Friday Squid Blogging: Squid Eating Maine Shrimp

Squid are eating Maine shrimp, causing a collapse of the ecosystem. This seems to be a result of climate change.

Maine’s shrimp fishery has been closed for nearly a decade since the stock’s collapse in 2013. Scientists are now saying a species of squid that came into the Gulf of Maine during a historic ocean heatwave the year before may have been a “major player” in the shrimp’s downturn.

In 2012, the Gulf of Maine experienced some of its warmest temperatures in decades. Within a couple of years, the cold-water-loving northern shrimp had rapidly declined and the fishery, a small but valued source of income for fishermen in the offseason, closed.

Anne Richards, a biologist at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and Margaret Hunter, a biologist with the Maine Department of Marine Resources, studied the collapse and found that it coincided with an influx of longfin squid, a major shrimp predator.

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

Read my blog posting guidelines here.

Posted on October 22, 2021 at 4:10 PM152 Comments


echo October 23, 2021 12:33 AM

In a document published Friday summarizing its AI strategy, NATO emphasized the need for “collaboration and cooperation” among members on “any matters relating to AI for transatlantic defence and security.” The document also lists the organization’s principles for “responsible use for AI,” which NATO says were developed based on members’ approaches and “relevant work in applicable international fora”:

The current UK far right government has made no bones about viewing human rights as getting in the way of the military. I’m curious how they reconcile their reckless sociopathic self-interest with NATO policy not to mention their earlier railing against “unelected officials” in Europe (i.e. the EU).

SpaceLifeForm October 23, 2021 5:04 AM

It’s fishy

There may be some good dots to bonsa [dot] net


[bonsa has only existed one month, and it shows]

Ted October 23, 2021 10:07 AM


Re: The article on the book “The Dawn of Everything”

”How did we get stuck?” the authors ask—stuck, that is, in a world of “war, greed, exploitation [and] systematic indifference to others’ suffering”?

Beautiful article @echo. Do you think it’s ironic that scientists report that oxytocin, the “cuddle hormone,” is also thought to be partly responsible for attacks on “outgroups”?

any moose October 23, 2021 1:32 PM

Lyft reported 4,158 sexual assaults from 2017 to 2019, after Uber reported a figure of 5,981 sexual assaults from 2017 to 2018. Not to mention Lyft’s 105 motor vehicle fatalities and 10 deaths involving physical assaults. But Ayn Rand groupies, including quite a few here, would never admit that libertarianism, woke-ism, and antifa anarchy are causing civil society to implode.

P.S. Let me anticipate the response of winter / spaceballs: do what your hero Hutchence did.

echo October 23, 2021 2:56 PM


Do you think it’s ironic that scientists report that oxytocin, the “cuddle hormone,” is also thought to be partly responsible for attacks on “outgroups”?

No because it’s twaddle.

Oxytocin promotes coordinated out-group attack during intergroup conflict in humans

Notice the focus on co-ordination. The paper is interesting but contains no surprises. That said your mentioning it has provoked a useful link so I thank you through gritted teeth.

I’ve actually wracking my brains for months for how to concisely explain some of the things I have observed in politics since the financial crash within the context of political spectrum to gender economics and related spheres without triggering every involved side with a vested interest.

The Evolutionary Psychology of War: Offense and Defense in the Adapted Mind

In other words, males and females will equally appreciate the value of prevailing in defensive aggression. In contrast, we are likely to observe greater relative levels of expected benefit by males than by females in offense (Hypothesis 5). This is a direct reflection of the fact that females have more to lose and less to gain, either directly or indirectly, from offensive coalitional aggression since the benefits of such action remain privatized among participants, even accepting the fact that the material benefits of such coalitional action may be shared among close family or allies.

The references are worth a skim for the titles alone. To some degree this counters some of the flaws and biases noted in the paper by Zahn et al whose participants were (eyeroll at medical bias) male (oh here we go cultural differences) Chinese. They claim to have accounted for this but there is the hopefull whiff of “more research required”.

The paper and references are worth a skim and saves me explaining a few things but the paper and references are flawed when placed in the bigger neuro-social context.

vas pup October 23, 2021 3:32 PM

@Ted and @echo – thank you on link to article related to oxytocin.

The battle to make lighter life-saving body armor

“Prized for its strength and affordability, Kevlar has been the most common material in armor for more than 40 years.

But it is being replaced by a new material which goes by the unwieldy name of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE).

It derives strength from its very long molecules, and modern production techniques exploit that feature. Some brands of UHMWPE are advertised as having 15 times the strength of steel for the same weight.

While early versions of the materials have been available for decades, it is only in the last few years that they’ve gained market acceptance – and become the option of choice for many forces around the globe.

Colin Metzer, the director of blast and ballistics at Colorado-based firm Skydex, says that increasingly sophisticated materials will improve the situation.

For example, the ceramic plates fitted into body armor are becoming better, with newer versions using materials such as boron carbide.

“There’s a continual development of raw materials, which can then be integrated back into body armor that increases performance while decreasing weight,” Mr Metzer says.

In the longer-term, many body armor experts believe that nanotechnology, in which materials are manipulated at a molecular or supra-molecular scale, could mean extremely lightweight body armor that is more like clothing.

Among the researchers working in this space is University of Sussex professor Alan Dalton, the lead scientific advisor at nanotech firm Advanced Material Development.

Prof Dalton believes that futuristic lightweight materials may mean that other heavy pieces of kit carried by soldiers can be integrated into body armor, turning it into wearable technology that can also protect a user.

!!!!!Additionally, Prof Dalton says that future systems might even be able to change how a soldier might appear to a thermal imaging system.

“I could potentially change the apparent temperature down to something close to the background temperature. If anyone was using a thermal camera, I’d just blend into the background,” Prof Dalton says.”

Ted October 23, 2021 3:40 PM

@any moose

Re: Lyft and Uber assaults

I will hopefully be traveling to Arizona next summer to complete a required in-person class. It looks like we will have options to get from the airport to the campus. Some options include an airport shuttle service, metro rail, uber, lyft, etc. I am leaning towards the shuttle service.

To be fair it looks like the overall percentage of assaults has gone down for the ride sharing services, even as the total numbers have gone up. However, it’s still just one more unknown I would prefer not to deal with.

I recently listened to a Court Junkie podcast about a woman named Samantha Josephson who thought she was getting into her uber ride, but it was not. She was found dead the next day.

I’m thinking safety in numbers and established organizational services, because why not?

Thanks for the link to the article. It did help provide some perspective to my fears.

echo October 23, 2021 4:38 PM
Is Your Privacy An Illusion? (Taking on Big Tech) – Smarter Every Day 263

This appeared on the Youtube sidebar of shame.

Oh here we go…

Secure Connection Failed

An error occurred during a connection to PR_CONNECT_RESET_ERROR

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

Oh, dear!

Ted October 23, 2021 5:43 PM


Re: The linked paper “The Evolutionary Psychology of War”

In contrast, we are likely to observe greater relative levels of expected benefit by males than by females in offense (Hypothesis 5).

Your thoughts and the research you linked to are incredible thoughtful @echo. Thank you for sharing.

The only thing I would add is that many men often bear both the tasks and griefs of war without the ensuing benefits. Smedley D. Butler, a US Marine Corps Major General and two-time Medal of Honor recipient wrote a book called “War Is a Racket.” I heard about it on a podcast, which by the way is not anti-military. In his book he talks about the industrialist profiteering of war and the immense amount of human suffering.

There is a small excerpt from his book here:
ht tps://

Anders October 23, 2021 7:03 PM


Strange. How can such things happen?
This is movie set, how can live ammo
even reach there?

Clive Robinson October 23, 2021 8:23 PM

@ Anders,

This is movie set, how can live ammo even reach there?

It happens all be it rarely, I talked to a friend back it in the late 1990’s, they worked with “Shepeton Studios” amongst others and had traveled the world. So from memory,

In theory films are made with “prop guns” however there are not that many of them so non prop guns get “rented” as it can be faster and less expensive. Thus although it should not happen amunition can travel with real weapons. Different US states have different legislation.

In the UK the likes of “set armourers” have very many requirments laid on them especially with “hand guns” (which are otherwise illegal to own privately due to Dunblain). However apparently in the US the rules are less onerous to non existant except for transportation across state lines.

Some of the amunition used in prop guns uses special powder to provide a visual image but to an inexperienced eye a round for a prop gun looks very similar to certain types of actuall live rounds. Worse they often use “blanks” that have been made from actuall live rounds, where the lead bullet is replaced with a cardboard or wadding plug. However if there is anything in the barrel of a prop gun even a prop round will expell it with sufficient force to kill (see death of Bruce Lee’s son[1]). From what has been said Alex Baldwin was given a prop gun with blank ammunition. Nothing however has been said about the projectile, the fact that two people got shot, suggests that what ever the projectile was it had fragmented in some way (and conceivably could have been part of the prop gun).

Actors are normally taught a technique were they don’t actuall point the gun at another actor they point off at an angle that to the camera looks like the gun is pointed at the other actor. However some shots require the actor to point at or very nearly at the camera.

It looks so far, like this incident is a horrific tragedy, that can and occasionaly does happen around firearms. Two people were injured and one subsequently lost their life.

Things can and do go wrong, and I’ve seen and experienced things go wrong with not just guns but the ammunition whilst I was “wearing the green” and have one or two scars to show for it[2]. Oh and a mangled 7.62 bullet that I was shot by on a rifle range. It was a ricochet so most of the energy had been expended, but it was a very rude shock that drew blood nether the less.


[2] For instance the SLR design had an issue that if ammunition with too large a charge was fired, the design that held the breach closed could and did fail and if you were lucky the worst you got was a face full of hot gases. The SMG or “plumbers delight” was,a horrible weapon and was a “blow back” design with a fixed firing pin. As the bolt was on a spring and could not be locked in place it was possible that if droped it would fire off a round. It also had miss fire issues where a round would be chambered but not fire, great care was needed when trying to get the round out. As for the SA80 Mk 1 the less said about that the better…

Anders October 23, 2021 9:04 PM


Thanks for the insight.

However, seems like there is more.
Previous incidents with guns on the set, planning strike etc.


SpaceLifeForm October 23, 2021 11:03 PM



SpaceLifeForm October 24, 2021 1:12 AM

@ agl__, Clive, ALL

This security model is flawed. I do NOT want to authenticate a machine. I want to authenticate a human user.

Adam, you know better.


But the use of BLE is more than just a convenience. The security model demands some proof of physical proximity between the authenticator and the machine that is being authenticated. For a USB security key the authenticator will only respond to something that is making physical contact with it. So when a phone is acting as a security key it needs to prove that the machine it is talking to is physically close by. (Or at least that the attacker is in control of a BLE radio that is physically close.)

MarkH October 24, 2021 1:38 AM


Your proposal for FaceBook’s new name is a good representation of how many people feel about the company.

My idea for a name describing what they do is



Clive Robinson October 24, 2021 2:10 AM

@ Anders,

Previous incidents with guns on the set, planning strike etc.

I doubt there has been an action movie made that has not had union issues over safety.

Put simply it is a conflict situation.

The Union is there to prevent harm to not just it’s members but all people involved.

Production managment want to get literally the “best bang for the buck” they can, in the shortest time they can. Special effects are frequently inherantly unsafe. Even something such as an actor running across a “fight scene” is full of potential safety issues.

For instance Halle Berry had her arm broken on set by Robert Downey[1], in a scene in a hospital where her arm was grabed… The result a broken wrist, cast and production stopped for eight weeks.

Even for such short scenes they have a “fight call” where the action is planned and walked through which can take a lot of time.

So trying to make something look real or believable can go wrong despite precautions.

Such things can however have a “Jonas Effect” where people will say a production is “cursed” which causes more problems and so on. With producers and directors being blaimed and accusations of risk taking or to much time pressure etc becoming accusations of corner cutting and similar.

As has been said “Things bubble up in a preasure cooker, especiall when the lid comes off”.

[1] This incident is probably one of many, but it’s become notorious due the the “bad blood” it has caused since. Some say “he did not know his own strength” and implying he might not have quite been himself, hence him saying he “kept his side of the street clean”. The fact he had a career after jail is down to Mel Gibson stumping up the “bond money” he could not otherwise get.

Clive Robinson October 24, 2021 2:58 AM

@ SpaceLifeForm, ALL,

This security model is flawed.

Just look on anything “security” using “Bluetooth Low Energy”(BLE) as the latest “fetish” or “perversion” by those who do not know enough to realise they are a danger to themselves…

Basically BLE was never designed to be used as some kind of proof of range or anything much security wise, just a low power personal communications network.

As for,

I do NOT want to authenticate a machine. I want to authenticate a human user.

Sorry when you think about it, it can not be done. It’s the fundemental flaw in all ID Systems. All you can do is demonstrate knowledge of a “Root of Trust”(RoT) which when all is considered is just an “Abstract Data Type”(ADT), “Bag of Bits”(BoB).

Two reasons,

Firstly, we have no idea what a “person” is (que arm waving and what-aboutery).

Secondly, persons have no atributes that are not forgable or subject to replay attacks or both in some way.

The crux of the issue is that living creatures are physical not informational objects. Worse animals leave all sorts of bits and pieces of themselves around as they go through life’s everyday little journeys and activities.

The faux science that Forensics is tries to convince us that it is possible to positively prove that some body has been in place X at time Y by what they leave behind. Well it’s just a fantasy that the judiciary like as it looks good as “information” on pieces of paper… Because at the end of the day what a judge/tribunal does is read through two stacks of paper one for either side then makes a decision not on reality but argument that is made on what is in on those bits of paper…

I could go through the ins and outs of it but I’ve done that a number of times befor…

But underlying this BLE GATT enabled nonsense is a very very silly idea, that Douglas Adams made a laughing stock of decades ago.

Because it’s not possible to turn a living creature into a RoT, then they go for a Token that holds a RoT, as humans are lasy, unobservant, and have many many failings, the idea of a “one device for everything” is seen as a panacea to all things…

In effect your mobile phone “is you” and “you are not you” but a bio-chemical blob somehow attached to the phone…

We have seen in the war on terror and idiots using meta-data to kill people, just how baddly this stupidity ends.

Our host @Bruce has pointed out just what a bad idea “all eggs in one basket” thinking is as it makes identity theft and fraud much much easier as only one thing needs to be subverted for everything to be subverted.

