look for “technical solutions” they realy will not last, especially “clever” such as MPEG etc. Trade secrets and Digital Rights Managment(DRM) will all be lost before their clever designers have gone bald or picked up their pension. I have live recordings of orchestral music in one of Sony’s formats, they are effectively now lost, in one case for the loss of a rubber band[1].

Look around and see what has lasted…

Paper that is acid free, kept dry, out of the light, and at low tempratures, photographs and film stock kept in the freezer, and if wealthy enough the treated skins of animals such as velum have lasted centuries.

So for storing digital data, you can use 2D bar codes in a 7×10 block on good quality A4 paper. Also photographed onto 35mm Film. With clear written instructions in large point bold as to how the data is stored not just in the 2D bar code but within the files within the bar codes. Oh and try to keep them simple format, clever compression codes may save paper but thay are difficult to understand at best[2] and are fragile as each bit stores parts of many bits so if one fades away you lose not one bit but many bits. Also look at something called “Forward Error Correction(FEC) codes, these are designed to get very weak radio signals from across the vast distances of space and time to preserve data through all the noise created by the cosmos. Put simply the data is sent in effect three times but in ways where the data identifies mistakes (see Hamming codes).

But where you can, also save analog copies as well, science is now pulling out images that have faded so far the human eye can hardly distinguish there is anything to see.

But do not forget audio, we have movie films from the 1800’s but no sound, we can see but not hear.

You might have heard of Matt Blaze, well one of his hobbies is recording sound for posterity,

Follow the links etc and you will find discussions on how to preserve both analog and digital information for archiving.

Long term archiving is a decidedly neglected subject in society and the information is patchy, but there are archavists who will talk on the subject and be happy to give pointers and advice.

Oh and in my life, I’ve also seen CD’s I’ve purchased “rot away” because Phillips did not properly seal the edges so gases including sulfates slow spread like a high tech plague across the surface turning usable silver to useless gold then dilute tea brown and this is all in well less than the 50year Guarantee that is of course not honoured.

Likewise do not store photo copies in clear plastic wallets, some theory papers I stored this way have failed, the plastic that forms the ink has bonded to the clear plastic wallets and now neither the original photocopy or plastic wallet are readable…

So I’m quite serious when I say,

“Technology does not last”…

However photographs my father took that are nearly a hundred years old have lasted in the albums he put them in, likewise the stamps he collected when young. Those albums are made from high quality paper, thr organic gum on the “corner holders” has browned bittled and failed but the photos and stamps do if you are carefull stay in place/order. Older printing inks are mineral based such as metal oxides, these tend to last the longest, modern inks however, are made from “organics” and similar short lived chemical molecules that themselves oxadize down to first dull then drab then gone, in less than a lifetime.

The “demands of recycling” whilst good for the environment are destroying our history as we make it, a plastic carrier bag I put some cardboard file folders in to keep the dust off have turned into a much worse dust… So future historians will actually have less from our billions of literates now, than we do from the millions of illiterates from a third of a millennium ago…

So chose well the technology you chose as “man hides and thus forgets clever” and the majority of materials we now use are so impermanent…

[1] A synthetic rubber band used as part of a “drive chain”, which you think would not be difficult to replace. But the oh so clever designer made it serve more than one purpose. So not just drive but tension control, monitored by a microprocrssor for energy management and fault detecting. And guess what the bands are nolonger made… Trying to fabricate a reliable replacment has so far not proved possible… Planed obsolescence hidden by “market control” held via oh so secret “Intellectual Property”… Denying others access to their own “Intellectual Property” and history.

[2] Look up the history of “big endian -v- little endian” just with deciding which bit comes before or after another both physically and meaningfully is it the MSB or LSB of a byte, and which one of those four bytes is the most significsnt in a 32bit integer? You might be surprised at just how many variations there are. It and many other similar issues were supposed to be solved by the use of Abstract Syntax Notation version one (ASN.1) but that suffered a fate that was predicted back in the early 1930’s… Oh and then there was “The battle of the file formats” as a way to tie customers into a closed “hamster wheel of pain” upgrade cycle…

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons March 1, 2021 4:53 AM

Today, a little over nine years after an effort to design and develop robust hardware platforms and extensible robotics systems that can for example be coupled with other disparate and foreign hardware to in essence be part of
a conglomerate of new and old in forming dynamic hardware hybrids. Original designs focused on robotics interface abstractions, inter/intra-architecture communications, and dynamic control systems modeling tasked with integration and operation of device-device, device-system, and system-system applications.

It has been more than obvious during this time that much in the hardware industry, from the basics to the esoteric, what drives the markets and the products is not operational integrity, excellence, or performance–it is product stream
lifecycles and expected revenues–but most importantly–profitability. Much is left at the altar of profitability…we see it in so many other things now that it impossible to ignore the fact it is now “baked-in”.

Large and visible examples are easy to find; the SARS-nCoV-2 analysis, response, and management; the Boeing 737-800 MAX hardware fix using software and not really telling other customers beyond a product feature/option…good show.

We have functionally infected the culture to the degree that social systems themselves are in danger of becoming “unsupported” by out of date software or hardware. Combine that with the fact that there are too many incompatible humanoids about thus voiding the warranty on planetary systems and their operation.

Winter March 1, 2021 5:52 AM

“Long term archiving is a decidedly neglected subject in society and the information is patchy, but there are archavists who will talk on the subject and be happy to give pointers and advice.”

Not really neglected, but it has proven to be difficult. Basically, backups do not work. If you want to save it for posterity, it has to be “life” data.

Look here at the info page of the Documentation of Endangered Languages (DOBES) language archive on long term persistence. This data is considered irreplaceable.

“For all archived DOBES data, 7 copies currently exist:

  • at the MPI, two copies are created dynamically at different storage media and different locations in the building
  • a copy is distributed dynamically to the GWDG in Göttingen (Germany), which is one of the big computer centers of the Max-Planck-Society and which itself has a double storage strategy.
  • another copy is distributed dynamically to the RZG in Garching-Munich, which is the other big computer center of the Max-Planck-Society and which also has a double storage strategy (exchange of all data with the Leibniz Computer Center)
  • another copy is distributed dynamically to the MPI for evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig.
  • For the archived data in the two computer centers of the Max Planck Society, the president has given a 50 year institutional guarantee to preserve the bits.”

    The fact that its replication servers are all in Europe is felt by some (=me) to be a security weakness.

    JonKnowsNothing March 1, 2021 10:15 AM

    @ Tamara Benson @Clive @Winter

    re: Archiving History

    Clive and Winter have touched on the actual difficulties in storing information or history for a long time, the other aspect is where to store it.

    If your information has some “specific use or value” you might be able to get a University or Museum to take possession of the physical material or digital copies. Both institutions are overflowing with such material but they are always adding to their collections.

    You mentioned that some of the information is related to science and others to English literature. You maybe able to connect to a “collection” by checking the themes or sometimes contemporaries in those fields (who they knew or where they went to school with). Even a small brush with “fame and fortune” might be enough to interest one of the collection curators.

    If the information is just stored in boxes, collections will require a catalog of what is in the boxes. This is a very time consuming effort and a full time job going thru page after page and describing it making notational references. Some institutions will take major donations and do the catalog themselves just to get a hold of the items, but if the person is under-known the donor might have to do the catalog.

    There are book dealers who may take parts or portions of valuable documents but the manuscript book industry is quicksand for a new person to navigate. Even for a person with considerable knowledge it can be a devastating experience. (1)

    Places you might start: Libraries in the geographic area, Universities and Schools where there was some past connection. Finding Museums and Universities who specialize in a particular genre (collections).

    None of these are guaranteed to last forever. Lots of universities have gone out of business. Fire, floods and wars have sent a good part of human history into the dumpster too. Bugs are particularly good a destroying man-made objects.

    Archiving and future proofing paper, drawings, paintings is an expensive project. Acid free glass, re-framing, acid free paper and folders can be found at art supply stores. Most good art stores will be helpful in explaining how to better store items. For items already damaged, it is sometimes best to not do anything and leave them untouched. Curators and conservators maybe able to rescue the items so prevent further damage.

    Trying to fix a damaged or stuck together item risks having the same effect as the unfortunate DIY restorations of major art works. Reportedly the horrific results are good for tourism (schadenfreude?) but are not very uplifting when taken in context.

    Your dilemma is not unique. There are 2,544,935 lost histories from COVID-19.

    1, RL anecdote tl;dr

    An estate called a well known antiquarian book seller to evaluate the private library of someone who had died. Most books have no antiquarian or collector’s value (eg not first editions) and in any large library maybe only a few books have value.

    The antiquarian book seller found some books of value and also a letter from a historically important person (@1770). The antiquarian book seller offered the estate a small amount of money for the books and letter. The estate accepted the offer on good faith.

    Within a short period the antiquarian, well aware of the true value of the document, sold the document to a major university collection for more than 1,000 times the price given to the estate.