MarkH October 24, 2021 3:11 AM


In effect your mobile phone “is you” and “you are not you”

Though it’s not quite the same thing, I recall a story you’ll appreciate. I used to bring equipment from a Large Organization to my own office; these transfers of property out of my client’s plant required special paperwork in order to pass security.

As a rule, these were always signed by the formidable secretary of the engineering director, in the director’s name.

She told me that once when she was absent, the poor director had to sign such a document himself. When it was was shown to the guards, they said “that’s not his signature!”

Ted October 24, 2021 6:13 AM

@vas pup

Re: Body armor and ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE)

Very interesting article.

The article mentions that US infantry in Iraq and Afghanistan sometimes carried as much as 100lbs of kit and that the number of veterans who retired with musculoskeletal conditions rose by more than 10 times between 2003-2009.

This would hopefully contribute to the interest in lighter weight and effective body armor.

An army reservist once told us that he had back problems, which he believed may have originated from long hikes and carrying so much gear.

I felt for him because he was so young with such a long future ahead of him. His current employment was in a UPS shipping facility so he surely must have been aware of this issue in light of the physicality of his work.

Jon October 24, 2021 1:19 PM

@ SpaceLifeForm

Actually, I believe there are many times and places wherein one would want to authenticate a machine. For example:

“This device is [not] allowed to communicate on this network”

There are, of course, all sorts of other problems – it could be a valid device, but running corrupted code, &c., but that’s not relevant to basic authentication. J.

echo October 24, 2021 1:27 PM

@vas pup,@ted

Real Oxytocin has a very short half life and a short terminal half life. Oxytocin can be synthisized in the lab but it’s not the real deal i.e. not bioidentical. The body also develops an immunity to synthetic oxytocin. Oxytocin has been floated as a very effective borderline “miraculous” anti-depressant but in the real world is not much use because of this.

It is possible to stimulate the body to produce oxytocin. The none pharmaceutical method is impractical in the field for military purposes especially. The pharmalogical way of producing natural oxytocin involves manipulating the endocrinological system in indirect ways to stimulate oxytocin production. This has side effects. In the vast majority of patient candidates this would have an opposite anti-depressent effect to intended. Note: women routinely have oxytocin levels equivalent to the maximum peak in men as well as having a different neuro-psychological response. I am not aware of any papers directly addressing this issue. There are some papers discussing changes in baseline psychological responses for men and women versus the endocrinological system but again this involves pharmaceutical methods with large side effects. So all in all not of much practical application the real world for the vast majority of people.

Beyond this point you’re really getting into public policy and politics.

Sorry I just got rather bored up thread with reading about the stolid list of things I already know so wrote some water treading filler while you boys discuss boys toys. Judging by the reviews and social media commentary on the new “Dune” movie I seem to be the only person on the planet bored with that too.

lurker October 24, 2021 1:48 PM

@Clive Robinson

I do NOT want to authenticate a machine. I want to authenticate a human user.

Sorry when you think about it, it can not be done.

So are we condemned to a life of thievery and impersonation? Since security is based on trust, let us hope that AI/ML/technology does not develop a human-like trust, because it would probably also develop that peculiarly human trait of betrayal.

Sumadelet October 24, 2021 2:52 PM

Digitally-Signed Rootkits are Back – A Look at FiveSys and Companions


“FiveSys – a digitally signed rootkit that made its way through the driver certification process

  • Bitdefender researchers have identified a rootkit with a Microsoft-issued digital signature;
  • The rootkit is used to proxy traffic to Internet addresses that interest the attackers”

More detailed White Paper: h++ps://

“the rootkit installs a custom root certificate.
This way the browser won’t warn of the unknown identity of the proxy server”


SpaceLifeForm October 24, 2021 4:02 PM

@ MarkH

VampireLeech is catchy. But redundant.

Which one can suck more blood?

I do not care as long as FB dies.

SpaceLifeForm October 24, 2021 4:46 PM

@ Jon

“This device is [not] allowed to communicate on this network”

How high up on the network does the authentication decision occur?

Is it decided via MAC Address on LAN with DHCP? Forge MAC and/or inject ARP Poison.

If the decision is made by a machine outside of the LAN in the network chain, then other things can occur, like MITM.

sally sonar October 24, 2021 5:04 PM

Audio Tape Interface Revives Microcassettes As Storage Medium

by: Robin Kearey [October 20, 2021]

An Arduino Nano connected to a portable tape recorder

In the early 1980s cassette tapes were the standard storage medium for home computer users; readers of a certain age will remember fiddling with audio jacks, tape counters and signal levels, then waiting for several minutes while a program (hopefully) loaded correctly. While most people happily upgraded to much more reliable floppy disks, [Zack Nelson] decided to go back in time and add a suitably classic storage medium to a retrocomputing project, in the form of a cassette interface. The cassette player he had available was a Pearlcorder L400, which uses the smaller microcassette instead of the familiar audio tapes used in your Walkman or boombox.

[Zack] designed the entire thing from the ground up: first he decided to use differential Manchester encoding, which provides immunity against common disturbances like speed variations (which cause wow and flutter). The data is encoded in the frequency range from 1 kHz to 2 kHz, which suits the bandwidth of the cassette player. Next, he designed the interface between the computer and the tape recorder; built from an op-amp and a comparator with a handful of discrete components, it filters the incoming signal and clips it to provide a clean digital signal to be read out directly by the computer.

The system is demonstrated by hooking it up to an Arduino Nano, which reads out the data stream at about 3000 baud. The noise it makes should bring back memories to anyone brought up with the “PRESS PLAY ON TAPE” message; if it inspires you to make your own, we’re happy to report that full schematics and source code are available.

== Storing data on a cassette using Arduino and Python (Differential Manchester encoding)

vas pup October 24, 2021 5:16 PM

China’s hypersonic test – does it signal a new arms race?

“The news that China had tested a new nuclear-capable hypersonic missile was described by some as a game-changer that stunned US officials. So how big a deal is this, asks Jonathan Marcus of the Strategy and Security Institute, University of Exeter.

Twice in the summer, the Chinese military launched a rocket into space that circled the globe before speeding towards its target.

On the first occasion, it missed its target by about 24 miles (40 km), according to people briefed on the intelligence speaking to the Financial Times, which broke the story.”

Read the whole article for more details!

Ted October 24, 2021 6:28 PM


Re: Oxytocin

Awesome research @echo. I really enjoyed reading what you wrote. Biochemicals are complex and fascinating.

Clive Robinson October 24, 2021 6:59 PM

@ Ted,

The article mentions that US infantry in Iraq and Afghanistan sometimes carried as much as 100lbs of kit…

It goes back further, I for one have memories of “Yomping” from the Falklands War back in 82. Basically 20 mile/day hikes with all you need for living for 48-72 hours plus contingency. Sounds easy when you say it that way[1]…

They say that “No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy” (if not before). Because of “enemy action” the helicopters and other vehicles that were supposed to rapidly move frontline troops and their kit were “unavailable” due to “taking an early bath” and similar.

But “order of battle” has to be maintained so the “Yomp”… Of three days at twenty miles a day over very rough terain, setting up defensive positions and maintaining guard as well as the “In-n-Out” of “rat packs” to meet “the bodies biological needs” and if lucky “a brew up and a little shut eye”…

During planning it was assumed that transport would be available, thus a “basic individual kit” “load out” was 80lb. If you were unlucky and were the signaler or gunner then you had the extra weight of radio or JPMG/ammunition as well so upto 120lb or just over 1/20th of a ton. Thus some people had a load out of well over half their body weight, or around 1/7th of a ton shifting from ankle to ankle as you walked…

But, the actual furthest I’ve ever planed to walk in “one go” was a decade later. It was from “London to Brighton” which is a little over the distance for that Falklands three day Yomp (and something I regularly cycled in well under three hours as “light training”). I did it as a sponsored walk and I was aiming for a steady 3 & 3/4 mph (6km/h) and compleating it within 24hours. I trained for it doing the equivalent of 16miles as two 8mile walks at 4mph or better every day too and from work, and a ~30mile walk at 6km/h every weekend for eight weeks.

There was “support” so I did not have to be a “Brian”[2] and carry a “load out” just a light weight coat and water bottle snacks, and the all important little jar of Vaseline… I had good roads under my feet all the way, but In the end whilst I compleated the walk I failed to do it as planed within 24hours, or in “one go”. In part this was due to starting to suffer mild halucinations and thus having to sleep for a bit…

A little advice, if you are planning to do this sort of endurance thing. We now know more about the “metabolism in sport” these days, drinking lots of water whilst necessary has issues… So you need to address other things as well like electrolytes, but avoid “energy drinks” they can be bad, realy bad, for you.

[1] The Yomp will be fourty years old next year, and I guess time for reflection, and a little fund raising. But these days due to ankle, knee, hip and spine issues I walk with crutches. Worse with the GI and heart issues I have to make plans to walk just a mile… As for “load out” I realy realy strugle to carry 40lb of shopping on my back just under 500yards… Times change and sadly so do those who go on, so a toast, “To absent friends, may they live long in our hearts and memories”.

[2] A “Brian” comes from a character on a childrens TV program “Magic Roundabout” that had a few “catch phrases” arise from it that were popular with squadies, one of which was “Boing said Zebedee, Time for bed!” often said at Florence,

Being a “Brian” came from “Brian the snail” who carried everything on his back and was thus slow…

Clive Robinson October 24, 2021 7:00 PM

@ lurker,

So are we condemned to a life of thievery and impersonation?

If you think about it for a moment, you will realise we already are and worse…

Take a careful look at why Identity Theft happens and why the response from the likes of banks and the judiciary not only makes it simpler for the thieves, it is also “victim blaiming”.

You could say the banks and other financial organisations are “externalising risk” but the reality is they see profit in identity theft…

Worse governments see great advantage in forcing people into high risk banking etc as a way to hold power over them.

Think about what a “cashless society” realy means in the way of surveillance and control.

MarkH October 24, 2021 7:20 PM


It’s eye-opening (and hair-raising) to think of you on East Falkland in the war. What an education (in so many dimensions) for a young man!

If I may ask, with which unit did you serve?

Clive Robinson October 24, 2021 7:22 PM

@ Sumadelet,

Digitally-Signed Rootkits are Back

They never realy went away, they’ve just changed for “This seasons new look” as they say in the “rag trade”.

As far as I am aware, the first public warnings about the dangers of digital signitures and malware were given on this blog. It was in a series of chats between @Nick P and myself. It’s taken a while, but I think all the security failings we identified have now been used in “major” MSM headline grabbing attacks.

As was conclded back then, we need something better that’s more secure. Apparently though nobody want’s to come up with something better…

But worse the sensible notion of “removing the need for patches” is still something the industry wants to head in the opposit direction over. Adopting a “Hey bandwidth is free” attitude and producing “mega-patches” as regular as clockwork.

Unless of course you go to that other real nasty evil “Cloud Applications” in their various forms. Now where should I start on warning about those…

Ted October 24, 2021 7:44 PM

@SpaceLifeForm @All

Re: plants, photosynthesis, and quantum computation

One of the articles you linked to talked about research being done by biophysicist Greg Engel. From his U. of Chicago group page: “Nature has had 2.4 billion years to evolve and engineer excited state dynamics.”

It’s amazing how much there is still to be understood about the natural world.

There is a book I’d like to get called ‘Defiant Gardens’ about gardens grown in wartimes. Unfortunately I have only seen it available in hardcover or paperback. I will probably keep looking for it in an e-book for now.

We took our dog for a walk in a forested conservation area today. Maybe I am only imagining it, but there is a different feel to the energy there.

MarkH October 24, 2021 9:05 PM

@Ted, who wrote

It’s amazing how much there is still to be understood about the natural world.

I was recently startled to read in the wikipedia article about the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811/12 that

The underlying cause of the earthquakes is not well understood

Those quakes were highly distinctive because

• they were deep in the continental interior, far from tectonic plate boundaries

• four events over magnitude 7 occurred within a few weeks

• the region within which they were perceptible was about 3,000,000 sq kilometers — from contemporary reports, shaking was felt in the U.S. White House; church bells swung enough to ring in Boston; and vibration was noticed in Montreal, Canada — more than 5000 km from the quake zone

With all of the advances in geophysics and seismology, these events are still “not well understood.”

“There are more things in heaven and Earth,” quoth Hamlet, “Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

Freezing_in_Brazil October 24, 2021 10:26 PM

@ Clive Robinson

Great Falklands tale. MUch appreciated.

I followed the conflict from the beginning, and it was something that marked my life. I was halfway through my college years. I would listen to shortwave broadcasts from Radio Argentina and the BBC [`twenty-two hours, Greenwich Mean Time, The news…’]. That is what we had the time [information-wise]. (*) In Brazil there was also the case of the Vulcan bomber that was held up in Rio de Janeiro. There was a lot of debate at the time, alot of finger-pointing, as to which country’s loyalties to which country.

I was about to travel to the Falklands when the pandemic struck. I really need to see those fields with my eyes [I’ve been to Patagonia a few times; I can imagine what to expect of the landscape]. I intend to travel as soon as possible. hopefully still this year.

Ted October 24, 2021 10:39 PM


Re: the New Madrid earthquake fault

Oh my! Yes! I remember many, many years ago their was a scientist who predicted that we’d have another major earthquake on the New Madrid fault. He estimated it would occur on or around December 3rd, 1990.

Fortunately he was wrong, but there was still quite a bit of panic. The poor guy passed away less than a year later from a heart attack.

Apparently other scientists had had their doubts because earthquakes are hard to predict. Maybe the best thing that came from it was that people thought about how they’d prepare.

I was just reading this slightly humorous recollection of the event:

“This earthquake prediction hysteria is actually a rather vivid memory from my childhood! … I was in 1st grade in Florissant and we were supposed to have our holiday concert on the predicted night… and did some drills. My mom made an earthquake kit in a trashcan kept outside our garage (canned food/opener, gallons of water, first aid kit). Adults seemed to know it was a bonkers prediction, but also we live on a faultline and anything is possible.”

JG4 October 24, 2021 10:58 PM

This is one of the more profound things that I’ve read lately. I could nitpick a few points here and there, but it gets a lot right. We need adaptive computer systems and adaptive institutions. You can think of three failed logins causing lockout as a very crude adaptive behavior.

The Exponential Age will transform economics forever
It’s hard for us to fathom exponential change – but our inability to do so could tear apart businesses, economies and the fabric of society

@Clive – “replay attacks” reminded me of a long ago comment. It hadn’t occurred to me that you could replay a thumb, but that is one way to think of it. I wasn’t able to find a clip on Youtube today or in 2016.

JG4 • December 28, 2016 1:58 PM

at least she didn’t use the thumbprint the same way that Arnold did in The Sixth Day

Sut Vachz October 25, 2021 12:04 AM

@ JG4

Re: Exponential Age

Maybe we are always in an exponential age for something.

Nothing new under the sun, Dept. of

On the dynamics and evolution of some sociotechnical systems

Author: Elliott W. Montroll
Journal: Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 16 (1987), 1-46
MSC (1985): Primary 90B20, 93A15, 93C10, 94A15
MathSciNet review: 866017
Full-text PDF

Jan Doggen October 25, 2021 1:35 AM

Are [squid] [eating] [main shrimp] or are these [squid-eating] [maine shrimp] 😉 Initially I read it the second way – that sounds much more spectacular. Is this is a sign I’m getting trained in responding to click bait?

Winter October 25, 2021 3:11 AM

“It’s amazing how much there is still to be understood about the natural world.”

There is an engineering maxim I once heard, I paraphrase, “If you cannot build it, you do not understand it”.

There is precious little from the natural world we can build ourselves. We are bare starting to be able to create a minimal functional cell. We can now build robot that can sort of walk.

In this sense, we hardly understand anything about the natural world.

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons October 25, 2021 6:28 AM

25 Oct 2021 — Farewell to Knowledge, Where be Your Gibes Now?

Pulling from my archives of missives, analysis, and court observations for background on the hearing soon to be held in the U.K. respecting Assange’s extradition to the U.S. to stand trial.

Probably the most thoughtful and complete analysis of the case to make or break our ability to the know the truth was an online meeting were the invite proclaims “Celebrating the Courage & Journalism of Julian Assange”. Netflix will run a slander piece, possibly a disinformation campaign from TLA sources, and skew the truth (I suggest that there are flat out lies and omissions galore) to form a pre-trial narrative in preparation for the U.S. case. Recently, Aaron Maté interviewed the author of the Yahoo News article, Micheal Isikoff, describing CIA targeting of Julian Assange. What Aaron missed, a video segment on BBC where Julian Assange is mentioning the risk whistleblowers and leakers take and Seth Rich’s murder. In the video segment, the BBC anchor excoriates Assange for using Rich as a patsy when Assange had stated the risk in interfacing with Wikileaks was not what it appeared. Assange continued by attempting to explain that individuals that provide Wikileaks with information might see the death of Rich as a disclosure problem within Wikileaks. His statements were pointed to others that might consider Wikileaks for disclosure and might not be unable to maintain confidentiality for the source. Assange was making a statement to the public to reassure anyone else that might in the future seek to reach out to Wikileaks.

As more journalists and reporters from within the UK and from around the globe become informed by the procedural and administrative management of a trial, truly “The Trial of the Century”, have now to confront the nature of governance and include the newest victim, “rule of law”. Constraining not only the potential but the kinetic interface as a maxim; that the public ‘might’ be allowed access in order to understand what is happening in Her Majesty’s Court and the Old Bailey. This shame in the UK courts will be exported to the U.S. for everyone’s amusement. It certainly is not in the cause of serving justice, but in serving up a publisher and a Journalist. John Pilger, on 13 September 2020, probably gave the most sobering and ultimately depressing assessment of what has been nothing but a persecution of an enemy to the powerful.

“Those in power have removed the elements of civility and have straightened the rounded corners of brutishness, returned a opaque viscosity to the waters of justice, demonstrating that the power structure no longer feels obligated to give deference to a modicum of provincial finesse or any sort of etiquette that one might afford another human being facing the hangman’s noose. No final cigarette, meal, or visit from clergy–a straight line is drawn right into the hands of axemen.”

He continued:

“We have to understand who is at risk here? A minority of exceptional journalists are at risk. Those like Julian who tell the truth. The principal is bereft of journalism–has shocked the institutions. Impartial and objective and so on, Julian arrives and shocks them. He has shamed too many journalists, merely threatened by what he represents. As an exceptional journalist, Julian is the emblem of that.”

Winter October 25, 2021 9:37 AM

We all know the complaints of the Right about their voices being cancelled and smothered by social media.

Just as fake as the rest of the Alt-Right:

Twitter’s machine learning algorithms amplify tweets from right-wing politicians over those on the left
ht tps://

JonKnowsNothing October 25, 2021 11:34 AM

@MarkH @Ted

re: earthquakes are hard to predict … an earthquake kit

While major earthquakes are hard to predict, some are not hard to predict at all.

Checkout the towns of Parkfield California and Hollister California (not the clothing company). Both towns are on the San Andreas Fault and both towns have earthquakes nearly every day.

When you have them 365 it’s easy to predict there will be one. Earthquakes are a good example of recent blog exchange about “random is not random”. On the Rim of Fire, earthquakes are follow a distinct pattern. If you are in California the pattern runs counter-clockwise.

Then there is the area of Fresno County California. A very distinct hunk of dirt on the planet and unique among the fault lines in California: it doesn’t have any. The area can still be shaken (not stirred) by earthquakes in the Sierra mountain ranges (the ones that are burning) lining the border with the State of Nevada USA. After all, mountains are part of the earthquake cycle.

Anyone living in this area knows the value of an earthquake kit. It’s no joke when it happens and it’s no joke when the water supply fails and it’s no joke when it take more than 6 months to get the road fixed so you can get supplies.

Just another thing to consider during the PanFamine during the PanDemic: a good supply of food, some water, basic methods of staying warm in the winter or cool in the heat and if you are fortunate transportation and alternate routes to get to a safe, secure and provisioned area.

Once the overpass collapses, you won’t be going on that highway… And you cannot eat cardboard asparagus.

We also keep Fire Kits and Flood Kits which happily turn out to be nearly the same Kits.

Clive Robinson October 25, 2021 11:43 AM

@ Jan Doggen,

I see you to have been caught by the joys of English and the likes of,

“I’ve just seen a mam eating ham sandwich at the circus”.

Clive Robinson October 25, 2021 12:11 PM

@ JonKnowsNothing, ALL,

We also keep Fire Kits and Flood Kits which happily turn out to be nearly the same Kits.

It’s the same as “Fire Drills” and “Bomb Drills” they “turn out to be nearly the same” drills.

It’s why I talk about “instances” and “Classes” of events. You are wasting money if you counter or mitigate an “instance” event unless it is a class of it’s own. Because you are not wasting money if you are countering or mitigating an entire class of instances.

The problem of course, is trying to work out the difference between a class and an instance, especially when events are new and you have few instances to analyse. Obviously there is no difference between the instance and the class when the first instance event occurs…

There are ways you can seperate the “general” (class) and “specific” (instance) atributes of events, but it’s one of those things you get a feeling for, rather than see if they fit a rule.

echo October 25, 2021 1:40 PM

Drucker on management and Ogilvy on marketing should be required reading for anyone seeking a leadership or influence role. If anything they are a useful counter to the reactive and greedy “management class” infecting politics and the media. They cover classes of problems and a sense of a moral core fairly adequately. It’s fairly good stuff which address the middle brain more than clverdick cognition or the “wag the dog” reptile brain.

Alvin Toffler’s Third Wave and Ken Wilber on integral theory is worth a glance tooalthough the zeitgeist has since moved on. I used to recommend Miyamoto Musashi’s “Book of Five Rings” too but this requires a sense of context and staying away from major decisions and sharp objects for a month after reading. I’m not sure any of these three are on my recommended list today but they are worth a glance if for no more reason than to extract the executive summary.

Parkinson is, of course, a classic as is the Cybernetic’s expert Stafford Beer’s observation coining the term POSIWID (the purpose of a system is what it does) to refer to the phenomenon that the de facto purpose of a system is often at odds with its official purpose.

People almost always don’t respond to rational arguments but need an emotional connection.

Winter October 25, 2021 2:01 PM

“If anything they are a useful counter to the reactive and greedy “management class” infecting politics and the media. ”

The function of a manager is to extract as much money as possible from the company and pipe it to the owners.

Nothing else.

MarkH October 25, 2021 2:51 PM


I think that the comparative rate phenomenon you refer to contributes a lot the confusion about extracting randomness from radioactive decay.

If in Parkfield California you predict “there will be a quake in the next ten days,” that will almost always be correct: the uncertainty is very low. But if you predict “there will not be a quake in the next ten minutes,” that will also be correct the great majority of the time.

That the quakes have a mean rate confers some degree of confidence (or expectation) concerning such predictions.

Even though the existence of a mean rate enables such gross (aggregate) predictions — and even though these quakes are very far from independent, making them extremely different from radioactive decay — there’s still plenty of unpredictable entropy.

I examined Parkfield quakes of magnitude 0.5 or greater during the past 10 years (2,881 events total).

Using the seconds field of the event time, the mean “delta” is 29.48 seconds (29.5 is perfect), with 0.9977 Shannon entropy per bit; the min-entropy estimate is poor at 0.87 per bit, but it’s a small dataset.

At 2 bits of extraction from each event (seconds modulo 4), the mean “delta” is 1.515 seconds (1.5 is perfect), with 0.9999 Shannons per bit, and the min-entropy estimate improving to 0.93 per bit.


Note that these results are for deterministic and causally linked events — though there’s no known way to gather the data which, in theory, would enable precise prediction.

For many unstable isotopes under terrestrial conditions, decays are non-deterministic and fully independent.

We can bloviate that “random is not random” … but I’m one of those old-fashioned subscribers to the notion of objective reality.

The existence of physical phenomena outside our own brains is not determined by opinion.

MarkH October 25, 2021 3:09 PM


BoJo now worries about climate change?

If the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation halts — a risk with strong scientific basis, and worrying signs that the process may already be underway — Britain’s climate could become Scandinavian.

I’m skeptical that he really cares. More likely his attitude is “Après moi, le déluge” — or actually, the drought.

SpaceLifeForm October 25, 2021 4:02 PM

US Cell Phone tracking

The Cellcos seem to vary in approach


Ted October 25, 2021 5:10 PM


“The area can still be shaken (not stirred) by earthquakes in the Sierra mountain ranges”

Haha. We probably need to make sure we have some more thought-out disaster kit/s at home. It’s interesting to hear you map out things that most people easily take for granted.

The worst we typically have in our area are storms that take out power. Not regular earthquakes or massive wildfires.

It was only recently that I was required to create a safety assessment for a chemistry lab I completed from home.

We had to draw a map of our home that included the location of a fire extinguisher, smoke alarm, shower, and an outdoor exit. I think we also have to give the reasons we should not put things in our mouth during the experiments. I believe the school and the lab kit manufacturer had worked out some kind of liability coverage, hence the safety contract.

Please stay safe where you are as I debate not chewing the end of a pencil while filling a beaker with potassium iodide.

SpaceLifeForm October 25, 2021 6:03 PM

Followup to


Khan hired an attorney to defend himself against the state’s accusations. On Thursday last week, Khan’s attorney sent a litigation hold and demand letter to Parson and several state agencies.

The website is still “down for maintenance.”

The site is not ‘down’ at this time. But, is disabled. You can find links to the legal letter and the actual website via the ars link.

self October 25, 2021 7:21 PM

That 4privacy app just seems to be a clone of all similar previous apps that “helps you privately communicate”

Clive Robinson October 25, 2021 8:23 PM

@ Ted, JonKnowsNothing, ALL,

We probably need to make sure we have some more thought-out disaster kit/s at home. It’s interesting to hear you map out things that most people easily take for granted.

The “easily take for granted” by “most people” is one of the biggest failings of technology. Not just in what it makes easier to do, or the new things it allows people to do, but most importantly in reliability as well.

Mad as it might sound to many reliability is actually a major killer. It is not just people become dependent, and god alone knows how bad that is, but because they fail to learn the essentials not just to basic living but most importantly self reliance.

If your mobile phone is “all in one” bar the kitchen sink, what do you do when the battery runs out, it gets lost / stolen / broken?

The more reliable something is the less we think about what to do if it fails. Thus we fail to take contingencies, and can not mitigate when things eventually do fail (as they always will, due to one of the fundemental laws of the universe that gives us entropy).

I’ve spent most of my life designing systems that were not just High-Rel and High-Availability and secure, but fail safe as well. But more importantly “Intrinsicaly safe” in hazardous environments. Ranging from medical systems, through industrial systems and what many would call space systems. Many where repairs are realistically not possible, but neither is failure in the next quater century minimum.

Part of this is analysing why things not just fail but progress into major situations and disasters. But as importantly how you “pull things back” post tipping point.

In almost all cases systems fail because of the “human element” where things are by and large “taken for granted”. When they fail they frequently cascade again due to the “human element” failing to mitigate the failure, as they have no knowledge of how to do so. Worse many many systems again due to the “human element” are designed from before day-zero without regard to the consequences of failure.

But it gets worse again due to the “human element”, systems that had resiliance are these days very deliberately not maintaind in a sensible way. So they become like termite infested wood that gets a fresh coat of paint every year or two, they look strong at a casual glance, but the reality is they are so brittle they collapse with little or no input. So for the tiny amount of energy of just one more termite bite, a structural member gives way and the potential energy of what is above it becomes kinetic energy and flys / flows outwards. Worse the pieces with kinetic energy cause other brittle structural elements to fail. So a cascade fail can occur, and the potential energy of the entire structure and many others around it –that have also become brittle– fail in a chain reaction with increasing kinetic energy…

If people doubt this, ask the citizens of Aukland who had several disastrous power failures and more beside, due to the human element in the managment of utility companies.

Or those who recently lost power in Texas and suffered significantly whilst those responsible flew off to Mexico… Or how about those in California, due to the gross mismanagment of the power company which caused fires and significant damage. So much so, a court forced the company into bankruptcy due to the damages they were required to pay. With the follow on result of the power being turned off every time a breeze stiffened… This in turn caused all sorts of further damage and even violence. People aquired generators any which way they could and thus new forms of crime appeared. But also people did not have the knowledge of how to do things sensibly and safely, thus inevitably other problems started…

This is all due to the “human element” that had no knowledge of what to do when things failed. People just assumed “reliability” and never bothered to consider what they would do when the inevitable happened…

Here’s a thought, of those who drive,

What plans do you have for when your vehical is involved in a crash for some reason or it breaks down?