    Joe K March 1, 2021 12:41 PM

    @ Clive Robinson

    You wrote

    Look up the history of “big endian -v- little endian” just with
    deciding which bit comes before or after another both physically and
    meaningfully is it the MSB or LSB of a byte, and which one of those
    four bytes is the most significsnt in a 32bit integer? You might be
    surprised at just how many variations there are.

    To that end, I’ve spent the morning working about halfway through
    (note the date)

    It and many other similar issues were supposed to be solved by the
    use of Abstract Syntax Notation version one (ASN.1) but that
    suffered a fate that was predicted back in the early 1930’s…

    If you care to elaborate on this point, I am curious.

    Clive Robinson March 1, 2021 4:32 PM

    @ Joe K

    To that end, I’ve spent the morning working about halfway through…

    Yes it was a 1st of April RFC but like all such it’s only amusing if close to the truth.

    This quote from the RFC,

    “The above question arises from the serialization process which is
    performed on messages in order to send them through communication media.”

    Is as true today as it was back in the 1950’s when computer architectures came in all sorts of flavours.

    Part of the problem is we in the west write our words from left to right, but our numbers are actually written from a “decimal point” that appears on the right. This is due in part to how we say the integer parts of numbers.

    But when in mathmatics we write them down as arrays holding polynomials A[0] is usually the least significant digit, that way the number powers aline with the index. So xB^i is B[i] holds “x” and the meta-data is the radix or base value so 10 for decimal 16 for hex.

    But which way does that array exist in memory is A[0] at the lowest value address or the highest.

    What of the actual integers that form the array? If they are 8bit bytes it’s not a problem, but when you get a 16bit word of two bytes then you have two options {0:1}{1:0} which is not too bad but what of a 32bit quad byte? Well depending on the way the hardware works it could reasonably be one of four options {0:1:2:3}{2:3:0:1}{1:0:3:2}{3:2:1:0} though there could be others I’ve not seen them. I’ll let you work out the options for 64bit or 8byte integer numbers.

    But it gets worse… With 8 bits you get one byte, two nibbles, or two BCD digits. All of which can be either way around. And yes you can have an ALU that has nibbles one way around and BCD digits the other way around, I actually helped design such a monster and I’ll leave the war stories behind that for another day but in short it was due to I/O and trying to get maximum data transfer whilst having a one size fits all I/O socket…

    All fine if the computer system is isolated, works in groups of the same machine type and importantly the majority of the programmers work not at the ISA level but at some higher level language that just hides the horrors under an abstraction layer.

    But what happens when you need to communicate with other computers? When I started my design career RS232 and IEEE488 were past their ascendancy and were on their way down in favour of “networking”. There is a lot of nonsense spoken about networking but from a software point of view how bigva block of data bits is is important. What many incorrectly call RS232 is supposed to be seven bits of data a parity bit and a start bit and one or one and a half stop bits… That means much of the time you have ten bits on the line for every seven data bits sent thus 70% –or worse– bandwidth utilization. The start and stop bits are there forvboth electrical and mechanical synchronization. When TTY’s went “glass” and VDU’s started to proliferate, people started to want to squeeze more data down the line in a given time period. Part of the reason was TTY’s were “line oriented” and VDU’s could be either line or “screen oriented”. Screen oriented could be done in one of three ways,

    1, Cursor moving.
    2, Cursor addressing.
    3, Screen refreshing.

    The first was horrible the green box would visably move along and up lines like some sick pacman. The second the green box would jump around the screen, it was much faster but required tricks outside of the available ASCII control charecter set. Also there was a probblem where was the origin or char 0,0? Bottom left thus compatable with line oriented programs, or top left, compatible with how we write a page of text… As you can guess some people went one way and others the other. But Top left had a problem when you got to line 24 or what ever the bottom line was numbered you found yourself going from screen down to line up mode[1].

    Screen mode was way easier, at it’s most primative you just sent a clear screen command and an entire 80×24 screen of charecters in one go. The down side to this was it was slow. In part becsuse 9600baud was the top speed many could use but that 70% utilisation made things a whole lot worse thus it would take 80x24x10/9600 or two whole seconds to redraw the screen… Getting it to 1.4 secs by taking out all those start and stop bits would be advantageous not just for computer to VDU transfers but also computer to computer transfers via CP/M’s pip command which was sometimes the only way you could port software or print files from one computer to another, especially if it was an 8inch machine to a 5&1/4 machine.

    So the char by char “asynchronus” terminal codes got changed to block by block “synchronous” network codes like “High-Level Data Link Control”(HDLC) which importantly was bit not byte orientated… Hence avoiding bit ordering in byte issues. As a synchronous protocol it sufferes from the NRZI problem where long runs of zeros do not send line level translations thus synchronization can be lost. There are two basic solutions use a lower level physical “Manchester Encoding” or split the data into 8bit bytes and send them asynchronously as is seen in early protocols prior to and including PPP still used for dialup data connections to the Internet.

    But later network codes got more complicated and 8bit blocks were inefficient to send binary data. Which is where the “network endian” problems arose. And why we have “network order” now as effectively a standard.

    But you asked,

    If you care to elaborate on this point, I am curious.

    With regards to ASN.1.

    Well “network order” is realy just an ordered “bag of bytes” which is quite a low level form of “Abstract Data Type”(ADT) and can not even handle 16bit integers. ASN was designed in part as a way to Formally Describe data objects more complex than a byte and how they get serialized.

    ASN.1 is very powerfull and very discriptive however there are problems. Two simple ones are,

    1, Ranges in specifications are optional.
    2, Some oitput formats (using PER) do not contain meta-data.

    But there is a more subtle issue it’s a form of logic based language, that can not describe it’s self which has implications going back to the 1930’s and the fun to be had playing with Cantor Diagonals.

    Mostly you will never notice but occasionally you can end up with a problem you can not get around even though you think you can.

    You get a similar problem unsuprisingly with the declaration of data structures in C which has a messy cludge via pointers. Which if you are a programer you might well have seen and had a Oh shite moment. So you want to define a linked list where a first data type implicitly contains a link to a second data type to do this you need to know the size of the second data type. But on declaring the first data type the second data type is unknown so it can not be done. Unless you declare the second data type first, but you can not because it links to the first data type.

    In effect you create a “Turtles all the way down” problem. The solution in C is to use “pointers to structures” but that has problems of it’s own when it comes to integrity and you can do real nasties that a compiler can not catch.

    ASN.1 has a similar problems, and unless you are a “hot diggity Java” programmer who gets deep joy from serialization then hopefully you will never come up against the problem.

    My standing advice to people on serialization is “don’t” unless you realy know what you are doing, it’s the same as with power tools, you can quickly get your self into a real mess and a world of hurt.

    If you must then start small and keep it as simple as possible then make it simpler again. Yes it is possible to send complex data objects in one shot across a comms link but why would you want to? Especially if it’s real world comms where your probability of an error goes up with the length of your data packet. You send a large data packet an one bit gets flipped then you have to repeatedly send the large data packet over and over till you get lucky. You might not see this over and over behaviour because it’s hidden by lower layers in the stack but you will see the drop off of usable bandwidth and increased latency. Which might be a disaster if you are guiding an object more than a few light second or more away (a problem remotely piloted drones can suffer from with multiple hop links).

    [1] Thus possibly just one of the reasons the *nix library that –partialy– abstracted this from programmers was called “curses”. Actually curses was not exactly original work, it was based on screen handling in vi via the termcap DB. Ripping it out of vi in the 1980’s and making a general purpose library of it made writing other programs like the game Rougue oh so much easier. By the time this happened I was already a grizzled “serializer” and had my own box of tools written in an abstracted form of assembler that alowed fairly easy movment from one computer architecture to another. Because of this box of tools I got seen as some kind of “guru” and was actually paid a fee to write a book on serial data transfer and serial port hardware. Due to commercial moves involving take overs, the book got dropped and suprisingly I got to keep both the advance and the rights. Somewhere I still have a chunk of it on “punched paper tape”[2] a backup medium that has survived unlike all others such as cassette tapes and 8inch floppies and later 5&1/4 floppies

    [2] Long story short I had a second hand KSR type paper roll TTY I used as a printer from my Apple. It also had a paper tape punch and reader. One of the mad things in my life was becoming adept at editing text using a couple of such units back to back and a little box I’d designed, a skill that is more redundant than editing audio on cassette tapes with a razor blade and sticky tape…

    Grima Squeakersen March 1, 2021 5:40 PM

    @Etienne re:cryptocurrency – Your reference to the enormous computational and power cost of mining bitcoin, along with another comment highlighting Musk’s interest and recent investment in it, leads me to an unlikely but intriguing speculation. Musk’s current business focus appears to be SpaceX. How cheaply could power be generated to mine bitcoin at a prodigious rate if one owned a significant infrastructure of satellites? Direct, unfiltered, sunlight and no property costs would seem to be propitious for such an endeavor. NTM that, unlike other applications of space-based electrical generation, in this application the power would not need to be transmitted back to Earth; the computers could be colocated with the apparatus. All that would need to be collected is the signatures…

    SpaceLifeForm March 1, 2021 6:00 PM

    @ Joe K, Clive, Bruce, ALL

    Complexity is not your friend.