Do you have the tools and knowledge to change a tire, dig yourself out of a rut, or fix other problems such as a blown fuse, that whilst they may take only minutes to fix, will stop you going anywhere untill they are?

How about a first aid kit for not just minor scrapes but say minor trauma such as lacerations or breaks?

Then say it happens in a place where cell phones won’t work, and the weather gets either very hot or very cold how do you plan to survive for say 72hours?

Especially when you either can not, or it is not safe to shelter in the vehicle, and you can not walk out?

Are people even going to miss you by then? and if they do, then how do they know where to look for you?

Do you have ways to signal?, construct shelter?, have food, water, medications? How about staying warm so you can sleep safely? Do you have cloths or blankets for warmth and coats or ponchos etc for staying dry?

And if you can walk out do you have current maps so you can work out where to walk to? How about a compas and the knowledge to use it if crossing country is the only sensible option? Likewise how about “pace beads”?

How about a pad of paper or old fashioned notebook so you can write a message to tell people who might find the vehicle, which way you are heading and what route you plan to take?

And if not on roads what way-points you will head for and importantly which side of a bearing you will walk on between your way-points…

Clive Robinson October 25, 2021 8:52 PM

@ SpaceLifeForm, ALL,

Followup to [Pason’s idiocy and slander]

Back on the thread I made a joke about it being “the orafice under the Parson’s nose”…

But it has been pointed out to me that quite a lot of people do not know what a “Parson’s Nose” is so might not get the refrence…

So at,

There are three photos two of a chicken trusted up for a good roasting.

The Parson’s nose it the bit that has been choped off in the second photo. For those that do not know the chicken as presented is upside down so the orafice that would be beneath the Parson’s Nose would be the excreatery end of it’s GI tract.

A careful examination of the third photo will reveal that the backside/bum/butt/fanny[1] of the bird has been replaced with the Parson’s face, if the joke is still eluding people.

I would be a little more course in saying it, but I don’t want to trip the “naughty words” filter 😉

[1] Some words have a different meabing in US English, to that of English English. For instance the cut of meat called a “Pork Butt” in the US actually referes to the shoulder or fore quater, where as in English the butt would be the equivalent of the rump or hind quater. Just to confuse things further… In the UK it is how hip to wear a fanny pack “over the shoulder… and the word has a slightly different meaning here, what comedian Billy Connelly refered to as a “front bottom” in shows he gave in NZ that were being recorded for television in the UK…

Ted October 25, 2021 10:32 PM


“If your mobile phone is “all in one” bar the kitchen sink, what do you do when the battery runs out, it gets lost / stolen / broken?“

Such good questions Clive. And it makes so much sense to talk about these things before we possibly have to deal with them.

A friend reposted something that may be going around. Basically it says that if you get stranded with a broken down car, get lost hiking, etc … and your phone is going to die you could change your voicemail to tell people where you are and give any special instructions.

I actually thought this was a pretty clever idea. Until I saw someone offer her a reddit article saying this was not a good idea. The top of the reddit posts says text a friend, call 911, and stay with your vehicle. Then of course there are some more thoughts and suggestions.

I’m sure lots of bad situations aren’t perfectly textbook, and there isn’t one size fits all solution. But I’m glad you posted this thread. I’m glad you think it’s a topic worth considering.

ht tps://

Winter October 26, 2021 2:55 AM

@Pathetic (apt name)
“Calling the UKgov far-right or making hay over some tabloid tat in the mirror about Boris Johnson telling a joke to children betrays how ridiculously partisan you have become on here. ”

Any government that wants to remove the protection offered by the declaration of Human Rights is a far-right government. That is almost so by definition.

In addition, this government also attacks journalists, free press, and the rule of law. What more would you like?

Immigrants? They are against immigrants too.

JonKnowsNothing October 26, 2021 3:51 AM

@Ted, @Clive

re: Tech may help but then again maybe it won’t

The scenarios were tech fails are those scenarios that the reliance is on tech and only tech solutions. There are lots of conditions and situations where tech does not and cannot work.

IF it works, Bob’s Your Uncle. The beacon connected and Beam Me Up Scotty happened.

IF it does not work, lots of people have no fall-back option. There are also situations were human reactions outstrip our logic and things go pear shaped fast and tech is ineffective.

It’s the lack of backup, alternative thinking that creates the big hazard. The acceptance of devices and software as “Good To Go” when nearly everything we know about the design and development of them, shows they have more fail-modes than Four Thousand Holes in Blackburn, Lancashire.

How people deal or envision such situations depends very much on how they perceive Risk. Risk is quantifiable and malleable. People will accept a great deal of Risk, even Risk of Death for things like: Having a beer with chums, going to out to dinner or participating in Patriotic Event Wars.

If your personal Risk value is on the lower side, you cease to consider that activity as “risky”. If your value is on the upper side, there is no way you will accept the situation without mitigation(s).

It’s the mitigations that reduce the personal Risk score. Any mitigation that is too difficult to achieve, will be set aside and another set of options take it place.

You can perceive these manipulations and decipher them in current events.

  Wanna beer? Wanna die?
  Wanna auto-driving car? Wanna die?

The list of “nudges” is very large; all intended to get a person to lower their personal Risk assessment (nothing to see..) and push or nudge them into a different selection (look over there …).

The existing nudge factories have created a perception that Tech Works.

It works until you enter Yosemite Valley CA. When you drop down into the valley floor and find nary a satellite can pick up your signal.

It works until the battery runs down. Battery charges used to last days or weeks. Now it’s hours. The nudge is “you can just recharge” which works if you have an outlet or a backup-charging-module. There are no outlets in the forest.

The mapping system isn’t accurate and can lead you over a cliff. It’s not uncommon; folks attempt to drive right off the edge because their GaffMap indicated that was The Best Route. GaffMaps send hikers up the wrong hiking paths and into Max Danger Max Difficulty climbing routes because the Tech checks for “fastest route”. Crows fly better than you.

Risk assessment, modified by Nudge, can have impact on your personal life expectancy but it’s also the problem with tech design.

Lots of folks posting here know how to build multiple-redundant-secure systems. These are not the systems in common use. How to change that is part of Risk Assessment.

Companies that have low risk assessment for YOUR life, build fail devices. Governments that have low risk assessment for YOUR life enact policies designed to shorten the 4,000 weeks you might have.

Nudge is a powerful technique and difficult to counter.

echo October 26, 2021 6:55 AM

Amazon strikes deal with UK spy agencies to host top-secret material. Cloud contract for GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 with US tech group aims to speed analysis but likely to ignite sovereignty fears.

Oh for God’s sake… Yet another decision by the current UK government which ignores the law and ignores the courts and ignores sound advice on everything else… This decision is stupid in so many ways I do not know where to begin.

This news isn’t not even counting the public statements and published positions of UK security services who have admitted being slow on the uptake with the far right threat as well as bowing to political pressures and “sexing up” security assessments to justify Huawei sanctions.

Jonhson is a US citizen by birth (although he ditched it on paper for tax reasons) and in his public statements basically said he had a fetish for America in spite of trying to sound cuddly on Europe. Johnson was sacked for lying under a preious government. The Home Secretary, Patel, was running her own private foreign policy which got her sacked under a previous government.

Previous UK Tory governments have sold out the UK IT industry and it’s happening again with this deal. So much for “levelling up”.

Is there anything else Johnson wants to hand over to his American and Russian and Saudi pals?

Anders October 26, 2021 7:41 AM


Winter October 26, 2021 10:21 AM


At the end of a working day, the camera caught him getting into his car and collapsing into tears of frustration. The reason was not money. It was the opposition of the entire senior staff to any measure that might improve their performance or render their work more efficient.

This seems to be a classic case of “Workers Governance” where the institution exists for the benefit of its employees only, and in the NHS case, the associated bureaucracy. That is as bad as “Shareholder Value”.

What is missing is a patient perspective. That is, what would you get if patients could choose their hospital and hospitals would be paid by patient? That system has its own problems and bad incentives. But if there is real choice, that can work to improve quality.

But it is indeed clear that if the incentives are bad, e.g., no concept of patient satisfaction, throwing money at the problem will not get the patient back in focus.

echo October 26, 2021 11:10 AM


Yes, that’s a decent enough starting point. I could go on about dodgy work practcies and unlawful behaviour and breaches of guidelines and professional standards and money being wasted and dated protocols and behind the times medical interventions and symptom chasing instead of paying attention, and the culture of burying their head in the sand and malicious actions against whistleblowers or patients who complain and various other nasty tricks and egotistical and spiteful behaviour.

The UN and EU Commission would have a field day if they knew what was going on. It’s so bad high court judges threw a wobbly and the Royal College of Surgeons took two years before they were dragged kicking and screaming to issue a formal response and this is just one organisation over one thing.

The NHS makes the Indian civil service (which was modelled on the UK civil service with knobs on) look like the acme of performance. They can do good stuff when they want to it’s just the purple faced shouty thin skinned territorial obstructive truculent toddler like tantrum they throw when they don’t. I’m sure it’s a coincidence that the same people wrapping themselves in holier than thou saving lives nonsense who also meddle with policy and waiting lists also have private practices on the side… Some of the perjorative language in policy documents and guidelines and feuds going on behind the scenes are breathtakingly bad.

I’ve used my experiences with the NHS as a model to evalute the current government and so far haven’t come up disappointed!

echo October 26, 2021 12:49 PM

Away from prying eyes I’ve just read a legal commentary by an international human rights lawyer. It’s a persuasive take down of some far right hobby horses. There’s no indication the UK government or majority of the media have read it. They should and arguably must.

I have also obtained a copy of some recently published EU sponsored human rights reports which are also referenced in the commentary.

Light reading!

I would link to them but don’t want to deal with the politics and bikeshedding.

Ted October 26, 2021 2:15 PM

@JohnKnowsNothing, Clive, All

Re: Phones and being out

100% to your entire previous comment. I had to look up the meaning of the “Four Thousand Holes in Blackburn, Lancashire” reference. And, oh boy, I’ve inadvertently spent the last several hours caught in the fab four library.

Anywho, I was really surprised last Christmas when work gave us a portable phone power bank as a gift. Usually we get the standard company merch like coffee cups and clothing that may or may not fit.

I was a little suspicious of this charger at first. We’ve all heard the horror stories of plugging random things into our devices. Was work trying to keep us from drawing down electricity on their dime? And who there would think of something so practical?

Well for better or worse, I took the nudge and have actually used it several times. I carried it with me while taking photos of the changing leaves this morning. I felt safer having it. I should probably make sure people in our family have these too.

JonKnowsNothing October 26, 2021 4:46 PM

@Ted, @Clive

re: portable phone power bank

If you are interested, you may want to look up a similar device used to start cars, trucks and semi-trucks (HGV). When the standard vehicle battery dies, and in some cases the electronic keyfob battery goes out, towing folks don’t have to roll the truck, they roll a cheapo car with a person and this jump-start-battery.

Most of the time it works quite well and can jump a semi in one go, holds a charge for a year or longer.

Some folks keep one in their car-tool-kit for those Murphy Law events when you are the last one out of the building, no one is in the parking lot, the building has the electronic alarms set and the timer won’t expire until the next day and you left your phone in the office which is also the moment you also discover you left the headlights on …

It’s about the size of hard cover book. It also gets sold in different packaging as PC Battery Backup.

Be mindful, there’s plenty of discussion in the blog about battery un-safe issues and what you may or may not be able to do about it.

Personally, I have a device with an expanding or leaking LI battery. The battery cannot be removed and it needs to be disposed of it properly. It may be some time before that can happen; there’s a global impediment to doing it.

SpaceLifeForm October 26, 2021 5:06 PM

@ Ted,JonKnowsNothing, Clive, All

Backup battery is a good thing if one gets lost, but

A hiker, lost near Colorado’s highest peak, kept hitting the ‘decline’ button on calls from an unknown number.


[I smell something fishy. Would like to see the cell tower data]

Ted October 26, 2021 5:37 PM

@SpaceLifeForm, All

I have seen this on many introvert groups but didn’t know it was TRUE!

The default “do not answer” mode is strong with this one! 🙂

SpaceLifeForm October 26, 2021 7:44 PM

@ Ted,JonKnowsNothing, Clive, Freezing_In_Brazil, All

Do Not Answer is good OpSec, yes.

But, in this case, if lost, you would answer.

This person was not lost. To say that they got lost at midnight, makes no sense in this case. As the moon was bright at midnight during Waxing Gibbous (which it was on 2021-10-18), they should not have got lost. If the cloud cover blocked the moonlight, then no sane person would be hiking at midnight.

But, WX conditions were excellent. Dry, no clouds.

As I said, it’s fishy. Something happened besides this lost story.

Ted October 26, 2021 9:02 PM

@SpaceLifeForm, All

Re: “lost” hiker

I tried to look through the “Lake County Search and Rescue” facebook post for any helpful info. It would be nice if they posted something that gave us better insight. There are 101 comments on the post, and it looks like they’ve now limited comments.

They added this too: “Please remember that what seems like common sense in hindsight is not obvious to a subject in the moment when they are lost and panicking. In Colorado, most folks who spend time outdoors have a good understanding of the SAR infrastructure that is there to help them, but this is not the case nation-wide. Please keep your comments respectful.”

I don’t think they’ve disclosed much of anything about the person’s age, gender, familiarity with the area, mental health, etc… but maybe I missed something. Did you see anything about this?

According to the introvert groups, introverts think the rescue team should have texted.

I really wish we had more details too.


name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons October 26, 2021 11:30 PM

Have the link to the Tube-of-U video from the Chaos Computer Club which includes the hacked Snom 860. I didn’t think to include it due to the source link directly from CCC. But here it is…starting at 1380 second into the video, video of the PCBs and physical device components. Hard to get a good magnified view but am working to resolve as to assist in a teardown. Wish I had access to the actual hardware, makes reverse engineering and digital forensic analysis infinitely easier.

@ the Tube-of-U: sp\tth://
URL mangled for your pleasure…

SpaceLifeForm October 26, 2021 11:43 PM

@ Ted

Re: “lost” hiker

Have not found much. The SAR not only called, but did send texts also.

Most spam calls or spam texts are one-shot.

The person that called SAR to report that the hiker had not returned when expected, is the owner/operator of a lodge.

The hiker, leaving at 09:00, would typically be back in about 7 hours according to those that have taken that trail. It should still have been light enough at that time (16:00), albeit fading due to neighboring mountain shadows, to not get lost.

Cell Tower data would definitely clarify what happened.

Clive Robinson October 27, 2021 12:26 AM

@ SpaceLifeForm,

A hiker, lost near Colorado’s highest peak, kept hitting the ‘decline’ button on calls from an unknown number.

Because they were not in their mind “lost” just “off trail”, which happens.

Yes it happens to the best of us at times, especially when there is no moon. However there are rational ways of dealing with the issue safely.

I mentioned yesterday about noting which side of a way point to way point bearing you are going to be on. The reason for this is one strategy to avoid missing the next way point.

That is if you have deliberately gone to the left, you know when you’ve counted of sufficient “paced distance” that it is time to slow down and go slowly to the right and start a zig zag search pattern to find the way point.

OK you do not know exactly where you are and to some that does mean “OMG I’m lost”. However to others it means I’m in the general location or more strictly “in the seach box”. To others it means use the contours or other non changing features to come to the point of a wood, river etc etc and then use that as a “fix” to get to a wanted known point. It’s a method I used to use on hills when the fog or mists gave compleat “white out” and you could barely see your feet. The important point is to always pick way points that are at conjunctions of lines, like a point of a wood, river junction or crossing, top/bottom of a gully, etc then even in thick fog you hit the featur line and know which way to turn, to follow it to the point where you then know where you are[1].

I know it sometimes scares people having to “walk to the barometric reading” but hey you do it to a compass…

What this guy did not do, was call his destination point and let them know he was running late, an hour or so before his expected return time and let them know he was running late and why.

When young I used to do some apparently crazy things like sail across the north sea in what most would think of as little more than a dinghy. However my golden rule was phone the coastguards and let them know my expexted passage, but also get their radio frequencies. Then talk to them by radio (HF as well as VHF) regularly and give them my running estimate of position and any changes due to weather etc. Yes there were some “hairy times” when foul weather blew up etc, but the only time I was ever on a life boat was when “invited” not because they had to fish me out.

[1] Look up “jungle navigation” it’s still a required skill because GPS and other navigation aids like RDF sure as heck don’t work at all well in jungles. Have a read of,

They call them “advanced” I call them “basic” techniques. Pacing in particular is something you need to practice a lot, because the length of your stride and the direction you curve in is dependent not just on the gradient, but the terrain and your load out. Keep records in a note book, use that to make correction tables and make graphs, to make things “maths free” so you can see at a glance when you are navigating what alowance to make.

If you walk as two or more people you can send a person ahead and then “fix” them on the bearing and the rest of the group can walk towards them. Likewise you can leave a person at a known point and take “back bearing fixes” on them. Learn other tricks. One such is knowing about a 3,4,5 triangle and that it has 30,60,90 angles there are other basic surveyors skills that enable you to make distance measurments through objects by measuring around them.

SpaceLifeForm October 27, 2021 1:04 AM

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

The University of Tube does have good course material.

That PCB can not fit into an OG Droid. 800 MHz?


Winter October 27, 2021 2:07 AM

Protonmail celebrates Swiss court victory exempting it from telco data retention laws
Doesn’t stop local courts’ surveillance orders, though

Referring to a previous ruling that exempted instant messaging services from data capture and storage laws, the Protonmail team said this week: “Together, these two rulings are a victory for privacy in Switzerland as many Swiss companies are now exempted from handing over certain user information in response to Swiss legal orders.”

The victory comes after controversy over a previous (and not directly related) Swiss court order that forced the company to collect mobile device push notification identifiers from a specified user’s account. That user was later arrested by French police, who had asked their Swiss counterparts to obtain the surveillance order.

Clive Robinson October 27, 2021 8:02 AM

@ name.withheld…,

But here it is…starting at 1380 second into the video, video of the PCBs and physical device components.

Thanks for that[1] it appears way over the top electronics wise but the rechargable coin cells give away a chunk of it’s function. That is they are too large to be backing up volatile memory alone.

@ ALL,

If you are going to listen to the whole talk, you will need a strong cup of coffee or maybe something else, his talking style is “breathy” and that can be hard on the ears and brain (not that I could do any better speaking in my non native tongue).

[1] For those who like me get to be sleepy heads 1380s is 23mins in 😉

Clive Robinson October 27, 2021 8:12 AM

@ Winter, ALL,

Protonmail celebrates Swiss court victory exempting it from telco data retention laws

It does not solve the problem just “shifts it”.

As you note there are other courts, and if they don’t work for the “interceptors” they will just move tactics. One such is as US courts have done, which is allow the grabbing of Domain Names, and even alowing IP addrress ranges to be blocked or re-routed….

Peter A. October 27, 2021 8:24 AM

@Clive and others regarding dependency on technology.

I am fully aware of it, and try to keep some contingency measures and skills, but even though, you get used to the convenience very quickly, and need active training and re-training. I’ll offer one example.

Some time ago I got a car with built-in GPS navigation (I did not choose the car because of it, it was just there and the car was good enough and affordable). I did not use the navigation very often and neglected to upgrade the maps (~$100 for 1.5-year subscription), but still got used to look at it sometimes, just to be sure where I am, or to find a detour, or to guide me to a place I had not visited before. Recently, I got into a crash (no injuries) and had to switch to another car. I really felt uneasy while driving around. It took me a few days to arrive back at my old routine of looking up the destination and possible routes on the map (paper or otherwise) or in my head (in case of familiar surroundings) before the trip, making a plan, remembering key waypoints, and then being observant during the trip, taking sharp notice of where I am, looking out for direction road sings, and reconsidering routes and options in my head. I always have had a good map in my car at all times, buying a new one every 5-10 years, I just stopped using it while having the GPS device. Yes, complacency can hurt you.

So you need more than just acquiring “(sub)urban survival” skills, you need to actively keep them up. Don’t be afraid of the blue ceiling and green carpet, just go out sometimes and give it a try. Hike, bike, whatever. Have a picnic and a bonfire while doing so. Invite your family. Stay overnight in the field sometimes. Keep basic tools and supplies in your car and your go-to-work bag and on your person, etc. I belong to the “crazy” people who carry a knife and fire-rod on their persons all the time, and keep a raincoat handy on sunny days. I carry a bottle of water and a few packs of Panzerwaffeln, as they are jokingly called in my country’s military (mocking the German language for extra pun). The “biscuits” are tasty and keep good virtually forever, but are a bit of challenge for your teeth, however not so much nowadays – I remember those my father used to bring back from military training sessions – the taste was the same but they were MUCH harder even for my much younger teeth. Everything turns soft and comfy these days…

One side note: the COVID situation made me carry a disinfectant, which has a few secondary uses as well…

echo October 27, 2021 8:48 AM

I just read Biden just went back on his campaign rhetoric to makes Saudi Arabia a pariah state. Lots of hand wronging over the UN giving up with its investigations into war crimes in the region because of lack of political support while Biden clocks up another arms sale.

Then there is the US-UK-AUS nuclear submarine deal as well as the UK shifting intelligence information to the US owned “cloud” which, of course, snubs the EU infrastucture project.

I am not liking the tilt of this even if everyone else is too gutless to say it.

John Doe October 27, 2021 9:33 AM

Software Freedom Conservancy files right-to-repair lawsuit against California TV manufacturer Vizio Inc. for alleged GPL violations

The lawsuit alleges that Vizio’s TV products, built on its SmartCast system, contain software that Vizio unfairly appropriated from a community of developers who intended consumers to have very specific rights to modify, improve, share, and reinstall modified versions of the software.

In this case the question is about breaking GNU General Public License version 2, also known as “GPLv2” and the GNU Lesser General Public License version 2.1, also known as “LGPLv2.1”.

The case is Software Freedom Conservancy Inc v. Vizio Inc, Superior Court of the State of California, Orange County, No. 30-2021-01226723

Winter October 27, 2021 9:33 AM

“It does not solve the problem just “shifts it”.”

It does prevent “pre-emptive” surveillance. If they are after you, they cannot use your historical data. Which means that only NEW connection data of the prospective whistle blower/climate activist can be used.

If I were to become a whistle blower or other activist, I would seriously strengthen my OPSEC from the moment I decide to act. But I cannot erase any historical data from the time leading up to my decision. It is nice that there are still organizations that are not storing this data.

It does matter!

PS: I would use new accounts, but if they are suspecting me, they could still find traces in my historical data.

Clive Robinson October 27, 2021 9:39 AM

@ Peter.A,

I carry a bottle of water and a few packs of Panzerwaffeln, as they are jokingly called in my country’s military

Ah “Tank Wafers” because they are indestructible 😉

A variation on the good old “hard tack” or “ships biscuits” that only weevils chose to eat.

The British Army 24hour “Rat Pack” used to have either “AB Brown” or “Oat biscuits/Cakes” of which I quite liked the old recipe oat biscuits (as did many others). However both were use by “Squadies” to “block the pipes” as it were at the start of field excercises, so they would not have to use “field latrines”… But being blocked solid for two weeks is not at all good for you as you can imagine and is technically a “military crime”…

The question is what to do when five 2lt bottles of fizzy lemonade and three 1lt packs of bitty orange juice and several packets of sorbitol biabetic mints[1] have failed to move you?

Well as “Sgnt Aggie Clark” found out the likes of “Regimental Medical Officers”(RMOs) are “Not amused” by it, or maybe they are… Aggie got told by the RMO that if things did not shift they would have to perform “manual extraction” and explained a few things,

1, How it was done in detail.
2, The only place it could be done was in the “open ward” that was full.
3, The largest medical orderly who had hands the size of cart wheels was the only person available who was “trained” to perform the procedure…
4, Aggi had 24hours before he had to report back to have it done…

Aggi assured me that it was “mind over matter” and 23h 59mins and 59secs later telekinesis happened 😉

[1] Sorbitol sweets are not as common as they once were well because of the side effects,

Much funnier is that those “give up smoking” sweets and chews are 50% if not more sorbitol. There have been cases of people going to their Dr saying that they have to keep smoking because not smoking badly effects their guts… Actually it’s sorbitol doing it’s thing not withdrawal from smoking, but atleast the Dr knows they are genuinely trying to give up :-S

Ted October 27, 2021 10:01 AM

@Peter A.

Re: non-digital technology backup equipment

Peter A. who says: “I belong to the “crazy” people who carry a knife and fire-rod on their persons all the time, and keep a raincoat handy on sunny days.”

As far as the field of security, that is probably a winning mindset. It is hard to practice higher-order security if you miss the bare-knuckle basics.

I recently read an article called “Carry on camping” which gave science-based tips for navigating an outdoors experience.

The article also mentioned the fire rod: “When a ferro rod is struck, tiny fragments of ferrocerium fly off and quickly reach thousands of degrees as they are oxidised in the air. When camping, o!en a ferro rod is a better option than a regular lighter because it will last longer and light more fires.”

I kind of wanted to get one of these as much to play with as to use. Right now my phone is probably still my survival technology of choice, but it might not be forever, right?


Mike October 27, 2021 10:06 AM

@John Doe

I doubt Vizio would want to release their source code. Most likely it would show evidence of their data collection habits.

They had a court case about that back in 2017, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey (“Federal Trade Commission et al. v. Vizio, Inc. et al”) Case No. 2:17-cv-00758.

Sut Vachz October 27, 2021 11:23 AM

@ capitibus viatoriis

Don’t get these as e-books :

Denny, The Science of Navigation, From Dead Reckoning to GPS
Huth, The Lost Art of Finding Our Way

“There are two ways of getting home; and one of them is to stay there. The other is to walk round the whole world till we come back to the same place .. “. – G.K. Chesterton

Winter October 27, 2021 11:48 AM

“For God’s sake throw a punch you lot.”

Currently, all anti-democratic governments, e.g. Hungary, Poland, US under Republicans, UK, have winner take all voting systems that allow to take over government with a minority of the votes.

There are also other weaknesses, weak legal institutions (Poland, Hungary), active voter suppression (USA), or no written constitution (UK).

This might be only a temporary reprieve for the other nations.

Brexit seems to have been the defining stupidity that is now destroying democracy and the rule of law in the UK. As much of the civil society had been outsourced to the EU. Without the protection of the EU, there is no one protecting freedom and civil society in the UK.

echo October 27, 2021 12:44 PM


A fair summary. It’s another reason why the UK government is itching to rewrite the Human Rights Act or, as many suppose is their real goal, shake off the European Convention and the European Court of Human Rights, and any reach the EU’s European Court of Justice has.

As for the UK’s Supreme Court a legislative slight of hand when creating it lowered its status from what the House of Lords had to effectively being “advisory” as the House of Commons (and executive) pulled off a power grab under everyone’s nose. The lack of a written constitution enables a lot of very bad habits which I believe a number of MP’s embrace on a personal level. It fuels their never satisfied craving for power and more power with no lid on their subjective vanity hence the insanity of Brexit among other things.

There was enough law in the UK to halt Brexit without a second referendum but the judges and scholars were complacent and had been sniffing their own gasses for too long. At least some in a position to drive the media agenda by their own admission were comfortably off enough not to care which way the result went. At least, that’s my view.

I could have been a co-signatory on one major case challenging this, and was successfull in backdooring the German government to challenge Brexit via the EU Commission and ECJ but the ECJ had the wool pulled over their eyes because it claimed internal constitutional issues were outside of its remit and rejected the case. That has since been shown to be not quite so given EU Commssion and ECJ action with other cases since then but we are where we are. There was a similar weak knee approach by the Hague when it came to proescuting the UK for war crimes on a technicality that the government didn’t know. Well, that’s not the whole picture either.

I have enough of my own problems to sort out hence getting my passport. I have months of ass kissing and paperwork hassles just to get the thing. As for whether an asylum claim succeeds that is another story. I feel a right berk for trying it but even a short term arrangement away from this hellhole is something.

SpaceLifeForm October 27, 2021 4:09 PM

@ Clive, Ted

re; thick fog and dead reckoning

Many moons ago I was at point X and going to go to point Y. It was night, no moon. getting foggy. No wind, conditions going downhill fast.

I had a passenger that also lived nearby point Y. It was late. Decided to take the shorter route, saving about a third of mileage.