    At the software level.

    We develop a sequence of attacks with progressively decreasing dependency on JavaScript features, culminating in the first browser-based side-channel attack which is constructed entirely from Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), and therefore works even when script execution is completely blocked.

    Complexity is not your friend.

    At the hardware level.

    Unprivileged users can use the exploits to dump LM/NT hashes on Windows systems and the Linux /etc/shadow file from the targeted devices’ kernel memory.

    The exploit also allows dumping Kerberos tickets that can be used with PsExec for local privilege escalation and lateral movement on Windows systems.

    [ Old Man Yells at Clouds ]

    MarkH March 1, 2021 6:40 PM

    @Tamara Benson:

    Clive’s perspective on archiving is typical of him: very sound, and maximalist. His proposal is interesting, and I’d like to explore it.

    I’d like to offer something less durable but more convenient. For non-digitized sources, scan and print should be quite useful. As Clive writes, it’s important to get the right kind of paper. I suppose that laser printers are much the best, though I don’t know whether anyone has evaluated the durability of laser printer output on time frames exceeding a few decades.

    For digitized information, I still recommend optical disks(probably CD-R is safer than DVD). Although they are rapidly phasing out, I predict that they will have continued support for a long time to come, simply because they have no rival for archival purposes.

    Along the way, it’s not a bad idea to make more than one copy of everything.

    Safes that are both fire and water resistant can be obtained quite cheaply. Note that their water resistance does NOT protect against flooding: the cheap fire/water safes don’t become waterproof until they are first heated very hot, because they’re designed to protect against the safe becoming wet/immersed in the event of fire. If the safe is heated hot enough, the lid seal actually melts, keeping water out.

    In any case, enclosing the contents in “zip lock” type bags would be a good protection against water seeping in.

    A more expensive alternative is a commercial “Class A” safe, which is waterproof.

    MarkH March 1, 2021 7:02 PM

    Re: Counterfeit Gold Bullion

    I’ve no idea how common such counterfeiting may be, but if it is not very rare, then that surely proves negligence or criminality on the part of those responsible for gold repository operation.

    With respect to gold bullion, no conventional technique for testing authenticity or purity can be considered “destructive testing” — the form of the bar may be destroyed, but not a penny’s worth of gold is lost, whether the process involves melting or dissolving in acid.

    It’s in the nature of statistical sampling, that an upper bound of 1% of counterfeit bars can be demonstrated with 90% confidence on the basis of surprisingly few specimens chosen at random. Larger sample numbers can improve this confidence.

    If gold repositories aren’t doing such sampling, it would be interesting to investigate, “why not?”


    Based on a quick survey of other heavy elements which might be used in counterfeit gold ingots (to ensure the required mean density), transverse sound waves travel within them at extremely divergent speeds, depending on the metal.

    Although sound propagation in solids is much more complicated than in fluids, I think it likely that an acoustic test of gold bars could be a practical means of finding counterfeit bars with high reliability.

    Such testing could be done without any damage to the bars.

    SpaceLifeForm March 1, 2021 7:39 PM

    @ MarkH, Clive, Tamara Benson, Winter, JonKnowsNothing

    For digitized information, I still recommend optical disks(probably CD-R is safer than DVD). Although they are rapidly phasing out, I predict that they will have continued support for a long time to come, simply because they have no rival for archival purposes.

    No. Absolute garbage for long term. Seriously, absolute garbage. I do not care how slow you burn the pits, they will melt together. Garbage. You can burn a CD or DVD, but after looking at them a few times, garbage.

    Don’t mention brands. I’ve tried many. All garbage.

    Never use CD or DVD for long-term storage. It will not survive room heat over time.

    Forget this idea.

    Flash will go bad over time too.

    Along the way, it’s not a bad idea to make more than one copy of everything.

    Now we are smoking good stuff. Go with magnetic media, multiple copies.

    And hope that you have the hardware to read them later. Oh, wait! Your hardware to read them relies upon Capacitors not drying out? Good luck.

    Your best long term is paper that is human-readable.

    Clive Robinson March 1, 2021 8:08 PM

    @ SpaceLifeForm, Bruce, Joe K, ALL,

    At the hardware level.

    I did warn at the time that started as Intel’s little “Ghost of Xmas past” was going to be

    “The Xmas gift that keeps on giving”.

    And I gestimated atleast half a decade out of it well we are beyond that 2/3rds mark, and it’s still giving…

    Only another 20months to go…

    Actually if I was truly honest I would probably have said a decade or more. But by then the number of vulnerable platforms will be I hope quite small, therefore the chance of seeing it reported would likewise be very small.

    That’s not to say I do not expect other CPU chip hardware vulnarabilities to come up I do. Because the problem with the Intel style processors is they have way to many little “go faster stripe” cludges built in for specmanship, that now the interaction between the cludges is way to difficult to determin. So yes,

    Complexity is not your friend.

    JonKnowsNothing March 1, 2021 9:34 PM

    @MarkH @Tamara Benson

    re: using zip lock bags for archival storage

    This is not the best method for storing important documents. There are specialty folders and equivalent of zip lock bags that you can purchase from Art Supply Stores or Antiquarian Book Supplies.

    Modern paper has a heavy acid content. In modern books you can see the effect by the “foxing” or browning of the pages. Over time the pages become brittle and begin to crumble.

    These special treated book casings and folders will not prevent the acid damage but they will retard other damage to the paper. For books with book covers any damage at all to the cover, even a tiny crimp will devalue the book. If one is keeping the book for sentimental reasons it may not matter, but for books intended to retain historical or investment values storing them in the proper material is important.

    Bubble wrap is also a good practice to prevent accidental dings.

    For really important works, there are processes to help remove the acid content, but afaik these are done by major universities and are not available to the public.

    Books that have been damaged by water, mold, moisture require special treatments and for the majority of books the cost is prohibitive. Dosing books with pesticides of the day, is not a good idea either.

    If you store laser printed paper and many commercial inked papers in plastic sleeves or folders you might find the print lifts off when you move the sheet.

    Another source of investigation for proper archiving is Stamp Collecting Supplies. Stamps also require special storage. Look for full sheet sized protectors or sleeves.

    Archiving paper materials is a minefield and one slip can obliterate the whole point of the exercise.

    Tamara Benson March 1, 2021 10:43 PM

    @Clive Robinson @JonKnowsNothing @Winter @MarkH @Joe K

    Thank you so much. For my generation, The first rule for women on the internet is to never show weakness or tears, even of gratitude.
    As I read your responses I admit that sometimes it was with a blurred vision of gratitude.

    @Clive Thank you for the brilliant lessons, many of which I understand, big endian vs little endian, RS232. RS232 became a talisman for me years ago in Astronomy and later in Telcom, a verb actually for the importance of connection.
    The rest of your article read like a manual and novel for me on reminders of where we came from. And new knowledge of where we will go.
    Would you be annoyed if I smiled as I realized you had just done what I desperately wanted —- for the essence of knowledge to be shared with the future? Clive, I hope everything on the internet ultimately radiates into space. Hey, it’s not so crazy, is it?
    Thank you, deeply, Clive. Thanks for teaching.

    @JonKnowsNothing Thank you for all the suggestions, they help. But like you said, people with no major brush with fame may be ignored, which I have always found sad and funny. I have known so many smart people who are quiet and hidden, and without whom I’d never have learned to build a system or maintain it. I will keep looking for homes for these documents.

    @Joe K Thank you for taking this conversation to a new level and inciting more extremely interesting aspects of all of this. Thanks for provoking Clive to tell us more! 🙂

    @Winter Thank you as well for taking this conversation into something interesting and oddly challenging. That’s what I love about this place.

    @MarkH I’m grateful that you grasped that I just needed some way to do this, in simple reality, and for all your solid suggestions. Now wondering if I can bury a trunk of protected papers in my yard like a time machine. 🙂 Seriously, that might be satisfying in a crazy way.
    I studied science my entire young life, later ended up making a living supporting Unix and Linux, and understood a long time ago that humans pass through this world often unrecognized and unrewarded. Maybe we are ants. But I do want to preserve some of the works of my favorite ants. Just in case it matters sometime somewhere somehow to someone.
    I know we are but dust. But love and gratitude make a huge difference in how we feel reality.

    Sorry, my eyes are blurry again, so thank you MarkH.

    MarkH March 2, 2021 3:45 AM

    @Tamara et al:

    • The printed side of toner pages should not be left in contact with soft plastic, as the toner will transfer. If you want to use a soft plastic cover or bag, just make sure there is a cover sheet on top.