Dropped into the river valley. Crossed the Railroad tracks. Pea Soup. Could not see front of vehicle.

But, I knew exactly where I was. Had driven this route many times before.

So, I had a straight path, about a mile to go, before I knew I had to make a 90 degree right turn.

I drove completely blind for a bit of time, very slowly, and then stopped, and said to my passenger, “I think this is where the 90 degree right turn is, I am going to get out and check”.

The sign was 6 inches in front of my car.

I reckon my passenger and I could have been dead or seriously hurt if I had driven thru the sign and off of the levee.

The only reason that this trip turned out ok was due to knowledge. There was nothing to navigate by except knowledge and gut feel of distance travelled.

Ted October 27, 2021 4:37 PM

@SpaceLifeForm, Clive

re; thick fog and dead reckoning

That is very fortunate. Your familiarity with the area was probably life saving on that day.

If you had been in a less known area what would you have done?

In winter my windshield sometimes freezes over and I probably do a horrible job of over-estimating my ability to drive safely after scraping a few patches of ice off. I really need to make sure I have better attire so that I can get comfortable clearing off my car in bitter cold weather.

MarkH October 27, 2021 6:13 PM

@SpaceLifeForm, Clive, Ted:

As a student of aviation safety, I’ve long been aware that most fatal crashes are in flights by “weekend pilots”, and that the leading cause of their calamities is the pilot’s decisions to (a) initiate flight when the risk of adverse weather was (or should have been) known, and (b) to continue flight into weather conditions beyond the capabilities of the pilot or the aircraft.

I was interested to learn from a man highly active in yachting that a similar picture pertains to sailing.

In both cases, the absolute best option for saving your life is before departure, when you can decide to cancel or postpone.


Congrats to SLF on surviving that harrowing journey. I suggest that it would be mistaken to gain confidence from the experience that such a thing should be attempted again.


I recently experienced a “direct application” myself, attempting to drive home (with two family members) in extremely intense rain at night. It began with my motor intermittently stalling when I’d cross patches of standing water several cm deep.

When I reached 30+ cm of water at the on-ramp to one of the largest highways in the area, I mentally hit the big red button and turned back. A family we’d just met kindly put us up for the night, and we finally set off again around 04:00 — I was worried about how bad the morning commuter traffic might get.

The next day, I learned that numbers of people in the region had drowned in (or attempting to escape from) their vehicles, including a fatality not many km from where we had been.

SpaceLifeForm October 27, 2021 6:31 PM

@ Ted, Clive

If you had been in a less known area what would you have done?

Turn Around, Don’t Drown. But, that was not an option.

In this situation, in hindsight, I could have reached a higher elevation route sooner (less Fog). But, reaching the higher elevation route was also problematic. Point X was also low elevation (not much higher than the route I selected), and conditions were going downhill fast. I basically had 2 routes. They are very curvy, and are tricky enough in daylight. Imagine a 200 year old horse trail that follows a creek.

I left point X to get me thru the northern curvy route to where I knew the roads better. I was taking the curvy trail in the direction I was more familiar with. In bad fog.

I have driven on this curvy road many times, but I do not have encyclopedic knowledge of every curve in my minds eye.

Even if I did, I think the Fog would confuse.

Knowledge. It is a Thing.

Clive Robinson October 27, 2021 9:15 PM

@ Ted, MarkH, SpaceLifeForm,

That is very fortunate. Your familiarity with the area was probably life saving on that day.

When I was young and bounding with energy and wanderlust, few places I went I had any familiarity with except on a map or chart.

To me fog and clouds well beneath your feet were just parts of the journey less enjoyable than others.

The thing about mist and fog is in certain circumstances they can make your life a lot easier and be not just your friend but a life saver.

Because not only can you not see a few feet in front of you, nor can the hostiles. Thus you can move on feet not belly and without moving from cover to cover so 1-2mph real distance is attainable.

You just have to learn to trust not just your tools but your abilities and most of all do not ignore what your senses are picking up but your conscious mind tends to blot out, learn to feel your way by sound, smell, taste and above all how the air feels and moves.

One of the hardest things to learn is when to trust and when to ignore a tool. Magnetic compases do not work well over certain mineral deposits, even sun compases need corrections. Barometric hight indicators respond as much to the changes in the weather as they do to a couple of hundredd feet of hight. Inclinometers can sometimes not hang well, and sextants well the mirrors can get “tapped” and even ropes change length with changes in weather.

@ MarkH,

I’ve long been aware that most fatal crashes are in flights by “weekend pilots”

One reason is because it is the weekend.

A story about a mad keen golf player I used to once know, who’s car registration spelt “JOY INN”.

Because he worked, he was up before the sparrows fart to be on the course at first light to get a half round in. Then off to work, it did not matter what the weather was hail, sleat, rain, storm even lightning and hurricane, he was out there…

Eventually he retired, and for about the first month or two he spent more time on the course than he did at home… Then one day it was torrential rain and he got soaked and developed a bad cold.

After that he became “weather aware” and only played in favourable conditions.

I’d not seen him for a while and I met up with someone who knew him and I asked about him. Apparently he realised that when you had all the time you want, then you don’t have the preasure to play, and eventually he dropped to just one or two rounds a week.

People do a lot of daft things due to “the preasure of time”, so they tend to push their envelope the wrong way, and that’s when it goes bad for them and others.

You will find with road accidents, people “drive tired” to “get home” and fall asleep at the wheel and wrap themselves round a bridge abutment or similar.

Others do daft things like finsh mowing the lawn with an electric mower, even though it has started pouring with rain half way through. Why “because it’s the only time they have this week” or something similar.

I was just as bad, I’d travel on a friday night to get to a hostle near a mountain to start going up before first light knowing full well the weather was not favourable. One year I bounced around three hundred feet down Glen Coe off of the Devil’s Staircase, but only had a few scratches, but the bruises the following week were lets just say “colourful” to put it mildly. The stupid thing is the staircase is a walk not a scramble or climb and thousands walk it each year. I was sort of thinking / day dreaming about a different place I planed to climb later in the year, as I ambled along in the frost capped snow and went bumpity bump as a reward for my inattention…

On another occasion it was early Feb and the River Thames had ice on it around lock island just below Teddington wier. I was canoeing and made a silly mistake and capsized. I was with a group and the usual thing was bang on the bottom of your canoe and someone would bring their bows up into your hand so you could right yourself without bailing out. Well I banged and banged but nobody came, so running out of air I bailed, and got sucked under a barge[1]. Realising I was in a bit of bother I pushed out to the right and the island and came up in the slack water to discover I was trapped beneath the ice… Luckily for me an angler had made a hole in the ice to fish. I guess I was about the largest thing he had ever landed. I got dragged of to hospital and well there was hell to pay later… Those who’s turn it was to do “safety” had decided it was more fun to play on the weir white water, and had neither seen my capsize or heard me bang, nor did they realise untill about an hour or so later I was not with them… The adults were very far from amused…

Any way, “What doseny kill yer…” and all that.

[1] This picture is of the suspension bridge to lock island,

It’s modern and things have changed a fair bit since I took a bath there in the mid 1970’s. To the very left of the picture you see a boat and on the other side of it a flight of steps going upto the bridge. These days there is a modern pontoon etc and access is rightstricted. But there used to be two large barges moored side by side and there bows would have been about where the stern of that boat is. About another ten yards down off the edge of the picture is about where the angler dragged me out…

The spot is quite famous to WWII marine historians, as it was one of the places from which the “little ships” assembled to go down river to eventually go on to Dunkirk. But very much less well known, more or less to some who know some of the still secret history. It was at the bottom of this slip way the Admaralty Research Establishment tested the prototype preasure hull that eventually became the X-Craft min submarine. The only reason we know this is from a few people that remember seeing it, and a couple of photograps. As far as I’m aware from chatting to people nearly a half century ago with my dad, it was fabricated in a boat yard that used to be to the left of the slipway.

MarkH October 27, 2021 9:46 PM


Air pilots sometimes call it get-home-itis, and in air safety literature I’ve seen the phrase “psychological effect of desire”. I suppose that in modern language, it’s a species of confirmation bias.

In a typical scenario for flight into adverse weather, the pilot doesn’t want — or is forbidden — to complete the flight after dark. With the wall clock in mind, he looks at the meteorological forecasts for his route, and says to himself, “there might be storms, but there might not … if there are, maybe they’ll happen before (or after) I pass through.”


You relate your capsize experience in such calm language! “Out of the frying pan into the fire” is bad enough, but it seem that for you it continued “and thence out of the fire into the volcano.”

If there are guardian angels out there, you must have had one hovering about on multiple occasions. I hope his vigilance remains undiminished.

Ted October 27, 2021 10:07 PM

@SpaceLifeForm, MarkH, Clive, @All


“Turn Around, Don’t Drown.”

That’s a good one! I’m going to remember that! My mom used to sing the jingle ‘Buckle Up For Safety, Always Buckle Up’. It was so catchy and I still sing it. I still buckle up too.


Hearing stories like that gives me even greater confidence to play it safe. There is no doubt you could be saving people’s lives by sharing these pro-safety actions. I’m sure the families of the drowning victims and the first responders would feel that all was not lost knowing that there are people who got the message.

Three years ago we took a ride on a Duck Boat – which are former military amphibious vehicles converted into tourist rides. A month or two later one of the boats capsized during a thunderstorm killing 17 people on board.

The boat’s captain was subsequently indicted on 17 counts. According to the indictment, he allegedly “failed to properly assess incoming severe weather both prior to and after entering the water” and he “entered the vessel onto the water while there was severe weather, including high winds and lightning approaching the area”.

I believe all was calm when they went in the water but a flash storm with over 60 mile an hour winds came upon the lake and created some pretty turbulent waves and the boat can only travel 6 miles per hour in the water.

I remember watching a video of the boat tossing in the water and having such a feeling I hope I will never have again.


As you recount “Realising I was in a bit of bother I pushed out to the right and the island and came up in the slack water to discover I was trapped beneath the ice… Luckily for me an angler had made a hole in the ice to fish. I guess I was about the largest thing he had ever landed.”

What a ghastly experience! I cannot believe we have such a fisherman to thank! I hope there was more than hell to pay for your abhorrently distracted buddies! (Angry face!)

echo October 28, 2021 12:12 AM

A big task for COP26

It is imperative we avoid the impacts of climate change that come with a 2 to 3℃ average temperature rise.

To have any chance at meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement, all countries will need to significantly increase their ambition and pledge much greater reductions in carbon emissions in Glasgow.

Wealthy, high-emitting countries should lead the way with stronger pledges, and agree on terms to finance climate mitigation and adaptation in developing countries.

Time is fast running out to avert more dangerous climate changes, and the world cannot afford a missed opportunity at COP26.

Worrying. Sadly I don’t see anything useful coming from the current braindead UK government which is welded to greed and dog eat dog market forces.

As and when I get a new cooker I’ve decided to switch from gas to electric. My next central heating boiler should probably be electric too but they cost a fortune to run. Home heating makes up around 14% of UK emissions but so far I don’t see any vision from the government about addressing price structures or incentivising change. They couldn’t give a stuff about solar panels either. Meanwhile the already rich get richer.

All of the above assumes I’m still in the UK.

SpaceLifeForm October 28, 2021 2:13 AM

@ Ted, ALL

What Ted is referring to is Table Rock.

There was plenty of warning. Hours. Profit motive was key.

It’s a very large lake. Large lakes lead to large whitecaps in high winds.

You can see that from the video. I would not have been out on the lake even with a large powerboat. No way. Not under those conditions.



Cassandra October 28, 2021 2:58 AM

@Clive Robinson

Hmm. Biscuits AB.

I am absolutely certain there was a variant with raisins in, a bit like a large Garibaldi biscuit. They were a prized possession if they turned up in our compo rations. Not on ARRSEpedia ‘though – they do at least have the Arabic Rolos, but no mention of the Spangles. No-one round me like the tinned marmalade in the 10-man ration packs, so I usually ended up with an oversupply.

I would really like to get my hands on the exact model of tin-opener issued – never bettered in my opinion, and a so-called friend of mine threw half of my hoarded supply out as they thought they were ‘useless’. The ones I find in camping shops are pale imitations.

Thanks for your reminiscences about the Falklands. At the time I thought that the men on the ground performed miracles to recover from major failures of strategic planning. Having the capability to yomp was impressive: being forced to yomp was inexcusable.


Ted October 28, 2021 7:34 AM


Re: Table rock lake and duck boats

Thanks for sharing those links. It was a little cathartic to have a visitor walk out that memory.

Here’s a little more about that story. When we went out on the boat, the water was so deep and navy blue. And the boat’s profile doesn’t sit that high out of the water. They took her out around an island, and 6 mph feels about as slow as you think it would. They gave the kids on board a chance to drive her and there are silly duck whistles you can buy as souvenirs.

All the life vests were tied up in the roof, but no one on our ride was required to wear one and no one was wearing one the day the duck boat sank.

There were no seat belts in the duck and even as we drove in the vehicle from the embarkment point, down a four lane road, and atop a privately owned “mountain” curated with military surplus equipment, I remember feeling a little anxious about its height on land and the precipitousness of some of the roads. Nevertheless, I’m known to feel anxious, so at that point it would felt out of place to just not roll with it.

The first video I saw showed her fighting in the waves for minutes. It cut off as she started to go under. A witness to the event had this to say “I went to a window as I was looking out watching and I prayed and I cried.”

I am just reading now that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) had issued 22 recommendation to the US Coast Guard for duck boats almost 20 years earlier following an accident in which 13 people perished. Only nine had since been implemented.

Ted October 28, 2021 7:37 AM


Re: Table rock lake and duck boats

Thanks for sharing those links. It was a little cathartic to have a visitor walk out that memory.

The first video I saw showed her fighting in the waves for minutes. It cut off as she started to go under. A witness to the event had this to say “I went to a window as I was looking out watching and I prayed and I cried.”

I am just reading now that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) had issued 22 recommendation to the US Coast Guard for duck boats almost 20 years earlier following an accident in which 13 people perished. Only nine had since been implemented.

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons October 28, 2021 1:36 PM

28 Oct 2021 — Election Security, A Case of Voter Fraud, my Attestation

There was one case of voter fraud that I am aware of in Georgia, I overheard this guy on a phone call to the person who counts votes for the state of Georgia say that they were short some 11,780 ballots or some such nonsense and that the election official needed to fix it. Imagine, some guy says there is fraud and in the same breath casts 11,780 votes in Georgia. Hope they catch that guy who tried voting 11,780 times in Georgia, and I hear this guy is probably not even from Georgia, his voting place is in some other state.

echo October 28, 2021 3:06 PM

We of the present have great power over the future. Essentially, we are building it, or tearing it down, on a daily basis. If we are to arrive at a better future, we must learn the lessons of history.

The economic policies of the past four decades – based on globalised free markets, optimism and a reliance on finance – have failed to deliver generalised prosperity or sustainability. A responsible government therefore needs to plan for a future using a different approach.

To give a couple of examples: Rishi Sunak should have been announcing a range of market-shaping interventions designed to promote energy efficiency and less reliance on fossil fuels while implementing policies to keep energy affordable at the level of necessities. In addition, the government needs to be thinking about redesigning social security so vulnerable people’s lives are not impacted severely by the transition to the new economy.

Optimism has its place, but we ought not to trust the future to it.

Personally I think this assessment is on the mild side. Unlike Angela Raynor I won’t withdraw from calling the Tories “scum”.

echo October 28, 2021 3:22 PM

Adil Ray was not impressed at all on Thursday’s Good Morning Britain as he clashed with one particular guest on the show.

Adil and his co-host Charlotte Hawkins invited Quentin Letts and Ayesha Hazarika into the studio to discuss Wednesday’s Budget announcement, and Quentin did not hold back.

At one point during the conversation, Charlotte was heard saying: “Nothing to help people on energy bills?” but Quentin was quick to interrupt her.

“Hold on, you say help?! This is our money that the politicians are giving away and the idea that you can just help people without any cost to other people is quite wrong,” he blurted out.

Wow. Just wow.

SpaceLifeForm October 28, 2021 3:55 PM

So Facebook finally tells the truth.

It’s always been Meta. As in Metadata.

Name changes always pop up when legal problems pop up.

Just saying.

Clive Robinson October 28, 2021 4:57 PM

@ SpaceLifeForm, Sut Vachz, ALL,

Name changes always pop up when legal problems pop up.

Logos as well…

That Lissajous curve in Twitter blue looks like many things,

One is the outline of a mask behind which a villain would hide their Face to avoid being brought to Book.

But also it looks like a “saddle” on the specter of a dead horse that has been “flogged to death”, yet the rider will still not stop trying to flog it, even though he does not have a ghost of a chance of getting anywhere by it…

Mind you “meta” is such a realy bad name… It just invites a rude word to be added so you would say,

“met a prat”

Or something similar…

Whilst the list of derogatory words is not infinite, I’m sure if enough people try it will sound like it 😉

echo October 28, 2021 5:18 PM

From wiki:

Ernest Walter Saunders (born 21 October 1935) is a British former business manager, best known as one of the “Guinness Four”, a group of businessmen who attempted fraudulently to manipulate the share price of the Guinness company. He was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment, but released after 10 months as he was believed to be suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, which is incurable. He subsequently made an instant recovery on release from prison.

Rumour has it Toff’s, usually based in London, tend to get HMP Ford.

Clive Robinson October 28, 2021 10:40 PM

@ SpaceLifeForm, ALL,

Fuel subsidies are about the biggest shell game[1] in the world, however in the energy market and politics it is actually a “roll-con” that just keeps paying.

In essence tax payers subsidise energy producers to keep doing what they do best, polute the planet.

To make it look good it is advertised as “helping the poor” etc.

In reality energy tarrifs are unfairly biased against those with least ability to fight back the poor individual home consumer.

The kWh you pay 25cents for gets subsidised down to say 20cents billed to you. But if you look at wholesale energy prices if you buy big you might only be charge 6cents per kWh. So the energy producer probably produces at 2cents cost per kWh…

So the energy supplier gets 5cents per kWh free profit. That they may or may not pass back to the energy producer. The thing is the “supplyer” adds a “standing charge” of say $20/quater. These are supposed to cover all their costs along with a fairly good profit. In return they supposadly keep the “local grid” maintained and operating… But they don’t these days, they are a “front” and actually contract out maintainence, they are realy just a “financial futures” organisation that does trades and billing (again outsourced)…

So those subsidies go almost directly out the door of the “front” as “shareholder profit”.

As people discovered in Texas these fronts have two types of customer those on fixed rates and those on floating rates, importantly though the fronts pay share holders they don’t hold reserves. So when there is a price hike from upstream some unlucky customers on floating rates pick up the entire bill for all the customers and the extra profit payed to shareholders via increased turnover. Usually these floating customers are the customers who can least aford it and have been forced to take the “float” by the fronts, so they get an energy bill that is a sizable fraction of their annual take home income if not more.

Importantly they never ever get to see any benifit from subsadies due to the delibetate “marking up” even in the best of times when producer prices are falling…

Worse in some US states it’s a legaslative requirment to be connected to the power grid even if you do not draw power… People might want to see how that correlates with “lowest load” “standing charges” against states where you can legaly be “off grid”…

In effect the energy market is just a big slush fund using hedge betting on a futures market model. Why on earth would anyone in their right mind want to subsidize that bunch of con artists?

[1] The Shell Game or three cups and a pea game, is actuall not gambling but a “short-con” in which only the “chosen few” ever win,

SpaceLifeForm October 29, 2021 12:17 AM

@ ALL, Clive

So when there is a price hike from upstream some unlucky customers on floating rates pick up the entire bill for all the customers and the extra profit payed to shareholders via increased turnover.

For those of you that are not familiar with the terminology, what Clive refers to here as ‘turnover’ may be best understood as ‘gross revenue’.

Ted October 29, 2021 3:23 AM

@echo, All

What are your thoughts on either of these tweets?

Most things in medicine that happen between institutions are done on paper through fax machines because apparently it is 1991.


Today I heard a resident say “Being a good physician is just being a good human with medical knowledge” and this nails my philosophy exactly.

This person randomly popped up in my feed and I was curious.

Clive Robinson October 29, 2021 9:24 AM

@ Ted,

The reason for “fax machines” is “free hand notes with diagrams”, long lengths of chart recordings all with ease of use but above all reliability especially in adversity, something computers and networks suck at.

To know this you need to actuall be in a hospital watching what happens, and in other medical emergancy situations. Doctors are not ludites and even hairy old stuffed shirt consultants are happy to use things that improve their job… And that’s the big clue computers are unreliable, inconvenient and slow things down way more than they should in certain parts of the job. In others they speed things up so are quite happily used. Oh and laptops[1]… Flat batteries, get dropped or stolen, patients gan grab them and throw them at doctors they are difficult to clean and keep sterial which leads to a whole host of other biological nasties. Which are enough to make the average person way way more queasy than they would like just thinking about what lurkes under a key cap, that then gets on a doctors hand they then touch you with…

It takes a few secs for a person to “sketch out and highlight” sufficient for clear communications and understanding by the recipient and saves a hundred words.

The more detailed a diagram or image actually the less accurate it is for usefull communications due to “clutter” so the more likely the recipient is to get distracted or muddled.

The other reason for faxes believe it or not is reliability…

A piece of paper with a hand drawn diagram needs little to generate. Basicallt a pad of paper and a pencil or pen. Which works fine even in the middle of an active war zone. Computers on the other hand are very “prissy” they need every thing to be “just so” or they will not do what you want them to do. They are also oh so slow compared to a quick freehand even for computer artists with graphics tablets and the like.

But if you need to send information a bank of fax machines is way way more reliable than computer networking. After all when was the last time you heard of a hospital having to shut down due to fax machines being infected with malware and held to ransom?

Like it or not, fax machines are idealy suited to doctors and hospitals for certain things. Yes computers get used a lot but for different aspects of the job. Something that medical secretaries used to do with typewriters and dictaphone tapes.

But when it comes to “bed side” computers are realy bad news… In the UK they get strapped to rolling work stations and the doctors go round in a group with the person on the computer being “tail end charlie” simply for every ones health and safety… Doctors come in all sizes from diminutive below five feet to hulking nearly seven feet, those rolling work stations are not easily adjusted and it’s painfull to watch some doctors pushing them along… Also seeing them sprint from wall socket to wall socket because the battery is dying is just as painfull watching.

[1] Yes many studies have tried tablets, it turns out they are not realy at the point of being usable yet. It’s actually a “technology failing” in both hardware and software. Some doctors have found though that a large mobile phone that slides into a lab coat pocket but small enough to be easily held in one hand does work as long as the battery can hack a 24Hour shift… Doctors like A4 it give a nice trade off but any electronics that size is just bad news in a medical environment. But doctors need above all else easy free form input, but high resolution for medical imaging such as X-Rays. Oh and testing has shown that more detail can be seen on an analog chart recorder output than a digital one and that matters weith ECG’s and EEG’s and similar and a high resolution but little display misses much that a yard or so of chart recording shows at a glance.

Clive Robinson October 29, 2021 9:28 AM

@ Ted,

I have responded to your “done on paper through fax machines because apparently it is 1991” with the reasons…

However it is “being held for moderation”…

I guess we will both have to wait and see if it gets through.

Ted October 29, 2021 10:21 AM


Re: on paper through fax machines

Thank you so much Clive! I very much hope it makes it through. I know I will enjoy reading your thoughts. You’ve got such fantastic things to say I wouldn’t want to miss them!

Also, do you know much about the moderation hold? It seems to catch quite a few of mine. Then I try to modify my comment in various ways to see if it will get through. Sometimes I try to make it shorter or I take out the blockquotes or I look to see if I’ve misadvertently included a trigger word. I’ve been typing my thoughts in notes first and then pasting in the comments so I don’t lose them if they go into moderation limbo 🙂

echo October 29, 2021 11:25 AM

I had a reply drafted but decided not to post it. The short version is neither goernment nor medical unions want to hear it. Anyone familiar with the policy and professional standards issues which a range of NGO’s among others are would know what I’m talking about. Technology and professional practice in their broadest sense through to specifics including specific classes of incident are a “lessons will be learned” report in themselves. Mostly these are known knows but there is massive denial and cover-up and resistance.

Clive is focusing on technology again and completely missing issues on policy and deadwood, and has a limited view of the total problem. Maybe it is all contained in the post “being held for moderation” (which I gave up on weeks ago).

In the meanime I’ve saved my energy and collected a few links on something related to the Cabinet Office and technology and all the various known knowns associated with that nobody wants to hear.

echo October 29, 2021 12:06 PM

BREAKING: The European Commission has told member states that the role of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in the Northern Ireland Protocol is not up for discussion

I have a legal commentary somewhere explaining how with one particular ECJ judgment people shouldn’t get too excited about support by the court because behind their many layers of reasoning the ECJ was standing up firmly for the authority of the court.

My own ordinary opinion/observation is Johnson et al would not like the court to take a closer look at the byzantine arrangements of the UK constitution. Yes, the Johnson regime is trying it on and the earlier evidence that they negotiated the Brexit withdrawal agreement in bad faith is something I daresay will not go in their favour. I know what I know but I think any further comment off me about this is me wandering out of my depth. I would be surprised if this goes well for the Johnson regime.

Random explanation of the murky workings of constitutional law deleted because auto-moderation.

Ted October 29, 2021 12:37 PM


Re: classes of incident, government and medical unions

Good thoughts. Yes, at work I fax somethings, email somethings, and pass paper with others. It’s interesting to hear a doctor feel like he’s working in a technological realm that existed 30 years ago. Those HIPAA laws must be a beast to transgress.

As far as the dynamics of doctors and patients, I don’t know if I have the education to understand it. Maybe it’s chemical signaling? CHMINT

Policy is a very colorful world. I agree that if someone missed the dynamics at play there they would be missing a lot of the interpretation.

MarkH October 29, 2021 2:19 PM

Re ‘held for moderation’:

That response to Submit is obviously automated, and the algorithm/rules have been changing over time. Presumably, it’s an on-going effort to make troll control more effective and less labor-intensive.

A few weeks ago, something like 2/3 of my comments were flagged in that manner, and
(conveniently for me) disappeared altogether, so I would just try variants until one got through.

More recently, I haven’t seen it all. Probably the threshold changed in the past day or two …

When comments are actually held for review, it’s more complicated. I think I had one comment appear at least 3 times (in slightly different versions) as I was trying to “get it through.”

MarkH October 29, 2021 2:29 PM

Re FAXing

I regard FAX messaging as more secure than usual internet messaging.

An old-fashioned FAX transmission is not encrypted, but can only be intercepted by some form of “wire tap” which is active at the time of transmission.

If you’re not under intensive surveillance by a resourceful adversary, wire taps are not a likely threat. Internet messaging can be intercepted at many points without special equipment, and persistent copies might be left in numerous loci where hackers might could them up.

Of course, if you use an internet-connected computer for FAXing — or a FAX-by-internet service — then all of the usual risks apply.

MarkH October 29, 2021 3:18 PM

Should read, ” … persistent copies might be left in numerous loci where hackers might vacuum them up.”


Clive Robinson October 29, 2021 3:41 PM

@ MarkH, ALL,

I regard FAX messaging as more secure than usual internet messaging.

It is all relative to who your adversary is, as you noted. But time teaches us new lessons about old deeds because the wheel of history turns, even though we know not where it goes.

It is for instance now known that the “Secure fax” machines used by the EU at all levels that had encryption built in were “backdoored” by the US…

Because the EU got those Secure fax machines from “Crypto AG” in Zug Switzerland…

The fact that certain European Nation’s Inteligence Agencies such as Germany, Sweden, UK, etc knew this from the get go tells us something we should remember.

Those who think they are in charge rarely know what their supposed subordinates are realy doing, or for that matter who some of their real adversaries are.

The likes of the SigInt agencies such as those comprising the original Five-Eyes see themselves above the politicians elected by the people…

We should remember that what they chose to do is not in the name of the people who pay for them, but their own interests and we have no knowledge as to what that might be.

Ted October 29, 2021 5:49 PM

@Clive, MarkH, echo


Pencil and pad of paper vs. “prissy” computers

You have some wonderful and memorable descriptions. It adds such an enjoyable oomph to your expertise. I’m so sorry to say, but the one thing I haven’t been able to get out of my head for a couple days was “up before the sparrows fart.” Not just to stop dead in my tracks and giggle, but I may actually tuck that into my conversational tool belt.