    • I’ve also seen toner transfer to adjacent sheets of paper, but I think I’ve seen this only from copy machines but not laser printers. I don’t have a gauge of how serious this problem may be.

    • For paper, the absolute worst enemy is water … it can turn a book into a mass of gelatinous paste, so dry storage is paramount.

    • Many kinds of printer stock are advertised as acid-free. For archival purposes, I recommend verifying this for any particular source or brand.

    • At least one manufacturer of optical media offers and archival grade with layers of both silver and gold. They claim a lifetime (with proper storage conditions) of 100 years. These are (not surprisingly) comparatively expensive. However, less than $200 of such disks can hold half a terabyte and fit in a shoebox.

    • As a life-long enthusiast of magnetic recording technology, I do NOT recommend magnetic media for long-term storage. The magnetic domains may survive for decades, but a whole variety of challenges can render such media practically unusable over time.

    • It’s probably not necessary to “hunt in the dark” for guidance in these matters. There must be numerous organizations for which long-term archival storage is an important problem. At least a few of them might offer to the public what they have learned about specific techniques, materials and products.

    Clive Robinson March 2, 2021 8:14 AM

    @ MarkH, Tamara, ALL,

    I’ve also seen toner transfer to adjacent sheets of paper, but I think I’ve seen this only from copy machines but not laser printers. I don’t have a gauge of how serious this problem may be.

    Toner is a very fine dust that is effectively a plastic. It is deposited on the drum by a high voltage “static” charge, it’s then transfered to the paper by mechanical contact and residual static charge to keep it in place, before moving under the heated wire, that melts it.

    Much like sealing wax it makes a very simple mechanical bond to the fibers in paper not chemical or absorption. Which means it is almost as simple to remove from paper as it is to put on and will under many circumstances come of with just time and contact pressure, which can be speeded up much like the removing of chewing gum from cloths.

    You can make a “one time” Tee-Shirt transfer by printing onto “baking parchment/paper” you have cut to size and attached to a “carrier sheet” (laser printer feed mechanics don’t like certain types of surfaces as the grip rollers don’t grip). You then put the baking parchment toner side down on your Tee-Shirt thats on a hard flat heat proof surface (I’ve used a wooden dining table). You then apply heat through the parchment with a cloaths iron with the steam off and the toner melts, as the parchment has a very fine surface compared to the cloth and you have a little gravity assist 😉 along with the “elbow grease” the heat softened toner grips the cloth. Carefully pealing away the parchment leaves the toner image on the tee-shirt… However because you did not add other chemicals the image often comes off in the next cloths wash (warning toner loves irons, and sticks to them very easily, so do not get the iron on the toner on the tee-shirt).

    I used to use a very similar process to make Printed Circuit Boards at home. The toner sticks quite well to the copper surface so provides a mechanical barrier to the ferric chloride etchant solution. It was a fast way to mskr and test an RF prototype, copper clad board can have msny substrates RT Duroid and Arlon being a lot better thsn FR4 stock fibetglass at VHF and above frequencies. Whilst “photo resist” PCB csn be purchased it’s either on paxoline “paper board” or FR4. Whilst you can buy the “photo resist” in a spray can, you have to spray and dry in a dark room which as Terry Pratchett used to say “is a bit of an embuggerance”.

    With the right household chemicals the laser toner can be not just more easily lifted from an ordinary paper surface to the cloth, it can be made to bond much better so the image will survive gentle “hand wash” settings. Though as you might have guessed “Where there is a market a product soon comes along” and you can by special paper for your laser printer to do this now…

    Oh laser-jets use a proper ink which is why for highest quality images you should use paper with chalk/flour surface finish for them otherwise the “bleed into the paper fibers” and bloom out. This is thus likely to remain in place longer, however I’ve no clue as to how stable the colour chemicals “pigments” in thr ink are. I know early colour inkjet ink faded rather rapidly.

    Oh the story behind the ink-jet printer invention is the usuall electronics bod bored out of his brain “farting around”. He had a hypodermic syringe with an organic ink like (flux) substance in it and noticed that by putting the tip of a hot soldering iron on the steel needle he could get a small droplet to fly out as it “flash boiled” the carrier solvent. Did this poor benighted soul make any money out of this now multi billion dollar ink-jet industry? No. Why not? Because although the use of a heating element was “novel” the inkjet using electromechanical means was pattented by Lord Kelvin back in the 1800’s as part of a telegraph recording device. Siemens were the first to make commercial use of the electro mechanical inkjet in a chart recorder in the 1950’s and it kind of worked like the precision ink pens made by Rotring (that nearly died out[1]). Whilst the heated element inkjet did make it to market, others worked out how to use “pizocrystals” insted which is what most inkjets use these days.

    [1] Technically they were “technical drafting pens” and whilst the nibs hung out longer on XY ploters they more or less vanished as CAD happened. I have a full set of original pens and nibs in their cases. However whilst “technical drawing/drafting” is done on computers these days various types of calligraphy and art brought them back from the void, though the range of nibs is reduced,

    And yes I still use mine from time to time, not for “art” but for technical drawings and charts/map masters.

    SpaceLifeForm March 2, 2021 3:38 PM

    @ MarkH, Clive

    When it comes to long term storage,
    Nothing is etched in stone. Oh! Wait!

    SpaceLifeForm March 2, 2021 5:04 PM

    @ Bruce, Clive

    Attribution is Hard

    My BOLD

    Burt added that Microsoft isn’t aware of individual consumers being targeted or that the exploits affected other Microsoft products. He also said the attacks are in no way connected to the SolarWinds-related hacks that breached at least nine US government agencies and about 100 private companies.

    [ Yeah. Sure. Whatever you say. Me thinks you doth protest too much. ]

    JonKnowsNothing March 2, 2021 5:34 PM

    @SpaceLifeForm @Clive @All

    re: Being etched in stone

    Not becoming a stone mason instead of a tech jockey may have been a tactical error …

    When it comes to working in stone certainly Ancient Tech is pretty awesome stuff. Modern etching is done with lasers and acid and you get those nice headstones with 1/4 inch deep photo-graved portraits of the deceased. A modern version of the painted sarcophagus.

    For a more interesting view, there are the enormous obelisks with hieroglyphics all up and down the columns. iirc(badly) These were hewn and chiseled in place at the quarries and then hauled and setup in their final locations.

    When it comes to deep engraving, the stone mason in charge of doing the text must have been pretty high up on the stone mason’s ladder. After centuries the images are clearly outlined.

    We know the painters made errors on the wall diaries (the Big X) and they left graffito behind the doors but making an error on a huge granite piece must have been rare.

    Sadly, those that were taken to Europe and USA are now nearly illegible due to acid rain and smog.

    Makes you think some, if the air you breath is bad enough to erode granite.

    SpaceLifeForm March 2, 2021 5:41 PM

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

    The fascists continue to attack

    Note that ATT has ‘spun off’ Dish.

    (They never should have accuired in first place, but that is another story that relates to money laundering)

    So that when Dish has to fold later via Bankruptcy, ATT can hang on.

    This is this the Fingerprint of Fascism. Create Damage, then slink away via Bankruptcy.

    Clive Robinson March 2, 2021 7:26 PM

    @ JonKnowsNothing, ALL,

    Makes you think some, if the air you breath is bad enough to erode granite.

    And as I mentioned my CD’s made by Phillips…

    It also destroys cellulose and ceritin fibers, so wood paper, cotton/flax paper and wools in rugs etc, all of which have been or are currently being used to store information.

    Then there is the issue of the speed of degradation to nitratrd celulose that turns film stock into explosively flamable dust etc…

    I still get funny looks from people about “ironing clothes” when they talk of the “fresh ironed smell” I tell them that it’s due to the sulfur being turned into acid and eating both their nose and clothes… Yes it’s true your clothes do last longer if you don’t iron them.

    Clive Robinson March 2, 2021 8:05 PM

    @ David Oftedal,

    This seems to be attracting some attention today

    I’m not surprised given the “one liner”.

    That said I’ve downloaded the PDF.

    Now I can not definitely say it’s the PDF as it’s two in the morning here, but by page four I was nolonger sure if I was still reading english… And my brain had stopped cooperating on the grounds I was abusing it…

    I will try reading it again later today when I’ve had a few hours sleep, but I’m suspecting it will not make a lot of difference.

    Fed.up March 2, 2021 9:56 PM


    Re: Microsoft’s latest flaw

    If sensitive (privileged) employees removed their LinkedIn profiles, then how would China know who to attack?

    If an organization has thousands of employees, is China reading everyone’s email, or are they conducting string searches on LinkedIn for specific roles and then targeting which mail to read?

    Microsoft needs to fix LinkedIn most of all. Users should have the option of RESTRICT their profiles from being accessible outside of their network, country or even let people select which countries they want to be viewed in. I don’t understand why LinkedIn lets China see American profiles. LinkedIn is blocked in China so no one can claim that this exposure is for business purposes.