But I digress, faxing can be more reliable and have less risk of exposure.

@MarkH and Clive

It is interesting to think about the conveniences added by “FAX-by-internet” and also the added risks.

I do not know how our IT handles the security protocols for general faxing here. I know that once I couldn’t send a fax because someone who had cleaned our floors had unplugged the transmissions cable from its usual port and plugged it back into maybe a telephone port? The IT person, fortunately, was able to spot that pretty quickly and – day saved. It’s interesting, however, to think about all the options there are.

SpaceLifeForm October 29, 2021 6:08 PM

@ Clive, Ted, echo, MarkH


Moderation is working.

But, Clive, as you have done before, you failed to wait at least 5 minutes and then refresh.

Your chances of seeing the ‘held for moderation’ are very likely to increase if you are posting from a dynamic ip.

Just saying.

Clive Robinson October 30, 2021 4:59 AM

@ Ted, ALL,

but I may actually tuck that into my conversational tool belt.

By all means do so.

There is a story behind it coming into beibg, and it involves me having a fairly heated argument with an Officer of very cute diminutive stature but enough pent up energy to boil a swiming pool…

Known to all as “miny ma’m” or “Tiny tactical”(as in nuke) depending on where and when you had occasion to interact with one of her more spirited moments. She was actually realy nice and a lot of fun and got bestowed with a couple of poems I wrote for her birthday.

As a matter of “order” you are not alowed to be unkind to Officers in the army, lest you be “put on a fizzer” or worse. However it’s not a two way street they have more lattitude…

I was at the point where I was about to pick her up and chuck her over a wall or some such, when she changed her argument… I shouted at her very very loudly that I had been up befor “bl@@dy sparrow fart” doing what she had actually requested and now she had changed her mind… This was heard not just by her but half the regiment and all the senior officers as it was right outside where they were, and at that time my lung capacity was known to be very large, in fact medical equipment damagingly so.

For what ever reason nobody said anything about the incident but there would be an occasional “tweet tweet” said surreptitiously and several others in accomodation would on waking in the early morning say “is it bl@@dy sparrow fart time already” or similar.

John October 30, 2021 5:17 AM

Good comments about fax!

Anyone remember why the fax was originally invented by GE? It was a huge multi-rack machine.

It was harder to fake what was said and agreed by whom.

i.e.- Help with the large company problem of one manager stealing from another….

At least that was what explained to me.

Kinda like the Kremlin’s physical typewriters.

For whatever reason computer sketch applications seem to have faded?


Ted October 30, 2021 6:18 AM


“sparrow fart time already”

Just so haha! I really need to come up with a euphemism for this before I get flagged. I hope repeating it won’t get us put in the hot water 🙂

However, it actually being that time here, I probably should do a morning shake-off and start on my uni work

Cassandra October 30, 2021 10:33 AM

@Clive Robinson

Proof that my memory has not completely failed me yet.

Biscuits Fruit AB: hxxp://

Marmalade (second row from the front, second in from the left): hxxp://

Both from hxxp://

Best breakfast: A good strong brew, fried bacon grill slices, marmalade on oatmeal blocks in some very damp woodland after we had completely stuffed the Blue Team on exercise by a combination of camouflage and misdirection.


Clive Robinson October 30, 2021 10:58 AM

@ Cassie,

Best breakfast: A good strong brew, fried bacon…

STOP right there…

I prefered “fresh” egg n bacon banjos with the rind on the bacon, with the bread being that white sandwich bread being like Sainsbury’s own where you could butter it and roll it up and squish it into tight buttery lumps of doughy niceness that made perfect arterie blockers that you could even fry off in bacon fat to dunk in salt as a snack when pulling stag. Oh and yeah tea “standard NATO with spoon at attention, that might be the only heat youkd feel all day. But importantly, the eggs should also be fried in that tined margarine that even a starvation crazed dog would not eat…

Happy days when youl’d trust you mate with your back but not your wallet or your hair cut 😉 where beer flowed and was mineswept whilst you tried to take a couple of quid off of “the enemy” at the Naffi pool table…

Then there was dancing to 80’s music… “Lets Dance” by Chris Rea,

Being one of the best to get pool ques bouncing boots stomping and cat calls whisteling…

Then there was what we now call “Northern Soul”.

Yep I’m getting creaky just thinking about it…

Sut Vachz October 30, 2021 11:23 AM

@ Clive Robison

Re: Rea

I was barely aware of Chris Rea until your post provided enlightenment. I see on the Wikipedia that he races Lotus 6. With that guitar and that car, clearly he can do no wrong !

Clive Robinson October 30, 2021 2:20 PM

@ Yomper,

The Imperial War Museum identifies the yomper with the Union Jack as ‘Royal Marine Peter Robinson’.

Yes it’s one of the most icon images that appeared, another being of HMS Sheffield burning,

But most people who would be 50 and above in the UK remember the Union Jack (nicked from the ships flag locker on the way out) as being perhaps “the image” as the Argentinean surrender happend at the same time it appeard in newspapers.

Importantly the flag is actually called the “Union Flag” when flown on land, and it reminds people in the UK and many other nations that it does not matter if we live in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales or the other parts of the world. lLke squabling siblings in times of trouble we unite against a common foe.

The flag came into being in it’s present form in 1801 when the red Irish saltair was added to the existing white on blue saltair of Scotland laid on the red cross of St George of England, that James the First decreed in 1606 be used for Maratime purposes and thus be flown from the jack staff of all Scotish and English ships.

Fun fact the Union Flag flies above what some regard as US Teritory most notably the Hawaiian islands, and a number of “US Buildings”[1] which supprises some…

[1] From my time working in the oil industry I have photos of Ascension Island that show the union flag above “US Buildings”. These days it’s not just the UK and US airforces there, NASA and the European Space Agency have facilities there, and though there is no right of residence or entry there, it now has it’s own governing council and laws. Both Ascension and the Falklands for many years used oil tankers off shore and floating pipelines to supply energy to those on the islands these needed instrumentation including RTU/MTU systems and multiple strain cells which I helped in the design construction and instalation of. Now there is a very small tourist industry at Ascension I’ve the intention of getting to see “the worlds worst golf course” and if alowed get down to English Bay. Also as my Falklands Island “British Forces” jumper is looking a little sorry for it’s self these days, I want to go and get another from there and visit some old friends. However it very much depends on my health sufficiently improving so fingers crossed.

Yomper October 30, 2021 3:29 PM

@ CLive

Yes it’s one of the most icon images that appeared, another being of HMS Sheffield burning

So were you known as ‘Peter’ then, or is this another Robinson ?

Cassandra October 30, 2021 4:58 PM

Ah well, the reason it was the best breakfast was that the Blue Team had been hand picked to be all the favourites and ones expected to ‘go far’, and our team were regarded as ‘the dregs’. We were meant to be the predictable ‘oiks’ providing the token opposition to make the Blue Team look good.

It didn’t work out that way.

When they overran our apparent positions to find them empty, and subsequently fell into an ambush that left them ‘somewhat’ depleted, meanwhile we had raided their positions for supplies and disabled their transport so they had to march out, hungry, they were not best pleased. The observers were laughing themselves incontinent.*

Apart from that, your recommendations for a better breakfast receive full assent from me.


*It was by no means on the scale of Millennium Challenge 2002 (Lt. Gen. Paul Van Riper). It was a very minor training exercise, but I learned a great deal from it, not least the ability of the Blue Team to forget the embarrassing parts and rewrite history.

Clive Robinson October 30, 2021 5:00 PM

@ Sut Vachz,

I was barely aware of Chris Rea until your post provided enlightenment.

He’s been around for quite a while and is not just a fine writer of songs, he’s a very good instrumentalist with a very wide variety of styles. Try this,

It starts with “Truth” which is almost a lament, and bridges (2:00) with an irish lilt into “Morning sun” (3:10) as a slow waltz.

Clive Robinson October 30, 2021 5:08 PM

@ Yomper,

Ahh, I see what you were getting at, no not me. My hair is not yet white, though the badger in my beard is getting large enough to be mistaken for a silver fox 😉

Clive Robinson October 30, 2021 8:58 PM

@ Cassie,

Ah well, the reason it was the best breakfast was that the Blue Team had been hand picked to be all the favourites and ones expected to ‘go far’, and our team were regarded as ‘the dregs’.

Ahh the best sweetener of all Victory against a “snotty” opponent.

Been there done something similar, and unfortunately paid the price for it… There is always a bitter after taste.

It was one of those “training and evaluation events” with all those challenges especially the impossible obstacle objective with the “imaginary chasm” you have to cross.

Well they held it on a disused vehicle training ground, that had some very odd concrete structures. One of which was two vertical walls about thirty foot appart and twenty foot high with a beam across the top and earth embankments piled against the outside of the walls.

The officer setting it happened to be the Squadron OC and was quite a “good egg” when all things are said and done. He chose to put the imaginary chasm between the walls as it was out of the wind and squals that were happening. It was about 15ft wide and we had three odd planks about eight foot long, a couple of oil drums and a long length of heavy hemp rope about an inch and a half in diameter to do “the crossing” with. As normal the gapping chasm would be too wide to actually cross because that is not the aim of the excercise, success is not an option… The usual rule of “if it crosses the line and touches the ground “then it’s lost” is applied, and you have that jerry can you have to get across…

Any way our “team” was HQ Squadrons odds and ends. Of a radio tech (me), a couple of cooks, an RP with the same name as me, two lasses from MT, and a couple of the parras who looked like the proverbial sacks tied up loosley and were excess to other teams requirments because they did not “hut hut hut”. So we were expected to fail and fail badly as an object lesson to good order and mindless discipline just as it says in the training manual… Just to ensure this the OC selected to be in charge one of the cooks. Nice enough lass good at her trade, never complained, knew how to get hot calories quickly in rough weather, just needed a hand with shifting the heavy stuff. But she had the command pressence of a mouse in a lions cage and was shyer than a doormouse in winter…

I thought this a little unfair, but as they say “orders is orders” which did not preclude covert delegation 😉

The two parras might have looked like something the gardener had swept around the back of a compost heap, but that was because they were actually rather good but did not want responsability. So I wisper to the girls to start moving the drums and look like they were measuring them with the wood whilst I had a quick chat with the parras whilst we played with the rope. I pointed out that there was no way we could tie the three planks together to cross the gap and the drums were of less use than a chocolate fire guard. However I noticed that the concrete beam was kind of above the chasm and we might make a suspension bridge. It all depended on if we could get the rope over the beam and one of them could climb up and pull enough rope and wrap it around the beam so we could have two hanging loops over the gorge that we could put the wide plank in with the thinest plank on top so we could then slide it out. Once they twigged what I was suggesting we quickly worked out some details. Then one of the parras went over to tell the lass in charge covertly what we were planing and for her to say it out loud so the OC would see her leading the way…

Five minutes later the rope was over the beam and tied off. The two planks slung in the loops and the third used to push it out with one of the parras on board who slid the other plank out.

Bridge built and with care we all got across as did the all important jerry can.

The OC looked gob smacked and clicked his stop watch…

We were the only team to finish that challenge… Likewise another challenge involving moving a telegraph pole around an obstacle course. Something that is near impossible for a group to do…

Back then I regarded telegraph poles the same way other people regarded balancing brooms upside down on one hand… One of my hobbies was “Highland Games” and I could not just run half a mile with one by myself on my shoulder I could also throw one a fair distance and get it to go end over end on landing. It sounds impossible, it’s not, far from it. But it can be both jaw dropping and bl@@dy scary for anyone close by especially when it flys (yes it’s called “tossing the caber” and the person doing it a “tosser”[1] but that is not important).

We had the best score of all the teams at the end and there was some mutterings from the other teams about how that was impossible… After all whilst not dregs we were not exactly shining examples of military prowess. OK half our team were on the regimental shooting team but we were not roughty tufty types doing “hut hut hut” arond the parade ground in ironed vests and shorts with pressed creases… Heck I was the one who got selected to play Santa at the christmass party because I looked large and jolly and small kids saw so much threat in me they used to use me as a climbing frame or conquer Everest…

However the OC either worked out what had happened or somebody grassed… He took me aside later that evening and pointed out that I was the one who had done various things, I protested it was the team and I just did my bit. He was not having any of it and indicated I was trying to hide behind the team… (which as I was more than a head taller and half as wide again as any of them was no mean trick 😉

Any way as they say “no good deed goes unpunished” a week or so later I got selected to join the “awkward squad”…

In every largish group of soldiers there is always a group who “don’t quite fit” the pattern. Usualy mild mannered and affable, they do the duties given to them quietly and effectively, but when it comes to trades, they don’t have one… That is they can do a trade, almost all trades in fact, often as well if not better than their superiors, or other tradesman. You just give them a job, it gets done you don’t order them because well there’s no point. Often they do the jobs that need doing that nobody else wants to do or even realises needs doing like sweep up, wash the cups, ensure the tea kit is OK and a hundred and one other little things. They also see things coming that others don’t.

They are rarely smart, just look a little shabby not scruffy, sort of “worked in” or “used looking”… but when it’s important they gleam. They are awkward because nobody realy knows where to put them they are not round pegs trying to be square, they sort of fit all holes, and it’s that which does not fit… Things have a place not places the same with soldiers.

The solution form an “awkward squad” and just point them in the general direction, they will be there when you get there often with a cupper waiting for you.

As an organisation an army has a problem, special forces are not self sufficient, even though they might appear that way. They need support in place to function, to provide comms, logistics and the messy stuff like people “handy with a bandage and bag of blood etc”. Those supplying those services themselves need support… The sort who can just wander into the middle of anywhere with just a bag on their back and start the ball rolling… Not “trades” they need rails to run on, no track they don’t go anywhere. What you need are those awkward bu§§ers who can turn their hand to just about anything. It’s they that get basic services in place, comms up, and have things sorted so logistics and trades can hit the ground running and then those specialists can then do their thing.

Something goes wrong and you don’t have a trade there, guess who can kick the wheel, or thump the rack just right and get it going till the trade gets there… That’s right that slightly shabby awkward looking bloke who is just there doing stuff but has a spare hand and moment to lend it. And you’ve not a clue what they are supposed to do but they are doing it and things just happen almost like magic.

As the advert says “it’s a tough job but somebody’s got to do it”, especially when you are way too usefull to be alowed to sleep… No good deed huh…

[1] Have a look at the photos in,

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Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.