    There are so many opportunities to employ common sense controls, one of which is ban Government and Defense employees from using LinkedIn and then restrict Exchange email to only internal communication. External communication should be by exception especially with everyone working from home. For those few employees who need external email, it can be treated by ‘exception’ or privileged access.

    Data mining GIGO data of employees is causing their employers to be vulnerable. There’s no shortage of Cybersecurity professionals. There’s a shortage of Cybersecurity professionals with common sense. Monitoring is not catching the bad guys. Everyone needs to up their game.

    MarkH March 2, 2021 10:42 PM

    @David Oftedal, Clive:

    The imminent destruction of RSA has been predicted by various people on various occasions.

    I suspect that ciphertexts encrypted with long-key RSA are likely to remain prohibitively costly to decipher in the year 2121.

    I greatly respect Clive’s courage … I briefly scanned the preprint; for mine own part, it was Greek to me. I expect that I would need to invest hundreds of hours (at least) to follow the drift of the paper, and much more time than that to assess it critically.

    My thanks to David for bringing this to our attention. Schnorr is a serious mathematician and cryptographer, so it’s imprudent to dismiss his claims out of hand.

    I note (a) that Schnorr appears to have been making similar claims for this factoring strategy for at least 12 years; and (b) he would not be the first elderly mathematician to be convinced of an approach of which he could not persuade his colleagues (e.g., Louis de Branges).

    When Schnorr publishes again and again on the same core idea, I suppose that he believes he has made some progress toward refinement of techniques, or proof of his premises.

    With preprints in general — and one like this in particular — our best short-term interpretations will derive from online commentary and discussions among professional mathematicians.

    If such chatter doesn’t emerge in the next few days, that will probably mean that there’s no “there” there.


    I think I must have misunderstood what I read, having made only a quick scan. On page 6, a 15 digit decimal is seemingly offered as an example of some aspect of Schnorr’s technique, with the comment that “This amounts to a factoring time of 10 minutes.”

    On my 20-year-old computer, a 20-year-old version of GNU ‘factor’ does the job in about 1/6 of a second.

    Surely, the author didn’t mean to focus on the factoring time of this number (algorithms meant for giant semiprimes are NOT efficient for small numbers), but rather was making a point about the computational cost of intermediate steps.

    Any thoughts, Clive?


    When Schnorr’s technique is used to factor an RSA challenge number with surprisingly low resource costs, we’ll all know about it within a matter of hours, and it will make headlines worldwide.

    Until then, I regard it as highly speculative.

    If anyone can make heads or tails of Schnorr’s paper, please enlighten us!

    lurker March 2, 2021 11:04 PM

    Chinese stele were often literally “written” by the author, usually a senior govt official, sometimes the Emperor, with a standard writing brush and ink. Then skilled engravers would chisel out the lettering. With some examples from the Tang dynasty (C.700~800 AD) the author can still be identified by his handwriting.

    SpaceLifeForm March 3, 2021 1:14 AM

    @ David Oftedal, Clive, MarkH

    The TL;DR is that it is a NothingBurger.

    No Quantum Jump.

    Y’all realize that you shouldn’t be opening a PDF from some rando website, right? 😉

    MarkH March 3, 2021 1:51 AM


    Your “etched in stone” joke is the best I’ve seen here in quite a while … thanks for that!

    On a more serious note, one option I considered is etching data onto metal sheets, copper being most convenient. This could use the laser-transfer method Clive described above for circuit boards (I’ve done that also).

    The copper on circuit boards is held onto the substrate by an adhesive; for stability, I would prefer thin sheet copper.

    I think the practical limit on feature sizes for such etching is not very small, so the density of data/imagery per square centimeter would not be great.

    This technique is very slow, expensive, and bulky … but might make sense for compact material of very great value.


    To me, is not a “rando” domain … I can’t testify to their security practices, but I’ve been downloading papers by world-class authors from them for years.

    For those not familiar, Schnorr is a sufficiently prominent cryptographer that he’s commonly cited in textbooks.

    Whether or not he is now “lost in the ozone,” his résumé is substantial.


    I find no report of any large number factored by Schnorr’s proposed method … to see results for even 200 pr 300 bits would be interesting.

    This suggests to me:

    a) The technique is too poorly defined to be implemented.

    b) The technique is so God-awful complicated as to deter implementation.

    c) Schnorr’s credibility in this matter is too low to attract sufficiently capable programmers and computational resources to make the effort.

    The foregoing are not exclusive: they might apply singly, or in any combination.

    MarkH March 3, 2021 2:00 AM


    If only it were so …

    In my homeland of Absurdistan, Texas is perhaps our best equivalent to Pakistan’s tribal regions.

    The governor’s decision is contrary to ALL expert health guidance. Many will needlessly suffer and die in consequence, for the sake of a demonstration of “ideological purity.”

    It’s worth noting that same gang of idiots advocating such mass homicide are famous for their fanatical devotion to the “right to life.”

    Mr Orwell, meet Mr Kafka.

    Clive Robinson March 3, 2021 2:53 AM

    @ MarkH,

    Any thoughts, Clive?

    The impression I got last night that my brain was saying “you are reading this wrong” was that by combining two techniques, a speed up technique evolved where by a lot of tests that were going to produce invalid results would be removed and that the factoring process would become linear…

    What makes the paper impenetrable by mortals is it is very information dense. You only have to look at one of the pseudo-code boxes to see things have been squeased in, in such a way clarity does not realy result as you would expect.

    On the assumption the preprint paper is valid, I would have to first get clatity to gain insight. My normal way to do this is to turn equations into graphs or processess and study the results and look for key variables or activities such as “inner loop” etc[1].

    Currently on the “get clatity” to “gain insight” I’m not getting anywhere, in effect I’m falling before I get to that first fence in this race. That is in what is a messy thread of infomation I can not find a suitable point to grasp and work my way in either direction.

    If this was a hoax, then presenting it as such a puzzle would be a way to hide it, but you would have to be a clever puzzler to keep the experts uncertain.

    Thus I’m tempted to not revisit it untill others more skilled in such arts have got a firm grip and a direction to go.

    [1] Think of it if you will like analysing a complex waveform with the DFT. Theory says the waveform is a sum of sine waves, all you have to do is find them and which ones are key to what you are seeing. Astronomers do this with orbits of objects in the solar system where you can not do a two or three body problem reliably.

    Cassandra March 3, 2021 3:15 AM

    Re: Long term data storage.

    I have seen suggested elsewhere three possible technologies:

    1) pH-neutral ink on archive-quality paper, stored correctly in a controlled environment. Probably good for 1,000 years or so.
    2) Microfiche/film using a polyester substrate
    “Black-and-white polyester film has a life expectancy of 500+ years under proper storage conditions. ” hxxps://
    3) Etched nickel
    “estimated lifespan of 2,000 -10,000 years”

    (I recommend reading the Rosetta Project article)

    I would not etch copper for long-term storage, as it degrades in humid environments, forming verdigris (hxxps://, which is why copper rooves turn green.


    Cassandra March 3, 2021 5:54 AM

    Re: Claus-Peter Schnorr’s paper

    Wikipedia points to the existence of a later version of the same paper, which would make it curious why the apparently older version was posted to the Cryptology ePrint Archive.


    Cryptology ePrint Archive version (work in progress 31.10.2019):
    Factoring Integers by CVP and SVP Algorithms
    Keywords.Factoring integers, enumeration of short and close lattice vectors, prime number lattice.

    Later Goethe University of Frankfurt version (work in progress 04.03.2020):
    Factoring Integers by CVP and SVP Algorithms
    Keywords.Prime number lattice, Primal-dual reduction

    I do not have the mathematical background to read and understand, let alone analyse the papers.

    Taxicab Geometry March 3, 2021 5:58 AM

    When Schnorr’s technique is used to factor an RSA challenge number with surprisingly low resource costs, we’ll all know about it within a matter of hours, and it will make headlines worldwide.

    Until then, I regard it as highly speculative.

    The author is not even suggesting otherwise. It is someone’s cutting edge research, ideas, and mathematical scribbles which have not yet put to practice, formally written up, vetted, and peer-reviewed for publication in an official academic journal.

    That a mathematician is apparently willing to share highly speculative ideas at such an early stage of research is not to suggest it is the work of a crackpot or mad scientist.

    To all of you nerd hive beeings here March 3, 2021 7:28 AM

    To all of you spastic nerds here, autists are actually fuc&ked up. Do some basic reading of medical reports on the autistic brain that you can find from a google search and you will quickly find that we are truly subhuman. Neuron and nerve fiber density in various areas of the brain is all fuc&ked up, differs from the norm in different ways with age and is all around like someone took a hammer to it. The connectivity between different sections of our brain is fuc&ked up as well. Neurotypicals think that autists are subhumans because they really are slow.

    When I was in high school I had a science teacher who was going on tangents about things, and in one of his tangents he briefly mentioned that he reckoned autists’ defects are some sort of evolutionary throwback in the brain. This isn’t true at all, a primate in the wild with symptoms resembling even high-functioning autism would straight up die because of dyspraxia stopping it from moving as well and a poor ability to connect with members of its group. Monkeys are superior to autists because at least they can do what they’re supposed to properly. Autists are just broken, people who try to spin autism as being “just different” are the same people who spin fag&gotry, transgenderism, women fuc&king 100s of men and all other forms of obvious dysfunction as being just another alternative to an apparently meaningless norm.

    When you’re in a practical situation fumbling to prepare something or put something in a certain place, when you fuc&k something up despite thinking your hardest about not fuc&king it up as you do it, having no autopilot function whatsoever and having to do everything manually, this is called being a subhuman. Normal people can do this fine, you are not normal. You fuc&k things up in a demanding situation and wonder why you keep fuc&king things up, you don’t even want to think about the fact you have an autism diagnosis because it forces you to, for the millionth time, wrap your head around the fact that YOU ended up being the retarded one for no good reason. If you’re autistic you are subhuman, no question about it.

    Anders March 3, 2021 11:14 AM

    @Clive @SpaceLifeForm

    First death.


    Freezing_in_Brazil March 3, 2021 11:49 AM

    @ MarkH

    In my homeland of Absurdistan, Texas is perhaps our best equivalent to Pakistan’s tribal regions.

    I’m sorry but it is ME who lives in Absurdistan. Compared to mine, your country is a land of philosopher kings. 🙂


    Joe K March 3, 2021 11:58 AM

    @ Clive Robinson

    Thank you for elaborating on the
    connections between serialization, endianess, ASN.1, and classic
    results from the Golden Age, and most especially for the instructive
    example from the history of TTYs (even tossing in a shout-out to

    Your riffs tie many things together that I struggle to understand.

    Joe K March 3, 2021 12:15 PM

    Regarding the durable storage of information, I have seen no mention yet of fired clay tablets. Not-Invented-Here syndrome?

    Wikipedia’s page on cuneiform makes for interesting reading.

    SpaceLifeForm March 3, 2021 3:50 PM

    @ David Oftedal, Clive, MarkH

    Claus-Peter Schnorr’s paper

    I was joking about iacr being a rando site, hence the winky emoji.

    But, there are definite questions about the provenance of the paper itself as there are 3 versions, and allegedly Schnorr himself said that he accidentally uploaded the wrong one, and was to correct that earlier today.

    This information came about because people e-mailed him. But, if his e-mail account has been taken over then who knows for sure.

    This thread is best I’ve found:


    And that isn’t even to speak of the editorial shortcomings of the paper. It has random bits of German that don’t relate to the content strewn in, defines the most basic concepts that usually would be assumed to be understood by the reader, while leaving out important details

    In short, it does not prove what the abstract claims it proves.

    name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons March 3, 2021 4:04 PM

    From CE to Trusted Workforce 2?
    As with public policy after crisis events, at least those affecting the political class (you don’t see the same concern when it comes to directly effected populations not connected to power i.e. BLM, Sandy Hook, Texas Freeze, etc.) changes are made that are not necessary but instead “desired”. The Federation of American Scientists recently commented on the new program to overhaul the security clearance regime which has been dubbed “Trusted Workforce 2”. The article for those interested is at hex ops:\/\/

    If it is anything like the CE (Continuous Evaluation) program that turned the IC’s tools on itself, I might be down with it–joking. No ones work environment should be programmatically hostile and overly intrusive–sends the wrong message to staff and creates an environment that eventually promotes very damaging behaviors. It affects the mission, readiness, recruitment, and moral to a degree that the institution is not likely to survive in the long run.

    To think if the prior restraints on security personnel wasn’t draconian enough, why not double down and make it even crazier. The title itself is so skewed, what about a “Trusted Workplace/Employer” program (sarcasm is implied).

    vas pup March 3, 2021 5:23 PM

    GOP Senators Grill FBI Director over Use of Geolocation Data to Track Capitol Rioters

    “Senators Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) and Mike Lee (R., Utah) on Tuesday pressed FBI Director Christopher Wray on the ==>procedures federal law enforcement officials have used to track down those who participated in the January 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol.

    “I’m anxious to see those who committed unlawful, violent acts on January 6 brought to justice,” Lee said during a Senate Judiciary Hearing on Tuesday. “I also believe that … with this circumstance, like every other circumstance, we have to make sure that ===>the civil liberties of the American people are protected.”

    The Utah Republican explained that he had “heard a number of accounts” of people ===>who were in Washington, D.C. on January 6
    !!!! who never went near the Capitol but were “inexplicably” contacted by FBI agents who knew of their presence in the district that day “with no other explanation, perhaps, other than the use of geolocation data.”

    “Are you geolocating people, through the FBI, based on where they were on January 6?” Lee asked Wray.

    “I think there may be some instances in which geolocation has been an investigative tool, but I can’t speak to any specific situation,” Wray responded.

    “But what are you using to do that?” Lee ==>asked. “What’s your basis for authority? Are you using national security letters?”

    Wray said, “I don’t believe in any instance we’re using national security letters for investigation of the Capitol—”

    Lee interrupted to ask the FBI director if =>he had gone to the FISA court, to which Wray responded he did not “remotely believe FISA is remotely implicated in our investigation.”

    The senator continued pressing Wray, asking if the FBI is “using warrants predicated on probable cause.”

    Read the whole article.

    MarkH March 3, 2021 8:49 PM


    I don’t often think about the situation in Brazil, because it’s such a painful subject 🙁

    The world has seen ample demonstration that no matter the degree of democratic practice in a country, an authoritarian leader leaves a trail of suffering and devastation.

    My sincere condolences.


    Schnorr’s paper looks to be what Americans these days call a “hot mess.”

    If he can come up with factors, any fool with a bigint calculator (or Python) can do the multiplication and verify successful factoring in a matter of seconds.

    Implementation might be brutally complex — it looks to be, based on my scan of the paper — but if his approach is even a little promising, why hasn’t he found 2 or 3 grad students to program it for him?

    Pushing out multiple drafts — without adequate proofreading, and including a comically sensational claim — does not give a reassuring feeling about the author’s mental state.

    Clive Robinson March 3, 2021 9:50 PM

    @ Joe K,

    Wikipedia’s page on cuneiform makes for interesting reading.

    Whilst clay tablets are nearly as durable as stone tablets they both have a major disadvantage as does etched glass. As indicated in the Middle Eastern War Zone in recent times.

    Whilst they will survive a serious fire, if the fire is alowed to burn out and the tablets cool slowely. They will not survive it the fire is put out by “cooling” be it water or CO2 or other rapid temprature reducing methods the tablets will unfortunately shatter into many tiny pieces.

    xcv March 3, 2021 10:55 PM

    @SpaceLifeForm • March 3, 2021 8:30 PM

    @ Moderator

    Same stuff, different day. Comments 370159, 370160, 370161 are junk.

    They sound exactly like “the usual” working cops on the beat, or the State Troopers around here, trying to form a posse comitatus to round up RSOs like the U.S. Marshals were doing in Washington State.


    Now I’m wondering if it wasn’t the same U.S. Marshals who railroaded me on false “harassment” charges and destroyed my life on behalf of some street girl or woman or other female or somebody else who failed to appear in court.

    I don’t even know who half those people are, but they’re primarily female witnesses, (many of whom are foreigners,) who “come forward” with completely fabricated and totally arbitrary sex charges without a shred of evidence, but there is plenty of corroborating testimony from other women “of the community” with whom they have already conversed about the matter before coming to court with it.

    There’s a defense attorney to plead a suspect guilty, and the life-ruining U.S. Marshals games they’re playing are deadlier than ice, slicker than snot, judge, jury, and executioner, all on the same bankroll. They’ve gone over to the wrong side side of the law with that murder-for-hire contracting business, along with so many disreputable bail bondsmen, debt collectors, skip tracers, bounty hunters, private investigators, process servers, registered agents, and corporate security personnel, armed professionals and ardent proponents of strict gun control laws every one of them.

    “Excessive bail shall not be required” and all that, but they charge 10% usury on it. And you’ve got the window-breaking headlight-smashing debt collection gig, and the whole vehicle titling, licensing, insurance, and registration industry to go with it, downhill on the seamy side of the law.

    The cops really need to clean up that mafia among their ranks, but it just isn’t happening to any measurable degree.

    SpaceLifeForm March 3, 2021 11:25 PM

    @ vas pup

    Lee and Hawley are fishing for information, so they can create strawmen to attack later. They are not the sharpest knives at the top of the elevator shaft.

    Clearly, the FBI is methodically working thru the cases, and certainly using court ordered warrants.

    I do not believe Lee and Hawley are smart enough to realize that every phone that was inside the Capitol has been or will be ID-ed. Even those not inside but close to the doors.

    I would have to believe that by now, most of the phones have been ID-ed.

    This is not rocket science.

    SpaceLifeForm March 3, 2021 11:37 PM

    @ MarkH

    Yes, I am concerned as well. It would really help if multiple people could actually physically check on his well-being. And verify that he actually did upload the paper twice, and that his e-mail has not been compromised.

    xcv March 4, 2021 12:21 AM

    @SpaceLifeForm on Friday Squid Blogging: Far Side Cartoon :

    @ MarkH

    Yes, I am concerned as well. It would really help if multiple people could actually physically check on his well-being. And verify that he actually did upload the paper twice, and that his e-mail has not been compromised.

    Damn, you people are chock full of the same old Establishment mafia omertà line, hats-off-doors-open “respect” for the ladies, and all the rest of that mobsters-and-gangsters cops-and-law-enforcement business going on downtown.

    SpaceLifeForm March 4, 2021 1:16 AM

    @ MarkH, Clive, JonKnowsNothing

    It’s not just Texas and Mississippi where genocide is in vogue.

    h ttps://

    Wesley Parish March 4, 2021 1:47 AM

    Since nobody else has mentioned it:

    A Cephalopod Has Passed a Cognitive Test Designed For Human Children

    The marshmallow test, or Stanford marshmallow experiment, is pretty straightforward. A child is placed in a room with a marshmallow. They are told if they can manage not to eat the marshmallow for 15 minutes, they’ll get a second marshmallow, and be allowed to eat both.

    but wait, there’s more …

    “Cuttlefish in the present study were all able to wait for the better reward and tolerated delays for up to 50-130 seconds, which is comparable to what we see in large-brained vertebrates such as chimpanzees, crows and parrots,” Schnell said.

    and as well

    That seems like cuttlefish can exert self control, all right, but what’s not clear is why. In species such as parrots, primates, and corvids, delayed gratification has been linked to factors such as tool use (because it requires planning ahead), food caching (for obvious reasons) and social competence (because prosocial behaviour – such as making sure everyone has food – benefits social species).

    So cephalopods are capable of planning ahead.

    Cassandra March 4, 2021 3:29 AM

    Re: Claus-Peter Schnorr’s paper

    Yes, I noticed the random German too, which if nothing else indicates some poor editing.

    “Dabei ist e= 2.7182818284···Euler’s number und π= 3.141592654···”

    It is in the currently most recent version of the paper (uploaded at 03-Mar-2021 18:21:20 UTC), available here:


    At least the typo in “This destroys the RSA cryptosystem.” has been removed (it was previously “This destroyes the RSA cryptosystem”), which demonstrates the sentence is intended to be there.

    I regret to say it is looking like either someone has taken control of Schnorr’s accounts, (which is looking less likely as time goes by and no official statement to that effect has been made) or that his mental acuity is not as it was. There are examples of other respected mathematicians ‘losing it’ in old age, and it is very sad to see, as well as a warning of what might happen to any one of us. Do what you can today as you might not be capable of doing it tomorrow.

    I hope he is well, and I have missed a simple and rational explanation. Significantly improved factorisation methods would have interesting, if inconvenient, consequences.


    Clive Robinson March 4, 2021 7:07 AM

    @ Petre Peter,

    Judgement is more important than knowledge.

    But judgment only exists as a by product of knowledge…

    So, Chicken or Egg?

    Which as it’s lunch time here is a question with a whole differebt meaning 😉

    Winter March 4, 2021 1:32 PM

    @ Petre Peter,
    “Judgement is more important than knowledge.”

    Sounds too much as “Faith is more important than knowledge”.

    And I must say, without knowledge, judgement is nothing more than faith. As Clive already alluded to

    Cassandra March 4, 2021 2:53 PM

    @Clive Robinson

    This 2010 presentation might, possibly, smooth your way to understanding to what Schnorr is trying to do:

    Integer Factorization using lattices
    Antonio Vera
    Workshop Lattice Algorithmics – CIRM – February 2010


    As might this 1998 paper

    Factoring via Strong Lattice Reduction Algorithms


    Also, Schnorr’s presentation in this 2009 workshop may help:

    CITS – Workshop on Factoring Large Integers


    It looks like that for all presentations the abstracts are not available, but the slides are.


    Cassandra March 4, 2021 3:14 PM


    A couple of links to more analysis of the claim. Not glowing praise.

    Discussion (including pointing out an error in the paper, which may or may not be significant):

    Code that implements the technique in the paper, with commentary:

    vas pup March 4, 2021 3:31 PM

    @SpaceLifeForm • March 3, 2021 11:25 PM

    Thank you for your post. My intention was to point all bloggers attention that ‘power corrupt, absolute power corrupt absolutely’, i.e. whatever good intentions any LEA(including related in my initial post)has it should be subject of strong independent oversight by Courts and Legislature regarding procedures/tools they are using in accordance with Constitution and Laws.

    @ALL: dear bloggers we sometimes not agree with opinion of other blogger, that is not subject in any case to personal attacks, labeling, and in other way by utilizing FALLACIES.

    You can argue based on facts presented (not highly likely or allegedly – that is for liberal arts) by reliable sources (more or less), OR by personal experience (as Clive usually did on technical issues)but you cannot argue on opinions.

    Let say temperature is +18 degrees C in the room. You feel hot, other person feels cold – that is opinion, but fact is ## of the temperature. So, you can’t argue about opinion – that is your subjective reflection formed by many factors (motivational bias in particular)of objective facts.

    Another example, e.g. two persons see the statue of man on the horse: one from the front only and another from the back. Both are true on the subjective reflection, but only in creating 3D picture, i.e. incorporating both views it is possible to get not only objective, but also not one-sided picture.


    JonKnowsNothing March 4, 2021 3:38 PM

    @Clive @All

    re: On big endian -v- little endian and the important bits

    Apropos of getting the bits in the right order…

    MSM report of link redirect using a single altered bit in the URL name. The researcher was able to obtain 14 bitsquatted domains and got directed traffic for them.

    There are examples of the simple bit flips. This would work on nearly any domain that has not purchased every possible permutation of the name.

    One of the domains is for windows systems to authenticate date and time.

    Windows machines will connect to this domain once per week to check that the time shown on the device clock is correct. What the researcher found next was even more surprising.

    “The NTP client for windows OS has no inherent verification of authenticity, so there is nothing stopping a malicious person from telling all these computers that it’s after 03:14:07 on Tuesday, 19 January 2038 and wreaking unknown havoc as the memory storing the signed 32-bit integer for time overflows.

    As it turns out though, for ~30% of these computers doing that would make little to no difference at all to those users because their clock is already broken.”

    Similar url forging techniques are used by having the underlying url actually be in a different coding system that displays on the target system using that systems fonts. This is more noticeable than just being a one-digit off name but works if all you do is check the name as displayed in the browser rather than the full url.

    ht tps://

    mapped the 32 valid domain names that were one bitflip away from

    Of the 32 bit-flipped values that were valid domain names… 14 were still available for purchase.

    ht tps://

    • Clive’s Post on big endian -v- little endian

    * there was a recent topic on time, date authentication, that can likely be found in the archives

    (url fractured to prevent autorun)

    SpaceLifeForm March 4, 2021 3:53 PM

    @ Moderator, Winter (the real one)

    Thank you for the confirmation.

    This happened about a week ago also, and I pointed it out, but apparently you were not around to notice.

    Appreciate the feedback that my ‘writing style’ parser and lexical analyzer are still functioning.

    SpaceLifeForm March 4, 2021 4:24 PM

    @ Cassandra

    I regret to say it is looking like either someone has taken control of Schnorr’s accounts, (which is looking less likely as time goes by and no official statement to that effect has been made) or that his mental acuity is not as it was

    Do not assume they are mutually exclusive.

    Also, do not assume no investigation.

    MarkH March 4, 2021 5:46 PM

    Re Factoring Claims:

    I’m not worried about Herr Schnorr’s general health, but his reputation may become regrettably tarnished.

    We older men tend to overestimate how much vitality remains from our younger days, and sometimes yearn for one last glorious charge … the results are sometimes dramatic, but rarely in the manner we imagined.

    In at least one respect, mathematics is a particularly cruel field of intellectual endeavor. Suppose that mathematician Yukvitz devoted half of his career to some really original idea, culminating in his proof of an important theorem. When he felt ready, he published his work in a paper of 39 pages.

    Mathematician Schmultz, while studying this proof, found an important error (not just a typo, but a mathematically significant mistake). Within a few days, Schmultz devised an alternative attack on the problem, came up with a substitution for a few paragraphs on page 26, and published his results as a journal letter.

    If the amended proof is recognized as valid, then by the customs of the discipline, the proof will be known in the annals of mathematics as Schmultz’s theorem — not Yukvitz’. Schmultz will kindly cite the 20 years of hard work done by the originator, but the credit goes to the first person to publish the valid result. [With a little luck, writers might call it the Schmultz-Yukvitz Theorem.]


    Schnorr plainly believes that he’s gotten hold of something really big … though I suspect that he hasn’t convinced even one colleague who has enough expertise to follow his reasoning.

    So I speculate that each time he makes some refinement of his argument, he feels pressure to rush it into public view, before somebody else finds his “holy grail.”

    It must happen often that people doing this kind of demanding intellectual labor get lost in blind alleys, and map the route of their impasse by a series of papers which didn’t lead where they had hoped.

    But boasting “this destroyes RSA” is a more serious matter. Anyone with such a career and record of extraordinary acheivement as Schnorr has attained, must know that if you Haven’t Got The Goods, this sort of claim is Harmful.

    Fortunately, he will remain justly famous for his prior contributions to crytography.

    And who knows? Maybe someday Schnorr — or my hypothetical Schmultz! — will develop these factoring strategies into some important advance!

    SpaceLifeForm March 4, 2021 6:12 PM

    @ JonKnowsNothing

    I’ve previously mentioned Bit-Flipping Routers.

    Keep in mind that it does not matter where the bit is flipped, because SNI is NOT secure.

    Also note that this feature is used for Great Firewall of China.

    And, TLS 1.3 is not really in use and certainly can be down-grade attacked.

    Clive Robinson March 4, 2021 7:19 PM

    @ Cassandra,

    Thanks, I was looking at the earlier of the two releases so yes no wonder my poor old noggin was not having any of it.

    I’m going to save downloading and reading for the weekend, especially as things appear to be moving so fast. You never know by the end of the week the “Janet and john” version might be out and save me the pain.

    The idea of chunking through high order lattice math, does not have the same attraction it did when my brain was a little slicker than it once was (back when I was paid by Her Madge not to have a beared 😉 others wearing the green used to think my somewhat odd in that I’d sit quietly in the corner of the OR’s mess reading a book on mathmatics or electronics or new for those days computer science with my pint. Even weirder when asked what I was reading I’d tell them not “Oh just a book” but the actuall thing of interest to me at the time so “Oh the derivation of the Cooley Tukey FFT algorithm from the DFT” or some such usually it would get a slightly stuned response befor a hesitant “OK…”. However one day I was sitting there and a new voice enquired, and I got a very different response somebody else actually knew what I was talking about, turns out she was doing a PhD over at Queen Mary so she could answer my questions 🙂

    SpaceLifeForm March 4, 2021 7:34 PM

    @ Cassandra, Clive

    “Dabei ist e= 2.7182818284···Euler’s number und pi= 3.141592654···”

    Curious. But I am into maths.

    Why truncate

    2.718281828459… to
    2.7182818284 at 10 decimal digits
    (truncated, not rounded up)

    Vs bad rounding

    3.141592653589793… to
    3.141592654 at 9 decimal digits
    (rounded up)

    This does not compute. Clearly, e^i*pi = -1

    MarkH March 4, 2021 8:36 PM

    @Clive, Cassandra, SpaceLifeForm:

    To me the startling thing about the verbiage on pi and e is not that he left it in German (an understandable slip), but rather that he chose to identify what they are. Probably the explanation is that pi at least is “overloaded” in arithmetic, so disambiguation makes sense.

    In general however, the paper is needlessly obscure. A number of words are truncated (the first few letters are followed by a period) where the cost of spelling them out would have been a few seconds.

    I saw repeated invocation of GSA, which I suppose to be some theory, rule or theorem … but it’s sufficiently exotic that I haven’t yet found it by web search.

    It’s said that in ancient Sparta, young men headed toward battle were admonished by their mothers “come back carrying your shield, or on it.” Best to have a firm grip on one’s shield before publishing, lest the corpse of the author’s reputation be brought back atop it.

    Housman’s verse applies to mathematicians perhaps even more than athletes, whose capacity to shine falls so steeply with the passing of years:

    Now you will not swell the rout
    Of lads that wore their honors out
    Runners whom renown outran
    And the name died before the man

    Winter March 5, 2021 12:32 AM

    “Appreciate the feedback that my ‘writing style’ parser and lexical analyzer are still functioning.”

    Certainly, they function very well. Alas, the earlier time I did miss indeed. I probably was in an online meeting, as I feel like I am always in an online meeting.

    SpaceLifeForm March 5, 2021 1:08 AM

    @ MarkH, Clive, Cassandra

    I am not seeing GSA references. NFS yes.

    Are we looking at same doc?

    My parser and lexical analyzer are taking a break after about half of the doc. There are definitely interesting things that I can relate to.

    At this point, I can only conclude that the algorithms involved are not deterministic. Your run-time will vary.

    SpaceLifeForm March 5, 2021 1:57 AM

    @ MarkH, Clive, Cassandra

    My BOLD

    Instead of performing 96 lattice reductions with a near guarantee of recovering 96 smooth values, a very rough approximation with the correct determinant indicates that we would need to perform 2^200 reductions of enormous lattices to find enough smooth values. 6/

    This is well beyond any plausible computation. It strongly suggests that this particular approach does not scale to the point of practically breaking RSA. 7/

    MarkH March 5, 2021 2:22 AM


    The version I’m presently looking at is titled 2021-232.pdf, though I don’t recall which link I used to load it.

    “GSA” occurs 26 times, starting on page 1.

    This version of the paper doesn’t announce the destruction of RSA …

    Clive Robinson March 5, 2021 3:01 AM

    @ JonKnowsNothing, Bruce, ALL,

    On bit flips from out of Space

    Yes I’ve mentioned this particular problem before last time I think was when RowHammer was fresh or was it Spector, or both… as per usuall the “Not Invented Here” club said “No not possible” yet here we are, and it looks like MS are fresh joiners of the NIH club as well…

    Sorry to sound bitter about it but hey blunt as they are even I need to stretch my claws very occasionally 😉

    Reading the article,

    1, 0ne legitimate site.
    2, thirty two sites posible.
    3, fourteen available.

    So 14/31 = 45% of the possible names.

    And this,

    “Over the course of two weeks, Remy’s server received 199,180 connections from 626 unique IP addresses that were trying to contact”

    So with 45% of the possibles and 626 unique IP adresses,on those… Potentially 1386 machines over the entire range of bit flipped IP addrrsses…

    It does not sound a lot and some may be typos, but it’s still impressive for effectively doing nothing other than register fourteen domain names.

    As the researcher noted,

    “Remy said the findings are important because they suggest that bitflip-induced domain mismatches occur at a scale that’s higher than many people realized.”

    As for the quoted Microsoft response,

    “Update 2: The Microsoft representatives didn’t answer my questions, but they did say: “We’re aware of industry-wide social engineering techniques that could be used to direct some customers to a malicious website.””

    Huhh “Social Engineering” my ass, they are trying to “blow smoke” and failling miserably.

    Not that there is much MS can do other than “sign their time signals” as they do with their software updates. To give some modicum of authentication.

    As for the hardware, there’s not a lot you can do… The first attempt was to use “Error Correction” by simple parity checking. As any one familiar with how that was done we get “Parrity Checking” with a ninth parity bit which means the memory is atleast 9/8 = 12.5% increase in price, board real-estate, pin count etc. So not desirable in commodity devices. Plus as it uses XOR then only “odd numbers of bit flips” get caught not “even numbers of bit flips”… There are better check codes like Hamming, but they all require incrrasing the amount of memory, which just increases the surface area where those energetic little photons can flip a bit or two.

    Whilst there are radiological sources on the ground, the most likely cause of problems is “Coronal Mass Ejections” or “CME’s” it would be interesting to use the researchers project over a longer time frame to see if it can be used as a crude “Space Weather Telescope” with the IP addresses givong approximate geo-physical locations for “the sensor” computers…

    Winter March 5, 2021 5:06 AM

    @True Scotsman
    “just some thoughts of the current VP:”

    Divide and Conquer is the motto.

    Clive Robinson March 5, 2021 5:48 PM

    @ SpaceLifeForm,

    Keep in mind that it does not matter where the bit is flipped, because SNI is NOT secure.

    SNI is a gaping privacy wound and could have been resolved another way. One such is multiple IPv6 addresses per Host interface for instance. But that to is every bit as much a gaping privacy wound, as are nearly every other suggestion.

    The reason for this is because of where the encryption layer is in the stack. The lower it is placed the more secure and more private communications become, as well as suprisingly to some the more flexible.

    Moving the encryption layer up the stack reduces security and privacy, eventually you end up with only message contents security with all the traffic meta-data painfully exposed.

    It is this reason the military amongst others use,

    1, Link layer security.
    2, Routing security.
    3, Message security.

    Together along with other techniques.

    I know that the original argument was that SSL required high power resources thus had to be at least at that level of the stack and again it had to be the way around it is because client computers did not have the computing power. But that was back in the 80’s arguments, around the same time leg warmers, sweat bands, shoulder pads and big fluffy hair does were argued to be attractive… These days we think the opposit but we appear stuck in the 80’s for reasons we should be able to break free of…

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